Review Summary: A Hero A Fake make a less than successful effort at releasing an enjoyable and original album with "Let Ocean's Lie." In result, they create a forgetful and over hyped release that failson all ends to impress.
Metalcore has become somewhat of an outcast in the Metal community in the last couple of years. To many metalheads, it is nothing more than a niche genre catered towards scene kids striving to be “br00talz” all the while they cut their wrists and whine about the uselessness of their lives. On the other side of the spectrum, you have those who love true metal but also find a respectful middle ground with metalcore, as well. No matter what you believe metalcore to be, there are bands out there that truly possess loads of talent. Certain bands like Misery Signals, All That Remains (older stuff), and Unearth show big promise for the slowly dying subgenre of metal. However, with good original bands, there are also a handful of bands trying to be something different when they indeed are not. A Hero A Fake happens to be one of these bands.
From the very first listen of this album, I knew I was going to be disappointed. For the sake of the readers, I’m going to keep this review pretty straight up, because there is not much I can say about this band that doesn’t happen to be negative. I’m not going to give some elaborate explanation as to why this band has yet to impress me. Instead, I’m going to give you my opinion and you can take it any way you want. So, now that that’s all said and done, take my hand as we take a journey through the land of mediocrity!
First of all, A Hero A Fake is really trying nothing new with this album at all. As a matter of fact, as a band, they are the perfect example of the metalcore genre becoming stagnant with mediocre bands. At first glance, they seem to be a promising band. With a quick halfhearted listen to “Ocean's Will Lie,” and, believe me, that’s the only kind of listen that anyone will want to give this album, it seems to be pretty….okay. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely nothing spectacular, but the first few songs, and I mean few, seem to have some pretty good potential to be pretty good. However, that is where the good stops and the bad starts with this album.
Like most of the cliché metalcore bands packing out the genre, A Hero A Fake use the patented niche modern metalcore format of harsh vocal verses that transition into clean vocal choruses. Now, believe me, bands that can pull this off well such as As I Lay Dying, All That Remains, and Killswitch Engage do it quite well and they have created some of my favorite metalcore songs of all time by using this simple yet effective format of songwriting; however, this has grown extremely overused in the metalcore genre seen throughout the past couple of years, but that certainly doesn’t stop A Hero A Fake from milking the damn thing for all they can get.
Where A Hero A Fake make the biggest mistakes on this album is with the lackluster and completely unoriginal and uninspired vocals. On both clean and harsh vocals, the performance is less than stunning. The lead screamer of this band doesn’t really impress at all, spitting out a monotone screech throughout the whole album. The guy is not terrible, but nothing special at all. However, in my opinion, his screaming is much better than the bands lead singer, who manages to rip off every single hardcore cliché known to man. Whiny vocals? Check. Uninspired parts? Check. Impressiveness? Uncheck. Where the band makes the biggest misstep in this department is the fact that the singer seems to sing the same parts over and over again. Honestly, there was not much variability in the choruses in different songs throughout the album. As a matter of fact, every single song seemed to follow the same wash, rinse and repeat pattern of singing, which grows extremely tiresome much quicker than you would imagine. Some songs actually do contain some catchy chorus hooks (“Elk River Falls”), but once you hear the same vocal pattern repeated 800 times over later on, that particular song looses its special draw that once made it actually somewhat decent.
Honestly, A Hero A Fake has the potential to be something much more than what they are. Hell, their instrumentation is pretty solid and their drummer has some pretty cool parts throughout the album. Their implentation of three guitarists, while a bit over-the-top, is well used in some parts of the album. However, instrumentation alone cannot save a band doomed for mediocrity. The biggest problem with the band is the fact that they, in my opinion, possess a lot of talent, but wish to join the crowd of other mediocre bands that never make it anywhere. The vocals are uninspired, the songwriting is uninspired, and the whole damn band in general seems to be more than content with mediocrity.
I am sorry, but I just could not find anything really positive about this album to bring up. Everything seems so watered down and uninspired. From a band I’ve heard a lot of hype about (odd, isn’t it?), I can’t help but feel disappointed with “Let Oceans Lie.” The songs are boring, forgetful, and downright mediocre. Hopefully A Hero A Fake can improve with their next release, but only if they start digging out of the hole they have willingly clawed their way into before it is too late.
I know. But a true identity of metalcore was established back with bands like Misery Signals, Killswitch Engage (old stuff), All That Remains, Converge, and so on. Now all we have is this watered down bullshit.
Of course! Pan flute should never be left out of teh metalcorez!
That was an idea of mine. At one point I was learning to play a tin whistle. Imagine that, a brootal yet melodic metalcore band with pinpointed flute laced breakdowns. The only thing better would be bagpipes. Irishcore. I should learn to play the bagpipes and do that.
Not assuming that, bro and neither am I trying to speak for anyone. From my own observance, it seems that way to me. You can be popular and still be an outcast because no one wants to put up with your bullshit, and that's the way I see metalcore has gotten. Look at bands like The Devil Wears Prada, this one, and many more. Would you call them fine representatives of the metalcore genre?
Hey Shred, good review and I agree with a lot of your points. This album isnt terrible but like you said, generic. I like a fair bit of metalcore but most of the newer metalcore from the last 2 or 3 years hasnt brought anything new to the genre. Pos'd.
"Not assuming that, bro and neither am I trying to speak for anyone. From my own observance, it seems that way to me. You can be popular and still be an outcast because no one wants to put up with your bullshit, and that's the way I see metalcore has gotten. Look at bands like The Devil Wears Prada, this one, and many more. Would you call them fine representatives of the metalcore genre? "
No, I wouldn't, but I would call Coalesce and Converge fine examples and very influential. So is Shai Hulud, Poison the Well(if you still wanna call them metalcore), DEP, Zao, and Carpathian. Sure, there are plenty of bad apples in metalcore, but so is there in straight up metal. In fact, most genres are watered down with generic bands and bands that can't get past the first riff they ever wrote.
I still need to check out Coalesce, to be honest. But you are right. I don't dispute that at all. However, the point I'm trying to make is the fact that many of these bands effect the overall view of the metalcore genre because they are currently the most recognized. Read my first paragraph in the review and it explains that there are metalheads, like you and me, who love metal but also respect metalcore regardless of some of the shit it has caught from some of the newer bands such as this one.