Review Summary: Heights have a good thing going, but their refusal to experiment away from it is often frustrating
UKHC is becoming a crowded scene. Bands such as Gallows, Enter Shikari and Your Demise stand as the poster boys whilst a constantly changing underground keeps its heart beating. Originality is key if a band wants to stand out. Gallows have (or had) Frank Carter’s unmistakeable energy and voice, Devil Sold His Soul mix ambient passages and post-metal into their post-hardcore formula, Enter Shikari blends in electronic music to their sound, et cetera. Luckily, Heights have passed this hurdle. Polished guitars churn out riffs below howled vocals that give a fantastic psychotic edge to the music. Add synthesisers, tremolos on the guitars and short piano sections and you have Heights’ sound- hardcore, intense, but sometimes ambient and strangely beautiful. Occasionally, both.
“Eye for an Eye” is the perfect example of this. The opening riff is almost impossible not to head bang to and the vocals sound emotionally strained (combined with the lyrics, this is particularly effective), following through into the final stages of the song with an epic sounding crunch of guitars, drums and tremolo-ing to create a piece of music powerful in more than just the one sense.
This is where the main problem starts though. Having perfectly crafted your own sound is one thing, but using it is another. When pretty much all of your eight actual songs follow in the same vein as each other, you start to wonder what the point is of listening to half of them when they’re pretty much the same as the rest but simply not as good. “The Lost and Alone” provides driving verses and some variation in vocals and “Letting Go” has some pretty sweet piano sections which work surprisingly well within the context of the song, but for the most part (and even in those examples) Heights follow the same formula of ending with a flurry of synths and tremolos. Sure, at first it sounds great, but by the end it grows almost tiring and you start to wonder if they actually have any other ideas of what to do with their sound.
is by no means a bad album (quite the opposite in fact). The sweet spot between melody and heaviness is found more than just a few times and when it is, the results are incredible. But some songs seem pointless when they’re pretty much just poorer, filler versions of the other ones. Whilst Heights’ potential is clear, there is a nagging worry that they may throw a lot of it away if they can’t find other ways to use their sound and introduce some variety to it.
*Eye for an Eye