Review Summary: Terribly generic post-hardcore with absolutely horrendous vocals, unbearable production and constant ego-stroking. Sound like fun?
I was first introduced to Etienne Sin
via a video sent to me by a friend, claiming that artist in question was a vocalist with “the sickest range ever!” Being ever sceptical, I clicked the link and was greeted to one of the most bizarre tracks that has ever graced these ears. The singer was by far the most bizarre thing about the song; I wasn’t even sure if he was male or female until about forty-five seconds in. His range, while mildly impressive, sounded uncontrolled and extremely forced, and his screams were nothing short of laughable. Add in the fact that the music itself was incredibly incoherent, and you can pretty much guess how long it took for me to close my browser. I was actually dreading writing this review since it meant that I would have to listen to the entire album, and it turns out that my fears were correct. The Art of Stealing Hearts
is one of the worst post-hardcore albums ever written.
Where do I begin? Well, it doesn’t exactly help the album’s case that the cover art is among the worst I’ve ever seen. What the hell was he thinking? Not surprisingly, it’s a dead giveaway that the music is atrocious. Etienne seems to love the sound of his own voice, to the point where the rest of the music suffers terribly because of it. Somewhere along the line, his ego must have screwed with his head and convinced him of his divine abilities as a vocalist. His whiny and abrasive tone completely ruins any slight chance I may have had to enjoy these songs, as I can only imagine myself punching him in the fleshy area where his nuts should be instead. The guy comes off as a complete nutcase in his website’s biography, claiming that his album is destined to become a collector’s item and that he’s an inspiration to post-hardcore musicians around the world. Someone needs a slice of humble pie.
The songs themselves are filled top-to-bottom with horribly generic breakdowns, obnoxious pop choruses and hilariously terrible lyrics. Nobody involved with the creation of this album seems to understand the term “originality”, and it really shows through in how unbelievably bland the album is. There is next to no variation in any of the tracks, and that’s really not a good thing when the style is god-awful to begin with. “That’s What She Said” is almost unbearable to listen to. I think my faith in music dropped slightly during the opening few seconds. Lines like “It’s like climbing up the Eiffel Tower just to fly away” and “If I was in between your thighs, I’d lay down and kiss just to tranquilize” are painful to read, let alone listen to during a bunch of breakdowns. How anybody can create such garbage and actually see value in its existence is beyond me. I actually feel bad for anyone who contributed to the making of this album, as it appears like they were simply being strung along as pawns in Etienne’s quest to become “the leader of independent post-hardcore music.” If this is where post-hardcore is going, I guess I need to backtrack and listen to more Fugazi or something.
Listen to this once if you need a cheap laugh, and then never listen to it again. Etienne’s ridiculous vocals handicap any sort of potential that the rest of the music might have once possessed. The man needs a serious reality check, because he clearly considers himself a remarkably talented individual. In actuality, it’s remarkable that the guy can even walk straight with a head that big. To sum it all up, The Art of Stealing Hearts
is a complete waste of time, hampered by one of the worst vocal performances of recent memory. Avoid at all costs.