House Of Heroes
Cold Hard Want


4.0
excellent

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
July 14th, 2012 | 108 replies | 13,516 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Performing responsibly and conscientiously to look back upon proudly.

When discussing commercially neglected Ohio rockers House of Heroes, conversation will usually turn to one of two subjects: (1) Their Christianity, or (2) the degree of excellence to which their album ‘The End Is Not The End’ attained. In the case of both topics, however, any such debate would do a disservice to the quartet’s decade long existence. Effectively utilizing spiritual themes to further their intriguing lyrics, the Tim Skipper led outfit have produced a superlative and under-rated discography, with the margin between their best and worst work being negligible. Furthermore, ignoring the practical re-release of their self-titled LP as ‘Say No More’, House of Heroes have refused to stagnate, continuously adding attributes to their brand of rock; which contains the catchy hooks from pop-punk, the huge melodic riffs of hard-rock, the vocal harmonies from pop-rock, and even a hint of the progressive with quirky rhythms & tempo changes.

In relative terms, House of Heroes tone down their conceptual ambition on new LP 'Cold Hard Want'. There is no all-controlling narrative pertaining to World Wars or suburban life akin to their previous two full-length releases, although the opening duo does set up a general theme of living responsibly and conscientiously to die proudly. This allows the band some room to maneuver regarding mood, with 'Cold Hard Want' integrating the darker, often serious nature of 'The End Is Not The End' with the playful theatricality of 'Suburba'. For the most part, this works for the best, although tunes such as the cheesy 'Angels of Night' and the intriguing oddity of a character study that is 'The Cop', do feel a little forced and disturb cohesion.

Musically speaking, the modifications to the quartet's signature sound is likely to be in the ear of the listener, with 'Cold Hard Want' making a case to be assessed as either House of Heroes' heaviest, most straight-forward or sonically varied LP of their career. Lead single 'Touch This Light' and 'Dance (Blow It All Away)' are the driving up-tempo rockers that bring quality hooks, 'We Were Giants' and epic closer 'I Am a Symbol' the sing-along ballads, while 'Remember The Empire' and 'Comfort Trap' satisfyingly showcase the band's tempo-switching dynamics. Elsewhere, House of Heroes have that knack of injecting crunchy riffs, soaring guitar theatrics, sturdy rhythms, vocal harmonies or gang chants exactly when they are required, to give what may initially seem like generic tracks a likable nature and moderate growth value.

While there is a slight downgrade to the lyrics which have previously separated House of Heroes from the christian-rock pack, there are still many treasures to be found. The aforementioned general theme is set up by 'Out My Way' proclaiming "You'll never find out 'til your bodies been broken on the canvas, if you belong with the ghosts and the has-beens or if you live on like a little piece of greatness". Frustrations within their faith makes 'Comfort Trap' stand out most, beginning with "A house and a wife and two & a half, I lost my dream in the comfort trap. I told my God his will could wait, I've got one foot in a rich man's grave", before stating "I paid my dues and earned my doubt, it'd be God's mistake to spit me out". Just as tellingly, Tim Skipper's convincing vocals have improved to the point that not only can he handle the gritty just as adeptly as the poppy, but he has greater awareness of when to flick each switch on and off... Although, his Matt Bellamy like falsetto on the quirky, electronically flourished 'Suspect' is a little dubious.

Naturally, comparisons and rankings will still be made as to where 'Cold Hard Want' fits into the catalog of House of Heroes releases. Maybe more significant is the fact that it does indeed fit in nicely, since it feels like both a natural evolution for the band, as well as a summation of their career to date. In a sense, it somewhat mirrors the "living responsibly and conscientiously to die proudly" motif in that House of Heroes perform this album with such a passion, craft and proficiency, that no matter which direction they head next, this talented outfit will be able to look back upon 'Cold Hard Want' with nothing but pride.

Recommended Tracks: Touch This Light, Remember The Empire, Comfort Trap & Dance (Blow It All Away).



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user ratings (81)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2012



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Unfortunately, this album is unlikely to bring them into the big time (which they deserve), nor is it likely to get the plaudits of 'The End Is Not The End' (which it deserves to some extent).

It's a bit underwhelming initially, but let it settle. Hence why the review is a couple of days late.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2012



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Please don't call me that in public. ;-)

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2012



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That you did.

This is the lead single for people to get a feel for the album:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=934-gzsCe-M


ProjectFreak
July 14th 2012



1303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hated the previews for this album, but I'm enjoying it now. I don't think it's as good as The End, but it's more consistent than Suburba...and Comfort Trap is WAY high on my Song of the Year list right now.

oh and great review, but you knew that.

MrSenior
July 14th 2012



212 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, Davey. This is definitely the band's most varied release, and it suits them all the better for it. House of Heroes is always one of the first bands I point to when decrying the utter waste that is pop (or rock) radio. While I like Anberlin, watching them get (relatively) huge while these guys are limited to the Christian market is a bit frustrating.

skoopy48
July 14th 2012



1471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

suburba is my favorite from them actually, this record is very close to that one though and with time it may top it

ProjectFreak
July 14th 2012



1303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@MrSenior also, House of Heroes has now written four albums without completing neutering the sound that made them great...unlike Anberlin...whose last two albums have frustrated me like no other...

skoopy48
July 14th 2012



1471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

anybody heard the no tagbacks album?

MrSenior
July 14th 2012



212 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@ProjectFreak- Anberlin is the story of a band who keeps evolving its sound; the problem was Anberlin peaked with Cities and has yet to recapture anything close to something as enjoyable as that album. House of Heroes has stayed remarkably consistent without sounding redundant.

ProjectFreak
July 14th 2012



1303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You say evolution, I say neutering...tomato tomahto.
but agreed regarding HOH.

Eko
July 14th 2012



2119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ATTA BOY DAVEY

album slayed on first listen

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2012



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks ProjectFreak. I tend to keep away from previews, as they can always be misleading. Although, in this case, it could just be that the album needs to settle on listeners. Harsh on Anberlin though.

Thanks MrSenior. I'm glad you put the "(relatively)" in for Anberlin's hugeness coz I'm sure they're not exactly millionaires. These guys definitely deserve more recognition though. I can see some people thinking this is their most varied release & others thinking the exact oppositie.

skoopy, I'll be honest: I have NOT heard their No Tagbacks LP. But I still stand by their HoH debut as being very under-rated. That original version of 'Mercedes Baby' absolutely rules.

Good to hear you're liking it fellow David.

LifeAsAChipmunk
July 15th 2012



4854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hey there Davey, I'm still here just so patiently waiting for that The Sun and The Sea review that I know you'll make. : )

Anyways, do you think I'd like this, senor Davey?

skoopy48
July 15th 2012



1471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

shit davey, im tryin to decide whether or not to spend 10$. I'll agree with you though, their debut is awesome, not quite in the same legue as say no more, but still great

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2012



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh Chipmunk, the more you ask... I think you'd like this band, I'm just unsure which album you'd like best.

Sorry skoopy. You're a millionaire though, so I'm sure $10 won't hurt too much. ;-)

LifeAsAChipmunk
July 15th 2012



4854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Okay fine, but only because you said so.

An Anberlin comparison is all I think I'll need to check this album out (other than your obvious amazing review, Davey, that I will read sometime when it isn't 1 a.m. in the morning).

I rarely listen to discographies but I suppose I'll do so for this if they are indeed that consistent.

Vyndax
July 15th 2012



128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good band.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2012



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm probably in the minority thinking their discog is that consistent. Most find their album 'The End Is Not The End' their best. Hell, some say it's one of the best rock LPs of its decade!

Somehow, I can't see this average rating holding.

skoopy48
July 15th 2012



1471 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

im one of the few who dont think end is their best, i loved it at first, but all the hype for it turned me off to that album. Suburba is their best, with this in close second

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2012



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My concluding paragraph suggests I don't want to, but if I had to pick a best album of theirs, it would be 'The End...'. But like I said, I'm in the minority thinking that all their albums are roughly on par. Hell, I haven't entirely discounted that this may be their weakest! But it's still a 4.



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