Review Summary: Soaring cleans attempt to mesh with deathcore screams in a very average and boring EP4 of 5 thought this review was well written
Hearts & Hands is an interesting band. Made up of musicians from various bands, this "supergroup" (if you can call it that) has quite a mix. Alex Koehler of Chelsea Grin takes to the vocals with Garrett Garfield of Becoming Everest for a strange combination that doesn't quite work. If you've heard a Chelsea Grin song, you know what to expect from Koehler. Sub-par highs and awful lows are the name of the game on this. Garfield's vocals, on the other hand, are elegantly done, and almost make you forget what genre of music you're listening to for a few seconds. Until Koehler starts garbling again, that is.
The first track, "Revenge", starts the EP off with a bang. And by that, I mean, with a breakdown, followed up by another breakdown. That right there about sums up the entire album, with little change. The only appealing part of this track is Garfield's vocals during the chorus (which is actually rather catchy). The guitar work at the end is quite nice, but doesn't justify listening to the rest.
The lyrics are mostly the typical subjects of love and anger. The absolute best piece of lyricism has got to be this one, taken from "Memories":
Don't try and tell me
That I'm the only one who sees
You were never there for me
You were never there"
Those lines could easily be written by an angsty teenager any day of the year, and I'm sure that that was exactly what they were going for; and if so, bravo, guys, you succeeded.
The only standout track, "Choices", really shows off what Garfield can do, and even puts Koehler's screams to good use. The song is almost all clean vocals (although Koehler screams along with Garfield for some of the song) and is a welcome change of pace. The guitar doesn't revert into deathcore territory until almost 2/3 of the way through the song, and only lasts for about 10 seconds, then it's right back to an almost hard rock sound. Definitely the best (but that's not saying much) song off the album.
The closing song, "Memories", is another example of Koehler and Garfield's vocals combining to create something somewhat listenable. The ending repetition of "I am not broken, I won't be afraid, I'm burning every memory we made" is a generic line to end this generic album, and makes you look back on the four songs before it, trying to remember any of what you just heard.
This EP is not something that you will be wowed by, nor is it groundbreaking or original in any way. This shouldn't be taken for anything more then yet another generic post-hardcore/metalcore band, and that's exactly what it is.