Hawthorne Heights
Zero


3.0
good

Review

by Aaron Arneson CONTRIBUTOR (104 Reviews)
June 25th, 2013 | 87 replies | 10,620 views


Release Date: 06/25/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An optimistic release from Hawthorne Heights that creates a bright spark of hope for the band's future.

As an individual who listens to music on nearly a constant basis, one of my greatest pleasures lies in hearing a band I had lost interest in make good music again. It doesn’t have to be a perfect comeback or an exact return to form, but witnessing the improvement of a band that’s disappointed me in the past is always exciting. For a while back around 2004, Hawthorne Heights were huge and adored by many only to be dismissed by most of the world a few years later. The tragic loss of one of their essential band members following the release of their sophomore album didn’t exactly help their situation, but despite their best efforts they’ve remained almost invisible to their audience the last few years. So now, with Zero they are making yet another attempt to regain the world’s attention and while it’s not without some expected flaws, it’s the most promising album they’ve crafted in years.

Upon hearing the band’s Hate EP back in 2011, I admit I regained some interest in the band. They were now on their own label and although the songs weren’t necessarily fantastic, they seemed more genuine than before and contained the screamed vocals that seemed ever too absent on Fragile Future and Skeletons. So, I had some hopes for their next full length album, and while Zero is a good album, it’s not exactly what I was expecting following their two most recent EP’S. That‘s not to say there aren‘t some harsh vocals this time around, but they’re used much more sparingly, and surprisingly it works quite well. ‘Hollow Hearts Unite’ is one of the most beautiful songs they’ve ever written, while ‘Taken By The Dark’ turns heads with some of the most intimidating and well-timed screams I’ve heard in the band’s career.

Zero may not be enough to change your mind about Hawthorne Heights if you never cared for them before, but for anybody who’s ever enjoyed the band it’s a statement that they‘ve still got a few tricks up their sleeve. Taking command of the microphone yet again is JT Woodruff who’s vocals can be very hit or miss with certain listeners. And although his nasally voice may be an acquired taste, it’s glowing with more confidence than it’s had in quite some time on Zero. The upbeat ‘Spark’ displays his ability to carry an entire song without relying on guest vocals or even screams. The lyrics are simple, but encouraging and fit perfectly between the punchy guitars, a huge sing-along chorus and an unexpectedly solid performance by Woodruff. It stands tall and proud as one of the most passionate songs on the album. Aforementioned ’Hollow Hearts Unite’ is also a winner and is nothing short of beautiful as Woodruff spills emotion from his every pore over some lightly picked guitars and somber violins.

Despite making several improvements on Zero some songs don’t carry their weight while others are instantly catchy but become stagnant with repeated listens. Lead single ‘Golden Parachutes’ is a great example of this as it has a giant chorus and is quite enjoyable at first but it doesn’t hold up well in the long run. ‘Darkside’ isn’t much different, except unlike the single it actually comes across as lazy both musically and lyrically. However, this time around the majority of the album manages to deliver and the weaker tracks don’t hinder the overall experience all that much.

It’s safe to say it’s been quite the rocky journey for Hawthorne Heights, but with Zero they prove there may be a good ending in store for them after all. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s one of the most solid albums they’ve released in a really long time. Unfortunately, it will likely be dismissed by many fans and critics alike, but at least there’s a spark to this one that keeps it from being just another average release in a forgotten band’s catalogue. In fact, it’s just good enough to jolt the band back to life and possibly snag up a few new fans in the process.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2013



18577 Comments


Be gentle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKnFaLKm0EI Spark

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka794U0-2Is Hollow Hearts Unite

Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

BigPleb
June 25th 2013



28407 Comments


They released something worthwhile? Wow.

Nice review man, always a good read.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2013



18577 Comments


gee thanks kind sir ;)

I'm not the biggest fan of these guys but I enjoyed them back in the day and I try to keep an open mind. Best songs are probably the ones I linked (spark, hollow hearts unite) and I also really enjoy 'ghost town', 'memories of misery' and 'taken by the dark'.

BigPleb
June 25th 2013



28407 Comments


Might check when I have nothing else to do, nice to see they are somewhat progressing.

Have an invalid pos ;]

BigPleb
June 25th 2013



28407 Comments


Hmm, the plot thickens.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2013



18577 Comments


Lol. What are your favorite tracks andcas? Been playing spark nonstop.

antigravity
June 25th 2013



522 Comments


missing a period at the end of the 2nd paragraph

TheSpirit
June 25th 2013



16657 Comments


Pretty good review. I think you went on about the vocals a little too much though

Digging: Sexdrome - Grown Younger

joshieboy12345
June 25th 2013



5256 Comments


I liked Spark. Might check this out.

Digging: For The Fallen Dreams - Heavy Hearts

mindleviticus
June 25th 2013



7937 Comments


This has to be a joke

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2013



18577 Comments


"missing a period at the end of the 2nd paragraph"

they're putting those at the end of paragraphs now eh? ;)

"Pretty good review. I think you went on about the vocals a little too much though"

thanks for the honest feedback. I didn't even realize it until now but you're right lol I did talk mostly just about the vocals. I'll try to make some tweaks and maybe add some stuff about the guitars, drums, etc and maybe go more in depth with the lyrics.

"I liked Spark. Might check this out."

that song just gets better with multiple listens

"This has to be a joke"

I don't joke


Hep Kat
June 25th 2013



13999 Comments


i refuse

Digging: Casanovas In Heat - Belvidere b/w Destiny St.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2013



18577 Comments


Lol

CK
June 25th 2013



4525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Still not as good as If Only You Were Lonely. I'm a sucker for that album

LowRidinCow
June 25th 2013



36 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not really liking Spark as much as you guys, but Strangers, Memories of Misery and Hollow Hearts Unite are all really good.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2013



18577 Comments


My memories of misery won't save me from the storm

mindleviticus
June 25th 2013



7937 Comments


Pppphhhttttt ioywl is so lmaobad

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2013



18577 Comments


If only you were lonely had some cool songs on it. I've never thought they were as bad as they were made out to be but apparently I have low standards ;)

kelas
June 25th 2013



217 Comments


yes, very much so

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2013



18577 Comments


hey i'm all for it if it means enjoying more music



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