Review Summary: A pleasant surprise.
Tear Out The Heart is a five piece metalcore band from St. Louis, MO signed to Victory Records. At first glance, everything about this band screams “been there, done that”; ripped skinny jeans, dyed black hair, colorful album art. To assume genericism is at work here wouldn’t exactly be jumping the gun, in fact it’s outright warranted. Violence
cashes in on nearly every single cliché in modern metalcore; abundant breakdowns, juxtaposed harsh verses and clean choruses, simple song structures, the works essentially. They kind of come off as a fusion of scene leaders Asking Alexandria and Motionless In White in a way. By now, anyone not into this type of music is probably running for the hills, but here's the catch. It kind of works.
Tear Out The Heart manage to make all these parts fit together pretty well and everything is relatively enjoyable, provided you enjoy at least something within the genre. Most of the album follows a formula rather strictly, with the exception of a couple of back-half highlights like “Closure” and “Darker Tides”. Even the more run of the mill tracks are too punchy and catchy not to enjoy. “Infamous Last Words” comes to mind, being the lead single, and it’s a great example of what to expect here. A couple of well-placed guest spots invigorate the album further. Caleb Shomo (of Attack Attack fame) provides his scream to "Undead Anthem", and Dan Marsala (of Story Of The Year) lends his voice to "Coffin Eyes".
The band itself doesn't do a whole lot besides build a backdrop for the vocals. The drums are powerful but run of the mill, the bass audible but unadventurous, and the guitars, despite a couple of decent riffs and melodic leads, pretty much just chug away in predictable patterns. The vocals are of more interest though. Lead vocalist Tyler Konersman provides surprisingly powerful high screams and some solid lows growls as well. Occasionally he falls back on some questionable techniques (Emmure esque spoken word buildups for example), but manages to do them well enough. The strained scream buildup in "Dead By Dawn" apes Austin Carlile (Of Mice and Men), but Konersman does it justice, and the vocal intro of "Violence" could’ve been terrible if it weren't for the sheer power of his scream. Bassist Isaac Etter contributes clean vocals to the album, taking over for every chorus of the album. His cleans are a marked contrast to Tyler's screams, but similarly to The Amity Affliction it works in their favor. The disparity between his mid to high ranged voice and vicious screams from Konersman are lovable in their incompatibility. Lyrically the band is nothing to write home about. Despite some horror movie based titles, the lyrics devolve to a lot of "I"s and "We"s and a whole hell of a lot of swearing and anger. A few decent one liners pop in and the choruses sport some of the more passable lines however.
Overall "Violence" is a very pleasant surprise coming from a band that tries very hard to look bad at first glance. If you remotely enjoy any of my recommendations or metalcore bands in general, you might find something to like here.