Heart of a Coward
Severance


3.0
good

Review

by cloakanddagger USER (3 Reviews)
December 9th, 2014 | 10 replies


Release Date: 11/12/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Unoriginal, heavy, fun metalcore.

Let's get the obvious facts out of the way. Severance is completely unoriginal. It's all stuff we've heard before from other metalcore bands, and doesn't bring much new to the table. If you throw that aside and listen to it simply as a fun album to headbang along to, then Severance becomes quite a good album. That's the thing, some albums simply aren't meant to be listened to based on their technicality or originality, they're meant to be listened to based on the fact that they are, at face value, just heavy, angry music.

Heart Of a Coward was one of the three bands that spawned from the disbanded Fellsilent, the other two being Monuments and Tesseract. Whilst Monuments focuses on the technical riffs seen in Fellsilent, whereas Tesseract focuses more on the ambient, melodic side of that band's sound, Heart Of a Coward focuses more on a straightforward metalcore sound. Make no mistake, they can still write some good riffs, which is made apparent in the opening track "Monstro", which easily has the best riffs on the entire album. If there's one thing this album isn't short of, it's groove. This album is groove-laden with riffs all over it; this is an album which the pit lords will love to the moon and back again.

On HOAC's previous album, Hope and Hindrance, guitarist Timfy James (Now in Hacktivist) also provided some clean vocals here and there. However, he left the band after that album was released, and as a result, lead vocalist Jamie Graham handles both the harsh and clean vocals on this album, both of which he is very good at. His best vocal performance is on "Distance", which showcase both sides of his vocal range very well. There are also a few guest vocalist appearances here and there: "Psychophant" features Bleed From Within vocalist Scott Kennedy, and "Distance" has a guest appearance of Justin Hill from Sikth. Vocally, this album definitely exceeds Hope and Hindrance.

However, whilst the album is definitely fun to listen to, and the vocals are excellent, it's hard to ignore the obvious flaws. Unoriginality is the first problem, but the production on this album is certainly an issue as well. The guitars sound very muggy (not helped by the fact they're tuned so low), the bassist may as well not be there (there's a bassline at the start of "Psychophant" which is completely inaudible) and at times it is very hard to listen to as a result. Breakdowns are to be expected in an album like this, but it simply adds to the unoriginality and the fact that this is simply another metalcore band that follows the bandwagon. Some of the songs on here are also a tad lacklustre; "Mirrors", one of the more groove-laden songs on the album, is almost ruined by the inclusion of around a minute of breakdowns, but is thankfully redeemed (partially) by a memorable chorus. "Deadweight" is probably the weakest song on the album, and doesn't help with the stereotype that all metalcore bands simply palm mute open strings throughout nearly an entire song. The lyrics on this album are at times hilariously bad, which is a huge shame given how good the vocals are.

In short, there are two ways you can look at this album. Either as a generic, boring, muggy mess with bland lyrics that follows the metalcore trend, or as an album which is simple, heavy fun which shouldn't be taken too seriously. Fans of this band will of course be pleased with this album, as will many fans of metalcore, deathcore and djent. Overall, if you're looking for technicality, you should probably look elsewhere. However, if you're a fan of groove-laden riffs and want a decent album which is fun to jam to, then grab this album.


user ratings (31)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
cloakanddagger
December 9th 2014


56 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Review number 3, feedback, constructive criticism and all that jazz are appreciated.

I love music that is technical, but when I'm pissed off and just want something heavy to headbang too, this
does the trick perfectly. I've wanted to review this album for a while as it was lacking one.

Gameofmetal
December 9th 2014


3753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

" The guitars sound very muggy"

did you mean muddy*? if not, that would still probably be a better discription imo

""Deadweight" is probably the weakest song on the album, and doesn't help with the stereotype that all metalcore bands simply palm mute open strings throughout nearly an entire song."

this could be worded better to indicate that the band actually falls into the stereotype, because as it is, the reader may not understand what you're saying

Decent review, you seem to be fairly new to the game so it's not a huge problem. Your writing will smooth out as long as you continue to improve and you'll find your voice for it soon enough. I pretty much agree with most of your points. I feel a little weird about the genre of this. Their first album fit nicely within djent/prog metalcore so I'm not sure this one should just be called metalcore flatly. It does feel a little more orthodox but it certainly doesn't sound like the general modern metalcore sound. Pos tho

cloakanddagger
December 9th 2014


56 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I probably did mean muddy, I was writing this review at about 7 in the morning so apologies for the mistake on that :p

Yeah I'm still learning about reviewing and whatnot. The album does have a good groove throughout it, which is mainly why I enjoy it so much (I'm a sucker for Monuments and Meshuggah, which is why I love the groove). I always hate these god damned subgenres and stuff so I just generalised it as metalcore (Didn't call it metal because that would be too vague). Cheers for the pos!

cloakanddagger
December 9th 2014


56 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Going back to the groove, it's why my rating is higher than the rating of the review. From a general perspective it's about a 3, but IMO it's a 3.5 but that's mainly based on my taste.

Gameofmetal
December 9th 2014


3753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

a few others on the site do the same thing, regarding an objective review rating and a personal enjoyment rating. I've done that same, there's nothing wrong with it.

Duckman118
December 9th 2014


329 Comments


I don't necessarily think being unoriginal should be considered as bad as you make it sound. I'd say that about 80-90% of music in a distinct genre is going to be unoriginal to that genre of music. I mean sure, it should be a factor in a review, but to base most of a review around it seems silly to me. For me a more important factor would be this, are they good at what they do? Now I haven't listened to this album yet, but I very much enjoyed their last and thought that sure this is generic somewhat, but they were damn good at writing heavy groovy riffs with memorable breakdowns, "SUFFER....... BITCH!". A good example of an album being unoriginal and yet great is the new Unearth album. While it's a great album IMO, it does nothing new in the metalcore scene whatsoever, other than of course just being finely written with extremely talented musicians writing the music.

Idk, I just feel like the whole unoriginal argument shouldn't be as big a factor as you made it when the music itself is written fine.

Gameofmetal
December 9th 2014


3753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I can see your point.

something my writing teacher hammered into my head recently is that there are only a bare handful of archetypes in the grand scheme of writing, thus originality is actually nonexistent. but if you can make it interesting then that's all you should worry about doing

I'd say music is in the same boat. it's all the same elements but it should be a well done and interesting package.

artiswar
December 10th 2014


30 Comments


Good review, but not even a passing mention of the vocalist's past work in Sylosis? I would have put that on front street. It's one of the main reasons a lot of people even know about this band.

Gameofmetal
December 10th 2014


3753 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

what? ^

cloakanddagger
December 10th 2014


56 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wasn't aware of the vocalist's past work in Sylosis. The reason I know this band is because of Hacktivist
and Timfy, and Fellsilent because of the drummer.



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