Hand To Hand

Design The End / Follow The Horizon

Written by: TL on 27/05/2009 17:22:49

I like Lifeforce Records. Somehow it feels like almost every promo we get sent from them is always decent at the very least. And this new release by Floridian metallers Hand To Hand is no exception. The LP is called "Design The End / Follow The Horizon", is a follow up to the 2005 debut "A Perfect Way To Say Goodbye" and it's actually pretty good. Here's why:

Hand To Hand play a very metallic and straightforward branch of post hardcore, positioning themselves somewhere in between the modern screamo movement and the more accessible genres of metal. The cool thing coming out of this fusion is that the instrumentals are much more rich and textured than you're used to hearing from a screamo/post hardcore band. There are more fills, better transitions and a comforting feeling of overall tightness to the record, which only goes to convey that the players in this band know their craft very well.

However, there is a drawback present in the by the promo material so-called "remarkable vocals" of singer Rob Kellom. Where the screams performed by John Radford are at least decent, "remarkable" is possibly the one word I find the least fitting for his and Kellom's performance. Radford does convey the proper feeling of anger through his scream, but his articulation could be better, and when it comes to Kellom, he might be a proficient singer but his voice has next to no edge or character to it. It sounds like he has to try a bit too hard, kind of like it's sometimes the case with Pierrick Berube of Lovehatehero. These rather mediocre vocal performances put a sour taste on top of the otherwise sweet musical experience, and effectively make it much harder to remember the band's songs than would've been the case with some more charismatic vocalists. This is showcased perfectly in the last song, which is an instrumental epic hinting at some Metallica influence (I keep thinking of "Orion" when hearing it). This song is by far the most enjoyable on early listens, simply because the vocals aren't there to detract from the experience.

Nevertheless, after a handful of listens, it is in fact possible to get used to the vocals and let ones hearing go around them seeking out the tasty licks that litter the entirety of this album. When you get to that point "Design The End / Follow The Horizon" starts to seem like the kind of record you'd want to come back to for more. Still though, one wonders how great it could've been with some better and more appropriate singing to fit those tunes.


Download: Los Muertos Caminan, Let End This Album With A Party
For The Fans Of: Burden Of A Day, Lovehatehero, 36 Crazyfists
Listen: myspace.com/handtohand

Release Date 11.05.2009
Lifeforce Records

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