Hawthorne Heights

Hate

Written by: PP on 20/09/2011 02:31:00

"I hate my job, I hate my life, I hate every fucking thing in this world, I swear to god if I had a knife, I'd cut my heart out and give it to her". Oh yeah. Hawthorne Heights are back baby, and they've brought your favorite old friends of tortured back-up screams and suicidally emotional lyrics with them alongside a lesson of how to truly execute classic quiet/loud moments elegantly. Case in point: I haven't heard a better execution of the latter in many years than on "Is This What You Wanted?". There's no bullshit. None of that unnecessary ambition for complex instrumental soundscapes or annoying high-pitch vocalists showcasing their talent of sounding like little girls, just a very basic heavy-hitting section that defines the hardcore in emotional hardcore - incidentally also the heaviest Hawthorne Heights have written throughout their lengthy career - which stops like a brick wall and drops down to a soft, relaxed, almost tranquil passage just at the right moment. It's as perfect as it comes in the genre in 2011, and an example of many a band in a genre that has lost my interest years ago due to its habit of producing one boring derivative band after another.

That's just one special moment among many that HH present to the listener on "Hate", a nine track self-released record, that sees the band regress back to the crunchy guitars and the quintessentially emo sound of their first record "The Silence In Black And White", while returning to the infectiously catchy songwriting of "Fragile Future". It's the first in a trilogy of EPs, and like its title suggests, it's angry. It's loud. It's even abrasive in places, unafraid of spitting harsh screams to fortify the songs and to remind us what this genre sounds like at its very best. But best of all, it's so incredibly emo in places. And it accomplishes this without making itself a target for easy ridicule, because JT Woodruff has improved as a lyricist incredibly much since his "cut my wrists and black my eyes" years. Consider this excerpt from "Is This What You Wanted?" as an example: "A ship without an anchor, holding me back / A car without a driver, a train off the tracks ". They are almost poetic in their metaphorical meaning, but yet its clear that deep at heart they are so fucking emo, but in a great and intelligent way that doesn't offend the intellect anyone over the age of 21.

Then lets take a track like "Divided", which starts with punk rock-ish riffs before calming down into clean, emotional vocals, but note here how Micah Carli has assumed a very similar role as Casey Calvert (who passed away in 2007) did with his screams on their debut album. The interplay between the lyrics that are first sung, then repeated in screamed mode in alternating lines works great, but even better when they are both simultaneously laid on top of each other in the "followed you into, followed you into the grave" parts that give that section so much more power and emotion. All of which sounds more believable and convincing in terms of real emotion that I've heard outside of the revivalist emo scene (think Tigers Jaw, etc) in many years.

On top of that, songs like "Hate", "Wasted In NYC", and "Four White Walls" are insanely catchy for what they are: tormented emotional hardcore songs. A slight amount of whiny pop punk and vocal hooks from the band's last two albums has made it into the mix to make this possible, but they are kept at bay to make room for the heaviest, angriest, and perhaps even the best Hawthorne Heights release to date. It's time for the fading genre kings to show the kids a tour de force of how it's done.

Download: Wasted In NYC, Divided, Four White Walls
For the fans of: Senses Fail's debut EP+album, Armor For Sleep's debut album, screaming "cut my wrists and black my eyes" while drunk when you're 25 and definitely not emo
Listen: Myspace

Release date 23.08.2011
Cardboard Empire

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