Heart In Hand

Only Memories

Written by: AP on 22/09/2011 14:00:06

After treading water for the past three years, Heart in Hand have at last managed to exert the desired impact on the UK scene with this formidable debut album, "Only Memories". From the earliest demos to subsequent live performances, it was always clear that this Bournemouth based quintet were no a dime-a-dozen. Armed with a progressive mindset, Heart in Hand combine the best aspects of metalcore and ambient hardcore to an effect that stands second to none.

The eponymous opening piece "Only Memories" hauls at us an absolutely monumental soundscape with mauling rhythms and ambitious legato riffing, exposing in the middle one of those bridges that would have almost any aspiring guitarist hoping they'd written it, before it all coalesces into a terrific brooding crescendo that evokes images of bands as diverse as The Carrier, Defeater, For the Fallen Dreams and Rinoa. It takes exactly 3 minutes and 50 seconds to understand that we have here a perfectly abnormal band, subtle yet innovative; sombre yet optimistic; and with a flair for cinematic drama not one band since Rinoa has been able replicate with success. "Indelible Mistakes" is no less impactful - it takes the massive layering even further in a maelstrom of lingering clean notes, crushing breakdowns, and the skramz influenced, despairing screams of Charlie Holmes. Speaking of which: the monotonous, borderline yelling might put off some, more vocally concerned listeners, but in the context of the ambient soundscapes dominating on the album, it would be difficult to imagine a different vocal approach that would express the same kind of honesty, passion and conviction.

By the time the no less imposing "Tunnels" veers to its grand conclusion, the overflow of emotion, hitherto completely relentless, reaches an almost suffocating level - quite the achievement in the space of just three songs. The best mental image I can ascribe to it is that it is like watching your entire world collapse before your eyes in apocalyptic explosions as devastating as they are beautiful. Were it not for the whispering quietus of the following interlude, "This One Time, in Denver...", the sheer enormity of this trinity might - as far-fetched as it sounds - have been too overwhelming to describe in plain words. Indeed, it is in part due to the clever structure of "Only Memories" that it reaps such a clear victory over most of Heart in Hand's contemporaries, delivering its vastness in bursts so as to maintain a clear focus. Another example of this is the placement of another interlude, "September", after album highlight and lead single "Ghosts" - which again has a Rinoa-meets-Have Heart kind of presence, uniting the grandeur of one with the punishing anguish of the other.

But it is a false sense of relief: "I'm Coming Home" then enlists Heart in Hand's hardcore influences for a full blown d-beat assault that gradually evolves into a dynamic prog metal finale, serving as the perfect introduction to the initially slower, though no less majestic "Broken Promise". Serving as the album crowning song, "Photographs" invites Burn the Fleet's Andy Cowley for a cameo that pays tribute to one of Heart in Hand's heaviest influences, It Prevails, and brings "Only Memories" to a beautiful, melancholic conclusion. Once it fades out, I am left with a whirlwind of emotions, each compelling me to sing songs of praise for Heart in Hand for writing one of the most colossal, complete metal albums that has sounded through my speakers in recent years.

Download: Only Memories, Indelible Mistakes, Tunnels, Ghosts, Photographs
For the fans of: Have Heart, It Prevails, Rinoa
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.05.2011
Siege of Amida Records

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