For The Fallen Dreams

Heavy Hearts

Written by: PP on 19/06/2014 21:05:31

"Heavy Hearts" is the fifth album by the melodic hardcore staple For The Fallen Dreams, whose early work was as inspirational as it was rammed with lingering melodies that arrived in the first wave of bands in the style that now counts hundreds if not thousands of like-minded bands. They've struggled somewhat since then with "Wasted Youth", "Back Burner" and "Relentless" all showcasing some potential but feeling to generic to impress; "Heavy Hearts" sees a return to their roots through replacement of aggressive chugging with the trademark lingering, subtle guitar melodies of their 2008 debut album "Changes".

First song "Emerald Blue" is a curious opener in that it is a loud, perhaps the least melodic track on the record, albeit still featuring the signature sound of melodic hardcore as a driving force. "Choke" follows it with more dynamic, metalcore styled riffing coupled with some chug-chug style guitars later, but here, the subtle melody in the fast-paced section during the chorus works really well with the abrupt tempo-change where the faded guitar melody on the background is simply chilling. Third track "Lights" is then the first one to feature a melodic interlude within the sound that opens up the soundscape and allows the guitars to breathe during an instrumental section, and so when the melodic growling arrives it feels ever more powerful in comparison. The latter might be a little unvaried stylistically, but it works wonders whenever the guitars move from the distorted into the clean, deliberate melodies flying sky-high in the background as an atmosphere building tool. Inspirational, uplifting, lofty, is how you can describe most of them. Throughout the record bands like The Ghost Inside, It Prevails, Counterparts, Hundredth and so many others come to mind, because let's face it, most of the modern melodic hardcore bands share a common musical platform that they deviate from only slightly in their own iterations.

But what has always been a frustrating detail about For The Fallen Dreams' music is how inconsistent it can be. "Dream Eater" is another example, which utilizes clean vocals in a solid chorus that demands singing along, but the first half of the song is almost completely forgettable in its nature. It's the same with "Bombay" as well, which has a slick guitar intro that fools you into thinking the song is going to be pure awesome, but the verse sections are standard chugging metalcore style that doesn't really offer much to the listener. The chorus is a little better, but you get the point. "Mimic" follows along with anonymous breakdowns in the beginning, but follows through with a great, catchy chorus with lingering melodies on the background, and some technical guitar about halfway through the song. The breakdown-hell that follows doesn't really do the song any favours, though.

"Endless" is the kind of song the band should be writing, because here the song flows forward without unnecessary breakdowns, even if it does borrow from Killswitch Engage quite a bit during its melancholic clean vocal passages. It's good then that "Amnesia" picks up right where it left off with another impressive guitar arrangement to open the song, before revisiting standard (albeit dynamic) metalcore riffing for a brief moment. The album's highlight arrives in the form of the last song, "Smelling Salt", another example of the talent this band possesses but stubbornly refuses to utilize consistently. Basically, when they are good, they are truly great, but they seem to lack ability to string one great song after another to truly excel. Still, "Heavy Hearts" feels a tad better than the previous few records, mostly because there is less of a generic vibe overall, but there is still room to write the elusive genre-defining album.

7

Download: Lights, Smelling Salt, Endless, Bombay
For the fans of: The Ghost Inside, Counterparts, Hundredth, It Prevails
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.04.2014
Rise Records

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