Alternate Realities

Written by: PP on 02/03/2022 23:33:39

Although less known locally here in Denmark, H.E.R.O. has been flying high in Japan for quite some time now. Their debut album "Humanic" featured "Superpowers", which topped the singles chart for four weeks over there, and sophomore album "Bad Blood" immediately topped the sales charts less than a year later. For their third album, "Alternate Realities", H.E.R.O. has opted to tweak their style to incorporate much heavier riffs than before. Pigeonholing them as a post-hardcore band on their previous records would've felt wrong as their expression was much closer to anthemic alternative rock instead. But here? We're knee-deep in emo/post-hardcore territory much akin to bands like Emarosa, Saosin, and even Circa Survive in places.

For starters, the guitar distortion leans more metallic than before. Yes, they are contrasted by futuristic keyboard melodies that soften the blow somewhat, but the higher-pitched vocals are a full match to your typical emo band even if there are no contrasting screams on the record. Songs like "Made To Be Broken" and "Bring Me Back To Life" sound like Siamese's Mirza Radonjica could've had his magic songwriting touch associated with the songs, given how R'n'B inspired melodies seamlessly cut across soaring post-hardcore soundscapes in a dramatic, theatrical manner. Almost straight out of Prime Collective roster, if you ask me.

The whole album is packaged into a modern production. It's infectiously catchy and extremely pop-laden in places, and given its futuristic electronics, there's no doubt on why the Japanese in particular like the H.E.R.O. sound. They will likely continue to do so despite the post-hardcore riffage, whilst Danish (and other international) audiences should start turning their heads thanks to catchy material like "Oxygen" or the playful vocal hooks on "Personal", for instance.

Overall, "Alternate Realities" is a little on the overpolished and overproduced side for yours truly, but others may appreciate its crisp sound and theatrical soundscapes. There's a good mix of pop, post-hardcore, and alternative rock where vocalist Christoffer Stjerne's great pipes ensure lots of ear-pleasing moments and sing-alongs throughout. In short, it's a record that toys with heavier bits but, in the end, is effectively written with the radio and mainstream in mind.


Download: Gravity, Personal, Made To Be Broken, Oxygen
For the fans of: Normandie, Siamese, Circa Survive, Emarosa
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.03.2022
Mermaid Records

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