Thursday, October 16, 2008

Album Review: Haste the Day - Dreamer

Haste the Day have released their anticipated follow-up to 2007's Best Album (as voted by myself) Pressure the Hinges; Dreamer, and man its about time! I know i speak for many HTD and hardcore fans when i say that Pressure the Hinges was an amazing album. It was full of tracks that were great by themselves, or as a complete album. It raised the bar, and we were eager to see if Haste could reach that standard.

After all of the drama Haste the Day have been through, its great to see them persevere and continue to make great music. They've lost two original members, Jimmy Ryan the original vocalist (who just released The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole with his new band, Trenches), and lead guitarist Jason Barnes who only left the band recently, before Dreamer was written. According to HTD, Jason was the primary song writer, so losing him left the band in a hole, but their newest member and lead singer, Stephen Keech stepped up to the plate. Stephen apparently wrote a majority of the album, and you can instantly tell that its really different from Hinges.

After my first few listens to the album i was not impressed. The album was really heavy and brutal, reminding me a little bit of old Haste the Day, Tahoe even said it reminded him of As I Lay Dying. The think the most noticeable difference was the drumming; it was much more technical and varying, straying from the reliable straight-forward fast beats of Hinges. The next huge difference was the catchy sing-along choruses. This is where i'm reminded of underOATH and slightly disappointed. My favorite part of hardcore music is the choruses and breakdowns. Some fans of metal/hardcore hate the catchy-ness of bands, the "pop" choruses because they feel like the band is selling out the what people want instead of writing honest music. I actually love the contrast of a chorus that is "sung" against the harsh vocals of the a verse that has more screaming/yelling. Pressure the Hinges really nailed this and i think it was great for the band because it grew the fan base having such accessible songs.
"We definitely think it is the best thing we've ever done. We've always been a band that combines the heavy music with the melodic side of music and we think that we have kind of combined those in the best way thus far that we think is the heaviest record we've done and it's also the most melodic and catchiest record we've done." -bassist Mike Murphy in HM Magazine interview

When HTD is done, i think you'll look back at their catalog and think that Pressure stands out as the misfit. Even though Dreamer isn't written by the same musicians that wrote Burning Bridges, they have the same feel. tracks like 68 and Babylon are just brutal, whereas tracks like Sons of the Fallen Nation beg you to sing along. I think it will be interesting to find out what tracks really hit live from this album, and speaking of live, they're currently touring with The Showdown, Oh Sleeper, and hardcore veterans Norma Jean.

When all is said and done, this album might not reach the high standard that Haste the Day have set with their previous albums, but in a year of disappointing releases from Christian metalcore bands like Means and underOATH, this album easily stands up and take claim of one of the top spots for 2008.

Haunting - Haste the Day

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