Thursday, July 07, 2005

Haste the Day - When Everything Falls CD Review

Does every moderately successful metalcore band have to water down their “breakout” albums in order to appeal more to the Hot Topic, teenie-bopper crowd? Atreyu did it with The Curse. Norma Jean did it with O God, the Aftermath. Every Time I Die sounds like they’re going to do it with Gutter Phenomenon. Really it should be no surprise that Haste the Day would follow the trend and mellow out on When Everything Falls.

Sure, Haste the Day still sound like Zao, Atreyu, The Agony Scene, and Evergreen Terrace in a blender on liquefy, but instead of that being a good thing, as it has in the past, it doesn’t come out quite as well this time, probably because of the lack of Zao and The Agony Scene influence and a lot more Atreyu copycatting. There are moments on this cd when you can almost swear that you are listening to something from Atreyu’s current musical output or that you are hearing a bizarre version of Underoath that uses death metal growls in place of screams. Listen to “If I Could See” or “Fallen” and try to tell me that you can’t hear the influences.

Even with the newfound focus on melody and trendy, over-produced guitar licks, these guys can still rip shit up with the best of them. Listening to the pummeling breakdown choruses on “Walls & Fear” or the bridge on “This Time It’s Real” will reassure longtime fans that the old Haste the Day that was more concerned with brutality and making your ears bleed is still there, just in a new glossy form.

Now getting back on track about why this album isn’t as good as it could be… there is definitely a lack of quality guitar solo riffs like those found on Burning Bridges. Along with that, another thing that has been missing, since even before then, is the intricate song structures that were a staple on their debut EP, That They May Know You, which was easily their best work with everything since having been on a downhill progression and coming off as too streamlined.

Interestingly enough, one thing that will probably get Haste the Day a lot of attention is the inclusion of a cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Long Way Down”. When I saw it in the tracklisting, I couldn’t wait to see how they would turn a mediocre pop-rock song into a metalcore anthem. Well, I’m still waiting. They hardly give the song a makeover other than by adding a few background screams which, by the way, are mixed in so low they’re almost inaudible. Other than those few screams, it’s a pretty basic cover of the song, which is just unacceptable.

Yet once again, a metalcore band has found themselves polishing up their sound, mellowing out, and leaving behind their strengths in order to try to make a splash into the mainstream of the genre. That doesn’t necessarily make this a bad cd, but in comparison to Haste the Day’s previous output, this disc definitely falls short.

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