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Good, But Very Repetitive [3.5 Stars]
on April 19, 2006
"When Everything Falls", Haste The Day's second effort for Solid State records, is exactly what someone would expect a melodic metalcore/hardcore band's sophmore album to sound like. There's of course more melody, a lot more in fact, but there's also still that heavy sense that attracted the listener to the band to begin with. What HTD have produced with their second cd is something that is hopefully going to draw newer fans to their band, while still keeping their root following in tact. And "When Everything Falls" actually does a pretty good job of accomplishing that, although it's definitely not a perfect release. Whatever you want to label these guys as, it doesn't really matter because music is about listening, not labeling. More or less most Haste The Day fans should be satisfied by this record if they can deal with a little bit of stale ideas and familiarity.
The album itself is actually very catchy. This is probably the hookiest (is that a word) or melodic a hardcore band can get and still be accepted by a majority of their fans. So what has the band done this time around? Musically the guys are still in top form. The riffs are ultra tight, and the screaming is right on key. Every part of every song is flawless from a technical standpoint. Jimmy's scream has actually gotten much better since the last album and this is mainly due to the wonderful production that the album received (finally Solid State opened up their wallets for these guys). While there's still the definite Zao influence, his rasps are ear shattering and still as invigorating as they have ever been. When put together with the pummeling musical work, Haste The Day's sound is excellent. The drums pound like never before, and the bass knows when to hit, especially during the breakdowns. In accordance the band also dabbles further into their melodic tendencies. Every song more or less features a catchy melodic chorus that can easily be identified with by most listeners, and the choruses are nicely done.
Haste The Day's biggest problem though comes in the song writing department. "When Everything Falls" is simply too repetitive. So much in fact that once you've heard one song from the disc, you've basically heard the entire thing. A lot of the progressive nature of the last album has been ditched in favor of a more verse-chorus-verse traditional song structure. The breakdowns almost always appear in the exact same place (usually after the first chorus), and there's little chances taken by the band in most areas. It's basically "scream the verse, sing the chorus", which has become commonplace in most metalcore/hardcore and whatnot today. It's just so formulaic. The only songs which break this cycle happen to be two of the best songs, "Bleed Alone" which is entirely screamed and the cover song "Long Way Down" which is almost entirely sung with clean vocals. Most of the other songs, while good and an entertaining listen just don't match up in the creativity department.
The first four tracks are all actually very, very good, just a bit of the same. "Fallen" and "When Everything Falls" in particular are two of the albums strongest "beauty meets dissonance" tracks. Most of the other songs, even though basically the same, are all great listens as well as long as you don't mind some recycled ideas. The breakdowns are still heavy and memorable, and the clean singing has improved significantly from "Burning Bridges".
Overall "When Everything Falls" isn't an extraordinary cd, but it's a good one despite it's flaws. If you can get past the fact that every song on here is kind of the same, it's a actually a very nice listen. I don't understand why everyone is arguing about what genre this band can be placed into. Most people refer to them as metalcore because of their last cd, and a lot of people are now calling them screamo because of this release. It doesn't really matter, because the music should outweigh the tag. And "When Everything Falls" does. While it's nowhere near as impressive or original as their last record, this is a nice release from a great band who put on a great live show. I'd recommend seeing them if you have the chance. Unfortunately vocalist Jimmy Ryan left shortly after the release of this record to be involved in his family's life. I'm disappointed to see Jimmy depart, but most HTD fans like myself only wish him the best of luck with his life. If you like Haste The Day or melodic hardcore in general, check this cd out. Also look into "Burning Bridges" and "That They May Know You". Hopefully the guys will pick it up and take a few more chances next time. Until then, have fun with this.