Not Quite There
British “melodic” hardcore outfit Heart in Hand has released their second full length record, Almost There and it’s not as close to “there” as the band hoped. Clearly trying to emulate a sound similar to Bridge 9 hardcore bands such as Have Heart, Heart in Hand sounds like most any band you’d see opening a metalcore house show and would probably stand outside during. Instrumentally, the band is solid — they sound like most relatively talented hardcore bands you’ll find but they probably should have sought a different vocalist. The vocals on this record feature both screaming and melodic singing, and neither sound all that good; a little too screechy and probably better fit for a pop punk band, if anything.
Almost There opens with a cheesy intro, “Proposal,” that feels completely unnecessary and doesn’t add a thing to the album, as with the interlude a few tracks later, “Vows.” Short instrumental tracks really don’t work on a hardcore record, and just mess with the flow of the songs, though in this case that might be a good thing. The majority of the songs, from the title track “Almost There” through to the closing song “The Latter,” sound the same, following the simple formula that any basement hardcore band has used: simple breakdowns, predictable lyrical patterns, and the occasional singing mixed in with the screaming. Almost There will definitely blend into hundreds of other boring albums within the month.
There are so many hardcore bands releasing music that is interesting and different, and the slightest bit heavy, that it takes a lot more than cliché breakdowns and pictures of anchors to make a name for yourself, and Heart in Hand clearly just doesn’t have what it takes. It’s possible that with a change in vocalists and a new take on their sound, this band might be able to produce a solid album or two, but overall Almost There is just a subpar record through and through.