Underworld, London, UK - 21/5
A Hero A Fake
Written by: PP on 07/12/2008 14:21:05
A Hero A Fake are marketed as a blend of abrasive technical metal with catchy melodies and earth shattering breakdowns on their debut album "Volatile", and for once, the label PR department's description hits spot on for these guys. In other words, these guys kind of sound like Between The Buried And Me when it comes to guitar melodies, but they've got about as many 'hxc' breakdowns as Gwen Stacy and The Devil Wears Prada put together, and the clean vocals often cross so far over into emo that I'm thinking Hawthorne Heights over here.
But don't let that description put you off, because despite their flaws and an overly annoying tendency to destroy amazing songs with unnecessary breakdowns with frightening consistency, "Volatile" is actually a pretty good record. Each time the band's clean vocalist opens his mouth, you're guaranteed a catchy passage that'll stick to your mind so you'll remember it just for seeing the title of the track. Take "Altered Beast", for instance, which is more or less only breakdowncore in the same way as I Set My Friends On Fire, but there are extended periods of clean vocals and melodic guitar hooks which make the difference between a horrible song and a good song.
"F-16" is easily the best song on the album, starting off with breakneck speed technical riffs and other hardcore punk influences, but it's as if the band hits a brick wall about once every 45 seconds when they morph into a sudden breakdown, and like I mentioned earlier, this is the single most annoying aspect of "Volatile". Had the song's gas pedal been floored for the entire song without the stop-start sessions, it would've been among my favorites this year. The same applies for "Medieval", which has a melodic chorus contesting the catchiness of "Things That Rhyme With Orange" (I Set My Friends On Fire).
The same pattern continues throughout the record. For every great chorus and brilliant guitar hook, there's at least one breakdown that drags the songs towards anonymity from being unique. If the band is able to rid themselves of the karate mosher-friendly parts, they'll be one of the most exciting bands around. For now, they're merely good, and "Volatile" should still be checked out, at least if you're curious how technical metal sounds like when it's injected with a fair bit of emo and/or scene.
Download: Medieval, F-16
For the fans of: Between The Buried And Me, I Set My Friends On Fire
Release date 28.10.2008