Until We Surrender

Written by: TL on 28/09/2009 20:34:45

Those of you who shamelessly enjoy the modern wave of metal(core) bands that are inspired by the Swedish melodeath tradition, may or may not remember a certain band called Light This City, one of whose albums PP liked very much. Since that review was written, the band have released another album (which I think NB means to review once he's done coding our new site?) and have since broken up. Most of the previous members are now in new bands, and it's one of these spin-off bands we're dealing with in this review, namely Heartsounds, a two-person project comprised of LTC's singer Laura Nichol and their drummer Ben Murray.

Now, as far as I can gather, the pair is recording instrumentals for this project on their own, dividing instrumental duties between them and both contributing with clean vocals. If those same metal fans I spoke of in the introduction are still here, hoping for more reinvention of their favourite Gothenburg sub-genre, then they will be sorely disappointed. You see with Heartsounds' first album "Until We Surrender", Nichol and Murray have abandoned their metal past and set out to showcase a wholehearted love for fast paced, raw and melodic punk rock.

Commence the shredding. As far as I can see from photos of the band performing live, both members play the guitar while singing and being assisted by a friendly drummer. However, on the recording I can only pick up one guitar track and one distinct bass track, so I'm not sure what the deal is. The one guitar track I can hear though, is mostly shredded with high speed upon a classic, up tempo, punk rock drumbeat. It's nothing fancy, it's just pure, simple melody, full speed ahead. On top of everything, the duo exchange vocals, sharing duties more or less 50/50, and the combination of Murray's rough male croon and Nichol's higher pitched female voice, can't but remind me of the contrast between Jordan Brown and Matt Wilson of Set Your Goals. There are even some nice harmonies thrown in for good measure here and there.

Now like I said, there is absolutely no trace of the band members' metal past to be found - no dueling twin guitars or menacing growls. Instead there's a demonstration of how two passionate people can make solid, enjoyable and honest songs, using little more than power chords and their voices. This is all fine and dandy, and settling for this won't make Heartsounds a bad band in my book, but that being said, there is still room for improvement. Like I've hinted, pretty much every song is a full speed barrage of power chords, and since the guitars aren't tampered with from song to song, it's left up to the vocals to make the songs stand out from one another. At that, I think progress can still be made, since both Murray and Nichol's have cleans that are typically 'punk rock' in the sense that they have more personality than they do versatility. Hence "Until We Surrender" becomes a slightly - I wan't to say homogenous, rather than monotonous - affair, yet in force of the conviction it carries, it is still one that's far more likely to entertain than bore you.

Download: The Song Inside Me, Return
For The Fans Of: Set Your Goals, This Is A Standoff, Living With Lions
Listen: myspace.com/heartsoundsband

Release Date 25.08.2009
Creator-Destructor Records

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