Close Your Eyes

Line In The Sand

Written by: PP on 21/11/2013 19:03:33

Though the soundscape of Close Your Eyes has always been in constant evolution, there are some considerable changes in store for their fans on their third album "Line in The Stand". For starters, the band has switched vocalists, with Sam Ryder (ex-Blessed By A Broken Heart) now handling the vocal duties which brings in a different style on its own. He brings in a cleaner and lighter approach to the record than his predecessor, which is especially evident towards the end of the album. Secondly, the band continue to experiment with a wide variety of elements sonically just as they did on "Empty Hands And Heavy Hearts", but they do so much more liberally than ever before, which makes it a weird album both to listen to and to review.

Perhaps to appease earlier fans of their piercing, This Is Hell style hardcore punk, the record opens with a slowed down statement of force, a melodic hardcore track called "Deus Ex Machina", that leads directly into the pedal-to-the-floor style, down-tuned track "Burdened By Hope". Lots of screaming, post-hardcore elements that draw back towards the mid 2000s era of the genre, breakdowns and all that stuff that never did Close Your Eyes any favours on their previous albums. Once we fire through the song in about 2½ minutes, "Days of Youth" keeps the tempo ridiculous, and the setting in Comeback Kid / Bane style melodic hardcore punk territory. That is, until the chorus brings in the first clean vocals of the record so far, easing us into what is very quickly turning into a record of many different faces. The title track might be spat-out hardcore in Your Demise style right after, but already on "Frame And Glass" we're introduced to a sound that has more in common with Lower Than Atlantis than it does with anything we've heard Close Your Eyes do in the past. We're not just dipping our toes into emotive alternative rock, we're diving head first into a slower tempo, and an anthemic chorus, all delivered with clean vocals only.

After a brief stint to Rise Against-ish song on "Sleeping Giant" (featuring Tommy Green of, err, Sleeping Giants on guest vocals), we're back into strange territory with "Kings Of John Payne", a song which recalls muscular pop punk bands more than anything else once it gets going around the one minute mark. The variation between styles continues on "No Borders", which could've ben on a Verse album with its aggressive, rhythmically pulsating hardcore in the beginning, before shifting into breakneck speed hardcore punk again, though here with clear Propagandhi influence in the vocal department. It's probably the best and catchiest song on the record. Zoli of Ignite fame joins on guest vocals for another clean vocal hardcore track on "The End", but soon after "Skeletons" throws us nearly into deathcore, before "Trends And Phases" arrives as the lightest, most poppy Close Your Eyes track you'll have heard. This is an anthemic track that's as radio friendly as it is disconnected from the band's hardcore past (or the song right before it), just like "Glory" afterwards.

Now, I didn't mean for this to be a track-by-track review, but because of the way the album is put together it's almost impossible to avoid. The band is schizophrenic in their style choices, trying to do everything on the same album from the cookie monster growls to pop rock singing, and I'm having difficulty in seeing what is the point. Their pop rock tracks are considerably better than they ever were at straight up hardcore, so maybe this is what the band should stick with? Either way, the album needs more focus.

Download: No Borders!, Higher Than My Station, Glory, Days Of Youth
For the fans of: Lower Than Atlantis meets Rise Against and Comeback Kid
Listen: Facebook

Release date 29.10.2013
Victory Records

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