Haste The Day

Coward

Written by: PP on 27/12/2015 08:26:20

Haste The Day never got the recognition they deserved despite having released consistently great albums throughout the 2000s that were inexplicably underrated by the fans and media alike. Only posthumously, as the band disbanded in 2011, have their records have been glorified as they should, given how well they represent the excellent wave of metalcore releases from 2004 onwards. Their problem was not that the records weren't top notch, it's just that they were released alongside albums like "Undoing Ruin" by Darkest Hour, "The Fall Of Ideals" by All That Remains, "Shadows Are Security" by As I Lay Dying, and other seminal releases that came to define metalcore and bring it to the mainstream in big fashion. Looking back at the records today, "Burning Bridges" and "When Everything Falls" belong in the discussion about the best metalcore records of the past decade, hence it's no surprise to find their sixth album "Coward" offering a breath of fresh air in a scene that has been largely stale and uninspired for the better part of the past five years now.

Incidentally, it has been five years since their last studio album "Attack Of The Wolf King". The band reformed in 2014 with its original lineup to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of "Burning Bridges", which lead into some interesting ideas tossed back and forth between the founding members and those involved with "Attack Of The Wolf King" about reforming as a collaborative unit. A successful IndieGogo campaign funded the recording of "Coward", which features members from all eras of Haste The Day collaborating across eleven tracks. Yes, that means the record features both original vocalist Jimmy Ryan and his successor Stephen Keech on the same album, trading verses and choruses in a surprisingly natural and well-fitting manner. The result is nothing short of majestic: a borderline melodic hardcore album with organic and dynamic songs full of free-flowing sections and a spacey production, that is the polar opposite of the ultra-compressed and artificially tightened bore fests of most Rise Records era metalcore bands. What comes out might even be the best Haste The Day album to date, a reminder of all the best ingredients of the mid-2000s metalcore scene that far triumphed the produce of recent years.

The record opens with "Begin", featuring throaty, yet decipherable screams contrasted by lingering guitar melodies that recall the likes of Counterparts, It Prevails, and even The Ghost Inside. During the verses, the lightning fast metalcore riffs bring to mind As I Lay Dying from their earlier albums. There's a sense of grandeur to the song structure, leading into an expansive, big sounding soundscape without being artificially inflated. To call it anthemic would be an understatement. "Take" contributes with massive melodic gang shouts that echo the modern metalcore bands like While She Sleeps and others like them while still remaining firmly in the mid-2000s metalcore sound. More lingering guitar melodies appear in "World", where yet another infectious chorus, this time, leans towards post-hardcore with its soaring melodies, here sounding a little bit like Senses Fail during their best years. The title track "Coward" likewise resembles the melodic hardcore scene with its intricate melody line that floats high up in the soundscape, before dynamic riffage and aggressive verses take over. The chorus passage is nothing short of majestic with the harsh screams being beautifully contrasted by the cleaner guitars, a pattern that repeats itself throughout the album.

"Lost" contains yet another infectiously catchy chorus alongside some slick melodic metalcore riffage, but what strikes you the most is how the vocalists seamlessly shift between throat-destructive screaming and soaring passages mid-song to give it variety and flair. "Shadow" and "Fail" each follows suit, and at this point, it's clear that so will the rest of the album. Exclusively fantastic songwriting characterized each and every song on the record; they breathe and expand freely, with old style metalcore production giving them plenty of space to do so without needing to make the soundscape dramatic or theatrical in any way. That is what separates Haste The Day from all the big money productions you're bound to hear these days. "Coward" is a brilliant demonstration of old style metalcore at its best, which is a breath of fresh air amidst the pretentiousness of the modern bands representing the genre. This is how the genre sounded like at its peak, so it's a given "Coward" is one of the best metalcore albums this year, maybe even one in the last few years overall. A majestic, triumphant reminder of why metalcore exploded in popularity ten years ago.

Download: Begin, Take, World, Coward, Lost
For the fans of: It Prevails, Counterparts, While She Sleeps, August Burns Red, As I Lay Dying
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.05.2015
Solid State Records

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