Halo of Hurt

Written by: PP on 23/01/2021 15:50:15

"Halo Of Hurt" is Seahaven's third album overall and their first one in six years. It's also where they leave behind the quiet experimentalism of sophomore album "Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only" and rediscover their louder, more distorted self, albeit not quite by returning to their "Ghost EP" or "Winter Forever" sound.

Instead, the band aims for an ambitious, far-reaching soundscape featuring brooding emo with hints of indie-flavored alternative rock in the process. Sounds familiar? That's because we're fairly close to Brand New's "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me" and its successor, "Daisy". Indeed, the first two songs on the record find themselves exactly in this realm. "Void", first of all, is a bit of a strange opener, a six-minute mammoth that's largely instrumental and dark in the beginning, before crescendoing into a dramatic, theatrical piece that echoes Brand New's most megalomaniac arrangements. "Moon", likewise loftily finds itself in the operatic side of things, also drawing simultaneous parallels to The Used ca-"Lies For The Liars" era.

Hereafter things calm down quite a bit, and Seahaven quickly introduces the listener to a contemplative mood. Somber melodies draw about 50/50 from emo/post-hardcore as they do from alternative/indie, resulting in a complex and challenging expression that requires plenty of active listening before you can fully absorb it as a listener. "Dandelion", for instance, isn't your typically catchy track three on an album, but instead is a mysterious, progressive piece that's designed to lure in only the most interested of listeners.

It's on "I Don't Belong Here" where the band first starts introducing memorable elements. Here, a slow, but hauntingly beautiful melody with a distantly echoing guitar screech leads the listener towards the first back-chilling moment of the record when the drums start pounding and the guitars shredding halfway through the song, and a subtly catchy chorus takes over. Yes, knee-deep in Brand New territory but with the occasional nod towards Balance And Composure as well. Speaking of which, "Bait" later on recalls the classic dreamy post-hardcore soundscapes that dominated the soundwaves about a decade ago or so. Likewise, "Eraser" is a rewarding listen in a similar vein, as if Seahaven were saving the best for last on the record. In the second half, we also find the balladic "Lose", and the quiet/loud dynamic of "Harbor", and the somber "Living Hell".

That said, the record's consistency and how memorable it is overall leaves much to be desired. It dazzles seldom and instead feels content just progressing forward in its own, slow tempo. You never get the vibe that this is a must-hear record this year, although glimpses and moments of greatness are scattered about.


Download: Bait, Eraser, Lose, I Don't Belong Here
For the fans of: Balance And Composure, Citizen, Have Mercy, Brand New
Listen: Facebook

Release date 20.11.2020
Pure Noise Records

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