Down To Nothing
Tracklist1. the same son
3. pave paradise
4. on the bird in the cage
5. brotherly love
6. no roses, no skies
7. the taste of the floor
9. hard bark on the family tree
10. the same sun
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Have Heart grew to be hardcore frontrunners almost over night it seems. From a band that rarely toured outside of the United States, 2005’s gigantic The Things We Carry transformed the band into a powerhouse in almost every hardcore hotspot around the world – traveling to every continent save for Africa and Antarctica – and even being named one of AP Magazine’s “Bands To Know”. Will Have Heart’s sophomore Bridge 9 Records release, Songs To Scream At The Sun, find the band vaulting to an almost immaculate like status or wither away into nothingness?
The first 10 seconds of Songs To Scream At The Sun are enough to sum up the album as a whole, both lyrically and musically: abrasive, atmospheric, brooding, heartfelt and honest. Though the vocals seem to be buried more so here than on The Things We Carry, frontman Pat Flynn is still able to put forth a powerful enough performance to ignite a fire of ferocious grunts that hint toward sincere lyrical material which starts with the opening track, “The Same Son”, when Flynn unleashes, “When I look into the mirror I see a boy not a man”. Flynn spills his guts all over the floor on this release as he opens up about the process of growing up in Boston, MA and the things he’s lost and gained along the way, including relationships with friends and family, and living life in a grueling environment that never sees change, as opposed to a comforting life on the road.
The band's last release, The Things We Carry, left a few bitter spots on the tongue as the record as a whole had a few eccentrically awkward guitar riffs and drum fills that became more apparent over time in certain areas of the disc. In comparison, Songs To Scream At The Sun showcases Have Heart as they carefully smooth out the rough edges that were previously evident, allowing every song to flow flawlessly without sounding too similar from the last. Guitars on this effort are filled with heavy distortion that both wail and drift impressively from melody to destruction, while drums and bass bounce and boom slickly with every hit and stroke further feeding fuel to the fire started by Flynn.
Though Songs To Scream At The Sun is of excellent-quality, there is not necessarily an immediate impact that grabs the listener by the throat like Verse’s Aggression did at first listen, Verse being Bridge 9’s other blockbuster band. Then again, 21 minutes is never enough time to fully relate to or grasp the sure intensity and emotion put forth by a human being, especially when it hits this hard. The upside of Songs To Scream At The Sun being incredibly short is that the record screams for listeners to pay attention once more and to pick up on the subtleties strewn and hidden throughout by both band members and hardcore producer extraordinaire, Kurt Ballou, alike.
It will no doubt be quite difficult to exceed the expectations set by Songs To Scream At The Sun, but if this record is any indication of the direction Have Heart are headed in, they will surely be propelled far and beyond into a status of household names in both the hardcore world and the uncharted waters outside of it.