This album begins with a short acoustic introduction. With tense melodic vocals leading to background screaming. this song lasts for under a minute and does little to really prepare one for the rest of the record.
This California band tends to traffic in semi melodic hardcore blasts. This belies their name for certain as most would attribute the band name to the now classic album by Cave In. There is really nothing here connecting those two threads other than a name. After 2 EP's the band has been picked up by Creator Destructor a label with a knack for picking good hardcore bands with an ear for melody. Until Your Heart Stops continue this but to a much lesser degree than past signings. For every bit of hardcore strength or melodic surprises there is an artistic misstep that does little to helps the record or band overall.
There are a couple examples of this but the best may be the mid album interlude of sorts "Caffeinated Blues" this is a song with calm guitars set in the background as the singer takes center stage screaming for the minute long length of the song. While in theory this wouldnt be so bad it becomes jarring when set between the thrash fest of the songs book ending it. While some would chalk this up to the band trying to make the record interesting it seems more like a misguided attempt at being interesting or experimental.
While I could say more than a few bad things about this record (and have) there is some good to be shared as well. When the band gets on the right track of playing their style of hardcore they do it very well. The band traffics in a somewhat melodic style focusing on emotive riffing with screaming vocals. This allows the songs to feel strong both emotionally and physically to the listener. The other major strong suit is the backing vocals this allows the songs to have more heft throughout the record. While this is good the band seem to know how much it helps them. This leads to the backing vocals to be used in every song to an almost hurtful effect.
The band did do a great job in the details. The production is spot on allowing the vocals to lead the pack while nothing feels too distant in the mix. Meanwhile the packaging is impeccable the vinyl and insert are all nice but packaged along with it are a set of small photographs with lyrics and such on the back. These little details are important as far too many bands tend to forget to give something special to those that choose to buy their records.
Until Your Heart Stops as a band seem to be going through growing pains within their music. While clearly talented and capable of writing good hardcore songs they tend to fall short overall. The band would be well off to focus on strengthening the structures and not relying on backing vocals as much next time. Then maybe the songs emotional resonance can shine through rather than becoming passing thoughts in their 2 minute or less song structures.
6.8 / 10
Posted Jan. 16, 2009, 8:49 a.m.
Heart in Hand Records is currently taking pre-orders for Until Your Heart Stops' 7" release We are Not Coming Down. You can check those out here.
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.