Melodic hardcore is shape-shifting. Hailing from the hallowed lands of Bournemouth, Heart In Hand have been handed the torch to carry on melodic hardcore’s legacy, and what a safe pair of mitts to leave it with.
Since their conception in 2008, Heart In Hand have self-released their debut EP, two consequent full albums and toured with the likes of The Amity Affliction, Miss May I and Bury Tomorrow. But their reign doesn’t stop there, they’ve even played Download Festival and every stage on Ghostfest. There’s no doubt these guys have the stars in their sights, and ‘A Beautiful White’ gives it a pretty good shot.
Album opener ’Mae’ cements Heart In Hand as a great product of the rising trend in atmospheric metalcore. The larger-than-life call for solidarity and defiance is a great trend right now, and Heart In Hand make it sound second-nature. However, at times the lyrical content can be lacking, for example “I hear you scream for help, let me in and I’ll always be here whenever you need me, my darling” doesn’t exactly rouse heartfelt emotions. The title track ‘A Beautiful White’ doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the scene – but that being said, it can’t be faulted. It’s fantastic to see more and more bands grasping the melodic hardcore appeal of anguish and despair. Again, however, the lyrics let this down as they sometimes struggle to fit melody, “but is it really worth it?” stretches and bends out of shape too many times.
’Colours And Chemicals’ and ‘Last Night’ showcase Sam Brennan’s impressive drum work, blended with fantastically tricky riffs throughout, while vocalist Charlie Holmes demonstrates outstanding control over his agonised screams. ‘New Years Eve’ sets up an energetic dialogue between both guitars and relentless drumming, while ‘Never Again’ combines this with defiant gang vocals to evoke strength in numbers. ‘My Heart Belongs In Denmark’ introduces complementary cleans from Josh Rogers of Crooks, contrasting beautifully with Holmes’ raw screams – it seems ‘A Beautiful White’ has attempted every trick in the book and pulled off 99% of them, lacking only in lyrical content.
The generally mournful theme of ‘A Beautiful White’ adjusts through ‘Regain. Recover. Reprise.’ to that of recovery and picking up the pieces. Opening with a brief soulful piano before being thrown into the deep end with heartfelt uncleans and a screaming riff, this is Heart In Hand at their finest. ‘Crying Shame’’s echoing atmosphere shows a clear inspiration from Architects’ ‘Lost Forever // Lost Together’, moving into the fantastically unexpected ’…’, a beautifully moving piano instrumental filled with atmospheric effect. ’…’ amazingly lowers the heart rate in the midst of blood-curdling screams and chair-gripping riffs – a very welcome change to the mood and at the same time a great risk, which Heart In Hand take confidently in their stride. The mood slows down yet again for ’A Beautiful White’’s curtain call, ‘Jasmine’, closing on a reflective note to bring the record full-circle.
Not necessarily innovative but no less captivating, ’A Beautiful White’ is a step in the right direction for Heart In Hand and certainly offers them an invite to the melodic hardcore rankings, but with more meaningful, thought-out lyrics, they’d have climbed even higher.
‘A Beautiful White’ by Heart In Hand is out now on Century Media/Siege of Amida.
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Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)