The runaway train Heart of a Coward have spectacularly proved the third album is nowhere near the end of the line.
Split quite equally between face-melting growls and heart-wrenching cleans, ‘Deliverance’ is a well-crafted statement of intent that they’ve spent the last two years perfecting. Heralding a much tighter line-up and a wealth of outstanding support slots to prove it, 2015 is certainly Heart of a Coward’s year.
A hostile reception beckons “welcome home” throughout ‘Hollow’, racing at a devastating tempo. The authoritative ‘Turmoil I – Wolves’ and its atmospheric partner ‘Turmoil II – The Weak Inherit the Earth’ take no prisoners, sealing frontman Jamie Graham‘s scathing growls with a bloody kiss. ‘Anti-Life’s catchy melodic masochism laced with malice produces an album highlight worth its weight in gold. Ayers and Haycock’s masterful fretwork make themselves known, framed by anguished cries and a pulsing rhythm to boot.
“Is this what you want? Is this what you envisioned? I don’t know who you are anymore,” Jamie calls out amid the complex, versatile and entirely unpredictable ‘Mouth of Madness’. Within seconds, anguished cleans transition to menacing whispers and hurl back to lung-shattering growls – this showcase of complexity puts even the experienced bands to shame. Similarly, the chaos of the title track pushes its chest out as confidently as humanly possible, amid flawless growls to prove this band have taken great care with this record, and rightfully so.
“With one step forward there’s always two to take back,” reflects the apocalyptic ‘Skeletal I – Mourning Repairs’, fantastically backed by the unrelenting talent of Christopher Mansbridge on drums. But before long, ‘Skeletal II – Arise’ makes an artistic last gasp, closing on a piano fadeout that calls time on the band’s defining record.
What would usually be a stumbling block for any metal purveyors these days has turned expertly in Heart of a Coward’s favour. The Milton Keynes outfit have been set free of the doubtful shackles of the first three albums – it’s time to start taking these lads seriously.
’Deliverance’ by Heart of a Coward is released on 2nd October on Century Media.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)