Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hawthorne Heights - Skeletons Review

It's been almost two years since we last heard from Hawthorne Heights, but the Dayton, Ohio quartet are back with a powerful new record and the support of their major label, Wind-up Records.

Skeletons, HH's fourth full-length studio album, is a shot at regaining the emo-rock sound that escaped them on their 2008 release, Fragile Future. Diehard fans will find that though Skeletons isn't necessarily what made them fall in love with HH, the record is hard and dark enough to satisfy their emo sweet tooth.

The album opens with a few hard hitting pieces including "End Of The Underground," a catchy bass driven track complete with signature screamo parts during the breakdown. Though HH vowed never to replace guitarist/screamer Casey Calvert after his death in 2007, the band subtly brought back his vocal approach here - an aspect that was severely lacking on Future.

But Skeletons isn't all hard rock. There are numerous pop elements that show the band aren't necessarily stuck making the same record over and over again. "Drive" opens with a synth beat while "Hollywood & Vine" is easily the most toe-tapping song on the album.

The heart, or rather the ribcage, of Skeletons provides a taste of what the band do best. Finally, it seems as though the passion they lost after Calvert's passing is back.

"Broken Man" is the emo infused song the band needed to reestablish themselves in the scene. With lyrical elements reminiscent of their earliest work, this three-minute piece will remind listeners what HH are capable of. "I know my days are numbered now/Just a few more months to go/I'll say my last goodbyes, farewell/And kiss the one I love the most"

What's important to note on this record is how HH managed to recapture the technicality and hard rock guitar elements that were lost after Calvert passed. Now, down to only two guitarists, with one taking on vocals as well, the band have made up for Calvert's absence.

Though they may never be what they once were, Hawthorne Heights are here to stay. So whether you're a new fan, or a diehard left over from the start, Skeletons is an album you must have. It does not disappoint.

Songs to Download: Broken Man, Last Few Words, Hollywood & Vine

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