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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Hawthorne Heights

Zero

Review by Gary Hill

This is sort of a concept album. When I say “sort of” perhaps it’s a full concept album and I’m missing some of the story. However, it at least has some sort of theme that runs throughout part of the set. The brand of alternative rock presented on here is the kind of thing does really well on radio. For my money, the more mainstream stuff here is a bit boring, but there are some more rocking moments that work better.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Skeletons Remain (Transmission 1)

This short piece is pretty mellow. It has a bit of a dreamy almost space rock oriented sound to it.

Memories of Misery
They fire out here with a high energy rocker. This isn’t anything overly original or creative, feeling like any number of alternative rock bands. That said, it’s a good tune with some great vocal hooks.
Darkside
This rocker is riff driven and quite tasty. It’s a step up from the last one, and that one was good.
Spark
There’s a real pop music and emo vibe to this. It’s too trite for my tastes. I’m sure this is the kind of catchy rocker that gets a lot of airplay, but it feels like a “skip it” tune to me.
Zero
Bass starts this off and it powers out into a killer alternative rock jam from there. It drops back for the vocals. This is one of the most interesting and unique pieces here. It’s also one of the best. I like this one a lot. There’s almost a bit of a Jane’s Addiction vibe to it.
Anywhere But Here
And, from that great tune, we’re off to one of the more generic and disposable pieces. This is okay, but far from anything special. There is some notable guitar playing here, but otherwise it’s pretty much an “I’d skip it” tune.
Hollow Hearts Unite
More less a ballad, this is a nice change.
Coalition of Alternate Living Methods (Broadcast)
This is just a short bit that’s literally just a broadcast.
Golden Parachutes
Hard edged alternative rock, this is a killer. It’s one of the best tracks here. It’s got some really catchy hooks.
Put Me Back Together
High energy, this isn’t bad. It’s just not all that special.
Strangers
A more melodic tune, this is also stronger than the previous one. Somehow I’m reminded of Smashing Pumpkins quite a bit on this cut. It’s actually quite a diverse piece with a number of changes and varied sections.
Ghost Town
More of a straightahead rocker, I like this one a lot. I’d put this as one of the highlights of the disc.
Lost in the Calm
There’s lots of energy to this one. It’s a harder rocking one. The chorus is catchy.
Taken by the Dark
This is alright, but not really all that special. It has a lot of energy, but by this point the formula on this type of song is wearing a little thin. Some extreme metal vocals do add something different here, though.
Over and Out (Transmission 2)
The closing piece is another snippet. It’s a transmission over the radio waves.
 
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