Every New Day "The Shadows Cast" CD
[Hand of Hope]
Here's some energetic melodic hardcore/punk from Canada with a surprising amount of metal involved, complete with some solos, though ironically it doesn't come off as too heavy or metal-ish based on the punchy writing style - which borders on being catchy in portions of a few songs like "Ashes Fill the Air". It's actually pretty good, but the recording is kind of flimsy and as is commonly a problem some of the playing just isn't tight enough. For the most part the performances are on point, and the recording is tolerable, but all of that stuff coupled with minor songwriting flaws stacks up just enough to hold this back a tad. The overall issue I'd cite with the recording is that's a little dry and lacks fullness. The mix is okay aside from giving the vocals too much space at the forefront, but it really just needs an extra push of density to represent the material better. I really like the thrashy picking patterns and overall feel of the songs, and the vocals are sort of a mild singing style that's a great match for the music (though honestly the vocal performance does lack force and needs a little more emphasis and emotion). Also nice are the basslines, which sound killer and don't mirror the guitars, but rather work in between the drums and rhythm guitars as needed. "One Day Older" is another of the catchier tunes and would almost come off as a pop-punk sort of deal were the recording more polished up (which is fine by me, it's my favorite song herein); while the somewhat similar "Long Drive Home" takes a more rocked out road to its pop-punk/metal fury (think Lagwagon circa the mighty "Trashed" - a common thread in a few of these tracks). Some of the songs sound similar to one another, which can get stale, but there are definitely some atypical numbers like the darker "Inside Looking Out" that don't lose their energetic flare or quirky chord phrasings/picking patterns. The layout's a mixed bag for me. I don't care for the figurative images on the covers, and the text is a little plain, but otherwise I do enjoy the bleak and dismal color scheme as well as the more abstract layers of texture throughout the remainder of the booklet. I'm not moved by the lyrics as it's kind of typical explorations of all sorts of blanket day-to-day hardships, be it struggles with individuality and honesty, or depression and isolation, etc. They do seem to be going for a more sincere approach that's not too direct but also isn't forced or dramatic, so it's not a big issue, just nothing that really hits me. Musically, though, there are lots of cool little riffs happening. So I'll be very curious to see where this band heads in the future. With a little more work they'll totally be onto something... I really like some of this material and truly want this band to progress to their full potential. These guys could seriously kick ass if they get to that level. (6/10)
Running time - 36:05, Tracks: 12
[Notable tracks: One Day Older, Long Drive Home, Inside Looking Out]
Hand of Hope Records - http://www.handofhoperecords.com
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