Review: Dead Hearts “No Love, No Hope” CD

Here's a new EP of heavy yet rocked out hardcore from these guys, though this time around they seem to have eased back on a little of the rock in favor of some melodic post-hardcore textures and whatnot, while the backbone is of course fairly traditional hardcore with shouted vocals. There's not a terribly large amount of variety throughout the EP, but that's not a big deal since the songs are short and they tend to keep the energy level high. "Goodbye" is among the more energetic tracks in its blend of quick rock riffs and old school flavored power chords with ample tempo changes; and "These Are Our Lives" is also a killer track that pulls from a faster and heavier set of picking patterns that follow a somewhat more commonplace approach that still delivers. The re-recording of "Bright Lights, Burnt City" is in fact the most rocked out of the tracks, but even that one leans far more towards the more direct delivery exhibited by this EP; while "Adult Crash" and its lighter fare during the first half also hits on a little more of a rock 'n' roll thing on occasion. Most of what I've heard from Watchmen Studios actually sounds fucking awesome, but I've gotta say that I feel like the recording leaves something to be desired here, and lessens the impact of the songs rather significantly in some cases. The vocals are clear and powerful and sound totally dead on, but the guitars are neither thick nor loud enough and the rhythm section also needs more of a low-end push as well. So the end result is crisp and clear, but the music is simply no match for the killer force of the vocal performance, so... that's something to consider for the future. The packaging does look fucking excellent, however. Everything is printed with a satin finish and there's plenty of metallic silver ink and lots of gloss coats for added effect, so the booklet just feels thick and smooth and everything looks pretty awesome. Lyrically the material is of course personal and comes across as sincere: "I hope our dreams don't slip away, Forever reaching, we try to hold on to what's left of this, Hold on, hold on, hold on to each moment..." Not bad, I like this, and I think this band has the potential to be a real fucking powerhouse, but something about the recording is deadening the blow here, and for whatever reason this isn't hitting me as hard I was hoping it would since I enjoyed their last release a bit more. Hopefully if they drop a full-length they'll make sure to beef up the sound and just blow shit wide open straight away.

Running time - 12:54, Tracks: 7
[Notable tracks: Goodbye, These Are Our Lives, Waking]
Reflections Records -