The Heights – Drag Race On The Moon

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Hailing from Toronto, Canadian pop rock band The Heights are set to make the summer a warmer and more melodic place with their new EP Drag Race On The Moon. Made up of five vibrant and enterprising alternative/melodic rock songs which flirt with the ear from start to finish, the release is sure to bring the band to a stronger and wider spread attention.

Initially a solo project for Gavin Sutton (vocals / guitar / piano), The Heights soon expanded to a full encounter with the addition of guitarist Nick Dooley, bassist Colin Jacques, and Tyler Jones on drums. The self-titled and Bonacres EPs from the band set appetites alight but it is Drag Race On The Moon which looks set to make the quartet a name on a greater array of lips and passions. Employing inspirations from the likes of Coldplay, City and Colour, and John Mayer, which are open whispers in their clean cut and honed sound, there is a freshness and invention to the band which is impossible to dismiss even if they do not find the spark to ignite your passions. Earning further acclaim for their live performances which has seen them play with bands such as Set Your Goals, Silverstein and Fireworks to name a few, The Heights with the release of the EP stand at the door to greater recognition, whether it is the actual key the next months will tell but certainly the band offers everything available within them to provoke success with their new offering.

Opening song Soldier is an immediate rich attraction, its initial atmosphere brewing behind the emotive and excellent vocals of drotmcoverSutton as intriguing as the keys which also add their voice. Those impacting lures open up a deeper bait for the senses as drums and bass walk around and cage the melodic flames beginning to lick at the ear. Once its chorus erupts for the first time there is a contagion at large which wraps tightly around thoughts and emotions and continues throughout the rest of the song. Reminding of UK band Candidate23 though arguably not quite as virulently addictive, band and song add further drama and energy to the excellent track and secure certain acclaim well before its final note kisses the ear.

The following Some You Give Away has a sense of The Wonder Stuff to its first melodic caresses but then evolves into a boisterous and energy fuelled pleasure complete with jangly guitar strokes and evocative keys. Again the vocals are outstanding and ably aided by the rest of band in voice and inventive sound. A track which prods and leaps through the ear at times,  it is a heated blaze of melodic imagination and impressively crafted songwriting continuing the strong start with ease.

Both Devil and Spinning Webs unveil their feisty yet elegant depths, the first another song with punchy rhythms and sonic crescendos which ignite around the chorus as the keys spread a resourceful and smouldering ambience to the emotive tones of vocals and words. With an element of Doves to it the track passes the baton on to its successor who runs with a piano led narrative which is coated in a melodic beauty which demands total clarity. That the band gives as harmonies lead in sultry bass persuasion and rhythmic tenderness to support another great vocal and keys invitation. Maybe not as impacting as previous more energy driven songs it is still a treat of honed and sculpted excellence.

Closing song You Make Me is the weakest on the release, though still a more than satisfying encounter, which lacks the individuality of earlier songs to set the band and release apart from the rest but with strong craft and passion coaxed enterprise it makes a more than decent conclusion to a fine EP nevertheless. It is hard to say that Drag Race On The Moon got our passions excited enough to ignite any lingering ardour but undoubtedly it got feet dancing and sparked lively reactions in its eager company which is not a bad thing.

www.theheightsofficial.com

8/10

RingMaster 09/07/2013

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Hopes Die Last – Trust No One

There has been quite a lot of hype building over Italian post hardcore metal band Hopes Die Last  since their formation in 2004, especially after their debut album Six Years Home of 2009, though to be fair even with their previous couple of EP’s Aim For Tomorrow (2005) and Your Face Down Now (2007) they were gathering strong interest and responses. With their second album Trust No One due for release via Standby Records on February 14th the buzz surrounding them has intensified but are they worthy and is the new album as staggering as many are claiming?

The simple answer is pretty much so, Trust No One is outstanding. To say the band is the future of post hardcore or metal is stretching things but as a release the album is a vibrant, irrepressible and deeply satisfying release. Hope Die Last have created a release that is relentless, with crushing riffs, senses scorching melodies, and high octane energy driving its heart, it excites and impresses. The album also comes with a defined intent to explore and diversity within itself and individual tracks which though it is not always completely successful is a highly commendable direction giving intrigue and unpredictability to each song.

The album as a whole is not groundbreaking but it is certainly is more adventurous and unique in thought than most other post hardcore releases. Trust No One offers something different and surprising throughout. At times these intentions work better than at other moments but there is never a song that one thinks ‘heard that before’ or easily loses focus within. From the opening explosion that is ‘Never Trust The Hazel Eyed’ to the imaginative if less successful closer ‘Keep Your Hands Off’ the album rumbles and swaggers with confidence and eagerness. The opening track is aggressive and smoothly melodic, the band finding the perfect blend allowing both avenues to expand seamlessly alongside each other. Post hardcore, metal, industrial and elements of melodic hardcore rage within its skin and with the excellent vocals of Daniele Tofan backed equally by those of bassist Marco “Becko” Calanca, their combination of  gut bursting ferociousness and a smoothly flowing clean attack impressive, the song is impossible to deny or avoid getting swept up in its energy.

The harsher ‘Sidney Shown’ and brutal power of ‘Unleash Hell’ raise the intensity and quality further, the latter of the two a brutal beast that pummels with agonistic riffs spewing from the of guitars Marco Mantovani and Luigi Magliocca and gladiatorial rhythms from drummer Ivan Panella. At times the track thrusts some electro inspired bestiality as found in the likes of The Browning into the fray without ever decreasing the bludgeoning of the ear, even the clean vocals cannot diminish the intensity.

As mentioned Hopes Die Last admirably bring diversity to each track to make the album constantly intriguing within the sweltering heat from its blistering tracks. ‘Life After Me Life After You’ offers a softer passion fuelled touch to the power whilst ‘Bill’s Got Only A Pair Of Queens’ carries distinct harmonies that dazzle over the insurgent riffs and directness beneath, and there is also the piano led ballad ‘The Same Old Fears’ which brings a respite to the aggression, all showing the thought and creativity from the band to offer something different.

Rivalling ‘Never Trust The Hazel Eyed’ and ‘Unleash Hell’ for best track is ‘Air Raid Siren’. The song is a caustic violation of the senses, its incessant riffs and acidic guitars alongside a great moody bassline wonderfully numbs the ear. The clean vocals and scorched melodies are as damaging as the assaultive barrage of power. It is a gem and these three tracks alone make the album worth a visit but Trust No One has much more to offer and all impressive. Even the cover of the Katy Perry song ‘Fireworks’ is more than agreeable.

Trust No One is an excellent release and brings a fresh breath to post hardcore. Hopes Die Last  has not opened up new avenues for the genre but has given it food for thought. The album may not hit deep enough to end up on album of the year lists come December but it will certainly make the months up to a decision thoroughly enjoyable and energetic with constant revisits.

https://www.facebook.com/hopesdielastofficial

RingMaster 02/02/2012

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