The shining days of Victory Records are over. Taking Back Sunday and Thursday are currently blowing up large venues on Warner Bros. and Epitaph while Bayside and Silverstein are co-headlining successful tours on their respective labels as well. This has led to the fact that Victory has been sadly left behind, forced to ride the coattails of their baby A Day To Remember‘s success as far as possible. On their way out, Victory has taken some desperate measures signing some pretty…interesting bands as of late. So when I saw a promo pic along with a pretty depressing music video of one of their latest signings, and later finding the burden of reviewing this band’s debut on Victory, while also recalling this label’s other recent signings, my expectations were left pretty damn low. These Hearts‘ new record Forever Ended Yesterday is what I would like to call an identity crisis gone wrong and then turned right…but then suddenly gone wrong again.
Opener “Apology Rejected” will put a bad taste in most listeners’ mouths as the oddly produced, upbeat vocals over poppy guitars misguide the listener, as all of a sudden, unnecessary screams come out of nowhere to interrupt the sugariness. Luckily, the identity crisis makes a turn for the better. Tracks like “Quitting While You’re Behind” and “Denial Is Not Just A River In Egypt,” aside from having god awful titles, surprisingly have great melodies and the odd delivery of unclean vocals are presented quite adequately. Likewise in “Live to the Point of Tears,” the melody is infectious, the vocal delivery is spot on and the music backing those vocals remains solid throughout, which includes a perfectly executed breakdown. It’s actually really disheartening that one has to sift through the plethora of horribly performed breakdowns to get to this superb one.
Now, vocalist Ryan Saunders’ performance may come off as irritably high-pitched throughout most of Forever Ended Yesterday, but there are moments when his vocals reach impressive heights, mimicking well-known scene artist Craig Owens, whose touch as a producer on the album is quite evident as well.
Though a lot of the far too forced breakdowns are accompanied by the repetitive chugging guitar, most of the riffs on Forever Ended Yesterday come off as inspired, at times even resembling Chiodos‘ debut All’s Well That Ends Well and The Color Morale‘s My Devil In Your Eyes. Though this definitely adds some appeal to the album, the guitar work also proves to be the lone consistently good aspect to Forever Ended Yesterday.
Even though the album is sprinkled with highs, the lows are definitely quite low. Songs like “Romans 15,” “Are You Mad?” and the title track add completely irrelevant heavy parts littered with awful screams while the somewhat embarrassing ballad “Thinking In Terms of Two” brings the generic and expected acoustic track to an already rather generic album.
In the end, to put it into terms that everyone will understand, going into this album is like being held at gun point only to find that upon the gun being fired, it is simply a water gun, but upon further investigation the water gun is actually filled with lukewarm urine. I really have to commend These Hearts for trying to create something a little different, but in the end they miss the mark, even if they show signs of promise along the way.