Released: 2005, Victory Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
The clean guitar tones won me over; the Swedish guitar riffs helped to push the issue. The presence of actual guitar solos was nice. And I’ll say up front that the production is incredible; I was able to clearly hear and identify every instrument in the mix, which is not something terribly common with bands of this sort.
I’m usually pretty hard on American Melodic Death/Metalcore/Screamo bands, but this one won me over. In fact, I would say that—despite being essentially a Metalcore act—it is actually quite a bit better than some of the actual non-Metalcore “Melodic Death” I received this month. So put aside your prejudices, and trust me on this one. It’s no Darkest Hour, but it beats the living shit out of Dead To Fall, As I Lay Dying, and Avenged Sevenfold.
So what makes this different? Let me tell you what this band does right: Unlike the majority of wanna-be-on-Ozzfest wankers that start hammering out Swedish riffs after hearing At The Gates at friend’s house, The Hurt Process took the time to write actual songs. No, really: there are songs here. Yes, they do the now-cliché’ clean vocal/harsh vocal interplay. It failed to irritate me, here—although I firmly expected it to. In fact, I actually put this off, expecting to hate it, based on previous reviews. Well, fuck those people. This rocked more than I thought it would, and deserves at least a passing glance.
I think the main difference is that unlike the majority of whiny emo bitches which populate the Screamo sector (next to the low-income housing, no doubt), vocalist Dan Lawerance can actually sing, and has somewhat of an unusual voice. It’s fragile, and emotive…but not necessarily “emo,” per se. He almost sounds as if more tailored for post-punk or 80's power-pop. On tracks wherein he is able to display his range more fully (such as the somewhat out of place “A Mind With Two Places”), I’m actually reminded of The Black Maria’s better moments. It will undoubtedly tweak the metal half of their audience; but then, that side has songs like “Anchor” and “My Scandinavian Ride” to mosh around to. So deal. This is a bit diverse, and has some admittedly mainstream concessions…but if it rocks, who really cares? Post-Death fans get exactly what they want for 2/3 of the disc; post-hardcore fans take up the rest. And all of it manages a similar caliber of songwriting and musicianship. Really, only the old-schoolers will complain about this. (Hint: they can go buy the new Naglfar or Asguard albums instead).
Admittedly, their bag of tricks play out by mid-CD—but again, the songs are so well constructed that even though you’ve heard songs like “Take To You” and "Delicious 53" a hundred times, you can never quite bring yourself to hit the skip button. Where they suffer in originality, they make up for in memorability and composition skill. If the band can stay clear of the cheesy Screamo ballads (I nearly barfed during “The Night Before…”), they just might have a decent shot of crossing over.
Open-minded metal fans who don't gag at the thought of merging Soilwork with My Chemical Romance should really hit the streets and track this down. The key is remaining open-minded about post-hardcore influences in your taste in metal, and metal influences in your taste in post-hardcore.
Or, as I said...Their's always Naglfar.