For Fans Of
It is always easy to implore the “this album wasn’t as good as their last one” when it comes to new release. It’s a statement that can get under the skin of those that appreciate a band’s growth and development or one that is appreciated by die-hard fans. No matter what side of the fence you stand on, it is always an appropriate accusation to discuss; and in the case of ‘Hold On Pain Ends’ it is a very appropriate one too.
The Color Morale are back and although in fine form, they seem to be missing that shine and kick in the gut sound that ‘Know Hope’ had. The album opens up with ‘Damnaged’ (no, you don’t pronounce the ‘”n”) which is a very clear statement of the band’s mix of post-hardcore energy and soulful melodies. Yet it’s in ‘Outer Demons’ and ‘Prey for Me’ that the post-hardcore element begins to wane while the soulfulness is etched away for a more pop infused way of writing.
‘Scar Issue’ is the most poppy and chorus centred song on the record, albeit probably one of the best. It’s damn right catchy yet it would have been made a stellar piece if it had a bit more meat to chew throughout, as such, it begins to rely on the main hook to propel itself forward. ‘Is Happiness a Mediocre Sin?’ is overly familiar, with ‘Scar Issue’, in all its pop and hook aesthetic, a great song nevertheless.
But the band hasn’t completely ditched the heaviness from which they originated from. There are still plenty of driving tracks yet they’re heavy in an academic sense, not an emotive or moving one. It’s heavy because that’s how it’s played, not how it feels. There’s a certain lacklustre element in tracks like ‘Suicide;Stigma’ and ‘Developing Negative’ that you can’t seem to shake, despite appearances from Dave Stephens and Craig Owens respectively. The group does however end the record on the eponymous acoustic number, which in all honesty doesn’t suit.
Title wise, The Color Morale also brought back the wordplay that ‘Know Hope’ did so well yet it feels a tad bit forced here; as if the band felt like they needed to do so. The album is an acronym for HOPE for starters! It’s not negative as such yet tracks like ‘Between You and Eyes’ and the aforementioned ‘Scar Issue’ are a little bit cringe worthy.
If you’re anything like us, you will remember leaning back into your chair then propelling yourself forward as ‘Know Hope’ grabbed your attention and only squeezed tighter for the next forty minutes. On ‘Hold On Pain Ends’ however, that same drive and roaring passion isn’t there any more. It is collections of great songs of which are lyrically powerful and inspiring yet lack that certain “kick” of its predecessor. We wanted to love this album; oh God knows we did! But unfortunately, it just couldn’t pull the punches we were expecting.
2. Outer Demons
3. Prey for Me
5. Scar Issue
6 Suicide;Stigma (feat. Dave Stephens of We Came As Romans)
7. The Ones Forgotten by the One Forgetting
8. Developing Negative (feat. Craig Owens of Chiodos)
9. Is Happiness a Mediocre Sin?
10. Between You and Eyes
11. Throw Your Roses
12. Hold On Pain Ends