For Fans Of
Nostalgia is a great thing, isn’t it? Whether it’s an old movie remade into crisp high definition; an old video game you used to play as a kid getting the HD redux service or a band that you used to rep oh so hard, but the progression of time saw you two having a cold and nasty falling out – nostalgia is bound to be close by. Well, as some people like to say, “Nothing is truly dead anymore”, (the holograms of Tupac and comedian George Carlin will haunt my dreams for years to come), and that very notion applies 100% to Haste The Day, who are truly alive and well in 2015, with a lineup that’s both old and older.
The heyday, as we’ll call it, of metalcore and post-hardcore genres saw some truly fantastic bands: Underoath, Chiodos, From Autumn To Ashes, The Bled, and of course, Haste The Day. While these guys may have been a little under appreciated when compared to their peers back then, ‘Coward’ should hopefully place them right back at the scene’s hierarchy and should make them the household name of 2015.
‘Begin’ is a soaring, melodic, ambiguous introduction to the new and improved HTD, and it doesn’t waste any time. With some real glistening polish to it, it sets a new precedence for the band, a precedence that is constantly revisited by the band throughout with their tight instrumentation and impeccable song-writing skills, thus making this an incredibly consistent record. However, on the flip side, the next track, ‘Take’, seems like an ode to Converge with its fast, dirty guitars, and intense throaty screams, and part Underoath with its anthemic sing-alongs. This is a path the band walks down multiple times throughout ‘Coward’ and it’s welcomed each time as the delivery hits the mark every single time.
Then you’ve got ‘World’, which feels like a weird mix of A Day To Remember-like screams, and melodic hardcore with atmospheric/post-rock influenced guitars, yet it works and it’s an incredibly powerful song because of it. The same goes for the eponymous track as well, and from then onwards, it is smooth, blissful failing. So damn smooth in fact that you’ll hopefully be drawn into this album until it warmly embraces you and washes over you like a siren’s call out to a weary sailor at sea. Except this won’t lead you to disaster.
See, the best thing about Haste The Day’s sixth studio album is that it is both completely familiar and utterly refreshing. There are still the dual vocal styles, but their delivery is tighter and less formulaic than more recent, younger bands. There are still breakdowns, but they hit with bone-breaking impact, they benefit the songs, and they don’t feel like a lazy implementation. The dual vocal styles are done with real care and they don’t feel or come off as too formulaic. The screams, in particular, are delivered with real gusto, and with real conviction. Furthermore, the mix of the album is fathoms deep and this allows for a greater sonic blend of the instruments and the vocals. It’s good to see all of the crowd funding went into a truly great product, but hey, that’s what you get when you work with Matt Goldman, people.
Now, all of this points to a truly top-notch re-imagined version of this Indiana outfit, and for the most part, that’s true. However, ‘Accept‘ sounds and plays out much like a song off their album ‘Bridges Burning‘, and while this reviewer dug that record (and their other albums) he was hoping for those cliches of 2005 metalcore to be truly left in the past. Not that it’s an utterly bad song, but namely because it just feels dated and it feels out of place as the album returns to its former glories right afterwards with ‘Secret‘ and closer ‘Gnaw‘. It really is the only bump in a near-perfectly flat road, or to continue on with our sailing analogy from before, it’s the only battering wave in what is a perfectly calm ocean.
‘Coward’ is easily the best Haste The Day album to date, and if you never got round to checking them out, this is the best incentive that you’ll get. It’s funny, in 2015, we’ve seen bands like From First To Last, Refused, From Autumn To Ashes, American Football, and in this case, Haste The Day returning to the scene. It seems that some of the greatest bands of the 90’s and 2000’s are having another crack and are showing the youngins just how the fuck it is done, and Haste The Day are one of them. All hail the old guard.