Heights – Old Lies For Young LivesCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Having received critical acclaim for their debut Dead Ends, achieving the first five star rating of the year by Kerrang!, Heights boys are back, this time unsigned, with Old Lies For Young Lives. With Dead Ends having made it into Kerrang! editor James McMahon’s 10th favourite album of the year, fans are expecting greatness from the new work, but at the same time curious as to how the new material will sound, given the replacement of vocalist Thomas Debaere with bassist Alex Monty.
The Best Years opens the album with punchy drum rolls and a one-minute guitar intro. Crashing symbols make way for new singer Monty’s vocals as he roars “I’m getting old”. Monty’s screaming vocals are almost identical to old singer Thom’s – still very Underoath-esque, but more controlled.
Latest track Eleven Eyes is dark and reminiscent of Bring Me The Horizon’s Count Your Blessings, emphasising doomsday, with Monty screaming “I’m sick, I’m tired…the World isn’t working anymore, the World isn’t working at all” for the apocalyptic chorus. Architect’s Sam Carter lightens the atmosphere with softer vocals, in combination with sweeter guitar melodies, sighing “find me somebody who feels different”, and screams are harmonised by Sam’s echoing vocals. March 1964 features an aggressive, pounding beat for the break, and holds potential for the mosh-pit.
In Transit is more upbeat and energetic in terms of musicality but still carries dark tones, with shrieks of “DEATH! CLOSING IN ON YOU!”. It does sound like the band are trying hard to emphasise darkness and disaster…screamo doesn’t have to be all about this.
Instrumental track Repeat features a sweet-sounding finger-picked guitar: seemingly the calm after the storm. For penultimate track Wake Up, Fall Asleep, Monty uses his natural voice to sing before breaking in to screams: the alternations between vocal styles finally providing refreshing variation, coupled with funky guitar bends which bring more energy to the album.
There are clear resemblances to popular alternative bands such as Underoath and Gallows, but there doesn’t seem to be enough of the same energy: there are not enough breaks in the tracks which could be filled with guitar riffs, whilst Monty’s screams are mono-tonal and omitted without conviction: this could be to do with Thom’s departure, or just a different approach to the new album. The album could be received in two ways: either Heights fans will be disappointed with the new sound, or welcome the new material with open arms.
Old Lies For Young Lives is released on 29th April, but you can pre-order the album here