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Hawthorne Heights - Zero Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.5
Musicianship 7.5
Lyrics 7.5
Production 7.5
Creativity 7.5
Lasting Value 7.5
Reviewer Tilt 7.5
Final Verdict: 75%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.13
Musicianship 6.56
Lyrics 6.28
Production 6.56
Creativity 6.34
Lasting Value 6.13
Reviewer Tilt 7.03
Average: 64%
Inside AP.net

Hawthorne Heights - Zero

Reviewed by: Zac Djamoos (07/10/13)
Hawthorne Heights - Zero
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Record Label: Red Entertainment

The first time I heard Hawthorne Heights, I didn't much like them. Being honest, I thought their debut album, 2004's The Silence in Blackand White, fell into the same trap as a lot of debuts -- many of the songs sounded the same. 2011's EP Hate piqued my interest in the band again, and last year’s Hope only reaffirmed it. When I first heard The Silence, I didn't expect to be singing Hawthorne Heights' praises, but nine years is a long time for a band to grow, and Zero is the band's best offering yet

Their fifth full-length album, and first for Red Entertainment, follows in the style of the previous two EPs in incorporating amore accessible pop-punk influence into their style, leaving behind most of the post-hardcore sound the band was previously known for. Songs like “Memories of Misery” and “Spark” demonstrate this well. The latter track is the best on the album and one of the best in HH’s discography. Boasting a massive chorus and a “whoa-oh”-laden bridge, this track is the best example of the sound of Zero.

While the band dabbles in pop-punk territory frequently throughout Zero, don’t think that’s all this album is. The album begins with “Skeletons Remain (Transmission #1),” a stark ballad, while the penultimate track (but last actual song) “Taken by the Dark” is the heaviest on the album, having more in common with HH’s early material than the rest of the album and featuring guitarist Micah Carli screaming out the song’s bridge by himself. He also has a vocal appearance in the chorus of “Put Me Back Together,” although the screaming is limited to background vocals. The album contains an acoustic ballad, entitled “Hollow Hearts Unite,” which includes strings. It’s certainly different from the rest of the album, but proves to be one of the record’s biggest missteps, as it comes off as slightly cheesy and disrupts the album's flow.

Aside from just the genre, what especially sets Zero apart from the rest of HH’s discography is how much better the band sounds. JT Woodruff’s smooth voice fits the band’s new poppier sound far better than it did the post-hardcore one; he’s never sounded better. Eron Bucciarelli’s drumming leads the songs “Spark” and “Zero,” while it’s difficult to imagine the Mark McMillon and Micah Carli of even five years ago performing songs like “Lost in the Calm,” not to mention how bassist Matt Ridenour's solo shines on the title track. Even Woodruff’s lyrics are at their top here. Take first single “Golden Parachutes,” in which he sings, ”Die for the golden parachutes/ it isn’t your life that’s left to lose.” But while Hate was drenched in negativity and Hope was a somewhat happier affair, Zero finds itself somewhere in between. For every ”Zero/ you are my only hope,” there’s a ”My darling, I will not let this die/ and our voices cannot be tamed.” Another good example is the song “Hollow Hearts Unite,” in which the rather dismal lyrics, ”She's got holes in both sides ofher heart/ She's been crying while lying in the dark,” are followed by a repeated refrain of ”But I think I can save her.” Lyrically, there is an aura of bleakness found here, but there still seems a glimmer of hope.

Honestly, Zero isn’t an album that requires uninterrupted listening, as the songs hold up perfectly fine on their own. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time, though. Hawthorne Heights gets better with every release, and Zero is their best effort yet. The band has honed their talents and refined their music nearly enough to be a different band, and one that sounds better than ever before. I’ll be eagerly awaiting their next release.

7.5/10

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Skeletons Remain (Transmission #1)
2. Memories of Misery
3. Darkside
4. Spark
5. Zero
6. Anywhere But Here
7. Hollow Hearts Unite
8. Coalition of Alternative Living Methods (Broadcast)
9. Golden Parachutes
10. Put Me Back Together
11. Strangers
12. Ghosttown
13. Lost in the Calm
14. Taken by the Dark
15. Over & Out (Transmission #2)

Hawthorne Heights Is:
JT Woodruff– Vocals/ Guitar
Mark McMillon– Guitar
Micah Carli – Guitar/ Screams
Matt Ridenour– Bass
Eron Bucciarelli– Drums

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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 43.
08:05 PM on 07/10/13
#2
Ryan Gardner
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Guess I'll have to give this another spin. Didn't really stick with me too much on first listen. Enjoyed all their other work though.
11:10 PM on 07/10/13
#3
FTank
I just want to sell out my funeral.
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Good review and I don't want to be that guy, but I would suggest more proofreading. there are quite a few typos in here.
12:07 AM on 07/11/13
#4
red8ge
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How can you not read your own review for errors before posting it? Come on now.

that was mean. dece review tho
06:47 AM on 07/11/13
#5
Supernovacaine
givin'er
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good album, glad to see they're still plugging away (and putting out some decent material in the process)
06:49 AM on 07/11/13
#6
theherox
Hi, I'm Alexander #2
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I hated Silence in Black and White so much that I actually took my friend's copy (who hated it too) and we stomped on the CD and threw the case around til it was all shreds.

I'm glad to see how solid of a band they've really become over this album, as well as Skeletons and FF.
07:02 AM on 07/11/13
#7
Zac Djamoos
fantasizing the sight of manhattan
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I hated Silence in Black and White so much that I actually took my friend's copy (who hated it too) and we stomped on the CD and threw the case around til it was all shreds.

I'm glad to see how solid of a band they've really become over this album, as well as Skeletons and FF.

Hahahahahahhahahahahahaha.


But yes they really have grown, and it's very impressive.
07:03 AM on 07/11/13
#8
Zac Djamoos
fantasizing the sight of manhattan
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Good review and I don't want to be that guy, but I would suggest more proofreading. there are quite a few typos in here.

How can you not read your own review for errors before posting it? Come on now.

that was mean. dece review tho

I think I got them all now. Thanks for pointing those out.
07:06 AM on 07/11/13
#9
CallMeTroy
Fail To Feel
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Too poppy for me to really get into, but I love this band to pieces and this is the best they've sounded musically.
07:07 AM on 07/11/13
emoboy333
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I think it's a boring record. If Only You Were Lonley is by far their best record. It's all been downhill from here.
07:40 AM on 07/11/13
Zack Zarrillo
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I couldn't make it through. The concept that they actually based the album off of is wrong. It's so just..weak
07:42 AM on 07/11/13
Ryan Gardner
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I couldn't make it through. The concept that they actually based the album off of is wrong. It's so just..weak
Yeah I've only listened once when I first got it, didn't see it as anything special, and haven't felt the urge to listen again at all. And I've enjoyed all their previous work.
07:43 AM on 07/11/13
Archael
listens to good music
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crap band. hate ep wasn't so bad though.
08:07 AM on 07/11/13
AL1VE
Not Your Savior
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I've listened to all their releases and I still think The Silence In Black And White is the best one. This album just didn't do it for me - felt as if most of the tracks were filler :(
08:14 AM on 07/11/13
buddah knome
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Good review. Really like zero!
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