Ballast - When All the World Has Failed You
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: October 10, 2009
The summer after I graduated from high school Underoath released their highly acclaimed release, Define the Great Line. This album changed my life forever. The feelings of hope and determination that this album gave me were unmatched by any other band. I was certain that I would never find another band that could release a hardcore record of the same caliber as “DTGL”. I have been proved wrong; this may seem like a lofty statement but hear me out.
Ballast has emerged from the depths of the oversaturated New England hardcore scene. This five-piece act was formed in the summer of 2008 as founding members Brian Gallagher (guitar), Sean Ormond (bass) and Seth Rand (drums / vocals) sought to take their current project in a new direction. They recruited long time friend David Sperring (vocals) to bring a new voice and face to their music. Nathan Piliponis (guitar) joined shortly after, giving this band of crusaders unstoppable potential that was clearly evident from their first live shows as a band.
One year later Ballast is releasing their freshman triumph, When All the World Has Failed You. The album kicks off with “In the Dark”, a melodic fury showcasing the melodic vocals of Seth Rand and the gut-wrenching growls of David Sperring. One of the songs opening lines, “I know where this goes and it’s far from home”, makes it clearly obvious that the combined vocal talent of Sperring and Rand is an incredible combo as the two harmonize flawlessly. The opening track is a strong representative of the array of melodic choruses and furious breakdowns that the band unleashes throughout the entire album.
Melodic anthems such as “Your Love for a Song”, “Inferno”, and fan favorite “Memories” all have memorable melodies and hook lines that set Ballast high above your common local metal or hardcore act. The fantastic production of this album shines specifically at the end of “Memories” as an angelic choir sings “there’s now way out, there’s no way out, there’s no way for you to escape this”. Do yourself a favor and attend a live Ballast show so you can witness the bands enthusiastic fans scream these words right back at the band, it will put a huge smile upon your face.
Melody isn’t the bands only strong suit. Powerful tracks such as “Sanctuary” and “Breathe” showcase the brutal yet elegant guitar work accompanied by crushing breakdowns. These tracks also prove that Sperring is not a one trick pony when it comes to his dirty vocals. His desperate screams plea for deliverance and the realization of hope in a way that makes you realize… he really means it.
When All the World Has Failed You displays astounding maturity for a band that has played together for merely one year. Another pleasant surprise is the fantastic production that this album displays, especially for an unsigned band. Melodic hardcore has become an oversaturated genre and while Ballast isn’t breaking ground every step of the way, they have set themselves way ahead of the pack.