My Heart to Fear – Algorithm
Record Label: Solid State Records
Release Date: July 9 2013
It’s fascinating how the most random records and EPs can end up having a huge impact on someone. By that, I mean, picking up, (legally) downloading, or just listening to an album, and end up loving it. Or listening to a band a year or two ago, and listen to a new release from the band, and end up loving it. That’s how it was with PA metalcore band My Heart to Fear. Last year, I picked up a copy of the band’s last EP Lost Between Brilliance and Insanity from my local Hot Topic, mainly because it was buy one, get one half off with everything in the store, and it was only $5. I definitely couldn’t go wrong. Not to mention, the band was signed to Solid State records, so I already knew what to expect, really. That’s not to say that I wasn’t going to like it, and I ended up being quite surprised. It wasn’t generic, or boring, but in fact, quite engaging. It was a short little EP, but it did its job – it left me wanting more. And more was exactly what I got, in the form of sophomore record (but first on Solid State) Algorithm. The title stuck out to me first, because an algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem, mainly mathematical. In the genre that My Heart to Fear are apart of (metalcore, post-hardcore), there’s definitely an “algorithm” of how to be a marketable band. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look at bands like Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce the Veil, Asking Alexandria, and plenty of others. While these bands aren’t terrible, they’re not all that unique, and ultimately pioneered the “attractive frontman-core” genre. That’s not what My Heart to Fear are all about, however, and Algorithm definitely shows that. In fact, it’s one of the most impressive metalcore/post-hardcore records I’ve heard all year, with the exceptions of labelmate August Burns Red’s Rescue and Restore and letlive’s The Blackest Beautiful. Those are two bands who know what they’re doing, and don’t want to fit in with those bands. My Heart to Fear is an exception as well, and despite being a very young band, they still are very impressive.
Like labelmates August Burns Red, My Heart to Fear is one of those bands that has everything going for them – their instrumentation is tightknit, their vocalist is great, along with his lyrics. Everyone in the band has a job to do, and like a well-oiled machine, they do it well. One gear from the machine missing, and the machine would fall apart. Everything about them works, and while Lost Between Brilliance and Insanity wasn’t perfect, it glimpsed at this band’s potential. Well, the potential is here. This record isn’t totally perfect, either. It’s got some flaws in it, but what record doesn’t? Thanks to the concept of opinions, no record will truly be perfect, but this record is pretty darn close. It’s got a lot going for it, honestly. I will admit that when I heard their last EP, vocalist Trevor Pool took a bit of time getting used to. He’s got a great, and distinct scream, but that’s why it was a bit off-putting. It’s distinct, and it definitely sticks with you, the listener. His screams are actually quite solid on this record, and he even does something a bit different that he didn’t on their last EP – clean vocals. He employs some cleans on here, and he’s awesome. They’re not generic clean vocals that every “core” band uses, and by that I mean, have no range and don’t add anything interesting to the song or chorus. His vocals are really enjoyable, however. They pop up every so often, and they’re always a treat to hear. First track “Dust to Dust” has Pool showing off his cleans, which is a great way to start off the record. The whole song is quite enjoyable, and it shows off every strength the band has, which made me excited to hear the whole thing.
You can’t have a good or great record without very solid instrumentation, and that’s also what My Heart to Fear have. The guitarwork by guitarists Dale Upright and Jay Graham is quite technical and ambitious, but not too much so where it becomes muddled in between everything else. Ultimately, the guitarwork is the only thing that really does stick out. Drummer Luke Brady really does keep up with it all, and bassist Taylor Pool does have some cool little bass solos here and there, but the guitar tones are what really stick out to me. There are some gothic and theatrical elements throughout the record, too, which do make it a bit more unique, such as “The Sneaking Chair,” and “The Witching Hour Pt. II” (the first part appearing on Lost Between Brilliance and Insanity). It helps to add a rather haunting atmosphere, but for the most part, it’s a straightforward metalcore record. That’s not a bad thing, because what does help it stick out are the guitarwork and Trevor’s vocals. His lyrics don’t stick out much, because they’re rather cliché Christian lyrics that don’t come off as preachy, but they’re nothing I haven’t heard before. They don’t really grip me in the same way that August Burns Red’s lyrics do, because those are all relatable, yet can have that religious message behind them. Regardless, though, if you’re a metalcore fan, or a metal fan in general, this is a record that you don’t want to miss out on. The guitarwork is insanely impressive, Trevor Pool’s vocals are distinct, his clean vocals are wonderful, and overall, it’s a very engaging and entertaining listen. For being such a young band, these guys don’t sound like it, and that’s a good thing.