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A Hero a Fake - Volatile Album Cover

A Hero a Fake - Volatile

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7.3
A Hero a Fake - Volatile
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: October 28, 2008
Scene metalcore bands catch a lot of flack. It's not entirely unwarranted, but when they've got the musical chops to be taken seriously, they should. A Hero A Fake is a prime example of this principle. Sure, they're unoriginal. There's plenty of bands that are doing the exact same thing they are. And sure, maybe they could make a few better choices. For example, not including a breakdown at the :43 second mark of the album would have probably given them a bit more credit. Ignoring that their style is "cliche" and "scene" though, you can find a band here that's sporting all the talent they need.

They may oversaturate some of their songs in breakdowns, and they may have the same old metalcore sound, but A Hero A Fake throws in enough serious skill to make Volatile stand out as a great album. There are places that sound almost dead on something My Hero Is Me would pull out, and then a few seconds later it's switched up to something you'd expect out of the genre's more melodic staples. The most noticeable thing that hits you right from the start are the guitarists. They're not throwing out the standard chug-chug guitars you hear in every metalcore album. Instead, they rely on pummeling riffs with intermittent technical stylings. Take the opening riff: it starts out as a solid lead that quickly breaks into thrashy guitaring punctuated by a quick arpeggio. Not good enough? Take the opening riff to "F-16" where the guitarists throw up some quick technical work that makes it's way into a simple progression, and finally to the squeal-punctuated lead that dominates the track. In the breakdowns, they handle themselves well, making it heavier, but not to the point where it's laughable. The drums are a big part of Volatile, and while their drummer handles himself well in some places, (again, see "F-16"), there are other times where it seems like all he does is pound the double bass until it makes an impression.

Even though I thoroughly enjoy this album, I realize that they've jumped on just about every fad that you can find today. They've got the "eerily" spoken word sections, the gang vocal yells, the pre-breakdown shouts, and just about anything else you can find. Most of these just add to the album (since, well, there's a reason these have become fads), but some of them seem a bit forced. They don't short us on the breakdowns in the album, but I have to say, they at least get creative with quite a few of theirs. The vocals are pretty standard; the screaming can be a bit weak in places, but the clean vocals are above average. Even through the heavy criticism I seem to be giving this album, (because there really isn't anything original about it), I feel the need to state that I really enjoy listening to this album. No, they're not creative, but for fans of this genre of music, they're about as talented as it gets. One thing I have to give them is that they tend to stray away from the standard song structures and a lot of it seems to be a little bit more mixed up and unpredictable. That's not to say that this makes them in some way groundbreaking or original, but it speaks loads about how much they tromp on their contemporaries.

This album isn't devoid of it's heavy hitters. The first track that really caught my eye was "Just Another Number." It's first minute is dominated by sung vocals followed by a crazy breakdown at about the 1:15 mark. The track then falls apart into some melodic instrumentals before rising back up into the vocalist's fevered screaming. The next couple of tracks keep up the pace. "Altered Beast" and "F-16" both sport their own perks. "Altered Beast" relies on some technical guitar work and some powerful clean vocals to hold it up, while "F-16" sports some of the most powerful musicianship and breakdowns in the album. My personal favorite, "I Know I" is carried along by a both powerful drum and guitar lines and taken to the explosive chorus where (clean vocalist) exclaims: "It's never been so clear exactly what you do to me/ You make me insane, you drive me crazy." Both "Terminal" and "Burden" end the album well, although the devices used in "Terminal" sound just a bit too much like a My Hero Is Me song for comfort. I do have to give them credit for the completely insane instrumental breakdown just around the 3:45 minute mark of that song though. As you can see, just listing my favorites pretty much picked up half the album.

If you're looking for originality, A Hero A Fake is quite obviously not you're cup of tea. However, if you've got an open mind to these kinds of albums, Volatile is perfect for you. As far as scene bands go, they obliterate their competition. They're not redrawing any lines, but they're at least a fresh style to add to the pool of bands. If you'll give this album a chance as what it is, a not-so-creative, but yet very good attempt, then you should be able to find the same kind of enjoyment that I did.

Recommended if You LikeAgraceful; Oceana; Dear Life; Mikoto; My Hero is Me

myspace.com/xaheroafakex
This review is a user submitted review from Klatzke. You can see all of Klatzke's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 10 of 10
07:10 PM on 11/27/08
#2
elemenohpe
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i just don't like this band.

nice dudes but this kind of tech metal feels like they wrote a bunch of parts and then drew them from a hat.

nice review, i'll be sure to check this album out but from the sampler included with BTBAM's Colors Live and past material i've heard, i don't expect to enjoy this record.
09:34 PM on 11/27/08
#3
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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i just don't like this band.

nice dudes but this kind of tech metal feels like they wrote a bunch of parts and then drew them from a hat.

nice review, i'll be sure to check this album out but from the sampler included with BTBAM's Colors Live and past material i've heard, i don't expect to enjoy this record.
Good to see you're at least gonna give it a chance. I was actually really surprised that I liked this album, but these dudes can play and it just works for me.
11:26 AM on 12/01/08
#4
Smeee
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Good review.

Not heard of these guys before but I've just checked them out and what you say is spot on. Pretty standard metalcore but they do it fairly well, I guess. Though I can't say the screamer of the best quality. The clean singer is decent though.

Think I'll give this album a miss but keep an eye out to see what they grow into.
11:49 AM on 12/01/08
#5
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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Good review.

Not heard of these guys before but I've just checked them out and what you say is spot on. Pretty standard metalcore but they do it fairly well, I guess. Though I can't say the screamer of the best quality. The clean singer is decent though.

Think I'll give this album a miss but keep an eye out to see what they grow into.
I agree. I said somewhere in there that the screaming was sometimes weak, but it's easy to look past once you get used to them. I actually like the clean vocals a lot for some reason, and that's what saved their vocal score from going very low.
09:42 PM on 03/24/09
#6
TheReservoir
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I like this band. F-16 is probably my favorite song on the album.
08:43 PM on 04/06/09
#7
more heart
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I must say that your whole review was spot on. I finally found this today so needless to say, I bought it. AHAF are clearly unoriginal but you've got to admit that the guitarist are extremely talented. I agree that the double-bass can be excessive but at the 1 minute mark of "Superwoman" it comes off as well executed. What kills the record for me are the screams(am I the only one who thinks he sounds like the screamer from Greeley Estates?). Overall, it's a great record from a band with a ton of promise.
10:11 PM on 05/28/09
#8
chelseaxsmilexD
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I KNOW I-I KNOW I-!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are unorigianl though, and they do rely to much on their breakdowns... (holy shit did I just say that???) but they need to stop talking during the songs... completely get the point but they don't execute it well... distracts you from the song and then there's another breakdown followed by a catchy chorus with the same high pitched guitar tapping and the extremely slow screaming.... yet i like/love the alnbum...
08:15 AM on 07/19/09
#9
Jaimehere
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screamed vocals could be alot better clean vocals could use JUST a little tweeking and they are set for a better album than their debut, oh and they should try and take a chance to make a unique sound with a new record
08:39 AM on 01/16/10
DoughnutHole
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Good review although, I love this band and I think they make very creative music for their genre.

And I think your review made them seem more creative than you actually said they are.

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