Hands - The Sound Of the Earth
Release Date: March, 2009
Record Label: Oort/Lobster Records
Not too long ago, I was excited in a way that I don't get to experience all that often anymore. This excitement doesn't come readily available, and the market dictates it's availability. What, you may ask, was this form of excitement? It's one I'm sure you've all run into before: that splendid thrill when you discover a new, good band.
For me, the subject that provoked this result was the band who's new album, The Sound Of the Earth, I'm currently reviewing. Those that don't know them, their name is Hands, and they're bringing quite the twist to an almost completely stagnant genre. Hands is a little bit sludge, and quite a bit metalcore. Many of their songs follow the long drawn out build-ups and releases of contemporary sludge-metal, but at the same time they manage to keep the instantly accessible feel of modern metalcore. Sludge may even be the wrong description, instead they incorporate more similar elements to that of the more modern "post-core" bands such as At the Soundawn and Mouth of the Architect, and in some places draws comparison to the other bands fusing these elements, such as Oceana, and lately, Holding Onto Hope.
As for the particulars, Hands have all of their bases covered. The guitar work is fairly original, and they do well at melding the atmospheric feel with that of a heavier one, never going far enough in either direction to tip the scales. The vocals can go from uplifting singing ("Judgement") to extremely heavy ("Revelation"). This balance, working with that of the musicians', sets up quite the the precarious position. You never know when they're going to shift one way or another, but the tracks ultimately end up feeling cohesive and not all over the place. As far as their writing goes, the tracks flow well, and you can tell they've got a great knack for writing good, dramatic songs, such as the sprawling nine and a half minute closer, "Revelation," which ends up being the most powerful track on the album.
The lyrics of the album follow a common thread, and the overall theme sets it up as a concept album. Each song serves as a "chapter" where they discuss one part of the human condition. "Despair" is a great indicator for how the rest of the tracks are styled, with the vocalist proclaiming "I, have no peace, I, have no meaning, no purpose. And I, must let go, let go - take my life!" As you can see, the lyrics of this track mirror it's title, the vocalist is expounding on his feelings of despair. "Revolution" serves as the conclusion of this saga, with the vocalist stating
"I have seen your love, and I'm infected. On this sea of truth, I will open my eyes... I will open my eyes, to the sounds of earth, I've adjusted, in the name of truth, I will open my eyes to the God almighty. I surrender in awe!"
These lines serve as the culmination of the album, displaying the newfound hope they've found through religion.
Overall, this album is resoundingly good. I can't wait to see what they release (later this year!) on Facedown. I'm glad this band found an even more privileged label, and even happier that I found this band. If you like metalcore, and are looking for something that's a bit different than what you've heard rehashed time and time again, check out Hands' The Sound Of Earth, you won't be disappointed.