by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist —
Well, what have we here? Metal-core that actually dares to crack—if not outright break—the mold? A metal-core band that boldly challenges what is acceptable within the genre and seeks to expand the boundaries? And we’re not just talking about slipping clean singing in alongside the screams. Yes, My Heart To Fear (MHTF) do that and do it well, but that’s not the only card they have up their sleeve.
The song structure, the harmonies, the haunting synthesizer incorporation… it all breaths invigorating life into a genre often defined by stale complacency. With most metal-core bands, you know what to expect before you even peel that annoying security label off the CD package or hit the download button, but when it comes to MHTF, the only thing you should expect is to be surprised.
That’s not to say the band go sailing off on rogue tangents and WTF experimentation. They remain, at their core (pardon the pun) a metal-core band and tick all the appropriate boxes, but then they add some unique twists and turns, stamping the music with their own individuality rather than becoming just another clone. For those who insist that no review is complete without a “this band sounds like” section, this band sounds like Haste The Day crossed with early Atreyu. But with that said, you will not mistake MHTF for either of those bands because they play by their own rules, honoring their chosen genre while avoiding creativity-crushing mimicry.
This 5-song EP consists of songs that originally appeared on the band’s indie efforts but they have now been giving a production upgrade designed to introduce new fans to MHTF and provide a holdover until their label debut drops in 2013. It’s not hard to see—or rather, hear—why Solid State snatched them up. The drum work is insane; not the crazy, loopy, snorting donkey dung and masturbating with handfuls of fire ants kind of insane, but the good kind. As if engaged in battle with the skin-thunder, the guitars rip and roar and chug and slam and wail with a fury that is both overtly melodic and surprisingly heavy at times. Meanwhile, the synth fills introduce beauty into the chaotic maelstrom and the clean choruses manage to be slick without succumbing to commercial saccharine.
The band’s Christian heritage is not hidden under a bushel. While MHTF avoid sledgehammering you with “Jesus saves” lyrics, you will not mistake them for a black metal band either. Their creed is “Family, Faith, Pride, Brotherhood” and they shout this for the world to hear, gang vocal style, on “Legends Never Die.” MHTF make no effort to go all ninja-stealthy with the fact that they hope to inspire listeners to embark on a Godly journey, so if you think all metal should feature upside down crosses, inverted pentagrams, and slurping blood from slashed jugulars, this may not be the band for you.
The band’s press release emphasizes their “technical riffs, swaggering vocals, and sky-high choruses” and while those elements are impressive, it is the subtle accents that separate MHTF from the pack. They are forging their own sound and doing so while neither ignoring the formula nor adhering to it like zealots. My Heart To Fear deserve to have the metal-core world fall in love with them and Lost Between Brilliance and Insanity is a solid first step toward making that happen.
Genre: Christian Metalcore
Trevor Pool (lead vocals)
Dale Upright (lead guitar, backing vocals)
Jay Graham (rhythm guitar)
Taylor Pool (bass, synthesizer, backing vocals)
Luke Brady (drums, backing vocals)
1. Blood Money
2. Life Under the Stairs
3. Legends Never Die
4. Dear Mr. White
5. The Witching Hour
Label: Solid State Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 7.5/10