ALBUM REVIEW: Heart of a Coward – This Place Only Brings Death


 

A decade back, Heart of a Coward were one of the rising stars in the UK metal scene, having just released their second album Severance. The band were looked on to be the next big thing when it came to metalcore, and when they followed that up with the highly acclaimed Deliverance, these previous assertions felt cemented in. Alongside their peers in Architects, Bury Tomorrow and While She Sleeps, the stage was set for Heart of a Coward to join the ranks part of this leading new class.

 

Unfortunately, due to band member switch-ups and delays, here we are today with Heart of a Coward still back in the chasing pack, albeit with a credible name and a groundswell of good will. The band, seemingly back on their feet with new members such as vocalist Kaan Tasan raring to go, looking to recapture the momentum they once had back in the mid 2010s, but the cold question remains – has the point of no return passed yet for the band?

 

One of the main components of what made Heart of a Coward stand out from the crowd was their unfathomable rhythm and groove, and it has to be said, that hasn’t gone AWOL, as made evident by the start of the title track. Tasan’s voice bellows into the mic, giving elements from the likes of Holy Hell-era Sam Carter, and Stray From The Path’s Drew Dijorio. A fundamentally different style of vocals, but one that fits alongside the harsher, more abrupt playing style of Carl Ayers on guitars.

 

Unlike the band’s previous dealings of a more djent and progressive metalcore bent, HoaC seem more content to stay in the lane of your typical meat-and-potatoes metalcore, the ‘core side playing a more prominent role than in their earlier material.

 

Heart of a Coward seem to have taken a step back to assess what has worked in the scene, and looked at taking influence from that. In the album’s case, a lot of influence from the likes of Architects can be easily heard, if it’s not the backup vocals boosting Tasan’s voice in “Devour Me”, it’s the structure of the eighth track “Passenger” where moments seem like it’s taken right out of the All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us playbook.

 

 

 

 

Whilst this approach and sound works in their favour for the most part, there is something to be said regarding wearing their influences on their sleeves, and it not producing much of their own original sound. That said, the climax of “Passenger” creates one of the most bone-crushing breakdowns in the album, full of distortion and blasting drums – a section that will be sure to cause carnage on the live circuit.

 

It’s in the final track, “All Life Is Finite”, where HoaC brings it all together. Going back to djent and progressive roots, there are segments reminiscent of acts like Periphery with discordant harmonies amongst clean backup vocals, and Tasan’s lead screaming voice creating unnerving passages, before cascading together into the final breakdown of the album, and matters cutting out suddenly, the rest of the song playing host to light keys and sparse clean vocals, before fading away

 

Despite the ups and downs the band has faced over the past years, the band has still pulled through and released a new baseline to work from. This Place Only Brings Death (Arising Empire) shows the band having come out of this crossroads unscathed and ready to start anew. There are some glaring issues that will need to be worked through, primarily refining these influences that are showing a little too loudly in order to allow their true personality and own sound to come forth.

 

There is a clear heart and backbone at the core of the album that is undeniable, the next step is just to let that come through, and then Heart of a Coward will truly be on their way back towards the top of the scene.

 

Buy the album here:

https://arisingempire.com/hoac

 

6 / 10

CHARLIE HILL