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Have Heart – The Things We Carry (2006) September 5, 2008

Posted by Jordan in Album Reviews/Thoughts.
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This is sincere, passionate, aggressive East Coast hardcore.

One ace in the hole that Have Heart benefit from tremendously is their vocalist, Patrick Flynn. If one takes time to read some of the lyrics, they¬†are almost perfectly balanced between having convictions and not being afraid to stand up for them, while not outright attacking opposing beliefs to the point where it becomes tiresome. For the music itself, HH manage to mostly avoid a common pitfall that the vast majority of bands who play this style of hardcore fall into, meaning that all the songs on this cd have their own personality, and even when HH re-uses certain elements (gang vocals, two-step parts, fast circle pit parts, etc.), you never really catch yourself confusing what you’re currently hearing with the previous track. They also throw just enough wrenches in the mix to keep you guessing, like the awesome drum intro on “Armed With A Mind”, the almost-instrumental “Old Man II (Last Words and Lessons Learned)”, and the incredible build-up in “Machinist”.

To touch on the studio side of things, Jim Siegel’s production suits this style of music very well. Unlike most other metal/hardcore albums, he actually makes sure that the bass plays a role, instead of being buried behind a thick wall of layered guitars. Check out Death Before Dishonor’s albums for other good examples of this. The production works alongside the composition itself to make the record very pleasing to the ear – it’s energetic, youthful, and ferocious, without being monotonous. In my opinion, Have Heart are one of the best around at taking the spirit of old-school hardcore and injecting enough fresh elements and thought-provoking lyrics to keep it interesting. To the unfamiliar ear, this cd, like most hardcore, is an acquired taste, but if you’re into this style, go grab it.