Heights – Old Lies for Young Lives (2013)

Heights is a metalcore band with hardcore influences that formed in the UK in 2009. Their debut album, Dead Ends, was released in 2011 and put the band on the map. About a year later, they released a two-track EP; now they’re set to release their second full-length album on April 29, which is entitled Old Lies for Young Lives. After a quick soundclip of kids yelling, “The Best Years” kicks things off with a bit of a buildup. An excellent guitar lead – one that can be heard throughout the song several times – is what follows. Shortly after, the new vocals of Alex Monty are heard. Upon first listen, Monty’s vocal style reminds me of a mix of the vocalists of Your Demise and White Fields. The next track, the previously released “Eleven Eyes,” is a bit more aggressive and features Sam Carter (Architects), who adds another dynamic to the song with his recognizable vocals.

The third track on Old Lies for Young Lives is one of my personal favourites. The dissonant chords in “March 1964” that are accompanied with subtle melodies sound excellent. The song starts off impressive, but it only gets better as it goes along. The bridge of “March 1964” features nice melodies then closes out with an excellent buildup and outro. Next up is “The Noble Lie,” a track that reminded me a lot of Architects’ Hollow Crown because both the vocals and lyrics are incredibly reminiscent of it. Clean vocals can be heard in the background during the chorus, and there is also an interlude that features clean vocals that are in the forefront.

After four very enjoyable tracks, I was starting to wonder if things were ever going to slow down on Old Lies for Young Lives. Just as I started to think that it may happen, it did, of course. “Windowless” starts off extremely slow and there isn’t much going on aside from the vocals. After a few minutes, Heights picks things up a little bit and utilizes their instruments for more than just background noise; then “Windowless” comes to a close with an eerie, but beautiful, two-minute-long piano outro, which also features strings at its climax. Following “Windowless” is “In Transit,” another song that contains a bit too much downtime. “In Transit” isn’t a bad song by any means, but I just find it boring compared to the rest of the album, as well as a bit repetitive.

After a few weaker tracks, Heights gets back on the right track. “Stray Rats” sees the band incorporate more melodies again and contains a very catchy part that always make me belt out the lyric “Stray rats never look back, UGH!” The eighth track, an interlude titled “Repeat,” is one of my favourite tracks on Old Lies for Young Lives because there is so much going on in it, but Heights managed to somehow make everything coalesce and sound perfect. “Repeat” also sets up the next track, “Wake Up, Fall Asleep,” extremely well. “Wake Up, Fall Asleep” is another very Architects-esque track, which contains beautiful clean vocals, a taste of screams, excellent instrumentals, and more strings. If I had to pick one song for a friend to listen to in hopes of getting them into Heights, it would definitely be “Wake Up, Fall Asleep.” The final track, “Forth / Here,” closes out the album with nearly three minutes of buzzing or no sound at all. The first half of the song is very solid, but I always end up skipping the last few minutes because I have no desire to sit around in silence.

One of my only complaints – something that I touched on a few times earlier – is that there is some unnecessary downtime on Old Lies for Young Lives. While I really liked the piano outro in “Windowless,” I think that Heights would have been much better off to completely remove the rest of the song, or at least the first minute. Similarly, I think they shouldn’t have had all that white noise to close out the album. However, minor downfalls aside, I was very impressed with Heights’ new material. Initially, I was a bit skeptical on how they would adjust to having a new vocalist, but I think this release is another step in the right direction for the band.

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By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews