To the Wind – Empty Eyes (2013)

To the Wind is a metalcore/melodic hardcore band that formed in 2008 in Seattle, WA. To this point, they have released two EPs: 2010’s Foundations and 2012’s No More Than This, and they are set to release their debut full length on May 7. This full-length effort, Empty Eyes, is being released through Pure Noise Records.

Right from the start, you get a sense that the band has stepped it up a notch on their debut full length. To the Wind wastes very little time before things get going on Empty Eyes as “Balance” kicks things off with a quick, one-minute-long preview of what’s to come, both lyrically (“Every day, we see so many suffering…”) and musically. Empty Eyes is heavy and melodic, and the vocals presented by Tanner Murphy are very powerful, much like Jorge Sotomayor and Tyler Andre (Adaliah) or Jesse Barnett’s (Stick to Your Guns) older style.

Speaking of Stick to Your Guns, some of the material on Empty Eyes is similar to For What It’s Worth. One track in particular is “New Note,” which is one of the heavier tracks on the album. “Halfhearted” and “Truth & Consequence” are a few other tracks that put off a Stick to Your Guns vibe and give fans of hard-hitting metalcore something to really look forward to, while still offering something more. On the other hand, tracks like “Collapse” (which features their hometown friend Jeremy Bushnell of Cowardice), the previously released “Hollow” and “Downpour,” and the album closer titled “Solitary” display the melodic side of the band very well.

Perhaps the two strongest tracks, though, are “Without Warning” and “Counterfeit.” “Without Warning,” the second track on the album, features Mike Perez (No Bragging Rights) and contains a very nice drum roll near the end of the track that builds up into a brief ambient section, which is then followed by a spectacular guitar lead. The other track that stood out to me a bit more than the others, “Counterfeit,” is my favourite song that To the Wind has ever made. The vocals heard on “Counterfeit” seem even more powerful than they were on other tracks, and the drumming and riffs are excellent. The song starts off impressive – and it continues to stay so for the entire four minutes – but the second half of the song is spectacular.

Just like they did on No More Than This, To the Wind managed to mix a good amount of melody with heaviness, but the product was even greater this time around. I have a feeling that because several juggernauts of the metalcore/melodic hardcore genre (The Ghost Inside, Stick to Your Guns, Gideon) released albums last year, To the Wind’s Empty Eyes is going to be the number one release of this genre in 2013 for many fans. There’s only one thing that I wish would be different: the 28-minute playtime is just a bit too short.

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By Steven Pongrac ~ Me Gusta Reviews