December 11, 2013 Hawthorne Heights – Zero (Album review)
The year 2001 was the start for Hawthorne Heights’ long journey in the music industry. This alternative/post-hardcore band has been through the death of band member Casey Calvert and record label mix-ups, giving them the wisdom to create unforgettable music. Keeping their sound diverse and exciting, Hawthorne Heights released their fifth studio album, Zero. This record contains an upbeat tone with tracks of high energy and profound lyrics.
The first track that catches attention is “Darkside”. It is complemented with strong catchy guitar and vocals. Verses are led by the guitar’s short riffs and goes into a booming chorus. The song is lively and given a sense of liberty with its lyrics. The tone of “letting loose” is set with words like, “Hold tight, headlights, lets act like, it’s our last night”. Though the lyrics are repetitive, it is done tastefully to make “Darkside” fun and memorable.
The following track “Spark” is an especially heartening song that highlights Hawthorne Heights’ full potential after so many years. “Spark” comes in strong with distinct guitar riffs and a compelling beat. The song crescendos into a powerful chorus that is the focal point on this track. The lyrics tell a story about hope and accomplishing one’s dreams (“I can’t live in the dark, I know one day I’ll burn as bright as the sun”). Listeners can easily relate to this important topic, and songs like these make albums successful for their gratifying sound and thoughtful message.
The tone of Zero slows down when “Hollow Hearts Unite” comes into play. The stripped down song begins with a simple acoustic guitar and soft vocals telling the story of a broken girl. The chorus is given slightly more backup guitar, giving the track a stronger presence. When songs tell stories, like this one, it is always interesting to listen closely to the lyrics. “Hollow Hearts Unite” is told from the writer’s perspective of a disheartened girl next door (“She’s got cuts up both sides of her arms / she likes the pain cause the pain don’t break her heart / but I think I can save her”). The use of the phrase “hollow hearts unite” in this song clues the writer’s despair as well, and explains how two broken people can save each other and find happiness. The sadness of this song overlaps with heartwarming faith, making this track a masterpiece.
“Put Me Back Together” is set with the traditional tone of Hawthorne Heights’ style. This track begins strong and consistently remains that way throughout. The bridge is prominent with its fast and captivating guitar riffs. This track once again describes the writer as a broken person wanting to find a way to “fix” his emotions. Although the lyrics can seem to have a negative theme, the upbeat tone of the song contradicts the meaning to make those important lyrics stand out even more. Hawthorne Heights uses this method often in Zero.
Hawthorne Heights’ fifth album, Zero, ends with the track “Taken By The Dark.” This song starts with repetitive guitar riffs that balance the singing. These potent sounds create a fierce beginning with distressed vocals. The unique guitar riffs are continued throughout the track and the vocals increase to emotional screams at certain parts on the track, including the bridge. These vocals showcase the emotion in the lyrics. “Taken By The Dark” translates into a desperate reach for love that is fading away (“There she goes, there she goes / I got a feeling if I leave I’ll never see you again / No more lying, I feel us dying”). This final track pulls the album together with conviction and passion to solidify the touching impact of Zero.
Hawthorne Heights hits close to home with the topics expressed in Zero. This connection with fans and listeners give Hawthorne Heights an advantage when producing their already excellent music. Zero’s poignant concept is lifted with a spirited tone, making each track comforting to listeners. This atmosphere created is an experience that no one should miss out on. CrypticRock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.
Top photo credit Jeff Chenault Written by Emma Guido