Hawthorne Heights - The Silence in Black and White
By S. Zekovitch

Hawthorne Heights - The Silence in Black and White
Label: Victory Records

“The Silence in Black and White” is by far the best album I had ever encountered in the  past decade dude, *as Henry Rollins’ “I’m a Liar” abruptly blares vigorously from the background*.  Seriously, though how many more clones of Thursday and Taking Back Sunday  is Victory Records going to put out? Then again with the undying breed of emo/ screamo scenesters multiplying by the dozen  it may be just a sign of them milking the emo cash cow for the time being. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it reminds me of a flavorless chewed gum clinging to the sole of a shoe in utter despair for more than a decade. In other words, it gets pretty old after a while.
In terms of content, the album’s presentation desperately lacks in both originality and creativity, but makes up for it with catchy tunes. These Ohio natives may not be strikingly unique, but they are not overtly terrible either. With tracks titled, “Life on Standby”, “Dissolve and Decay” , and “Sandpaper and Silk” to name a few, the subjects are pretty self-explanatory. The lyrics are pretty much one would expect from an emo band, ranging from loss to self-indulging pity, and disappointments to lust. Pretty much summing up the majority of the youths of this generation’s mentality, and that is whining like babies. 

The album features dual vocals of JT Woodruff’s gentle voice singing the main lyrics and Casey Calvert or Matt Ridenour alternating between the screaming sessions. I would have had a kick if they included Eron Buccielli (drummer) and Micah Carli (guitars) also joining the pack in vocals to complete the singing quintet. Then it would have resulted in a modern-day barber shop quintet, but much more aggressive in nature. However, wait there’s more, there are three guitarists, yes three to deliver a triple layer of auditory attacks and redundance in sound, I might add. In my personal opinion, even with the slightest tweaking of the same riffs eventually deteriorates the song’s receptacle and meaning. Not to forget how some of the screaming was unnecessary for some of the songs. 

I understand the importance of the juxtaposition of singing and screaming melded together to emphasize compelling emotions, but it also depends on the essence of the lyrics as well. For example, “Life on Standby” when one of the screamers proceeds in shrieking “NOW SHE”S GONE” or “SHE’S NOT COMING HOME” it was just amusing to hear someone who is supposedly sobbing agonizingly over losing their girlfriend and out of nowhere just screams for the hell of it. Simply because it didn’t sound natural, much more like it was forced into the song. Perhaps, I am being over analytical and those screams were meant to suggest the character’s conscience, but that just another concept within itself. 

Overall the album was pretty generic, your every run of the mill screamo band, and nothing ground breaking really. Again as I had mentioned before, the positive aspects of this album is that it contains some very catchy songs and it’s full of energy, but lyrical wise nothing that has not been done before. Unfortunately,  I hate not giving the band a benefit of the doubt because I believe they do have a tiny spark of potential. They need to concentrate harder on writing better lyrics and better music arrangements the next time around than recycling the same material other bands have used up since the dawn of the sub-genre of emotional rock’s  arrival. After hearing the phrase “kill me”or “I’m falling to pieces” for over a dozen times I’m ready to kill someone myself. For those who do enjoy emo this album is definitely up you alley, but for those who are seeking something unique this is not something to look forward to. Until then make the judgment for yourself.

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