ALBUM REVIEW – “Heavy Hearts” by For the Fallen Dreams

How much life is left in metalcore? How many more bands can emerge playing the same songs before the bubble bursts? Are some of these bands purposefully eschewing all creativity in order to impress record labels with how easy they are to sell, and settle as middling players doing the rounds of middling venues on package tours year in, year out? So many new metalcore acts seem to pop up every year that it becomes easy to forget who the veterans are, particularly those who’ve enjoyed less commercial success than peers. For the Fallen Dreams have been in the game for some time now, but never truly broken into the big leagues, and Heavy Hearts shows exactly why.

They’re individually talented at their respective instruments, and their longevity shows that they’ve worked hard enough together to establish a loyal fanbase. On this record they also appear utterly faceless and completely out of ideas. This is monotone, bargain basement metalcore with no clear discernible features, produced to a good enough standard to sound both professional and utterly soulless. Dynamics are conspicuous only by their absence, the band content to deploy bouncing heavy riff after bouncing heavy riff with no recesses to provide them with any sort of impact. Lyrical content is similarly run-of-the-mill, charged with defiance but lacking in conviction; the vocal delivery is consistent and appropriate for the music but there’s little in the way of variety here either, and the style is tiring over the course of the whole album. It’s so one dimensional that it’s just plain dull.

What’s more the shame is that this is a band with potential. The first two For the Fallen Dreams records threw in just enough curveball time signatures and dashes of spice to stand them out among their peers; five years and a hundred more identikit groups later and if anything, they’ve regressed. There are moments of Heavy Hearts that show they’ve still got it. Various different riffs impress before inexplicably devolving into amorphous palm-muted sludge; ‘Dream Eater’ embraces clean vocals and melodic passages to strong effect; ‘Amnesia’ achieves standout status thanks to the rather lovely lead guitar lines threaded through it. Too often though, this is an album that settles for utter mediocrity. No individual track is bad, but when listened together barely any stand out whatsoever.

Innovation within music will never stop, and neither it seems will stretching previously innovative formulas beyond breaking point until they’ve become clichés – this seemingly the far more popular option. For the Fallen Dreams appear to have settled into the latter camp, for better or for worse. A record as stale sounding and fundamentally of its time as Heavy Hearts will never catapult them into the upper echelon of rock stardom, but neither will it see them crash and burn to the point they’d have to reconsider their career paths. Fans will at least be happy about that.

Rating: 4/10

[Michael Bird]

‘Emerald Blue’



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