June 29, 2010 - Solid State
For a band who seem to shed members with every release—bassist/vocalist Michael Murphy is now the only original one left—it's no mean feat to present a consistently solid aesthetic to fans over the course of nine years. Despite the virtual revolving door on the tour van, Haste The Day's fifth full-length largely maintains the tenants of the band's central faith. No, not the Christian one, the metalcore one. Although the former remains a through-line in the lyrical content; on the pummeling “Dog Like Vultures” the Indiana five-piece bring the lightning like a host of avenging angels. “And their blood will spill like water in a fountain for thieves and liars/So bare your teeth and sharpen your claws/Because we hold the keys,” screams vocalist Stephen Keech. Yikes, dude.
Instead it's the adherence to HTD's sonic commandments that grounds the record in familiar, brutal/sweet territory. Despite the fact that every single other band in the world does the melodic-metal dynamic-shift two-step now, it's still possible to stand out from the crowd when you master the little stuff and strike the right balance between high and low. Scene wannabes take note: The piercing guitars in tornadoes of harmony on “Travesty” that undergird guttural verses, then open up to reveal the majesty of a sweetly sung, clean chorus is how this shit is done. New guitarists Dave Krysl and Scotty Whelan inject enough melody and dynamic shifts in chord structure and attack to keep the quiet/loud movements from gathering moss. “Merit For Sadness” follows suit, charting a course of peaks and valleys through desolate rocky terrain (that's a metaphor for your soul, bro). “The Quiet, Deadly Ticking” fuses that metalcore sludge with a high octane, populist-punk gang-vocal energy and “White As Snow” slows things to a chilling crawl. It's a creeping atmosphere sketch broken up by blasts of controlled demolition that proves even when you're mostly working within a well trod formula, everything doesn't have to sound the same.