October 25, 2011 - Victory
While Close Your Eyes’ 2010 full-length, We Will Overcome, had some fine moments of melodic hardcore, much of it was somewhat lifeless, making for an uneven and often frustrating listening experience. This time out, the band have ironed out most of the kinks, making the majority of Empty Hands And Heavy Hearts a dynamic and involving listen.
Forging a hooky hardcore sound that in places nods in the direction of Ignite, Evergreen Terrace and A Day To Remember, the quintet know their way around a gnarly riff and like to get up in the face of anyone listening, though it is in the more melodic moments that they make their mark. Among the bluster and aggression driving “Heavy Hearts” and “Wolves,” there is a palpable sense of pathos that is undeniable, while hookier tracks (“Erie,” “Paper Thin”) temper their melancholy with powerful triumphant overtones. As the band ramp up the drama, they grow more compelling: The ominous trudge of “Wormwood” stirs up an apocalyptic atmosphere, and the August Burns Red-esque “Valleys” demonstrates just how much power Close Your Eyes can pack into their melodies.
A few tracks on the album’s second half pass by without making much of an impact, though the one-two punch of “Scars” and “Heavy Hearts” ends things on a high. The latter culminates in an ethereal choral coda that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck—though the real lasting impression lies with the noise that precedes it.