A lot has been going on for Ohio’s screamo act Hawthorne Heights since their last release. Having said goodbye to a friend and band mate as well as dropping a lawsuit with Victory Records, the band continues to cope and mature throughout. Not letting the past affect them in a downward way, the band proves they refuse to stop with Fragile Future, their third release on Victory Records.
On November 27, 2007 Hawthorne Heights guitarist/screamer Casey Calvert was found dead on the band’s tour bus just prior to their sound check at a Washington D.C. music club. The cause of death was determined to be a possible drug interaction but according to the band’s drummer Eron Bucciarelli it was not a result of hardcore partying but an accident as Casey Calvert was taking other medicines from a recent root canal.
With the death of a loved one the band stated they would continue to go on and never add another guitarist/screamer to their band. After taking some time to themselves and writing new material the band hopes to once again achieve success with Fragile Future even though this time they are one man down.
Of course, the first thing that stands out on this release is the omitted vicious screaming. It would appear that Hawthorne Heights did not even wish to replicate their lost friend’s talent and that, to me, is respectable. Also dropping the lawsuit with Victory Records and patching up past decisions proved the band is on the rise.
When “The Business Of Paper Stars” started I was waiting for the well known screaming backing up lead singer J.T. Woodruff but instead imagined it in my head. There is plenty of opportunity in the song for screaming but the band strays away from that and is now more emo.
Their healed sound continues in “Until The Judgment Day” with memorable lyrics of being “battered and broken” as well as “don’t look back, don’t you ever look back until the judgment day”. Looks as if the band put down the boom box to win the girl attitude and started to see there are more things in life out there.
“Four Became One” was the track I was looking for on this CD, knowing how they lost Casey Calvert. The song really is about the band’s closure with the difficult situation they were subject to. It’s an ode to their friend for the entire world to hear. Having lost friends in my past, I felt their pain in this song.
“321” is the closest song on the CD that shows aggression with a mild screaming dwelling behind the singing. The guitar playing is likable and heavier than the other tracks making for one of my choice cuts. “Come Back Home (Reprise)” was another track that held on to the the old style, especially with borrowed lyrics from “This Is Who We Are” off their sophomore album If Only You Were Lonely.
Fans of Hawthorne Heights will be happy the band continued on and with their change of style and I can see some new folk becoming fans. It is a change, especially if you put this CD in hoping to hear the screamo. This is not their strongest album to date but the fact that they did not let the past hold them back makes them a tough band now. Hawthorn Heights defines the emo genre now that they have experienced true sorrow. Mature and structured, I expect much more from this band in years to come.
Check out their lastest video for the song “Rescue Me”: