WORDS: Jim Forsyth
Roll back to November 2013, Milton Keynes based tech-death quintet HEART OF A COWARD have just released their 2nd album and this time it was under Century Media – this album was Severance.
Severance was released to critical acclaim, gaining reviews to rival their first album Hope and Hindrance, and this set a bar for the 5-piece to reach. Fast forward to now and almost 2 years later the boys are set to release a new album, Deliverance.
Deliverance has hit that bar and then some, this album is a lot more dramatic than that of Hope and Hindrance or Severance – and there are a few things that the aforementioned lack that this new installment throws at you. Each album has cemented its position in the band’s career and journey as musicians, Hope and Hindrance was a surprising success and put the boys collective foot in the door that is the music industry whilst Severance ripped off its hinges.
So what does this new record have to offer? Opening track Hollow and Turmoil’s part 1 and 2 were released ahead of the new album itself offering up a preview of what we can expect. Throughout the album brutal technicality and riffage is very much there, true to form with the band’s roots. Miscreation sits between the pre-released tracks and is ear punishingly heavy, especially as it breaks down at 3:25, the band’s tightness shows immensely here.
Tracks such as Anti-life and Grain of Sand give off the same vibes and aggression that was so present on Hope and Hindrance, comparable to Shade and Killing Fields – these are punchy and powerful songs that pound and drum a strong rhythm that you can’t help but air drum too.
The two-part concept is a road untraveled by HEART OF A COWARD unless you count Dead Seas (Part One) (which never actually saw its Part 2), so the fact that Deliverance features two 2-part songs is impressive to say the least. However the first Turmoil very much switches up between each part – only joining together with a lead in at the last verse of the first part. Skeletal is a different beast entirely, treat this as a 10 minute 17 second long epic that is full of drama; harmonies, effects, riffs, beats. It is simply incredible to see what a band like HEART OF A COWARD can do when songs and themes can be interlinked to create one (in 2 parts) spectacular chain of tight, techy and dramatic sounds that really get the listener to feel the music.
Deliverance undoubtedly has some big shoes to fill, the aggression in these songs have been substituted for tightness and emotion. This is a very kinetic album that fills the room with every track, yearning for you to get involved, Severance was the muscle in the roster, Deliverance is the brains, emotion and rawest of power. You can feel the work that has been put into crafting these songs, the thoughts behind every note, this album totally stands up to that of its predecessors and marks a hat-trick for 3 fantastic albums for HEART OF A COWARD.
Deliverance is set for release on October 2nd via Century Media Records