haste the day - dreamerWhile I can appreciate some good metalcore, the more poppy side of the subgenre grates on me considerably. I’m also not a Christian, not by any stretch of the imagination. But Haste The Day dig Jesus quite a bit — not that there’s anything wrong with that — and the songs on their new album Dreamer follow the predictable pop-metalcore format (screaming verses followed by a catchy, sing-song chorus interrupted by a chugging breakdown and closing out with more EMOtive singing). Suffice it to say, Dreamer is not for me.

There’s a lyric in the midtempo affair “An Adult Tree” where new vocalist Stephen Keech sings with conviction, “The breath of the fallen angel brings death if you breathe it in,” which may have prophesied the exit of former lead guitarist Jason Barnes due to the onset of his Atheistic tendencies. The bass and guitar of this outfit have never been a strongsuit, so there’s the hope they might find someone who will inject a little more bite into their sound. What does work well are the much-improved drumming of Devin Chaulk (who, it was recently revealed, has also left the band) and Keech’s vocals, which resemble Unearth frontman Trevor Phipps’ growl. His clean singing is pretty impressive as well, showcasing a principled delivery. But the metalcore-by-numbers approach has a numbing effectl what’s going to happen next is always predictable. I guess there are those who might find that comforting in some way but I’d rather be treated to a few surprises here and there. This material is just too safe for its own good.

“Sons Of The Fallen Nation” features snakey licks and the melody is very warm and bright while the pulse is infectiously driving. The breakdown is a brief moment of crisp palm muting that doesn’t come across as overwrought. It’s one of the more varied and well-written compositions. “Babylon” has some impressive shredding that borders on the eerie.

But an ill-conceived ballad called “Labyrinth” destroys the momentum built up to that point and the album ends with an acoustic number called “Autumn,” a remake of a track from their self-released debut that makes for a meandering, anticlimactic end, though any long term fans would probably disagree. Fortunately the album doesn’t overstay its welcome, coming in just under forty minutes. While Dreamer marks Haste the Day’s best effort to date it ultimately still falls short; there are no revelations to be had with Haste The Day, and a sanitized message and sterile music are the best you can hope for.


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