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Hand To Hand: A Perfect Way to Say Goodbye

Florida's Hand To Hand may be exactly what fans of melodic hardcore with emo-style vocals have been waiting for. Yes, A Perfect Way to Say Goodbye is highly melodic; it's filled with hook-laden guitar riffs, always placed neatly under the semi-screamed and semi-clean emo vocals of Brock Berryhill and Robert Kellom respectively. Berryhill also plays guitars and pretty much every song is opened with his and second guitarist Jay Vilardi's melodic guitar lines, as Berryhill also displays his angst-ridden side spewing out screechy vocal lines before the clean singer takes over and lays down his poppier, more accessible harmonies. While this may sound new and groundbreaking to the emocore audience, I still can't help but think it's just a less intricate and obviously less metallic approach taken from the Swedish Gothenburg scene.

The main difference between this type of music and Swedish melodic death metal is that, on albums like this, the guitars are no longer the lead instrument in the music. Rather, they are often watery and utilised to fills the gaps between the vocals and incessant double bass drum work. The are no lead riffs, let alone solos apparently. Everything is supposed to serve the vocals and make them more accessible. Judging by that, Hand To Hand does a great job, as all their songs are marked by fierce screams and contrasting melodic voices, and a suitable rhythmic awareness. Drummer Zach Swain actually stands out in some of the pieces, like the rhythmically challenging "Reused Decision", where he lays down the groove with great timing and variation. Even the guitar work is more ambitious on this track, alternating between electric leads and acoustic breaks. Most of the track is sung in clean vocals, except the chorus which is meant to sound evil. Not the best song you'll hear in this genre, but it works a lot better than the bass-ridden opening track, where the track is formulated by shifting vocal passages and a repetitive chord progression on the guitars. "The Arson" is another melodic numher, featuring a healthy dose of acoustic guitars, a small bass solo, shimmering cymbal work, and riffs with a great catchiness to them.

With all that said, Hand To Hand is basically just another hardcore band that will leave little to no mark on metalheads, but might find lots of appeal from the American emocore crowd. To be honest, I feel most of the American bands on Lifeforce Records pale in comparison to their European peers, with the exception of the amazing Withered. Then again, I'm still questioning why Withered are on Lifeforce, considering they play a great style of old-school death metal that bears no similarities to the other bands on their roster.

Track Listing

  1. Preamble
  2. Allude
  3. The Arson
  4. Insult with Injuries
  5. Reused Decision
  6. Predictable Gathering
  7. A Silver Medal
  8. Bravo
  9. In A Name
  10. Confiding In A Whisper

Added: April 11th 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Hand To Hand website
Hits: 2784
Language: english

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