Remember the band Hawthorne Heights from high school? Yeah the band that screamed and was depressing. Well, they’re back, and they’re back strong. Hawthorne Heights popularity and careers took a turn back in 2007 when their guitarist, and screamer, Casey Calvert died suddenly. They turned away from their punk/screamo music and made an album that was completely clean vocals, and they just didn’t sound the same.
Here they are now, 5 years after the fact, releasing a trilogy of EPs, and back to their old screaming ways. Micah Carli, the lead guitarist, took over the screaming role back in 2009, and he is doing great. Hope is the second part of the trilogy, and, man, did it rock my world.
“New Winter” is the first actual song on the EP after their short introduction song. Not having heard a new Hawthorne Heights song since their 2008 album Fragile Future I didn’t know what to expect. To my surprise, the song started off like the old Hawthorne used to; with screams. I was really excited for the screams, and even more excited to hear that this song is actually very good. It has their old sound, the punk/scream and the pop as well. Listening to this song made me remember the good ol’ high-school days.
“Running In Place (Niki AM)” threw me off at first. I only saw the “Niki AM” portion of the title and thought it was “Niki FM,” but it turns out its not. Fortunately, I like this song better than “Niki FM.” This song has a great riff with a very catchy chorus. Even though this song isn’t as “punky” as I like, it still has the intensity Hawthorne is notorious for. This song is the epitome of pop-punk, but it is still a great song that I am excited to learn the lyrics to.
“Stranded” is a song that is slower but builds into this intense chorus with a lot of screaming. Then it goes back to the quiet, relaxed verses. Songs like these remind me of Brand New songs off of Deja Entendu. The next song “Nowhere Fast” starts off with a nice bass line and a beautiful guitar riff. The whole song is this bass line and riff, and it is really a nice interlude of sorts for the EP.
The self-titled track “Hope” is a nice song that preaches about having hope. Its really a great song when your having a crappy day and everything seems to be going against you. It will give you some hope for better things to come. I haven’t heard a song this positive from Hawthorne Heights, well, ever. Its a nice change they incorporated.
“Vandemonium” is a song that straight up rocks. With heavy riffs and screaming, this song is one of my favorites off the album. The song reminds me a lot of Blink-182’s new album, minus the screaming. Its very fast and fun. “Chemicals” is the last song off the EP. It starts off with a good riff then moves into a heavy verse. The riffs are simple,but heavy, and there is screaming as well. The bridge to the chorus is very intense, and then the chorus comes in the rocks your face off. With clean vocals and background screams combined with the fast beat, this song is a really good way to go out.
This EP shows that Hawthorne Heights is back, and back with a vengeance. Rocking harder than ever, Hawthorne Heights is about to be back on the scene as an influential band that seems to be able to overcome anything, from depression to death.