Hand to Hand
Design The End/Follow The Horizon

Ok, there is something to be said for band’s who play this sort of Melodic Screamo music. The musicians can play, the vocalist (when he’s not enducing his own anyerism) can carry a tune and the musical arrangements take chops. So, I don’t want to sound like I can’t at least appreciate what they’re trying to do. It’s just that, overall, this kind of music is beginning to show the same kind of stagnation and monotony that the Hair Metal scene was showing in the late 80s/early 90s. Many of the bands became interchangable and now, seeing as we have the internet, these kinds of young bands are absolutely everywhere (I’m sure the Hair Metal band were too…we just didn’t have an internet to show them in their mass quantities).

Again, the guys in Hand To Hand can play. Drummers in this genre always impress me for their chops and stamina if nothing else. Vocally, I’m not a fan of the “scream until a blood vessel pops in your forehead” style and even when the singer begins to actually sing there is a sort of unappealing, juvenille air to the melodies…it’s melodic enough, it’s just also annoying. Many of the songs here are indistinguishable, at least to my ears, and if it weren’t for occasional bits of silence I would not know a new song was starting. They all carry the same “dig our chops” high-flying with screaming, dropping into a melodic chorus hook, breakdown, and back again…lather, rinse, repeat. I will say, though, that the last song, the 10-minute instrumental track “Let’s End This Album With A Party” was pretty cool…nice energy and, thankfully, no vocals…good showcase for the band showing off their obvious talent.

I can understand why younger kids could be into this. I can hear that the musicians in the band can play very well. But for all of it’s attempts at sticking melodic hooks amidst the overwrought note-storms and irritating screaming, it’s just boring. Oh, and they also lose points for the “15 minutes of silence before something stupid” at the end of the last track. That got old 15 years ago.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
May 9th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Nick A.

    Aneurysm. (sorry, I know im a jerk.)

  2. Commented by: Grist

    I’m still mad that “screamo” (which was always a dumb name anyway) doesn’t even mean what it used to. Obligatory “real screamo” list: Saetia, Orchid, You And I, Usurp Synapse.

  3. Commented by: plaguemyheavensblack

    Totally agree with “Grist”. that screamo thing has been pissing me off for years. These kids have no idea.

  4. Commented by: vugelnox

    ah Saetia, now thats exactly what comes to mind when I think of screamo. Neil Perry too. However even though those bands are pretty solid, this stuff doesn’t have much shelf life as Shawn pointed out. It was good for a limited period of time many years ago, but has long since been running on empty.

    Shawn I enjoy how you mentioned “well they CAN play their instruments” numerous times throughout the review. As if you were really struggling to find something nice to say about them! That undercuts just how mediocre and bland this sorta crap is these days.

  5. Commented by: elle

    I absolutely agree, this band is indistinguishable amongst the other bands in the hardcore genre. I love bands like Underoath and As I Lay Dying because their sound is refreshing and the lyrics have more depth. After listening to Hand to Hand, I was sure than the band could play, but not so sure they would last. I don’t have a problem with the unclean vocals but as you pointed out Shawn, the vocals are not very good, nor are they understandable (it couldn’t hurt for the vocalist to annunciate a bit more). Screamers like Spencer Chamberlain of Underoath are very crisp and clear despite his harsh screaming. As a listener, I appreciate when artist tries their best to actually be understood rather than to impress with “look how deep I can growl”. Oh and FYI to previous comments: “kids” are not the only people who listen to screamo, I know of adults 28+ who are huge fans of a lot hardcore screamo bands :)

  6. Commented by: jon

    I totally agree.
    The one thing I will say is they are at least not the worst new band out there

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