Haste the Day are releasing their first album in five years, Coward, on May 19. The record is unique in that it will bring back every member from its decade long run as one of Christian music's top heavy bands.
After calling it quits in 2011, the band's desire to play together was reignited by the ten year anniversary show for their debut album Burning Bridges. From there a few of the band members gathered together to try and figure out what it would take to get a new Haste the Day album out. What followed was a successful IndieGogo campaign that raised $139,276 out of their $65,000 goal for a completion of 214%.
BREATHEcast had the opportunity to review the album a week before its release, and trust us, the fans will not be disappointed.
The album opens with the band's soaring guitars in the appropriately titled "Begin." Instantly the track inspires head banging and fast feet taps. The ringing out of the "You mean everything" line sounds full and beastly. Haste the Day lives again!
Next up is "Take" which was already released by the band. The song is a flurry of furious guitars and vicious singing. "We will never compromise because we know you are..." the awesome gang vocal chorus rings out before the "Take...Take...Take."
"World" comes in beautifully with melodic pretty guitars arranged before exploding from a build into the first verse. Aside from awesome guitar work, the drums on this track are so tight. The double bass and tom fills during the verse are superb. The chorus is extremely catchy as well, and features clean vocals done by at least two different members, and a gang vocal spot. "Is it enough to watch the world go by? To turn the page without reading the words...caught in the after life just waiting for the right time," the bridge plays out clearly. Those lyrics are so powerful, and carry such significant spiritual weight to them.
"Coward" practically opens up with a break down. With the double bass drum and bass blasting away together over the pulsing guitar, this title track proves its name. Think of this track as a metal worship song, especially with lines such as, "Praise be Your name in all the Earth (You'll sing my coward's song)...reign over, (I'm not strong enough), reign over (I'm not good enough)." Therein that part features a dynamic battle of a conversation, which is split by two different vocal parts. The main vocal giving adoration and acknowledging God's power, while the secondary screamed vocal focuses on the "coward" featured in the song.
Up next is "Lost." It gives off that same feeling with the disorienting opening of backwards sounding music. The fast paced song reflects the theme and the vocals feel the same way. "Going, going nowhere fast...I used to know, I used to know, the answer to every question/ But all the lines are blurred and they're going into gray," this is the perfect feeling of lost. It conveys lost through the directional sense, but most importantly through the mental sense. Someone who is lost just does not have any answers anymore. "We got lost following the wrong road," and who is the person to steer us back? Jesus is.
"Reconcile" starts with a barely audible and heavily effected sampled speech. HTD is at their melodic best on this track as the calm guitars and gentle bass plucks transition from part to part seamlessly. It all culminates into a quiet part that begins to fizz out. Then, wait for it...here comes the heavy. The vocalist is looking to be reconciled of his pain and have it "washed away." This part of the song is kind of like a prayer of desperation that comes out of the agony of being at the end of your ropes. The song ends symbolically with the chirping of birds and the sounds of a beautiful day.
"Shadow" sounds huge. The screams are guttural and as ferocious as ever. In contrast, the clean parts are as light as ever, and features female guest vocals. The ending of the song is terrific. The heavy chug of the guitars along with the screeching of what is a hauntingly atmosphere inducing synth pad, creates an amazing presence as the song comes to an end.
"Fail" is like a bomb going off from the first riff on. This song is straight hardcore, and continues at a break neck pace almost the entire way. The chorus injects nice clean vocals over the screams that then find each other for a really cool harmony. This song deals with the fear of failure, and letting down God down, "...I failed You once, what if it happens again?"
The following track is really cool because it features the entire original Haste the Day lineup on a track together for the first time since 2005. "Accept" is a nice throw back to the band's earlier albums and yet still fits flawlessly with every other track. The double bass drums by Devin Chalk are simply ridiculous. The song fades out with a tough question someone may ask themselves while in a trial, "Have I gone too far, away from all I know/ Have I gone too far, from You, from You?"
"Secret" opens up with just that - a whispered screamed revelation of, "All your secrets...hide in silence...how far down will you go?" The song is about building our walls up around and keeping God in the dark from our lives. We are "miles away," we are "disillusioned" and yet He will never let us go. This song contains some of the most powerful lyrics of the album.
Closing out the album is "Gnaw," which is the only song to feature Stephen Keech and Jimmy Ryan screaming. This song moves at blistering speed and connects the two vocalists with gang vocals in the middle. They then go back and forth with one another and for the first time HTD fans can hear the differences in the vocalist's screams side by side. Keech is more raw sounding while Ryan is purely guttural. At the four-minute mark perhaps the band's heaviest break down occurs with "I feel it gnawing from the inside, over and over." From there the music begins to deteriorate into a swash of effects and washed out vocals that leads to the siren like feedback of the end of the album.
All that can really be said is wow...this album is fantastic. From the opening riff to that noisy fade out, Haste the Day made up for a five year absence with what may even be considered their best record when it is all said and done. The band polished off some of their rust, and every member came together in an amazing way. The giant collaborative effort is definitely noticed on the record.
Coward is an amazing welcome back for the band who seemed to not miss a beat. It captures the essence of what the band was, and still adds the relevancy to stand up to any other band's album in the genre. The screams are dynamic, the guitars soaring, bass and drums driven, and the lyrics are vulnerable. Haste the Day reveals a lot about where they are in life now, and also share in the hope that comes with their belief.
The only question left... is this the end for them?
The album is available for pre-order here for just $8.99. The album can also be ordered on the Solid State website as part of a bundle.
The band has tickets on sale of a small CD release tour:
May 22 at Irving Plaza NYC, NY
May 29 at Marquis Theater Denver, CO
May 30 at Glasshouse Pomona, CA
June 6 at The Old National Centre Indianapolis, IN
Get links to the tickets here.