Heartless – Certain Death Review

Heartless // Certain Death
Rating: 1.5/5.0 — Short but not scho schweet.
Label: Halo of Flies (NA) | Alerta Antifascista (EU)
Websites: Facebook.com/heartlesspgh | Myspace.com/heartlesspgh
Release Date: Out now!

certaineathThis hardcore punk band is right. Death is the horizon beyond which one cannot see, but the Heidegger-ish album title would be more impactful if the song lyrics actually related to the German existentialist’s philosophy.

You see, this Pittsburgh group has lyrics dripping with the stale venom of bitter angst, which seems to be directed at society. (What’s new, right?) But Happy Metal Guy isn’t too sure about that, because the lyrics are too cryptic for anyone’s good. If you want your audience to attempt to understand your point of view, at least string together a bunch of more coherent phrases. Phrases like “doom struck echoes torment” from the song “Certain Death” just don’t cut it. And look, of course song lyrics don’t need to have the same level of clarity as normal writing, but the very use of language itself serves the purpose of transmitting information. Stringing together a bunch of what seems to many people to be incoherent phrases just doesn’t transmit information at all and seems utterly pointless. Veterans like Hatebreed and The Casualties released new albums recently too, and although their music is anything but fresh, at least their lyrics are comprehensible and make sense.

As for the music, welp, Heartless plays straightforward and forgettable hardcore punk, so there is no variety of chords to speak of here. But you were already expecting that when you saw the album artwork, didn’t you? That spectacular and refreshing blend of black ‘n’ white just strikes one as being utterly transcendent and straddling the boundary between high- and low-culture art; a sure sign of chug-chug-chugga-chug-chug music about why society has wronged individualistic people. The music does sound earnestly raw and works well in portraying the band as a true-to-the-bone underground hardcore punk band, but as a result, it pales in comparison to and cannot ever hope to reach the transcendent heights of its oh-so-postmodern visual counterpart.

The album begins with the mean-sounding “Ruin” that goes chug-chug-chugga-chug-chug-chugga-chug, then there’s the mandatory breakdown to build up anticipation, before it goes chug-chug-chugga-chug-chug-chugga-chug-chug again. Actually, Happy Metal Guy is not even sure if there’s supposed to be one more chug in that second string of chug’s and chugga’s, but whatever. One more chug in the onomatopoeia wouldn’t really make a difference because the music here seems to be composed of the same few chords over and over again.

Heartless-2The rest of the album sounds more or less similar, and as one progresses through the crusty filth, one will start wondering if the same song has been played ten times repeatedly by mistake. Oh yeah, there is the utterly essential 20-second ‘song’ in the form of “Excess” too, which, well, sounds like excess, because it’s basically an excuse for the band to fill up more space on the vinyl record and feel accomplished that they have one more recorded song under their belts.

On the bright side, this record is really short, as it clocks in at only 11 minutes and 6 seconds. It will be over before Between the Buried and Me can even collectively say, “Soundche-”

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