Release date: 17th July
A Hero A Fake was formed in 2004, when three of the original members were still in high school. Who can blame them? Being in a band is so much cooler than gnashing your teeth over quadratic equations in maths or busting your balls over the combustion of potassium chlorate in chemistry. Who’d want to go home and sling their head into a revision book when they can go home and sling a guitar around their neck instead? I definitely wouldn’t have, but these guys are sort of dark horses as they carried on their education even though they were a band gaining momentum and recognition for their hard work and quickly-progressed sound. The members who were still in college would travel back and forth between college and their home town every weekend to write songs and to tour. If you think about this then you have a hell of a busy schedule on your hands, but the guys didn’t let anything stop them muddling the two together and their dedication was rewarded when they were signed to Victory Records in 2008 – who they’re still signed with to this day.
2008 saw the release of their debut album, Volatile, and 2010 saw their sophomore release, Let Oceans Lie, hit our iTunes, ears, music stores and letterboxes alike. Both albums showed a superior mature sound that belied the band’s young age – technically thrashy guitar riffs, polyrhythmic drums and gripping vocals – and an impressive following soon developed, which, in turn, helped the band to maintain their unparalleled devotion to their cause and, also, played a part in the band touring with the likes of Dr. Acula, Attila, Farewell To Freeway and Modern Day Escape. The band has also been featured in Alternative Press, Rock Sound, Metal Hammer and Kerrang! to name a few – showing that their sound has washed up on both sides of the Atlantic.
And their sound shows no sign of creeping back over the shores, either. In fact, listening to this album, the sound is going to keep on lurching and growing until it’s flooding everything in its wake. On their third album, the band sound stronger, more technical and efficient, and even more confident. Perhaps it’s a good thing that the members have now finished college and can focus fully on the band’s future. Because, in that case, there’s only better things to looks forward to. And that’s kinda scary.
Dead and Done begins with a jarring, spattering guitar riff that has a melody as catchy as it is heavy and the breakdowns which spiral out of the haunting harmonies throw all the skilful handiwork at the painted-glass window of the sound and smash it as it shudders against the floor and sails into the clouds. The shards of glass lay on the grass outside, which the drums do their best to clear up with the precise, tight and effective rhythm that’s deployed but it’s the vocals which really manage to kick the shards to the side. The vocals range from furious screams to verging on spoken-word and the clean vocals, although minimally used, add that much more style and harmony to the track.
Wild Fires will stick in your head just like the burning flames of a forest fire permeate the fresh mountain air and reduce the trees to stumps. The guitars dual against each other, wrapping and crunching and falling against each other, making for a technical, uncompromising sound that glides from straight-up melody to hard-hitting breakdowns that you’ll find really hard not to move along to. Pair these with the deep-seated vocals which snarl and clutch at your throat, you have perhaps the heaviest track on the album and the lyrics of And I’m heading for the hills will smoulder in your head as the dying embers from the forest fire get picked up and tossed into the wind.
Wasted Miles is all about the drumbeat. Yeah, the guitars may be delicately and strenuously picked – setting out the stalls from which the wave of sound can ride on – but the drumbeat here is so tight and effective that it really steals the show. Gluing the track together and cupping it in its hands, the vocals lap out of the water in the palms and gratefully let the clean vocals soar above and around the guitar riffs while the drumbeat crashes away relentlessly, like a buzzsaw grinding away, while the lyrics tell us about Wasted days and wasted miles.
Princess Of The Sun ends the album, and it ties everything up completely. The winding, technical, melodious guitars; the rabid, precise drumbeat; the deep, clingy bass-line; and the harsh vocals alongside the soothing clean vocals really utilise the most out of what A Hero A Fake have brought to the fore with this album. An experimental sound that’s also catchy as hell plunges out of this track, and ends the album on a none more suitable note.
With this album, the band have shown that things are only just starting. It may be their third release, but their sound keeps evolving and growing which shows that they’ve got a lot more life left in them. A Hero A Fake may end up to be heroes to a lot of people, but fake is something they ain’t.