The Heartland – Demo / 2005 Self-Released / 4 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/theHeartland / Reviewed 06 July 2005
The guitar work on this demo has to be some of the most intense shredding since the Bill and Ted sequelâ€™s soundtrack, and that is saying much (considering that Kissâ€™ cover of Argentâ€™s â€œGod Gave Rock And Roll To Youâ€ was only the second best track on the disc). The combination of screamed-out vocals and breakneck-speeds on the rest of the instrumentations means that The Heartland has a tremendous amount of trouble trying to come up with continually-interesting music that is bereft from anything that could be considered repetitive. While the music is intense, there does not seem to be a track on this demo that really showcases The Heartland as being truly single-friendly. The interesting thing about tracks like â€œBurdens of Bitternessâ€ is that The Heartland does not just go flip-mode in their downtime (down-tempo sections of their instrumentation) in regards to the vocals.
The throat-reddening, crunchy vocals of Lance happen regardless of what exactly the rest of The Heartland is doing, and to really go forth with this construct is something that is more than exciting. It is during â€œLloyd Braun Sells Another Computerâ€ that The Heartland really begin to shine. For, this is the track where the entire band audibly gets kicked into high gear, something that is heard during the double-bass hits of Alâ€™s drumming. Another interesting thing about this demo is that The Heartland really go forth and build their reputation with each subsequent track. This is perfectly evidenced during the ultimate track, â€œThey Make Awful Music Togetherâ€. The track incorporates an amount of harmony to The Heartland that was not previously heard; the vocal breakdown half-way through the track and the pit-worthy guitars present on the track are just two of the reason why this album is so essential.
While there is no doubt that The Heartland play a heavy brand of music live, the studio is where they really make their biggest strides. The perfectly-mastered recording of this disc (done by Deathtrax in Upper Sandusky, Ohio) really allows the nuances of the band to shine in a way that they never could be in the constantly-changing setting of a live show. Pick this album up and keep a tap on The Heartland; while the live and the studio Heartland will provide listeners with two distinct and different sounds, what issues forth is an intense brand of metal-laced hardcore that will excite a listener with the inclusion of small amounts of punk and emo throughout.
Top Track: They Make Awful Music Together