What? It’s no secret that the Hawthorne Heights guys have had a pretty rough go of it lately. So not only is it impressive that the Dayton, OH crew is releasing a new album at all, but also that they’re doing so through none other than Victory Records — the label with whom they’ve been embroiled in a legal battle of sorts since mid-2006 over things like unpaid royalties and tarnished reputations.
But with things seemingly patched up, the door is wide-open for Fragile Future, the band’s follow-up to 2006’s If Only You Were Lonely (which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts), to hit shelves on Aug. 5 and for the group to be welcomed back by throngs of outstretched arms full of Hot Topic rubber bracelets. Hawthorne Heights have indeed returned and they’ve brought the pop/rock choruses straight to the forefront, while letting the screamo-lite of their early days simmer off in the distance. And for a sneak peek of how their accompanying stint on the Projekt Revolution tour is going, check out the exclusive behind-the-scenesvideo they shot for us on the trek’s Pittsburgh stop.
Who? As if legal issues weren’t enough, Hawthorne Heights were dealt the ultimate blow in November 2007 when, two days into a headlining tour, guitarist and resident screamer Casey Calvert suddenly passed away from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. The remaining members — singer/guitarist J.T. Woodruff, guitarist Micah Carli, bassist Matt Ridenour, and drummer Eron Bucciarelli — decided not to replace their fallen friend and looked to channel their pain into an album’s worth of catharsis.
With this decision comes a noticeable lack of complementary throat screams on Fragile Future to rough up the silky emo melodies, but the unforgivably catchy lead single, “Rescue Me,” (check out a premiere advanced listen of the track below) makes it clear not everything has changed; Hawthorne Heights can still write songs that’ll crawl inside your head with or without permission. Polished rock anthems help fans tell off their exes, while a few sit-back-and-reflect songs like “Four Become One” and the drum machine-supported “Disaster” counter the high school drama with grown-up hardships survived.
Fun Fact: Hawthorne Heights have only just begun Projekt Revolution road duties, but they’ve already got their downtime prioritized — they devote at least four hours a day to Halo 3. And the guys don’t mess around; they’ve even created a spreadsheet to chart their kill/death numbers for bragging rights at the tour’s end.
Now Hear This: “Rescue Me”