Fragile Future Review

artist: hawthorne heights date: 10/20/2008 category: compact discs
hawthorne heights: Fragile Future
Released: Aug 5, 2008
Genre: Emo, Pop punk, Alternative rock
Label: Victory
Number Of Tracks: 12
The third full-length studio album by Hawthorne Heights. It is their first album to not feature guitarist Casey Calvert, due to his death in November 2007.
 Sound: 8.2
 Lyrics: 8.8
 Overall Impression: 8.4
 Overall rating:
 8 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.5 
 Users rating:
 7.4 
 Votes:
 31 
reviews (5) 18 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.3
Fragile Future Reviewed by: UG Team, on september 08, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: When Hawthorne Heights endured the loss of guitarist Casey Calvert in 2007, the Dayton, Ohio, band had to overcome more than just the emotional aspect of losing a friend. In writing their latest album Fragile Future, the usual songwriting format was scrapped and the quartet found itself experimenting with everything from organs to strings. The result is an album that leans heavy on the pop side, and in a way that suits the cherubic vocal style of JT Woodruff. There are some surprisingly innovative moments with their instrumentation, but for the most part it's an album full of pleasant pop songs. There is a decided lack of the trademark screaming that was included in Hawthorne Heights' earlier work, and that absence does create a very different vibe to the tracks on the Howard Benson-produced Fragile Future. If the screaming was an aspect that you loved about the band, you'll be sadly disappointed with the new record. In terms of the songwriting, screaming certainly isn't necessary this time around. It's obvious they took more of a pop approach, and the addition of screaming would probably stick out like a sore thumb on some of these tracks. With or without screaming, the overall sound on Fragile Future can at times be run of the mill. The opening track 'The Business of Paper Stars' does lead in with a heavy rock into, but it immediately transitions to a restrained, laid-back vibe during the verses. This does tend to be a common format to the songs, and usually it's the vocals that are given the full attention. In fact, it is the impressive vocal layering that often stands out the most. While as a whole Fragile Future doesn't make a huge impression, there are a few tracks that offer some interesting sections. 'Until The Judgment Day' beings like any other pop rock track until you hit the halfway mark. It's at that point when there's a strange transition that you might get in an epic-type song. The section only lasts for about 20 or 30 seconds, but it's a refreshing change from the usual pop format. 'Sugar In The Engine' allows Woodruff the opportunity to sing in a lower register, and it gives the track a more mature sound. 'Corps of Corpses' goes out on a ledge by incorporating almost a circus-like organ in it's intro and it's very possibly the coolest moment on the album. // 7

Lyrics: The passing of Calvert did have an impact on the band, but it's only lyrically evident on the track 'Four Become One.' It's a touching ode to the former guitarist with lyrics such as, 'And you will live on/ Our hearts will beat stronger/ As we remain as one/ We will last just a little while longer.' The rest of the album does tend to revolve around the usual relationship themes, so 'Four Become One' immediately stands out as being the most heartfelt and honest track among the bunch. // 8

Overall Impression: There is a distinct change in sound on Fragile Future, and Hawthorne Heights should be applauded for trying out new instrumentation and ideas. It's great to hear some piano in the finale 'Come Back Home' or even a straightforward rock sound in '321', but for the most part the album does have a very heavy pop feel to it. It's possible the inclusion of screaming could have added a bit harder edge, but in the end the band does tend to stick with a pop formula. Fragile Future is impressive in terms of production, however, and it's an album that deserves a few listens to hear all of the layers and textures that were recorded. // 7

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overall: 9
Fragile Future Reviewed by: firsttoknow, on august 26, 2008
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The overall sound of the album was pretty good. This was by far the softest record (which was expected). One of their guitarists Casey Calvert (who was also the screamer) died while the record was only partly completed, so part of the album was dedicated to him, such as part of the artwork and the song "4 becomes 1". I think the album suffered a little from losing him, as he wasn't replaced. Obviously there was very little screaming on the album, and more acoustic/clean guitar was used then on previous records. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics in this album were better then in the previous two when it comes to meaning. You could tell that this was a very emotional album. The vocals always matched the music well. The album would have been much better with more of Casey's screaming, but JT got even better at vocals, so they sounded amazing nonetheless. // 10

Overall Impression: Even though I liked the previous two albums better (mostly because they included more of Casey) this record impressed me. The most impressive songs to me was "Rescue Me", which had the best sound to it, and "4 becomes 1" which had the most meaning. I loved how deep this album was, but i hated the lack of screaming from Casey. If this were stolen, I would get it again. // 9

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overall: 7.7
Fragile Future Reviewed by: somethingcool4u, on august 29, 2008
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This album was no more than I'd expected from the ohio band Hawthorne Heights. The riffs were catchy and the production overall ok but this is not an album I could listen to over and over again. It is definitely the most clean and calm album out to date but it has it's momments of strong riffs, clashing melodies, and even some solos! Without Casey Calvert it seems the band lost it's fire to create another "Silence in Black and White" especially since there was no screaming. It makes sense that the album turned out the way it did because I could see a transformation from "Silence... " to "If Only... " // 8

Lyrics: JT's lyrics have never impressed me so I'm not holding this to a very high standard. I liked this cd's lyrics much more because he had something deep and emotional to write about. I'd much rather hear that then hearing lyrics about girlfriends back home but that's my opinion. These lyrics impressively fit the sound very well. Much more mellow and soft for a much more mellow sound, That was a plus. JT has a very emotional voice and can show you that he passionately believes what he is singing, but he doesn't change anything between songs. What I'm getting at is that every song begins to sound the same. // 7

Overall Impression: It is my second favorite album because it lacks the traditional Hawthorne heights sound but then again it has brought a new perspective to there music. If only You Were Lonely is by far my least favorite except for the singles This Is Who We Are and of course one of the best HH songs to date Saying Sorry. No, Fragile Future blows that one out of the water. 01. "The Business of Paper Stars" - 8/10 a good way to start the album strong but I like the best songs to start so I think Rescue Me should have taken it's place. 02. "Rescue Me" - 10/10 excellent song and the best on the cd. 03. "Until The Judgement Day" - 9/10 I liked it a lot because it has great melody throughout the entire song. 04. "Somewhere In Between" - 10/10 this is my second favorite. 05. "Sugar In the Engine" - 8/10 very strong intro but it loses it's intensity later in the song. 06. "Desperation" - 7/10 this reminded me of a song off the last album, which was good to mix things up on the album but it's a little bland. 07. "four Becomes One" - 9/10 fourth best song on the album, by far some of JT's best lyrics he's ever written. 08. "321" - 6/10 JT's voice is annoying in this song, definitely One of the fillers. 09. "Disaster" - 8/10 it's a farely good ballad that everyone has heard before, In other words nothing special. 10. "Let Go of Everything You Know" - 9/10 it is upbeat and different. I liked it alot! 11. "Corps of Corpses" - 7/10 it's ok... nothing great 12. "Come Back Home" - 10/10 my third favorite, I absolutely loved the end when they brought back "This is who we Are"'s chorus, That was genious! Overall if this CD got stolen, I'd probablly buy it again. It's a must have for die hard HH fans and for anyone who didn't like them previously I would recommend this CD because it's much different. // 8

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overall: 8.3
Fragile Future Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 08, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Their sound is more or less what people today would call "emotional hardcore/pop rock", on their previous albums, they were more depressing and screamo sounding. On Fragile Future, they sound is a little more poppy, and not as sad sounding. I understand this, though, as their screamer/guitarist passed away in November '07, Casey Calvert(R.I.P). One thing that surprised me is the number of guitar solos, like in Corps of Corpses and Rescue me, there are on Fragile Future. They usually(and bands in their genre generally) don't have many guitar solos, but Micah Carli, their lead guitarist, doesn't disappoint me in this one. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are, as Hawthorne Heights' lyrics usually are, very personal and emotional. They combine very emotional and catchy choruses with great verses, which forms into deep songs we can all relate to sometimes. // 9

Overall Impression: Fragile Futures is, in my opinion, not as good as their other work (their 2 other albums) but is definitely worth the money. The other albums from them had more emotional verses and choruses, but this album has more catchy songs and riffs. I love how you can tell they really tried to put as much effort as they can in this album, which shows. I don't like how they kind of ignored their old fans(such as myself) who enjoyed their older work, as in, now their more 'poppy'. Overall, worth buying and if you don't like them, or never heard of them, give them a try. // 8

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overall: 10
Fragile Future Reviewed by: surfacing, on october 20, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Hawthorne Heights rose above a label disbute and marched on even after the death of a band member (Casey Calver, screamer and guitarist). They have the unique ability to blend melody and heavy guitars in a way that no one else can. The guitarwork in Fragile Future is beautiful and just as heavy as the guitarwork in "If Only You Were Lonely". "Somewhere In Between" I couldn't stop playing during the pre-release full album stream online. The fast-paced verses and emotional chorus work perfectly. That is some riff used for the breakdown. It illustrates Hawthorne Heights' trademark Drop D Flat style and reminds me of "Niki FM" in that respect. Some of these songs are tributes to Casey and some are on relationships. The first one is about record labels. This album blends metal, powerpunk, emo, and hard rock. I love it. The guitars are still heavy. These songs are perfect. Those of you who stopped listening to Hawthorne Heights when the screaming stopped--you are missing out. The clean vocals don't stick out at all; they blend very well with the music. You'd have to fool yourself into thinking there's going to be screaming in order to feel something lacking. Just accept the fact that the lyrics are clean. // 10

Lyrics: J.T. Woodruff's voice is so soothing to the ears and his contribution to Fragile Future proves it. His voice never cracks and his soft singing is just as powerful as when he belts out his lyrics. Towards the end of "The Business of Paper Stars," he sings in a low octave and then rises and the effect is exciting. He definitely sings more forcefully than he did on their sophomore effort "If Only You Were Lonely". For that album his voice was a little more than a whisper. The lyrics themselves leave a lot to be explored. However, we all know that "Four Becomes One" is a contribution to Casey Calvert. And Casey does deserve it. The lyrics are simple yet from the heart and the chorus raises spirits, for J.T. is saying all the band members are one just like they were from the start. It is unclear to me the significance of "Come Back Home," although it sounds like a song about a relationship in which the girlfriend has left for some time. I find it eerie that the song "Rescue Me" existed even before Casey died because the chorus fits the situation perfectly. I saw Casey playing Rescue Me at Warped Tour 2007. J.T.'s lyrics always go along with the music. I love the gang vocals on the breakdown of "321". It makes the song sound like metal. "Fragile Future" is obviously different from "If Only You Were Lonely" in that there is no screaming on "Fragile Future". Casey's screaming on their second album fit and added excitement, yes, and I did enjoy hearing that. But it definitely is time Hawthorne Heights put out an album with no screaming at all, and I was waiting for that day to come. It's just a shame it had to happen with a tragedy. I can't see any place for screaming on this album anyway. It's perfect the way it is. // 10

Overall Impression: The drums are crisp and loud. Kudos to Eron for doing a great job yet again. The bass line is nice, the guitars heavy and perfectly tuned to Drop D Flat, and J.T. Woodruff's voice is music to everyone's ears. A lot of bands don't use enough distortion on their guitars and their songs just lack that powerful rock sound. Hawthorne Heights still plays heavy. (Although their first album isn't as heavy as their second and third albums.) The best song off the album is "Somewhere In Between". Then follows "Rescue ME". I love the chord progressions, love the flow of the album and how great the band members sound together. I do wish they had done more gang vocals because it adds to the overall energy. I know they're trying to create an effect by playing softly for the verses of "Disaster" but I think they should have used a more metal approach to those parts of the song. Other than that, this album is perfect. If this album were stolen/lost, I would definitley buy it again. // 10

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