Sound — 7
One of the many bands that came from the American metalcore boom of the 21st century, For The Fallen Dreams hit their stride in the scene with their second album, "Relentless." This put them on the map as a noteworthy name in a sea of metalcore bands - so much so, that their next two albums, "Back Burner" and "Wasted Youth," were produced by A Day To Remember's Tom Denney. Along with those albums being produced by Denney, they were also known for their sound straying away from the metalcore style For The Fallen Dreams originally started with, and started to incorporate pop-punk elements (much like A Day To Remember's later-era sound). While this fusion has indeed worked for bands like A Day To Remember, the change in sound was met with meager reaction, and fans of For The Fallen Dreams' earlier works protested for a return to the band's heavier style. Though it's only been two years since their lukewarm fourth album, For The Fallen Dreams returns with their fifth album, "Heavy Hearts," and the result of this album should be a delight for those that disliked the watered-down metalcore found in "Wasted Youth."
"Heavy Hearts" goes back to the loud and heavy metalcore sound that you'd find on For The Fallen Dreams' earlier albums, and stays with it throughout the album. Monstrous chugging rhythm chords populate the verses and breakdowns, fast double-bass rolls come often, and the only clean vocals you'll find on the album are in "Dream Eater" (courtesy of guest vocalist Garrett Rapp of The Color Morale), and in "Smelling Salt" (courtesy of guest vocalist Landon Tewers of The Plot In You). While the album generally stays in the same gear of mid-to-high tempo metalcore, "Endless" attempts to be a slow jam while still equipped with a colossal metalcore sound, but with a meager amount of progression, the song ends up being a drag on the album. Melody-driven elements are found mainly in resonant lead guitars in the choruses that do what they can to peek out from the cacophony of the powerful rhythm guitars, and while some of these attempts seem to go in vain, the melody shines brightest in "Bombay," where the clean guitar line is reinforced with synth pads, as well as "Lights," which includes a nice, harmonious interlude. The real MVP of the album is the drummer, Navid Nagdhi, who's also the newcoming member of the band. You'll find plenty of fantastic and frenetic drum-fills throughout the album, but the most impressive take of his is in "Dream Eater," where the elongated buildup to the breakdown allows him to perform a ceaseless flurry of snare and tom rolls.
Lyrics — 5
The lyrical aspect is as conventional as you can get for the genre. Lyrical themes are very run-of-the-mill, wielding a lot of hardcore bravado throughout the album. Whether directed towards bettering oneself, like in "Emerald Blue" or "Unfinished Business," or directed as harsh criticism of society or people that are less hardcore, like in "Choke" and "Mimic," the lyrics are as blunt as you can get (such as "I want to put you in the ground/ you f--king punk, you brought this all on yourself/ stand up and face me like a man" in "Choke") and contain hefty amounts of clichéd lines - you'll find done-to-death lines like "fight for your life," "fight for your passion," and "live in the moment and swing for the fences" in "Emerald Blue" alone, and there's plenty more in the nine other tracks. You'll find nothing very imaginative in these lyrics, but then again, if you're in search of lyrics with high artistic value, metalcore would not be the first place to look.
Overall Impression — 6
Plenty of people will be happy that For The Fallen Dreams included no traces of pop-punk and dove back into the deep end of metalcore. Outside of that, though, the album from front to back isn't the strongest composition - there's a distinguishable line between the songs that are memorable and the ones that aren't, and the single metalcore gear the album stays in starts to get stale at the second half. However, it is stronger than their previous album, and if all you're looking for is For The Fallen Dreams' older sound, this will certainly satisfy.