The Neon Handshake review by Hell Is for Heroes

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  • Released: Mar 11, 2003
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (13 votes)
Hell Is for Heroes: The Neon Handshake

Sound — 8
I first discovered Hell is for Heroes about a year and a half ago, and a couple of months after that I was unexpectedly graced by their live performance - a support slot with Feeder. To say their sound is dynamic would be an understatement. The sheer energy that goes into each and every song is something I find missing from a lot of albums, and is what, for me, makes them so good. The sound itself is not perfect, admittedly. It is a mix between emo-core and typical straight modern rock riffs, with the lyrics and image also tipping them closer towards the former. The way in which the band produce and perform such brilliant riffs is what makes them stand out. You only have to see the live show or any one of their videos to see the passion and effort put into the music, and the end result is highly credible indeed. Simple melodies over the top of powerful chords blend together to form a sound that, whilst not exactly original, is very catchy and easy to get into.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on this album is what, for me, gives the band that hint of emo quality. They generally tell the story of feeling alone in a world of corruption ("Few Against Many"), general melancholy ("Retreat", "Slow Song") and, of course, there's the ultimate 'let go' song in "You Drove Me To It". Overall, the lyrics are well written and blend nicely with the music, whether in the louder songs such as "I Can Climb Mountains" or in the songs such as "Cut Down", to which I challenge you not to have an uncontrollable urge to jump aimlessly around your room. The vocals are also of a high standard, and are a mix of singing and screaming, both of which are flawless.

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, it's a great album, and one I would not hesitate to buy again if lost. The only thing I would complain about is the irritating way in which the songs can sound so samey, for example in "Nightvision". However, for the most part this is a worthwhile purchase, particulalry for anyone into gigging in small, intimate venues with heaps of energy and buckets of sweat. Key songs include the crushing opener "Five Kids Go", "You Drove Me To It", "I Can Climb Mountains", "Few Against Many" and "Nightvision". It's loud, it's infectious, and above all it's damn good.

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