One quickly tires of a band who stick too closely to the confines of their adopted style (ahem, Travis) or who end up rewriting the same song in order to produce an album’s worth of material (� la Franz Ferdinand).
However, said bands surely endure less criticism than those pioneers of musical experimentation who, refusing to be labelled or boxed in, set about defying the rules of “genre”, and instead carve out their own sound from the outset.
Occasionally this approach results in multi-platinum scale success (System Of A Down, Rage Against The Machine). More oft than not however, those brave souls who attempt to chuck one too many spices into the pot end up not only spoiling the broth, but also causing those who’ve just ingested it to spew it back up violently.
Enter The Hurt Process, five young Brits who, despite a growing reputation for playing destructive live shows and carrying an impressive work ethic, have committed to tape a very difficult to swallow concoction. My desire here is not merely to dismiss the Southampton natives as yet another reason British metal has a bad name. After all, having seen this lot more than once, the energy and technicality in their efforts is nothing short of astounding. However, when it comes to documenting these labours of love, The Hurt Process seem to have missed out on a medal.
Exhibit A can be found in the shape of opening track Anchor, which opens with a breakneck riff, kicking through a swirling intro into some well-placed thrash metal triplets and lead guitar work that would stand tall next to Killswitch Engage. There’s even a promisingly gruff vocal to bark through the verses, but it’s as we reach the chorus that the problems begin. Dan Lawrence’s voice is very adept at the harsher side of his job but, alas, in the melodic arena he lacks presence and sounds more than just a little hoarse on the majority of occasions.
Boogie Nights is a very Jimmy Eat World, emotional rock affair, which seems where these lads seem most comfortable. However, they insist on trying to fuse this influence with the sound of Shadows Fall on numbers like Take To You and I’ll be blunt – it just doesn’t work.
A Mind With Two Faces slows things down some to the Hoobastank school of heartfelt ballads but it’s The Night Before The Morning After that crosses the line. I’m not against acoustic numbers, but this is the sort of song a 15 year old heartbroken kid writes in the wee hours only to wake up the next day and think better of it. It comes over as a poor attempt at emulating Dashboard Confessional with a guitar that’s been recorded with a capo so high it verges on becoming a mandolin.
On a brighter note, the LP’s title track is a quality slice of modern metalcore while one of the album’s heaviest outings, Delicious 5.3, gives bassist Duncan McGilvary a chance to shine as well as he does live, with Tom Diamond’s solid guitar work enjoying exposure too.
The Hurt Process are busy trying to break America, where hoards of screaming fans will no doubt flock to England’s answer to, er, Funeral For A Friend. However, in order to succeed in Blighty they’ll have to shed the plethora of divergent influences, or at least refine them into a more cohesive sound.