April 19th 2011
Release length: 19:42
One of the things that do stand out with Heart-Set Self-Destruct is the band’s more emotionally driven performance. The vocals sound passionate towards many of the songs on here, including the rather dark, though more Mainstream Punk fused sound of the song that creates a rather catchy and easy-going song that has top twenty Billboard written all over it. But, aside that more emotional performance and slightly darker sound, there’s nothing really that distinguishes this band from the many others in today’s Alternative/Mainstream Rock scenes. The song itself feels extremely unoriginal despite being a very catchy track, and that is a problem that continues throughout the EP. “Rain” has a slightly more dynamic vocal performance outside of being a bit more emotional through some deeper vocals that suit the darker atmosphere, but this track in itself again does not sound unique at all, and that more Punk vibe has been replaced with more generic Alternative Rock that sounds like the song you’d hear the second you turn on any modern Rock radio station, and the twenty songs that follow it.
With its lack of originality, there are two bands that really spark to mind with this effort, but it’s more so due to the amount of exposure to them really. The music can seem to take on a more Breaking Benjamin vibe, as well as a strong Tool presence. However, acts like Puddle of Mud and many others like it cannot be dismissed as well, though the first two really shine through with the track “Collapse”, which sounds like a carbon copy of the two bands just spliced together well enough that they do manage to flow from one passage to another, though the music itself doesn’t really work too well. The heavy Tool influence in the beginning gives a bit of a crushing, angry approach to the song with a more dismal approach and some slightly technical-in-timing riffs, which is then immediately given way to a brighter, generic chorus that clashes horribly with its simpler hook-driven chords. Even the heavier bridge that hits after the second chorus feels more aggressive and suiting to the Tool aspects, though the lighter, more-airy chorus feels greatly out-of-place, and shows the limited vocal range as there are plenty of times, especially at the end, you just wait for the vocalist to really belt things out, but instead sings in the same lower pitched voice with some low volume vocals in the background that sound like screams. Yet the song “Divide”, which is a very bland song that feels more like filler finds a stronger vocal performance and random screams that aren’t in the background, and with this track the music doesn’t leave the listener craving that sort of energetic performance at all, coming off a bit more like a filler track then anything else.
While the band has a bit of an emotional and passionate vibe at times, there’s no way to put the generic and stereotypical approaches out of mind. “Monster” in itself is a good track that is catchy and has a darker atmosphere, “Useless” shows off a good amount of vocal range in a proper manner with an energetic track that makes it a little more than your typical Alternative Rock song, but other than that, it just sounds like idol worship. Between odes in the music and vocal approaches similar to that of Tool and A Perfect Circle, Breaking Benjamin, Puddle of Mud, even Stained at times, it’s hard to listen to this album and say that it’s unique. However, it’s far from bad, and for the Alternative Rock style it does capture what many people happen to like about it well and, with its stylish production quality with catchy, accessible songs, there’s no doubt that Heart-Set Self-Destruct is a band that is going to go places in the music industry, but whether or not the band can break the restrained mold that many of the stereotypes they restrain themselves with on this album due to the typical idol worshipping of bigger bands in their field is something only time will tell.
01. Monster – 3:28
02. Rain – 4:08
03. Collapse – 4:09
04. Divide – 3:58
05. Useless – 4:00
|Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10
via Freeman Promotions.