The Smoking Hearts – Victory! Review

The Smoking Hearts – Victory!

10/10

Ever since stumbling across The Smoking Hearts supporting a favourite band of mine in Cardiff all the way back in 2010 and consequently falling in love with their live show, I’ve been a big fan of theirs. All five members possessed a crazy amount of passion and energy, which captivated me right from the get-go.

Fast forward to 2013 and the release of their second album, Victory, which is their first release with their singer Ben Mills. This is an album I have been looking forward to hearing for quite some time, due to me being unable to afford to import it from Australia (where it was released last year), but I can whole-heartedly say that it was definitely worth the wait. To say it exceeds expectations is an understatement – speaking entirely honestly, this could well be my favourite release of 2013.

To put it simply: Victory is the perfect mix of melody and aggression. In my opinion it blows their previous release, Pride Of Nowhere, completely out of the water in comparison (and I loved that as well)!

Opening track Off With Your Head is full of momentum right from the get-go. Lasting at just over a minute long, it swiftly builds up energy until barrelling into the following track, Benedict, the two tracks seamlessly blending into one another.

Third track Seatbelts is the first single from the album. With an absolutely massive sing-along chorus (complete with gang vocals) and catchy guitar lines, it’s clear why – and it will surely be a staple of their live set for many years to come. This track is followed by Blue Nun, which opens with a riff that you can’t help but want to bang your head to, being so catchy that I know it will be in my head for days on end. Filled with passion and emotion, this is definitely one of the stronger tracks of the album.

Another of the stronger tracks is Stomper, which is a monster of song. It features some wonderfully noisy guitar-work accompanied a foot-tappingly brilliant drum line, and is a great representation of the amount of energy and madness that can be found at one of their shows. And speaking of great drumming, another song with an impressive drum line is the fantastic Sinking Ships. Each beat is perfectly executed by drummer Matt Taylor, a drummer whose style I greatly admire, and this track is probably the best example of it.

Penultimate track, Smoke And Mirrors, opens with some downright dirty-sounding notes from bassist Calvin Roffey, before the guitars and vocals kick in like a punch in the face. Loud and noisy, which is what they do best, the track also showcases an impressive (yet incredibly brief and to-the-point) guitar solo in the intermission, before an abrupt ending that leads the listener into final track Destroy.

Destroy is The Smoking Hearts’ upcoming single, which is without a doubt the best track of the album. It has one of the best choruses I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing, which is no mean feat given the amount of music I listen to! With the chanted line “this is time to destroy” sure to be stuck in many people’s heads for a long time to come after listening to this song (not to mention a perfect moment for crowd participation, having seen this one live), it’s the perfect closer to an all-round blinder of an album.

One thing is for certain – if this album is anything to go by, then 2013 is truly going to be the “time to destroy” for this up and coming band.

http://www.smokinghearts.com

About Natalie Humphries 1962 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: nathumphries@soundscapemagazine.com or @acidnat on twitter.

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