For The Fallen Dreams
Heavy Hearts
(Rise Records)

Heavy Hearts is a record of “returns.” Not only is For the Fallen Dreams back with Rise Records (the label that helped make a name for the band), they’ve also re-enlisted Chad Ruhlig for lead vocals (who was on the team back during Changes, their first studio full length). While it utilizes clean vocals and melody to a minimum (compared to Wasted Youth), Heavy Hearts comes out swinging and keeps to its root strengths from start to finish.

Even though hardcore of late has fallen into a tendency of being generic in almost all manners, For the Fallen Dreams remain impressive with their fantastic instrumentation. The writing is diverse and shows surprising range, something not characteristic of this genre. And even though the vocals are mostly growls (only 10% or less of this record is sung), Chad Ruhlig comes out as a victor with his honest and gritty lyrics.

To no surprise, the best tracks of Heavy Hearts are the ones that take into account every element at the band’s disposal. “Dream Eater” and “Bombay” are the first to bring forth characteristics of their most recent records, while also keeping grounded in the days of Changes and Relentless (which probably features the band’s best sound). Then there’s “Smelling Salt,” the closer. It’s the largest sounding track the band has done in recent memory, and ends the record with a true powerhouse of emotion and frantic energy.

It would have been nice to hear more clean vocals on Heavy Hearts, but there’s not much else to complain about here. Rather, For the Fallen Dreams have crafted a truly defiant and memorable record that will likely charm longtime fans and new listeners alike. Heavy Hearts is a beast of an album that grows in appeal the more it is played, and that’s always a good sign. (Nathaniel Lay)

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