The glorious institution of modern metalcore has an interesting problem with quality control.
Adestria’s hit-or-miss nature has translated well to sophomore record Gilded Hearts, and in this case the problem is much more evident; the entire first half of the album is utterly forgettable and boring, but the remaining half displays a much more songwriting-proficient side of the band. Starting with the track “Blinders” onward, the musicianship is much more cohesive and noteworthy than the first half. Almost every single musician performs better than usual; the screams are more urgent, and several transitions are executed with impressive flare and memorable riffage. Interestingly enough, the band relies less on clean vocals this time around, consigning them to fill a backup role, while focusing instead on crushing guitars and the very talent-driven harsh vocals. Production-wise, the band is extremely solid. The harsh vocals are coarse and varied enough to be convincingly authentic, and this is balanced with well-layered and richly mixed instrumentation.
Unfortunately, Adestria is seemingly afraid of stepping out of its comfort zone for long, still sounding safe in a genre where the last word any band would want to associate with its badass hardcore sound is “safe”; the unabashedly generic yet catchy metalcore machine easily runs out of steam given enough replays. Still worthy of a few halfhearted head-bangs though.
Recommended listening: tracks 5-10