RATING: (10 out of 10) RELEASE DATE: July 5th, 2011 LABEL: Facedown Records REVIEWED ON: August 9th, 2011 REVIEWED BY: Brian MorrissetteREVIEW
Hands is considered a postmetal/hardcore band, which is even a stretch considering they really don’t fit into any genre. They have quietly released one more album on Facedown records, Give Me Rest. Creator, their first album, was received well by music critics, but for some reason they fell under the radar rather quickly. I really think that they will finally get some due credit this time around with Give Me Rest.
With this new album Hands come out with a more mature and crafted sound than with their first effort, Creator. I really like the major tweaks they have made to their sound on Give Me Rest. I think they have brought a totally new dimension to this album. They also dive deeper into some darker themes, which I will touch on later in this review.
Over the course of the last two years many things have changed for this band, including no touring and a hard, up-close look at their faith. It’s no wonder they have had a sound change, leaning more towards A Hope for Home essence. Hands is almost a new band but with the same members. I would say one thing has definitely not changed: their in-your-face style. Using that on Give Me Rest, they’re able to reach into the core of everybody’s worries and questions. They did it with not only amazing lyrics but also through the atmosphere that the music created.
This whole album just screams rawness for me, from the Native American drum beat beginning of I Will to the ethereal ending of Give Me Rest. Their sound leans from a style similar to Underoath and A Hope For Home to more of a Lydia or As Cities Burn feel. Some other metal bands with releases like this one have come close to having this same sound but have fallen short because of one thing: lacking a burning passion for what they’re doing. This album is definitely not lacking in the passion department.
Shane Ochsner's vocal performance is superb and blasted away all my perceived notions on what a "core" singer should sound like. I also liked and thought that the guest vocals by Nathan Winchell (A Hope For Home) on "Water" meshed well with Shane's voice. This combo of vocals makes "Water" a highlight of this album.
On that note, we go on into the part of the review where I talk a little about the lyrics, without giving away too much. These songs revolve around doubts, questions, and a longing for what is out there. When I was trying to write down a paragraph or so of words about what this album is all about, I found that I couldn’t quite put my finger on it all and decided that you’ll just have to listen for yourself to find out what all the “hub-bub” is about. One last thing I can say in closing about the lyrics, though, is that you should expect something challenging and worthwhile.
Note: On "Cube" there is what some would call a minor swear word, "God-damn this place," but it is in Biblical context. This really didn't bother me, but I thought I should probably mention this fact.
There is a plague of generic music hitting the metal scene today in which most bands all sound and look the same, no one is different, and nobody stands out. But then there are the rare few like Hands that are able to create something unique and new. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other bands sprouting up and copying Hands' organic sound here soon. But for now I suggest that you pick up this album as soon as possible because soon all your friends will be talking about this band. Don’t you want to stay ahead of the curve? Don’t you want to be able to say you were a fan before they blew up big time? Anyways, buy it! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
5/5 Stars: I know, I know, I give out 5-star ratings a lot, but if there was ever an album that deserved such a rating, it is this one.
Posted on: August 9th, 2011 PST By: Brian Morrissette