Empty Hands And Heavy Hearts

Close Your Eyes

Victory, 2011

http://http://www.victoryrecords.com/closeyoureyes

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/08/2011

With guitar distortion and a 1-2-3-4 stick click, Close Your Eyes launch their sophomore release. Perhaps because their debut was not released all that long ago (and reviewed here just two days ago), there are not a lot of differences between the two releases. Yet I still managed to lose myself in the 45 minutes it takes the band to play these 12 songs.

It does not take long for the band to make me ponder my place in the world. In “Empty Hands,” the lyrics “Every day I ask for this to change / There was a fear / inside of me / a fear that made me question who I am / and why I am so capable of such horrible things” make me question my actions in the past. They make me think about what is preventing me from being who I want to be as a father, husband, and son. In the same way that the lyrics make you question your life, there is hopefulness in the lyrics when, in “Paper Thin,” the line “you whisper life into my soul” floats as delicately as is possible for a hardcore band. In “Injustice,” lyrics like “I will be the difference and I will make a change” are inspirational. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

One striking difference between last year’s We Will Overcome and this album is the song called “Wormwood.” It is the highlight of Empty Hands. For once, the music is not an all-out assault on the ears, and the vocals are sung in a style that you can understand, with traditional hardcore-style shouted background vocals. The best I can do to describe it is that this song is a fluid leak under your vehicle in the garage. A drip lands on the concrete and, through no effort of yours, the spot expands until you think you have a huge issue and end up paying big bucks to get it fixed. “Wormwood” is that drip that expands and expands. The lyrics and music go through various incarnations throughout the song until it ends.

Close Your Eyes follows up their impressive debut with another 45 minutes of hardcore Christian music on Empty Hands And Heavy Hearts. There are as many, if not more, questions and statements to ponder on this release, beginning with the opening track, which presents a confrontation in the form of a question: “How long have we been living without purpose?” Close Your Eyes load the rock in the slingshot within that first line, and this confrontational attitude does not cease until the last note of the last song. I am eagerly awaiting their third release already.

Rating: A

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