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01. Failure on My Lips
02. Only Our Faces Hide
03. Rise & Fall
04. Death to Traitors
05. Defect From Decay
06. Watching the Lines Blur
07. Inner Pattern
08. Aimless Endeavor
10. Insult to Injury
I had to say the emo/hardcore thing has been done to death, but then Beloved comes along and delivers a swift kick to my head. Somewhere between Poison the Well’s “Opposite of December” and Thursday’s “Full Collapse,” “Failure On” rises up and beyond all the countless records that sound exactly the same.
This genre has become so saturated with confused bands as of late, and I imagine it is hard for any listener to differentiate between these bands. Beloved takes the simple route to make their mark; they do what they do and they do everything well. Normally, I can’t stand all the bands that have spawned from the emo/hardcore mix, but nothing about “Failure On” is sub par, and I can’t deny the pure emotion that comes from this record.
If you mixed pre-Trustkill Hopesfall and Thursday together, you might start to get the pounding melody of Beloved. There are swirling, clean guitar melodies, throaty screams (that are done well, and are very similar to original Hopesfall vocalist, Doug Venable), and big breakdowns. The clean singing is very passionate, and almost desperate, which brings added emotion to this record. Joe Musten’s drumming is very powerful and pushes the absolute limit, almost being heavier than the rest of the band. The guitars are extremely thick and heavy, when they need to be, but crystal clear and soothing at other times. I absolutely love the bass tone Beloved have going on here as well. It’s very heavy, but quite clean and clear.
Beloved obviously has a knack for writing catchy songs. While listening to this record, I found myself nodding my head with some very upbeat riffs, but, when Beloved makes a big change, they transition so well. It seems they worked very hard on making a change as smooth as possible, so that nothing jars the listener. This works about 95% of the time, as I noticed one or two breakdowns sound like they were just dropped in the middle of a song. But that is only a rare undesired moment. I believe the layered guitars make all the difference in the smooth flow of these songs.
With the introspective and slightly ambiguous lyrics, Beloved doesn’t come across as preachy as many other christian bands. I really enjoy most of the lyrics, but at some points they seem just a little too out there (similar to Thursday).
The production of “Failure On” is absolutely massive. Every instrument is full and well represented. Nothing could be missed here, so every little detail these guys wanted to express, in their songs, can be heard. Either Beloved got lucky or they must have spent a long time on the guitars, because they sound so perfect.
Bottom Line: If a band is going to mix the emo and the hardcore, they need to do both well. Beloved does both well, and does an even better job of seamlessly mixing the two. I would recommend that upcoming bands (who want to play the emo/hardcore game) take a note from Beloved, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t do any good. I’ve heard countless bands try to pull this off, and fail miserably, but now I have to look no further than Beloved.