Release DetailsLABEL Stillborn
RELEASED ON 2/17/2004
Heart Means Everything
posted on 9/2004 By:
Hamartia’s To Play the Part is one of my favorite metalcore albums ever, so when they did the usual one album split up, I was intrigued to follow the band members in to other projects, namely the excellent Misery Signals and With Honor. While Misery Signals has large hints of Hamartia’s sound (as well as 7 Angels 7 Plagues due to two former members), With Honor isn’t quite so quick to merely adopt Hamartias’s sound (despite comprising of 3 of Hamartia’s former members), rather forge it into a more classic hardcore/punk sound that brings to mind old school classics like Agnostic Front and Sick of it All.
Blending the old East Coast hardcore style (gang vocals, power chords short raucous sociopolitical songs) and slight modern metalcore leanings in the form of dual harmonies and layered guitar dramatics, With Honor are a fireball of an act that should be leading the way for US hardcore and their album comes across like a mix of Bane and Shai Hulud.
The vocals of Todd Mackey (guitarist of Life in Your Way) are delivered with the same sort of spoken, angry prose as Bane frontman Aaron Bedard, in that the angst ridden scream is forsaken for a more sincere almost narrative style. The guitars of Jeffery and Jay Aust (ex-Hamartia) are refined yet spunky and typically punky with a subtle blend of tough back alley ‘tude with cleverly injected delicate melodies that don’t take anything away from the street cred nature of the band's overall sound. The short, sharp burst of “Third Generation” exemplifies With Honor's smart mix of explosive hardcore and the emotive drama of metalcore. The one downfall of their punk leanings is the criminal brevity of the album and the tracks within. The surface is barely scratched for many of the songs' intricate yet muted harmonies that tend to buckle under the overbearing punk/hardcore themes. Still, a deft ear will pick up some finely crafted melodies lurking behind the machismo of ‘Rethink, Return”, “More Than Heroes” or “With The Wind”. Sometimes With Honor will allow the melodic hardcore to shine through as in such tracks as “All Hope Aside”, “Milwaukee” and the superb, potential fulfilling “When Will We Learn” that fleshes out the more melodic side and manages to include fist raising, crowd pleasing shout-alongs. “Textbook Case” though, really transcends the ruff 'n' tumble hardcore and essentially embraces the Shai Hulud styled orchestrated melodies with an ease that is shamefully underused in favor of the more street savvy punk visage that is kept front and center by Mackey’s vocals and the continual gang choruses.
The production is decent and manages to retain a certain old school garage punk tone, with a slight hint of polish, so it represents the crossover style of the material.
As a standalone product, With Honor are a superbly talented, energetic band that should appeal to fans of punk and metalcore and those already familiar with newer bands like Killing The Dream or Another Breath. However, personally being a huge Hamartia fan, I was selfish enough to be expecting Hamartia part 2, as Misery Signals delivered, so I was a little disappointed with the abundant punk/hardcore nature of the project despite its pleasing aesthetics. Either way, With Honor is the best of Jamey Jasta’s stable of bands with a bright future ahead of them. ..if they can stay together.
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