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JFH Music Review

Haste The Day, Coward

Haste The Day

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Rock / Hardcore
Album length: 11 tracks: 41 minutes, 31 seconds
Street Date: May 18, 2015


In an era when seemingly every once-dissolved band has staged a valiant comeback, perhaps nobody has done so in quite the way metalcore legends Haste The Day have. While most bands only have to bring back one lineup, Haste the Day has essentially reformed two completely different bands into one: the vicious onslaught of the Jimmy Ryan era and the more technically-minded Stephen Keech version combine in the band's brand-new release, Coward. Unfortunately, the results are as mixed as the band itself.

Foundationally, Coward is as solid as you would expect from a veteran band. The riffing is strong, the lyrics are compelling, and the musicianship is commendable across the board. Unfortunately, the songwriting is a bit of an uneven mishmash. Perhaps this is because Coward represents an attempt to reconcile the two very different musical approaches the band has taken in the past. A great example of this is the track "Take." The majority of the harsh vocals in the song are delivered by Jimmy, and his raw, vicious approach is both fun and effective. But the aggression of the song is squandered in the chorus, with a clean-singing gang vocal melody that is far too simple and really clashes with the atmosphere set in the verses. It's great one moment, then lackluster the next.

In a way, the too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen approach taken by the band successfully covers all the bases of their varied past without really excelling at any of them. The clean melodies are nowhere near as strong as they were in Attack of the Wolf King, but the raw, more "core" than "metal" aggression of the Jimmy Ryan era doesn't surface enough to make up for it. The technical level is high, but again not as good as previous efforts. Additionally, there are too many tracks that just wander around musically without really making a statement. The worst is "Reconcile," where half the track is devoted to one of metalcore's most frustrating cliches: the pointless instrumental.

That being said, there are still some great moments. The breakout in the beginning of "World" is spot-on, and "Accept" showcases what is probably the best use of Jimmy's vocals on the whole album. It's fast-paced and frantic, and the clean chorus stands up to the mood of the rest of the song. It's also a great reminder of how nice it is to have original clean vocalist Brennan Chaulk back in the band. The opening track, "Begin," is another firebrand rocker with particularly strong riffing, although it also suffers from the same mediocre clean melodies as many of the other tracks.

It would be unfair to call Coward a disappointment. When a band as loved and missed as Haste the Day decides to make a comeback, it's a pleasure to hear a new album from them even if it isn't their best work. Perhaps a more accurate word to describe Coward would be "decent." It's not a walk-off home run, like Living Sacrifice hit when they staged a comeback with The Infinite Order, but it's still a pretty good album. At ts worst, it's an uninspiring case of songwriting that isn't tight enough, but at its best, it's just a really fun metalcore album from a band that's good at making them.

- Review date: 5/17/15, written by Timothy Estabrooks of

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JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents

The first big Christian metal release of 2015 is here, and it's from the fan favorite Solid State band Haste the Day. The band's return to the spotlight comes in the form of Coward, which features the entire lineup, including past members. If you've followed the band through their career, you'll definitely hear the subtle differences between all of the band members and their influences. Overall, Coward is a fairly strong release, though it does feel slightly disjointed at times. That's not as bad of a thing as one might be led to believe; there aren't really any weak tracks here, but there are a lot of transitions from blistering metalcore to post hardcore, with some soundbytes of speeches thrown in here and there, and it occasionally feels out of left field. It's rather minor, though, as everything they do here, they do well. Longtime fans will appreciate classic Haste the Day-style tracks, like "Coward" and "Gnaw," while also finding enjoyment in the Everything In Slow Motion-esque tracks, like "Secret." If you didn't get to support their crowdfunding campaign, but you always had a soft spot for the band, make sure to pick up Coward. - 5/14/15, Scott Fryberger of

It was an exciting moment when Haste the Day announced their return after a nearly 5-year break. The most interesting part of the announcement is that the current line-up would consist of original members and newer members together. Coward is the result of said combination. Unfortunately, the album plays out like a b-sides album more than a single cohesive record. There are some solid tracks, such as "Take," but something just seems to be a little off with the album overall. Attack of the Wolf King was a great album that was loved by many, but Coward doesn't strike with the same potency. HtD fans will most certainly want to pick this one up, but try to curb your expectations a bit. There is plenty to enjoy, but it's doubtful to blow you away. - 5/22/15, Michael Weaver of

After five years, Haste The Day is back with a crowd-funded album in Coward. This is an album for all HTD fans to enjoy. Coward features both of the band's career vocalists, giving it the feel of having two parts (and I tend to think of them as "Jimmy tracks" and "Stephen tracks"). You'll find straight-up in-your-face metal that is top notch and reminiscent of older HTD records, alongside perfectly hardcore tunes with nicely sung melodies that are more prevalent in more recent Haste The Day songs. Not every song is perfect, but there's bound to be some (forgivable) rust after a five-year hiatus. Fans who prefer one Haste The Day era over another may not love this, but I know I'll be playing it all summer. - 5/15/15, Kevin Hoskins of

It's been five years since Haste the Day released what many argue was their best work, Attack of the Wolf King. Basically, you have three types of fans with HTD: Those who prefer Jimmy Ryan as lead vocalist, those that prefer the Stephen Keech era, and finally, those who can live with both vocalists. This might be the only release (so far) that has a little for all those types of fans. Unlike AotWK and Dreamer, the clean vocals are just not as prevalent like they had been in the past, with songs like "Travesty," "Mad Man" or "Chorus of Angels." Upon first listen, some HTD fans might be in for a shock, but with multiple sessions, you will begin to admire Coward for some standout tracks, like "Accept" that almost echoes one of their greats, "All I Have" from When Everything Falls to "World" and "Coward" which easily appease the fans of the AotWK. If you walk into this album expecting Attack of the Wolf King Part 2, you will be disappointed because that's not what this release is about. Think of it as a Haste the Day reunion where they combine all the elements of past releases while defining a new chapter. - 5/16/15, Wayne Myatt of



. Record Label: Solid State Records
. Album length: 11 tracks: 41 minutes, 31 seconds
. Street Date: May 18, 2015
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It:
. Buy It: AmazonMP3

  1. Begin (3:20)
  2. Take (2:27)
  3. World (3:43)
  4. Coward (3:05)
  5. Lost (3:27)
  6. Reconcile (3:55)
  7. Shadow (3:32)
  8. Fail (4:00)
  9. Accept (4:24)
  10. Secret (3:56)
  11. Gnaw (5:42)


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