Review by Joey StoateCheck out Joey's wicked blog over here.
After making waves on the UK music scene over the past twelve months, Guildford band HanShotFirst release their début album To Those We Have Loved And Lost, and the boys from Surrey definitely do not disappoint.
Opening with the atmospheric introductory track, This Is The Start Of Something, the album is set up with it's sights set on that anthemic style of post-hardcore we've come to expect from bands like Funeral For A Friend. Not to worry, as Silent Screams, the second piece on the album, delivers instantly, providing catchy riffs and a chorus that's set to be screamed back at the band from rooms throughout the country, fighting through patchy production to become heard as the call to arms it deserves to be presented as. This is only the beginning, as Vagabonds pulls once more from bands in the scene, artists such as The Blackout becoming ever more noticable amongst the sound. Gone Away, another track with a strong focus on the dual vocal attack prevalent throughout the album, hits all the right notes, providing a short respite from the band's harsher vocals.
On several occasions on the album, the band flirts with short, 90 second-ish ambient pieces, setting the tone and refreshing the listener at just the right times. Lead single We Fall Down is another stand out, a peacefully gothic track that worms it's way into the listeners subconscious, proving to become more intricately layered with each subsequent listen. From strength to strength, Jessica might just be the most promising song of the entire release. An incredibly strong chorus, memorable riff and effective screamed backing vocals help elevate the piece just that little bit higher than the rest.
Seamless is a track that holds a lot of promise for a live setting, but here the lo-fi recordings don't do the song as much justice as the previous few. Effective back and forth sections between vocalists work well here, and the song is sure to impress in person. The second piano-led ballad on the album, They Say People Don't Believe In Heroes Anymore is a five minute long epic featuring female vocals intertwining sweetly with our resident vocalists. The band's raw talent really soaks through this track, with clear sentiment and passion riding above every other element in this piece, backed beautifully by the aforementioned piano.
Beginning with an almost cock-rock like intro, Settle In Seattle is one of the more generic songs on the album, but this doesn't stop the band reaching full potential with yet another catchy chorus and strong verses. Finishing the album with another ambient track, the piano led No Feeling Is Final, the record rings out on a quiet, thoughtful note.
What we're left with is a strong debut album from the boys in HanShotFirst, but not one without a few issues. At times it can feel like tracks blur together, vocals can be patchy in places, and production isn't quite perfect. However, these faults are incredibly far and few between, and what can't be disregarded is the fact that for a first attempt, this is an incredibly strong album, and one that could be expected of a band midway through their career, and instead here is a band with their best still yet to come. A great first attempt, from a band with so much promise in their back pockets, keep your eye on HanShotFirst.
Songs To Download: We Fall Down, Jessica, They Say People Don't Believe In Heroes Anymore
Score: 7.5 / 10
Catch HanShotFirst on their upcoming dates this September:
23rd September – Guildford – The Star Inn
24th September – Birmingham – The Flapper
25th September – Cardiff – Moon Club
26th September – Bristol – Crofters Rights
27th September – London - Surya