Hands Like Houses define metalcore


If you were asked to describe the genre of metalcore to a person who had never heard any music from within the genre, it would be incredibly difficult. The genre, as a whole, is an enigma, stuck somewhere in between metal and hardcore punk, but not having enough traits of either to be pooled into either genre. In addition, it incorporates elements that are not present in either of those two previously mentioned genres. Metalcore has prevalent synthesizers and vocals that are often high pitched and clean sounding, in addition to screaming that is occasional but not as evident as in other, similar genres. One band that could exemplify metalcore is Hands Like Houses. The Australian group released their third full-length album, “Dissonants”, last month, an album of 12 incredibly solid songs, with a few massive standouts as well.

The dynamic range that is often found in metalcore is present in the album opener, “I Am.” The song presents a quickly running bass line that establishes a sense of urgency, while also showcasing singer Trenton Woodley’s vocals, which sound like a hybrid between Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump and A Day to Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon. The synthesizer soars, but nothing overshadows the drums that are fit to echo throughout an arena. The song is a perfect opener to the album, packing a full punch to the listener right from the get-go.

It also showcases the wide-ranging sound that is present throughout the entire album. The next standout track is “Colourblind,” with its authentic Australian spelling and fantastically catchy chorus that has Woodley giving his all, singing “We’re colourblind from the black and white.” The song then takes a dark turn in the bridge and has the heaviest breakdown seen on the album, one that comes out of nowhere and showcases a darker and more intense sound that would benefit from being present throughout more of the album.

The sound that Hands Like Houses creates does not have too much room for variation, and yet the band does a great job of expanding borders at every chance possible on “Dissonants.” The best example of this is found on “Glasshouse,” a track that expands on the themes present in “I Am.” The bass sounds as if it were a funk line that got lost and somehow ended up in the song, whereas the drums are fit for a Metallica-esque band and the guitar riff could be right at home in a thrash-punk group. Woodley’s vocals tie this conglomerate of noises together to somehow pull off a sound that many others would fail at.

My personal favorite song on the album is “Degrees of Separation.” This song strays from the path of the majority of the other songs, trading in the heavy drops for a more lighthearted approach, with a chorus that edges on bouncy at times. It is a track that might not make you want to mosh and hit somebody, but it most definitely will have you wanting to bounce up and down with excitement while screaming along with the lyrics.

As someone who is not a massive fan of what metalcore usually has to offer, I found myself not only appreciating, but enjoying the music that Hands Like Houses created for “Dissonants,” both “Degrees of Separation” as well as the album as a whole. It would be no surprise if this album gives the band the boost they need to become the leading band within their scene, pushing others to follow their lead and take chances with the sound that they create.

The band embarks on a North American tour starting in April with Enter Shikari, another band that both stretches the limits and consistently innovates the sound of metalcore.

When the tour hits the Fubar on May 11, you would be foolish to skip out on it. The show guarantees to showcase two of the best bands in the genre, and Hands Like Houses’ set should have no shortage of the best tracks from “Dissonants.”

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