Artist: Close Your Eyes
Album: Line In The Sand
Label: Victory Records
It’s only natural for people to get tired of the same routine. Sometimes, there really are greener pastures on the other side of the hill if you can just put together the energy to get up and walk over, and that’s what Close Your Eyes‘ original vocalist Shane Raymond did when he left the band back in March 2012. After something as unexpected as that happens, there are a couple of routes left to take if the band chooses to stay together. CYE just did what made the most sense to them: have a new face step in and pick up the mic. So after giving so many hopefuls a shot, the Texas hardcore group had Sam Ryder of Blessed By A Broken Heart pick up the mic. Thus, all of the pieces came together for the recording of their third album, Line In The Sand.
Counting the intro and outro tracks, this album comes in at a whopping 15 tracks. Is that really necessary for a hardcore band nowadays? Possibly so, if there is enough quality to back it. After a couple of listens, it feels as if Close Your Eyes are trying too hard to regain the fans that were lost during this odd transitional period of theirs. Instead of going in one single direction and ruling at it, it sounds as if they’ve tried their hand at playing with several sounds only to quit out on it midway through.
When “Deus Ex Machina” first kicked off the album with its slow, clean guitar leads, I was really starting to allow my anticipation to build up for whatever it was that followed. But instead of pushing out and into new territory, “Burdened By Hope” shows that the band has done exactly the opposite by using all of the throwback moshcall riffs that you could’ve sworn you thought you forgot back in 2005.
My hopes got picked up once again when I heard “Frame and Glass,” “Trends and Phases,” and “Glory,” which in my opinion are some of the most different tracks that Close Your Eyes have put out in their career. Take it like this, if a first time listener gave these pop rock-leaning tracks a listen before giving any of the contrasting Jekyll and Hyde-like pop punk and melodic hardcore off of We Will Overcome a shot, they would be surprised at the band’s attempt at maturation.
It definitely disappoints me to say that the best songs here are the ones that feature guest vocalists. Tom Green of Sleeping Giant rips out a vocal performance on “Sleeping Giant” that is more energizing and exhilarating than the rest of the entire album. Just a couple of tracks later, this is matched on “The End” with Pennywise’s ex-frontman Zoli joining in for a quick and punk smothered verse.
It isn’t hard to see that Line In The Sand was a record that Close Your Eyes needed to put out to show that they still had something to prove. But that’s also the main fault with the album. There’s so much evidence that they still have what they’ve had, but there’s not much to show that they’re doing anything that’s original.
Reviewed by: Adrian Garza (Follow on Twitter)