Review: “The Disconnect” by Heart of a Coward

It’s been 4 long years since 2015’s “Deliverance” and over a year since May 2018’s unveiling of former No Consequence vocalist Kaan Tasan as their new frontman, replacing former Slyosis man Jamie Graham at the helm. He now works for Unique Leader Records. That news was accompanied by a tour and single “Collapse” which not only gave us an idea of what was to come, but also the suggestion that it was imminent. How wrong were we? Can Heart of a Coward return to former glories or will their time in the wilderness mean they have to rebuild to climb to their previous standing as Kings of DJent inspired riffage?

As the atmosphere builds at the start of “Drown In Ruin” before bursting into a suitably urgent riff that question is seemingly answered. The tune is musically a classic Heart of a Coward piece with guitarist duo Carl Ayers and Steve Haycock laying down the type of DJent groove that brought the Milton Keynes DJentlemen to fame. There are also those classic nuances of Progressive Tech-Metal in the melting pot with the quality of the mix being second to none. “Ritual” features a thunderous kit performance from Christopher “Noddy” Mansbridge and some very impressive cleans from Tasan. If there was ever a vocalist that was a best fit for the Heart of a Coward sound, it was always him. He may not have the depth of unclean that Jamie Graham has in his locker but he certainly has got a better clean vocal. Adding a gang chant into this cut is something we’ve heard from these dudes previously and it’s a welcome return. The previously released now more than a year old “Collapse” remains a solid piece of Metal work, forged in the flames of the duration of the bands absence. It doesn’t sound out of place in the context of the album, suggesting that the mix was done by the same hands at the same time or at least using the same techniques. It’s bold sing-a-long chorus and technical solo are stand out moments that make way for that classic big breakdown that delivers like a punch in the face from a heavyweight boxer.

A bombastic bounce groove start to “Culture of Lies” makes way for Tasan’s thought provoking lyrics and there is a question mark as to whether Heart of a Coward have made the album that they wanted to make or played it safe. As good as these tunes are, they are very much in the mould of the work they’ve done before, down to the eerie haunting guitar part that overlays the closing breakdown here, something that we heard on 2012’s “Hope And Hindrance”. If they have played it safe with a “we’re back!” record then the next one is going to be interesting. “In the Wake” continues the tone of the previous tracks with the band taking advantage of Tasan’s cleans to add a bit more in the way of bounce between the heavy and melodic in the tunes. This cut is another driven piece that has a quality upbeat tempo to it. Taking a break for a feature film esq introduction before piling into some faster Groove Metal riffage “Senseless”, takes a step away from the DJentisms and instead dives into a sound that crosses into the Thrash territory with some impressive technical lead flourishes and a spoken word and marching beat segment that will no doubt go down a storm live. Bringing in an aching sense of melloncholic melody “Return to Dust” uses those clean vocals to bring an almost spiritual sound to the approach. It’s a bold move that makes for an epic 3 minute breather and atmosphere builder that sets the stage for the final trio of tunes to roar in like a lion.

Which is exactly what they do with  “Suffocate” chugging along at a pace that gives that instant headbangability we crave. Again Tasan lyrics are thought provoking and asking questions about humanities purpose while also name dropping the previous tune on multiple occasions. They could be part #1 and part #2 of the same track of that was desired. Bassist Vishal “V” Khetia shows how important he is to this band with the brutal bouncing rhythm section getting a full work out throughout this album but more so on “Parasite”. Tusan has beef with an unnamed individual and vents his rage throughout this onslaught at someone who is feeding on their life and  misery while that classic Fit For An Autopsy scratch sound breaking the riff up is incredible! The final tune “Isolation” is an absolute battering ram of a track, hitting like the police at your door at 4am with some brutal DJent grooves and Tasan hitting a previously unheard Deathcore low in the vocals. It might be momentary but it is an absolute pleasure. There is plenty of circle pit fodder riffage and if this closing cut isn’t one added to their live set, we’ll be surprised. A melodic break for a few seconds before bringing it all back for a closing of epic grandeur showcases what this band are all about. By the closing fade, you’re not wanting it to finish and that is testiment to its success and the bands hard work in putting it together [8/10].

Track listing

  1. Drown In Ruin
  2. Ritual
  3. Collapse
  4. Culture of Lies
  5. In the Wake
  6. Senseless
  7. Return to Dust
  8. Suffocate
  9. Parasite
  10. Isolation

“The Disconnect” by Heart of a Coward is out now via Arising Empire

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