Sunday, 9 December 2012

Hands Like Houses - Ground Dweller

Hands Like Houses are a modern melodic hardcore band from Canberra, Australia. They released Ground Dweller very early on this year, via Rise Records and have gone on to gain a huge following across the globe, while supporting bands like The Get Up Kids in their home country and touring the US with Attack Attack! We Came as Romans and The Acacia Strain amongst others. Ground Dweller was their Rise Record debut.

They even managed to enlist Dance Gavin Dance vocalist Jonny Craig and and Tyler Carter from Woe, Is Me to appear on the song Lion Skin.


01. Antarctica
02. Don't Look Now, I'm Being Followed. Act Normal.
03. This Ain't No Place For Animals
04. Spineless Crow
05. Starving to Death In the Belly of a Whale
06. A Clown and His Pipe
07. The Definition of Not Leaving
08. Lion Skin (Feat: Jonny Craig and Tyler Carter)
09. One Hundred
10. Watchmaker (Feat: Matty Mullins)
11. The Sower

Ground Dweller begins with the electronic heavy intro of Antarctica before bursting into melodic guitars and soulful post-hardcore vocals. The thing that hits me here is the use of electronic gadgetry in the percussion. Hands Like Houses mix dance-like beats with a background of modern post-hardcore to try and enrich their sound. I've said it before, but I'm not a fan of the overuse of electronics. I don't want to be over critical of Hands Like Houses, as their formula is popular with a lot of fans, but it seems that this sub-genre has been overpopulated of late and is seeing a good many bands moving away from the heavier, more organic roots of the genre. Don't get me wrong though, the guitars are still crunching and the soulful vocals do sound really good, if you're after something less brutal to listen too.

Also, with songs like Don't Look Now, I'm Being Followed. Act Normal, HLH don't allow things to go on for too long and thanks to a top notch production, the record sound clean and very listenable. The start of This Ain't Place For Animals reminds me slightly of Linkin Park at times. The melodic lead guitar sounds ace here and probably sounds epic live. HLH produce some pretty heavy breakdowns too, below the electronic gubbins, which undoubtedly gives them a harder edge. It's a very theatrical and sometimes, you think you're listening to Panic At The Disco; such is the swoon of the vocals, especially during Spineless Crow. Starving To Death In The Belly of The Whale again, is very hard-hitting from the off. Very danceable and featuring plenty of layers. There's a lot going on yet it fits together really well.

The Definition of Not Leaving rains things in slightly and brings a slightly calmer edge to HLH's sound. This doesn't last long though as Lion Skin kicks in straight away. This is one of the standout songs on Ground Dweller, purely for the pace of the music and vocal melodies that seem to be unstoppable. The programmed beats in the song seem to get faster and faster as the song builds. The melodic gang vocals are a perfect opposite to the lead vocals, thanks to their deep tones.

As the album comes to an end with Watchmaker and The Sower, you've been a witness to an album filled with ideas and modern twists. Ground Dweller has earned Hands Like Houses a great number of fans and there is no reason why that can't continue. It won't appeal to everyone but it fills a gap between the mainstream and the underground that allows new metal fans to cross the gap. For that, it has to be applauded.

You can pick up Ground Dweller from iTunes or from Rise Records at http://www.riserecords.com/.

You can find Hands Like Houses on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com./handslikehouses

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