Cold Hvnds’ influences are laid bare – walking on the same stones cast by alt-rock and pop-punk forefathers of a bygone era, while also marching out of step by pulling from the Rise Records run of post-hardcore styles, culminating to an honest and passionate effort in their debut album, Bloom.
The album starts us off with an odd title, Aebecedarian. Which means to be arranged alphabetically. I have no idea what that title has to do with the album, but I forgive it due to it giving us the strongest of the 14 tracks (Yes, 14). The chorus comes in hot, the vocalist pouring every bit of power he has into it, with an absolutely classic lyrical trope of, “This is a song for those who are broken,” which will only do absolute wonders for a live sing-along – when we can have those again.
I had been wondering what band Cold Hvnds most reminded me of during some songs, and as I came to track 3 on my second listen I realized that it was Broadside, particularly from their Old Bones LP, which is far from a complaint. Alone is a heavy hitter and another strong contender for having powerful sing-along-bits when we can enjoy live shows. Lyrically about two souls coming together, showing the narrator that they can once again be whole, “I never knew that there was more to me I couldn’t see, between fact or fiction or fantasy”; but what hit me hardest is just before they got to their last chorus, the instruments die out and leave just a single guitar, one note at a time, with some ambience going in the background, the vocalist comes in with a pre-chorus that builds up into the best showcase of his vocals when he absolutely bellows, “Come and take my HAAANDD,” before doubling back down into the catchy, crowd-chanting chorus.
Some tracks fail to hit the mark they were aiming for, unfortunately. Marionette, while having a fairly strong chorus and guitar work, has a less than satisfactory rap-verse in the middle, which really took me out of the listening experience. Obviously nu-metal elements have seeped their way into just about every avenue of sub-genre, but that doesn’t mean it meshes well with every band, and I think Cold Hvnds might be an example of one.
Towards the end of the album, they belt out a powerful acoustic track that seems even more influenced by the mid-2000s emo than the rest. Not Like You boasts a personal tale of a relationship gone wrong, dealing with emotional and physical abuse. The chorus is both emotionally heavy and extremely catchy, as only a song in this style can be; “It won’t happen again, this time she really means it. Between all of the abuse, and designer shoes, do they keep you grounded when you’ve blown a fuse?”
Red Sea, following immediately after the previous acoustic song, captured my serotonin and bottled it up, taking me all the way back to the days of jamming Escape the Fate and Taking Back Sunday on the same playlist. Fast paced, quick drumming, a powerful riff, full of catchy hooks that talk about friends betraying you, it is everything 15 year old me could have wanted, and everything 25 year old me adores looking back on.
If there were one thing I’d want this band to take away from this review, it’s that I feel as though this release would have been much stronger as a 4 or 5 track EP, rather than a whopping 14 track album. Even for an established band, making sure an album as long as this is full of bangers is an incredibly difficult undertaking, let alone keeping audiences engaged enough to power through it all, regardless of how well crafted it is. While Cold Hvnds won’t necessarily bring any breaths of fresh air to people’s lungs, it definitely makes me feel reminiscent of an era of post-hardcore that used to dominate the scene and fill every would-be-scene kid’s iPods, and I’m sure it’ll be worth a listen to anyone interesting in revisiting those sounds.
Cold Hvnds – Bloom – 3/19/2021
A Greater Danger Pt 2.
For a Friend
Not Like You
Snakes and Ladders