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Hand To Hand - "Breaking The Surface" (CD/EP)

Hand To Hand - "Breaking The Surface" CD/EP cover image

"Breaking The Surface" track listing:

1. Dufresne, Party of Six
2. Shark Week
3. Paint This Town Black
4. Bullets For Teeth
5. Romantic Comedy

Reviewed by on January 26, 2009

"This five song EP is far better than anything that the leaders of this scene have spat out in years."

Hand To Hand is clearly a big fan of Underoath; the disc has everything you’d expect an Underoath disc to have, except for the Christian messages. Although they sound too much like their heroes they are still quite a solid band and have produced something that, even though only five songs, is better than anything Underoath has done in a while.

The intro to the first song “Dufresne, Party of Six” is kind of corny. It makes it seem that the song is going to be very dramatic and inspiring and a listener couldn’t be blamed for turning it off before the song actually starts because of it. But the annoyance that the intro produces disappears when the song gets moving. The vocalist has a very strong growl, but it kind of gets ruined and overshadowed by the clean vocals. Although the clean vocals don’t really help the growls, the man can sing, it just doesn’t need to be done so frequently. If the vocals were kept to a chorus, then this song would be one of the best metalcore songs around.

The next song, “Shark Week,” starts off with an acoustic guitar and some mellow singing that sounds eerily similar to Corey Taylor. This peace quickly goes away when the song begins to pick up pace and the screams and roars begin. The clean vocals may have been annoying in the last song, but in this song they actually fit very well. The last minute or so of the song slows down and it becomes a song fit for a big sing-a-long. But the very last ten seconds quickly change back to the aggressiveness of the other half of the song.

“Paint This Town Black” sounds like a song that would appear on a mainstream radio station or video channel. Sure, it has the screams, but they are not as long and the vocals are not screamed like the last two songs. The song is definitly going to be a favourite of sad fourteen year old emos world wide.

“Bullets for Teeth” has a far better feel in the first 30 seconds than the entire previous song. This song is fast and has enough little guitar squeals to make Adam D wet himself. “Bullets for Teeth” is the shortest song of the disc and also the fastest. It is heavy, fast and has nowhere near as much in the way of clean vocals like the previous three songs. It is definitly the best song on the disc.

The final song, “Romantic Comedy,” is an epic song, almost hitting the five minute mark. This song is the perfect way to sum up what the band is all about. “Romantic Comedy” has everything from the first four songs, screams, clean vocals and a fair bit of musical filler. The singing switches perfectly between clean and heavy vocals throughout.

Hand To Hand has a lot to offer the stagnant and often boring screamo scene. This five song EP is far better than anything that the leaders of this scene have spat out in years. Although not at all my thing, this disc was quite good. Aside from a few aspects, primarily the clean vocals, “Breaking The Surface” was a great listen, although not the best or anything I haven’t heard before.

Highs: The singer has a growl most singers in screamo would kill for

Lows: The same ol' routine, nothing new at all

Bottom line: Nothing you havent heard before, but still worth a listen if you're into screamo.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)