If you came up with bands such as Underoath, Norma Jean or Inhale Exhale, you know of Haste the Day. The good news is you’re in for a treat with their comeback album, Coward. Even if you’re new to the band, Haste the Day has a unique sound, something they have worked hard on developing over the last several years. This album shows a lot of that progress while touching on their past, featuring both vocalists from their two “eras,” including Jimmy Ryan (who fronted the band from 2002-2005) and Stephen Keech (2006-2011).
The first song, fittingly titled “Begin,” starts the album off hard with bouncy riffs, solid breakdowns for circle pits and choruses that will make fans swarm the stage for a mic grab. “World” puts you back into the post-hardcore comfort zone with a chill intro, solid verses and a really well-written chorus, solidifying the band’s sound and return. The title track had me on repeat about eight times before moving on. The whole song is perfectly pieced together, and the band’s experience shows, pulling off some unique transitions and guitar harmonies.
Around the middle of the album, the band track listed a number of jam songs. “Lost” is more a melodic hardcore ballad, “Reconcile” starts off with ambient tones only to picks up near the end, all the while keeping a chill rock feel. “Shadow,” another standout track on the album, brings out an experimental side of the album. Still a jam song, this has a darker sound to it, which I crave from bands with a heavy history.
“Accept” is the only odd track out on this album. It brought a little too much nostalgia to the progressive sounds around it. It’s still a great track — and I like that they tried to keep a touch of their roots in this album — but it would not have hurt to leave it out. The last two tracks on the album, “Secret” and “Gnaw,” end the album on a high note, giving the album one last hoorah and epic finish, even though the latter of the two may drag on a little too long.
If you were worried that the band may have taken too much time off or that they would lost their edge, their return to form is just what you’re looking for. It’s as aggressive as any of their previous releases, and their keen ability to craft well-written songs with an ear for the listener solidifies this release — and the band — as true marks of talent.