Take Heart brings fresh Spirit-filled hardcore from of Raleigh, NC, a four-piece that has played together since 2011, recently dropping their latest full-length album, Family Affair. When approaching a new hardcore album, there’s always the fear it’s going to be more of the same: a dozen quick tracks of solid chugging and breakdown after breakdown (after breakdown). Take Heart avoid falling into this trap of using formulaic hardcore, writing riffs and vocal lines in a style closer to meal, exemplified on “Visions” and “Hold Fast,” the latter of which has a nuanced nu-metal flair to it. This brotherhood uses a ton of gang vocals, throwing all their voices together to pack an even greater punch. It allows for some intense punk rock sing-along parts (as in “Family Affair”) that we haven’t seen so powerfully done since Stretch Arm Strong.
Lyrically, the band isn’t afraid to tackle heavy themes. A prime example is the title track, a song surrounding the concept of loving a father that’s abandoned his family but being able to find the ability to forgive him. Many of the songs reflect the pressures faced in Christian life (“Never Be”) and heaps of slamming truths pulled directly from Scripture. But the album does have its lighter moments with the band joking around on the acoustic “Untitled” and the video game sample that pops up in “Name Droppin’.”
A couple highlights of this hardcore barrage are “The Declaration” with its spoken word ending reminiscent of Sleeping Giant’s work, and the awesome progression in the dynamic “Shut Up or Step Up” as the song builds into a frenzy; the song is no doubt a killer performed live. “Family Affair” is full of punishing, pit-ready anthems. Through furious drumming, monster-truck bass and honest and direct lyrics, Take Heart’s latest effort is a high energy blast of metallic hardcore. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.