Album Review :
House of Heroes - The End Is Not the End

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Artist: House of Heroes
Album: The End Is Not the End
Label: Gotee
Release Date: September 23, 2008
Review by: Michael Mayer III

Tracklisting:

  1. Intro
  2. If
  3. Lose Control
  4. Leave You Now
  5. Dangerous
  6. In the Valley of the Dying Sun
  7. Code Name: Raven
  8. By Your Side
  9. Journey Into Space (Part One)
  10. Sooner or Later
  11. Baby’s a Red
  12. Drown
  13. Faces
  14. Voices
  15. Field of Daggers

Sometimes a song that’s as addicting as your favorite food comes along and floors you. For me, that’s garlic bread, and even if I thought I wasn’t hungry, just smelling it or hearing the name (or writing about it, ugh) will get my stomach growling. ‘In the Valley of the Dying Sun’ was that song for me in 2008. Just hearing the opening riff will throw the song on repeat in my head and it’ll drive me insane until I listen to it. It’s the catchy chorus, the beat of the drums, the killer guitars that sound alive, the fact that the song morphs into a new beast about five different times and still remains insanely addictive. It’s all of those things and yet still works as a brilliantly composed pop song. Usually if a song is too complex it can lose the casual music listener, but not this one. And you know what? It’s all of those things that create this beautiful album called The End Is Not the End.

I wasn’t sure how a full 15-song album would stack up and I’ll admit a fear of the dreaded case of ‘filler’ crept into my mind. Rest-assured, those fears were laughed off as the melodies and vocal harmonies created a new idea of what a pop/rock album should be. For starters, any rock album worth it’s salt can be catchy. It’s something else entirely when there’s a depth to it that goes far beyond gimmicks. You know those albums, they are catchy right out of the gates but after a couple of weeks they all but disappear into your collection never to be heard again until the band puts out a new album and you dust off the old one to get yourself hyped up. That’s not the case here. House of Heroes have put together some amazing tracks, headed by Tim Skipper’s crisp vocals, covering a wide range of topics. Some of which are typical (love, grace, forgiveness) but approached with a unique twist involving World War II that helps spice things up a bit. It’s not exactly a concept album since that theme doesn’t cover the whole album though.

It’s not just the lyrics that shine and give depth to the album. Elements of punk, alternative, and even progressive styles of music run rampant. I know, those are all vague descriptions but since when does an album fit just one ‘genre’ anyway? All the same, it keeps things interesting to hear the many different influences. Whether it’s the rapid drumming of ‘Lose Control’, the hey hey’s in ‘Dangerous’, or the deep voice harmonies in ‘Code Name: Raven’, you never know what’s coming next. The tracklist is to thank for a lot of that as well. It’s a tough task to get 15 songs flowing together smoothly without boring the listener. That’s especially true when nearly ever track has a sing-a-long chorus but they still pull it off.

Before this album I had never heard of the band and was surprised to find they had two other releases before this. I’ll no doubt check out the rest of their discography and I hope I haven’t ruined whatever magic those might’ve had since I listened to The End Is Not the End first. Though it might not be a classic album for everyone, I’d be very surprised to hear anyone disliking it who is a fan of catchy rock music.

Gems of this album are: ‘In the Valley of the Dying Sun’, ‘Code Name: Raven’, ‘Sooner or Later’, ‘Voices’