Artist: House of Heroes
Album: The End is Not the End
Reviewer: Tyler Hess
Rock N’ Roll will never die as long as bands like House of Heroes make sure that the End is Not the End. Terribly unwitty reference to the title of the album aside, the way too long anticipation for the latest release from these guys (followed by the way too delayed review) should not disappoint a single person (unless that person was foolishly wishing failure, which would be just plain mean).
The themes of war (WWII and Vietnam) are well publicized and documented, but lets not forget to examine the quality music, lyrics and purpose behind the stories. After a cute little instrumental intro that sounds like a movie soundtrack opener, we get right to it with “If”, where we find that it doesn’t take long to realize just how good this album is going to be, as they shout “If you were mine, I’d have the world, I’d have the world if you were mine”. Let me rephrase that for the boys: If you get this album, you’ll have one of the best albums of the year (although I wouldn’t totally blame you for waiting for the future release with the supposed DVD coming on it, its really a win-win situation). I don’t want to ruin all the imagery for you, as part of the fun of this record is in discovering what they’re singing about and the message they are trying to send, but the creativity in the lyrics abound and provoke to deeper thought in each song. The biggest difficulty I have is that though the stories have similar backgrounds to the stories, they sound more like a collection of different perspectives, rather that one cohesive story. Usually concept albums go from point A to point Z, not D to J to Y to B to R, but if I got stuck on that too long I’d be wasting my brain cells.
Stylistically, this music sounds like these guys are about to either go on American Bandstand or go on tour with the Beatles, but at the same time they have such a smooth upbeat sound that I’m not surprised they are currently on tour with Relient K, though I wouldn’t dare say that they are similar musically. They are more like a faster paced version of what Jonezetta came out with earlier this year on “Cruely To Be Young”. The only negative thing is that there are times when I just get bored with the choruses toward the latter half of the album, they get a bit annoying, but it is a minor flaw on a few songs.
If you are going through a drought on music that truly edifies while not sacrificing artistic integrity, these songs offer both quite well. Songs include many inspiring lyrics that reference topics of peace, mercy, grace and more, even in desparate situations such as war. The most interesting piece could be in “Voices” where the singing stops for a moment to call for repentence for unbelief, which is pretty bold in a time where most bands seem to be afraid of saying anything along those lines.
Songs to get you started: “In the Valley of the Dying Sun”, “Code Name: Raven”, “If”.