A vibrant, forceful and interesting listen

Close Your Eyes opened many people’s eyes and ears with their debut record last year, We Will Overcome.

Their highly anticipated sophomore release, Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts, is a great follow up to a well welcomed debut.

Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts reminds me a lot of early Rise Against. Despite their melodic-hardcore genre, they definitely have a punk sound and feel to their music, and lyrical message. They know how to use a groove bass line to add depth to their music (“Keep the Lights On”), and they unquestionably know how to work a pulsating riff and powerful drums. It’s in their melodic moments, however, where they really shine. “Paper Thin” is a highlight on the record combining melancholy with overtones of hope. Shane Raymond sings with a slight vibrato adding that extra depth of emotion.

Close Your Eyes have outdone themselves with this release. Any kinks or flaws that may have been in their debut, Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts has them fixed, creating a vibrant, forceful and interesting listen. Album closer “Heavy Hearts” hits hard, before ending with a delicate choir arrangement that will leave you with an impression of calm. Not the usual way to end a punk/melodic/hardcore record, but for Close Your Eyes, it just seems perfect.

1. Hope Slips Away (The World is Ours to Change)
2. Empty Hands
3. Erie
4. Valleys
5. Injustice
6. Paper Thin
7. Wormwood
8. Keep the Lights On
9. Carry On
10. Wolves
11. Scars
12. Heavy Hearts