Three years after their debut, beginning of this year Frail Hands returned with their sophomore album parted/departed/apart.
At a hair shy of twenty minutes, Frail Hands deliver ten shattering songs. Though mostly within the borders of screamo, the band does not confine itself in the genre. Instead, they smartly choose to incorporate different genres in each of the songs. There is some math rock, a blast beat or two, black metal tremolo riffs, a tad of post-rock, and everything in between.
The result is an album that is varied with each song having its own unique and memorable personality. This is a great feat, especially considering that the songs clock at less than two minutes each. Yet, they manage to sound like complete music journeys. Epic ones, even. The completeness of the songs is even more staggering considering that many of the songs end pretty abruptly, leaving us not only emotionally drained but also wanting more.
Parted/departed/apart is a full quarter longer than their super self-titled debut. The longer length of the album and the songs within it results in two things. The first is a bit less immediacy and intensity to the songs. The second is letting each of them show its personality much better. For that reason, many of the tracks are super memorable and distinct but also manage to work well within the album as a whole.
As awesome as the music is, the departure of the singer Dawn Alameda due to vocal strain is still noticeable. Not that much in the beautiful lyrical content, most of which is written by her. Rather, it’s in the vocal delivery and the way vocals are recorded. They are shouted and distorted and end up sounding like they come from a busted guitar amp. It is just way too reminiscent of Jeromes Dream’s disastrous-sounding return. Sadly, the new vocals are incomparable to the emotional intensity and unhinged madness of the band’s previous efforts, making the album just a bit less immediate.
Despite its subpar vocals, Frail Hands’ sophomore effort is a killer album that showcases an immensely talented band that has mastered the skill of creating short but epic emotional journeys.