Hell Tale Heart - Sweet Nothing - Song Review - Modern Progressive Metalcore from Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Hell Tale Heart - Sweet Nothing - Song Review - Modern Progressive Metalcore from Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Hell Tale Heart - Sweet Nothing - Song Review - Modern Progressive Metalcore from Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Hell Tale Heart is a new modern progressive metalcore band that is bringing it to your earholes in an amazing way. There is no doubt that the sudden popularity and uprising of Spiritbox has helped a new wave of progressive metalcore and I hear a lot of Spiritbox in their music, but it is by no means a “rip-off” of them. I will break down their single Sweet Nothing into overall production and then break down the guitars, bass, drums, and vocals as well. I am a pro audio engineer, so I will also look at it a bit technically as well and include things that the average listener might miss. Let’s dive into it!

Overall Production: One word. Amazing! Everything has its own place in the mix and can be easily heard. I LOVED all the creative panning on the electric guitar, especially on the first verse. The part was already musically interesting, but this production trick also added to it. It is cool when you are kind of guessing is which ear the guitar will be next. It is also an easy way to keep the track interesting without needing to change anything about the musical composition of the song.

I also very much enjoyed their use of long decaying reverb and delay as a production/storytelling choice. They used this as a way to transition different parts. I thought it was cool when they did this to transition between a heavy/riffy part into a clean section. It was a good production decision.

The final production choice I really liked was the use of subtle electronics in their music and then the whole outro being just electronic. It reminded me a lot of Periphery and what they do with their electronic elements in their music.

To wrap up this section, the whole production was like Spiritbox, Periphery, and the chord choices and electronic elements of Owl City all thrown together in one awesome unique song.

Guitars: The guitars were djenty, beefy goodness. Everything was very tight and well played. I particularly enjoyed the use of the long whole note clean chords that helped the song breath after heavy technical sections. Very solid. Excellent job.

Bass: Bass on point. The tone was awesome and did not take the space of the low-end guitar or kick drum. The riffing was super tight as well. Some of these guitar parts are hard to replicate on the bass, but their bassist did a great job on it.

Drums: The drums were solid. Something I really enjoyed about the drums, from both a songwriting and a production decision, was that they were primarily groove-based. Like, there was not any unnecessary technicality. The drums were technical when needed, but otherwise just stayed the 4/4 meter that was prevalent throughout the song. It grooved. No blast beats or fills to that ruined the groove of the track. Overall, excellent choice being made by the drummer on this track.

Vocals: First, let’s talk about the screamer. He is a good screamer/grower. I am going to make a repeated point I just made with the drums here. He only screamed when it was needed to. In this case, it was to emphasize heavy sections or to add to the energy of the chorus under the singing. Very good songwriting, arrangement, and production choice here. This made his screams much more meaningful and delightful to hear. I like how his vocals were EQ’d and compressed. They were not compressed to death and his vocals sat perfectly in the mix with the cymbals, guitars, and other vocals.

Second, let’s talk about the singer. Something I seriously enjoyed about the post-Spiritbox wave of modern progressive metal is that we are seeing amazing female singers coming up in modern metal! Hell Tale Heart’s singer is wonderful, beautiful, and more importantly catchy. I have caught myself singing the chorus to this song many times, even outside of listening to it. It is the catchy nature of her voice during the chorus that gives this song a lot of replay-ability. Again, a point made with the screaming vocalist, is that her singing and melody helps makes her parts stand out against the very heavy parts of the song and counters the heaviness of the aggressive vocals.

In conclusion, a great job overall. It has was added to my “Prog Metal Bangers” playlist on Spotify. I want to hear more, and I am eagerly waiting for this band to drop a full record. I think, given the proper time, that this band blow up in a similar way to both Periphery and Spritibox.

Review by: Adam Driskell of Circles of Namibia



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