Audio Adrenaline has been one to withstand the test of time since its inception over fourteen years ago. Until My Heart Caves In is the band's eighth studio release and bears the results of further growth and change for the four-piece rock band. Longtime frontman Mark Stuart's signature vocals have shown some wear and tear in recent years and now take a back seat on the band's latest recording. Guitarist Tyler Burkum, who has gradually offered more and more vocal accompaniment to Stuart's leads since 1999's Underdog, takes over vocal duties for the majority of Until My Heart Caves In. Burkum's smooth, youthful vocals have never sounded better, giving the album a unique pop/rock vibe different from any of the band's previous releases.
Stuart's familiar vocals still make their appearance on memorable highlights, however, that include the title track, "King," "Undefeated," the heart-wrenching "Losing Control," and the rousing opener "Clap Your Hands," but may not be frequent enough to please longtime fans. Regardless, Burkum headlines some equally catchy songs that are bound to make an impact like the redemption anthem "Starting Over," and "Are You Ready For Love."
Musically, Until My Heart Caves In bears more of a raw rock sound than their previous effort, Worldwide. Jay Joyce's production allows room for the band to stretch their creative wings and capture more of their live sound than some of the band's more recent recordings. At times, the vocals tend to overshadow the drive of Burkum's guitars, where giving them more prominence may have added a little extra strength to the song. But the album's theme of not quitting under trials is only reinforced by the stripped down nature of the album's sound. Until My Heart Caves In is also consistently more melodic. Much like their 2001 effort Lift, melody is an important part of the songs on the record. But that is where the comparison to Lift ends. Until My Heart... merges the edge of bloOm with the infectious catchiness of Underdog, all the while remaining fresh new territory for the band.
In the end, as a longtime follower of the band's music, I can't entirely shake off how much Stuart's vocals are missed on the record. While Burkum is a worthy replacement, revisiting classic AudioA tunes is only a reminder of what is missing from some of the new material. Even as Stuart's voice has grown rougher and raspier in recent years, it still bears a sound unique to Audio Adrenaline. Regardless, it can't be ignored that Until My Heart Caves In is welcomed new ground for the rock veterans of Audio Adrenaline. A solid melodic rock record from start to finish (although sadly on the shorter side), Until My Heart Caves In is a fine addition to the Audio Adrenaline collection.- Review date: 8/25/05, written by John DiBiase
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