Every now and then, while delving through the independent spaces of the more aggressive forms of rock music, you run across a band you feel will be one to follow closely. Such is the case with the Birmingham, Alabama based metalcore band The Hero and a Monster. Originally started as the moniker for the solo act of lead singer Tyler Holden in 2017, the band released their first EP in early 2019 entitled Always. When asked what the significance of the name is, Holden in an interview stated that the "hero is Jesus, and the monster is the struggles and personal demons people fight every day." The band approaches their art with this in mind and view music as a tool and ministry to meet people where they're at and "extend a hand and extend the love they know in Christ."
THAM's newest single, "Drift," does not pull any punches, sounding very much like Howard Jones fronting the band Convictions, they charge out of the gate with a driving riff and snarled vocal delivery that would make any metalhead proud. The biggest surprise happens during the chorus when Holden begins to croon "Left behind, alone and drifting, still no sign inside the silence;" this is where you know you have run across something special as the clean vocals shine just as bright as the harsh ones, which is not always the case in the genre. The tempo changes stick out next as the band fluctuates between chaos filled breakdowns, ambient space filled choruses, and driving metalcore verses. Covering the theme of either a damaged relationship or being stuck in destructive cycles, the band tries to confront us with our apathy towards these situations and challenge us to face up to our responsibilities.
On their single, "Wounds," which released earlier this year, we see the beforementioned Convictions lead singer, Micheal Felker, featured on a track that really flexes its metalcore muscles and matches the aggression musically with the lyrical content. Covering the ground of wrestling with doubt, grief, and fear, Holden sings "Please answer me the constant seeking for the end of grief." The later verse, "I'm holding on for signs of you to take the salt of the wound," is an identifiable feeling for most of us. Many times, we get stuck in places of hurt, brokenness, and even sin where we are left wondering if God cares and we are just holding on hoping for God to help us. In the end, it's these times that often become our most defining moments and times of our greatest victories. It's these times when faith is proven and where our hope is revealed.
In a crowded scene, it takes something special for a band to stand above the others, and it seems that The Hero and a Monster have that. Musically very tight and proficient, lyrically strong with a broad appeal, and a lead vocalist that brings something a little different to the mix makes for a strong contender to be the next big thing and if so, you heard it here first.- Review date: 8/3/23, written by Matt Baldwin of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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