At Our Heels - Misanthropy and Godlessness (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

At Our Heels

Misanthropy and Godlessness (2010)


Misanthropy and Godlessness starts off loud, fast, and heavy, and it stays that way. Making no bones about what they've set out to do, At Our Heels play hardcore that balances itself between early West Coast barking and New York-style hardcore. The vocals are half-screamed, half-growled, the drums shake the ground, and the guitar tones borrow from equal parts death metal, thrash, and D-beat.

While all of these genres have their own distinct personalities, and blending them can be tricky, the band deftly slides together rapid screaming with Cro-Mag-nian breakdowns to make a unified piece. Interestingly, because most of the songs are so short, and recurring themes fade and return throughout the LP, each track seems to operate as a movement of a larger piece.

The band tackles such stalwart hardcore topics as disaffection with society, being forced into a suit and tie, and depression. With lyrics such as "Everyday it's more of the same / Friday nights with different names," and "I've been waking up to frozen lungs / cracked lips and split tongues," the band is able to paint descriptive pictures with minimal phrasing, allowing a great deal of interpretation for the listener. The neat parts of the lyrics are those that remain vague without being overtly abstract, as evidenced by the title of the album, in which the band never makes it clear if misanthropy or godlessness are good or bad traits, and who's supposed to have them.

Although the band has mastered their mix of disparate styles of hardcore, it seems that they're on the verge on a breakthrough. With some lyrics that might breach the usual bubble of hardcore topics and some more unusual sounds, the band will be able to make a truly singular piece that represents their own vision.