Close Your Eyes - Line in the Sand (Victory Records)

Step aside everything else released by Victory this year, you only need to listen to this

Close Your Eyes are, by no means, an unknown quantity in the melodic hardcore scene. Their previous two releases garnered them a fair amount of support, not just in Texas, or America, but in multiple countries, here in the UK especially. Sadly, after the departure of long-term vocalist Shane Raymond they seemed to drop off the face of the Earth a little. But now they’re back, and it seems they’re very much intent on still building on the ample foundation that they previously had.

It’s always a little difficult when a band has a vocalist change: do you try and stick with the same sound? Or do you swing a different direction? Well if you’re Close Your Eyes, apparently you do both. Under Shane there was a lot more emphasis on his impressive clean vocals, and the actual “hardcore” moments seemed to take a bit of a back seat. But in new frontman Sam Ryder, Close Your Eyes have found a vocalist who is perfectly comfortable churning out both the huge melodic moments Close Your Eyes have become synonymous with, and also the pounding hardcore elements that saw Close Your Eyes at times likened to A Day to Remember.

I was a huge fan of the old Close Your Eyes, which is why it’s a little saddening to say that this may well be their best album yet. Each song is an impeccable blend of hardcore/punk screams, beatdowns and riffs, and pop-punk melodies and gang vocals. Which means that on the whole, this album is 15 tracks (12 tracks proper, if you take out the intro/outro tracks and mini hardcore blast Skeletons) worth of pure great listening.

Of course, the one thing that remains a constant with Close Your Eyes, not just in this album, but through their entire career, is the irrepressible positivity that is the core of every single song. Songs like Frame and Glass, Kings of John Payne and Trends and Phases, to name but a few, are case studies in how infectious an upbeat pop-punk melody can be, and when blended with the punk/hardcore elements, how powerful mixing these two elements can be.

I might have said that it’s sad to say this is their best album yet because it’s a slightly different beat, but honestly, this album is too good to be anything other than ecstatic about.


Line in the Sand is out now.