Location: Kansas City, KS
Album Year: 2013
Hester Prynne have had one roller-coaster year so far. Since August of 2012, the band has broken up, released a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new album, got back together, had their Kickstarter campaign completely funded, and are now finally releasing the new album, “Black Heart Market.” It has been four long years since Hester Prynne released their debut album, “The Goswell Divorce,” and the band has shown that they have not even lost a step since then.
Hester Prynne show, again, that they are one of the most original bands in metal today. They are a deathcore band but no one really sounds like them. The riffs and grooves that the band come up with is incredible. Some songs are a little more groove oriented, “Black Heart Market,” while other songs are more technical riffing oriented, “Heat.” Even then, the band does a great job of blending both the grooves and riffs to never become stale. The drummer does a great job keeping with the insanity that is the guitars. The breakdowns on this album are not to be forgotten either. The breakdowns on this album are deadly as they are some of the best so far in 2013, with the two best coming from the title track and “Dancing with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight.”
If the instrumentation was not enough, then you have Lance Rollins. The range this man has is godly. He has spine-tingling highs, hair-raising lows, and an assortment of mids, pig squeals, and more. The vocals are constantly switching up so it is never repetitive. One thing that is new on this album is Alex Koehler-like talking vocals, that was seen on their “Evolve” EP. Vocals like this usually never sound good, and on this album it did not change much. Those type of vocals sounded okay on this album but it would have been better to hear Rollins go with his enormous range. However, these talking vocals do not show up often, “Grimy” is mostly where these vocals popped up. Other than that, not much more can be asked from Rollins who, again, brings an amazing performance on this album.
Hester Prynne certainly did not suffer from a sophomore slump on “Black Heart Market,” even if it was four years after the release of “The Goswell Divorce.” “Black Heart Market” has the possibility of being the deathcore album of the year and one of the albums of the year as the riffs are interesting and unique, the drumming is fast and precise, and the vocalist is one of the best in the genre. Ladies and gentleman, Hester Prynne is back.