Review: Close Your Eyes – We Will Overcome

Artist: Close Your Eyes
Album: We Will Overcome
Genre: Christian Hardcore/Brocore
Label: Victory Records

Say what you will about Tony Brummel, but he has an ear for what will sell. Even if some of his recent heavier signings have only appealed to select markets, Brummel has built an empire on his ability to find a sound that people are willing to pay for even in an age where it seems every record is victim to piracy and leaks. His latest signing, Close Your Eyes, blends the pop punk meets hardcore sound of Victory’s poster boys A Day To Remember with Comeback Kid [another Victory act] attitude and Rise Against’s sense of lyrical urgency. The group’s debut record We Will Overcome is poised to be the first true “anthem record” of 2010, but I’m still not sold that the group is completely ready for the national spotlight.

Starting with a lot of passion and heart, “A Proclamation” wastes no time pulling you into We Will Overcome. Heavy and quick guitar parts, pounding drums, and the undeniably talented vocals of Shane Raymond welcome us hastily into the album before taking us on an energy fueled ride into the heart of the record. It’s obvious from the start that Close Your Eyes is comprised of some of the most religious and tough guys on the scene today. Rarely does the record slow or go more than a minute without some reference to a higher power whether it be by mention of God’s love or how they’ve gone astray and need to find salvation, nearly every line has something to say that listener will be hanging on moment by moment. However, it’s how the group is able to blend their strong religious views with exceptional song structure and instrumentation that let’s them bridge the gap between Christian and secular markets. For instance, “Friends are Friends Forever” has a blistering guitar solo and crazy gang vocals to pull in music fans while the group talks about the need for “the light” in their lives.

Unlike most bands hitting the “brocore” genre recently, Close Your Eyes are smart enough to throw listeners a few curve balls on We Will Overcome that helps keep things fresh. I want to make special note of the lead single and [more than] obvious standout from the record, “Song for The Broken.” By blending the modern take on Post Hardcore that Silverstein showcased on A Shipwreck in The Sand with genius instrumentation and song structure, CYE truly leaves a mark on the listener with this song. I have no doubts this will be the track the group is not only known for, but that they will be closing each and every show with for the majority of their career. It’s jaw dropping, heavy, and packing a whole lot of heart and honestly. Not to be a one trick pony though, Close Your Eyes also get quite creative with the catchy and endearing “Arms Raised.” Meant to sound more like an anthem than it does, this closer will keep the kids swirling in the pit and girls dancing in their car while giving everyone one last chance to jump on the “gang vocal worship” style of the group.

We Will Overcome is an unstoppable force of heavy and pop that connects with everyone that listens to it. By staying true to themselves and their beliefs, Close Your Eyes have created a niche in a genre flooded with repetition. They certainly don’t reinvent the wheel with this release, but they definitely put themselves in a position to do whatever they want in what looks to be a promising future and that’s more than most bands accomplish in the entirety of their career.

Score: 8/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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