Ohio metalcore band Convictions is back with more “aggressive worship” in their latest album Hope for the Broken, showing a powerful, emotional sound with some great vocals to go with both the heavy and the clean parts of the songs.
Fremont Ohio-based Convictions trace their origin back to 2012 and not long after released their first album, I Am Nothing. As happens, lineups often change in bands and not long after the first release, the original singer and bassist left and were replaced by Michael Felker on vocal and John Fleischmann on bass (and clean vocals). Two ep’s followed, Unworthy and Hallowed Spirit/Violent Divide in 2015 which was high on the iTunes metal charts for a bit. Just looking around at various internet postings, the band has toured with the likes of Eyes Set to Kill and Upon a Burning Body, so are starting to make a name for themselves. As a self-proclaimed Christian band, Convictions looks to set themselves apart by writing lyrics based on their own “convictions” and how they deal with the everyday struggles of living in this world.
As many albums do, the first track, “Exodus, The End of Us” is a rather short intro that starts out rather quiet, but quickly explodes when Michael Felker’s vocals come in and the rest of the track establishes that this is indeed metalcore.
The next two tracks, “Deceptive Heart” and “Voices (They Want Me Dead)”, the band has made videos for and really serve as a good introduction to Convictions. “Deceptive Heart” opens up with a pounding riff and traded screaming vocals between Felker and bassist Fleischmann backed by a pounding at at times rapid fire drum line from Zach Schwochow keeps things interesting. This being said, the song does follow a bit of the standard metalcore format of heavy riffs and verses with clean choruses and some slower quieter sections with some breakdowns and sound effects thrown in. This does get the point of being a bit predictable but as I listen to more of the album that doesn’t really bother me due to the strength of the voices. Speaking of “Voices”, the next track alters the formula a bit as it opens with some less heavy but vocals and a bit of a catchy melody before shifting heavier and then devolving back into the formula. John Fleischmann’s clean vocals really shine in this song and pair well with Michael Felker’s emotion-filled screaming vocals. The clean chorus really saves the song for me.
“Divided” and “We Are Violence” follow in a similar vein as the previous tracks, while the calmer, somewhat quieter “Feel Alive” changes the overall mood and feel for a brief bit until feedback-drenched opening of “False Witnesses” with its deep heavy riff takes things back to the heavier side of the spectrum. Again here Felker’s vocals contrasting with Fleischmann’s just work really well and save the song from being just another metalcore song with heavy breakdown sections.
“To Sleep is to Feel” is one of the more different songs on the album with its driving melody punctuated by Fleischmann’s bass and Schwochow’s drums ending up in a song that will undoubtedly get the heads bobbing in a live show. Of course there is a breakdown but mercifully short during the song but also a separate one closing out the song.
Fittingly, “Hope for the Broken” closes out the album and is also the most adventurous of the tracks bringing in a piano for a couple sections as the song regularly switches from clean to heavy. Again here the clean vocals, which usually annoy me, really fit within the song and although things do seem a bit formulaic in the big picture, the song is well composed and the emotion in the heavy vocals and some layered in guitar around the main riff drive listener interest.
Some might look at Convictions as just another metalcore band and while first impressions may support that idea, listening to a few of the tracks will likely draw you in. The music alternates heavy and bright and the performances are strong as is the songcraft that makes transitions seamless. The emotion and power in the vocals were the distinguishing feature for me, both in the heavy and clean sections and keep Hope for the Broken from being just another metalcore album.
Written by John Jackson
1. Exodus, The End Of Us
2. Deceptive Heart
3. Voices (They Want Me Dead)
5. We Are Violence
6. Feel Alive
7. False Witnesses
8. The Storm Will Pass (Ft. Chris Roetter)
10. To Sleep Is To Feel (Ft. JT Woodruff)
12. Never Wanted It This Way
13. Hope For The Broken
Michael Felker – Vocals
John Fleischmann – Vocals, bass
Joshua Canode – Guitar
Zach Schwochow – Drums
Record Label: Invogue Records.
Release Date: June 1st. 2018
Video for ‘Voices’
Video for ‘Deceptive Heart’