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Arrivals / Departures

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Album Review

Some call it "melodic hardcore"; others describe it as "post-hardcore" or "screamo." Whatever term one prefers, the '90s and 2000s have seen a wave of alternative pop/rock bands that contrast emotional and melodic sensitivity with the sort of tortured, screaming vocals one associates with hardcore and metalcore. Like albums by Nora, From Autumn to Ashes, Emery, and Hopesfall (just to give a few examples), Arrivals/Departures pretty much fits into that melodic hardcore/screamo/post-hardcore aesthetic. School for Heroes' material is generally melodic, and they include enough tortured, death-all-over-your-face screaming to give the CD some heaven/hell and kindness/cruelty contrasts. But the screaming isn't as prevalent as it is on other screamo discs; so the hell takes a back seat to the heaven just as the cruelty takes a back seat to the kindness. That isn't to say that Arrivals/Departures doesn't rock — actually, it rocks aggressively, but not in the consistently brutal and ruthless fashion one expects from a full-on metalcore band like Brick Bath, Hatebreed, or Deadsoil. School for Heroes aren't unique; there are many other screamo bands that go for a melody/brutality juxtaposition and ultimately let melody have the upper hand (whereas some screamo bands give the screaming an advantage over the melody). But while Arrivals/Departures isn't groundbreaking and is a bit uneven, most of the material is decent — not outstanding or exceptional, but certainly decent. And unlike the screamo discs that simply let volume and amplification carry them when the artist runs out of ideas, Arrivals/Departures has a sense of craftsmanship; if School for Heroes had to provide a totally acoustic version of this album, they wouldn't be up the creek without a paddle. All things considered, this 2004 release paints a likable (if imperfect and less than distinctive) picture of the Floridians.

Top Albums and Songs by School for Heroes

Arrivals / Departures, School for Heroes
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