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Before the Devil

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Album Review

So blurred have the lines between metal, hardcore, and punk become that mid-2000s bands such as Boston's Black My Heart couldn't even tell you where they qualify — nor, more importantly, do they care. Which is as it should be, considering the limitations enforced by any such labels, but it's still curious to try and compartmentalize the straight-edge metalcore contained in their first full album, 2005's Before the Devil. Wheeler's normally gruff, borderline Cookie Monster vocals strike one for the metal team, as do the unpredictable, angular staccato riffs fueling songs like "We Weren't Brought Up Right" and "My Way." But the hardcore tip is equally well represented by the gang shoutouts of "Did It All" and "Tick Tock," the predominantly real-life lyrical bent, not to mention the seemingly mandated three-minute-or-less song lengths (the entire LP tops out at nine songs, and less than half an hour). And it's when the two genres collide the hardest — be it in the standout anthem of violent brotherhood "Thick as Blood," or the deathlike love lyrics of the title track — that Black My Heart are at their most inspired and distinctive, making this a strong, if disappointingly short first effort.


Formed: 2003 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

A purported straight-edge metalcore quintet from Boston, Black My Heart was formed in 2003 by splinter members of On Broken Wings, and after recording an independent five-track EP entitled Fuck Hearts, vocalist Wheeler, guitarists Tyler Joutras and Rob Wolfe, bassist Ben Snodgrass, and drummer Keith Dece...
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Before the Devil, Black My Heart
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