Review: Stitched Up Heart – To the Wolves

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Stitched Up Heart - To The Wolves Century Media Records

Hearts on fire, hearts on fire

Stitching, stitching with desire

LA based gothic rock and alternative metal group Stitched Up Heart are letting their 3rd full length album To The Wolves off the leash on September 1st via Century Media. Capitalizing on a theatrical metal sound similar to that of groups like Ice Nine Kills, Motionless In White and In This Moment, while parlaying a complementary hard rock edge that can be heard in similar acts like Halestorm, and The Pretty Reckless, Stitched up Heart fit in squarely in a modern commercial metal scene. There is some solid songwriting, anthemic choruses and performances on the album but at times elements blend together, which is bolstered by the messy production. The record as a whole is a mixed bag but there are standout moments and segments that are certainly praiseworthy.

Alecia ‘Mixi’ Demner’s lead vocals help this group standout. This style of metal has been done by a lot of groups recently but her voice helps give SUP a much needed distinct flavor. The backing vocals from the rest of the group also create a vocal vanguard that bolster Demner`s singing. Merritt Goodwin gets some solid moments to show his lead guitar skills, backed by Demner on rhythm guitar. With this style of metal, the rhythm section is pretty integral and thankfully James Decker on drums and Randy Mathias`s bass do not falter. They keep the band grounded and help craft some of the record’s best elements.

Immediately beginning with the title track, “To The Wolves” is a synthy, atmospheric sentence starter. It grows into an anthemic cut, reminiscent of bands like Ice Nine Kills and Motionless In White and In This Moment. While it might not be the most memorable song, it does have a pretty solid chorus. “Thunder” for the most part is a solid number as well. The band understands the assignment and presents solid guitar work and vocals, punctuated by somewhat industrial soundscapes in the background. It does overstay its welcome just a bit. That vibe is carried into “The Hunting”. While the record so far has good uniformity, and this cut does have perhaps the best melody and pacing of the record so far, it just feels a tad artificial and that feeling can be applied to the project overall whether that’s intentional or not. 

Track 4 “Possess Me” in its lyrics basically took what was going through my mind at the time and incorporated it into the song, “I want more”. It’s a decent enough number, but something is missing. “Immortal” thankfully, is a needed burst of energy. The ideas and concepts of the record come together the best here. While the song does get repetitive after a while, I’ll take what I can get. I could totally see a pop friendly adaptation of this cut being made (that’s not a bad thing, if anything that’s a testament to the stronger aspects of the band). “Taste For Blood” has a good atmosphere, packed out nice drumming and it shows nice growth with the more synthetic elements gelling well with the natural instrumentation. It’s very “Sempiternal” era Bring Me The Horizon. Bonus points for the interesting glitchy solo. 

“Conquer and Divide” has a solid head banging opening and some tangible emotion. One of the stronger cuts, it feels like a heavier track by The Pretty Reckless. “Dead Inside” shows improvement and continues off the upward momentum of the last few cuts. The bass specifically is a highlight. “The Architect” in concept is another good number, however the production really muddies the whole affair. It’s hard to hear bits of the instrumentation, the background noise is admittedly distracting and the processing on the vocals is noticeably messy. The last two tracks “Part of Me” and “The End” are solid enough numbers but similarly to the earlier entries aren’t very impactful or very memorable.

Stitched Up Heart delivers a pretty messy final product with To the Wolves. I wouldn’t consider it an outright misfire but there aren’t any shining elements that warrant repeated listens to this track. I can see a younger demographic really having fun with this and there are some interesting ideas here. The performances are good, there’s catchy choruses and the songwriting for the most part is good too. The messy production can muddy the waters but it’s still a decent enough final product. Mileage may vary with this one. 

Standout tracks: “Immortal”, “Taste For Blood”, & “Conquer and Divide”

To the Wolves gets 2 flaming Toilets ov Hell out of 5

Stitched Up Heart’s To The Wolves is out on September 1st via Century Media Records.

 

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