Royal Hearts – “Within Reach” (review)

My discovery of Royal Hearts came from a Twitter follow of all places. This band’s social media presence is quite excellent, interacting with their fanbase consistently and amicably. I’ve noticed a few bands operating like this, from Easy Way Out to The Seafloor Cinema. Bonding with potential fans is great, but how does the music pan out? Let’s take a look at their debut EP, Within Reach.

On “Fairweather,” my first impression of Royal Hearts is of pleasant surprise. There’s some range in the vocals, from cleans to screams to shouts, showing much-needed versatility to capture the listener’s interest. This opener has its fair share of breakdowns, a lost art that deserves a revival, as punchy instrumentals match up with the defeatist lyricism.

Vocal harmonies show some breadth in “It Gets Me So,” even if it’s a bit tough to hear the layering. This one’s a bit more derivative of some of the band’s inspirations, Thrice and Silverstein, ringing in the emo side of Royal Hearts.

“Loving to Leaving” gets a bit more heavy making ample use of the double bass pedal, and has a nice echo effect slapped onto the vocals in the chorus. A flash in the pan, it serves as a decent midway point for the short release.

Almost anthemic, “Death of Me” has a strong introduction and has the best vocal outing on Within Reach thanks to its diversity, making it my highlight track on the EP. Anguish and angst are felt best in this song’s hook, showing promise for the young band.

Last up is “Wasting My Time,” I was caught off-guard by the tempo-change breakdown, something you’d hear from a great like August Burns Red, that Royal Hearts manage to impress here. They also stick the landing with a last-song outro, a staple that they didn’t miss.

For a first EP, Royal Hearts has a solid foundation to expand upon. The crucial beginning for the band has been nailed, and I’ve watched bands like Outline in Color and Kingdom of Giants only get better and better from this point. Here’s hoping the band takes off, as I like them bringing emo elements to their brand of post-hardcore!

Rating: 7.5/10

A press copy of Within Reach was provided courtesy of Royal Hearts.