Recording information: The Smoakstack, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Ethan Luck.
From their debut, the underground favorite What You Want Is Now, and their self-titled breakout album to 2008's lauded The End Is Not the End and the catchy Suburba two years later, Columbus, Ohio-based Christian rockers House of Heroes had high expectations to meet with Cold Hard Want. Produced by Paul Moak (Seabird, Lovedrug, Mat Kearney), the album draws from the pop sensibilities of Suburba and the timeless feel of The End Is Not the End, culminating in an engaging, aggressive, and fun listen. Where House of Heroes' last two albums were highly conceptually driven, Cold Hard Want takes a looser focus on its theme of standing up for one's beliefs: the loud-quiet-loud "Comfort Trap" critiques the pitfalls of placing convenience ahead of ambition ("I've got one foot in a rich man's grave/I heard it calling in my sleep at night/So I killed my dream with a butcher knife/I told my heart to toe the line"); the anthemic "Remember the Empire" calls to "fight for the life that our children should have" and "for every freedom that we never had"; and the solemnly powerful closer "I Am a Symbol" proclaims "One voice in the crowd is small/But if he speaks the truth/Then he speaks for all." Elsewhere, tracks like the driving single "Touch This Light" and "Angels of Night" find empowerment in faith, and the exuberant "Dance (Blow It All Away)" is ready to take on the world. Wrapping their messages in energized, empowering punk-pop and hard rock hooks, Cold Hard Want is as much a reflection of House of Heroes' overall sound and ethos as it is the natural next step in their evolution. ~ Chrysta Cherrie