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Album Review: Climates - 'What Means the Most'

27 January 2013 | 4:25 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

What Means the Most, by melodic hardcore standouts, Climates is a record that discourages passive listening and really makes you think.

It’s clear after one listen that the title of Climates’ debut EP ‘What Means the Most’ could be a question and not a statement. In their first offering, the British melodic hardcore freshmen have recorded a concept album, for want of a more accurate phrase, that serves as a plea for answers to life’s most troubling conundrums and a crisis in existentialism. It’s easy to see why, what with their transparent devotion and brutal honesty, Climate’s have risen above the pack of others attempting to try their hand at hardcore, and won over the listenership and devotion of so many.

What Means the Most
is heavy stylistically and lyrically, something that seems to be a trend for melodic hardcore bands of the day (I’m thinking Counterparts and Departures here). The album builds up to this, however, beginning with a brief but soothing instrumental ‘Introduction,’ to the title track ‘What Means the Most’, which kicks off with driving guitar chords and rapid drumming - create an sense of urgency that sticks.

We are then met with the unique vocals of Climate’s frontman, whose scratchy higher pitched screams take some getting used to, similar to how the Worthwhile’s vocalist took a little bit of time to adjust to on their 2012 offering Carry On Kid. With lyrics such as “hopes are out of focus, and out of sight” and “the thought of wasting my life creeps up on me everyday,” ‘Chance and Courage’ is just one example of Climates’ remarkable expressive abilities and relatability.

The intensity of the first half of the album is broken by an ethereal ‘Interlude’ which then leads into ‘Heavy Minds’ – a title that embodies the mood of What Means the Most. Here, the screamer slips frequently in and out of clean vocals, which appears to be something out of the control of the vocalist and adds an grunge texture to Climate’s hard-hitting melodies. The final track, ‘Letting Go’ which asks more questions than it answers, feels like a lingering resolution to an EP that leaves a lot of issues open.

Climates is one of hardcore’s most though provoking bands, and while they’re not doing anything bands like Departures and Worthwhile haven’t tried already, What Means Most is a stellar example of why melodic hardcore is such a big deal in heavy music society.

1. Introduction

2. What Means Most

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3. Chance and Courage

4. Interlude

5. Heavy Minds

6. Letting Go