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The Dear Hunter - Act II: The Meaning Of, And All Things Regarding Ms. Leading CD (album) cover


The Dear Hunter


Crossover Prog

4.03 | 277 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Dear Hunter's "Act II: Ms Leading" is a difficult album for me to discuss, for while overall I feel that the band's energy, compositions, and performances are all very good, there is a distinct repulsion I feel towards their vibe, which tip-toes a little too much into the "hardcore" or "emo" mainstream for me.

For starters, "Act II" is a high-energy, vaudivilleian experience, dominated by theatrics and up- front vocals. Musicianship is quite good, but there are no "wow" moments in either solo or group playing; the direction seems to be in the total effect, rather than highlights. Songs cover lots of ground stylistically-- from big, kinetic bombast to quite, delicate, and controlled melody making. The Mars Volta comparissons are (in this case) fair, although doing so sets the bar impossibly high for Dear Hunter; "Act II" is neither as intense, emotive, fragile, or well- performed as any of the key Mars Volta albums, but they do a commendable job using the popular prog/pop style to create their own voice.

The listener is definitely taken on a journey through the course of this album, the question is: will they end up wanting to go?

The answer depends almost entirely on how much one enjoys (or can endure) the vocals of Crezcendo. This is where the line in the sand is drawn, with "Act II's" pop/rock coming to the forefront throughout. Crescendo shouts for the entire album, in a style I've been told by fans is similar to the "hardcore" style of pop music (although if you listen to bands from the tech/extreme prog metal category, you'll find that description laughibly innacurate). His shouts are somtimes exciting, sometimes sloppy, and almost always uncalled for; he even belts out lyrics during the album's ballads. There is a sort of diaphramatic "ugh" that he ends phrases with which sounds very contrived, taking away some of the luster of the group's otherwise interesting instrument work.

As someone new to this style of music, "Act II" turned me off. If you're like me and have limited exposure to popular artistic pop/rock, then don't be fooled by the comparisons to Mars Volta-- Dear Hunter is much more on the pop side of things, which while artistic, will probably only appeal to fans who are already into this style of music.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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