Band – Absolute Hero
Album / Label – Gone Bad
/ Unsigned
Rating – 8.5 / 10

When Columbus rock band Absolute Hero released the first single, Death of Innocence, from their as-yet-unfinished EP Gone Bad in February, it was a marked departure from their previous album, Sing For Sanity (2016).

The darker, more ominous tone was apparent on the single, and that vibe carries through on the new EP. “Everything’s a bit harder,” said drummer and co-founder Justin Moegling in February, “a bit darker, more angry and aggressive.”

Of that, there is no doubt. Gone Bad, set to be released on July 28, comprises seven tracks of sonic firepower that worms its way into your aural synapses and bites down… hard. Recorded at Capital House Studios in Columbus with producer Nick Ingram at the controls, the band has a more mature and tighter sound.

Opening with the foreboding darkness of the instrumental Intro, the tense anxiety builds to a sweeping crescendo before slamming you full-force as the band kicks-in the door with the heaviness of Bad Hero. The raw emotion vocalist Sarah Nichole puts forth comes across as a big “Fuck You” to anyone trying to keep you down.

The fast pace of Dead Scene leaves no room for subtlety, with stabbing guitar flourishes from Landen Gruszewski that are understated, but solidly in the mix. Moegling’s work on the drums carries no pretense, as he appears to be channeling his aggression into the sticks, all the while providing a solid beat that will please the headbangers.

Daisy begins with the lightning chug of crunchy guitars, picking up speed before morphing into the melodic, yet still very heavy, lament of love gone bad. Nichole bares her soul as she wails “Till nothing’s left of me,” with her pain on display for all to experience.

“Gone Bad” EP cover

While Death of Innocence is of a slower tempo than the previous tracks, the anger is evident and translates into one of the band’s most powerful tracks, from a lyrical standpoint. “I was going through a point in my life where I was feeling more anger,” said Nichole in February.

The fast pace returns with breakneck speed on Placebo, as Nichole relates the feeling of being wasting time on someone that doesn’t deserve it. She’s at once vulnerable, yet tough as nails and not to be trifled with. The sonic layers envelope you, wrapping the listener in it’s dark and warm embrace. You believe her with all your soul as she ominously sings “I’ll set your world on fire…”

The extended play closes with emotion-filled lament of 6 Years Old. The theme of broken trust runs throughout the track, telling a tale that many can relate to. Nichole’s depth as a vocalist is on full-display, with a sadness that comes across as almost spoken word for a major portion of the number. Her built-up anger spews forth, punctuating what has happened in the past. The band is solid around her, creating a melodic soundscape that compliments her vocals wonderfully.

Gone Bad is the album that should launch the band to a national audience, with a sonic acuity that many bands strive for, but few achieve. Gone are the pop-punk stylings of their earlier work, replaced with a more introspective maturity that showcases a band on the rise.

Track List

  1. Intro
  2. Bad Hero
  3. Dead Scene
  4. Daisy
  5. Death of Innocence
  6. Placebo
  7. 6 Years Old

Absolute Hero – Bad Hero