Album Review: Herzschlager – “All the Nights Are Done” 8.5/10 (Hardcore)

Written by Kep

HerzschlagerAll the Nights Are Done (EP)
Hardcore punk from Kent, UK
Releasing May 7 via Rotting Throne Records
8.5/10

Now I’ll be the first person to tell you that I’m not the most knowledgeable hardcore punk expert out there, but what I am is a fan of good music and good people. Herzschlager is exactly that: kickass tunes from two extremely kickass human beings, and debut EP All the Nights Are Done is set to bring all sorts of awesomeness to your ears on May 7. 

A side project of Tom Ballard and Alan Cordner (who goes by ABC here) of staunchly anti-fascist, anti-racist, and anti-homophobia/transphobia groove/sludge metal riffhouse Allfather, this band has a simple philosophy that’s actually rather profound: what if we take all the frustration and irritation and negative emotions of living in a pandemic for over a year and get that shit out through music that’s actually fun? All the Nights Are Done embodies that idea entirely with five tracks of gratifying punk-based catharsis that cleanses the soul.

I defy you to listen to the first 50 seconds of “Unstoppable Herz”, through to where Tom screams “Let’s go!”, and not feel like you’re ready to run through a fucking wall. You can’t do it, it’s literally impossible. The energy that these guys deliver across the 16 minutes of this EP is nothing short of outstanding. ABC’s riffs are vigorous and remarkably catchy here and aggressively chuggy and punchy there, covering a variety of punk and punk-adjacent styles, and the breakneck, hair-to-the-wind nature of his drumming is flat out infectious. Tom’s vocals are passionate and powerfully delivered as always, and listening to him here in Herzschlager reminded me one of the things I love him for: he’s completely intelligible without sacrificing any of the ferocity, grit, and emotion of extreme vocals. He delivers some particularly inspiring lines, like this in “Lazarus Moment”: “You can’t help but see everything grey / Life just gone and went / But now you see a chance to rise and have / Your Lazarus moment”. You can absolutely hear through the heart-on-the-sleeve-but-party-though nature of this stuff that it’s such a necessary release of pent-up emotions for Tom and ABC, and you can’t help but be swept right up into it.

The five songs here really run the gamut: “Rollin’ Bones” is short and violently punktastic, “Blood Sick” flashes bits of d-beat influence, “Lazarus Moment” and “Unstoppable Herz” both feature moments of what I feel are just good old fashioned heavy metal riffs mixed in, and “Herzschlager” is surprisingly wide-ranging, with a fast chugging opening section that slows down and gets downright meditative a couple minutes in, before picking up steam again with the drums and Tom’s screams juxtaposed against melancholy melodies in the guitars. Top to bottom, it’s an impressive set of tunes packed into a quick listen of a fun-size package.

I highly recommend giving Herzschlager’s debut release a spin…or five…or more. It’s a fantastically compelling and extremely gratifying punk celebration of getting through the shit life throws at us. There couldn’t be a better time for it, and the quality songwriting of All the Nights Are Done hits just right.

Favorite track: Unstoppable Herz

Score: 8.5/10

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