Sparrows - Cold Ground
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Record Label: Broken Heart
“This band would’ve been huge in 2003,” says AbsolutePunk’s own Ryan Gardner on Sparrows’ debut full-length Cold Ground, and I doubt he’s incorrect. The album would certainly fit better in the year of War All the Time, The Artist in the Ambulance, and The Used than today’s breakdown-happy scene.
The opening riff of “Coffin Fever” grabs you by the throat, an explosion of noise. The song’s chorus slows down, and in less than a minute you’ve seen two sides of Sparrows: they can be loud, but they also know how to pull back. This is demonstrated again in “Apostasy,” as the song builds, only to trick the listener with a quiet verse. But when the song finally begins to lull, you’re jarred by vocalist Dan Thompson’s startling screams. “Sever Your Roots” again shows off the band’s soft-to-loud style and features a memorable chorus and pseudo-breakdown two minutes in. “Belly Full of Hell” (intentional Planes Mistaken for Stars reference?) is probably the band’s most accessible track, and its outro shows some discernible Moving Mountains influence. Following a gritty instrumental interlude anchored by Rem McLeod’s drumming is “Sleepwalker,” a definite standout on the album that finds Thompson shouting, “I will fight for breath!” in my favorite moment of the record. Closer “Static Prevails” (I like that album, too!) begins predictably, being the slowest song on the record. It gets slightly louder about a minute in, only to explode into a screamed climax at 2:40. As good as they are in the more serene and ambient sections, it’s in moments like this that Sparrows shine as a band, when the music is loud and heavy and Thompson is screaming his throat raw.
Cold Ground is a welcome release in my post-hardcore collection. For a new band, Sparrows know what they’re doing. They get it. Cold Ground is really good - I think they can release something great next.