Produced by Brian Virtue, who’s worked with bands such as Audioslave, 30 Seconds To Mars and Chevelle, Hawthorne Heights broke their mold and released their first concept record, Zero. The high-energy album embodies a dark pop-punk persona, drifting a bit from the hardcore scene and softening up on the screamo. “Darkside” and “Zero” jumped out as two of the more memorable tunes thanks to their catchy lyrics and liveliness. With 15 tracks in roughly 45 minutes, Hawthorne Heights tell a story about a set of characters called The Zero Collective. The concept revolves around the idea of everyone being clocked in the same position of zero, so you get where the title of the album came from.

Following the release of Hope in 2012, Zero reflects a similar upbeat tempo with some underlying emo influences. In the soft acoustic track “Hollow Hearts Unite,” JT Woodruff sings, “There’s a girl next door/She’s got cuts up both sides of her arms/She likes the pain ‘cause the pain don’t break her heart/But I think I can save her/Oh I think I can save her.” But don’t mistake Zero for just another emo record. The album opens with “Skeletons Remain (Transmission 1),” setting the stage for the concept to unfold. “Coalition Of Alternative Living Methods” follows through with the theme and it wraps up with “Over And Out (Transmission 2).”

The idea of the record is appealing and with the storyline transitions accompanying the dark, energetic music, Zero executes it well and makes for a unique experience from start to finish.

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