1000 Albums Project


For Those Who Have Heart, by A Day to Remember
Suggested by Tom Ross

Sarah and I married on the twenty-first of February 2014.

The date was our tenth anniversary. We married at a small chapel in Las Vegas, as part of a two-week holiday-honeymoon. We invited friends and family from the UK to join us if they could, but cost and timing was obviously prohibitive. We offered to fund our mums to come for a week of gambling in the sun, but both declined, which I still find baffling today.

Sarah looked fantastic, in a burgundy off-the-shoulder dress, with dazzling hair and makeup. Like any other portly man in a waistcoat, I looked like a circus ringmaster, but I didn’t care. I was happy, and so proud.

Our package included limousine collection for ourselves and our party, which consisted of two special American friends we’ve known for years. We were whisked to the offices of the court registrar, to sign our documents in full wedding attire, assured we would be among many couples doing the same thing. Of course, we were the only ones there dressed to the nines, as the locals knew they could sign these forms in their scruffs, a few weeks in advance. We were embarrassed, but everyone cheered, and the atmosphere was full of love.

The service was sweet, broadcast on the internet for folks at home. The pastor called me Greg, which I put down to his accent. We exchanged rings, kisses, and loving words. Then we hit the hotel food court, still in full dress, eating Chinese food out of boxes like bosses. That evening, a restaurant meal, some light gambling, and a lot of alcohol, celebrating with friends, laughter and dreams and fun.

There. That day. That was a day to remember.

For Those Who Have Heart is the Florida rock quintet’s second studio album, released to muted acclaim in 2007, and again in 2008. It houses twelve fearsome tracks that straddle the divide between punk and metal, with mixed success. The guitars, and half the vocals, herald a pure pop-punk sound, while the pounding bass and rattletrap drums, and half the vocals, propel us screaming, headlong into Death Metal Country.

Both halves of the vocals, as far as I can tell, are handled by frontman Jeremy McKinnon, and his range in both regards is rather surprising. On the one hand, he belts out a pure, high, pop-punk delivery with style and substance, at least the equal of any other practitioner that you’d care to suggest. On the other hand, he gruffly growls and gurgles like a demon muppet possessed, causing this reviewer to hoot like a gibbon at the ridiculous noise.

The songs do their best at double duty, and if I’m honest they succeed on both levels. If we take The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle as an example, we can see the fusion of the Pop Punk and Death Metal sounds perfectly. But however deft the sections, they still sit alone and untethered, and the abrupt switching between the two is hilarious. The songs are decent, especially Show ‘Em The Ropes and my standout Start the Shooting, but they’ll never appeal to me for anything more than novelty value.

For Those That Have Heart gets 5/10. Regrettably, the union of pop-punk and death metal is not a match made in heaven.

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