Released back in 2003, Beloved’s ‘Failure On’ became the standard that I measured every other post-hardcore release by thereafter. You know those records that make you want to learn everything about it, inside and out? This was one of those. I instantly wanted to know all the lyrics – even the screaming parts, which I rarely ever did back then – just so I could sing them back at the top of my lungs in the car; I could mime every guitar part and staggering breakdown rhythm and it was the first album I bothered to learn from start to finish on the drums.

Of course there’d been bands playing the same type of post-hardcore as Beloved before them, but even the best had their odd moment across a full-length that wasn’t up to par with the rest of the record. ‘Failure On’ is intense throughout; from the power of the heavy riffs to the weight of the emotion running through the vocals, it never lets up.

Musically, vocally, lyrically, everything on this record comes together into one perfect package. Three guitars combine to fill out layers of harmony in every song, giving everything a weighty atmosphere and the drums carry a relentless energy, as well as carving out interesting rhythm patterns with the bass drums. The crowning glory of the record though is undoubtedly the vocals.

You won’t hear many people celebrating Josh Moore for being the most technically outstanding vocalist, but you’d be hard pushed to hear a performance as heartfelt as this. Moore doesn’t have a great range, but it doesn’t take a vast span of notes to lay your heart out on record and what he gives us on ‘Failure On’ is unbelievably emotional. ‘Death to Traitors’, ‘Aimless Endeavor’ and the wonderfully sombre ‘Allure’ have those moments that stop you in your tracks and force every hair on its end. When Moore’s emotional delivery meets a soaring guitar part, there’s no greater sensation and it’s that feeling of uplifting joy that only post-hardcore of this quality can produce.

‘Inner Pattern’ showcases every side of Beloved: the heaviness, the intelligence and the skin-tingling emotion of the vocals. In Mike’s video, the part at 4:23 has been known to cause heart palpitations – that transitional guitar lick bores deep into my soul!

Enjoy Mike’s cover and if you haven’t heard this incredible album, make that a priority!

Next week we have a sophomore album by a well-known band that many wrote off at the time, but we both firmly believe was way ahead of its time. Any guesses?

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