Californian hardcore virtuosos Lionheart broke up last year to allow them to focus on their personal lives. Ever since that happened, fans, including myself were hoping for a stronger than ever comeback. With no such spoilers whatsoever, Lionheart released a single “Trial by Fire” which became the fifth track for their upcoming album Welcome to the West Coast II, successor to the critically acclaimed album Welcome to the West Coast, released in the year 2014. Known for their significant and motivating singalong choruses and meaty breakdowns, Lionheart have never disappointed me with any of their previous releases as none of them were dull – even though they got mixed opinions from others. I’ll keep this write up unbiased so as to share an honest opinion.
Within the opening verses of the album are the energetic ‘LHHC’ chants in first song “Cali Stomp”. Thick guitar riffs and thunderous drumming drive the instrumentation section while occasional vocal switches make this song a catchy one. I love the fact that these guys put up a song to apologise for their hiatus and henceforth ending with the following words, “Took a little break… stronger than ever and still LHHC forever”, assuring that they are going to continue making music for years to come. “Shelter” is a throwback to early Lionheart. Starting the song with a swiftly paced instrumentation which portrays more traditional hardcore punk elements instead of the djent-y modern day hardcore.
“Trial by Fire” is, hands down, the best track on this album. Once again the lyricism taking the centre stage, this time around thanking their fans for their support. “I’m try’na say goodbye but I’m getting choked up” mentions their hiatus and comeback. The juicy breakdown at the end is what makes this song a banger. One might not simply play this song only once and get back to others, instead repeatedly playing the outro countless times.
Final track “LHHC ’17” features JJ Peters of Deez Nuts who already made a killer appearance on Nasty’s album this year. East Coast-West Coast collaboration doesn’t get any better than this. Altogether Welcome to the West Coast II is a formidable effort from these Californian hard hitters. I do find some tracks to be unnecessary and repetitive, however the majority of the tracklist features some stellar songs that are bound to make this album a hit.