Ex-Houstonians Close Your Eyes: A Happy Metalcore Band?

Listening to We Will Overcome by Abilene natives Close Your Eyes is kind of like being beaten in the face with a brick wrapped in a Hallmark Card. The beats are heavy, though lacking the double-bass that is often the line between metal and hardcore, and the guitars thrash expertly between Anthrax shreds and a happy melodic wail.

The songs rarely have any preamble, and hurtle themselves headfirst into themselves without any buildup. And when vocalist Shane Raymond isn't screaming at the absolute top of his lungs and larynx, you can tell he wants to be. But what does Close Your Eyes do with this frenetic aural mob violence? Do they talk about the devil? Do they delve into the dark side and drag us under with them all Rape-of-Persephone-like?

Nay, we say nay. The songs are... happy. We're not talking Care Bears happy, though a track like "Friends are Friends Forever" could be reduced to its lowest acoustic denominator and be played on Sesame Street with little to no editing.

But throughout the album is undeniable core of love. Real love that is unabashed and awful in its sincerity. Camaraderie, loyalty and honest mourning for lost ones. - that's what Close Your Eyes bring to a genre normally reserved for posturing and violence.

Honestly, it shocks you into a vibrating peace, a communion with the molecules of hope and understanding making up the cosmic chaos. There is just something amazing is how hard such tenderness is being broadcast. You will never, never doubt for a second the hardcore credentials of Close Your Eyes when they lay down their trillion BPMs upon thee, but underneath it all is the glory of righteous men.

Close Your Eyes is happy to show you what we mean. They're hosting a CD releases here in Houston at The Junction Saturday night, and have a long connection with Houston. Guitarist Brett Callaway was born and raised in Houston, graduated from Elkins High School in Ft. Bend ISD, and attended Houston Baptist University for two years.

He transferred to a university in Abilene his junior year, which is where he met Shane Raymond. We Will Overcome also recorded their album in Houston in a studio in the Heights, with producer Chris Goodwin from Eldridge and Last Star Fighter. With a major album coming out on the king of indie labels, we would like to say welcome home, boys.

We are so proud of you.

CD release 7 p.m. Saturday, February 27 at The Junction, 8302 N Eldridge Pkwy, Ste 220, 832-758-9860 or

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner