Review: Frail Hands

Frail Hands

Already on their third LP since 2017, Frail Hands hail from the post-hardcore hotbed of (checks notes) Halifax, Nova Scotia. I happened upon their self-titled debut; a brief, frantic and nimble take on whichever wave of screamo we’re currently on. It fit the template in the best ways, while managing to be more memorable than most.

Following a split with LA’s Ghost Spirit, Frail Hands are back with parted/departed/apart, representing obvious growth without qualifying as a departure. First, original vocalist Dawn Almeda retired from the band “due to vocal strain,” which is both unfortunate and instructive. The existing members absorbed vocal duties, stylistically similar but slightly less harsh and immediate. The same can be said for the songs overall, drifting from a previous average of 90 seconds and ticking up near two minutes.

Marginally longer songs and less harsh vocals may bum out the last few existing skramz purists, but Frail Hands’ expansion is all for the better. The result is equal parts dread and panic, an elusive and seemingly accidental balance. It adds range and staying power to a set of influences not generally known for either. “Nothing Said” is an immediate highlight, with bursts of micro-breakdowns and chaotic arpeggios bent into a near-perfect two-minute arc. “Mirrored Limbs” brings a similar mix of persistence and variety, barrelling forward without blurring together.

Twelve Gauge Records