Lasting Traces is a band that has been at the forefront of European melodic hardcore for a while now, especially since the release of their debut full length Old Hearts Break In Isolation, which is still an album that is played on a regular basis here. After a period of relative quietness, they're back with their new 7", Elements.
Ater a few moments into the 7", you'll already notice that these guys weren't planning on just using the old formula for this one, but went with a whole new approach. The first thing that stands out is the incorporation of clean vocals, and in general, a difference in musicianship. They used cleans before, but those were "gruffier" than the pretty poppy and catchy ones that are used here. Music-wise, this is a very strong track, but if I heard this without knowing this was Lasting Traces I, might have doubted about who was the artist (it has a melodic hardcore version of It Prevails feel to me).
Opener "Grasp" is a song filled with desperation and anger that shows that they still stayed true to their previous sound, especially the harsh vocals will remind you of that. But then the cleans kick in and you get this new vibe, that as I previously mentioned, you wouldn't immediately associate with these guys. It's a whole lot poppier, but on the other hand, manages to hold on to the anger and "kick", which is a good thing. All the instruments and vocals do what they're supposed to on this track; the melodic guitarwork is excellent and the bass really shines too. Overall, however, it took me some time to really appreciate the cleans that now take a prominent role in the path they've chosen.
On to "Lest We Forget", this starts off as a pretty typical melodic hardcore song, but their change of direction actually makes this song stand out more than it would if they kept things the way they used to be. It's an easily accesible song and shows that they're capable of writing catchy - yet energetic - songs. Desperation is, again, the key element in this song, especially when the vocalist screams "Home will never be the same anymore / Almost everything has changed here in house #24" you can really feel the emotion pouring out.
It took me some time to get used to the new direction they've chosen (I'm not going to lie, I wasn't feeling this at all when I first heard it) but in the end, I actually quite enjoyed this 7". You have to keep in mind that bands progress and innovate and can't keep on repeating themselves, so I feel like changing their sound was the right move if they felt some things needed to be done differently. It's different than what we're used to, no doubt about that, but even though this isn't usually the thing I'm into, I did find myself with the chorus in my head at some random moment. I'm real curious where this sound will take them, one that will probably make them lose some old fans and gain some new ones, but overall, this was the right move for these guys.