After fronting Orange County, Calif. metalcore pioneers 18 Visions for nearly a decade, James Hart knew he needed a change. After that band's 2007 breakup, he started working on new material with songwriter Zac Malloy. The duo eventually formed an outfit called Burn Halo. Hart and his Burn Halo cohorts specialize in a stripped-down brand of hard rock that has more in common with early Stone Temple Pilots and Mötley Crüe than it does with the mosh-driven sound of his earlier work.

In 2009, Burn Halo released their self-titled debut album, which found success on modern rock radio. With numerous tours under their belt and a new batch of songs, the band is returning with 'Up From the Ashes,' its sophomore record. Noisecreep strikes again with the exclusive premiere of 'Tear it Down,' the first single from the new album. We also recently spoke with Hart about the inspiration behind the song, the new album, and Don Dokken [yes, you read that right].

Listen to 'Tear It Down'

What inspired the lyrics to 'Tear it Down'?

The lyrics to the song were inspired by the people that told me I was never good enough. I found myself always fighting to meet their expectations. It's about breaking free from those expectations and false hopes.

Burn Halo toured a lot for the last album. What differences did you notice between touring with Burn Halo and playing with 18 Visions?

With Burn Halo we played way more legit venues. The band seemed to be taken care of better from room to room than on an 18 Visions tour. Things here seem to be more driven around radio, where 18 Visions touring was strictly built around the fan base the band had built.

Radio has given Burn Halo the opportunity to visit cities and venues we never would have been able to go to with 18 Visions. There is much more opportunity.

Did you have to fight harder to grab the crowd's attention?

It's a little easier with Burn Halo, being the opening band on a tour. There is some familiarity with the band [from the] radio which makes it easier to play to people that have never seen or heard the band. With 18 Visions we were on a lot of tours that had some tough fans. They weren't quite as open minded as the concert goers Burn Halo is playing to.

Your upcoming album is called 'Up From the Ashes.' Is that in reference to something personal, or are you just a huge Don Dokken fan? [ed. Don Dokken released a solo album with the same name in 1990]

I take it Dokken had a song or album called 'Up From the Ashes'? Which answers your question [about] me being a Dokken fan [laughs].

Most of the songs, if not all, are about coming out of a struggle on top. The album title is about taking something positive from the negative. The title really fits the concept of the album.

Who did you work with this time out and what kinds of moods can we expect on the record?

We worked with a young producer by the name of Colby Wedgeworth. He really did a great job of capturing our new sound and getting the tones we wanted. He did a phenomenal job mixing the record as well.

The album has a much darker and aggressive feel to it. We wrote this album as a band which means there are a lot of different stylistic personalities on it, though they are all cohesive and complement each other well.


'Tear it Down' will be available on iTunes on April 19 and the 'Up From the Ashes' album will be released June 28.