Fragile Future is Hawthorne Heights' first effort without Casey Calvert, whose shrieking vocals helped establish the band as one of the only platinum-selling outfits in the screamo genre. Following his death in 2007, the remaining bandmates returned to the recording studio as a slimmed-down quartet, retaining their emo songcraft while doing away with Calvert's cathartic screams. Even so, Fragile Future is a thoroughly cathartic effort, with Calvert's death and the band's continued feud with Victory Records looming large in J.T. Woodruff's lyrics. "Don't hesitate to remember everything," he advises during the opening song, which combines palm-muted guitars with syncopated drums and lonely piano riffs. There's an obvious element of tragedy here, something that the band's music always hinted at but never seemed to fully inhabit until now. And given their situation, it's quite hard to criticize Hawthorne Heights for playing dark, nocturnal emo-rock songs, since few of their contemporaries have such an authentic reason for sounding depressed. "Rescue Me," "Somewhere in Between," and "Desperation" all cling to chugging guitars and impassioned (if slightly nasal) melodies, while "Disaster" adds a welcome touch of spaced-out electronica to vary the pattern. It's a familiar mix of music, to be sure, but Fragile Future also sounds more valid than other emo albums, even if its hooks aren't quite as muscular as those on the band's previous disc.