On December 22, 2010, Fearless Records posted a video featuring a 30-second preview of the track "Blackout". Recording took place in Los Angeles, California in early 2011. It was officially announced on April 28, 2011 when the band launched a website to promote the album. The website contained a video featuring a forty-second preview of the track "Wooly" whilst displaying the album's title and release date in flash animation. On May 15, 2011, a demo of the track "Sweat It Out" was temporarily posted on YouTube before being shortly taken down. On May 19, the promotional website was updated, containing the album's cover art and track listing.
Release and PromotionEdit
The album was released on July 12, 2011 through Fearless Records. The duo participated in the 2011 Scream It Like You Mean It Tour to promote the album. It debuted and peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200, only one number higher than their previous album, Hello Fascination. It also charted within the Billboard Rock, Alternative, Dance and Independent Album Charts.
Prior to the album's release, "Wooly" and "Sweat It Out" were available for streaming on the duo's official social networking sites.
The album has received generally positive reviews from music critics. Tim Sendra of AllMusic gave a positive review, scoring the album 3 and a half stars out of 5, saying, "Hell Is What You Make It finds the duo of Kyle Even and David Schmitt refining their amalgamation of sounds into something both slicker and more powerful than past efforts". The album's singles, "Blackout", "Last Night (Vegas)", and "Take It Back" were indicated as the AMG Track Picks. Alternative Press also gave a positive review, scoring the album 3 and a half stars out of 5, saying, "The band—and producer Ian Kirkpatrick—bring a lot of dishes to this sonic buffet—and most of them are to be consumed on the dancefloor". While praising "Blackout", an "irresistible synth-pop song", "Wooly", the opening track "where house-techno sequencers and melodic vocals parry with screamo-metal breakdowns and growling", and "Waiting", "the head-nod initiator" that "would sound sweet bumping at a hipster club at 4 a.m," they criticized the tracks "Last Night (Vegas)", "Take It Back", and "Chemicals", calling them a "smack of blatant careerism.
The album's lead single, "Blackout", was available for streaming via MTV Buzzworthy on June 13, 2011, and was released for digital download the following day. It has since become the duo's most commercially successful single to date, charting within Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, the United Kingdom and the United States, while also being certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling more than 500,000 copies. It has also received generally favorable reviews from music critics, with Alternative Press calling it an "irresistible synth-pop song". A lyric video was uploaded onto the duo's official YouTube account on June 24. An accompanying music video was released onto the duo's official Vevo page on YouTube on September 20, and has since garnered more than 1 million views. The video features shots of the duo partying and getting into trouble, as well as performing the song at a live event. It was shot during summer 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The duo also performed the song live on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in their first televised performance ever. An EP titled Blackout: The Remixes was released on September 27 via iTunes. "Hit and Run" exclusively premiered via Alternative Press on May 21, 2012, while being available for digital download the following day. It is featured on the deluxe edition of the album.
- "Rebirth: An Introduction"
- "Edge of Heaven"
- "Last Night (Vegas)"
- "Sweat It Out"
- "Gone So Long"
- "They Say You Won't Come Back"
- "Get Off Easy"
- "Take It Back"
- "Lauren's Song"
- "Hit and Run"
- "Reaching for the Floor"
- "Hit and Run" (Wideboys Remix)
- Joshua Aragon - guitars, keyboards and background vocals
- Eric Armenta - drums and percussion
- Luis Bonet - keyboards
- Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Matt Squire and Ian Kirkpatrick
- Programmed by Ian Kirkpatrick
- Drum Engineering by Carlos De Garza
- Artwork by Sol Amstutz
- A&R by Shervon Esfahani and Chris Foitle