\"CloseIn 2011, Close Your Eyes released Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts, the sophomore record that launched them onto Scream the Prayer Tour and took the band to another level. Shortly after the release, in 2012, founding frontman Shane Raymond announced he would be leaving the band. It took awhile but the band brought on Mike Sawyer to fill the void for Scream the Prayer but shortly after the tour ended it was announced he wasn’t fitting in well and wasn’t the vocalist the band needed. Enter 2013 and the band has found their new frontman in Sam Ryder and their third record, Line in the Sand, is set for release. Needless to say it’s been a long two years. Line in the Sand not only features Ryder’s debut as mainman but fans will be happy to hear this is the same Close Your Eyes they’ve grown to love. Singer changes usher in a new era for a band- that’s a fact- but often times the band’s sound will change to accommodate the different vocal style. Luckily, though, Ryder sounds eerily similar to Raymond- the only difference is his British accent.   Line in the Sand opens with “Deus Ex Machina,” an intro track which, if you close your eyes (no pun intended) you can picture yourself walking through rubble and the remains of a battle field. This is a perfect way to kick off the record since the band has been through so much- it’s almost symbolic of the band members walking through the difficulties they just went through and crossing the line to the next chapter. This is where the real fun begins. As a whole, Line in the Sand shows Close Your Eyes keeping their signature CYE sound but expanding it. The extreme parts are more hardcore and powerful, the melodic parts are much more melodic and it’s clear CYE are back with a vengeance. This is the record they needed to make at this point in their career. Fans can be so critical of a singer change that the smallest difference, if done wrong, can completely blow it for a band. CYE have handled this one to perfection. Songs like “Frame and Glass” and “Kings of John Payne” show the most melodic side of CYE we’ve seen yet and “Line in the Sand,” “The End” and “Burdened by Hope” have the CYE sound we’ve all become familiar with. Then there’s songs like “No Borders!,” which have a little bit of the CYE sound but sprinkle in enough new sounds and experimentation that we get a CYE we haven’t seen yet. Lyrically and thematically this is vintage CYE. The message of hope, love, positivity and not conforming to the world’s standards and expectations is stronger than ever on Line in the Sand and fans will be far from alienated by this record. If you’re a CYE fan, do yourself a favor. Give the new vocalist a chance- Ryder is the only difference in the record and he’s not even that big of a change. If you pick up this record- don’t pirate it- buy it- and you’ll be glad you did. You’ll feel right at home with Line in the Sand. Rating: 9/10 -Reggie Edwards