His Hero Is Gone was one of a small handful of standouts among the gamut of crust bands of the late '90s. Like many bands playing music in this vein, including fellow southerners and contemporaries Damad, His Hero Is Gone's albums were recorded and produced far from home in the notorious punk rock Mecca of Oakland, CA. Dan Rathburn did a great job recording the 15 songs included on the vinyl version of Fifteen Counts of Arson on 16 tracks at Polymorph, a fairly common studio choice for many bands in this genre. This CD also includes the first material produced by His Hero Is Gone, nine songs recorded by Noah Landis at Oakland's Guerrilla Euphonics. While the first 7" was very well received, the Fifteen Counts of Arson LP firmly established His Hero Is Gone on the streets as a band of note, alongside Damad, Dystopia (not to be confused with pop-punk band Dystopia One) and 1332. Dissonant melody, bludgeoning guitars, and well-done but rather stereotypical gruff vocals define a solid and consistent sound and approach through both of these recordings. The ambiance of the music effectively evokes the lyrical themes chronicling social, institutional, and mental collapse, the pain and hardship of living, and a revolutionary reaction to the banality and restriction of daily life in American culture. Although not the most original band at the time, His Hero Is Gone was sincere, and the music represented on both this CD and on the second LP, Monuments to Thieves, made a significant impact in the underground punk community of the late '90s.
AllMusic Review by Paul Kott