In Hearts Wake - Ark
Out June 2nd on UNFD
In Hearts Wake is a metalcore group from Byron Bay, Australia, which is the same location metalcore tyrants Parkway Drive emerged from. From touring North America with Parkway and Thy Art is Murder in late fall of 2015 to doing Warped Tour in 2016, the band has made its impression on the States’ metalcore scene. Songs like “Survival (The Chariot)” on previous records that include breakdowns started by the “Killing Frenzy” accolade voice from Halo, the band is heavy, but that might be their only positive trait. I can’t hate In Hearts Wake because they did release an amazing split with Northlane last year that blew me away. However, with a month before the release of their new record Ark, UNFD made the mistake of making their album available for purchase instead of pre-order when it was announced late last month. In only 20 minutes, many, including myself, managed to purchase it a whole month early.
“Ark” is an unnecessary opener, barely over a minute in length and with no real pull. It doesn’t even appear to transition into the second track “Passage” all too well, which makes no sense. However, I can’t lie: the band’s clean vocalist Kyle Erich dominates. He sounds phenomenal on this record, and even the other vocalist Jake Taylor has his moments later on that make for some decent moments. “Passage” is a great start for the album, at least by the standards of Warped Tour metalcore, but “Nomad” is heavy and has some beautiful guitar riffs partnered with crushing drum patterns. “Nomad” is well written, but there isn’t much variety, and I feel as if that is why I lose interest. The middle of the track greets you with a mellow electronic wave that grooves back into the chorus before the breakdown hits. The placement is amazing, but the breakdown sounds just like every other breakdown before and after it. I don’t know why the band included “Frequency” at all. It almost sounds like it’s trying to be pop punk, but fades into post-hardcore at other moments. It’s cool to see the band branch out of their comfort zones, but it just doesn’t work. “Warcry” was the single released when the album was announced that made me decide to purchase the record. It’s heavy and simple and has a very intense groove. Sometimes, all you need out of a record are some groovy riffs, a crushing blastbeat here and there, and some well-placed vocal patterns. When I’m looking for that, In Hearts Wake delivers. “Warcry” brings back the mellow electronics on“Nomad,” which nicely sets up for the chorus, but even a nice set-up can be overdone. Let me say that “Waterborn” is the worst song on this record, from the hollow, muffled heavy vocals to its clusterfuck of a structure. “Arrow” brings back the muffled vocals, but they aren’t as quiet and it’s easy to tell that the song is supposed to be mostly clean vocals. “Flow” caught my attention from the short, jabby riffs to the harmony between the two vocalists, making this song a gem hidden in the rough of Ark. “Flow” calls back to their previous two albums, Earthwalker and Skydancer, which is awesome as those two records are of the best in this simpler style of metalcore I’ve ever heard. “Overthrow” almost “overthrows” the idea of metalcore. You can almost imagine the dads in Hatebreed shirts packing an arena for In Hearts Wake. “Elemental” sounds almost like a continuation of “Overthrow” after a brief period of ambient electronics, but they’re almost exactly same as before, just with a little extra guitar plucking. “Totality” is emotionless. The band seems to be trying, but they miss the mark by a few inches, and the record closes with pretty much the same thing they did with “Ark” but this time it’s a staggering three and a half minutes long. It left me saying “What the fuck, why?”
If you’re looking for a better-than-mediocre metalcore experience, look no further than In Hearts Wake’s new record Ark. Topping in at forty-four minutes, it’s good for one listen. Any more and you’ll probably start gnawing your own fingers off in boredom.
- Dakota G.