03 Aug In Hearts Wake ‘Kaliyuga’ (Album Review)
Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the world lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the fire nation attacked. Only In Hearts Wake, master of all four elements, could stop them, and when the world needed them most, they released a (insert opinion) as fuck metalcore album.
In Hearts Wake are a curious case of a band whose music is consistently playing catch up with its message. The Eco-friendly demeanour and persistence in reducing there carbon footprint is something we should all be striving for in 2020. That being said, the band’s music has been on the decline as of late. While I enjoyed the one two punch of Earthwalker/Skydancer, Ark was utter trash. A genuine misfire that sent the band into purgatory. As we say often on the podcast (cheap plug), Ark missed the boat.
So, with the world going to shit it seems like an optimal time for In Hearts Wake to rise from the ashes like a phoenix, holding Excalibur in one hand and John Wicks dog in the other. Let’s take a gander at mambo (album) number 5. Kaliyuga.
Crisis is arguably the coolest thing the band have achieved in their entire career. Greta Thunbergs cries for change permeate throughout this Drum n Bass hybrid. I love the ideas that are presented and the blending of every single element works insanely well. The 80 second runtime works in the songs favour with enough diversity to keep the listener constantly guessing. More of this in the future please.
The intensity maintains for the bands lead single Worldwide Suicide which punches you directly in the throat from the get go. Jake Taylors vocals are out of this world showing a range I never knew he had. It’s in your face, it’s visceral, it’s a man who is pissed the fuck off. Deathcore breakdowns with glitchy electronics have never sounded so good. Perhaps neither have In Hearts Wake.
But see that’s where the problem lies with Kaliyuga. It doesn’t build from its red hot opening. If every song on Kaliyuga had the urgency and flare of Crisis/Worldwide Suicide, we’d be looking at a serious AOTY contender. Instead the band opt to go back to the typical 3-4 minute metalcore format for the rest of the album. It’s a serious bummer.
Not to say everything else is bad however. Hellbringer is a traditional banger if I’ve ever heard one, borrowing influences from Refused (yay) and Disturbed (boo). Jamie Hails from Polaris crushes his feature and adds a lovely dynamic shift to the track as well. My issue simply lies in the subpar lyrical content yapping on about how the heavy music scene is misunderstood. Why do we care? How many times can a band say the same thing about the same non-issue. So you have some boomer saying we’re all going to hell at the start of the track, so what? Some people think the earth is fucking flat, doesn’t mean you should write a song called Flat Earthwalker (unless…?).
From here on out unfortunately a lot of songs have very similar characteristics. Flashes of brilliance anchored down by any sort of progression or structural change ups.
Moving On is incredibly uneven. A lush chorus papers over the cracks that this song shows from the get go. Same could be said about Timebomb whose opening reminds me of Deadlights ‘Bathed In Venom‘. Unfortunately by the time the song ends I just wish I was listening to Bathed In Venom instead. Son of a Witch seems to be a point of contention among fans. I have no idea why because the song is insanely boring. It’s a cut that promises a lot but never really delivers with a chorus that sounds like a B-side off Earthwalker.
I will give points for the chances the band take on the track Crossroads. Opening with something that wouldn’t sound out of place on Bring Me the Horizons ‘amo’. But I will take away those same points because the song isn’t very good. My fascination with the track comes from the feature from actress Georgia Flood. How did this come to be? Were the boys watching Home & Away circa 2016 (best version of Home & Away btw) and enjoyed her voice in some random karaoke scene? Either way Georgia Floods input is rather refreshing give or take a couple of questionable lyric choices.
The meat and potatoes metalcore that popularised the band years ago is all but washed away on the song Force of Life. This is a classic example of a band trying to please some older fans and frankly, it doesn’t work. Something I will give major props to however is the feature from Randy Reimann on Iron Dice. An excellent choice from the band and I was straight up blown away when Randy made his presence known. Honestly the feature alone makes Iron Dice a must listen.
Whoever made the decision to release Dystopia as a single needs a stern talking to. Holy shit this is a grim listen. This sounds like if you wrote 4 full tracks and just squashed them together. It’s a shame because individually these sections could work given a different context. Closing out the album is 2033 and it’s actually an excellent closing track. Soaring vocals that lie just underneath the chunky metalcore goodness highlight this standout. Lyrically as well this song is more important now than ever painting a picture into what the future or lack of future we may have.
What should’ve been an important album in 2020 has ultimately been crushed by the weight of its own expectation. Many will enjoy the bare bones elements of Kaliyuga, but I see it more as a missed opportunity for the band.
In Hearts Wake have the blueprint going forward, the opening to this album is some of the most exciting music I’ve heard all year. It’s whether or not the band are willing to fully commit to that sound and stray away from their metalcore roots. Only time will tell.
Kaliyuga out August 7