In Hearts Wake – Kaliyuga
Released: August 7th, 2020
Jake Taylor // Lead Vocals
Eavan Dall // Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Ben Nairne // Rhythm Guitar
Kyle Erich // Bass/Clean Vocals
Connor Ward // Drums
In Hearts Wake are an act who has never been shy about using their platform to raise awareness about what is important to them; namely the state of the earth, social injustice and how we can improve our way of living. Which is why I feel the release of this record has come at such a critical time, 2020 has provided us with bushfires, floods, a deadly pandemic, the list goes on. Despite the alarming amount of turmoil that this year has brought to our lives, I think I can speak on behalf of all of us when I say that new music is one of the few consistencies that is getting us through.
‘Crisis’ kicks off the album and begins with a recording of world-famous activist Greta Thunberg saying “This is an emergency, our house is on fire” before an enticing groove riff is introduced. The track does not include either Jake or Kyle, the band’s two vocalists. In the album’s first single to be released, ‘Worldwide Suicide’, we see unclean vocalist Jake Taylor in a different light, his depth as a vocalist is noticeably different to the band’s previous work, which is a pleasant surprise. Accompanying the hard as nails riffs in this piece is the passionate message of ‘ecocide is suicide’ with lyrics such as “Shooting dice with your fucking life, snake eyes coming back to bite” which leaves a powerful impression.
Arguably the most talked-about single from this album, ‘Hellbringer’ is lyrically focused on our heavy music community, bringing to light those in society who disapprove of metal and all its subgenres, ultimately sending them a big middle finger. Lyrics such as “It’s so infuriating, this is no place for hate. Look at all the souls you’re breaking. Imprisoned, escape. Maybe heaven’s in hell. Is the one you worship yourself?”. The song includes guest vocalist Jamie Hails from the incredibly popular Polaris, which adds an incredible dynamic to the song. Instrumentally the song is a fast-paced rollercoaster of riffs. Clean vocalist Kyle, has an impeccable voice which is faultless in this track.
Slowing things down we are brought to ‘Moving On’, beginning with clean vocalist softly singing about how things are “never going to be the same”. The undulated tempo of this piece ebbs and flows incredibly, which is something this band has seemingly mastered. The way that Taylor and Erich share vocal duties is second to none; they compliment each other perfectly, creating a smooth listening experience. The instrumentalists seem to follow the vocalists lead as the song’s time signatures change between vocalists. Returning to Jake Taylor‘s newly discovered vocal range, as seen in the album’s introduction songs, ‘Timebomb’ adds elements of nu-metal to record while incorporating their usual style with a breakdown. Unfortunately, this song is just that and doesn’t have much else to offer.
Beginning with the lyrics of ‘Bring me back down, bring me back down and save me from this hell”, ‘Son of A Witch” is a very promising track that delivers very little, other than Kyle’s impressive vocal melodies. At first listen, I found myself waiting for another element which would add a bit more colour to the song, like a guitar solo, for example, but that never happened. Slowing the tempo down significantly, ‘Crossroads’ features vocalist Jake Taylor‘s former partner Georgia Flood, which seems like a bold move from the get-go. I feel as if the band were trying to write a similar song to ‘Frequency’ from their previous record Ark but it didn’t quite get there in the end. Georgia has a great voice; however, it is extremely unsuitable for the band’s sound, turning a song with great potential into one of the album’s biggest downfalls.
Similarly to the previous two songs, ‘Husk’ has beautifully flowing instrumentals, yet lacks the characteristics to be anything more than an ‘okay’ song. In other words, it is just boring and dull. This is the first song on the album not to feature Jake Taylor, the responsibility of vocals in this song lies solely on Kyle Erich. The record picks itself up out of the gutter and dusts itself off with its shortest track, ‘Nāgá’. The instrumental brings us back to the band’s heavy roots as they build up for something much more significant to come. Continuing where the previous song left off, ‘Force Of Life’ takes us straight into the act’s heavy elements as I sigh with relief. This band thrives playing on a faster tempo and if any album reflects that it’s this one. This piece could have easily slotted into the band’s previous album Ark with its strong drum presence and intricate guitar riffs. With a mosh inducing breakdown adding an extra sense of excitement to the song, I feel as if this song is an album highlight.
The guest appearance of Randy Reimann in ‘Iron Dice’ is powerful as he makes his strong presence known with his high pitched unclean vocals. This song moves forward with the nu-metal sound the band has been dipping their toe into with this record. Personally, I am not a fan of this sound for IHW, but I can see why others would like it. It’s edgy, it’s new and somewhat exciting and the band can pull it off to a certain degree. One of the highlights of the album is ‘Dystopia’, I feel like is a healthy mix between the bands heavier material and the softer sound they have been going for lately. The simplistic verses roll into an impressive chorus without strain, as drummer Connor Ward maintains his position at the core of the track. The album closer ‘2033’ has a slow introduction before flowing in and out of heavy instrumentals. Showing elements of all the songs prior, including heavy and soft. The strong vocal presence on top of the heavy instrumentals towards the end wraps this album up in a neat little bow.
With the amount of promotion that was put into this album to build hype, I can’t help but feel that it is the expectation of what this album could have been is what has lead to what could possibly be its biggest downfall. There will be fans that enjoy this album, but it definitely isn’t for everybody. Perhaps it was written to be appreciated more in a live setting?
In Hearts Wake – Kaliyuga tracklisting:
- Worldwide Suicide
- Hellbringer (feat. Jamie Hails)
- Moving On
- Son Of A Witch
- Crossroads (feat. Georgia Flood)
- Force Of Life
- Iron Dice (Feat. Randy Reimann)
Go behind-the-scenes of Kaliyuga’s conception with frontman Jake Taylor on our Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall podcast here