I discovered Byron Bay’s In Hearts Wake when they supported Bury Tomorrow on the “Runes” tour. I didn’t know them from Adam and their live show was something to behold, a surprise magical moment. At that time they were supporting their second album “Earthwalker”, a Metalcore masterclass and it’s follow up “Skydancer” is also along similar veins. Both albums had mellowed slightly from their 2012 debut Divination, so when “Ark” appeared as their fourth album, I was intrigued to see where it would go. To my surprise, the band have taken a leaf out of We Came As Romans song book with this one. Unclean vocalist Jake Taylor has started delivering clean vocals and there has been a big injection of clean vocals from bassist Kyle Erich, who was previously a peripheral figure vocally adding tinges to highlight songs. Now every song has a fair chunk of clean vocals and at times you can hear the music actually slow down to accommodate them. I’d actually go as far as saying that on some of the songs the unclean vocals sound out of place. The amount of melody has been increased dramatically, buried electronics have been thrown into the mix, and there are attempts to build atmospheric layers where previously there were breakdowns. In Hearts Wake have suddenly become a different animal. There are nods to previous work throughout with the likes of “Overthrow” and “Nomad” but “Waterbourne”, “Arrow” and “Frequency” give the album a soft centre. The album is 12 songs, however the pointless opening and closing instrumentals actually makes it 10 and it’s better off without these. The message of the album, lyrically, important issues are brought through as with previous ones and on point. The production is generic at best and the band come off sounding poor, with guitar tones that don’t suit the songs. It’s a real shame as I expected so much more from this one and I really wanted to like it but I find myself scratching around looking for positives which don’t exist. [2/5]
In Hearts Wake will be on the below UK tour with Gideon & Silent Screams throughout October.