Overall Score: 7.5/10 Vocals : 8/10 Riffs: 7/10 Guest vocalists: 8/10 Pros: Standout songs are brilliant | Fantastic guest vocalists Cons: A few filler tracks
A year after their last album Earthwalker, In Hearts Wake are back with Skydancer. Recorded alongside Earthwalker, Skydancer was revealed to be part 2 of a double album. Earthwalker was a solid album but was lacking in truly amazing songs, still with a second part now revealed the ambition of the project has been revealed.
Skydancer certainly gets off to a strong start, it’s opening two songs “Skydancer” and “Breakaway” are rousing metalcore anthems. They aren’t particularly original songs but both are packed with massive hooks and breakdowns that fans of the genre will no doubt love. Whilst songs on Earthwalker were certainly similar, everything just feels stronger this time round. “Badlands” keeps the pace up and will no doubt become a fan favourite live with it’s call and response chorus and some of the heaviest verses In Hearts Wake have ever written.
The real highlights on the album come towards the end though, with two brilliant guest vocal spots. Whilst Jonathan Vigil of The Ghost Inside provided his impressive vocal talents earlier in the album on “Skydancer”, the real treats are Ben Marvin and J Hurley from Hacktivist on “Erase” and Northlane’s Marcus Bridge on “Intrepid”. Lyrically the album is very impressive, “Erase” in particular delivers it’s message on racial equality in great fashion especially when Ben Marvin and J Hurley take over. Jake Taylor and Kyle Erich continue to show off their impressive vocal talents throughout the album as well.
Unfortunately there are a few flaws with Skydancer, the main one being that it just feels a little sparse at times. Despite containing 12 tracks, only 9 of these are songs meaning there is some clear filler material. Instrumental track “Oblivion” is the main offender and does slightly kill the momentum midway through the album. This is a problem that could have been solved if In Hearts Wake had perhaps just done one album and taken the best tracks from Earthwalker and Skydancer.
Overall, Skydancer is a definite improvement over Earthwalker but it still suffers at points, arguably due to it being part of a double album. However the ambition of In Hearts Wake on this project must be applauded as higher profile bands than them have had worse results with double albums. So whilst it isn’t an amazing album, Skydancer shows that In Hearts Wake could become one of the biggest metalcore bands around in the coming years if they continue to progress like they are.
Skydancer is out now via UNFD / Rise Records.