Overall Score: 8.5/10 Songwriting: 8/10 Breakdowns: 8/10 Choruses: 7/10 Pros: A brilliant balance between heavy and catchy/meaningful and melodic Cons: A few more stand-out moments in the tracklist would've made this record's staying power even stronger
Metalcore and Australia go hand-in-hand at this point in the metal world due to the success of leading bands like Parkway Drive, Northlane and Polaris. On In Hearts Wake’s fifth album, ‘Kaliyuga‘, they snatch hold of that flag and hoist it as high as their fellow Aussies have in the past. What’s even more impressive is that they manage to do this whilst producing a thought-provoking and very aware record.
Worth mentioning before diving into the actual music, the record is entirely carbon offset. By measuring all the resources used throughout the recording process, the band have purchased carbon credits to counter the album’s carbon footprint. The physical album is also packed and manufactured using plastic-free, recycled materials. This really puts the In Hearts Wake message into perspective as more than just a thematic note on the album or a selling point. Being aware and thoughtful is a real mission for this band and album and this sets out a mission statement that the music backs up in full force.
The record comes out swinging, full of rage directed at people who turn a blind eye. The third track titled ‘Hellbringer’ continues that momentum with guest vocals from Jamie Hails of Polaris. It does a great job of symbolizing and continuing the momentum that the record begins with. This energy and rage combined with some clean vocal verses and choruses really captures that familiar metalcore sound. As the record goes on, some different styles begin to seep in. Some Hybrid Theory/Meteora era Linkin Park bleeds in as the record takes some less heavy and more melodic diversions. Despite less emphasis on harsh vocals in these sections, the socially aware lyrics combined with the tempo and melodic style that launched Linkin Park into the stratosphere make for great additions to the tracklist. Being thought-provoking whilst remaining catchy and fun to listen to is one of this project’s greatest strengths.
Tracks 7 and 11 (Crossroads and Iron Dice) represent two other moments in the album’s 40-minute duration where the key soundscape of this album is changed up a bit. With both tracks having guest vocalists (Georgia Flood on Crossroads and Randy Reimann of Massappeal on Iron Dice), the song structures and pallets take interesting turns. Whilst Georgia Flood brings optimism and hope in her voice, Reimann brings a chaotic energy that cuts deep into the track. The only criticisms are that these diversions could’ve been explored a little more as there are some tracks that don’t feel as crucial to the tracklisting as others. These moments provide a very enjoyable diversion where you’re unsure where it’s going whereas some tracks feel a little too predictable and caught up in an all too familiar rhythm.
On an album inspired by the Hindu “cycle of yugas”, In Hearts Wake approach a new cycle of their own. Continuing on from their highly-regarded 2017 release “Ark”, In Hearts Wake are entering a period of great form for the band. They have successfully carried out their mission statement of creating metalcore music that satisfies on all fronts. It’s got enough of a cutting edge, enough creative ideas, enough earworms and enough real substance to make this project incredibly balanced without sacrificing the ability to excel in these same areas.
The new In Hearts Wake album, Kaliyuga, is out now on UNFD.