Album Review: In Hearts Wake – Skydancer

Byron Bay bruisers In Hearts Wake return for a second bash at the rage they know best.

A concept album in two parts, ‘Skydancer’ is the second half of 2014’s ‘Earthwalker’, both recorded in the same session. Reworking previous single of the same name, ‘Skydancer’ now features a welcome interlude from Jonathan Vigil of The Ghost Inside. Guest spots aplenty, their third full-length showcases not only In Hearts Wake’s talent, but also that of their comprehensive phonebook.

A brief atmospheric opener ‘Aether’ soon steps aside as for the crushing heaviness of ‘Skydancer’, bearing a compelling solo alongside The Ghost Inside frontman Jonathan Vigil’s trademark doom-laced growls. Similarly, towering lead single ‘Breakaway’, the anthem of survival against all odds, embraces a contrast of unbridled screams and lulling cleans to culminate in a beautiful chaos.

“I can’t stop hearing these voices,” cries ‘Insomnia’, driving a cry for help from a lucid dream. Amid racing fretwork and menacing whispers, a limitless rage pours through ‘Cottonmouth’, while frontman Jake Taylor spits with unrivalled venom, “your life is under attack.” The cracking guitar solo of ‘Oblivion’ combined with the unrelenting gang vocals of ‘Badlands’ cements the quintet’s versatility beyond doubt.

Beyond the booming intro to ‘Intrepid’, Marcus Bridge of Northlane brings a melodious calm before the storm of relentless growls. ‘Erase’, showcasing Ben Marvin and J Hurley of Hacktivist, on the other hand, emerges as the black sheep of the family, as a rather misplaced rap interlude disjoints the rage bursting from guitarists Ben and Eaven.

“I can feel the fire spreading from beneath my feet,” screams ‘Wildfire’, projecting Kyle Erich’s cleans to the fore while a contagious riff riles up a relentless force to be reckoned with. A reflective, philosophical narrative reminiscent of metalcore’s fondest trend, ‘Father’ closes the record on a melancholy note, reflective of the emotionally exhausting yet thrilling journey the two-part concept has taken.

This time last year, In Hearts Wake were confidently earmarked for success. ‘Skydancer’ has not only proved their consistency, but their dedication to their craft and their deserved place as frontrunners for the future of metalcore.

4.5/5

’Skydancer’ by In Hearts Wake is out now on UNFD.

In Hearts Wake links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)

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