You have got to admire ambition these days before the finished article even comes out. When you step back at what has been created and see all the thought and passion put into something you’ve got to hold your hands up and congratulate an artist for the pure audaciousness of a project. The same ambition can be found in In Hearts Wake’s new album Skydancer. The album was actually created alongside last year’s release Earthwalker, and is the culmination of a double album project bringing in such themes as motherhood in Earthwalker and fatherhood in Skydancer.
Fantastically though, you can praise In Hearts Wake for more than just their devil-may-care attitude to the album. What they’ve created above all else is a fantastic metalcore album, bringing in themes and appearances from a number of different sources. Overall you have a recognisable pure metalcore album, with Jake Taylor’s unique unclean vocals ripping through each track. Yet, woven within is almost a post-rock underlay which peaks through the surface time after time, be it a small atmospheric guitar tone, or the clean vocals of Kyle Erich. Speaking of the clean vocals, there are times where they work better than others. For example, the clean vocals in ‘Breakaway’ can sometimes sound almost monotone and laboured, then at the same time in tracks like ‘Wildfire‘, they fit absolutely perfectly and create one of the best tracks we’ve heard from a metalcore album this year.
In Hearts Wake haven’t been afraid to bring in talent from elsewhere to help increase the diversity of their new album. Three tracks all have vocal help from other means, most notably The Ghost Inside’s Jonathan Vigil lending his talents to the track ‘Skydancer’. The biggest departure comes in the form of J Hurley and Ben Marvin from British rap metal band Hacktivist. Thankfully the track,’Erase‘ doesn’t feel like it’s had rap lyrics forced in it and flows really well, and in actual fact keeps a good message for racial equality.
What In Hearts Wake has here is arguably a better album than Earthwalker, regardless of whether or not they were written and produced at the same time. Skydancer feels like a natural evolution from their last album. There were a few dodgy moments with lyrics, and maybe moving into standard metalcore practices, but overall these can be forgiven for what is a stellar album, and project.