Album Review: IN HEARTS WAKE - Kaliyuga

Artist: In Hearts Wake

Album: Kaliyuga

Genre: Heavy Metal/Metalcore

Review by Darren Hurford

In Hearts Wake’s new album ‘Kaliyuga’ focuses on the final element in the thematic journey of their discography; Fire. It’s no coincidence that this album was created during the time of our own disastrous bushfires in Australia, causing the band to want to express their message, believing that we are the cause of our own demise. The Byron Bay quintet have always been long time champions of the environment, doing their part on this album to off-set their carbon footprint and using no plastics in the physical album and packaging. The album, whilst still definitively IHW, is definitely a branching off from what we might be used to. The light moments are lighter, the dark parts oh so much darker and the new bits…..well, they’re new. The band have re-imagined their song writing and it works, being less technical musically, which inadvertently makes an album of 13 songs that don’t all sound the same.

As the opening track Crisis plays, you’d be forgiven for thinking Keith Flint had come back to life and The Prodigy were releasing a new album. The breakbeat drums combined with Apollo 440 funk style guitar riffs are a more upbeat introduction than we’re used to from IHW. The music is melded seamlessly with parts of Greta Thunberg’s address from a global climate strike in New York City in 2019, however very quickly merges into what could be heard as a metal EDM song.

Worldwide Suicide (the band’s first released track from the album) is introduced with some harsh guitar paving the way for vocalist Jake Taylor to start spreading the band’s message. Opening up into stadium sized drums and undoubtedly room for a crowd chant, the song quickly turns back into an even heavier version of the intro track. If you hadn’t guessed it already, IHW are trying something different. But not all is lost! Sure enough the band rip back into the crushing guitars and vocals they’re loved and adored for, with Taylor even sounding like he could do the voiceover for a boss demon from the Doom games, fire and all.

Hellbringer brings back a bit of straight up heavy rock, with a verse by Jamie Hails of Polaris adding some spice to the mix, followed by Moving On which unfortunately sounds a bit like a break-up song. There are a few too many “skip” tracks on the album, with Timebomb, Son of a Witch and Husk giving off a vibe of being “nice” songs with heavy metal parts, sadly lacking all that many defining characteristics to warrant much more of a mention.

Then we come to Crossroads….um…..what? Did Billie Eilish decide to get heavy…ish? You’ll check your Spotify or even CD player when this one starts, wondering, “How did someone come in and change what I was listening to literally a second ago!?” Nope. Definitely still In Hearts Wake featuring Georgia Flood. This song has Evanescence vibes minus the power that Amy Lee embodies, nor the lyrical content to justify a second listen. Ever. “Star-crossed lovers on an empty stage, Will we find each other on the very last page?......Two dreams, One crossroad……Love is a place I can’t give up, Forever is never enough, yeah.” There’s a nice little guitar hook that leads into a catchy chorus, which seems like something a major label would love if only it didn’t have that pesky distortion.

Another noteworthy track (for good reasons) is Dystopia. This is the band’s latest release and could be argued as being the best song on the album. It kicks in like a SWAT team breaching a door and shooting everything in sight. Musically the song is tight, showing off the band’s chops with an undercurrent of rolling snare by drummer Conor Ward and a “less is more” approach to the verses with both the guitars and vocals from bass player Kyle Erich. This flows easily into a big, impactful chorus that lets the music do the talking.

All in all, this album is….different, from anything we’ve heard from IHW before. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. They set out to create a “less is more” album and they nailed it. In its own right and for the most part, this is a solid, heavy, less-technical-than-usual but impactful album with a message. Do fans of the band want a message or just a new brutal album? Well, come August 7th, we’ll find out.

Best part: Hearing the brown-note growling vocals in Worldwide Suicide.

Worst parts: Crossroads. You’ll understand.

‘KALIYUGA’ by In Hearts Wake out August 7 2020. Pre-order HERE.

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