Taking a break from their eco-activist themes, ‘Hellbringer’ sees In Hearts Wake embracing the metal stereotypes that those opposed to such music styles believe the band to be.
Similar to ‘Son Of A Witch‘ before it, ‘Hellbringer‘ is another typical song for the Australian metalcore quintet. Making me think that ‘Worldwide Suicide‘ was just a complete one-off or that any other different surprises on new album ‘KALIYUGA‘ (out August 7th) will be kept closer to the band’s chest until release.
Starting with a riff that’s very remiss of ‘Glass Gloss‘ by their fellow UNFD peers, Ocean Grove, this is the usual for IHW: cleanly produced, mosh riffs, mosh breakdowns, with a couple of choruses lead by bassist Kyle Erich. Within the context of In Hearts Wake, however, Jamie Hails‘ guest vocal feature in the middle is like a strike of lighting upon it, animating the track to life. Jamie’s galvanized screams bring some added “oomph” to ‘Hellbringer,’ something that it was lacking in from the very beginning.
One part that is quite fun is the pre-breakdown build-up section were Jake Taylor yells: “If waking words are treason and mother earth a demon, then I’m a fucking sinner. So go ahead and pull the trigger.” If this was the IHW of old or if it were from most other metalcore bands, there probably would’ve been a gun cocking or gunshot sample or something similar placed right before the drop. Instead, we get a few seconds of silence, followed by the huge roar of “HELLBRINGER“, before the song shoots off into its next breakdown. And it’s a nice little pay-off; a decent moment that’s seldom found on ‘Hellbringer‘ overall. Could be worse, though.
Also released today was the music video for ‘Hellbringer,’ presented as a faux-live-stream amidst the new normal of Covid-19. It’s presented as what people who hate and don’t understand heavy music believe these artists to be like, and it isn’t meant to be serious at all. What with the band leaning into the dated metal music stereotypes by covering themselves in blood, pretending to be monsters (Jake’s a vampire, Jamie’s a werewolf), having people picket said live stream, and wearing a variety of death or black metal T-shirts with various Satanic imagery upon them. It’s a big piss-take, goofing off about how positive heavy music can be and often is. It also reminds me a little of Sharptooth’s recent film clip for ‘Say Nothing (In The Absence Of Content)‘, but nowhere near as clever or as interesting in its own self-aware nature and critiques.
Jake shared this about the idea behind the new clip, saying:
“At some of our American shows extremist groups have picketed outside, telling our fans that they’re ‘going to hell’. If only they knew just how positive the energy inside the venue was! Never judge a book by it’s cover. So rather than fight hate with hate, we decided to have some fun and lean into the metal stereotype. In 2020 with live streams becoming the new norm, we decided to stage our own hell-bent circus. We thought it would be funny to ask Jamie to dress up as a werewolf, turn me into a vampire and rain blood on the entire band. Guess Halloween came early this year. Thank you Blade.”
While I could personally find no actual information online about any of In Hearts Wake’s U.S. shows being picketed, heavy music is so broad nowadays – in tones, sounds, themes, aesthetics, etc. – that anyone reducing it down to just “noise” or just “screaming” is simply being reductive to stay in their own little bubble about different art and music. (Also not saying the band’s lying, but after some cursory research, unless this picketing was for a show they were supporting or on co-headlining run, nothing comes up about that particular situation. Other than articles relating to ‘Hellbringer‘ and the above quote from the vocalist.) Of course, no one who doesn’t enjoy or care for heavy music, regardless of whether it’s death metal or metalcore, isn’t going to listen to a new song by In Hearts Wake and be swayed by it. But hey, if you already like IHW, then go nuts: