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“Chicanery” means using deception to achieve one’s goals, and it’s those such deceptive individuals that hardcore super-group Hesitation Wounds take umbrage with on their newest EP, ‘Chicanery.’ Formed by Touche Amore’s Jeremy Bolm, former Trap Them bassist Stephen LaCour, drummer Thomas Cantwell (Gouge Away), and ex-Hope Conspiracy guitarist Neeraj Kane, this EP is all about the protest, about rage, and rallying against a toxic and shitty world in whatever way that you can.
First and foremost, it’s great to hear this almost-unhinged, angrier side of Jeremy as not just a vocalist, but as a man too. Via his raw screams and hearty shouts, we’re seeing him tackle topics that he maybe couldn’t discuss in Touche Amore’s music. Deceit and manipulation from the mouths and hands of religious leaders to control the masses (‘Hellevangelist‘); certain politicians lying for special interests and not doing right by the public (‘Charlatan Fuck‘); the rapid nature of social media controversy and how quickly trending issues arise and then die out in lieu of the next instance (‘Trending.’); loaded morality about the common man being compared to the perfect “paragons” and ideals of today (‘Paragons Of Virtue.’) Despite the short seven-song run, the vocalist packs a lot on in about his thoughts on the social-political climates of today, and it’s well and truly the most compelling aspect of the EP.
As for the songs, it’s an incredibly run-of-the-mill hardcore punk record through and through, best exemplified by ‘Trending‘ and ‘Paragons Of Virtue,’ all tapping out at just over ten-minutes long overall. Short, controlled bursts, and then some. The aggro riffage and the double-time drumming is cool, fun even, but nothing to write home about. (Well, unless that phrase meant writing a review.) So while it does succeed at being a no-bullshit hardcore rager that’s pissed-off at the world, it also holds little weight and little replayability. ‘Chicanery‘ is one of those simply decent hardcore releases where you let it settle in your mind as you listen in for these 11 or so minutes, but then you mostly forget it within the next ten as you move on with your day and onto other things.
The best forms of Hesitation Wounds‘ sound arrive in the whirlwind neck-snapper that is ‘At Our Best When We’re Asleep‘ and the riffy, catapulting momentum that pulses through ‘Hellevangelist.’ Neither song is anything new for the band or for the hardcore punk these days, but they do it competently, and that was all that was needed, really. We also get some breathing room and melodic space on the closing track, ‘Ends (Pt. 3)‘ – following up the first two parts from their 2016 debut album – marking one of the records more solid, memorable sections. Yet the feedback-riddled opener of ‘Viewing (Pt. 2)‘ is really awkwardly placed, doesn’t transition out all that smoothly, and does nothing for the EP as a whole nor as an opening piece. Just give us more full hardcore songs, guys! I nor anyone else expects anything different but the quartet prove that they can make some sick tracks (like ‘At Our Best When We’re Asleep‘.) So let’s cut out the filler nonsense and get right to the real shit, yeah?
Angry and bitter, politically pointed and direct, ‘Chicanery’ is a loud-mouthed, if only decent new release for the hardcore super-group that is Hesistation Wounds. Yet it’s just far too short for its own good, ending before it even really gets going. Not only that, with it mostly containing a rather generic hardcore punk EP sound in songwriting and style, there’s not a lot of replayability or memorability oozing from this new batch of tunes. Let alone anything that can top what was found on 2016’s ‘Awake For Everything‘ debut LP. In fact, both of these releases were brought to life in just a few days each, but ‘Chinanery’ just isn’t quite as up to scratch with its predecessor. However, given the pedigree of this band, and how solid their previous releases were, I’m sure that Hesitation Wounds will have more to say, more to riff over, in the near future. So don’t count ’em out just yet.
1. Viewing (Pt. 2)
2. Paragons of Virtue
3. Charlatan Fuck
5. At Our Best When We’re Asleep
7. Ends (Pt. 3)
‘Chicanery’ is out now: