[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”3917″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Before we properly  delve into Ark, permit me to take a moment to paint a history of metal, and In Hearts  Wake’s place  in  it. I remember [back  in  my day, sonny] when metal started for me  in  the mid-2000s. Someone showed a younger  me a breakdown from Parkway Drive’s Killing With A Smile and I fell  in love with the relentlessly heavy and fast rhythms, less so the terrifying vocals.

Back then, I saw metal as something dark and black with no room for fun or theme outside of death – bands like Slipknot and Slayer spring to mind. That all changed  in  the late 2000s –  metal took on this salty,  post-Pirates Of The Caribbean flavour, with bands like Parkway Drive sampling parts of films into albums and Bring Me The Horizon even getting their name from the last line of the movie.

Anchor and ship tattoos became all the rage, video clips were shot  in  oceans, Poseidon’s mighty wrath became the figurehead of the ship  that was metal. From there, the genre moved to strange interdimensional and  mathematical spaces, with bands like Volumes, Encounters and Northlane embracing the machine-like conventions of djent  post-2010. Exciting musical realms opened up, eventually branching  into spirituality and third eyes and other such divinity-centric themes.

Nowadays, we can sit back and smile as we hear Rage Against The Machine-esque, nu-nu-metal being brought back with nostalgic ’90s reverence by the likes of Ocean Grove, and know that the future of metal is  in safe hands.

Lecture over. Okay, who by show of hands can see the problem with the Ark? Anyone? Well, fair enough, you might not have listened to the whole thing yet. But did you see the video released for Passage? Opening shot – the ocean. Crabs. Fish. Seagulls  in  the distance. An old wooden ship. Seeing the problem?

Beautifully shot, please don’t get me wrong; the clip looks great. But the theme? The lyrics? “Who’s steering the ship? / We just drift inthe eye of the storm.”  It’s a weak, childlike singalong, and to make it worse it’s  interjected by “Woo oohh / woo oohh“s which, in my opinion, is a frankly abominable musical convention.

But that’s not the biggest problem.  In  Hearts  Wake  have tried to make an ocean-metal album  in 2017. I respect the work, and I respect the music, but take a look at the clock. This album might have gone well eight or nine years ago; people might appreciate the pop-style clean singalongs; 12-year-old me might have liked it very much. But it’s not 2008 and I’m not 12.

This is supposed to be  In  Hearts  Wake, the band that gave us  Earthwalker  and  Divination;  they did a split EP with Northlane for funk’s sake! What happened? Did they really think that the trend,  with  its cyclical  nature, would revert back to an ocean theme again, or were they just playing it safe, trying to elicit nostalgia?

Credit where credit is due  –  in  support of the album’s release, the band have started We Are Waterborne: An  In Hearts Wake Initiative with Tangaroa Blue  to clean up waterways  in  Brisbane, Byron Bay, Sydney and Melbourne. I applaud the use of this album as a vehicle for promoting earth preservation and actively dealing with pollution. Bravo, truly. At least the aquatic theme kind of makes sense.

However,  the actual song, Waterborne, really undermines their good intentions – the verse is strong and serious, but the chorus is weak  and pop-y, with seemingly sampled and over-produced vocal parts. Environmentalism and auto-tune; just not a great combo. There is a pretty sweet breakdown at the back end of the track, with some good lyrics and heavy vocals: “Nowhere to go when the wells run dry / Nowhere to run when the waters rise.” A bit on the nose, but good stuff; pity it’s wrapped up  in  this chorus that takes all of the power out of the tune.

The waterways became dirty with the onset of industry and waste, human luxury and laziness. It’s all our own fault. Shit, I’d be the first to say that I’ve polluted and I’ve done nothing thus far to make amends, nor have I been writing tracks promoting a better world. But good intentions don’t write albums. Positive themes don’t carry music.

But when the chord  tying us together is old and outdated, when the weak breakdown heralds a weak connection, when the rallying cry we crave becomes a populist voice… then we will  have suffered our truest defeat.

But hey, it’s just an album, you might like it. And whatever you do, make sure to put your rubbish  in  the bin.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”2.5/5″ color=”white” css_animation=”appear”][vc_column_text]In Hearts Wake – Ark

Released: 26 May, 2017 via UNFD[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”” style=”custom” custom_background=”#ff5ff3″ custom_text=”#000000″ shape=”square” size=”lg” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-apple” add_icon=”true” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fau%2Falbum%2Fark%2Fid1227783277||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]