Hail the Sun
Culture Scars


4.0
excellent

Review

by Goldblum USER (4 Reviews)
July 13th, 2016 | 46 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Too Many Others Are Complacent”

Hail the Sun has managed to do something that’s great over the course of their career. People can’t seem to agree on whether “Wake,” “POW,” or “Elephantitis” is the pinnacle of their discography. That in and of itself showcases how diverse Hail the Sun is and how they have something for every fan of the progressive rock or post-hardcore persuasion. “Culture Scars” proves to be another example of how this band has something for everyone. This is why no one ever agrees on Hail the Sun.

“Culture Scars” takes a direction that we don’t see as prevalently as other items in their discography… The message. The lyrical composition of this album is the major focus of the release. Every song’s lyrics means something to the band and it’s very clear that these songs are meant to display a message. “Entertainment Lies” dives deep into concepts of sexual perception and the resulting effect on women from the ‘entertainment’ industry. Songs like “Ministry of Truth” and “The People That Protect Us” highlight the social ramifications of our current political structure and the consequential results (- if they are to be summarized into one sentence). They also show personal messages like the clear tribute to parental relationships in “Words of Gratitude.” This isn’t to say that there wasn’t poetic lyricism in their other work. It is just clearly a larger focus on this album.

Donovan Melero’s vocal melodies absolutely carry the progressive nature of the band while emerging as a primary focus over his drum kit. There has been discussion regarding this album as ‘watered down’ or ‘bland’ in comparisons to their previous releases (particularly “Elephantitis”) but ultimately “Culture Scars” doesn’t lack in any department in comparison to their previous releases; it is a progressive rock/post-hardcore album resplendent with a greater focus on the band’s vocal development, lyrically and musically. This makes sense when you realize that the album was produced by Mike Watts. Watts has produced three album with Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter), one of the most (if not the most) developed voices and lyricists in music today. With that said, “Culture Scars” still has the instrumental complexity that distinguishes Hail the Sun as the unique act that they are.

The album leads off right where “Wake” left off with “Paranoia,” which thrives off of the instrumental and vocal complexities that has always been an underlying definition of the band’s core sound. The ‘Hail the Sun standard’ tempo changes and off beat accents riddle the song making it one of the more high energy tracks on the album. Tracks like “Body Damage,” “The ‘Fun’ in Dysfunction,” “Ministry of Truth,” and “Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results” will make anyone paying attention fan themselves in awe from the hooks alone. The guitar riffs on these tracks, particularly on “Body Damage” epitomize the complexity of underlying instrumentation throughout the album that is hard to notice on the first or second (or even third) listen.

The moral of the story is that this album is different and same. It was never going to be something they've already done. It builds on what the band does. It shows that Hail the Sun is maturing as a band while remaining true to its roots and that’s a hard feat to accomplish while still delivering quality material. Like every band, they can’t release “Elephantitis” or “Wake” every two years. Is this the best that Hail the Sun has done? “Wake” may still be a bit more convincing but that doesn’t discredit this album (or anything else Hail the Sun has done). As a standalone album, “Culture Scar” delivers the proper follow up to their 2014 release. Agree or disagree with the assessment, “Culture Scars” is another example of how Hail the Sun has something for everyone.


Top Tracks:
Body Damage
Words of Gratitude
The Fun in Dysfunction
Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results


user ratings (169)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
XingKing
July 13th 2016


14875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It lacks in every department because it focuses too hard on the vocals. That would make it bland and watered down.

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2016


16311 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"People can’t seem to agree on whether “Wake,” “POW,” or “Elephantitis” is the pinnacle of their discography."



no one ever has said POW is the pinnacle. POW is crap

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Sinternet
July 13th 2016


20515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this was super disappointing, loved Wake

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TotallyUnbiased
July 14th 2016


19 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I think Wake's death-focused tone is a little less cringey than Culture Scars' 'man-our-culture-is-fucked' tone. Even without that, though, I felt that the messages in these songs felt forced. I'm seeing them for the second time this year on Wednesday, so we'll see how it all plays out live.

Ebola
July 16th 2016


3661 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fantastic album, great review.

Futures
July 16th 2016


9977 Comments


imagine if dance gavin dance wasn't good

Ebola
July 25th 2016


3661 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I kind of want to 5 this tbh

CuddlyCaucasian
July 27th 2016


111 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

these vocal melodies are starting to all sound the exact same to me

GreyShadow
October 19th 2016


3434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hail The Sun sacrifice some of the hecticness of Wake for more standard, but definitely solid songwriting. I think whatever they release next will be a good mix from both of these albums. And yeah, the vocal melodies definitely mesh together on this album, but again, the songs are solid. Last 3 tracks, Entertainment Lies, and Body Damage are my favorites

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GreyShadow
October 19th 2016


3434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And Words of Gratitude

Itwasthatwas
December 12th 2016


1949 Comments


this guys vocals are garbage and ruin anything that could be redeemed about their music

Ebola
December 12th 2016


3661 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

disagree hard

thejrmitchell
February 9th 2017


2 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I vastly prefer Wake. This album is good, but not memorable. It kind've feels unfocused at times at obvious at others, but it's still slightly above-average overall.

supremejelly
May 16th 2017


1133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like this, but the biggest issue with this album is how straight-forward the lyrics are. None of it sounds really creative or convincing, making it uninteresting. Shame cause the lyrics on Wake were a highlight, every song seemed to tell a story.

suppatime
June 16th 2017


1511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^yeah i really liked the lyrics/themes that ran through wake. this is also a lot less riffy. wake blows this out of the water but this is still solid.

GreyShadow
October 7th 2017


3434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is the perfect example of a band noticeably toning down their sound as a stylistic choice and still proving that they are competent musicians that can write really great songs. The middle seemed a bit bland to me but coming back to this, I enjoy almost all of these tracks thoroughly. The closer is my favorite song by them and Never Kill A Mouse..., Ministry of Truth, and Fun in Dysfunction grew on me hard

GreyShadow
October 7th 2017


3434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Body Damage is really good for those that like the old stuff but it along with Paranoia fit a bit weirdly on the album because of that. I've enjoyed the other 3 singles a lot since release (Words of Gratitude, Entertainment Lies, and Burn Nice and Slow) so I'm glad I finally enjoy the whole thing. Great album. Not as immediate as Wake but I think it surpasses it with enough listens. Also Donovan may be the closest Anthony Green clone there is but his delivery is incredibly all his own.

supremejelly
June 20th 2018


1133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

2 new songs dropped today! New album coming Sept 28

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 20th 2018


26097 Comments


are they good?

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supremejelly
June 20th 2018


1133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm not crazy about them, but they're not bad



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