Hail the Sun
Wake


4.5
superb

Review

by Claire Q. CONTRIBUTOR (56 Reviews)
August 9th, 2017 | 51 replies


Release Date: 09/23/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Funerals are for the living

I’ve always found it striking that Wake has so much triple metre in it. To me that strong-weak-weak pattern, so frequently found in formal dances, is a harbinger of stateliness. An almost lofty solemnity. That might contradict with common perceptions of post-hardcore as a genre of unbridled emotional release, but Wake is simultaneously composed and volatile, a woman who stoically lets her mascara drip down her face.

Wake isn’t pitiful. Nor does it lavish its subjects with pity. Addiction, meaninglessness, murder, so be it - Wake will stare them down, win the war of attrition. One must be nimble, sharp, carrying the right amount of restraint lest energy be squandered. Such is the maxim that the guitars follow, piercing through with glinting sharpness. The playing is clean, measured. The bass, meanwhile, establishes the solid foundation that accommodates for a less predictable percussion style. Donovan Melero’s high tenor cuts out a significant airspace, flying alongside his fluid drumming. One moment a frenetic force of nature, the next a deliberate trot. “Relax / Divide” is the eye of the storm, a pared-down and outwardly relaxed track that turns away before biting its nails in anxiety. “Anti-Eulogy (I Hope You Stay Dead)” is a macabre marriage of waltzing and jazzy transitions, giving birth to something that screams bloody murder. “Stay dead!” shrieks Donovan, before more quietly conceding that “while you may be gone now, you are always in my head”. Even through outbursts and explosions, the skeleton is left uncharred. And so Wake, in one of its forms, is a surprisingly dignified work of self-control.

Wake more obviously concerns death. But death haunts as an impersonal spectre, not so much as an intimate tormentor. The victims are remote, far removed from the heart; they are nameless (“Jane Doe”), enigmatic, (“Disappearing Syndrome”, “Black Serotonin”) and matters of thought instead of tears. “Human Target Practice”, meanwhile, steps away from the victim to the aggressor in an exploration of institutionalized, dehumanizing violence; death will also haunt those who are not on the dying end. “Jane Doe”, sombre and acoustic, reverberates coolly in its third-party recounting of an anonymous woman’s murder. Even “Hanging Revelation”, a blunt condemnation of witch-hunting, isn’t expressed as an individual opinion so much as an identification of obvious moral wrongdoing. These are universalized tendencies delineated in simple affirmations: “Fear will sell / Then murder is justified / Bodies swaying aren’t worth saving”. When Wake delivers its observations and judgments with cold fury, it’s quite remarkable to see just how much emotional investment it puts into the distant and departed.

I would not, however, accuse it of proselytizing; it views itself as a witness, not a champion of any particular cause. It’s a very appreciable quality, that Wake isn’t self-evident dogma despite its stances. “Falling On Deaf Ears” questions religion, but doesn’t fall to the hypocrisy of preaching; it captures just the right amount of abstraction and self-doubt to advance its message. As Donovan cries out “God, you’re not listening!” to the song’s exquisite climax, it comes from a place of agony rather than antagonism; “what if I’m wrong" There’s no way to take it back”, he later muses, and I take his fear seriously when he says that he’ll “burn in an apocalyptic realm”. While “Human Target Practice” is a more straight-forward denunciation of police brutality, its rapid-fire riffs and stark imagery manage to elicit both sympathy and an adrenaline rush. The primal drum motif of “Cosmic Narcissism” befits its commentary on human chauvinism; we are “brainwashed to be more than particles”, a succinct reminder of our idiocy, unimportance, and fragility.

Wake is elegant suffering. That is the crux of it, really; it’s a work that lends a potent air of gravitas to its displays of pathos. It takes a higher perch, watches from above before reaching a verdict. It prefers not to draw blood itself - that is left to those who are lowlier than it. But do not mistake it for lacking empathy. After all, it quite keenly feels the pain of its subjects.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2017


835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks to ramon for his expertise in grammar and syntax

Credits to jack and 50iL for suggestions, and to Wines for being hilarious

50iL
August 8th 2017


4982 Comments


Obviously already read it, hard pos. Need to check too

Digging: Dave Holland - Extended Play: Live at Birdland

ianblxdsoe
August 9th 2017


1911 Comments


thicc pos solid review as usual, might need to give this album another spin

Digging: Wicca Phase Springs Eternal - Suffer On

AsleepInTheBack
August 9th 2017


5917 Comments


Praise the sun!
Will read this later

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2017


24331 Comments


love the descriptions on this one, been told to check this for awhile but maybe now I actually will...

artiswar
August 9th 2017


6471 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review, this album is really great. Their drummer/singer is something else.

Evok
August 9th 2017


7663 Comments


This review needs to be featured. Serious pos'd

Digging: Vanum - Ageless Fire

Danred97
August 9th 2017


1980 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fantastically written review. Very eloquent and descriptive. I love this album, and you perfectly explained why.

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2017


835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks everyone! this album is near and dear to my heart, probably my favourite post-hardcore release from modern years

SteakByrnes
August 9th 2017


14324 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid review, absolutely love this album but haven't listened to it in full in a while. Sianvar spoiled me hard

Digging: Ithaca - The Language of Injury

artiswar
August 9th 2017


6471 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

not for nothing but this is wayyyyy better than Sianvar

SteakByrnes
August 9th 2017


14324 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Highly disagree

Joeman82
August 9th 2017


935 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album and Sianvar are both amazing for different reasons.

I was floored when I learned Melero did the drumming and the singing for this album. Beautifully written review. Pos.

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2017


835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, I think live shows would be amazing (still don't know how Donovan drums and sings at the same time)

artiswar
August 9th 2017


6471 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

nobody knows how, he just does.

Alondite
August 9th 2017


309 Comments


Fantastic review. Album slays, too.

AsleepInTheBack
August 9th 2017


5917 Comments


Predictably wonderful review, possibly one of your best imo. Will try check this. Sounds fantastic

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2017


835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks so much, and yes, this album is unique within its peers

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 10th 2017


24331 Comments


jammin this now

Storm In A Teacup
March 16th 2018


26218 Comments


hmm...



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