When the impending release of ‘Skydancer’ was sprung on an unsuspecting fanbase earlier this year, big ideas and covert albums looked to mark apart Aussie quartet In Hearts Wake as something of an ambitious bunch. Touted as a counterpart to 2014’s ‘Earthwalker’, the records run in tandem to reflect, in the band’s own words, “the relationship between the masculine and feminine worlds”, in what can certainly be labeled an experimental endeavor.
Yet, despite appearing on paper as an excitingly forward looking affair, all conceptual aplomb is rather rapidly forgotten as ‘Skydancer’ follows its predecessor with a display of vanilla metalcore cliches.
Some interesting melodies and snatches of arena readiness aside (‘Breakaway’), In Hearts Wake for the most part seem content to barrel through eleven tracks of functional if uninspired genre conventions. Simpering clean refrains and lukewarm aggression do little to generate the belly-fire needed to side-step the scene’s pitfalls, and between its frequently synthetic production and a rueful lack of intensity, the likes of ‘Insomnia’ cannot stand up to the dynamic scope of their elite peers.
Even the thudding, muscular grooves of album highlight ‘Intrepid’, and the hip hop/djent mash-up guesting from Hacktivist duo Ben Marvin and J Hurley (‘Erase’) ultimately fail to elevate the one-dimensional feel.
It’s mildly befuddling that, given their apparent appetite for grand scale thinking, In Hearts Wake would turn in a record which so heartily smacks of neutered creativity. Unspectacular in the extreme, it’s unfortunate that for all its lofty ideals, ‘Skydancer’ is a rather toothless continuation of metalcore’s seemingly immortal blueprint.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)