The one thing that’s always been hard to describe about music is emotion. In any genre, the artist or band must create the emotion out of nothing. Many, especially within the metalcore and hardcore genre, seem like they’re going through the motions, filled with manufactured anger and screams that have no meaning behind them. Some may even call it senseless noise. However when I listened to this album, it felt like the vocals were brimming with intensity and clarity. It wasn’t completely derailed, yet also very much in control.
Wildways is a metalcore band from Western Russia. They began their inception in 2009 under the name “Sarah Where Is My Tea.” After a few years touring in Europe and winning the VANS Warped Tour Battle of the Bands in Europe, they decided to start new and change their name to “Wildways”- the result is their new album, Into the Wild.
The album begins with “Skins”, a song that builds from the first notes of a twinkling keyboard, which is then layered with sparse acoustic guitars before chugging guitars and pulsing bass enter into the picture. Finally, Kery’s crashing drums and Toli’s manic vocals come to the forefront. What impressed me about this song, and many of the songs that follow, are the brightness of the instruments. Music in the metalcore genre tends to muddy up the vocals, bass, guitar, and drums so that it is indistinguishable. On this album, I can hear the drums and guitar power through, and it makes for an energetic listen.
The next song, “3 Seconds To Go” is another song which could be on the verge of collapsing but keeps everything very consistent with a driving beat accompanied by hand claps and occasional tempo changes. They go very hard on this song. What works is that there’s never a repetition and, in fact, the same trick is never utilized, whether it be within the same song or tracks that follow one another. Sergey and Chocoslayc’s riffing and licking is engaging, and lot of the time sounds new and different through the course of the album. Kery’s drumming and Harry’s bass playing is an onslaught but they know when to stop at the right time to deliver the impact of Toli’s vocals.
This is important to keeping an album like this listenable to the audience, and also what the band could expand upon further. The emotion and melody is menacing and catchy, but I believe if the bass playing and the drumming are taken a notch further with experimentation (for example, having the drums quiet to showcase Toli’s singing) they would stand out. Everything is precise, but it’s limited, and I think there is room here to truly expand their songwriting and to do a 180 on the genre even more. As the album progresses, it becomes a bit claustrophobic whereas there should be a vast amount of space for the composition to grow and experiment.
With that being said, there is a lot of emotion here. And it’s done accessibly. The song, “Princess”, with its inclusion of a female vocalist towards the climax of the song, is my pick for the best. There’s a certain way where everything comes together, and the sense of urgency is contained and concluded within its run time. The production is razor sharp, and it takes interesting twists in the composition. “Faka Faka Yeah” utilized a similar tactic where it begins with a slight trap rap influence before it adds in urgent background vocals chanting “HEY” then dissolving into a breakdown halfway through.
The highlight of “Into the Wild” is the meticulous, precise mixing. Although the band keeps everything interesting, moments like “Princess” and “Wings” with its ballad structure is a welcome change. Throughout the album, I was captivated by the world they created in each track. I did find myself waiting for that moment where they play around with dissonance that never quite came. However there are no wrong notes. It is not senseless noise. There is purpose and emotion here.
Rating – 7.6/10
Toli – Vocals
Sergey – Guitar
Chocoslayc – Guitar
Harry – Bass
Kery – Drums