Jun 6, 2016

Album Review: Hesitation Wounds - Awake for Everything

Review by Robert Dean

 In the pre-“our lives being dominated by Internet” age of the late 90’s, early 00’s – something in hardcore was happening. A sound organically grew, one that had metal flair, but a sense of chaos that was far beyond punk, but community minded, but was rooted in being artistic, but was driven by a different sense of spirit. Bands like American Nightmare and Turmoil were ripping off heads and not giving a single goddamn who got in the way.

Bands like Deadguy, Botch, Burn it Down, Kiss It Goodbye, Candiria, Burnt By The Sun, The National Acrobat, Coalesce, Converge sprung up, to name a small few. These bands had an off-kilter sense of dynamics, they played to the downbeat, and wrote songs that were unique, were powerful.

Bands like Hatebreed or Throwdown were committed to the chug; these groups came from a completely different crop. You got the sound, or you didn’t – and that’s what made it perfect. It was challenging but so rhythmic, so pure. The sounds weren’t about the droning riff; it was about turning from circle pit madness to absolute crushing riff that Dimebag would have chugged a beer over.

Back then we experimented with all kinds of ideas in music, statements by bands who were influenced by art and Tom Waits instead of just Bad Brains on repeat. There were Straight Edge bands, and we all went through Straight Edge phases, while others kept legit to the party – Christians, Krishna’s, Vegans, whatever. It was a quilt of ideas, notions and it all worked.

But, like all things, many of the bands of the era drifted off into lore or unwarranted obscurity (if you can find anything by Indiana hardcore slayers Burn it Down, that’s an immediate purchase amigo). Converge is still around, but Coalesce and Botch are the things of “I was at X show” or “I was a year too late on them” which totally sucks. Fortunately, like all things cyclical a batch of bands are popping up that are carrying on the torch of that era of hardcore. And if you’re a lover of all things dissonant and vitriolic – you need Hesitation Wounds in your life.

I’d be remiss to say Hesitation Wounds are just some scrappy kids who were influenced by the aforementioned bands. Instead, Hesitation Wounds is a murder’s row of hardcore heavy hitters. Featuring former and current members of The Hope Conspiracy, Torche Amore, Suicide File and Trap Them - this ain’t exactly a pack of nobodies. Sure, there’s the elephant in the room of Jay Weinberg currently playing in Slipknot, but whatever – dude is getting paid. But let us not forget he played in Madball, and Against Me! Prior to donning a sweaty ass mask – his punk rock acumen is very much there.

On Hesitation Wounds first full-length record, Awake for Everything we’re treated with chaotic riffs, supercharged drumming, fuzzed out bass and vocals that could peel the paint off a living room wall. Awake for Everything is a harken back to that pure sound of the early 00’s when music was created in a vacuum when you had no idea what kids across the state were doing unless you went to their show.

Awake for Everything is like a love letter to an era when bands meant something to the kids at the shows when no one was there to see some dork whip out his eight string and imitate Meshuggah. Instead, it’s a directionless, cunning fucking masterstroke. I say directionless because it doesn’t feel contrived or concocted. It feels natural, constructed out of a basement while sipping PBR’s and arguing about which Sabbath record is the best. The songs can go anywhere, and change direction within seconds.

There is absolutely no point in picking out a standout track. This record doesn’t need that. What it needs is people to buy it, to own it, to love it and hopefully get these guys in a van on tour. Awake for Everything is the record folks my age have been waiting to be released, it’s a time capsule back to the heyday, but doesn’t feel like some forced thing that’s bloated and dishonest. Instead, Hesitation Wounds sounds like the band every musician over 33 talks about wanting to start but is always too busy with adult life shit. It’s so damned perfect.

Will kids in their early 20’s get Hesitation Wounds? I can’t say. I sincerely hope they do. Will folks in their later 30’s get it? You bet your life we will. If and when the band tours, you’ll see me there. Not up front, though. I don’t want anyone to spill my drink. I’ll be in the back gracefully nodding my head and remembering what it was like to be lucky enough to go to shows before everyone video’d every fucking thing.

Get off my lawn. Buy Awake for Everything at this very second.


Available at Amazon and all the usual spots.

Not edited by lazy editor in chief

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