REVIEW: Hail The Sun – ‘Wake’

hail the sun wake

Artist: Hail The Sun
Album: Wake
Genre: Post-Hardcore / Progressive
Label: Blue Swan Records

Here it is, the widely-anticipated new record from Hail The Sun, the progressive post-hardcore quartet that took the scene by storm with their Elephantitis EP in 2012. Since the release of Elephantitis, the band has been acquired by the up-and-coming label Blue Swan Records, a fitting home for a band that has toured alongside Dance Gavin Dance, Jonny Craig, Kurt Travis, A Lot Like Birds, I The Mighty, and The Speed of Sound in Seawater.

The band is currently out headlining the first official Blue Swan Records Tour with label mates Stolas and Adventurer, plus main support from Portland’s Icarus The Owl. The tour will continue until October 12, in Chico CA. Information is available here.

If there’s one thing I should preface this review with, it’s that this album takes some time to digest and appreciate. At first listen I found myself swimming in the time changes and fast-moving licks of Wake, but every so often something totally awesome would whiz by my ear and I’d find myself squealing with joy. After another listen or two, I was still having trouble keeping tracks separate, but definitely starting to bob my head to the complex movements, anticipating the quick changes, and picking out more and more standout sections.

The album opens with “Rolling Out The Red Carpet,” a warm-up track of sorts that escalates from eerie-soft to full-blown crescendo before leaving you at “Human Target Practice,” the first single from Wake. Making a smooth transition, we find ourselves at “Black Serotonin,” one of the album’s beefier songs with over 5 minutes of Elephantitis-inspired sounds.

Track 6, “Cosmic Narcissism” is definitely a standout, with surprises including a groovy rhythm driven by guitar upstrokes, to a thrashing breakdown led by harsh vocals from guitarist Shane Gann. Eventually the song fades into “Relax/Divide,” an unexpected little ballad that provides a break in the action before entering the second half of the album.

On the back end of the album we have “Disappearing Syndrome,” one of my personal favorites, as well as previously released singles “Missed Injections” and “Hanging Revelation.” The album concludes with another soft interlude before dropping into its final number, and perhaps the most powerful song on the record, “Anti-Eulogy (I Hope You Stay Dead).” Everything about the track positions it to be an epic closer for Wake, and the song plays out like some kind of intense boss battle. If you caught our interview with Hail The Sun recently, you may recall vocalist/drummer Donovan Melero and bassist John Stirrat calling “Anti-Eulogy” their favorite track on the album.

Overall, Hail The Sun fans should be very satisfied with the band’s return. Like any good album, it takes a few licks to get to the center, but once you’ve unraveled the record, its syncopated intricacies become its most endearing portions. If you’re the type of person who values complexity over simple pop songs, you’ll be right at home with Wake; definitely a must for fans of the scene.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Scott Murray

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