Friday, April 26, 2013

Album Review: Hesitation Wounds - Self-Titled

Album Rating: B

Hesitation Wounds is the combined project of four hardcore veterans that strikes all of the right chords. With members of bands like Touché Amoré, Against Me!, and the Hope Conspiracy, the band's debut EP delivers nine minutes of fast-paced hardcore themed in murder, life, and self-reflection. Though the sound is nothing new, Hesitation Wounds takes the group's collective influence and delivers a powerful four song record that doesn't stray too far from their members' other bands.

Recorded in one session over the course of just five hours, Hesitation Wounds is suprisingly cohesive, although the songs most resemble music from Touché Amoré, singer Jeremy Bolm's main project. Opener “Viewing” is an instrumental intro that eases the listener in to the quick hardcore assault. Guitars strum cold and short as the mid-tempo drum snare rolls into a dissonant and emotive calm before the storm. 

Before you know it, machine gun snares kick in “A. Smith (Death of a Teenager),” a quick two-minute blast of melodic hardcore. The guitar tones and structure could be easily mistaken for a Touché song; hell, even the chugs half-way through seems directly ripped from “Art Official," a track from Touché's latest full-length Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. Despite the similarity, the song feels unique and new. The overall production is much more raw, and “P. Ochs (The Death of a Rebel)” is a one-two punch led by a driving bass and a punishing guitar riff, which feels strikingly similar to Touché's “Whale Belly.”

“Realism (The Death of Innocence)” concludes the album in a furious and relentless hardcore moshfest. The song starts with a deep base that is quickly turned up into a typical hardcore assault. The last minute of the song is a rolling chug and groovy drum beat that seems like a continuous breakdown.  Hardcore buffs will throw fists and elbows to the end of this track, which seems to balance the mid-tempo outro with the fast-paced first half of the album. Hesitation Wounds ends the EP in a memorable way with  “Realism,” the highlight of the release and also the longest song at three minutes and five seconds long.

Hesitation Wounds doesn't doing anything that traditional melodic hardcore hasn't done before. In fact, the cookie-cutter drum beat and repetitious riffs blur together on the first few listens and can easily placed alongside Touché Amoré's catalog. It's hard not to draw comparison's between the two bands because not only do they share the same lead singer, but they inherently sound and and are structured the same. Then again, Hesitation Wounds aren't trying to reinvent the wheel. The project was to bring friends together and record some fun and enjoyable tracks, and that's exactly what the EP is. The staying power is pretty much nonexistent, and listeners will probably move on from it pretty quickly, though “Realism” is definitely worth returning to now and again. Don't expect to find your favorite song in this handful of tracks, but definitely give the band's debut a listen. It may sound like a handful of unreleased Touché Amoré demos, but it's still fast, calculated, and extremely pissed.

You can order the 7" record from Deathwish, Inc. here or pick up the digital download here

Track list:

1. Viewing
2. A. Smith (The Death of a Teenager)
3. P. Pochs (The Death of a Rebel)
4. Realism (The Death of Innocence)

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