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Wear Your Wounds - WYW

bryan.batiste   (200 reviews)

Posted: 03/14/2017 | Comments: 1 | Rate:

Wear Your Wounds is the product of years of lo-fi solo recordings by Converge founder Jacob Bannon. On this release he is joined by guest musicians Kurt Ballou (Converge), Mike McKenzie (The Red Chord, Stomach Earth, Unraveller), Chris Maggio (Sleigh Bells, Trap Them, Coliseum), and Sean Martin (Hatebreed, Cage, Kid Cudi, Twitching Tongues). Alongside the more experimental and slower moving tracks on the latter half of Converge's discography, Bannon has produced similar material with his other project Supermachiner. The hour of music that comprises WYW is the first full length under the Wear Your Wounds banner, first putting out a split 7" in 2012.

Album opener and title track, "Wear Your Wounds" begins with a melancholy lone piano before the full band kicks in after 30 or so seconds. Ambient drums with hard hit crash cymbals dominate the background while reverb soaked guitar and bass drone on minimal chords. Bannon's vocals are mixed beneath the instrumentals, and intentionally unclear. The melodic vocals begin to increase in intensity towards the tail end of the track, taking on the shape of what we're accustomed to hearing on a Converge track.

But just when you think you understand where the song will go next, the chaos abruptly ends as the distorted guitars fade into the following track, "Giving Up". The first half of the track is nothing more than ominous piano and synth, along with Bannon's heavily effected vocal. A simple and electronically reminiscent drum beat accentuates the track before guitar and bass creep back into the mix. The song continues to build before seemingly crescendoing, only to once again fade out as an eery array of synth concludes the track.

The 8 minute "Iron Rose" follows a similar formula, as nearly 4 minutes elapse before a wall of guitar leads and washy chords dominate the landscape. Its moments like these that are the most "post-rock" on the album, a painful description I give for the genre labeling listeners. Fans of Converge's weirder material I mentioned previously can very easily get into this. Bannon seems to understand the limitations on his clean vocal delivery, and it never seems like he's straying outside of his comfort zone. "Best Cry Of Your Life" leans more towards the electronic spectrum, although the drumming is real and organic. The fast paced tremolo effect on the guitar/synth reminds me of something Nine Inch Nails might do in the 90's. "Heavy Blood" trudges along at a slow pace while a consistent distorted bass/synth serves as the backbone of the track. The first released single and album closer, "Goodbye Old Friend", is probably the most emotional and laid back arrangement on the record. A mainly acoustic backdrop that is sprinkled with auxiliary percussion, Bannon tells a story of losing a loved one:

I'll wait just beyond the gate
I hope to see you again

Overall, WYW is an extremely interesting listen that is best suited for a dark room and a good set of speakers/headphones. Jacob Bannon has crafted an emotional collection of songs that fans of his other band's work can definitely get into. It will be interesting to hear live interpretations of these songs, should the project play shows in the US. The album will be released on April 7th via Deathwish Inc., and is available for preorder through the label's site. Watch/listen to the lyric video for "Goodbye Old Friend" below:

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