On the eve of its official release, we have the pleasure of sharing a full stream of Wildheart‘s We Are. The five track EP follows on from the Brisbane melodic hardcore band’s previous releases A Thousand Days (2015), and Above/Below (2016), and 2017 singles “Exhale” and “D.O.A”. Consisting of Axel Best (vocals), Adam Finlay (guitar), Kerry Rowe (bass & vocals), Andrew Cooke (drums), and Jaya Shinn (guitar), Wildheart had Gareth Hargreaves on hand to produce, mix and master We Are.
Since their first release, Wildheart have maintained a consistent approach to writing, aiming to create powerful melodic music and digging deep with their lyrical content. With We Are, the five piece are going wider with their inspiration, touching on topics that affect society at large. “In the past our music has been very introspective, taking inspiration from dealing with anxiety and depression, dealing with heartbreak and other interior issues. This time we wanted to go further, look out into the world at things happening around us as well as still touching on those deeply personal thoughts.”
We Are begins with “Calloused”, which is immediately drawing the listener into a sense of oppression, where a desire to make something of their life becomes easily buried, and supposedly healed wounds tear back open again. Fraught with frustration and hurt, “Calloused” is an anguished start to We Are, which progressively expands into something more beautiful and freeing. Wildheart share that the track is about learning to break free of a toxic relationship or environment, and “coming to the realisation that you don’t need this negative thing in your life to be the best person you can be”.
Second track “Grief” was previously released as a single and is plunging and heavy with its direct confrontation of those who use a position of power and use it to manipulate the innocent. It’s one of the heaviest tracks that Wildheart have ever written, and in their words is also “a massive ‘fuck you’ to anyone out there that thinks that unwarranted sexual advances or harassment is acceptable in today’s society.” The dark track importantly captures the perspective of victims in these situations and their attempts to rebuild their lives.
‘Easily one of our favourite songs to play’, Wildheart love the catchy leads and moshy rhythms of the EP’s first single and title track, “We Are”. When I explored it as a single, I appreciated its searching vibe and downward pulling riffs, really fitting perfectly with the track’s lyrical focus toward the oppressed. The powerful track is expressed with a sense of urgency throughout, raw vocals, and stellar musicianship. It aims to wake the powerless from the systems they’ve unfortunately fallen prey to.
Fourth track of the EP “Void” reflects the challenging experience of isolation and loneliness. The listener can feel burning waves of self-hatred in response to being abandoned, blaming themselves for what happened. Wildheart have powerfully captured the unsettling emotional rawness that comes from feeling like everything has left you. In their words, “Void” is “a dark journey down the slippery slope of alcoholism and substance abuse and putting yourself into a headspace where you think you have nothing left”.
“Solitude” closes We Are and sets a frantic pace, expressing a panic to find purpose. With seeking vibes buried under layers of bombarding beats and hefty riffs, scenes are then painted of anxiety and disconnect. Wildheart share that the track is “about the negative voices and uneasy notions that you will amount to nothing, achieve nothing and leave no lasting impression on the world; whilst all at the same time fighting to put this behind you and ‘pave the way for a better chance.'”
Tapestry‘s vocalist Tom Devine-Harrison features toward the end of “Solitude”. Tom’s clean vocals in a melodic and serene soundscape feel like a breakthrough into something more. Joining his screams in with Axel’s more abrasive vocals then feels like a partnership; an empowered place from which to make something new, leaving solitude behind.
With raw and real emotions woven throughout the EP We Are is a powerful listen that leaves a strong impression. With this as introduction, stream We Are in full: