November 5, 2018 Old Wounds – Glow (Album Review)
It has been three long years since we last heard from Old Wounds, but, thankfully, the suffering silence is about to be lifted this Friday, November 9, 2018, when the band release Glow thanks to Good Fight Music.
A Hardcore/Metalcore band in the tradition of the original, glorious Orange County, California Metalcore scene, but from New Jersey. Yes, you read that correctly! Old Wounds released their incendiary debut, From Where We Came Is Where We’ll Rest, in 2013, establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the modern music scene. In 2015, The Suffering Spirit cemented this fact, making the band a vital fixture on the Hardcore scene and leading to gigs sharing stages with the likes of E. Town Concrete, Madball, Eighteen Visions, Motionless In White, Every Time I Die, Beartooth, and many more. Veterans of the Vans Warped Tour, Old Wounds have brought their musical mayhem to fans far and wide, and have a growing, die-hard fan-base.
Now, Old Wounds – Vocalist Kevin Iavaroni, Guitarist Ben Waugh, Bassist Michael Weintraub, and Drummer Matt Guyre – are ready to release their third full-length, the heavy-hitting Glow. Fraught with a delicious 1990’s influence and spreading the band’s sound further, the 11-song collection reaches far and wide to deliver all the very best that these New Jersey devils have to offer.
Glow begins with the immediately ominous guitars of “Your God v Their God,” before Iavaroni’s gremlin growls kick in and are perfectly contrasted with more melodic offerings. This is the perfect introduction to “Stripes,” which meanders between grungy distortions, embittered howls and some soaring melodic vocals; it’s 1990’s Alt Rock meets Eighteen Visions, all done with that Old Wounds gut-punch.
Surprise! They abandon all of this for a sensual AFI vibe on the deranged romance of “Beauty Mark” (“If this is your kiss, it feels just like a fist”), with Iavaroni dipping down into the lower reaches of his vocal register to author something that is fresh for Old Wounds – and a wonderfully delicious little respite from the epic insanity. Wasting no time in exploding back to eleven, the boys assault the senses with first single/video “Give A Name To Your Pain” which will invite you to get your hardcore dance on and pinwheel your arms like the possessed. The raw frustration and emotional pain (“When I suffer, keep your prayers to yourself”) is a palatable reminder that this is a band who always hit heavy – in sound and subject matter and never hold back on raw sincerity.
“Surgical Dream” opens like a swim through Deftones territory before oozing into a romper-stomper sludge that highlights the band’s talents, particularly Bassist Weintraub, and leaves vocals largely out of the mix. (In English: it’s mostly instrumental!) They parlay this into the explosive “I’m Only Smiling On the Outside,” which hits like a power-packed gut-punch, laying it all on the line before swiftly culminating at just under two minutes.
They go for more of a straightforward Rock approach on second single/video “To Kill For,” though there are still some truly killer (pun very much intended) growls present. Sonically, this is pretty damn catchy for this brutally heavy band, dare it be said, almost dance-able, and yet somehow a perfect taste of the collection, as a whole. To follow this up, the distortions and drums go full-pummel like a strobe light seizure for “…Vanilla Filth…” which, in the tradition of the Metalcore greats, contains a soundbite – this one from the series True Detective.
The killer quartet combine all the previous elements for the sludgy aggression of “Failed Design” (“The world doesn’t love us and it owes us shit”), embittered growls and pummeling sonics that dip down into an atmospheric languidness. This paves the way for the intimacy of “No One Listens When You Fall Apart,” a stony-paced, raw and emotional lament that is the longest track of the collection, clocking in at just under four minutes. To allow for the weight of its predecessor to resonate with listeners, the boys end with “My Friend Shavette,” initially just noises, like an old record player making its revolutions or even a fire crackling gently. That is until nearly a minute and a half into its duration, when the track implodes on itself and goes for Hardcore mayhem. Reminder: never grow complacent, folks!
For Old Wounds, comparisons to Eighteen Visions, and occasionally (early) AFI, are just going to be an unavoidable part of life – but is that really a bad thing? No matter how you slice it, it is sonic brilliance! Heavy and pummeling with moments of sensual melody, Glow goes balls-out in proving their good name and fighting the good sonic fight. There is never a moment wasted, never a dull complacency or a banal rehashing of their sonic past: instead, Old Wounds utilize their latest as a chance to explore new avenues, to grow and to, well, glow. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Old Wound’s Glow 4.5 of 5 stars.