Stop me if you heard this one before, but shit’s way off, man. I feel like a broken record by leading with those elements so often, but even before we entered the strange time period in which we’re in, society in general was in a tailspin and not looking to even out anytime soon. All this has done is amplify those issues and expose it with mega force.
Durham, N.C., band Wailin Storms poured their feelings of hopelessness in a world that feels more foreign every day into their full-length debut album “Rattle,” an eight-track excursion that acts as a relentless backhand to the face. But that strike is not to hurt; rather it’s to wake you up to reality, to help you see just what’s going on around you and why you shouldn’t just take it. The band mixes elements of rock, noise, psychedelics, punk, and southern-tinged melodies on a record that covers love, death, torment, and the everyday failings of life. The foursome—vocalist/guitarist Justin Storms, guitarist/backing vocalist Todd Warner, bassist Steve Stanczyk, and drummer Mark Oates—found a home on Gilead Media here in the States and Antena Krzyku in Europe for a record that should jar you awake and demand you pay attention.
The title track gets things started with guitars emerging from the fog as Storms’ vocals echo, and the music bleeds into ominous tones. The band smashes away as the intensity builds, as Storms howls, “Rattle my heart!” while the playing bashes and everything disappears into a bluesy smoke. “Rope” punches your chest as the words are spat out deliberately as Storms calls, “Take the rope that hugs our throat and wrap it around the tree.” Guitars rush from there as the band blasts away, ending in a shimmer of echo. “Grass” feels spooky when it enters as longing is embraced, and the volume kicks in the door. “I’ll follow you with an empty heart,” Storms vows while the pace grows more fiery, and the drums pound you into submission. “Wish” blends into plodding noise, with Storms warning, “Don’t you wish her well.” The guitars glaze and grow darker, as Storms follows up, “She’ll only take you to hell,” while the playing blasts your guts as the song tracks away.
“Teeth” starts with guitars quivering and the track slinking in the shadows as Storms demands, “Take my teeth out one by one.” The heat keeps rising, and the tension thickens as the vocals keep lashing back, and the back-end dissolves into foreboding nighttime. “Sun” starts with Storms vowing, “I am the forgotten one,” while the playing gets thunderous, with start-stop gashing that open wounds. The playing continues to gain steam as it goes on, burning the surface of your skin with dangerous UV rays you can’t avoid. “Crow” buzzes as stick taps set the pace, and the dreary ambiance spreads its wings. Storms’ vocals boom heavily over the song, as he takes on a sort of Michael Hutchence/Ian Astbury style of primal expression, as the track goes on, the rains grow heavier and harder to manage before everything slowly moves into the darkness. “End” is your closer, fittingly, and the cloud coverage darkens the skies, while mournful melodies weep, and Storms’ forceful singing cuts through it all. Group vocals join up with him later on as guitars loop through mystery, and the playing pulls back before one final gust. There, every element comes together, heating up the song’s core as its molten insides finally crack through the surface.
Wailing Storms come to us at a time when it feels like we’re constantly in the middle of those very things, at least from a psychological standpoint. “Rattle” is a great mix of anxious, frustrated rock that comes with all different types of styles with plenty of emotion and raw power wrapped within it. This is a tremendous way to blow off some steam you have building within your core from a band whose own vision of modern times feels painfully right on the money.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wailinstorms/
To buy the album (North America), go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/gilead-media-releases
Or here (Europe): http://www.antenakrzyku.pl/en/product-category/shop/
For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/
And here: http://antenakrzyku.pl/