REVIEW: Weeping Wound – Growth [EP/2017]
Artist: Weeping Wound
Album: Growth – EP
Nostalgia is a wonderful—but dangerous—thing. In a normal, healthy setting it can be a hue of rosey warmth; a reminder of the golden days of your youth and how much easier life was back then. It can remind you of those old albums and movies you used to spend hour after hour obsessing over (the same ones that maybe aren’t that great anymore). It can remind you how far you’ve come over the months, years or decades.
But it can also be a trap—it can hold you back from being your best self. The more you wallow and live in your own past, the more you stunt yourself from developing a promising future. The people you love, leave. Your friends move on while the roots of your past stay snared around your ankles. I’ve been there—thousands upon thousands have. Nostalgia is a reminder that Growth is far from linear, and sometimes it takes you on a wild goose chase to bring you to where you need to be—and if you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Floridian quartet Weeping Wound. This ultraheavy downtempo deathcore/nu-metalcore hybrid act convey a message of redemption and rejuvenation; of mental, physical and emotional growth from the pitfalls and graves dug by addiction and suicidal ideation. Oppressively heavy yet cathartic and creative with their lyrical power, Growth is just that—an experience that reminds the addicted, depressed and downtrodden that they can overcome their hurdles, and they don’t need to do it alone.
Florida is a state known for its outrageously heavy musical scene more so than just about any others. Home to the likes of Beacons, Dealey Plaza, Traitors and Bodysnatcher, it’s no wonder that one of the state’s newest acts follows in those monstrous footsteps. While Growth is a powerful and emotional experience, make no mistake—there’s not a single “soft” thing about it. Harder than the nails used to crucify Christ, Weeping Wound whale away with precision and power throughout the entirety of the twenty-plus minute long album. Percussionist Loren Whitaker is Weeping Wound’s ferociously pounding heart—from the first seconds of “You’re Forgiven” to the very end of “Glutton.” Whitaker excellently blends bouncy, fun patterns with oppressive, brutal frameworks for brash, bone-busting breakdowns. “You’re Forgiven” sees Whitaker do this better than any other number on Growth; just as the listener thinks the song might be done with a grisly, dense breakdown, Weeping Wound pick it back up with a catchy, moderately paced groove where Whitaker works excellently with bassist Devin Schuler. Schuler adds even more dark and thick atmosphere to Weeping Wound’s already bleak sonic demeanor, working with Whitaker’s kick drum to make each breakdown hit as hard as a pillowcase filled with bricks. “Glutton,” the gruesome closing track to Growth, is a strong example—as is the head-bobbing end to “You’re Forgiven” and the opening groove to “Tooth and Nail.” Schuler may not be outright audible during much of the EP, but his role remains integral all the same. Atop it all, Patrick Dowling’s devious fretwork takes a harsh, metallic tone and straps leaden weights to it, dropping down to a range of the aural spectrum dangerously close to the brown note. “Hammered” captures this wonderfully—truthfully, every breakdown and groove on Growth does—but it isn’t until “Tooth and Nail” or “Hammered” that Dowling’s ability to craft low, lurid riffs also shines through the pitch dark atmosphere crafted by his crushing chugs. Dowling works dynamically with Schuler and Whitaker to create a masterfully heavy sound—even though it would be nice to see less emphasis on bare-bones beats and programming in “Tooth and Nail” or “Hammered” and more emphasis on energetic, eviscerating riffs.
Weeping Wound wouldn’t be a truly remarkable Floridian heavy band if they lacked a vocalist who could hold their own against the remarkable brutality abundant on Growth. Fortunately, frontman Dylan Torre manages—no, excels—with his vocal duties. Writing lyrics that reflect on rejection, addiction, depression and other mental illnesses, Torre uses a sprawling vocal range to capture emotion and energy both throughout the EP. This is seen best on “You’re Forgiven” and “Glutton,” where talk of Benadryl, forgiveness and moving on appeal to the listener’s heart, while Torre’s voice itself appeals to their ears. Gritty and dense, predominantly low but capable of crushing mid-range yells, Torre adds diversity to Growth in ways that the listener might wish were reflected in Dowling’a fretwork; however the problem remains—with nearly four minutes of the entire EP dedicated to transitional beats, more Torre—and more Weeping Wound—would be much preferred.
Weeping Wound, in spite of a slight lack of variety and too much filler, have created something truly remarkable for such a young band. Following in the footsteps of the much more experienced Prison and dedicating the content of an entire album to overcoming mental illness in many of its various forms, the group’s intents are as noble as Growth is heavy (and it’s very heavy). Comprehensively heavy and positively relentless, Weeping Wound are prodigally talented at providing punishing intensity—with the listener only left in want of more actual material.
For Fans Of: Beacons, Bodysnatcher, Prison, Rex, Feign
By: Connor Welsh