Artist: The Weight of Us
Album: Chapters – EP
Our lives are stories, penned carelessly and punctuated by events that define us—our birth, finding those we love, finding a job, losing a job—all of these are the segments of our lives that serve as Chapters. These chapters are a collection of individual events that, when put together, create a larger elaborate tales of love, loathing and loss. In this sense, there could be no better name for the debut EP by Indiana-based melodic hardcore act, The Weight of Us. Chapters is an EP comprised of enormous, crushing tracks that stand tall on their own—however, when placed side-by-side, in the proper context of their release, are cohesive. Driven by boundless energy and unfathomable feeling, Chapters is a lesson in lurching, frantic hardcore that comes straight from the heart.
The story told by the brilliant authors in The Weight of Us is one told with flowery, lively instrumentation and blossoming, beautiful melodies. Zachary Love and John Paul Jones paint the album’s figurative pages with stellar, soaring riffs one after the other—like those that begin the driving, dynamic “Take It Back,” or the intense and dark “Scum Like Me.” These moments of floral, fleshed-out fretwork flow without warning or obstruction into the listener’s ears, filling their heads with heartfelt harmonies and moments of soaring, intense melody—intense melody with an equally intense instigator. Love and Jones’ energetic fretwork is pounded into the listener by Zachary Allen’s frantic, punchy percussion—and it is hammered in perfect time with the listener’s heartbeat, truly installing itself deep inside their ribcage. Aided by the bass rhythms of Jonathan Busche, Allen’s percussion hits hard and without warning, pummeling behind beautiful, over-the-top guitars and steamrolling alongside deep, visceral chugs that comprise brutalizing breakdowns. No matter what the occasion, Allen and Busche provide a battering, brutal low-end to the ethereal nature of Love and Jones’ fretwork that creates a beautiful sort of balance between light and dark—furthering the immersive, narrative feeling that Chapters offers the listener.
However, even when the instrumentation is natural and luscious, rife with vivid, intense power and scrutinous attention to detail, the words that drive Chapters are honest and straightforward. Coming straight from the throat of vocalist Jake Hinkle, every syllable spoken, shouted, screamed or shrieked throughout The Weight of Us’ intense narrative is raw and powerful. Whether it’s the subtle—yet serene—honesty offered by “Authors” or the passionate and ravaging honesty that kick-starts “The Road Less Traveled” and fuels “The Nobodies,” every second and syllable of visceral, emotive storytelling Hinkle has to offer hits harder and closer to home than the last. By the end of Chapters, the listener truly feels as if he has walked in Hinkle’s shoes, lived the life he describes throughout the EP and experienced the glorious highs and gory, gruesome lows. With a harsh, grating—yet effective—mid-range shout, Hinkle roars nothing but the most personal and provocative stories from experiences that motivate him—this riveting integrity and raw, unfiltered honesty is one of the factors that make The Weight of Us more than your average storytellers.
Who is your favorite author? Chances are, as you read through the expanses of his or her works, you no doubt encountered their first novel—and I am more than willing to bet it wasn’t quite their best. They had yet to properly form their own narrative voice, and weren’t quite comfortable in their own “skin” yet, am I right? Moments of Chapters bring this feeling to the listener’s attention. Where Hinkle is a prodigy in his own right at heart-rending, vivid emotional imagery, what he has in descriptive prowess he lacks in vocal variety—causing the harsh, grating shout employed throughout the EP to grow tiresome by the time the listener gets to “The Nobodies.” Furthermore, monotony plagues parts of the percussion’s dialogue with the atmospheric, ambiently-fretted riffs Love and Jones craft. Portions like the scenic, rolling trail leading to the climactic portion of “Take It Back” seem almost copy-and-pasted to other portions of other songs. While it remains an effective and forgivable tactic, one can’t help but feel blanketed in the “I think I’ve heard this before…” feeling. At the end of the day, however, The Weight of Us manage to break through a barrier holding down so many break-out hardcore acts and define their own sound—even if it still needs some maturing and filling out.
From the provocative opening sentence to the heart-rending closing paragraph, Chapters is a vivid and powerful EP that is filled with life. The Weight of Us use dynamic and varied instrumentation to drive home raw, relentless lyrical imagery in a way that beautifully walks the line between aggressive, emotive hardcore and melodic ambience. While there are predictable twists and characters whose personalities get old and grating, Chapters remains a beautiful release that no listener will want to put down in a hurry.
For Fans Of: Hundredth, Counterparts, Being as an Ocean, Touche Amore, Northlane
By: Connor Welsh