From the cooler climate of Canada comes Woodhawk, a recently formed band that are categorized as stoner metal/rock. But the truth is, they go a bit beyond that on their newest effort Violent Nature. Their brand of this style sounds far more refreshing and has a modern rock ‘n roll kind of aura to go along, slightly ringing in signs of alternative influence. The end result is as if Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy had a child born in the age of Chevelle. With that said, this is immaculate.
The first single “Weightless Light” shows just about all of this. The chorus has that clean rock catchiness and clarity that isn’t uncommon. But it’s all backed with desert-like riffing, and acoustic guitars are sprinkled on to add extra effect. The bridge on this gets epic for a hot second by implementing tremolos and bombastic drum-work. Sound impressive? Yeah, that’s only one song.
The vocals are a standout point within themselves. Vocalist (and bassist) Mike Badmington has some incredible pipes that reach amazing altitudes, sitting nicely atop the galloping rhythms. “Old Silence” is a good one to showcase this because the verses exaggerate a focus on his delivery and bouncy bass passages. The bridge also brings out his calmer side and includes some weepier guitar licks. “Dry Blood” is a beautiful number that takes a more melancholic approach with its intro before bursting into speedier chugs and higher energy. The singing and riffs reach some of the greatest collaboration here. Hell, even the solo and backing vocals live up to all of that!
Smart layer placement and sequences are something that Violent Nature capitalizes on big-time. The title track takes a start/stop pattern to great lengths, making sure everything is timed concisely. “Clear The Air” is a softer tune, but man, oh man, does it progress incredibly! The piano backing and electric organs in this are beautiful, as they slowly add the layers while the song slowly unfolds. It ends with a very riff-dense blast to the face.
Woodhawk aren’t a band that I’ve been familiar with until recently, but the fact that they crafted a forty-five-minute effort without a single blink of filler that I’d clip is impressive. I can’t recommend this album enough, as every second is either soothing, energetic, epic, or just flat out catchy. It’s a bit of a different hybrid of influences, but one that I’m glad exists.
Violent Nature will be released on November 1st, 2019. You can hear it digitally, and pre-order a CD or vinyl (your choice of blue or green splatter) copy on their Bandcamp page.