Australian Guitar - - Cd Reviews -

ARK won’t make con­verts of any cur­rent Earth­core cyn­ics, but the By­ron Bay pioneers have piled on more than enough ef­fects-laden shred to keep long­stand­ing fans at bay. Cuts like “Flow” and “Over­throw” beg for the mosh pit, the for­mer with its riffs bat­tered at a break­neck pace and the lat­ter with its chugs as slick as they are sav­age. Care­fully broad­en­ing their sound, the band em­brace a 50/50 split be­tween Jake Tay­lor’s vi­cious bel­lows and Kyle Erich’s soul-melt­ing cleans. Such paves the way for softer gui­tar parts to peek through – see “Fre­quency”, with its preppy cho­rus and gauzy solo – but it’s very hit and miss: “Ar­row” shows the band’s reliance on forced at­mo­spher­ics, hid­ing what could have been a pow­er­ful bal­lad un­der des­per­ate waves of re­verb and synth. The songs at large have more room to breathe, but when the crux of In Hearts Wake is those tight and tense bursts of ma­ni­a­cal en­ergy (i.e. “Bad­lands”, “De­par­ture”), that isn’t re­ally a good thing. Trim the fat, and ARK be­comes a killer five-track EP. MATT DO­RIA

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