Australian HIFI - - ON TEST -

Ark (UNFD)

Ark have piled on more than enough ef­fects-laden shred to keep their fans at bay. Cuts such as 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. The band em­braces a 50/50 split be­tween Tay­lor’s vi­cious bel­lows and 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 hit and miss: Ar­row shows the band’s re­liance on forced at­mo­spher­ics, hid­ing what could have been a pow­er­ful bal­lad un­der waves of re­verb. 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 ( Bad­lands, De­par­ture), that isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a good thing. Trim the fat, and they’d have had a killer five-track EP. M.D.

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