IN HEARTS WAKE
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.