Hail the Sun are set to release their fifth studio album, New Age Filth, on April 16, 2021 via Equal Vision Records. I’ve been excited about this record ever since hearing the lead single, “Domino.” Hail the Sun is a great post-hardcore band, but one of the most intriguing elements is their use of “math rock,” or implementing complex time signatures throughout each song.
“Domino” is a great example of this, with several stylistic changes throughout. The song has a good feel, at times driving and heavy, with over-the-top vocals and screeching guitar effects. Hail the Sun gets a lot of comparisons to bands like Saosin (due to a similar vocal style to original vocalist Anthony Green), but I see a lot of Coheed and Cambria, specifically in the vivid storytelling and using instrumental breaks to fill the gaps. The breakdown on “Slander” is intense, with heavy screams and an intense riff. There’s an art here in the storytelling and I catch a new layer every time I listen. “Solipsism” starts off with another solid riff. The vocals are engaging throughout and make me feel like getting up and dancing. When the chorus hits in half-time with the high, drawn out vocals I get chills just about every time.
“Misfire” is a technical masterpiece – there’s really no other way to say it. There’s a back and forth between a driving, complex bass run and engaging guitar riffs, all playing out over ever-adjusting time and style changes. Every now and again, I get lost in just listening to that bass lead and forget that anything else is going on. Vocally, this is one of my favorite songs as well. It really highlights lead vocalist Donovan Melero’s range and intensity. Additionally impressive is how the song ends, seemingly incomplete with no transition into “Made Your Mark,” a softer approach with a more mellow and melodic flow. The chorus turns up the volume and picks up the intensity a bit and is incredibly engaging, but the song is still dialed back compared to the beginning of the record.
“Slipped My Mind” starts off in the mellow feel that “Made Your Mark” leaves behind, but picks up pretty quickly and gets off to a faster pace. There’s a little bit of grit in the vocals leading into the chorus that takes off with a sense of intensity. There’s a solid break around the 2 minute mark where there is a stop-beat in the transitions. The ensuing breakdown is epic, heavy and has some of the most melodic guitar runs I’ve heard in quite some time. It leads into a half-time, but crushingly heavy, outro.
“Parasitic Cleanse” starts off with intensity. I love the almost manic back and forth between heavy and silent in the introduction. When the verse hits, the double bass adds another layer that has been absent from the album up to this point with a powerful support. The chorus is driving and the ensuing transitions highlight the technical guitar prowess and stylistic excellence of the band. The drums take center stage here and really drive this song through. The tempo and style changes all seem to center around the fills and style of the beat.
“Hysteriantics” is my standout track. It starts off with an engaging, over-the-top chorus line that is catchy and intense. The transitions take a heavy turn with powerful screams and a tempo change that transitions back to the chorus that is the strongest on the record. The chanting transition out of the chorus is solid and adds a level of potential crowd engagement that I hope to one day experience. The harmonies in the last chorus add the final push to make this song stand out. “Devaluation” may be the most straight forward track on the album. It is a slower-paced ballad that has a relatively static time signature throughout. The only deviation comes about three quarters of the way through as the band makes one last run with a full, more intense sound.
The final track on the album is “Punch Drunk,” pulling together the best of the album. There are points that are driven by bass, guitar, drums and vocals. There’s an engaging stop-beat segment that uses temporary silence to really let the vocals ring. The highlight is the last stretch of the album as things start to unfold into the last heavy, intense run. The riff from the bass and guitar drive the end of the track forward and it ends in a wall of sound that left me wanting more.
Hail the Sun is definitely a band to watch for. New Age Filth is one of the most technically sound albums from top to bottom that I’ve heard in a long time. It breaks the mold of predictable song structure and flows straight through seamlessly. Make sure you give a spin to New Age Filth from Hail the Sun, available everywhere on Friday April 16 from Equal Vision Records.