Take “Grim Heart/Black Rose” off of Converge’s No Heroes, expand it even more and structure an entire album out of it and you’ll have a small inkling of what Wear Your Wounds brings to the table. That’s, of course, oversimplifying the latest project from Jacob Bannon because just like the aforementioned song, WYW is a whole other musical journey unto itself.
Just don’t expect Converge Mach 2.
The somber tones, the quiet passages, and the heavy emotional fall out make WYW a unique listening experience for fans of the Boston screamer and as the title track crushingly enters (Think Pelican’s “March into the Sea” and the sonic version of waves crashing that song creates), that statement is even more true. But don’t think for a minute that this is an entirely different beast. Sure, fans aren’t going to find the newest “Dark Horse”, “Fault And Fracture” or “You Fail Me” on here but from the very start there’s a subtle ferocity within Bannon that already ekes its’ way in.
“Giving Up” is atmospheric and gorgeous driven by echoed piano lines while “Iron Rose” is equally beautiful with distorted vox masking Bannon until a balls out anthemic (Like, straight out of a Rocky training montage levels of anthemic) breakdown emerges led by soaring guitar lines. “Hard Road To Heaven” is a dense and piano-laden instrumental interlude that lays the groundwork for “Best Cry of Your Life” which picks up the pace considerably with some intricate percussive lines building the intensity into a fever pitch.
Helping Bannon out on his first solo venture are a slew of friends who, collectively, have been a part of over a dozen outfits as diverse as Sleigh Bells and Kid Cudi to Hatebreed, The Red Chord, and Trap Them. Here, the eclectic mix of artists takes the subtle intricacies of “Breaking Point” out of simple Mogwai/shoegaze territory and elevate the song to new levels. Then there’s a song as seemingly straightforward as the acoustic “Shine” which is lifted by the musicianship weaved throughout as instruments are continually added (Is that a theremin we hear at one point?) to heighten the song further.
And just when you think you have things figured out on WYW, a song like “Heavy Blood” with its’ John Carpenter-style drone comes along to destroy expectations before the grandiose Americana-ness of “Goodbye Old Friend” strums its’ way to an inevitable conclusion.
WYW is out on April 7th through Deathwish. A variety of options are up for pre-order here and if you’re lucky enough to live in Massachusetts then be sure to head to Rowley on April 15th for the Wear Your Wounds debut performance with Stephen Brodsky. For deets on that performance and more, be sure to check out the Wear Your Wounds official Facebook page here.