It’s always a tough challenge to confirm all the expectations placed on you when you sign with a big label. After a first relatively anonymous demo (Our enlightenment is dead released in 2011), a second greater and much more noticed EP (Clarity in 2012), a band’s name change later (they used to be called Veils but had to change for some legal shit), Cornwall, UK-based quartet Vales are ready to take the plunge. It’s on 6131 Records that this young band released their first full length, recorded last year in the United States, due out in Summer 2013 and finally released in February 2014.
Wilt & Rise encloses 10 tracks for less than half an hour of music. Things start strong with ‘Dead Wood’, a song that sounds raw and emotive, showing signs of both self-doubt and determination, in a very screamo/modern hardcore vein. I’ve never been a huge fan of the ‘female–fronted’ term, considering a band should not be defined according the sex of the vocalist but more on the quality of their compositions. However, on most of these tracks, it’s arduous to miss the strongly emphasized hoarse and desperate vocals coming from Chlo Edwards, certainly well reinforced by the musicianship of the three other guys. ‘Scripted’ navigates between melody and aggression followed by ‘Open Arms’ whose galloping break makes it one of the highlights of the album. ‘Survival’ is an energetic rush and builds a faster and more intense tempo just before ‘Katrina’ literally cuts the album in two by its desolation and bitterness-tinted atmosphere.
Vales confirms the very good things heard on Clarity (‘Branches’, ‘Respite’) and obviously demonstrates more maturity and dexterity (‘White Horse’, ‘Waterfalls’). Everything is not perfect yet and one could blame a conceivable lack of innovation and diversity on this album. Nevertheless, Wilt & Rise is a very desperate but no less aggressive and devastating record. It’s full of good moments and surely will delight fans of the screamo/emotive hardcore wave represented by the likes of Touché Amoré or La Dispute. With Wilt & Rise, Vales legitimizes the anticipations and should, hopefully soon, leave more footprints on the scene.
You can listen or purchase this record digitally via 6131 Records’ Bandcamp or via FITA Records, which handles the vinyl LP release.
Track list – Wilt & Rise:
Written by Alex Tabankia