I was fairly impressed with Beyond the Sun, the 2017 debut from Calgary heavy rock band Woodhawk – they blew the roof off the Bovine when they played here the following year, too. So that would probably make this one of my most anticipated Canadian releases of 2019.
Violent Nature kicks off with the slithering riffs of “Snake in the Grass,” which comes crawling up slowly before striking with a venomous fuzz-riffy attack, and a soaring, fist-raising chorus. “Weightless Light” gets my head nodding right away with a solid stoner rock riff, while giving off a pretty decent Monster Truck vibe in the chorus – I can see why they made it the pre-release single.
“Dry Blood” offers a similarly soaring vocal, with a catchy, albeit repetitive chorus, and its riffs are a bit choppier. “Heartstopper” is another variation on the theme – a more polished, if not unappealing, take on riff-rock…it even has a slow, mellow section. In “Old Silence,” it’s the chorus that takes a more melodic turn. Down the homestretch, they do find a decent balance between heavy grooves and lighter passages on the title track and “As a Friend,” although I could still go for a little more oomph.
Overall, this just doesn’t grab me as much as their first record did. While more radio-friendly, it’s a little lacking in the heavy groove department. I’d probably still go and see ‘em live if they came back to Toronto, though…