Called Chicanery, the new album from Hesitation Wounds delivers a stinging indictment of our times and our role in them via physically brutal hardcore punk music that’s captivating enough to draw you in and intense enough to deliver a sock to the gut once you’re there. If pushing to the emotional (and physical!) limit while retaining a foothold in “humanity” so the feelings really stick sounds like your jam, you’re in luck.
The band start out at a galloping speed right off the bat, and they bring their cultivated anger into a flourishing conclusion in the atmospheric final track. There, the angry condemnation gets turned inward and the emotional turmoil comes flooding out. Alongside other similarly biting lyrics, that finale packs the unsettling and direct question: “What keeps me here?” There is no catharsis here, and no real light at the end of the tunnel. There’s just a desperately urgent plea on a musical and emotional level for you to listen. Listen to the music and the people behind it. Listen to the people around you. Listen to yourself — and maybe, if you stick around long enough, you’ll have a rewarding time doing so.
The band feature members of some definitely high-profile bands in this general corner of boundary-pushing hardcore punk music. Jeremy Bolm from Touché Amoré is the vocalist, and other members include Stephen LaCour from the unfortunately now defunct Trap Them, The Hope Conspiracy’s Neeraj Kane, and Gouge Away drummer Thomas Cantwell. The kind of whopping collective experience that the band members share really seems to help lay the groundwork for how almost surprisingly biting this comparatively rather short record really is. The whole piece is less than fifteen minutes long, and so even with the epic finale and other highlights like the especially breakneck pace of “Trending” and the galloping groove of “Hellevangelist,” there’s only so much on a practical level that the musicians can do. Even still, thanks to a remarkable, smooth precision in execution, every note hits insanely powerfully and the whole release digs in. The only drawback seems to be that it’s not longer, although the short length includes plenty of time for the band’s impact.