Wear Your Wounds
The most haunting quality of Jacob Bannon is how seamlessly the singer has transformed feeling hopeless into art. Whether it be paintings, music or running a record label packed with mezmerizing bands, Bannon dedicates every piece of willpower into being creative. It’s a task not many could ever take on, especially between artwork (whether cd sleeves or large works), managing Deathwish Inc. and fronting the powerhouse that is Converge. Known for his inhumane howls, the vocalist decided to let the purity of his emotions take the state on Wear Your Wounds’ debut full length, WYW.
Wear Your Wounds begs you to do exactly what the name asks; be okay with your scars and find a way to identify with them. Sonically, this record holds more than crafty experimentation and harrowing compositions, it bears a new lens for Bannon to see his work and for others to view inventiveness of the self. The opening self-titled track “Wear Your Wounds” sets the the atmosphere of the record for the next hour. While there are loud and abrasive guitars droning through the song, the major focus is narrowed on Bannon’s subdued vocals seeping into the walls of ambiance, wading through the piano’s embrace. The most touching moments across WYW are the bold and somewhat dull keys from the piano, stringing together motifs that help Bannon’s emotion seep into the track. “Giving Up” is a track laced with a heavy presence, like something in your chest needing to get out. It’s a cry of desperation as the only thing above are vultures, circling your defeated body in hopes to finish your spirt off.
The driving force of WYW is the feeling that Bannon is letting go of a lot of the chains that have been holding parts of his mental health down. There are songs that touch on the aspect of loss, grief and embracing how to stop punishing oneself. “Breaking Point” is lead by the moving guitar leads, bending and amplifying these anxieties into a spotlight of emotional brevity. “Hard Road To Heaven” starts off with rolling thunder and rain pouring down before a piano eerily snaps into the mix. Painting with trichords and a ghastly tone, the song is an imaginative way to explain the unknown of depression, striking as naturally as precipitation and leading into “Best Cry Of Your Life” — a frantic song charged with erratic drums. It forces listeners to think and see in a different way.
“Fog” is a a brilliant display of scoring pianos in a way that syncopates elegantly with a bouncy drum pattern. It’s the kind of song that could score the soundtrack of a funeral, dark yet opening a gateway into another spectrum of life. The song’s ending opens up into a textural grace of soaring guitars and rhythmic drums. “Iron Rose” is a lengthy track more fit for a listener who needs a straight forward track, paying off after the halfway mark with a detonation of drums, guitars and a fidgety piano. “Heavy Blood” pulses much like a heart, pumping out a soft reverberating hum behind Bannon’s grim voice. It’s another layer of composition that expands the depth of WYW.
Everything that Bannon dug out of himself in terms of emotions centers and reflects on the closer, “Goodbye Old Friend.” The lyrics have sprinkles of hope in them, saying goodbye and parting with someone who has deceased. But that doesn’t have to be the end. What Bannon has done with Wear Your Wounds is keep memories alive; no matter how heart broken or wretched one might feel. The instrumentals behind the song are pensive, forcing people to reflect on their identity and how to express the feelings of love, even if it is to a presence ever drifting that they will never be able to hold again. WYW is an expansive project that offers more insight into an individual who has devoted their entire life into imagination; creatively striking yet again with Wear Your Wounds, an ode that ascends beyond the ditch of dread and into the light above.