Woodhawk Premiere “Heartstopper” from Violent Nature

Posted in audiObelisk on October 17th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

woodhawk

Calgary heavy rockers Woodhawk will release their second full-length, Violent Nature, on Nov. 1. Like their 2017 debut, Beyond the Sun (review here), it’s a self-release, and also like their 2017 debut, it’s rife with maddeningly catchy tracks of high-grade straightforward, weighted riffing and rhythmic drive. “Snake in the Grass,” the previously-posted single “Weightless Light” and “Dry Blood” in the opening salvo set the tone for what follows as a showcase of material that feels crafted to the point of having chiseled away the frills, extras and inefficiencies to get to the essential core of what matters most in terms of the songs themselves. At 44 minutes and nine tracks, the new collection is somewhat longer than its predecessor, but as guitarist/vocalist Turner Midzain, bassist/vocalist Mike Madmington and drummer Kevin Nelson return to the studio with Jesse Gander at the helm of the recording and mix (Alan Douches mastered), there’s a sonic consistency between those two outings.

That stands up even as Woodhawk refine their methods toward conveying an emotional undercurrent most especially in songs like the organ-laced “Old Silence” and “Clear the Air” — Gander played keys on the debut and one assumes does here as well — and the later finale duo “As a Friend” and “Our Greatest Weakness,” both of which confront loss and issues of mental health, depression, etc., in a way no less honest and upfront lyrically than the accompanying riffs are musically. The chuggy “Heartstopper” and mid-paced winding groove of the title-track do much to bolster the emotional confrontationalism happening in the songs surrounding, and even as the latter veers into mellow Truckfighters-style bass-and-vocals spaciousness in its second half, there’s a strong sense of sonic purpose to everything Woodhawk do. Violent Nature is very much a gathering of individual pieces, but they’re smoothly arranged with a flow in mind, and the sharpened corners of the song structures only seem to increase the overall impact made.

Quiet moments like the beginning stretch of “Our Greatest Weakness” — not to spoil it, but our greatest weakness is love — and the build across the first half of “Clear the Air” offset some of Violent Nature‘s more frenetic moments, like the shredding solo in “Heartstopper” or the initial barrage of hooks at the record’s outset, but Woodhawk‘s priority is without a doubt conveying a strong sense of songwriting. This is not a band who put together an album while pretending to do something else, like, “Oh yeah, we’ll just write some songs and see what happens.” No. Woodhawk‘s tracks are too clear and firm in their intent for such things, and further, for the kind of heavy rock they play — modern, informed by traditions of more commercial fare but not beholden to them in style — they make ideas like that seem silly. If a band could write songs like this and make an album of them, why the hell would they do anything else?

The underlying implication there is that not every band can write songs like this, and that’s true as well, let alone carry them across with genuine-feeling emotion as Woodhawk do here. That is, with material so structured and so obviously worked through and hammered out, the risk the band might run is to dull the heart behind them, but with upfront lyrics and dynamic performance, the trio and Gander are able to find a sweet spot between professionalism and expression that serves the material first on all levels. As they mark five years since the arrival of their self-titled debut EP — released Halloween 2014 — Violent Nature not only reaffirms the idea that they’ve known what they’re doing all along, but makes it no less plain to hear that they’ve found a way to grow and progress, and indeed get tighter, as they move forward from one offering to the next. What that might mean for them going forward, I wouldn’t guess as to specifics of theme or anything like that, but in terms of a foundation, one couldn’t ask for ground much more solid than that which Woodhawk are building on throughout Violent Nature. It’s no less method than madness.

Woodhawk have a new beer coming out in collaboration with New Level Brewing, and they’ll play a release show for that the night after Violent Nature arrives on Nov. 1. It’s one of several dates lined up for this Fall that you can see under the premiere of “Heartstopper” below, which is also followed immediately by some background on the track courtesy of Midzain.

Please enjoy:

Woodhawk, “Heartstopper” official track premiere

Turner Midzain on “Heartstopper”:

“Heartstopper was the first song we wrote for the album, and was definitely reworked more than anything else on the record. Usually we scrap the first few we write until we find our groove. But this one just stuck. It tells the tale of how I have friends who live in completely different worlds and live totally different lives. One on side, I have this friend who has faced every major health complication someone their age should ever have faced and perceived. But still has the most positive outlook on life. On the other side, the friends who abuse substances and cheat death to the closest point and have no true appreciation for their own life. The juxtaposition in this situation just kind of hit home with all of us.”

Heartstopper off the forthcoming album, Violent Nature 2019.

Written and Performed by Woodhawk
Recorded by Jesse Gander
Mixed by Jesse Gander
Mastered by Alan Douches
Art by Mark Kowalchuck
Animation by Felix von Liska

New album ‘Violent Nature’ out everywhere Nov/1/2019

Woodhawk live:
Oct 25- Vancouver, BC – Railway Club
Oct 26 – Kamloops, BC – Pogue Mahones
Nov 2 – Beer Launch Party – New Level Brewing in Calgary
(New Level Brewing and Woodhawk have teamed up to make a Violent Nature Beer! Come down to New Level Brewing, for the beer launch. Woodhawk will be down there all day spinning records, selling merch and drinking the fine nectars they’ve created with New Level Brewing.)
Nov 8 – Calgary, AB – Palomino (Album Release Show)
Nov 9 – Edmonton, AB – Temple w/ The Wild!

WOODHAWK:
Turner Midzain – Vocals, Guitar
Mike Badmington – Bass, Vocals
Kevin Nelson – Drums

Woodhawk website

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Woodhawk on Instagram

Woodhawk on Bandcamp

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Woodhawk to Release Violent Nature Nov. 1; Stream “Weightless Light”

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 26th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

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A change in approach to the lyrics to real-world concerns rather than real-world-concerns-presented-as-stories-about-monsters adds a level of intrigue to their new album, Violent Nature, and I’ll be interested to hear how that plays out across the full-length when/if I get the chance to hear it — I’d hope to, but one never knows. I dug their 2017 debut LP, Beyond the Sun (review here), as well, and going by the lead single “Weightless Light” it seems like whatever they’re making the songs about, Woodhawk still bring the same sense of songcraft to their material, which is always good to know. They’ve got preorders up for the sophomore outing, and you can stream the track below. You know the deal, so go to it.

Cool art too:

woodhawk violent nature

WOODHAWK: Calgarian Riffs of Prey Return with VIOLENT NATURE | Stream New Single and Album Pre-order

Violent Nature by Woodhawk is released 1st November 2019

Hailing from the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Woodhawk are undeniable masters of riff rock, harnessing the classic influences of Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy with smooth grooves, cranked-up amps, and hard-hitting drums that coalesce into impressive soundscapes. With lyrical themes that span the imagination and incorporate elements of science fiction, mythicism and the more contemporary struggles of modern times, Woodhawk proudly wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Formed in 2014, following the release of their self-titled EP, the band returned with the critically acclaimed full length Beyond the Sun in 2017. A melodically rich and varied album, steeped in sci-fi vibes catchy riffs, Beyond the Sun cemented Woodhawk’s status as a desert rock band with the kind of potential to power from terrafirma into the great beyond.

Returning to Rain City Recorders in Vancouver earlier this year, Woodhawk worked with Jesse Gander? (ANCIIENTS?, BISON?, 3 Inches of Blood?, JAPANDROIDS?) to record their sophomore album Violent Nature, which is due for official release this November. Over the course of two weeks, Woodhawk tracked their strongest effort yet, producing songs that addressed the struggles of mental health on new material that abandoned the world of fantasy in pursuit of emotional authenticity and self-discovery. Grounded with one foot in the present and another in the future, Woodhawk’s outlook is as boundless as their command of the genre.

Violent Nature by Woodhawk is released 1st November 2019 and can be pre-ordered here – https://woodhawk.bandcamp.com

TRACK LISTING:
1. Snake in The Grass
2. Weightless Light
3. Dry Blood
4. Heartstopper
5. Old Silence
6. Clear the Air
7. Violent Nature
8. As A Friend
9. Our Greatest Weakness

WOODHAWK:
Turner Midzain – Vocals, Guitar
Mike Badmington – Bass, Vocals
Kevin Nelson – Drums

http://woodhawkriffs.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WoodhawkRiffs/
https://www.instagram.com/woodhawkriffs/
https://woodhawk.bandcamp.com

Woodhawk, “Weightless Light”

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