Windwaker – Hyperviolence [Album Review]

Review: Jack Price 

While they may currently be tearing it up on their first US tour in support of Northlane‘s Mirror’s Edge TourMelbourne‘s Windwaker are set to drop their ridiculously groundbreaking sophomore album HYPERVIOLENCE on July 12th. For anyone that has missed the metalcore 5-piece powerhouse at Knotfest ’24, their headline tour with Caskets or the multiple singles the band has dropped prior to the albums release, it has been 2 years since an album from the Windwaker boys and they are dropping the genre-bending HARD on this one! Described as “hyperpop metal”, Windwaker never disappoint with their synth infused metalcore sound, polished and brutal with every track finessed to the finest detail.

HYPERVIOLENCE is a cathartic experience, narrated through the eyes of an individual at war with themselves, while at the same time navigating the endless perils of loss, love, and self-discovery. The journey is encapsulated across 13 tracks, with the five singles released from the album, The WallSirens, Fractured State Of Mind, Get Out and Break The Rules, cracking over 4 million Spotify streams, this album is sure to turn more than a few heads and blow even more minds.

The opening track, Infinity, fades into a heavy synth track from keyboardist Connor Robins, backed by a funky guitar riff and bass groove from Jesse Crofts and Indey Salvestro, and cracking drums from Chris Lalic. A quick drop-out in everything bar the guitar before frontman Liam Guinane‘s vocals kick in, describing someone lost in their own mind, battling the loss of another lost love. The chorus focuses on watching people who are let in and shown the vulnerable side of the individual, before turning their back and leaving. Relatable, raw and moving, the track is perfect to set the stage for the remainder of the album, promoting the audience to root for the character portrayed in the lyrics, the musical composition intensifying the feelings behind the lyrics.

SIRENS is an escape into the psyche of the narrator’s battle with positive and negative thoughts, fueled by disillusion. The catchy as fuck chorus hits hard with Liam‘s vocal performance, while the second verse and pre-chorus bridge showcases the frontman’s heavy vocal techniques perfectly, which also gives the track the metalcore edge with gritty, chugging guitars. The synth backing in this entry guides the track, layering the subtle hints of insanity and confusion, only emphasising the mental anguish behind the poppy vocals.

The already released singles follow SIRENS, with Fractured State Of Mind bringing the perplexity and uncertain calmness of the waves of emotion that come with the loss of a relationship, mourning that which could have been, the disorientation of a future now gone. The verses outline the anger and heartbreak of abandonment, while the chorus focuses on the disbelief of letting go. Break The Rules turns the page to a more pop infused, hip-hop fun fest, with Guinane‘s flow during the verses quick as lightning, while the chorus is jumpy and fun, backed with simple yet effective guitar and dancey synth from Robins. The switch from cool and catchy to headbangingly brutal in the bridge is quick and unexpected.

Continuing with one of the heaviest tracks of the record, The Wall is a walk through the void of self-discovery and the emptiness experienced during the early stages of ego death, a cathartic experience in itself. When left to its own devices, the mind has a peculiar way of making sense of the darkness of itself, making sense out of the stillness, and this track embraces that narrative. In contrast to The WallVillain begins in a peaceful echo of looking at the options of giving up or keeping the fight going, ultimately pushing through the suffocating weight of putting someone else’s happiness and wellbeing above that of the narrators.

Get Out is my personal favourite track of the album, a focus on the repercussions of trying to endure a toxic relationship and justifying the actions of a loved one that ultimately plagues the mind with thoughts of self-doubt, the masquerade of being happy for others sake and ultimately the reclamation of one’s sense of self. The bridge suggests an attempt to understand the intentions of the others actions and is portrayed perfectly with the symbolic changes of tempo and tone in the music accompanying the powerful lyrics.

While the album has some surprises in store for listeners, Haunting Me is definitely going to stand out for some. And while I can already see the puritists turning their noses up at this track, the bold move makes absolute sense for those that have been through the path of self-discovery, finding the peace in forgiveness and loneliness, reflecting on the people that have impacted personal growth. The track is more soulful and adds diversity to the record while continuing the narrative. Vertigo brings it back full circle with the roaring vocals and thrashing guitars filling the verses, while keeping the “hyperpop” feel, with yet another amazingly catchy, hook filled chorus.

Of the whole album, Venom hits the fucking hardest, despite being a more hip-hop inspired track. The slower time signature and tantalizing synth from Conor met with the sick bars from Liam, add in the thundering percussion of Lalic, and the daunting guitars lurking like a predatorial beast from Crofts and Salvestro make this one hell of a track. Getting heavy with some brutal growls in the chorus, this is what make Windwaker stand out from the crowd of generic metalcore. Slowing the track towards the end with the layered crooning and one final chorus and a meaty fucking breakdown, this track would be perfect between tracks such as Superstitious Fantasy and Dopamine Freetyle from 2022’s Love Languages. Closing the record off is Juliet, a soulful track expressing the ambiguity of moving on and letting the past die. The clever use of the closing lyrics from Infinity, “I just get so stuck, I’ll never be enough to walk away. Questioning my luck, I don’t know how to love. Just walk away”, brings the album to a gentle ending, leaving the audience to mull over the possible continuation of the narrator’s story.

Musically, the record is everything from face-meltingly brutal, to sweet and sensitive, and everything in between. Lyrically, the record is a perfect expression of a person dealing with the imbalance of betrayal, self-discovery, pain, sacrifice, re-birth and forgiveness. The beauty in Guinane‘s words is only magnified by the composition of the collection of tracks, while the music is amplified by the vocal performance respectfully. With so much turmoil, angst and incertitude in the messages of the album, there seems to be a perfect balance in the chaos that is HYPERVIOLENCE.

‘HYPERVIOLENCE will be available Friday July 12 via Cooking Vinyl Australia & Fearless Records.