One of the many side projects of the prolific USBM heathen Hrukjan, Hwīlō, is a wild blackened punk gem. Short, punchy, and too the point, it packs a bite with all the iconic melodic raw goodness that his other releases hold. The iconic Hindu imagery and the track titles and lyrics talking about the cycle of life and death, its a rather impactful little release that really left me wanting more.
The greeting of a bell and Tibetan chanting melding with a screeching guitar is a rather iconic way to start it off. The rest of the track feature strained vocals and a steady drum beat, a peak that is to come with the following three tracks. They range from fast to mid-paced punk tracks with metal attitude. There’s no denying the hardcore influence here and it suits the release well. The production is clean yet still holds a raw edge that keeps the hardcore grit there. All in all it has a very great sound that’s rather easy listening to an extent. You can immediately fall into the melodies and get absorbed by the killer riffs. All around very well played and well written. The vocals were the main part for me. They stood out so well and just had a very genuine feel to them. Strained yells fitting of a hardcore punk band straight out of New York, where this act of course hails from. I have a soft spot for vocals of this style as they really tug on those emotional strings and are just endearing all around.
For a side project, it really goes to show you the skill and talent that Hrukjan has. From Elegiac, to Downward Spiral, and many other releases under the Sacrificial Sounds label, the level of diversity is kind of staggering. This release in particular however really stood out as there’s a deeper level of emotion there and the creativity behind it really drew me in compared to the usual black metal affair which I typically do adore. While I do think this release ends rather suddenly, it is after all a debut EP, and should be more of an introduction. And it certainly made its self known in my opinion. Hopefully more can come from the seed that was planted here, and will bud into something greater.