i hate sex - World of Grief
Canadian screamo is on the rise and with the release of World of Grief, the debut Long Player of Edmonton-based screamo outfit, i hate sex - one of the spearheads of the vibrant movement - it temporarily reaches its climax.
The four-headed group around vocalist, Nicole Boychuk, and guitarist, Ashton Burns, was able to gain a lot of international attention with their 2015 breakout EP, Circle Thinking, a masterful collection of seven songs, revealing the most charming and stirring lyrics the genre had seen back at that time. With the success of Circle Thinking new doors were opened for the quartet, which had to cope with the hype, triggered by the popular Extended Play, as well as two line-up changes. Besides publishing a couple of split records with some other well-known international screamo acts, they also had the opportunity to tour through Japan with Shirokuma from Sweden and local heroes, ilill. Eight months later and right before there very first European Tour, they now have released their debut full-length World of Grief - one of the most anticipated punk albums of the current year - on Dog Knights Productions and Day Crush Recordings.
The album surprises by a much slower sonority, redefining the band’s style right from the inception of Months & Months, where Boychuk’s singular vocals are bedded on a warm-toning bass fundament. Before a genre-typical Midwest emo guitar takes the lead, a grunge-like riff kicks off the song. With that said, the new arrivals, Byron Mayor on drums and Matt Wayne on bass seem to already have left a mark on the band’s songwriting. It feels like the new members brought some fresh wind increasing the variety in the group’s sound. Without losing any sense of i hate sex’s screamo identity, the different pacemaking and subtile addition of the new elements appear to be a game-changer on World of Grief.
Those aspects are channeled within A Certain Kind of Luck, The Flood and Voodoo Dolls of Old Friends, a troika of songs, displaying the new sound of the band most clearly. First-mentioned starts with a vigorous, Rock n’ Roll-ish bassline, quickly gathering pace before diabolic screams and drumming burst through, joining the distorted guitar and Wayne’s bass. Subsequently the band throttles it back until Boychuk stoically begins to echo: „One for Sorrow. Two for Joy. Three for Love. Four if I die. Five for heaven. Six for hell. Seven for reminiscing on the love my heart is missing.“ After the first repetition her voice cracks and the pace becomes faster and faster, leading to an energetic crescendo. The Flood eventually trails the unleashed storm of its forerunner, offering the most retiring composition of World of Grief - a side of i hate sex that formerly remained concealed. Following this, Voodoo Dolls of Old Friends rises up with its ever-recurring riff, telling the painful monolog about a miserable love affair. The gut-wrenching emotions, evoked by the well-written lyrics, literally covering the mood of the album in a dark shadow. Apart from Alex Terakita’s album cover, which could be considered as a reference for Horror movies from the 1970s, Boychuk’s undisputed passion for the film genre also found its way into the lyrics of the album. Passages like „I melt like the witch when I see your crucifix. And I want to do everything evil. Cross my heart hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye. Only death is real, and I want to do everything evil!“ in Mean Pills or „The town wakes every day to stab the stake deeper into my vampire heart – you rang me out, and you hanged me to dry. I can’t see my face in the mirror, so I wrote your name in the steam.“ in And Yet It Moves feel like taken right of a spine-chiller.
With World of Grief, i hate sex delivered a strong debut on full-length distance. Solely the pre-released Weird Dream, Conscious Stream and the first 40 seconds of the closing No Exit reminded of the group’s approach on Cirlce Thinking, an EP which raised the bar for a whole generation of screamo bands, including i hate sex itself, who finally were able to break away from the expectations.