Woodhawk gets real in newest release
Coming from the Rocky Mountains of Calgary, Alberta, the three-man band Woodhawk is back with their third album, Violent Nature. The band boasts singer and guitarist Turner Midzain, Mike Badmington (vocals and bass) and Kevin Nelson (drums and percussion). This head-banging album from the band was mixed, produced and engineered by Jesse Gander. On the band’s website, they refer to themselves as “riff centric rock and roll” and “stoner rock cliché.” This album does not fall short on either claim.
With more grunge vibes than their previous science fiction album Beyond the Sun, Violent Nature dives much deeper into the emotional side of the band, confronting topics like addiction and mental health. “The darker side of hell/ nothing can help you now,” screams Midzain as the band opens the album with “Snake in the Grass.” Although it’s a bit darker than what the band has previously produced, the whole album from the first track to the last is a fun ride with fantastic and fresh sounds.
As the amps are booming, you can hear the struggles the band sings and rocks about, bearing their soul and opening up about hard topics that are personal to them, like mental health and the troubles that come along with it. They sing about being “reborn again” as well as the fact that “even the strongest will break” on track three, “Dry Blood.” Coming face to face with their demons, the band also sings about “playing Russian roulette with your life” and darkness that weighs on their mind on “Heartstopper.” The song also makes some lyrical and melodic changes to accompany a killer guitar solo.
In an interview with Front View Magazine, the band touched on the mood of this album stating, “on previous efforts, we wrote from a science fiction standpoint. It’s where we were all at, at the point in our lives and reflected on what we wanted to say and represent. Now we believe in honesty and find the therapeutic side of music. This album has been an expressive honest view into our lives over the past two years.”
Not only does this release serve as therapy for the band and listeners, but it also gives hope and comfort to those who struggle on a regular basis with mental illness. It’s a way for listeners to relate and let out the emotional frustration the world builds up, just by jamming out to a few songs. The band goes all-in on vocals, drums and of course, riffs, continuing with “Old Silence.” This mid-album song is a meaningful tune about betrayal and broken trust with catchy riffs and hopeful lyrics.
Track six, “Clear the Air,” slows it down and brings in a new element, some softer sounds going deep into the heart of the band. “Scratching at the dirt, trying to be heard,” they sing their soul out and give an original and painfully honest new soundtrack. There are rough, rocky and real vocals, as the band pours their heart out, leaving it all on the album. The album’s tempo is brought back up with the next song, “Violent Nature.” Starting off gritty and intense, it fades out to a therapeutic thematic slow jam with a catchy sound from all angles and instruments.
“As a Friend” addresses other sensitive topics like addiction and the struggles of having a loved one caught up in the fight. The song wrestles with love and loss wrapped all together with some smooth and highly satisfying guitar solos and topped off with dramatic drumming. Closing out the album with “Our Greatest Weakness,” the band gets real about love lost and regret, struggling with one’s image and self-love, they sing, “our greatest weakness is the way that we love.” It’s a true tale of how love is so closely related to other emotions like hate, sadness and heartbreak. More information on the band and their newest release can be found via their website.