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Album Review: A WILHELM SCREAM Lose Your Delusion

8 Reviewer

Change isn't always a quick process; sometimes it's a slow erosion, or a house built a brick at a time (or a music studio, but more on that later). For long running melodic hardcore act A Wilhelm Scream, a band who thrive on the razor-sharp edge of both technical prowess and non-stop innovation, has a nine year recording gap – and the changes that time has wrought – built them up or worn them away?

The short answer to the latter is "no," and thankfully so. While the mile-a-minute five piece never quite do anything so drastic as reinventing the wheel with Lose Your Delusion, the changes they have made are plain for all to see and not just in the music itself. A change in personnel – lead guitarist Jason Milbank replaces previous longest surviving axe man Mike Supina – and another change in record label almost feel like small things in comparison to how things have shifted and warped, both in the band's sphere and the world around them but have equally had an impact on what we're listening to here. Recorded fully in a brand new custom built studio attached to guitarist and vocalist Trevor Reilly's house, Lose Your Delusion truly feels like the first time the band have been so close to their music, both physically and thematically.

We get a sense of that straight out of the gate, "Acushnet Avenue At Night" shredding through a guided tour of the band's New Bedford, Massachusetts stomping ground through the visor of anyone who has ever kicked a can up their own streets and roads, wondering if they did the right thing. The theme of anxiety and isolation runs through the album in thick ribbons; lead single "Be One To No One"' unleashing Nicholas Pasquale Angelini's whirlwind skill with the sticks to that beat, while closing track "Downtown Start II" doesn't lose any pace or power for either the theme or it's location on the record.

On the other side of that slightly grim coin we do get an amount of feel-good, even if it feels very carefully measured out. "Yo Canada" is basically a Special Thanks track and, while most bands would consign it to that solitary scribble in the album liner notes, it really speaks volumes about A Wilhelm Scream's own want to reconnect with the fans in a way that doesn't feel like a superficial afterthought.

The alternating vocal duty shared by Pereira and Trevor Riley are a newer, interesting touch that spark most brightly on tracks like "GIMMETHESHAKES" where they weave into each other before splitting off back and forth to add a real engaging set of harmonies to proceedings. Though the songs that don't feature it don't suffer without it, it's definitely something some fans are going to be eager to see return in the future, myself included.

All in all, Lose Your Delusion is a very welcome return that blasts straight to its points with machine gun rapidity, before hammering them home with precision. It rarely misses the mark and not only continues a run of fine form with their album releases despite its lateness to the party. It balances theme and form without an ounce of fat on either and it kicks a whole bunch of ass along the way. That’s just the way A Wilhelm Scream do it.

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