“Choice – Path – Consequence – Solution” by Australian hard rock band Hailmary is a powerful and at times strikingly beautiful beast of an album. The tunes are shot through with the grit and growl of grunge, fleshed out with musical influences ranging from metal to prog rock and classic rock, and enhanced by strong vocals and lyrics. It’s the kind of complex, compelling album that grows on you with every listen, and that is so damn good it keeps you coming back for more.
This is Hailmary’s first full-length release (the band released EPs in 2006 and 2009), and the experience and hard work that has brought them this far is readily apparent in the confident song-writing and skilled musicianship. The most obvious musical influences shining through are Soundgarden and particularly Alice In Chains, but the band wears those influences well, and they never submerge the band’s own voice.
Right from the start, the depth and range of this album is obvious. The first track, “Choice – Path – Consequence – Solution”, is a soft, almost soothing, Pink Floyd-ish intro that sets up the heaviest tune on the album – the raw and irresistibly bone-shaking “Yellow Light of Death”, with singer Kevin Curran turning his voice into a monster growl, and the rest of the band mauling their instruments to perfection while ripping up the scenery behind him.
After that, the band switches gears again for “Control Freak”, a slower, thoughtful tune with glistening, distorted riffs and a vibe that brings to mind both Pink Floyd and Alice In Chains, while still sounding decidedly original.
At this point, I might as well just confess that I love this entire album: every track has a slightly different flavor, but even on the softer, brighter tracks there’s still an edge, something just a little twisted and dark lurking beneath the surface, giving Hailmary’s sound the kind of bite that boosts the music from simply good, to outstanding.
My favorite tracks include “Wake Up”, with its dirty, heavy riffs and amped-up vocals; “Two Wrongs” which shows off the band’s multi-layered musical sound, and Curran’s terrific vocals; and the gloriously heavy and ferociously riff-powered “Monday Mundane” which goes down like a nice shot of adrenaline.
I also have a weak spot for “The Way It Was”, a slow, almost hypnotic tune that is lit up from within by the vocal harmonies, and a psychedelic 1970s glow. It might just be the most beautiful track on the album.
“Choice – Path – Consequence – Solution” is the real deal: an original, deeply satisfying, and stunningly good album. From the heavy, dark, metal-taste of “The Yellow Light of Death”, to the brighter light of tunes like “The Way It Was”, Hailmary’s music commands your attention. This is an album not to be missed: find it, buy it, play it.
- Kevin Curran: vocals, guitar
- Todd Fishwick: guitar, vocals
- Vas Shevtsov: drums, vocals, percussion
- Nairn McKay: bass
- Josh Sattler: additional bass on tracks 4, 7, 8, 11
- Kyle Morrison: didgeridoo on track 8
- Shane Warth: additional percussion
- Choice – Path – Consequence – Solution
- Yellow Light of Death
- Control Freak
- Wake Up
- Running Away
- Two Wrongs
- Yesterday’s Friend
- Weighing You Down
- Monday Mundane
- The Way It Was
- Self (Destructive) Made Man
(Previously published on hardrocknights.com)