Wailin Storms are a fourpiece from Durham, North Carolina consisting of artist Justin Storms (guitar/vocals), Mark Oates (drums), Steve Stanczyk (Bass) and Todd Warner (Lead Guitar). Rattle is their latest, following 2017’s Sick City and was released on May 15th via Gilead Media (North America) and in Europe via Antena Krzyku. The band recorded the album with legendary producer J Robbins (Jawbox/Government Issue) which according to Stanczyk was a ‘bucket list experience’.
‘Rattle is about feeling hopeless in a world that is very broken to me’, Storms is quoted as saying and opening track Rattle certainly reflects this, ‘Shadow my world, break my heart, place, place your hand, upon, upon.. this dying man’, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go this is definitely not.
Rope the second track on the album has a definite death rock vibe with some Gun Club style punk blues thrown in, right up my street. Grass has a doomier feel to it, we aren’t talking Saint Vitus or Candlemass here, but it is pretty heavy in places with Storms wailin (pun intended) ‘Till they put us under grass I’ll follow you with that empty heart’. It more recalls Danzig (the band) at their finest back in the early 90s; think a rockier less kitschy Blood And Tears. Anyone who like me has experienced significant heartache will be able to relate to the sentiments.
Wish starts with an ominous rumbling bassline before launching into a chorus that brings to mind a band like The Flesheaters and any of the cuts off of their A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die record, demonstrating that despite the goth seriousness and despair, the band hasn’t forgotten to kick up a fair old punk racket.
Teeth has a contemporary twist akin to a darker, less hip and more interesting version of Interpol. It has some nice dynamics which thankfully isn’t as generic as Interpol, or a lot of their post-punk revivalist contemporaries in the 2000s. This is the most accessible track on the album and I’m actually surprised that the doomier Grass has a video and not this as there is definite single potential and which also serves as a good inroad for anyone wanting to get into the band.
Wailin Storms demonstrate that the goth genre need not revert to daft clichés but can in fact ROCK!
Sun is a decent rocker, it reminds one of a feistier Thin White Rope, who if you are not familiar with then I recommend tracking down their classic Moonhead album immediately. That band’s dark Joy Division influences have had an influence on Wailin Storms.
Crow is the longest track on the album and certainly the slowest, Storms puts on his finest Danzig wail (again, pun intended). It oddly reminds me of The Cramps, Birthday Party and The Scientists especially the latter’s track Swampland. The Scientists were a big influence on the first wave of grunge and the sound on this track coincidentally is pre-Nevermind grunge influenced.
The appropriately named final track End closes the album with a suitably apocalyptic feel. If you like the idea of 16 Horsepower ushering in the four horsemen then this track will definitely appeal to you.
This record was always going to appeal to me, dark gothic infused doom punk being a strong selling point. But it’s so much more than that, as with my review of Constance Tomb, Wailin Storms demonstrate that the goth genre need not revert to daft clichés but can in fact ROCK! In addition, the subtle shades of alt-country, blues and grunge influences dotted throughout the album guarantee you won’t be lifting the needle on this beauty prematurely.
Scribed by: Reza Mills