Thursday, 26 May 2022

Album Review: Lose Your Delusion by A Wilhelm Scream (by Omar Ramlugon)

There’s always been something very special about A Wilhelm Scream’s records. The sheer amount of explosive riffing, shred-tastic solos and sharp, pointedly emotional but often surprisingly funny lyrics they manage to pack into each album is something quite inspiring. Arguably, this reached its high point on 2013’s Partycrasher, which incorporated even more technical metal soloing and musicianship, as well as some of their most nakedly confessional lyrics. But it’s been a long nine years since then, during which time they lost lead guitar player Mike Supina and found his replacement in the form of Senses Fail’s Jason Milbank.

With the band members now past forty, it could be understandable if Lose Your Delusion was a more sombre, reflective, slower record, especially given just how long it's taken to come together. But I’m happy to say that this isn’t what’s happened at all. The New Bedford quintet have come back out of the gate swinging with just as much fury and melody as ever before, finding a satisfying middle ground between Ruiner’s slightly poppier approach and Partycrasher’s near-metal bombast, with ‘The Enigma’ and ‘GIMMETHESHAKES’ exemplifying this splitting of the difference between those two periods of the band’s lifespan, with a ripping bass guitar solo on the latter. Lyrically, there seems to be a slightly more socio-political bite, with lines like ‘[...] And at the risk of getting sued: "Hey, ain't that America!"/ You can get shot or lick the boot. You choose’ catching you by surprise, or ‘Apocalypse Porn’s pretty unabashed screed against the United States’ continual failing of its people.

Elsewhere, ‘Yo Canada’ reminds of Strung Out’s skate punk melodic charge, while ‘Figure Eights In My Head’ is almost into ballad territory, a paean to old beloved friends. It seems like guitarist and vocalist Trevor Reilly has been given even more time to shine than before across Lose Your Delusion, his sweeter, more nasal delivery a fine counterpart to lead singer Nuno Pereira’s gut-level roar, while new string-slinger Milbank fits nicely into the group, taking a more understated approach compared to Supina’s fret pyrotechnics but still capable of some dazzlingly fast runs that will make your heart race.

‘Be One To No One’ is the album’s beating heart, a frank and candid commentary on wrestling with depression and stress set to furiously energetic melodic punk, but it also touches on the life affirming quality of your loved ones helping you through those difficult times, with lines like ‘But I don't feel like a waste / I'm no longer a drain [...] You couldn't matter more to me / And that ain't no lie’ as bracing as they are uplifting.

Lose Your Delusion is a welcome return from one the most talented and most sincere bands in punk rock. While not everything works as well as Partycrasher, the fact that the band are still willing to upend their apple cart this far into their career speaks volumes as to their artistry, as demonstrated by ‘Downtown Start II’ where Pereira drops his hardcore snarl for the verses, revealing a rich and smooth baritone singing voice almost reminiscent of Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan, and in the process adding yet another layer to one of the best songs on the album.

It’s a really good album, and if you’re already a Wilhelm fan then you will have undoubtedly already bought/streamed this by now. But for anyone with a nose for fast, melodic punk with finger-burning guitar solos and lyrics that range from snarky and biting to nakedly confessional, this is for you.

Stream and download Lose Your Delusion on Bandcamp.

Like A Wilhelm Scream on Facebook.

This review was written by Omar Ramlugon.

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