Japandroids: Near To The Wild Heart Of Life – album review

JapandroidsJapandroids: Near To The Wild Heart Of Life (ANTI-)

LP | CD | DL

Out now 

8/10

Japandroids are back with a bang, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life is incredible and showcases many facets of the bands sound.

Following a lengthy hiatus Japandroids marked their return with a string of typically raucous shows at the end of 2016. They’re quick to follow those up with Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, which opens in a typically explosive manner. The title track is an exceptional way to kick off any album a ferocious and visceral opening gambit, thunderous pummelling drums coupled with intense riffs. This raucous track successfully marking the bands return, their intensity is second to none.

It’d be impossible to sustain and maintain such angst throughout, and the early part of the album does with its relentless riffs and drums continuing to shine. However, it falls to tracks like True Love And A Free Life Of Free Will to reveal the bands lyrical anger, powerful and passionate the aforementioned guitars and drums pale into mere background noise as the harsh lyrics take to the fore.

The latter part of the album provides a further twist though, with huge anthemic tracks Arc Of Bar in particular possessing an unrelenting and powerful sound. Huge chant along lyrics coupled with an exceptionally vast and expansive sound, laden with powerful synths. There is also a darker undercurrent to the track, many of the other tracks are packed with bright guitars yet here the guitars and synths possess a snarling quality. Their urgency is at its peak throughout the track and is compounded by the equally energetic Midnight To Morning that follows it.

This sustained aural assault is arguably the highlight of the album, as their power and excitement takes over. The album closes out on a much mellower note, instead of it’s earlier bombast they opt for once again allowing their dark lyrics to take the lead. Their sound is no less anthemic though as the huge choruses are retained and the latter part of the track sees the band cutting loose again as the track closes in a cacophony of guitar and drums.

Japandroids have come back with an incredibly strong album, through the power and the excitement to the darkness and pain. This record has it all, their anthemic choruses, raucous riffs and pummelling drums are truly exceptional and showcase a band who are truly on top form following their well deserved hiatus.

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Japandroids can be found online here japandroids.com. They’re also on Facebook and tweet as @Japandroids.

All words by Lee Hammond. You can check out more work by Lee at his Louder Than War author’s archive, he also tweets as @Napzap.

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