Windwaker – Empire EP

Unsigned metalcore group from Melbourne, Windwaker, have recently released their sophomore EP, Empire. Off the back of multiple successful single releases, a powerful performance at Download Festival Melbourne, and a main support slot on tour with The Brave, the EP has already afforded them an impressive amount of success. Empire also debuted at #19 on the ARIA digital album charts, and has got them over 60 thousand monthly listeners on Spotify. But that raises the question, is it worth all the hype?

Opening with the atmospheric heavy instrumentals of “Reject”, Windwaker immediately demonstrate their fluency in song writing. The contrast they create between harsh verses and smooth choruses is prominent, yet not in a way that is jarring. Everything flows beautifully, and this is a common theme throughout the entire EP. 

“Reject” makes for a devilish opener, as it gives the listener a glimpse of everything to come, while still holding its own as a standalone track. Hard and heavy, yet technical and melodic, it sets a powerful pace for what is to follow.

The first single released from the EP, “The Sitch”, is up next. A foundation for variety to build from, “The Sitch” is filled with groove based funky riffs, all of which make you want to move your hips as well as jump around. A big chorus and dancey verses mix together, forming a song that is full of fun all the way through until the juicy breakdown at the end. 

So far Vocalist Will King’s vocals have held up perfectly without any help, on the clean and harsh side, but “The Sitch” puts forward a healthy dose of emotional backings from guitarist Liam Guinane. Loading up a delightful verse towards the end of the song, Liam adds to the ever-building list of talents that these musicians seem to possess. 

“Grey World” begins with echoing soft vocals and a melodic backing filled with ominous ringing guitars. As it kicks in, a feeling of hugeness comes in. That may not make total sense, but all it means is this sounds massive. I can easily picture rooms full of people, swaying from side to side whilst singing along to this in venues all around the country. Their all-round sound is that of a band far beyond their years, and “Grey World” is an excellent sign of this. 

Proceeding to flex their soft side, Windwaker wrap us in the warm embrace of melody as “Colourless” takes us on a wholesome journey of musicianship. When listening you feel like you’re floating on a cloud, as the harmonious vocals of King and soft instrumental chimes make up the majority of the song. It closes out with a rocky stream of guitar licks and drum fills, as the change in pace lifts you right up to the heavens, before the song gently ends and brings you back to Earth. 

Immediately after that oh-so-needed break from intensity, “Arrested” rolls through with authority. Fast drums and head-shaking guitars make for a circle pit-esque rhythm, and ensure that you are ready to cope with what this song has to offer. The large nightmarish chorus is followed by an intense few seconds of minimalistic siren-like guitar screams, before heading into a particularly heavy verse where King takes his vocals to a whole new place of brutality. The djent overwhelms this song, and the ridiculous skill of guitarist Jesse Kroft ensures that there is a constant flow of mesmerizing dreamlike riffs flowing through the background of nearly every track. 

“My Empire” was the second single released from Empire, and is also the closing track for the aforementioned EP. With that, “My Empire” begins by lulling you into a false sense of security via its opening filled with soft vocals and low volume backings. This swiftly changes as an enormous battlecry from King gets everything moving at full speed. Rough verses lead into the chorus, almost instinctively so, making for a constant feeling of ridiculous massiveness. This chorus is one of the better ones from the EP, and its huge production levels and catchiness is what cements “My Empire” as one of the better songs from the EP. 

To answer the first question I asked, yes. This EP is worth the hype. It constantly has an overwhelming sense of enormity, and I can see now that people will still be loving this release in the years to come. Windwaker have already done some impressive things as of late, but I expect much more to come from them coming off this release. 

(self-released)

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