California post-hardcore pop-punk band Hail The Sun recently released their fourth album titled Mental Knife on September 28th. The band is made up of members Donovan Melero (lead vocalist/drummer), Aric Garcia (guitar), John Stirrat (bass) and Shane Gann (guitar). The theme of the album is about self-improvement, cutting out irrelevant and unfulfilling memories, as well as being able to acknowledge your flaws as a human. By identifying these imperfections, we can work towards self-confidence. For Merelo, it’s his constant need to make up for lost time with nine years of sobriety under his belt.
The overall sound of the album is as if Paramore (reminded me a little bit of ‘Misery Business’) and Capstan had a musical baby. While that sounds weird, it’s the best way to describe it. Lead vocalist and drummer Donovan Melero gives off a Hayley Williams-esque sounding voice in the best possible way. When I first sat down and listened to the album, I genuinely thought Hayley Williams lent her voice to the band.
Similar to Capstan, Hail The Sun produced an album that has an offset of both hardcore and gentle – I think that’s essential for the artist to create a balanced album. As much as I enjoy heavy bands, the songs that are slower are usually the most meaningful for not only the artist but the listener as well.
I can’t express how much I loved this album. I’m not usually the type of person who likes loud, screaming, hardcore music; however, this album gives me a newfound appreciation for the genre. There’s a mix of different levels of ‘punkness’ in each song counterbalancing the overall sound of Mental Knife. My favourite songs are ‘The Stranger In Our Pictures’ and ‘Mental Knife’. In all honesty, I’m a little surprised that I liked it so much. While I am trying to branch out in the pop-punk/alternative genre, the bands where the singer is screaming lyrics to the point of not being able to understand them isn’t what I gravitate towards.
I recommend giving Hail The Sun a listen if you enjoy Paramore or similar artists, such as A Lot Like Birds, I The Mighty, Amerionette, Dwellings or Icarus The Owl.
In addition to Mental Knife, the band have also released POW! Right In The Kisser, Wake and Culture Scars. All albums are available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. Hail The Sun will be touring North America this fall with Polyphia and Covet.