Into The Wild

(Artery Recordings)

     Once upon a time (i.e. 1994), my knowledge of Russian culture and society as a whole was entirely limited to my fondness for the woefully-underrated Brian Lumley Necroscope series and the consumption of various mid-tier vodkas. Despite this, my fascination with all things 'Ruskie' (and, of course, a propensity for all things Heavy Metal and Heavy Metal-related) continued unabated, resulting in my fascination with groups such as Black Obelisk, Chorny Kofe and, to a lesser extent, Cruise. A veritable lifetime later, a prime example of my curiously-motivated musical thirst is Western Russia-born Metalcore and Hardcore upstarts Wildways. Bursting onto the scene in 2009 under the moniker Sara Where Is My Tea, the group quickly issued a self-titled EP, their full-length debut Desolate (2011) and the self-released Love & Honor (2013). Armed with an imaginative new persona, the group is now readied to unleash Into The Wild, their latest and undeniably greatest offerings to date.

     On the brilliant Into The Wild (2016), an expertly assembled fifteen song collection of Electronica and Hardcore-infused Metalcore, each track, beginning with the ambient, Electronica and Hip-Hop-fueled “Skins” and the maddeningly infectious first single “Faka Faka Yeah”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Remaining firmly entrenched amid the fist-pumping, mosh inducing intensities that have defined much of their relatively brief existence, the group pulsates with a genuinely unique energy that wisely forsakes the blasé, overconfident Pop bravado of yore. Wasting little--if any--time driving home each key focal point, the group submerges the proverbial average listener (i.e. you, the increasingly faithful reader, listener and viewer) amid drastically heightened senses of adventure and experimentation worthy of the highest of critical and commercial accolades.

     Continuing with the relentlessly pummeling tirade “What You Feel” (featuring Palisades frontman Lou Miceli) and the soaring, multi-dimensional lament “Princess” (featuring Anavae co-leader Rebecca Need-Menear), the steadfast--to say the very least--combination of vocalist Toli Wild, guitarists Sergey Novikov and Slava Kavlenas, bassist Harry Oldman and drummer Kery Parker steamroll ahead like the well-oiled machine they so obviously have become. Boldly redefining the preconceived stylistic stereotypes of the Metalcore sub-genre, the group flexes their more-than-considerable creative muscles early and often, resulting in an airtight combination of scathing vocals, blistering fretwork and intensely punishing rhythms. Effectively 'delivering the goods' without resorting to the ostentatious, trend-hopping tactics of their few legitimate contemporaries, the group offers a series of all-consuming auditory experiences that are as initially impressive as they are satisfying.

     Produced and Mixed by the acclaimed Cameron Mizell (A Bullet For Pretty Boy, For All Those Sleeping, Memphis May Fire) at the Lake Mary, Florid-based Chango Studios, other standouts, including the delightfully overwrought “Illusions & Mirror” and the equally impressive, emotionally-charged closer “Not Alone”, only further reiterates the group's still-burgeoning reputation as a bona fide creative force not to be ignored. Drawing from a vast array of distinct creative resources, they ultimately succeed by delivering a previously-unparalleled musical hybrid that defies traditional classification. Although the group's occasionally tenuous grasp on the English language and a penchant for all things over-the-top (i.e the group's tongue-in-cheek video for “Faka Faka Yeah”) may ultimately subtract from their abilities to capture a 'mainstream' audience, their future appears invariably bright, making the mighty Into The Wild the most dynamic and thought-provoking release of the year.

     So what's wrong? Absolutely nothing. In fact, at this point, even when taking into consideration the group's brief non-Sara Where Is My Tea history, I truly doubt anything could actually be improved upon. Although the majority--if not all--of the decidedly memorable wares contained herein are most definitely not for the faint of heart (particularity those without a genuine and sincere appreciation for Hardcore and Metalcore), the unnerving combinations of extemporaneous ferocity and unabashed technical prowess found throughout each composition, without a doubt, nothing short of extraordinary. Love 'em or loathe 'em, this is quite possible as good as it gets. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a forthright, thought-provoking alternative to the hopelessly cliché-ridden, Pop and Dance/EDM-laden drivel that is so often force-fed en mass, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane cure-all for what it is that ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.


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