If it weren’t for the fact that they originate from Russia, a country not exactly well known for its contribution to the heavy music scene, Wildways might have the most clichéd story in modern metalcore. Starting out with an unnecessarily unwieldy moniker, Sarah Where Is My Tea, their primary accomplishments have been tours with the likes of Asking Alexandria and Blessthefall, and their cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” getting rather a lot of YouTube views. They’ve done tours sponsored by Vans and are are now signed to Artery Recordings – none of this would be cause for them to stand out. What you’re probably thus expecting is some major twist in the tale – something that makes this band one that you need to stop whatever it is your doing and give your full attention to for the forty-odd minutes it takes to listen to their album.
Instead, you get “Faka Faka Yeah”. It’s a strong candidate for the very worst song of the year so far, and that’s even taking into account there’s a new Wiz Khalifa album out. Bring together trap elements shorn of all the attitude that characterises the genre, nonsensical screamed lyrics, a sonorous pitch-shifted voice that sounds like it’s culled from a bad porno (which bizarrely keeps cropping up over the course of Into the Wild) and breakdowns so ham-fisted they’ll offend vegetarians, and you get a piece of music that makes Attila sound like musical geniuses. What makes it even more difficult to stomach is that it sticks out like a sore thumb on the album tracklisting, its juvenile repulsiveness only half cropping up again on “D.O.I.T.”, an even more bewildering song that seems to take Shia Labeouf’s motivational speeches as its lyrical inspiration.
The rest of Into the Wild is instead bog-standard ‘10s metalcore that overall leans slightly towards the melodic end of the spectrum, and understandably so considering Toli Wild (if that is his real name) has a far more interesting singing voice than his textbook screams. However, his band are utterly sidelined by the excess of computerised gloss drenched over the songs that leaves their attempts to excite with quite impressive guitar work and tenable energy to slide in one ear and leave the other with minimum fuss. Their approach to songwriting is tired as it is without the additional impediment of a production job that neuters their every note.
Some of the choruses are engaging while they’re playing but as a whole totally fail to be memorable, guest appearances from Palisades’ Lou Miceli among others failing to make them stick. The lyrics are as genre-typical as the musicianship, and though the heartfelt appeals to believe in oneself and take the world on sound convincing they’re very, very difficult to take seriously after the faux-gangsta stylings of “Faka Faka Yeah”, be it parody or not. There’s little to redeem Wildways on the basis of this album, the closest things to highlights coming in the form of fully electronic pseudo-ballad “Wings” and a mildly engaging duet with Rebecca Need-Menear on “Princess”, which are neither tedious nor boring in as close to a compliment as can be paid to them.
What little promise this band displayed on earlier, less synthetic material has been thrown into the gutter by attempts to sound modern that instead render Into the Wild trite, and moments of poor judgement so monumental that any attempts to redeem themselves are impossible to be treated sincerely. In other words, Faka Faka no.