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The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Fluco Journalism
A search for the “Hail the Sun” album reveals a limited edition LP.

“Hail” Unveils its Divine Inner Tension

A core element of music is the emotion that goes into it, and Swancore is a subgenre of punk rock that intensely reflects this. Bands like Dance Gavin Dance, The Fall of Troy, and Hail The Sun are the poster children of the subgenre.

Hail The Sun released their new album, “Divine Inner Tension,” on Aug. 11. Their 6th studio album. it has a tracklist of 12 songs. Let’s dive into it.

The first track of the album is “Tunnel Vision Alibi.” Immediately, we are launched into an energetic opening. There is a traditional song structure, and they even have a bit of a metal section. The song is relatively tame, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, Hail The Sun is a band known for being the polar opposite of the word “tame.” The song seems to talk about getting out of a toxic relationship and not needing someone who drags you down. I rate this song a 7/10.

Next, we have “Mind Rider.” This one has a vibrant sound; the guitar is constantly moving and not fixating on one spot, musically speaking. The song’s overall vibe is a bit better than the previous one. This song talks about obsessing over a person and being jealous, a big switch from the theme in “Tunnel Vision Alibi.” Perhaps the songs are from opposing points of view in a relationship. I rate this song a 8/10.

“Chunker” has the fastest pacing, where the drums, bass, guitar, and vocals feel supercharged. Everything about this song radiates high energy, but the ending is surprisingly soft. The meaning behind this song is a lot more cryptic, but if I had to guess, it would be about being unable to forgive. There is talk of being spiteful and being fueled by this person’s enemies. The line, “And if I suffer, they should suffer, that’s what I want. It gets me nowhere and I’m aware it just makes it worse,” speaks to the toxic nature of the speaker, a theme we’ll see repeated throughout the album, as well as prior songs written by the band. I rate this song a 8/10.

The beginning of “60-Minute Session Blocks” reminds me of a music box, which makes sense, seeing as Hail The Sun always manages to make their guitars sound light, airy, and articulate. The song is more on the traditional side of music, not venturing into crazy time signatures and tempo shifts, except for one part around the 2:40 mark. This song is about trying to get better (in this case, through therapy) and still sticking to bad habits and toxic behaviors. I rate this song a 7.5/10.

Switching from the previous song to “Maladapted” might seem sudden and jarring if you listen to the album in the correct order. Supposedly, this was intentional. It is the musical equivalent of falling asleep and suddenly jerking awake. I love so many things about this song, but my absolute favorite thing is the chorus. It has this indescribable feeling to it that I love. It sounds epic but in a dark way. It is difficult to depict the feeling I get while listening to it. The song appears to be about letting go of anxiety. There are also some lyrics about what seems to be OCD behavior. I rate this song a 9/10.

“The Story Writes Itself” has this 80s-esque harmonized guitar intro, comparable to power metal. Honestly, this song has it all: an energetic pre-chorus, a catchy chorus, a brutal break with metal screams, a sensual bridge, and an intense but satisfying outro. It’s uncommon to find music including such a unique structural variety, but it is common with Hail The Sun’s music. As for the lyrics of this track, there are several ways you could interpret them: maybe the song is about the speaker thinking they’re above everyone (a god complex), or perhaps it is meant to represent emotional healing and choosing what to feel and believe as you grow as a person. I rate this song a 10/10.

For simplicity’s sake, I’m merging “(In My Dream)” and “I Saw You Hanging.” The beginning of “I Saw You Hanging” sounds out of place without having the context and buildup of the previous track. There is a slow but intense buildup to the first verse, giving the drums and bass some of the spotlight. The way the guitar sounds during verses reminds me, yet again, of a music box. The song(s) have this sinister yet dreamlike vibe that is unique to them. One thing I dislike about the track is how the ending is a bit eerie, having these whirring, mechanical sounds. The lyrics seem to be about experiencing a delusion or perhaps even psychosis. Multiple lyrics depict the speaker second-guessing what they’re witnessing. I rate this song an 8/10.

“Tithe” is my least favorite track on the album, but I think it has grown on me. I like the aggressive introduction with the scream vocals, but I strongly dislike the ending. There is something about the vocal effects that really creeps me out. The lyrics have a strong anti-Christian sentiment, and while I have nothing against expressing beliefs, I know many will find this distasteful. To each their own. There is not a lot more to say about this song. It is just okay. I rate this song a 5.5/10.

For some reason, the band decided to take a musical (and emotional) 180° and write an absolute tearjerker of a song. “Feeble Words” is full of anything but feeble words. The instruments are superb, but the lyrics are especially attractive in this song. The way the speaker describes their growth as a person and their deep love for a romantic interest is beautiful. There is nothing technically impressive about the song, but its serenity and alluring sensitivity make up for it massively. I rate this song an 8/10.

The intro to “Little Song” has a groovy bassline and the signature Hail The Sun guitar tone. Entering the first verse, there is a transition to just the bass and drums. The chorus is interesting to me because it seems to switch the entire vibe of the song up, going from this softer, romantic sound to an energetic, punchy sound. The lyrics of this song mention a lot of quarreling between lovers, leading to breakups and getting back together. Despite these conflicts, the speaker holds a deep admiration for their lover. I rate this song an 8.5/10.

The last song in the album, “Under The Floor,” might be the closest to Hail The Sun’s signature sound. The track begins with odd guitar sounds and some sweet bass tones. The chorus is extremely groovy and gets stuck in your head easily. The lyrics of this song are far darker than the previous entries, as it is about the American serial killer John Wayne Gacy. They talk about Gacy’s victims, his house, and his mentality when committing his heinous acts. I rate this song a 9/10.

Though I tried to mix my subjective opinion with objective qualities in the band, I felt it was appropriate to get some other opinions on a few songs from this album. Here are some reviews from students and staff in Fluvanna:

  • “I don’t know what they could do better; I think it was really well made. The lyrics and the instrumentals are pretty solid and compliment the tone,” said junior Anthony Halpin, who listened to “Chunker.”
  • “The guitars and the singing were great, and the drums too. The change between rock to a ballad was surprising, but it worked and it made you wonder when they were gonna change back again,” said Earth Science and AP Environmental Science teacher Amy Richardson.
  • “The vocals are everything and the vocalist’s voice is top tier. The theme of the song is based on experiencing betrayal and how you let go and move on by focusing on your own self-empowerment. This promotes the idea of being in control of your own life, and living the life you want. I like this because it’s something that should be promoted to people. It’s a good lifestyle,” said FCHS senior Brooke Smith, who listened to “The Story Writes Itself.”

I love “Divine Inner Tension” and its many, many surprises. From the intensely romantic professions of love to the sinister tale of a serial killer’s actions, this album is arguably the perfect musical summarization of swancore. There is no shortage of feeling in these songs, and you can really notice this in songs like “The Story Writes Itself.” My final rating for the full album is an 8.75/10.

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