Remember we mentioned in several reviews that there are albums for which we have fears when approaching the keyboard? This is one of them... Why? you ask...
After all, this is not about "Led Zeppelin" or "Foo Fighters" albums or their friends, no, here we are talking about something local, something Israeli but at a level that we at least, have not encountered until this day.
It is true, It's not that they are the only ones, there were and are many Israeli bands in the world, that have come a long way, but not something we have experienced with such a strong connection to or witnessed in real-time.
Let us define here for the first time the "sacred triangle" that every band should conquer, a triangle that consists of three elements that the band needs to succeed in a big way. One is a high-quality musical production of an album, both in terms of sound, dynamics, and melody, in short, the whole package.
The second is the live show, a live show that should explode venues and provide the audience with a phenomenal experience that is a significant upgrade from the album. Performing the album perfectly is not a success, the band needs to transcend the album and bring something special to a live show.
The third and final is the Unplugged test, the "naked king" test, the band needs to move, amaze and stand firm even when all the distortions, amps, and effects are peeled off.
Why are we raising this right now? Because "Walkways" pass the "sacred triangle". They successfully passed all three elements. With an outshined success, to say the least, they broke the boundaries and set a new standard in everything related to all three elements.
And when you hear what they did and how they did it, you will be blown away, the same as we did.
(Photo: Aviv Shiloh)
After the release of their debut album "Safe In Sound" which was released in 2013, "Walkways" seems to have worked hard in touring around the country and the world. Not as a small tour but at big festivals like "Wacken Open Air" and "ARTmania", they were the opening act for the Swedish metal band "In Flames" (which in itself is a huge thing !!). A lot of eyebrows were raised following their spot as an opening act but they were very quickly replaced by dropped jaws in the face of what they saw and heard on stage.
In addition to the world tour, the band was the opening act for bands performing in Israel such as "Avenged Sevenfold" and "Disturbed" (thankfully we were present at both).
But the significant event and huge milestone in the band's course occurred on April 12, 2019, the day (according to the media) the band signed a contract with the international, big, and famous record label "Nuclear Blast". A label that hosts huge bands like: "Anthrax", "Biohazard", "Accept", "Behemoth", "Fear Factory", "Exodus", "Opeth", "Slayer", "In Flames", and many others great ones. We undoubtedly believe that if it were not for COVID, "Walkways" would be on a world tour then, exploding in clubs and theaters around the world leaving behind a trail of addicted fans.
The band members, Ran Yerushalmi (vocals), Bar Caspi (guitars), Yoni Menar (guitars), Avihai Levy (bass), and Priel Horesh (drums), enter the studio and recorded their second album "Bleed Out, Heal Out".
An album that bends the genres we know from the world of metal, without defined lines, without boundaries, and without outside instructions. An album created from the guts of each of the band members, the reality he experiences in his eyes, and the power he has in his body.
Most of the lyrics on the album were written by Ran but co-written by all the band members.
Each one of them brings his personal experiences and strong emotions to the lyrics that tell the stories of dealing with the natural impulses of the human mind and maintaining awareness and a controlled mind.
The album journeys through six chapters.
The first chapter begins with heartbreak and deep disappointment, it opens with Ran's caressing singing as the crazy and powerful Bar and Yoni immediately enter with their deadly riffs in the song "Till the End". Already in this song, we get the band's all-too-distinct DNA, the heavy riffs synchronized with Avihai and Priel's powerful rhythm division, the dynamics of ups, downs, breaks and Ran's voice raging, rising, falling, roaring, and growling.
Moving on to "Hell Born Shove - Impossible" with Priel's monstrous beat, what a crazy variety and we still haven't gotten to the third song. The chorus is so addictive that already on the second listening you want to scream the lyrics. You have no idea (unless you were at the show) but you can imagine what happens in the quiet section of the song where Ran collects the fragments that rise and explodes into the sky like an atomic bomb.
Moving on to the anthem of the album "Despair - For Heaven's Sake", do not tell us that it reminds you of "Bring Me The Horizon" because we know it does and we don't care. Usually, this song is part of the band's encore since after that nothing is left of where the band is performing. What a beauty of the production, what an amazing combination of guitars, drums, and vocals, and what crazy dynamics. The band members said that they shot this music video (the only one to our knowledge) in Kyiv, Ukraine with the help of an outside production company.
The second chapter goes into a struggle with the urge to avenge and let a darker side take over, it opens with the second most powerful song on the album "Half the Man I Am". Ran roars that he may be a monster but "you" are half the man he is. There are riffs here that were created in outer space, humanly processed, and landed on the guitars of Bar and Yoni. Do you feel the DNA? As different as the songs are from each other, you can feel the band's so special sound.
We move on to "Trumpet Call", and blow the trumpets as revenge begins. The band said that this is their way of unleashing the aggression, they create as a way to deal with their feelings because no one has an excuse or legitimacy to let their ego run wild. At the end of the song the character decides not to take revenge but to survive and be resurrected, so roars with Ran "Survive, Revive"!!!
The ending of the song takes us smoothly to the next chapter, the release and unchaining from the burden of trauma. The song "Levitate" is a kind of movie scene that sends shivers down your spine and allows you to identify with the character.
The theme song of the album "Bleed Out, Heal Out" is another hydrogen, deadly and penetrating bomb. Such a beautiful melody, you sing loudly with Ran just to break out everything, loud now all together:
"Throw away those broken past days, future worries
Bleed out, heal out, and let go
Yeah, let it all go!"
It was a short chapter from which we move on to the chapter of letting someone new into your life, the chapter of loving again.
The song "You Found Me" is completely different from what we've heard so far, a soft metal ballad that features a different side of the band. A soft side that comes not only in Ran's vocals but also in the guitars, bass, and drums that flow perfectly like a river that washes out all the filth we have gathered from the previous chapters, such a beautiful love has found us !! And if the beautiful words don't help you understand who and what this song was written about, then you just have to watch the clip, the answer lies within...
Continuing the direction and downshifting another gear with "Unbearable Days" 'is one of the most beautiful songs on the album, partly melancholy, partly caressing, and partly tender. Listen to the sounds and the production, what a sharp transition to what we heard at the beginning of the album. In the live show, Ran sits down on a stool bar and changes his state of an accumulation from a crazy possessed to a sensitive and sentimental character. In the 2019 live show, he dedicated the song to a close friend of the band who died of cancer, chills washed over the club.
The passage track "Enough" seals the present chapter, with dark lyrics that take us into the depths of difficult emotions and thoughts. This is a section used by the band at the opening of the show before going on stage.
Moving on to a chapter that is a contemplation of the outside world - being horrified by our ways as human beings (wars, environmental pollution, and animal abuse) and a strong desire to correct and evolve as one and a shout-out to change as a whole. It opens with "Humane Beings" which calls for changing our habits and ways, being better and smarter human beings with the way we manage ourselves on Earth. The combination of the choir adds a powerful and spiritual element here that gives the song another dimension, again we will repeat it, and pay attention to the dynamics, what beautiful work.
Listen to Ran and come repeat after him:
"Our tongues are sharper, sharper than knives
Our guns are harmless compared to our lies
The sounds of the earth got louder with signs
Our hounds are puppies compared to our minds"
The song "Care - In This Together" begins with the already familiar sound of the guitars and also here twists, rises and falls, breaks and enters again. "We're in this thing together" Ran shouts.
At the end of the album, we move on to a chapter of convergence due to the shock from the outside world, which is again flooded with great disappointment and a kind of despair from the current situation, but the deep desire to correct and transcend the internal and external chaos is always preserved. Once again the band drops a ruthless bomb under the deceptive name "Thank You" which gives the feeling that something calm is going to come here at the end. After that we come to the end of the album with the song "Bone Depp" which feels a kind of summary of the main character, what it went through, and the scars that the struggle left on it. We undoubtedly identify with the character but we were left with positive scars from this album, it kicked our bodies, scratched our souls, dismantled our minds, and recharged us with insane energy.
(Photo: Yodan Abadi)
The band members said that they try to do everything by themselves, we understand them very well in light of the income that Israeli bands have in rock music, not to mention metal, in the Holy Land.
They design their posters, shirts, and albums, Avihai is the photographer and he shoots the band's music videos and stills (he is also the tour manager) Bar edits the music videos, but the most important and amazing thing is that the band produced the whole album themselves. Yoni and Priel did the sound production, Priel also did the mixing, and only the mastering was done by an outside company called "Systematic Productions".
The band members also said that what allows them to create diverse sounds is that each one is influenced by different bands and when they work together, each one brings his own influences to the song. They allow each other to bring their own impact. It makes the work much harder and more complex but the combination and dynamics between the band members are what makes their sound so diverse and unique. They said they are influenced by bands like Korn, Slipknot, Opeth, Karnivool, Radiohead, and many more. In this album, they were more confident in themselves allowing this diversity to be reflected vs. the previous album.
Now feel free to listen to the album and decide if what we wrote above is too sentimental or true.
Ohh... and we have a small debt from the beginning of our review, just to prove our point that "Walkways" managed to nail the "sacred triangle" test.