In recent years, I’ve found that bands that are characterized as post-hardcore are being separated into two different camps. One half features artists that incorporate a mixture of hardcore breakdowns with pop-rock melodies, such as Sleeping With Sirens and Pierce the Veil, while the other half continues to take a strong influence from classic hardcore but expands on the genre with new and creative elements. Sometimes, this method manages to find musical emotion and aggression in new and unconventional ways, best heard through the stylings of La Dispute and Touché Amoré. Because of this divide, I’m never entirely sure what to expect when listening to a new post-hardcore band.

In the case of the Munich-based Oakhands, they take the path traveled by the latter, focusing primarily on eliciting an emotional response. However, I quickly stopped caring about any classifications of the band’s sound and cared more about just how incredible the songs were. Oakhands simply create beautiful music, which became immediately apparent during my first listen to their upcoming album The Shadow of Your Guard Receding. The band’s new album is a follow-up to the 2016 EP titled Age of Swans, and will be officially available on April 24. However, we are incredibly excited to premiere the full album stream right here, right now on Everything Is Noise!

The band had the following to say about the new album:

The way we don’t just divide emotions into black and white (like ‘happiness’ & ‘sadness’) is the way we approach our songwriting and lyrics: differentiated, with a close ear to dynamics and textures. Loud and quiet, soft and harsh all lie together very close on our album.

You won’t find any catchy slogans or easy answers on our album either: the first person narrator constantly digs deeper into her/his/its mind, constantly discussing and discovering new aspects of his/her/its own psyche concerning matters as isolationism, mental health, masculinity, family matters…music, lyrics and visuals all have to be tied together, they have to work together closely on a conceptual basis, not just by doing it somehow.

The Shadow of Your Guard Receding is an unexpected work of art that I thoroughly loved from start to finish. Not a single song feels uninspired, and the entire album has so many different elements that made for an unforgettable experience. “RejoiceRejoice” has the same sheer intensity in the vocal performance and lyrics that propelled influential post-hardcore bands. On the other hand, “|| twenty-two” is a stunning, post-rock-influenced instrumental track that takes your ears from an ethereal introduction to a pounding climax. “The Parnassus”, the track that was released as the first single, showcases unforgettable melodies during a trek through a massive soundscape.

Oakhands have created one of my favorite albums so far of 2020, and I definitely recommend checking it out. The Shadow of Your Guard Receding will be officially released on April 24 via This Charming Man Records. If you love what you heard and you want to pre-order the album, you can do so here. Make sure to check out Oakhands on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with future news, music, and updates.

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