Showdown: Words Like Daggers vs. Within Wolves
By Nick Senior
WORDS LIKE DAGGERS
These Transient Times EP
To say that the modern post-hardcore scene is oversaturated would be an understatement. It seems that a new band pops up every few minutes, so it takes a lot to stand out in a sea of breakdowns and sung choruses. Both bands have released EPs recently, so which is the one you should pick up in the “W” section of your local record store?
Both bands share some obvious similarities. They employ a heaven/hell vocal approach with screamed vocals (mostly in verses and breakdowns) and sung hooks and choruses. They both utilize similar song structures in verse-chorus-verse-breakdown-chorus for most of their respective EPs. The difference is in how well both can operate within the formula. Words Like Daggers’ vocalists are, frankly, better; the screamer has a better range, with powerful low growls and a clear mid-range scream, and the clean vocalist’s voice is better. Within Wolves do not have poor vocals by any stretch, but not the range shown with Words Like Daggers. Also, while the bands operate within the post-hardcore genre as a broad classification, the sound has difference between each other. From the first full song, it is evident that Within Wolves is influenced by bands like Attack Attack! and The Word Alive, with the inclusion of keyboards and electronic elements. While Attack Attack! has been criticized for this, Within Wolves pulls off these elements more like The Word Alive (or even early Still Remains), with them adding another layer to the music, instead of an awkward shift. Also like The Word Alive, the guitar work is rather good (if not excellent at times), which is always welcome. Also, the band features a few more atmospheric sections that fit the flow of the album quite nicely and add more depth than the standard post-hardcore fare.
Words Like Daggers has a stronger metalcore influence seen in heavier verses and the use of deeper harsh vocals. Of note, the beginning of “Let’s Get Dangerous” features death growls and blast beats to start the song then goes straight into a catchy hook of “I don’t have the answer for your fragile mind.” The whole song is fairly heavy compared to the rest of the EP and what Within Wolves has to offer, so that is a welcome difference.
The production value is a clear advantage to Within Wolves, as the whole album has clean, clear production that is not overly compressed or given any Joey Sturgis-like gloss. Not that Words Like Daggers’ production is poor, but it sounds like how a band’s first unsigned EP should sound, whereas Within Wolves’ album sounds like it had the backing of an indie label.
Both bands lyrics were good, but nothing spectacular. The catchiest lyric for Within Wolves was in the breakdown of “Biting the Hand that Feeds” when this line is screamed: “If I am the devil, then I’ll see you in hell.” I already mentioned my favorite lyric from Words Like Daggers, which came from “Let’s Get Dangerous”: “I don’t have the answer for your fragile mind.”
Both EPs are quality releases from young bands that show off the potential each has with the sound they created. I look forward to seeing how each will fare on their first full-length release, especially if they can get label support. In the showdown of post-hardcore amateurs, this is a split decision in favor of Words Like Daggers, as I find both bands are neck and neck, but the better vocalists and heavier sound ended up being the final decider for me in favor of WLD. Here’s hoping both bands can get signed and have a rematch in two years with a full-length.
Words Like Daggers: 7.25/10
Within Wolves: 7/10
Words Like Daggers: “The Taste is All I’m Left With”
Within Wolves: “Biting the Hand that Feeds”