"I don't know if many bands get to play for ten years, let alone play a record that came out ten years ago. It’s a privileged opportunity that isn't lost on me.”
How many people can say they experienced the 10-year-anniversary show celebrating one of their favourite albums? Sure, it’s become more of a popular thing in recent years, but how many metalcore bands have had the privilege of lasting over ten years and retaining that core group of fans?
In Hearts Wake have achieved both of those feats. In April and earlier this month, In Hearts Wake were honoured to put on Decade Of Divination shows across Australia, and were pleasantly surprised by the rapturous response from devoted audiences.
Do you remember Divination? Released on 31 August 2012, the band’s debut album was produced by Josh Schroeder and recorded at Random Awesome Studio in Bay City earlier that year.
Remember the features from Parkway Drive's Winston McCall and former Northlane vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes? Divination peaked at #27 on the ARIA charts – huge for a non-mainstream release, setting the stage for a horde of headline shows, international tours and appearances at Soundwave Festival and beyond for In Hearts Wake.
Vocalist Jake Taylor explained the concept behind Divination at the time: “Divination is based upon a 'Tarot' concept in that each song emulates the essence and meaning of a particular Major Arcana Tarot card.
“My mother is a professional Tarot reader here in the hills of Byron Bay. Her divinatory practice is always carried out with love and good intention, it provided me with the inspiration to transform this idea into a conceptual album. This is dedicated to her.”
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So, it seemed inevitable that In Hearts Wake would honour the album that ultimately made them and spawned thousands of Tumblr image edits. “The shows went off – I think it pretty much all sold out, there were maybe just 100 tickets left in some of the really large venues, which exceeded our expectations,” Taylor shares at the end of the Decade Of Divination tour, admitting that he’s “paying the sleep debt collector” with a laugh.
“I think there's always a feeling of ‘How many of our current fans actually enjoy that record from that long ago?’ It was amazing to see the turnout and some faces I hadn't seen in so long,” he adds. If the response from Kill Your Stereo readers is anything to go by, current In Hearts Wake fans still care a lot. Especially about the reunion of Fitipaldes and Taylor, who made Australian metalcore history by performing Shapeless (Judgement) before a sold-out Sydney audience.
Taylor and Fitipaldes regularly chat – they’re good mates. “He was asking about something else – I don’t remember what it was, we were just talking about him coming up to Byron,” Taylor starts. “And then I was letting him know when we were down in Sydney next, which was for this tour.
“And he's like, ‘What, you’re doing that tour?!’ Then he asks who was on the line-up, and I told him Stray [From The Path] were on the line-up as well. Next minute, he just said ‘I’m in, bro. Let's do it’. So it came out of a conversation about something else.”
In Hearts Wake were accompanied by New York hardcore legends Stray From The Path and Melbourne's The Gloom In The Corner and NSW's Diamond Construct on all Decade Of Divination dates.
What was remarkable about Fitipaldes’ appearance with In Hearts Wake a few weeks ago was hearing that he still had that it factor. Taylor concurs, “It's not something you lose. I think potentially, one can lose playing an hour-long set straight in terms of endurance – it’s like being match fit. But that muscle still is always there, especially with vocals. I didn't doubt Adrian for a minute.”
The motivation behind the Decade Of Divination tour came from “acknowledging the roots” of In Hearts Wake, Taylor notes. “I'd be lying if I said that this tour wasn’t also for the people who supported the band. It's not just that we want to do this for us, there are so many songs on that record that were the first time people had heard of In Hearts Wake – it was their first encounter with our music.
“So often, the first encounters can be memorable ones and they become very nostalgic to people. To go back and honour that, relive those songs and reawaken those lyrics and see where we were at that stage, and then go through all the content that we were creating at that time to relive those things… it had to be done. It felt right,” Taylor adds. For many fans in Australia, Divination was our introduction to In Hearts Wake. We knew the band was special before the rest of the world did.
On Divination, In Hearts Wake were shooting for the moon and stars. Taylor recalls, “There was no label; there was nothing, so it was a give this our best shot and see what happens. No expectations, and then we were blown absolutely out of the park.” And from their debut, the band utilised thematic strings and applied targets for their following albums, “And that really helps the potency when you look at what’s within these parameters.”
Divination proudly showcased the Tarot theme – “we really dove into that” and “lyrically and visually, Divination applied the seeds for the themes of [the band’s 2014 follow-up album] Earth Walker, without a doubt,” Taylor says. Those themes then inspired 2015’s Skydancer and their 2017 concept album, Ark, and ultimately bled into 2020’s Kaliyuga.
“That would be our ongoing thing that has evolved. And musically, we learnt what good sing-along songs could be, and what were good breakdowns… we figured out what our fans enjoy.” In Hearts Wake’s debut album provided a launch pad for the band that contained many teachings – things that are meant to stay on the album and songs that are supposed to be played live. “It’s a good teaching record, for sure.”
Part of experiencing Divination ten years later is reliving special community moments, and for Taylor and In Hearts Wake, it’s remembering two fans named Dwayne and Tim. “Oh, my god – Dwayne and Tim, they come to everything. They came to Victoria from Canberra, and they've got beards down to here [Taylor gestures to the halfway point of his chest over Zoom],” he laughs.
But Dwayne and Tim are the biggest legends any band can ask for. They’re always at the front of In Hearts Wake shows, and now they have a couple of kids each. “They're just like these reminders… these beautiful minds of these men that just hold it down and keep everyone safe, and they just happen to like our music,” Taylor says, sharing that he’s had “wonderful” conversations with two of the band’s biggest fans.
To In Hearts Wake, it’s not about just playing songs that are ten years or old or two years old, it’s about fans like Dwayne and Tim who are still with them and still enjoying the music. “It’s emotional; it is special. I don't know if many bands get to play for ten years, let alone play a record that came out ten years ago. It’s a privileged opportunity that isn't lost on me.”