Crashing drums. Angst-ridden vocals. Passion-filled basslines that penetrate a fiery riff without mercy. No matter where you look in the punishingly metallic universe created within “Why Oh Why” from Walker’s Cay, menacing musicality is waiting to wash over you. The same can be said for the profoundly progressive “Tell Me” as well, but if you think that Walker’s Cay went and used the same framework to construct the first two songs they’d ever release as a group, you’ve got another thing coming. Creating a sense of diversity within your output is one of the first rules of making it in rock, and if there’s one thing that I could tell about this Canadian outfit right off the bat, it was their respect for the traditions set before them. In “Why Oh Why” and “Tell Me,” Walker’s Cay get back to the basics of hard rock intensity while looking forward into the future of the genre without hesitation or self-absorption. They’re on a campaign to restore order to their genre, and with a pair of singles like these to set the tone for their career, I’d say they’re already making smarter moves than many of their commercially-bankrolled contemporaries.

There’s a lot of emotion in the vocal tracks of both songs here, and to a large extent, I think the tone of the singing is what makes the lyrics feel and sound real and rich with vitality. There’s never any doubt as to whether or not these players are invested in the content they’ve produced for us in their music; if anything, they demonstrate an overwhelming connection to the medium that could be a bit much for non-hardcore rockers.

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The bass presence in “Tell Me” is absolutely breathtaking, especially as we witness it shape the groove beneath the percussion, and if it were to be as beefy in a live performance as it is here, it could bring down a packed concert hall easily. Walker’s Cay are a band that was made for the stage, and seeing them in-person as soon as the present quarantine has come to an end should be among every listener’s social priorities.

I just found out about Walker’s Cay recently, but now that I’ve got a taste of their firebrand indie metal handiwork, I’m going to be steadily watching their progress as they emerge from the Canadian underground. They’re coming into the spotlight amidst one of the most competitive eras in the history of rock, and as much as I hate to admit it as an American, their scene in Toronto is undisputedly one of the most exciting in the western hemisphere this year. It’s going to take a lot of time and hard work on their part, but if Walker’s Cay can find a channel through which they can get their music to the Canadian and American masses this summer, I think they’ll have a genuine chance at finding a home on the mainstream side of the dial a lot sooner than later. I’m impressed with their debut, and I have a feeling you will be too.

Sebastian Cole