WALLS OF JERICHO
'No One Can Save You From Yourself'
Walls of Jericho were formed around 1998 following the demise of two Detroit based bands which both fizzled out at around the same time, prompting guitarist Mike Hasty and bass player Aaron Ruby to join forces and create a new band, under the Walls Of Jericho banner.
Around the same time, vocalist Candace Kucsulain had also exited her most recent band after a two year stint and successfully auditioned for a place in the band. The fledgling act had no permanent guitarist to join along with Hasty, so they got round this by employing friends to fill in until a more permanent member could be found. Eventually, the band decided to ask close friend Chris Rawson to join as a full-time member as he would be able to offer more commitment to the band.
In April 1999 the band released their first EP, titled called 'A Day And A Thousand Years', via Florida based Eulogy Recordings and the band began to touring in support of it through which they attracted the attention of various record labels. The band eventually signed to Trustkill Records who released their debut full length album, 'The Bound Feed The Gagged' in 2000. WoJ continued to tour throughout 2000 and 2001 with the then drummer leaving and a temporary one was installed to complete the touring cycle until a permanent replacement could be found.
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Unsuccessful auditions to fill the vacant drummer position followed and the band felt that none of the applicants met their criteria so they were forced into a hiatus that lasted two years. It wasn't until April 2003 that the band finally recruited a new drummer and began touring again, as well as writing new material. The second album, 'All Hail The Dead', was completed in September 2003 and released in February 2004 – a full five years since their debut album had surfaced.
The 'All Hail The Dead' album was a critical success throughout the hardcore/metal scene and propelled the band to the forefront of the hardcore scene, and saw them supporting Hatebreed and Sick of It All as well as headlining tours of their own. Unfortunately the band lost their third drummer in the process, but the vacant position was filled relatively quickly by long-time friend Dustin Schoenhofer, who remains with the band today.
In 2006, WoJ released their third album, titled 'With Devils Amongst Us All' which was followed by bouts of touring including appearances at Ozzfest 2006, supporting Bury Your Dead, Sick Of It All, Madball, Terror and Comeback Kid before they flew over to Europe to headline their own UK tour. In early 2007, the band toured Mexico before embarking on an extensive US tour which was followed by appearances at many of the big European summer festivals including Hellfest, Pressure Fest, With Full Force Festival and the Summer Blast Festival.
As 2008 dawned, the band released their Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour) produced EP, 'Redemption' which included a cover of the classic Sixties tune by The Animals, 'The House Of The Rising Sun'. The EP was an acoustic-only release and represented a significant departure from the style of their previous studio albums. In mid-2008, their fourth full length album, 'The American Dream' was released and the band once again toured to support it linking up with bands like Disturbed, Slipknot and Machine Head as well as taking part in the inaugural Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.
Since then, the band have been on another enforced break but have recently broken cover once again with their fifth album, 'No One Can Save You From Yourself'. The album, as seems to be the fashion recently, kicks off with an intro, which here consists of a wailing siren and a distorted "emergency broadcast" announcement before the drums, courtesy of Schoenhofer, and guitar build up before the track explodes into 'Illusion Of Safety' where the pace picks up as the vocals from Kucsulain blast out with power in what is ultimately a short number that feels like it's cut off in its prime.
Title track, 'No One Can Save You From Yourself', follows straight away but for me it's not really the outstanding track that befits a title track. Sure, Schoenhofer beats his drum kit into submission during the faster mid-section and the guitar riff gels the song together but there's something ultimately unsatisfying about the whole thing.
'Fight The Good Fight', on the other hand, fares much better with the twin guitar sound of Rawson and Hasty during an intro section that takes its time giving the listener a small respite from the relentless fury of previous numbers, but it's a short lived one as the tempo quickly picks up once again. Schoenhofer lays down a simple but impressive beat whilst the guitar riff really dominates the track. Kucsulain's vocals are short and to the point with a somewhat shouty chorus that ensures that it sticks in your psyche long after the track's finished.
'Cutbird' has Schoenhofer dictating the beat here as he powers through the track, no doubt dismantling his drum kit as he goes. The guitars, however, are reduced to almost supporting artists as the incredible talent of Schoenhofer is laid bare. There's another shouty, but enjoyable, chorus and this track became a firm favourite of mine after relatively few listens.
'Relentless' is slightly different with its spoken word intro which takes you into a solid mid paced number, and a favourite of mine since the first listen. Schoenhofer pulls out all the stops here in a great performance whilst the relentless (no pun intended) guitar riff keeps the song moving forwards. Once again there are backing vocals during the chorus which gives it an extra boost but all in all it's a truly outstanding number from start to finish.
The most aggressive track here, by some margin, is 'Damage Done' which is led by the metronomic drumming of Schoenhofer whilst Kucsulain excels herself with the lead vocal whilst she's joined by the backing vocals once again add a bit of extra power. There's a slightly disjointed instrumental section in the middle but that's the only criticism of another great track.
The fast numbers are in sharp contrast to album closer 'Probably Will', which is the closest thing to a ballad here, as a piano makes its appearance and it sees Kucsulain giving her most laid back performance of the album. Its simplicity shows that this band can do subtlety as well as full on metalcore and though the lyrics may need downbeat, the track is never morose and shows a completely different side to the band.
Overall it's an interesting album that, even if you're not a fan of metalcore, will keep you interested and entertained throughout.
You can hear 'Relentless' here:
'No One Can Save You From Yourself' Track Listing:
Illusion Of Safety
No One Can Save You From Yourself
Fight The Good Fight
Wrapped In Violence
Beyond All Praise
Walls Of Jericho are:
Candace Kucsulain – Vocals
Chris Rawson – Guitar
Mike Hasty – Guitar
Aaron Ruby – Bass Guitar
Dustin Schoenhofer – Drums