What We Do in Secret, the Memphis-based metalcore band signed to Facedown Records, is strong in their first full-length release, but it’s not like it came out of nowhere. Following two EPs and as many oft-viewed music videos, Repose is a sturdy collection that defines itself in a steady and emotionally-charged heart that beats with rage and hurt. The album leads with “Repose,” a wise choice in collaboration for a debut single (partnering with Silent Planet’s Garrett Russell) and is an exemplary track of how WWDIS is executing their version of a hold-nothing-back approach while proving they aren’t afraid to be vulnerable while they’re at it.
The album is a feast of variety, but the best part about Repose is that it keeps the vulnerable, raw edges you want from a debut release. Sometimes, there’s an undeniably authentic punk-rock energy. Sometimes, you can almost see the spit flying from Josh Adams onto his mic. Sometimes, you feel the brutality he throws into his screams. The album begins with a short spoken word (screamed word?) segment, which ignites the work and will prove to reinforce the raw edge; melody doesn’t enter to balance the scales until the chorus of the third track “Rebirth,” a track replete with cries for help. As in: If you’re looking for aggressive, dirty vocals, WWDIS is here for you.
In the midst of all of the ripping riffs and heavy punches, “Remain” is the tender spot. It’s the first time the vocal gets pushed front and center, though it’s a little short-lived; Silent Planet’s Garrett Russell delivers a guest spot that’s a combination of deep deep growls and his signature “Depths”-style, emotionally-charged prose that ties pain to hope. Towards the end of the album, there’s a palpable recognition of how severe and powerful life crises can be. Through the remaining two tracks, full of intensity in flow, the songwriting stands out. “Home” feels like a plea for acceptance and has a grasp on the guttural feel of desperation, and the roller coaster of “Silhouette” has masterfully placed peaks and valleys. “Vindication” provides a great summary of the instrumental capability and vocal breadth of WWDIS.
Repose wraps up the theme of loss, which is to say that no matter how far away you get, you’re never too gone for help. The work boasts instrumental performances that aren’t complicated but settle nicely in nonetheless, wrapping the album in a sensical package. It’s not a gentle approach, and it shouldn’t be. The theme of the work begat its approach, and it succeeds in its mission. Is it a standout among its peers? Time will tell. But the themes they espouse will always be timeless.