New Years Day have grown over the past few years, breaking through into the mainstream metal scene. Unbreakable is the band’s fourth studio album following the release of their EP Diary Of A Creep released in January 2018. Vocalist Ash Costello said, regarding writing Unbreakable, “[w]e set out to write the poppiest metal album, or the most metal pop album.” In this respect, they succeeded.
The album opens with Come For Me. Powerful, heavy riffs and energetic synths create a ludicrously dynamic opening to the album. Their distortion tones are distinctive and blend seamlessly with the bass tones and percussion – a unique sound that runs through this album. Ash’s vocals have an aggressive edge that comes through in both her clean and harsh singing styles. This really lifts the energy levels and power of the track. The catchy chorus brings out the pop aspects in this track. However, there is an elephant in the room that must be addressed. Back in 2012 In This Moment released Blood, an incredibly dynamic track with energy, aggressive vocals and a chorus hook that stood out as being very different. The similarities between Come For Me and Blood can’t be overlooked. Following the release of Come For Me as a single, numerous comments on the YouTube video highlight a large number of fans have noticed the similarities. Bands taking inspiration from each other is nothing new and is not necessarily a negative thing. What appears strange, and is potentially an issue, is opening a new album with a track in a style that is so easily recognisable as originating from another band.
As the album progresses New Years Day come into their own and their own sound clearly comes through. Unbreakable sees experimentation from the group and its good to see them pushing their sound. Skeletons is an effective pop track with a simple but well organised structure. The piano melodies and softer vocal style from Ash brings an interesting contrast from the heavier, aggressive tones. It would be good to see this track be developed further. A couple of minutes into this track it does become repetitive quickly and doesn’t go anywhere musically. The title track Unbreakable is diverges with a strong, anthemic chorus. This track has a feel of a pop ballad, with the marching beat giving a strong sensation of movement. The verse feels very much in their song writing style; it’s the chorus that really makes this track stand out. Despite being one of the sparser instrumentation sections on the album, the chorus is very dynamic and shows off a different side to their sound. Done With You continues in a similar style. The dramatic orchestral strings combined with the distorted instruments creates an emotive atmosphere throughout the track.
Poltergeist opens with creepy bells and a serene piano melody, along with a vocal line that is heavily pop influenced. All three parts are good individually but seem odd placed together – the bells feel out of place, like a last minute add-in. The chorus follows their usual sound with the distortion – maintaining the piano melody throughout adds an extra depth to the track. This track brings something a bit different to the album; the instrumentation and vocals, in the chorus particularly, soar. The creepy sound manifests later in the album in Nocturnal. This track takes an interesting turn incorporating creepy melodies and rave-style synths. The energy levels are very high in this track; it’s good to see that the tracks maintain the fast-pace even towards the close of the album. Catchy chorus hooks are prevalent in many of the tracks on this album, and Nocturnal is no exception. The creepy melody runs throughout the track and begins to feel somewhat overused towards the end, developments in the melody line or the synth sound would have lifted this track higher.
New Years Day have returned with a very energetic, dynamic and experimental album. There are some great tracks, along with a few that could be better with more development. Regardless of this, it’s great to see that they are experimenting with their sound whilst maintaining a cohesive link throughout all of their tracks. New Years Day are continuing to grow, and this is a strong album
For fans of: In This Moment, Halestorm, Butcher Babies
Words by Holly Royle
‘Unbreakable’ by New Years Day is out now on Century Media Records.