Friday, 19 December 2014

Glamour of the Kill's 'After Hours' - EP Review

Despite only releasing their second album Savages (see my review of that here) last year, Glamour of the Kill are back already with a new EP. Savages was a slightly strange album, and one that has not aged well for me. There are some excellent songs on there, but the second half of the album is actually quite poor - and more recent listens have made me realise how weak some of the material is. This is a shame as Glamour of the Kill's self-titled EP and debut album The Summoning where both excellent records with barely a bad track between them. I wonder if the band sensed this, and rushed back into the studio to release a follow-up? Either way, I am glad they did as After Hours is a great listen that has the energy of their earlier work but keeps up the polished sound that was found on Savages. This release also sees the band break free from their record label and go totally independent. A successful Kickstarter campaign funded this venture, and shows that crowdfunding really is the future, especially for small bands. It allows bands to directly work with their fans, which cuts out the middle man and saves money along the way. I am not sure if the greater creative freedom that comes from having no record company pressure, or whether it was the slightly muted reaction to Savages, but After Hours really rocks and gets the band back on track again. If these five songs had been the second half of Savages, then that album would be up there with The Summoning for quality. It definitely gets back to basics, and abandons the experimentation that the band toyed with on the previous album. None of the songs are particularly original, but they are catchy and heavy, which makes for a winning combination. A couple of guest vocalists, which I shall talk about later, step in to help out too, which is sure to help bring more interest to this EP as fans from their respective bands are sure to hear about their contributions here. With the band planning a large UK tour in a few months, it is clear that they feel they have the wind back in their sails with this release!

The catchy single Lights Down is the opening track and is Glamour of the Kill through and through. From the metalcore-inspired riff to the slightly pop-punk edge to the chorus vocals, this is everything they are known for. The verse has a driving rhythm with stop-start guitar riffing, before an explosive chorus kicks in that shows vocalist and bassist Davey Richmond's knack for a catchy melody. It has a sleazy feel to it, which is expanded upon in the equally sleazy accompanying video. We are all Cursed is arguably better though! It has a sense of real urgency with frantic riffing and some nice drum patterns from Ben Thomson. The verses constantly mix up the tempo, with fast and groovier sections sitting side-by-side; before a really melodic chorus takes things to the next level. Richmond's vocals always have a slightly cheesy edge to them, but they work really well and always manage to draw the listener in. Out of Control is another rocking little song and features Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) on vocals during the song's second verse. It focuses on groove, and utilises some more electronic elements, like Break from Savages. The pulsing synths really add to the overall melodic nature of the song, and sit well over the tight riffing of guitarists Mike Kingswood and Chris Gomerson. It might be too close to Break for some people's tastes, but I like this song and think the synth elements work well for the band, and I would not be surprised to see them expanding this on future works. Earthquake is another classic Glamour of the Kill-type song and features Craig Mabbitt (Blessthefall; Escape the Fate) on vocals during certain parts of the song, usually duelling with Richmond in an effective way. There is a metalcore-esque breakdown too with staccato riffing and some harsh vocals - something which the band utilise sparingly but always effectively. The EP ends with Blood Drunk which is another excellent song. This would have really sat well on The Summoning as it has more of that vibe with a catchy riff and plenty of double bass drumming. Richmond has more grit in his vocal delivery on this song too, which I like, but the chorus is more epic with soaring harmonies and subtle gang vocals from the rest of the band adding volume. It also features a nice guitar solo from Kingswood, which shows that he can play more than just chunky riffs. Overall, this is a really enjoyable piece of work from a band that needed the shot of adrenaline after a lacklustre last album. I hope this EP gets the recognition it deserves, and leads to great things for the band.

The self-released EP was released on 17th November 2014. Below is the band's promotional video for Lights Down.

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