California’s New Years Day are a band that have been looming for a while now, like a black cloud coming to rain on your parade. The last few years has seen them gain a considerable momentum, which has now lead them to the release of their hotly anticipated third album, the aptly titled ”Malevolence”.
As popular as they are becoming, New Years Day are still somewhat of a hidden treasure, a band that you seek out and find, then reap the rewards later. Once they have you though, there will be no getting away from them as they are absolutely spellbinding.
As dark in nature as they are, there is very loose feel to their music. This is music that revels in its darkness, but that does it with a maniacal smile rather than moping about in a sea of melodrama. The album’s opening track ‘Kill or be Killed’ shows you who the band are and what they are about right off the bat. Its heavy, melodic and impossibly catchy, and features the band in unison, singing that they are “sick, sick..all of us are sick” it’s delightfully macabre stuff.
Vocalist Ash Costello is like an apple with a concealed razor blade, you can bite but she will bite back twice as hard. This is very much her album, as it’s her lyrics and vocals that are the driving force behind it. She is a vocalist unlike any other in this genre of music, rather than wallowing over a broken heart or begging to be taken back, she is the kind of woman who will send you a voodoo doll in the post then turn up and burn your house down for daring to even think about crossing her.
The themes on ”Malevolence” run the spectrum of moods and feelings, ‘Suffer’ is as close to a love song as you will find here with Ash asking ‘if I suffer for you, would you suffer for me?‘ Then you have ‘Scream’ which is the total flip side and has Ash playing the part of a total sex kitten who promises to make all your dreams come true.
Songs like ‘Relentless’, ‘Left Inside’ and ‘Anthem for the Unwanted’ all outline feelings of strength and a refusal to let people tear you down, they are songs of unity and togetherness. Standing tall and staring the world in the eye, no matter what it throws at you.
There is a vulnerability to Ash as well though, as showcased in ‘Alone’ and ‘Save Me From Myself’ – and while she may be the centrepiece of the band, this is very much a band as a collective and everything here works well to compliment the album as a whole.
Musically they hit all the right notes to strike a balance somewhere between Motionless in White and The Birthday Massacre. Those would be the bands I would point to as a frame of reference to anyone who has never heard them before. It’s dark and at times heavy, but there is a melodic edge to it that helps to elevate it
For a band with an image as dark and morbid as the one New Years Day display, ”Malevolence” is a very human album that draws its inspiration from a very real place, it’s easily relate-able and it will get under your skin. It’s gleeful and dark, but personable and I think with this album it will give an entire audience an album full of lyrics and emotions they can hold onto and cherish, and in the band themselves, a group they can look up to.
”Malevolence” is a giant leap forward for New Years Day, both in terms of the strength of their song writing and how far they pushed their sound and opened themselves up for what is their most personal album to date, but also how they have furthered their lasting appeal. This will be the album that see’s New Years Day step out of shadows and into the light.