It’s hard to pinpoint where bands like New Year’s Day (NYD) sit in terms of audience or even genre. On the one hand, they appeal to a wide audience with their poppy appeal accompanied by metal influence, but ask a lot of people about NYD and they might not even have listened to them, yet. I suppose they sit with the current wave of rock/metal bands that are subgenre ambiguous and were inspired by the nu metal and alt-rock bands of the 1990’s. I’d also place In This Moment, Motionless In White and even Butcher Babies into this category.
NYD has previously shown a lot of promise, especially with their last album Malevolence which was released four years ago. Time flies! Between that, vocalist Ash Costello has explored her other band The Haxans, the band have gone through a few line-up changes and a covers EP. So where does that leave us in 2019?
The new album from NYD Unbreakable could be a triumphant follow-up to Malevolence or could go the other way. Covers from their 2018 EP Diary Of A Creep suggest a love for the radio-friendly side of rock n roll, and it shows. These tracks, although sprinkled in a Tim Burton-esque horror garnish, could all fly on mainstream radio. If Panic! At The Disco can have the most played song on the radio right now, why can’t other rock bands?
Even from the opening track ‘Come For Me’, this is apparent. This could even be a track by In This Moment given enough re-working. It’s also clear what the main attraction is to NYD, Ash Costello. Man alive, does she have a set of pipes on her. Fusing a female Chris Cornell with Courtney Love and Joan Jett. Perfect rock vocal right there.
On the surface, NYD are attempting to do what BMTH and Panic! have succeeded at, and bands like BFMV have not… go full on ‘pop’. Unbreakable is possibly the most heavily produced NYD album today, thanks to Mitchell Marlow who has notably worked with Butcher Babies and In This Moment. There’s no shame in bands adapting to a more ‘current’ sound, but this may not be the album fans wanted. ‘My Monsters’ is a great example of this, Ash’s vocal are drowned in effects and synths. Take this away and we would possibly get what we want from a new NYD album.
This is not a bad album, in fact far from it. Just not the album we expected. The contemporary guitar sound is still there in tracks like ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ and fans who are into the modern goth style will love this. Simply put, this needs the raw energy Malevolence had. The great songwriting is still present. Closing track ‘I Survived’ is particularly heart-wrenching, and will certainly resonate with a large portion of the band’s fan base.
Overall this is a decent entry in NYD’s back catalogue, but may be seen as their ‘Black Album’ in terms of the turning point in their career. On the other hand, it’s not their best album either, and could be seen as their ‘St. Anger’. The best thing about NYD is the fact you never know what you will get next.