Written by Molly Van Engelenhoven
“Imagine if Dexter Morgan, with side-kick Eric Northman, hosted a late, late, late night talk show in a haunted mansion deep within the enchanted cemetery. New Years Day would most assuredly be their house band,” reads the description on the band’s Facebook page. More simply put, if Motionless In White and Evanescence had a musical baby, it would be New Years Day.
Hailing from Anaheim, California, New Years Day has cycled through many band members, retaining only one member of their original line-up, Ashley ‘Ash’ Costello, lead vocalist. In 2015, Ash Costello and Nicki Misery (lead guitar since 2011), were joined by new members Jeremy Valentyne (guitar and unclean vocals), and Trixx (drums). After cruising through Van’s Warped Tour this summer, New Year’s Day released a new album, “Malevolence,” and are currently on their first headlining tour, with Get Scared, Eyes Set To Kill, New Volume and It’s Awake. They will be playing at In The Venue in Salt Lake City on October 29th.
New Years Day has gracefully evolved into a new sound, peaking with this, their third full-length album. This album expands on the dark tone heard in their most popular single “Angel Eyes”, featuring Chris Motionless, resulting with a solid gothic metal album. When coupling “Malevolence” with their first album “My Dear,” a blend of both creepy and kitschy, in generic pop-punk, it’s hard to remember you’re listening to the same band.
So, is the new album any good? Prior to releasing this album, Costello stated that it was the most personal album that they had released to date and it feels that way. The songs focus less on relationships and more on internal struggles. It’s easy to feel the raw, honest emotion through the lyrics, especially in songs like “Suffer” and “Defame Me.” There seems to be an overarching theme of being betrayed or destroyed by those who were previously close to us and the internal repercussions of this.
As usual, Costello’s vocals are on point. Her voice expresses fluid dynamics and serves as a beautiful vessel for the emotionally-charged lyrics. To top it all off, Costello experiments with some unclean vocals, which only enhance the already raw feeling of the album. Her unclean vocals are best showcased in the songs “Alone” and “Malevolence.”
Musically, this album is much heavier than previous albums. It’s swimming in drop-A guitar chord progressions and slow, pounding drum beats. The new Valentyne/Misery guitar duo create intricate riffs on top of quintessential buzz-saw guitar chords. However, there’s a significant lack of dynamic, powerful solos that are often a trademark of metal music. It seems that the talent from both Misery and Valentyne is very underplayed. After about track four, you start to get a sense that the chords are repeating over and over again. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – these chords work well with the tone of the album – but there’s no denying the repetitiveness by the end of the album.
This album has made it clear that New Years Day has found their style niche in music and that they’re sticking with it.
Album rating: 7/10
My favorite tracks: Kill Or Be Killed, Relentless, Defame Me, Suffer, Left Inside.