New Years Day – Unbreakable review

An impressive return, with extra pop gloss 9/10New Years Day Band Photo Ash Costello

New Years Day return with the sequel to Malevolence (2015) with Unbreakable. Considering the line-up and management changes that the band have experienced since their formation in 2005, it does seem more than apt as a title.

Band leader and singer Ash Costello explains:

“If I had to look at my life like a timeline of colours, when I wrote our last album, Malevolence (2015), it was pitch, charcoal black. But in the last couple years, the band cut off toxic people, built a new business team, and we’re stronger than we’ve ever been. So when we went to make Unbreakable, I wanted the process to be fun, to reflect our renewed vibe and energy. We set out to write the poppiest metal album, or the most metal pop album.”

From their No Doubt influenced pop punk roots, to an acoustic version of Pantera’s Fucking Hostile, New Years Day straddle genres while producing music that is above all, engaging. While the lineup has changed, Ash Costello has remained a constant with Nikki Misery remaining in the fold since 2011.

“I feel like NEW YEARS DAY was really born when our EP Epidemic (2014) came out; it was the first taste of who we really are,. Everything before that feels like a different band, and technically was. Then Malevolence came out, it was sort of our punch in the dick to the music industry.”

Costello has stated that an album worth of tracks had been written and then discarded in 2017 along with the existing business team “ That group of songs are gone. But Unbreakable came out of it, and also our new label and management. It was about taking control of our art. We did, and everything good followed.”

This includes the combination of producers Mitch Marlow (All That Remains, In This Moment) and Scott Stevens (Halestorm, Shinedown) which were individually working with Costello “Marlow brings the blood and guts, Stevens the melodies” to embody the personality and style conveyed by NYD.

Come For Me opens the album as the latest single which apparently took a year to write. A dark hybrid of Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl and  In This Moment’s Blood with hints of Lacuna Coil, but still with accessible roots. This is very heavy pop, somewhat over produced for my taste but expertly crafted and the kind of track you would certainly crank up if you heard it on mainstream radio. Costello has this to add

“ It’s also the first song we wrote for the album AND the first song that I got to have 100% say in exactly what I wanted, how I wanted it to sound, what I wanted the song to do and what I wanted to say. No more metaphors. If you don’t like me then say it to my face and not behind a screen. I’ll guest list you.”

Gently, MissUnderstood starts with pop R&B vibes before the staggering vocals of Costello dominate, accessorised with blast beats and dirty guitarwork. Based on the live performances I’ve viewed, there is no necessity for the prevalence of auto tune other than as an artistic choice. It has been over two decades since Cher released Believe, which made novel use of of the pitch-altering effect. It simply bothers me when I hear it used by talented singers (don’t get me started on Pod singing in Game of Thrones). It’s a great pop-rock song with sleazy undertones that should have great appeal. The first single to be released from this opus was  Skeletons, back in November 2018. Bombastic, with a leading metalcore-esque riff following a piano based introduction and   an intrinsically catchy chorus.

Peculiarly, the band has claimed to be releasing tracks in order of reverse preference! If you have not yet listened to Skeletons, give it a chance here:

The title track Unbreakable is an ode to defiance and strength. Grittier, with some wonderful vocal work on this most pared back of numbers. Industrial pop rock vibes harness second release, Shut Up. Heavy on the electronica and autotune we enter almost into EDM territory, a few expletives removed and this could be a summer hit,  but “don’t tell me what I want, shut up and give it to me!”

Done With You gives a more melancholic and edgy feel. Slower in tempo, but with a great anthemic build it’s feistier than you realise. Chimes, keys and an undulating melody with panned vocals give Poltergeist an eerie edge. Break My Body with its passionate vocals and inflections are sure to get you moving and I’m sure will have an incredible live impact. Sorry Not Sorry returns us to a dystopian, industrial vibe and despite the euphoric chorus this is a gutsy affair. My Monsters (I’m stronger than my monsters) is a slower tempo ballad before the Pendulum-like, high energy, fairground ride that is Nocturnal! Punchy and drenched in effects, it’s a showstopper of a tune! I Survived closes with echoes of perhaps Rihanna style. (This is not a genre with which I’m familiar, but she does have Nuno Bettencourt [Extreme] as her live guitarist.) Not only has Ash Costello survived; she has done so in style. Many styles. An impressive return, with extra pop gloss 9/10

Unbreakable track listing:

  1. Come For Me
  2. MissUnderstood
  3. Skeletons
  4. Unbreakable
  5. Shut Up
  6. Done With You
  7. Poltergeist
  8. Break My Body
  9. Sorry Not Sorry
  10. My Monsters
  11. Nocturnal
  12. Survived

Unbreakable is available to purchase now via Amazon

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