An explosive riot upon the senses, the In Valour EP from Elysium is a striking and impressive debut from a UK band we are destined to hear a lot more of. Consisting of four potent and inventive tracks bred from what is at their core a fusion of post hardcore and alternative rock, the release leaves no doubt about the impressive quality of the quartet whilst firing up the strong feeling that they are just scratching the surface of their depths and imagination. The EP has an instant appeal and a slow burn factor which recruits an even richer engagement and hunger for what they offer now and will in the future.
The Watford quartet of Shaun Taylor (vocals/guitarist), Harley Jones (lead guitarist/vocals), Lewis Crawley (drums), and Ollie Reeve (bassist/harsh vocals,) previously played together in Times Like These, the new venture emerging in the latter months of 2012 from the ashes of their previous project when the vocalist departed the band. Taking on a new direction and sound into the new venture, the foursome spent intense time working on and honing their ideas and sound, the In Valour EP their debut introduction.
The title track sets things off impressively, the open melodic enticement matched by a muscular rhythmic and riff cast wrap to instantly engage and open up attention and intrigue. Resting in a potent gait with the vocals of Taylor offering an immediately tasty surface to his delivery matched throughout by the tones of Jones when in union, the track is an eager and persuasive slice of invention. It comes with moments veined with strong whispers of Avenged Sevenfold which makes a familiar but not overriding spice to the encounter whilst the craft of the band grips with compelling skill. The sinews of the song badger and manipulate the listener with riveting hunger whilst the melodic enterprise leaves a brewing greed for more investigation in its wake, whilst the vocals it has to be said seal the deal. They may not be the best you will hear but there is something about all contributors and their union which enhances and brings another outstanding texture and depth to the songs.
The following I’m A Thief But I Keep What I Steal leaps on the ear with the harsh squalls of Reeve firing from within a sonic tease, all framed by heavy boned riffs and mutually aggressive rhythms. Soon joined by the cleaner vocal delivery and a shifting course of invention within the overall wash of intensity, the song pushes forward further thoughts and realisation of the extent to the band’s imagination and promise. Though it does not rival the contagiousness of its predecessor there is still nothing less than rich creative persuasion offered for the listener.
Scars make a friendlier approach to the ear though do not mistake this for weakness, the song a tower of growling riffs and spine strong basslines in league with further immense vocal harmonies and anthemic temptation. Arguably the track misses the chance to really ignite a fire under the passions, elements which really work not pushed far enough to stretch their limits, and there are times where familiarity to existing weaponry is open but it is hard to deny or dismiss the strength of song and band when it is lighting up the passions whilst in its company.
The closing Boy is in many ways the biggest highlight of the release though always challenged severely by the opener. It is a raw and punk scarred triumph with the vocals snarling wonderfully with emotive excess around the now given great harmonies from the three singers combined. Musically the track is abrasive and seductive, the mix of gnawing intensity from riffs and bass with the sonic simmering of the guitar and almost poetical melodic expression just confrontational majestic. The track shows that the band can and will stand apart from the rest, with the bold adventure and enterprise employed here continued ahead it is hard to see the band being lost in the pack.
Elysium still feels like a band finding their feet in their new venture of sound but with the In Valour EP this impressive you can only see them taking their scintillating creativity to game changing heights, and the anticipation of that is already brewing very nicely.
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