Heavy, imposing, and rigorously compelling, [Press Start] the debut album from UK rockers Target: Renegades, may not be a ground-breaking offering but it is a release demanding attention and inspiring perpetual returns to its muscular arms. Everything about it snarls and confronts, but with rugged charm and passionate intensity which turns familiarity into a raw asset, the album is a potent and riveting declaration of the accomplished craft and rich potential within its creators.
Hailing from the North-West of England, Target: Renegades has been earning strong attention and acclaim with their ferocious hard rock bred sound, 2012 seeing them voted by music fans as the Unsigned Revolutions Award winners. Alongside the release of their debut release, the Corruption For Beginners EP and the band’s stature as an impressive live proposition, which has seen them play with the likes of The Vibrators and I Am Giant, it has been a powerful emergence which [Press Start] only reinforces and pushes to another level. Produced by Daniel Lovett-Horn of another of the UK’s best formidable underground talents, Promethium, [Press Start] hits hard and with ferocious relish from the start , showing the quartet of vocalist Adam Hulse, guitarist Daniel Fide, and bassist Jack Hamnett, alongside drummer Steven Erskine who has since left to be replaced by Matt, as a thoroughly masterful and thrilling incitement.
The album opens with Once Was Strength and an initial web of sonic enticement from the guitars. It is an imagination awakening start which intrigues without setting a fire, though the addition of a dark throated bassline and crisp percussion certainly enlivens the lure. A great roughly touching groove soon ignites infectiousness in the song, egged on by the great abrasing and potent tones of Hulse, whilst a heavy swagger is soon in charge as the encounter increases its impressive persuasion. Rhythms badger ears with the same composed relish as elsewhere throughout and though it lacks a final spark to explode into an outright storm, the track is an exciting and captivating opening to the album.
The following I’m Not Emotional is more of the same but with an openly distinct character. Contagious and clad in intimidating sinews, the track strides with imposing antagonism and creative tenacity to push the release up another step right away. Vocally Hulse again impresses whilst rhythms dangle addictive bait before ears, it all glazed with a sonic mist and causticity woven skilfully by Fide. The bass of Hamnett almost stalks everything around it, again its heavy grizzle of a tone magnetic within the sonic smog. The track is riveting and makes a raw tempest to which the following melodic beauty of emotive Wounded offers a superb contrast and companion. Showing more of the vocal depth of Hulse and creative potency of the band, the song plays, as its predecessor in many ways, like a mix of nineties band Skyscraper and Pearl Jam. It is a tantalising and bewitching mix of power balladry and raging passion, which with the last song sets the pinnacle of the album.
Oro provides a swift and muscular kick spawned from scarring riffs and menace drenched rhythms whilst vocally Hulse whips up an anthemic dirt ball of confrontation and antagonism. It is a great addictive track continuing the lofty plateau of the album, and a riot you can only imagine whipping up live audiences in an eager frenzy. Its hostile stomp makes way for the similarly intensive but more restrained Vulture, another song employing recognisable essences but turning them into a flavoursome spice within the band’s own honest and accomplished recipe. Once more a grungy infusion makes its potency known to add further flavour, though ultimately the enjoyable encounter does not manage to rival certainly the trio of excellent triumphs before it, nor the insatiable rampage of These Eyes Judge which follows. Storming ears with fiery riffs and rapier like beats the track roars and charges with merciless intent across its length, merging this rabidity with more restrained moments which lack the spirit and fire of the rest of the nevertheless gripping encounter but certainly does its potency no harm at all.
Its imaginative and stirring finale leaves an enthralling enticement which is immediately taken up by Say Goodnight and its opening dark roaming bass shadows and spicy sonic weave of guitar. The final track of the album stalks ears and thoughts with its persistent heavy footed and evocatively intensive presence, providing an atmospheric landscape unafraid to visit elegant and melodic embraces which in turn explore rawer and more impassioned blazes of adventure and sonic bluster. It is a glorious end to the alum, its most adventurous and sublimely provocative offering leaving the listener basking in the potential it alone offers for the band.
[Press Start] is a striking and exciting debut from a band you can only see growing stronger and more boldly inventive as they evolve and explore. Target: Renegades is the name to watch out for, one as it is easy to assume we will be hearing plenty more of ahead.
[Press Start] is available now digitally and on CD @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/press-start/id890500862 and http://www.targetrenegades.bigcartel.com/product/press-start-album-cd respectively
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