Whether 2021 evolves into something as devastating for so many as its predecessor or the finest moment of enjoyment (and relief) in recent times, it certainly has got off to a big bang with the release of the debut EP from UK metallers Old Selves. Unleashed on the very first breath of this year, Two Minds is a ferocious introduction to the Yorkshire hailing newcomers; one which has only further impressed and intoxicated with every listen.
Predominantly York based, Old Selves have forged a sound nurtured in the inspirations of artists panning from While She Sleeps, Blood Youth and Trivium through to Lamb of God and Mendehlson. Though already beginning to find their creative feet, the first coronavirus lockdown gave the band the chance to truly evolve the individuality and power in that sound and write songs which together hungrily demand attention within Two Minds.
The united enterprise of Felix Manders-Wilde (vocals/guitar), Marcus Pickles (vocals/guitar), Ray Kilvington (bass) and Tom Lawrence (drums) immediately wrap ears in drama through EP opener Sonnet for Sorrow. It first breaths are atmospheric, becoming increasingly evocative as keys emerge in the sonically bred climate, and then become firmly imposing as raw throated vocals rasp in observant discontent. Drama soaks every note and breath of its brief confrontation, a potent warning and prospective death knell on the chaos which surrounds us. The final toll evokes the ravenous roar of the EP’s following title track, riffs a swarm of aggression driven by equally irritable rhythms. Within the tempest though, vocals provide a great diversity alongside the lead causticity whilst melodic threads vein and entwine the instinctive ire of the song. An ebb and flow to the creative voracity only brings greater twists and bolder imagination, the song a fusion of styles forged in the fire of discontent and swiftly compelling.
The great start to the release is only escalated by Population, the track an immediate tapestry of riff cast trespass and passion sparking grooves which became more involved and anthemically rousing by the minute. Similarly individual prowess blossomed as the song bares its impassioned ‘call to arms’, its creative layers exposed by the listen as its muscle sprung voracity was greedily devoured.
The brief atmospheric instrumental of Lost follows; its melancholic reflection the calm before the tempestuousness that is 444. The song rises up with a similarly calm and melodic repose, strands of guitar winding around lean and more abrasive vocals, the latter soon inciting the track’s quarrelsome heart. Yet as hostile rhythms strike and warring riffs harass, it is an unbridled contagion which swept up spirit and involvement in its infectious and emotionally explosive roar.
The track is superb, gripping best track honours for us but soon having to share with EP closer Seat in the Hall. Immediately, spiralling grooves loaded with melodic hooks rise through the ferocity of voice and sound though both are skilfully tempered with contrasting aspects in their aggression and character. Unpredictability, maybe a more teasing but firm essence within the EP before, is potently to the fore of the song, adding to its stand out presence and potential loaded majesty. If a sign of things to come, the anticipation of even greater moments with the band is already looking ahead, though it is fair to say that Two Minds has declared Old Selves one exciting and rousing new protagonist within the UK metal scene.
The Two Minds EP is out now; available @ https://oldselves.bandcamp.com/album/two-minds
Pete RingMaster 07/01/2021