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Review : Villainous – ‘Villainous’ EP

To keep a radio show going every week for several years and keep it as fresh as possible I have to listen to a hell of a lot of music and check out a hell of a lot of new bands out there. It amazes me just how much talent is around in the underground scenes at the moment but like anyone doing this day in day out its hard not to become a little jaded when listening to the thirtieth band in a day inspired by the same bigger band of that moment. Which is why its always such a genuine pleasure to hit play on a new EP you’ve received and feel the grin stretch across your face as the riffs come thick, fast and most importantly from the heart.

Villainous are obviously huge fans of many a metal genre, they wear their influences on their sleeves but instead of striving to sound like a particular band or style they effortlessly blend these characteristics into something which sounds both familiar and instantly warming yet also new and exciting. Along the EP’s (sadly short) length there are traces of Mastodon, Alice In Chains, Pantera, Conjurer, Tool and many other amazing bands yet none of these songs sound like they belong to anyone but Villainous.

With only three tracks this EP is going to leave you wanting more…a lot more but the three songs on offer here do have a surprising amount of variety. Opener ‘Solace’ is a blend of massive riffs, twisting tempo changes and a great blend of harsh staccato vocal to big chorus melody. Production wise think Mastodon’s ‘Blood Mountain’, everything is fairly dirty, sludgy yet clear enough to be able to hear each individual component. It sounds raw and aggressive, almost live in its energy…and real! I should warn you that you will be humming that chorus in the shower for weeks.

 

‘Obselete’ starts off with a Tool vibe before hitting maximum Alice In Chains with a beautiful bouncy riff reminiscent of ‘Man In A Box’, breaking into Mastodon before going full Kerbdog on the chorus harmony! The inclusion of Neil MacCallum’s manic solo midway does wonders to break up the established pattern of the song before a return to the chorus and a great half-time stomp for the closer.

Closing track ‘Ephemeral’ slows the pace and allows for Sean Stakims vocals to shine as they dance between glorious melody and passionate shouts. This is the most ‘Progressive’ of their numbers which utilizes a slow build of dread which drops completely before slamming back in for its closing twists leaving you, the listener to reach for the play button again!
For a debut EP I believe this self-titled effort is going to leave a huge impact on many a listener and have a lot of folk on the lookout for what the band do next. It’s a great blend of retro and new metal styles which will bring in listeners from multiple genres, it sounds familiar, it sounds new but best of all it sounds bloody awesome!

The Villainous EP is available from all major distributors from 10/10/18 including here: https://villainousbanduk.bandcamp.com/releases

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