*Sounds From The Underground*
Album: Self –Tightled EP
Label: Crooked Noise Records
Genre: Metallic Hardcore, Hardcore Punk
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: 3rd November 2017
Like a majority of English Metallic Hardcore fans a massive hole was left in my black, little heart when the boys in Lock & Key decided to call it a day in 2016. In the short time that the band was together they created a number of great tracks (check out their one full length release ‘The Divide’ for example) and plenty of great memories with a countless number of shows all over their home country and beyond. Fortunately, former bassist turned guitarist Danny Reeves and drummer Josh Murphy have risen from the ashes of Lock & Key like a phoenix to create a brand new project and spoiler alert: they go just as hard. The name of the aforementioned phoenix is Lifetight. Four young men from the East Midlands of England who share the common goal of creating heavy, riff driving Metallic Hardcore with driving beats, crushing breakdowns and emotive vocals and lyrics. If you are a fan of bands such as The Ghost Inside, Hatebreed and Stray From The Path then this brand new EP ‘Self-Tightled’ should catch your attention very quickly.
The album opens with the rather aptly named track ‘Energy’ which has been used prior to the release of the EP to promote exactly what they boys do best. The track boasts the kind of opening riff that wouldn’t be too out of place on the ‘Villains’ album by Stray From The Path. The tone has clearly been painstakingly chosen by Reeves to fit in perfectly with the very full drum sound of Murphy and the bouncing bass guitar laid down by the four stringer Elliot Black. The vocals are straight up hardcore, this normally would bore me to tears but when they are delivered with the kind of intensity and raw emotion that you see from Thomas Smith here changes the game entirely. The lyrics are clearly recognisable and lay out a message of unity and positivity which is a real breath of fresh air in the often bleak world of heavy music. The gang vocals are sparing used and this serves brilliantly when it comes to the impact that they deliver on this particularly track. Sometimes, less really is more.
The next track ‘Misguided’ brags some massive riffs from the outset that give off some not to dissimilar from the Metal/Hardcore titans Hatebreed. This is the kind of music that is going to cost some concert goers teeth, especially when the song breaks down nice and early. This is going to give the hardcore dancers and pit-dwellers something to fight to. Once again the guitar tone is thick and highly distorted and gives a real sense of power throughout. The strong points of Reeves’ are not so much in complex riffs and lead runs but the amount of harmonic trickery and feedback manipulation that is used (in the same way that guitarists Thomas Williams from Stray From The Path and Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machines do). Whichever way you look at it, you can not deny that the grooves that form the backbone and heart of this track are going to give you the kind of involuntary head banging and foot tapping twitches that are hard to ignore. Towards the end of the song the pace changes and we enter the realm of the Two-step, which is where the swagger and the confidence of this band really shines through.
The third song on the release ‘Big Boys House’ carries on in the same vein. Once again the energy levels here are through the roof which means that when it is transferred to a live setting it is going to have waves of concert goers crowd surfing stage-wards and pits circling relentlessly. Musically this track gives of the same sort of feel that you get when put an Obey the Brave album on. The drum beats are once again the driving force as they partner up with the low tuned bass along with the heavy, metallic guitar riffs as they puff out their chest and show their brute strength. Perhaps the most interesting part of this track is the vocal performance from Smith. The aggression in his vocals is turned up a notch and the rhythm of his vocals shifts to an almost Stick To Your Guns style as he spits the most scathing lyrics of the release “We’ll be left alone to die, there’s no god for you or I”. This is a promising change of direction for him lyrically and gives you the impression that there are plenty more ideas to come for when the boys move on to their debut full-length release (which hopefully isn’t too far off).
The final track on the EP is ‘Dreams’. This song picks the pace back up and will once again get the two-steppers in the crowd showing their stuff. The bass guitar once again ties in fantastically well with the drum beat to give a solid foundation for Reeves to add his distortion-drenched riffs. The message throughout this track is once again one of creating unity and positivity, a Metal/Hardcore battle cry of sorts. What this particular brand of music lacks in musical exploration it more than makes up for with sheer intensity and ferocity and the seismic breakdown towards the end of this song sums that up perfectly.
If the boys can carry the high levels from this short release into their debut full length album (whenever that arrives) then I genuinely look forward to it. These boys are going somewhere and truly deserve to be rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in the Metallic Hardcore circuit and I for one will be supporting them along the way.
See you in the pit.
3. Big Boys House
Total Playing Time: 14:15
Link to the band: