Band: The New Reign
EP: For The Blackest of Hearts
Location: Frederick County, MD
FFO: Wage War, Fit For A King, Miss May I
After six years of experience on the road and playing together as a band, it came as no surprise that the guys in The New Reign knew what they were doing with their first EP, ‘The Blackest of Hearts’. Five songs at 3-4 minutes each is a perfect length to showcase what you have to offer. They connected with Chris Davis to produce the EP, so it has much higher quality than you would expect from a first release. The mix between the vocals and each instrument is very well done. Everything gets to shine while coming together smoothly into a nice full sound.
The 19 minute EP opens with what sounds like a collage of news reports before the guitar kicks in, and everything else following. I instantly am in a comfortable groove. Nothing too crazy but enough to get you to bob your head. Their riffs throughout most of the time remind me very much of As I Lay Dying, especially in the intro of ‘Burn’. I suppose most bands probably take inspiration from them but that’s not a bad thing. Each song has its own identity to keep things interesting but at the same time sticks very much to its core. Something else I latched on to almost right away were the vocals. I really like his voice. It stands out amongst all the metal vocalists I’ve heard. The singing is pretty standard for a metalcore outfit, but the screams seem like they could fit in a few places. It definitely elevates this band a couple notches. Something I’m pretty neutral about though is the lyrical theme. It’s nothing new but for the most part, nothing too overused. I think that’s another area the vocal talent makes up for.
Something I don’t experience too often is changing my mind about a record. Usually the first couple listens are good enough to make up my mind about a piece of music. That’s not to say I originally didn’t like this EP, but it did get better every time I listened to it. I started off thinking it was some regular metalcore, but after another listen I just automatically enjoyed it more for some reason. I put it down and came back to it a few hours later for a couple more listens and now enjoy it probably double what I originally thought of it. I’m happy that was the outcome. When that does happen, it always becomes one of my favorite aspects of an album or EP. The ability to become more likeable with each listen. I think in the beginning I paid too close attention to certain downsides. Such as the lyrics being a little typical or a certain thinness when a chorus kicked in. Although those things can be improved upon, after putting them to the side, I enjoyed the record more. Because truly the only negatives about this EP are things you’d have to be a bit picky about. The main characteristics are very well put together.
As a first introduction into the scene, I’m pretty impressed. ‘The Blackest of Hearts’ comes to an explosive closure, just how I had hoped. The main feeling in the end was simply wanting more. I’m excited to see what these guys can do with a full LP, and I’m sure it will be released on a label. No way will these guys get away without a deal. After setting this bar, I expect them to only improve from here.
Strongest Song: The Collector