A few weeks ago we met Bristol post-hardcore rockers From Idols To Ashes at a Last Hounds gig in Camden, and ever since I’ve been eagerly awaiting bringing them to you as our New Band of the Week. Now finally that time is nigh, so get ready for something extremely exciting and very heavy to titillate your tinnitus.
The quartet began as a studio band around two years ago, with Jay Seward (vocals) and Aaron Daniel (guitar) using session musicians to help them out. It soon developed with the addition of Aaron’s brother Laurence on drums and their cousin Daniel Jones on bass and the discovery of a new sound that epitomises their growing maturity, which they summarise as ‘energetic, dynamic and punchy.’
As Jay puts it: “We all share a mutual love for the rock/music genre across all spectrums. Therefore, being into the music, we have always had the ideas to be in bands and make music just like our idols in other bands. This, alongside Aarons persistent drive to keep the ball rolling, enabled us to form and get doing what we love easily.
The band’s sound is packed full of energy and aggression, with hugely complex riffs and huge basslines complemented by supremely heavy hitting drums. As Jay explains: “Even the slower tracks find a way to grab you and throw you around a bit somewhere along the line. This includes bolshie aggressive vocals, with various screams to add to carnage of the instrumental.
“As well as more energy than you’d find in a cereal bar, there are also some dark undertones in both the lyrics and instrumentally. Although the songs seem very busy at first glance, when delving into the noise, there is plenty to talk about and plenty of technical capability across all of us band members.”
My first introduction to the band was the brilliantly named Mr Grim Wears Expensive Suits, which takes a very clear socio-political spin alongside being what I can only describe as an absolute banger with catchy vocals and huge guitars. Check it out below:
The new EP Scare Tactics continues in the same vein, kicking off with jutting guitar noises on the lively opener There’s No Place For You Here. A vocal announcement leads us in and drops into big screamed vocals, then some spinny high-pitched guitars that feed into an infectious riff over catchy vocals. The chorus is followed by a big bassline and light drums before launching into more screamed vocals then a big rockout and funky high-pitched notes before another chorus, then closes out with big screamed vocals.
That’s followed by the excellent True Colours (not a Phil Collins cover) which opens up with laboured high notes then launching into a fast-paced vocals through the verse that flows seamlessly into a big singalong chorus with huge guitars smashing along in support. There’s a moment of pause then gradually building vocals with a low guitar riff and light cymbals that explodes into a smash of screamed vocals that leads into a delicious fast-paced guitar riff. A repeat of the verse and chorus follows, then a funky riff and huge screamed vocals with low chords to bring it to a heavy conclusion. Check it out in the video below:
Multiple Choice (X) opens up with a funky bass solo, then vocals with a low guitar riff that soon launches into an opening verse that you can’t help but bounce along to, with some huge bass drum action thrown in for good measure. The bass riff returns and is soon joined by a blistering guitar solo that leads into another bouncy verse with catchy vocals, which continue through to the end that’s marked with a cry of “Motherfucker.”
The pace drops down a little for Dreamwalker, which starts with a cool guitar riff and then drops right down to just bass and drums and chilled vocals with a drifting guitar lick. The technical brilliance of Aaron’s guitars is highly prevalent on this track, with a fast-moving riff supporting Jay’s lamenting vocals before dropping back into the chilled verse, then a fast-paced riff under big screamed vocals.
The EP closes out with Fight or Flight, which opens up with a cool guitar riff and loads of cymbals under Jay’s atmospheric vocal opening. A funky verse follows with big fast-moving guitars, then a really fun guitar, heavy bass and funky drum filler until launching into an energetic chorus before the laid-back vocals return. A repeat of the chorus is followed by a chilled out bridge with funky clean guitars and bass, then high-pitched and drum rolls lead us into big screams and build into a repeated riff that brings it to an end. Check it out below:
Further describing the band’s approach, Jay told me: “The sound tends to revolve around heavy technical riffs, followed by a deep bassline that compliments the guitar with deeper riffs that can at times easily negate the reason for a second guitar. The drums are as complex as the strings in itself, with quick fills, intense backline beats complementing both vocals and guitars and heavy beat downs that then result in some serious breakdowns across the band!
“The vocals come in very punchy over the top of the carnage to further the aggressive brutality that are the lyrics. Not only do the lyrics stand out on their own but the vocals also complement the aggressive and punchy instrumental with scream techniques, a grungy vocal style alongside some harrowing cleans. The sound can be very dynamic and revolve around the theme of the song more than our band sound, however, as we’re writing we’re getting closer to finding the definitive band style. We do however feel that
the EP is the closest thing yet!”
FITA’s lyrical themes are equally as wide ranging as their musical influences, with Aaron’s strong political views that shine through in Mr Grim and the general aggression of the music, while Jay’s lyrics tend to be written from life experience through to mysterious phenomenon, emotions and mental state.
Jay explains: “Not all the songs that we’ve written relate directly to us and some have been written in regards to other people’s situation and our sympathy, but all the views and ideas are original from ourselves.
“In terms of writing the music behind these lyrics, they all start with one serious riff from Aaron Daniel as he likes to give it some rice in his bedroom from time to time. We let him off the lead a lot and the outcome are these fantastic guitar instrumentals that are then further worked on by the band to create the songs we have on the EP today.
“In the future, however, this could change as different members come up with their own ideas. What I’m trying to say is that as we are a creative group, not one song has come from one person alone, everyone has their own input and that’s where our diverse style that we enjoy comes into play.”
As someone who listens to, and speaks to, a lot of new bands, this is one that’s right up there with the bands I’m most excited about. When I first heard them I didn’t stop listening to them for at least a week and I love the heaviness mixed with big riffs and basslines.
2017 is looking like a huge year for the band, with the new EP release and heading back into the studio over the summer to record the follow-up. They’ll also be on the road, including their first gig in Bath on 7 July and there are plans for music videos and more along the way.