South-east London newcomers Death of Youth provide a nostalgic nod to emo and post-hardcore of the not too distant past, with their self-confessed “sad and shouty” approach.
The band started out as a solo project of frontman Rob Horrocks, who set out with the intention of playing music a la Touche Amore, Departures and La Dispute but struggled to find fellow band members. So he set about writing music alone, which became debut EP Between Chapters when he brought in producer Michael Kew, who doubled up as bassist and programmed the drums. Since the release last month, Rob has brought in Dann Peters and William Page, who wrote the original bass line, as permanent bassist and drummer to complete the line-up.
Rob’s musical influence feels very familiar. His first inspiration for getting into a band was discovering Green Day aged 14, then found Funeral for a Friend which led him into post-hardcore and hardcore – which forms the basis for the Death of Youth sound. As he puts it: “Emo influenced melodic hardcore with guitar work that’s fast and intense yet melodic at the same time, combined with screamed vocals and honest, introspective lyrics.”
The EP opens up with a deceptive light flickering guitar lick in the intro to Echoes, then explodes into life with screamed vocals and a wall of big guitar chords, driving drums and flittering high-pitched guitars. Wild vocals lead into a big cry of “I’m still haunted by our final encounter, After so long in limbo, I thought I’d finally get some closure, But seeing your face brought me right back” then the pace drops down a little before more prominent high-pitched guitars come in under spoken vocals. It drops down into a lone guitar part, before heavier guitars kick back in for the somewhat morose closing lyrics “Will I ever make sense of this? As I’m no closer to understanding the coroner’s report, Now it’s almost as if you were never even here, and all these songs hit way too close to home, I’m so sick of waking up alone and longing for your presence to soothe me.”
Next, Cracks is a post-hardcore powered romp of emo goodness, opening up with a cool little riff that’s joined by pounding drums and guitar chords under a barrage of emotional lyrics. That builds up to a cry of “”Things get better, At least that’s what they say, If that were true, how comes I’m still such a broken fucking mess?, Maybe I’m just weak, Not strong enough to see this through, For every step I take towards stability, I take another ten steps back.”
Silhouette opens up with a lone fuzzy guitar riff that continues under intense screamed vocals “It’s been a while now, and I still find myself searching for answers I’ll never receive, Still trying to figure out why we fell apart and wondering if I ever cross your mind.” That continues for two minutes then drums kick in alongside a driving guitar lick to provide a powerful post-hardcore blast, then drawn out guitar chords bring it to a close.
Final track Tapestry opens up with stabby guitar chords under shouted vocals “A meadow lies beyond this field of thorns, Although my feet are bleeding, I’ve already come this far,” then big guitar chords kick in as the screamed vocals continue. Diving guitar chords come in over huge pounding drums, which continue through another intense verse, then ascending guitars form part of a more atmospheric chorus of “The mist is starting to clear, My journey’s reaching its end, And while my scars may never truly fade, They’ve become part of my tapestry.” It ends on potentially the most melodic section of the EP with a big final chorus, before an acoustic guitar takes us to the close.
On the EP, Rob tells us: “The people who are listening to it seem to be enjoying the songs, and I’ve had a few people telling me they liked the songs as well as some praising my lyrics. Those who haven’t heard it should expect some intense and emotional music with a sense of melody and plenty of feelings. I’m incredibly proud of it, and if you’re into sad and shouty music you’ll find something to enjoy about it.”
On that note, he tells us the songs are inspired by general personal experiences. He said: “I came out of a relationship that meant a lot to me a few months before I started writing the EP, and a lot of the emotions I was feeling about the situation ended up coming out in my lyrics. It’s not all gloom and doom, however. The last song on the EP Tapestry is about persevering through the hardships of life and how the experiences of those hardships help to form you into a better person.”
Now the full band line-up is complete you can expect plenty more to come from Death of Youth, and their debut EP is a really strong start.