The city of Stoke-on-Trent is probably best known for being the home of the pottery industry and – personally speaking – a pretty horrible football team. But all that is about to change with the emergence of the city’s very own rockers Alter Eden.
The quartet of enigmatic frontman Nick Pilgrim, guitarist Alex Coleman, bassist Aled Roberts and drummer Simon Whitney have just released stunning second debut EP Tigers and Lambs which, in addition to their hugely impressive live shows, means they’re one of the most impressive and entertaining up-and-coming British rock bands out there.
The band has an unerring ability to deliver huge rock tracks, with engaging vocals that leave you at a loss for whether to sing along, rock out the air guitar or smash your air drums. Pilgrim’s vocal delivery is superb, ranging from tender and delicate one second to launching into a blitz purely brutal screams the next.
This oxymoron is perhaps reflected in the title of the EP and opening track, Tigers and Lambs. It begins with a cautious bass intro then launches into a big high-pitched guitar blast and fast-moving bass as Pilgrim soon joins the party with an opening verse that makes you sit up and take notice. A big scream is followed by an impressive guitar riff that leads us into a singalong chorus.
Pilgrim drops back into a more delicate vocal delivery for the second verse, hitting some impressive high notes as the song builds gradually then smashes into another big scream ahead of the second verse. The chorus is followed by a big, heavy guitar smash-out before gradually teasing into one final rendition of the chorus, before coming to an end with a cool guitar solo and one final big guitar smash.
Second track Colourless may well be one of the best songs you’ll hear all year, and certainly the most addictive new song I’ve come across so far in 2017. It kicks off with a high-pitched guitar riff then some heavy low-tuned fast-paced chords and huge driving drums, which feed into a breathless verse with fast high-pitched guitars in support.
But the chorus is what for me defines Alter Eden. Frankly, if you don’t sing along and bang your head like a madman as Pilgrim smashes through his awesome delivery of the lyrics that culminate in “Death to the colourless” then you have something wrong with you. The band drops the pace as we head towards a conclusion, with Pilgrim’s high-pitched vocals supported by some slow guitar licks then the music stops completely for a few seconds only to return with an even heavier final rendition of the chorus that concludes with a wonderfully brutal scream.
This song is fast-paced, relentless rock at its very finest with superb lyrics, wonderfully engaging vocals and should be pleasing moshpits up and down the country. Check out the cool, colourful video below:
Next up, Resent/Relent/Repeat begins with an ominously slow beginning that is duly smashed to smitherines by a brutal hit of rock, before again dropping into the almost haunting verse. It gradually builds into a superb, heavy rock-out that conjures images of the likes of Thrice and Tool in its delivery.
Only Human again emphasises Pilgrim’s diverse vocals, with powerfully contrasting vocal styles within single verses, never mind within the song. The chorus is Alter Eden’s trademark big shouty rock, with Pilgrim’s cries of “I’m only human” sounding on the verge of breaking before a huge scream and a massive rock-out of big guitar chords and huge driving drums.
Penultimate track Count Your Sins begins with clean guitars that soon give away to heavy chords mixed with high-pitched bursts. It gradually builds into a big chorus that culminate in a series of big cries from Pilgrim. The second chorus is followed by a series of heavy guitar chords that descend into a gradually building outro led by some huge screams.
The EP closes out on a high with We’ve Had Enough, which opens with and a funky guitar chord blitz and a slowly building opening verse that develops into an intense rock track. The chorus sees repeated cries of “We’ve had enough” supported by huge drums bursts that drive the song on alongside choppy guitar chords. There’s a really cool heavy guitar blast as the song nears an end with high pitched notes thrown in amongst the big chords, before one final vocal blitz from Pilgrim and repeated shouts of “We’ve had enough” bring it to an end. Check out the video below:
This is an excellent EP that specialises in big, heavy singalong rock that verges on metal. Pilgrim’s vocals are brilliant, intense and yet delicate at times, against a backdrop of huge guitar chords that can’t fail to fuel your inner rocker’s lust for massive powerchords.
Tigers and Lambs is available now here.
If you fancy seeing the band live then I fully recommend it, and they have a whole host of gigs lined up across the country. They’re playing at Maguire’s Pizza Bar in Liverpool tomorrow night, then Metro Bar in Bolton on Friday followed by Raff’s Bar in Wellingborough on Saturday. Several more gigs follow in March, check all their tour dates here.