EP Review: Tenements – What Hasn’t Killed You Is Only Getting Stronger

Glasgow rockers Tenements are set to unleash their distinctive 2000s post-hardcore throwback sound upon the world with the launch of their debut EP at the end of this month (31 August).

We first spoke to the quintet of Darren Coles (vocals), Chris Bennett (guitar and vocals), Callum Nicolson (guitar), Malcolm Robb (bass) and Jamie Whiteside (drums and vocals) back in November, when they were our New Band of the Week. They’ve since been busy honing their sound for their first record, in amidst supporting Oceans Ate Alaska back in June.

On the EP, Darren told us: “I’ve honestly never been more excited. This release is packed to the brim with riffs, breakdowns and, most importantly, passion. We feel there’s something for all fans of heavy music on this bad boy.”

The EP opens up with latest single The Fear, which begins with a slowly building intro with pounding drums over drawn-out guitars then launches into a ferocious assault of an opening verse. A pause for breath is followed by another blitz of screamed vocals and low-tuned guitars in a short, fast, breathless opening track. Check it out in the video below.

A spoken track about the state of society follows, opening up with the line “We live in a cesspool, a septic tank, a gigantic sewage complex in which runs the dregs, the filth, the misery-laden slops, the race of men, his hatreds, his prejudices, his passions and his violence.”

Then Permanent (More Than A Memory) opens up with clean vocals over booming low-tuned guitars. There’s a very Funeral For A Friend feel about it, which can only ever be a good thing, including a more energetic section of wild screams over looping guitars and driving drums. The pace drops down in the laid-back Lucidity, The Clarity of Expression, which features some lovely high-pitched fast-paced guitars over spoken words.

Then we dive into debut single Silhouettes, which opens up with driving drums and a cool fast-paced guitar lick. High-pitched vocals open up the verse and are suddenly replaced by screams that reflect the angst in the lyrics “Lock me away, The mess you’ve made and darkest thoughts set me astray, There’s no escape, A Futile sentiment.” That lead into an energetic chorus with more singalong vocals “If I could trade you my eyes, you’d still see what you choose, Don’t chase me out of the light, Just leave this behind, I’ve misunderstood, You treat me like a silhouette. A more layered second verse sees chugging guitars under a high-pitched lick, then another singalong chorus ends on looping guitars that give way to an onslaught of intense screams. This is post-hardcore at its very finest.

The intensity rises with a blitz of screamed vocals and a really cool riff in the intro to Thoughts and Prayers, then drops into a call and answer of clean and screamed vocals in the chorus. Wild screams kick in over a fast, looping riff then drops into doomy cymbals and spooky sounding guitars that give way to a final blast of huge screams.

The EP closes with second single Standing on the Backs of Angels, which is for anyone who’s ever felt like enough is enough. It opens up with reverby sounds that build into huge drum rolls and guitar noise, then a big chunky bassline gives way to a cool fast-paced guitar riff that feeds into a big shouty opening verse. Shouted vocals are answered by clean vocals, with more great riffs in the background, before diving into a big singalong chorus: “Pass the blame until you’ve learnt your lesson, Standing on the backs of angels, Won’t help you get to Heaven.”

A repeated call of “All heart, no vision” ends on a big scream and feeds into another shouty, energetic verse that ends on a huge smash of massive metal noise, before a repeat of the catchy chorus. More calls of “All heart, no vision” are followed by a fun, slow guitar solo that drops down briefly, then speeds into one final repeat of the chorus.

This is a really impressive debut effort from the Glasgow outfit, fusing full-on metal screamed sections with moments of singalong melody that brings post-hardcore into the modern day with a delicious Scottish twang.

The EP was mixed by former SiKth vocalist Justin Hill and produced by Bruce Rintoul (Vukovi, Fatherson, Twin Atlantic), and Darren told us the duo have brought plenty to the Tenements sound: “Justin made it sound massive and we couldn’t be happier. Working with both him and Bruce have made us sound the most professional we ever could. They both really brought out the best in us.”

Mental health plays a prominent role in Tenements’ themes, as Darren tells us: “The album covers mostly mental health but also touches on a few political stances,” he explained. “We have a track called Thoughts and Prayers which touches on humanity’s empathy turning into a pissing contest over social media. In times of tragedy, we’ve become quick to post ‘thoughts and prayers’ and not necessarily helping out a cause.”

Last time we spoke to the guys they revealed they were on a mission to get Callum obsessed with wrestling by the end of 2018, so we asked them for an update. And they told us: “We took him to watch the Royal Rumble back in January and once he had a bev in him he was shouting at the telly. Don’t be fooled, he bloody loves it.”

Tenements will be out on tour next month, kicking off at Opium in Edinburgh on 5 September then taking in Inverness, Dumfries and York. Ahead of that, they’re also supporting Lowlives at The Garage in Glasgow on Wednesday (22 August). More info on their upcoming gigs is here.

What Hasn’t Killed You Is Only Getting Stronger is out on 31 August and you can pre-order it here. You can follow Tenements on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter., and check out their music on iTunes and Spotify.

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