Hereford rockers KinStrife bring all that’s good about classic rock and metal and smash them together with influences of more modern rock, which they hope will break down their hometown’s inhabitants love for cover songs.
The band, whose name comes from a disastrous civil war in Gondor in Lord of the Rings, was founded back in 2013 by lead guitarist Alan Kaye and bassist Dave Richards, who played alongside various band members before convincing vocalist and rhythm guitarist Mike Hoskins to come on board. As Alan says: “He was playing in another band at the time but something made him come to us. Perhaps the name I had just given us (KinStrife) or my long ginger hair?” Drummer Simon Richards soon came along to complete the line-up.
Alan tells us: “Dave and I had learnt lots of covers together so when Mike joined us we just played covers. I knew though that Mike had lots of his own songs he had written over the years and I had lots of riffs etc that I wanted to turn into songs. So it wasn’t long before we started including our own songs in our set although this was slowed down due to band line up changes. We had rhythm guitarists and drummers come and go but now we have a great line-up as Mike now plays some guitar.
“Even when I was even worse at guitar than I am now I always preferred coming up with my own riffs, chord progressions etc. So when I joined forces with Mike it was great, I will send him ideas over and he would put lyrics to these. I always like to challenge him, I will sometimes give the idea a song title which then makes him have to write about this.”
The KinStrife sound is the result of Alan’s love for the big riffs of Iron Maiden, Metallica and Black Sabbath meeting Mike’s Alter Bridge and Shinedown influences head on. As Alan says: “The KinStrife sound could be described as old rock meets new. I have always been a heavy rock fan from an early age, the first single I bought was Running Free by Iron Maiden when I was 11. I wanted to do what they did, when I left school I grew my hair, wore tight jeans, leather jacket, etc. Eventually tried to learn the guitar when I was about 23. I struggled as the pub was always calling me. (We’ve got) quite a unique sound and no two songs have been even similar in style as yet.”
They fuse big chunky riffs with Mike’s engaging vocals, of which my favourite example is Bombs. It opens up with a cool fast-paced guitar riff with fuzzy chords in support then drops into a fun singalong vocals through the opening verse. It quickly flies into a chorus of “I don’t wanna be here when the bombs ago, I don’t wanna be tied to the memory” dominated by Mike’s really engaging vocal delivery. It’s followed by a huge guitar solo which unfortunately isn’t quite picked up on the demo version on Soundcloud, but you can check it out below:
While Cursed is a bit more heavy metal in style, opening up with dirty chugging guitar riffs then a little guitar lick feeds into a verse of gruff singalong vocals. Thankfully Alan’s big solo can be heard on this track, so check it out below:
Having grown up in Herefordshire, I’m always excited to find bands from my ‘ends.’ And, on the Hereford scene, Alan told us: “It is great that we have lots of bands in and around Hereford at the moment but very disappointing is the lack of decent venues. Also, Hereford fans love covers, the following for original music isn’t as great as it is in surrounding towns so we have lots of covers bands playing the same old songs in the same pubs.”
KinStrife have an exciting 2018 ahead playing new venues like the Dragonflli (Pontypool) and the Dolls House (Abitillery), which Alan tells us attract a fan base that will allow them to play their own original music instead of covers. The band have 10 songs ready to go with more in the works and are heading into a local studio to record them shortly, so expect new music soon.
So come on Hereford, give the cover songs a rest and give KinStrife your love.