2014 has been an interesting year. For some reason, the people finally began paying attention to feminists and attempts to ensure that women are treated the same as men have been made. Even though, these attempts have resulted in bursts of outrage from feminists regarding the most ridiculous of things – see their recent attack up Matt Taylor due to the shirt he was wearing. A rather unfair attack, seeing as feminists were later found to be parading around the streets wearing very little clothing at all – not seeing the point of that protest. However, this is not the point of discussion. This year has finally seen a large amount of discussion regarding sexism within the music industry, and how female-fronted bands are often held in lower regard to the typical male-fronted bands.
It seems like it has taken us nearly a century to get to the point of holding this discussion. It is no secret that few women go into creating rock bands, as they are conditioned to be pop singers or singer-songwriters. When they do create rock bands, the band is either a success (see Paramore) or they spend their entire career being compared to Paramore. For some absurd reason every new female-fronted band has the misfortune of being compared to Paramore.
Luckily, New Years Day are in their own league. If anybody compares them to Paramore simply because their lead singer is a woman, then you have my permission to hit them over the head. Paramore creates simplistic and catchy pop punk, whereas New Years Day constructs intricate hard rock melodies peppered with a dash of aggressive alternative metal. They are two bands that are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
This is especially true with their new EP Epidemic. They have dropped the catchy hard rock act for something a lot edgier and more aggressive. It is also the band’s first release on Grey Area Records after leaving Century Media Records earlier this year. They also picked up a new drummer, Nick Ross. All these changes resulted in an EP that is all about everything they have gone through in the past year and half. The title “epidemic” refers to both the recent surge of support for their band, and also all the negativity that they have gone through in their personal life. The whole EP serves as means to purge this negativity from their life in the most endearing and heaviest way they could possibly manage.
Massive guitar riffs and hooks dominate the EP. They create a chugging sense of melody with supports Ashley Costello’s strong vocals, and allows for Anthony Barro to delivers brilliant backing screamed vocals. She powers through each song with a domineering attitude: delivering each lyric with the perfect balance of emotion, grace, and sneering swagger. “The Joker” sees her shrugging off an ex-lover, or more likely, making scathing commentary about how their old label tried to use them and didn’t treat them correctly. “Epidemic”, on the other hand, talks about their fans and how the support has grown as their music has “infected” new listeners and converted them to being fans – it sounds a lot better in the song, trust me.
The band has had to deal with a lot in the past year, but they have emerged from it all stronger than they were before. Epidemic is a hint of heavier things to come in the future, and it sounds absolutely brilliant. New Years Day is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.