One of the best parts of the role of a music reviewer is stumbling across new, relatively unknown bands that deserve attention for what they’re doing.
In what I hope is a good omen for the year, I’ve already encountered my first surprise with German based hardcore outfit AYS.
These chaps have been toiling away without much recognition, but Worlds Unknown may be about to change that for the better. AYS play an interesting fusion of hardcore and progressive metal and, as the album unfolded, the list of bands their style borrows from grew long and prestigious indeed.
Hints of the early Bring Me to The Horizon, Stick to Your Guns and Sylosis can be heard from the album. With a veritable murderer’s row of influences like that, you’d expect something pretty impressive and truly the band doesn’t disappoint as they drop around 45 minutes of bleak hardcore.
Bolstering their metal credibility, the strong thrash overtones in the shredding arpeggios and pummeling percussion are audible on every track. If I had to identify a similar sound for those who demand associations and categorizations, it’s comparable to a slower Testament with beefier production.
Further distinguishing themselves from the pack, AYS have played a more technical and progressive style. Tasty guitar licks are everywhere, adorning standard melodies, and the core riffing is diverse and memorable.
“Fangs of Tula” exemplifies this, culminating in technically impressive chromatic chords, more akin to melodic metal-core. I’m not exaggerating when I say every song has a neck-pain worthy riff – it’s quite difficult to recommend highlights due to the record’s consistency.
The opening title track immediately drags you into the dark little world the band inhabits, with jangled post-hardcore riffs creating an uneasy vibe that builds slowly, alternating ominous and melodious riffs that recall the best of Bring Me to Horizon.
The way the riffs toy with the listener’s moods is quite ingenious and it’s apparent a lot of thought went into the writing. The quality runs strong through tracks like “Fangs of Tula”. It’s hard to resist the dejected riffs and forlorn clean singing that surfaces for the first time here. It’s an oddly beautiful song, and I fell for it immediately.
“Hu? Fever” is equally emotive, with a punk rock sheen layered over depressive post-metal riffs and trash metal vocals. Working as a rich whole or as individual songs, it’s an exceptionally consistent record. I imagine there will be greater stand-outs from the year, I can’t wait to see them perform in Nairobi.
Overall, Worlds Unknown is an EP that combines punk with the heaviness of sludge and the aggression of hardcore in a very competent and impressive way, it makes for a captivating and entertaining listening experience for the fans.
Set to grace the Kenyan shores in 2nd June 2018, AYS’ music will no doubt appeal to the local fraternity of metal heads and rockers alike.
The band’s style of music is heavy yet not over-powering. Having started out as a punk band that evolved to more heavier sounds, the AYS lads have managed to strike a balance in their sound thus appealing to those who enjoy hardcore, but not too hardcore. ‘Wuhan Prison’, is a perfect example of this blend of music genres as the band’s punk rock past surfaces.
AYS (Soul Wrecked) will be live in Nairobi on June 2nd along with other local and international rock bands. Advance tickets are now on sale.