For the past few years the UK has been a hotbed of modern hard rock, providing a greater supply than many can shake a stick with. And for the most part, it’s great despite its growing predictability. Occasionally, you’ll get a band who draws on the usual influences and either do it their own way or chuck in another twist which manages to launch it in a completely different direction.
Which is where State of Ember come in. Instead of duelling guitars, there’s simply one and every song on their latest EP, Broken Horizons, is loaded with more aggression than most other bands in this genre. It’s gritty, full of snarling and screaming vocals from Chris Tamburro, and these bring a punk edge to proceedings. However, he still knows how to bring the riffs and shows that you don’t always need a sparring partner in the six string department. They’re chunky enough to rival Black Stone Cherry’s and contain more than enough melody to hold their own against Alter Bridge’s early work.
Every track on the EP is short and punchy, straight to the point with nothing coming even remotely close to the four-minute mark. However, the break between the opening two songs of “Time & Time” and “Fear of Falling” is non-existent and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re still on the first track. And if you don’t like slower-paced songs, this will have you covered, it’s as balls-out straightforward up-tempo hard rock as it gets without becoming beer-swilling sweaty Aussies called Airbourne.
There’s pounding rhythms from Mike Landreth (bass) and Chelsea McCammon (drums) as the pair relentlessly drive the songs forward. Bass lines are thick to the point you expect them to leap out from your speakers and strangle you whilst the drumming will make even the most stationary of people nod their head or send the more enthusiastic among us into full-tilt headbanging.
State of Ember know exactly what they are as a band and refuse to leave their comfort zone, playing to their own strengths and makes for one of the most consistent releases I’ve heard in some time. Largely, you’ve heard this sort of rock before but the way they play with it to make it their own works wonders.
Broken Horizons is out now