Album Review: Black Years – Black Years I

‘Black Years I’ is, fittingly enough, the first release from Chester based four-piece Black Years.  This hardcore meets punk-rock outfit make music that could only soundtrack the most debauched parties, with four tracks of mischief for our delectation on this EP.

Opener ‘Black Years’ bounds along with limitless energy, as Rich O’Brien’s screams of “black fucking years” string the song along. This is disparate but furious hardcore and it is fucking good.

‘Girl Talk’ is next, thundering into life with a sleazy guitar riff and crashing drums. With hints of thrash guitar that make you want to kick stuff over, Black Years demonstrate a brutal and wholly enjoyable sound here. More intelligent musically than a lot of hardcore, the EP rises above the everyday and creates something that is genuinely fun to listen to.

‘Jonestown’ is next and delivers yet another party-inciting three minutes of chaos, with screeching guitars, vocals spat with venom and a sound not unlike early Gallows. By now, there is a sense that Black Years are more than a run of the mill hardcore/punk rock band and that this EP should be taken notice of.

Closer ‘Widows’ opens with the desperate “we can’t save rock ‘n’ roll, we can’t even save ourselves” and bursts into life from there. Halfway through, the chaos ceases for a moment to allow a spoken gang vocal. In what proves to be the calm before the storm, the EP finishes in characteristically rabid fashion. This is undoubtedly the strongest track on the EP and shows a band with a lot of potential starting to emerge. 

This is a pleasing enough hardcore rabble that characterises itself as pure rock ‘n’ roll, party music but ends up delivering a lot more than that. There is a charm to Black Years that puts them above many other bands. Clever and vibrant lyrics and a sound that veers just the right side of anarchic DIY make an EP that is worth getting in to. 

3.5/5

‘Black Years I’ by Black Years is out now.

Black Years links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Soundcloud|

Words by Tom White (@whiteywitters)

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