Frontiers Records has a reputation for bringing out AOR, Melodic Rock and American sounding Arena Rock bands, both new ones and older reunited ones. But every once in a while they’ll put out something completely different. Metal is one genre that Frontiers has taken a liking to, but for the most part when they release Metal bands it’s mostly Power Metal, European style. Reading the press release for the debut album by British rockers A New Tomorrow, it looks like we’re given something completely out of the label’s comfort zone. While modern has been something of a bad word for this label before, modern is apparently what we’re treated with here, if by modern we mean bands like Alter Bridge, Foo Fighters, Nickelback and the likes. Alternative might be a better word.
The band was formed back in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Alessio Garavello (ex Powerquest/Arthemis) and bassist Andrea Lonardi with drummer Tim Hall and guitarist Michael Kew completing the line-up. Influenced by the bands mentioned above plus stuff like Metallica and Green Day, the band got to work, writing songs and gigging for dear life. With two E.P.’s – Incandescent (2012) and Back To Life (2014), the band finally signed to Frontiers (I’m actually surprised that Frontiers signed a band like this…) last year and now it’s time for them to release their debut full-length record and personally, I’m a bit intrigued to find out just how out of the Frontiers box this band actually sounds.
Judging by leading single and album-opener “I Wanna Live”, A New Tomorrow really doesn’t sound like anything Frontiers has signed before. On a straight ahead mode and punchiness with its feet in the mid 90’s with an alternative twist, the tune kicks off on a chunky rhythm and some rough and edgy guitars. The tune swings away with a creamy live sound and while it’s an earthy tune, it’s really melodic and hook-laden with the neo-grungy touches marrying fine with a main melody and refrain that sends a nod towards Melodic Rock as well. It’s a killer tune with a massive hit-potential. Second single “A Million Stars” brings on more of that. It’s a heavy piece with tuned-down guitars and fat riffing, quite stripped down and raw. The verses are quite blackening with an overlying darkness whereas the instant chorus is much more in-your-face and rowdy, but also filled with hooks and a direct catchiness. I dig.
“Golden Sands” is rhythmically bouncy and pretty heavy with an underlying roughness and somewhat down-to-earth. The Alter Bridge influence is palpable during the verses but it fades some in the catchy chorus where some more melodic Hard Rock twists takes over. There’s also a middle-east sounding breakdown in the middle where the tempo slows down and creates an affable dynamic. Very good. Slammin’, punchy and rough, the upbeat “Ignition” is heavy and dark on the alternative side with both a slight Grunge vibe and melody-wise, Alter Bridge inspired. But in all its rowdiness, it’s quite easy to grasp the hooks in the refrain which makes it weird that the song itself is a bit hard to grab a hold of. I don’t think it’s a bad song but I notice that every time I hear it I have a hard time focusing and the whole things turns out quite forgettable in the end.
On a more aggressive note, the tough and gritty “Mother Earth Is Calling” comes on strong with a thunderous rhythm section and fat, riff-happy guitars. That said, the big melodies are never missing and the distinct and über-catchy refrain totally screams hit. At least if released as a single it holds a big chance of a massive air-play on rock-radio. The Alter Bridge influence here is so massive it comes close to a rip-off, something that’s not that positive but since the song really took me for a ride, I’ll let that one slide. “Mountains”, on the other hand, is slow and gloomy and full of heavy riffing surrounded by a dark and sullen atmosphere. But A New Tomorrow knows the importance of strong melodies and there are loads of them here, especially the refrain is immediate and very catchy.
The band takes another turn with the laid-back, stripped and rootsy “Step Into The Wild…”. Grunge-laden with balladry verses, the song features both electric and acoustic guitars and the song visits a folky territory with a trippy outlook, the way Led Zeppelin used to do it, quite eclectic on a floating groove and a slight 60’s feel. The song is connected to “…Home”, a song that takes yet another turn, going into a heavy, dark and aggressive direction, clearly influenced by Metal and the Tony Iommi-like riffing is actually a bit surprising here, but the Black Sabbath touches really makes this dynamic ride. The two songs are two totally different songs sound-wise but the atmosphere connects them and they are tandem tunes more than in their titles. Very good.
“Multitude Of Nothing” is pounding and stompy, rough, robust and raw with grunge-like rhythms on an earthy ground, both heavy and dark. On a straight-forward note, the chorus is direct and striking but unfortunately not that catchy and after numerous listens, the tune still haven’t stuck with me. It’s not bad but too forgettable. The title-track comes on heavy and rhythmically tough. In a mid-pace and with its more held-back melodies, it comes across as a heavier kind of ballad. It’s unpredictable melodically because of its Alter Bridge goes Melodic Rock with big mid 70’s twists, still with lots of hooks and a catchy yet not radio-friendly refrain. Very good. They round things off with “Abrasive”, a spoken-word piece, a conversation between two bank robbers trying to escape the law accompanied by heavy, dark and rough Hard Rock. I like the idea but it’s more a piece of interesting music than a good song as such.
Again, the fact that Frontiers signed this band is surprising and I applaud that. Musically, the band lacks their own sound even though their own identity shows up every now and then. Alter Bridge is obviously a huge inspiration for this band and their song would fit like a glove at every rock-radio station in the world. They are also a lot closer to actual Grunge than Melodic Rock but A New Tomorrow still writes melodic Hard rock tunes and despite the Grunge references, they never get mid 90’s flannel depressive. With a couple of fillers and even some of the good songs having trouble to grab me, I still find this album a good one, filled with beefy, rootsy and loud rockers that keeps growing as you go along with them. No top-score this time but I’m guessing they have a bright future ahead of them.
1. I Wanna Live
2. A Million Stars
3. Golden Sands
5. Mother Earth Is Calling
7. Step Into The Wild…
9. Multitude Of Nothing