Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be shining our gaze on New Day Revolution, a band that’s been lauded as an “awesome wake-up call to the Detroit music scene.” The four-piece hard rock outfit has recently released an EP entitled ‘The American Dream Is A Lie.’ Do the new tunes stand up against the buzz they’re generating in their local scene? Let’s dig right in and find out.
I don’t do a whole lot of hard rock and/or metal content here on the Spotlight. While I admit it isn’t my personal favorite type of music, that isn’t the reason we don’t showcase it often. It’s because there isn’t a lot of it being recorded and distributed to press like myself on the internet. It’s an indie scene that, while active, remains fairly underground and doesn’t have an output comparable to other genres.
Thus, New Day Revolution has a step up on the competition right away. How is the music, though? Well, it’s definitely hard rocking. ‘Bury It Down’ opens up the album with impressive gusto, exhibiting some of the strongest, and weakest, aspects of the outfit. The lead guitar and percussion banter are splendid - the riffs are wholly interesting and I love the thunderous drummer. The feedback tinged guitar solo on the latter half of the track is fantastic.
The lead vocalist, Dakota Starr, is a bit hit and miss. At times, his growls sound less ‘hard rock’ and more ‘South Park character.’ I will concede, though, that he is ill-mixed, and that likely doesn't do him fair justice. He’s completely overpowered in ‘Demon in You,’ a tune that’s otherwise quite strong. ‘Judas’ amends this, to an extent, and I actually think his rapport with the band on that track is inherently stronger, too.
The Achilles’ heel of New Day Revolution is their production. I think ‘Rattlesnake’ is the best produced track of the bunch - the instruments are a bit more separated in their levels, giving them breathing room. The EP feels very muddy. The vocals are often too soft and the low-end on each of the masters is drastic. Listening to the album in a studio on professional monitors, I had to kick my bass levels down because it was so overpowering.
That production faux pas makes me think that this may have either been self-recorded, or recorded in a semi-live scenario. ‘The American Dream Is A Lie’ has a tendency to sound like an enthusiastic fan bootleg more than it does a professional studio endeavor. That may also hold some charm for some listeners, though. When it’s all said and done, though, the pieces fit together pretty nicely and their output is very promising. I'd love to see them progress this year into more territory.