Following their last release ‘Between Dog and Wolf’, New Model Army are back with new 13 track album ‘Winter’. The now 5 piece have really come into their own in the new LP: where their last one wasn’t as tough as desired, this one definitely brings back that edge that has always made NMA stand out from the rest. Complete with social commentary-styled lyrics, wailing guitars and musical climaxes that give more than an earful, ‘Winter’ might just be their best album yet.
The LP opens with the aptly named ‘Beginning’. You couldn’t get a better album opener than this one – it’s a slow burner, starting off with an ominous atmosphere formed by Justin Sullivan’s point-blank vocals and the distorted sound of a steady guitar solo before the marching beat of hefty drums gets added into the mix. As the 7 minute track nears its end, the sheer velocity and force of it will give you chills, making this a ‘Beginning’ you’ll want to hold on to. NMA don’t give you any time to recover from that monumental climax as they sweep straight into ‘Burn The Castle’, an explosive hair-raiser joined by a chorus to lose your voice to. As if the rapid beat and husky vocals aren’t enough of a signal to this, you can be sure that this will be one hell of a track to see live.
The album’s lead single ‘Winter’ then leads the listener to a slower pace, the cold title perfectly matching the sudden loss of adrenaline you get. Despite the loss of speed though, this is still a powerful track. As Sullivan demands you to “Bring [him] the winter“, it’s impossible not to get a sense of the sheer power that gets poured into the music. ‘Winter’ isn’t the only slow track on there, later on in the album the band deliver ‘Die Trying’ which is a predominantly acoustic track that heavily focuses on Sullivan’s emotional lyrics that centre on the plight of refugees. It’s tracks like these that remind you how important music is – NMA helping express the pain and anguish going on in the world that isn’t always at the forefront of people’s minds.
But if the lyrics aren’t your main focus, be sure to pay attention to the howling guitars in ‘Eyes Get Used To The Darkness’ or even the feral state of the instruments in ‘Born Feral’ which boasts a tribal style beat and untamed melodies that distance themselves well away from the norm. ‘Devil’ takes a darker turn, spitting out impenetrable beats that almost takes the album the industrial side or, for something even different, lend your ears to ‘Drifts’ and take a break from the climatic rock and opt for a sinister-styled ballad. But, like all great albums, ‘Winter’ ends on a high. ‘After Something’ sounds like the middle-ground between and heaviest and gentlest tracks, leaving you with the sound of a track that starts with a heavy focus on Sullivan’s husky vocals but ends in a small climax that’s enough to make you feel feel good whilst able to reflect on the intense contents of ‘Winter’.
‘Winter’ is New Model Army’s upcoming album, out August 26th.