If you like Biohazard and Hatebreed, then you’re sure to like Texan outfit Kublai Khan, too. Possessing the gang vocal style of singing and the punk sensibilities, this is a band that will try to slot into this genre of music. Though, within saying that, there are times throughout their album ‘New Strength’, where the band sound like a blatant a rip-off of ’90s hardcore.
Fun at times, sure. When the album kicks in and the band jump right into opening track ‘Life For A Life’, the blood starts to pump through you. The stompy but striking drum playing from Isaac Lamb give the track a sense of fun that even the grumpiest of metal fan can’t ignore. The riffs from Nolan Ashley give the whole style of the album substantial qualities, giving what Lamb is playing something concrete to go off.
Ashley‘s backing vocals within this album also combine well with lead singer, Matt Honeycutt. This is most definitely the case in a track such as ‘Partners’, in which Ashley gives a beautifully high Mikee Goodman type scream. Though a bit cocky and in-your-face, this type of thing is what makes the band have a sense of enjoyment through listening to the album itself.
The best track on this album has to be ‘A Brotherhood Of Man’, purely due to the fact that the lyrics of this track blatantly rip-off the lyrics to John Lennon‘s ‘Imagine’. Though this does seem intentional, there’s something quite cringing when hearing a hardcore band sing something like this. It’s made more fun, however, as it makes a part of the album where you can just sit back and enjoy the fact that you’re listening to Lennon being screamed.
The criticisms of this album, however, are longsome. The main gripe is to do with the genre of hardcore itself, and nothing really of the band. Every single thing done on this album stylistically is a copy of something else. Within music and art in general, there should be a bit of originality. To hear a Biohazard covers band is something that doesn’t strike as influential at all. This band need to find something that is unique to them, and hopefully, with some exposure, it will make them discover new traits to their music.
The final criticism is the fact that the album goes on for too long. To get to around half of the album and to find the songs are so stylistically similar that it’s not worth taking an interest in the second is a huge problem on this album. These tracks would have worked much better on two EPs and, maybe if they were, the enjoyment of what was going on would have been much higher.
All in all, ‘New Strength’ isn’t a bad album in the slightest. It is, however, quite a bog standard and boring record, giving it little to zero replay value.
Written by Bradley Cassidy