This debut full-length has been a long time coming from York quintet, With One Last Breath. Hovering in the peripherals of a burgeoning UK scene for what seems like forever, their somewhat unimaginative reliance on metalcore traditional-isms has seen their potential stunted considerably as they slot rather too comfortably in with the chasing pack. Unfortunately, ‘The Fearless Ones’ does little to tip the balance with its third tier familiarity.
Some towering guitar leads and the occasional toe-tapping breakdown aside, the strict adherence to what is a tiredly formulaic sound proves to be the death knell here. Scarily akin to the founding days of their Northern brethren Asking Alexandria, opening track ‘Beggars’ lurches from melo-death aggression to saccharine chorus via distracting chug-a-lug detours, and from here proceedings blur quickly into an indistinguishable slog through exhausted cliches.
It’s certainly a shame, as WOLB clearly possess all the necessary tools to really do something which challenges rather than exasperates. The instrumental prowess displayed is particularly impressive on occasion, with riffs executed flawlessly and the blistering lead breaks (see ‘After The Suffering’ and ‘Without You’) undoubtedly stealing the crown in the melody stakes.
‘The Fearless Ones’ leans all too heavily established trends. The metalcore resurgence of recent years has gone a long way to validate the thrumming power of the genre still. Yet, when songwriting scope and strident intensity take a back seat to wince inducing predictability, there’s still much room for the muscle vs. melody blueprint to go fatally awry. With One Last Breath will have to deliver a sophomore abundantly more convincing to ensure they stay on the radar.
Written by Tony Bliss