We Created A Monster

Written by: TL on 02/08/2012 17:07:53

After retooling their lineup in 2010, adding singer Harry Radford and screamer Kevin Miles to create a dual vocal dynamic, Scottish sextet Yashin have set all sails in an all out attempt to make it to the forefront of the British scene for youthful heavy rock. The debut LP "Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them" signalled as much, arriving packed to the rafters with huge choruses, dazzling tapped leads, precise usage of heavy elements and most importantly, an energy that was believable despite the fact that the band was totally shameless in catering as much to the young and excitable scenesters as to any old music nerds that might also be interested. The record got the band noticed, and since its release they have been touring vigorously both on their own and in support of more established forces, yet if one thing is clear, it is that with the release of this year's "We Created A Monster", then it is that Yashin are not content until they've become one of those established forces themselves.

With that in mind, it is no surprise putting "We Created A Monster" on and finding it very much the kind of sophomore you always expect from bands that make no bones about wanting to make it to a larger circuit. In a matter of no time at all, you will notice that everything on here wants to sound bigger, better and badder than anything that was on "Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them". The production has a much larger format, the guitar leads have gotten more technical, the heavy parts have gotten heavier and more crushing and the dynamics - although still highly accessible - have gotten more intricate. The one area however, in which you can really hear the improvement, is in the harsh vocals delivered by Miles, who gets both deep and diverse with his growls and screams, really helping to beef up the punch Yashin throws when they want to get rowdy.

As much as Miles and the band do to throw some 'oomphy' beatings in when they can, it must be noted that this is still very much a pop metal album of the modern variety. What I mean by this is that Yashin have zero respect for any rules any bearded oldtimers out there might have, against mixing sharp, clean singing, simplistic poppy melodies and catchy chorus repetition with heavy elements from metal and hardcore. In that sense, this is music for those that find this combination as logical as Monster and Jägermeister, as Yashin clearly want their songs to make people in large rooms get sweaty and they are hardly being fancy or intellectual about it. Solid songwriting is clearly a point of emphasis for them, but if something works, you can trust that these lads have no problem putting it to good use.

Having grown up with all sorts of emo, screamo and pop-punk myself, this shameless approach is hardly repulsive to me personally, yet that does not mean that I do not have at least a few concerns listening to "We Created A Monster". For as much as it is a typical sophomore record in all the improved departments of production and technicality, it is also a typical sophomore record in how you get the feeling that Yashin have been so occupied with advancing technically, that they've been forced to rush things a bit when it comes to having very many great ideas for songs. This at least is my impression, as I make note that not only are a lot of the songs on "We Created A Monster" essentially variations of the same type of song with the same types of mood and energy, the carefully included catchy bits are also more momentarily than memorably engaging for prolonged stretches of the album. Plainly you get the feeling, even while possibly banging your head to these tunes, that they might be like the last two The Blackout albums; great to rock out to, but almost impossible to maintain any deeper, longer lasting impression of.

While this problem afflicts the album starting with lead single "New Year Or New York" at track three and onwards through the oddly titled "<4" at track six, there are fortunately also highlights worth mentioning. The opening title track is every bit as rousing an intro as "Awake While I'm Asleep" was on the previous album, and its follow-up "Runaway Train" is nigh on irresistable for its brazen and dirty catchy/heavy dynamics. I also find myself loving the chorus melodies and bridge refrain of midpoint marker "Angel's Son", while admitting to myself that the sampled speech in the middle of second single "Will We Make It Out Alive" helps the song score some easy character points. Likewise, the strings in "Sound The Alarm (For Us Tonight)" lends the song some epicism where it fits it the best and makes for another moment above the record's average.

So then, the lowdown is that "We Created A Monster" is, speaking of the technicalities of recording, a noticeable improvement over its predecessor, but in spite of this it eventually ends up earning slightly fewer style points - firstly because song for song it just doesn't have as many memorable highlights as "Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them" did, but also because it makes less of an impression for a variety of minor reasons; the album art, title and lyrics being somewhat cheesy being one, and another being the fact that Yashin does not experiment enough to maintain the same feeling of freshness as they had when they came out. That all being said though, if you're one to appreciate bands that let you both sing along passionately with your friends and tackle them in the mosh shortly afterwards, then you could do a whole lot worse than Yashin who - despite their predictability - are still operating near the top of their chosen niche.

Download: Runaway Train, Angel's Son, Sound The Alarm (For Us Tonight)
For The Fans Of: Shadows Chasing Ghosts, The Blackout, Lostprophets, Adept
Listen: facebook.com/theyashin

Release Date 25.06.2012

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