The Renegades

Written by: TL on 07/03/2016 17:14:59

Scottish metalcore purveyors Yashin have been around for a while now, though we haven't heard from them since 2012's "We Created A Monster". They're back now, however, with a new album called "The Renegades", which brings them further away from the Funeral For A Friend-idolatry of their beginnings and further down the road of metalcore / glam metal mixture, locating them in the same business as bands like Escape The Fate, Glamour Of The Kill or A Skylit Drive.

Judging the 'book' (or the film, as it looks more like) from its cover, it is readily apparent already here, that either you need to have some reasonable expectations or you need to swallow some camels on this one. The hooded figure with the Molotov is but the first cliché on an album that frequently circles stereotypical adolescent rebellion themes. "Are we the dying breed, every suit, every tie, looking down on me" sings clean vocalist Harry Radford on lead single "Dorothy Gale" for instance, which sounds relatable enough, yet later, on title track "The Renegades", the "We are the renegades, we are the renegades whoa-oh-oaoh! chorus is the kind that reminds you that this is youthful rock music, not high-minded poetry.

Yashin is not a band without its qualities, though, and there are occasional tasty guitar licks on the menu, just as Radford has his moments where his narrow, yet warm and textured tone, lifts songs via respectably catchy chorus bits. "Dorothy Gale", which also features a bridge rap from rapper Itch, is well chosen as a single, chaining together the album's best sequence of elements and features both the already quoted bit of chanting, as well as a hook that can best be described as 'stupidly catchy', where screamer Kevin Miles trades with Radford in the exchange of "Fire rains down on me, tell myself there's no place I'd rather be, click my heels together and count to three, because there's no place like home, no place like home".

And overall, you get the feeling that Yashin are cheeky dudes with a knack for the catchy, which is also apparent from the - regrettably unelaborated - bits of built up melody in the intro "Spreading This Disease" and from the signature riff of "D.E.A.D", which helps the song stand out, as does the flat, female text-to-speech recitation of "now. lose. your. shit." in its bridge. And the same can be said of the brazen, Sunset Strip reminiscent rocking and rolling of late album banger "Dead Spells".

Sadly, moments where Yashin's good attributes come together in compelling wholes are far in between, not to mention that the record is weighed down by distinct low points like "Long Live Salvation", which not only pins the comparison to the likes of Escape The Fate or Lostprophets but also helps draw comparisons to those bands' least noteworthy material.

Even if you accept the premise of "The Renegades" as a mainly by-the-numbers metalcore release with a heard-before message of youthful rebellion, the wait for moments where that message is delivered in compelling and convincing musical fashion, gets to feeling too long over the album's twelve tracks. Perhaps partly as a consequence, of how a mainstay of the runtime is spent with the rhythm guitar and bass obscuring all other touches of production in the soundscape, churning like an indistinct and unexciting rumble - a shame considering the solid leads and electronic touches that do tug somewhat at the ears when they have the room to do so.

The bottom line is that while Yashin's call for individualist expression and creativity probably comes from a good place, there's room for much lyrical and aesthetical improvement. Yet the bigger problem on "The Renegades" is perhaps that the entire heavy side of the band's metalcore mixture feels uninspired on here - like it only gets in the way of the poppier and more glam metal moments. And even if you're aiming for the less critical segment of rock fans, you need more than one or two hits out of twelve to leave a lasting impression. A superficial record then, which sounds good at a glance, but lacks depth and cohesion to convince past a few spins.

Download: Dorothy Gale, Dead Spells, D.E.A.D.
For The Fans Of: Escape The Fate, A Skylit Drive, Lostprophets, Annisokay, Glamour Of The Kill
Listen: facebook.com/theyashin

Release date 26.02.2016
Sony Music

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