Napoleon

Newborn Mind

Written by: MAK on 26/07/2016 23:40:35

Debut albums are usually highly anticipated when a band has had one on the cards for a long time. Especially if said band is already playing shows with the big boys in their particular genre. Exeter quartet Napoleon haven’t released any new material since their EP “What We See” in 2012, but that hasn’t stopped them touring with metalcore giants The Devil Wears Prada and Architects over the years. Now Napoleon has a chance to show what they have learned on the road and how much they have improved with “Newborn Mind”.

One noticeable thing about metalcore bands, on debut albums it is almost as if every member is given complete free will to go nuts on their instruments. Guitarists especially are given freedom to noodle as much as possible to show off their talents and to impress the listener. We’ve seen it before with the likes of August Burns Red, While She Sleeps and Parkway Drive, where on earlier releases their songs are far more technical than anthemic – Napoleon’s Guitarist Sam Osborn, in particular, utilises his talents like a man possessed as his intricate melodies are the first thing to truly captive you.

Napoleon labels their sound “melodiposipassiongroove”, which makes sense because their music can be as much as a headfuck as that word is. Osborn’s technical prowess is matched by the rest of the band’s intelligent songwriting capability. It’s highly technical, but the delivery is ridiculously smooth and still somewhat easy on the ear. Tracks like “Stargazer” and “Of Jams, Smokes & Promises” are perfect examples of the silly label. Laced with mind-blowing guitar segments, awesome melodies and a crap load of grooves - all unleashed with a barrel of passionate energy.

Opener track “Dystopia” kicks off with some throaty aggression from vocalist Wes Thompson, tension building chuggy riffs behind him and a layer of Osborn’s melodies delicately placed on top. The 90-second intro leads perfectly into a title track that punches you in the face from the start. Thompson’s voice is ferocious and the riffs are full of intent, the factors from "Dystopia" stay the same, bit with the heavy and melodic extremes pushed even further – It feels like a reminder of While She Sleeps’ breakthrough EP, “The North Stands For Nothing”.

“Different Skin” is the first opportunity I managed to take to appreciate the drumming capability of James Mendoza. The drummer produces some fierce fills and complex beats, but they aren’t really given the chance to shine as the volume is clearly sacrificed to make sure the guitars and vocals are heard more. “Maps” is the standout track for being different; the ferocity is replaced by a chilled out jam full of funky rhythms. The soft side is a nice touch

Four years has been a long time to wait for Napoleon fans but it seems like it was worth the wait. “Newborn Mind” is a vast improvement in production and songwriting from the Exeter lads. What the album does lack is a true anthem to really hook in new fans. But, if metalcore tradition is anything to go by, that will be on the cards for future material. For now, we can just appreciate the incredible musicianship that is currently in store for us.

7

Download: Of Jams,Smokes & Promises, Stargazer, Afterlife
For The Fans Of: While She Sleeps, Architects, Climates, Polar
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 27.05.2016
Basick records


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