- Tue, 2011-08-30 11:26
London’s HildaMay are the latest singing to Wolf At Your Door Records, a label that over the last twelve months has firmly established itself as a major force at the forefront of the British rock and metal scene. As such, it should immediately be clear that the Sidcup five-piece are of a certain pedigree, a fact that they will be keen to confirm with their debut mini-album, We Loved, We Lost.
Opening track Parachutes thunders into life with a break-neck bass riff, quickly followed by punky, chugging guitars, gruff vocals and a drum-beat peppered with cymbal crashes. The band describe themselves as punk ‘n’ roll, but first impressions would suggest post-hardcore as a more appropriate description, especially when the sung chorus gives way to the kind of intricate guitar lines that bring to mind early Thrice. But before the listener can chalk them up as just another in a long line of bands trying to emulate Kensrue and co., the boys veer off into a breakdown swathed in ringing minor chords and rich in foggy atmospherics that eventually clear to make way for a final burst of triumphant riffery.
It’s a strong start, and one that sets the tone for the record as a whole. There are a number of primary influences at work across the band’s songs – Thrice being one of them, Hot Water Music another, and perhaps Alexisonfire (R.I.P.) and Poison The Well a third and fourth – but while their presence can be felt throughout they never threaten to overwhelm the band’s own individual character. Aspects of By Your Side, for example, carry echoes of each of those bands, but never once does it sound as if any of them could have written it. Rather, the ghostly, ringing chords, scattershot drums and brusque, echoing vocals sound like a separate band entirely…HildaMay.
The title track, We Loved, We Lost, is perhaps the mini-album’s finest moment, and the track that best encapsulates what lends the band their particular sound. For the first two and a half minutes rolling drums and delicately intertwining guitars create a swirling ambience over which lead singer Tim Lawrence delivers half-sung, half-bellowed and never-quite-clean vocals. Then, with just over a minute left, the rest of band enter with full force to provide a crashing climax. It’s a brilliant contrast of light and dark, melody and aggression, atmosphere and immediacy, and it’s precisely that contrast that the band do so well in one form or another across this record.
HildaMay aren’t quite the finished product yet, and perhaps the fact that their influences can be so readily delineated – even though they don’t come to dominate – is a sign that they are yet to fully become their own band. We Loved, We Lost, however, is an impressive step in the right direction, and it marks them out as a very promising prospect for the future.