Initially rising out of the MySpace generation of bands some twelve years ago, Californian gothic-metallers and self-styled ‘hauntedmansioncore’ outfit NEW YEARS DAY have gradually ascended to one of the biggest bands in the alternative scene (particularly the now sadly-defunct Warped Tour scene). Their third album, 2015’s Malevolence, saw the band take steps in further cementing their reputation as a formidable force, and now, a touch over two years on from its release they bring us something to tide fans over before an inevitable fourth album drops – an EP entitled Diary Of A Creep.
Comprising one new original track and five covers from a variety of big-name acts across the spectrum of rock and metal, upon first glance at the tracklisting, it’s likely you’ll either be immediately repelled at the thought of some of the choices, or intrigued to find out how Costello and her bandmates tackle them. Luckily, Diary Of A Creep hits far more often than it misses, with some interesting takes on hits from the likes of PANTERA, LINKIN PARK and NO DOUBT.
First up though is Disgust Me, the release’s sole NEW YEARS DAY original, and easily its best track. With crunching guitar lines, foreboding synths and a powerful vocal hook, it’s pretty much NEW YEARS DAY by the numbers in the best of ways, and might as well be a direct continuation of the kind of thing the band were doing on Malevolence. Kicking off with bubbling electronics before kicking into a big staccato riff pattern, it’s basically the band doing what they’ve always done well – creating big anthemic goth-metal songs with choruses the size of buildings. Ash Costello has always come across as a greatly adept vocalist in NEW YEARS DAY’s output thus far, and here is no exception.
As far as the cover songs go however, things basically range from passable to plain bad. The best of the bunch is their version of Fucking Hostile by groove metal titans PANTERA, as it allows Costello to display a bit of edge in her vocals and showcase the heavier side of the band’s sound well enough. It’s followed up quickly by a poppy take on Bizzare Love Triangle from post-punk outfit and dance-rock pioneers NEW ORDER, which whilst not bad, is also nothing spectacular, although it’s nice to see the band showcasing a willingness to experiment in different genres. Their take on LINKIN PARK’s Crawling, on the other hand, is an absolute abomination of a cover – removing all of the emotional depth from the original and turning the track into what feels like a sub-par borderline electro-pop song that, whilst undoubtedly well-intended, should probably have stayed in the rehearsal room. Redeeming things somewhat is the band’s cover of GARBAGE’s Only Happy When It Rains, which sees Costello go full-on rock and unleash the full force of her voice into a driving and oddly upbeat take on the 90’s favourite. Capping off the EP is their version of Don’t Speak, from 90’s favourites NO DOUBT, and initially this seems like it has potential; with Costello showing off a great emotional vocal over a piano track. Unfortunately, the band then proceed to ruin things slightly by throwing the song into generic metal territory for no discernible reason – completely robbing it of anything interesting, whilst presumably attempting to do the opposite.
On the whole, fans of NEW YEARS DAY are sure to find enjoyment in Diary Of A Creep. For everyone else though, there’s basically no reason to recommend the cover versions featured on this EP over the original versions, as there’s nothing too particularly inventive or different about the interpretations the band have cranked out, and whilst Disgust Me perhaps hints at where the band may soon be taking their own material, it’s arguably the only notable moment of the six tracks in this package. Nonetheless, with this stopgap out of the way, we can at least now look ahead to an inevitable new studio album from NEW YEARS DAY that is sure to be, at the very least, decent if the track opening this EP is anything to go by in terms of what to expect.
Diary of a Creep is out now via Century Media Records.
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