Friday 21 July 2023

KinkPin - In My Lowest Hour (2023)

Country: Poland
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 29 Apr 2023
Sites: Facebook | Instagram | Tiktok | YouTube

Talking of nu metal, as I was yesterday with Arogya, this submission came to me from Poland with a nu metal tag on it and that seems like an odd categorisation to me. It's metal enough to be metal, I guess, but it's also fundamentally rooted in hard rock, so I'd call it commercial rock/metal, albeit in a more modern vein. This doesn't sound like the seventies or even the eighties,like New Wave of Classic Rock bands. It's more nineties and noughties. There are only a few moments on the album that bring to mind what I think of as nu metal, like the wildly jagged section in the second half of Anthem. Ignore the term, I'd say. If it prevented you listening, dive on in.

I can't remember the last time I highlighted an intro, but I will here. Bands love intros and they're rarely worth anything because, after a first time through, we just skip over them on repeat listens because we want to get to the music. This one, called No Escape, works because it actually does the job of an intro. On a first listen, it grabs our attention and says listen to this; it might be special. On repeat listens, it level sets us, brings us back to focus after what we've heard so that we can listen afresh. And, crucially, it's short: only forty-six seconds of ticking, whispers, musical bells and a neat ominous build that climaxes with the whispers degrading us and an alarm waking us up. I'd expect to hear it somewhere like a Pink Floyd or Queensrÿche album rather than a submission.

But to the actual songs. I enjoyed them from the outset but I wasn't sold until a few tracks in with Down the Light, because it's the one that truly lets loose and shows us that KinkPin are willing to truly give it some. Until then, it felt like they were holding back a little. It's not about speed, as a later song called Riders is deliberately slow but has all the oomph it needs as it stalks us, with an excellent tempo change in the second half making it even more effective. Down the Light is where they show us that they can really get their teeth into a song.

The more I re-listen, the more I like the opener, The Night is Coming, and there's a lot of good to be said about Dream too, but KinkPin occupy an odd balance between the hey, look at us mindset of rock music and the don't look at us mindset of grunge, so there are a lot of moments where we're listening to the calm before the storm and waiting for the big push that never truly comes. It's an odd way of approaching songs, because they sound like they want to be anthems, especially when they're actually called Anthem and include a woah woah backing vocal, as if we're supposed to be on our feet and bouncing like it's pop punk, but they work best when we sit back and just listen.

Down the Light is where that stops and the bounce from pop punk breaks through and prompts us to turn up the volume. If there's anything held back here, it's early on to set us up for it escalating as it goes and it does escalate, after a strong bridge and another solid guitar solo into that simple but effective beat and an excellent ending. KinkPin know exactly how to bring this home. That they then choose to immediately slow down the pace for Riders, which launches in with a smoky guitar that hearkens back to the blues, is clearly deliberate and very effective indeed. After this pairing, I was totally on board with KinkPin.

KinkPin are from Poland, where they were formed in Warsaw in 2019. The lead vocals are from the band's bassist, Damian Pyza, who sings in completely understandable English but with an obvious accent that I think actually helps the grungy rasp in his voice. It makes him sound unique and that rarely turns out to a bad thing in rock music. It helps distinguish the band. Everyone else does the business here, but I'd call out Michał Włoczkowski for his guitar solos. They're the oldest aspect to this music in terms of influence and they ring very honest and true.

I believe this is their debut album and it's a solid place to start. I certainly prefer the urgent songs, like Down the Light and Bad Celebration, which channels some punk energy, but there are hidden depths in sleepers like The Night is Coming and clever touches everywhere. There's even a Danzig-esque chorus in Always Remember, which I was utterly not expecting, just to keep me on the hop. I keep going back to Riders too. The slowest song on any album always has to have something special to not get in the way and this one becomes a highlight.

So, thanks folks, for sending this album my way. Powodzenia to you and all the best.

No comments:

Post a Comment