When I first heard City Of Ifa a few years ago via their Myspace page, my reaction was somewhat mixed. On one hand, they had an obvious knack for writing catchy, technical post-hardcore with a bit of a grind edge (think The Fall of Troy meets the Number Twelve Looks Like You). Everything was there, they had the squeaky-clean pull-offs of the Fall of Troy and the dual vocal shrieking and double bass work of The Number Twelve, a formula that might have been very impressive had I not heard the exact same thing done before. Unfortunately, I had. Instead they simply came off as amateurish and uninspired, a somewhat excusable issue, since they were in all likelihood no older than 16 or so at the time. Nonetheless though, I wrote them off as nothing more than a slightly above-average copycat band, and moved on to bigger and better things.
Skip forward to present day, and a few things have changed. The recent break-ups of both of City's major influences, coupled with the natural growth of the band as both musicians and songwriters, has the stage set for City Of Ifa to finally step up to the plate and show us all what they can really do. Put quite simply, that's exactly what they have done with Black Pyramid
. The band shows improvement in every single aspect of their sound, with much more solid songwriting than they've ever displayed in the past, and enough tasty guitar riffs for pretty much any post-hardcore fan. It would be impossible to pretend they aren't still pretty derivative of their influences at this point, but honestly, the level of work on Black Pyramid
easily rivals anything The Fall of Troy have released since 2006.
City Of Ifa definitely surprised me with this record in terms of quality, but they still have many steps to take before they can really be a great band. The potential here is immense, and if they can capitalize on their obvious talent in the future and settle into a sound that is truly their own, we will be in for quite a treat with City Of Ifa. For now, I guess all there is to do is listen to Black Pyramid
and wait impatiently to see what they can do next.