Review Summary: Making the best of a bad situation.
For many bands, members come and go. It's not uncommon to see a band go through multiple lineup changes within its lifespan; the most notorious examples being scene-core bands like Falling in Reverse. However, when a vocalist leaves and is replaced by another, this could create a serious problem for the fanbase, as the new vocalist may strip away what made the band great to begin with, and even the band itself, as the new guy could cause greater conflicts and even bring more members to the point of leaving. Japanese electronicore band Three Lights Down Kings
saw themselves faced with this very dillemma when original vocalist Glielmo Ko-ichi left the band shortly after the release of 2016's Rock to the Future
. Come October 2016, the band reveals that they have finally found his replacement: Hiromu. With the band taking two years to settle into the new dynamic, they eventually decided to release a 5-song EP to introduce fans to the newcomer. And thus brought the FiVE XTENDER
So does it hold up to the Ko-ichi era output? Definitely. In fact, Three Lights Down Kings have perfected their style on this EP and have produced their best collection of songs since their 2013 debut. Musically, they've showcased almost exactly where the synth-heavy dance grooves and the metal madness should go in a release like this. They've also added several new influences, such as those of trap music that everybody seems to be trying nowadays. However, they add their own unique spin on the introduction of such influences, which keeps everything fresh and new. New vocalist Hiromu deserves a special commendation as well, as he can channel Ko-ichi, in a sense, but also establish his own identity. His vocals are indeed the highlight of the EP; his fierce screaming and very melodic cleans provide a nice balance between the instrumentals. The biggest problem with FiVE XTENDER
lies in the lyricism. It's not exactly bad, it just focuses upon the same topics that every core band has done to death ever since the rise of MySpace. They definitely show a lot of promise as songwriters, and if they expanded their topics outside of the core comfort zone, they could perhaps produce something even better.
Has FiVE XTENDER
perfected electronicore? Not completely, as the lyricism has proved. If Three Lights Down Kings can expand their lyrical boundaries and refine the new influences just a bit more, then they can perhaps whip up some perfection. But for now, this EP is a massive step in the right direction, and they're definitely a band to be watching for the future.