New Years Day
Half Black Heart


1.5
very poor

Review

by Shamus248 CONTRIBUTOR (120 Reviews)
March 12th, 2024 | 16 replies


Release Date: 03/01/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Burn it all down."

New Years Day are a caricature of themselves. Talented, but insular. Nothing they churn out at this point has much right or reason to exist beyond filling their discography. They're gothic, brooding and edgy. You can probably find a t-shirt baring their logo at Hot Topic or their music at a WWE event. It's all a big spectacle. And it all starts with frontwoman Ash Costello. The only thing more unflattering than her aestheticizing of mental illness and abuse in the lyrics is her grating and painfully limited vocals. Her voice sounded a lot prettier years ago (see 2013's catchy as hell Victim to Villain), but it has deteriorated to the point that her shouty, bitey snarls have to compensate for lack of range and personality in her performance. The instrumentals, meanwhile, are often times energetic and competently executed, if a bit dime-a-dozen for a group that plays to the specific flavor of gothic hard rock that they do.

Half Black Heart, the band's first outing in half a decade, is repetitive to a jarring degree. Almost every riff shoehorns in a distorted squeal, the drums often play fifth banana, the presentation sounds dated, and the production takes a hatchet to Costello's already dismal singing with copious amounts of reverb, autotune, editing and various electronic bells and whistles. The lyrics might be the biggest offender, though. On the title track, Ash is celebrating the fact that she's damaged goods while also asking a nameless adversary why they tell her "what to be", as if she isn't a grown woman with any agency of her own. On "Hurts Like Hell", she's relishing in the fact that her muse abuses her and that as much as she wishes she "could hate you," she's addicted to the pain. Suffice to say, it's not flattering in the slightest. The way she seemingly glamorizes the song's subject matter over what try to be semi-danceable choruses is gimmicky at best and unsettling at worst.

"Fearless" is what you get when you ask an AI generator to write a Black Veil Brides song. You know how it goes by now; "You can't control me", "you can't stop me", "it's in my blood to fight back." I might be willing to let Ash straight-face it if she wasn't pushing 40 years old and still producing less lyrical depth than f*cking Simple Plan. Elsewhere, "I Still Believe" retreads the exact same ground, but with tedious radio rock tendencies to boot. "Creature of Habit" caps things off with the most sexually unruly vibes you'll find anywhere on the album. New Years Day are no stranger to playing up Costello's sex appeal, but her laughably bad vocals prevent it from being as fun as it could have been.

The songs that comprise Half Black Heart bleed into each other unceasingly. Equal parts boring and cringe-inducing. There's no ebb and flow. There's no story to tell. Nothing stands out except the band's ill-suited frontwoman, who does little but give her male fans something to objectify and her female fans something to stan uncritically. They used to have potential. I remember their earlier work fondly as exciting and mildly enthralling alt metal. But they've regressed to novelty. No fans will be won or lost here. Take all the most tired tropes of this genre, throw them in a blender and you get New Years Day, an SNL spoof of a scene band, neon lights, skeletons and all.



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user ratings (16)
2.4
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2024


4982 Comments


new contrib Shamus coming out swinging nicely done.

This sounds awful

Shamus248
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2024


903 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I'm trying buddy. Gotta do that hard hitting journalism. Hope you're doing well!

AnimalForce1
Contributing Reviewer
March 12th 2024


863 Comments


I do enjoy Hurts Like Hell, but even from the first listen it felt like diet I Miss the Misery. Don’t know if I’ll check this, might be a bit too cheesy for even my cheesy genericore tastes

bellovddd
March 12th 2024


6395 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

New Years Day are a caricature of themselves



sums it alllllllllllllllllllllllllll up.

veninblazer
March 13th 2024


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

The production on this is fucking horrific

AtomicWaste
Moderator
March 13th 2024


2888 Comments


Not surprised. My wife is a fan and we saw them live pre-pandemic where Ash was half-assedly singing along to an obvious vocal track which was kinda embarrassing.

Shamus248
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2024


903 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Yep. They are notorious for backtracking

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2024


1822 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Yeah this record is about as underwhelming as their entire discography. Nice write up Shamus

FowlKrietzsche
March 13th 2024


1184 Comments


lol I made it a minute into Fearless, do people listen to this??
This was a very fun review tho

Tomstein
March 13th 2024


487 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

God that was boring. This is pretty much wwe music. oh wait I think a wrestler did use their music as entrance music so I stand corrected.

iDontaeCareFAM
March 14th 2024


134 Comments


Literally twenty seconds in and I already want to turn it off lmfao

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2024


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

Haha awesome, that cover is all sorts of tryhard

JerseyJimmy
March 14th 2024


157 Comments


when people talk about "coworkercore" this is the exact kind of thing I imagine

Valzentia
March 15th 2024


1412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

what the fuck is wrong with you peons this is a masterpiece

veninblazer
March 15th 2024


16839 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Well the production's terrible and makes this sound like it's trying to be In This Moment, for starters...

PumpBoffBag
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2024


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 2.6

I like where she sings about her bowels breaking on ‘So Sick’

Cuz that is pretty sick



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