Last Year’s Tragedy – Challenge Accepted Review

last-years-tragedy-challenge-acceptedIf my recent forray into writing a newsy type article has taught me anything, it’s that I like being that opinionated bastard trying to force music onto people. It’s just more my thing. And on that note, here’s a review of another Kenyan band’s EP offering to the metal gods. Last Year’s Tragedy have released their debut EP, Challenge Accepted, and much to my delight it’s another fine example of the growing scene in the land of lions and tigers. It should also be noted that LYT is a seven-piece band, yes seven, that’s heading into Eluveitie territory!

Last Year’s Tragedy can best be described as melodic metalcore (this assumption brought to you again by the Shadowy Pigeon-holing Council tm). What the council fails to take into account is the other influences present in this recording, from post-hardcore sensibilities, a few symphonic elements and some killer groove thrown in for good measure.

The album opens with “March From the Underground”, an incredibly post-rocky piece complete with piano lead, offset with chuggy guitar riffs that break into a soaring, melodic chorus. This is all tied together with a bridge you could drive a tank over! And that tank keeps going straight into “Elephant in the Room”. By all accounts this track is a more “traditional” metalcore song, with all the tropes you’d come to expect from that genre including a breakdown halfway through.

“How To Kill a Daredevil” is at the heart of this EP, kicking off with a keyboard-centric intro – think “Odin be my Guide” from Cape Town’s own Strident. The drums kick in with a solid mid tempo march beat before breaking into a groove dictated by the guitar. Lots of quick cymbal spikes coupled with a few off-beat hits and again a melodic chorus which I’m pretty sure by now is this band’s signature. And a breakdown. Because breakdowns.
“Generation Light” is up next and is probably my favourite track, it’s a take-no-prisoners affair with strong, fast riffing and a really powerful vocal presence. The whole song has a sense of urgency about it, and I like it! The keyboard and guitar-duel bridge is magnificent. The EP closes off with the title track, “Challenge Accepted” another slab of good solid, modern metalcore.

last-years-tragedy-promo-2014As a whole, Challenge Accepted is a really strong offering. The tasteful use of keyboards throughout give the whole EP a sense of grandeur, almost touching on the atmospheric. No doubt their sound live would fill any venue. The lyrics overall are very personal and it shows in the vocals. Chizi cares deeply about their music and the same can be said of the whole band; their musical passion is felt throughout the recording. And it is this passion, that will lead this band forward, and beyond.

As for the bad, yes, there is a bad. The whole recording does sound a bit 1994 in the quality department, but I can hardly fault the band on that. I’d put that down more to the recording equipment and possibly the studio’s environment. It’s not like just any African band can afford to go record in Tagtgren-ville, Sweden! With that said, here’s a final thought (and you can quote me on this): If you like something a little more experimental, something with real passion, buy this album. It’s only $5 on their Bandcamp page!

Still not convinced? Watch Last Year’s Tragedy‘s video for “Generation Light” below: