Check out our thoughts on the debut EP from British post-hardcore newcomers – Mandown…
Anyone who’s listened to UDS Radio or read any of our music articles, will know I’m a huge fan of Reuben. Heck, I even made a mini documentary about them. Through them, I was introduced to the British post-hardcore renaissance of the mid-2000s. Bands like Hundred Reasons, Million Dead and Hell Is For Heroes, as well as more underrated offerings from the ‘Farnborough Groove’ scene like Mindwire and Thirst would be on my regular rotation ever since. Alas, the one thing that unites these acts is that almost all of them are no longer active. Indeed, the glory days of the scene felt like a nostalgic, distant memory; slipping further from the mainstream into cult status.
That’s why as soon as I became aware of Mandown, I was instantly intrigued. A two piece composed of drummer Lawrence Arnold and vocalist/guitarist Iain Turner, emanating from the post-hardcore heartland of Farnborough seemed like a recipe for success. Intrigue quickly became excitement once I learned their debut 4-track EP We Want Blood was being helmed by legendary producer Chris Coulter, and none other than Reuben frontman Jamie Lenman would be involved in the recording process.
But with such pedigree behind it, would We Want Blood live up to expectations? Read on to find out…
Firstly, with a runtime clocking south of 12 minutes, there’s absolutely no fat on this record. From the swelling drums that kick off the EP on Try Or Die, there’s a real sense of immediacy and urgency, each track racing towards the finishing line without ever feeling rushed. During the recording process, each track was whittled down to its most concentrated form, and by doing so you get an instant idea of what Mandown are all about – head thumping beats, aggressive vocals and catchy hooks.
And speaking of the latter two, it’s not very often you find songs that harmonise vocal and guitar melodies quite as well as this. The opening of Tick Tock is a prime example of this, the strings almost serving as backing vocals. By doing so, everything sounds far richer and more impactful than you’d expect from a two piece. The harmonisation of riff and vocals seemed like something that had fallen out of fashion alongside the halcyon days of British post-hardcore, and to hear it revived here put a big, dumb smile on my face.
It feels fitting to end this review looking at the closing title track – We Want Blood. Charged with a menacing guitar lead in the verse and a massive singalong chorus, it feels like a statement of intent. In my interpretation, the bitter, vengeful chants of We Want Blood are a call to the music industry and the listener themselves. Mandown are here to shake things up with a new take on an often forgotten sound.
They want blood and they’re going to get it.
To wrap up, after taking off my headphones as the last track ended, I felt as if I’d been on the winning side of a fist fight. It was frenetic, aggressive, over in a flash and ultimately, hugely satisfying. Each track feels destined to whip crowds into a frenzy, and I can’t wait to experience them live.
I’d implore any fan of rock music to check out what I would consider one of the most vital music releases of 2020 so far.
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