A few years ago, when surfing the web for African rock and metal bands, Last Years Tragedy was one of the first I came across. At the time, the song I had come across had this post-hardcore sound to it which reminded me of bands like Confide and Still Remains. These guys hailing from Kenya know their stuff. Their production, while not being stellar is pretty good and that made me a bit optimistic about their “Challenge Accepted” EP which we’ll be talking ‘bout now’
The record begins with “March from the Underground” and it’s a pretty good opening track. And it features the catchiest chorus on the album. Even if one does not really like the song as a whole, they will definitely appreciate the clean singing in the chorus. It’s not spectacular in terms of singing technicality or anything but it is definitely catchy. The song features an abundant amount of keyboard, a few of which drown out the lead guitars a bit, but for the most part, fits into the song quite well.
“Elephant In the Room” is next and it is in this song that I get the Still Remains vibe the most. Especially when the breakdowns and keyboards hit. And may I just say that the breakdown that ends the song is pretty cool. While it’s a decent song it didn’t really stick in my mind as something that would make you come back over and over. But it might be one of those songs that grow on you over time. Only time will tell. “How to kill a daredevil” also has that Still Remains vibe to it, thanks to the keyboard segments that accompany the guitars in the verses of the song. And in this song, it actually never feels like the keyboard parts are too much. They feel just right at this point. It’s well written and well produced too.
Then came “Generation Light” with its very Gothenburg Style death metal sounding opening which slowed down once the main song kicked in. While I think it would have been cool to have the whole song on the same level of the really intense opening, I still enjoyed the song a lot. And the riffing at the end reminded me of the band, Solution 45. With the guitars and the keyboards creating a feeling that brings the words epic, melancholic and heavy to mind.
“Challenge Accepted” the title track, is the final track of the EP which opens with this really ferocious riffing that brings bands like As I Lay Dying and Miss May I to mind. This opening segment had blast beats, melodeath sounding riffs. It is probably the heaviest portion of any song on this album. Unfortunately, things slow down after the first minute. And while the rest of the song is still enjoyable, there was something about that intro that just hit me square in the jaw. I do wish that intensity was carried over to a significant portion of the song, this reminds me of the time Betraying The Martyrs released “JIGSAW”….the intro of the song melted stone and iron!! It was intense!! Then things became less intense afterwards. And while the song was still enjoyable, I could not help but wonder how cool it would have been for a significant portion of the song to be that intense.
I really enjoyed listening to this EP. The recording is well done, instrumentation was well executed, and while the keyboard parts were present in every song, it never felt like they were put in to help give the song life. They were like icing on a good cake. They just added to the substance that was already present not act as a crutch to give a bland song some life.
Also, next time, do not tease me with super intense intros only to tone things down. It’s unfair. All in all, I feel this is a record that does what it wanted to do well. There are one or two songs I didn’t find to be as endearing as the rest, I’m sure there will be people who enjoy those songs. As a whole, it is a good record that deserves to be listened to.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5