"Formidable hard rock confidence, yet would benefit from that fearless unpredictability of their youth": New Years Day don't quite find their way on Half Black Heart

Five albums in and New Years Day are maturing - but losing of the charm of their youth on new album Half Black Heart

New Years Day
(Image: © Press)

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With the original line-up back together, New Years Day have risen from the ashes with a revitalised sound. Visually, their latest release could be straight from 2013, what with Ash Costello gripping at a bloody heart, hair dyed her signature red/black split, yet the sonic content is a sharp evolution for the goth veterans. 

Just as 2019’s Unbreakable teased a divergence from their old-school sound – a cocktail of choppy, buoyant pop-punk infused alt metalHalf Black Heart is its final nail in the coffin. And the result is striking, even if it does sacrifice some of New Years Day’s charm. 

Five albums deep, the gaggle of goths have gearshifted to focus on swelling, arena-worthy hard rock anthems. Everywhere you look, these alt metallers have crafted gorgeous, captivating soundscapes; Burn It All Down’s furious majesty is devastating, while Fearless really packs a punch, with its scratching howls reinforcing Ash’s weightless, triumphant vocals. Yet there’s a striking lack of NYD’s hallmark restlessness. 

Half Black Heart is a far more streamlined listen than previous work. Maturing is healthy, but the band have sacrificed their penchant for frenzied nu metal rhythmic shifts. The album is often predictable, finding the band cool, calm and collected, delivering fury with a measured hand. The result is powerful, but you’re left with an itch for something less conventional, a little more sporadic. 

That’s not to say the record is totally cookie-cutter – there’s still the classic Halloween-drunk gothic musing throughout, and industrial-tinged venom is scattered throughout tracks like the narcissist-scorning Vampyre, while Hurts Like Hell is a balls-to-the-wall, stadium-filling banger. Half Black Heart is halfway there. It showcases a formidable hard rock confidence, yet would greatly benefit from that fearless unpredictability of their youth.

Half Black Heart is out March 1 via Century Media

Emily Swingle

Full-time freelancer, part-time music festival gremlin, Emily first cut her journalistic teeth when she

co-founded Bittersweet Press in 2019. After asserting herself as a home-grown, emo-loving, nu-metal

apologist, Clash Magazine would eventually invite Emily to join their Editorial team in 2022. In the

following year, she would pen her first piece for Metal Hammer - unfortunately for the team, Emily

has since become a regular fixture. When she’s not blasting metal for Hammer, she also scribbles for

Rock Sound, Why Now and Guitar and more.