review published: 9/5/2016
Last year Arizona metalcore outfit Ella Kaye released Comas Collide – a solid, if not unfocused EP. Due to it consisting mainly of guest musicians helping out vocalist Justin Chard (the sole member of the group at the time), each song brought forth a different sound, never really gelling into a consistent, flowing record. In the time since the EP's release, Chard has solidified Ella Kaye's lineup with a full time band. The group's first effort together, No Nights, is the answer to the question we posed a year ago – what would come of the band when all the guests moved on?
No Nights opens with a bout of Chard's screamed vocals before the band enters with a heavy palm muted staccato riff. From there, album opener "Needful Things" snakes its way through heavy groove riffs and mellower melodic sections. The clean vocals work well in the chorus, staying mainly in the midrange without over-reaching.
Ella Kaye work their way through the next batch of songs, "It's All Deadly" and "Whisker Vigorous," with skillful execution, bouncing from heavy to melodic with ease. They stick mainly to the basic metalcore formulas, incorporating group vocals and breakdowns in all the expected spots, but are able to avoid sounding played-out.
"Snake Meat," the strongest track on No Nights, sees the band exploring a darker, heavier sound. The chuggy riffs are laced with slick ascending guitar leads, bringing to mind early As I Lay Dying, while altogether avoiding a catchy, cleanly sung chorus. "Snake Meat" is Ella Kaye at their best.
The album closes with its title track, which feels a little unfocused. The song features electronic programmed drums and pop vocal melodies interspersed throughout the otherwise solid track. Ultimately, the exercise feels forced and isn't the band's strong suit.
Bottom Line: Chard has come out of his lineup predicament fairly well. While Comas Collide and No Nights sound like they were recorded by completely different bands (they essentially were), Ella Kaye have built a solid base to grow upon. Fans of metalcore should give No Nights a few spins.
Track Listing: 01. Needful Things 02. It's All Deadly 03. Whisker Vigorous 04. Snake Meat 05. No Nights