Album Review: I Am King – One Hundred

image‘One Hundred’ is the Pennsylvania Six-piece’s debut effort for Velocity/Rise Records. It’s definitely a statement; their hardcore vocals and riffs mixed with poppy choruses and programming fleshing out an album filled with angsty songs about relationships, growing up and a human drive to do something meaningful in life. The production is polished up and sounds meaty on first listen, but does it actually have any bite?

The vocals range from an almost black metal rasping to sweetly sung via gang vox shouting and almost choral harmonies. ‘Thrive’ is a mostly sung affair about finding something to keep you going which wouldn’t feel entirely out of place on a Hoobastank record. In similarly themed ‘Ambition and Contrast’, it falls somewhere between Rise against, some NYC hardcore and Cradle of Filth at points in a storm of swirling guitar licks and double bass drum.

‘Omega’ has an air of the ‘Decemberunderground’ era programming that AFI started when the bridge and chorus come in. The Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde approach to loud/quiet/loud dynamic is well pronounced here, and actually works pretty well, but in other places it occasionally comes over a little flat. ‘Fallen’ begins promisingly with the chorus hook pulling you in through the line “…when you told me the truth, baby you killed me”, it’s overdramatic delivery followed up with at suckerpunch of driving guitars brings togther a lot of momentum, which is then lost as it stalls into the verse somewhat. The choruses pick it up, but it feels a little like it’s slumped between those props. The breakdown in the middle feels a bit like it should rejuvenate, with it dropping into electronic effects and vocals but when the chorus kicks back in, it seems a bit wasted.

There’s some nice guitar work amongst all the heavy driving chords that are the power behind a lot of the record. The arpeggios throughout ‘Birth By Sleep’ being a nice contrast to the chugging guitars in other places, and the short guitar solo gives it a really different feel to the rest of the album. there’s also some nice picked bits in ‘Julia’ behind the vocals in the chorus.

This does have some moments, with the song of remorse for a failed relationship ‘Julia’ and it’s very atypical ballad sound, upbeat but still somewhat melancholy being a highlight. But there are a lot of ideas crammed in which don’t neccessarily work as well as they could, with things feeling a little flat from time to time. There’s ambition and a fair bit of experimentation, more so than on the self released ‘I Am King EP’ from last year, which shows promise. It’s a case of trying to do a bit too much with each track though, and the experimentation doesn’t pay off everywhere.


‘OneHundred’ by I Am King is available now on Velocity/Rise Records.

I Am King links: Facebook| Twitter

Words by Heather Robertson (@thecuriosity)


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