Before they were announced as one of the support acts for Creeper’s much anticipated 2017 headline tour, you’d have been forgiven for not having the faintest clue who Energy were. The Massachusetts goth-punks have hardly had a sniff of attention from the UK since forming in 2006. The thing is, listening to the rabid, raucous, rousing performance on display on ‘Apparition Sound’, it’s simply baffling as to how they’ve struggled to make an impact until now. Energy are a brilliant band.From the moment instrumental opener ‘Renascentia’ kicks in with its spooky soundscapes, it becomes glaringly obvious as to how Energy have influenced Creeper: they deal in the same blend of goth, glam, pop and horror-punk that the Southampton six-piece are currently in the process of taking to the masses.But enough about Will Gould and co. – ‘Apparition Sound’ is a record which is easily strong enough to stand on its own two feet. There’s the pop-punk purity of ‘Another Yesterday’, the My Chemical Romance-esque grandiosity of ‘Dead In Dreamland’ and the anthemic ‘The Shadowlands’, all delivered with a convincing blend of pomp and precision. The “down here in the Shadowlands, I’m running away” chorus of the latter in particular is evidence of Energy’s knack for killer songwriting. They even manage to make The Ramones’ most gothy song, ‘Pet Sematary’, even eerier on their superb cover of said track.Such is Energy’s penchant for combining the ghostly with guitars, if the makers of a horror film wanted a punk band to soundtrack their flick, they’d be the ideal guys for the job. There aren’t many bands around who can express goth-punk sentiments as convincingly as these guys.
The newest release from Boston based band Energy is a short, but energetic foray into a world of haunting melodies, sweeping guitars, and a dynamic sound that is as refreshing as it is familiar. Front man Jason “Tank” Tankerley’s melodic vocals call to mind Davey Havok, while still remaining fresh, interesting, and unique. A strong, tight rhythm section, with a round low end from their bassist and a crisp, clean drum sound perfectly compliment the clear, sweeping leads and the glassy, driving rhythm parts, creating a polished, layered sound that isn’t over produced, and still maintains the power and, if you’ll excuse the pun, the energy, that is Energy. Energy is a band that calls to mind many elements, from metal, to hardcore, to punk, all with a slick polish and a strong pop sensibility. It would be a mistake if you were to miss out on this band.
Bands change. It’s a plan fact that many diehard fans have a hard time coping with. In the case of Energy’s new EP, Walk Into The Fire, the Massachusetts hardcore band’s circle pit crew are probably going to be thrown by three songs of melancholy, AFI-tinged, melodic rock. It’s more Dag Nasty than Minor Threat, and that always causes a bit of confusion in the mosh. “Angels At My Grave,” in particular, is nearly five-and-a-half minutes of zoned-out bliss (replete with a string section) that may just pass in a live setting—but not in some rec center gymnasium with all of the lights on and the shitty PA echoing off the back walls, if you know what we mean. Despite the reaction they might get from this new musical path (something they’ve only flirted with on previous releases), this EP finds Energy on the cusp of something great. Even if they revert back to the melodic hardcore fist-pump on their next album, they’ve proven they can fully embrace melody. It’s a piece of arsenal they’ll always have, to come back to later whenever they so please.
The first thing people notice about Energy is frontman Tank’s uncanny vocal resemblance to AFI’s Davey Havok. There’s no doubt the young singer got a lot of his chops by listening to Havok but his hooky and passionate performances are too ardent to deny. Their recently released Invasions of the Mind finds Energy firing on all cylinders with songs that showcase the most vital parts of punk, hardcore, and even alt-rock. Their faster material is ready for the sweat and blood of a VFW hall show but Tank’s sweetened vocal tone tempers it with a melodious edge. Energy is writing the kinds of records that could make rock radio much more appetizing to us music geeks. It won’t be long before the major label A&R scouts come sniffing around this one.
There was a time when hardcore music was played solely by (and to) a bunch of shirtless and bald tough guys. But over the years, more mainstream sounds and approaches have infiltrated the style — to the point that “hardcore metal” groups have actually scored honest to goodness hit albums on the Billboard charts (which back in the ‘80s, would have seemed like a pipe dream). A good example of this aforementioned style would definitely be the Boston-based quintet, Energy, and their 2008 release, Invasions of the Mind. The speedy tempos and sometimes shouted vocals definitely point in the direction of hardcore. However, their almost Beach Boys-y harmonies, appreciation for penning a pop hook, and a sticky sweet production separate them from bands that specialize in nothing but good old-fashioned hardcore — especially as evidenced on such tracks as “Hunter Red” and “Heaven.” While you wouldn’t go quite as far as calling Energy “a hardcore boy band,” the group’s leanings toward the mainstream are undeniable throughout Invasions of the Mind.
Energy’s Punch The Clock is one of the most promising melodic hardcore debuts in recent memory. Energy has crafted a sound that is part Black Sails era AFI mixed with influences from melodic masters such as Ignite and Vision. Despite revisiting a sound that has been established for well over a decade, Energy delivers passionate songs that champion an era of songwriting that is frequently reminisced. Vocalist Tank sounds like he is channeling Davey Havoc in his delivery, and while most hardcore singers would fail miserably at such a task, Tank has a powerful voice and pulls it off well. Unlike other subgenres of punk, melodic hardcore often sounds best with a vocalist that possesses traditional singing talent, and Tank’s vocals are a significant part of what makes this debut so memorable. Normally I’d highlight standout tracks, but all of these songs are equally solid. Starting with an intro that bleeds flawlessly into the opening track, the band soars through all 8 songs in just over 10 minutes. The guitarists have written incredibly catchy hooks and Tank’s vocals put the songs over the top. The short length of this debut is an asset; with the increasing professionalization of hardcore, it seems many bands are pressured to churn out lengthier albums in accordance with major label norms. Certain styles of punk and hardcore have more of an impact when kept short and Energy falls within this camp. Don’t let the length be an excuse to cheap out and download this, as the artwork is awesome and looks great on the glossy liner notes.