There’s nothing quite like a strong debut. Some bands don’t debut well, but come around later. Other bands, though, have good focus and developed ideas from the very beginning. I like to think that Late’s debut “The One and I” is one of the latter. The album was released on January 25th. I had wrestled with how to get a review for it into my schedule, but felt that it needed to be, regardless.
Late comes to us from Slovakia. I’m not entirely sure about this, but I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a band from Slovakia in the past. The band consists of Patrik Kovár (guitar), Ján Hyža (drums), Michal Žiak (guitar), Martin Vacula (bass), and Lukáš Mikulský (vocals).
Late is one of those bands that appeals to me because of my love of alternative metal. The band plays a red-blooded progressive metal, but are obviously influenced substantially by late 90s/early 00s alternative metal, as well. Lukáš’ vocals even remind me of several singers of that genre and era, being emotional and maybe with a hint of that signature “whine”. You will hear some gruff vox, as well. The music overall combines that raw alternative sound with progressive complexity and a more modern vibe. There are more than a few moments when the band sounds like a more complex version of Sevendust, to be honest.
That said, the band has quite a knack for intense polyrhythms and riffs. On several tracks, I found myself immersed in their flaming instrumental power. They don’t hold anything back, but they also know musical space and atmosphere. I really love Patrik and Michal’s guitars, being heavy and cleanly performed. I also have found myself loving Ján’s intense drums. His “unleashed” style gives plenty of cymbal work, giant fills, and complex beats, and I would say that he takes the music to another level.
The album has an interesting concept, as you may have guessed from the title. The album discusses discovery of one’s self, but also existential wrestling with what one should do in life. I find myself connecting with the lyrics quite closely, and you will hear plenty of words about self-worth and that sort of thing. Overall, I really like the message.
The album has seven tracks, one being a bonus track, though. As I look at the tracklist, I realize that every song here has some really strong moments that makes it memorable. The opener “Schizophrenia”, for example, starts with a great riff, and the song progresses solidly and satisfyingly, even feeling a little more classic metal towards the end. “Agnosticity” is another good one with some really heavy portions and a chorus that sounds quintessentially like the alternative metal of my younger years.
I think my favorites are “Vessels”, “The Artificial and the Savior”, and “Paths”, though. “Vessels” sounds quite a bit like Sevendust to me in the rhythmic department, and the instrumental in the second half is layered and fantastic. “The Artificial and the Savior” is the single, and I think the band did a good job with selecting that one. It is unrelenting, powerful, and full of blast beats. I love it. “Paths” ends the album (not counting the bonus track “Unending Thread”), and it is the longest, possibly most progressive song on the album. It also gets a shot of darkness and breathy whispering, or perhaps broiling rage. Regardless, it utilizes those feelings to great effect, almost cinematic at points. The last half might be my favorite segment on the album.
Late deserve attention for this debut. If you like raw energy and alternative twists, this album will satisfy you. I think the band have unveiled their weighty potential here. Sure, there are moments that are a little rough around the edges, as expected for a debut, but the band has a clear idea of who they are and what music they want to play, and it is a wonderful listen from beginning to end.
Find Late online: