Review by William Dibble, photo and videos provided by KEVLAR
When somebody mentions the state Pennsylvania, a few things usually come to mind. The Amish, the Steelers, Philadelphia are a few such things. Metal isn’t one of the first things you think of. But up-and-coming band KEVLAR aims to change that. Hailing from Erie, PA, they’ve toured with some of the biggest names in contemporary metal. Their new EP, Aftermath, releases in May, and we’ve got the scoop on that vicious album right here!
The album opens with the song “Seems to Happen a Lot”. The main riff is augmented with an electronic backing sound. Hard, heavy, and dissonant, it pairs well with the singer’s voice. Singer Kelci Margaret switches seamlessly between screamed and melodic vocals. The song really lends itself to slam dancing and hardcore dancing. It ends by trailing off into some quiet vocals before launching into “For What It’s Worth”, a fast, catchy tune. Kelci’s voice draws you in and keeps you listening throughout. The guitar riffs between the verses are fast, precise, and fit perfectly, before dropping into an absolutely crushing breakdown two and a half minutes in. KEVLAR cut their teeth on tours with metalcore bands, and it absolutely shows.
“Alibis” marks the album’s first single. The video for Alibis debuted in 2016, and the song fits perfectly into Aftermath. A poignant piece about abuse and toxic relationships, it also features diverse musical sounds ranging from cleaner guitar sounds to intense breakdowns. The song is also singular in that it features almost no screaming at all. It also feels like one of the most personal songs on the album. “Overdose” makes up for the lack of screaming, if you missed it in “Alibis”. While it might not feel as fast-paced as “For What It’s Worth”, “Overdose” is every bit as heavy as the first two tracks on the album. Also of note is the presence of persistent keyboards and synths throughout the song, adding another layer of sound on top of the track.
“Cold” is a much softer song than anything else on the EP. Focusing on clean vocals and guitars for most of the song, it lends an almost post-hardcore feel to this part of the album. While it does feature a breakdown, the breakdown somehow feels softer than the others on the album, and doesn’t disrupt the softer tone of the song. Aftermath closes out with a cover of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse”. A heavy metal twist on a pop song, it would not be out of place to imagine this appearing on a volume of Punk Goes Pop. It is an excellent cover that lends KEVLAR’s sound and attitude to their imagining of the song.
Aftermath is an excellently composed and recorded album. It really showcases a combination of consistency and growth. KEVLAR is consistent in their drive for quality metal, but has grown in terms of composition and sound. It will definitely be a highlight release for this band, and showcases some of their best traits and skills.