I've been fortunate to know about Hereford's KinStrife since they released their debut single 'Fear', and now a year or so later it's great to be able to hear their debut album 'Fools And Monsters'. And what a tremendous album it is! Twelve tracks of melodic, hard rock nuggets that draws deeply from the well of 80s and 90s rock and metal and brings it all into the 21st Century with fine aplomb.
The album grabs you from the beginning with three absolutely outstanding tracks; opener 'Intervention' is a strong statement of intent with its driving tempo and excellent guitar riffing, next track, the single 'Make Me' with its keening tone and insistent 'Make Me...' chorus follows on in great style, while 'Cursed' - despite its martial beats at the start and end of the track - is almost 'poppy' in its sound with an uplifting middle eight and shows the band's excellent way with a tune and a melody.
If the rest of the album doesn't quite match up to these exalted heights, it doesn't fall far short. 'Fear' would be a winner in stadiums around the world with it's sing-along anthem and lighter aloft qualities and there are also more quality ballad-like tracks in the shape of 'Unconditional', with its chiming guitars and in 'Slow And Easy's' verses. 'Bombs' and 'Any Given Day' rocks like nobody's business and 'Devil's Call' and 'Get Away' in the middle of the album show the band can handle more complex song structures and longer tracks.
For a debut album, this shows a band with a fully formed sound already in place, with Simon Richards' pulsing drums and Dave Richards' rock solid bass forming a fine bedrock for Alan Kaye's fluid guitarwork and imaginative riffing and the band's calling card - Mike Hoskins' rich, deep, soulful and distinctive vocals. There is an urgent, keening tone to this album which matches the very often questing lyrical content and all in all, this is a fantastic album, quite rightly getting attention from a number of publications and radio shows. If this 'New Wave Of Classic Rock' (NWOCR) is a 'thing', then Kinstrife should be somewhere near the top of that pile. Buy with confidence!
'Fools And Monsters' is available on all the major digital sites or as a physical copy through the band's shop - www.kinstrife.bigcartel.com