ARTIST: MALLORY KNOX
TITLE: MALLORY KNOX
LABEL: A WOLF AT YOUR DOOR
WORDS: COLIN CAPP
A self-titled album is a bold statement to make. It’s something that says, ‘this is who we are and what we are about’, an album that defines the bare foundations of an artist and presents them for all to see. With the departure of vocalist Mikey Chapman this is a statement the re-born Mallory Knox have found themselves needing to make. Although this is the bands forth album, with the changes the band have been through it feels like a debut album. It’s a daunting task for any band but one which Mallory Knox have embraced by creating this ballsy and brave album.
Instead of opting to bring in a new vocalist, bassist Sam Douglas has stepped up to take on the role. Chapman was an incredible vocalist, so as well as making the huge step from bassist to frontman Douglas has found himself with some big boots to fill. Live shows have suggested that this is a change he is more than suited for, but a record is a different ball game. The doubts surrounding this are something addressed in the lyrics to ‘Wherever’, where Douglas confesses ‘I try to be something I’m not’. This is not the case at all though, as instead of trying to re-create former glories Mallory Knox have embraced the change and reinvented themselves without alienating their existing fanbase.
“a daunting task for any band but one which Mallory Knox have embraced by creating this ballsy and brave album”
‘Psycho Killer’ is the perfect opener, displaying the urgent, riff orientated rock the band have favoured on the majority of this album. The song features plenty of killer riffs, a great solo and a Royal Blood esque chorus. It’s more raw than we’re used to from the band and presents the new, exciting style more suited to Douglas’ vocals. The edgy sound is explored further on ‘Wherever’ including more huge riffs and some gnarly vocals beefing up the verse. ‘Freaks’ leans towards the blues orientated riffs explored in the opener but fuses them with the standard alternative rock sound, the perfect blend between their new style and their earlier, cleaner sound.
The standout moment comes from the first single released with the new line up. ‘Black Holes’ still sounds as fresh as when it was first released. Its massive chorus mixed with the aggressive vocals and the brilliant guitar solo makes it one of the strongest songs in the bands catalogue.
Despite the obvious changes in the bands sound this is still the same musicians and this still sounds like a Mallory Knox album. ‘The World I Know’ and ‘Livewire’ both sound like classic Mallory Knox. Lead guitar lines and huge catchy chorus’ dominate and the vocals sound strong. The big anthemic chorus’ are used further in ‘White Lies’ and ‘Heartbreak Lover’, proving Mallory Knox can still write brilliant pop-rock anthems. It eradicates any doubts that Douglas wouldn’t be the man to step up the job and proves the band will still be favoured by old fans.
“eradicates any doubts that Douglas wouldn’t be the man to step up the job and proves the band will still be favoured by old fans.”
The only disappointments come in the later half of the album. ‘4’ and ‘Radio’ don’t sound as self-assured as the majority of the album and quite frankly feel like filler. Despite this the album finishes on ‘Guts’ ending the album in the same aggressive rock n roll fashion it started.
Mallory Knox have been through changes which could have crushed lesser bands but with this release they have proved their strength by recording a great collection of songs proving the band are now stronger than ever.