Review by Tony Gaskin
Stand As One, as a title, suggests a rallying call to arms, solidarity in the face of adversity, together we will stand strong etc etc and after all the trials and tribulations that A Thousand Enemies have had to overcome then it must also be a statement of intent.
Bursting onto the live scene in early 2012 to great acclaim, things looked promising for Bane Holland’s new outfit that arose out of two defunct East Midlands bands. The three-track EP they released during that period quickly sold out and work got under way for the debut album. But as is the way with unsigned bands trying to make their mark in the world, obstacles had to be overcome, including line-up changes, and the release date was delayed. Not ones to sit on their laurels though, and once a settled line-up was sorted (albeit a different one to that featured on this album), they were back out playing live again, more determined than ever to put the dark days behind them. So early 2014 and the album is done, finished, packaged and ready to be unleashed on an eagerly awaiting audience, and they won’t be disappointed.
The power and energy you get at an Enemies show is captured magnificently here, the overall sound is heavy but melodic. From the powerfully emotive ‘Let Me In’ to the anthemic clarion call of ‘Valve’, each song grabs your attention for different reasons. The guitars tracks add depth and subtle tones to compliment the strong vocals of Bane, with his long time cohort Andy Goulter providing some excellent bass tracks, particularly with the full-on ‘Forever And A Day’.
I usually like to point out one or two outstanding tracks off an album, but after listening through this release many times I honestly can’t single out one track that is better than the others, it really depends what mood I’m in as to what tracks resonate with me. If I’ve had a hard day at work then ‘Valve’ or ‘Hadley’s Hope’ get the juices flowing, or if I’m feeling more contemplative (I recently lost a good friend so this has been a more usual mood for me) then the incredible ‘And Nothing Remains’ and ‘Let Me In’ are the ones that pull me in. And that’s what I like about this album, it’s heavy and hard rock at its best, but the tracks are diverse enough to keep it in the current listening pile for a long time to come. Stand As One? I think they’ve made their point.
9 out of 10
- Intro – Milibus Hostium Sanguine Pictus (Painted With The Hand Of A Thousand Enemies)
- Shadow & Substance
- Enemy Of Mine
- Chaos State
- And Nothing Remains
- Forever And A Day
- Let Me In
- Gutter Life
- Hadleys Hope