Atomic Hero are a four piece band from Bristol consisting of Jack Whale, Craig Hall and Rich Burn plus a rotating cast of fourth band members. At the end of December they put out a seven song release named Years. The band describe Years on their Bandcamp page as “a collection of songs written periodically by the core trio of Jack, Craig and Rich over 6 years and multiple fourth band members. 'Years' captures a musical transition from the frantic 'Adrenaline Injection' to a more balanced pace, a focus on melody and meaningful lyrical content.”
Years begins with the song Bodies. Bodies is a fast paced melodic punk rock song that goes along at a great pace. From the outset the song gives off a big burst of energy that pulls you into the song immediately. There are times when things are slowed, particularly for the chorus, but for the most part Bodies is just a fun musical explosion. I really loved the guitars in the next song, Paces. It's hard to describe other than saying there are some wonderful guitar riffs. Kind of makes you want to jump up and down. Paces is about trying to find a way back after going through some dark times and not hiding from those demons. Manhattan Streets is an ode to Manhattan in New York City and the brilliant experiences that it has given Atomic Hero. This is a mid-tempo pop punk song oozing with positivity. It's the longest song on Years and features lots of nice musicianship throughout, particularly the outro to the song that feels like it's building towards a big finale but ultimately ends the song.
The fourth track, Foresight, is a real standout song. There's a great urgency in the song and energy is pouring out the seams of the track. It's also quite interesting on the ears. The guitars are quite technical and offer something different to the other songs on Years. The layered vocals on the final chorus give the song a whole new dimension and I really liked how the intensity grew here. Grounded starts slowly with just guitar and vocal before the entire band joins in. The vocals often overshadow the music on the song, really allowing you to hear the emotion in the song. Not to be completely overshadowed by the vocals, there is a fantastic instrumental section that leads into a big flourish to complete the song. The penultimate song is named Tired Eyes and has a stupendous opening with the best guitar section of the entire release. This is a great up-tempo track that hooks you quickly. The fast, bouncing melody filled me with glee and I immediately thought this is a song for me. It's kind of a throwback to the Drive Thru Records pop punk era and makes me think of bands such as Home Grown and Fenix TX. Two of the most underrated bands from that time. Maybe Tired Eyes is the standout song on Years? The seventh and final song is Summer Song. Here with have another song bursting with some infectious energetic urgency that really attracts me to the song. I've noticed that throughout Years Atomic Hero are not afraid of letting the song slow down or completely stop before bursting back into life again. This is a great way of keeping the listener interested. My favourite part of the song is its ending with some great gang vocals to finish things up nicely.
I used the words urgency and energy a few times in this review and they are two best words to describe Years. A big part of why I enjoy punk rock music is because it makes me feel things in my body and makes me want to move around. Years does this in spades.
Stream and download Years here: https://atomichero.bandcamp.com/
Like Atomic Hero here: https://www.facebook.com/atomichero
This review was written by Colin Clark.