Follow My Lead
Spit, Kick, Revolt.
Irish metalcore band Follow My Lead has gone through quite the trek to finally make it to the release of their debut record, Spit, Kick, Revolt. Initially signed to Fearless Records towards the end of 2014, the quintet fully recorded an album with former vocalist Mattie Foxx, in which only one single ever saw the light of day. In the spring of 2016, however, amped with a new vocalist, Danny Bochkov, switching to InVogue Records, and dropping their first release in over a year, Follow My Lead was back, and frankly, better than ever.
Spit, Kick, Revolt. does not sound like generic metalcore, instead it sounds more ethereal and rounded out. The vocals are not classic screams as they resonate more as chanted spoken word. Clean vocals are seldom, but the technical skills of the instrumentals are ever present. “Burning Man” perhaps displays this dynamic in sound and song structure best. Roaring in as a very heavy statement piece to open the record, “Burning Man” builds upon itself playing with build ups, dramatic pauses and varying riffs to keep the listener guessing.
There’s an odd amalgamation of sounds contained within Spit, Kick, Revolt. that was entirely void in Follow My Lead’s previous releases. Tracks like “Vir(us)” create a diverse hardcore sound filled with catchy choruses and nu-metal undertones, while other tracks like the single “Jugular” take on a more old world Viking style of metal. They even touch on an early 2000s Linkin Park feel with tracks like “Tsunami” all the while still emanating a cohesive vibe for the record as a whole.
Instrumentally and structurally, Spit, Kick, Revolt. is an insane record. Many of the tracks are almost completely devoid of any generic verse-chorus-bridge clichés and instead throw everything at the listener in whimsical yet tactful way. “Half-Cut” feels more like a metal version of poetic blank verse than a song, showing the sophistication and time that the guys in Follow My Lead put into this record.
Unfortunately, the one downside to the revamped version of Follow My Lead is a lack in strength on clean vocals. Cleans are just simply out of Bochkov’s range, and though he fully makes up for it through the intensity of his uncleans, tracks like “Caustic” and “Brain Storm” would benefit far more if all singing was removed from them entirely. Towards the end of the record, the reliance on cleans paired with intense instrumentals feels a little redundant as the formula falls short each time. However, the record swoops back up when the listener gets to the penultimate track, “Abusement Park.” Boasting the strongest riff on the album and paired with that strange Viking-like undertone, “Abusement Park”‘s use of cleans actually adds depth to the track setting a model for where Follow My Lead should incorporate singing in the future.
Spit, Kick, Revolt. is a highly impressive album for a debut and shows that the time Follow My Lead was forced to put into getting it off the ground was well worth the wait. If they keep up this level of dedication and attention to detail for their second release, fans can only expect bigger and better things. (Natasha Van Duser)