25 Sep 2023

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Ugly Boys Collective - EP Review: Death Petals

20 Jun 2023 // A review by Kris Raven

Auckland, NZ hybrid rock outfit Ugly Boys Collective have recently dropped their debut EP Death Petals, a diverse four track album full of 80's and 90's grunge inspired riffage and thrash guitar solos with unique vocals and production. 

Opening with Erased, a distorted opening bass riff with kick, lifts off into the song mains progression. The riff has an offbeat groove with subtle guitar layers synced, allowing plenty of space for the vocals which play against the rhythm of the song. The main chorus melody has a light hook to it, but what I felt was missing was a climatic build into the chorus and more differential transitions between parts. The bridge like many parts further into the EP showcases heavier guitar riffs and solos and levels up the song. 

Villains was a track that had an instant hook, the initial guitar riff has an Alice in Chains 'Dirt' esque vibe with a Queens of the Stone Age style vocals. They play really well together and the overall vibe works well with the production of the song, a more stoner rock and metal feel. I enjoyed the outro of the song that ties in with a riff played prior, there is a speed and intensity to it and the spoken word vocals add a sinister angle.

Never Seen, I loved the opening snare roll, into a groove rock arrangement with all instruments all locked in sync. The vocal arrangements are interesting, moving between laid back and then sporadic. The Post chorus guitar solo has a real metal influence, followed later by another guitar lead that takes the song into an offbeat heavier bridge with multiple guitar layers and start/stop drums adding a different extra feel. 

Actuus reus (Latin for the guilty act) takes a more progressive rock approach. The flow of the toms and rolling bass with the guitar line and ethereal flourishes take this song in an interesting direction. The toms play a big part in literally rolling the song along with the guitar leads amplifying the direction and really showcasing the skills and genre mix that we have heard throughout the EP. Like previous songs, the guitar solos have a Big Four thrash influence which is quite a contrast to the previous sections and I quite enjoyed. 

Overall the songs have great parts, clever ideas and solid musicianship. The mix (JP Carroll Production) is clean and all the instruments and layers sit comfortably but I feel it needed more dynamics and levels in the overall production. The levels of each song don’t pop to fully define the verses and chorus’s, perhaps a production choice but everything seems to be on the same level and there isn’t huge pushes and pulls to absorb you in.

However, overall a solid first EP and I look forward to seeing where these guys take it from here and their live show. Bonus, The artwork for Death Petals designed by tattoo artist Bryn Goodall is super eye catching and a very cool visual! 

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )

About Ugly Boys Collective

Born out of a long dormant project that began in 2005, Ugly Boys Collective is an early mid-life crisis for three lifelong friends, Dane, Vaughan and Scott. The trio of instrumentalists were lucky enough to recruit the talents of Izaac (formerly Crystal Switch / Colour in the Lines) to put powerful voice to their particularly dark and ambitious flavour of alternative rock.

Armed with a fresh four track EP, Death Petals, these ugly boys are ready to reclaim youthful glories and lay their contribution onto the alter of rock ‘n’ roll.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ugly Boys Collective


Death Petals
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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