Review: At First – Deadline

Two years after their formation in 2015, the Breda, The Netherlands based band At First released their debut EP, titled Dreams Inc.. On January the 31st they also released their debut full-length album, which is titled Deadline. I didn’t know them before but I will surely check out Dreams Inc. as well, because I am very glad I’ve heard about them now. You probably already guessed it, Deadline pleasantly surprised me a lot! For everyone not knowing them yet: their line-up consists of vocalist Jamie Jochems, lead guitarist Youri Valentijn, guitarist Kevin Sneijers, drummer Ramses van Rijsewijk and bass player Barry Bressers.

With Deadline At First will take you on a journey with many nice moments and quite a few nice surprises making this all even nicer. Deadline starts with the quite catchy, tension-building intro of Come Get Your Entertainment, a tight and very strong rock song with quite a catchy vibe to it. While the rest of the band also does a great job, a few examples here being the groovy riffs, the underlying guitar melodies adding even more layers to the music, as well as the nicely roaring solo, vocalist Jamie stands out the most and that’s something that already can be heard in this first song. Her voice sounds like it’s made for rocking a song like this!

In that opening track we already hear that she also has a great vocal range in which she can easily switch while singing. She not only switches very easily within her vocal range, but also in terms of temporarily slowing down or speeding up her vocals, as we for example can hear in For What It’s Worth, We The Future and the 11-minute album closer Change. She also puts a lot of emotion in her voice, giving it even more power, as can be heard very well in the atmospheric vibing tracks Wanderlust and Change. And just when you think this woman has already showed you everything she delivers on Deadline, she surprises you once again: she also throws some very nasty, intense, goose-bumps-causing screams out of her throat, while keeping that huge amount of emotion in there and still being able to switch fast. A few examples of this can be heard in Disconnected, Infinity, Turbulence and More.

So yeah, it may be quite clear, Jamie hugely surprises in a very positive way. And while her vocals are indeed the aspect of At First’s music that stands out the most on Deadline, that’s certainly not saying anything bad about the other members of At First. They’re also doing their thing very well and the fact that everyone in At First does so, while they also combine all this very well, is what makes Deadline very powerful.

First of all, Jamie isn’t the only one who’s very good at switching between tempos, ranges and styles, that’s something they all share. Everyone is greatly showing their own power, while perfectly combining heavier parts with calmer parts as well as switching between these very fluently. I already mentioned the guitars earlier with the tight riffs, the underlying guitar melodies, that also can be heard in Disconnected and We The Future, and the roaring solo, another very nicely roaring solo can be heard during the more atmospheric, calmer part in Change. Drummer Ramses also contributes powerfully with some very strong drums, such as in For What It’s Worth, More and We The Future, while Barry’s humming bass can be heard very nicely in Infinity and We The Future. The addition of some electronics and some atmospheric vibes, such as in Sky, Wanderlust, More, Change and, again, We The Future, which also contains a very powerful live-vibing-shout-along part, brings even more variation to At First’s music.

As I said before I am very glad that I’ve heard about At First now and I am also very curious to see them perform live, when that’s possible again. With Deadline they deliver a very powerful full-length album that for sure is in the race for ending up in my end of the year list!

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