Review: “Press Start To Play” by Confessions of a Traitor

After the phenomenal piece of work that is 2019’s “Guided” it should come as no surprise that London Metalcore merchants Confessions of a Traitor should return to the man who sat at the boards from them for that release for “Press Start To Play“. Myroslav Borys of Jigsaw Audio has created something of a regulation for himself in the mixing and mastering World with From Her Ashes, Monasteries and Last Hounds all benefitting from his skills. Known for their energetic live performance and messages of belief and self-worth, the EP also celebrates the 20th Anniversary of “Hybrid Theory” by Linkin Park while also paying tribute to the late Chester Bennington. Vocalist Stephen MacConville, guitarist duo Jack Darnell and Jacob Brand, bassist Tony Nagle and drummer Sebastian Olrog have worked hard on their craft to get to this point and have often been quantified as Underground Kings with “Guided” seen as something of a make or break album with a lot of work going in behind the scenes to give it as much of a push as possible.

This time around, they’ve done things a little different and pushed out singles over an extended period before bringing it together in an EP and the results speak for themselves. Song titles might set the scene usually but these are an oddly intriguing set that hark back to a time when longer was seen as better; “Don’t Make a Girl a Promise” certainly isn’t the woe is me broken relationship Emo nonsense that the title suggests, instead being breakdown heavy with MacConville ranting and raving about being the “monument to all of your sins” in fine form. “All the Devils Are Here” then picks up the pace with some tinges of Tech-Metal in the riff department while being just as breakdown heavy as MacConville turns his attentions to spitting venom about the desire to make a difference in the world. His thoughtful lyrics are engaging and provide plenty to think about while recovering from the headbanging that the music demands and his uncleans reach gravity defying lows on the follow up “Man About Town”, another which seemingly has nothing to do with the title. Perhaps there is some in joke we’ve missed or the band have released these with their working titles or something but… it’s really good fun. “Hostile Work Environment” is arguably the stand out cut thanks to pained vocals and a sing-a-long chorus “I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t feel, I can’t feel, Without you, my mentor, I can’t heal, I can’t heal” that doesn’t break the song musically thanks to some melancholic lead touches. The Linkin Park cover? Well there is no doubting the influence of Nu-Metal and Linkin Park on a whole generation and the outpouring of grief and covers in tribute to Chester Bennington upon his tragic death remains testament to that. To their credit, Confessions of a Traitor have put their own spin on the song, beefing it up to suit their style and replacing the electronic elements of the original with guitar work to fine effect. Overall, a fine follow up to “Guided” that continues their journey and cuts out the risk of unnecessary experimentation. People need to hear this and appreciate them as one can’t help but feel that all they need is a lucky break [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Don’t Make a Girl a Promise
  2. All the Devils Are Here
  3. Man About Town
  4. Hostile Work Environment
  5. Papercut (Linkin Park Cover)

“Press Start To Play” by Confessions of a Traitor is out now and is available over at bandcamp

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