EP: The First – Live.Exist ★★★☆☆

TF LEArtist: The First

Album: Live.Exist

Release Date: 14/5/15

You may have heard of Cambridge melodic rock quartet The First before, in their near decade long career the band have hit the stages of Download, Slam Dunk and Hyde Park for Black Sabbath’s British Summer Time gig. But now the guys have decided to call it a day, but not without one final parting gift. ‘Live.Exist’ is a 3 track EP, so let’s see if Benny, Rob, Adam and Ben can go out on a high note shall we?

Kicking off with the title track, a screeching lead guitar line rips through your ears and into your soul to charge straight into the melody fuelled rock we’ve known to come and love of The First. The verses hit a mid tempo pace with the vocals taking centre stage before the storm erupts into a gigantic chorus. “Like statues we’re standing tall” sounds massive and sticks in your head instantly. The structure layout is pretty basic and straight forward, verse here, chorus there, bridge, solo, chorus to end. However the production of this EP sounds slick and polished so this makes for a decent opening.

‘Honestly’ comes up next again with a distinctive lead guitar before a jangly bass and palm muted guitars carry through to the chorus. This band certainly know how to write a memorable and anthemic passage of music, it makes us realise that the verses are just a bit ‘too’ safe. We’ve spoke about the production but the tone on the guitars is spot on and makes the middle section of this track sound like a filthy 80s hair metal riff, you know the kind folks. Alas the structure is far too similar and falls back into its familiar pattern to close out.

‘Years’ is the last song you will hear from The First and is a good choice. It’s slowed down with clean instrumentation and the stand out chorus on this EP. Bands usually like to close out on ballads or tear jerkers and this is somewhere just outside of both. “It’s been years of blood, sweat and tears” is poignant and a relevant lyric that is key to the realisation that this is actually it for the Cambridge crew. This is a fantastic collection of songs from a band who know what they’re doing and have a solid grasp on their abilities and songwriting. We wish The First the best in whatever direction the guys decide to move on into next.