What the fuck is wrong with the drinking water in Poland? Newbreed’s CD shows a group of young kids with long hair in the midst of falling snow, looking as innocent as Hanson when they still sang about popping the cherry while roller blading on the videos. Yet, these young fellows show unsurprisingly good musicianship (we’ve come to expect that when the word “Poland” is attached to the package somewhere) and even more promising maturity in the song writing department; playing bands years older to the swamp without any problems.

If one would have to think of bands that Newbreed could be link to, the first would be without a doubt Opeth (I think Blackwater Park might be the reference point) and the second – well – let’s settle down with saying something like ‘Ephel Duath without the extreme chaos’. Heck – Opeth alone works just as well. Proggish (death) metal with mellower parts thrown in between of the harder riffing and growling, sometimes taking a turn to the jazz-lane.

Now, I’d forgive the band a lot if they turned out to pure shit, but I can’t find anything worth bashing. That’s why I had to resort to remarks about the band photo at the back. You’d think that a band which consists of members who just broke out of puberty would be lacking in some department – mainly vocals – but Tomasz Wolonciej’s work on the microphone doesn’t give me much to shoot with. While he’s no Mikael Åkerfeldt and the growl could be a bit deeper, he’s clean vocals work like a greased up blow-up doll on an isolate island. Technically correct or not, he’s able to bring in the final touch of emotion on top of the searing and soaring compositions.

What amazes me is that the guys don’t let themselves get carried away, but the songs are well balanced, well structured and most of all well constructed. The thin red line between the “my mind is isolated from the rest of the world”-parts and the more aggressive tones has been perfectly paced on this five song, 33 minute release (out of which only one song is below 6 minutes in length). The overall tone of the picture is slightly saturated with the last song, Lost, which is an instrumental for displaying the band’s talent. Luckily it’s no Dream Theater wankery as that would have just been out of place, but the drum solo part brought in a memory of a musical number in Manowar’s 27-minute epoch “Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts” – which is not necessarily a bad thing. After the solo drumming by Tomasz’ brother Stanislaw ends, Andrzej Czul steps in front with the bass and leading the band to more loungy and jazzy feelings.

Perhaps the bullet that could bring the band down, is the bullet marked with the word ‘originality’ as we already have ourselves an Opeth – but for tomorrow’s sake I refuse to pull the trigger as Newbreed – true to their name – shows undeniable potential to become something people will rave on about in the future. While Lost isn’t without its flaws, despite my raving on the previous paragraphs, I cannot but recommend it. Nervously waiting, I wonder whether or not the next one will finally outplay the dealer and collect the jackpot or go home in tears with huge debts casting a shadow of burden over their shoulders.

(It might even take less time to find out as I originally thought, as it appears the album came out already in 2003. Better now than never, I say.)

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
January 3rd, 2005


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