Donning a brilliant album cover that feels destined to grow iconic with fans, rock group Pistols At Dawn are returning to music with their latest (and quite possibly strongest to date) release in the form of an EP: Nocturnal Youth. The group has been amping up towards the project by releasing singles to fully tease the release, and with its release finally here, there was almost no teasing necessary. The four songs on Nocturnal Youth are extraordinary pieces entirely recorded and released by a group that has a lot of love and admiration for their genre and its forefathers. Fans will agree that their signature sounds harken back to bands like Shinedown, Godsmack, and Disturbed but the similarities still add a deep amount of credit to the differences between Pistols At Dawn and their influences. Within Nocturnal Youth, its four songs feature fantastic twists on a familiar genre, offering fans a great amount to click with.
The EP opens with the unapologetically in-your-face “Voices,” a brilliant call to arms introduction to new fans while continuing the sound last explored in last year’s single “All You Offer.” There’s a fantastic bit of guitar work in a solo about two-thirds through the track that works as a declaration piece for the band’s new status upon returning. The overall sonic quality between Nocturnal Youth and Pistols At Dawn’s previous projects is noticeable, though, and it’s evident from the start that Nocturnal Youth is a different kind of thing for the band. The production on display feels layered but never super evident in its structuring, which is at least partially because the band had producer Jeff Tomei (known for his work with Smashing Pumpkins and Matchbox 20) and Faith No More mastering guru Maor Appelbaum with them when pursuing this release. The second track “Crown” feels the most radio-ready in its structure, which makes the overall message of false prophets and idolatry that much more poignant.
“Now Is the Time” offers a break from the unabashed, heavier pieces by giving the project its anthem — another call to arms with a hard-rock complexion and slower tempo, which offers those interested the chance to fully digest the instrumentation behind singer Chris Pierson’s voice; the lyrics are fairly vague and simplistic compared to the EP’s other three songs, but the variety is notably needed. “Gone Black” sends the EP off in a surefire way that feels like a promise of what’s still to come, giving each of the members a turn at a victory lap of sorts.
The highs accomplished on Nocturnal Youth give the EP the weight of a full album and remarkably manage to do so within only four songs. Finding the ability to give fans an entire album’s worth of experience and structure in under fifteen minutes is an impressive feat but Pistols At Dawn have more than pulled it off with their lean approach to rock music. There might be hope in holding out for an extended version of the project but as it stands, Nocturnal Youth at least offers up great promise for whatever Pistols At Dawn has planned next.