By Brian Tucker
New local band Lionized released their debut EP Primal this week, several days before a show Saturday night at Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern.
The five member band has former Mazlow players Justin Clark (drums) and Royal Hooper (guitar), forming Lionized when Mazlow parted ways. The new EP earns it title namesake, forging a caustic personality with melody, vocals that bear a shattered soul, and music that either attacks or draws you in.
The band’s hard rock meets experimental/ambiance sound satiates different parts of the senses. For those enjoying hard hitting, emotionally packed songs, then “Inkling” or the brief but crushing “Nature Boy” suffice. But with “Birds” the band gets almost artsy, perhaps finding its signature. Keep in mind this is still a new band. But “Birds” is cathartic and effective. Beginning with brooding atmosphere underneath a colorful surface layer of ruminating guitar work, it builds and builds, becoming hazy then explosive before finally collapsing on itself.
“Three:Thirty” closes the EP, carrying on with strong ambiance after “Birds” but ends up a much coarser, unhappy-at-the-core song. Tyler Sihelnick’s vocals rail with a sense of pleading, firing off emotion that soars then giving way to guitar playing that plays like lightning illuminating night sky. It’s a song brimming with fervor and atmosphere, all guns blazing from each musician in the band.
When Mazlow ended last year, after two experimental and aggressive EP’s, I was curious what would follow in the aftermath. The result is an unsettled cousin of sorts with interesting ideas (whispered vocals, wah-wah guitar, atmosphere), manic energy and songs that re-work “hard rock” songs into something fresh. Primal seems focused, and the band seemingly well defined across just four songs.