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Radar Reviews: Youth Illusion – ‘Blood On My Hands’

With members hailing from all corners of the world – the UK, South Africa, Italy and The US – Youth Illusion are a London-based Post-Grunge and Indie Rock quartet who are undeniably looking for a large global reach with their Metalcore-tainted venom of their rampant bass breakdowns and stadium show-sized guitar hooks. With their new EP – ‘Seeking Answers In Silence’ – set to reach local record shop shelves on March 25th, the new single ‘Blood On My Hands’ begs the question of whether the Alternative Rock 4-piece are heading to the big launch with a momentous charge, or if it seems they are stumbling in the midst of their bold ambitions.

Influenced by contemporary heavyweights like Biffy Clyro and Rise Against, as well as the noisy Pop-Punk of 90’s stalwarts like Green Day and The Offspring, as well as classic rock godfathers like Metallica and AC/DC with a sound in which the band has branded as “catchy, beefy and memorable” in an interview with Gig Radar, Youth Illusion have concocted a definite 00’s feel to propel their barraging melodies forwards.

While previous single ‘Help Me To Believe’ left things on a hopeful note, the new follow-up piece of ‘Blood On My Hands’ drifts noticeably darker in tone, addressing themes like death and bereavement with a more recognizably Metal-inspired style of production, especially towards the end of the track, where a barrage of raspy growls and croaking vocals assure you they are making the most of an instinctual bridge that comes to life.

Aside from the elements of Dark Wave and Metalcore that are all sprinkled into the cauldron for ‘Blood On My Hands’, there’s a noticeably 00’s Pop-Punk feel to the cascading drums and the throttling bass that fans of Twenty One Pilots would likely enjoy, and these sections are matched by husky vocals that feel comparable to Nickelback in delivery. We never venture directly into Rap-Rock, but the fast-paced vocals and the chugging guitar melodies give them a rhythmic flair.

While the lyrics feel masculine and the vocals sound mature, yet brooding in tone, the track has a rather commercial-friendly feel for the main bulk of its direction, and evening airplay on BBC Radio 1’s Indie Show with Jack Saunders may be imminent for Youth Illusion. The instruments are played with technical efficiency throughout that may suggest a more progressive and Math Rock-inspired direction for Youth Illusion to follow in the future. The songwriting feels sturdy and robust because there’s a sense of action, both immediate and urgent, in the gloomy vocals. On a more contrary note, I felt that the guitar riffs got a little repetitive as the song went on, although the more visceral metal-leaning breakdown towards the conclusion is a breath of fresh variety.

Overall, although it may sound like Youth Illusion may be trying just a little bit too hard to simply “have a hit”, there’s certainly potential for the Metal-infused rock group to find a large audience with their frenetic mixture of high-energy blues rock and heavily assaulted instrumentation that never feels too chaotic for it’s own good. ‘Blood On Your Hands’ is the sign of more nuanced things to come, as the band continue to polish up the nitty gritty aspects of their act and, although it’s not perfect, it feels as piercing as the anarchic lighting of their energetic live shows.

Words by Jacob Braybrooke

Live Touring Dates for Youth Illusion:

Support tour w/ Standing Like Statues
May 17 – Birmingham, The Sunflower Lounge
May 18 – Bridgwater, The Cobblestones
May 19 – Southampton, The Hobbit
May 20 – London, 229 The Venue
May 21 – Chelmsford, Hot Box Live
May 22 – Cambridge, The Portland Arms

Headline tour w/ support from Big Drink
May 24 – Manchester, The Peer Hat
May 25 – Liverpool, Jimmy’s
May 27 – Leicester, Firebug
May 28 – The Lab, Northampton

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