Judging from their live shows, you’d expect Holy State to grab you by the throat from the first song, but something is amiss throughout the album; opening one-two ‘Ride’ and the title track are a rather forgetful seven minutes of generic and unmelodious hardcore punk. It’s not until deserving lead single ‘Dial M for Monolith’ that the listener is hit with something a little more special; beginning with a driving beat and a far more appealing vocal delivery that suddenly melts down into chugging guitars that sound as if they are being constructed on a hellish factory line. ‘Sultan of Sentiment’ and ‘Dreamboat’ are both thankless listens; both feel overly clinical and are held back like traffic through a motorway reduced speed limit.
Holy State do show more promise on ‘Brain Caves’ and ‘Lady Magika’; the former is coated in sincere and introverted lyrics and book-ended by a strident horn section; the latter proves singer Rob Jarvis doesn’t always need to shout the highest note he can manage, as he croons like Alex Turner over Queens of the Stoneage-esque stabbing and ghoulish riffs. From here on in, the band returns to the template sound as they fail to escape pigeon-holing. ‘Love Tames The Wild’ could be a throw-away Rival schools song, ‘Medicine Hat’ and ‘Solid State Messiah’ both drift by without incident. They do end on more of a high with ‘Age of ADHD’, but this is an unfortunate title given that Holy State have given the listener little to keep hold of as the final guitars ring out.