Kerbera – People Like You
Label – Independent
Release Date – 10th December 2017
Kerbera are a Stockholm based outfit peddling a brand of alternative rock that encompasses some metalcore and hard rock sounds, who are visually rooted in Gothic iconography. This approach also suffuses their lyrical content, with songs considering death, funeral plans, religion and the like. People Like You, which was released late last year is their first full length album.
First on the track listing is The Switchblade song which opens up with a prim voice announcing ‘Don’t panic if you don’t understand something the first time you hear it’ before launching into the rest of the track which is tightly syncopated, particularly around the repeated vocal line of ‘down down down’. Musically it is pretty strong with an ethereal interlude that is well placed. However, here as elsewhere on the album my least favourite part is the vocals. When they work they seem to nod to Brian Molko’s enunciation, but they also have moments that were more reminiscent of the less appealing aspects of Emo delivery.
Next up is Hero to Villain, which has an official video that is a professional looking visually arresting piece, featuring bloodied angels and demons, as well as figures challenging gender perceptions, interspersed with shots of the band looking moody. The song was initially released as a single in the spring of 2016.
Across it’s eleven tracks there are a number of facets which stood out on People Like You, the strength and variation of the drumbeats which veer between more standard rock grooves and tight, swung rhythms with a slight tribal twist. A trait that is noticeable especially on tracks such An Absence, Your Presence is like Air, which also incorporates a distorted almost funky guitar part, and final track Cathedral which blends the beats into a more electronic sounding piece well.
The band are also good at creating quite a lush and almost glacial sounding backdrop for their songs, with the instrumental breakdowns really adding some colour to the album. Fifth track Oceans is a good example of the bands ability to operate in a more downbeat and mellow fashion. Funeral Plans even has a slightly jazzy guitar lick dropped into the mix. Nothing is Dead until truly forgotten was the standout track for me, with its layering of sounds pulled off to good effect with accentuated vocals and strings, set against the driving guitar and drums and the introduction of a deep epic sounding voice midway through.
Kerbera are clearly doing well for themselves having recently toured Europe and Russia, with dates in Thailand in the pipeline. Their brand of theatrical metal tinged rock has clearly struck a chord with a large swathe of fans. Interesting musical flourishes and large soundscape qualities aside, this album wasn’t really for me but I have no doubt that the band will continue to go from strength to strength.
Recommended Track: Nothing is Dead until truly forgotten