Irreverent and proud of it, the Melbourne band As A Rival bursts into the scene with their debut Album By Design. From the word go, the band flaunts own brand of rock and their individuality as a band in general. Their very name is a reference to their motto: “I just want it to be different, as a rival to everything that’s out there…”
By Design is absolutely dripping with punk influences, with lyrics that preach the band’s message of non-conformity. Each song is bursting with its own unique personality, whether it is a song about rejecting the mainstream or dealing with depression. The lyrics are much deeper than what you’d expect from a band that parades its tongue in cheek nature.
There are multiple references to pop culture and internet memes scattered throughout the album including The IT Crowd, Skyrim and Magnum PI. Fortunately, they don’t break the cardinal sin of internet humour and overstay their welcome.
As A Rival hits hard and fast, maintaining a frantic pace throughout the album that hardly ever falters. Pete Cerni’s guitar riffs are full of energy and vigour that hit heavy and relentlessly. The drumbeats inject their own punch to the mix while the bass ties the lot all together nicely.
The album has some great songs that take advantage of As A Rival’s unique sound. ‘Arrow to the Knee’ blends punk lyrics with some hard rock beats, which ‘Fire!Fire!Fire!’ takes up to eleven at a breakneck pace. ‘School Bus Apocalypse’ incorporates some nifty 8-bit tunes before launching into a surging anthem. Some of the songs fail to live up to the great precedent set by others; however it doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the album.
As A Rival have given the world a solid first impression with their debut album. By Design is a 45 minute explosion of rock that wears its proud punk heart on its sleeve.