The Imelda that the Philippines needs, and deserves.
Local independent band Imelda sounds like they want to kick your ass, and you should probably let them do so. Listening to their first EP is one of those experiences that immediately transports you to a smoky bar with dim lighting, sweat pouring down the sides of bottles and musicians’ faces, and everyone bobbing their heads in unison. There’s a delicate balance between intensity and technical polish when it comes to the five-piece hard rock group’s style — guaranteeing that their music is fun enough for rock neophytes to get into, while still possessing the weight and aggression that purists expect.
Imelda’s newest single, “Don’t Go into the Light,” maintains that balance, but brings the band to more mature territory and an even higher level of production that results in tighter synergy among the band’s five members.
“Don’t Go into the Light” is much more restrained than Imelda’s more popular tracks, but that doesn’t mean they slack off at any point during the song. Drummer Nash Ignacio gives things an extra kick by slipping in rapid bursts of toms between crash hits during the chorus. Meanwhile, you can just visualize bassist Billia dela Paz and guitarists Miguel Feria and Vincci Santiago stretching their palms across the frets in unison. The song’s main riff has the same kind of groove of Imelda past, while the dynamic bridge section is just as exciting as any other time you’ve heard Feria and Santiago play off of each other.
But most notably, frontman Jam Pascual’s haunted vocals here are lighter on the screams — less Keith Buckley and more Chester Bennington. This isn’t a bad thing, though. In fact, the relatively different approach fits the song’s more ominous lyrics, which sound like they would fit just as well in one of Pascual’s solo spoken word pieces.
As a whole, “Don’t Go into the Light” is a highly promising sign of things to come from the still-young band. Fingers crossed for a full-length LP on the horizon, or a music video, or a piece of interactive performance art, even (some musicians have done far more unconventional things) — literally anything to give us more of what we’ve been teased with so far. But until that day arrives, you should probably keep your eye open for their name on the marquee of your favorite gig place, and experience this stuff live. The sweat and adrenaline will keep you up for days.
Stream “Don’t Go into the Light” on Spotify.