English band New Model Army released their fifteenth studio album "From Here" in August 2019. The follow-up to 2016’s "Winter". The new album is altogether more mellow compared to their latest albums. It was written in two months and recorded in nine days at Ocean Sound Recordings on the tiny Norwegian island of Giske, making it an atmospheric and haunting piece of work. The desolate island was an ideal setting for the band who said: “One thing we have in common is the love of bleak, open, cold, rugged landscapes – water, snow and rock”.

The album begins with "Passing Through" where Justin Sullivan, singer and founding member, as always sings with passion and feeling, making him one the most honest voices of his generation. A slow piece that towards the ends breaks out with thumping drums. The more upbeat "Never Arriving", that follows, stands out for its driving rhythms, chiming guitar lines and atmospheric passages, making way for the deeply evocative lyrics about what is happening in the world and where the band as people stand today, in their typical storytelling style. The pace is kept with "The Weather", followed by the single "End Of Days", another upbeat track that mixes the spirit of punk rock with folk protest undertones, that captures the pessimistic outlook of the times we live in that lead to some sort of apocalypse.

On "Great Disguise", "Conversations", "Where I Am" and "Hard Way" we have typical NMW acoustic guitar driven tracks that retain a dynamic since backed by the rest of the band. The tempo speeds up on "Watch & Learn" before it once again drops for "Maps", a slow, dark soundscape of a song consisting of rolling drums and wailing guitars. The tempo picks up again on the rhythmic "Setting Sun" before closing with the album title track "From Here". A song that starts off with sole piano before the rhythm section takes hold driving the 8-minute track to its end.

It is said that New Model Army were to goth o be punk and to punk to be goth. That just goes to show that they were never trapped by any name tag in particular. Their mixture of post-punk, folk, indie music, together with their tribal element, gave them a kind of commune substance, a gathering of various tribes together. From the beginning they nurtured their own sound. Something we still listen to here on their new album. An album that will make new fans join their faithful legion of devotees and proud following.

Review by Nick Drivas