After Hour Animals is a metalcore rock band from Miwaukee, Wisconsin, and they’ve just released their new single “Role Play“, featuring guest vocals by Bri Jackson of the band Dreamhouse. After Hour Animals originally formed in 2014, and released a single “Myself in My Head”, but split up two years later. To the delight of their fans, they recently got back together, and now consist of five full time members Nik Djurdjulov (vocals), Armon Salamati (vocals), Brandon Dent (bass), Jasen Johnson (guitar) and Jamie Peña (drums). Bao Vo, who’s also guitarist for Milwaukee metalcore band Under Aegis (who I’ve featured several times on this blog), is a sixth member for live shows.
“Role Play” storms through the gates with hard-driving riffs of gnarly guitars, accompanied by a deep, chugging bass line and a torrent of aggressive drums. Nik’s clean vocals enter first, conveying a heartfelt sense of pain and vulnerability as he sings:”I have reasons to run, take me away. Cause I’m in need of a place to escape.” Then Armon chimes in with fierce metalcore growls in a further expression of anguish: “So let me hike all day and find my place to escape. Cause I have my reasons to run away!” Their contrasting vocal styles play off one another to great effect. As the song progresses, Jasen delivers an awesome wailing guitar solo in the bridge, quickly followed by Bri’s impassioned soaring vocals, which add another layer of texture and excitement to the already dramatic vocal mix.
The extensive and compelling lyrics were written by Nik, and speak to finding an escape from troubles that haunt the mind and spirit in the arms of a lover, even if only for one night. Each of them play a role to provide and find solace in each other, though fleeting. Here’s a snippet of lyrics that drive home the song’s meaning:
In my life I’ve seen
Things that chill me straight down to the bone
Felt love I thought nobody else could know
I wore my heart out on my sleeve only to find out it was just a dream
To believe I could trust in someone else
(I have my reasons to run)
So just for tonight
(Take me away)
Hold me tight
(Cause I’m in need of a place to escape)
But just for tonight
So can you take me away
Wrap your arms around me
Pretend that you love me
Role play that I am something more tonight
The beautifully-filmed video nicely showcases the band’s high energy and strong charisma.