ALBUM REVIEW: Banks Arcade – Future Lovers

New Zealand newcomers Banks Arcade describe themselves as a heavy metal boyband. That might sound like an oxymoron, but there truly isn’t a more accurate way to describe their sound. Their debut album, Future Lovers (UNFD), utilizes tried and true methods – intro designed to establish atmosphere ahead of a set blended seamlessly into the first track, a few radio-friendly bangers, and a closing epic while also implementing innovative musical components. A winning combination.

While the beats and cuts used aren’t new to urban genres, they’re still admittedly foreign in metal. The choice to execute these inclusions with the utmost confidence may be the very reason they work so well. There isn’t a hint of trepidation reflected in their style or experimentation.

That isn’t to say this record is void of the band’s metal foundation. Rather, in between these newer elements, lies an exemplary show of modern metal. After all, as our forefathers ruled, any record with a “BLEGH” in the first ten minutes is legally considered metal—See ‘Fake Your Death’. Speaking of the aforementioned, it’s the first of several songs on this record that introduced those bass-blasted CORPSE vibes into a nu arena. There’s certainly a very delicate balance to this. Even the most popular hip hop/metal fusion bands have trouble getting in critics’ good graces, but there’s something inexplicably different about their approach.

Are they free of cringe and cliches? No. Have they escaped the prison of angsty teenager energy in their lyrical content? No. But there’s enough meat on the bone here to confidently say they have the potential to evolve into something more refined.


Evolution is the word of the day here—their frontman obviously hasn’t reached the peak of his potential as a vocalist either. For that matter, the whole band appears to be a few steps behind their peak potential, but with that said, frankly the quality is remarkable for a debut album.

Most bands tend to hate their first album when they look back; Banks Arcade definitely won’t have that problem.

The space that exists between metal and hip hop has become so greatly associated with edgelord culture, good nu songs and bands are considered the exception rather than the standard. The key to introducing maturity into a genre often deprived of it is to do away with a dedication to broad appeal and leave the overly vague lyrics for the post-grunge guys. Get personal—like Eminem levels of personal. As long as Banks Arcade can learn to seperate themselves from the production style of their predecessors, they have a real chance of reshaping their genre from the inside out and resetting the standard.

Their energy is hypnotizing, their sound ear-catching; they’re ones to watch, undeniably.

Buy the album here:


8 / 10