If you like a little theatre with your rock, with a tinge of goth and metal, let me introduce you to Accidental President! The band are based in Sydney, Australia, and have had more than their fair share of line-up changes since their formation in 2015. They are currently a trio, comprised of Bethany Neville on lead vocals, Dave Ben Lee on Guitars, and Leon Cadden on Drums. Some of the personel changes resulted from life-changing events that caused more than a few complications for their musical development, but the end result is a band that is more than usually passionate and motivated about making their music work and mean something for them and the listener.
I think that’s where the theatre and drama comes in, the band being renowned for the spectacular visuals in their live shows. Accidental President is a band that wants to share their ethos of social awareness, especially relevant in our current times of political upheaval and inequalities around the world, and as a result the band connects with their listeners on a level much greater than just the music.
Each band member brings in their own prized talents. In fact, Dave earned a fellowship from London College of Music in Electric Guitar, Leon has been playing drums in successful bands for too many years to count, and Bethany brings in an unmatched vocal talent that has been praised by fans and critics alike.
The sense of theatre also reflects the many varied musical heroes and influences, which range from Maria Brink (In This Moment), Dream Theatre, Sisters of Mercy, Evanescence, Creed, not mention more than a hint of Slash, Avenged Sevenfold and Shakespeare’s Sister!!
And so to the music, there being nine tracks which are as varied as the list of influences above. In fact, this is an incredibly satisfying setlist of songs, with a real range of emotions, moods, atmosphere and musical compositions, almost impossible to categorise – all rock life is here, all underpinned by Beth’s amazing voice and Dave’s guitar virtuosity. The album kicks off in some style with my favourite track on the album, Hopes And Dreams, a reflection on the precarious nature of life, fear, hope, sacrifice and despair, driven by a really meaty ‘Slash-like’ riff. It’s a great opener but I’m really impressed by Dave’s guitar work all throughout this album! Rotten Child comes next, reflecting on childhood, remembering the different perceptions people had, longing to fit in, to integrate, but ultimately feeling outcast. Beth’s singing is massive on here, yo-yoing with some more ace licks that Slash would be proud of.
100 Days is a story of narcissism, vanity & abuse of power all too common in supposed leadership. See the video below, no clues who the main target is here, perhaps gives an insight into the derivation of the band’s name!? Last Breath is then a slower, more reflective track, looking at the difficulties of fighting for an honest cause in the face of seemingly hopeless odds. More gorgeous guitar work from Mr Lee!
Warrior Soul follows, a hymn against the colonialisation of indigenous people in general, but with a specific issue about Standing Rock in North Dakota, America, where even after the historical events of Custer, Wounded Knee and the subsequent forced relocation of Native Americans, further State erosion of land and rights still continues today.
Strength Inside is another historical review interspersed with some stonking metal-related rock riffs. very Slash or Creed-like, reflecting on the events of 1st July 1916, the first day of the battle of the Somme that resulted in over one million dead or injured. In a nice sense of sequencing, it’s followed by The King Is Dead, a lament for the treatment of the “Poor Bloody Infantry”, cannon fodder for successive generals and leaders in the name of propping up empires around the world. Although heavy driven by a mega riff, this band are always tuneful.
Hateful is then a song of strength in desperation. (inspired by the testimony of Michelle Knight, one of three woman kidnapped and held captive for over ten years by a nutterin Cleveland, Ohio. Not surprisingly, it’s a robust rocker. The closing tack is Letting Go, describing a personal journey about coming to terms with bad experiences. Another Creed-like song, it’s powerful stuff.
I’m really taken with Accidental President, the band and this album. The lineup is really solid, the music is really strong, and the stage show is reportedly spectacular. The album is now out on global release with Tunecore Records, and hopefully Accidental President will be able to travel widely next year to promote it and themselves – it would be great to see them in the UK and Europe, they’d have a ball!