Released by: Independent
Release Date: March 03, 2014
Genre: Hard Rock/Alt Rock
Jen – Vocals
Gavin – Guitars
Peter – Drums
Janny – Bass
1.Dirty Rock n Roll
8.Hatred And Greed
With a style falling somewhere in between Within Temptation and Skunk Anansie, Ajenda are a female fronted rock act hailing from Belfast. The band have released this, their debut album, the hard way. Everything they do is self-financed (including 3 E.P.s to date) so credit to them that “Unrecognizable” sounds so mature and well produced.
Looking at their biographies, the band admits that their sound “impinges into various rock subsections to produce a fresh take on the current rock scene”. This is never more apparent than on the first two tracks ‘Dirty Rock N Roll’ and ‘Tattoo’. The former has more than a passing feel of Skunk Anansie about it and immediately showcases Jen’s voice as the driving force behind the music. A lazy review would assume that this would be carried over to the rest of the album but ‘Tattoo’ with its’ piano led intro proves this is not the case as it delivers a style more in keeping with female fronted symphonic bands such as Within Temptation. By far less epic than the afore mentioned band, ‘Tattoo’ maintains all of the melodies that we have come to expect of that particular genre of music. It quickly dips from powerhouse vocals to the subtle almost haunting acoustic breaks that can be found in Sharon den Adel and co.’s work.
By ‘Unrecognisable’, the third track on the album, the band have hit a groove and Gavin’s fuzzy / overdrive pedal driven guitar work again switches the style around to music that fits the current media frenzy for all things ‘classic 70s rock’.
‘Paranoia’ with its’ very memorable hook line of “this world’s been fucking with me” could well highlight the frustrations they’ve experienced at being unable to get the record deal they so clearly deserve with “there must be a conspiracy” reaffirming the message.
The introduction of different instruments on tracks definitely set the band aside from the current crop of female fronted bands, non-more so than on ‘Heaven’s Tears’ which sees a beautiful mix of almost harp like Spanish guitar work on the introduction. Then as the body of the song develops we hear chugging rhythm section of Janny and Peter before dipping back into the mediterranean feel of the soft vocal / guitar mix.
Jen’s voice on ‘Otherside’ further confirms that the band could deliver a song in almost any style of music that would work. She has what I imagine would be a great Country Music voice as well that would have grown bearded American men crying into their beers especially with lines such as “just behind the silver lining is where you’ll find me, playing poker with the angels”. The band clearly agree and there is a definite sense of ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ underneath the intro of ‘Hollow’. Not forgetting they see themselves as a fresh take on rock, they then turn everything up to 11 for some soaring vocals, stunning guitar work and a pounding rhythm to finish the song off.
Not wanting to be left out the rhythm section of Janny and Peter get to lead from the start of ‘Hatred and Greed’ which perhaps again highlight that lack of record deal frustrations when “every fucker’s on the take I swear”.
Fans of different genres of rock music will certainly find something to appreciate on this album. From the epic vocal sound of Jen on some tracks, to the softer acoustic bluesy approach on tracks like ‘Fragile’ that will appeal to lovers of Scotland’s Rising Souls we have in between it all a band that can stand tall and deliver a solid hard rock set as well. The album track listing has been done in a way that keeps you engaged to the final song. With so many different ways to approach a song, there simply wasn’t room for any filler on here.
Ajenda have built up a loyal fanbase in the UK and played at high profile gigs such as Hard Rock Hell , with tours of Finland and Slovakia. They are currently out supporting both Bonafide and the Quireboys and this is a great fit that will see them playing to good sized crowds.
Written by Adrian