Monday, 31 October 2011

Review: We Are the In Crowd - Best Intentions

 If I'm honest, this isn't an album I've been too excited for listening to. The image of We Are the In Crowd isn't one that's too appealing for me. Fair enough, they loof all bright and cheerful, which is always nice, but I look at We Are the In Crowd and imagine that listening to their album is going to cause me to get suffocated by sweetness and honey. And the idea of that is somewhat unbearable. However, making judgements based on images is no way to live by. I had similar thoughts of having a sugar coated ear massacre before listening to VersaEmerge, but their debut Fixed at Zero, sounding like Paramore meets Nine Inch Nails really taught me that you should never judge a book by it's cover. So, is a similar idea conveyed on We Are the In Crowd's debut Best Intentions?

Well, Best Intentions is certainly sweet in that sense but not to the extent that it's sickeningly sweet. Presenting listeners with a collection of short and slick glossy pop rock songs. However, We Are the In Crowd are a cut above the rest as the pack a heavy and fiery punch with their music that shows a considerable influence on less than cheery feelings both musically and lyrically. On Your Own carries with it an atmosphere of spite and anger, while You've Got it Made takes on a more melancholic and hopeless atmosphere. Needless to say, there is a prominent display of glee on the album. Most notably Kiss Me Again, which some may find to be very uplifting and have an overall pretty sound about it. For others, it may create a result similar to eating too much Haribo Starmix (because they're sweets).
 This parade of emotion is effectively presented to listers by the bands fiery and heavy musical delivery. Taking various electronic elements and mixing it with infectuous hooks and the odd breakdown every now and again, the Poughkeepsie quintet gives listeners a ridiculously catchy pop punk backdrop for their emotional roller coaster, which is possible to headbang to. Also wonderful are the dazzling vocals of Taylor Jardine and Jordan Eckes, as their soaring voices reammy manage to emphasise the message they want to deliver.
 Best Intentions effectively shows We Are the In Crowd to be a pretty solid and flawless pop rock band and shows them to have real potential and the ability to take the world by storm with their slick pop punk power that only the most miserable of bastards won't be able to get into.

 We Are the In Crowd's Best Intentions is out now via Hopeless Records. The band will tour the UK in January with All Time Low and The Maine.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

You should probably check out Shot, Down South.

 I've never really done a feature that focuses on one new band before so I'm hoping this goes well.
 The mixture of fusing elements of metalcore with elements of electronic music is a musical style which has exploded over the past few years. Some bands mnage to carry it off really well really well and can make a really kick ass sound, like Bring Me the Horzon, Asking Alexandria or Sleeping With Sirens. If the fusion is put into the wrong hands, you get Attack Attack!, who to be fair, are absolutely hilarious.
 So recently I've been getting into the music of a very new band who are doing this kind of thing and doing it well. Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Shot, Down South are delivering their own take on the fusion to the world. On their lead track Restless, the group mix brooding synth drums with their furious heavy metal with shredding that is reminiscent of Pantera, guttural screaming which is off-the-wall in it's fury from Josh Baires and a wild rythym section from Tyler Patterson and Harrison Rowland. Their other track Sharpen Your Knives just sees them going totally mental where you have no choice but to lose yourself in the awesomeness. Which is then contrasted in the acoustic version of the song which packs a more emotional impact.
 I've mainly gotten into this band after talking to and getting on pretty well with guitarist Jason Fontaine through Google +. He's a really cool guy who shows a real passion for making his music. He's also got his own blog coremusic, where he posts any info aboutnew stuff from well known and any up and coming metalcore bands, be it in news or new music. There's some good stuff be found and hopefully new material I can use for ROARF.
 So everyone should check these guys out, they're a hard working bunch of guys with a real talent to give glory and respectibility to the rising of metal/electronic bands. And if they become the biggest band in the world that means they will owe it all to me ! (Evil laugh).



 

Review: IKILLYA - Recon

 Being a state that is associated with such high class glamour and having such a considerable influence on popular music, my first thoughts on New York's music scene is that it would never be home to many major metal artists. The research on Anthrax and Cannibal Corpse happened and I was proven wrong. Further inspection on the city's metal scene showed the city to be the home of Type O Negative, Life of Agony, plus it showed the city to be a mjor home of thrash, also homing Nuclear Assault and Overkill. With this is mind, the recent beginning of what seems to be a rise of popularity for fellow NYC thrash act IKILLYA is something that's excited me. Having recently appeared in Kerrang!'s introducing section, their debut Recon has appeared on the page of the magazine causing a greater rise of interest to the band. Rightfully so. The album is pretty damn awesome.

 Recon shows that IKILLYA are a band who manage to combine the rapid and intense classic thrash stylings of Anthrax or Testament, with the more modern brutal pummeling techniques of Lamb of God, or Bury Your Dead. A LoG reference is effective in describing IKILLYA, listeners can often find Jason Lekberg's fierce bottom-of-lungs growling vocals comparable to those of Randy Blythe. We are treated on this album to an intense session of groove orientated heavy metal that is filled to the grisly brim with a furious and war-mongering energy. This tight and vibrant groove work from Dave Kerr gives tracks like Razorblades and Godsize a very-much fighting based attitude, making them the kind of of song that you will want to have playing as... you destroy things. It also makes Escape Plan pretty much definitive of a metal hook.
 So, if that's your kind style, you should be kept entertained througout the whole album. Hopefully you will, because there's not a lot of diversity to be found, sadly. Especially when the likes of Machine Head and Lamb of God bring such a passionate and fresh sense of dynamism and unique charm to all they play and these are the kind of groups who have been an obvious influence here. The lyrics amongst the album about... violence, war, killing and fun aren't exactly the most sophisticated lyrics I've ever heard and have the tendency to make Five Finger Death Punch look like Mastodon in terms of intelligence.
 Overall, Recon shows IKILLYA to have a real talent and have the real potential to become as respected a metal act as LoG has become over the past few years. But there will need to be some improvements along the way. This band needs more work in terms of better production, more creative lyrics and a little more creativeness. Once that is done, I may have a new favourite band on my hands.

IKILLYA's Recon is out now.

Review: Aiden - Some Kind of Hate

 These days in the world of rock music, the act of releasing two albums in same year is a rare thing and these days can be an act that is viewed on with heaps of cynicism. Maybe it's down to the witnessing of major pop artists having a yearly album released as a means to ensure the remain relevant and rich in the everchanging spectrum of what is popular, meaning that rock fans can be assured that a two to four year gap between their favourite bands releasing an album will ensure that their next release will have a lot of hard work and focus put into it. Sure things don't always work out that way but the fact that people will still come back to a band even after being away for so long shows a sense of everlasting devotion proving rock bands to be muh more timeless. It's why there's a lesser sense of nostalgia as you would find in pop music when radios play hit singles from 1998, asking people if they "remember this one?" It's because much rock music that has existed througout its rich history still tands as strong today as it ever has.

Anyway, now that I've lived by the name of this blog, lt's move on with the review, as Seattle horror punk quartet Aiden have released their sixth album Some Kind of Hate just seven months after the brilliant Disguises. On listening I can't really tell if it justifies my previous rambling or proves I wrong.
 I mean, Some Kind of Hate is by no means a bad album at all. This is an album that's clearly made with a fiery passion to be seen as something that is definitive of Aiden. The punk riffs in There Will Be Blood and Freedom From Religion come thick and fast and carry with them a characteristic sense of hopelessness and doom, even though the rapid hardcore sound is far from any kind of doom metal styling, which fits their horror influence effectively, plus the epicly hooky Deactivate carries a spirit of fun in it's bouncy strucure. It also features a spoken sample from Trainspotting, so it shows Aiden have a great understanding of things that are totally bleak. This gives Some Kind of Hate the obvious sign of strength that is clearly prominent.
 If there were any weaknesses in the album, it's probably in the two covers featured. It's not that they do badly with them. They just don't make them truly unique, so I can only really compare them to their originals, which are ultimately better. Their take on Misfits' London Dungeons is ferocious enough, but doesn't have the same chilling atmosphere that Glenn Danzig managed to create on the original. The cover of Joy Division's Transmission also feels weak in comparison to the original as well, plus frontman Wil Francis sound like he's trying to impersonate Ian Curtis at various points. It gets a little awkward at times.
 But on the whole, Some Kind of Hate is a pretty strong horror punk collection. If Disguises was just a collection for the more fun gory type of horror films, Some Kind of Hate is the collection of more gripping edge-of-your seat horror thrill inspired songs.

Aiden's Some Kind of Hate is out now via Victory Records.

Review: Insomnium - One for Sorrow

 Since 2002, Joensuu metaleers Insomnium have delivered a style of metal that is extreme and brutal beyonds words but remains rooted in utter bleakness and despair. It's always been able to create an intense atmosphere which triggers a reaction of pure awe and appreciation. On latest release One for Sorrow, a similar response is made from listeners, but to a greater level, because this album is truly awesome.




 One thing that makes this album so beautiful is the way that while a sense of bleakness is extremely prominent throughout the course of ten songs, created through Ville Friman and Ville Vänni's axe shredding which pretty much pummels listeners into oblivion, plus the morbid growling of Niilo Sevänen, which has the ability of dragging listeners dow into Hell, but within all this misery, One for Sorrow is far from being all doom and gloom. In fact the overall atmosphere this album makes is one that is very uplifting and heart warming, which possesses a spirit, which is not to dwell in the total bleakness but rather to rise above it and fight back.
 This feeling is present in such tracks as the overwhelmingly powerful Song of the Blackest Bird which hits listeners hard with a depressing feel but also builds up a sense of inner stength as chorus patterns and solo sections present the idea of this darkness being blasted away for new light. The fighting back spirit is also present in the much angrier Every Hour Wounds which packs an extreme engery that provides the kind of furious and strong state of mind that I've come to expect more from Lamb of God, rather than a band known for creating music intended for sadness.
 Now lyrics are never something that I dwell on too much, but in spite of the uplifting nature of the music, the lyrics are very much rooted in a sense of doom ("And gently Death will speak/ Softly Death will hum and whisper:/ 'Fly again my bird, fly again over the world'").
 One for Sorrow, if you listen for the music is actually an album that will lift one's spirit if it is listened to properly. It shows a real talent of melodic death metal, which carries a sense of class and beauty at the same time. So, musically this album could be used as something to listen to following a bad day. It will surely help you combat all the horror and sorrow of life.

Insomnium's One for Sorrow is out now via Century Media. The band will perform in the UK in November with Before the Dawn and Mygrain.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Review: Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

 From the moment their mellow debut of simple and charming alternative rock songs Parachutes hit the store shelves back in 2000, Coldplay became huge. Finding themselves with massive of airplay and an ability to divide opinion that has never been seen before, Coldplay have used their mellowness to take the world by storm. It was in 2008 however following the release of their dynamic fourth effort Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends that the London based alt rock quintet became a household name and frontman Chris Martin officially found himself to be an icon among the popular music culture of todays society. The kind that is ruled by Top 40 charts and Radio 1. Basically the kind of musical culture I detest. So, now that they have released an album during the stage in which they reside in these dimly lit pop culture thrones, it's clear that being put in such a position has had a fairly large impact on the music they make.

 Not to criticise it fully in that sense. The album carries a sense of grace and unique charm that is unlikely to ever be found on most songs that dominate the charts. The synthesized backdrops on Hurts Like Heaven and Every Teardrop is a Waterfall carry an etheral and very pretty feel and carry an incredibly uplifting atmosphere and credit must be given to the collaborative compositional work from Brian Eno throughout the album. It's sophisticated tranquility that still carries an atmosphere of fun and energy is pretty top-notch.
 And though the extra uses of synthesizers and pop-inspired backdrops suggest listeners will find themselves on unfamiliar grounds, there's actually the odd moments that are reminiscent of various moments of Coldplay's back catologue. Us Against the World has the qualities of a somewhat happier version of A Rush of Blood To the Head and U.F.O has a clear reminiscence to the kind of material found on Parachutes.
 But as I say, the influence Coldplay has had on popular music and the image of how massive they have become is clearly identifiable in this album. It's a point that many cynics could dwell on in great depth. All the songs seem to be made with the intention of being non-controversial radio friendly songs or sound good for their massive stadium shows. There's enough "Woah-oh" moments in Paradise to keep the entire O2 Arena jumping. But, really there's no real problem with a song being radio friendly. It doesn't mean it can't still be charming and the remarkable synth work allows this to be achieved. Creating a pretty is the ultimate goal of Coldplay's music after all. They don't need to shock. Not every band has to be the Sex Pistols after all. And if it gets them radio play, I can only congratulate their success of making songs that gain them a large following.
 If there's any problem to be found in this album, it's that musically, the use of synthesizers and backdrops is so vital, it can be hard to truly appreciate the full band effort. If I had no knowledge about this album prior to hearing it and someone had told me it was a Chris Martin solo album, I doubt I would question their statement. With the exception of a fairly remarkable bassline in Major Minus from Guy Berryman, it's difficult to find any other members add something to the album that could be considered outstanding, and perhaps implies an element of limelight hogging from Martin.
 Overall, Mylo Xyloto sees Coldplay create an on-the-whole flawless set of synth rock songs that will hopefully introduce a greater sense of elegance and joy into what is a fairly soulless world of modern pop music, while generating an interest from lovers of alt rock. Plus it's probably the most mainstream sounding set of music released this year that I can get into.

 Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto is out now via Parlophone.The band will tour the UK in December.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Review: Lou Reed and Metallica - Lulu

 It's hard to think of an album that has had such a overwhelmingly negative build-up than Lulu, the collaborative effort between vintage, artful rock and roller Lou Reed and Bay Arena metal titans Metallica. Be it in the initial disgust spread online when the collaboration was first announced, the hostile reaction to The View and even an online poll that popped out of nowhere calling Lou Reed "rock's most overrated lyricist.", there has been a largely dark cloud spread over the hope of this album being approved by the masses. Listening to it, it's easy to understand why.


To quote Metal Hammer writer Dom Lawson back in June when the collaboration was first announced:
 "[a collaborative album] might be fucking brilliant. It might just be a bit weird and pretentious. It could even be a load of sloppily-played, third rate metal riffs accompanied by the sound of a miserable pensioner muttering about heroin and cancer."
 Lawson's third choice pretty much sums up Lulu. Reed's incoherent rambling using his frankly uncomfortable sounding vocals which are spoken but include the occasional melodic note, which usually make him sound like he's having a heart attack. This is clearly no longer the man who once astonished many with his rapid energy and glee heard in The Velvet Underground's Sister Ray.
 But of course, the idea of creating an uncomfortable and disgusting feel is intended, as Lulu is not to be viewed as a collaborative album, but instead a theatrical adaptation of Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box, "The Lulu Plays" which are the two best known pieces of work of German playwright Frank Wedekind about the tragic life of a young dancer Lulu, who rises through German Society following numerous affairs with some of it's wealthier members but eventually falls into prostitution and bleakness. The idea of the album is for us to picture this within the lyrics, if we're able to catch what Reed is saying. He does sound like a drunk old man after all. As this goes on we picture Reed as the narrator of the production, while Metallica provides the background music, with a sense of extra drama added whenever James Hetfield throws his more agressive vocals or Kirk Hammet adds a guitar solo into the mix. However, when I see a play, I expect to feel a sense of enlightenment and a sense of something learnt and a real emotional attatchement to it's characters after it has finished. I certainly don't expect to leave a play with a burning desire to cut my ears off with a hacksaw. I can get behind the idea of the album's premise to be viewed as a musical narration to a theatrical adaption. But if this album were a play that I were watching on a stage, the cast would all be drunk or hungover, stumbling over their lines and scaring the audience in a manner that is simply mean-spirited.
 As I say, this album could have been more enjoyable. However, the performance of Metallica is just so lacklusture and sloppy that it means listeners have no way of divering themselves away from Lou Reed's horrifying lyrics. And yes, diversion is required. Frustration and Little Dog will surely cause listeners to smash their heads off of a wall and scream "MAKE IT STOP!!!" But Metallica spend the whole time playing bleak and unsatisfying doomy thrash riffs which sound like a gathering off all the material that was rejected from 2008's Death Magnetic. It really sounds like they don't care at all which is probably a bad sign for the band's future considering the large amount of passion they've displayed towards the album in recent interviews.
  This album... is frankly a mistake. It is the worst thing I have heard from both acts and I say that with Metal Machine Music and St. Anger in mind. At least you can laugh at the former. This is also a large dissapointment as hearing the initial ideas for the album really excited me, and anyone who read ROARF could probably identify the exitement I felt when album details were announced and for this to be my payoff is simply horrendous. This just causes readers to feel bleak, depressed and probably suicidal in some cases. And the worst part is that this is the pure intention of the album. As an album that wants to present us with a theartical production that will shock, chill, depress and make people feel like they will lapse into an eternal sense of doom, Lulu manages to do just that. And I really wish it didn't exist.

Lou Reed and Metallica's Lulu will be released on the 31st of October via Vertigo Records.

Song review: The Ordinary Boys - Run This Town

 This morning, I've awoken only to be greeted with the delighful news that Worthing indie rockers The Ordinary Boys have returned following their split in 2008. My delight emerges due to my mas adoration of their debut album Over the Counter Culture and it's collection of protest mod rock songs teaching us to screw mainstream society, go wild and go to the seaside. After that, my appreciation descends a little as they take a more pop influenced turn on Brassbound and How to Get Everything You Ever Wanted in Ten Easy Steps, as more synthesizers, ska and dance music influences which were on the whole unsuiting became introduced to their sound. Yet, it's still massively surprising and exciting to see them back together. Maybe it's because of the mockery that frontman Samuel Preston was reduced to following his various television appearances on the likes of Celebrity Big Brother and Never Mind the Buzzcocks and the mess the band had become. So it's awesome to see that they've returned on a clean sheet.
 Run This Town emphasises this feeling of glory of returning without caring what anyone thinks of them. It's like they forgot they were ever a massive band in the UK popular music scene and have returned to their mod rock roots. With a similar style both musically and lyrical to the work of Over the Counter Culture, this is a a clear sign that the band wants to back to their humble beginnings and just have fun and Preston and William Brown create some cool and bouncy riffs elevated by the pounding drumming of Simon Goldring.
 So, Run This Town is likely to excite any fan of The Ordinary Boys' early work, as it clearly shows that to be a style they wish to pursue again. Hopefully, this will see the beginning of a succesful and prosperous comeback for these guys.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Song review: Megadeth - Black Swan

 For reasons that should become obvious, it's great to be hearing new stuff from classic masters of thrash metal Megadeth. As a way to furthaer anticipate fans for the release of new album Thirteen, the band have released new song Black Swan. Originally serving as a bonus track for those who pre-ordered 2007's United Abomiations  through the band's fan-club, Black Swan can deservedly make it's way to a larger audience.
 Simply, Black Swan is a basic thrash metal song, filled with Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick's needle-jagged riffs, and screaming dueling giutars. Still, it's twisted enough to be it's own beast and maintain a sense of uniqueness in the mass back catologue of songs following a similar formula. It also shows an improvement in Mustaine's vocals, displaying a purer more melodic style, rather than his more recent spout of evil spoken vocals that were ever-present on 2009's Endgame and on Public Enemy No. 1 which will also appear on Thirteen.
 So, the ultimate verdict would be that though this isn't anything I could truly consider special or their best work, Black Swan shows Megadeth doing what we love them for with ease. Many seem to believe the bonus track on United Abominations was better. I wouldn't be able to comment however. But I'm very happy to hear a traditional thrash metal band from a classic practioner from the genre for as I say an obvious reason. Tomorrow I review... Lulu.

Megadeth's Thirteen will be released on the 1st November via Roadrunner.



Review: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

 I have been dreading this moment for a while now. I have heard all the singles released from the self titled debut of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Each one has bored the shit out of me. I've been dissapointed up to now. One of the key members of the most succesful British rock band of the 1990s and 2000s is now reduced to making these bland and uncharacteristic indie rock songs. Having to be in the same room as a song from this album playing is something that could not make anyone smile or frown. It's unlikely anyone would pay attention. It's when actually needing to focus on these songs that is painful. And so with this in mind, allow me to have a listen to Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.

 For those who have a similar state of mind to my own about the singles from this album, I guess opener Everybody's On the Run serves as quite a pleasant surprise. Though some of the synthesizer work sounds a bit like The Verve on a bad day. However, it's actually a pretty solid song. The guitar work is surprisingly gripping and atmospheric and the former Oasis gutarist displays some pretty strong vocals, after all the negativity I've placed towards this album, it is a very impressive and optimistic song.
  That song really ought to get focused on in particular, because from then on, things don't really pick up at all. No other tracks carry the same strength or exitement that Everybody's On the Run did, in music or vocals. And as expected, the rest of the album becomes as boring as If I Had a Gun, The Death of You and Me and AKA... What a Life! Special recognition must be given to Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks which with it's lazy production, dull gentle indie rock backdrop and unimagintive and repetitive structure makes it not only the most boring track on the album, but quite possibly the most boring track I've heard all year! Also the synthesizer work in (I Wanna Live in a Dream In My) Record Machine gives me the opportunity to use the wird "sloppy" which I haven't done in a while.
 I can't quite remeber if he referred to any songs in paricular but I have the memory of hearing Gallagher state that some of the songs for this album were written during his time touring with Oasis and this can be heard on various tracks, which largely carry a sense of familiarity with songs from the massive Don't Believe the Truth, in particular the track Dream On which is very similar to The Importance of Being Idle. But this reinforces my belief that there's nothing here that I couldn't find a better version of in Oasis' back-catologue. None of these songs carry the same sense of power or the emotional impact that Oasis managed to provide, no matter how hard Gallagher seems to try.
 Overall, this album leaves me sad for the current career of who was once a legend of modern rock music. I had a feeling I'd hate this album but in slating it as I have, I just feel bad. The music is just so weak that it almost feels like it's a shame to be bullying it, but I can't not point out the sheer dullness and lack of creativity put into this album.
 If I can credit this album for anything, it's that it will allow many to see how great Oasis really were.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' self titled album is out now via Sour Mash Records. Gallagher will tour the UK in February.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Finally checking out some bands that have followed me on Twitter...

 Anyone who has a Twitter account and uses it to follow favourite bands will by now surely be used to being followed and being mentioned in tweets by masses of unknown and unsigned acts, who normally claim they should be checked out if you like a lot of other bands. In my time of blogging I've normally been quite dismissive towards these groups, as I've had bigger fish to fry. But now, I'm starting to feel that what I'm doing their is unfair, as much of what I have chosen to check out is pretty good and should be checked out by many more. So it's time I check out a few of the bands who have mentioned me in their requests to be checked out over the past three months.

 The Product - The Detroit quartet wrote the first tweet that mentioned my name, asking me to check them out. Not really what I was expecting, I was hoping more I'd get someone I followed giving me a welcome to Twitter message, like my sister, or my mum, or my mum's colleague Ken, or... Kerrang! Magazine, or... Corey Taylor. But no. I instead found myself with a message saying that I would like these guys if I liked You Me At Six. So, giving them a tryout seemed like a good idea. Saying that they're like You Me At Six is a bit of an understatement though because The Product are far heavier and genuinely more awesome. The grungey riffs and heart pounding drums that makes up lead single Make Your Move are fueled by pure adrenaline and listeners will feel the desire to do some headbanging while still remaining gripped by the message itself. Their cover of One is the Loneliest Number is pretty mind-blowing as well. Check the out on theproductrock.com.


Follow You Home - The Derby based quartet manage to play some fun and fiery punk music on lead track Once Upon a Lie and give it a much darker and more bitter edge, frontwoman Kayley Busby's repetition of "I hope you fucking choke" in each chorus demonstrates this quite well. Follow You Home have a great talent for making traditional punk music with their own twisted uniqueness thrown into the mix. Which is sweet! Check them out at followyouhome.com.

One Day Late - The Edmonton group play hard and fast in your face, with their classic, exciting and just fun hard rock and roll. it's thrashy, it's sleazy and it's just fun. The kind you want to get up and party and get drunk to, but still have a warm feeling afterwards. One Day Late pretty much play music that defines the sound of "Southern American rock and roll". And they're Canadian. Check them out on www.onedaylate.com.


Against Tolerance - I had an annoying experience in which all the song files were corrupted when trying download Undefined the debut album from Brazilian metalcore quintet Against Tolerance. And that is deeply annoying because these guys are simply epic. Their pulverizing thrashy metalcore is unique on it's own but the band also dare to add in some more experimental effects, complex structures and additional instrumentation that most metalcore bands wouldn't touch. Are we likely to hear any use of trumpets in the next All That Remains album? Unlikely. Check them out at www.againsttolerance.com.


Burn Halo - A tweet informed me that I'd probably like this band if I liked The Dillinger Escape Plan. Not sure if I'd compare it Greg Pucatio's gang of bizarre hardcore types, but this is awesome classic heavy metal sounding at it's best, with lead single Tear it Down giving listeners a gripping and extreme punch in the face that also provides a  real emotional core. Being more reminiscent of the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and later Papa Roach, this shows that the future of heavy metal is still in the hands of confident people. Check them out on their Facebook profile.



Birch Hill Dam - Allowing things to take a more doomy and freaky turn, Massachusetts rockers Birch Hill Dam will hit you unapologetically hard with their magnificent combination of traditional heavy metal, stoner rock and southern rock, even carrying an ability to get a little funky with their basslines. Their track Colossus, taken from their second album of the same name proves that absolutely. Their music is pretty breathtaking. Check them out at www.birchhilldam.com.



Crash Coordinates - The Arizona quartet play with the kind of catchy pop rock reminiscent to the likes of All Time Low or Forever the Sickest Kids, who they are apparently going to be opening up for for at a show sometime soon, but here, there's a much more serious and tense atmosphere with a less optimistic view from their lyrics. Clearly, this is a band that desire to be taken more seriously and will be more devoted than their predecessors. Check them out on their Facebook profile.


Spawn of Psychosis - I couldn't be able to tell you the exact amount of sanity that Kent metallers Spawn of Psychosis possess, but I could hardly picture it being a high number. Combining intense black metal riffs, with the classic punk rock vocals of Spawn, carrying a sense of reminiscence to The Sex Pistols creates something I don't think has ever been heard before. And with various industrial elements thrown in for good measure, this is totally off-the-wall. Check out their videos at spawnofpsychosis.com.



Son of Glory - It is the devastatingly pummeling riffs that you know are going to pop up straight away, but still manage to shock and smash skulls with their heaviness when they do that makes Brazil's Son of Glory an awesome band. Their sound is just extreme. Extreme in it's thrashing abilities, extreme in it's sense of darkness conveyed in the gritty growls of Ryan Lopez and gentle siren calls of  Priscila Pereira and extreme in their ability to make guitars scream and chug. Check them out on their Facebook profile.


Themselves - A group of indie rock guys from Leicester who aren't afraid to get a little heavier and a little more substantial than their fellow peers.  Allowing a greater influence from grunge to guide them along, Themselves have a fresh and solid sound played out on a series of hooky riffs and powerful drum beats, and is clear evidence of much excitement to be found in the underground British rock scene. Check them out on their ReverbNation profile.


 So, for now this is a good selection of bands who have chosen to follow me on Twitter, some doing pretty well for themselves and looking for new fans, others using the website more productively and showing themselves off to the masses, to gain initial international support, in the hope of getting a few fans and with enough luck a record deal. And it really shows that there is a lot of great stuff on offer and that I probably ought to check out underground acts more often. I won't say what my favourite group was nor will I do that kind of quirky thing were I refer to the name somehow in the sentences I write. To do that is simply childish and I'm against tolerating childish activities on this blog. All the bands have their own unique qualities and there's something great to be found on all of them. I'll probably have to do this again sometime soon. Perhaps I'll come back with another round of largely unknown acts in January. I'm sure I'd have enough. The music scene looks pretty thriving to me.

Song review: The Rolling Stones - No Spare Parts

 How could I possibly say anything bad about The Rolling Stones? In my early childhood, I was pretty much surrounded by British classic rock bands, playing everywhere I went in my Dad's car. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who... you name it. I had them all absorbed into my mind at least before I was ten years old. So, I speak from the point of view of someone who never heard any new material from the Stones growing up but have mass knowledge on their early stuff. So the opportunity to be able to review something new of theirs a little surreal and joyful.
 This is due to the online emergence of previously unreleased track No Spare Parts, taken from the forthcoming re-issue of the band's 1978 album Some Girls which will be released on the 21st of November.
 Showing the Stones ability to make a slower, more relaxed and overall uplifting song, No Spare Parts is played with a large country music and blues influence. Lyrically talking about a journey from Los Angeles to San Antonio, the gentle guitaring of Ron Wood and electric and acoustic piano duet from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it's serves as a song that is simple, gentle and has a warm feeling overall.
 As nice as it is, it really can't make me feel to excited about the re-issue of Some Girls, it's pleasant but not the most breath-taking thing I've heard from The Rolling Stones. Not by a long shot.

 The Rolling Stones' Some Girls: Super Deluxe Edition will be released on the 21st November.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Review: Alesana - A Place Where the Sun Is Silent

 Prior to listening to anything by Raleigh hardcore sextet Alesana, my main reason for knowing of the groups existence was hearing frontman Shawn Milke appear as a guest vocalist on the Asking Alexandria song Hey There Mr. Brooks. So my main thoughts were simply that Milke's vocals sounded like a more screechy version of those of Danny Worsnop. However, now is a real chance to hear Alesana sounding more serious than previously heard on their fourth release A Place Where the Sun Is Silent, a concept album with a focus on Dante's Inferno. This is the chance for Alesana to show their listeners what they're really made of.

 With this is mind, the satisfaction level that the album reaches is perhaps a 50/50. The metalcore element that Alesana adopt in this album is impressively solid. The breakdowns come with an almighty strength, musically and emotionally, seen best in the mean guitar pummeling played throughout Beyond the Sacred Glass and The Fiend. Also enjoyable is the screamo influence on Labyrinth, carrying a familiarity to genre pioneers Senses Fail. These moments provide the most enjoyable moments on the album, alongside the hooky choruses and knife-edge spiky punk riffs. It's moment like these that are the moments of pure metallic bliss.
 In the other elements of the album, well... enjoyment is a little more difficult to find. Alesana are one of the many groups that the internet loves to hate for their mixing of metalcore with emo rock. It's a style I've been into for a while, but this album is problematic in this sense. While the common complaint for these bands is that the metalcore element is seen as being weak, on A Place Where the Sun Is Silent, it's quite the other way around. The emo element is taken a little too far without creating a significant emotional impact. Milke's vocals have a tendency to get a little too whiny to the extent that in Welcome To the Vanity Faire they sound similar to Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, and when trying to create a metal album, that's not excactly a redeemable quality. Much more fitting and enjoyable is the guttural and occasionally deathly growling of Dennis Lee.
 So, A Place Where the Sun Is Silent is clearly an album made with a sense of ambition and a point to prove and it has it's strengths and weaknesses. It's overall a very enjoyable listen and shows Alesana at their most passionate and defined. If I may provide any advice, I would suggest that these guys should focus more on their metalcore element for future material, with that, they would have the potential to create a real classic.

 Alesana's A Place Where the Sun Is Silent is out now via Epitaph. The band will tour the UK in February with We Came As Romans.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Review: Various Artists - Batman: Arkham City - The Album

 Now I'm not exactly the biggest gamer around, but I have very recently developed an interest in getting a Playstation 3 console, in the hope of getting better online play, and re-igniting my interest in gaming. Probably a bad idea during of my final year at school, but I can't help it. Video games are looking better than ever these days. And one game that I've really grown an interest in is the new Batman themed video game Arkham City. Taking the Batman franchise into a darker realm than ever before, along with the most recent Caped Crusader films, the mass open world environment and impressive gameplay has had me quite hooked amongst a large amount of other games.


In the meantime, one thing I can look at regarding Batman: Arkham City is the official soundtrack released to accompany the game's score, featuring a collection of exclusive songs from an eclectic selection of rock groups. I've never reviewed a various artists album before, so my best review format is to give a little review from of each song, since each artist has something different to bring to the table. So, will the music of this soundtrack be as gripping as the game itself? Let's find out. To the soundtrack! Danananananana! Sorry.


1. Panic! At the Disco - Mercenary I was quite excited to hear that Panic! At the Disco were appearing on the soundtrack, not for the reason of being a total fan or anything. In fact I was really quite disappointed after listening to latest release Vices and Virtues. I just had the thought that maybe appearing on a game with such a dark atmosphere might give them a chance to make something closer to their style of 2005. It's really not. With a surprisingly pleasant and quirky backdrop with a redeemably catchy chorus, this feels a little out of place.

2. Coheed and Cambria - Deranged This really introduces the dark and dramatic atmosphere I was expecting on this album. Presenting us with a melancholic and gripping style that matches the whole atmosphere of the game, it's every bit as chilling as it is engaging. Plus the vocals of Claudio Sanchez really suit the songs title making it all the more perfect for a song that he stated was intended to be all about The Joker.

3. The Duke Spirit - Creature Managing to stay catchy and chilling at the same time, Creature feels extremely fitting for such a dark action game and is pretty enjoyable otherwise. With their dark synthesizer lead indie rock and ethereal vocals of Leila Moss, it adds a sense of grace but remains a sense of grace that could be maintained while inmate ass is being kicked.

4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Shadow On the Run The atmosphere of the synthesized led garage rock here is one that is much more psychedelic and trippy, like a more dramatic and haunting Oasis. There's an element of bleakness about it as well, especially lyrically.

5. Blaqk Audio - Afterdark Dave Havok and Jade Puget of AFI bring something more industrial and colder to the soundtrack in the form of their electronic duo, Blaqk Audio. Afterdark though a gentle and ambient soundscape has a very grim and bleak outlook carried within in it.

6. The Raveonettes - Oh, Stranger This track put a smile on my face. It was just so exciting. I often find myself complaining about the boring use of synthesizers in pop music. This song is an excellent example how how synthesizers out to be used more often. These dramatic synth beats hit you out of nowhere, before transcending into thrilling indie rock excellence.

7. ††† (Crosses) - The Years. I was astonished with ††† (Crosses), the synth rock group formed by Deftones' Chino Moreno and Far's Shaun Lopez when hearing their debut EP back in August. While The Years is a little more bleaker and chilling than the material heard on the EP, well it suits perfectly for the soundtrack, but has a sound as ambient and pretty as ever. Also Lopez's guitar solo comes out of nowhere and is awesome.


8. The Damned Things - Trophy Widow The reaction to a supergroup formed by members of Anthrax, Every Time I Die and Fall Out Boy certainly generated a WTF-type reaction from everyone. The actual reaction to the music seemed less positive. I thought it was okay myself, though it was nothing I hadn't heard before. Hearing Scott Ian's guitar thrashing accompanied by the wild screaming of Keith Buckley brings something a little more adrenaline fueled back to the soundtrack. While less dark, no action game should be complete without a little bit of metal around.


9. Daughtry - Drown in You Oh god, it's Daughtry. Does this game deserve radio-friendly grunge? Actually this is one of the better songs I've heard from this band by far. While it follows the pattern of a typical song, there's an extra emotional quality about it that makes it that bit more gripping. It's okay but emotion draining grunge isn't the type of hard rock that feels fitting.


10. The Boxer Rebellion - Losing You The international indie rockers present us with their darker and atmospheric take on the type of style of indie rock that would have given a band a number 1 album in 2006. With a prolonged feel of melancholy heard primarily in the vocals of Nathan Nicholson and the music sounding like a harder-hitting version of the Kaiser Chiefs' Love's Not a Competition, Losing You really manages to covey the kind of darkness and hopelessness that must be felt whenever Batman is killed and players need to restart the mission.


11. Serj Tankian - Total Paranoia The System of a Down frontman ends the soundtrack on a grim, mellow and haunting note. Even in this, there is a hint of eccentricity and craziness present that we've come to expect from Tankian, but on Total Paranoia, that craziness becomes genuinely scary and bleak. It leaves you feeling unsettled, but in a state of awe all the same.


 So, Batman: Arkham City - The Album proves itself to be a fairly diverse collection of rock songs, featuring pop-punk, heavy metal, indie rock and a large amount of electronic rock. All of these manage to convey something of a dark and dramatic atmosphere fitting the game's personality and the idea of the world of Batman as a whole. Certainly, the tracks have been made with the idea of a video game in mind, but I should of course mention that these aren't the songs that would be playing during the video game, however there's a feeling that if they were played during the game, they would help to bring around the feeling of adrenaline and excitement that the game would feature. My personal favourite from the selection would have to be the offering from The Raveonettes, as it best combines these musical features of being dark and atmospheric as well as adrenaline fueled and exciting.
 So, if the game itself is as exciting as the soundtrack, I'm sure my future as a gamer will be a fun one.


 Batman: Arkham City - The Album is out now via Watertower music. The game will be released on the 21st of October for PS3 and Xbox 360.

Review: Trash Talk - Awake

 Since first gaining notoriety with 2010's Eyes & Nines, Sacramento's Trash Talk have been cited as the band that are likely to take hardcore punk into the new age. Though this seems to be a title that goes to a new band every year, belonging in 2009 to Fucked Up and being taken this year by Cerebral Ballzy. So five track EP Awake clearly shows that Trash Talk are still standing on both feet and ready to fight for their title of heroes of hardcore.

 And boy do they do a good job of it. Short and sweet, but leaving a lasting impression, Awake really manages to carry the spirit of hardcore punk along, being reminiscent of the likes of Black Flag and Bad Brains. With it's prolonged sense of intensity and rapidness seen in the extreme jagged riffs and blast beats that at many points particularly closer Gimme Death can just be described as cool and has an effect that makes one want to lay back and listen as much as it does make them want to get up and headbang.
 With the vocals of Lee Spielman sounding like a more sterile version of Cancer Bats' Liam Cormier there is something of a modern influence within the group, but for the most part this is the kind of music that really carries in the spirit of traditional hardcore.
 That's all there is to say really. Awake lasting around five minutes is an EP that leaves a lasting impression and a desire for more from these crazy motherfuckers. We need more from Trash Talk. Because this EP pretty much defines hardcore punk.

 Trash Talk's Awake is out now via True Panther Sounds. The band will tour the UK from November-December with Every Time I Die, Spycatcher and Defeater.

Review: Wednesday 13 - Calling All Corpses

 If he's not playing in one of his numerous bands, the most notable of which would be horror punks, Murderdolls, Wednesday 13 likes to do his own solo stuff, seeing him create a freakier and sillier version of the music of The Ramones and latest offering Calling All Corpses is no exception. Well, it's been released twenty days before the 31st of the month and it's clearly intended to be a little something for Halloween, so I guess it could be used as the soundtrack for a cool Halloween party.

 It's big, bold pretty silly and overall a fun punk rock album that you just want to jump around to. Were you expecting anything more? It's a like a frantic rush of sugar from rotting Halloween candy takes over the listeners, plunging them into a world of off-the-wall jagged-riff fun! Throughout, Wednesday 13 rips through his songs with vocals that sound like Alice Cooper on steroids and the kind of energy that would be produced by the same drug. It's creepy, kooky, scary, spooky, punky, raw and hard. And nothing else.
 There's little else to the album in the way of variety, just a collection of pun-filled horror punk. So, as you'd imagine, it gets a bit repetitive after a while, making it difficult to pick a highlight or find anything that truly stands out. But seriously, it's Wednesday 13, a guy known for making music with an air of camp B-movie horror in mind. He's released an album near Halloween that features an album cover that looks like the invitation for a spoilt child's Halloween party. So the repetition of style is hardly a letdown. I wasn't exactly expecting him to come out with The Wall.
 So all in all, Calling All Corpses is an okay album and suiting for the time of it's release. I'd perhaps recommend downloading just one or two tracks, to play at your Halloween party. That's all you really need this album for.

 Wednesday 13's Calling All Corpses is out now. Wednesday 13 will tour the UK with Michael Monroe in November.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Review: Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist

 On listening to The Great Escape Artist the fourth album and first collection of new material since their 2008 reunion from alternative rock heroes Jane's Addiction, it is very easy to identify uniqueness that first made them a breath of fresh air when they released Nothing's Shocking back in 1988, bringing a sense of dynamism and respectability to the sweaty hair-metal dominated L.A. rock scene.

 In the twenty three years that followed, the group has mellowed down and matured, but with this they have given themselves a greater sense of sophistication and grace. With greater work with synthesizers and the emotive vocals of Perry Farrell, this album manages to dwell a greater emotional impact than their wilder releases.
 With rousing choruses and hard-hitting-with-a-maintained-sense-of-control riffs from Dave Navarro, The Great Escape Artist often carries an uplifting feel about it, Irresistible Force and End to the Lies being excellent examples of this.
 At other points, the band manage to create a dramatic and chilling atmosphere to their music, with synthesized backdrops and experimental vocal effects. Ultimate Reason features the kind of melancholic and brooding backdrop one may expect to find in a Deftones song, mixed with classic hard rock rather than nu metal. Maybe that's a weird way to look at it. Either way, it's a very beautiful and engaging sound.
 And of course, closer Words Right Out of My Mouth diverts from this style for a bit to present us with some traditional hard rock which really captures their earlier spirit, and still manages to display their wilder streak.
 The overall impression that The Great Escape Artist gives is that Jane's Addiction has clearly matured but still manage to create a sound that is just so gripping and... cool. Basically, it shows that Jane's Addiction are a band that are still going strong.

Jane's Addiction's The Great Escape Artist is out now via Capitol Records.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Review: Cradle of Filth - Evermore Darkly

 While last Novemebr's Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa was a good album, it was clearly far from being the finest piece of work from Suffolk's number one icons Cradle of Filth. The main reason for this is that all in all , it just felt a bit lacking. Lacking in the sense that that it felt less grand and spectacular throughout, particularly compared to 2008's Godspeed On the Devil's Thunder and when an album is proclaimed to be a concept album that "concerns itself with Lilith, Adam's first wife and mistress of Hell", you expect the full immense symphonic and theatrical treatment to be accompanying the blistering metal. However in terms of such factors, Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa delivered nothing truly astonishing and nothing we hadn't heard before. It also felt lacking in a literal sense. The best moments of Cradle of Filith albums are often found within their grand openings featuring the segueing symphonic intro track paired with the hard hitting black metal asault. The short but mind blowing moment in which intro track Satyriasis erupts into the bludgeoning Gilded Cunt on 2004's Nymphetamine has become one of my favourite moments of modern metal. However Venus Aversa lacked this traditional feature instead opting for a lame spoken intro from frontman Dani Filth, which was on the whole fairly disappointing. So the idea of an EP of featuring extended versions and "elder versions" of material from Venus Aversa puts me in something of a negative state of mind. So, is Evermore Darkly still as lacking as the album or does it create an improvement?

Well, the answer is quite clearly the latter because the one new track on which this EP opens Thank Your Lucky Scars is better than anything from Venus Aversa. With a fresh sounding and pummeling explosion and symphonic and metallic glory, it is a clear sign of Cradle at their most energetic and dangerous, creating a sound closer to their 2008 material. Better still is the feeling on intense climax when paired with the EP's intro track, Transmission From Hell, again a spoken intro, however more extreme with more of an intent to scare.
 Elsewhere on the EP, "elder" versions of tracks reveal themselves to be live studio versions of various Venus Aversa tracks, including Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned), The Persecution Song and The Spawn of Love and War. While capturing the extreme-ness with which they were played on the album, they are there simply to serve as live versions of tracks without really doing anything to reinvent them.
 Of course when you look at the re-invention that has taken place on this EP, the results are... well... you get Forgive Me Father (I'm In a Trance) which is exactly what the title suggests, and I suggest you continue to pray for forgiveness after allowing this to exist Dani. Yes, it is a trance remix of Forgive Me Father (I Have Sinned). Now I'm not really into trance music, but Dani's guttural put to music to dance to at a club is something that I really couldn't imagine appealing to anyone.
 An interesting track is the extended version of Lilith Immaculate, arguably the best track on Venus Aversa, which is made even better here. This eight minute version of the track with some changes of lyrics also has the addition of an extra bridge played entirely on various classical stringed instruments. It effectively adds an extra sense of atmosphere, one that is extremely chilling.
 The main thing that Evermore Darkly really shows is that if you thought Cradle of Filth were starting to weaken on 2010's release, well Thank Your Luck Scars ought to prove you otherwise.

 Cradle of Filth's Evermore Darkly will be released on the 18th October via Peaceville Records.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Review: The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing

 Why do so many people feel to the need need to deny that pop punk's dead? It's alive and fresh as ever, and it's pretty obvious looking around. These days though, the genre is clearly divided into two main sectors. There's the sector in which the pop element outweighs the punk element, where you find bands like All Time Low and Boys Like Girls, then you get the sector where the punk element outweighs the pop elements, where you find groups such as A Day to Remember and Four Year Strong. I've always had more of a preference towards the latter option, and wouldn't you know I've gotten more of a reason to love it thanks to the wonderful Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing, album number three from Pennsylvania's The Wonder Years.


 With an intense and exhilarating rush of rapid fire pop punk music, which can be as catchy and fun and creates a desire for one to jump around and party, as well as creating a sound that people will want to furiously headbang to whilst injuring people in a moshpit with it's mass amounts of breakdowns and fiery riffing, The Wonder Years manage to fit the role of a hardcore pop punk group with ease and confidence and listening to this style, a comparison with A Day to Remember can be made fairly quickly. However, this is not what makes the album. Now, lyrics aren't normally for me the most notable feature about an album but in the case of Suburbia I've Given You All... I'll have to make an exception, because this album contains a lyrical marvel making The Wonder Years a band to be taken much more seriously than Jeremy McKinnon's pop punk/metalcore gang.
 Suburbia I've Given You All has something of a conceptual theme to it, mixing together various ideas both personal and as a homage to poet Allen Ginsberg, making various references to his signature poem America, such as the line in Local Man Ruins Everything "I don't have roses in the closet, but I got pictures in a drawer" which refers to Ginsberg's line "I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet". It effectively shows a sense of homage to Ginsberg which in turn proves the wonder years to be a band of more cultural sophistication and variety.
 Other lyrics from the album refer directly to events that occurred around the groups hometown of Lansdale. Sometimes they can be heartbreaking and overall hopeless lyrics such as those of I've Given You All a song  based on the supposedly real event in which a old homeless man was fatally attacked by teenagers. ("He was a Vietnam Vet/ He got beaten to death in Memorial Park under one of the benches/ The cops said it was probably kids/ but no one ever found them".) Lyrics like these give the album a harsher, bleaker and more real view on their lives and where they come from and respect must be given for them to choose to reference such a shocking event. However lyrics regarding their lives in their suburban hometown can also be uplifting and life-affirming, such as the beautiful Summers in  PA which gives a simple but warm image of times spent with friends when younger. ("There's something about weeknights in the suburbs/ And there's something about me and all my friends/ Kings of awkward situations/ The plum blossoms are falling/ I'm more than happy going down with them") Lyrics like these show a real sense of optimism and joy and manages to create a contrasting view from the lyrics to I've Given You All, showing this to be a truly diverse album, exploring both ends of the emotional spectrum.
 Some of the most marvelous lyrics on the album are the anti-religious lyrics found in I Won't Say the Lord's Prayer, in which frontman Dan "Soupy" Campbell reveals his thoughts on and largely against christianity. ("They don't ask you to think, just to repeat after me/ And assume you're too careless to look at it critically/ You'll stop progress if it contradicts what you're told to believe/ I refuse to spend life on my knees") Well thought through anti-religious lyrics? This is a pop punk album, right? The genre Blink-182 made popular using cock jokes right? So the lyrics seem a little out of place and yet that just makes it all the more brilliant. It agin reveals the diversity of The Wonder Years to unimaginable levels.
 So, Suburbia I've Given You All leaves me feeling fairly optimistic and uplifted and makes me think "I don't normally focus on an album's lyrics, but when I do, they're lyrical masterpieces." This album is simply astonishing in it's ability to tell us a story of the bands life packed to the brim with emotion both positive and negative and deliver it with a wild and passionate punk fueled energy. There's noting else to say about this album apart from the fairly obvious. It's wonderful.

 The Wonder Years' Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing is out now via Hopeless Records. The band will tour the UK in November with Yellowcard and Saves the Day.

Review: Exit Ten - Give Me Infinity

 There seems to be a fair amount of hype being made about Reading alt metal crew Exit Ten, that they have the potential to become a landmark modern British rock group alongside Muse, Radiohead and Biffy Clyro. And listening to their second album Give Me Infinity, I guess it's pretty obvious to understand what all the fuss is about.
 From the adrenaline packed bassline and riffs which throws us into opener Life, it's clear that Exit Ten are a band who are going out there to prove what they're worth, and it shortly becomes obvious that this is a group who are worth something. Worth a lot.
 

 As they effectively mix their influences which spans from Radiohead to Killswitch Engage together,the result ranges from Curtain Call, a blistering and exciting hard rock belter borrowing elements of metalcore and alternative rock, or the more uplifting alternative metal sound of Sunset which carries a reminiscence to influential alternative metal artists Hundred Reasons. In between this, many songs create a dramatic metallic soundscape where listeners can only find themselves transfixed my the intensity and raw and dynamic power and graceful yet hard-hitting flow that Exit Ten blast unto us.
 There is a real beauty and sense of class throughout and each track has it's own unique charm. The beautiful mellow ballad that is Smoke, the life-affirming Suggest a Path and the ethereal hardcore Mountain, everything just comes together to give this album a sense of pure wonder.
 The wonderful sweeping and dreamy style in which the music is executed gives Exit Ten every right to be viewed as an up and coming band full of potential, and listening to Give Me Infinity, it's pretty obvious that these guys are either going to become the new biggest band in the UK are the most undeservedly overlooked bands of the modern age.

 Exit Ten's Give Me Infinity is out now via Deep Burn. The band will tour the UK in November with Fei Comodo and Never Means Maybe.

Review: Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination

 For Ohio extreme metallers Skeletonwitch, things are starting to look up. The black/thrash metal quintet are now beginning to rise from the underground dwelling in which they've been playing and releasing albums to for various years, as they've started to receive more notoriety and recognition with a more focused and overall brutal sound on fourth album Forever Abomination.


 From the very beginning of opener This Horrifying Force listeners are presented with a chilling intro featuring a chilling section of acoustic guitars and strings, and a feeling of anticipation arises, knowing that this is simply the calm before the storm. And rightly so, because you are then treated to a monstrous pounding of thrash riffs that are simply evil. Evil, as one may imagine is very much a keyword for this album. Tracks like Reduced to the Failure of Prayer and Choke Upon Betrayal present us with a relentless assault of pure and raw deathly trash metal, the latter sounding like a cross between Megadeth and Morbid Angel.
 Of course this is far from mindless brutality. A riff says a thousand words and Forever Abomination proves this effortlessly. It helps that Nate Garnette and Scott Hendrick are guitar wielding psychos who let their instruments do all the talking. On tracks like Erased and Forgotten and The Infernal Resurrection manage to emit such emotions as loss, anger and hopelessness and a desire for retribution through riffage alone. This with the beastly growls of Chance Garnette really make this album sound so evil.
 As a whole, Forever Abomination is a true sign of just how evil music can be and how engaging it can be for that reason. There's so much to dwell on when listening to this as a whole. The monstrous heaviness of the grim and deathly thrash, the intense atmosphere of evil this emits that makes listeners want to start a war in their own back garden and the emotional responses this album triggers, revealing a gentler more vulnerable side to the music as a whole. I also recommend you check these guys out, because this very much has the potential to become the band that will lead the way for future metal.

 Skeletonwitch's Forever Abomination is out now via Prosthetic Records. The band will tour the UK in January with The Black Dahlia Murder and Fleshgod Apocalypse.

Review: Aiden - Broken Bones

 Seattle horror punk rockers Aiden have been particularly hard working as of late. Having already released their brilliant fifth album Disguises in March, they have spent all their time since recording it's follow up Some Kind of Hate, set for release on the 25th of October. For now one song has been released to anticipate listeners, known as Broken Bones.
 With an intense punk rock feel overall, Broken Bones is pretty much the definitive Aiden sound, and shows them returning tho their punk rock roots rather than their 2007 attempts to make alt rock on Conviction. However, their is a feeling of something lacking. It doesn't feel as chilling and angry as what fans have come to love them for. It's not nearly as aggressive as anything from Our Gang's Dark Oath or even Disguises and on the whole contains a rather uplifting feel about it.
 But it's a catchy punk rock song, which can never be too bad. On the whole it leaves listeners looking for something more to find on Some Kind of Hate. Perhaps something a little more substantial.



 Aiden's Some Kind of Hate will be released on the 25th of October.

Review: Madina Lake - World War III

Anyone who has picked up an issue of K! over the past year and a half will be familiar with the horror that hardcore group Madina Lake faced last June, wether they had heard any of their music prior to the event, in which bassist Matthew Leone was horrendously assaulted outside brother and frontman, Nathan's apartment after he tried to help a woman who was being beaten by her husband, a heroic act which resulted in the man beating him putting him in critical condition and the need to have a third of his skull removed by doctors. After months of mass heartache and treatment both physical and emotional for everyone in the band and mass support put towards the band from fans and fellow musicians worldwide, and following Matthew's gradual recovery, they make a return, with a greater following and a lot to prove with third album World War III.

As you could imagine, the attack Matthew faced has triggered an emotional response within the band, giving their music it's angriest and most bitter sound to date. It manages to sum up the kind of feelings the band must have been feeling at the time of the attack. Anger, hatred towards the world, an overwhelming sense of sadness and pain. Even the more celebratory uplifting sections of music feel like they're covering up something far more gruesome underneath. How they manage to take all these feelings and turn them into a collection of really hooky and catchy melodic hardcore songs is astonishing.
 Tracks like Imagineer and Hey Superstar are some of the catchiest rock songs I've heard all year, yet they're so bitter and fueled by rage. It is truly a sign that they've worked with the negativity felt to help enhance their sound to a new sense of depth within their music and it's simply breathtaking. The various electronic elements used in the album in tracks like Fireworks and Across 5 Oceans also manage to carry this feeling of fury along with a sense of relentless
 So, World War III can be seen as something of a breath of fresh air amongst the hardcore punk scene. Everything about it is so driven by emotion, be it in Matthew's brooding basslines or the furious melodic punk vocals of Nathan, and yet it's still a fun and enjoyable experience. This album is something of a marvel and shows Madina Lake to be stronger and more passionate than ever.

 Madina Lake's World War III is out now via Long Branch Records. The band will tour the UK in November with Chiodos and My Passion.