The second full week of the year brought with it a few more albums than the first. Four, to be exact, from four very different bands. From pop-metal to alt-rock to the earliest form of NWOBHM, we have it all for you this week. Let’s jump right into the new music, shall we?
Somehow on their 11th studio album now, Christian pop-metal band Skillet have been pumping out a steady stream of great music for over a decade now. Despite the stigma around being a Christian rock band, I have always been a fan of them, since I first hear ‘Monster’ back in the day.
For those of you who are familiar with the band, it’s no Awake, but it’s also an improvement on Victorious. For fans of the band, it is exactly what you would expect. catchy duelling vocals from John Cooper and Jen Ledger, steady verses and huge, soaring choruses. Highlights include the opener, both singles (‘Standing in the Storm’ and piano ballad ‘Refuge’) and ‘Beyond Incredible’. It’s US radio-rock through and through, but it’s damn catchy and I’ll find myself jamming with this for mobths to come. 7.5/10
Genre-hoppers Underoath are back with their ninth studio album and first since 2018. I have to admit that I’ve never quite ‘got’ them. This album definitely changed my opinion. The opening track, ‘Cycle’ (featuring the ever confusing Ghostmane), and ‘Take a Breath’ are all definitely highlights to me. Heck, even tracks like ‘Thorn’ appear to embrace the changes to the scene Spiritbox are bringing in. There are lesser quality tracks too, like the boring ‘(No Oasis)’ and the overly long-titled third track, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. A heavy, alt/industrial metal album from a band I have clearly slept on until now. It won’t be for everyone, but damn do the heavy parts go in HARD and it’s overall a great listen. 8.5/10
Blood Red Shoes: GHOSTS ON TAPE
The English alt-rock duo have made quite the name for themselves over the last decade, with their last three albums all charting around the 50 mark in the UK. I haven’t heard much of their previous stuff, but the quality of this should push them to even greater heights.
From the awesome slow-build of the opener (though it didn’t go anywhere) through wonderfully 80s tracks like ‘MURDER ME’ and ‘I AM NOT YOU’ to the suitably epic closer, it’s a great alt/indie album. Not all of it is perfect, but overall it’s a damn enjoyable 40 minutes of music! 7/10
Magnum: The Monster Roars
22 studio albums across nearly four and a half decades. Clearly Magnum are doing something right. A band that I respect the hell out of without listening to a great deal of their stuff. This album once again proves that I should listen to them more.
While not nearly as heavy as I imagine they were considered in their day, the album is old-school metal through and through. It all has a very epic feel to it thanks to the keys being so prevalent, and it makes every chorus when the distortion kicks in feel that much bigger and heavier. Highlights include ‘Remember’, ‘No Steppin’ Stones’ and ‘Your Blood is Violence’. 8/10
And there we have it, another week of fantastic rock music! As always you can keep up to date on all of our work from our Facebook here. Until next week!