Not a massive week for new music this week but a handful of great bands none the less. From avant-garde to funk to new-wave, there is something for everyone, so join us in checking it all out!
Dan Reed Network: Let’s Hear it For the Kings
The funk rock band return with their third album since their 2013 reunion. Honestly, it’s my favourite they’ve done since their first stint. Opening on the fantastic ‘Pretty Karma’ and featuring such incredible tracks like ‘Starlight’ and the wonderfully Backstreet Boys-esque ‘Stumble’, the album is strong throughout. Dan gets better with age when it comes to a vocalist, songwriter and performer, and the rest of the band hold up their own perfectly, providing a funky, heavier Genesis of instrumentation that is infectiously enjoyable. I have to see this stuff live, I guess I’m seeing them with Reckless Love after all! 8/10
DIR EN GREY: PHALARIS
The Japanese heavy metal icons returned last week with their 11th studio album. Opening with the slow build and avant-garde-ness of ‘Schadenfreude’, the band continue along that trend by showcasing all walks of metal across their 11 tracks. Whether it’s the power ballad of the second track or the all-out assault of ‘Eddie’, there is something for everyone here. And I loved all of it. The band are fantastically talented at playing and songwriting, and definitely have a new fan in me! How have I never given them more of a chance before? 8.5/10
Hank Williams Jr: Rich White Honkey Blues
56 studio albums. Let that just sink in. That’s INSANE. And 18 of those are certified gold or higher in the US. I know he’s been going since the mid-60s, but that’s still fucking incredible. Still pumping music out at the ripe young age of 73, Jr still sounds fantastic. ‘Georgia Women’ is one hell of a great single and the title track and ‘I Like it When It’s Stormy’ are fantastic blues-drenched country-rock tracks. I cannot believe he is still releasing music of such high quality. 8/10
Time for some epic power metal. Another genre I have gotten into a lot more thanks to this company, this had me headbanging throughout. It’s heavier than most power metal too, with the screams and blast beats being a fun inclusion. However, it still has some catchy, huge choruses and, I’m sure you’ve guessed it, an operatic female vocal for harmony purposes. Heck, single ‘March Along’ even has some industrial influences, which was surprising and awesome. And the epic conclusion, ‘Northern Lights’, is something that must be heard… so I left it below! Everyone likes power metal, if you don’t you’re lying, so check this album out! 7.5/10
Nova Twins: Supernova
I never got the Nova Twins. That doesn’t change with this release. It’s basically girl group pop with basic rock music and riffs behind it. If that’s your thing go right ahead. However, I’d prefer to listen to Girls Aloud or Spice Girls, at least the songs written for them to sing were good. Packed full of cringy lyrics and not fun rock music, it felt like a chore to listen to at times. I wanted to like it because it’s punk as fuck and II generally like rap and hip-hop and rock music inspired by it. However, it’s a no from me, sadly. 3.5/10
The blackened-death-doom metal band put out their forth album over the weekend. It’s dark, menacing and brutal, as well as growing on me more and more throughout. The prog elements they bring to it all are a lot of fun and really add an interesting and pretty original edge to their sound. They remind me of early Opeth. Good stuff, and well worth a listen if you like the heavy stuff. 7/10
Baby Strange: World Below
The first article on this site almost a year ago was our interview with this band. Therefore, it feels only fitting that we review this album. Honestly, I really like it. There’s a real revival of the classic, Pulp/Human League sound going on right now with the likes of these and Dead Writers, and I’m all for it. It’s hard to even pick a highlight track or two, as the whole album is a masterclass in this kind of genre brought into the modern day. The band deserve every amount of hype they are gaining these days and no matter what type of music you are into, check this out, you will find something to enjoy. 8.5/10
Check out our interview with the band here.
Wicked Stone: Synergy
Straddling the line between hard rock and metalcore, Wicked Stone put out their difficult second album last week. I’ve seen them a couple of times now over the last half a decade since their debut, and to be brutally honest, I find myself getting it less and less. The band are a collection of clearly good musicians who like what they write (since this sounds very close to their last album) but it simply isn’t translating to me. Nothing on this album stands out to me or earworms me in the slightest, it sounds somehow generic but also not definitive enough in what genre it wants to be. The riffs are good, don’t get me wrong, I’m probably just being bitchy because there isn’t a big catchy chorus. Hopefully it grows on me because it’s everything I should like, but I just can’t seem to. 4/10
Another week down and at nearly halfway through the year there have been some incredible albums so far. Join us next week from our Instagram here for more!