New Music Mondays: Dropkick Murphys, Devildriver and More!

Another busy week of new music, packed with plenty of different bands and genres to check out. Let’s dive straight in!

P.S. not only do we have Max joining us again, but also our new recruit, Owen!

Dropkick Murphys: Okemah Rising

Owen: Dropkick Murphys’ newest release, ‘Okemah Rising’, is the 12th studio album from the Massachusetts band. Stretching their legs in the country and western genres with the aid of Woody Guthrie’s lyrics, similar to their previous release last year, the songs are comprised of
unused words and lyrics accessed by Guthrie’s daughter Nora who stuck around as an Executive Producer for the songs.

Standout tracks from the album include; ‘I Know How It Feels’; a working class anthem with lyrics that still feel applicable today despite being written about struggles faced nearly 100 years ago. ’Rippin Up the Boundary Line’; a rhythmic sing-along that could have
one day been a sea shanty or a chain gang song. With vocals reminiscent of Tom Waits, this track is a brilliant blend of the Dropkick Murphys signature sound and the country western influence of Guthrie’s own work. The final new track (before a reimagining of ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ titled the ‘Tulsa Version’) is a track called ‘Run Hitler Run’. This was the gem of the album for me, a fast-paced, harmonica-wailing protest against fascism calling out numerous dictators of the era. The
band have managed to make this album stand on its own two feet whilst still feeling like a continuation from their work on their 2022 release ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’. I for one hope they push on down this path and rescue more potentially lost work of influential artists across
different genres. 8/10

Devildriver: Dealing With Demons Vol. II

We’ve already had the pleasure of checking out this brutal slab of groove metal. Check out what we thought here.

Cattle Decapitation: Terrasite

So I’ve been seeing this album everywhere on socials. Though deathgrind typically isn’t my thing, I was excited to check it out. Fuck, this is GOOD. It’s brutal, heavy and massively talented. The drums are on a new level that I could barely comprehend, Dave McGraw needs so much more credit than he gets. The riffs were great, the breakdowns slap and the gutturals and growls are amazing. I love this album.

I’m struggling to single out just a couple of tracks off it too, as each one is just as good as the last. Right from the heaviness of ‘Terrasitic Adaption’ and its three completely different vocal styles (lows, extreme metal screams and a surprisingly good clean section) through the two singles to the all out perfect assault that is ‘A Photic Doom’, this is a 50+ minute lesson in speed, aggression and awesomeness. The band have a new fan in me, and deserve all the praise they are getting for this album. 9.5/10

Amity Affliction: Not Without My Ghosts

The post-hardcore/metalcore band’s eighth album is heavy. ‘Show Me Your God’ is a damn hard opener, while single ‘Hell Down Here’ has a damn good poppy chorus hook, but around that is practically deathcore. Said format is used throughout to varying degrees of enjoyment.

‘Death and the Setting Sun’ is great, as is ‘Close to Me’. However, tracks like ‘I See Dead People’ and ‘God Voice’ felt like it forced the clean and harsh vocal changes. Heck, all but one of the tracks are pretty formulaic for it, doing the same heavy verse, clean chorus throughout. I know that’s usually how a lot of heavier metalcore goes, but it’s one of the reasons I didn’t get into bands like this when I was heavily into the genre. I like bands that keep it a little more interesting, like BFMV or Killswitch Engage. Also, don’t even get me started on that closing ballad. It felt less metalcore and more Blink’s ‘I Miss You’.

There’s a few cool moments in here and a decent song or two, but I got bored pretty quick and not much made me want to go back for a second listen. 5/10

Black Spiders: Can’t Die, Won’t Die

A band that I’ve been a fan of for a long while now and I was so excited when they finally returned from hiatus. Being the first release since their reunion, this album’s got a lot of hype behind it. Does it live up to it?

Somehow both yes and no. While nothing on the album is quite up to the lofty heights of ‘Kiss Tried to Kill Me’ or ‘What Goods a Rock Without a Roll?’, overall this may very well be the strongest album front to back the band have ever done. It’s clear the band have evolved upon their return, a slightly slower pace with more influences dragged into the sound such as a surprisingly heavy Alice In Chains vibe. Lead single ‘Hot Wheels’ has grown on me more and more every listen and the Marylin Manson inspired, AICs sludging ‘Destroyer’ is a MASSIVE album highlight.

Honestly, there isn’t really a bad track on the album. There are some I like more than the others but the quality overall is massively high. If you’re into hard rock, NWOCR or even grunge at all, you’ll love this. 8.5/10

Parker McCollum: Never Enough

The country/Americana singer put out his fourth studio album on Friday. It’s rather quite good. Having never heard of the guy before, ‘Hurricane’ was a fantastic introduction. While it started a little slow, it built and built into a huge chorus and an almost Brothers Osbourne/Zac Brown outro. It does slow down for a few tracks after that, but tracks like ‘Stoned’, ‘Handle on You’ and ‘Speed’ are more upbeat, incredibly catchy and definite highlights.

I do think it just about fits into the category of ‘country albums that are just to fuckin’ long’, though. It’s just shy of an hour long and is 15 tracks long. However, I’d consider letting it off as, while on others it’s clear where to trim the fat, I honestly couldn’t imagine cutting a single track off this. It is an honestly phenomenal collection of tracks that I cannot find any fault with. After listening to it all the way through, the track-listing even makes complete sense. 9/10, great stuff!

Veil of Maya: [m]other

Max: Back to my normal style of music. The Illinois quartet is back with another fantastic album and this one might be their best yet. They really went above and beyond, expanding on everything that the band has become known for. The screams were amazing throughtout and they were perfectly balanced with the clean vocals. Both had so much energy and made each song a lot of fun to listen to. As for the guitars, i dont think i understand anymore because there is so much going on and there are so many insane noises that i didnt think were possible to play on a guitar that it became hard to keep up. This was not a bad thing however as it just made listening to this band a lot more enjoyable. Overall 9/10

Cody Ikerd and the Sidewinders: Dreamers Like Me

The debut album by the sludgy, country rockers is a hell of a lot of fun. It reminds me of the best part of Brantley Gilbert with a traditional twang to it. Like a heavier Blackberry Smoke, and definitely a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd in the slower tracks. It’s hard to come up with stuff to say about it as it’s only seven tracks and 25-minutes long. My only critique is that it maybe needed another rockier track. It got off to a roaring start and then slowed off pretty massively by the end. Still though, all the songs are good, and if you’re into country you’ll like this! 7.5/10

Hot Mulligan: Why Would I Watch

With it being Hot Mulligan, you would be right in expecting the raw vocals throughout the entire album that have so much pain and emotion in them. This album also has the punchy and fun guitars for which the band has become known. There’s one issue with the album, though. There are glimpses of the pure excellence of the band sprinkled throughout but it felt as though the band went for a more radio-friendly and accessible version of themselves for this album rather than album all of their unique talents to carry the album. 7.5/10

Nighthawk: Prowler

I actually found this album through an ad on Facebook. So, for all those aspiring musicians out there, just know, they do work! Sometimes…

As for the album itself, it’s a great callback to the late 70s, early 80s rock scene. A perfect blend of the US glam scene’s beginnings and the height of UK early heavy metal with the likes of Deep Purple and Dio. The keys/synth was a huge highlight, as were the huge choruses filled with Ian Astbury-like powerful vocals. The riffing and drums, while a tad basic at times, fit the style perfectly and added so much to the sound. The soloing from the guitars and keys throughout were also fantastic.

Tracks like ‘Running Wild’, ‘Free Your Mind’ and ‘Playing the Game’ are big highlights. They’d fit in perfectly with the NWOCR movement in full swing these days, they remind me a lot of Cats in Space. 7.5/10, a great album!

Acadia Strain: Step Into the Light

This is most certainly their best album yet, in my opinion. It is crunchy and heavy with all the intensity that you would want from this band. There are layers to every song, from the vocals to the guitars to the drums. There is so much going on, and it feels great to listen to. There’s room to develop as they didn’t seem to delve too much into trying anything new or to push the boat out at all, but everything they did was intense and very well done. There was also the hard-hitting nature of lots of their lyrics which ended up sticking with me far after I had finished listening to the album. 8/10

Averlanche: Arctic Atlas

A power metal sophomore album to close out our list this week, and a damn good album to cap it all off. It’s everything you could want in a symphonic power metal band; big riffs, soaring, beautiful vocals, HUGE choruses and plenty of talented playing and lead lines to leave anyone impressed.

Tracks like ‘Killing Floor’ and the beautiful ballad ‘Island Across’ are huge highlights for me personally. My only ever so slight gripe is in the production; it doesn’t quite feel as massive as it could (and really should) do. Something is missing to push it to that very top tier in the genre, and I honestly think it’s only down to the mixing. Also, the playing at times, and this is completely personal preferences, is almost too clean. A couple of the riffs the guitars seem to transition almost robotically through the chords, leaving little feeling to it. However then moments later I’ll get slapped with an emotion-filled solo that puts my foot in my mouth.

If you’re a fan of Nightwish, Delain or even 2000s Iron Maiden, you’ll fall in love with this. 8/10, this was awesome! I already can’t wait to hear more!