Another week of awesome new music for us to check out here at Overtone. You know the drill by now, read on!
Charlotte: Defying the idea an artist must remain within the boundaries of one genre, PVRIS’ EVERGREEN strikes the balance between gritty electro-pop-rock and pulsing synth sounds, some of which are reminiscent of Demi Lovato’s album HOLY FVXK (maybe it’s a capital letter thing?). The album switches between its rage-fuelled dance beat, confrontational and catchy lyrics, and cathartic instrumentation. Every song on EVERGREEN stands as it’s own work of art, but the songs are positioned in a way so that the album flows through the emotions – taking the listener on a journey through frustration, anger, power and release. 8/10
Voyager: Fearless in Love
Eurovision 2023 contenders and Australian prog rock titans Voyager released their eighth studio album last week. After ‘Promise’ was shown off to the world and exploded after the contest, the anticipation for the album was pretty high.
I would say, for the most part, it does live up to that hype. I do have to say, it’s not particularly my sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great riffs throughout, and the breakdowns are a lot of fun. However, the heavy emphasis on the synth and 80s pop vocal melodies got a little old after a few tracks. It’s definitely an interesting contrast that has no right working as well as it does. It just simply didn’t do a lot for me. I also don’t think it helps that all 11 tracks sound pretty similar.
Still, there are a couple of highlights on the album, for sure. Of course their Eurovision track and big single ‘Promise’ is very good. Also, ‘Ultraviolet’ is amazing, in large parts to guest Sean Harmanis. If you’re into the style of music, it’s a damn good album. However, for me, it’s more of a 7/10.
Kim Dracula: A Gradual Decline in Morale
One of the most eagerly anticipated debut albums in recent memory, Kim Dracula has been gaining a lot of buzz from TikTok and YouTube. Their unique blend of industrial and nu metal with modern pop has garnered them a lot of attention, and everyone has been waiting impatiently for this release.
It’s… it’s certainly an album. The first thing I noticed was the arrangement didn’t work. A dark, sinister build-up for an opening track leads into a RHCP-esque funk bassline to begin ‘My Confession’ which felt very jarring. The track itself in general is a mess, going from that to a lazy Disturbed reference and then into generic pop music. The chorus is okay and feels pretty Papa Roach, before we get an awful harsh vocalled trap verse. But then the breakdown is good after that. See what I mean about the mess?
‘Luck is a Fine Thing’ feels like a blend of Panic! At the Disco, Faith No More and generic radio metal, while tracks like ‘Superhero’ and ‘Divine Retribution’ are trap-filled oddness. There are entertaining parts of a lot of the tracks; the Korn inspired scatting bits, the breakdowns and the funk sections are all a lot of fun. Even the trap stuff was fun. And there is no denying Kim’s talents at all. However, the styles just don’t mesh well, in my opinion. I admire the creativity, but it doesn’t work. It also feels like it’s trying a little too hard to be edgy, given the lyrical content. It’s clearly inspired by late 90s hip hop and the likes of Marilyn Manson, yet it feels like it is trying too hard to be different and controversial, a bid to gain more popularity instead of spread a message.
I’ll definitely be giving it more listens for the rest of the year, I’m sure. I completely get why it’s getting a lot of buzz, and I really want to like it. The singles like ‘Make Me Famous’ and ‘Drown’ are great and definite highlights. However, as a whole, the album feels incoherent and messy. 4/10, but it may go up by the end of the year!
Evile: The Unknown
This was very unexpected right from the offset. I was a big fan of this band as a kid, being a thrasher and all. I even did an in-depth review of their comeback album for my previous employer. Though I remember enjoying it, I remember finding it rather similar throughout the whole album, as well as to their previous work.
Right from the opening track, this felt and sounded different. It’s slower, groovier and more atmospheric. It is still thrashy and Evile, but feels fresh and different, a very entertaining quality! It’s really hard to pick a highlight track or two because of this, too. All 10 tracks are fantastic and showcase a varied, interesting and very fun side of the band. Having said the, though, the proggy, epic ‘When Mortal Coils Shed’ is excellent and maybe my favourite song the band have ever done. The Slayer and Metallica influences shine through so much with it, it’s amazing.
The whole album is stellar, though. If you are into thrash or just heavy metal in any capacity, you will find something to love on this album. 9/10
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real: Sticks and Stones
Owen: Lukas Nelson and his band Promise of the Real released their eighth studio album this week, titled Sticks and Stones. The 12 tracks are a country rock party from start to end. Chronicling some of the best nights of drinking and debauchery the members of the group have had. Each track brings something new. ‘Every time I drink’ introduces an old honky tonk piano to underpin the entire track. ‘Alcohallelujah’ pulls on the sound of gospel as you may expect from the title. ‘More than Friends’ enlists the help of Lainey Wilson to bring you a classic call and response duet.
As the son of Willie Nelson some may have expected Lukas to ride his fathers coat tails but eight studio albums have certainly cemented his place in the modern country scene regardless of his famous dad. Sticks and Stones will have you up and dancing from start until end, a testament to the talent of the Nelson family. 8/10
Project Renegade: Ultra Terra
A band I am rather familiar with after doing a reaction to them a few months ago. The band’s sophomore album promises to go even bigger than its predecessor, and from the singles so far it seems like it should be another great listen.
Kicking things off with the heavy, industrial ’23’ was a fantastic idea. It shows off what Project Renegade do best; heavy riffs, catchy choruses and amazing vocals. And it does it all to perfection. Meanwhile ‘The Millennium March’ is more of a power metal ballad that is rather emotional and meaningful. Singles ‘The Fix is In’ and ‘Bloodwitch’ are two more obvious highlights. Honestly though, there isn’t a bad track on the album, and it’s really well structured and put together.
It reminds me of the likes of Phoenix Lake or Stormbound (links to both reviews can be found here and here). I’m honestly loving this modern sound of power/industrial metal, especially with powerful female vocals fronting it. 8.5/10, this is great!
Duane Betts: Wild & Precious Life
This country debut is a hell of a lot of fun. After a few years away from releasing music, Duane returned this year with a trio of singles leading up to this full-length release. His first new music since his debut EP in 2018 ups his game, too. It’s very good. Right from the first few notes of ‘Evergreen’, you know it’s going to be a relaxing, summery country rock album, and that feeling continues throughout. Singles ‘Waiting on a Song’, ‘Saints to Sinners’ and ‘Stare at the Sun’ are all amazing tracks and were the right choice to release first, they reflect Duane’s sound and talent perfectly. His guitaring is great, technical and full of feeling, and his vocals have a surprising air of Mick Jagger to them.
If you want an album to chill out to and admire some incredible guitaring, then look no further than this. Again, there isn’t a bad track on the album, and Duane certainly has a new fan in me! 8/10