You know the dealio by now. Join us in checking out some awesome new music!
Beartooth: The Surface
Joe: The Ohioan metalcore band have gone from strength to strength over the last few years, including a HUGE 02 arena show earlier this year. Their fifth album looks to capitalise on that momentum and what was gained from their last album, Below (check out our review here). How do they do?
In theory, this album is awesome. It has all the parts of a classic metalcore/post hardcore/pop-punk album, and I’m sure any fans of the band are going to adore this album. Heck, every review I’ve seen has given it a near perfect score. However, for me, the heavier elements of metalcore and the more pop, even country elements at times, don’t mesh together well. The opening/title track is the perfect example of this, too. The heavy riffing and harsh vocals are awesome and open it incredibly. Then it takes a jarring shift into a pop chorus that doesn’t really fit. It’s not a bad chorus, but it’s got nothing on the metal parts.
It’s a pretty similar story throughout. And I don’t get why I don’t like it, either, as I’m a fan of bands like ADTR and Four Years Strong. The sounds just don’t seem to mash, for me. I’d rather listen to their Fall Out Boy/Arcade Fire style OR their We Came as Romans style, not both in the same track. Tracks like ‘Riptide’ and ‘Might Love Myself’ feel at least a little more coherent, but even then I thought they were pretty average tracks. Even one of my favourite newer artists, HARDY, couldn’t save them on ‘The Better Me’.
As I said, I know this band has a lot of diehard fans that will love this. And it’s not bad music at all. It’s just forgettable. Outside of ‘Doubt Me’ I don’t think I’d listen to a single song off the album again, and I wouldn’t miss it one bit. I wish them all the success in the world and truly hope they become a massive, headlining band. But for me, this album is a 4.5/10
Margo Price: Strays II
Joe: The modern country star released the counterpart to her Strays album this last week. We checked out the first part already when it was released (find it here). So, given that it has been released more of an extended cut, I’ll let you read the original for the first 10 tracks, and I’ll cover the new ones here!
Honestly, part two is just as good as the first part. ‘Strays’ picks up right where she left off in January; a relaxed, old-school country track with both a pop and rock twang. ‘Malibu’ is a fun slower track, the fiddle being an awesome addition. ‘Unoriginal Sin’ is a fantastic slower blues number. And honestly, I can say after listening to the full 82-minute (!) double album, this second part really completes the collection perfectly. It’s hard to believe they were released separately, now. If you’re into country or folk, check this out immediately! 8.5/10
Clearly, I have not listened to enough Creeper in my time, as this was not what I was expecting at all. Have they always been a Meatloaf-esque rock opera band? Because if so, I need to check out more of their stuff! Like, the opening track is a nine plus minute epic filled with huge choruses and big riffs; a massive soundscape filled with a plethora of instruments and parts. It felt like it was ripped straight out of a musical. It’s fucking awesome!
Unfortunately the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to these loft heights. However, none of it is bad, by any stretch. It’s 80s inspired pop-synth-rock in the same vein of Billy Idol, and is a lot of fun to listen to. It also has a lot of Danzig energy to it in Will Gould’s vocals and the odd punk influences. ‘Cry to Heaven’, ‘Lovers Led Astray’ and ‘Chapel Gates’ are all awesome tracks. I know this style isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you’re into this particular brand of noise you’ll love this album. It’s so incredibly well done! 8.5/10
Varg: Ewige Wacht
We’ve already covered this awesome metal album. Check out the full review here!
The Menzingers: Some of it Was True
Joe: The US punk band are on their eighth album now, and going just as strong as ever. While I generally like my punk a little faster and higher energy, a little less indie, this was still a highly enjoyable album. Tracks like the opener, ‘Try’ and ‘?’ are fun and definite highlights. I probably wouldn’t put this album on myself but wouldn’t turn it off if it came on, especially just a track or two! 6.5/10
ONI: The Silver Line
Joe: The Canadian prog/nu metal band are back with their third album. I have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with the ‘band’ before this review. Now, they have a HUGE new fan in me! It’s like a more technical, heavier Papa Roach or Three Days Grace, and I love it. It’s also insane that, in doing some reading around the band, it is simply just Jake Oni as the sole member. The sheer number of guests on the album made more sense once I found that out. And, it’s hugely impressive that just one man is the driving force and main creator of most of this ‘band’. He’s one hell of a songwriter!
‘Silhouette’ is the perfect opener, having me hooked to the band and album right from the get-go. ‘Spark’ is a good follow-up, with Sueco doing a good job on guest vocals. Unfortunately Kellin Quinn’s grating vocals kinda ruin ‘Underneath my Skin’, but Howard Jones’ powerful ones more than make up for it on the awesome ‘Aura’. Tracks like ‘Silence in a Room of Lies’ and ‘The Dread’ are massive highlights on a truly stacked album, too. There really isn’t a bad track on it (aside Quinn’s), and it’s exactly the style of modern metal that I love. 9/10, amazing stuff!
Twin Temple: God is Dead
Joe: No. Just no. 1/10
Really? You want more than that? Fine…
This ‘rock’ band rose to prominence around the same time that Ghost did, when heavy music fans were clamouring for something different and journalists tried to brand anything even slightly gothic as ‘the future of metal’, much to the dismay and pushback of their readers. This definitely isn’t metal. It’s old-timey rock/pop/country/blues. And, what’s worse, it’s SHIT. Now, I don’t mind artists like Darlene Love, but somehow she had more crisp production than Twin Temple do here. And maybe some have nostalgia for that early rock/blues style, I’m not really one of them.
Having said that, it isn’t my biggest issue with it. While the music is average, and tracks like ‘Fallen Angel’ and ‘Black Magick’ boarder on good, some of the lyrics are cringy as fuck. ‘Let’s Have a Satanic Orgy’ and ‘Be a Slut’ feel hypersexual for shock value, in the same vein as Psychostick, than for some sort of empowerment or good writing. It’s a cheep gimmick, and it ruins the okay music. I’m critical enough of the likes of Halestorm and In This Moment, so for this to be more on-the-nose and worse, of course I’m not going to be a fan.
So, yes, I was a tad harsh on it to open. It’s not quite lowest marks as there’s at least some redeeming value to it and a couple of okay tracks. However, it definitely isn’t good. At least, not to me. The lyrical content is vulgar for the sake of it and it doesn’t build on a sound 70+ years old and already perfected. Just piggybacks off it. 3/10
Ronnie Atkins: Trinity
Joe: The Pretty Maids frontman has gone from strength to strength with his solo releases. He’s showing that he clearly has a lot more in the tank, given that he’s released three albums in the space of three years. For all of them to be this high quality too is a true testament to his skill as a songwriter.
It very much feels like an extension of Pretty Maids’ music, that NWOBHM with a hint of AOR and glam, but it’s so good it’s hard to be annoyed by it. Tracks like ‘Paper Tiger’, ‘Godless’, ‘If You Can Dream It’ and the absolutely massive title track are all massive highlights. Honestly though, there isn’t a bad track on the album, it all slaps. While it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel in any way, it’s all fun, epic heavy metal music, and I’d LOVE to see any of this album live. There really isn’t much to say about this album. It’s solid and if you like this type of music you’ll enjoy it! 7.5/10
When Rivers Meet: Aces Are High
The Essex-based husband and wife duo released their highly anticipated third studio album this last week. Their typical blues rock sounds are turned up to 11, as is their songwriting, on this release. I’ve been a fan of them since I first saw them on festival lineups the last few years, and I honestly think they seem to be getting better and better every year. This is my favourite album by the band, and that’s saying a lot!
Right from the opener, ‘Infected’, their sludgy, steady southern/blues rock sound drips with attitude and awesomeness. It’s catchy, well-crafted, and one of the many highlights of the album. ‘Play My Game’ is a fun, higher tempo blues track, while the acoustic duet ‘Golden’ is beautiful and the almost Dorothy-like ‘Perfect Stranger’ are also great. However, there really isn’t a bad track on the album. And it’s varied, too. At 10 tracks and 40 minutes long, it flew by in no time and I wasn’t ever bored or skipped a track. It was very well put together, with the slower and faster tracks distributed perfectly throughout.
If you are into blues, southern rock, soft rock or even country, check this out immediately. It’s one of the best releases in any of those genres this year and will be in heavy rotation for me in the coming months! 9/10