Category Archives: New Music Mondays

New Music Mondays: Staind, 3TEETH and More!

You know the drill by now. A collection of great new music for us all to check out. Let’s do this!

Staind: Confessions of the Fallen

Joe: Let’s get the obvious out the way, Aaron Lewis isn’t the best of guys. And yes, Staind feel like a meme band these days, like a lot of their counterparts from their era. However, having said that, their return album is pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still Staind, but at least you’re getting exactly what you’re expecting and wanting when you put it on. The band sound phenomenal, and if you were a fan of them back in the day, you’ll love this. And there’s even some surprisingly heavy riffs and even some screaming in tracks like the opener and title track. Honestly, I’d put ‘Cycle of Hurting’ or ‘Confessions of the Fallen’ up there with anything from their back catalogue.

Yes, it’s formulaic early 2000s radio hard rock/metal. However it never tried to sell itself as anything else. If you are a fan of the band like I am, you’ll love this. The two aforementioned tracks, alongside expected ballad ‘Here and Now’, are all major highlights. Staind are back, and sound just as good as they did in 2001. 8.5/10


Joe: When this gets heavy, it goes hard and is awesome. That that riff in ‘Acme Death Machine’ is amazing, especially after the build of the verses. The breakdown also pops off in that track. And heck, unlike a fair bit of synth-heavy industrial music, I actually like the slower, more subdued synth bits too. This band have always been so good at perfectly balancing the dynamics of heavy and not so that when the guitars come in it all sounds MASSIVE and the heaviness is very earned.

Considering I’d always thought, although 3TEETH are good, they always seemed to be missing something to push them to the next level. I could never place what it was. However, damn did they find it. This album feels like a coming of age for the band. Every track seems to be a radio-metal banger; catchy electro-verses building to big heavy riffs and HUGE choruses. Everything about it works, and seems miles ahead of their last album. They feel like a modern day Rob Zombie these days, and that’s a very cool thing.

The ‘it’ that they were looking for might be Mick Gordon. The Doom guitar god gives the five tracks he’s on so much more umph and heaviness. And his low-tuned, heavy riffs fit so well with 3TEETH’s sound, it’s a match made in heaven. As much as I love ‘ALI3N’ or ‘Scorpion’, there’s no denying how much Gordon adds to the likes of ‘Slum Planet’ or ‘Merchant of the Void’. And holy crap, ‘Paralyse’ featuring Ho99o9 too is phenomenal.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand this band won’t be for everyone. Heck, if anything they’re going to be pretty niche. But if you are into synth-lead industrial stuff, big riffs or even darkwave stuff, you’ll love this. 9/10, this is fucking awesome!

Anastacia: Our Songs

– Future Joe here coming to you from after he’d written the review. It wasn’t until hearing the blatant cover ‘Forever Young’ that I did some digging and realised that this whole album is covers of German rock songs. We don’t normally cover cover albums here on New Music Mondays. However, not only are a fair few of the tracks different and translated to English, but the album is really fricking good. and I’d already written the whole review hear enough. So you can have it anyway! It pays to research early, kids! –

Joe: One of pop-rock’s biggest names from the early 2000s is back with her eighth studio album, and first since 2017. Surprisingly enough (for me at least, knowing only her hits), it’s pretty country. ‘Best Days’ is the perfect opening track, building the sound up more and more into its huge, infectiously catchy chorus. And Anastacia’s voice arguably fits even better over the country rock sound here than her more grungy early work. ‘Now or Never’ continues on from the opener perfectly, building on the vibe and sound even more. Tracks like ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Born to Live’ are incredible ballads, while ‘Still Loving You’ feels like old school Anastacia.

I do have to say, however, that the second half of the album isn’t quite as strong as the first half. Don’t get me wrong, the duet with Peter Maffey, ‘Just You’, is an incredible, epic ballad. And ‘Supergirl’ is a damn good, empowering single. All of it is still good. However, none of it quite lives up to the lofty heights of the first four tracks. Still, 8/10, this is a great album!

Brent Cobb: Southern Star


Cannibal Corpse: Chaos Horrific

Joe: And now for something completely different. Jim Carey’s favourite death metal band are back with their 16th album. Now, while I haven’t had the chance to dive into much of their extensive back catalogue, I really found myself enjoying their last couple of albums, and I’m a big fan of Corpsegrinder. So, I was pretty excited to check this out!

The band didn’t disappoint. They are still just as in your face as they were with their debut, yet with better production and (controversially) better vocals. The playing, especially the balls-to-the-wall drumming, is hugely talented and admirable, and Fisher growls his lungs out from start to finish. And of course the guitar soloing is a massive highlight throughout too, falling somewhere between King and Hanneman in style. Highlight tracks include ‘Frenzied Feeding’, ‘Fracture and Refracture’ and single ‘Blood Blind’.

much like with 3TEETH, I get that this album definitely won’t be for everyone. However, if anyone reading this is into traditional death metal, or just the heavy stuff in general, check this out! 7.5/10

Death Dealer Union: Initiation

We’ve already reviewed this awesome album. Check it out here!

Pkew Pkew Pkew: Siiick Days

Joe: The Canadian punk rockers are back just a year after their last release with their fourth studio album. Honestly, growing up in the early 2000s and my right of passage as a child being Tony Hawk games, hearing a modern band still keeping that skater punk vibe alive so successfully is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not quite Blink 182 or Goldfinger, there’s a mixture of indie and modern sounds in there too, but the skeleton of skater punk is definitely what it’s built on.

Tracks like the opener, ‘Read Receipts’ and ‘Learning to Share’ are all massive highlights of the album. Honestly, it’s just nice to hear more upbeat, less serious music these days. As much as I like an emotional ballad, a bouncy track about not wanting to read someone’s messages immediately is sometimes exactly what I need. It’s chilled, upbeat and a lot of fun, feeling like a mixture of Rancid, Lagwagon and NOFX.

Thy Art is Murder: Godlike

Max: Thy Art is back with another punchy and impressive album that allows them to continue to demonstrate how talented they are as a group. The guitars and drums are exactly what you’d expect, punch and intense, but they also show the development and progression of not only the musicians but also the overall genre of the band as well. This continuous development has meant that whilst the album is very clearly and comfortably Thy Art, there are points throughout where the changes make enough to push a song from being good to great. Now final thoughts before the score, the vocals on the album have been done by an unnamed individual, and they are incredibly impressive and I cannot stress that enough so they definitely deserve some credit for this. 8/10


Joe: So I checked out the band’s previous album, ‘NULL’. You can check out my thoughts on it here. Considering this is the 2nd part to last years album, I can’t help but share fairly similar sentiments towards this one. Outside of a few heavy, chunky riffs, musically this isn’t for me. Noise rock has never really been my thing and, while I feel like I can appreciate it a little more a year on, between the hardcore vocals and the messy drums and guitars, I got bored easy.

However, at least after reading around about the album, I at least have a pretty great appreciation of it as an art piece, and get what they were doing. The band state ‘VOID articulates the despondency that followed the pain so vividly expressed through NULL’. Both albums are based around the same event and written and recorded in the same time frame. It’s the emotion felt after the sadness. And when listening to the albums together, the concept does shine through rather masterfully.

It just still doesn’t grip me, sadly… 4/10. In retrospective, this is the score for both parts as a whole, and a good 2.5 of it is down to the idea.

New Music Mondays: Corey Taylor, Barenaked Ladies and SO Much More!

A pretty stacked week of New Music Mondays this week. Featuring everything from prog metal to hard rock to country, and everything in between. Check it out with us!

Corey Taylor: CMF2

Corey Mother Fucking Two-Lor is an interesting release. Controversially, I quite enjoyed his first solo album. Sure, it wasn’t without its flaws and swing-and-misses. However, it took risks and was interesting, never lingering on one sound or even genre for too long. It was damn ambitious, whether it payed off or not. This, however, might as well be the next Stone Sour release. Actually no, it’s half Hydrograd, half retreads of the previous album. Tracks like ‘Post Traumatic Blues’ and ‘Beyond’ are straight up new-school Stone Sour songs. There are a few with a punky edge much like ‘Samantha’s Gone’.

Having said all of that, there is a lot of good on this album still. While the vocal melodies and darker, slower theme is ripped straight from multiple HOGAB tracks, it’s a sick song! The one-two punch of the opening two heavier tracks is awesome and a definite highlight. The surprisingly country ballad ‘Breath of Fresh Smoke’ is one of my favourite tracks he’s ever done. However, there isn’t the rap metal of ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’ or the smoky jazz of ‘The Maria Fire’. While there are good tracks on the album, none are standout. The fun seems to have been lost a little. Unfortunately, outside of those four tracks, ‘forgettable’ springs to mind. Good music, but very similar to Hydrograd in the meh category. 6.5/10

P.S. gotta be a contender for worst album art of the year.

Barenaked Ladies: In Flight

Even slower, older Barenaked Ladies is still damn good Barenaked Ladies. This is definitely not the same sort of band that wrote ‘One Week’ or everyone’s favourite TV theme. However, if anything, it brings out the bands wide variety of influences and sounds more. Whether it’s country, folk, blues or soul, there is so much more to this acoustic rock than on the surface.

There are so many highlights too, from ‘One Night’ to ‘Fifty for a While’ to ‘What Do We Need?’. Really, isn’t a bad track on the album. And the dynamic of the three vocalists and double bass just injects everything with so much fun. My only slight issue is that it’s maybe a tad too long for it all being a similar slowish tempo and stripped-back sound. Still though, it’s hard to complain about it when it’s all this high quality! 8/10

Thirty Seconds to Mars: It’s the End of the World but it’s a Beautiful Day

I’m sorry, but what the hell is this crap? Other than hilarious, of course. I was a BIG fan of the first two 30STM albums as a kid, you know, back when they still made something that resembled rock music. This is a pop album through and through. It’s honestly like Jared Leto saw what Adam Levine did in Maroon 5 and went ‘I can do a worse version of that!’. The closest thing to ‘rock’ is when the band blatantly rip off Imagine Dragons on tracks like ‘Life is Beautiful’ . There is no redeeming value in this album at all, and it was honestly a struggle to listen to. Leto’s god complex has finally gotten too much, and it’s starting to tarnish his early, great legacy. 1.5/10

Brothers Osborne: Self-Titled

One of my favourite country artists is finally back with their first new album since 2020. I’ve been a fan of the band since their debut album, and four albums on they are still knocking it out of the park. The musicianship and songwriting talents of the two is off the charts, with the guitar-playing in particular being incredible, a rare sight in todays country music outside of Zac Brown. And the harmonies the two produce are incredible too, adding even more to the big choruses.

It’s another album chocked full of amazing tracks, but songs like ‘Who Says you Can’t Have Everything’, ‘Might as Well be Me’, ‘Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That’ and the emotional piano closer are all amazing. The band have refined their sound down to a tee with this release, and with single ‘Nobody’s Nobody’ pushing to be one of the biggest they’ve done, the band are about to be pushed into the upper echelons of country bands! 9/10

Baroness: STONE

I don’t think I get Baroness. I don’t know why I thought the band were more doom/stonery than they are, not a more Dance Gavin Dance-like Mastadon, with an indie/folk tinge. Musically they’re fine, the playing is great. However, something about the vocals, be it the sound or the Lour Reed/punk style delivery, really didn’t capture me. Sure, tracks like ‘Beneath the Rose’ and ‘Shine’ shine through (yes, that was intentional) despite it, but as an album it didn’t hold my attention for long. I completely understand why this band has a big fanbase, but I’m sadly not among it. 4/10

Danko Jones: Electric Sounds

This is a fucking awesome album. I LOVE Danko, his straight-to-the-point nature and songwriting is awesome. Everything is a foot-stomping rock anthem drenched in sweat, booze and punk, and somehow the lyrics come off fun and engaging when he sings them, when under almost anyone else they could boarder into cringe. That’s very much the point of not only this album, but his entire discography: it’s fun. Right from the first few seconds of the album, his voice rings through with ‘Guess who’s back, me mother fucker!’ and sets up the tone for the rest of the album perfectly.

It’s almost impossible to pick out highlights of the album, as there isn’t a bad track on it. The singles were a perfect selection, as I love all three so much. However, tracks like ‘I Like It’ and ‘Shake Your City’ are awesome as well. Plus, if ‘She’s My Baby’ doesn’t become a meme at this point, it’ll be a travesty. It’s one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve heard in a while, just feel-good, straight-up rock music. I can’t give it any less than 10/10

Check out our review of a Danko set here.

Otep: The God Slayer

I find myself uttering a familiar question again… What the hell is this? I’m quite a fan of a good few Otep tracks, but I’ve never had the chance to listen to a full album. Are they always like this? Over half covers and the rest 2edgy4u gothic NIN-style industrial ‘metal’ that leans heavily on bad hip-hop?

It’s a shame too, as the album actually starts pretty well. The creepy intro leading into the awesome ‘Ostracized’ is pretty terrible rendition of Olivia Rodrigo’s hit ‘Good 4 U’ and the awful trap-style ‘Exit Wounds’. Heck, her cover of Billie Eilish’s ‘You Should See Me in a Crown’ is actually amazing, adding a new interesting and dynamic take on an already well written track. Following it, however, are terrible covers of Eminem, Nirvana and Slipknot. All emotion is lost from the line delivery of ‘Way I Am’, while the slightly slower pace from the drums on the other two takes all intensity and fun out of them. Oh, and ‘California Girls’, ‘Pet’ and the closing poem are all also pretty bad.

One good track to start the album that got me hyped up and then let down by the entire rest of the album. It’s a shame, as at least the other albums I’m a fan of two or three tracks. Oh well, 2.5/10 from me.

Dan + Shay: Bigger Houses

If you’re into the modern, stadium-pop-country style that has become prominent in recent years, you’ll love this. However, even if you don’t, it’s hard not to really like this album. The duo’s fifth album continues right where Good Things left off, providing listeners with chilled-out tracks, stadium-filling choruses, and some of the best harmonies in music as a whole today. I feel like I’d be typing up every track name on the album if I tried to talk highlights, as once again there isn’t really a bad track on it. It won’t be for everyone, certainly not in terms of our readers, but I personally loved this. I’ll definitely be listening to it a lot in the coming weeks and months. 8.5/10

Hyro The Hero: Bound for Glory

The rap metaller is back with his first album in half a decade. After working with some of the biggest and best names in rock and metal for singles over the last few years, his stock has risen pretty massively, so there’s a lot of hype around this album. Heck, if you’ve been keeping up with the releases over the last few years, you’ll have heard a good chunk of this album already. His last five singles, featuring the likes of David Drainman, Chad Grey and Spencer Charnas, are all on the album. On top of that, A further three were released prior to the album. I have to say, I’ve never been the biggest of fans of hearing most of the album before it’s dropped, especially over the last three years.

Having said that, it’s still a damn good album. I’ve been a big fan of ‘FU2’, ‘Retaliation Generation’ and ‘Fight’ for a while now, and the new songs add to them perfectly. Tracks like ‘I’m So Sick’, ‘Sho Nuff’ and the RATM tribute ‘Renegade of Punk’ are all amazing additions. There are a LOT of guests on this album, which odes sometimes feel a bit overshadowing of Hyro himself. However, some of his bars are incredible, his lyric writing is better than ever and when he goes full Fever333 or Stray From the Path, it’s fucking awesome. 8/10 a great album that will surely push him to being an even bigger name in the scene!

TesseracT: War of Being

A band that I haven’t really had time to check out until now, and am currently sat here kicking myself because of that fact. The prog metal mainstays are very clearly masters of their craft. Opening track ‘Natural Disaster’ is perfect as it introduces each element of the bands sound and style, condensed into a rather surprising six minutes. Big riffs, technical playing, huge clean choruses and brutally crushing screams and heaviness is all here and all dialled up to 11. And that’s just the first song!

The highlight of the album is the prog masterpiece of the title track, for me. At 11 minutes, it’s the longest song on the album, and all the parts and dynamics of it are so good. From the heavy, Gojira-like opening riff to the slow build of quieter stuff back into the chuggahs to some of the most interesting riff-to-drum playing I’ve heard in years, it’s amazing. Everything from the vocal delivery to the drums to the guitaring and bass is amazing, and it’s all produced together masterfully.

There are another seven tracks on the album outside of the two I’ve mentioned, and all are good. In fact, ‘Echos’ and the funky ‘Burden’ are also big album highlights. If you’re into the prog side of metal, you’ll love this. It arguably blows the latest Periphery album out of the water, it’s that good. 8.5/10, great stuff!

Pretenders: Relentless

Charlotte: Rock royalty Chrissie Hynde drew new attention after a surprise performance at Glastonbury this year alongside Dave Grohl and Johnny Marr, and the release of ‘Relentless’ by Pretenders adds 12 songs to their roster of classics. Challenging the modern sound and taste of today’s charts, the album fights the status quo and explores chord progressions, melodic ballads, and gritty rock. 7/10

Electric Boys: Grand Explosivos

A band that should be much bigger than they are, the Swedish funky rock band are back with their eighth studio album. I’ve been a big fan of the band since seeing them at a HRH a few of years ago, so have been excited for this one. And honestly, it’s more of the typical awesomeness. Right from the amazing opening track, ‘When Life Treats You Funky’, I was hooked in right until the final note of the album. The bluesy riffs are a massive highlight as always, but as is the great songwriting and the somehow both fun-loving yet swaggering attitude throughout. Other highlight tracks include ‘Domestic Blitz’, ‘The Great Believer’ and ‘Learjet’. This album is a boatload of fun and if anyone is into rock or funk at all you’ll love this. 9/10

New Music Mondays: Puddle of Mudd, Saliva and More!

A pretty crazy week for new music! Who’d have thought that in the same week of 2023 we’d get new Puddle of Mudd, Saliva and Mustard Plug? I certainly didn’t, but here we are! Join us in checking it all out!

Puddle of Mudd: Ubiquitous

Joe: I know, I can’t believe it either. Wes Scantlin’s problematic project is back with its first album in four years. It’s also the first since that Nirvana cover went viral. I have to admit that, like most others, I have only really listened to their debut album. It’s good, too! And, though I’ve heard the rest of their discograph isn’t nearly as good, in truth I simply haven’t had the time to check it out and form my own opinion.

Until now…

I understand what people mean, now. ‘My Baby’ is a terrible opening track. Wes sounds almost as bad as he did in the video above, and the track itself is basic, sleazy, bad-Buckcherry levels of writing. AND THAT’S THE SINGLE. The rest of it is arguably worse. ‘Dance With Me’ is a horribly transparent attempt to recreate the success of ‘She Hates Me’. ‘Cash & Cobain’ and ‘Butterface’ are terrible attempts at a country-rock tracks. ‘Candy’ is a somehow-worse-than-Gallagher sung Oasis rip-off. ‘Man in the Mirror’ is like when people write piss-take Alanis Morrisette songs and try to do her voice, except this is clearly deadly serious.

Scantlin’s voice is shot, and even if any of the tracks were good, he’s ruin them with his vocals. However, there isn’t a good track in 11 of them. In more than one there are even uncomfortable levels of misogyny, with none of it seeming tongue in cheek. Avoid this album at all costs. 2/10

Saliva: Revelation

Joe: It’s always odd when a band have no original members left. After the devastating passing of guitarist Wayne Swinny back in March, many expected it to be the end of the band, or for them to at least change Joe: up. There had been talk of Josey Scott returning to the fold for a tour and even a new album, confirmed by the man himself. However, since Covid left things up in the air, that doesn’t seem to be going ahead any more. He did a special guest appearance with the band last year, but is set to tour solo playing Saliva songs, while the ‘band’ carry on on their own tour. Still, this album is said to be in honour of Wayne, and have a lot of his work on it, so I’m at least curious as I have been a big fan of the band in the past.

It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a 2023 Saliva release. Big riffs, some catchy, fun vocal hooks yet ultimately lacking that anger and something special that propelled them quickly to the top early in their career. It’s the same vein of radio/butt metal as Skillet is, minus the new-found preaching. The same inoffensive, fine, average US hard rock that has been around for a good decade or so. None of it is ‘Always’ or (the albeit silly) ‘Click Click Boom’ or the greatest wrestling song ever (sorry Alter Bridge) ‘I Walk Alone’.

And this isn’t even me hating none-Scott stuff. I was a big fan of Love, Lies & Therapy when it came out, with ‘Breakdown’ being one of my favourite ballads of all time and one that has personally gotten me through a lot. But nothing on Revelations stands out to me. It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before, by the band themselves or their peers.

I have to admit, out of all of it, tracks like ‘Crows’ and ‘Warzone’ are at least standout tracks on the album. It’s just far too bland for me in 2023, there are a hundred albums that sound exactly like this. But hey, it’s not bad. I feel like I’m being harsher because of how much I was raised on the band and this style. If you like the genre, I’m sure you’ll find yourself enjoying it somewhere! Hell, at least it’s a fitting send off for Wayne, in the sense of it’s very Saliva 6/10

Mustard Plug: Where did All my Friends Go?

Joe: We don’t cover enough ska on this page. Heck, the 4th wave of ska hasn’t quite taken off as much as I’m sure the fans of the genre have wanted, so the legends of the previous wave don’t seem to be putting out music as regularly as one would hope. So, for genre mainstays Mustard Plug to put out their first studio in nine years is a pretty big deal!

Honestly, the band pick up right where they left off, too. Their blend of Madness, Goldfinger and Mighty Mighty Bosstones is more than welcome to my ears, and the band are clearly still out, in the major part, just to have fun. It’s an element of music that has been largely lost in rock the last decade or so, and it needs to come back in a big way. This album is definitely an enjoyable listen; the horns and ska guitar making it near impossible not to dance to. And the band are on top form still, too. I’d put tracks like ‘Vampire’, ‘Another Season Spent in Exile’, and ‘Which Way is Up?’ up there with any of their big older tracks.

I really hope it’s not another big gap between this album and the next. They are such good songwriters it’d be a shame to have to wait so long again. Still, I’ll be listening to this album a lot in the coming weeks and months, and I’d recommend it to any fans of the genre! 8.5/10

Ashley McBryde: The Devil I Know

Joe: The recent country icon returned this past week with her fourth studio album. The counterpart to last year’s concept album, Lindeville, both were written at the same time and definitely feel similar and linked in that regard. It’s a lot more of a traditional country album, though, talking about life on the road, beer, trucks etc instead of building a new world. I have to admit, while I preferred the more interesting and collaboration heavy previous album, this is still a damn good release.

Tracks like the opener, ‘Women Ain’t Whiskey’ and ‘The Devil I Know’ are all big highlights. However, there really isn’t a bad track on the album. It’s paced well between slower and more upbeat tracks, holding my attention throughout. And for once it wasn’t too long, rare for a country album! Again, I just found her last album such an interesting breath of fresh air for a country release, it’s a slight shame she’s gone back to the status quo with this one. Still, 8.5/10, good stuff!

We are Sovereign: Step Out Your Comfort Zone

We’ve already covered this awesome album! Check it out here.

Kvelertak: Endling

Joe: Now, I love a good long, proggy intro. However, ‘Krøterveg Te Helvete’ takes the piss just a little bit. Well over three minutes of the song, almost half of it, before we reach the main riff. It’s a tad insane. The rest of the track then also turns into more of a crossover thrash/hardcore rock track than the epic, more folky power metal thing the intro hinted at.

I remember first checking out the band when they were announced as Metallica’s support a few years ago. I didn’t get them then and I still don’t really get them now. However, I like the description black ‘n’ roll, and think it really is the perfect sub-genre for the band. It’s hardcore punk with somehow a hard rock and dark metal edge to it. I totally get why this sort of music would appeal to people, it’s weird and different and heavy and bouncy at the same time. However, it’s not something I’d listen to outside of this site. The title track is probably the closest I got to enjoying a song of theirs and finding it a highlight, so if you’re unsure start there! Sorry to any fans out there, but in my personal opinion it’s a 4/10

Wax Mekanix: Psychotomimetic

Charlotte: ‘Psychotomimetic’ by Wax Mekanix offers a modern take on the clean, classic rock sound without compromising the authenticity and grittiness of the genre. The album is perfect for the general rock fan, offering easy-listening tracks with just enough balance between the powerful opener with ‘Pillars of Creation’ and the melodic end with ‘Look at You Now’. 8/10

Sylosis: A Sign of Things to Come

Max: So as always, Sylosis has released a very technically excellent and heavy album that has punchy guitars and vocals whilst having the more melodic solos that the band is known for. It is difficult for me to say exactly what makes this band suitable as there is always just a feeling that I get whenever I listen to them which can’t really be summarised in words. But, this album definitely gives that feeling again.

All this being said however, there is definitely a more pop/commercial feel to a number of the songs and they seem to depart from the normal Sylosis sound and instead seem to go for a more memorable riff that appeals to a wider audience. Whilst I understand this sounds like a criticism, I don’t mean it as such. Rather, it is just something of note. I still found this album just as, if not more, enjoyable when compared to their other albums and I would definitely recommend listening to this. overall. 8/10


Joe: Despite the cringy band name and album title, this was actually alright. The Turnstille and Trapped Under Ice-featuring supergroup are as generic indie pop-rock as they come, but it certainly isn’t poor quality. It’s like the Saliva album but for indie music. You’d maybe expect slightly more from artists also in pretty big bands, but then again I’m hardly the authority to listen to when it comes to indie stuff. It’s good music to just stick on and relax to while doing other stuff. However, saying that the riff in ‘Love Slam’ goes pretty hard, the whole track having more of a Soundgarden feel than anything else. It’s definitely my favourite track on the album. ‘Space Jam’ is also punk rock awesomeness.

It’s a weird, fun album, and it’s also so nice to have one under half an hour! After so many long country albums or prog tracks recently, it’s nice to have 13 radio-length tracks and then to be done. And all the collaborations, though I have no idea who any of them are, all do a damn good job on their tracks. So yeah, a damn good summer-relaxing album, but with a few surprising tracks thrown in that are different and keep you guessing. 8/10

Starmen: Starmenized

Charlotte: Starmen’s fourth album, ‘Starmenized’ (yes, I’m not making it up), offers ten new tracks, drawing on inspiration from 70s and 80s rock heroes. The Swedish band have produced a replica of glam rock classics, slick guitar licks and powerful vocals. Whilst their music is enjoyable, my new favourite thing about Starmen is their stage names – Starman Red, Starman Gold, Starman Purple and Starman Silver. Ridiculous power-rangers or clever PR trick? Either way, they aren’t afraid to stand out. 7.5/10

Lowdrive: Rise

Joe: Another local band, this time from Sheffield. I had the pleasure of seeing them when Overtone was first starting up at Rockin’ the Bowl (review here), so to be able to review the new album of theirs is pretty special!

The bands more stoner/doom Alice in Chains mixed with Corrosion of Conformity sound is amazing as ever. The other thing I noticed was the jump in production quality. The mixing on the album is top notch, and every instrument sounds clear and awesome. The riffs are amazing and honestly the vocals fit it all perfectly. It also reminds me a lot of another local band, Syncolima. I’m so glad this sort of sound is making a big comeback in a big way in the local metal scene.

Highlight tracks include ‘Rise’, ‘Blood Sacrifice’ and ‘Shield Wall’. But honestly, the whole album slaps. If you’re into any of the aforementioned bands, check these out. Even if you’re not, check them out anyway. They’re awesome and they deserve it! 8.5/10

Egokills: Self-Titled

Joe: Now, upon reading the description that we were sent of the band, I have to admit I didn’t really know what ‘hippie metal’ was. After listening to the album, I still don’t think I understand! However, it’s a damn good album. I have to admit the opening track didn’t really hook me, but damn, the bluegrass-metal ‘Life’s a Party’ is incredible and sold me fully on the band going forward. Then ‘Sweat’ is a Chevelle mixed with Bad Brains masterpiece, while ‘Feeble’ is sludgier, heavier metal awesomeness.

There are so many different styles throughout the album, from doom to metalcore and black metal, to grunge to the aforementioned bluegrass, and the band transition and blend all these styles effortlessly. It keeps the album constantly interesting and entertaining. The more I listen to it, the more I love it. There isn’t a bad track on the album and there’s something for just about everyone on it. It’s catchy, epic, dark, heavy but also fun all at once. I honestly can’t say enough good, I could gush about it all day. It’s definitely going to be up there in the discussion for top album of the year when December rolls around! 9.5/10

New Music Mondays: Polaris, Phil Campbell and More!

A less busy week of new music this week, but still plenty of high quality music. Join us in checking it out!

Polaris: Fatalism

This is the best metalcore album of the year so far. Heck, I’d say it’s honestly one of the best modern metalcore albums. I’d put it up there with the likes of I Prevail, Wage War and Ice Nine Kills’ latest releases. Honestly, the genre currently is in a bit of a resurgence, and is looking massively strong and hopeful which is amazing. The 3rd wave of Metalcore(tm) I’m dubbing it. So, for Polaris’ third album to stand among the others is fucking awesome. Especially given the rocky year they’ve had.

The opener, ‘Harbinger’ is not only the perfect slow-buildup track, but (as the name suggests) is the perfect indicator of what to expect from this album. From the slower, melodic clean first half surrounded by modern synth sounds, to the crushingly brutal ending filled with screams and huge riffs. It tells a story on its own, never mind how it sets up the rest of the album.

Speaking of which, the album is filled with highlights and awesomeness. Tracks like ‘Nightmare’, ‘Parasites’ and ‘Inhumane’ are standouts to me, but honestly the whole album is banger after banger. These guys are going to be huge in the next couple of years, and a lot of it thanks to this album! 9/10

Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons: Kings of the Asylum

We’ve already covered this awesome album! Check it out here!

Larry Fleet: Earned It

Owen: Traditional sounds coming out of Tennessee, Larry Fleet’s latest release Earned It is a strong selection of straight-cut country tracks. Some might listen and say this album hits a lot of stereotypical notes for the genre, but there’s something more to these songs. Fleet sings about family, Jesus, hard work, and beer, no surprises so far. As he says in the fourth track 25-8 “Jesus, Mama, Football, that’s bout all we know around here”. But for all the pitfalls of these themes being overused in modern country, Fleet somehow pulls it off well. For it to become cliché there must be
certain amount of truth and clearly this is how Fleet was raised so write what you know I guess?

Despite some repetitive themes 21 tracks made it onto this album and it did feel a few too many. Some songs blend together and fall into the background when listening to the album in full. A late day stand out for me was ‘Devil Music’ where Fleet talks about a rebellious stage of childhood exploring rock and metal music. A country anthem referencing AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and The
Rolling Stones, where the chorus thanks God for the Devil’s music, what’s not to like? A few good songs hiding amongst a majority of filler country-radio, inoffensive in the background
on a long drive. 6/10

The Paper Kites: At the Roadhouse

Charlotte: Indie-folk band Paper Kites haven’t released new music since 2013 with their album ‘Woodland’, so the release of ‘At the Roadhouse’ is a long time coming for their fans. With storytelling at the heart, it’s easy to get lost in their romantic, easy-listening style. Offering 16 new tracks, ‘At the Roadhouse’ elevates the traditional folk sound with a warm, wholesome sound that transports you like a day-dream. 8/10

Primal Fear: Code Red

Joe: The German power metallers are back with their 14th studio album. Forming in the booming European scene in the 90s, I’m shocked this is the first I am hearing of them aside on the odd Wacken poster. Honestly, they’re pretty decent! The opener is great and followed up perfectly by ‘Bring that Noise’, which is a definite album highlight! I see now why frontman Ralf Scheepers tried to replace Rob Halford, this is very Judas Priest!

I have to admit though, as good as this album is, I feel like modern power metal has overtaken it in recent times. I don’t know if it’d the general consensus, but I personally prefer stuff like Powerwolf or Angus McSix to this. However, it is very Painkiller, which will definitely keep me coming back for more than just the one listen. Other highlights include ‘Deep in the Night’ and the epic, Maiden-esque ‘Their Gods have Failed’. 8/10, this was fun and definitely grows with more listens!

Soen: Memorial

Joe: The prog metal Swedes are back with their sixth album. I have an odd relationship with this band. The first time I’d checked them out was when we covered their ATLANTIS album last year (check that here). I didn’t realise until we were checking them out ahead of Graspop this year that it wasn’t a full release, instead being a semi-live album backed by an 8-piece orchestra. Heck, the fact that it was recorded without a crowd made it so I didn’t even realise it was live and old tracks! So, unfortunately I wasn’t a big fan of their actual studio stuff when I checked it out.

However, I fucking loved this album! While the opener didn’t hook me immediately, I found myself ‘liking’ almost every track after that on Spotify. I usually use it to know which to put on the playlist, so you’ll have to check it out here to find out which of them actually made the cut! However, the almost Gojira-like riffing in ‘Violence’ was amazing, as is the beautiful duet ‘Hollowed’. Also, ‘Incendiary’ is one of my favourite tracks of the year from any act!

I love the depth of the music throughout. They seem to have taken what worked with ATLANTIS and used it in the studio, creating a really interesting, massive sound throughout the album. If this is how they’re going to sound live in front of a crowd, I have to see them soon. 9/10, damn this was good!

Lord of Shadows: Echos of Yore

Joe: A shorter release than most, the gothic doom band put out just seven tracks for their latest release. It is still 42+ minutes though, as there are some longish songs here. And it’s one hell of an interesting listen. It’s definitely epic, and rolls between beautiful, quiet gothic rock and extreme doom metal pretty seamlessly. Plus, the fact that each track has so many amazingly talented guests on it is a massive plus, as it gives the whole album a diversity to it, despite it all being a similar sound.

Those who are regulars here at Overtone know that I have a very up and down relationship with extreme/black metal stuff, and somehow I have that same relationship throughout the whole album. I prefer the cleaner stuff, but some of the heavy stuff is good too. Some of it isn’t really my thing. However, the general feel of the album, especially with the more poetry-based narrative, is amazing. Those who are into the ambient black metal side of stuff, this is definitely worth checking out, just to see if you like it. I feel like it’s very much Marmite music! 6/10, it’s worth checking out!

Escape the Fate: Out of the Shadows

Joe: This band have been releasing music for nearly two decades now. Man do I feel old. Though I admit I was never much of a fan of the band growing up, nowhere near as much as some of my friends and peers anyway, they dud have a few good songs here and there. However, I always find myself preferring the current and former members of the band’s other projects more. Whether it’s Blessthefall, Beyond Unbroken or the awesome Falling in Reverse, every other band just seems to grab my attention more.

This album is the perfect example of why this is. It’s fine. As an early 2000s metalcore/post-hardore band putting out an album in 2023, it’s exactly what you’d imagine. But that’s my issue: nothing stood out. It’s like they heard out good Motionless in White’s album was last year and went ‘let’s do that!’ but then in the process lost what made that album special. When these days we have awesome modern albums in the genre from the likes of MIW, Ice Nine Kills, and Crown the Empire, this just kinda falls as almost radio static.

If you’re a fan of the band you’ll probably still enjoy this. However I struggled to find stand out tracks, it was all pretty much on the same level. 4.5/10

Speedy Ortiz:

Charlotte: Speedy Ortiz welcomes her touring bandmates with fourth studio album ‘Rabbit Rabbit’. This album nostalgically transports you to a 90s/00s indie-rock soundtrack with bright vocals, catchy riffs, and upbeat-dance beats. I recommend this album to anyone looking for an indie-rock change of pace, youthful energy and that overall optimism occasionally missing from the indie-rock genre. 8.5/10

New Music Mondays: Alice Cooper, Asking Alexandria and Much More!

A HUGE week for new music to close out August. Whether it’s metal, rock or country, small or big, there seems to be a bit of everything. Join us in checking out as much as we can of it!

Shout out to Dadi Freyr. While not the sort of music we cover, he’s a fantastic, interesting artist and I Made an Album is great. 9/10

Alice Cooper: Road

Joe: The man, the myth, the legend is back with his whopping 27th album. We checked out his last one and I remember really enjoying it. Let’s see if it lives up to Detroit Stories!

Honestly, it’s another great album! It’s a bit less experimental than the previous album, leaning a lot heavier into his punk-enfused rock n’ roll than some of the more out there tracks from 2021. Still, the hits of blusey, do-wop on ‘All Over the World’ were a lot of fun, as was the heavier, stomping collaboration with everyone’s favourite guitarist to work with, Tom Morello. Honestly, there isn’t a bad track on the album and I’d put it up there with any of his best releases. It’s insane that this late into his career he’s still releasing stuff of this high quality. 9/10

Asking Alexandria: Where Do We Go From Here?

Max: This is one of those albums that I was nervously awaiting, I must admit. Not because of the idea that if a band explores new genres or tries new things then they are “old” or have “gotten soft”, but because the singles they released had gotten me really excited. When it came to exploring the album it really was interesting. There were screams at the forefront but also the more hard rock style that AA has been doing recently. On top of this, there were slight synths to the first track that reminded me of their older stuff and somewhat of ‘Reincarnate’ by MIW.

There were definitely some weak spots in the album that seemed like the band didn’t know what direction they wanted to take certain songs in, thus leading to a rather strange pacing and feeling. Overall I think it is a good album and does show that AA knows exactly what they like to do. 7/10

Candlebox: The Long Goodbye

Charlotte: Candlebox‘s The Long Goodbye had me on their hook with opening song ‘Punks’, and kept me there for the whole album. Every song is polished and purposeful – there’s not a bad track on the album. They’re grunge rock with a funky fuzz sound and a hint of indie rock (you have to hear it to believe it). Unfortunately, The Long Goodbye is the band’s farewell to their music career. Whilst all good things must come to an end, who knows if their latest album’s success will spark a reunion tour in the future? 8/10

Check out our interview with Candlebox here.

Tim McGraw: Standing Room Only

Joe: One of the biggest names in country the last 30 years is back with his 17th album. If you are a fan of the man or really of the genre at all, you’ll know what to expect. The man has helped shape modern country music, and over three decades into his career he’s still at the top of his game. It’s radio-friendly yet emotion-filled country music, and is a truly great 50-minutes of music. It’s even put together perfectly, it doesn’t drag and isn’t too long, an issue with a lot of country albums these days.

Highlight tracks include the opener, ‘Remember me Well’ and ‘Small Town King’, but there isn’t a particularly bad song throughout. 8/10, this man just pumps out great, catchy country.

Holding Absence: The Nobel Art of Self Destruction

Joe: The Welsh post-hardcore band are back with their third full-length release. I remember being a pretty big fan of their debut album, but admit I haven’t checked out their stuff in a while. I’m excited for this!

I don’t know why I dropped off the band, as this is another fantastic release. It’s a really interesting listen, as you can hear all of the band’s inspirations pretty clearly, but they’re so well and curiously blended together that it’s something truly unique. Right from the opening track it feels like a culmination of rock music from the last twenty years. There’s pop-punk in here, indie rock, nu metal and also metalcore and post-hardcore. It’s a distinctly British in the best way.

‘A Crooked Melody’ is my favourite track on the album and is the best example of what I’m talking about, I’d recommend it highly to anyone curious. Other highlights include ‘Scissors’ and the epic, slower closer. 8.5/10, great stuff!

Daedric: Mortal

Joe: The Texan metalcore woman’s debut album has had a lot of hype around it before it’s release, and it’s easy to hear why. This goes hard from start to finish, and is a fantastic release. The opening and title track is the perfect showcase of her sound and immense talent, while breakout singles ‘Wretched’, ‘Dawnbreaker’ and ‘Only’ are all massive highlights in their own right. Heck, the cleaner, balladier former track could and should be a massive radio hit. That’s not to take away from the other tracks on the album, either. The whole album is killer from start to finish.

I find Daedric’s vocals to be the highlight of the album, too. The effortless transitioning between beautiful operatic vocals, Maria Brink style more fry cleans or straight up death metal growls is insanely impressive. There is some incredible playing from the instruments throughout, including some great breakdown riffs and even orchestral parts. Heck, there’s even some nu/industrial metal scratching and synths in the awesome ‘Alchemy’. But, the vocals are well and truly the selling point.

It’s an incredibly fun, varied album that doesn’t really stick to one singular sound or genre. It fits in perfectly with the modern metal scene alongside the likes of Spiritbox and Sleep Token. If you are a fan of either of those bands, or modern metal/metalcore in general, check out this album. It’s awesome! 8.5/10

The Cat Empire: Where the Angels Fall

Joe: Some funky jazzy stuff now which I know isn’t really what we cover typically here at Overtone. I think that’s why I loved this so much. Right from the first jazzy horn notes, clapping beat and poppy vocals, I was hooked, and couldn’t stop listening until the end. ‘Thunder Rumbles’ is the perfect opening track, being a fusion of jazz, samba and pop and being so catchy and fun. ‘Boom Boom’ is a fantastic, less complex follow-up, while ‘Money Coming my Way’ had me immediately into the band when I heard it a few weeks ago.

I do have to say, at 14 tracks and nearly an hour in length, it is ever so slightly too long. There are also a few tracks that I wasn’t into as much, or didn’t think achieved what others did so could have been cut. ‘Deeper’ was a little too Coldplay for me, while ‘Be With You Again’ being just before the superior ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was an odd choice.

Still, it’s a damn solid album, with tracks like ‘Dance the Night Away’ and ‘Oh Mercy’ being excellent songs too. I hate that it’s taken me until their ninth album for me to check them out, as it’s the exact type of fun, out-there style of music that I love. I’m going to have to go back and check out their older stuff now as the band have a big new fan in me! 9/10

Incantation: Unholy Deification

Joe: Not only were the song titles needlessly complicated, but I did NOT get this at all. It’s the same sort of death metal as early Cannibal Corpse, but without the shock factor or charm. I’mma let you guys into a secret that will maybe get m metalhead card revoked… I hate early Cannibal Corpse. I can only get into the Corpsegrinder albums. While I appreciate Chris Barnes’ contributions to the band and the scene, for sure, I always preferred his better produced stuff with Six Feet Under.

Anyway, back to the album at hand. Sorry lads, I’m not into it. There’s a few decent riffs throughout, but generally the bad production on the vocals puts me off completely. I feel like I’d probably enjoy it more live, but on track it’s a 2/10 from me.

The Word Alive: Hard Reset

Max: Okay, so I can sum up this album very easily. It is the exact opposite of what the first track would suggest. They are very much here to stay and are very much not dead. To actually talk about the album though for a second, the album is great. It has this bounce and swagger throughout that is sure to be amazing to experience live. The really nice choice of features from a number of bands and musicians gives this variety to the songs without feeling like there is no direction or continuous theme throughout. The punchy screams and drums are set off perfectly with the lovely melodic clean vocals that the band has always had a mastery of are once again here and are done so genuinely well that there isn’t much to complain about. Overall 9/10.

Knife: Heaven Into Dust

Joe: The German extreme/thrash/death metallers are back with another album. And, in the nicest way possible, that’s exactly what this album is. Now, I like death metal as much as the next metalhead, but I generally prefer the more melodic, modern sound. And I can for sure appreciate the hell out of the early death metal and crossover thrash, as much as it isn’t really my thing. In 2023 though, it’s not particularly what I want to hear from new music. You can definitely hear the punk influences which were fun. But, honestly, it all kinda blurred together and sounded the same.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good death metal, I’m not disputing that. Clearly I’ve been spoiled over these three years of doing music journalism with simply more interesting takes on the sub-genre. I’m sounding far harsher than I’m meaning to, I’m sure, as it is a good album. If you like 80s death metal, you’ll like this. It simply isn’t my thing. 5/10

Zack Bryan: Self-Titled

Owen: All American country boy, Zach Bryan, has released his fourth studio album this week. The self-titled collection of brand new songs was a surprise to fans after a steady stream of singles this year and last years mammoth 34-track release ‘American Heartbreak’. If you’ve been following Bryan’s journey over the last couple of years then you know what you’re in for with this album; clever songwriting about friends, family, life in the Navy and now on the road.

The album kicks off with ‘Fear and Fridays (Poem)’, a spoken-word track which shows off Bryan’s literary skill and ability to capture the beauty in something almost everyone has experienced in a unique way. This quickly bleeds into the second track ‘Overtime’, over the top of a sample from a Barstool Sports interview at the Indy 500 (they’re going fast and left!) we hear the opening notes of the Star Spangled Banner and the horn section creeps in. The energy is lifted and the album is clearly underway now. I’ve long admired how Bryan can pivot from these softer meaningful quiet songs into big band tracks that get the foot stomping.

The stand out tracks for me here are the collaborations with other artists from different corners of the genre. Enlisting the services of established names like Kacey Musgrave’s and The Lumineers, and up and coming acts The War and Treaty, and Sierra Ferrell (If you haven’t heard of Sierra you’re missing out). This is a rare move for Bryan and the most collaborations we have seen on one album so far. I think it’s a great statement from Bryan that although he may be relatively new to the genre he can hold his own against these strong voices of varying styles.

Bryan embodies a new wave of country stars that are helping to reposition the genre and peoples views of it. He has proven it’s possible to preach love, tolerance, and friendship, whilst still preaching the glory of Whisky and an 88’ Ford and the women that have shaped his life. I think this is why I see people describe him as neo-traditional county, progressive in his ideals but traditional in his sound.

If you’re late to the party and haven’t heard of Bryan before, this album is a great introduction to Oklahoma’s latest export, but it would be well worth your time to look back at his earlier releases as well. 10/10

Fliter: The Algorithm

Joe: This is the post-industrial/alt rockers’ first album in seven years. However, the platinum-selling band pick up right where they left off with their eighth album. Though a rather turbulent writing and producing period which saw a crowdfunding campaign, a bankrupt label and multiple album title changes, it has released, and was worth the wait!

It reminds me a lot of last year’s Bush album. Popular nineties alt rock modernised into a great new sound. There’s definitely still that industrial edge to it, too, with a Nine Inch Nails-like synth and drum sound.

Speaking as a bassist, ‘Up Against the Wall’ is a big highlight. It’s a great, 90s-feeling track, and that bassline and tone is amazing. I also love the politically charged lyrics in tracks like For the Beaten’ and ‘Threashing Floor’. The vocals are really interesting too, like Rod Stewart or Kelly Jones singing heavier NIN songs. And honestly, some of the riffing, like on ‘Say it Again’ is fucking heavy and I love it. Honestly, the whole album is packed full of highlight tracks, there isn’t a bad one on it.

For a band with this much chaos recently and a band that are now across the three decade mark, they have no right still sounding this good. If anything, they sound at the top of their game again, creatively and artistically. And the production, hot damn, it’s fantastic. If you’re into any facet of rock, check out this album, you’ll love it! There really is something for everyone throughout, and I never once got bored. 8.5/10

Spanish Love Songs: No Joy

Charlotte: No Joy by Spanish Love Songs expresses crushing despair, desperation and anxiety through juxtaposing punk-rock melodies with painfully honest lyrics. With a sound reminiscent of bands like The Gaslight Anthem, No Joy tells a story of reality with alternative rock anthems. Raw angst isn’t for every listener, Spanish Love Songs’ fifth album (excluding extended and alternative album versions) offers a modern version with broader appeal to new audiences. 7/10

Shepherd’s Reign: Ala Mai

The Auckland metal band continue in the footsteps of Alien Weaponry, letting their Polynesian heritage flow through their brutal metal music. It results in an incredibly fun, interesting and dynamic listen that is unlike almost anything else. It leans more into the tribalistic sounds than the aforementioned band, too, coming across closer to a New Zealand Sepultura. It’s fantastic.

Being a big rugby (as well as The Usos) fan, of course I loved ‘Le Manu’. Honestly though, it’s all so good it’s nigh impossible to pick highlight tracks. However, though I don’t speak the language, the pain and anger is so real in ‘Ua Masa’a’. It addresses the murder of the vocalist’s sister, and honestly it’s an incredible journey. The same could be said for the frankly beautiful ‘Never Forgotten’, another track addressing the horrible death of a family member. Honestly, it brought me to tears. I would highly suggest finding the summaries of the tracks if you can, or at least the translations, because damn, each one is so emotional and well written.

I love the switching between English, Samoan and Tongan throughout too, adding so many different dynamics and intrigue. Filiva’a James has one of the most intriguing and impressive ranges and voices around today. He switches between aggressive Polynesian screams to beautiful yet equally powerful clean singing for ballads like ‘Cold Summer’s Night’.

The riffs are ch0nky, the drums huge and the vocals somehow aggressive, catchy and haunting all at the same time. Honestly, this feels as big and important as Roots Bloody Roots for this sort of genre and area of the world. Because of how up and down the pace was throughout, too, I didn’t feel the 13-track length at all. This is an album that deserves to be listened to from front to back. Though the individual tracks stand VERY tall on their own, too. Damn, for the third time in two weeks, I have no other choice. 10/10.

New Music Mondays: Hozier, Orbit Culture and More!

A stacked week of pretty varied new music this week, and trust us, the quality is insanely high. Join us in checking it out!

Hozier: Unreal Unearth

Charlotte: Hozier became famous overnight with his hit ‘Take Me To Church’, transforming his career as a singer-songwriter. He continues his success with the alternative-rock, soul and funk sound created from his third studio album Unreal Unearth. The album begins moody with a hair-raising introduction with ‘De Selby (Part 1)’ before the funky switch with ‘De Selby (Part 2)’, setting the tone for the rest of the album that takes you through quiet folky ballads and souly rich beats. Unsurprisingly, Hozier’s lyrics are beautifully poetic that you could spend all day untangling with personal meaning. Favourites from Unreal Unearth would have to include ‘Unknown / Nth’. Every word from every song is chosen and sang with purpose. Hozier has taken his songwriting to new heights with this transformative and cathartic album 8/10

Joe: I have to admit, outside of ‘Take Me to Church’, I don’t think I know any other Hozier. So, when I heard the opening track, I was close to giving up and leaving it for Charlotte on her own. However, some of this was kinda jazzy and funky, like the second part of ‘ De Selby’, and there was a lot of great US indie vibes throughout a lot of the album. It’s a good album to sit back and chill to, and is a lot of fun. His voice is just as good as ever and his effortless blending of genres and styles creates a great blend of sounds. ‘Eat Your Young’ is an R&B/indie crossover classic already while ‘Anything But’ will be an underrated awesome track. My only issue is that he’s gone all country up in this bitch. Over an hour and 16 track is too long. Still, 7.5/10, good fun!

Orbit Culture: Decent

Joe: The Swedish melodeath band are back with their fourth studio album. I was a big fan of their last one, so was excited to hear what they came up with this time.

Honestly, it’s phenomenal. Doing this series hasd given me a massive appreciation of atmospheric death metal, and tracks like ‘Black Mountain’ and ‘From the Inside’ are really the peak of the genre. I really can’t praise it all enough. The perfect blend of In Flames, Gojira and Fear Factory, yet having the added layer of huge, epic clean-vocalled choruses. I know a lot of people are complaining about clean vocals in death metal these days, but honestly it adds another layer of amazingness to the tracks and doesn’t take away from the heaviness at all.

It is honestly impossible to pick highlights from the album. The whole thing is incredible and, dare I say, flawless. I loved everything about this album; the crushing riffs, insane drumming, amazing screams and impressive, uplifting cleans. If you are a fan of anything heavy at all, give this a chance and I’m sure it’ll blow your socks off. And be sure to listen to it all the way through, as the flow and energy through it is amazing. It’s very well put together. 10/10, a second masterpiece this week!

Rhiannon Giddens: You’re The One

Joe: This album was a lot more jazzy/bluesy/rocky than I was expecting from a ‘folk’ artist. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still elements of it in tracks like the title one, and there’s some country elements in ‘Yet to Be’ and ‘You Louisiana Man’, but overall it’s a lot more modern than I was thinking it would be. The former track, featuring the awesome Jason Isbell, is a huge highlight of the album, as is ‘Way Over Yonder’. Rhiannon’s vocals are phenomenal and the instrumentation behind them make it that much more impactful. This album definitely won’t be for everyone, but I enjoyed it! 7/10

Fiddlehead: Death is Nothing to Us

Max: Two years since their previous album, Fiddlehead is back with another quintessential album. The post-hardcore supergroup’s new album is another fitting addition to their ever expanding catalogue and it another really easy listen. If you aren’t familiar with post-hardcore or emo then then vocals that seems like they are just being yelled at you can be rather strange however when that is combined with the more melodic vocals and the guitars, drums and bass that are trying to show so much emotion then it all starts to make sense. My first listen through the album and then every subsequent listen from then on has pointed out one song in particular that is my personal favourite, ‘Queen of Limerick’ and I’m truly not sure what it is that makes me enjoy this song so much, all I know is that it is a song and an album that everyone should experience. 9/10

Joe: I enjoyed this, but it felt like nothing had enough time to breath or get going before it was all over. Tracks like ‘Sleepyhead’ and ‘True Hardcore (II)’ are great, but with both of them being well under three minutes, by the time I’d really decided “hey, this is awesome!” they were done. It’s pretty punk rock, don’t get me wrong, and they’re a great post-hardcore band. I just wish we got a little more from them! 7/10

Osees: Intercepted Message

Charlotte: Osees’ tenth album begins with a crossover between eighties gaming synth and punky vocals – think Mario Kart, Stranger Things, your Nintendo reminding you it’s on low battery, new-wave dance and the Sex Pistols all at once? Sounds weird, but it works. Fittingly titled Intercepted Message, Osees create their distinctive sound with a chaotic composition that fits. 7/10

Shadow Smile: Signed in Blood

We’ve already reviewed this awesome album! Check it out here.

Bobby Rush: All My Love For You

Joe: The fact that the blues legend is still releasing new music at nearly 90 years of age is massively impressive. The fact that it’s also still to this high quality is utterly ridiculous. It’s hard not love hearing someone still have so much passion for their art and genuinely enjoy what he’s dedicated his life to. His lyrics and playing still ooze so much emotion, too. It’s simple stuff, but it’s some of the best traditional blues I have heard released in the modern era. Highlights include the emotional opener, ‘One Monkey Can Stop a Show’ and ‘I’ll Do Anything For You’. Is he on track for his third Grammy win? I certainly think so! 8/10


Joe: It feels like we don’t do enough Viking metal here, so I’m excited for this one! And honestly, it’s a really interesting listen. It’s definitely Vikingy in every conceivable way, but has more of a both thrash and extreme edge than a band like Amon Amarth do. The duelling vocals were cool, one being lower while the other more Dani Filth, reminding me a fair bit of 3 Inches of Blood. However, the riffs remind me more of Iron Maiden or other NWOBHM contemporaries. It blends together power metal, speed and extreme exceptionally well.

The opening title track is the perfect showcase of the bands sound, while single ‘Ratatoskur’ is an amazing track that really shows off the bands skill in playing and songwriting. I also love the proggy closing track, ‘Ullur’. The plodding pace was a nice change, as was the quieter folky bit in the middle. I loved the epic, medieval feel to it all, and it’s definitely a highlight of the album.

It’s a solid album and if you like the styles it presents, you’ll love it from start to finish. I enjoyed a fair bit of it but it didn’t quite hook me as an album as a whole. 7/10

The Xcerts: Learning How to Live and Let Go

Charlotte: The XCERTS bring together themes from different genres to create their own style for Learning How To Live And Let Go. Opening track GIMME is reminiscent of Nothing But Thieves with a fuzzy, alternative rock sound, but it wasn’t long before pop-punk and playful synths came into the mix to create an angsty, thumping album – emotional ballads aside, whilst still in keeping with the album’s nostalgic tone. Favourites include ‘Ache’, ‘GIMME’ and ‘My Friends Forever’. 8/10 

Alana Springsteen: TWENTY SOMETHING

Joe: Firstly, this modern trend of having an all-capitalised album title and then not having a single other capital letter in any of its song titles is real odd. I can’t tell if there’s some message behind it I’m not getting? I just thought I’d put that out there.

The album itself is great. Right from the opening track, ‘you don’t deserve a country song’, the quality, catchiness and radio-country feel is there, and sticks around until the very last note of the album. It walks the line between modern country and a more old school twang perfectly. It’s clear Alana has a huge love and appreciation for the country greats, yet has her own sound and a modern feel too. This is what I wish Taylor Swift had evolved into, honestly.

Both guests, Mitchell Tenpenny and the legendary Chris Stapleton, do amazing, with the latter being my favourite tracks on the album. However, not having Chris sing, just play guitar, was a very odd yet ballsy choice. Other highlights include the title track, ‘hypocrite’, ‘cowboys & tequila’ and ‘thinkin’ straight’.

My only slight issue, as I have mentioned about a lot of modern country albums, is the length. The way the album was released definitely helped with that, putting it out in three parts, with the third and final one being the full album. However, doing this review still had me sitting down and listening to 18 tracks that were all fairly similar for nearly an hour. There is a lot of amazing stuff here, but it definitely dragged in parts. I get why such long albums are put out, and it seems to definitely be a Sony thing as it’s a lot of their albums the last couple of years, but a more concise album could have been phenomenal. For now, it still gets a very respectable 8.5/10

Spirit Adrift: Ghost at the Gallows

Joe: The Texan heavy metal band released their fifth studio album last week. Having never even heard of them before, I really enjoyed this! Maintaining some of the doom elements from their earlier days, this also feels like it draws in heavy inspiration from the likes of Mastadon and Coheed & Cambria. Heck, there’s also some prog elements through the ever changing riffs. When mixed with the sludgy doom stuff it’s very The Sword.

Overall, it’s just a damn fun album to listen to. The talent in playing being showcased is off the charts, the riffing being some of the best I’ve heard all year. And honestly, some of it has an almost freeform jam feel to it, something you can’t help but enjoy. Even the slower, ballad track, ‘These Two Hands’, is great and builds up to the heaviness perfectly.

As seems to be a recurring theme this week, there isn’t a bad track on the album. It’s the perfect 45-minute listen for anyone into old-school metal, and I’d highly recommend listening to it front-to-back. If I had to pick and choose, though, ‘Death Won’t Stop Me’, ‘Hanged Man’s Revenge’ and the album’s epic closer are massive highlights. I can’t recommend this album enough, great stuff. 9.5/10

New Music Mondays: The Hives, URNE and More!

Another big week in New music, featuring everything from indie to death metal. Joi

The Hives: The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons

Owen: It’s been 11 years since we have heard an original release from Swedish group The Hives. Having spent the last couple of years appearing at festivals big and small, it wasn’t unexpected, but when a band haven’t released anything in a decade it’s hard to keep the hope. 12 tracks of high frequency,
fast-paced, shout-along punk rock, The Hives have created a riot from start to finish. My only complaint is that each track feels like a safe bet from the band. If it ain’t broke… I know, but it feels like any decision they took was a safe choice. The exception to this is the track ‘Stick up’ as it is the only track on the album that could possibly be fit into another genre. ‘Stick up’ leans more into the world of
Blues and the shift in vocals to a more Tom Waits sound was a great addition. Overall, the high energy and electrifying nature of the album makes me hope we don’t have to wait another decade until we hear more from The Hives. 7/10

URNE: A Feast on Sorrow

Joe: I was a HUGE fan of this band’s debut album. After getting turned onto the band by Trivium’s Matt Heafy, I did a very positive review (you can find it here). So, with lofty expectations and anticipation, will they beat an 8.5/10 with their new release?

Opener ‘The Flood Came Rushing In’ took a moment to really grow on me, the more hardcore style vocals and almost punk edge to the speed and attitude throwing me off. However, the slower and cleaner, Machine Head style breakdown in the middle and all the awesomeness that followed really blew me away. It sets the tone for the whole album pretty perfectly, too. ‘To Die Twice’ and the title track channel that early Gojira energy that I was waiting to hear again. Meanwhile single and album highlight ‘Becoming the Ocean’ is a more black metal take on Machine Head’s sound.

And we have to talk about the two prog tracks, ‘A Stumble of Words’ and the closing song. They are everything I want out of this genre of music, and I love them both so much. They’re heavy, brooding, and the perfect blend of black metal, death metal and doom. The riffing is amazing, the vocals are perfect and the structuring and writing is off the charts. The former track in particular may be my favourite that they’ve done, and I’m desperate to see it live.

It’s an incredibly well rounded album that doesn’t feel like over 50 minutes at all. If you’re a fan of the heavier side of metal, I’d recommend checking this out ASAP. It’s going to be in the discussion for album of the year come December, I’m sure. And it does in fact beat the last album, getting a 9/10!

The Sherlocks: People Like Me & You

Charlotte: Indie rock band The Sherlocks have skyrocketed to become a well-loved band in the alternative scene in the past few years, and their latest album People Like Me & You will undoubtedly act as a catalyst in their journey to stardom. Taking inspiration from Yorkshire legends without feeling like copycats, The Sherlocks bring a fresh sound to the genre. Tracks like ‘Sirens’ and ‘Don’t Let It Out’ are predicated to be crowd-loving anthems for their loyal fan base in their upcoming tour. 7.5/10

Public Image Ltd.: End of World

Joe: This was… ooooo… this was bad. John Lydon and Keith Levene’s lovechild dropped their 11th studio album last week, and first in eight years. I’m not the biggest fan of Sex Pistols or The Clash outside of a few songs, so have actively avoided this band for as long as possible. I’m probably going to piss off a lot of people with this review.

‘Penge’ is maybe the worst opening track I’ve ever heard. And, sadly, it doesn’t get much better after that. Unlike my previous review, this one definitely did feel like it was over 50 minutes long. I wanted to turn it off by the third track, yet I still had 10 to go. Johnny’s never had the best voice in the industry, but my god it felt like he was struggling at times here, sounding like a strangled cat. The instrumentation for the most part is fine. If you like basic 70s/80s new-wave with a touch of early punk, that is. And while there were a couple of catchy moments throughout, the lyrics were pretty terrible for the most part.

If you found yourself liking this, great. I understand why the band have fans, but I am certainly not one of them. 2/10, I shall continue ignoring this band now.

Caskets: Reflections

Joe: The UK melodic hard rock/metal band put out their sophomore album on Friday. While the Pierce the Veil/Asking Alexandria sound does feel a tad dated in 2023 for a new band, it’s still a good album. The modern-ish sound simply doesn’t have the edge or intrigue that the genre has developed these days. While BMTH lead the genre, there are bands like Bad Llama that do it heavier, or Stray From the Path that add rap elements. There are a lot of bands doing this sound and unfortunately this may get lost in the pack a little bit.

Still, having said that, there are some great, enjoyable tracks on the album. ‘In the Silence’ and the lead single, ‘Guiding Light’ are both a lot of fun. And as an album, it’s very well put together and easy to listen to as a whole. If you like the genre you’ll probably love this, but I’m kinda burnt out by it at this point. 6.5/10

Phil Jamieson: Somebody Else

Charlotte: Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson has released his debut solo studio album Somebody Else, an album fuelled by nostalgic lyrics. Phil Jamieson combines alternative rock/pop riffs with that iconic 80s new-wave feel to create an album that may very well cement his sound as a solo artist. I struggled to get into it too much, though. 3/10

The Black Skeleton: The Rear View

Joe: The melodic rock band have released their much anticipated debut album. It’s a very interesting blend of styles, giving off vibes of The Cult, RHCP, Iggy Pop, Bowie and others, yet with a modern edge to it all too. The rock ‘n roll and punk elements match up perfectly with the catchy, huge choruses and hooking melodies. Heck, single ‘Swear’ channels grungy Alice in Chains energy in the best ways. And the slower stuff like the title track almost gives off Matchbox Twenty/Stone Temple Pilots vibes. ‘Puppy Run’ is a funky, jazzy masterpiece.

It’s so hard to pick just a couple of highlights off the album as it’s all so different and so good. The variety is amazing and made it such an easy listen. There’s something for everyone here, and the band definitely have a new fan in me. 9.5/10

Werewolves: My Enemies Look and Sound Like Me

Joe: This whole album is a wonderful slap in the face right from the first second. Opening into an evil fast riff complete with a blast beat, the death metal band aren’t fucking around. From then on, it’s heavy, thrashy goodness from start to finish. There is some slight variety; ‘Destroyer of Worlds’ is a Seasons in the Abyss style plodding track, yet is still insanely heavy. It’s my favourite track on the album as it is the most different one, the rest being all out death metal. It’s great, and if you’re into the genre you’ll surely love it. It did wear a little thin for me by the last few tracks, though. 7.5/10

Hail the Sun: Divine Inner Tension

Joe: Straight up, this album is amazing. It’s mathy, heavy and yet channels a lot of pop, punk and even desert rock energy as well. I remember checking out the latest Blood Command album last year (review here) and it’s very similar to that. However, I enjoyed this a lot more than that album. Right from the album opener and title track the band had me hooked and didn’t let go throughout.

Donovan Melero has such an interesting, phenomenal vocal range through both cleans and scream that is hard not to compare to Kellin Quinn. Meanwhile some of the riffs and lead runs from the duel guitarists are amazing. Tracks like the opener, ‘Chunker’ and ‘I Saw You Hanging’ are all massive highlights, but honestly the whole album is great. I can’t really pick any faults here. It’s a solid post-hardcore album and worth checking out by any even passing fans of the genre. 8.5/10

New Music Mondays: Skindred, Mammoth WVH and More!

Another week that while not big, promises some high quality new music across plenty of genres! Let’s check it out together!

Skindred: Smile

Joe: This album has been a long time coming. The bands first full length release, I remember hearing them playing ‘L.O.V.E.’ back at Download in 2019. I imagine Covid was a big factor in the delay. However, if anything it’s made the hype for this even greater. That, and the steady flow of singles released over the last nine months, has made this one of the most anticipated albums of the year.

Somehow, it lives up to the insane hype.

It’s an incredibly varied album, ranging from metal to reggae to club vibes to slower, almost dark indie stuff. Honestly, my only real complaint is that they opened the album with ‘Our Religion’. It’s a good track, but a weird one and an odd choice for an opener. However, the immediate crowd favourite ‘Gimme That Boom’ has already gone down as one of Skindred‘s best tracks ever, and the infectiously catchy ‘Set Fazers’ is another great track to follow it. Things slow up a tad after that, yet ‘Life That’s Free’ and ‘If I Could’ still have some heavy, huge moments and some of the best lyrics on the album.

Then we have to talk about the aforementioned ‘L.O.V.E.’. It’s somehow both completely left field yet exactly what you’d expect from the band. It’s a positive, all out reggae track, and it’s amazing. ‘This Appointed Love’ is going to be an underrated gem too, as it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album. And the closer, ‘Unstoppable’, is another typically Skindred banger.

Honestly, I could gush over this album for hours. For a band that typically ‘aren’t an album’ one, this is by far their best. It’s full top to bottom with bangers and everyone should check this out immediately. 10/10, it really is that good!

The Front Bottoms: You Are Who You Hang Out With

Charlotte: The Front Bottoms’ You Are Who You Hang Out With is their sixth studio album to tackle on an array of emotions mixed with punchy riffs, melodic ambience and infectious drum beats – all to create a beautifully chaotic album. Juxtaposing heavy yet meaningful lyrics with an upbeat and poppy sound works as the band have produced an album of anthems – from strong opener Emotional to Brick. Bonus points for having a song titled Batman. 8.5/10

Mammoth WVH: Mammoth II

Charlotte: After a period of touring after the success of their debut album, Mammoth WVH’s second album takes the band to elevated heights with a fresh stream of rock classics. Mammoth II feels like an album anyone could listen to – whether you have your roots set in rock or not – you move from broody and dark to melodic and pop. I recommend this album for anyone experimenting with their rock music tastes and looking to get into the genre. Mammoth WVH has produced an album enjoyable for everyone whilst remaining loyal to their original, rich sound. 8/10

Brett Young: Across The Sheets

Owen: Across The Sheets is a lacklustre collection of stereotypical Nashville trash country-pop. The album is brief at 8 tracks, with the last two tracks consisting of a re-recording of a previous release and a poor attempt at a Tim McGraw cover. Not knowing much about Young I looked into his story a bit, only to find it as uninspiring as this album. A failed college baseball career sent him into the arms of mainstream Nashville poster boy. Opening track ‘Dance with You’ feels like a purposefully written wedding song; expect to hear it in heavy rotation on that scene. As for the rest of the album, I’d believe you if you told me this was an original soundtrack for a low-budget US Rom-Com.

Overall, things are just too polished and predictable with Across The Sheets. I struggled to find any redeeming qualities in this album but I might not be his target demographic with this one. Clearly there is an audience for Young somewhere. Mum-friendly country radio stations come to mind! 2/10

Teenage Wrist: Still Love

Max: So this is not the standard genre that I review. However, after the latest Nothing Nowhere album, I started to listen to them. This album is a perfect introduction to them I think. There is a murky feeling that carries across the entire album that feels like it will consume you. There are some songs that I found were easier to listen to and some that took me a couple of listens to get used to but in the end, I don’t think that there was a single song that I didn’t like. This hidden yet beautiful feeling across the entire makes it rewarding to listen to every song multiple times. Overall, this album is almost perfect and fully deserves an 8/10.

Any Given Sin: War Within

We’ve already checked out this amazing album. Check out our review of it here!

Crypta: Shades of Sorrow

Joe: The Brazilian death metal women are back with their sophomore album. Two things stood out immediately to me: the atmosphere and the drumming. The intro track leading into ‘Dark Clouds’ sets the tone for the album perfectly, the band showing exactly what the listener is in for throughout. And then there’s Luana Dametto, who is one of the best and most criminally underrated drummers out there today, and showcases that perfectly on this album.

There are plenty highlight tracks on the album, too. ‘The Outsider’, single ‘Trial of Traitors’ and ‘Lift the Blindfold’ are all massive highlights of a truly stellar death metal album. These ladies are very much the future of the genre, and they have proved it with this release. 8/10

Dun Ringill: 150 – Where the Old Gods Play – Act 1

Joe: So, this was weird in all of the best ways. It’s like more folky, radio-friendly black metal. That’s literally the only way I can thin k of explaining it. It’s got that epic darkness of black metal while still maintaining fairly clean vocals and a focus on riffs that can be attributed back to the likes of King Diamond or even Mastadon. It’s honestly hard to pick out a highlight as it feels like something that should be really listened to in full. Preferably in a dark room by yourself, really. It’s a really interesting blend of styles that works fantastically, but has to be heard to be believed! For the heavy fans here, check this out! 8/10

The Crawling: All of this For Nothing

Joe: The doomy death metal band returned with their third album this past Friday. If you know anything about the two sub-genres of metal, you’ll know exactly what to expect here. None of it was bad by any stretch, but it did all feel ever so slightly formulaic. Tracks like the opener and ‘A Light We Cannot See’ were great, but nothing new. However, I have to admit I really enjoyed the slower burn ‘Bound to the Negative’. It’s probably my favourite track on the album due to it’s proggy feel.

It’s most likely not an album I’d listen to in full very often. However, it’s a great collection of songs and I’m sure if you’re more into black metal you’d love this. A couple of standout tracks earn this a respectable 7/10!

New Music Mondays: Sevendust, Brad and More!

A quietish week for New Music Mondays this week, with only six albums for us to check out. Still though, they’re all awesome, so join us in taking a listen!

Sevendust: Truth Killer

It’s rare to hear an older band so heavily inspired by a newer one. However, right from the first few seconds of ‘I Let the Devil In’, I was getting heavy Sleep Token vibes. The slow build into heaviness was a great way to open the album, but it caught me off guard given the tracks I know from Sevendust until this point. The lead single and title track is a little more what I was expecting and hoping for, with some big, chunky riffs and a huge, nu metal style chorus.

There continues to be a modern influence throughout a lot of the album, working to various degrees. ‘Won’t Stop the Bleeding’ is a great example of it working exceptionally, and is a massive highlight of the album. The slower ‘Leave Hell Behind’ is another big highlight! It isn’t just Sleep Token either, tracks like ‘No Revolution’ have a slight Spiritbox air to it. It’s a fun direction for the band to go. I enjoyed it quite a bit and it still definitely sounds like Sevendust. However, I’d be curious to hear how some of the older, more diehard fans feel about it! It gets a 7.5/10 from me!

Brad: In the Moment that You’re Born

The Seattle alt rock collective return with their sixth album, and first in over a decade. It is the bands final album, featuring tracks that the band had been working on before the passing of their vocalist Shawn Smith in 2019. It admittedly makes it a creepy yet fascinating and sad/proud listen.

I have to admit, a lot of it isn’t my sort of thing. It’s a little too Porcupine Tree for me. However, I can definitely appreciate the hell out of what they are doing. They are clearly all talented and massively good songwriters. Plus, tracks like ‘Straight to the Hoop’, ‘Star n You’ and ‘Without Guns’ are big highlights for me personally. It’s a really cohesive album which surprisingly didn’t bore for a second. It’s such a shame this is the last we’ll hear of the band, but they certainly went out with a bang! 8/10

From Ashes to New: Blackout

More nu metal, except this time more like the later years of the first wave, like Papa Roach. Lots of big riffs, rapping vocals and huge choruses. It’s like how I’m sure a lot of people wished Hollywood Undead stayed like, and even has an air of early Linkin Park to it. I’m loving all this new music that is bringing a rapping element back to metal. From Falling in Reverse to bands like Stray from the Path, it’s some of the more exciting new music around these days, in my opinion.

It’s hard not to find the singles as the highlights of the album. Opening on three of them was a great choice while arguably the two best ones are saved for later. Until We Break featuring Matty Mullins is such an incredible track and maybe my favourite on the album.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not saying the album tracks are bad. However, there is a distinct pop feel to a lot of the album tracks, the edge and heaviness isn’t as present through a lot of them. They’re good tracks, but I prefer the more heavier stuff. Plus, while they are slightly different, there is a lot of similar sounding stuff on this album. It’s a lot of the same. While it’s a lot of fun, I don’t think it’s an album I’d listen to in full all that much. Still though, if you like nu metal, check this out, you won’t be disappointed! 8.5/10

Susto: My Entire Life

This indie/folk/pop rock band put out their fifth album last week. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I went into this thinking it’d be a big too indie and stripped-back for my tastes, especially after checking out a single or two. However, there’s a punk twang to it that reminds me ever so slightly of Velvet Revolver. Heck, some of the slower ones, like ‘Mt. Caroline’, felt like the perfect blend of Dire Straits and Matchbox Twenty.

There are so many different styles and sounds throughout that I didn’t get bored at all, the album going by in a flash on my first listen. It also made it near impossible to pick a highlight track or two. The whole album is great and deserves a listen in full. It’s the perfect album to chill out to, and the band have a new fan in me! 8.5/10

Girlschool: WTFortyfive?

The band famous for being Lemmy’s favourites, underrated NWOBHM powerhouses Girlschool are back with their first new album in eight years. Honestly, outside of seeing them at a HRH a few years ago, I haven’t paid much attention to the band aside for their few big songs. However, I really enjoyed this album. It was darker and heavier than their earlier stuff, which resonated a lot more with me. Tracks like the opener, ‘Cold Dark Heart’ and ‘Are You Ready?’ featuring the awesome Joe Stump are all personal highlights. Also, the closing cover of the iconic ‘Born to Raise Hell’ featuring Saxon’s Biff Byford, Duff McKagen and the man himself, Phil Campbell, was fucking awesome.

It wasn’t all positive. Tracks like ‘Invisible Killer’ and ‘Barmy Army’ were not only more of their older style, but were pretty cringy from a lyrical standpoint. Still, overall the album is a fun one that will hopefully please both older and new fans alike. It’s worth a listen if you’re into 70s metal at all! 7.5/10

Arch Blade: Kill the Witch

The debut album of the new heavy metal band is a 45+ minute arrival statement. For anyone who’s into traditional heavy metal or thrash, this one is most certainly for you. Big, quick riffs and drumming, high, powerful vocals and plenty of catchiness, this is definitely a 70s/80s metal album. It takes a lot of inspiration from Painkiller from the sounds of things, which is fine by me as it’s one of my favourite albums of all time. Tracks like ‘Nightbreed’, the slower ‘Queen of the Damned’ and both the albums opener and title tracks are all massive highlights.

My only slight issue with the album is really just some of the production. The vocal mixing is odd, and generally the album sounds compressed instead of the massive sound I was expecting/hoping for. Still though, as a collection of tracks it’s awesome and well worth checking out. It’s a fantastic debut album and the band are certainly ones to keep an eye on! 9/10

New Music Mondays: Blur, Greta Van Fleet and Much More!

A hugely stacked week of new music this week with a large collection of albums for us to dive into. From death metal to country to synth, let’s dive into it all!

Blur: The Ballad of Darren

Joe: The other britpop band, the ones still going, return with their first album since 2015. However, it’s a far cry from their heyday with ‘Song 2’. ‘The Ballad’ was a terrible choice of an opening track. The slow, droning opener was pop at best, nowhere near rock. Tracks like ‘St. Charles Square’ and ‘Barbaric’ aren’t much better, either. Not a single track on the album can be classed as up-beat. It’s closer to the sort of stuff Mark Knoffler releases these days. It’s soft rock at a push, yet it is barely rock at all.

Don’t get me wrong, bands are allowed to change their sound, and it’s not exactly uncommon for a band to mellow out as they get older. But this isn’t what I want to listen to when I set out to listen to Blur. And it’s not really my type of music at all. It bored me to tears, honestly. 3.5/10

Greta Van Fleet: Starcatcher

Charlotte: Greta Van Fleet’s Starcatcher continues to bring shades of classic rock to the band’s style with Josh Kiszka’s eerily enchanting wails and some beautiful guitar tones. The hair-raising album takes you through psychedelic ballads and graceful licks – and who doesn’t love a harmonica solo? Finishing with the appropriately cathartic closer ‘Farewell For Now’, Starcatcher is another solid album added to Greta Van Fleet’s repertoire. 8/10

Feuerschwanz: Fegefeuer

Joe: The German folk/power metal band are back with their 11th album, and third with Napalm. If anyone’s familiar with the bands more recent, serious releases, you’ll know what to expect from this, and you won’t at all be disappointed!

‘SGFRD Dragonslayer’ is a good, catchy opener while ‘Bastard von Asgard’ is a massive album highlight, made even better by Fabienne Erni’s incredible vocals. ‘Beserkermode’ is a lot of fun, a bouncy number that reminds me of their earlier days. Also, as a huge LOTR fan, I couldn’t not love ‘Urak-Hai’. Overall it’s a very well written, fun and great folk metal album. My only slight issue is that the whole thing all felt pretty similar, it was all big riffs and choruses and a similar pace. Something slower or more dynamic may have helped hold my interest a little more and made the album even better, in my opinion.

Also, anyone who checks out the deluxe edition not only gets instrumental versions of each track, but a recording of their awesome Wacken 2022 set! An awesome collection that is well worth checking out! 8.5/10

Brix’n Mortar: Something Ain’t Right

Max: Yes, this band is a hardcore band. And you can’t get through the album without seeing this. I’m not always the biggest fan of this style of hardcore and rock but I’ll be damned if this album isn’t great. When I started listening to this album I was setting up equipment for a gig and it really got me into the mood for lifting things. This album is a lot of fun, energy, and intensity throughout and it must be amazing to see live. this band has a lot of potential and each of the members really carries their weight so I want to see where they go in the future and what they end up releasing next. 8/10

Guided By Voices: Welshpool Frillies

Joe: 38 albums. That’s how many the Ohioan indie rock band have put out. And that’s including two hiatus’. Heck, they’re already on their second album of this year, and their eighth in the last three years! If it’s one thing you cannot faulter with Guided by Voices, it’s their work ethic!

Fun fact about this album before we begin the review; it was recorded to tape in a basement in Brooklyn. It definitely gives the album a different sound and feel, it being a lot more grungy.

As for the tracks themselves, they’re good. Tracks like ‘Cruisers’ Cross’ and ‘Animal Concentrate’ sound almost Foo Fighters-esque. Meanwhile ‘Romeo Surgeon’ and ‘Seedling’ are all out grunge. However, some of the older almost Bowie sounding stuff didn’t hook me all that much. ‘Cats in Heat’, ‘Why Won’t You Kiss Me’ and the traditional folk-like ‘Chain Dance’ all weren’t for me. It’s a real mixed bag of an album, but hey, at least it’s anything but boring. It’s a long album, 15 tracks, but there is plenty of variety throughout. The stuff I like I really like, and there are plenty of highlight tracks. But there is also a fair amount of meh throughout. I wouldn’t be likely to listen to it from front to back again 6.5/10

Zenith Passage: Datalysium

Max: So this album was a lot of fun to listen to. There were intense guitars that attacked your ears (in a good way) from the very beginning and the technicality to them was a lot of fun to listen to. They are definitely a technical death metal band but they have their own spin on the genre with their own flow and style that make them unique amongst the ocean of other bands.

Another interesting a fun part of this band is the clean vocals. I often find myself getting nervous hearing bands like this have clean vocals because they can often miss the mark. However in their penultimate song, ‘Automated Twilight’ they really hit the mark. It almost made me think of Veil of Maya and the song ‘The Sun, The Moon The Stars’ by Æther Realm. So basically very very good. A solid 9/10 album and I will be listening to it more and more.

Nouvaeu Arcade: Dead Hearts

We’ve already reviewed this awesome synthwave album! Check it out here.

Ian Moss: Rivers Run Dry

Charlotte: Ian Moss’ Rivers Run Dry has everything you could ever need or want from a (and this one is hard to pin down so we’re going to list it all) country-soul-pop-blues-rock album. From a grand gospel choir opening in the title track, to groovy brass sections and a distinctive and rich organ throughout. Ian Moss is a hidden gem with his signature sound, creating a professionally polished album that’s enjoyable for everyone. 8.5/10

HARDBALL: Self-Titled

Joe: the Canadian band are looking at bringing grunge back to prominence with their debut album. Right from the first few notes of ‘Just a Tree’ it screams Nirvana in all of the best ways. It does have that slightly heavier, darker and modern edge that Future Leaders of the World brought to the table, too, feeling like a clear blend of the two bands.

The album has a swaggering attitude and coolness that grunge typically didn’t have back in the 90s, and it’s a refreshing, fun edge to it all. Tracks like the opener, ‘NRA’, ‘Chili’ and ‘Talk to Me’ are all huge highlights of the album. Honestly, the last two are incredible and up there with some of my favourite grunge tracks due to their creativity and structure. ‘Chili’ verges on prog with the stripped-back bit in the middle whole the latter is a dark, brooding, Tool/Doom metal track. The vocal delivery and melody also reminds me of ‘Skeletons of Society’ by Slayer. Both add tonnes of inovation and push the boundaries of their typical radio-friendly grunge in the best ways.

The more I listen to this album the more I fall in love with it. I was a huge Nirvana fan in my youth and this scratches that itch and then some. It has elements of all three of their albums whole also bringing plenty of their own sound and creativity to things. There isn’t a bad track on the album and I’d recommend it to anyone! 9.5/10

Oxbow: Love’s Holiday

Joe: So, this is a bit weird. However, I think it’s in a good way. Despite their nearly 20k monthly listeners on Spotify, I’d never heard of the band before. So, ‘Dead Ahead’ was certainly an interesting introduction to the band! The chaotic, messy verses give way to a genuinely catchy, arena-filling chorus, making me not sure how I felt.

Honestly, that’s the story of the whole album. Messy, Avant Garde skater punk with some catchy hooks and good riffs dispersed between them. ‘Icy White & Crystalline’ is a big highlight of the album, as is the slower ‘Lovely Murk’ featuring Lingua Ignota. Unfortunately, after the second track it was all pretty slow. It does make for slightly more accessible music, but I was quite enjoying the chaos of the opening tracks. Outside of ‘The Second Talk’ it’s all slow, pretty boring jazz-like soft/psychadellic rock. Not my thing at all and ruined the first couple of tracks’ potential. 3/10

Mega Drive: 200XAD

Joe: We close this week on instrumental synthwave, and honestly, it’s awesome. I know 90% of y’all will have tuned out after those two words, but hear me out and, more importantly, hear the band out. It maintains a heavy rock edge to it that means we just had to cover it, and more importantly it’s fun. I couldn’t pick a highlight track as they are all pretty similar, but all are so good. This is the sort of album designed to be listened to in its entirety. The band and album name also fits so well. It feels like music made to be driving around a Cyberpunk world in a video game. Honestly if you are in any way into futuristic, synthy stuff, check this out, you won’t be disappointed! 8/10