Category Archives: Reviews

Call This a Reality?: A Bold New Step for Anchor Lane!

Scottish rockers Anchor Lane have been gathering a lot of steam over the last couple of years, with headline tours, festival appearances at the likes of Download and Isle of White, and supporting bands like Ricky Warwick. They’re riding a wave of momentum heading into the release of their second album. If it’s anywhere near as good as the singles have been, we’re in for a treat. Let’s check it out and see!

A great, groove-filled riff opens the album and ‘Stutter’. It gives the track an immediate bounce and sets the heavy rock tone of the album perfectly. The vocals are catchy throughout, even in the verses which is always a bit of a struggle. I can hear people singing along to the entire track live, and it’ll be awesome. The Arctic Monkeys/Royal Blood style chorus is a definite highlight of the track, though! The bridge riff is also awesome, giving off heavy Muse vibes. I can see this going OFF live and being a definite crowd favourite. It’s also a definite favourite of mine as it easily makes our playlist!

Check out our interview with the band here.

The Muse sound continues through ‘Ministry’, the opening feeling pretty ‘Knights of Cydonia’ while the rest gives off 2nd Law vibes. It’s another HUGE, stadium-filling chorus, and is almost a ballad. It’s a pretty ballsy move to have a slower song this early on a rock album, but Anchor Lane pull it off to perfection. It’s a simple yet very affective track, and another major highlight of the album.

The album’s title track has another fantastic, bouncy riff running through it. This time it’s very Royal Blood in the best of ways. It’s another song where every time the vocals are present it’s catchy as anything, but hot damn is that harmony heading into the second verse just amazing. It’s so clean and perfect, you need to stop reading this and listen to it right now. Still here? Well it also has an amazing guitar solo, so there’s that too. The outro part of the chorus with all the vocal harmonies even gave me SOAD vibes, which was a nice, unexpected surprise. Honestly, this may be my favourite track on the album and one of my favourite of the year so far. Playlisted.

‘Nitroglycerin’ opens on a heavy guitar riff before dropping back to a more Artic Monkeys style verse and chorus. It’s a damn catchy slower track again, dripping with attitude and swagger. I LOVE the higher vocals on the final chorus, too. It adds another layer to it and sounds really awesome. Another fantastic track.

‘I’ve Been Waiting’ is another good track but gives off very similar vibes to the previous track. Meanwhile ‘The Mischievous Song’ has a fun almost indie vibe to it. It’s simpler instrumentally, being more heavily lead by the bass and drums, the guitars being a little scrappier and looser. The ‘ooo’s in the chorus are of course catchy and remind me a little of ‘Bohemian Like You’. It’s just a fun track, and a nice change of pace for the album.

The distant vocals were a cool opening for ‘Choke’, making the riff exploding in after into an even bigger punch to the face. The rest of the track is just a great, straight-up rock song. It’s fast, heavy and yet massively radio-friendly. Anchor Lane have found the perfect formula and balance of hard rock and pop hooks, and it’s on display at its best in this track. It’s awesome.

‘Electric Karma’ is another bouncy, heavier indie-style track. It’s hard not to compare the band to Artic Monkeys as the vocal melodies are pretty similar a lot of times, but I would put them far and above AM in terms of talent and songwriting. This is better than anything the former Glastonbury headliners have put out in years. Not much to say about the track, it’s just another fantastic one.

‘Bitter’ is the true ballad of the album, and I love it. It’s slow, moody and builds perfectly throughout. This one reminds me more of Placebo than anything else, but that may just be because ‘bitter end’ is said so much. I also for some reason get BFMV ballad vibes. Like one of the slower tracks from Gravity or Fever. The brooding, emotional track is another one that I recommend checking out immediately. No matter what I say, I won’t do it justice, it’s so good. You might as well just check it out on our playlist, right…?

After a brief yet beautiful piano interlude, we get the final two tracks. ‘Sychophant Disorder’ is another heavy track that bears surprising resemblance to a metalcore song. From the great riff to the heaviness to the almost djent-like moments, it’s definitely the closest to metal on the album. The lyrics are also fantastic here. They have been throughout the entire album, but it feels somehow even a step beyond with this track. And it’s catchy as hell as always. It actually felt like a better closing track for the album than the actual closer, ‘I Don’t Have Another Soul to Pour’, did. I like the final track, don’t get me wrong, but it’s another track of similar stuff, while ‘Sychophant…’ was something interestingly different. Still, both tracks are amazing and the former makes our playlist!

Overall: This was phenomenal. There isn’t a bad track on the album, and some of them are some of the best tracks I’ve heard in a while. I’ve not listened to something that’s made me feel like this in a while, either. This album is going to catapult the band to the stratosphere, and it is 110% deserved. It’s going to be up there in my album of the year discussions in 11 months time, that’s for damn sure.

The Score: 9.5/10

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Relentless Cycle: Are Those Once Loyal Melodic Hardcore’s Next Heavy Hitters?

Those Once Loyal are a local band to Overtone and have been plugging away at the local heavy scene for a few years now, gaining more and more of a fanbase with each passing day. And they deserve every single fan, with their fantastic live shows and awesome studio work. The band just last week put out their brand new EP, and we couldn’t not cover it. So, join us in checking out what we thought!

The opening track is a slow, clean intro that builds and sets up the rest of the tracks perfectly. It reminds me of the opening of Machine Head’s post-Supercharger albums, opening on that perfect calm before the storm. It’s awesome.

The title track opens on a great metal/deathcore riff, it opening out with an amazing drumbeat and a short but sick lead guitar line. The scream comes in over the top, sounding brutal and adding so much to the track. It fits perfectly and, while harsh, also still has a slight melodic element to it when the lead guitar line comes back for the chorus. The breakdown callout was awesome, as was the sludgy, evil-sounding breakdown. My god do I want to be in a pit for that.

A fantastic extended guitar solo follows and was honestly one of the high points of the EP. It’s not often stuff this heavy and hardcore gives the guitars space to solo and breathe, and it worked perfectly here. We also get a reprisal of the breakdown to close the track after a final chorus, and it rounds off a fantastic heavy track. I see why it was the lead single, and it easily makes our playlist!

Check out more of the heavy stuff here.

A great drumbeat opens ‘Re-Birth’ before an almost Megadeth-like quick guitar riff comes in over the top. The track drops into a phat riff before the metalcore stuff returns behind the verse screams. It works perfectly, keeping everything bouncy. It fills out, having an almost epic feel through the choruses thanks to the guitars, and the final line of the chorus is catchy as anything, it’ll go down a storm live. The riff after said chorus is awesome too. The structure of the track is really interesting too, though that may just be me getting a little lost as I don’t know the genre massively well. I just sat back and enjoyed the awesome track through the various different parts in all of its glory. It of course has a good breakdown in there, but for me the riffs and the ‘This is a re-birth’ line are the highlights.

Closer ‘Second Hand Smoke’ is a track that I had already checked out for our reaction series on YouTube (still editing the video so will link it once it’s out!). All I can say is wow. This is my favourite track on the EP, and for very good reason! From the melodic hardcore verses to the surprisingly catchy choruses and THAT breakdown, everything about it is awesome. If you’re into the heavier side of music, check this out immediately, as you’ll love it!

Overall: This was fantastic. It’s not often I get the chance to do an in depth review of something this heavy any more, and it helps that it is really fucking good too. All three main tracks were awesome, and they worked perfectly as a whole with ‘Into the Cycle’. A band that should be a lot bigger than they are,b ut have the potential to breakout massive off the back of this.

The Score: 8.5/10

New Music Mondays: Måneskin, New Found Glory and More!

Måneskin: RUSH!

The band that all the young people are obsessed with due to their (sometimes) punk attitude and catchy Eurovision song a couple of years back, Maneskin are back with their first album since exploding into superstardom. There is a LOT of hype to live up to this release, but does it manage to?

In this humble writers opinion… no, no it does not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with it (aside the massively bloated length), and I’m sure the kids on TikTok will go mad for it. But for the sheer amount of love this band get, it’s nothing special. There are a lot more rock bands that get nowhere near as much love that I would say have released better music.

Having said that, there are some good tracks on here. ‘GOSSIP’ is a fun, catchy track and Morello does a typically amazing job for his guest spot. Tracks like ‘IF NOT FOR YOU’ and closer ‘THE LONELIEST’ are fantastic ballads. ‘LA FINE’ is, well, exactly that.

There is also some right drivel, though. ‘BLA BLA BLA’ is the worst track I have ever covered here at Overtone, and I covered Devin Townsend’s Puzzle and Snuggles. ‘BABY SAID’ feels like a worse Arctic Monkeys track. And the odd ‘KOOL KIDS’ (where Damiano attempts a terrible English accent) seems to be attacking a large portion of their own fanbase.

Fans of pop music will probably love this as they will like to think this is them being a rock fan. However, it is practically pop music. Some of it is good pop music, some of it is god awful. In the band’s own words, ‘you’re not iconic, you’re just like them all’… I’ll see myself out! 4/10

New Found Glory: Make the Most of It

One of the most underrated pop-punk bands ever, New Found Glory returned with their 12th album this week. I have to say, it’s lighter than I expected. It’s a LOT of ballads. Like seven ballads and seven live recordings. It made me go and have a look to see if it was an official album, but the band are classing it as one so so am I.

However, it’s a good album. The slower pop-punk style has grown on me in recent years, in large part thanks to Simple Plan, and this knocks that style out of the park. The harmonies are a huge highlight of the album, as are the choruses in general. But the album is so simple yet so very effective, it’s hard not to praise it all. Even the live tracks were slower, acoustic tracks. It’s a chilled out, fun but emotional album that I already have stuck in my head due to how catchy it is. 8/10

HARDY: the mockingbird & THE CROW

This fucking thing is 17 tracks long and goes on for over an hour. No matter how good it all is, can we STOP WITH THE BLOATED COUNTRY ALBUMS NOW PLEASE?

It’s generally a good album. However, it’s all very bro/stadium country. When you think of any country music released in the last 15 years or so that isn’t a fun partying song, I can guarantee it sounds like all of this. I got bored around five tracks in and it never really regained my attention.

That is, until THE CROW arrives, and turns this review and this reviewer both on their respective heads.

Wow. Okay. Give me a minute to just word vomit as after three days I’m still trying to process it properly.

The first half of the album (exactly half too, I know), the lower case half, is slower country stuff that he writes for other people, FGL etc. Then, he sheds the mockingbird persona, writing his own style of music and becomes the final form of Kid Rock. It’s fucking awesome. Just check out the transformation video below, it explains it all perfectly and sounds incredible. Then, it features everything from country rock to pop-punk to straight-up metal for the rest of the album, and I can’t get enough. ‘RADIO SONG’ is not only a satirical track making fun of country norms, but has an ironically fantastic chorus and a HEAVY FUCKING BREAKDOWN featuring Jeremy of ADTR. What more could you want?

I’ve rambled on enough about this album but honestly, check it out. As a fan of creative, out-of-the-box storytelling, especially in music where it is not done all too often any more, I loved the concept for this. And the music fully backed it up, too. Everyone will find something to love on here. And, while I still think the album could trim the fat just a little with a couple of tracks, I still can’t not give it a rare 10/10

Katatonia: Sky Void of Stars

The Swedish prog metal titans are back with their 12th studio album. While I have to admit I wasn’t too familiar with the band outside of the name, I really enjoyed this! I have a sometimes strained relationship with prog since starting Overtone, but this band kept things interesting enough throughout with changing riffs and dynamics. ‘Colossal Shade’ hooked me in immediately with that stomping, mid-tempo riff and remains a favourite track of mine on the album. ‘Birds’ was a beautiful faster track, sounding almost ethereal and had some catchy elements. The closing two tracks are also fantastic, feeling suitably epic. While not quite as mind-blowing as the previous album on this list, it’s still a damn good album and a must for anyone into proggier stuff. 8/10

Black Star Riders: Wrong Side of Paradise

The spiritual successor of Thin Lizzy put out their fifth studio album last Friday. So, if you’re a fan of the old band or its newer incarnation, chances are you’ll love this. However, that’s hardly a bad thing. Single ‘Better Than Saturday Night’ wouldn’t seem out of place among Lizzy’s greatest hits, it’s that good. However, I struggled to hear Joe Elliott on it, if Spotify didn’t tell me I would have never known. Tracks like ‘Green and Troubled Land’ and ‘Burning Rome’ are also personal highlights of mine. It’s honestly hard to find something to talk or complain about, it’s simply a good, solid Black Star Riders album. It’s nice to hear Ricky sounding as good as ever after his health issues during the pandemic! 7/10

Check out our interview with Ricky himself here.

Twilight Force: At the Heart of Wintervale

Our first power metal album of 2023 on this page, and it’s a damn good one! If you heard power metal and saw the album artwork before reading this, you’ll know exactly what to expect. Soaring vocals, quick drumming and lead lines and enough epiness to make Howard Shore hard. Whether it’s the massive, quick opener or the epic, slower ten-and-a-half minute epic ‘Highlands of the Elder Dragon’, this is maybe the most epic music I have ever heard. If anything, it was a little too fantasy storybook for me. It got a bit too musical theatre/Christmas movie for me at certain points. Still though, I cannot deny the bands talent for playing and songwriting. 7/10, it definitely won’t be the last tie I listen to a couple of these tracks.

For I Am King: Crown

This album has come out at the perfect time. Not only have Lorna Shore pushed deathcore deeper into the mainstream than the sub-genre has ever been before, but female screams are also at the height of their appeal and popularity due to bands like Jinjer, Spiritbox and Cage Fight. With any luck, For I Am King could ride this phenomenal album to the top because of this.

‘Liars’ was a standout track to me, a very good choice for the album’s lead single. It’s brutal, heavy and yet somehow maintains a catchy, melodic edge to it all. That’s pretty much the story through the whole album, too. Crushing riffs and breakdowns, insane drums, and harsh yet earworm vocals. Tracks like ‘Barriers’ and ‘Bloodline’ are also personal highlights of mine, but there isn’t a bad track on the album. 8/10

Tidal Wave: The Lord Knows

Well, this is damn fun groovy, grungy slab of desert rock nestled in with the heavier stuff, isn’t it? The bastard love child of Queens of the Stone Age and The Sword, I love it. It’s all about the fuzzy riffs and big sounds, but the Mastadon-like vocals are also impressive and fit so well. The album is chock full of highlights too, I can’t pick just one or two tracks to name. From the QOTSA-esque opener to the faster paced, heavier single ‘ End of the Line’ to the slower, plodding epicness of ‘By Order of the King’, it’s all excellent. This will be one I’ll be listening to on and off for the rest of the year, and the band have a huge new fan in me. 9/10

Oak Pantheon: The Absence

This is one of the first atmospheric black metal bands I think I’ve truly ‘got’. While I still wouldn’t sit down and listen to a track on a one off too much, I really enjoyed listening to the album in full and it gave me a new appreciation of the black metal genre. From the slow build of the acoustic-based intro to the absolute bop that is ‘Listen!’ (it has clean vocals in it *shocked face*), this was an extremely well put together and dynamic album. Even the shorter tracks had enough melody to them to keep me gripped throughout. ‘Dissociate’ was another banger, as was ‘Decisions’. But of course, the proggy epic ‘Silence We Plead’ is still awesome too. 9/10, am I a black metal fan now?

SKÁLD: Huldufólk

This is a new one for us, as it bares really no basis at all in rock music. However, it is dark AF folk music that feels heavier than some of the music on this list, which earnt its place. If anyone has played or watched THe Witcher at any point in their lives, it’s essentially the music from that. It’s fucking AWESOME. There’s even screams in here, so it’s practically metal, right? It also gives me heavy The Hu vibes with the chanting, tribal-style vocals. It’s hard to pick specific highlights as it all sounded pretty similar, but it was all enjoyable and I’d definitely recommend if you want something out of the ordinary! 7/10

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Wavelengths: Have Syncolima Topped Where the End Meets the Beginning?

Syncolima have been around a few years now, putting out their debut album in 2021 to much acclaim. Now, the band are back with their followup, Wavelengths, which is set for release in April. How does it measure up to their debut? Find out below!

‘Beautifully Unsaid’ opens the album strongly with not one, but two powerful riffs. It’s sludgy, heavy and awesome. The vocals fit in well over the top of the riffing, especially with the interesting effect and mixing on them. It’s got some reverb to it and honestly sounds further back in the mix than most vocals too. It was a nice touch, making it sound more of an instrument, part of the band instead of the focal point. Having said that, it still builds to a huge, pretty catchy chorus.

We get an awesome little solo bass bit from Stoff to introduce yet another sick riff after the second chorus. We also get an awesome, if brief, lead guitar solo. It sounds awesome and it’s so refreshing to hear a band not add a second guitar when there is only one guitarist, it just being the lead line and bass. Very Pantera of them. Then a final chorus takes us home in style, the first track being awesome!

The following track is titled perfectly. ‘Riff’ is so incredibly stacked with awesome playing from the guitars from start to finish. I also loved it dropping down through the spoken-word verses. It felt Suicidal Tendencies in the best possible way. Also, another fantastic chorus is tucked between the spoken word and riffs, a punky, catchy slab of arena-filling singalong. The lyrics, while silly, got some laughs out of me as well as being rather apt and true to most metalheads, including myself. Everything about this was awesome, especially packed into just over three minutes in length. Easily playlisted!

Check out similar music here.

‘Communicide’ opens on a slightly more grungy riff, sounding like something Soundgarden would come out with. Especially when it drops back down for the verses, Stoff working overtime again on the bass and sounding great behind the awesome vocals. It stays steady and plodding through the choruses, too, but the harmonies made it sound massive. We end up heading into a pretty jazzy breakdown after the second chorus, Stoff again being a highlight on the bass, but the lead guitar work over the top is also incredible. Said section was the highlight of the track, clearly showing off the band’s versatility. However, overall it was another great song!

The heaviness returns with ‘New Beginnings’, as does a healthy dose of anger. It’s a breakup song, be that for a relationship or friendship, and definitely feels darker than the other tracks so far. While having a similar structure and writing style to the others, it feels completely different which was a really nice touch, keeping the album fresh.

The album’s title track is a slower track, the closest thing to a ballad on the album. The main riff is awesome. It all gave me Pantera’s ‘Cemetery Gates’ vibes, both in the structure and the guitar tones. The chorus is another catchy one too, maybe my favourite on the album due to the attitude and delivery of the vocals. Also, the heavy outro is sick. Another easily playlisted track!

‘Death of an Enemy’ again picks the pace back up, being pretty similar to the opening couple of tracks. That, ‘Dead and Gone’, ‘The Dregs’ and even epic closer ‘Pound of Flesh’ all channel a similar sound and energy. All were fantastic tracks, but didn’t offer anything new in terms of sound so, therefore, I’d struggle to write about them without repeating myself!

‘Down in the Muck Again’ is another favourite track on the album for me, however. It’s more of a straight-up stomping rock track than the rest of the album, having a faster pace and less time to breathe. Also, the outro is frankly insane; balls-to-the-wall and a lot of fun. It’s definitely a standout track and makes the playlist!

Overall: I loved this. I’ve always been a fan of the sludgier, stoner side of metal and this did it just as good as the greats of the genres. The band are all insanely talented players and have stepped up their game massively from a songwriting standpoint. They’re definitely ones to watch this year with this new album, it’s going to take them far!

The Score: 8/10

New Music Mondays: VV, Obituary and More!

The first full week for New Music Mondays, and it’s full of some great releases. You know the drill by now, check them out!

VV: Neon Noir

The HIM frontman released his muchly anticipated debut solo album on Friday. It’s about what you’d expect, to be honest. As someone who never quite ‘got’ HIM back in the day, I hate to say that this didn’t do much for me. I never quite got into the whole ‘love rock’ thing they had going on and always found myself preferring bands that leaned heavier into the goth side of their sound.

Having said that, it is objectively not a bad album. If you like HIM, you’ll love this. Single ‘Run Away from the Sun’ is still incredibly catchy and a decent synth-pop-rock track. I personally just got pretty bored of it by a few tracks in. 4/10

Obituary: Dying of Everything

The death metal legends’ 11th album is an assault to the senses in the best way. It’s old-school death metal, I don’t know what else you want me to say. If you like their earlier stuff, as well as bands like Death or Slayer, you’ll love this. It’s fast, aggressive and all the band are massively talented to be able to play and write this sort of thing. I’m a big old-school thrash head so tracks like ‘Barely Alive’, ‘Without a Conscience’ and ‘My Will to Live’ are all amazing. 7.5/10

Check out a similar band here.

Margo Price: Strays

Country/blues/pop-rock singer-songwriter Margo Price is on her fourth album with this release, and it’s maybe her most ambitious yet. A lot of it is stripped back, steady country music, but it also somehow has a polished pop edge and a rock sound at the same time. It’s honestly hard to pick highlight tracks as it’s all so superbly written and genuinely interesting. There isn’t much out there like this, especially not up to this standard. However, ‘Light Me Up’ feels like the best showcase of exactly what Margo is about so would be a good place to start for a newcomer. Also, the Dolly Parton-esque single ‘Lydia’ is phenomenal, made even more impactful and epic thanks to the string backing. A good album, and a great start to the country year! 8/10

Ropes Inside a Hole: A Man and his Nature

So this is an odd one. Honestly for the first five minutes of the bands sophomore album I thought it was going to be a similar situation to Beautiful Death; a slower, dark, atmospheric album, but this time with lyrics. Then, I was suddenly slapped in the face by atmospheric black metal. There aren’t any screams or anything like that, the sporadic vocals stay clean and almost ethereal, very much another background instrument. But the instrumentation itself gets heavy.

And, due to the prog elements of the album, it is constantly changing up between clean, stripped-back, slower parts and epic, distorted heavy sections. However, also due to the prog elements, I found myself getting bored after the 3rd track or so. I can definitely appreciate how amazing the music is and will happily listen to it again if it comes on, but it’s like Tool without the amazing lyrics and soaring vocal hooks, something’s missing. Still, if you like proggier music and insane musicianship, check this out. Especially ‘Feet in The Swamp, Gaze to the Sky’, from the heavy riffs to the sexy sax, what a track. 7/10

Ahab: The Coral Tombs

Not gonna lie, I only really started my death/black metal journey over the last year or so, so extreme, proggy blackened death metal like this is a little much for me, it’s not really my jam. However, the slower, quieter and more stripped-back bits were pretty enjoyable, in a dark, atmospheric kinda way. And I cannot deny the sheer talent that the band have for being able to play and write like this, it’s definitely one hell of a skill.

If you like this sort of thing, you’ll probably love this, but I didn’t quite ‘get’ it. Because of that, I’m sorry, but I have to give it a 3.5/10

Beyond The Black: Self-Titled

I’ve loved this band for a few years now, since Heart of the Hurricane came randomly across my Spotify. So, when I was doing the research for this weeks New Music Monday and saw they had a new album out, I was pretty excited.

For the most part, it lives up to the hype I put on it. The band have been one of the most underrated symphonic metal bands in the world the last few years, and this shows why they should be towards the top of the genre. It’s filled with beefy riffs and huge, epic choruses. There are also some insane lead guitar lines and vocal harmonies throughout. It’s also yet again almost impossible to pick standout tracks. Every track is incredible and a highlight in its own right. From the heaviness of ‘Reincarnation’ to the beautiful ballad ‘Wide Awake’, all of it is top notch. This is already going to be a tough album to beat this year, and it’s only the second week! 9/10

Screamer: Kingmaker

The heavy rock/mythological AOR boys are back for their fifth studio album, and honestly, it’s pretty good! It’s very reminiscent of the NWOBH, I assume that’s why they self identify so much as being in Sweden’s modern equivalent. It’s a great mix of Judas Priest, early Iron Maiden and Tygers of Pan Tang. Of course single ‘The Traveller’ is a huge highlight, but tracks like ‘Ashes and Fire’ and opener ‘Kingmaker’ are also great. It’s just a great classic metal album, and if that’s the sort of thing you like then you’ll love it. 8/10, these guys should be so much bigger than they are.

Crom: The Era of Darkness

This was one hell of an epic album. Think Iron Maiden if it was injected with a healthy dose of power metal. The instrumentation was a massive highlight throughout, there being some insane riffs and lead parts, as well as the drummer working harder than anyone not in a death metal band. There’s some amazingly huge, catchy choruses on the album too, from the opener to ‘Higher Ground’ to ‘Bridge of Paradise’. There were also some pretty great extreme metal growls thrown in for good measure, sounding awesome and very fitting.

My only slight issue is that it’s maybe a tad too long. The tracks are good, but the album is nearly an hour in length. Though that may have just been because I had another eight albums to listen to this weekend too…

Either way, this was very good, and I’d highly recommend checking it out! 8.5/10

Degradations: Masque

The sophomore album and first in six years from the melodic deathcore band, Masque goes hard. I wasn’t familiar with the band prior to this, but given the quality of this album, I’d imagine it was worth the wait! The whole album is awesome from start to finish, a masterclass on how to write fast, aggressive, heavy music. Tracks like ‘New World Vulture’ and the epic closer/title track are personal highlights of the album for me. 8/10, this was fucking awesome!

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MCLXXX: The album to push King Kraken to the Top?

British rockers King Kraken have been going from strength to strength the last couple of years. Though pretty heavy by comparison, they have been adopted by the NWOCR scene and are getting a fair amount of buzz from it. I’m a pretty big fan, so when sent through the album jumped at the chance to review it early. Let’s see what it’s like, shall we?

Opening the album on a dirty, slow bass riff is amazing, and it’s a great riff when the guitars come in too. It’s heavy and sludgy, the perfect stoner metal combo. It somehow feels more open in the verse, the vocals sound great over the top of the still phat riff. The vocal melody reminds me of a Clutch/Black Label Society lovechild and I love it. The chorus is catchy without losing a single ounce of the heaviness too, which is a testament to their songwriting. The bridge after the second chorus was another awesome riff, being steady and massive, building layer upon layer on top until we’re suddenly slapped with another fantastic riff and a sleazy AF solo. A final chorus and outro take us out in style and cap off one hell of an opening track. Of course this makes the playlist!

‘Bastard Liar’ suddenly shifts the tone of the album drastically into thrash/melodic death metal, and I’m all here for it. From the blinding fast speed to the ‘Collateral Damage (Exodus, 2014)’ intro noodle to the amazing scream, it’s all brilliant. The thrash continues the verse while the vocals clean up, Mark Donoghue’s signature power on full display. It slows up heading into the chorus with a fantastic riff and a really catchy stoner/doom vocal melody.

An awesome, technical solo follows the second chorus, reminding me a lot of Kirk Hammett in its style, especially his leads on Death Magnetic. It perfectly transitions back into a final verse and chorus before an absolutely INCREDIBLE outro follows it. It’s an extended, heavy as fuck breakdown. The riff is slow, evil and heavy, and the screaming returns with a vengeance. What a way to close a track. I NEED to see this live. Playlisted.

Single ‘Green Terror’ opens on a heavy riff and stays stomping throughout. It kinda gives off Danko Jones vibes with how full on it is, and y’all know how much I love Danko. It’s infectiously catchy throughout, the riffs and the vocals both being huge highlights. There’s also some fantastic soloing in here, doing the Megadeth thing of stripping back the riff for the solo, then building it back up for a bar, then another solo. Heck, we get multiple riffs behind the lead stuff, it’s a real guitarists dream. This was another amazing song and I see why they chose it as a single, it highlights them all perfectly.

‘Veins’ feels like a slightly lighter ‘Bastard Liar’, a balls-to-the-wall track full of quick drums, catchy, powerful vocals and plenty of sludgy riffs. Then we reach the lead single of the album, ‘Haddonfield 78’. The Halloween-based track sounds suitably evil in its riffs, fitting the lyrical content perfectly. It’s one of my favourite choruses of the album too, massively catchy while maintaining the fun heaviness. Also, we get a HUGE breakdown in this, complete with screams and even a key change. Everything about the track is awesome. Playlisted!

‘Man Made Monster’ heavies things back up with some screams and a very Metallica, Death Magnetic feel to things again. It’s just more awesomeness from King Kraken. The same could be said for ‘Walls of Jericho’, ‘Chaos Engine’ and even closing track ‘Castle of Bone’. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with these tracks, quite the opposite, honestly. They are all fantastic. They are all just fairly similar, and it’s hard to write about them all individually without repeating myself.

The only track in the back half that stood out to me was ‘Proctors Ledge’. It was a little slower and slightly more relaxed, the main riff reminding me of Sublime’s ‘Pawn Shop’. I enjoyed it a lot, but have to admit it might have been fun to have an even slower, even ballad-like track on the album, letting the band show off another side of them and even more depth. Still though, I cannot complain about what I got!

Overall: I loved this. It was the perfect blend of heavy and melodic, sludgy and Clutch. These guys are going to have a HUGE year with this coming out at the start of it. Hopefully I can get to see them live as this is going to be so good at a gig or festival. I know it’s early but an album of the year candidate, for sure. One of my new favourite modern bands.

The Score: 9/10

New Music Mondays: Iggy Pop, Anti-Flag and More!

We’re back! Now that the holidays are done with and out of the way, bands are starting to put out music again, and we have a whole new 12 months to look at! And for some reason, though there aren’t many releases in this first week of the year, it’s quite a punky one! Let’s check it out!

Iggy Pop: Every Loser

This impressed the hell out of me. I know he is affectionately dubbed the ‘Godfather of Punk’, but the man is like three million years old at this point (give or take a couple of months) so to hear that he can still go this hard is fantastic. ‘Frenzy’ is an angry punk masterpiece while single ‘Strung Out Johnny’ feels more of a new-wave track.

That’s how the album goes, there’s a surprising amount of depth. Tracks like ‘Neo-Punk’ and ‘Modern Day Ripoff’ are straight up punk while tracks like ‘The Regency’, ‘Morning Show’ and ‘All the Way Down’ are slower, more reflective tracks. It’s an incredibly well written album over all and full of great tracks from both sides. I’m hard pressed to find anything wrong with it, even the interludes are fun and felt fitting. 7.5/10

Check out more punk here.

Anti-Flag: LIES THEY TELL OUR CHILDREN

I’ve been a fan of this band for years, ever since that song was on the Shaun White games. The band also have one of the most consistent back catalogue’s of anyone, with everything from their debut to recent releases being stellar.

They keep up the streak with this one. They have always been some of the best lyricists in the game, and this is up their with their last album in terms of flawless anti-establishment sentiment. Going after the government and the worst parts of modern society’s way of thinking is something I can 100% get behind, and it is done masterfully here.

Plus, nearly every track featuring a different guest artist gave it all a different feel to it and most really added a lot to the tracks. Even the track with Rise Against’s Tim Mcllrath, ‘THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES’, has grown on me a lot listening to the album since I first heard it as a single. The track is very Rise Against, which is cool. The band have seemed to attempt to adopt the style of the guest’s music into their sound for each track, which is both interesting and insanely impressive.

It’s hard to pick out a highlight here as every track is really great. If you’re in any way a punk fan you’ll love this just like I did. These guys don’t get nearly enough credit as being solidly one of the best things in the rock scene for over two decades now. Everyone reading this, check out the album immediately, it’s fantastic. 9/10

Beautiful Death: Finis

So, this was a weird one for us. Acoustic instrumental stuff isn’t usually our vibe here at Overtone. However, this was all so dark and ominous, it was essentially atmospheric black metal without the distortion and extreme vocals. I put this on a fair bit in the background over the weekend and honestly love it. It’d work so perfectly as a soundtrack to a movie or game, especially an epic or horror. I don’t have too much to say about this given that it’s all pretty similar, but it is all great! 7/10

And there we have it, everything from the first week of the year! Check out some of last weeks from our Instagram here.

Blood & Glitter: Lord of the Lost’s Valliant Return!

Lord of the Lost are a band that have been on my radar for a while now, but I know unfortunately very little about them. I checked out one of their older singles for a reaction video (find it here) and have since checked out a few more of their older bits on YouTube. However, this will be my first full album from the band. And what better way to close out on the last review of music from 2022 than with something vaguely new, ey? Let’s get into it!

The album’s opener and title track opens straight into Chris “The Lord” Harms’ low, powerful vocals. They’re slow and over a piano, throwing me off for a moment as I thought we were opening on a ballad. I was quickly disproven as a great industrial guitar riff comes in and Chris gives us a fantastic scream over the top. It drops back to the expected epic, slower gothic stuff in the verses, but picks up into the huge, almost power metal choruses.

The synths are a big highlight, somehow making it all even more catchy. Also, the record scratching was a very unexpected addition, but it sounded good! Also, the quick delivery in the second half of the verses reminded me a lot of Shinedown, for some reason. There’s so many different dynamics to this track, the screams adding maybe my favourite layer. It’s a great opening track and really gives the listener a good idea of what the band is about.

‘Leave Your Hate in the Comments’, while inherently a little cringy just from the title, has a GREAT heavy riff to open. Having said that, it’s a solid, fun track. It’s heavier throughout, being more of a metal track than anything else. The screamed chorus was also good, silly fun. The epic clean parts were also great. Somehow, this makes the playlist. They made a ‘fuck the haters’ track so good that I couldn’t not love it.

‘Absolute Attitude’ opens like an 80s synthwave track. I kinda loved it. It made it all very catchy and it felt massive when the distorted guitars came in for the choruses. Again, the harsher vocals were a highlight for the bridge, and it was if anything just as catchy as the choruses. The track has a great, positive message behind it too which was nice.

Another great industrial riff opens ‘The Future of a Past Life’. However, outside of that and Marcus Bischoff’s impressive guest vocals, it’s a lot of the same as we’ve already heard. The same could be said for the following track, ‘No Respect for Disrespect’ and other tracks like ‘Dead End’, ‘Forever Lost’ and ‘Save our Souls’. I really like this band and their style, but they do stick in their comfort zone for a good portion of this album. Not that I can blame them, it just means I simply have less to write about.

The presence of Andy Laplegua made ‘Reset the Preset’ a pretty fun, engaging and interesting track compared to a lot of the others on here. From the low, creepy Marylin Manson style vocal delivery to the kids choir and heavy-yet-catchy screamed chorus and the faster and faster vocals through the verses, it’s really cool to begin with. I have to admit the upbeat chorus felt a little out of place compared to the rest of the track, but it was still a damn good track once I got used to it! Playlisted!

Check out more gothic music here.

Then you have tracks like ‘Leaving the Planet Earth’ and especially ‘One Last Song’ that are undoubtably the ballads of the album. Both are emotional, pretty deep tracks that definitely address some interesting issues and do so perfectly in the slower setting. Chris’ vocals and lyrics are clearly the main focus and highlight of the tracks, but that’s not to take away from how awesome the rest of the band are throughout, too. These are Lord of the Lost at their best, and the former definitely makes the playlist!

To close out, the band throw in a cover for good measure. Now, it’s not my favourite cover of Roxette’s ‘The Look’ (that would go to Candlelight Red), it’s a damn fun cover and Blumchen does a great deal to add to it in her performance. It’s a fun synth-rock/new wave take on the track and I had fun listening to it!

Overall: This was good! I’ve only recently gotten into this band, which can probably be seen in reading my review, but I like a lot of the different elements that they put into it all. There are some good track on here and some amazing individual parts. However, even after listening to a full album, something about this band doesn’t quite click for me, though I have no idea why. Still, it gets a very respectable score from me!

The Score: 7.5/10

State of Mind: Genre-Hopping Awesomeness from Thunderian Summer

East Midlands own Thunderian Summer have only been around for a few years, but have already been making waves in the underground rock scene. Having released their debut album just a couple of weeks back, the future looks very bright for them! We got sent over the album by our good friends at Unearthed and just had to check it out!

Opener ‘Pain is a Friend’ has a great, steady, slow-build intro. It explodes into a great lead guitar line over the top, it giving me immediate John Frusciante vibes. The vocals are rather indie over the top, but it also gives off slight New Wave vibes, Pulp or even Billy Idol. The chorus, while the instrumentation doesn’t change too much, is massively open and catchy. It’s a fantastic songwriting talent, to get all of these different sounding parts and levels of depth around the same couple of riffs. It drops back down around the middle, building up again perfectly in a very Ramones style. I loved this tracks, and it easily makes our playlist!

‘Steve McQueen’ opens on a fuzzy guitar riff, again building in the rest of the band perfectly. This one reminds me of Bush more than anything, a grungy take on old-school punk. It’s a simpler track from a structural standpoint, but is just as massive and catchy in the chorus as the previous track. It’s like early Nirvana at times too, and I love it. Plus, the lyrics here are really fantastic; deep and impactful. The drop-out to just guitars and slight drums is awesome and will go down so well live with clapping. Also, Danzig, that’s another voice that this reminds me of! It’s been bugging me the whole song until now… It’s another incredible track, and another to make the playlist!

The lead single from the album, ‘Time Bomb’, is a more blues-lead affair. The main riff is awesome, and is the main focus of the track aside from the Gavin Rossdale-style vocals. However, surprisingly, it lightened up in the choruses, it almost venturing into pop territory. It was all excellent but was certainly unexpected. Because of it, I can definitely see why they chose it for a single. However, it didn’t capture me quite as much as the opening two tracks did. The outro and riff were cool, but something about it didn’t click for me.

‘Cold September’ and ‘Chasing Shadows’ are more slower tracks again. Both feel like the ballads of the album, with the former being more New Wave while the latter is more grunge (with a bit of Type O Negative thrown in for good measure) awesomeness. Both are great tracks and fit the feel and style of the album perfectly. ‘Chasing Shadows’ wouldn’t feel out of place on the Temple of Dog album, it’s great.

‘State of Mind’ opens much like ‘Steve McQueen’, with a grungier Bryan Adams riff. The chorus is a little more open, some almost ska chorus and rhythm going on through it. It’s a fun track and, typically by this point, plenty catchy.

‘Shake Your Sins’ changes it up again, giving us a fantastic acoustic ballad. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the album, honestly. Just vocals and guitar, it is filled with emotion, from the opening note to the heart-breaking lyrics. Sometimes simplicity is key, and that is definitely the case here! You MUST check this out, what a beautiful song.

The opening of ‘Empathy’ reminds me of an Iron Maiden track but I can’t think which. I wanna say ‘Revelations’ or ‘Total Eclipse’. It’s a blend of that, Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam. It’s got a great grungy swagger and attitude to it. Meanwhile ‘Lion Bear Tiger Mama’ completely changes the pace again, introducing a new sound to the album late into the game, straight up rock’n’roll. It came out of left field but in the best of ways, giving off big Led Zep vibes.

Then, out of nowhere, we’re hit with a slow, prog-western track to close out the album. The riffing and lead guitaring that ran through this song was AMAZING, as was the bass, being a massive highlight of the track. It heavies up around the midpoint of the track, the distorted guitars coming in over the top and adding another fantastic layer of depth to it all. The track as a whole is phenomenal, another massive highlight of the album and another to easily make the playlist!

Overall: this was amazing. It blended together so many different genres, from indie to rock to western to acoustic, and did it all masterfully. I would highly recommend this album to anyone, as you’re bound to find something you love no matter your tastes. It’s one hell of a debut album and I cannot wait to here where this band goes in the future after this. They should have a massive 2023!

The Score: 8.5/10

New Music Mondays: Green King, Adam Warner and More!

The last of these before the holidays, it’s only a short one this week. However, there is still some great new music released, so let’s look at it!

Green King: Hidden Beyond Time

Firstly, this is a damn good debut album. Surprisingly enough, this won’t be the first time I’m saying that this week, either.

This is a great combination of heavy metal sounds. There’s a lot of NWOBHM in there, some sludgy stoner/doom stuff, and a LOT of early Metallica thrash. His voice reminds me a lot of a young Hetfield. But then the riffing, while a bit more upbeat, remind me of a combination of Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Tracks like ‘Gates of Annihilation’ and ‘Steel and Ice’ are definite highlights, but it’s also just a strong album overall. If you’re going to listen to them, check out the whole album. At only 7/8 tracks and just over half an hour long, you have no excuse!

If you’re a fan of any of the bands or genres I’ve named above you need to check this out, you won’t be disappointed. 8/10.

Adam Warner: What We’re Known For

Time for some country now, which seems rare in winter. Adam‘s third album is his most ambitious yet, and looks set to catapult him to new heights. His country/blues swagger is on full display on tracks like the title one, ‘Catchin’ Hell’ and ‘Got Started’, while tracks like ‘Split a Beer’ and ‘Like Daddy Did’ shows off his slower, balladier side. And of course single ‘Reason to Redneck’ is a massive highlight, being infectiously catchy and surprisingly well written given the lyrics. Also, of course his cover of the Charlie Daniels Band’s incredible ‘Long Haired Country Boy’ is amazing, too.

Check out more country content here.

Unlike a lot of country albums these days, too, it’s incredibly well structured and balanced. It’s not overly long, just 12 tracks and 35-minutes. And there’s a pretty decent ratio (and spread out too) of ballads and rockier tracks. This is one of the better country albums that I’ve reviewed by far, and I’ll be listening to this a lot over the next few months! 9/10

Highway Queen: Bitter Soul

Another great debut album this week. Opening straight into the foot-stomping, hard rock anthem ‘Hey!’, it sets the tone and pace right from the offset. From the dark heaviness of ‘Get on Your Knees’ and ‘?’ to the more AOR-leaning, melodic ‘Here I Am’, the band clearly have a lot of talent and wear their inspiration on their sleeves. There’s some fantastic riffs and a lot of amazing melodic vocals throughout the entire album, and it’s one hell of a debut. The title track and the slow, epic closing track ‘Own Will’ are also massive highlights to a great album. 8/10, the band have a new big fan in me!

Bloodclot: Souls

The heaviest band to close out the year, how fitting. It’s a great thrash album and VERY Slayer. The opening and title track of the album could be ripped straight off South of Heaven and I love it. However, it does also have some awesome Gojira like riffs thrown in there for good measure, too. ‘Unhinged’ is just over a minute of thrash awesomeness and ‘Infectious’ was a more hardcore punk track, and a lot of fun. Plus, their cover of Bad Brains’ ‘How Low Can Punk Get’ is awesome and fun too! A great follow-up to their debut and I’d highly recommend them for anyone into the faster stuff! 7.5/10.