Tag Archives: alternative music

New Music Mondays: Papa Roach, Jack White and More!

A slightly nicer week this week (for me, at least), with only six albums being released. And as always with new music Mondays join us as we go through them and tell you how great we think they are!

Papa Roach: Ego Trip

The singles from this album have had me both hyped for and dreading the release of the nu-metal legends’ 11th album. After hearing it, I was right to be apprehensive. This wasn’t great.

Now, I do have to admit, I haven’t been a fan of this band much past 2004s Getting Away With Murder, but I have liked the odd song here and there. It was pretty much the same feeling with this entire album. The opener, ‘Kill the Noise’, is classic Papa Roach and is awesome. Then you have tracks like ‘Unglued’ and ‘Cut the Line’ that are also great. But then a fair few of the songs sound like they are trying to be something they are not, taking style and sound from other bands. ‘Stand Up’ and ‘Bloodline’ sound like they are trying to capitalise on the recent popularity of rap-rock/metal artists like FEVER 333 and Ghostmane, while the vocal melody in ‘Liar’ feels ripped straight from Panic! At The Disco or Ice Nine Kills. And don’t even get me started on Swerve. I have been vocal in my dislike of the track since it’s release and I do believe it is the worst thing Jason Aalon Butler has ever been a part of.

So, overall not too impressed, I must say. 4/10

Jack White: Fear of the Dawn

The former half of White Stripes’ fourth solo album and first of two this year was released last week. It’s just as weird and fun as you would imagine it being. ‘Taking Me Back’ and ‘What’s The Trick?’ take me back to the good old White Stripes days while tracks like the title one are surprisingly heavy. It’s not all amazing, but it sure is all interesting. White has always been a fun, underrated songwriter, and that is on full display here. The album will definitely make it into my rotation for the next couple of weeks! 7/10

Cole Swindell: Stereotype

Country finally returns to Overtone with Cole Swindell’s fourth album. It’s definitely on the slower, not-rock side of country music, but there is enough good stuff here for it to be enjoyable. His duet with Lainey Wilson is fantastic and ‘Down to the Bar’ is good fun. Unfortunately the tracks with guests are by far the best tracks on the album. The rest isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, but it’s all rather slow and… well… serious. I’m not after a comedy album or anything but at least give me something that sounds like you enjoyed writing and recording it, Cole. It was good but a depressing, kinda boring slog of an album. 5/10

Destruction: Diabolical

One of the ‘big 4’ of Germany, Destruction just released their whopping 15th studio album. Now, I’m a pretty big fan of thrash, but I do admit there is a large gap in my knowledge when it comes to Germany. I know Kreator, and that’s about it. Clearly I am going to have to change that, because this was awesome! You can tell they are a band that have been doing this for a while, everything is so polished and crisp, even for a thrash album. ‘No Faith in Humanity’, ‘Hope Dies Last’ and ‘Ghost From the Past’ are all massive highlights. My only slight issue is the same one I have with most thrash albums these days: it’s 13 tracks of straight thrash. The reason I like Metallica and Megadeth as much is because they would mix up the tempos and arrangements and keep the album interesting. 90% of thrash bands however, including Destruction apparently, just go hard from start to finish. It’s good, but took a little too long for me. 7.5/10

Short Stack: Maybe There’s No Heaven

The Aussie pop-punk rockers returned with their fourth album this last week. It has a very modern sound to it, combining pretty apparent influences from Linkin Park into the typical punk sound, while still having some harsh vocals thrown in for good measure. But, having said that, there are still traditionally pop-punk tracks too, like ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Sunshine’. Both styles are pretty great. The whole album is a damn strong offering and quite easily the best, most enjoyable album I’ve listened to this week. The band have a new fan in me, I shall definitely be checking out their old stuff! 8.5/10

If you like pop punk, check out this review!

Incite: Wake up Dead

The groove/thrash/hardcore metallers rose to fame quite early on as frontman Richie is the step-son of metal legend Max Cavalera. Now on their sixth studio album, though, the band have carved out their own path thanks to their awesome writing and musicianship.

All of that is on full display here. The album goes hard from start to finish with fantastic, heavy riff after riff. The vocals keep up with it too, delivering an onslaught of harshness and fantastic lyrics. Tracks like ‘Deadbeat’, ‘Built to Destroy’ and the family reunion track ‘War Soup’ are all massive highlights and all make the playlist. If you’re into you’re heavy, faster music give this a listen, you won’t be disappointed! 8/10

Some good stuff this week, though a little disappointed by the bigger names, surprisingly. Join us as always next week for the eventual release of Fozzy’s new album! Find it from our Facebook when it’s out from our link here.

The Skyline Lights: An Ambitious Project In a Tetralogy of Them!

When talking to Daniel Sherrill, my contact from the Chicagoland area special events planning team, he had this to say about the inspiration for Skyline Lights :

What inspired this particular release was us wanting to put together a perfect set of songs that the listener would have on their Mp3 player during an evening walk in the city of Chicago after being dropped off by the Metra train. The train I take from Elburn, IL to Chicago drops you off at the Ogilvie Transportation Center which is located right in the heart of “The Loop” area which is the most photogenic part of the city at night. It’s the most calming thing to being foot exploring all of the skyscrapers when they’re lit up at night. You get the full effect out of it on a walk with the right music to lead the way. That’s where the title came from and inspiration. Spring is the season coming up here where I’m having those exact same walks. Now I have a designated playlist for the occasion.

The album itself is a massively impressive feat. 145 tracks of country, pop, rock and symphonic metal performed by some of the best female artists around today. Now, that’s a long walk, I have to say. So, unfortunately, I cannot do a written review of all of the tracks. I do, however, have some plans for more features on this soon. In the meantime, I have a review of the first 20 tracks on the album, as well as a few more words from Daniel!

After a brief monologue intro from Jillian Jade Kallenbach, we launch into the title track, sung by Ariel Ryder. It’s a pop track so obviously not what we typically cover here, but I really enjoyed it. It was simple, just a slow piano, simple drums and some fantastic, multi-tracked vocals. The emotion is palpable already, something I feel will be a feature throughout the album. Ariel is one hell of a vocalist and gets to show it off perfectly here.

Shirley Tracanna, front-woman of Czech symphonic metal band Wishmasters, does a fantastic piano cover of Lady gaga’s ‘Million Reasons’. It was beautiful and such a showcase of Shirley’s talent, especially when it’s quite a different sound than her usual work. Moa Lignell also does a fantastic cover, this time of Dire Straits’ ‘Why Worry’. Both tracks are fairly similar in terms of composition, with this one too being a beautiful piano ballad.

When diving further in-depth about the project, Daniel said:

This is the fourth such compilation we’ve released and each one features a larger cast than the one previous. “The Skyline Lights” was meant to be the finale of the four albums so extra care was taken to bring a memorable group of artists together this time to create something special and to have a carefully planned release day that everyone could be involved in and share with their fans. I was very pleased with how it turned out.

There’s a good mix of Country artists and female fronted Symphonic rock musicians. Usually the two genres are never on the same releases but here everyone’s songs blend in well.

Next up Freakstorm bring a country-rock feel to proceedings with their acoustic track, ‘Out of the Door’. It’s definitely the closest track to ‘my thing’ so far, and again it’s so well done. Brimming with emotion, it’s insane that people can get such feeling out of vocals and an acoustic guitar. The storyline through the tracks so far has been fantastic too, setting the scene beautifully.

The album returns to the piano ballads with Demetra Dokos’ beautiful track. Then we finally start getting a few ensemble pieces. While still heavily piano-led, German symphonic metal band Xiphea adds some beautiful strings over the top as well as some distorted guitar for the choruses. It’s a metal ballad through and through and wouldn’t sound out of place on the latest Epica album, it’s that good.

Then you have tracks like ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Big Bang Drums’ that add an almost folk-rock style to their symphonic metal base. Heck, the latter in particular, from Mireya Derksen, feels like it draws together that many genres of music, from rock to metal to folk to electro-pop. It reminds me a lot of The Fifth Element. I would take that as a compliment because what a soundtrack that movie had. This is a personal favourite track of mine, but so far all have been fantastic.

‘Hammer of Thor’ is somehow a folk-pop track, a sub-genre I didn’t know I needed so much of in my life. Oda Gondrosen does a fantastic job on this track, and it honestly wouldn’t sound out of place in Vikings or The Hobbit.

Our theatre group/events planning team had been away from doing live events for two years during the pandemic and this series of streaming compilations was a good way to keep active and to engage our usual fans in the absence of live events. We’d been a consistent live event group since 2008 and now that the majority of our state is back to normal we will be directing and collaborating on a series of brand new events with the group members from the Chicago area.

‘A fifth compilation is set for late July to reunite the international group of artists from “The Skyline Lights” and for those who can’t geographically be part of the new events.

Erika Johnston Miner has the unenviable task of covering Brian Adams’ classic ‘Heaven’. It’s fitting emotionally, but I do have to admit I prefer the original. It just doesn’t quite have the same power behind it as Adams’ version.

The Soap Girls arrive a little later on to bring some much needed variety to the tracks, adding their own level of punk to it all. However, having said that, it still maintains the same atmosphere and darkness as all the other tracks on the album so far. It’s truly impressive that they have managed to get so many styles into one album while still keeping the same feeling throughout. 18 tracks in and it’s still interesting and flowing well.

Our good friend Jehanna brings her Ancient Waters project to the proceedings with her awesome track, Måneskinsskygge. We already have a review of the album up which features this song, which you can find here. It fits in with this album just as well as her own, too.

The project isn’t just about the recording, either. Daniel and his colleagues are planning a massive three night show across various different venues in Chicago. ‘In the 80s when a movie was too long for one night on regular television they would promote it as a “three part miniseries” at least here in the states like Ben Hur… Sound of Music.. Jesus of Nazareth” all the long two vhs tape movies… like Titanic.

‘So that’s our vibe for the new tour. A three part miniseries. Where the audience comes to all three shows to be in in the running storyline.’

You can check out the rest of the album and also donate to the cause here. And, as usual, if you enjoyed our content, drop is a follow on Instagram here.

Casual Abrasive: Are Feverjaw the Next Big Indie Band?

The Cardiff based alt/indie rock band Feverjaw have been going for a little while now, having put out their debut album last year and now added to that with this new 4-track EP. While it isn’t usually my sort of music, I’m excited to check it out as I have seen the buzz getting up around this band!

‘Midsommar’ (also one of my favourite movies) opens on a pretty fun riff. It builds up slowly with the vocals and drums. It all culminates in a massive chorus, the backing vocals and harmonies adding some depth and catchiness to it all, making it all sound huge. The bridge after the second chorus is awesome, feeling like it builds up the epicness well heading into a final chorus. However, overall while it was a good, enjoyable track, it felt a little simple, it didn’t really go anywhere. Still, as an opening track it was fun!

‘Free Fire’ is a little more up my street. The lead guitar line during the opening riff felt punk AF. That feeling continued through the verse as it was pretty bass and drums lead, the guitars coming in with big chords at the start of each line. It also builds into a big, catchy, fantastic chorus, again the backing vocals adding a lot. There’s even a bit of a guitar solo in there, a little repetitive but that comes with the genre really! It dropping out to just guitar and vocals heading into the final chorus is always fun and works very well here. This was more my sort of thing than the opening track and it makes the playlist. Good stuff!

The punk vibes continue through ‘And the Machines’, it being probably the heaviest track on the EP. It gives off pretty heavy Misfits vibes actually with the chuggy verses and huge, cymbal-heavy choruses. It drops down a bit for a fun bridge, focussing more on the bass and drums. Then, it builds up into a huge final double chorus. Another good track!

Then finally we have ‘Freeze the Frame’. It’s the slowest and most indie track on the EP by quite a margin. It’s a slow track filled with a repeating clean guitar riff with some higher, very US indie-style vocals over the top. I kept waiting for it to drop but it didn’t, staying chilled throughout. I have to admit, I loved it. The simple nature of the track won me over big time, and it felt full of emotion. It reminded me a lot of Lumineers, which is definitely a good thing!

Overall: This grew on me a lot throughout. After a rocky opening track it honestly just got better and better. The band are very talented musicians and songwriters and will go a long way if they keep putting out stuff like this!

The Score: 7/10

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New Music Mondays: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Meshuggah and More!

Another big week for new music in rock and metal, both for younger bands and older ones. 11 albums in total, so let’s not waste time, here they are!

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Unlimited Love

I’m just going to leave a link to my full review of the album here. I hated that I wasn’t a big fan of it , and given that it’s had mixed (at best) reviews, at least I’m not alone. But hell, I don’t want to talk about this album any more, I want something funner. Find the score from the link, but it was not great.

Meshuggah: Immutable

The extreme-prog metal band have been on the roll of their careers the last 15 years or so. Despite forming way back in the late 80s, it wasn’t until 2008s ObZen when it felt like the band truly hit their stride commercially and artistically. The two albums that followed that were also amazing. Does this one live up to them?

After a slow start, we reach the single ‘The Abysmal Eye’ and the album takes off into a gear only few can hit. It’s heavy and crazy proggy while somehow still maintaining an almost Mushroomhead-like catchiness to it all vocally. It’s a good album, but I do have to admit it does get a little repetitive at times. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to have a reprieve from the brutality momentarily thanks to ‘They Move Below’ (what a track, by the way), but otherwise it’s pretty full on. Still, I cannot complain about having too much of a good thing really, can I? If you are a fan of Machine Head, Parkway Drive, or just general industrial, prog or extreme metal at all, check this out! 9/10

Islander: It’s Not Easy Being Human

The South Carolina alt-metal band has a lot of guests on it. Eight of the 17 tracks on the album has a guest vocalist or band member be a part of it. I’m not sure if that’s cool or overkill or feels cheep and like they couldn’t write a full album by themselves. Especially since tracks like ‘Evil’ and ‘The Outsider’ are just the band on their own and are both awesome tracks. Having said that though, some of the tracks with guests are also fantastic. In particular, ‘Skin Crawl’ with members of Korn, Zao and Living Sacrifice. It somehow sounds like a mixture of all four bands, blending the styles perfectly. The album as a whole is a diverse blend of styles, a melting pot of the early 2000s metal scene, from Linkin Park to Machine Head to Papa Roach to Korn. I love the whole scene they are going for, so the band have definitely gained a new fan in me! It’s maybe a tad bloated at 17 tracks, but it’s worth a listen from front to back, for sure! 8.5/10

Nekrogoblikon: The Fundamental Slimes and Humours

And now it’s time for a band that I don’t really get. I’ve always seen it as a gimmick that’s fun at first but the appeal never lasted too long. After this new album, I still don’t think I get it. I enjoyed it more than everything else I have heard from the band (which admittedly isn’t a lot), but I still don’t think I liked it. There’s some fun, catchy vocal lines and keyboard melodies, and the vocalist that sounds like he’s trying to be Axl Rose has a good voice. If it was just him and the carnival-style metal instrumentation behind it I could at a push enjoy it. But switching between that and the growling goblin and the sheer mess of songwriting each track is, I found myself getting lost and bored easily. ‘This is It’ is kind of a bop, though. I get that a lot of people like it and they aren’t the most serious of bands so maybe I’d appreciate it more live. But for now, 4/10

PUP: THE UNRAVELLING OF PUPTHEBAND

Pathetic Use of Potential, the band, are a fantastic Canadian punk band. Another band I hadn’t even heard of before I’d started doing this NMM, I’m disappointed that I hadn’t found them sooner. This album is amazing. It’s so refreshing to hear bands actually having fun with their music these days, especially when talking about some pretty deep subject matter at times. All of the ‘Four Chords’ parts are hilarious and tracks like ‘Totally Fine’, ‘Robot Writes a Love Song’ and ‘PUPTHEBAND Inc. Is Filing for Bankruptcy’ are all amazing. They can get pretty heavy at times, almost feeling like a punk version of early Biffy. And it all fits so well with the concept of the album. There isn’t a bad track on here and I’ll definitely be listening to it a lot over the coming months! 8.5/10

Wolf: Shadowland

The Swedish heavy metal band have worked hard since forming in ’95, on their 9th album since the turn of the millennium. Shadowland is exactly what you would expect out of a band heavily inspired by NWOBHM in 2022. It’s a good, fun rock album, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the sub-genre that arguably peaked nearly half a century ago. All the band members are immensely talented at music and songwriting, and tracks like ‘Dust’ and ‘Seek the Silence’ are definite highlights. I simply feel that after so much from Saxon and Priest and Accept over the years that new music like this isn’t too interesting to me. But as I said, I did enjoy the album, and I feel like I would love it live! 5.5/10

Crows: Beware Believers

The sophomore album of fast-rising indie-punk band Crows feels like a big deal for them. Having toured with the likes of Wolf Alice and IDLES before and their first album being well received, this second seemed a little make or break. While I’m not really down with the whole indie scene, it definitely feels like it’s a big deal album for the scene. It’s pretty heavy and dirty, almost transcending the typical genre restraints. It definitely meant I enjoyed it more! The singles from the album are definite highlights, but I managed to listen through this whole thing without getting bored, which is rare for me! 5/10

Carpenter Brut: Leather Terror

I had never heard darksynth before today but came across this album when I was doing my research for this article. It’s pretty fucking heavy. Like, surprisingly so. And I kinda love it. Whenever the guest vocalists come in it feels like it takes away the heaviness a little, but it only drops down to around a BMTH level. If you are into industrial or techno influenced music or not I’d recommend checking this out anyway, it’s a completely different approach to heavy music and is interesting if nothing else. However, I found it damn enjoyable, with highlights including ‘Straight Outta Hell’ and ‘Night Prowler’. 7/10

Satan: Earth Infernal

The Geordie heavy metal band were around during the first surge of NWOBHM and have been on and off again ever since. Their fourth album since their 2011 reunion, Earth Infernal continues the band’s legacy pretty well. Some tracks, like ‘Twelve Infernal Lords’ and ‘Poison Elegy’ were enjoyable and highlights, but as I stated when it came to Wolf, I’ve simply gotten a tad bored of NWOBHM recently. At least new tracks in it, anyway. It’s not a bad album and it’s not like I’d skip a track if it came on or anything, it’s just not something I’d go out of my way to listen to. 5.5/10

Evil Invaders: Shattering Reflection

And finally we end this week on some thrash/heavy metal. The Belgian band have been around since 2007 but this third album may be their best yet. The riffs are fantastic, the vocals powerful, high and impressive and the song writing top notch. ‘In Deepest Black’ is one of the best ballads I’ve heard this year and ‘Eternal Darkness’ is a masterclass in old-school thrash metal the kind I haven’t heard in a long time. It reminds me a lot of Judas Priest’s Painkiller album, and it’s right up my street! Check this out! 8/10

And there we have it! What a week for metal music! As usual join us again next week, this time for nu-metal legends Papa Roach!

Unlimited Love: Will The Return of Frusciante Help RHCP Finally Put Out Another Great Album?

Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) are one of the highest selling bands in the world, with their last seven albums all charting within the top 5 in the US. They are easily one of my favourite bands of all time, and have produced some of the best radio tracks ever. Having said that, their musical output hasn’t been top quality for a while now, in my opinion. Still, one of the singles that was released was promising, and with guitarist John Frusciante returning to the fold for the first studio album since 2006, it may be good. Let’s check it out and see!

Opening on their lead single, ‘Black Summer’, was probably a very good idea. I’ve loved this track since it was first released. After a slow-build of an intro it launches into an upbeat, fun funk-rock-pop track that is easily the best thing they’ve done since Stadium Arcadium. I’m a big fan of I’m With You and Klinghoffer’s playing, but man is it good to have Frusciante back. It just feels more like RHCP with his style of playing, writing and backing vocals back in the band. The chorus is massive and hugely catchy, and the guitar solo was awesome. I can’t praise this track enough. It easily makes the playlist and I really hope the rest of the tracks are like this or faster. Unfortunately, I have heard the other singles and that isn’t quite the case…

‘Here Ever After’ continues the mid-tempo pace, reminding me of a mixture of something from Stadium and By The Way. It’s heavily bass-led and features the almost rap-inspired vocal style Kiedis has utilised sporadically throughout his career. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really go anywhere. I was waiting for it to kick up a gear but it doesn’t, even the chorus is fairly subdued. It’s an odd choice for the second track on an album, when the audience is still feeling out as to whether they like it or not. Still, it’s not a bad track!

We finally get some fun funk out of Flea to open ‘Aquatic Mouth Dance’, Kiedis putting a great vocal line over the top of it to keep up the bounciness. It unfortunately suffers the same fate as the track before. Really, it’s the same major issue that I had with their last album, The Getaway: none of it goes anywhere. The vast majority of tracks on that album stay at the same subdued, chilled out level all the way through, no memorable changes or big choruses or anything interesting, just the same meh all the way through. That’s why I’ve been so apprehensive about this album even with John’s return, what if it’s just more of the same? So far, I’m not convinced it isn’t.

The following two are the other singles from the album. As I have stated previously, I didn’t enjoy these too much when they were first released. The first is one of the now token 2000s Chilis slow songs, Kiedis singing over a piano and simple drums, Flea and John playing basic or ambient stuff in the background. It’s not bad, but it’s no ‘Slow Cheetah’ or ‘I Could Die For You’. Meanwhile ‘Poster Child’ is straight out the late 90s, Kiedis rapping complete nonsense over simple, steady instrumentation. It’s my second favourite track on the album so far, but that’s not saying a great deal. The chorus is pretty nothing but the vocal melody for the verses is fun and catchy.

Are you ready for the second slow song yet? RHCP sure seem to think so! ‘The Great Apes’ at least has a slightly better chorus than ‘Not the One’, but outside of that it shares a lot of similarities. There’s bits of cool instrumentation from the guitars, but outside of that not a great deal stood out to me here. I thought about trying to be funny and copy and pasting this paragraph almost word for word for the following track, ‘It’s Only Natural’, but ultimately decided against it. However, it is another dully slow track, with not much redeeming about it outside a fun vocal line or two. 7/17 in and so far, very meh.

‘She’s a Lover’ is another slower one, but at least it has a bit of funk to it. Then we get a song that finally catches my ear again, ‘These Are the Ways’. Is it up there with some of the best RHCP songs ever? Hell no. But it’s a fun song with some actual dynamics to it, which for this album is rare. It’s slow, quite verses before ramping up into a rockier chorus, big guitars, cymbal-heavy drums and some damn catchy vocals. It’s a change of pace that this album definitely needed, which is probably the only reason why I’m enjoying it so far. That and it’s got almost a heavy outro, which was nice. Still, it was good, so makes the playlist!

Aaaaand the rock is gone again almost immediately. ‘Whatchu Thinkin’’ has a fun chorus and ‘Bastards of Light’ has a great bridge part that’s heavy and distorted and honestly awesome. I loved both bits, but the rest of the songs around them were that dull and slow that I couldn’t sit through them just for that. Damn, I wish RHCP were still a rock band.

I hate to say it, but the final six tracks bored the hell out of me. At one point I didn’t even realise it had moved onto the next song, that’s how similar it all sounds. 26-minutes of similar, slow, calm music. Some people might like that and love this band, but this is not at all what I was hoping for. It doesn’t really sound at all like the band that I got into in my childhood, so while it may be musically good, I simply can’t enjoy it given what they have evolved to. God, I feel old typing that! There were some glimmers of hope here, but overall it wasn’t enjoyable. It’s a real shame.

The Score: 3.5/10

Did you enjoy our review? Why not check out our interviews section here.

Ward XVI, Death Ingloria and Flirting with Corpses at the Sal!

A fantastic night of gothic rock descended upon Nottingham’s oldest pub last Friday night. Three great bands from all of the country put on one hell of a show, and we were lucky enough to head down to review and interview!

First up were the local support band, Flirting with Corpses. Their unique blend of doom and more gothic sounds made them an interesting band right from the get go. The band also had their image down perfectly, between the face-paint and the gothic clothing they definitely looked the part! Their music is great and the band make it sound good live. They can definitely play. The only slight disadvantage they had were that they were alongside two bands that consider the show to be just as important as the playing. Between them just getting up there and playing and the slight technical difficulties, they didn’t stand out as much as the other two bands.

Next up were the theatric rock band, Death Ingloria. This is a band that knows exactly what style and brand they want to put out for themselves. Their entire image, from the way they dressed and the way their music sounded, to their merch and even their videos onstage, it all meshed perfectly. And their music is fantastic, which is a big plus. Their last two EPs have been consecutive concepts about an impending extinction of humanity. The weight of the topic and message is not lost live either, with anime-style videos being played in the background throughout their set, and even voiceovers recorded for in between. The art of the stage show is something truly missing in the rock world these days, but not with bands like this!

Then we reached the headliners, Ward XVI. I was familiar with the band after a fantastic set at Hard Rock Hell last year, and yet they somehow managed to top that again here. Again, they put on one hell of a show, as was to be expected, with plenty of props to help them tell the story of their Metamorphosis album. Between their outfits, the bed on stage, and the actors they had come on and through the crowd in various different outfits, it was a set to behold.

They played an incredible set of crowd favourite songs to a white-hot mob of people. And they closed on crowd favourite (and my personal favourite too), Toy Box. How reggae-goth-metal exists I don’t know but we need so much more of it in the world! The band are on the cusp of MASSIVE things, and I for one cannot wait to see what the band do with a bigger fanbase and a bigger stage to perform on.

We even had the opportunity after their set to sit down with the band for a quick chat, which you can read or watch below!

Check out our review of their HRH set here.

So Firstly, how was the gig?

Amazing! Really really good. Very warm! Yeah, very warm, very small! The atmosphere was there. If I was to give Nottingham a rating it would be a 10/10.

Did you guys always plan on being so theatrical or did it come with the songs?

I’d (Psychoberrie) always wanted to but it was always something that was only really me that wanted to do it in the beginning. Then we had a few line-up changes and the perspective changed…

She sacked everybody that didn’t want to do it! We’re just the idiots that put up with it!

It evolved, especially when we were touring with the first album, we started to bolt on different theatrical elements to the show. But it was still more like a gimmick per song so it didn’t really tie the whole concept of the album together. Then when we wrote this album we consciously wrote the stage show along with it. Then it still evolved a little bit! I think the vision was there and it’s probably a little bigger than we anticipated! The first gig back that we did after we launched the album was Bloodstock, so we built the stage show for the scale of Bloodstock and then we had to try and find a way to fit it onto smaller stages.

We also have the fun of trying to rehearse it in a living room and then getting onto the Bloodstock stage and thinking ‘I’ll come on at this bit’ and then realising oh no, the whole stage is about thirty paces long so we had to sprint it. There’s one point where I came off the wrong side of the stage and I just had to run the length of the backstage, Gail was sat in a wheelchair and my vocals were just about to start so I just ran on with her in this wheelchair. Then I realised I had to start singing and just let go, she just kept rolling! We just sent her into David’s pedals!

Do you guys prefer to write the song first and then come up with a cool stage show idea or vice versa?

We come up with concept of the album and then while we’re building the songs we’re thinking about the stage show so we can add in elements as we go.

Yeah, it’s trying to find elements of narrative to build into it. You’ve got the concept and the storyline and the music and you go ‘okay what are the beats of the song and what can we do theatrically without taking away from the music’. We did a lot of planning for it while we were shielding.

That’s the line you have to walk. You don’t want to make it a rock show with a few little theatrical bits, but you also don’t want to make it where it’s just theatrics and the musicians are practically non-existent, it’s trying to get that level.

How’s the re-launch of the album been?

It’s weird because we were all hyped up to do it. I think for the people watching it’s still kinda new to them but to us it’s become old. When we first came out with it for me it was hard to be as enthusiastic as if we’d just done it straight away.

We were meant to have done the launch gig a couple of months after and I think if we’d have done it then we would have rushed it. We’d have rushed the props and it would have been a lot smaller scale, I don’t think we’d have been as ambitious. So I think from a perspective of the scale and how we did it, it was a benefit, having all that time. What was a shock is how much effort it became to move things from gig to gig. In the past we could get away with putting stuff in the car, now it’s a big van in the car! We went from quite small to HUGE. It’s been a bitt of a baptism by fire. Tonight was one of the first times I’ve really closed my eyes and enjoyed it on stage.

It takes a while though. When you first start gigging it in you’re head, you’re singing the song but thinking ‘that props over there, I’ve got to be over there during this bit…’, but after a while it just becomes natural.

There’s always slight tweaks you have to make with each venue, going ‘right, how are we going to be able to tweak this to fit in here’. It’d just be nice not to walk into a venue and look at the stage and go ‘for god sake’.

Are you guys planning another album already?

We’ve started putting bits together, musically. We’ve got the concept in place. It’s going to be a trilogy, and the first two albums are there. And in September it would have been two years. After this tour we have a couple of festivals but then we’re not going to do any more gigs so we can get the album done. Then hopefully that’ll tie into being able to gig it at the time of release. That’d be nice! The aim is to hopefully go into the studio early next year and record it, then late next year release it.

As a dream tour, any ideas?

If anyone knows anyone in Alice Coopers camp, we would very much like for him to come and open for us, if he can fit us in!

Ward XVI, Ghost, Avatar.

Igorrr and Tool!

And there we have it folks! Three awesome bands and one great night of rock music. I would highly recommend checking out all three of these bands and seeing them live ASAP. All are going to be huge very soon!

New Music Mondays: Dream Widow, Machine Gun Kelly and Much more!

What can I even say this week? After the devastating news that rocked the entire music world over the weekend, it’s hard to tear my ears away from Foo Fighters. However, a lot of potentially great music came out last Friday, and one of them is very fitting, which you are about to read. Join me as we take a look at this week in music.

Also, as a little P.S. 13 albums came out last week, this is gonna be a long one.

Dream Widow: Self-Titled

Yes, let’s get the tough one out of the way first. The Foo Fighters’ alter ego metal band created for their very own movie, Studio 666, was released just the day before the tragic, untimely passing of their drummer Taylor Hawkins. While the immediate future of Dave Grohl and co. is up in the air, this album and Studio 666 is one hell of a statement to leave behind for a while.

First things first to get the obvious out of the way, Dave Grohl can scream damn well. It is not at all fair how damn talented that man is at everything. However, that’s not to take away from the rest of the band, this is a damn good extreme metal band. From the balls-to-the-wall opener through the massively catchy doom metal of ‘Cold’ to the albums single, it’s one of the strongest opening three tracks of any album this year. All three made the playlist, as did the suitably epic ‘Becoming’. It’s hard not to separate the situation from the music, but even if Taylor was still with us this would still be an incredible album and brings a lot of mainstream eyes on an otherwise sheltered sub-genre. All of it combined, how can I not give it 10/10?

Machine Gun Kelly: Mainstream Sellout

Apologies in advance for even mentioning the man. However, whether we all like it or not, he is somehow classed as ‘rock’ music these days, and we are a rock publication, so unfortunately I’m gonna have to listen to it. I listened to his last album, Tickets to my Downfall, and believe I scored it around a 6. Let’s see if this one lives up to the ‘hype’ surrounding him.

It doesn’t. That was a TERRIBLE listen. I was already over it by the second track, but being the consummate professional I am, I gritted my teeth and bared it. It was the longest 40 minutes of my life. I don’t know what I hate more, his awful, not-even-autotune-could-save vocals or his angsty 12-year-old lyrics. Oh, or maybe it was how all the guest acts are somehow JUST AS BAD AS HE IS. Or maybe it’s this faux-rockstar persona he has decided to adopt, seemingly being proud to be a drug addict and suicidal, instead of putting any emotion or message behind his words. Heck, he couldn’t even have some attitude when he was calling out the people who shat on his last album. His autotune probably wouldn’t allow it. This experimentation into ‘pop-punk’ (it’s still just pop music) needs to end, it’s not good. Can someone write a rock diss track about him already and run him out of the genre like Eminem did with his rap career? 1/10

Placebo: Never Let Me Go

A band that I can safely say I used to be a fan of but haven’t really gotten into their stuff since 2006’s Meds. However, I have heard a single or two from this album on the radio and it’s sounding good, I’m more excited than I have been about their last two albums.

I have to admit, the singles were definitely the big highlights of the album. ‘Surrounded by Spies’ is my favourite track by the band since ‘Meds’ and the likes of ‘Beautiful James’ and even ‘Sad White Reggae’ are all awesome. However, not all of the album is quite as strong. The opener fell a little flat, as did tracks like ‘Hugz’ and ‘Twin Demons’. It’s still better than anything they have put out in a while, but at nearly an hour it may be just a tad bloated. Still, I enjoyed it a lot! 7/10

Animals as Leaders: Parrhesia

Instrumental djent pioneers Animals as Leaders dropped their much anticipated fifth album on Friday. The three once again prove why they are up there with some of the best musicians around today, in any genre. Heck, the opening track alone should prove that, from Matt’s insane drum playing to some truly inspired guitar work and THAT bass part, the band show why they get so much praise. And that’s just the first five minutes. Then you have the two huge singles in ‘Monomyth’ and ‘The Problem of Other Minds’ which are both equally brilliant. Oh, and the other six tracks are pretty great too! As usual, if you struggle with instrumental music you’ll probably still find this a tough 35 minutes, but it’s a solid album that’s well worth checking out even a bit of. 7.5/10

Check out our Amped review here.

Reckless Love: Turborider

The Finnish Glam rockers returned to the studio after six years away from it and, just like their last album, their sound has evolved somewhat again. I have to admit, I kept wanting to call this Turbo Lover instead of Turborider; the band seem to have adopted elements of Judas Priest’s Turbo and Painkiller albums into their own sound. It’s heavier and more electro-pop, but still keeps the underlying elements of glam that brought them to the dance with their first few albums.

Honestly, I’m not sure how convinced I am by the change in sound. Don’t get me wrong, I love the heavier tracks like the title track and the old-school-glam of ”89 Sparkle’, but some of the rest feels like the bands attempt to capitalise on the somehow still rolling wave of 80s nostalgia. They don’t capitalise quite as well as the likes of Stranger Things or The Weeknd, and it somehow comes across as less genuine than playing straight up 80s glam. They will always have a hard task beating Spirit, and while this was overall enjoyable, they didn’t with this one. 6/10

COIN: Uncanny Valley

American pop-rock band COIN returned with their fourth album over the weekend. It’s definitely on the lighter end of rock music, but stuff like ‘Chapstick’ and ‘Cutie’. Unfortunately, the rest was all painfully slow and samey, boring me pretty quick. It’s not my sort of thing at all, but if you enjoyed it more power to you! 3/10

Abbath: Dread Reaver

Don’t worry guys, Abbath is here to bring some metal back to the proceedings. The former Immortal front-man returned with his third studio album, and it’s just as dark and black metal as all the rest of his stuff. If anyone is familiar with any of his stuff then you know exactly what to expect here, and it’s good. I do still feel like once you’ve listened to one black metal album you’re pretty familiar with it all, it’s still the one sub-genre of metal I don’t quite ‘get’, but it’s still an okay listen all the same! Highlights include ‘Scarred Core’ and ‘Septentrion’. Also a shout-out to their ‘Trapped Under Ice’ cover, it’s heavier than the original and I think it does it some favours! 6/10

Hardcore Superstar: Abrakadabra

Swedish hard rock band Hardcore Superstar have been around a lot longer than most realise, with Adbrakadabra being the bands 12th studio album. I’ve been a fan since their self-titled album, and honestly this one is fairly close in terms of quality. Tracks like ‘Influencer’, ‘Weep When I Die’ and ‘Give me a Smile’ all sound fantastic, like they were written by a band comfortable and proud of their sound. Plus, single ‘Catch Me If You Can’ is one of the best songs they’ve ever written, in my opinion. Great stuff from one of the most underappreciated bands of the last decade. 8/10

Falls of Rauros: Key to a Vanishing Future

Time for some more black metal, this time with some slight folk influence. I hadn’t even heard of the band before this article but already appreciate the LOTR reference. Like I said previously, it’s still black metal, so not a massive amount stands out from me compared to the Abbath album earlier. Don’t get me wrong, the atmosphere is a little different, it feels a tad more epic and open, more room to breathe. But musically it is a lot of the same elements and tropes and generally they don’t interest me as much as other sub-genres. Please don’t hate me in the comments. But, having said that, it was still a decent album. 5/10

Ignite: Self-Titled

The melodic hardcore band bring some much needed punk to NMM, as no enough punk bands put stuff out regularly any more. I’ve been a fan of this band for a few years now, ever since Spotify recommended the Our Darkest Days album. They always reminded me of a heavier Anti-Flag, which is high praise as they are one of my favourite bands. And, honestly, this album is up there with some of the best either band have produced. It’s heavy, catchy, punk AF and honestly has a great anti-establishment message behind it that music is definitely lacking in these days. I’m struggling to even pick highlights out of it, it’s all that good. Check out the playlist for the very best of the tracks, but honestly I could have put the whole album on there. 9/10

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard: The Harvest

The Welsh prog-doomers are back with a follow-up to 2019s Yn Oi I Annwn. I actually reviewed it back in 2020, giving it an 8/10 I believe. They are a great band and let’s see if this one measure up to their last!

It’s just as epic and ethereal as the previous album, something I loved back then. Everything is given such room to breathe, getting the most out of every section and riff. Between that and the multiple interlude tracks between songs that tie everything together in a nice little spacy bow, this is definitely an album to listen to all the way through in one. Chuck this on and lay back in a dark room, maybe with some questionable substances in your system, and just enjoy. But, if you don’t have that much spare time or acid, holy crap is ‘Logic Bomb’ amazing. It’s another home-run form yet another band that don’t get the credit they deserve. It’s another 8/10.

Light Beneath: Self-Titled

And finally we reach the debut album of Finnish post-metal band Light Beneath. It’s heavy, I’ll give them that. However, it’s in the slower, more open stuff that I find myself enjoying it more. The intro to ‘Sirens’ is beautiful, and the way the it all fits together is so Tool it’s insane. In fact, said track is my favourite on the album, it’s sludgy and heavy and builds perfectly through the screaming and drums. The other tracks are good, but they don’t have quite as fun or memorable a structure as ‘Sirens’. Overall, though, a solid debut! 7/10

And there we have it, a MASSIVE week in rock and metal music, with some fantastic albums out, albeit amongst some not so great ones. Stay tuned for next week: Red Hot Chili Peppers! Keep an eye out on our socials here for it!

New Music Mondays: Feeder, Cypress Hill and More!

Welcome back to New Music Mondays, where we go over all of the new releases from the world of rock. Another eight albums or us this week, so let’s check them out!

Feeder: Torpedo

Feeder were a band similar to The Darkness, exploding onto the scene in the early 2000s and capitalising on the mainstreams last few years of true love for rock music. Heck, they headlined Download Festival, for crying out loud. That’s big. Then, as quickly as they arrived, they seemed to disappear again. However, I can safely tell you that not only have they continued to make music, but it has been consistently pretty good.

Torpedo is no different. Tracks like ‘The Healing’ channel the bands inner Foo Fighters while the title track and ‘Magpie’ have a heaviness to them that I often forget that I oft forget they have. It’s a solid album all round, both from a heavier and lighter perspective. It shows that the band should never have dropped back down the pecking order, as this is one of the strongest overall albums of the year so far. Something I was not expecting to say today! 8/10

Cypress Hill: Back in Black

While technically not ‘rock’ by any means, Cypress Hill have always been in that scene, even before B-Real joined Prophets of Rage. However, this is by far the least rock I have heard them. I*t’s a straight up elate 90s rap record, tired themes and all. I’m a pretty big fan of that era of rap, and this band, but it was pretty underwhelming. 3/10

Sonic Youth: In/Out/In

If you thought the album title was weird, this album is only 5 tracks long but runs for 45 minutes. Ugh. I know it isn’t exactly new music, more a rarities album, but it is still a new release. Now, I don’t not like prog, when it’s done right and kept interesting. Rush are a perfect example, as are Dream Theater, two bands who constantly change things up in the songs and have the heaviness to appreciate too. But a 9-minute instrumental track to open the album that revolves around the same slow, boring chord progression throughout is not at all my thing. This is somehow worse than Grateful Dead. See how long you can subject yourself to down below and leave your scores in the comments! 2/10

Stabbing Westward: Chasing Ghosts

This is more like it! The industrial rock band’s fifth studio album and first since their 2016 reunion pulls no punches, opening on a fantastic, heavy, industrial guitar riff that really sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s a dark, heavy and everything I wish Nine Inch Nails would do for a full album. It’s definitely one hell of a return album with a good few highlights, including ‘Cold’, ‘Ghost’ and ‘Control Z’. If you’re a fan of industrial rock at all, you’ll love this. 7.5/10

Weezer: SZNZ: Spring

Firstly, how rude of Weezer put out an album on a Sunday instead of a Friday like the rest, making me work all weekend! Secondly, the band are no strangers to overtone, with their 2021 album getting a very respectable 7.5 from us. And, this is one of four albums the band are releasing this year, one for each season. It’s definitely an ambition plan!

I love the idea behind having four widely different feeling albums that fit with the season they are named after, but the light, happy, folky spring album didn’t do much for me. I’m definitely more a fan of Weezer’s heavier, rockier stuff over their more pop leaning, and there wasn’t much of that here. Single ‘A Little Bit of Love’ is a tune, though! 6/10

Agathodaimon: The Seven

The German black metal band go hard on their first album in nine years. However, while it’s pretty extreme at times, I was also pretty surprised to hear some clean vocals throughout. It was nice to hear a black metal band branch out and diversify a little throughout their album rather than just an all out assault on the ears. The heaviness is still there for sure, but so is the melody, and it helps this album a lot for me. The fact that there are catchy vocal lines and guitar solos is fantastic and definitely puts this above your average super-heavy album. And it still has plenty of epicness from the symphonic side of stuff. No matter your music tastes, check out ‘The Divine’, you won’t be disappointed! 8.5/10

Audio Karate: ¡Otra!

Bringing a more pop-punk flavour to NMM, Audio Karate returned with their fourth studio album last week. The album is at it’s best when it leans into the punk side over the pop, too. Tracks like ‘Segway’ and ‘She Looks Good’ channel almost Rancid or Distillers vibes, and sound a lot more appealing to me than the opening track or ‘Care Carelessly’. Generally there is more good than meh on the album, but the good stuff is surprisingly towards the latter stages of the album. The last three tracks on the album are easily the best on it. 6.5/10

Dark Funeral: We Are The Apocalypse

Swedish death metal band Dark Funeral put out their seventh album last week. It’s okay. It’s enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but in my limited foray into the sub-genre that I have experienced through this company it doesn’t sound like it is doing much different or too interesting. Tracks like ‘Nosferatu’ and ‘Leviathan’ are good, but didn’t do a lot to hold my interest. 6/10

And that’s all folks! As always keep up to date on our socials here and tune in next week for, depending on your tastes, Machine Gun Kelly and Placebo!

This is Primal: The Next Big Radio Rock Band?

Arcane Saints are an Australian hard rock band. The band put out their first album in almost a decade just a couple of days ago, and we just had to check it out. Take a look below and see what we thought!

Drowning opens on a great build-up into a fairly heavy indie riff, almost bordering on math rock. The track slows up a little for the verse but the awesome instrumentation continues through it behind some great vocals. It reminds me a little of both Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell at the same time, giving it all a real grunge edge. It dropping out to just bass and vocals for the second verse was a nice touch, adding some fun dynamics. The chorus is really fun and catchy too, the odd backing vocals adding a lot to it. It doesn’t stick around too long either, hitting the massive riff again as an outro after the second chorus and rounding out a fantastic opening song. Playlisted!

‘Fade in to You’ opens on some more great bass work before an almost punk rock riff comes in over the top. It’s great and a lot of fun! The high energy keeps up throughout the song, a bouncy verse leading to a massive, open and very catchy chorus. Even more 90s Seattle scene vibes being given off in this track. It drops down after the second chorus, building up pretty well into a great final verse and chorus. Another awesome track and the second of two to make the playlist!

‘Satellites’ is a little steadier than the others so far, somehow giving off even more Audioslave vibes. It could launch into ‘Be Yourself’ at any moment, and I love it. The chorus doesn’t change much, just adding a bit more guitar to it all, but it’s enough of a change to make it feel bigger. The layered, catchy vocals probably help too. I also have to point by now out how damn good the production value is for this album. For a smaller band, it sounds top quality. I think I missed something with the voiceover stuff going on at the start and in the middle, but it definitely still fit in with the track. Three for three on great songs so far!

‘Melbourne City’ slows things down, a clean guitar sound and vocals being the main focal parts of the track. Some light drums come in behind them around the mid-way point, but further add to the chilled out, laid back nature of the track. It was a nice little track and a great change of pace.

Said pace is quickly picked back up with the punk, infectiously-bouncy ‘Low’. It almost has a slight country feel to it in the verse, being a very diverse, interesting blend of styles. The chorus is typically great too again, them being a real highlight of the band so far. There was also a surprisingly good guitar solo in the middle, something I wasn’t expecting from the band. It was great and added some Led Zeppelin vibes to the mix! And dropping it down for an outro was a nice touch too. Another phenomenal song, and one that makes the playlist!

‘Wildlife’ is another mid-tempo bluesy track, while ‘2AM’ is more of a ballad than ‘Melbourne City’, even. It starts slow and quite, building to a fantastic, huge, open chorus. It reminds me of the late 90s/early 2000s pop-rock, think Candlebox or Matchbox Twenty. ‘Tonight’ has a fun, catchy, rebellious (if slightly repetitive) chorus, but outside of that not a massive amount of the song stood out to me. Then the album does my biggest pet peeve that happens so much these days: ending the album on a slow track. ‘Rivers’ itself is a great song, and maybe my favourite slower one on the album, but it doesn’t feel enough of a signoff that this awesome album needed. It should have gone out with a bang, not a slower, albeit epic fade-out riff. Still, as I said, it’s a great track, and makes the playlist!

Overall: This was fantastic! I went into this completely blind and was not at all disappointed. These guys have a very bright future ahead of them if they keep putting out music of this quality. It’s up there with one of my favourite albums of the year so far, I have to say!

The Score: 8.5/10

Did you enjoy our review? As always you can keep up to date on all of them here.

New Music Mondays: Ghost, Bryan Adams and More!

Another week, and a bunch more new music for us to go through, Strap yourselves in, this week’s all over the place!

Ghost: IMPERA

The pop metallers have been at the top of their game and near the top of the rock world for the last few years now. However, the singles from this new album have been a bit of a mixed bag. The one I have dropped below is great, but some of the others didn’t do much for me. You can check out the full review for the album, alongside the score, from the link here.

Bryan Adams: So Happy It Hurts

Changing pace less than one would expect, we make it to soft rock legend Bryan Adams’ 15th studio album. I don’t even know what to say about it, anyone who’s heard Bryan Adams before knows exactly what to expect, and he doesn’t let them down with this. I’m a big Bryan Adams fan though so I loved this. Tracks like the title one, ‘Always Have, Always Will’ and the ACDC quoting, John Cleese featuring awesomeness that is ‘Kick Ass’ are all massive highlights. 8/10

Set It Off: Elsewhere

Pop-punkers Set It Off put out their fifth studio album last week. It starts off a little slow with their weakest single, ‘Skeleton’, but ‘Projector’ in contrast is one of the favourite tracks I’ve heard from the band. Cody Carson is one of the best rappers currently around and criminally underrated at that and singing a damn catchy chorus. In fact, every chorus on this album is incredible. They somehow manage to out-Panic!-At-The-Disco Brendan Urie these days, it’s that well written. The style may not be for everyone of course, but this grew on me more and more throughout. A DAMN good album! 8.5/10

BODEGA: Broken Equipment

American punk band BODEGA released another odd album on Friday. I somehow don’t get it and really like it at the same time. It’s chilled out, radio-friendly punk music that reminds me a lot of the likes of R.E.M. and even The Cult. It’s a good, fun album if you want something more relaxing to throw on than our usually covered content. Tracks like the opener and ‘Pillar on the Bridge of You’ are highlights. 7/10

Drug Church: Hygiene

Another New York based band, but this time post-hardcore. It’s definitely the lightest post-hardcore music I’ve ever heard, but that isn’t a bad thing! It’s fun, catchy and ch0nky punk rock, and an enjoyable and concise 26 minutes. Highlights include the opening track and the single, ‘Million Miles of Fun’. 6.5/10

Konvent: Call Down the Sun

And finally we reach the death/doom band’s sophomore album. While still relatively new to the scene, their blending of the two rather different sub-genres is impressive and oddly hypnotic. And, while it shouldn’t really be a factor these days, the fact that it is an all-female band does make it even more impressive. It sounds like what you would have expected Black Sabbath to sound like back in the day if you had only seen the reactions of worried mothers trying to stop their children from listening to such satanic music. It’s great. The singles are highlights, as is the epic closing track. The band have a new fan in me! 7.5/10

And there you have it, another week of great rock music! Next week, Feeder!