Tag Archives: EP

Letters, Numbers, Reactions & Errors: The Start of Something Massive for Bad Llama?

Bad Llama is a Midlands-based alt-metal band. Releasing two EPs prior to this one over the last five or so years, the band has gotten a rather impressive underground following. I have to admit I have been a bit slack and only heard the odd song or two and seen their name around a lot. That changed today as we check out their latest EP, so let’s get into it!

Opening track ‘God My Witness’ builds slowly with some electro stuff and keys before exploding into a HUGE riff. The synth stuff carries on through it too, adding a fun dynamic over the top. It drops down again for the verse, the clean vocals sounding great over the top of the stripped back, limited instrumentation. Just as before it explodes into a massive chorus, uplifting, open, and massively catchy. I wasn’t expecting so many clean vocals, and it’s great so far! Don’t get me wrong though, there are still screams. It drops down after the second chorus to next to nothing, building up perfectly into a massive, heavy breakdown filled with epic screams and growls. Said breakdown acts as the outro to one hell of an opening track, too. Playlisted!

‘Frailty’ opens heavier, straight into a huge, dirty riff and some almost hardcore-style screams. It cleans up into another awesome, catchy chorus, the harmonies being a surprising highlight. The riff coming out of the second chorus is awesome and the breakdown it turns into is great. Also, shoutout to that one low scream, if you listen to it you’ll know the one I mean, damn is it great! The cleaner outro was a nice touch, too! Another great song from Bad Llama!

‘Saline’ opens quiet, with a rather beautiful clean guitar chord progression. The softer vocals sound great over the top, especially when the harmonies layer over the top. The track picks up some depth and distortion with the massive, catchy chorus, but it is still steady and clean. It feels like the ballad of the EP. We even get an awesome guitar solo in this track. It fits perfectly over the top of the slower backing, matching the pace but still showing off some awesome skill and technicality. The solo leads to a great bridge, building more and more before dropping down even more. It makes the final huge chorus impact even more, hitting hard for a slower song. This was excellent, and another easily playlisted song!

Check our our review of Taenarius here!

The final two tracks, ‘Dear Eirene’ and single ‘Viper’, are also both awesome for very different reasons. The former feels a little ballad-y again, but a little faster than the previous track. The verse almost feels like something from Nine Inch Nails and the chorus is another uplifting highlight. Meanwhile, the latter is more what I expected, a heavy, aggressive, amazing metal track. The main riff is full of bounce and groove and the chorus is perfectly heavy. It’s another track that makes the playlist, you have to check it out!

Overall: this was great! A lot different from what I was expecting coming into it, but in a good way. Plenty of catchy songs and clean parts but evened out perfectly with the heavy breakdowns, riffs, and screams. It makes me want a full album from them soon, and Bad Llama are definitely ones to keep an eye on for the future!

The Score: 8/10

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Chrysalis: Are we Meeting The Next Big Extreme Metal Band?

Stellar Void is an extreme symphonic metal band from Russia. I admit I had no prior knowledge of them before getting an email about reviewing this EP. However, it’s not often I get music this heavy sent through to me, or one from a non-English-speaking country, so I’m pretty excited to check it out. Without any more of an introduction, here is our review!

Wasting little time, opening track ‘Shifting Sands’ immediately slaps you in the face with a huge, heavy sound and blast beats. The orchestral instruments behind it do take the edge off a little, though, and give it an epic feel. It sounds even, menacing, and awesome. The low, guttural vocals come in for the verse, reminding me a lot of Danni Filths. That may be a running theme of this EP, just to warn you, Cradle of Filth comparisons. It’s definitely not just because they’re the main band in this kind of genre I actually listen to or anything… The vocals clean up a little for a surprisingly catchy chorus, and the female harmony layered into them was a great touch. The piano acting as a bridge was also great, adding a little lighter break before the heaviness comes back. I LOVE every time the vocals go into the duet, it makes it all surprisingly beautiful. The woman’s voice is powerful and low and fits the song perfectly. My only ever so slight issue is that it stops a little abruptly, no outro or anything, just suddenly ends after the final chorus. It was a great track from Stellar Void non the less, though!

The EP’s title track is up next, taking a slightly slower approach to begin with. The choir vocals behind the huge guitar chords sounded awesome and again gave everything an epic, sinister feel. When the heaviness kicks in and the speed picks up, the vocals are clean again. The harmony between the male and female vocals again contrasts perfectly together and fits awesomely with the heavy instrumentation backing them. The female vocal continues for a bit, getting a run to show off her insanely impressive higher range. There’s an awesome guitar riff that kicks in around the 2:30 minute mark, it being the only thing in the track for a few seconds so it’s easy to hear. The instruments do get a tad lost in the epicness and sheer number of them at times, so it’s good to hear them isolated every so often! The structure of the two songs so far has been a little all-over-the-place, it’s been hard to listen out for a chorus or verse, but if anything it adds to the epic charm of it all. It feels more like they’re telling a story than playing a song. A beautiful piano melody acts as the outro to another fantastic song!

‘The Oath’ opens on another face-punching riff, and one I love. It reminded me a little of Bullet for my Valentine’s ‘Your Betrayal’, only obviously heavier. The female vocal again takes the lead for this one, something I wasn’t expecting from the band so it’s a nice touch. It drops back to just the keys/synth and vocals around the two-minute mark. It sounds awesome and highlights the female vocal even more nicely. The metal instruments build back into it steadily, feeling like it is building up to something massive. That it does, too, as we get another awesome little guitar fill before a huge final chorus (?). This was great, and my favourite track on the EP. It makes the playlist!

The final track, ‘The Seer’, opens straight into a huge chorus, clean vocals and all. It’s again pretty catchy. The lead melody from the vocals, guitar, and strings added so much awesomeness to it all. The verse is even pretty clean and steady, though it is still heavy. Kudos to the drummer who I really haven’t mentioned enough in this review. They’ve been working overtime through this entire EP with some crazy blast beats and quick fills. The whole band is far more talented than I have been able to give credit for, they all just work so well together that it’s hard not to talk about it all as one combined piece. This was another epic track through and through. The orchestral outro made it the perfect choice to close out the EP with. The overall feel is something Stellar Void do so well.

If you like this, check out our review of the latest At the Gates album here!

Overall: This was really good! Going in completely blind made it a fun experience and meant that the band blew me away from a technical standpoint. It’s not a genre I would listen to a whole bunch personally so the structures and things still threw me off a bit, but after another few listens (which will definitely happen) it would probably set in a lot easier for me. Stellar Void has a new fan in me and I look forward to hearing how they develop their sound further in the coming years!

The Score: 7/10

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No More Love: Are Dohny Jep Bringing an Even Heavier Sound to Pop-Rock?

Pop-rock band Dohny Jep have only been around for a couple of years, but are quickly establishing themselves in the underground scene through their awesome sound and impressive work ethic. Just this year they have put out FOUR Eps (including this one), a massive feat for even the biggest of bands doing this full time. I personally hadn’t heard any of their stuff until getting sent the EP, but I am damn excited to check it out and let you know what I think!

‘Floor Like Lava’ opens pretty epically, with some chanting and samples that combine together perfectly together. A HUGE riff comes in over the top, heavy but with plenty of room to breathe, kicking things off and setting the scene perfectly. The riff drops out for the verse, it being mainly drum and bass-led behind the vocals. The lyrics are a standout, being very well written and pretty emotion-filled. It builds into the heavy guitar riff again for the chorus, the vocals carrying on over the top. They’re pretty catchy, but not quite the catchiest I’ve heard from the band. The instruments drop out after the second chorus, aside for the drums, before they slowly build up into a MASSIVE breakdown. I honestly didn’t think the band would get that heavy, but damn if it isn’t one of the best breakdowns I’ve heard all year, it had my head banging something major. The callouts even had me laughing, despite the slight cringiness (I assume that was the point?). The track then heads into a final chorus before a brief outro takes us home. A cracking start to an EP and a great track on its own!

‘Choose Life’ also opens on a massive riff after teasing it with a distant one hidden by drums for a few seconds. Much like the previous track it drops back down again for the verse, stripping it all back a bit. However, the vocal melody was so catchy and awesome that I got lost in it all, the instrumentation sweeping me up as it built into another awesome, open chorus. The duel vocals worked really well for it and added even more catchiness to it all. Also, the heavy AF riff out of the chorus was nice, even if it didn’t get the chance to sound as heavy as it was. It dropping out to just bass was an awesome, unexpected change of pace for the track, and it worked even better when the drums came in over the top. I’d have loved a little more of this, for it to go a little longer, but I will happily take another chorus to close things out too! A fantastic song and one that easily makes the playlist!

‘Dial Up’ is the single I have heard from the EP and was my first proper introduction to the band. We have already heaped praise on it on our Instagram, and it really is that good! Opening on a beautiful, simple piano melody and vocals, filled out perfectly by the other instruments, it soon explodes into a typically fantastic riff, heavy and huge. It stays pretty heavy and filled out for the verses this time too, showing off how damn impressive the mixing is on the EP, even more impressive considering the size of the band! The pre drops down just to perfectly contrast with the MASSIVE, heavy chorus. The vocals are the catchiest on the EP and it fits so well over the top of the big guitar chords. The breakdown(?) riff that comes out of the second chorus is awesome, and the vocals add a lot of depth to it all when they come in over the top. We then get a final chorus and heavy outro to finish off a track that easily makes the playlist too!

Finally, we reach ‘Pressure’. It follows the same structure as the others, a huge riff to open things up before a stripped-back verse leads us to a massive, open, and catchy chorus. It’s not a complaint at all, though, its an awesome track! Another awesome, heavy breakdown follows the second chorus, again having me headbanging along happily and alone in my office. The synths over the top of it were a nice touch, too! It all leads to an epic extended outro, with the synths and other instruments slowly dropping out one by one. It was a fantastic end to an EP!

Overall: This was awesome! Considering this was the bands fourth EP of the year, they clearly lack no creativity as this was an awesome collection of tracks. I enjoyed all four and would happily have listened to a whole album from them as I imagine they’d have pulled out the stops and kept it interesting at times too. I should be getting tired of saying this but I’m not; if they keep going like this I can see huge things for them in the future!

The Score: 7.5/10

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Higanbana, Pt One: A new start for Scarsun!

Scarsun is a hard rock/metal band that has been around the Welsh and English underground scene for a couple of years now, making waves with their big sound and catchy writing. After a line-up change and a bit of a rebrand, they released their new EP, Higanbana Pt. One, today. I’ve been a fan of the band all year and I’m excited to hear what they come out with now that Letha fronting the band!

‘Chains’ opens on an almost Nu-metal riff, heavy and industrial. The effect on the guitar is awesome too, giving off Cane Hill vibes alongside the likes of Static-X and Godsmack. The verse drops back a bit instrumentally, the palm muting and quick chugging keeping it heavy. Letha’s low, powerful vocals come in over the top and contrast well with the rest of the band. She gives off pretty heavy Dolores O’Riordan vibes. It builds up pretty well through a catchy, heavier, and open pre into a fantastic and similar chorus. The harmonies were great, adding plenty of layers to the track and I definitely see where they were going with it. Unfortunately, I thought the mixing of them, predominantly in the chorus, made it come across ever so slightly messy. The backing vocals could have been just a tad quieter or even had a dampening effect and it may have produced a bigger, rounder sound. The song’s structure is a tad off, finishing after an elongated second chorus, but the outro with the rest of the band chanting the song title made it all catchy as hell and even heavier. Overall, good stuff!

‘Time’ opens on another Godsmack-esque riff, the heaviness coming from every time it drops back just to smack you in the face with the drums and bass again. It’s a very early 2000s sound, but it’s awesome and we don’t have nearly enough of it today! It speeds up into the verses, a nice and unexpected change. The melody of the vocals of the verse was pretty great too, making it catchy and interesting when it could have just as easily stayed around one or two notes. The chorus opens up a bit again, staying high-tempoed but the drums strip back to give everything else more space to breath. The vocals stay pretty catchy, it being a more preferred chorus for me than the previous tracks as it was straightforward and to the point. It drops down to a beautiful clean guitar after the second chorus, Letha’s vocals harmonising over the top of each other and creating a great effect, before heading into a HEAVY riff, adding some great pinch harmonics to the main riff. It leads us to a final verse and chorus before the clean chord progression from the middle finishes things off. This was a great track and one that made the playlist easily!

‘Meaningful Intentions’ starts as the previous song left off, with a beautiful, slow, clean guitar riff. Letha’s vocals sound great again over the top of it, helping build the track up perfectly with the help of the drums into a massive, open chorus. The distortion gets pushed through the guitars for the huge chords and the vocals soar higher and provide some really great lyrics. It’s the slower track on the EP, the ballad if you will, but it’s still pretty heavy. We get an awesome guitar solo coming out of the second chorus, surprisingly the first proper one on the EP. The harmonies in it were pretty great and overall it was technical and enjoyable! We then get a brief pre before heading to a final chorus to finish things off. Another good song, and one hell of a slower one from an otherwise industrial-style band.

Finally, we reach the single from the EP, ‘Make Me Ache’. It opens on an AWESOME guitar riff, chuggy and heavy and Static-X AF. It also sounds even more awesome after a couple of bars when the drums go halftime on the riff, making me headbang a great deal. The chuggy, bounciness continues through the verse, adding so much to the great vocals and making everything about it sound awesome. The chorus is still pretty heavy too while having that same catchiness that the rest of the EP has shown off. The drop-out to just the low bass before the second verse was also a nice addition and a definite highlight for me. The bridge in the middle was pretty enjoyable, it maintaining a great heaviness, but unfortunately didn’t go anywhere with it but back to another pre and chorus. It was okay, but a solo or breakdown might have been nice, especially since they end on one! Still, it was a damn good track, and easily makes the playlist too!

Overall: This was damn good! I enjoyed the heaviness and industrial riffs and beats, and I felt like it contrasted perfectly with a female vocal over the top. Considering this is part one, I cannot wait to hear what they have in store for part two!

The Score: 7/10

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