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The 21 Top Albums of 2021

Accept: Too Mean to Die

It’s about time we had some thrash on this list, right? The German band have been going on and off for over four-and-a-half decades at this point, releasing a total of 16 studio albums. Their latest, Too Mean to Die, is awesome. From the balls-to-the-wall intro track to the more glam-oriented ‘Overnight Sensation’ to a couple of slower tracks, Accept show their wide versatility an awesome song writing. I believe I gave it an 8/10 upon its release!

Volbeat: Servant of the Mind

Very much a return to form for the Danish metallers. After a lighter, rather lackluster previous album, Servant of the Mind returns the heaviness and shows that Volbeat very much still have it. Highlights include ‘Becoming’, ‘Wait a Minute my Girl’ (I can’t believe it still keeps growing on me), ‘Sacred Stones’ and the awesome ‘Shotgun Blues’. 8.5/10

The Review

Inglorious: We Will Ride

Another return to form, in my eyes. I wasn’t the hugest fan of Inglorious’ second and third albums, but damn if their fourth offering isn’t awesome. Tracks like ‘Messiah’, ‘Medusa’ and ‘Cruel Intentions’ are all amazing, showing off a more mature, slightly heavier side of the band. I hope this is their sound moving forward as they are back on track to be Britain’s breakout rock band in a few years! 8.5/10

Read the review here.

Gojira: Fortitude

Of course this made this list. It had to, it’s Gojira. The band that are yet to put out a bad album keep that streak going with Fortitude. Epic, crushing riffs combine with an at times slightly more radio-friendly sound and vocal delivery to make this one of the best metal albums of the year. Tracks like ‘Amazonia’, ‘The Chant’ and ‘Sphinx’ are all a must to check out if you are into the heavy stuff! 9/10

The Review

Evanescence: The Bitter Truth

A band who always leave pretty substantial gaps between their albums, this one felt worth the wait. The album highlights a band that now feel confident in their sound for the first time in a while. Tracks such as ‘Yeah Right’, ‘Use My Voice’ and the hauntingly beautiful ‘Wasted on You’ are all massive highlights, the but the album is arguably full of highs. 8/10

The Review

Iron Maiden: Senjutsu

Talk about a band comfortable in their sound. I have been a massive fan of the band for most of my life and am a big advocate of their 2000s albums. This is another corker. Be it the shorter ‘Stratego’ or the longer epics of ‘Death of the Celts’ and ‘Lost in a Lost World’, there is a LOT to love on this album. While for some it may be a bit of a slog, 81 minutes across two discs, it is well worth the listen. It may be one of my favourite albums from the band, or at least up there in the top five! 9/10

Read the review!

Chevelle: Niratias

A band that have been quietly putting out stellar albums over the last 20 years or so, Chevelle may have topped them all with Niratias. From the opening note to the closing one, this was incredible. The best album they have ever done, hence why they got a 9.5/10

The Review

Trivium: Court of the Dragon

Somehow the best album they have put out in years, even though I have now said that about their last three. Sin and Sentence was great, Dead Men was amazing and then Court of the Dragon somehow tops them both. With tracks like the title one, ‘Shadow of the Abattoir’ and ‘The Phalanx’, this very well be the best album the band have ever done. It’s at the very least my favourite by them, even beating out Shotgun. 9.5/10

The Review

The Pretty Reckless: Death By Rock and Roll

An album that has definitely grown on me, TPR’s fourth studio album is actually damn good. I (Joe) was pretty harsh on it upon its release, while Charlotte was a big fan, hence the joint review. Even the singles have grown on me, as well as the lighter album tracks, making it a pretty solid, well rounded album. The band have really come into their own with this release and it shows in a big way. I’d happily bump the score up to a 7.5/10

Ice Nine Kills: Welcome to Horrorwood

My album of the year, and a perfect album based on my review score. I stand by it, too, and anyone who tries to tell me otherwise can fight me. From the four singles of the album to blistering tracks like ‘Ex Mortis’, ‘Rash Decision’ and the insanely heavy ‘Take Your Pick’, it is a 50-minute long masterclass in metal, and once again feels like a genre of its own. After Silver Scream was so hard to top, I thought for sure this would be a comedown, but it somehow builds on things even more. I’ve seen nowhere near enough love for this album from the mainstream press, while fans are crying out for them to be massive. 10/10

The Review

What did you think of our list? Do you agree with them all? Did we miss any? Let us know over at our Instagram here.

The 21 Top Albums of 2021

So with the end of the year fast approaching and a whole host of albums already announced for the next (a few of which you can check out here), we thought it was about time to look back on the last year and how amazing it has truly been for rock music. While the live music scene is still a little stop start, there have been some tremendous studio releases over the last 12 months. Heck, we’ve reviewed a lot of them! So, given that it is still 2021 for another week or so, we thought it was only fitting to bring you a list of 21 of the best rock albums of 2021.

P.S. these are in no particular order, given that we couldn’t really decide on one together!

Offspring: Let the Bad Times Roll

A return after nearly a decade from the pop-punk icons saw a real return to form, too. With fantastic singles like the title track and ‘Coming For You’, the band felt reinvigorated for the first time since Rise and Fall. Add into it a great, stripped back rendition of ‘Gone Away’ and you have an awesome album! It got a 7.5/10 from me!

Check out our review of the album here.

Florida Georgia Line: Life Rolls On

Okay, so technically not a rock album (there may be more), bro-country mega-stars Florida Georgia Line released a damn solid album this year. It’s just rock enough to qualify for this list and while yes, it’s mass produced radio-country, just watch the video below and just try to tell me it isn’t catchy. Check out the album if you like country at all! I gave it an 8/10

Unknown Refuge: From the Darkness

Our good friends from Unknown Refuge put out their debut album this year, and it was amazing. It was straight forward heavy metal with just a tinge of metalcore and it worked perfectly. From ‘To the Light’ to ‘Battle Hymn’ to ‘Palace Walls’ the album is brimming with awesome stuff, hence why it makes this list with ease! It’s an 8/10 from me!

Check out our interview with the guys here.

Jerry Cantrell: Brighten

Another album with slight country leanings, although it is definitely more rock than FGL. The Alice In Chains guitarist has always had leanings towards this style of music, just look at Jar of Flies. However, I would argue this does it even better than that record. Cantrell’s vocals sound as fantastic as ever and really fit with the lighter, blues-drive music. An awesome record for any light rock fans out there! It got a whopping 9/10 from me!

Foo Fighters: Medicine at Midnight

A definite grower for me. The album came out before Overtone became a thing but there is a review of it floating around on my laptop still. It received a pretty harsh 4/10 from me, when in actual fact I’d probably bump it up to a solid 6.5/10, maybe a 7 at a push. My main critique at the time was that it wasn’t as heavy as I like Foo Fighters being. I think that still very much stands, but there are still some good tracks on here regardless, like the fantastic one below!

Bullet For My Valentine: Bullet For My Valentine

The title for most creative album title they will not be winning, but for comeback of the year this is definitely up there. It’s a return to heaviness for the Welsh quartet after a commercially panned lighter previous album, and it works perfectly. Highlights are the singles but honestly there isn’t a bad track on it. I gave it 8/10

Read the review here.

Florence Black: WEIGHT OF THE WORLD

Another smaller band that put out a phenomenal debut album this year. Welsh NWOCRers Florence Black showed the world this year that they have what it takes to be the next big thing. Tracks like ‘SUN & MOON’ and ‘ZULU’ are amazing and a big reason why it got an 8.5/10 from me!

Review here.

Rise Against: Nowhere Generation

It should surprise no-one that the modern-day punk icons Rise Against put out another great album this year. The veteran band have been on a fantastic run of albums all the way back to 2004s Siren Song, in this writers opinion, and Nowhere Generation adds to that lineage very well. Tracks like ‘The Numbers’ and ‘Forfeit’ really show off the bands range, and while it is a formula and sound they use every album, it has somehow not yet got old.

The Review

Bo Burnham: Inside

Another album that is not at all rock, but how could I exclude it? For anyone who is a fan of music, comedy or drama I cannot recommend watching the Netflix special enough, but the music in of itself is fantastic. The story of Bo finally feeling confident enough in himself after a 5 year absence in order to perform again and then locks himself alone in his small pool house for months on end, slowly going from confident, wacky and glad-to-be-back comedian to a manic depressive terrified that the world will still judge him is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s hilarious, heart-breaking and mesmerising all at the same time. See this out and watch it ASAP, even if you’ve already seen it before. 10/10.

Tetrarch: Unstable

The flag-bearers of a new wave of nu-metal, Tetrarch put out their second album earlier this year. Unstable is full of huge riffs, catchy vocal melodies and enough breakdowns to keep even the heaviest of metal fans going. If they keep going like this they will be one of the biggest bands in the future of metal, hence why I gave them an 8/10.

The album’s review

Thunder: All The Right Noises

Whoever says they don’t like Thunder is lying to you. The band have put out some of the best glam/sleaze rock out there, they just had the disadvantage of hitting their peak in the UK in the 90s. However, I would put All the Right Noises up there with Backstreet Symphony, it is really that good. Tracks like the opener, ‘Destruction’ an ‘You’re Gonna be my Girl’ are infectiously catchy and some of the highlights of a solid album. Check this out if you liked any of their other stuff! 8.5/10

The 10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2022

2021 was a massive year for rock music. As the world came out of the pandemic (for the most part) and people could get together again, we got a massive slew of fantastic rock and metal albums being release, from the start of the year right on through to the end. From huge bands like Iron Maiden and Gojira to some of the smaller bands, it has been an impressive, high-quality year for music. A lot had been highly anticipated albums given that most had been pushed back a year.

However, next year doesn’t look like it’ll be any different. With a slew of albums already fully announced as well as many that are teased, hinted at or don’t have a set release date, next year definitely has some stuff to get excited about. We thought we’d give you a brief rundown of some of our favourites and list our most anticipated albums of next year. Check it out and let us know which you can’t wait for the most!

But first, a few honourable mentions: Billy Talent, Slash, Placebo, Anthrax, Ghost, Megadeth and Stereophonics.

Avenged Sevenfold: Untitled

An album that has been teased for a good year now, yet outside of the fact that it is coming we know very little about it. The follow-up to 2016’s masterful The Stage, whatever they have up their sleeves it will most likely be completely different to what came before but equally awesome. It has been so long since we have seen much activity from the band at all, especially here in the UK, so a new album has been on the wish-list of fans for a few years now!

Halestorm: Untitled

Another album announced but not yet titled or dated, but at least this one has its first single out for it! ‘Back From the Dead’ was a fantastic re-introduction to the band, and their first new music since 2018. While the only other hint of a release date is ‘early 2022’, that if anything only adds to the anticipation. The band did some fun stuff on social media leading up to the single dropping, and you’ve only got to imagine they’d do the same for the full album, too.

Check out our coverage of the single here.

Stone Broken: Revelation

Time to throw in something that’s actually all confirmed, don’t you think? British hard rockers Stone Broken are set to return with their third studio album 15th April. If it’s anything like their last two, their fans are in for a treat. The band are yet to release any tracks from it, but we are waiting rather impatiently. I’m sure when they do it will surely be awesome, too!

Korn: Requiem

Even sooner than that is the release of the nu-metal originals 14th studio album, Requiem. Arriving at the very start of February, we have gotten a taster of it already with ‘Start the Healing’. It’s a fantastic track, though the band have a lot to live up to after 2019s The Nothing. The band have been on a run of form as of late, ever since The Paradigm Shift really, so there is no reason to think this is going to be anything less than great. We can’t wait to hear it!

Frank Turner: FTHC

Another February album, punk-rock mainstay Frank Turner is releasing his 9th studio album on the 11th. While his last album was a little slower and stripped-back, focusing more on acoustic stuff, from the sounds of the lead single this one brings him right back to his rocky sound. I am personally very excited, the man writes lyrics better than almost anyone, so this is easily one of my most anticipated albums!

Shinedown: Untitled

Another album that has an announcement of being finished and out by early 2022 with no release date or single penned is the follow-up to 2018s Attention Attention. This is an interesting one for me, as anyone who knows me knows I have not been a fan of the last couple of Shinedown albums. However, with Brent promising a return to a more basic, rock-oriented sound, they definitely now actually have my attention (yes, pun indented). If they put something out akin to their first four albums, I could see it as an early album of the year contender easy.

Animals As Leaders: Parrhesia

How could I not include this album after the insane song and video they put out for it a couple of months back (below)? The instrumental, experimental metal band have always been at the forefront of incredible musicianship, but this looks to be taking things to an even higher level. And LOOK AT THE DANCING GUYS? HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS?

Zeal & Ardor: Self Titled

A band that I had not even heard of before getting a subscription to Primordial Radio, I now cannot escape them or get enough of them. The Swiss avant-garde metal band are set to release their third album on February 11th (busy day, I know), and I for one cannot wait. They may not be for everyone, but their interesting blend of styles makes for one hell of a listen!

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Untitled

Another one that has been teased is the funk/pop-rock legends’ 12th studio album. After their last album, The Getaway, felt like a rather large dip in quality, the return of their former guitarist and song writing aficionado John Frusciante to the band after a decades absence has sent the hype for this album through the roof. The last album he was on, Stadium Arcadium, hit #1 in 10+ countries. Can they replicate that success again with this release?

Slipknot: Look Outside Your Window/Untitled

A cheeky wildcard entry to finish off, I know. Yep, that’s right, not one but TWO new Slipknot albums could hit shelves next year. While they put out a single a month or so ago and Corey had spoken about how the whole album is nearly done, a release date has not yet been confirmed. Look Outside Your Window, however, is even more intriguing to me. An album of B-sides from when they recorded All Hope Is Gone (one of my favourite albums from the band and the first tour I saw them live on), it’s the half of the album that was lighter and more experimental than the rest, hence why it didn’t make the cut. The album has been spoken about since AHIG’s 2008 release, with various plans for release over the years. Will it finally see the light of day next year? Man, we hope so!

And there we have it. Were there any we missed? Let us know on our Facebook here if we did!

Dead Romantic: ‘Nothing beats a live show!’

alt metal(?) band Dead Romantic have been gathering a lot of momentum over the last year or so, even with limited shows and a delayed album release. However, with a huge UK headlining tour planned for February and the album still very much on the horizon, they are going to be a massive breakout band of 2022. Before the band manage to hit the road, we got the chance to sit down with frontman Dan about their upcoming plans and much more!

So you guys put out your debut album earlier this year, right?

Well, to be honest everyone thinks that the album is out but the album’s not out yet! We’ve released four singles from it now that we’ve done videos to and then we release an extra little single just before the first single came out just as a little teaser/taster sort of thing. We’ve been forced to put the album back two or three times now. Various different reasons but one of them is that we want to tour the album. We want to release it when we can play it for people and experience it with them. We couldn’t do that so we thought ‘what’s the point in putting it out now?’.

It is set to come out next year. I’m pretty damn sure it’s going to come out next year.

I’ve seen that you guys have a tour set up, I assume it will be just before that, fingers crossed?

Whether it’s before that or after I’m not sure. We’ll definitely be releasing a single before the tour in February. We’re doing pretty much top to bottom of the UK. There’s a Scotland and Wales date and then six others throughout the UK. We’ll definitely be releasing a single but the album might not come out until the summer.

Is there a theme running through the album or is it more individual tracks?

It’s definitely not a concept album. It’s not like everything goes together. The theme is generally just experiences. It’s kinda cliche to write about your life and experiences and all that sort of stuff, but the things you’ve been through mould you as a person. There’s some stories in there that could mean a certain thing to some people whereas when I or Mike were writing it it meant something completely different to us. But that’s cool, that’s what music is.

There are a lot of different stories on the album about mine and Mike’s and our shared experiences.

How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

I would describe it by saying go and have a listen!

We’ve been described as a few things. Metal, emo, pop-metal, pop-rock. I suppose it falls in the alternative/metal space. We’re between rock and metal but with that sort of poppy hook.

Will this be your first major tour as a band?

Yeah, this is our first UK tour and we’re going around as a headliner which is pretty sick! We didn’t really expect it but it’s awesome! Kilimanjaro are very involved in promoting some of the dates on the tour which is overwhelmingly great for us, to be able to work with people at a certain stature. We’re essentially a baby band, I think we’ve played four shows. Because of lockdown and stuff we just couldn’t get out. When we were finally able to get out and play again it was quite short notice for us to get some dates booked. So February’s going to be great for us!

For me personally it’s my favourite part. I love playing live. Nothing beats a live show, so I’m looking forward to it.

So you’ve been pretty involved in the music scene with singles and gigs. How would you say the scene is right now? Is it recovering?

I’d like to think that it is. There’s a certain portion of the population that are still scared to go to shows, which is fair enough. I like to think I’m not a judgemental person, if you don’t want to go, don’t go. But there is also the flipside of that, the other portion of the population that’s so eager to get out and be amidst that. The shows we’ve played since lockdown have been pretty packed out, I think we sold out more or less all of them. People are just so eager and they’ve been starved of it for so long that they just want to be there.

I think it’s a little difficult for bands at the minute to get on bills, I think that’s one of the negatives. There’s such a backlog of shows that we’re struggling to get on bills. A lot of the festivals have been booked up now for nearly two years because of the backlog and being pushed back and it’s got to catch up with itself.

It’s so great to see people out again. I think it’s something they use as a release, too, going out to shows. No matter what music you listen to, going to a venue or club is such a release for people and I think after having 18 months of sitting inside being able to go outside and witness live music again and be a part of that culture and that world where everyone is so tight nit is almost therapeutic.

Did you enjoy our interview? Keep up to date on all of them by following our YouTube channel here. And, while it’s not out yet, you can read our review of the album here.

Daxx & Roxane, Dirty Sound Magnet and Rules of Engagement on tour

First of all, what a line-up! Three insanely good rock bands on the same bill at a little venue in Nottingham – what’s not to love? Yes, it was a Sunday night, but there was still a damn good turnout.

Local openers Rules of Engagement took to the stage to a crowd of their own supporters. They blew the roof off the place with a variety of styles, the band could go from sounding like pretty heavy bluesy rock to Pearl Jam in seconds. It was in these slower, Pearl Jam-style tracks that I felt the band really came into its own. The heavier stuff was good, don’t get me wrong, but the band had more of a chance to breathe and show off with their more ballady material reminiscent of Black Stone Cherry. They also did a fantastic cover of ‘Dirty Diana’, the highlight of an overall great set!

Rules of Engagement’s Official Facebook

Next up, things got weird. Switzerland’s own Dirty Sound Magnet took to the stage. They immediately showed everyone that they are some of the best musicians around today. The level of playing from all three of them was off the charts, leaving my jaw hanging open frequently. They played some of the catchiest, if weirdest, psychedelic/stoner rock I’ve ever heard, and I loved every second of it (think psychedelic meets acid western meets space cowboy). They blasted through an impressive 50 minutes of some of their biggest songs, and I had a blast. Hopefully they’re over here again soon.

Then, the awesome Daxx & Roxane finally hit the stage. Having seen them once before at Rockin’ The Bowl (review here) we were excited to see them again. Opening on their popular classic ‘Ticket to Ride’, the band preceded to rip through nearly an hour of fantastic NWOCR track after track. Personal favourite ‘Heal’ was a particular highlight, as was their cover of the always-awesome ‘Superstition.’ The band have a unique sound, classic rock meets Jimi Hendrix with a healthy dose of that slower middle part from Metallica’s ‘Orion.’ It also helps that they are fantastic live. They bring crazy amounts of energy and stage presence to every gig. Either they have the best chiropractor in the world, or they have the secret to perfecting head banging without suffering neck injuries everyday. They are definitely ones to watch out for.

And there we have it, another fantastic gig from the IKE guys. They never fail to put on a good line-up, and all three of these bands put on one hell of a show – check them out.

Did you enjoy our review? Keep up to date on all of them from our Instagram here.

Dohny Jep: ‘we’re heavy pop music with riffs!

Dohny Jep are a self pop-rock band who have recently hit the UK underground scene with force. Having released a whopping 4 EPs throughout this year, the band have been working hard. (We reviewed their latest one, by the way, which you can check out here). From the sounds of things they will continue to work hard next year too! We got the chance to sit down with them after their final EP for a quick interview. Check it out below!

So obviously your latest EP has just come out, how’s that gone down?

Yeah, it’s gone very well. We’re very happy with peoples responses to it! Much like the previous three we’ve put out this year we’ve slowly built a following and they seem to really dig most of the stuff we’ve put out. This one’s a little heavier than the last ones we’ve done. A lot of people have commented on that in a nice way. They’ve seen the progression throughout the year of how we’ve developed. And we did that deliberately, we chose for this one to be heavier than the other three. Sort of ease people into it.

With all four EPs coming out in one year, did you guys write it all beforehand?

We wrote a chunk all at the same time really. It was probably late last year.

It was sort of ongoing over a long period of time.

Yeah, late last year I reckon is when I remember we’d demoed an absolute bunch.

And then we kinda played around with orders and stuff. We were still re-writing stuff. So like the first EP was coming out and while we had the fourth EP technically written we were tweaking it as we were going. The main chunk of it was already done, we were just doing the details as we went along. Working to deadlines and stuff. The last one – we weren’t anywhere close to missing the deadline, but we had definitely done a lot more tweaks to some songs. ‘Floor Like Lava’ is two songs that we stuck together so we were still working all the details out.

I assume you planned it all out release-wise before it all, then?

Sort of. We had a kind of idea. I think we were originally put out a bunch of singles. Then the idea became to do them as EPs instead of standalone singles. Then the whole kinda floral thing that tied into each other and then our album, which is out on January 29th, has all four of those flowers in the same vase and we have all the 16 tracks as one collective release. That sort of idea kinda came in halfway through the year, something like that. But yeah, at the beginning of the year we were thinking let’s just release a shit load of singles and be in people’s faces the entire time so they get sick of us or love us, maybe both! But yeah, the full EP thing was decided just before we kicked it off really.

Also, it wasn’t not our decision but it was someone else’s suggestion to us. We’ve been getting advise from a bunch people and he’s sort of unofficially managing us at this point. Not that we don’t have anything to manage but we’re doing everything ourselves so far so he’s more of an advisory roll. He was like ‘well if you’re going to put out 12 singles at one a month, you could put it out as four EPs throughout the year and make a big deal out of it’. I think it was us who decided to jump it up from 12 to 16 because we had so many songs.

Yeah, we just couldn’t really decide which ones we wanted to put out. We’re a big fan of our own stuff! Which is probably a good thing, to love your material instead of thinking ‘eh, it’s alright’. So you kinda need to be your biggest fan! So we thought fuck it, let’s up 16 out and make it as unrealistic as possible to achieve!

So would you consider the same format of EPs leading up to an album again?

We don’t really know yet. It’s been a very expensive year!

Yeah, the next one definitely won’t be like that!

We’re still in talks about exactly how we’re going to do next year, but I think the main plan for us is just to tour a lot on this years material. Because we weren’t able to tour from the get go we’ve lost out on a lot of things like festivals and whatnot. I think once the album is out in January it’ll just be gig gig gig and just get in peoples faces physically rather than digitally this time.

Have you guys got much of a tour booked?

The only thing we’ve got is our release show in January. We’re looking at the moment to lock down a booking agent and then… . Again the advice we got was to look to tour just before summer. Then, avoid summer because it’s the festival season. Unfortunately, because most of the festivals at the minute are re-bookings from the previous two years it’s unlikely that we’ll get a slot on those. Then, after the festival season, get out and do some more stuff.

But it’s all a bit up in the air at the minute. We’re just driving towards this album show and then we’re going to work out what we’re going to do once we’ve got that under our belt.

Generally, how would you describe your sound?

Every time I’m asked this I never really know what to say! I usually go for alt-rock or pop-rock, but more recently I’ve ben saying it’s ‘heavy pop music with riffs’. It’s guitar driven rock music, obviously, but vocally it’s quite hooky with catchy parts.

It’s sort of like a bit of everything for everyone. Especially with our earlier material. It’s got a lot of lighter elements and then this new EP is heavier so it sort of touches on a bit of everything.

Each EP has its own sound, really. You can still tell it’s us, from the first to the fourth EP, but there is a variation in influences. ‘Fade’ for example, which was on Shallow Is the Water. It’s a sort of similar sound to The 1975, which is obviously pretty light and poppy. But then you’ve got other tracks like ‘Control’ that are like early Don Broco. So it’s yeah, variations of influences throughout really.

Will you stick with the wide range of sound going forward?

I think some of the newer stuff we’ve been working on and getting produced has gone a little bit lighter than the last EP. We’ve kinda gone heavy, then we’re going to go light again for a bit, but we’re still in the writing process for that. We’ve got one song produced for the next thing but with no sight of when that is out we’re just being proactive and writing so we have something.

Get ahead of the game!

Exactly! So I might watch this back in six months and we’ve written a really heavy song and then this doesn’t make sense. But at the minute it’s gone a bit lighter, a little funky in places but ultimately it’s still pop-rock with riffs!

Even though you haven’t gigged too much, what would you say the state of the music industry is like right now?

I think digitally, because that’s the best way we can really talk about stuff, it’s skyrocketed. It’s done great things for music. Things like TikTok for example, which we are still very new to but are trying to understand and be one with the young people who know how to use these fucking apps. I think it’s been a great thing for music. For example Papa Roach, who are a super old-school nu-metal band, have been brought back into the modern people’s sights from going viral on there with a very old single of theirs. There’s probably loads of other artists that have either been discovered or rediscovered from TikTok.

So as far as social platforms and things it’s been amazing. I know there’ll be a lot of people out there saying that ‘that’s rubbish’ and ‘you still need to be able to buy CDs’ and people miss going to miss going to buy physical copies of stuff but the reality is that that time has gone and you have to go along with what is happening or you will get left behind.

So yeah, the music’s been great from a digital standpoint. As far as the live stuff, when we’ve played stuff it’s been busy and it’s been great and everyone’s been enjoying themselves, but we just need to do more of them!

Did you enjoy our interview? Check out more of them from our YouTube page here.

New Music Mondays: Volbeat, Devin Townsend and More!

As we get closer and closer to the end of the year, we are finding less and less albums coming out. However, there is still some life in 2021 rock music. This week is the last big one before Christmas hits us. Four new metal albums (sorry rock fans) were put out and we’re here to check out all of them and let you know what we thought!

Volbeat: Servant of the Mind

One of the most promising metal bands of the last few years, Volbeat have never seemed to be given the opportunity they deserve over here. However as much as I loved Seal the Deal…, the band definitely seemed to plateau with Outlaw Gentlemen…. The band have promised this to be heavier than their last release, going back to their roots. From the more recent singles they at least do make that happen. This is the last big album of the year I wanted to review in depth so you’ll have to wait for an overall score, but I can at least tell you it’s better than Rewind, Replay, Rebound!

Devin Townsend: The Puzzle AND Snuggles

That’s right, the Strapping Young Lad alum has treated us to not just one but TWO albums this week. Both are very different albums, though. Snuggles is a seemingly never-ending soundscape of relaxing, almost ethereal-sounding 40 minutes. All the tracks run together perfectly and almost feel like one of those CDs you used to be able to buy if you struggled to fall asleep.

The Puzzle is a messier, slightly heavier affair. Neither were anywhere near what I had expected going into them, though. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Devin’s work to begin with but I at least appreciate tracks like ‘Hyperdrive!’ and ‘Daddy’. Both are actual tracks, not just a collection of sounds. I appreciate the attempt at taking bedroom-pop in a more rock/experimental direction, but I found very little redeeming in either album at all. It was a chore to listen to what I did, honestly. I’ll rate both together and give it a frankly generous 2/10

Of Mice and Men: Echo

Despite a turbulent last few years for Of Mice and Men, the band returned with their seventh studio album this last week. Despite having seen them at a festival a few years ago, I still know next to nothing about the band besides the odd passing song that a friend may have liked. But, coming into this almost completely blind, I have to say I was pretty impressed with this album. It’s nothing ground-breaking, simply good metalcore music. Highlights include the lead single, ‘Obsolete’, ‘Pulling Teeth’ and the albums title track. 7/10

And there we have it, the last big week of rock releases of 2021. We will still keep up with New Music Mondays, of course, as there are still a few albums yet to be released, but it’s rather slow for a few weeks!

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Jack J Hutchinson Announces New Album & Tour!

London based singer and guitarist Jack J Hutchinson has just today announced his long awaited new album. Titled The Hammer Falls, it is scheduled for a February 4th release. An eight date headlining tour has also been announce to coincide with it!

The album, which we first heard about back at Rockin’ the Bowl (read the full interview here) features previously released tracks ‘Call of the Wild’ and ‘Straight to Hell’. Speaking on the album, Jack said “It’s my most personal record to date, but it touches on wider themes such as mortality and loss which affect us all.” muses Jack reflecting upon a period of time which was challenging for all walks of life, “It’s hard hitting, rammed with heavy riffs and guitar solos, but with lyrics and melodies that will hopefully touch and move people. It’s a banger, the songs are fun to play and have gone down very well on tour!

The tour begins in London at the famous O2 in Islington before travelling the length of the UK and even Scotland. It also contains a stop off at Planet Rock’s fantastic Winter’s End festival. Jack J Hutchinson and his band are fantastic live and it will not be a tour to be missed! Check out the full tour from the poster below and make sure to get your tickets!

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New Music Mondays: Black Label Society, Lordi and More!

Over ten weeks in now and you guys are still enjoying it so it looks like this series will continue on! It looks to be becoming more sparse as we approach the end of the year, with not many bands wanting to release albums so close to Christmas and New Years. However, there are still a bit of new music coming out, with four huge albums being released last Friday. Without further adue, let’s check them out!

Black Label Society: Doom Crew Inc.

Ozzy’s part-time axe-man has established himself as an equally great frontman over the last 20 years or so that Black Label Society have been a thing. Now onto their 11th studio album, the band aren’t letting up at all! It’s an hour of stomping, heavy biker metal, and I love it. It’s maybe the best Zakk Wylde has sounded vocally, and there could be an argument made that soloing is up there with some of his best too. A band long and unfortunately overshadowed because of Ozzy, this new music deserves to push them to a higher status in the rock world. Whether it does or not is another story. Highlights include the opener, ”You Made Me Want to Live’ and the emotion filled closing track. 8/10

Lordi: Lordiversity – Superflytrap

Definitely one of the weirder albums I’ve covered here so far, Finnish heavy metal band Lordi put out a disco album last week. Yep, you heard me right. Let’s get weird. I have no idea why it happened, all I know is that I love it. I cannot even find words to describe it, I just urge you to check it out down below, then find the whole album. If anything should win Christmas #1 outside of Gypsy Pistoleros, it’s Macho Freak. It’s like slightly heavier ABBA. I’ll be listening to this album a lot of the rest of the year, and you should too! 9/10.

Cynic: Ascension Codes

Prog-metal band Cynic returned with their fourth studio album and first new music since 2014, Ascension Codes. While I understand the importance of the bands first release, Focus, to the prog-metal genre as a whole, I have to say that personally, I don’t get it. It’s the same with this album. Don’t get me wrong, they are all clearly very accomplished musicians, but there was nothing here that really interested me. Lead single ‘Mythical Serpents’ was about the best of the bunch, with the other single being a close second. Neither held my attention that long, sadly. For such an interesting genre usually, it didn’t captivate me at all here. A shame. 4/10

Hypocrisy: Worship

While being the winners of album artwork of the year (seriously, it’s a thing of beauty), Swedish death metal band Hypocrisy also put out an album that’s good enough to live up to it. From the HUGE opening barrage of the title track through the awesome ‘Dead World’ all the way to the closing track, ‘God of the Underground’, it’s a class in how to do death metal damn well. From start to finish, this was another awesome album, and my favourite death metal album of the year hands down. 8.5/10

Small Town Sindrome: ‘each person can find something they like with it and it’s pretty cool!’

Small Town Sindrome are an alternative/punk rock band from the US. Their most recent album, ‘It Only Gets Worse From Here’, was released a month or so ago (you can find our review of it here). Just before its release, we had the chance to sit down with the band and have a quick chat about it, their last year and their plans for the future. Check it out from down below!

Obviously you put out a single from the upcoming album; it seems like it was pretty well received?

Yeah, so far! We’ve got a really good response. We’ve got the album coming out a week on Friday so we’re excited to see the response to the rest of it.

So how was the writing process for that? Over here we had lockdowns and stuff but has it been different over there?

Yeah. Like the studio we recorded in, the Bouncing Souls studio that they did most of their albums in, so you’ve just kinda gotta get around it. The masks and all that. But we survived!

Is there a specific theme or story to the album or is it more through individual tracks?

We kinda… honestly I have a tee-shirt and on the back it says ‘it only gets worse’, and one day Brian was like “I’m gonna write a song about that!” And then we thought it was a good idea for an album and we just kinda rolled with it.

How does the sound of the album compare to your previous work?

I guess people have to listen to it and make their own judgement, but I think for the most part it’s a lot more polished. For me I learned more chords on guitar so… We really wanted to go for more of a polished sort of sound so I think that’s what we did, I think we accomplished that. We spent a little bit more time on the songs, I guess.

That’s where Pete Steinkopf of the Bouncing Souls came in too. He was really pushing for a little bit better quality in everything we did and it really came out. We’re starting to see that too; people are commenting from our first album and saying that maybe we backed off the edginess a bit, not sure what that means but it’s a little bit more polished.

I think we came into it a lot more confident than the last one, too. Me personally, I felt I was a huge step further than I was with the first one. I was much more confident, and I think us as a whole group felt tighter and more confident together. It definitely made a difference, it made it feel more complete.

So, how would you describe your sound?

Controlled chaos.

That’s actually not too far from the truth!

I feel like we take a mix from a lot of our influences, you know, pop punk, classic punk, classic rock, even a little bit of the more alternative metal or heavier stuff. You get kind of a different feel from a lot of that so it’s kinda hard to say what we do sound like.

Just today I’ve had about a dozen radio stations hit me up for whatever and it’s funny because of the diversity of the radio stations. Jut based on that we could play more of a classic rock station or even a hardcore one. With every song on the album, each person can find something they like with it and it’s pretty cool!

Have you guys managed to gig and stuff recently?

Here in the US we had a nice little tour scheduled last summer that got washed out. That was kind of a bummer but we played some local places at least. This year was really kinda focused on the album, to get that done, so we’ve managed to play a show or two here each month and did a mini-tour in September but really the focus was on the album and getting it out there. Next year we really want to hit it hard as far as touring goes.

Have you got anything pencilled in already?

Yeah actually, the UK! The South mainly, probably a couple of mid-tier festivals and then pretty much book everything we can around that. Our plan is to go all over the UK. We’re really kinda waiting to see what this winter brings but are planning on a heavy schedule come the spring!

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