A less busy week of new music this week, but still plenty of high quality music. Join us in checking it out!
This is the best metalcore album of the year so far. Heck, I’d say it’s honestly one of the best modern metalcore albums. I’d put it up there with the likes of I Prevail, Wage War and Ice Nine Kills’ latest releases. Honestly, the genre currently is in a bit of a resurgence, and is looking massively strong and hopeful which is amazing. The 3rd wave of Metalcore(tm) I’m dubbing it. So, for Polaris’ third album to stand among the others is fucking awesome. Especially given the rocky year they’ve had.
The opener, ‘Harbinger’ is not only the perfect slow-buildup track, but (as the name suggests) is the perfect indicator of what to expect from this album. From the slower, melodic clean first half surrounded by modern synth sounds, to the crushingly brutal ending filled with screams and huge riffs. It tells a story on its own, never mind how it sets up the rest of the album.
Speaking of which, the album is filled with highlights and awesomeness. Tracks like ‘Nightmare’, ‘Parasites’ and ‘Inhumane’ are standouts to me, but honestly the whole album is banger after banger. These guys are going to be huge in the next couple of years, and a lot of it thanks to this album! 9/10
Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons: Kings of the Asylum
We’ve already covered this awesome album! Check it out here!
Larry Fleet: Earned It
Owen: Traditional sounds coming out of Tennessee, Larry Fleet’s latest release Earned It is a strong selection of straight-cut country tracks. Some might listen and say this album hits a lot of stereotypical notes for the genre, but there’s something more to these songs. Fleet sings about family, Jesus, hard work, and beer, no surprises so far. As he says in the fourth track 25-8 “Jesus, Mama, Football, that’s bout all we know around here”. But for all the pitfalls of these themes being overused in modern country, Fleet somehow pulls it off well. For it to become cliché there must be
certain amount of truth and clearly this is how Fleet was raised so write what you know I guess?
Despite some repetitive themes 21 tracks made it onto this album and it did feel a few too many. Some songs blend together and fall into the background when listening to the album in full. A late day stand out for me was ‘Devil Music’ where Fleet talks about a rebellious stage of childhood exploring rock and metal music. A country anthem referencing AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and The
Rolling Stones, where the chorus thanks God for the Devil’s music, what’s not to like? A few good songs hiding amongst a majority of filler country-radio, inoffensive in the background
on a long drive. 6/10
The Paper Kites: At the Roadhouse
Charlotte: Indie-folk band Paper Kites haven’t released new music since 2013 with their album ‘Woodland’, so the release of ‘At the Roadhouse’ is a long time coming for their fans. With storytelling at the heart, it’s easy to get lost in their romantic, easy-listening style. Offering 16 new tracks, ‘At the Roadhouse’ elevates the traditional folk sound with a warm, wholesome sound that transports you like a day-dream. 8/10
Primal Fear: Code Red
Joe: The German power metallers are back with their 14th studio album. Forming in the booming European scene in the 90s, I’m shocked this is the first I am hearing of them aside on the odd Wacken poster. Honestly, they’re pretty decent! The opener is great and followed up perfectly by ‘Bring that Noise’, which is a definite album highlight! I see now why frontman Ralf Scheepers tried to replace Rob Halford, this is very Judas Priest!
I have to admit though, as good as this album is, I feel like modern power metal has overtaken it in recent times. I don’t know if it’d the general consensus, but I personally prefer stuff like Powerwolf or Angus McSix to this. However, it is very Painkiller, which will definitely keep me coming back for more than just the one listen. Other highlights include ‘Deep in the Night’ and the epic, Maiden-esque ‘Their Gods have Failed’. 8/10, this was fun and definitely grows with more listens!
Joe: The prog metal Swedes are back with their sixth album. I have an odd relationship with this band. The first time I’d checked them out was when we covered their ATLANTIS album last year (check that here). I didn’t realise until we were checking them out ahead of Graspop this year that it wasn’t a full release, instead being a semi-live album backed by an 8-piece orchestra. Heck, the fact that it was recorded without a crowd made it so I didn’t even realise it was live and old tracks! So, unfortunately I wasn’t a big fan of their actual studio stuff when I checked it out.
However, I fucking loved this album! While the opener didn’t hook me immediately, I found myself ‘liking’ almost every track after that on Spotify. I usually use it to know which to put on the playlist, so you’ll have to check it out here to find out which of them actually made the cut! However, the almost Gojira-like riffing in ‘Violence’ was amazing, as is the beautiful duet ‘Hollowed’. Also, ‘Incendiary’ is one of my favourite tracks of the year from any act!
I love the depth of the music throughout. They seem to have taken what worked with ATLANTIS and used it in the studio, creating a really interesting, massive sound throughout the album. If this is how they’re going to sound live in front of a crowd, I have to see them soon. 9/10, damn this was good!
Lord of Shadows: Echos of Yore
Joe: A shorter release than most, the gothic doom band put out just seven tracks for their latest release. It is still 42+ minutes though, as there are some longish songs here. And it’s one hell of an interesting listen. It’s definitely epic, and rolls between beautiful, quiet gothic rock and extreme doom metal pretty seamlessly. Plus, the fact that each track has so many amazingly talented guests on it is a massive plus, as it gives the whole album a diversity to it, despite it all being a similar sound.
Those who are regulars here at Overtone know that I have a very up and down relationship with extreme/black metal stuff, and somehow I have that same relationship throughout the whole album. I prefer the cleaner stuff, but some of the heavy stuff is good too. Some of it isn’t really my thing. However, the general feel of the album, especially with the more poetry-based narrative, is amazing. Those who are into the ambient black metal side of stuff, this is definitely worth checking out, just to see if you like it. I feel like it’s very much Marmite music! 6/10, it’s worth checking out!
Escape the Fate: Out of the Shadows
Joe: This band have been releasing music for nearly two decades now. Man do I feel old. Though I admit I was never much of a fan of the band growing up, nowhere near as much as some of my friends and peers anyway, they dud have a few good songs here and there. However, I always find myself preferring the current and former members of the band’s other projects more. Whether it’s Blessthefall, Beyond Unbroken or the awesome Falling in Reverse, every other band just seems to grab my attention more.
This album is the perfect example of why this is. It’s fine. As an early 2000s metalcore/post-hardore band putting out an album in 2023, it’s exactly what you’d imagine. But that’s my issue: nothing stood out. It’s like they heard out good Motionless in White’s album was last year and went ‘let’s do that!’ but then in the process lost what made that album special. When these days we have awesome modern albums in the genre from the likes of MIW, Ice Nine Kills, and Crown the Empire, this just kinda falls as almost radio static.
If you’re a fan of the band you’ll probably still enjoy this. However I struggled to find stand out tracks, it was all pretty much on the same level. 4.5/10
Charlotte: Speedy Ortiz welcomes her touring bandmates with fourth studio album ‘Rabbit Rabbit’. This album nostalgically transports you to a 90s/00s indie-rock soundtrack with bright vocals, catchy riffs, and upbeat-dance beats. I recommend this album to anyone looking for an indie-rock change of pace, youthful energy and that overall optimism occasionally missing from the indie-rock genre. 8.5/10