It is no secret to any long time readers of this site, or to anyone that knows me, that New Roses are one of my favourite bands. Having been introduced to them back in 2017 through Hard Rock Hell, I have seen them work hard to slowly gain more and more of a foothold in the UK. The other night was a testament to that. Midway through their first major tour of the UK with Massive Wagons and taking a couple of nights off to headline their own smaller, packed shows.
And, being supported by the wonderful Empyre and local boys Devil’s Ransom, it really was a show not to be missed. Thankfully, we didn’t, and are here to tell you just what you missed!
First on were Devil’s Ransom. They fit the bill pretty perfectly as they are very similar in sound and theme to New Roses. The band only had half an hour, but more than put that time to good use! Even with some technical difficulties, they played through it like pros and we had an improvised yet fun drum and bass solo while the guitarist sorted stuff out. The band played their hearts out through a fun set and put on a great show for the crowd!
Next up were moody alt rockers Empyre. Promising to bring the mood down in the best way possible, they delivered a much too short set full of moody, awesome music. They are one of the best bands in the UK underground scene today, be that live or on track, and that was on full display here. Hendrik has one of the most powerful, incredible voices in all of rock at the minute. On tracks like opener ‘Waking Light’ or ‘Hit and Run’, it honestly gave me chills. That’s not at all to take away from the other band members, either. Did, Grant and Elliot create such a brooding, captivating atmosphere with their playing and performance. It sucks you in immediately and holds your attention throughout. Their presence on stage is incredible.
Honestly, I’d love to see this band play bigger shows with a Tool-like stageshow. I think it would fit them perfectly and add even more to the aura of the band. One of the best sets I’ve seen all year! 🤌
Now, this is the fifth time I’ve seen The New Roses. Somehow, every single time I’ve seen them, they have gotten better and better. This was no exception.
Being a five-piece now for the first time since the band’s inception, it’s worked out better than I could have ever anticipated. Frontman Timmy having the freedom to move around and dance and interact with the crowd more without his guitar was awesome to watch. Meanwhile returning lead guitarist Norman Bites brings so much energy and showmanship to the stage that I honestly didn’t realise I’d missed from their shows until his return. Dizzy still holds his own as a phenomenal guitarist, and both Hardy and Urban play their parts to perfection too.
As for the setlist, it was awesome. Still touring on support of their latest release, last year’s Sweet Poison, the set was heavy with tracks from it. However, the likes of ‘The Usual Suspects’, ‘Warpaint’ and ‘Sweet Gloria’ are crowd favourites. Meanwhile, deeper cuts like ‘The Lion in You’ and my personal favourite, ‘Veins of This Town’, were very welcome and sounded amazing. And the band still threw in older classics like ‘Life Ain’t Easy’, ‘Glory Road’ and perennial set closer ‘Thirsty’. And they still had time to throw in a cheeky Tom Petty cover, too! It was the perfect setlist, and the 90-minute set flew by far too quickly!
They are one of the best live bands around today, and have somehow only gotten better now that they are a five-piece! I cannot recommend them enough, be it on track or live. If you have the chance to see them live on this tour or in the future, you must take it!
And there we have it, folks. An utterly awesome night of rock music. Three amazing bands playing their hearts out for all in attendance. And, a quick shoutout to the venue too, as the Craufurd Arms is a really awesome rock bar! If you get the chance to see any of the three bands live, I’d highly recommend doing so. It really feels like the future of rock music, and it’s looking very bright!
The punk/hard rock flamenco band are back with their brand new album, to be released tomorrow. I’ve been a fan of the band for a few years now, ever since seeing them at a HRH event a couple of years back. And since then, Gypsy Pistoleros have gained more and more momentum with each passing month, so it seems. So, let’s dive into this album together and see what it’s like!
The album’s title track kicks things off with a slow build guitar riff, immediately giving the collection an epic feel. The quicker, punkier pace explodes in, setting up a simple yet fun, bouncy verse. It all leads to a catchy chorus that gives off big Pretty Boy Floyd vibes. A pretty decent guitar solo is nestled in the middle of the track, and the dropped-down bridge with the vocals and clapping is great. I feel like it would all go over so well live! It’s a great way to not only open the album, but also introduce anyone unfamiliar with the band to their particular brand of noise.
A drum fill leads to another upbeat, mid-tempo track with ‘I Got it All’. It’s very glam/sleaze/AOR, and I see why the band are so popular with the HRH crowd, it is right up that street in terms of sound. Unfortunately the chorus doesn’t differentiate itself that much to the rest of the track, so it doesn’t quite feel as big as the previous track’s. Still though, the Spanish fit pretty perfectly in, and it’s still a damn enjoyable track! And the ‘lalala’ing is still catchy.
‘Revolution’ opens straight into a great, sleazy riff. The whole track drips with attitude and is put together perfectly with the drop-out verses and massive, simple, catchy chorus. I love all of the vocals in this track, and the backing and harmonies throughout add so much to them, too. The bridge goes pretty hard, something I’d again love to see live; a pit for it would be awesome! It’s my favourite track on the album so far, and easily makes our playlist.
The band go back to their punky, glam side with ‘What’s it Like to be a Girl’. There are again plenty of catchy vocals, mainly from the backing and harmonies. The interplay between them and Gypsy Lee is a lot of fun in this track. It all builds into a pretty great chorus too, the distorted guitars and huge drums coming in to fill out the rock sound. There isn’t much to this track, it’s just a fun, stomping rock track.
I’m already familiar with ‘The Ballad of Tommy Shelby’, having checked out the single when it was released. The slower, jazzy, bluesy clean open is amazing, and I’ve loved it since I first heard it. And the way it explodes into the faster, almost Rancid-like punky stuff after a minute is great. Again, the backing vocals are a massive highlight, especially with the ‘woh’s. It makes everything so fun and catchy. The dynamics between the cleaner, slower stuff and the balls-to-the-wall punk throughout is awesome, too. It’s a really good track, and definitely the right choice for a single. Another that easily makes the playlist!
Tracks ‘Like Tears in the Rain’ and ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ are both awesome, heavier punk numbers. They fit in perfectly with the album, but I’m struggling to say much about them that I haven’t already mentioned about previous songs.
‘Thrill Kill Killer Club’ is the heaviest track on the album and was a nice change of pace. It has more of a Motorhead vibe to it which was a lot of fun. And yet, it is still pretty catchy through the chorus. The Nancy Sinatra reference in the middle was a nice touch, too! It’s another track that easily makes our playlist!
The final Gypsy Pistoleros track on the album is the token ballad, ‘I’ll Remember You’. Honestly, it’s a really well written track and a sound that fits the band perfectly. The heavy riffing in and out of the chorus is awesome, and it’s all very catchy. It’s an incredible track, and I’d have honestly loved this to have been the closer, as it does have a rather epic, finale feel to it.
However, the album instead finishes on the band’s cover of ‘Come on Eileen’. Honestly, I’m not a fan of it. It’s such a MASSIVE, popular song that it’s so hard to do and not pale in comparison to the original. Also, I’m a big ska punk fan, so Save Ferris’ cover will always hold a special place in my heart. The track is good and I appreciate the effort to try and make it different, but it isn’t for me.
Overall: This was a lot of fun! The band occupy an interesting space currently where practically no one else in the UK underground scene is sounding like this, especially as a newer band. And they do said sound impressively well, and have crafted one hell of an album. It’s full of catchy moments, great playing, and genuine emotion. I can see why they are getting some serious momentum in the scene now!
Swedish hard rockers Bonafide are back with their eighth album. The band have been pretty big in the European touring scene in the last decade and a half since their inception, touring with the likes of The Quireboys, LA Guns and Y&T, playing some of the best clubs and theatres across Europe and the UK. And their steady stream of releases have always been solid and pretty great. So, let’s check this one out, and see if it’s similar!
The album’s title track opens on a steady bassline and some catchy, chanting/gang vocals. It all builds into a great, AC/DC style riff, instantly bringing the energy in a big way. The riff continues through the verse, the vocals fitting perfectly over the top. And it all leads to a catchy as anything chorus, one that would easily fill dive bars or stadiums around the world. A great, albeit simple, guitar solo ties the track together before the track factory resets and the infectiously catchy chorus takes us home. A great way to open the album!
Another great AC/DC-like riff opens ‘Hero to Zero’, though the pace and energy gives it more of an Airbourne feel. It’s giving off very similar vibes to ‘Thunderstruck’ or ‘Live it Up’. And, actually, ‘Kiss Tried to Kill Me’ by Black Spiders, too. All are great songs so that’s definitely a compliment! Both the pre and chorus are again hugely catchy, though the low backing vocals did give me slight Hercules vibes. Another great guitar solo fills the gap between the 2nd and 3rd chorus perfectly, and it’s another amazing track! This one easily makes our playlist!
Between the steadier pace and vocal delivery on ‘Salvation’, it gives off heavy Kiss vibes. The vocal harmonies help the track go from a pretty basic one to a memorable one as again, the chorus is the highlight. It’s a great, stomping, bluesy number, and fits the bands sound perfectly. The guitar solo is maybe my favourite on the album too, it has so much emotion and feeling. And the bluesy outro is amazing. It’s a second track in a row to make it onto our Spotify, great stuff!
The pace picks back up for ‘Who’s the Boss’, a great riff being at its centre. It’s almost like Cadillac Three’s ‘Slide’. It’s a fun, bouncy hard rock track, the backing vocals and harmonies adding so much catchiness to an already massive sounding pre and chorus. It is still a light song too, despite it’s tempo, definitely earning that hard rock tag. It’s a great, fun song, and the third straight to make our playlist!
Tracks like ‘Snacket’, ‘Rumble’ and ‘Tonight I’m Wild’ are good, but more of the same. I very much enjoyed each of them, but there really isn’t much to talk about with them. Bonafide have their sound and very much stay to it, for the most part.
‘Dealt a Bad Hand’ is another quick one, this time more in the vein of Motorhead than anything else. It was a refreshing change of pace, and a fantastic song to boot. The faster drums and riffing was awesome and something the band should have done more on this album, in my opinion. It also means when it goes half-time in the middle it hits so much harder, almost feeling like a breakdown. And the solo rips. It’s a sick song and yet another that makes our playlist!
‘Tommie Nine Fingers’ has a bit more of a blues swing to things, but again sounds a lot like Paul Stanley is involved. Still, the riffing is great, and it’s a damn catchy track. It’s hard not to tap your foot or nod your head, it’s a fun track. Meanwhile closer ‘Little Miss Understood’ is a fitting, upbeat ending. A stomping, catchy hard rock track that takes the album home dripping in swagger and attitude.
Overall: This was pretty great. Don’t get me wrong, none of it exactly reinvented the wheel. It’s all straight forward, to-the-point rock music. However, there were a fair few standout tracks throughout, and it was a damn fun album as a whole. I’ll happily be listening to this for weeks to come, and if you’re into the genre you’ll find a lot to enjoy here!
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
A band that have become good friends with Overtone, Shadow Smile, are set to release their debut album in a couple of days time. Being a big fan of the band since first seeing them last year, as well as hearing a couple of the tracks live already, I am super excited to be checking this out. A mainstay in the NWOCR scene these days, even though they’re a little heavier than most in it, Shadow Smile will have a huge future if they nail this release. So, let’s see what it’s like!
The extended intro track, ‘Se7en’, is the perfect setup for the album. It sets up the mood and premise for the album in little over a minute, as well as building phenomenally. Plus, it’s a nod to one of the greatest films of all time, so win win!
Lead single and title track of the album, and a track that I have barely gotten the chorus out of my head after I first heard it months ago, is up first. Right from the catchy vocals of the chorus to open, it hooks you in and doesn’t let go until the end. From the heavier edge of the huge riffing and the odd scream scatted through to the melodic, almost metalcore feel throughout the rest, it’s a track dying to be played in arenas across the room. It’s been on our playlist for months after I did a reaction to the track, which I’ll drop a link to below. What a fantastic choice to start an album with!
Up next is another single, ‘Hellbound Heart’. Again, it is catchy right from the get go thanks to the hook of the ‘ooooh’s. Once again the ch0nky riffs bring back the heaviness, and everything works so well together. I LOVE the tone of Connor’s vocals too; from the cleans to the harsher screams, both sound perfectly with the track behind them. The breakdown riff with the incredibly technical guitar solo over the top was also a massive highlight of the track. The entire composition of the track, heck, the entire album, is amazing. Everything feels massive and all the little touches like the intro track or the ‘oooh’s or the subtle keys or even certain mixing choices feel deliberate and so well placed. Another great track!
‘Our Morality’ opens on a riff and sound straight out of early Killswitch or BFMV. I love it. The heaviness almost lends itself to melodeath before cleaning up into another huge, infectiously catchy chorus. As much as I love the more Avenged style of the previous tracks, I love the band mixing it up and throwing us a heavy track, especially this early in the album. I can’t wait to hear the NWOCR crowd’s reaction to the track, too…! This is an incredible track and easily will make the playlist come Friday when it’s out!
After another short piano interlude track, the band explode into the marching band-like intro of ‘Before Every Fall’. It builds up perfectly through the intro, verse and pre into a now typically massive, arena-filling chorus. The bridge and breakdown are heavy and great. However, I have to admit, it’s the first track on the album that didn’t immediately hook me in fully. It’s a great song, for sure, but it’s missing something that the others had. Still, this is my first listen, and it’ll no doubt grow on me more and more!
‘Take What You Can’ opens on a great string section, giving off power metal vibes and actually fits in great with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies they are referencing! The riff fits perfectly over the top with the same melody, and everything through the verse works amazingly. Shadow Smile skirt between metal and hard rock perfectly, straddling the line on multiple occasions throughout the track. It’s very Avenged Sevenfold in the best ways. The duelling clean and harsh vocals in the chorus is a highlight of the track for sure. It’s another fantastic track that I cannot get enough of!
I LOVE when a track runs into the next, and the note being held heading into ‘The Devil Makes Work for Idle Hands’ is no exception. Said track is an interesting one, too. Everything suddenly comes in all at once, giving off heavy Deftones vibes. While still maintaining the heaviness and great melodies, it adds a whole new layer to it all and sounds completely different. the track still has the huge chorus, but outside of that it channels more of a 90s industrial/nu metal feel. It keeps things interesting this deep into the album, which not a lot of bands can do these days! It also has a darker, sludgier feel to it which I love.
Another interlude track leads us again perfectly into ‘The World is in My Way’. Said track is the slower, ballad of the album. It again has a different feel, reminding me more of an 80s synth kinda feel. Think a mix of Depeche Mode and Billy Idol. It’s a really interesting choice, especially this late into things, but it pays off big time. It’s a fantastic track, and a fitting ballad for the rest of the album. It shows how much range the band have too. It’s something completely different to the rest of the album while still sounding wholly Shadow Smile. Also, that guitar solo is fantastic.
Then we reach the most recent single and closing track, ‘Suck the World Dry’. This is another track I’ve been obsessed with since its release. Not only does it sound like Shadow Smile crossed with Wednesday 13, one of my favourite metal artists, but it has a fucking saxophone in it! And any long-time readers here will know how much I love me a sax. It’s a damn sexy sax solo, too. Also, the lyrics here are my favourite from the album. It’s the most obvious sin they explore, greed, but it’s if anything our most pressing issue as a society these days. The emotion and anger behind the vocals are apparent. It’s a great choice for a single and a great choice for a closing track. Playlisted!
Overall: This was amazing. Having been a fan of the band for a little while now, my own anticipation for this release was pretty high. Still, Shadow Smile surpass it with ease. Not only is it a damn impressive collection of tracks, but it’s a thought-provoking concept album that all ties together perfectly. The word masterpiece is thrown around maybe a little too often these days, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t in that conversation. This will be on heavy rotation for me for months to come, I’m sure. The guys have put out on of the best debut albums I’ve ever heard. I can’t wait to hear it live at their launch next month!
Local boys for us, Smoke Over Elsewhere, have been going from strength to strength in the UK underground rock scene for a couple of years now. Their blend of southern with the usual UK rock sound has turned a lot of heads. Their debut EP came out earlier this month and, after their previous two singles, I can’t wait to hear it. Let’s check it out!
Opener ‘Told You So’ builds up perfectly through a great bass and drum line, adding in the guitars before exploding into the HUGE main riff. The verse is fun while the chorus is simple yet dripping with attitude and swagger. There isn’t necessarily a huge, arena filling feel to it, it reminds me more of some of the Appetite for Destruction album tracks, ripping through awesome riffs and brief vocal sections. It’s a hell of a lot of fun as a track and skirts the line between hard rock, southern and heavier indie perfectly. A great way to open the EP!
‘Fire Blind’ channels the same heavy, hard southern rock swagger and riffing as the previous track. I LOVE the playing that’s going on through the EP, and especially here with the inclusion of the slide guitar. The chorus here is pretty catchy, and has more a doom/stoner vibe to the delivery. An almost Monster Magnet or High on Fire type feel. Honestly, there wasn’t much I could think of saying about the track outside of it’s a great song that’s definitely worth checking out.
Another great riff forms the basis of ‘Crazy’. If there’s one thing that’s a clear highlight of the EP and band in general, it’s these sleazy, hard rock riffs. It’s another great chorus in a simple yet incredibly effective track. The drum fill was great in the middle, too. It’s all one level and tempo and there really isn’t a massive amount to the track, but that’s if anything part of its charm. The band don’t need to do anything flashy or reinvent the wheel, they just play good rock music!
Closer ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Woman’ is practically exactly the same as the previous track, and the two before that. It’s the origin of the EP’s title, and it’s an infectiously catchy chorus surrounded by of course great instrumentation from the band. It’s my favourite track on the album and easily makes our playlist. It’s the perfect way to conclude this short, straight to the point EP!
Overall: This is exactly what I was expecting. And, for anyone going into this expecting a straight forward hard rock album with a bit of blues and Southern edge to it, you’ll feel the same. I have to say though, this release is definitely less southern than their previous two tracks, which was slightly disappointing. Still, it was a lot of fun and a collection of tracks that I would LOVE to see performed live. Each member is a master of their craft and came together to create something really great here. Hopefully we get a full length soon!
A slightly smaller week of new music this week, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less awesome. Check it out with us!
Enter Shikari: A Kiss for the Whole World
Confession time: I never ‘got’ this band. I’ve heard they’re very good live and from seeing videos I feel like I’d enjoy them. However, on track they do next to nothing for me. I struggle to put them into a genre outside of ‘not for me’.
This album didn’t change my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, some of the riffs, like the ones on the title track or ‘Goldfish’ are good. However, it seems to pull together the worst parts of pop-punk, Prodigy and general pop/indie, and blends them together into a boring mess of meh. Again, it would probably do a lot more for me live, as I’d have LOVED tracks like ‘Bloodshot’ and ‘Giant Pacific Octopus’ if they’d have just gone a little harder and heavier. It was too close to Twenty-One Pilots but without the good hooks and lyricism, when I was hoping for something a little closer to Skindred. But hey, that’s on me.
I know fans of the band are going to hate me for this, but I’m simply going off personal preference… 4/10
Jethro Tull: RokFlote
Well, we’re here again. Just under 15 months since we covered Jethro’s triumphant return album, we have a new one. I have a lot of mixed emotions, and not many are positive. I was not prepared for this today.
It’s certainly weird, and it’s certainly Jethro Tull. And it’s one hell of a mixed bag. There are some great elements throughout, like the first minute of ‘Ginnunagagap’ or the flute and guitar melodies in ‘Wolf Unchained’. Heck, the folk-rock parts in each track when it’s flute and guitars are fantastic. However, Ian Anderson sounds tired. He has every right to be, he’s in his mid-seventies. But it just took away any energy the tracks had as soon as his vocals came in.
It doesn’t feel anywhere near the passion and quality of their previous release. While I went as far as to actually enjoy some of that, this felt like a struggle to get through for the most part. It was boring outside of the odd flute melody. However, I still feel like I’d appreciate it a lot live, so there’s that I guess. 3.5/10
The 69 Eyes: Death of Darkness
The moody goth legends are back with their 13th studio album on Friday. Fans of the band know exactly what to expect of the band by now, it’s exactly what you’d imagine a band that got big in the early 2000s goth scene would sound like. Think Him, ASP, Birthday Massacre etc. It’s good.
Typically I’m not a huge fan of this sort of music, but the band did well to win me over with tracks like ‘Drive’, ‘Something Real’ and ‘Gotta Rock’. There’s a bit more of a glam/Misfits/even GnR nature to some of it which definitely drew me in. And the harsher vocals contrasted well with the Peter Steele lows. There are a lot of elements and sounds throughout that really held my attention. There was even some dark country/folk in ‘This Murder Takes Two’ for good measure. Plus, the aforementioned track features legendary tattooist Kat Von D and, no matter your feelings on her personally, there is no denying that she can sing and adds a lot to the track.
I found myself loving it by the end and wanting to check out the rest of their back catalogue. A damn fun listen and a great find for me; they have a new fan in me! 8/10
Angus McSix: Angus McSix and the Sword of Power
We’ve already reviewed this awesome album! Check it out here.
Alice Howe: Circumstance
Country time. And unfortunately the only one covered this week. However, Alice does a damn good job of representing the genre with her sophomore album. Though it’s a little slower than the typical music we cover on here, it’s a fantastic album to chill out to. Tracks like the opener, ‘Things I’m Not Saying’ and ‘Travelin’ Soul’ are all big highlights of the album. If you like the more traditional, slower side of country, you’ll love this. I’d LOVE to hear it live. 7.5/10
Portrayal of Guilt: Devil Music
This is not an EP. 10 songs spanning 31-minutes is an album. Fight me.
Max: This was super intense and there was so much going on that was just fantastic to listen to; from the intense blast beats on the drums to the intensity of the vocals. There was so much energy throughout the entire album which made it a lot of fun to go through. Whilst I don’t think there was one stand-out song on the album, the entire thing was amazing and was a lot of fun. The guitars were also amazing and carried so much of the album with the speed and skill that is demostrated throughout. 8/10
Phaeton: Between Two Worlds
Max: So this album was a little unexpected. It is an instrumental album. This was actually quite good as it was a nice breath of fresh air after doing several weeks of similar genres. In my experience, instrumental albums can be hit and miss. However, this album was really good. There was a lot going on, but not enough that it became difficult or too intense. The guitars did a really good job making sure that the album wasn’t boring. The only issue was it would have been nice to have a greater focus on the drums and bass but it would seem like this isn’t the focus of the band so you can’t knock them for it. 8/10
Signs of Chaos: Blindsided
Max: This was an interesting album, and not in a bad way. This album had a lot of technical skill from the guitars to the drums and then the screams. This ranged from the speed and intensity of it all with the vocals changing their tone quite a lot to the guitars going from fast and heavy hitting riffs to very well done and thought out solo’s. The only issue was that every now and again some parts of the mix felt like they got lost in the rest of the music which was dissapointing as it was all very very good. Overall this band deserves a lot of praise and far more attention than they have at the time of writing. 9/10
A big week of new music this week with a bit of everything! Let’s waste no time and jump right in!
Godsmack: Lighting up the Sky
The nu metal/radio rock band’s final full length album, according to frontman Sully Erna, dropped on Friday. I’ve been a pretty big fan of the band since first hearing their music in The Scorpion King as a child, despite the somewhat mixed reception they’ve had in recent years. I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every album they’ve put out, though some more than others. Either way, I’ve been excited for this one for a while.
I mean, it was a’ight. Single ‘You and I’ is one of the worst album openers I’ve heard in a while. It’s not an inherently bad song, but a mid-tempo, blues stomper by a band typically heavier and more attitude-filled wasn’t the right call to open with. Following track ‘Red, White & Blue’ would have made a lot better an opener. The lyrics are a tad cringy for a non-American, but it’s a definite highlight of the album non the less. Lead single ‘Surrender’ is a pretty decent track too!
However, the later the album went on, the more tired it felt. ‘Truth’ was a beautiful, piano-led ballad that’s another highlight, but a lot of the rest felt like typical, formulaic Godsmack. Tracks like ‘Hell’s Not Dead’ and ‘Let’s Go’ are fun, but none of it felt fresh or new at all. I loved their last couple of albums but this is easily their weakest since The Oracle or even IV. There are some good tracks on this but it’s not as solid an album as I’m used to from the band. It’s all pretty slow and tired. Part of me hopes they do one more to go out with a bang, but then another part hopes they finish with just a little gas left in the tank. 6.5/10, though that may go up as it feels a little harsh.
Steel Panther: On the Prowl
Sorry fanthers, but this is probably going to be harsh too. It’s no secret that the joke wore out its welcome quite a while ago, and I even tried to cling on longer than most. All You Can Eat was pushing it but still had some great tracks, while everything after that has just made me cringe. It isn’t even the fact that it’s immature, but that the writing has gotten much more on-the-nose and far less clever. Compare the lyrics of ‘Friends with Benefits’ to something like ‘Community Property’ or ‘Turn Out the Lights’ and the writing really feels like it’s taken a hit. It’s the most basic toilet and sex humour now, there’s not even the slight nuance that the first couple of albums had.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. ‘On Your Instagram’ is an entertaining ballad that felt surprisingly cleverly written. And I agree with the general consensus that ‘1987’ is the best thing the band have released in years. When they’re not trying to push crass innuendos into every line, their talent shines through a lot more. Everything else felt cheep and boring after almost a decade and a half of the same shit. And it’s a shame too, as Satchel and Styxx are both phenomenal players that feel a little wasted in the band.
I found myself getting bored quick after ‘1987’, and for that reason I can’t give it any more than 4/10
Lovebites: JUDGEMENT DAY
The Japanese metal women are ready to take the whole world by storm with their fourth album. Right out of the gate the band slaps you with some insane power/thrash in the form of ‘We Are the Resurrection’ and the band don’t let up once from that point. The band are all unbelievably talented at what they do, with all of them working their asses off in every track.
Don’t get me wrong, the vocals aren’t going to be to everyone’s tastes, but I enjoyed them enough that they didn’t ruin the songs. My only ever so slight gripe is that they really do go balls to the wall for close to an hour. It would have been nice to have had a slightly slower track in the middle somewhere to break up the pace and show some diversity. Still, it’s filled with awesome tracks and gets an easy 8/10 from us!
Dierks Bentley: Gravel & Gold
Country time again! I forgot quite how long Dierks had been going until typing up this article, his first release coming back in ’03 and this being his 10th. Almost all of his work is fantastic, too.
This was no exception. After the radio-country-rock hit the album opens on with ‘Same Ol’ Me’, ‘Sun Sets in Colorado’ is a fantastic traditional country track, complete with plenty of great fiddle. We get a few more slower moodier before ‘Beer at my Funeral’ picks up the tone and fun up a little. Then there’s the huge single ‘Gold’ which deserves all the listens and high praise that it has already and then some, it’s amazing. ‘All the Right Places’ and album closer ‘High Note’ are also massive highlights of the album. The latter in particular with it’s acoustic jam for an over two-minute outro was fucking awesome.
The album suffered a little from the country thing of too many songs/too long. It’s 14 tracks at 51-minutes. However, the quality was that high and there was enough variety in here that I didn’t really feel the length as much this time. 8.5/10, great stuff!
Dope: Blood Money Part Zer0
Industrial/nu metal early 2000s titans Dope return with their first new album since 2016. Someone needs to teach the band how to count, as part zero should definitely come before part 1 (yes, I know it’s a ‘subtle’ reference to Edzel’s tenure in Static X, let me be ‘funny’). I don’t think I’ve checked out Part 1, but up until that album I’ve enjoyed the band’s output. Hopefully this is the same!
Opener ‘No Respect’ is the most Dope thing I’ve ever heard, and it’s excellent. ‘Believe’ and ‘Best of Me’ didn’t do much for me but ‘Choke’ was awesome, as was ‘Dead World’, ‘Fuck it Up’ and ‘Parasite’. I also didn’t really like the two tracks with Drama Club, ‘Misery’ and ‘Lovesong’. Both felt a little reigned in and boring compared to what I enjoy from the band.
The main issue a lot will have with this album is how long it’s taken to arrive and how many tracks we’ve heard already. Out of the 12 tracks on the album, nine were released prior, leaving just three brand new, never before heard songs. I haven’t been keeping a massively close eye on the band in recent months so had only heard a few, but it must be annoying for hardcore fans of the band to get so much before its release.
Overall, the good tracks did outweigh the meh, but it wasn’t as good as it felt like it could have been. Somehow, even though it was only 43-minutes long, it felt bloated. Then again, that has been a bit of an issue with the band for a while now. 7/10, it was good, but still could have been better!
Country-punk isn’t something I thought existed or that I thought I’d type today. However, I’m happy with both, as this is great. It takes my favourite parts of bands like Social Distortion and even Rancid and adds a country twang to it that I didn’t even know I needed in my life. I’m struggling to even pick out a highlight track or three. Yes, it’s all fairly similar, but it’s all sogood. The opening couple of tracks are straight up slower punk, while ‘She Leads Me’ and ‘Raining for Weeks’ take more of a country turn.
Honestly, if you’re into the more relaxed side of punk, country or rock, this is for you. 38-minutes flew by and I wanted more by the time it was over. They have a new huge fan in me, and I’mma have to go back and check out their older stuff ASAP. 9/10
It’s not often we get to check out instrumental music, which is a shame because it’s always technically flawless. This was no exception, the Irish lot’s debut album being a heavy, deathcore/djenty masterclass. Due to the instrumental nature of the music, it’s so hard to pick a highlight track. I do have to commend them too, as at only eight tracks and under 35-minutes in length, it just about managed to hold my attention throughout. Much longer and I’d have gotten a bit bored, but as it stands I loved this! 8/10
Described as dark Americana, I’ve found yet another new sub-genre I love this week! It definitely still has an indie and pop edge to it, but the simplicity and emotion throughout is fantastic. Plus, the bass really reminded me of Flea, which is always a huge plus. Tracks like ‘Carrion Cry’ and ‘A Proper Icarus’ are personal highlights, but the whole album is awesome. Music like this is huge right now and with the right push this album could put VOLORES at the top of the scene quickly. It’s chilled out yet emotional, simple yet massively talented. 8.5/10
King Abyss: Snake Oil
Time for some thrash to finish off the week. The debut album is a surprising masterclass in speed, aggression and awesome metal. Honestly I felt like I was transported back to my spotty teenage years listening to nothing but heavy thrash, and this is some of the best of the genre I have heard in so long. Some of the lead guitar is honestly mind-blowing, and everyone else did just as amazingly at their respective parts. And, just when I was going to complain about it be similar, we get the Metallica-esque masterpeice that is ‘Disdain’. It’s a ballsy move putting a more ballady track track just four songs into a debut thrash album, but it was a perfect placement and a perfect track. I cannot gush over it enough.
Tracks like the opener and ‘A Short Drop and a Sudden Stop’ also make out playlist but honestly this whole album is phenomenal. If you’re into thrash or death metal or even metalcore, check this shit out. 9/10
We were at Winter Rocks Festival last weekend (check out our review of the weekend here) and had the pleasure of chatting to Dallas of the amazing LA Maybe. Unfortunately the video and audio quality both suck as we were shooting in the smoking area, so I’ve painstakingly typed it all out, just for you! Check it out below!
So this is the first stop of the tour, right?
First stop of the tour, yeah. It was our first time out here at Call of the Wild earlier this year, did a little run then and now we’re back out! We’ll be here for most of December.
And have you seen any differences in playing here as opposed to the US?
Yeah, people seem to like us more over here! So we like it over here, we’ve had a blast. As far as rock fans, they’re rock fans, so we feel right at home!
And how did the whole UK shows comes about? I Know Raz (UPSTGD) got in touch?
Raz just discovered our album and then contacted us and we just kinda went from there. That would have probably been right before the album came out in 2021, so we were talking to him for about a year setting up that first time, and now we’re back. And it’s going really well!
And you guys just put out a single, right?
‘Down to Fight’, yeah! It came out when we were on the Kiss Cruise which was Octoberish. It’s gone well so far, the video was a lot of fun to make. It was crazy, we got to chainsaw through a couch on fire and all sort of stuff. We’re really happy with how it’s turned out.
And is it the start of another album or?
We’re gonna do singles, and it’ll lead up to an album! All the singles will be on the album and it started with this one! Probably be the end of next year for sure. We’re excited about that too!
Have you got much else planned for next year?
Yeah, we’ll be at home, hiding away money and figuring out where to spend it. Back here maybe or a tour at home. Fortunately in music there’s a lot of places your money can go these days. I don’t know if we’re going to come back here next year, it’d be awesome but I don’t think it’s on the cards, so to speak. But in 2024 I’m sure we’ll be back!
And you’ve started up a podcast, right?
We did, earlier this year! It’s called Your New Favourite Band. We’ve been highlighting bands we like as well as recap what we’ve been doing like the Kiss Cruise and stuff.
Oh yeah, how did that come about?
The Kiss Cruise, we actually won the contest for it! On there with Sebastien Bach and a bunch of other great names. It was super fun. A real once in a lifetime experience. Hopefully not just once though!
And speaking of, do you have a dream tour lineup you’d want to be a part of?
I mean I’ve always loved Guns N’Roses so that’d be fun! But then I don’t know how many years they have left in them. But that’d be a dream for sure! But also all the younger bands we’ve been playing with would be awesome. Dirty Honey, Black Crows, that’d be good. Any and all people!
And finally, what’s it like being adopted into the NWOCR scene?
Yeah, it’s really nice! It’s really vibrant over here. It feels really good to be back over here and be a part of this whole family of it all. It’s a lot of the same people which is all good.
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Blues rock mastermind Jamie Porter is back with what he is dubbing a mini album. A short collection of seven tracks to follow up his last years release (read our review of that here). It’s set for release tomorrow so join us in checking out what it’s like!
‘A Girl Like You’ opens on one of the most blusey riffs I’ve heard all year. The perfect blend of Black Stone Cherry, old Deep Purple and Electric Boys. The track strips back a little as Jamie Porter ‘s vocals come in, it all having a very chilled out vibe to it. The chorus is still relaxed but is bigger and pretty anthemic thanks to the second guitar and harmonised vocals. It’s catchy and made to be played in front of a huge crowd. And while the solo was a little basic, it fit well with the feel and groove of the track, which is much harder to get right! It’s a simple yet hugely effective track, a fun, good way to start the album!
‘I’m Not Running Away’ opens on a slower, quieter riff, almost a little Brit-pop influence in there. The steady, almost ballad-like pace of the track was awesome and a bold choice for the second song on the album. It was another very catchy track, too. There wasn’t a massive difference between the verse and chorus, sonically, but subtle changes of adding another vocal and slightly more instrumentation added an amazing couple of layers to it. The lyrics were fantastic too, meaningful and straight from the heart. They definitely worked for me! It all builds perfectly into the final chorus. Jamie has the innate ability to make ANYTHING into an epic anthem, and I both love it and am incredibly jealous. This easily makes the playlist, it was an awesome track!
The heaviness ramps back up with ‘Need a Little Love’, the main riff reminding me a lot of Velvet Revolver. It’s got that effortless swagger that’s so associated with Slash. The catchy as FUCK vocals are pretty Scott Weiland, too. The harmonised gang vocals when it drops back a little too are very GnR. Jamie is wearing his inspirations on his sleeve in the best way. There’s an extended instrumental in the middle that, while it was awesome, I do think it dragged the song out a little. As much as I love prog, seven-and-a-half minutes of a similar sound got to me just a little. Still though, it ends in spectacular fashion with another huge chorus.
‘You Are the One’ is another ballad. It starts slow with clean guitars and the multi-layered vocals and building slowly through the verse and chorus before the drums come in behind to add another great later. It never even hits the huge stadium-chorus height that I was expecting it to, it stayed stripped back and simple throughout. Honestly, I preferred it. It was beautiful and the message of the song came across perfectly this way. And heck, as I said before, when you can turn anything into a huge chorus, knowing when not to is also impressive.
Speaking of big anthemic choruses, ‘Remember Yesterday’ encapsulates everything I was praising the previous track for not being. It’s a mid-tempoed, ballad-like banger of a track. It gives off slight Bon Jovi vibes, but obviously with a British twang. It’s fucking awesome! This is everything that the band is about in terms of their sound, so if you’re going to check any out first, I’d recommend this one! It’s awesome, and easily makes the playlist!
The final two tracks are both excellent too. I enjoyed when the track dropped down in ‘Ready for Action’. It sounded very AC/DC and the build back up was perfect. Then the album ended with the surprisingly AOR ‘Hero’. It’s one of the rockier tracks on the album but still maintains Jamie Porter ‘s now signature tempo and style. Both are fantastic tracks and ‘Hero’ closes the album well.
Overall: This was great! I wouldn’t say it was quite as strong as the full album last year, but that’s simply because the other one was a tad heavier so it’s personal preference. However, there isn’t a bad track on this collection and a couple stand out amongst some of his best work. Both can have the same score, as this does feel like an extension of MMXXI…