Those Once Loyal are a local band to Overtone and have been plugging away at the local heavy scene for a few years now, gaining more and more of a fanbase with each passing day. And they deserve every single fan, with their fantastic live shows and awesome studio work. The band just last week put out their brand new EP, and we couldn’t not cover it. So, join us in checking out what we thought!
The opening track is a slow, clean intro that builds and sets up the rest of the tracks perfectly. It reminds me of the opening of Machine Head’s post-Supercharger albums, opening on that perfect calm before the storm. It’s awesome.
The title track opens on a great metal/deathcore riff, it opening out with an amazing drumbeat and a short but sick lead guitar line. The scream comes in over the top, sounding brutal and adding so much to the track. It fits perfectly and, while harsh, also still has a slight melodic element to it when the lead guitar line comes back for the chorus. The breakdown callout was awesome, as was the sludgy, evil-sounding breakdown. My god do I want to be in a pit for that.
A fantastic extended guitar solo follows and was honestly one of the high points of the EP. It’s not often stuff this heavy and hardcore gives the guitars space to solo and breathe, and it worked perfectly here. We also get a reprisal of the breakdown to close the track after a final chorus, and it rounds off a fantastic heavy track. I see why it was the lead single, and it easily makes our playlist!
A great drumbeat opens ‘Re-Birth’ before an almost Megadeth-like quick guitar riff comes in over the top. The track drops into a phat riff before the metalcore stuff returns behind the verse screams. It works perfectly, keeping everything bouncy. It fills out, having an almost epic feel through the choruses thanks to the guitars, and the final line of the chorus is catchy as anything, it’ll go down a storm live. The riff after said chorus is awesome too. The structure of the track is really interesting too, though that may just be me getting a little lost as I don’t know the genre massively well. I just sat back and enjoyed the awesome track through the various different parts in all of its glory. It of course has a good breakdown in there, but for me the riffs and the ‘This is a re-birth’ line are the highlights.
Closer ‘Second Hand Smoke’ is a track that I had already checked out for our reaction series on YouTube (still editing the video so will link it once it’s out!). All I can say is wow. This is my favourite track on the EP, and for very good reason! From the melodic hardcore verses to the surprisingly catchy choruses and THAT breakdown, everything about it is awesome. If you’re into the heavier side of music, check this out immediately, as you’ll love it!
Overall: This was fantastic. It’s not often I get the chance to do an in depth review of something this heavy any more, and it helps that it is really fucking good too. All three main tracks were awesome, and they worked perfectly as a whole with ‘Into the Cycle’. A band that should be a lot bigger than they are,b ut have the potential to breakout massive off the back of this.
While no absolutely massive bands released anything this week, it still saw the release of a lot of great new music! From instrumental metal to country and a lot in between, check this out, it’s got something for everyone!
Polyphia: Remember That You Will Die
I mean, it’s Polyphia, what can I really say? It’s another 40-minute masterclass from the modern day guitar god himself Tim Henson. Of course, it’s fucking awesome.
The first track is a jazz metal masterpiece, complete with horns that make it all sound somehow even better. The guitar tones in the track (and throughout the whole album for that matter) are unbelievable, sogood. Lead single ‘Playing God’ is next up and a mind-bending display of the guitarists’ skill at slapping and tapping. I even love ‘ABC’, the first track to feature vocals by the band, and from a pop singer none the less. She sounds good and surprisingly doesn’t overshadow a single member of the band.
I was going to say, probably controversially, that the band could benefit at this point from having vocalists on more of their tracks. Then I heard the MGK-like ‘Memento Mori’ and ‘Fuck Around and Find Out’. Both were with meh rap/R&B vocalists that DID pull the focus away from the band, and for their own mediocre performances. Even the Chino Moreno track was meh. I feel like vocals could work awesomely, but these weren’t necessarily the right ones to pick, not to my ears anyway. Oh well, at least Steve Vai joins them to shred for the awesome closing track.
Slightly up and down but, if I’m honest, far more up than down. 7.5/10
Palaye Royale: Fever Dream
The new-wave emo/punk pop band return with their fourth album last week. I never quite got the appeal of this band or the wider sound they are a part of, and this album did nothing to change that. They remind me a lot of the incredibly overrated Maneskin, it’s a similar sort of pop music with just enough edge to it to venture into the rock sphere. A lot of it is more indie than anything, and for an American, Remington slips into a British accent a few times, weirdly. I fully see why people would like this sort of thing, it’s definitely a popular style these days, but it’s definitely not for me.
Also, it suffers from the country issue in that it’s bloated. 15 tracks is a lot to digest, especially when they’re mainly pretty similar. There are a couple of saving grace tracks, though. I’d heard ‘Paranoid’ when it was released last year and it’s at least a good, anthemic pop-rock track. Then there’s the MCR-esque ‘Fever Dream’. Easily the best track on the album, this wouldn’t feel out of place on The Black Parade. If you’re going to try any track on this album, let it be this one. But yeah, overall, not really my cup of tea. 4/10
Darkthrone: Astral Fortress
The gods of black metal return with their whopping 19th studio album, and it’s just as crazy and experimental as ever. Just a year after the release of Eternal Hails……, the band continue on with the doom influence just as much as the black metal sound. Heck, it opens on a dark, eight-minute epic reminiscent of early Candlemass, this is a far cry from early Darkthrone. It picks up around the mid-point into more familiar territory, but the epicness sets it apart for all the right reasons.
The same can be said throughout the rest of the album. Between the doom, punk and old-school heavy metal, there are a lot of different styles blended in with the typical Darkthrone sound. I honestly struggled to pick a highlight too, as it was all so different and enjoyable in its own way. I think my favourite track was ‘Stalagmite Necklace’, though. Clearly this is how you get me into black metal, by blending it with other genres I like. 7/10
Lainey Wilson: Bell Bottom Country
The fourth album by the country singer-songwriter is just as fun as her previous ones. It’s honestly nice to hear this kind of older style, more Dolly Parton or rock/blues inspired, is getting so popular in amongst all the stadium and bro country. Tracks like ‘Road Runner’, ‘Hold My Halo’ and ‘Grease’ honestly wouldn’t look out of place on a Cadillac Three album, but also is the sort of sound I wish Miley Cyrus had (and still will eventually) evolved into. Then you have more Drake White-esque acoustic country ballads that make up the other half of the album.
However, even though these slower tracks probably make up the majority, I never found myself getting bored like on other slower country albums. Lainey is a tremendous lyricist, it keeping me entertained throughout alongside her catchy melodies and great playing. This is a really good country album and one I’ll be listening to a fair amount for the rest of the year! 7.5/10
Fit for a King: The Hell we Create
THIS IS HOW YOU DO MODERN METALCORE. Anyone who keeps up with this series regularly knows that I’ve done a fair bit of the old-school heavy hitters of the metalcore world, and all are either trying to play catch-up with mainstream metal trends or get lost in the shuffle trying to recapture their old magic. This does neither of these things.
It’s unapologetically heavy, the low screams being some of the best I’ve heard in a while. But it balances it perfectly with some fantastic, catchy, pop-punk like cleans. ‘End (The Other Side’ is an amazing single and a great example of what I’m getting at, incorporating both perfectly. Then you have tracks like ‘Reaper’ which, in my opinion, are the exact sound that Parkway Drive should have stayed at, it’s better than anything on their latest album. Tracks like ‘Sink Below’, ‘What You Left Behind’, and the full-on deathcore track ‘Eyes Roll Back’ are all massive highlights on an album filled to the brim with them. This is peak metalcore in 2022, and for anyone into the subgenre, check this album out. Now. 9/10
Dead Cross: II
The Mike Patton/Dave Lombardo supergroup released their second hardcore punk album. It still blows my mind to hear how many different styles Patton can pull off vocally, and this is definitely a fun departure from his Faith No More stuff. While it’s not my sort of music, I can certainly appreciate the effort and desire to do something different and push the envelope. ‘Animal Espionage’ was a lot of fun, as was the duelling vocals on various different tracks. It’s like I was transported back to the 80s underground scene with the experimentation and heaviness. 6.5/10
Massive Wagons: Triggered
Baz and the boys got angry with this one. Between ‘Fuck the Haters’, ‘Generation Prime’ and ‘A.S.S.H.O.L.E’ they are calling out everyone they can, and I love it. It’s a good contrast to their clean-cut punk-classic rock style. Wagons address plenty about the state of the world in their own comedic, attitude-filled style, including COVID and the current world culture. The title track is maybe my favourite on the album, but there isn’t really a bad track on the album. All the other tracks previously named are definite highlights, too. It’s fun, funny and a very catchy album. It’s the lovechild of Wildhearts and (ironically given they are touring together) Ugly Kid Joe and I enjoyed it a lot. 7.5/10
Fire From the Gods: Soul Revolution
The blend of styles here was fun, but I have to say I think each different style has been done better recently by other bands. Even though vocalist AJ is from American/Jamaican decent, it gives off both Bob Vylan and Bloodwood vibes than anything else. The opening and title track is a great song, but then the following track, the lead single of the album, ‘S.O.S’, is maybe my least favourite on the album. It’s a very up and down album, with some definite highlights but some clear lower points too, for me. Tracks like ‘Double Edged Sword’ and ‘The Message’ were also highlights. If anything, the more rasta-inspired tracks were the best ones. It’s okay but felt a little one note at times. 5.5/10.
Show me the Body: Trouble the Water
I have no idea how to feel about this. The Suicidal Tendencies aspect of it was awesome, and a couple of the riffs were great, though not nearly focused on enough. The vocals grew on me more and more throughout, too. His cadence and emotion in every delivery, be it clean or harsher, was amazing. At times it felt like I was listening to The Ramones or Joy Division, and then it’d drop into something dark and heavy and remind me who it was. I grew up on the Tony Hawks games and this somehow feels like every single band on that mushed together into a single entity. ‘Food From Plate’, ‘We Came to Play’ and ‘Using It’ were personal favourites of mine. A good album that really grew on me by the end. I’ll definitely be listening to this more. 7/10
Shape of Water: Amor Fati
The Muse of the NWOCR scene, Shape of Water have gotten quite a bit of momentum behind them ahead of this release. I’m not hugely familiar with them bar a song or two, so I’m excited to check out a full album.
Though the opening track, ‘Starchild’, is epic and slow-building and everything I typically love in rock music, something about it didn’t quite click with it. After that though, it heads more into Weezer or even Heaven’s Basement direction, which I wasn’t expecting much of. There’s still some epicness, like in single ‘The Snoot’, but it’s more pop punky rock than anything else. It’s definitely good and there is plenty to like on the album, it’s just not something I thought the NWOCR movement would go for, sound wise. Then again it does have hints of Zeppelin (or at least Wolfmother) in amongst the Weezer and Muse.
I can see this band going VERY far in the next few years. They’re unique for sure, while still being familiar enough for mainstream audiences to latch onto. This will definitely taker a couple more listens to appreciate fully, but I already love it. 8/10
You know the drill by now. A dozen amazing bands releasing new music, and we’re here to check it all out! See what we think below!
Lamb of God: Omens
Lamb of God releasing their ninth studio album makes me feel old. But that’s exactly what they did this last week. I’ve been a fan of the band for over half my life at this point, getting into them from Sacrament. I’ve seen the bands ups and downs and they really seem to be having a bit of a career resurgence recently after some slightly more questionable output in the 2010s. Their previous, self-titled album was fantastic and, honestly, this may one up it to an even higher level.
It takes everything new it seemed to build up well on the previous album, the spoken work/sung stuff and the dynamics with up and downs and tempos, and rolls with it all to new heights. The fact that in 2022 we have a Lamb of God album open with a track that has mostly clean verses is insane, especially when it’s one of the best tracks on the album. If anything it just makes Randy’s screams have even greater impact. And of course, from an instrumental perspective they’re still a metal guitarist and drummers dream band. The talent on display is unbelievable. The riffs are insane and Art Cruz again kills it on the drums.
The singles are of course great, and other tracks like ‘To The Grave’ and ‘September Song’ are also awesome. The whole album is a highlight, however, and hopefully will be the one to finally push LoG through that glass ceiling they seem to hit a while back. 8.5/10
The Cult: Under the Midnight Sun
I’ve never been much of a fan of The Cult. I get and respect the impact they’ve had on modern rock music, but they never did anything for me. This album didn’t change my mind. There wasn’t even a riff like ‘Rise’ or even ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ to keep me interested. There’s very little to this, and as someone who’s not that into Ian Astbury’s vocals, this was a tough listen. Sorry to anyone who I offend with this, but… 3/10
Bush: The Art of Survival
This was heavier than I expected it to be! I haven’t heard much recent Bush stuff, pretty much reserving myself to the phenomenal Sixteen Stone, so this took me a little off guard. In a good way, though!
Of course the vocals are still the melodic, radio-rock style Gavin is known for. However, the riffs are HUGE. Like, de-tuned, ch0nky and almost metal, huge. And on top of that, there’s some genuinely catchy, stadium-filling choruses and melodies on here. ‘Slow Me’ is my favourite track on the album and maybe my favourite track the band has ever put out. Tracks like ‘More Than Machines’ and ‘Human Sand’ are also amazing. They’ve almost added a progg element to their sound, sounding a little like Karnivool and Chevelle.
My only slight issue is that it all sounds just a bit similar. Most of the tracks follow the same sort of formula; slower, stripped-back verses and then the big riff that opened the track comes back for the chorus. At least it made ‘Creatures of the Fire’ feel different and unique, as the it the main exception to the rule. Still though, I’d LOVE to hear this stuff live, I feel like it would be one hell of a show. I need to check out more Bush now! 8/10
Queensrÿche: Digital Noise Alliance
I’m not all too familiar with the band outside of Mindcrime and Empire. However, I have heard that Geoff Tate’s replacement has done wonders for the band, so I’m curious to hear how this sounds!
Sadly, the opening track and biggest single didn’t actually grab my attention. However, the opposite could be said for ‘Chapters’. It’s an incredible catchy track, straddling the line between AOR and even some modern Iron Maiden. I do have to say though, the mixing on the vocals was a bit odd. It felt distant, quieter than it maybe should have been. Tracks like ‘Sicdeth’, ‘Nocturnal Light’ and prog epic ‘Tormentum’ are also highlights of the album.
And I would like to add that it is a good album. I wanted to stress that before I went on to say… it’s a little overdone at this point. I know Queensryche are very much one of the originators of the sound, but there is so much amazing AOR music these days, that I feel like it’s just already been done. I love this sort of music, but bands like Eclipse and Tygers of Pan Tang are just as good, and I am more familiar with their work. So it is definitely a good album full of good tracks, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as their older stuff, or as much as I could have done. Hence why I shall give it a 7/10
Wednesday 13: Horrifier
We had the chance to review this before it’s release. Spoilers, it’s awesome. To find out just how awesome, check out our full reviewhere.
Everette: Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot – Side B
Another album we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, and another amazing one. Find the review here.
Goatwhore: Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven
The extreme metal titans returned with their eighth album this last Friday. If you’re a fan of the genre, like I am turning out to be, you’ll love this. Don’t get me wrong, It got a bit much and repetitive by around the halfway mark, but then I also loved the epic, plodding closing tracked. It’s everything you could want from an extreme metal album and certainly had me wanting to mosh! I shan’t pretend to be an expert on these things, but I enjoyed it, so will give it a 6.5/10
Counterparts: A Eulogy for Those Still Here
This feels very much like a Max album. Unfortunately, his uni has kept him too busy to help out this week. Depressing lyrics, heavy, Djenty riffing, solid drums and hardcore, bordering on extreme harsh vocals. I have to say, it’s not for me. I couldn’t really get anything memorable to come away with out of it, I just know the general sound and that it wasn’t for me. While I can appreciate they are all talented players, nothing about this prompted my will for a second listen. Sorry for anyone who is a fan, and I know that they are a pretty big band, but I’mma have too give this a 3.5/10
Barrett Davis: The Ballad of Aesop Fin
The North Carolinan country singer songwriter put out his debut album last week after months of putting out some great singles. It has a real old-school feel to it all and shows off some real talent as far as playing and songwriting is concerned. ‘Carolina Still’ is a personal highlight of the album, showing off Barrett’s impressive vocal range and some great guitar and piano. It almost boarders on easy listening, at times. It’s a good, relaxing album that I’ll definitely be chilling out to a lot in the coming weeks and months. 7/10
Acid Witch: Rot Among Us
This was a whole lot of fun. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I was ready for the stoner/doom metal riffing, but the almost Nightmare Before Christmas level of theatrical, extreme vocals over the top I was not. Honestly the duelling vocals and more stage-show style feel always does it for me in tracks, it’s why I love Ice Nine Kills so much.
‘Gather Each Witch’ and ‘Rot Among Us’ are the perfect tracks to open the album on, giving me a complete, great feel for what the band is about. The horror themes, big riffs and fun dynamics are all clear staples of the album. While not all tracks have the play-off style vocals, we still have some on ‘5508 Martin St.’ and ‘Evil Dad’. The later gives me ever so slight ‘Three Little Pigs‘ vibes with the higher vocals. Both tracks are amazing. However, saying that, there isn’t a bad track on this album.
I came into this not expecting to come away with one of my most enjoyable listens of the year, but there we go. It came out at the perfect time of the year but, honestly, I’m going to be listening to this way past Halloween. Great stuff, 9/10
The Scottish rockers are back with maybe their most ambitious release to date. Just listening to opener ‘DEPARTURE’ sets up the epic feel they are going for. ‘TAINTED’ does a great job of continuing that feel and is a fantastic radio-rock track. ‘LASSO’ is another good track, the rapping being an interesting, fun addition. It has elements of Linkin Park and modern BMTH, while being a little lighter and indie/punky than both.
However, while I did enjoy the rest of the album, it only took me 4/5 songs to realise that it’s all going to be rather similar. Tracks like ‘I EXIST’ and ‘KILL IT’ are good and more highlights, but the album suffers from a similar issue and structure to Bush’s. It’s good, but I found myself getting distracted from the exact same formula in every song by the midpoint. It will most likely be more of a solo track album for me as opposed to listening through it front to back again. Because of that I can’t give it tippy top marks, but it still gets a very impressive 8.5/10
This is some of the most epic shit I’ve ever heard. Not many bands could have an epic intro track and then have a mega intro to the first proper song on top of it. And musically it’s like if Dream Theater did power metal. It’s definitely got that epic power/symphonic side to it, but the riffs wouldn’t sound out of place on a Djent album. I love it. The first three tracks are perfect. From a slow, epic intro to a radio track to the first epic prog track across 13 minutes, it’s fantastic. Then you have tracks like ‘Burning Tears’ and ‘Abandon All Hope’ and this is a damn good album. They deserve to be huge, and hopefully this album is the one to do it! 8.5/10
A slightly slower week this week, with no absolutely massive releases or a huge amount of albums out. But still, there was some great new music from the rock and metal world released this week, with six new albums out. Let’s check them out!
STATE CHAMPS: Kings of the New Age
New Yorkian pop-punkers State Champs put out their fourth album last Friday. I have to admit I know the name and have probably heard a track or two, but I never really got much into the modern wave of pop-punk.
However, having said that, this is a pretty damn good album. It’s a little heavier than traditional pop punk, but I also thinks it adds a more anthemic feel to it all. It’s arena pop-punk, and I am shocked it’s taken me this long to listen to it. Obviously the singles are all amazing, but there isn’t a bad track on the album really. I need to check out more from this band and genre ASAP, I think! 8/10
Misery Index: Complete Control
The Maryland based death metal band put out a DAMN heavy death metal album last week. And it’s great. Before Overtone I would never have even attempted to listen to this album, but it’s opened my eyes to a lot of fantastic death metal, this included. The riffs are brutal, crushing awesomeness and the gang vocals means that a few of the tracks are even pretty catchy. Just check out ‘Infiltrators’, it perfectly encapsulates the bands sound and attitude in just two short minutes. Great stuff! 8/10
Cage Fight: Self-Titled
The new band seem to go by so many different labels, be it punk, thrash, metalcore. Either the latter or metalic hardcore is probably the closest to their sound. Either way, it’s fucking fantastic. From the first track of the album I was hooked, and I stayed hooked throughout. I love that we are starting to get more and more female screamers these days as they are showing they can do it just as good as the guys. I also have to gush over just as smooth the transitions between the tracks are. At times I didn’t realise a new song had started until like 30 seconds in. It’s the sign of a great album as it flows perfectly. I was going to say the first X amount of tracks were fantastic, but honestly it just kept rolling with great track after great track! This is a ridiculously strong debut album and they have found a new fan in me! Not a bad track on the album and damn, I need to see them live soon! 9/10
Moon Tooth: Phototroph
The Prog Metallers have been around for a decade now, constantly wowing audiences with their talent and songwriting skill. That continues with Phototroph. Their new music may be their best yet. The guitaring in the opener and ‘Deathwish Blues’ is a technical masterclass, combining both lead and rhythm together perfectly. There are times even the vocals somehow sounds both completely separate from the instrumentation but also the perfect accompaniment. ‘O My Isle’ may be my favourite of the bunch, combining light, catchy sounds with a pretty heavy riff. Another band that I need to check out more of! 8.5/10
Visions of Atlantis: Pirates
It’s like if Nightwish and Alestorm had a lovechild. Symphonic metal about pirates is something I never knew I needed until now, and yet also I’m surprised there isn’t more of. All of it is great, but ‘Master the Hurricane’ is on a level of its own. Unquestionably epic from the string-heavy opening to the massive closing riff, it is how you do symphonic/power metal at its very best. A highlight on an album that also includes the likes of ‘Wild Elysium ‘ is an impressive feat and should hopefully set Visions of Atlantis up to be the next big thing in the sub-genre. 7.5/10
Morgue Supplier: Inevitability
If anyone was here last week, you know what’s coming here. It’s death metal. What more do you expect. Granted, this had slightly more groove to it than the typical blast beat and ‘AHHHHH’, but it still didn’t do a great deal for me. As such, I don’t feel qualified to give scores to death metal, as I am just not going to like it enough to give it a good rating, no matter how good at the sub-genre the band is. I’mma give it a 4/10 and hope that works!
Hellblind are one hell of a supergroup comprised of former members of Pitchshifter, Romeo Must Die, This is Menace, Stampin’ Ground AND Outside the Coma. If you haven’t checked any of those bands out, I would highly recommend you do so as all are awesome. However, their combined work on this debut single should be great, and I cannot wait to check it out!
‘Evil Eye’ opens the EP heavy with a breakdown, and I already know I’m going to love this. The vocals add an almost hardcore element to it all, and the thrashy backing instrumentation does little to dispel that feeling. Despite the heaviness of it all though, it’s still pretty damn catchy when it reaches the chorus, the backing vocals adding a lot of fun to it all. Also, the riff that comes out of the chorus is amazing, I’m already gushing over the guitars. And of course, we get another breakdown, and it’s a huge one. The track doesn’t overstay its welcome at all either, clocking in at under three minutes and being one hell off a gut punch to begin. They even squeeze in a ‘bleh’ at the end, and yes they still make me laugh. An easily playlisted track from Hellblind!
‘If You’re Going Through Hell’ aptly sounds like something from the Doom soundtrack upon its opening, building slowly with an eerie note ringing before drums and bass come in harder and harder over the top. It then launches into more hardcore/death metal for the verse, going just as hard as the opener. It does, however, slow up a little bit for the chorus, giving the listener a slight break from the all out assault and provides a very catchy vocal line to boot. And we get a breakdown to take us home, which is as heavy as it is awesome.
The slow-build, menacing intros continue on into ‘Hitched’ it almost sounding like early 2000s industrial/new metal, a la Static X. Especially when the vocals come in to drop it into a disgusting, low verse riff. The Robb Flynn-esque vocals fit so good over the top of it, too. Yet still somehow they manage to slow it down again to give us another epic, catchy chorus. It’s the perfect blend of Machine Head and Parkway Drive at times, I really like this. It’s another that easily makes the playlist!
‘Wounds’ launches straight into the harsh vocals and a wicked fast drumline. This whole EP has been balls to the wall the whole way through, I love it. And again, I just want to highlight just how good the riffs are, real top class writing. Then the final track, ‘Soul Assassin’, takes us out on an equally big bang. It’s a massive, heavy track to close things out on and, as usual, still has a bit of room for some catchy, cleaner vocals too. It’s a great way to close a great EP!
Overall: This was fantastic. A short, sweet, heavy EP that doesn’t overstay its welcome at all. If anything, I’d have been more than happy with a full album of this! I was a pretty big fan of a lot of the guys’ previous bands, but this feels like it’s on another level, and may be my favourite release from any of them! More please Hellblind!
The Score: 8.5/10
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