Tag Archives: indie

Somewhere // Anywhere: The Album to push The Alchemy Into the Mainstream?

The Alchemy are back with their third album this week. I have to admit, outside of the name and the stuff I’ve found on Spotify, I have absolutely no idea what to expect here. But hey, going in blind is always fun, right? Let’s dive right in!

A HUGE sound opens ‘Birdsong’, the high production value being evident immediately. It’s a wall of sound that builds perfectly but doesn’t at all feel too overpowered like it can tend to. We head into a stripped-back verse, the vocals sounding perfectly over the top of the simple drums and bass. The chorus soon comes in, another awesome riff behind it, the drums fitting perfectly behind it, and the vocals being infectiously catchy. The backing vocals are awesome and main riff is a real earworm. It feels very Lower than Atlantis in the best ways. The bridge is simple yet effective, dropping down and building up to a huge final chorus. It’s a fantastic way to open the album and introduce themselves to new listeners!

‘Lovesick’ continues the epic feel and sound and production, as well as another awesome main riff. It follows a similar formula to the previous track, a stripped back verse leading into a huge, arena-filling chorus. Again, the vocal harmonies and multi-track are a big highlight. Also, the slightly heavier approach to the bridge was great. If it had quietened down at first, it could have almost been a breakdown! It’s a really great track and easily makes it onto our playlist!

Check out a similar(ish) review here!

The album slows up a bit for its title track, it having more of an electronic, almost You Me At Six feel. The emphasis shifts from the big crunchy riffs and even more onto the insanely catchy vocals. It feels a bit more pop/indie than the previous stuff. It’s not quite as much my sort of thing, but it’s still a banging, very catchy song!

The same could be said for ‘True Love’s a Waste of Time’, ‘Real Life’ and ‘Sun Bleached’. It’s kind of a tale of two halves, as there are heavier tracks and riffs later on like the amazing ‘Brothers’ and the dark, closer ‘Hollywood’. Both tracks are amazing and real highlights of the album for me personally. It’s really interesting to bookend the album with the bigger sounds and riffs, leaving the poppier, more indie stuff in the middle. It’s really interesting and well put together honestly, and I feel like I’ve taken a journey listening to it through.

Also on the album is single and acoustic ballad, ‘Summer’. It gives me early 2000’s vibes, very Incubus, 311 or even Everlast. It’s a beautiful and incredibly well written song. The vocals are pitch-perfect and full of emotion, and the simple instrumentation behind it is amazing. And the band still manage to squeeze in some of their off-the-charts vocal harmonies, making it all somehow even better. This is not only one of the best tracks on the album, but easily one of the best ballads of the year I’ve heard. Fucking awesome stuff.

‘Normal People’ returns the band to the higher pace rock vibe, and it can’t be just me that hears U2 a lot in here? Between the huge sound, the style of guitaring and the vocal melodies, it really reminded my of Bono and co. Surprisingly enough too, I’m not particularly a U2 fan but I LOVED this. It’s the biggest, most radio-friendly chorus on the album, and the ‘woh’s following the guitar melody is a genius idea. And the bridge, while simple, is amazingly effective and still pretty heavy. Another track that easily makes its way onto our playlist!

Finally, ‘Glass Houses’ has a very early 2000s Red Hot Chili Peppers feel to it. It has elements of rock, funk and indie all mushed together, and it’s a really interesting sound. It’s another simple yet incredibly effective track too. The chorus is awesome, and that riff that kicks in after the choruses are heavy. It’s a lot of fun and another track I’d highly recommend listening to.

Overall: This is an awesome album! I had no idea what to expect heading into it, but I’m hugely impressed by what I found. The production throughout is top notch and the songwriting and playing is phenomenal. Sure, there were a couple of tracks that didn’t resonate with me as much as the others, but there is a LOT I love on this album. And, as a whole as I’ve said already, it’s incredibly well put together. These guys have hit their stride with this album, and I can see it pushing them far!

The Score: 8.5/10

The Adventures of Ben Blank: Do Indie Stars Sam Roberts Band Top Their Previous Work?

The indie rock superstar Sam Roberts and his band are back with their eighth studio album, released just yesterday! The first since the depths of Covid, I’m excited to check it out and see how he’s developed since then! Join me in taking a look!

The opening track gets right into the indie/blues rock with a great riff, soon following up with some great vocals over the top. It has a chilled out, bounce vibe to it, and is fun right from the get go. The harmonies in the choruses add another fun layer to it all and make it even catchier. It’s a simple yet awesome track, and a fantastic way to open the album!

‘I Dream of You’ opens a little slower, the bending guitar notes reminding me a little more of punk than anything else. However, it’s still distinctly indie, having a modern US sound to it this time, akin to Hozier or The Lumineers. The first half is a fantastic slow-build, adding more and more emphasis with every passing part, the vocals doing a great job at slowly adding power too. It’s another great, chilled out track, and one that easily makes our playlist!

Check out a similar review here.

‘Projection’ is another steady, acoustic-tinged indie number. A simple, rather beautiful verse leads to a bigger, hugely catchy chorus. It’s one of my favourite on the album and I can see it filling out anything from small, dark, dingy bars to massive arenas around the world. It is all so simple yet so very effective. It’s the most recent single off the album and has all the tools to be massive on mainstream radio stations. Another huge highlight of the album and another to make the playlist.

The pace slows with ‘Cascades’, it being a piano lead number. Still, the almost surfer-rock effect on the guitar in the back works perfectly, somehow still keeping a slightly upbeat feel to it all. It once again builds into a fantastic, this time mostly-instrumental chorus. The strings come in and add another beautiful layer to it all. It makes it all feel that little bit more epic, and honestly it all feels huge. It’s a truly beautiful, emotion-filled song, and the third in a row to make the playlist. I have to see this live. Wow, what a track!

Singles ‘Picture of Love’ and ‘Afterlife’ are two more great, chilled out tracks. However, I have to admit it was at this point I was starting to feel it a little. As much as I’m enjoying the tracks, I’m typically not the biggest indie fan in the world, and listening to an album straight through, front to back, and analysing it in depth, I started to get a tad bored. The latter track at least had elements of funk to it, or at least the darker, slower RHCPs stuff. However, I was starting to really strain my attention span at this point. I really enjoyed the two songs and would happily listen to them again if they came on, but finding things to talk about with them when a lot of the album is very similar is becoming rather difficult!

Pretty much the same could be said for the final three tracks on the album. ‘Everybody Needs Love’ is a very stripped back acoustic number similar to ‘Cascades’. Meanwhile ‘Bad Country’ has a slightly more country/rock feel to it. And the closing track is another slow build to an epic indie chorus. All three are good tracks, but outside of the middle one none particularly stand out from the others on the album enough for me to dive into. Having said that, that HUGE chorus around the two minute mark of ‘If Only’ is amazing, and should have been the closing part of the track. It was massive and epic and the final chorus doesn’t quite go as hard as that does.

Overall: This is a damn fun album. As stated before, I’m not the hugest fan of indie music, but I really enjoyed this. Every track was great and it’s the perfect music to throw on and chill out to. There were fun tracks and songs filled with emotion, and the album was pieced together masterfully. If you are into this sort of sound, you’ll love this.

The score: 8/10

New Music Mondays: Sevendust, Brad and More!

A quietish week for New Music Mondays this week, with only six albums for us to check out. Still though, they’re all awesome, so join us in taking a listen!

Sevendust: Truth Killer

It’s rare to hear an older band so heavily inspired by a newer one. However, right from the first few seconds of ‘I Let the Devil In’, I was getting heavy Sleep Token vibes. The slow build into heaviness was a great way to open the album, but it caught me off guard given the tracks I know from Sevendust until this point. The lead single and title track is a little more what I was expecting and hoping for, with some big, chunky riffs and a huge, nu metal style chorus.

There continues to be a modern influence throughout a lot of the album, working to various degrees. ‘Won’t Stop the Bleeding’ is a great example of it working exceptionally, and is a massive highlight of the album. The slower ‘Leave Hell Behind’ is another big highlight! It isn’t just Sleep Token either, tracks like ‘No Revolution’ have a slight Spiritbox air to it. It’s a fun direction for the band to go. I enjoyed it quite a bit and it still definitely sounds like Sevendust. However, I’d be curious to hear how some of the older, more diehard fans feel about it! It gets a 7.5/10 from me!

Brad: In the Moment that You’re Born

The Seattle alt rock collective return with their sixth album, and first in over a decade. It is the bands final album, featuring tracks that the band had been working on before the passing of their vocalist Shawn Smith in 2019. It admittedly makes it a creepy yet fascinating and sad/proud listen.

I have to admit, a lot of it isn’t my sort of thing. It’s a little too Porcupine Tree for me. However, I can definitely appreciate the hell out of what they are doing. They are clearly all talented and massively good songwriters. Plus, tracks like ‘Straight to the Hoop’, ‘Star n You’ and ‘Without Guns’ are big highlights for me personally. It’s a really cohesive album which surprisingly didn’t bore for a second. It’s such a shame this is the last we’ll hear of the band, but they certainly went out with a bang! 8/10

From Ashes to New: Blackout

More nu metal, except this time more like the later years of the first wave, like Papa Roach. Lots of big riffs, rapping vocals and huge choruses. It’s like how I’m sure a lot of people wished Hollywood Undead stayed like, and even has an air of early Linkin Park to it. I’m loving all this new music that is bringing a rapping element back to metal. From Falling in Reverse to bands like Stray from the Path, it’s some of the more exciting new music around these days, in my opinion.

It’s hard not to find the singles as the highlights of the album. Opening on three of them was a great choice while arguably the two best ones are saved for later. Until We Break featuring Matty Mullins is such an incredible track and maybe my favourite on the album.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not saying the album tracks are bad. However, there is a distinct pop feel to a lot of the album tracks, the edge and heaviness isn’t as present through a lot of them. They’re good tracks, but I prefer the more heavier stuff. Plus, while they are slightly different, there is a lot of similar sounding stuff on this album. It’s a lot of the same. While it’s a lot of fun, I don’t think it’s an album I’d listen to in full all that much. Still though, if you like nu metal, check this out, you won’t be disappointed! 8.5/10

Susto: My Entire Life

This indie/folk/pop rock band put out their fifth album last week. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I went into this thinking it’d be a big too indie and stripped-back for my tastes, especially after checking out a single or two. However, there’s a punk twang to it that reminds me ever so slightly of Velvet Revolver. Heck, some of the slower ones, like ‘Mt. Caroline’, felt like the perfect blend of Dire Straits and Matchbox Twenty.

There are so many different styles and sounds throughout that I didn’t get bored at all, the album going by in a flash on my first listen. It also made it near impossible to pick a highlight track or two. The whole album is great and deserves a listen in full. It’s the perfect album to chill out to, and the band have a new fan in me! 8.5/10

Girlschool: WTFortyfive?

The band famous for being Lemmy’s favourites, underrated NWOBHM powerhouses Girlschool are back with their first new album in eight years. Honestly, outside of seeing them at a HRH a few years ago, I haven’t paid much attention to the band aside for their few big songs. However, I really enjoyed this album. It was darker and heavier than their earlier stuff, which resonated a lot more with me. Tracks like the opener, ‘Cold Dark Heart’ and ‘Are You Ready?’ featuring the awesome Joe Stump are all personal highlights. Also, the closing cover of the iconic ‘Born to Raise Hell’ featuring Saxon’s Biff Byford, Duff McKagen and the man himself, Phil Campbell, was fucking awesome.

It wasn’t all positive. Tracks like ‘Invisible Killer’ and ‘Barmy Army’ were not only more of their older style, but were pretty cringy from a lyrical standpoint. Still, overall the album is a fun one that will hopefully please both older and new fans alike. It’s worth a listen if you’re into 70s metal at all! 7.5/10

Arch Blade: Kill the Witch

The debut album of the new heavy metal band is a 45+ minute arrival statement. For anyone who’s into traditional heavy metal or thrash, this one is most certainly for you. Big, quick riffs and drumming, high, powerful vocals and plenty of catchiness, this is definitely a 70s/80s metal album. It takes a lot of inspiration from Painkiller from the sounds of things, which is fine by me as it’s one of my favourite albums of all time. Tracks like ‘Nightbreed’, the slower ‘Queen of the Damned’ and both the albums opener and title tracks are all massive highlights.

My only slight issue with the album is really just some of the production. The vocal mixing is odd, and generally the album sounds compressed instead of the massive sound I was expecting/hoping for. Still though, as a collection of tracks it’s awesome and well worth checking out. It’s a fantastic debut album and the band are certainly ones to keep an eye on! 9/10

Take Me Back to Eden: Sleep Token Release the Most Divisive Album of the Year!

As mentioned in the title, Sleep Token’s brand new album has caused quite the divide across heavy music. Heck, it’s caused quite the split opinion here at Overtone. So, we decided to do something we rarely get the chance to do and have multiple people review the same album! Join us in checking out the cult-like prog band’s third release!

Joe: Okay, so I’m not doing the main portion of this review, Max is. They’re his favourite band and he wanted someone a bit more objective and impartial to also comment on it. I have to admit I’ve never quite ‘got’ them before, outside of ‘Hypnosis’.

I have to admit, I still feel the same. There’s a couple of okay riffs and heavy parts spread thin across the whole album. And even then, the parts don’t quite measure up to good, heavy sections in sub-genre-leaders like BMTH and Spiritbox. The heavy riff and scream in TikTok sensation ‘The Summoning’ is an album highlight, and I don’t get the hype around the ‘horny jazz’ outro. Even the death metal-esque ‘Vore’ felt decidedly meh.

It’s a boring indie-pop album masquerading as a metal album at times. If you like it, more power to you, but in my opinion this is massively over-hyped and okay at best. I’d give it a 4/10 overall.

Now, I’mma stop insulting all the diehard Sleep Token fans, and pass you over to one…

Max: The amazing cult band Sleep Token released their album Sundowning in 2019 which fully demonstrated the pure talent of this band and last than two years after their second album, they are back with their best album yet, Take Me Back To Eden. Encapsulating numerous genres and emotions throughout an album whilst keeping every track cohesive and functional can be challenging, but in the review below we will explore how Sleep Token do.

Before we go any further, it is important to note that I am a huge fan of this band, so my opinion might be a little weighted to one side. However, there’s another take on the album above, so that a more balanced opinion can be gained on the entire album.

Starting hard with ‘Chokehold’, whilst it starts slower it quickly builds into quite an intense song with some heavy guitars and technical drums. However, it keeps the vocals clean throughout, building to a very nice change to the chorus for the outro with a held note. This song is very good and is a very standard song for them. This was quite a nice and safe intro to an album that has definitely been a little more explorative than any of their earlier music.

Now for where the album starts getting a little more interesting. The title track starts out in quite an airy and swells before getting into the heavier guitars and then changing into a solo and then straight back into the swelling chorus. And almost straight after this, a relatively intense breakdown for Sleep Token. All of this is within the first three and a half minutes of a six and a half minutes song. Then it changes to a strange funky end, which feels like a completely different song. This was definitely a highlight!

The next two songs, ‘Granite’ and ‘Aqua Regia’, fall back into the more expected Sleep Token style. That isn’t to say they are bad songs but they definitely feel a little more expected and understandable than other songs on the album, especially with what is yet to come. It is most certainly a nice respite.

Next up, ‘Vore’. This really is the first massive change of pace for Sleep Token as Vessel screams for a large portion of the song which was mental and really started showing off just what Sleep Token is capable of. This then continues with lots of the later songs but they still explore other genres.

In terms of the majority of the rest of the album, there is so much going on and I realize that if I continue to waffle no one will ever read this to the end. But there are two things that I want to say. This album is genuinely phenomenal, at least to Sleep Token fans that have been here for a while, with all of the references to earlier songs and the constant development and improvement of everything they are good at whilst still making sure that the album is accessible to everyone who might not have ever listened to them before. This I know for a fact as I have shown this album to a number of people and they all have at least half of the album that they love.

And, finally, ‘Ascensionism’ and ‘Euclid’ are absolutely beautiful and have completed something in me that was started with ‘The Night Does Not Belong to God’, making this album have a truly important nature in my heart. I genuinely believe that if people give this album a go, they will see that this band really has perfected their art and are one the best bands around at the moment. From me 10/10

So, who do you agree with more? Is it good or not worth the hype? Let us know on our social medias! The average tots up to 7/10, but for something so praised by a lot of people that does seem a tad harsh. Let’s go with 8/10, that seems fair!

New Music Mondays: Metallica, Overkill and More!

A huge week for new music thanks to the main band. The fact that anyone has put out an album the same day as Metallica is insane, but there is plenty to sink our teeth into and some really great stuff at that. Check it out with us!

Metallica: 72 Seasons

Arguably the biggest band of all time, and easily one of my favourites. I had to give this my full attention, so read the full review here.

Overkill: Scorched

The 20th album from the thrash legends picks up right from where 2019s Wings of War left off. The opening title track really highlights the band’s sound not just over the last decade but over their whole careers, and is an excellent place to start. They have easily been one of the most consistent thrash bands around alongside Exodus. ‘Goin’ Home’ is jam packed with great riff after great riff and has one of my favourite guitar solos on the album. It’s also amazing how well Blitz has looked after his vocals over all these years, sounding up there with the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford these days. The drumming is the real unsung hero of the album though, Jason does an incredible job.

‘Wicked Place’ and ‘Harder They Fall’ are two more highlights of an honestly stacked album. I’ve been a fan of the band for a while but honestly haven’t really given them the credit they clearly deserve. This is excellent, and proves they are still one of the best thrash bands around today. 9/10

LA Guns: Black Diamonds

Tracii Guns’ post GnR project are back with their 14th studio album. I remember checking out their last one when it came out, giving it a 7.5/10 (check it out here). Much like their previous album, it doesn’t really have the glam/Sleaze metal feel to it that the band were known for back in the day. It still has some AOR tones but feels like a lot more modern, like more recent Bullet Boys or even (and I’m sure some hate me making the comparison) Chinese Democracy.

Still, tracks like the slower ballad ‘Diamonds’, the blusey ‘Shame’ and the faster, more old school ‘Lowlife’ are all highlights of the album. Overall, I think I enjoyed it more than their last one. I simply don’t think it was arranged very well. The opener didn’t land for me, but some of the later songs were amazing. It’s a fun album with plenty of good rock songs throughout and one I’ll happily listen to again. 8/10

Despite the Reverence: Stress of Evolution

Max: So this was one of those bands that I had never heard of before and I’m always ready to find another fantastic band much like I did when I first heard Sleep Token. This band only disappointed in one regard; why do they only have 91 monthly listeners on Spotify? The guitars and bass all had this very constant and moving feel throughout which allowed for so much energy to be carried through the album. The drums were great and I really need to start learning drums again because there are so many things that drummers like this do which just astound me with how effortlessly they seem to be yet brilliant they are. And then the vocals, I could understand the cleans taking a bit of time for people to get used to but I loved them and then the screams felt almost like older Parkway Drive, so they were awesome. This has to be an 8/10

Penny Rich: If Everyone’s An Expert, What’s Left to be Learnt?

I wasn’t coming into this album expecting such riffs. Right from the offset with ‘Spirals’ it’s one sludgy, pretty heavy riff after the other. Meanwhile, the vocals and overall vibe gave off heavy Dead Kennedy’s vibes. Considering this was described to me as indie I was very pleasantly surprised, it’s like a dark punk sort of feel. Tracks like ‘SPA’ and ‘Downfall’ are also great. I love the energy to it all, and their talent helps a bunch too. 7.5/10, a good album!

Fruit Bats: A River Running to your Heart

Having caught a bit of these at The Long Road last year (check out the review here) I was excited to check out this album! Honestly, it’s the perfect album to just chuck on and chill to, too. It’s very stripped back, pop/indie centric Americana, and it’s a lot of fun. The vocals reminded me a lot of Billy Corgan at times, fitting in surprisingly well over the chilled out instrumentation. It also had a slight Mothers Milk RHCP vibe to it. ‘See the World by Night’ was probably my favourite track on the album, but there really isn’t a bad track on it really. It did get slightly repetitive by the halfway mark, but that’s more personal preference than anything I think. 7.5/10

Alase: A Matter of Time

Max: Firstly, and I know this doesn’t affect the music but it should be said, the album art is brilliant. In terms of the actual music, it was really really good. It was really fun to listening to and there are many points where the music swells and it leaves you floating but then the screams ground you again and make you feel so much energy. This is only amplified by the drums and guitars which really demonstrate all of this. The quality of the recording also really helps with this as it was very good and was definitely done with the overall goal of the album in mind. 8/10

Jesus Piece: …So Unknown

Max: Right, definitely a change of pace from the previous two albums. But, it fully carries on the trend of this week having great albums. There is so much intensity and energy throughout the songs. I can imagine just how mental this band would be live. The bass really deserves some recognition because its all too easy for it to become buried in the rest of the music but this band clearly loves it and does a lot of work to make sure that it can be heard and it’s an important part of each song. The drums are very good and there are so many changes in pace and blast beats that I can’t fathom ever playing something like this. The vocals are amazing and feel like a cross between Knocked Loose, Kublai Khan TX and Alpha Wolf so they really deserve some praise. A very well deserved 9/10

Mike Miz: Only Human

The debut album of this upbeat Americana artist is fantastic. ‘Hand of the Sculptor’ is the perfect opener, feeling like an upbeat mixture between country and New Orleans-infused blues/soul rock. It’s follower ‘Only Human’ instead gives off heavy Fleetwood Mac vibes. It’s also got a fantastic chorus to it. ‘Six Ways from Sundays’ has an albums jazz infusion to the blues rock. The second half of the album, while it falls off in terms of pace, it doesn’t let up in terms of quality. ‘You Make me Feel’ is like an early 2000s pop ballad that I could easily hear filling the radio stations back then. And album closer ‘Tail Lights’ rocks it back up perfectly. A very good feel-good album, even despite the lyrics at times. 8.5/10

Syncolima: Wavelengths

Another album we did a full review of a couple of months back now. It was awesome! Check it out here.

White Rose Motor Oil: The Gift of Poison

First of all, these guys need way more listens than they have. So stop reading this right now and go check out the band and this album in particular.

Back? Okay, let’s continue.

This was awesome. It’s like dark Americana, having a pop-country twang to it. Opener ‘Ain’t no Saint’ hooked me in immediately with the incredible writing, catchy hooks and amazing lyricism, and it only continued to hit thr mark with all three from there. ‘Red Light’ is another amazing track while songs like ‘Hateland’ and ‘Blood Left to Bleed’ are also Hugh highlights. Honestly though, the whole album is amazing, there isn’t a bad track on it. I would say it’s the perfect album to put on and chill out to, but given the dark, sometimes heavier themes, that may not be entirely true! Either way, the band have a new huge fan in me! 9/10

Desolation Years: Genre-Benders Hong Faux Return with Album Three!

Hong Faux have been plugging away at the underground scene for over a decade now, getting one hell of a solid discography behind them. Their hard-to-place sound has done them brilliantly, letting them transition through different styles of rock seamlessly, as well as share the stage with a lot of different names. After having discovered them last years thanks to their remastered self-titled album, I’ve been excited for this. Let’s dive in!

A heavy blues/indie riff opens up the album and ‘Wake me up for Exit’. It immediately gave off Royal Blood/Highly Suspect vibes, that dirty, grungy, heavy pop rock sound. I Love it. It also has an epic, grandiose feel to it throughout, meaning that everything about it is catchy as anything. A cool bridge riff comes in after the second chorus, the drummer working overtime with some excellent fills. Then we get a stripped back chorus before a big epic one takes us home. The chorus almost has a touch of AOR to it, Night Ranger/Poison influences maybe? The outro is back to the heavy riff and finishes off the track excellently. A fantastic way to open an album, it’ll have anyone hooked from the get go!

A slower, lighter riff leads ‘Fornever’, it having more of a blues rock feel to it. The sound again gets massive for the chorus, it going into indie anthem territory. It’s a stadium-filling melody and sound if I’ve ever heard one. The lyrics are pretty great here too, I have to say. Between them and the vocal melody it almost gives it a folky rock vibe to it, think Frank Turner or The Lumineers. It’s a seriously great radio track and I’m shocked it wasn’t a single, if I’m honest!

‘Zero Point’ catches me off guard again with yet another different style. It opens straight into vocals and a guitar chord progression, sounding like a combination of RHCP and Stereophonics. The slow, stripped back pace was amazing and the vocals fit over the top so well. That high note heading towards the chorus is fantastic. Said chorus again gets a bit fuller sounding, the guitars still staying massively Frusciante and providing an amazing backdrop for the stellar vocals. A heavier bridge riff comes in and is exactly what this track needed, enhancing it somehow even more. Honestly, I cannot gush over this track enough. It’s awesome, and makes our playlist!

Single ‘Trains’ opens on a basic drumbeat, setting the pace and tone pretty well. It’s a darker slow track though, and the chorus is a fun, heavier section. Overall though, I have to admit it didn’t do much for me. I enjoyed the feel and style of it, but the track itself felt a little meh.

Check out a similar review here.

‘New Vegas’ felt a little more my speed, it being a bit more of an up-tempo rock song. The main riff gave everything a slight punk feel and the bounciness of the drums and vocals was infectious. It’s another simple structured track like the opening two, but it’s another enjoyable indie track! ‘Desolation Years’ feels like another UK-indie style rock ballad, giving me Oasis or Arctic Monkeys vibes. It was, much like the previous track, a darker track, but still had a big chorus. The highlight of the track for me though was the outro chorus, everything culminating perfectly.

The acapella chorus to open ‘Disco Necropolis’ was genius, especially when it’s followed up by a metal riff. The track feels completely different to any other on the album so far and it does it wonders. It borrows heavily from the good Muse tracks, and I can’t get enough of it. The chorus is very Muse too, from the vocal melody to the harmonies. It also had just enough Queen in the arrangement to keep me guessing throughout. I LOVED this. My favourite track on the album and it easily makes the playlist!

‘Parasite’ is another Royal Blood style heavier indie rock track, something Hong Faux do very well. Meanwhile the other single, ‘Starkiller’, feels a lot like ‘Zero Point’. However, as good as ‘Starkiller’ is, I did prefer the other track just a little bit. Still though, ‘Starkiller’ is another fantastic lighter track filled with awesome melodies and a huge chorus.

I really did like ‘Whitman, Price _ Haddad’, though. It again reminded me of Stereophonics, but the heavier, rockier, punkier earlier stages of their career. The track’s a combination of ‘Bartender and the Thief’ and ‘Own Worst Enemy’, which I loved. It almost feels redundant at this point to say but again, it’s massively catchy, both through the verses and choruses. It’s a fantastic heavier track and yet another that jumps on our playlist!

Closing track ‘The Flood’ feels like the perfect culmination of everything this album had put together before it. Opening on a blusey riff and some great vocals, it builds to a light, massively catchy anthemic chorus. It’s blues, it’s indie, and it even gets a little heavier at the end for the outro. Now, I’m talking Kings of Leon/Biffy Clyro heavy, but it fit the track well. And it’s the best use of a fade out I’ve heard in a closing track in years. A good way to close a damn good album.

Overall: This was great. While not typically the genre I go to listen to often, there was enough heaviness and also balladier stuff here to keep me well and truly entertained throughout. I’d LOVE to see a lot of this live and hope Hong Faux tour the UK soon. I can see them taking off massive off the back of this album.

The Score: 8/10

State of Mind: Genre-Hopping Awesomeness from Thunderian Summer

East Midlands own Thunderian Summer have only been around for a few years, but have already been making waves in the underground rock scene. Having released their debut album just a couple of weeks back, the future looks very bright for them! We got sent over the album by our good friends at Unearthed and just had to check it out!

Opener ‘Pain is a Friend’ has a great, steady, slow-build intro. It explodes into a great lead guitar line over the top, it giving me immediate John Frusciante vibes. The vocals are rather indie over the top, but it also gives off slight New Wave vibes, Pulp or even Billy Idol. The chorus, while the instrumentation doesn’t change too much, is massively open and catchy. It’s a fantastic songwriting talent, to get all of these different sounding parts and levels of depth around the same couple of riffs. It drops back down around the middle, building up again perfectly in a very Ramones style. I loved this tracks, and it easily makes our playlist!

‘Steve McQueen’ opens on a fuzzy guitar riff, again building in the rest of the band perfectly. This one reminds me of Bush more than anything, a grungy take on old-school punk. It’s a simpler track from a structural standpoint, but is just as massive and catchy in the chorus as the previous track. It’s like early Nirvana at times too, and I love it. Plus, the lyrics here are really fantastic; deep and impactful. The drop-out to just guitars and slight drums is awesome and will go down so well live with clapping. Also, Danzig, that’s another voice that this reminds me of! It’s been bugging me the whole song until now… It’s another incredible track, and another to make the playlist!

The lead single from the album, ‘Time Bomb’, is a more blues-lead affair. The main riff is awesome, and is the main focus of the track aside from the Gavin Rossdale-style vocals. However, surprisingly, it lightened up in the choruses, it almost venturing into pop territory. It was all excellent but was certainly unexpected. Because of it, I can definitely see why they chose it for a single. However, it didn’t capture me quite as much as the opening two tracks did. The outro and riff were cool, but something about it didn’t click for me.

‘Cold September’ and ‘Chasing Shadows’ are more slower tracks again. Both feel like the ballads of the album, with the former being more New Wave while the latter is more grunge (with a bit of Type O Negative thrown in for good measure) awesomeness. Both are great tracks and fit the feel and style of the album perfectly. ‘Chasing Shadows’ wouldn’t feel out of place on the Temple of Dog album, it’s great.

‘State of Mind’ opens much like ‘Steve McQueen’, with a grungier Bryan Adams riff. The chorus is a little more open, some almost ska chorus and rhythm going on through it. It’s a fun track and, typically by this point, plenty catchy.

‘Shake Your Sins’ changes it up again, giving us a fantastic acoustic ballad. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the album, honestly. Just vocals and guitar, it is filled with emotion, from the opening note to the heart-breaking lyrics. Sometimes simplicity is key, and that is definitely the case here! You MUST check this out, what a beautiful song.

The opening of ‘Empathy’ reminds me of an Iron Maiden track but I can’t think which. I wanna say ‘Revelations’ or ‘Total Eclipse’. It’s a blend of that, Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam. It’s got a great grungy swagger and attitude to it. Meanwhile ‘Lion Bear Tiger Mama’ completely changes the pace again, introducing a new sound to the album late into the game, straight up rock’n’roll. It came out of left field but in the best of ways, giving off big Led Zep vibes.

Then, out of nowhere, we’re hit with a slow, prog-western track to close out the album. The riffing and lead guitaring that ran through this song was AMAZING, as was the bass, being a massive highlight of the track. It heavies up around the midpoint of the track, the distorted guitars coming in over the top and adding another fantastic layer of depth to it all. The track as a whole is phenomenal, another massive highlight of the album and another to easily make the playlist!

Overall: this was amazing. It blended together so many different genres, from indie to rock to western to acoustic, and did it all masterfully. I would highly recommend this album to anyone, as you’re bound to find something you love no matter your tastes. It’s one hell of a debut album and I cannot wait to here where this band goes in the future after this. They should have a massive 2023!

The Score: 8.5/10

New Music Mondays: Muse, Machine Head and Much More!

We have a fun addition to New Music Mondays this week. Our newest team member Max has given me a hand in writing this, as I was away for the weekend. Give him some love as he saved my ass and did a great job! I’ve covered a few of them and he’s done a few, and if I had any more thoughts on an album I added them on too!

It’s another week another list! A fun set of albums have been released this week so join me in exploring them all.

Muse: Will of the People

Max: So where to begin? This is Muse’s 10th album if you don’t include the two live albums and the anniversary version of Origin of Symmetry. I must say that it is my favourite since the resistance. There are so many things to say about this album and I wish I had more time for it, from the amazing grooves in the bass to the solos spaced throughout. However, Matt’s voice is utterly outstanding.

If you only have time for a couple of songs I highly recommend ‘Ghosts (How Can I Move On)’ which is a beautiful piano led song which gives me chills every time I listen to it, ‘You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween’ which has a brilliant groovy and feel to it which makes me want to get up and move each time and then ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ which is definitely more inline with some of Muse’s heavier music. All in all, a great album and an easy 8.5/10.

Machine Head: Øf KingdØm and CrØwn

Max: Machine Head are back, and they want you to know what they’re about again. It has been four years since Catharsis, their last album. It’s clear in that time that they have been working hard on perfecting their art . All I can say is wow. It is heavier, it is intense, and it is brilliant. From ‘Slaughter the Martyr’; their ten and a half minute opening song is kickass from the slow intro to the filthy riffs and the solos. There is so much in this song to digest however there is more to get through. ‘Become The Firestorm’ and ‘No Gods, No Masters’ are must listens and as potentially controversial as this might be, I think this album is better than Burn My Eyes, their seminal first album. This is a 9/10 but if you rate it higher there is no contest because this is a phenomenal album.

Joe: As a HUGE fan of Machine Head, especially their output from Ashes, Catharsis and a couple of singles afterwards were a pretty big let down. I enjoyed last year’s EP, though (all of which ended up on this album). My god does this build on that perfectly. Right from opening on a 10-minute heavy epic with a good three minutes of slow-build to start, I knew the Machine Fuckin’ Head I knew were back. I’ve seen a fair few journalists comparing this to The Blackening. While I think that’s a bit of a stretch, it’s definitely a step back in the right direction. I agree with Max on all of his highlight tracks, and would also like to add the venomous ‘Rotten’. 9/10

Embrace: How to Be a Person Like Other People

Joe: The Yorkshiran rock band released their eighth studio album last week. While I was sceptical it would make it onto this list at all with the slow piano intro, it build into a cracking, stadium-filling ballad in ‘Death is Not the End’. While the rest of the album was still good, it’s in a similar style to the opening track and never quite reached the same lofty heights. It’s a blend of British and US indie rock which was perfect for a background listen or a long car journey, but I found it not holding my attention too well when listened to intently. If you’re into indie you’ll enjoy this a lot more than I did,. I feel like I’d ‘get’ this a lot more if I saw it live. For now, it gets a 5/10 from me!

Excuses Excuses: Listen Up

We’ve covered this already last week, and you can find the review and score here.

Sigh: Shiki

Max: The Japanese cult black metal band Sigh are back also after four years. For a first venture into this band, Shiki is a great place to start. It is a difficult listen if you are new to black metal, but their somewhat eclectic mix of styles can be a saving grace if you find the raw and intense vocals a little hard. This is not the best album ever made but I think it is a must listen for anyone wanting to explore more music and expand their genres.

I found it difficult to pick out which songs were the best in the album. But, after a couple more listens, the strange, almost jazz-break in the second track of the album, ‘Kuroi Kage’, just sticks with me even now. Its one for all to explore if they feel brave enough to which brings me to give this a solid 7.5/10 and I am excited for what might come next.

Joe: What has this company done to me? I loved this. I’ve somehow gotten pretty into the more epic side of extreme metal, and I kinda like it. Whether it was the balls to the wall track above or the more up and down ‘Mayonaka No Kaii’ there was a lot I enjoyed here. I do however agree with Max in that it’s a 7.5/10. Good stuff!

Brymir: Voices In The Sky

Max: The Finnish metal band are here with another packed album. It’s difficult to say what their plan for this album was as it felt to cross many layers. All in the band pushed their art to the next level with each song feeling quite different from the next. This being said I would not say this is the best album on the list. It was constantly punchy and energetic, and I found myself listening to it in the background through out the day but I truly struggled to find one song that was the best.

With all this said, however, I do think everyone should check it out. I am excited to see if they explore a but more of the melodic/death metal side that they can clearly do. I’m going to have to give this an 8/10 but that could change once I’ve got to grips more with this band who were completely new to me.

Manifest: The Sinking

Max: Here’s a band that I doubt many of you have heard of before. This is the bands fifth album, and it is a hard one. Whilst some of you may question me on this considering I liked Sigh, I really could not get past the Stian’s vocals and there was not much for me in the album. I implore you to check it out for yourself but I struggled to get past the fourth track so there is not much more to say. It is a 5/10 for me.

Joe: The mixing on this was pretty meh. It felt like a punch in the face, but that may have been the intention. However, I didn’t mind this aside for that. The elements are there of a good album, it just needs a fair amount of polish. It reminded me of a more biker Hatebreed, the same aggression and speed but with some catchy choruses thrown in at times. However, the cleans aren’t all that great, and the extreme vocals could be little stronger. I preferred when they stuck to the hardcore stuff as opposed to jumping to black metal or their slower stuff. 5/10

Lacrimas Profundere: How to Shroud Yourself with Night

We’ve got a review coming out of this album in the coming days. It was delayed due to being ask to react to some of their singles. While you wait, check out our reaction to their latest single, ‘To Disappear In You’, below. And check back in a couple of days for the link to the review!

Dynazty: Final Advent

Max: This one definitely ends the list on a high. Its hard to say exactly what this album makes me feel because wow its good, exceptionally good. They are top of their field, all the members of this band. There is so much pure and lovable energy in this band, and you can see how much they love making music. Each of the songs remind me of why I do this and how much I love music. There is one song that everyone needs to hear: ‘Yours’. Its an utterly beautiful songs and the chorus with its great hook and amazing vocals hits me somewhere deep. Its is a top song of the year so far for me and I am definitely going to try and see them live some time soon. It’s great to be surprised by music no matter what you hear, and this album hit in all the right places so I can’t see any reason to not listen to it because I really do think its inviting enough for everyone 9/10.

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Casual Abrasive: Are Feverjaw the Next Big Indie Band?

The Cardiff based alt/indie rock band Feverjaw have been going for a little while now, having put out their debut album last year and now added to that with this new 4-track EP. While it isn’t usually my sort of music, I’m excited to check it out as I have seen the buzz getting up around this band!

‘Midsommar’ (also one of my favourite movies) opens on a pretty fun riff. It builds up slowly with the vocals and drums. It all culminates in a massive chorus, the backing vocals and harmonies adding some depth and catchiness to it all, making it all sound huge. The bridge after the second chorus is awesome, feeling like it builds up the epicness well heading into a final chorus. However, overall while it was a good, enjoyable track, it felt a little simple, it didn’t really go anywhere. Still, as an opening track it was fun!

‘Free Fire’ is a little more up my street. The lead guitar line during the opening riff felt punk AF. That feeling continued through the verse as it was pretty bass and drums lead, the guitars coming in with big chords at the start of each line. It also builds into a big, catchy, fantastic chorus, again the backing vocals adding a lot. There’s even a bit of a guitar solo in there, a little repetitive but that comes with the genre really! It dropping out to just guitar and vocals heading into the final chorus is always fun and works very well here. This was more my sort of thing than the opening track and it makes the playlist. Good stuff!

The punk vibes continue through ‘And the Machines’, it being probably the heaviest track on the EP. It gives off pretty heavy Misfits vibes actually with the chuggy verses and huge, cymbal-heavy choruses. It drops down a bit for a fun bridge, focussing more on the bass and drums. Then, it builds up into a huge final double chorus. Another good track!

Then finally we have ‘Freeze the Frame’. It’s the slowest and most indie track on the EP by quite a margin. It’s a slow track filled with a repeating clean guitar riff with some higher, very US indie-style vocals over the top. I kept waiting for it to drop but it didn’t, staying chilled throughout. I have to admit, I loved it. The simple nature of the track won me over big time, and it felt full of emotion. It reminded me a lot of Lumineers, which is definitely a good thing!

Overall: This grew on me a lot throughout. After a rocky opening track it honestly just got better and better. The band are very talented musicians and songwriters and will go a long way if they keep putting out stuff like this!

The Score: 7/10

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Lyoness: The Silence

Lyoness is a band that has been around for a few years now but really broke out as soon as they released their first tracks in 2019, earning themselves a fantastic slot supporting the awesome Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. The band has so far only put out singles, but that is all set to change with their upcoming EP. The first song of said EP, ‘The Silence’, was released today, so we thought we’d check it out and see what it’s like!

The track opens on a drumbeat that had a pretty strange yet interesting effect on it, it sitting far back in the mix and sounding muddy. We then get the guitar and bass coming in with a brief, low riff before Gillian’s low, indie/punk vocals come in over the top. It’s dripping in attitude and swagger, especially with the minimal instrumentation behind it. The second half the verses are cool too, the guitars coming in with an interesting riff that, if it was any less palm-muted, would be pretty damn heavy, but it works pretty well in this sort of setting too.

It all builds into a huge, pretty heavy chorus. The drums go cymbal heavy, opening out the track loads, and the guitars hit some huge chords. Meanwhile, the vocals get a little higher and harder, with Gillian coming up with a pretty damn catchy vocal line that repeats throughout. It then heads into an awesome little bridge part after the second chorus, with another heavy, awesome riff from the instruments while the vocals hum and ‘woh’ perfectly over the top. It reminds me a lot of Dorothy and that sort of American level of pop-rock heaviness, catchy and great. It also then swings into a final chorus to end things with a bang.

Overall: it was an awesome track, and one hell of a good choice to make as the first single for their EP. It was simple yet perfectly catchy and heavy for the band’s sound, as well as for wide-reaching radio play. You cannot ask for anything else really, and I cannot wait to hear what the rest of the EP has in store! 

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