Tag Archives: math rock

New Music Mondays: Rammstein, Ted Nugent and More!

Another week and some more fantastic new music in the world of rock and metal. From industrial to death to blues, there’s a bit of everything! Check it all out down below!

Rammstein: Zeit

Industrial metal kings Rammstein return with their eighth studio album, and a rather quick successor to 2019s Untitled Album. The band are yet to release a bad album and, to no ones surprise, they keep that record alive with this new music. Whether it is the slow piano build of the title track or the straight up chugging of ‘Giftig’ or ‘OK’. All three tracks are highlights of the album, but honestly there isn’t a bad track on it.

It’s a slower album than I was expecting, though. I do like their mid-tempo stuff a lot, and it has resulted in a much more epic-feeling album, but it’s weird to only have three or four faster tracks on it. I imagine it’s because the band are maturing as songwriters more and more, as the previous album was slower than their early ones too. Also, the final track being ‘Adieu’ and containing various different other ways of saying goodbye, could the band be trying to tell us something…? Either way, a very good album that boarders more on power metal than industrial. 8/10

Ted Nugent: Detroit Muscle

A controversial figure these days due to his political leanings, Ted can at least still write some okay rock music when he wants to. I have to admit this is the first Nugent album I’ve listened to all the way through. I’m British and us over here tend to prefer Canada’s version, Bryan Adams, over Nugent or Bruce Springsteen.

The album’s fun, even if it is full of his usual rhetoric. It annoys me that ‘Come and Take it’ is so catchy, given that it’s very ‘Don’t Tread on Me’. Still, this isn’t the time or place to get political. This is a good blues album full of pretty decent guitar riffs, some catchy choruses and a few fun riffs. ‘American Campfire’ and ‘Alaska’ are definite highlights for me, but the album as a whole is enjoyable to listen to from start to finish. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and may have to check out some more of his stuff after this. 6.5/10

Watain: The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain

The Swedish black metal band have been going a lot longer than I thought they had been. Now seven albums in their first decade of music is a bit of a mystery to me. Though black metal has never really been on my radar, I did know about these guys due to a fair amount of hype surrounding them around The Wild Hunt, so I have at least checked out some of their stuff. Though this company has definitely opened my eyes more to the heavier side of metal, black metal still seems like an anomaly to me. I get and enjoy death metal a lot now, and even like a fair amount of extreme stuff. black metal simply seems to not have as much going on in it usually and gets a bit monotonous.

However, this album does a good job at trying to bridge the gap, for me. There’s more going on than your typical black metal album; between guitar solos, thrashier guitars and some fun dynamics it definitely has some death and extreme elements. I still wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it and the whole 50 minutes in one sitting was a bit of a struggle, but I wouldn’t turn any of it off if it came on. I imagine this is very good for fans of the genre, if I enjoyed it. But I can’t give it more than 5.5/10

Paddy and the Rats: From Wasteland to Wonderland

The Hungarian Celtic punk band released their sixth album last week. First of all, it’s a lot of fun. It’s like all of Christopher Bowes’ projects blended together with a hint of Dropkick Murphys and Train. I have to admit it took me a couple of tracks to get into the vocals, and they’re still not quite as folky/piratey for my liking. However, don’t get me wrong, Paddy can definitely sing. Either way, it’s a very fun album, with tracks like ‘Ship Will Sail’, ‘Matadora’ And the album club-pop ‘Party Like a Pirate’. I love that this is the sort of direction this style of music is going, with Alestorm’s ‘Tortuga’ being another fantastic example. It’s all massively catchy album from start to finish and it’s insane that I haven’t heard of them before. Hopefully this pushes them to even greater heights, and they definitely have a new fan in me! 8.5/10

Crashdïet: Automation

The Swedish glam metal band are six albums deep now, and show no signs of slowing down! Automation is a good album BUT I want to review it as a whole, given that I’m a Big fan of the band’s music and we are speaking to them later this month. So keep an eye out on our website and socials as it will be up in the next few days!

Reef: Shoot Me Your Ace

The British pop-rock band get a lot less praise and love than they deserve. There is a lot more to them than ‘Place Your Hands’, with tracks like ‘Naked’ and even newer stuff like ‘How I Got Over’ been criminally underrated songs. Aside from that they are still one of the nest live bands around today, with frontman Gary Stringer always being on top form.

Now that the gushing is out of the way, the band’s sixth album is also very good. From the dirty blues title track through to tracks more like ‘Place…’ like ‘Refugee’ and ‘Wolfman’ there is a lot to love here. It’s a fantastic album full of catchy choruses, sorting vocals and effortlessly fantastic guitar riffs. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that it’s another album that doesn’t have a great deal of variety on it. It’s 42-minutes of awesome, fun blues rock so it’s a lot harder to dislike it all being similar, but a ballad or something out there may have been nice in the middle! Still, I ended up saving half of these tracks so any number of them could end up on the playlist! Another fantastic entry from the band! 8/10

FES: With Regards From Home

A band that we are very familiar with, given that it was the first gig we went to as a company. Their debut album was finally released on Friday and we’ve already reviewed it! Check it out here.

If I Die Today: The Abyss In Silence

Firstly, the concept of this album is really cool. Having life, death, the five stages of grief and then Darkness as the track titles is a chilling way to start off the story. The music fits the tone perfectly too, the hardcore metal bordering on blackened death working well. For the most part the tracks fit the titles, too. However, I know that they’re a very heavy band, but a couple of the tracks, such as ‘Life’, ‘Autumn’ and ‘Darkness’, could have maybe done with being a little slower or stripped back to really get the message across. However, the riffs were fantastic throughout and the vocals changed between heavy growls and extreme, hopeless-filled shrieks and made it pretty interesting. The emotion and talent is definitely there and the concept is fantastic, I’m just being picky and again wishing for some more variety. 6.5/10

Dischordia: Triptych

The Oklahoman death metal trio put out their first new album in six years last week. In fitting with the album’s artwork, it’s a trippy, heavy album. Pulling no punches, from the first note of ‘Minds of Dust’ to the closing one of ‘Le Petite Mort’ it is an all out assault. Tracks like ‘Bodies of Ash’ and ‘The Whip’ are personal highlights of an insane bunch. It’s definitely on the heavier side of death metal and will take me a bit of getting used to, but I’m sure after a few more listens I’ll love it. The instrumentation is off the charts, some of the riffs are incredible, and the growls are insanely low. If anyone’s into death metal check this out! 7/10

With Regards From Home: The Debut Album to Send FES to the Stratosphere?

Guitar-pop/pop-rock/math-rock band FES have been around a few years now. They’ve been putting in a hell of a lot of hours into touring and plugging away and EPs. However the band are finally releasing their debut album tomorrow, and I could not be more stoked. We saw these guys in Notts last year (link to the review here) and loved them, so to have the chance to get a sneak peak at this is an honour. Without further ado, here is our thoughts on With Regards From Home.

Starting off as on FES could, ‘Chew’ opens on some fantastic guitar playing and a huge chord before it drops down a bit for the vocals. It’s pop-punk math-rock blended perfectly together and is massively catchy. The dynamics are fun, it dropping down and building up multiple times throughout. There’s also a fantastic harmony on the vocal coming through the build-up around 2-minutes in, adding even more punch and epicness to the sound. I lost track a little of the structure a little but it doesn’t matter at all, this was phenomenal. The lyrics resonated pretty strongly with me too, as they would probably anyone at one time or another. This was awesome and easily makes the playlist!

‘Clarinet’ opens on another fantastically technical guitar riff, built on perfectly by the bass and drums. The vocals are again massively catchy, having a real old-Hayley-Williams twang to them. It’s hard not to constantly gush over the instrumentation, though. This band is three people at the very top of their craft and they are AMAZING songwriters. They manage to fit all their weirdness and craziness together somehow perfectly. This may sound insane, but I’d put the front-woman up there with the likes of Tosin Abasi and Santana in terms of technical guitar ability, she really is that good. More great stuff!

‘Sun Visor’ launches straight into the verse, vocals and a quirky riff ringing through. It somehow sounds even better when the bass takes over for the riff. The guitar holds a huge chord, letting it ring and distort and add another huge layer to the track. Then it suddenly shifts gears heading into the chorus, turning almost uplifting. It fits in with the mood of the trach though and was a smooth transition. The track is another awesome one, catchy and bouncy and a lot of fun!

I am coming to realise that I maybe cannot review this album in the same way as I review most others. Otherwise it’ll just be me repeatedly saying ‘the instrumentation is incredible’ and ‘the vocals are great’ and ‘I love the lyrics’. While with some bands I would complain that this would make the album too boring and repetitive, I could listen to this style all day. FES manage to constantly keep it interesting and keep me on my toes. So instead, I feel like I just need to bring to attention the highlights and bits that I loved, as well as anything I feel less positive towards.

‘So So’ has some of the best lyrics I have heard in a very long time. The melancholy, stripped back instrumentation for it fits the theme perfectly, too. The drop-outs and dynamics in ‘Bruises’ were a lot of fun and had me genuinely questioning if my laptop was still working at times. Also, slower track ‘Black Eye’ was a nice change of pace at first after a rather upbeat first half of an album. And the proggy, slower outro was awesome.

‘Seethrough’ is a massive highlight of the album for me. The guitaring reminds me of early Newton Faulkner. The whole track just being that and vocals, alongside some ambient sounds to accompany, was really beautiful. I’m so glad it didn’t drop into the rest of the band. I was hoping for something much different to the rest of the album and this was exactly that. The lyrics are impactful and fantastic and it all pieces together perfectly. Playlisted!

My only very minor gripe with this album is that after the aforementioned track it does go back to the similar formula again. I know I had mentioned before that I could listen to this style all day and I most certainly can. But that isn’t to say it will hold my full attention forever. This is a fantastic album that I would recommend to absolutely anyone, but it was a hard one to sit down and review. I get distracted easily and no matter how fantastic an album is, if it is a lot of similarly great songs over and over, I find my mind wandering.

And yes, I know how hard it is to create different sounds with just three people in a sub-genre like this, so I don’t even have a solution. I guess I’m basically just saying ‘goddamn you guys for being so good at what you do!’. Maybe it’s just jealousy. Either way, the final three tracks are also stellar and ‘Washout’ is a fantastic way to close an album!

Overall: what more can I say that I haven’t already? It is an absolute masterclass in how to play the core rock instruments (including vocals). Also, the band have the incredible ability to portray such emotion, not just through the deeply person lyrics but through their delivery and the playing as well. It feels like this band could do absolutely any genre they wanted, they simply play this style as they enjoy it. One of the strongest debut albums I’ve heard in decades. And, before my professional jealousy creeps back in, I’m going to give this…

The Score: 9/10

We hope you enjoyed the article! As usual keep up to date on all of our reviews from our Instagram here.

Last Hyena + FES + Blight Town @ The Chameleon, Nottingham

What a fantastic lineup for Overtone’s first live gig review – three of Britain’s best and brightest rising math rock-esque bands all under one roof. Local boys Blight Town are a great blend of math rock and post hardcore, FES are on the more pop/punk side (and have frequently been referred to as the Paramore of math rock thanks to lead singer Polly’s stunning tone) while the headliners are an instrumental powerhouse of the genre. Hosted by IKE Promotions at Nottingham’s fantastic little venue, The Chameleon, it promised a great (if sweaty) night of live music. 

Blight Town

Blight Town come on to a packed crowd and immediately blasted into half an hour of fast paced, heavy post hardcore music. Every member of the band is incredibly talented but I couldn’t help but gravitate towards the singer; his clean vocals and screams were both incredible and he managed to switch between the two with little effort. The local boys brought a good few fans of their own so it was great to see the crowd reacting and singing along, giving the band a little more energy and passion. A great opening band and the perfect one for the night.

FES

After a short break, FES came on to absolutely blow the roof off the place. Blight Town were a tough act to follow, but FES managed it. Their unique blend of math rock and catchy guitar-pop hooks and choruses was captivating from start to finish. The vocals were amazing, eerily reminiscent of the likes of Hayley Williams, and being able to sing like that while also playing crazy math rock riffs is an extraordinary talent. Not to discedit the rest of the band, though, who were both equally talented and fit the music and style perfectly. They blasted through a forty-five minute set that felt like it had run for no time at all, leaving the crowd easily wanting more but being ‘forced’ to head over to the merch booth instead.

FES FACTS:

  • FES originally, and ironically, stood for Flat Earth Society until the public began to take the name too seriously – their name has been shortened to FES ever since to skip the confusion
  • For such a popular and enthusiastic band on stage, they are all admittedly introverts.
  • With a booking manager based in Truro, FES frequently find themselves travelling across the country for tours and festivals.

What venues do you like to play at? Have you been to The Chameleon before?

Tom: We played at Brewdog once at Tramlines which was really weird because there were loads of middle aged people trying to get a pint or eating and we were in the corner doing our weird shit.

Matt: We played in this DIY place called the Audacious Art Experiment and it was like 30 people crammed into basically a cupboard.

Polly: I think we just really like the DIY style.

Tom: This is our first time at The Chameleon. I’ve been aware of The Chameleon for a long time – I was supposed to come to a gig here like 10 years ago but I had to go to parents evening instead.

Matt: Did you get a good report?

Tom: No! But it’s a really cool venue with obviously a lovely audience so it’s really good to play.

So up until now you’ve released EPs but you have a debut album out soon. Is there a different writing or recording process you go through?

Polly: The biggest difference when recording this album was the pandemic because we couldn’t see each other.

Tom: We couldn’t see each other for months and that’s hard when you’re wanting to write. We hired out an Air BnB, it was like a cabin in Wales on the coast and we wrote like six or seven songs in that time.

Matt: That was just before the pandemic hit – it was January 2020. So we were like ‘it’s all going well’ and then… March. But we did a lot of online stuff and it started to ease up again so we tried to make it work.

Polly: Because an album is more songs we felt more stress anyway and with the timing of it, because we had the studio booked before we had the songs, we had this deadline coming up. There was a lot of anxiety but it all worked out.

Tom: We recorded it two months ago. There’s going to be 11 songs and we’ve only got 10 songs out in the world anyway so we’re going to double the amount of songs available to people. It’s all mixed and we’ve got the artwork, we just need to get it mastered.

Matt: And to get a record label to be nice to us.

Tom: Hopefully we’ve got a tour next May which was meant to happen last year that’s been rebooked so if we can get it out before May that’s ideal.

How does it feel being called the Paramore of math rock?

Polly: We get it often. I was brought up on her and I love all of their whole discography and how it’s developed. I think they’re a genius band and I love Hayley’s solo stuff too.

Matt: I think a lot of bands with female vocalists get compared to Haley Williams.

Tom: We’re friends with a band with a female vocalist and they get it a lot.

Matt: It’s like one reference point for women or something. But we like them so we’ll take it.

Are there any other bands you take inspiration from?

Tom: I think we all have different influences and I guess it’s like a mix. Polly is the main writer, don’t get me wrong.

Polly: Yeah bands like Tube Law, Delta Sleep, Fish Tank. I have personal ones for writing style like Regina Spectre.

Matt: We have influences from when we started which have changed.

Polly: Biffy Clyro are probably a big one because they were really mathy when they first started off. I really liked early Orchids, they were a big influence too.

Matt: Well me and Tom grew up as metal heads. I was obsessed with Iron Maiden. I could tell you anything.

Tom: His old email was like “mattlikesironmaiden@something”

How would you sum up the theme of your upcoming album?

Polly: So there’s lots of themes of mortality and childhood. I wrote a lot of the songs once my grandad died so it’s almost nostalgic.

Tom: All of your lyrics are really personal to you really about what’s going on in that time.

Polly: They probably don’t make sense to anyone else but me. I wrote a song about Matt because I wrote a song about Tom in 2017 and Matt always been like “when are you going to do one about me?”

Matt: So she wrote a song about me having a breakdown.

Tom: So was mine! If we keep having breakdowns, we’re going to get some more tunes. They were songs of support though and I think that happens a lot with songwriting. When you have things going on quite drastic or emotional it can serve as a catalyst for writing. Some people I think go for different narratives but our music is quite personal.

Matt: We do like the idea of doing a concept album though.

Polly: I kind of want to write a musical because I think our music is quite theatrical anyway so if we write a concept album and then turn it, adapt it into an actual theatre production that’s like the goal with FES.

Last Hyena

Last Hyena took the stage last and once again blew the crowd away. Step aside Rush. Step aside Muse. There is a new up-and-coming three man collection of the most talented musicians out there. I can’t remember ever seeing a band play as tightly live as they did, and all three showed off their incredible affinity for their instruments. For a wholly instrumental band too, they held the attention of every single crowd member there for their entire set with their infectious grooves, melodies and obvious love for their craft. They were having fun, which meant the audience were having more fun as a result – their personalities shone through which is always amazing to see. Again, the 45 minute set went by in a flash – calling to an end a fantastic night of live music. 

We managed to sit down with the headliners before the gig to talk about their recent tour.

How do you feel playing to a live crowd again after a year of restrictions?

Max: It’s amazing, it’s like having a piece of ourselves back really.

Rory: We played our first show back in Bristol where we’re based and it was honestly the weirdest feeling. We’ve been practicing for the whole 18 months every week in our studio space so we’ve just been writing and practicing. The first gig back and setting up before we played we all felt giddy. It was so nice to get back into it.

Max: It’s been full on really with the tour and we’ve realised how unfit we are.

Have you played in Nottingham before?

Rory: We have but it’s our first time here which is wicked because it’s a nice space.

Josh: Nottingham’s one of our favourite places, we always try and get on the bill. Whatever the turn out is, the people are there to see it and absolutely love it. There are always hardcore music fans in Nottingham, so it always goes down well.

Max: I always love the really small, intimate venues. You can play to any sort of crowd as long as there are people that want to be there for the music.

How does being a purely instrumental band make you stand out from the bands on tonight’s line up or any other venue that you play at?

Rory: It gives you a lot more freedom which we love. We never set out to be a math rock, kind of post-rocky band. We just started writing music we enjoy and it fell into the math rock genre with ‘and then we do this’ and ‘then we do this segment’ and ‘no one will see it coming.’ It literally is just music to try and keep people on their feet.

Josh: We had an idea when we first started out. Rory and I were in a band before without a vocalist so we decided to play instrumentally as we had gigs booked anyway and thought maybe a vocalist will find us. And then the more gigs we played we thought maybe we don’t need one. We were having far too much fun.

Max: Plus it always gets us on the good side of sound people.

Rory: They’re like “how many vocals?” And we say “none” and they’re like “oh cool!”

Max: Yeah, “any midi?” “No!”

Rory: It’s a different one because take FES with Polly, they have an amazing singer with really catchy choruses whereas we literally don’t have any repetitive parts. Every song has a different phrasing or section, so we have a lot of hooks I’d say but it is an amalgamation of chaos.

Max: Yesterday, people actually sang back to ‘Doctorpus’ on the vocal line.

Rory: A lot of people really into their music will see the musicianship of it and how much idiocity is behind it and be like ‘that was crazy’, it’s so tight etcetera. A lot of people, more like my parents’ age, will say “you don’t have a singer?” And we say no it’s just instrumental!

Josh: And then you say people come to our shows and they’re like “do they?!”

Max: Because it’s such a small genre in terms of how many fans there are really, it’s a very dedicated pool of people. They’re not necessarily massively dedicated to individual bands, they are just there for the scene which is nice. You get people who listen to bands like FES, which is why it’s so nice to play with FES, because while they’re very different to us they also bring in the same sort of people so you get people into what they do but not us and vice versa.

Josh: There’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you’re a fan of rock sub-genres, or have a respect for the instrumental skill it takes to be part of a math rock band, check out any of the bands from this line up via Overtone’s Insta.