Tag Archives: metalcore

New Music Mondays: State Champs, Misery Index and More!

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

Check out our Powerwolf review here.

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!

The Top 10 Most Underrated Guitarists

Guitarists are some of the most respected people in rock music. However, there are some that don’t get the credit they deserve. Whether it’s them being more on the unknown side or being associated with bands not universally liked, it has meant that some guitarists don’t always get the praise they should do. So, we thought we’d do a lost of ten of the most underrated guitarists of the rock world. Check it out down below and let us know if you agree!

10: Wes Boreland

Starting out with a slightly more obvious one. I have seen praise for the guy, just nowhere near as much as there should be. Yes, the riffs he writes for Limp Bizkit aren’t the most technical of things. But damn if they aren’t all great. Just have a look at the video below and tell me that this isn’t damn impressive and entertaining. And that isn’t even mentioning his solo stuff, which is just as weird but just as damn impressive. The whole band get far too much hate considering how talented each individual member is.

Check out our review of Still Sucks here

9: Kirk Hammett

I thought I’d get the most hated on guitarist out of the way early. Whether it’s him using too much wah, having to live up to Dave Mustaine or just generally being a part of the worlds most-cool-to-hate metal band, poor Kirk drew the short straw for sure. But the man is far too heavily criticised. He has written some of the best solos in metal history. From the likes of ‘The Unforgiven’, ‘Fade to Black’, ‘One’ and even more recently with stuff like ‘Judas Kiss’, all have been great. Yes, he likes to use the wah peddle a lot, but it does give him his own distinctive sound and honestly it works perfectly. While not being one of the core songwriters of the band, his contributions to the biggest band in metal are still legendary, and he deserves a lot more credit for them.

8: Myles Kennedy

Do I need to say any more than that solo in ‘Blackbird’? The rhythm guitarist of Alter Bridge often gets overshadowed by arguably one of the best guitarists of the current era in Mark Tremonti, but to sleep on Myles is a big mistake. His blues playing is off the charts and makes for a really interesting writing style when it comes to their hard rock/metal music. And he’s show plenty of versatility too, playing with Slash live at most of their shows as well as releasing two completely different solo albums. The man is insanely talented and not talked about enough when talking about great guitarists.

Check out our review of The Ides of March here

7: Mick Mars

While Motley Crue are another band that are rather unjustly hated on, it can be said that they are not nearly as talented as Metallica. However, Mars is definitely the most talented member of the glam band. I mean heck, just listen to the intro of ‘Live Wire’ and tell me he isn’t fantastic. While he isn’t hated on anywhere near as much as some of the others on this list, he simply isn’t talked about at all, which is a real shame.

6: Michael Paget

A more modern guitarist now, and one from a rather intriguing band. Exploding onto the scene in the early 2000s with some blistering riffs and solos, Bullet for my Valentine were touted as the next big thing. However, after a couple of dud albums (and a couple of great ones) they have cooled off dramatically. However, what has never changed is Page’s incredible playing. Whether it’s the punchy riffs and breakdowns of ‘Scream Aim Fire’ or ‘Knives’ or his amazing soloing on ‘Alone’, ‘Army of Noise’ or their iconic ‘Tears Don’t Fall’, the guy is a massively underappreciated technical player. If only the band hadn’t taken a hit in popularity, he may have had the respect he so sorely deserves.

Check out our review of Bullet For My Valentine here

5: Phil Demmel

Joining Machine Head after the questionable Nu-Metal days of the band was always going to be a hard thing, but to say Demmel made the most of it is a massive understatement. While 2003s Through the Ashes of Empires was already written by the time Demmel joined the band, he sure put on one hell of a performance in the studio. And from there he went to feature on a run of albums that is hard to rival in terms of quality. The praise heaped on The Blackening speaks for itself while Unto the Locust is a worthy follow-up from a songwriting perspective. Meanwhile, Bloodstone and Diamonds remains my favourite album the band have put out, a versatile, underrated gem (pun intended). And I haven’t even mentioned his early work with Vio-lence yet! A true underrated guitar god. The whole track below is a guitarist’s wet dream.

4: The Trivium Guys

Okay so a slight wildcard entry here as it’s a twofer, but it’s hard to say just the one of the Floridian metal titans. Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu complement each-others playing styles perfectly at this point, and Triviums albums prove that. Just go and listen to any of their last three albums, or any of their albums at all in fact, and tell me that they are not both incredible players. We all know The Crusade set them back in popularity in a lot of the fans eyes (I don’t know why, it’s a great album) so much like Bullet they are simply not as popular as they should be. But their guitar work on In The Court of the Dragon alone is some of the best I have heard, and the fact that no one is talking about it is why they make it onto this list.

Check out our review of Court of the Dragon here.

3: Dan Sugarman

The most relative newcomer on this list. He makes it so high up due to the fact that a lot of people I talk to don’t know of him. I have raved that much about Ice Nine Kills recently that I shall spare you another lecture, but their newest guitarist is VERY good. Just check out this video of him shredding to Assault and Batteries. The guy isn’t currently playing live with them but I can already tell he’ll knock it out of the park, if his studio stuff is anything to go by. Everyone go out and listen to Horrorwood now, you won’t be disappointed.

Check out our review of Welcome to Horrorwood here

2: Mick Thomson

Not even being the most appreciated guitarist in your own band must be hard. While Jim Root is a phenomenal guitarist and songwriter who definitely deserves all the praise he gets, his bandmate often gets overlooked. However, just listen to his solo on ‘Psychosocial’ or that BEAST of a riff to open ‘Surfacing’ and you will understand just how good he is. For a guy who seems to be the least appreciated out of EIGHT other band members, he is far too good to not get any credit. The video below of him recording some of the stuff for their 2008 album speaks for itself.

1: Jake Pitts

Yes, I know, but before you go hear me out. Yes, Black Veil Brides get a LOT of hate online, and for some parts rightfully so. The band are forever-pandering radio rock, trying to appeal still to this day to the disenfranchised teenagers of the world, the ones who hate mummy and daddy especially much. However, beneath all the edgy lyrics and makeup is a damn good guitarist, and one who is almost wasted in BVB. Jake and Jinx are both fantastic rhythm players, but Jake’s soloing in the likes of the video below is fantastic. It really goes to show why the band get as much hate as they do. It certainly isn’t because they write bad music. It’s a real shame because it makes the rest of the band underrated, hence why Jake is at the top of our list!

And there we have it, our list of the top ten most underrated guitarists in rock. Did we miss any? I imagine we missed a bunch and can’t wait to be told about it! You can do so on our Facebook here or our Instagram here. And do let us know if you enjoyed this list and want to see more. I enjoyed the hell out of writing and researching this and if you want more I’ll gladly make it a regular feature! Heck, I’ll even do video ones, if you really want…

A Plague On All Your Houses: The Start of Something Beautiful for Hellblind?

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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Suffer in Silence: A Solid Sophomore Album From Assimilate?

Assimilate was a band I had no familiarity with before receiving an early copy of their album to review by a good friend of ours. So, I am going into this completely blind, other than the fact that I know Jon usually sends us pretty decent stuff. After checking out the first track just to get an idea, it seems they are definitely metal, probably closer to metalcore or alt-metal. If you’re into that sort of style, check this out with me! 

Assimilate’s Official Facebook

The opening track, ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’, is an odd one for me. It is, for all intents and purposes, an intro track. It’s a minute-and-a-half in length and serves as a slow build of guitars and vocals. However, the second half features a steady drumbeat, some admittedly awesome keys, and then harsh vocals and distorted guitars. It would have been a great track in of its own but stops massively abruptly after that first heavy part and heads into something completely different for the start of the next track. It feels like it doesn’t know if it wants to be an intro track or a fully-fledged song, so does half of both. It’s good but odd.

The opening riff for ‘Limerence’ is awesome and heavy as anything. The vocals soon come in over the top, swapping between powerful harsh screams and nu/industrial metal style cleans. The chorus is more open and pretty catchy, especially with the awesome high harmonies on the vocals. The drums are still working overtime to keep it heavy throughout, though, which is awesome. Heck, even the clean parts of the verses are massively catchy. I’m loving this so far! The short bridge/breakdown is pretty decent, the harsh vocals coming in over the top. We then get a final, huge chorus to take us home. This was great, and makes the playlist!

‘Parasites’ momentarily slows things down a little with a rather beautiful clean guitar riff to open it. The heaviness picks up a little with some chuggy, distorted guitars coming in behind the riff. The clean vocals also join for the verse. It then heads into a fantastic, heavy chorus, the vocals staying catchy and memorable even when they head into screams. The guitar riff behind it all is maybe the best bit though, it’s such a good riff!

We then get an even catchier second chorus afterwards, reminding me a lot of the track before with the high clean vocals and even higher harmonies. The breakdown riff coming out of it is awesome and the callout isn’t half bad for it either. We then get a double clean chorus before a slow, AWESOME breakdown takes us home in fantastic, heavy style. I LOVED this, the musicianship and songwriting was amazing. Playlisted!

‘Blood Hands’ has a great riff running through it but follows a very similar structure to ‘Limerence’, even down to the alternating clean and harsh vocals in the verses. There was a pretty nice little guitar solo in it, though. The album’s title track feels a little different, the opening riff giving off ‘Limerence’ vibes but the structure of it being a lot closer to ‘Parasites’. Both are good, catchy songs, but I’m starting to see a bit of a pattern. That definitely isn’t a bad thing, especially for a debut album, it just means I have less to talk about with them!

‘Deathwish’ starts going harder than any of the tracks before, it giving off more of a thrash vibe than anything else with quick guitars and powerful, harsh vocals. It still provides another very catchy, radio-friendly chorus though, and maybe my favourite one on the album. The breakdown is another awesome one, too. The exact same praise and analysis can be given to ‘Incisions’ and ‘Nihilist’. The intro of ‘Nihilist’ is a definite highlight though, heading straight into a HEAVY guitar riff and screams. Good Stuff!

The clean verse in ‘Amnesia’ was a nice touch and made the heavier pre more impactful. We still get a clean chorus afterwards, though at this point I feel like a heavier one might have been a better call, mixing it up a little bit. It’s a good chorus, though, and there’s enough heaviness throughout the track still to carry it.

Then there is the final track, the 7-minute epic ‘Everything Ends’. It feels similar in structure and feel to the likes of Bullet’s ‘The End’ and Pantera’s ‘Cemetery Gates’, slow through the verses but with some huge, distorted parts in there too. The extended stripped-back part in the middle added some great dynamics to the track and built up perfectly back into another epic final double chorus. The final minute being a beautiful, slowly fading soundscape of synth and piano was a perfect way to close it too, harkening back to the opener. A great track to sign off with!

Overall: This was great! A fantastic blend of heavy riffs, screamed vocals, and massive, catchy cleaner choruses. The band has definitely found a new fan in me and I cannot wait to hopefully see them live locally in the new year! I’m excited to see where they go from here!

The Score: 7.5/10

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Arrows in Words from the Sky: Can Robb Flynn and friends regain the fans’ favour after a turbulent few years?

Machine Head has put out some of my favourite music of this millennium, having an almost unmatched run of form in their album output between Through the Ashes of Empires and Bloodstone and Diamonds. However, since the latter album, they have dropped rather dramatically in quality, with 2018s Catharsis being widely shunned by fans due to the change in style and lyric writing. This has also carried over into their singles; from 2016 to now I have found myself cringing at at least a couple of the lyrics in each of them (especially ‘Do or Die’s attempt at calling out his own fanbase) and gone is the epic-lengthed, modern thrash feel of it all, instead stripping back and becoming more basic and lighter, favouring commercial success over quality. However, having not checked out their new EP before this review, I have seen a LOT of people saying it is their best work since The Blackening. A HUGE statement to make, given the quality of Locust and Bloodstone, as well as Blackening itself. I had little hopes for this EP when it was announced and had pretty much given up on Machine Head since Phil Demmel wasn’t allowed to write anymore so left, but these statements have at least piqued my interest. I shall waffle no more; let’s get into the review!

I guess it could be considered the lead single from the EP as it is the one getting pushed the hardest on social media, but ‘Become the Firestorm’ opens it up. Straight away we get a huge drum roll as the guitars slide down into a crazy fast riff reminiscent of ‘In Comes the Flood’. Robb’s powerful scream is immediately present too, the one thing that I can still praise the man to no end for, his voice is fantastic and perfect for this sort of music. It stays pretty heavy and fast throughout the verse, a pretty decent guitar riff and blisteringly quick drums fill out the sound pretty well behind Robb’s surprisingly not cringy lyrics, even if they are a little cliché. We get some pretty interesting backing vocals in the chorus, being a lot more highlighted than they used to be, and Robb’s repeated line makes it pretty catchy. Not the best chorus they have done by a long stretch, but not bad! We get a sick trebled guitar riff coming out of the second chorus as the song slows down, a great bridge that could lead to either a breakdown or guitar solo. It’s the first one. We get an awesome slow breakdown, having an almost nu-metal feel to it with the high notes mixed in there. Robb’s vocals are present throughout most of it, only adding to the heaviness. However, it does lack a little of the emotion that I feel like he used to be so good at injecting into them. Coming out of the breakdown we get a great harmonised guitar riff/solo, showing off their Iron Maiden influence that they like to do pretty often. It then suddenly speeds up into a blistering solo from both Robb and Wacław Kiełtyka, this definitely giving off the Blackening vibes that I have so far not heard. Both guys did fantastically, it being the highlight of the song by far as the music changed just enough multiple times behind the soloing to keep it interesting and give them something new to work with. We get a final double chorus to close things out, a rather needless key change coming out of nowhere for the second half of it. However, it didn’t take too much away from a pretty decent track overall. Playlisted!

‘Rotten’ opens on another big few notes before dropping back down for just a massive-sounding guitar riff and vocals for the verse. It builds pretty perfectly throughout the verse, the lyrics being dark but fitting to the mood, all leading to it dropping out for the last line and sounding awesome. We’re then hit by a surprisingly steady but still heavy riff for a few seconds before it speeds up a fair bit for a brief chorus. It’s again pretty catchy, even if it is simple and far too short in this writer’s humble opinion. It almost gives off punk vibes instead of metal. We get a great little bass solo riff for a bar or two coming out the second chorus before in comes a HEAVY slow guitar riff and maybe one of Robb’s best growls to date, low and powerful. I loved it. It stays crazy heavy with the slow breakdown riff and some heavy screams from Robb before his cleaner singing voice comes in for the second half, sounding great and adding some nice dynamics into it. Another guitar solo comes a little sudden and out of nowhere, but is still pretty quick and technical, again fitting the music behind it pretty well. It wasn’t quite as good as the previous song’s I don’t think, though. We get a nice return of the riff to act as an outro/final chorus, going on a little too long in my opinion, but then again it does fade out so it makes sense, I guess. It’s at least pretty slow and heavy, reminding me of the Davidian outro in that respect. While not as good as the first song, it was still good and I’ll definitely be listening to it again in the coming weeks.

The title track and closing track of the EP is a ballad. Just wanted to put that out there before we got any further with this. Make of that what you will, Machine Head has done some great softer, slower songs before, but they’re usually at least coupled with either some heaviness or so basic that it’s just Robb with some simple backing behind him. This is not that, for the most part. Robb’s vocals come in pretty quick over a nice, clean guitar riff, but his vocals have some pretty interesting, VERY nu-metal/post-grunge effects over the top that I don’t think was necessarily needed. It drops into a pretty nice, distorted guitar riff for the second verse, the effect being taken off the vocals and making it sound a lot better. Robb’s cleans sound better than ever, too. The chorus is kind of nothing, there isn’t too much to it and there is little variation between it and the verses, to the point where I struggled to distinguish the two parts before the song title line being sung. However, the use of backing vocals and harmonies through this are fantastic, adding an epic feel to it all and making me want to hear if they can pull it off live. The pretty heavy riff after the second chorus was fantastic, especially with the whispered vocals and all of the harmonics from the guitars. The lower whispered/growled vocals that join in were awesome too, giving it an almost evil, demonic feel to it, maybe my favourite part of the song. We get a slower, very fitting guitar solo after the breakdown, it being filled with emotion and maybe my favourite on the album, it had a little bit of everything. That crazy low scream from Wacław is back afterward, blowing my mind again as we head into another breakdown. This is heavier than I was expecting from a ballad. However, just as I type that, the song drops out to just clean vocals and a very simple guitar riff, turning light faster than a Poppy song. It turns out it is part of a dynamic double chorus, the second half being distorted guitars again before the clean opening riff takes us home again. This was fantastic, and just this song alone deserves a fair amount of the praise it has been given. Easily playlisted.

Overall: I fall somewhere in the middle with this EP. It was definitely better than anything since Bloodstone, but I wouldn’t put it up there with The Blackening by any stretch. The first two songs felt like a band unsure, trying to find themselves again after a couple of failed style changes and the fans wanting them to stick to the same formula. They were good but felt a tad forced at times. However, that closer was a banger and honestly one of the best slower songs the band has ever produced. I’m interested to see where the band goes from here, as if they build on this for a full-length album in the future, I feel like I’d definitely enjoy it. Just please, Robb, no more rapping or posturing, you’re better than that.

The Score: 6.5/10

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Bullet For My Valentine: A Return to Form After a Disappointing Last Album?

Welsh metalcore band Bullet For My Valentine was once upon a time one of the biggest up-and-coming metal bands in the world. While it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to say they’ve cooled off a bit in the past decade after some up and down album releases, they are back with their seventh and self-titled album, showing off some of the heaviness and aggression that made them popular in the first place. I LOVE this band, they were the first to truly get me into metal alongside Slipknot, and while they lost me a little along the way with the lighter albums this one is sounding like it could be awesome, so I’m excited to review it!

The intro the band has tacked onto the front of opening track ‘Parasite’ is really interesting, the sound of a radio in the distance flicking through snippets of all of the band’s hits. It was a really cool way of either starting a new chapter or (hopefully not, at least) calling an end to things. I was a little confused why it wasn’t a track in of itself though, an intro as opposed to an extra minute or so tacked on the front of the album version of one of the singles. As soon as the actual track bursts in though the heaviness of old Bullet is back. Matt’s scream has clearly changed since the last time the band went this hard on Venom, hence probably why they took it a little easier on Gravity, but I like the change. It’s a heavier scream and fits in with their modern metalcore style perfectly. Matt’s scream of the track name gives way to a lightning-quick, almost thrash riff through a heavy verse, the track not letting up at all so far. The call and response vocals during the choruses (both being screamed, by the way) add a layer of catchiness in there with the hardcore. It’s something a crowd can easily get behind too, just screaming ‘I’ over and over. The vocals clean up as we head into a bridge, Matt’s cleans sounding just as great and powerful as ever. It doesn’t last too long before we head into a great build-up part with more chanted-style screams, and then launching into a typical blisteringly good guitar solo from Paige. He hasn’t lost a step since the band began and is another of the most underrated guitarists around today. We head out of that into a quick verse and then an extended clean-vocalled part, it being just as catchy as the chorus. Then a heavy chorus and riff take us home. This was awesome, a big improvement on anything on the previous album, and easily makes the playlist!

Another single ‘Knives’, is up next. It keeps the heaviness going with a HUGE drumbeat and some great guitar riffing behind it. It then breaks into somehow an even better, heavier riff from the instruments. The guitars drop out for the vocal-filled parts of the verse, a fun dynamic that also makes any time the instruments are back that much heavier. Speaking of the vocals, they were a great mix of clean and harsh here, a route I hope Matt takes more throughout this album! The chorus half-times the song and the screams are back, and it’s all awesome. It’s somehow still massively catchy and radio-friendly while also being VERY heavy and full of screams. A great drumbeat takes us through a building bridge after the second chorus, it leading to a heavy, chuggy breakdown riff, Matt’s vocals being perfect over the top yet again. I honestly can’t get over how fantastic his new technique and style sounds. It then leads to another verse, chorus, and massive riff to take us home. Another amazing track and yet another that makes the playlist immediately.

‘My Reverie’ starts a little slower and quieter than the previous two, a clean guitar riff that reminds me a lot of ‘Seasons in the Abyss’. The distortion and huge sound soon come in over the top with an awesome riff to build on it, but it still stays at a steadier pace. It dropping down to simple drums, clean vocals and a groove-driven verse was awesome and fit the tone of the song very well. The build-up through the odd word or two of screaming between lines was also great. My only slight criticism is that it doesn’t explode into the chorus at all, it transitions smooth enough that I didn’t even realise the heavy riff was back yet to back the chorus vocals. It was a catchy chorus but yeah, it could have done with a bigger impact heading into it. The heavy second chorus leads to another fantastic solo from Paige, one of my favourites from him in years! Said solo leads to a dropped-down chorus part, just clean vocals, and clean guitar before it finally explodes into another big final chorus to end things. This was another good song, though I can see why it wasn’t a single like the others.

‘No Happy Ever After’ opens on a great drumroll and a great guitar riff that again shows off the band’s heavy thrash inspiration. It’s awesome! The pace and riffs keep up through the verses and choruses, the only change being the harsh or clean vocals over the top of them. The verses are awesome and somehow even catchier than the chorus thanks to the backing vocals and Jamie Mathias’ scream adding so much to it all. That’s not to say the chorus isn’t great too, it’s just got Matt’s clean vocals in instead and feels like it lacks a little bit of the impact and depth that the verses do. The breakdown riff coming out of the second chorus is heavy and fast, Jason working crazy fast on his kick pedal and it sounds awesome. It then explodes out of nowhere into another crazy Paige solo, quick and technical, before a typical final chorus and riff end the track. This was another awesome song, and I would say an improvement on the previous track.

I cannot get over the bass tone at the start of ‘Can’t Escape the Waves’, I’m so glad we got just that as an intro as it showcased just how awesome Jamie is, something that a lot of fans may not have heard much of if they’d tuned out after Jay left. The track is more of a typical Bullet slower song, think ‘Venom’ or ‘Bittersweet Memories’. I definitely understand its place on the album as I get far too bored personally if a whole album is all at one level, but I didn’t think this was up there with the same quality as the tracks I mentioned previously. It was alright, but I already know there is a better slower track on the album later on as it was a single so this just felt a tad meh outside of the bass. Heck, ‘Bastards’ sounded like it was on its way to being a better track, but the verses lost and bored me. The chorus is pretty catchy and will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day, but there isn’t a great deal to the track outside of the chorus, it’s all pretty mid-tempo and basic. The breakdown isn’t the worst either, but it’s been done better on other tracks on the album. It’s a shame because there are good elements to both songs, but something didn’t quite click for me with both.

Next up is the slower track I hinted at earlier, ‘Rainbow Veins’. This is how you do a slower metalcore track right. The verse is quiet and stripped-back yet still interesting and fun while the chorus explodes into a great, heavy guitar riff with some catchy as hell vocals over the top. A good ‘woh’ will always be catchy and it worked really well here for the backing vocals. Also, the heavy triplet bit with the drums and guitar during the second verse was AMAZING and surprisingly subtle. The breakdown is also awesome, the first time the screams come in and it’s so effective and adds to the heaviness. We still follow a similar, radio-friendly structure as all the others, a final chorus following to end the track, but I’m more than okay with it as it was so damn entertaining. Playlisted!

The final single on the album, ‘Shatter’, is the second with an extended album intro, yet this one felt wholly unnecessary. It was just a minute of building-up feedback and ‘oh’s. It’s more than okay to have this kind of thing at the start of the album, but it feels odd midway through. It also follows the same formula as the opening track (probably why I have been getting them mixed up before now), by having Matt scream the main chorus line over the top before a heavy riff comes in. It’s a good structure to use, don’t get me wrong, but when done twice for two singles and BOTH have intros that are longer on the album… meh. That riff though, DAMN is it good! The verses strip back pretty far, building to huge, heavy, scream-filled choruses. It’s another great song but damn if I don’t get a feeling that I’ve just heard this before but a little better.

‘Paralysed’ opens on an awesome, heavy riff that runs through the verse as well, another thrash-esque song with Matt screaming over the top. It builds nicely into a cleaner chorus, the vocals catchy while the track stays pretty heavy in general. This, along with the final track, ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts’, were two tracks I really wanted to like. However, I just couldn’t get into them, it was just too much of the same. I’d most likely love these tracks, and the others I was a little iffy on, had I listened to them on their own, or even just not listened to the album with such an analytical mindset on, but right now they don’t do a great deal for me. Heck, maybe I’d feel the same about their older albums if I went back and didn’t have nostalgia towards them. Maybe I’m finally reaching my limit with Bullet? Or, more likely, it’s a good album but a lot of the same and I’m just being overly critical due to how much I love the band! Either way, as I said, good songs but similar to a lot of the album!

Overall: I think I really liked this. Yes, I have said some negative stuff about a few of the tracks, but when I have gushed over half of the album and then said even the stuff I didn’t love was still good, I’d say it’s a good album overall. While not quite at the same level of quality as their first three albums, the band has definitely recaptured a bit of that fire and specialness that they had in the beginning, even if it may take another album to truly shine through. The best album they have done since 2010 and one that should hopefully re-establish the band as major players in the metal scene once more!

The Score: 8/10

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Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood: Part Two of Ice Nine Kill’s Magnum Opus? Or the Continuation of Pushing Horror-Metal into the Mainstream?

Ice Nine Kills have been around for over two decades now, but as frontman Spencer Charnas so lovingly puts it at one point during this album ‘when The Silver Scream came out I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically’. I can’t help but agree, their previous album was amazing and definitely the best work they have ever done. It’s like they heard Avenged Sevenfold’s ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ and said “hey, let’s make a whole album like this!”. And, to put it simply, it works. Even my girlfriend, who isn’t all too into music this heavy, LOVES them, due to their catchy choruses and movie-based songs. This has been maybe my most anticipated album of this year, especially given how great every single has been, so I apologise in advance if I gush about this band all over the review!

After a brief intro track explaining the story of the album, its title track opens quietly, building a creepy yet beautiful atmosphere from the very beginning as Spencer’s low vocals ring out over a piano. We get a first chorus like this, catchy lyrically brilliant (it’s gonna be a trend, I assure you). Aaaand just as you start to get comfortable and forget who you’re listening to, you’re slapped in the face by a duel high and low scream and the whole band coming in with a fast, heavy riff. Said heaviness doesn’t stop the track from maintaining its catchy vocal hooks, though, but it does lead to one of the more interesting breakdown callouts I’ve heard in a good while with “how’s this for an establishing shot?” Said callout comes at the end of an awesome isolated, harmonised vocal part, the duel vocals being an incredible highlight of the whole album, be it cleans or screams. Oh, and there’s an awesome guitar solo nestled in the track too towards the end. What more could you possibly want from a song but heaviness, catchiness, and impressive skill. Starting us off with a bang, and it doesn’t look to stop any time soon…

Cabin Fever-inspired ‘Rash Desision’ opens on a pretty metalcore riff, Spencer’s vocals building in over the top alongside the drums, it sounding quite calming. Then, again, it suddenly bursts into the heaviness thanks to a high scream from Ricky Armellino and a crushing riff from the rest of the band. The verse stays heavy but pretty bouncy, and the ‘bang bang bang’ part is insane, catchy when chanted and it would go down so well live. It all leads to a quick yet clean vocalled, very catchy chorus, the instrument dropouts sounding awesome in time with the vocal melody. The chanting/choir part after the second chorus sounds awesome and SUPER menacing, one of the best uses of the trope in rock and metal for a long while.  We then get a final chorus and pre to end things on a high, heavy note!

My favourite track over the last few months, the Childs Play-inspired ‘Assault and Batteries’ is up next. Opening with a mock news article and Chucky’s briefly sung threats, it then explodes into the most frantic, chaotic track on the album… and it’s fucking glorious. From the clean, quick verse to the brutal screams of the pre and one of the very few times I approve of a kids choir being used in a rock song (because it’s actually creepy here), the first parts of this song are amazing. Then we reach one of the craziest choruses of the album, one that Spencer all but raps and still it has been ear wormed into my head for over a month. It’s crazy good. The second chorus gives way to a half-speed, extremely catchy bridge before some chanting leads us into one of the most interesting and heavy breakdowns I’ve heard in a long while. Not a band to let a section get old, the breakdown gives way to more incredible growls before a surprisingly awesome guitar solo rips through the track. Dan Sugarman may have only joined the band a couple of years ago, but he has already shown how incredibly talented he is and how well he fits in with tracks like this. The song is then finished off by a HUGE double chorus before a comical yet emphatic ‘fuck you!’ is growled to close it out. Playlisted. That’s all I have left to say.

Somehow the Hitchcock classic based ‘The Shower Scene’ is the ballad of the album. It opens much like the first song, with Spencer’s clean vocals over a piano. However, unlike ‘Horrorwood’, it stays clean vocalled for the vast majority of its time. Speaking of the vocals, every part of them is catchy as hell, be it the verse, bridge, or chorus, every melody is fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, it still gets a little heavy, the second part of the second verse, the bridge, and the breakdown are all pretty heavy, but not nearly as most of the rest of the album. The breakdown even manages to include the signature violin stabs from the movie, them fitting in perfectly and almost making me want to watch the scene with this song playing alongside it. Another amazing song.

Next up we get a run of the other three pre-released singles of the album. ‘Funeral Derrangements’ slaps you in the face with brutalness from the very beginning, the heavy screams and huge chuggy riffing almost relentless from start to finish. However, it still lets up for the now-signature clean, infectiously catchy chorus. I truly believe Spencer could write an ear-worm out of anything these days. However the track also has my first (very minor) issue with the album, the breakdown doesn’t quite go hard enough. After such an awesome call-out as a screamed ‘gods wrath lies beneath this soil’ to just continue with the stripped back, spacious breakdown that they had been doing instead of giving everything felt a tiny bit disappointing. But still, what a track!

‘Rainy Day’ (based on the iconic Resi Evil franchise) is one of the least INK-ish songs on the album. It feels more like a Bring me the Horizon track, but if Bring Me were as heavy still as their fans wanted them to be. Despite the simplicity and radio-friendly nature of the main riff and structure and the almost entirely clean vocals, it is a damn good track. Its vocals will be stuck in your head for days to come and the rest is just heavy goodness that all combines into another easily playlisted song. Meanwhile ‘Hip to Be Scared’ is one of the more insane tracks on the album, to contrast. Based around the trials of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, the track features plenty of nods to the movie, be it certain lines from it or even switching the instrumental to ‘Hip to be Square’ and recreating their own version of Christian Bale’s iconic monologue in the middle. It’s fantastic stuff and somehow makes the track even better, especially when watching the video too. Outside of that it’s still pretty damn heavy and features another chorus that’ll be stuck in your head for days. Playlisted!

‘Take Your Pick’ is insane. And you may be thinking “of course it is Joe, Corpsegrinder’s on it”, but honestly I’ve done a few songs featuring the Cannable Corpse frontman recently and none are this crazy. It’s essentially a 3+ minute sprint of an extreme metal song about My Bloody Valentine… and STILL, Spencer found a way to make my girlfriend love it. If some of you are reading this and thinking the last few tracks were maybe a tad too heavy, this one may not be for you, but I loved it. It’s crazy, crazy heavy, and features the return of the ‘scared lady voice’ from ‘Your Number’s Up’, what’s not to love?

‘The Box’, ‘F.L.Y.’ and ‘Wurst Vacation’ are three more phenomenal horror-metal songs, but I don’t feel like they bring much new to the table (aside from the guests on the first two). The Hellraiser-based first track is another example of the harmonies and backing vocals adding so much to the track, there being something constantly going on around Spencer’s lead lines, adding depth and heavy evilness to the entire song. The chorus is another example of one of the best, catchiest on the album, too, and on any other album, this would be one of the biggest songs. It really goes to show just how high quality this album is. ‘F.L.Y.’ is somehow the weakest track on the album in my opinion, but it is still by no way bad. It opens and very much centers around the massively catchy, clean chorus, but outside of that and more chanted vocals at the end of each verse part, there isn’t too much going on to write about here. It’s a solid radio-metal track about a fantastic film, I just don’t have much to say about it! Finally, I admire the Hostel-inspired latter track for leaning fully into silly territory, having the topic be a movie filmed in Germany so the band goes full-on Rammstein. ‘Ein Zwei Drei Die’ gave me a good chuckle, as did the clear Till Linderman-esque lower, German-accented vocals that pop up throughout the verse. It’s industrial metal with a huge pop-metal chorus, and it’s fucking awesome.

‘Ex-Mørtis’ is another track that I wouldn’t have expected from the band, it not sounding like their usual style. It opens on a Manson/John 5 style guitar riff, more industrial influence but now turning more towards Rob Zombie instead of Rammstein. It also somehow sees Spencer at his sassiest, between the ‘Goddamn!’ and ‘May God have fucking mercy!’ parts there is a lot of attitude here. Then again, it’s based on the Evil Dead, so it kind of has to have attitude. Also, the ‘zombie’ voice cutting through with ‘singing’ has somehow managed to make me laugh each time I hear it, despite it being so catchy because it’s just ridiculous. Oh, and did I also forget to mention that this is somehow the catchiest track on the album? Much like ‘Shower Scene’, every vocal line and melody is somehow catchy as anything and has been stuck in my head for days. And it still somehow fits in a pretty heavy breakdown in the middle of the chaos too. This is a strong contender for one of the best songs the band has ever done, and if anything is going to push them to the top where they deserve it’s this. Playlisted!

The final track, ‘Farwell II Flesh’, is inspired by the Candyman franchise. It starts quite like the opener, Spencer’s voice sounding almost beautiful over the top of the simple piano melody. The atmosphere built here is fantastic though, with the double-tracked vocals and subtle strings that build the track perfectly. The band manage to wait over a minute before exploding in with the huge distorted guitar chords and big drums to fill out the sound of an almost anthemic chorus.  The second verse gets a little heavier with some screams, but it again fits the track perfectly. It gets even heavier in there, with Sugarman even playing a pitch-shifted version of ‘Flight of the Bumblebees’ at one point, even more chaotic awesomeness. The rest of the song is catchy, arena-filling greatness, and an awesome way to finish off an album, with heaviness but also stuff you can sing along to.

Overall: This was downright insanity in the best way. I loved it. Every song was packed to the brim with awesome riffs, heavy breakdowns, brutal screams, and harmonies yet somehow some of the biggest, catchiest choruses in any genre today. The band captured lightning in a bottle with their previous album, but this one has refined and built on that idea perfectly. I honestly think it has what it takes to push them into the mainstream and superstardom, and it is one of the best albums I have ever heard. I surely cannot deduct have a point for the ‘Funeral Derangements’ breakdown, so….

The Score: 10/10

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New Music Mondays: Ice Nine Kills, Frank Carter and More!

A much busier week this week than the last, with six new albums having been released within the last week. Said albums range from alternative rock to straight up melodic hardcore, and everything in between. Check them all out down below and enjoy the great week we have ahead of us!

Ice Nine Kills: The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood

Certainly one of my most anticipated albums of the year, horror-loving band Ice Nine Kills returned with a sequel to their critically acclaimed 2018 album The Silver Screamed with another slasher and terror inspired album. I don’t want to say too much about this album as I am currently working on a review of it and gushing over it enough, but it is a worthy successor and WELL worth the wait.

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes: Sticky

Modern day punk icons Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes only formed back in 2015, but they already have now four albums under their belt and a rabid, ever growing fanbase. It’s not particularly my sort of music, for some reason I thought they were heavier, not a slower, boring version of early Artic Monkeys, but it’s not bad music by any stretch. Particular highlights include the albums title track and Cobra Queen. 6.5/10

Tom Morello: The Atlas Underground Fire

Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitar wizard Tom Morello is back with the second instalment of his Atlas Underground collection, showing off his incredible talent for not only making weird noises come out of guitars but also songwriting. Pulling a Slash and having a different guest vocalist for each song gave the man plenty of scope to write different sounds and genres throughout the album. From the heavy metal manicness of BMTH guesting ‘Let’s Get the Party Started’ to the more stripped back, blues/country rock of ‘The War Inside’ thanks to Chris Stapleton, this album kinda has it all. And I have to say, I love it. I honestly wish I had time to write a full review, but we have too much going on right now so I shall instead give it a solid 8/10.

Gemini Syndrome: 3rd Degree – The Raising

Alt Metal band Gemini Syndrome have been around for a few years now, being a bigger deal in the US than over here, unfortunately. However, having three huge albums now under their belt since 2013 the band have continued to grow and evolve their sound, and this new album feels like the culmination of that growth. The opening track is incredible and lead single ‘Die With Me’ is a strong highlight of a very good album overall! It’s another album I’d love to review as a whole as it is really good, and another that gets a high 8/10 from me!

Twelve Foot Ninja: Vengeance

Australian prog(ish) metal band Twelve Foot Ninja returned with their third album this last week, building on their heavy yet catchy sound even more-so than before. I don’t know why I thought these guys had been around a lot longer than they have been, but I guess that’s a testament to how good they are if I’ve been listening to them for so long. It’s another good album on a week clearly full of them, but particular highlights are the title track, ‘Long Way Home’ and ‘Over and Out’ featuring the wonderful Tatiana of Jinjer. 7.5/10

Hate: Rugia

And last but not least we reach everyone’s favourite genre, blackened death metal! Even as long ago as a year or two I would have been adamant on not even listening to this sort of thing as it was too heavy for me, but after reviewing At the Gates earlier this year it’s really helped open my eyes to the awesomeness of this end of music. It’s not my favourite genre by any stretch, but I enjoyed this album far more than I thought I would. I just love the epic feel of it all and even the vocals have grown on me considerably. It also helps that Hate are one of the hardest working bands of 30+ years old, having put out three albums now in the last four years. That’s damn impressive. For anyone interested, check out ‘Resurgence’ and ‘Sun of Extinction’. 7/10

And there we have it, another awesome week in rock music and one of the best weeks we’ve had so far in terms of quality! Six awesome albums from six awesome bands, what more could you ask for?

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See What’s on the Inside: Have One of the Leaders of Metalcore Matured into Stadium Metal Juggernauts?

Asking Alexandria is a band that makes me feel pretty old. I remember the band when they first hit the scene and hit their first peak with the likes of ‘The Final Episode’ back in 2009, and now here I am twelve years later reviewing their seventh studio album, after everything that has happened with the band over the years. I have to admit I wasn’t too much of a fan of the first leg of their career, I wasn’t into massively heavy stuff back then and, even at only 12 years of age, the lyrics for songs like ‘Not the American Average’ felt pretty juvenile. However, they did put out a couple of decent songs before Danny Worsnop was booted, and have done a couple more good ones from what I have heard since he’s come back. But this shall be my first time listening through a full album by them, so without further ado, let’s get into it!

After a short intro track, we reach the lead single of the album, ‘Alone Again’. It opens what I assume will turn out to be the chorus vocals, it sounding massive when backed by the huge guitar chords and lots of synth and atmosphere behind it. It’s a very modern radio-metal sound, borrowing from the likes of Shinedown and Bring Me the Horizon, but it’s very in at the minute and works very well here. A MASSIVE, heavy riff comes out the back of it, only making the track sound even more awesome. I forgot quite how much Danny’s voice sounds like Patrick Stump’s, it throwing me off for a moment and definitely took some getting used to over the top of heavy music again. The verse sounds good, the first half-stripped back and the second having the great riff return. It then builds perfectly into that catchy, infectious chorus again, sounding even bigger this time. They’ve really found their sound in recent years, somehow managing to make arena-metalcore a thing. A great riff comes out of the second chorus before a pretty decent guitar solo rings out over the top, giving off almost Metallica vibes with its technicality, changing backing riffs, and heavy use of wah. It then builds pretty well into a huge final chorus to take us home. This was awesome, and very easily playlisted.

‘Fading Away’ opens a little quieter than the other, an atmospheric beat fading into what is a really interesting guitar riff. The harmonies between the two guitars work so well too, and the higher one dropping out for the verse when the vocals come in is an awesome dynamic. It again builds pretty well into another big, open chorus, the vocals being almost as catchy as the previous ones. The reprisal of the intro riff in the middle of the chorus was also an awesome touch! It heads to what I can only describe as a rap part after the second chorus, complete with Danny trying to audibly catch his breath after before launching into the final chorus. I don’t think his voice suited the rapping, especially at the pitch he did it at, but that may be just me. Outside of that part, it was a damn good song!

‘Never Gonna Learn’ suckered me in with one of my guilty pleasures in rock music, whistling. It didn’t last anywhere near long enough before the lyrics came in, them fitting so well over the top of a pretty beautiful guitar chord progression. The vocals still sound good over the top of it, but not quite as good. It builds to a big, slower verse, definitely an anthemic ballad compared to the other two tracks. The distorted guitar adds a great layer and atmosphere behind it all and really shows off how well-produced this album is. We get a quick build-up into a simple yet enjoyable guitar solo and then a final chorus and outro again finish it off perfectly.  

Both ‘If I Could Erase It’ and ‘Find Myself’ are another two fantastic yet completely different tracks. The former is built around a huge, heavy riff and has an insane breakdown in the middle and as the outro, a great track similar to the lead single. Meanwhile, the latter is the slowest, quietest track yet, a MASSIVE ballad akin to the likes of ‘Moving On’. It still has a fantastically catchy chorus though, complete with big distorted guitars and high, soaring vocals. In fact, it may be the best chorus the band has ever written, at least for a slower song, it’s great. A short bridge leads to an awesome guitar solo, filled with plenty of emotion and reminding me of Synister Gates’ playing a little bit. A final chorus leads to a fantastic, beautiful string outro which would alone land it on the playlist, but everything else helped too!

‘You’ve Made it This Far’ goes back to the Imagine Dragons-inspired intro, plenty of ‘wohing’ over the top of big guitar chords. It drops down to just vocals and a clean guitar for the verse, the drums building it up pretty well into the expectedly huge chorus. It was another great one too, becoming pretty expected of each song after how fantastic the choruses have been so far. However, outside of that, it was pretty much more of the same for the song on the album. It felt like the rest of the song was written around the fantastic chorus, which isn’t always a bad thing, but it makes the rest of the track seem a tad meh.

‘See What’s on the Inside’ is another slower track, good but not quite as good as ‘Find Myself’. However, I do have to admit that the intro guitar solo was fantastic, as was the main one, and it has another great chorus. Also, the bridge with the duelling vocals between Danny and the female one, all backed by the guitar solo, was truly beautiful, as was the half a chorus of just piano and vocals afterwards. How have a band that wrote HEAVY metalcore back in the day gotten so good at stadium-filling choruses?

‘Misery Loves Company’ felt at first like a return to the heaviness, closer to the sound that brought the band in the first place, but then the riff drops out into a typically slow, stripped back verse and anthemic chorus format that almost every song on the album has done thus far. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good formula, but I was hoping for a little more heaviness by this point, even just for one song to be up-tempo from start to finish.

If I’m honest it’s the same criticism I could levee at the final two songs on the album, ‘Fame’ and ‘The Grey’. Yes, neither of them drop down quite as much as some in the verses, but both are still pretty anthemic when it comes down to it. I know it isn’t exactly a bad thing and I also know I’ve said earlier that I wasn’t a huge fan of their heavier stuff, but still, just something a little different, faster, and heavier on this album would have been a great change of pace and split the album up well. As I said, both are good songs, but the formula had gotten a little tired by the end.

Overall: I enjoyed this WAY more than I thought I would. Even though I’ve enjoyed a few of their tracks in the past, I had never considered myself a fan of the band, but I loved every single track on here. It’s honestly up there with some of my most enjoyable albums this year, it is that good. And it even made me want them to tour soon so I can see some of this live. It did everything it should do, and I loved it. I guess I’m an Asking Alexandria fan now!

The Score: 8.5/10

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Closure: Will Attila ever mature?

American metalcore band Attila has been around for over a decade and a half at this point – much longer than anyone expected them to be, or most likely wanted them to be. A ‘comedy’ band rather famous on the internet for… well… being a bit cringy and overall not great. It has at least kept them relevant for all these years. Their ninth studio album, ‘Closure’, was released last week and, while I am not particularly a fan of the band from what I have heard, we needed something for New Music Mondays so let’s hope this album changes my mind.

Opening track ‘Anxiety’ opens just as heavy as I was expecting; some harsh growls from Fronz over the top of some ridiculously down-tuned guitar and bass. It heads into a slow riff(?) before quickly speeding up into more of a thrash feel. The guitars and drums here are fantastic, but the vocals are not for me at all. They’re either too high screams or massively low growls, neither of which I can really get on board with as even as a seasoned metalhead I struggle to work out what is being said. The chorus is pretty catchy though with the chanting backing vocals that would be fun live. The second verse at times channelled the band’s inner Korn which sounds awesome and I wish they’d have stuck to that throughout, to be honest. The rest of the song was pretty average, including a boring breakdown but after Googling the lyrics I was happy to find that they were actually pretty serious. Yes, they weren’t the most cleverly written I’ve ever heard/read, but they were at least covering a topic that is a serious issue in today’s society. Not for me, but not bad.

‘Empty Clip’ opens on a pretty sick riff, simple yet effective. The scratching behind it was even a nice touch, giving off great early Slipknot vibes. Heck, even the vocals were damn good when they first came in: low and groaning, again sounding reminiscent of Johnathan Davis. It builds into a heavier screamed vocal but it honestly also sounds great, building more and more into a catchy, clean vocals chorus. The rest of the song is more of the same but I have to admit that outside of the fairly juvenile lyrics, this was actually a pretty good song. It even made the playlist, something I never thought I’d say in this review!

One of the four pre-released songs from the album, ‘Metalcore Manson’, is a lot more what I expected of the band. It’s another pretty good guitar riff and the Cane Hill style weird notes over the top were a nice touch but I just can’t get around the CRINGY lyrics. I know that’s probably the point, and I don’t think it helped that I’ve also seen the video of this song, but the low rapping about how rich he is and how many women he gets almost made me turn the album off and stop the review right there and then. Heck, the chorus is even cringier and not that catchy at all, never mind the moral ambiguity of the subject matter. Outside of the opening riff, there is nothing I can praise about this song; I was seriously close to giving up. Unfortunately, I’m going to persevere in the hope that there are more songs like the previous one hidden among the flexing.

It was a bad idea.

The rest of the album had NOTHING on those first two songs, sadly. Aside from the final song, they were all full of flexing and posing; Fronz trying his best to keep up his ‘bad-boy’ persona and it just came across as some of the most cringe-worthy stuff I have ever listened to. This kind of content kind of worked for some of the 90’s and 2000’s rappers because it was at least believable and not quite as aggressive and on-the-nose, but here with a guy trying to rap the same thing over metal it just didn’t work at all. It didn’t even really come across as comedy either, it felt like it was being taken too seriously for that. It’s a shame too, as the instrumentation behind them for the most part was fantastic. Check out ‘Day Drinking’ below; it could have easily been my favourite song on the album with the great riff and solos if the lyrics weren’t so angsty and teenage. I think I got my hopes up for some decent music by the band too soon.

Overall: Yeah, I didn’t like this so much. As I said in the previous paragraph, it’s a shame too because musically they are a damn good band and for the most part Fronz’s voice isn’t terrible – when he’s trying to emulate guys like Marylin Manson and Johnathan Davis. But I just cannot get past the ridiculous subject matter and that alone made it a bad album for me. I know the band has their fans and if you like this sort of stuff that’s awesome, but I do also see why this band gets so much hate.

Score: 2/10