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New Music Mondays: Halestorm, Three Days Grace and Much More!

An absolutely HUGE week for New Music Mondays. 12 massive albums from some of the biggest names in rock and metal all out on the same day. I don’t know what it was about May 6th, but I’ve been waiting for it for a while. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Halestorm: Back From the Dead

Back from the dead indeed. After four years the band returned with their follow-up to 2018’s Vicious. The two singles from the album were both fantastic, setting the scene for the rest of it perfectly. However, you are going to have to wait just a little longer for my review and score, as there is no way I’m NOT doing this in depth! It should be on the site and socials within a couple of days, so keep an eye out!

Three Days Grace: EXPLOSIONS

One of the leaders of the affectionately dubbed ‘butt-rock’ sub-genre, Three Days Grace have been around over two decades at this point and show no sign of slowing down. I have to admit, I haven’t really actively listened to this band since One-X all the way back in 2006. So, it was nice to find myself rather pleasantly surprised by this album!

All the elements of butt-rock are here, the basic, heavy guitar riffs, the electronic melodies to help build the track and the edgy lyrical content. However, it is clear it is being written by a band that know exactly what they are doing, and do it exceptionally well. While the opener and lead single was a little too edgy for me, tracks like ‘I Am The Weapon’ and ‘No Tomorrow’ are just as good as anything else they’ve put out. Even the slower tracks like ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Redemption’ are fantastic, even if they are pretty depressing lyrically. Still, the emotion is definitely there, in every track. It’s made me want to check out the albums from them I’ve missed and I’ll definitely be listening to this a lot in the coming weeks! 7/10

Simple Plan: Harder Than it Looks

The Canadian pop-punkers have done a lot more than just ‘What’s New Scooby Do?’. The band have had some amazing, huge tracks over their now six album career. Their latest looks to continue that trend, being packed with huge, catchy, arena-filling choruses and vocal lines… and not a great deal else. Don’t get me wrong, the instrumentation is fine, but there isn’t really any of it that I would consider memorable. It’s a usual issue with pop punk, but it’s more prevalent in more anthemic bands like these or Good Charlotte. Still, tracks like the opener and ‘Million Pictures of You’ are good fun and highlights of a fairly standard, samey album. 6.5/10

Fozzy: Boombox

Another album I have to do an in-depth review of I’m afraid, as I have been a Jericho fan for as long as I can remember. Still though, from what I’ve heard so far, it’s going to be pretty good, and certainly better than their last couple of albums!

Silverstein: Misery Made Me

The pop-punk/emo/post hardcore(?) band hit double digits on their discography last week. This sort of music was never really my thing as a kid, in fact I actively avoided most ’emo’ music aside the odd AFI song. So, because of that, I know the band by name only. However, I did enjoy this album. The band managed to put together some interesting different styles throughout. I didn’t think the opening track was that heavy at all and leant heavily into pop-punk so it had me wondering where the post hardcore was. Then the heavy second track came in and I understood a lot more.

Tracks like ‘Ultraviolet’, ‘It’s Over’ and ‘Slow Motion’ also perfectly blend these two styles. The tracks have some awesome catchiness blended with the heaviness too. I’m actually pissed at myself for not giving this band a chance sooner, I’ll definitely be checking them out more! It’s an effortless style of arena-heavy-rock that bands like Asking Alexandria and BVB have tried to varying degrees of success recently. Awesome stuff! 8.5/10

Ibaraki: Rashomon

Trivium frontman and all-round metal legend Matt Heafy finally put out his solo album last week. This is said album. Oh, and it’s death/black metal, so I have been even more excited! Opening on a seven-and-a-half minute death epic for an essentially debut album is a ballsy move, but Heafy pulls it off masterfully. Insane riffs and a harsher scream than I have heard him use in a while, as well as still some of his powerful cleans, start the album off strong.

Then there’s the all out assault of ‘Ibaraki-Doji’ and the darkly beautiful black metal slow build of ‘Jigoku Dayu’, both of which are massive highlights. Oh, and Behemoth’s own Nergal also makes an appearance on the awesome ‘Akumu’, another highlight. There is also guest appearances from the legendary Ihsahn of Emperor and even My Chemical Romance Frontman Gerard Way. Oh, and yes, you guessed it, both tracks are also awesome. Especially the latter, which sees the usually clean vocalist scream his fucking lungs out. I honestly didn’t think he had it in him, that was awesome. Heafy does a good job of managing to make it sound not too much like Trivium, but still have that recognisable edge to it. While I wouldn’t put it quite up there with Court of the Dragon, it is still an insanely strong album. 9/10

Otoboke Beaver: Super Champon

I don’t understand how these girls have over 100k monthly listeners. Then again, the punk scene is and always has been weird. I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t make it through the whole album. I couldn’t. The vocals were barely in tune and the lyrics were SO VERY REPETITIVE. For a guy who complains about the Killers’s magnum opus ‘Mr Brightside’ being ‘lazy’ for having the same verse twice, this band make them look like J.R. Tolkien. I don’t get it, it sounds awful. If you like it please let me know on our socials what I’m missing, because this was not good. 2/10

Depressed Mode: Decade of Silence

The doom metallers returned after… well… a decade of silence (13 years, to be exact). I’ve already reviewed this very good album, so you can check out what I had to say, alongside my score, here.

Terror: Pain Into Power

This is the first ‘beatdown hardcore’ band I believe we have (at least knowingly) covered here at Overtone. While I feel like I have heard the term somewhere before, it doesn’t sound like my sort of thing so I suspect this will be a review of my first time listening to a whole new sub-genre today, rare these days.

It’s alright. Better than I expected it to be, given the name of the subgenre. It wasn’t anything special but there were a few good riffs, like the one at the end of ‘Boundless Contempt’. And it didn’t overstay its welcome either, being just 18-minutes spread across ten songs. Even the lyrics weren’t terrible. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever listened to but I’ll happily listen to it again. 6/10

Puppy: Pure Evil

This was somehow a more doom version of Smashing Pumpkins. The intro track made me think the album was going to be pretty slow and heavy, but then ‘The Kiss’ flipped it all on its head. It’s an interesting blend of styles: doom/stoner, metal, grunge and even some desert rock. I enjoyed it a fair bit, with ‘Spellbound’ being my particular album highlight. 6/10

I Am The Night: While the Gods Are Sleeping

It’s black metal. That alone should tell you exactly what to expect. I’ve really tried, guys. I’ve been doing NMM for over seven months now and have since listened to a fair amount of black metal. It’s the only sub-genre that does absolutely nothing for me. The musicians in this band are clearly very good at what they do, and the vocalist has one hell of a scream on him, but the actual songs kinda bore me. This is what people think of when they use phrases like ‘all metal just sounds the same’ and ‘you can’t tell what they’re saying’ and you know what, they’re absolutely right. I am the Night are a solid band and probably a great black metal band, bit it isn’t for me. 3/10

Stand Atlantic: f.e.a.r.

I nearly didn’t cover this. Then I remembered I covered Avril Lavigne in one of these and realised I kind of had to. It is still guitar based, even if it is more pop than rock. It reminds me very much of the likes of Olivia Rodrigo or Gayle in its melody, just with slightly more guitars. It isn’t a bad thing and is certainly catchy. It’s simply very basic catchiness and the lyrics are not really my sort of thing. It’s clearly inspired by modern female pop and punk (like AS IT IS) alongside the likes of Avril and P!no. It simply doesn’t quite live up to those influences. Tracks like ‘Deathwish’ and ‘Don’t Talk’ are pretty decent though and definite highlights. 5.5/10

Below: Have Beartooth got what it takes to take Hardcore Punk to the mainstream?

Columbus formed hardcore punk/metalcore band Beartooth has achieved a lot in their nine years together. Being a band for less than a decade, they’ve released four studio albums and have toured around the globe, amassing a pretty large, dedicated fanbase. Having said all of that, I haven’t checked them out all that much. I know a couple of their songs that I listen to every so often but generally speaking, their style of music isn’t something I usually explore. For Overtone’s very first New Music Monday, I thought Beartooth would be the ideal artist to kick off with. 

The album’s title track starts out with a whole lot of fuzz and reverb before a steady drumbeat and some hardcore style screamed vocals that lead us into a HEAVY riff. The vocals get cleaner through the verse – Caleb Shomo’s voice being pretty punky and actually preferable to his screams in this writer’s humble opinion. The chorus slows things down with a catchy melody, even if it does come out of nowhere a little. The screamed lines at the end of the chorus are pretty great too and lead perfectly into that awesome guitar riff again. We head into a quick guitar riff coming out of the second chorus, accompanied by more screamed vocals. It builds up pretty perfectly into a sludgy, slower breakdown riff; this is definitely something I’d like to hear live. It’s again accompanied by more harsh vocals which I enjoyed more – maybe I’m starting to warm up to them? A great, heavy song to open an album on.

The lead single ‘Devastation’ opens on another huge scream and keeps the album heavy. The effects overall add a slight Avatar feel to it. The harsh vocals stop again when it comes to the clean, catchy chorus – the pop-punk type vocals giving me an earworm for the rest of the day. We get a great, low drumbeat coming out of the second chorus before a basic, chuggy riff builds it all back up again into a MASSIVE breakdown. Everything from the screamed callout of the song title to the slow-ish, basic but heavy guitar riff ties together amazingly well. We get another final chorus before the breakdown comes back around to finish the track. I preferred this one to the previous song and can definitely see why it was chosen as a single.

‘The Past is Dead’ was another pre-release track from the album and is the lightest so far. Opening on a catchy vocal hook/chant is always going to win over the hardcore-punk crowds. The lower harmonies over the vocals in the lighter verse are a nice touch and lead into a fantastic chorus, reminding me of A Day To Remember – it’s the most “arena-filling”, catchy chorus for sure. In comparison to other breakdowns on the album, this track’s breakdown is pretty tame and feels more like a filler-bridge. A stripped-back chorus leads to a final chorus to end the song. This was a simple yet pretty great song and another good choice for a single. This one easily made the playlist!

‘Fed Up’ opens on some more cringy, adolescent-style lyrics, again channelling their inner ADTR. At least it builds in to a pretty good, fast, hardcore punk riff that drops in and out for every vocal line – like a call and response between vocals and instruments to add an extra layer of dynamics. It’s another pretty basic song, building to a big, open pop-punk chorus. The only thing that separates it from the likes of Sum 41 is the heavier, de-tuned guitar riff at various intervals throughout. Oh and the usual breakdown, but again this one was nothing compared to the first two tracks – even if it was a pretty good riff. A final chorus and heavier breakdown (again) finishes this one off and, in comparison to the previous tracks on the album so far, this felt like the weakest.

‘Dominate’ keeps the vibe of the album going with screamed vocals and a crazy low guitar riff; it could be classed as a thrash riff in terms of the intensity and speed. The chorus is slower and features some generally cleaner vocals, although the screams are still present. There’s a crazy blast beat between the chorus and the second verse too; it blows my mind that drummers can play that fast. Another fantastic breakdown callout scream leads to an interesting breakdown, the riff being unconventional but pretty damn enjoyable. If anything, the breakdown doesn’t last long enough and quickly heads back into a final chorus before the blast beat and heavy outro finishes things off. This was by far the best of the heavier songs so far and easily makes the playlist.

‘No Return’ keeps things heavy for a moment with another awesome opening riff but outside of that, it’s another clean vocalled, slower radio-friendlier track. It’s not bad at all but there are better versions of this type of song, some of which are on this album. Again, the lyrics get a little cringy for me at times, too. ‘Phantom Pain’ gives off some more hardcore feeling through the verses, but again has a massively pop-punk chorus – a format that (again) has been done better on the opening two tracks of the album. Both songs are good, but just a little generic at this point. Either that or I’m starting to get sick of the album. ‘Skin’ is the closest thing to a ballad on the album but it is also their most ADTR-y song. Apart from a decent chorus, I have very little interest in this track.

‘Hell of It’ is the last of the pre-released songs and brings the heaviness of the album back with a vengeance by opening on a great guitar riff and some awesome harsh vocals. It leads into a pretty decent, quick riff and the harsh vocals stick around almost throughout this time. The chorus is pretty damn catchy and may be my favourite on the album, perhaps my favourite Beartooth track of all time. The breakdown’s mega-low guitar riff sounds a tad evil – much more to my liking. Playlisted!

Unfortunately, the final few tracks go back to being A Day to Remember-like. On paper or as an isolated listen, I like the songs ‘I Won’t Give Up’ and ‘The Answer’ but both remind me of slightly heavier ‘radio rock’ that has been done countless times before. Meanwhile, ‘The Last Riff’ is just a nearly five minute instrumental track revolving mainly around one guitar riff. It’s a good, heavy, almost epic riff, but a pretty boring and uneventful way to finish an album.

Overall: I enjoyed this more than I expected to. Would it make my album of the year consideration? Hell no. But it has made me more of a fan of the band, so that’s a good thing at least. There were some damn good songs scattered through here, but also a fair few just plane average ones. Still, I’ll probably be going back and checking out their older stuff as a result, so I guess overall it’s a pretty positive result and a pretty decent album.

Score: 6/10

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