Tag Archives: News

The Outlaw Orchestra: ‘You never look beyond where you are… You never know how it’s gonna go’

We caught up with our good friends The Outlaw Orchestra ahead of their amazing 3rd stage headlining set at Call of the Wild Festival. Check out as we chatted about the scene, new music and their next five years!

P.S. I’d highly recommend watching the video if you get the chance, there were times where I just couldn’t type up the back and forth nicely!

How’ve the last few months been since we last chatted?

Terrible. Really bad. We went to try and get a bank account and they turned us down as a band. They said we don’t have enough information. Admittedly I [Dave] was a bit lax in putting forth my side of things. But the music, it’s been dragging along a bit but we’ve been so preoccupied with the bank that we’ve done nothing!

And what’s it like to be a part of this NWOCR scene at the minute?

It’s brilliant. I think they’re spearheading the world of rock within the UK. I think they’re going to take Download festival, Castle Donington to task, and it’ll be the ‘NWOCR festival; formerly known as Monsters of Rock/Download festival’. And because they’ve been so good to us over the years, I’m sure that when it comes to it they’re gonna go ‘Outlaw Orchestra, we’ll put them in the top three on Saturday night!’.

They’ve always been so damn good to us and they’re a bunch of super nice guys. We always have a great laugh on interview with them. Literally from day one. And they’ve got their next CD coming out and we’re on it! It’s super cool!

It definitely seems to have diversified a lot in its time too!

That’s always the case. If you start something and it grows you’ve gotta try and gather all the marbles as they fall out and it becomes bigger and becomes a bigger monster. But good on them, they’re soldiering on with it! It’s nice to be part of it!

What’s it like to be playing these sort of festivals?

Yeah, since day one we’ve made so many friends and all the people here come and watch us time and time again. We’ve got so many supporters. Even the festival bookers are so positive about the flavour we bring to the festival.

We’re hoping as we grow and we know more of the crowd, maybe some of them work for Starling Bank!

Are we working on new music?

Yeah we are! We’ve always got Outlaw ideas to record. We just went into a studio, Rogue Studios, right by Wembley Stadium. So that was super cool. They’d just worked with the guys from Megadeth and then us. It was a good studio!

If you are a musician you should work with different people, work at different studios. You get an engineer you’ve never met and they are not familiar with you. You get their take on it. You’ve just gotta hope that there’s a chemistry and if it works, bingo!

So we’ve got a few tracks down for a new album. Here’s a question though: Does a band drop an album, or does a band release singles? Now, I’m from the school that you drop an album, but the new kids on the block are telling me that you do singles and hold back say four tracks, and bring out a collective album. Maybe add a little bundle package with a T-shirt etc. I still like the idea of bringing out an album but you could then argue on what format. You say CD and all the kids out there today get confused. What’s the alternative? Vinyl? So we’ve chucked about six grand behind minidisc!

Have you guys got much planned for the rest of the year?

Busy year for festivals! It’s looking very good. We have another festival in West Sussex, and Rockin Ribs down near Summerset, and Maid in Stone Festival. That’s the site and plan that Ramblin’ Man used to be at, but is a completely separate festival. We managed to play Ramblin’ Man, back when we were supported by Foreigner and whatever…

Rockin Ribs is a great one. It’s a mega mega Americana festival. Cars, trucks, BBQs, monster trucks crushing cars and stuff. It’s the UK redneck central, it’s brilliant. They even have a wrestling ring! It’s super cool. Some serious beer drinking at that one!

Other than that we’re on later today, in the tent by the exit.

What can we expect from your set?

A few covers. Some Motorhead covers. Some Beatles. We’ll do ‘Come Together’ as I thought Tina Turner did the best version of that. We were going to do Private Dancer but Pete’s moves weren’t up to scratch! Always gotta chuck in some covers. We did a tour with Warner Hodges who played for Jason and the Scorchers, and he said to us ‘do three of your own and chuck in a cover’. Keeps the crowd happy and it works a charm. ‘Finally, I know this one!’ and all that. ‘I didn’t realise it was these guys who wrote Rocky Mountain Way!’.

But yeah, that’s what you can expect from us! We’ll go warm our fingers up and then go do some rock ‘n roll!

Do you have any plans for the next say five years?

I don’t think we’ve got a five day plan, have we?

I really wanna play Shepherds Bush Empire. We love that venue. Super cool. Brixton Academy too. The Oprey would be something special. The Roundhouse. You can get a support slot here and there and play some really cool venues. Then you know you can pull a good crowd!

Five year plan… you never look beyond where you are. You never know how it’s gonna go.

In five years I want to have gone into rehab about three times. I wanna get hugely fat and then rehab, rehab, then reform after all the court cases, lose all the weight… Different rehabs each time too, drugs, booze, then sex, which was how all the weight was lost. They lead from one to the other. Then come back looking terrible but reformed. Arrested a couple of times for trying to score dope in Times Square or something like that. Then the cover of Rolling Stone!

So that’s the plan for five years… desperation. The desperation tour. Tagline ‘The Car Crash that Nobody Wants to Look At’. And we’re gonna start tonight!

New Music Mondays: Foo Fighters, Avenged Sevenfold and Much More!

An absolutely MASSIVE week for New Music Mondays this week. From huge, stadium-filling bands to amazing offerings from upcoming artists, there’s a little bit for everyone. Check it out with us!

Foo Fighters: But Here We Are

Possibly the second or third most important Foos record, behind their first two. Following the devastating and far too early passing of drummer Taylor Hawkins, it threw the band into a state of flux mid-tour. Questions circled for months around the state of the band and if they’d continue. So, when they announced not only will they be continuing, but announced a new album and dropped a single in April, the world rejoiced. And, what’s more, that single, ‘Rescued’ was/is so good. Like, maybe the best track they’ve put out in over a decade, good.

Lyrically, it’s fantastic and devastating. Just like their self titled debut, Dave Grohl uses his writing to try and cope with losing one of his best friends. The fact that he’s made a collection of radio-rock tracks that are catchy, anthemic and genuinely brought a tear to my eye on multiple occasions while sat at work doing this review is a real testament to his talent.

Meanwhile sonically, it’s so nice to hear the band go back to their rockier sound. While I don’t mind some of their lighter stuff like Sonic Highways or half of In Your Honour, I wasn’t really too fussed with their last release (not Dream Widow, that album slapped and was br00tal). Landing somewhere around One by One but also combining together elements of practically every album that proceeds it, this feels like an epic conclusion. God I hope it’s not.

Honestly, it’s impossible to pick highlight tracks. I think I’ve liked every single one on my Spotify as I listened through. 10 tracks and 50-minutes of pure awesomeness. Foo Fighters have not only returned, but come out with their best album since Wasting Light, and one of the best albums of 2023. 10/10. Taylor would be proud.

Avenged Sevenfold: Life is But a Dream…

I’ve been dreading about writing up this album for weeks. They were one of my favourite bands in my teen years. However, the singles did nothing for me upon their first release, and I wasn’t anywhere near as impressed with The Stage as some others were. Still, I am trying to come into this was as open a mind as possible.

I initially planned on doing a full-length review for this, but honestly it’d go on for hours. This is all over the place. It’s most certainly the most prog the band have ever gotten. The band wear their influences on their sleeve more than ever before too, be it Pink Floyd, Rush, Alice in Chains or modern day pop and hip-hop. I would say it comes with varying degrees of success, but honestly they do every sound pretty damn well.

But that’s my main personal issue with the album, it simply isn’t the Avenged Sevenfold I want to hear. But, that’s okay. I had my time from WTK to HTTK. They’ve done the more commercial music that’s gotten them to headline status, and now they’re writing whatever they want, whatever comes to their head. And as I said, this is all written well. It’s messy, it’s chaotic and it’s weird, but it somehow works so well together. Heck, sitting down and listening to the album front-to-back, it works very well as a collection and made me enjoy the singles a lot more.

And I think that’s the only way to really listen to this album, sat somewhere dark for an hour with a good speaker system or headphones. It doesn’t have a standout track or two like Nightmare or City of Evil does, but it’s a collection of tracks meant to be listened to together. It’s just a shame that none of them feel like they really kick into that top gear and match up to even some of their lesser old singles. As much as I appreciate what they’re doing, I really wish we’d get a Nightmare II already. So, for an album, I’m going to give it 9/10. However personally, it’a more like a 4/10

P.S. this video is fucking SICK!

Rancid: Tomorrow Never Comes

The kings of ska-punk themselves are back with their 10th studio album. The first thing I noticed was how short the album was. 16 tracks but only 29-minutes long, with not a single track going over three minutes. That’s punk as shit. The band also have no chill with the album, blasting through every short track with little slowing down or breathing room. It’s all typical, great Rancid and I love every second of it. It’s fun, bouncy and uplifting, despite some of the lyrical content.

However, the length is also my only slight issue. While I love that every track is short, sweet and to the point, I also feel like a few of them could have done with a little more room to breathe. Heck, one of the singles, ‘Don’t Make Me Do It’, is just 58 seconds in length. It’s great, but I’d have loved more of it. Still, I’d prefer this over an hour long slow-ass country album! Tracks like the title one, ‘It’s a Road to Righteousness’ and ‘Magnificent Rogue’ are all big time highlights. 8.5/10.

Kenny Rodgers: Life is Like a Song

The posthumous album from the country legend is the first studio album released in a decade. At 10 tracks long, it features eight previously unreleased songs recorded between 2008 and 2011, but were never released. The other two, along with the rest of the tracks, were carefully selected by his widow as they were deeply personal tracks to Kenny. These include ‘Tell Me That You Love Me’, duetted with the queen of country Dolly Parton herself, and ‘Goodbye’. Both are fantastic tracks, but I found myself enjoying the others more.

Opener and single ‘Love is a Drug’ is a dark, rock-inspired stomper and definitely a highlight of the album. ‘Am I Too Late’ is a fantastic ballad and duet with the amazing Kim Keyes. ‘Catchin’ Grasshoppers’ is a beautiful traditional country song and another massive highlight. It’s an amazing album and it’s a real shame they weren’t released before Kenny’s passing so he could have done them live. 8/10.


Owen: 4 years since their last release and Rival Sons have come out swinging with 8-tracks of their huge classic rock sound. DARKFIGHTER mixes influence from so many other genres, exploring aspects of soul, psych rock, and more, all the while maintaining their anthemic blues rock. Buchanan’s vocals prove to be more and more impressive with every track. The range he shows off in ‘Bright Lights’ compared to the more aggressive wailing on tracks like ‘Guillotine’ is clear evidence of the rare and pure talent he has. DARKFIGHTER feels like a brilliant return for the LA group and forms a 2-part project, with the second album Lightbringer being released later this year. After the success of their previous work and the time taken for this project, expectations were high, but the group have without doubt met these expectations.

Buckcherry: Vol. 10

Owen: Buckcherry are one of those bands where you know what you’re in for from the start. If you want some well executed generic US rock, then you’re probably already familiar with the group. 10 studio albums is a milestone for any band, but their greatest strength has always been their live performance. Vol. 10 tracks will no doubt stand tall during these sets. However, away from environments such as festival fields or frat parties you start to notice the fine line between hard rock heroes and dad rock Buckcherry walk. Closing the album with a cover of Summer of 69’ was a brave choice; popular with dodgy karaoke bars and wedding bands it feels out of place on a milestone album like this.

Not bad but exactly what you’d expect it to be. Distinctely average. 5/10

Jelly Roll: Whitsitt Chapel

Jelly Roll’s transition from hip hop to country rock has been a fun one to listen to, and it continues masterfully with his whopping 18th studio album. ‘Halfway to Hell’ once again continues the trend this week of phenomenal album openers, while ‘Church’ chills things out perfectly. Then we reach the incredible ‘The Lost’, which is one of my favourite tracks in all of country and southern music this year. It reminds me of a more ballady Black Stone Cherry track; I love it.

The track featuring Brantley Gilbert was okay, but another real highlight was ‘Unalive’ featuring the one and only Yelawolf. Yela is so fucking good on the track. I loved the HARDY/Kid Rock blend of hip hop, rock and country, not just on this track but throughout the whole album. I’m honestly shocoeked he isn’t bigger than he is, though I’m sure this album will help him get there! It’s an aquired taste for sure, but I definitely have it, so I’mma give this a 8.5/10

King Voodoo: Hex City

We’ve already covered this album! Check out the full review here.

Gloryhammer: Return to the Kingdom of Fife

Returning with their first album in four years and after an… interesting… few years that saw some controversy and line-up changes, can Gloryhammer return to their seat towards the top of the power metal world?

In short, no. Or rather, I’m not that much of a fan of it, any who. And I hate to single out one key part or person, but Sozos Michael just doesn’t have a powerful enough voice to carry the band. When compared to Thomas Winkler’s tenure with the band, he just doesn’t quite have the power and confidence to fit with the music behind it. Bassist The Hootsman and his harsher vocals work well still, but there is just something about Sozos that doesn’t fit. The songs in general are fine, nothing special, which also doesn’t help.

Overall it’s fine. However, with the quality of power metal releases over the last couple of years, as well as Winkler’s solo album under Angus McSix (find our review of it here), it just doesn’t measure up. 4.5/10

Endless Exam: Voice of Passion and Agony

The debut album of the power/industrial metal band who have only exploded onto the scene this year is pretty damn solid. It’s epic right from the offset with ‘The Voice’, it giving off heavy rock opera vibes. The album is really well arranged and put together, too, definitely going for the epic storytelling feel that I got from it. Tracks like ‘I Ain’t Your Toy’, ‘Wildride’ and the anthemic ‘Consealed Truth’ are all personal highlights. It reminds me a lot of bands like Ward XVI and Death Ingloria, that theatrical hard rock/heavy metal sound that tells a story throughout. It’s something I’d definitely LOVE to see performed live. The whole band are massively talented, too, from the playing to the soaring vocals to the songwriting. 8.5/10

DIETH: To Hell and Back

The debut album of former Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson is finally out. After much media hype, I was excited to check it out! Also, as a basssist myself and a big thrash kid, Ellefson is a pretty big inspiration of mine.

It’s considerably more heavier than Megadeth, that’s for sure. It’s death metal, in case you couldn’t guess from the name. However, it’s very good death metal. It’s probably a bit paint-by-numbers for more die-hard fans of the genre, but I found myself enjoying it for the most part. Also, it’s hard not to find lyrics like ‘Don’t Get Mad… Get Even!’ a little cheesy and childish. However, tracks like ”In the Hall of the Hanging Serpents’ and ‘Heavy is the Crown’ were fantastic.

It’s hard to say much about it as it’s practically exactly what you’d expect from a basic death metal album. Especially one written by a guy nearly 60. 7/10.

Killhall: Skullsplitter

More thrashy death metal now too with Killhall’s debut record. Honestly, it does it ten times better than the previous album on this list, too. I hate to compare, but given that I am listening to one after the other and both are on the heavier end of the spectrum, I’d take Killhall over Dieth any day.

I haven’t heard a more perfect opening track than ‘Delirium tremens’ in a while. It’s heavy, brutal, quick and yet still has a melodic, almost metalcore chorus with a soaring, catchy clean vocal melody. Meanwhile the harsher vocals throughout are still pretty catchy and have a melodic edge to them even though they are pretty aggressive. It gives off Throwdown vibes and I’m all for it.

It’s honestly really hard to pick highlight tracks from this too, as I loved it all a lot. It’s exactly up my sort of street when it comes to heavier music, and the band definitely have a new HUGE fan in me. It feels like early Trivium, which I do not say lightly. Check this out if you’re into metal at all, as you’ll find something to like. Every track is amazing, so I’mma give it a rare 10/10. These guys are gonna be huge.

New Music Mondays: Matchbox Twenty, Immortal and More!

A more relaxed but still awesome week for New Music Mondays this week. From black metal to country, we cover a bit of everything. Check it out!

Matchbox Twenty: Where the Light Goes

The US pop-rock megastars are back with their first album in over a decade. I was going to say the band achieved the most success in the back end of the 90s, but surprisingly, though their debut is still HUGE and certified diamond in the US alone, every album has charted pretty amazingly. What do you expect, after helping out on that Santana song?

In terms of the music itself, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a band in the genre after doing this nearly three decades later. It reminds me of Train or even Stereophonics, pop-inspired softer rock with plenty of big choruses, great hooks and minimal attention to much else. Some tracks even give off U2 or Phil Collins vibes at times, too. Tracks like ‘Wild Dogs’, ‘Warm Blood’ and the title track are all personal highlight tracks.

It’s a good album and a fantastic return after far too long between new music. Not a bad track on it, though it might have been nice to have been a bit faster or upbeat at times! 7.5/10

Immortal: War Against All

The legendary Black metal band return with their 10th album this last week. The wall of sound, blast beats and questionable mixing decisions that have become such a staple of the genre they helped define and are all very much present here from the offset. As with most black metal stuff, I feel like I’d have to see it live to truly ‘get’ it. Everyone in the band is clearly talented and there’s some sick riffs throughout. ‘Thunders of Darkness’ is a particular highlight, still. However, it doesn’t do much to interest me and seems a lot of the same stuff. 4.5/10

The Dirty Nil: Free Rein to Passions

The Canadian rock trio seem very hard to pin down in terms of genres. Most places are calling them hard rock or even Punk rock. However, the opening riff of the album on the utter phenomenal ‘Celebration’ is heavy as fuck and has enough pinch harmonics to make Zakk Wylde jizz his pants. It definitely gets a little more pop/punk through the album on tracks like ‘Nicer Guy’ or ‘Land of Clover’ (though there’s another sick bridge riff in the latter).

It reminds me of Neck Deep, My Chemical Romance and even Dinosaur Pile-up; somehow being a combination of all three. It’s a really great album without a bad track on it. All three previously mentioned tracka are big highlights, as is ‘Stupid Jobs’. The band definitely have a new fan in me! 8/10

AJJ: Disposable Everything

Punk/alt/folk rockers AJJ return with their eighth album. It starts on an absolute banger with ‘Strawberry (Probably)’ the album slows up a fair bit. Most of it is very chilled and folky, though surprisingly ‘I Hate Rock n’Roll’ is great, and ‘Death Machine’ is easily the best track on the album. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re into their particular brand of noise I feel like they are top notch. They are creative (if a little weird) with their lyric writing and the music behind it is well done. 7.5/10

Whythre: Impregnate My Hate

Owen: By all accounts Whythre have been a staple of the Seattle metal scene since 2016, and listening to their newest release it’s easy to see why. Impregnate my Hate is a 9-track heavy hitting album
with massive influences taken from both melodic death metal and thrash.

The title track takes the lead with thrash influences and the group have openly said this naturally occurred during the wiring of the song so they chose to lean into it to the benefit of the track. Throughout the album the band deliver heavy melodic riffs, some brutal vocals from frontman Adam Chambers, as well as some synth and orchestral backing to fill out their sound. Thematically the message of the album focuses on the missteps of modern society and where we are heading, something we can all relate too in the current climate. Chambers has attributed some inspiration of this theme to a 1980’s Sci-Fi series ‘V’. While he already had most of the lyrics penned, after a friend introduced him to the series he found some strong similarity in the themes he was exploring.

Standout tracks include the title track as well as the 4th song of the album, ‘Scorpions of Sinai’. From the intense opening to the fast mid sections through to its abrupt end, this track is a highlight of the bands
skill of blending synth melodies with their own death metal sound. 8/10

Melonie Cannon: A Tribute to Vern Gosdin

Pretty much the only country album I could find for this week. Gutting, I know! However, it’s a great album, so that pretty much makes up for it, right?

The 13-track album is filled with guest slots and collaborations, but the tracks that are just Melonie are just as good as the others! ‘Right in the Wrong Direction’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album, a short, sweet, poweful number. However, anything is better with Cody Jinks, and ‘Set ‘Em Up, Joe’ is no exception. His voice is amazing and works perfectly alongside Melonie.

Overall it’s a good, chilled out country album. If you’re into the more relaxed, traditional, even easy-listening country stuff, you’ll love this! 7.5/10

Metal Church: Congregation of Annihilation

The thrash pioneers themselves put out their 13th album, and showed the world that they very much still have it. Following the horrific passing of long time vocalist and to a lot of people the face of the band, Mike Howe, it would have been easy to call it a day. However, having recruited Ross the Boss vocalist Marc Lopes, the pressure was on for Marc and the rest of the band. Previous album Damned if you Do was pretty well received upon its release, so would this release live up to that?

Incredible riffs, solid drums, insane solos and powerful, catchy vocals. What more could you possibly want? Marc does an incredible job on vocals, it fitting in perfectly with the bands sound. it’s 10-tracks and 45 minutes of awesomeness and it’s so hard to pick highlights. The opener and ‘Me the Nothing’ are my personal favourites, but it’s close. A statement that Metal Church will not be stopped, and honestly one of the top metal releases of the year so far. It’s so nice to hear! 8.5/10

Mesarthrim: Arrival

Owen: Anonymous Australian duo, Mesarthim, released their newest offering this week. The 8-track album, named Arrival, promises to take you on a journey through the cosmos utilising the bands unique sound. Black Metal underpins each track and the pair pull this off really well. It’s easy to forget you are only listening to two people as their sound is so

For me the real standout moments come when things slow down. The ambient electronic sounds that form the cosmological aspect of the album. It’s these moments that elevate the album and into a cinematic journey through the stars for the listener. Known for their less than conformist views on naming conventions, Arrival is split
into 7 parts. These parts vary greatly in duration but the transitions between tracks are natural as the tracks blend into each other. Track 8 however, titled ‘Type IV’, is a continuation of their 2016 epic ‘Type III’. Referencing the Kardashev scale, this closing track is a journey all of its own. The pair have done really well to make this final track work
in both the concept of this album and the work done back in 2016. It doesn’t feel out of place or just tacked on the end, which would have been an easy pitfall in less capable hands.

This is truly an experience to listen to, and one I would recommend to anyone. 8.5/10

Check out similar music here.

New Music Mondays: The Used, Dave Mathews Band and More!

A stacked week of New Music Mondays this week, featuring everything from prog to NWOBHM to country and much more. Check it out!

The Used: Worst I’ve Ever Been

The emo/alt rock band are back with their ninth studio album. I have to admit I’ve dropped off from them over the last few years. I was a huge fan of their first three or four albums, but kinda felt like I’d had my fill at that point.

Having said that, this is a good album! It feels a lot like their older stuff; big pop-punk choruses beefed out with huge riffs. A lot of the lyric writing, while a little cringy from a bunch of 40+ year olds, is solid and some of the best I’ve heard all year. Tracks ‘Numb’, ‘Pinky Swear’ and ‘Dancing with a Brick Wall’ are all massive highlights. You can definitely heat why they influence so many other modern bands, be it Fall Out Boy, Set it Off and others. And rightfully so. They should be bigger than they are, and this album is a testament to that. 7.5/10

Dave Mathews Band: Walk Around the Moon

The legendary jam band are back with their tenth studio album. Being a big fan of the band, this was another slice of excellence. The opener and title track encapsulates everything great about the band in less than five minutes. The chilled out feel, catchy melodies and jazz fusion was all on display perfectly. ‘Madman’s Eyes’ add more of their folky sound to the album and also has an incredible Egyptian feel and melody.

Almost every track feels different; you can’t accuse the album of being boring! My only slight issue is the layout of the album. There were a few too many slower tracks following on from each other. Still, tracks like ‘After Everything’ and ‘The Other Thing’ are also great. Overall it’s a great, chilled-out soft rock album. 8.5/10

Sleep Token: Take Me Back to Eden

We’ve already reviewed this album, for better or worse, here.

Chapel Hart: Glory Days

The America’s Got Talent alumni return with their third album and first since their explosion to fame from receiving the golden buzzer. After checking out a couple of tracks, including their incredible audition, I was on and off sold on them, honestly. However, this album has sold me on them. I can’t quite place my finger on what it is, either. It just feels more polished, more rounded, somehow both more country and more pop.

It still strikes me as odd how they identify as a group when 90% of it is Danica Hart. How very Babymetal of them.

Tracks like ‘Dear Tequila’, ‘Redneck Fairytail’ and the title track are all amazing. Overall it is a little slow for my liking for a 40-minute album, but that doesn’t mean the quality suffers at all. A great album and a great way to capitalise on their recent popularity. 8/10

Yes: Mirror to the Sky

The prog pop-rockers are back with their whopping 23rd studio album. We checked out their last one a couple of years ago, which you can find here. Will this one be more of the same?

Yes. I could practically copy the review from 2021 word for word, except for the stuff about it being two disc. If anything the more concise 9-tracks (although it’s still an hour) helped the album even more. It’s hard to pick out a highlight or two as the tracks are all pretty similar, but they’re all very good. Massively talented playing and songwriting and a lot of fun to listen to. Another 8/10 from me!

Botanist: VIII: Selenotrope

This is black metal? Well, there goes my growing, albeit tiny, understanding of the sub-genre. Don’t get me wrong, I can hear it in the drumming, and in the utterly terrible production and mixing, but I wasn’t expecting the green, naturist vibes and slower pace overall. I also couldn’t tell if the vocalist was whispering, or screaming from way back in the mix.

I wasn’t into it. As a whole album, it did have a cool energy and flow to it all. Listening from front to back I got what it was going for and did find it an interesting listen. But I probably wouldn’t rush to go back and experience it again and definitely wouldn’t just go for a track or two. 4/10

Damien Done: Total Power

The goth/alt/punk rockers put out their sophomore album last Friday. Honestly, though I didn’t particularly like the opening track, I LOVED a lot of this. Tracks like ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Young Drugs’ feel straight out of Billy Idol’s playback, it’s great. Even the more electro, darker pop stuff like ‘Always on Fire’ is awesome. It’s so brooding, it reminds me of something Trent Resnor would put together for a movie soundtrack. Even the Lou Reedstyle delivery on ‘Fin Dom’ was great. If you’re into more of your 80s synth-rock style, this is definitely for you. 8.5/10

Marty Stuart: Altitude

The country legend himself has put out his first album in over five years. It’s also insane that he’s been making music for the best part of 60 years and he’s still making music this good. ‘Country Star’ is an old-school country classic already, while tracks like ‘Vegas’ and the slower ‘Space’ are also fantastic. It’s a proper old-school country album, and an amazing album to just sit back and chill to. At 64, Marty has done it again! There isn’t a bad track on the album, and if you like the genre, check this out! 8/10

ROADWOLF: Midnight Lightning

NWOBHM revial band ROADWOLF are back with their first album in two years, and first with Napalm. It’s the third album in a row on this list that is damn good. Think old-school Judas Priest mixed with a hint of AOR. It’s again hard to pick fault with it; it’s a well produced, well written, solid rock album. It does nothing to re-invent the wheel or anything even close, but it’s fun and very enjoyable. Highlights include the W.A.S.P-like title track, ‘Don’t Deliver Us From Evil’ and the frankly perfect ‘High Under Pressure’. Long time readers will know me, any time there is horns in rock and metal it’s amazing, and that solo came out of nowhere and was AMAZING. 8.5/10

Brandy Clark: Self-Titled

Another artist, alongside Marty, that we reviewed at The Long Road last year (check out the article here). Her new album is a little on the slower side of country, but maintains the same awesome sound and writing capacity and style that she is known for. It’s almost like easy-listening country. It reminds me more of Jack Johnson or Newton Faulkner than any modern country artists. Tracks like ‘Tell Her You Don’t Love Her’ and ‘Best Ones’ are personal highlights. It did get a little repetitive by the end, though, so I can’t give it any higher than a 7/10

Gozu: Remedy

Owen: It has been five years since Boston group Gozu have released an album. Remedy is a strong return for the group. The group have a clear talent for straight cut heavy rock. Expect chunky rolling riffs, some wailing solos, and all the usual sounds of the genre. Gaffney’s vocal work on this album is a real standout; at times it has a likeness to the late great Chris Cornell or even Ozzy back in the day. Opening track ‘Tom Cruise Control’ is a highlight of the album. However, it does go downhill from there. ‘CLDZ’ starts off well but by the end just feels self-indulgent, a theme that they unfortunately carry throughout the rest of the album. The songs feel too similar as you work through the album. It would have been great to hear the group try something different and stretch their legs a bit in some of the later tracks.

The five year break between releases has been attributed to both the pandemic and struggling to find a drummer to complete their sound. Seth Botos joined the group for Remedy and seems to have been the key to them getting back on
track as a band. There seems to be some real talent amongst the members that is almost
restricted by the songs in this album. Overall this is a solid first step to getting back on the road and establishing their new roster with Botos. The flashes of brilliance tell me these guys could be one to watch for the next couple of years, but that is heavily reliant on what they do from here. 6.5/10

Mystic Prophecy: Hellriot

Another NWOBRH style band but with a modern, almost power metal edge, Mystic Prophecy’s 12th album is a slab of full-force awesomeness. It very much has feelings of Iced Earth, Overkill and even some more modern stuff like Painside and even Parkway Drive. You know exactly what you’re going to get from the band, it’s straight to the point and does its thing to near perfection. Every memeber of the band is massively talented. Highlights include the opener, ‘Metal Attack’ and ‘Road to Babylon’. It’s a solid metal album that’s a lot of fun if you like the style. 8/10

New Music Mondays: Enter Shikari, Jethro Tull and More!

A slightly smaller week of new music this week, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less awesome. Check it out with us!

Enter Shikari: A Kiss for the Whole World

Confession time: I never ‘got’ this band. I’ve heard they’re very good live and from seeing videos I feel like I’d enjoy them. However, on track they do next to nothing for me. I struggle to put them into a genre outside of ‘not for me’.

This album didn’t change my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the riffs, like the ones on the title track or ‘Goldfish’ are good. However, it seems to pull together the worst parts of pop-punk, Prodigy and general pop/indie, and blends them together into a boring mess of meh. Again, it would probably do a lot more for me live, as I’d have LOVED tracks like ‘Bloodshot’ and ‘Giant Pacific Octopus’ if they’d have just gone a little harder and heavier. It was too close to Twenty-One Pilots but without the good hooks and lyricism, when I was hoping for something a little closer to Skindred. But hey, that’s on me.

I know fans of the band are going to hate me for this, but I’m simply going off personal preference… 4/10

Jethro Tull: RokFlote

Well, we’re here again. Just under 15 months since we covered Jethro’s triumphant return album, we have a new one. I have a lot of mixed emotions, and not many are positive. I was not prepared for this today.

It’s certainly weird, and it’s certainly Jethro Tull. And it’s one hell of a mixed bag. There are some great elements throughout, like the first minute of ‘Ginnunagagap’ or the flute and guitar melodies in ‘Wolf Unchained’. Heck, the folk-rock parts in each track when it’s flute and guitars are fantastic. However, Ian Anderson sounds tired. He has every right to be, he’s in his mid-seventies. But it just took away any energy the tracks had as soon as his vocals came in.

It doesn’t feel anywhere near the passion and quality of their previous release. While I went as far as to actually enjoy some of that, this felt like a struggle to get through for the most part. It was boring outside of the odd flute melody. However, I still feel like I’d appreciate it a lot live, so there’s that I guess. 3.5/10

The 69 Eyes: Death of Darkness

The moody goth legends are back with their 13th studio album on Friday. Fans of the band know exactly what to expect of the band by now, it’s exactly what you’d imagine a band that got big in the early 2000s goth scene would sound like. Think Him, ASP, Birthday Massacre etc. It’s good.

Typically I’m not a huge fan of this sort of music, but the band did well to win me over with tracks like ‘Drive’, ‘Something Real’ and ‘Gotta Rock’. There’s a bit more of a glam/Misfits/even GnR nature to some of it which definitely drew me in. And the harsher vocals contrasted well with the Peter Steele lows. There are a lot of elements and sounds throughout that really held my attention. There was even some dark country/folk in ‘This Murder Takes Two’ for good measure. Plus, the aforementioned track features legendary tattooist Kat Von D and, no matter your feelings on her personally, there is no denying that she can sing and adds a lot to the track.

I found myself loving it by the end and wanting to check out the rest of their back catalogue. A damn fun listen and a great find for me; they have a new fan in me! 8/10

Angus McSix: Angus McSix and the Sword of Power

We’ve already reviewed this awesome album! Check it out here.

Alice Howe: Circumstance

Country time. And unfortunately the only one covered this week. However, Alice does a damn good job of representing the genre with her sophomore album. Though it’s a little slower than the typical music we cover on here, it’s a fantastic album to chill out to. Tracks like the opener, ‘Things I’m Not Saying’ and ‘Travelin’ Soul’ are all big highlights of the album. If you like the more traditional, slower side of country, you’ll love this. I’d LOVE to hear it live. 7.5/10

Portrayal of Guilt: Devil Music

This is not an EP. 10 songs spanning 31-minutes is an album. Fight me.

Max: This was super intense and there was so much going on that was just fantastic to listen to; from the intense blast beats on the drums to the intensity of the vocals. There was so much energy throughout the entire album which made it a lot of fun to go through. Whilst I don’t think there was one stand-out song on the album, the entire thing was amazing and was a lot of fun. The guitars were also amazing and carried so much of the album with the speed and skill that is demostrated throughout. 8/10

Phaeton: Between Two Worlds

Max: So this album was a little unexpected. It is an instrumental album. This was actually quite good as it was a nice breath of fresh air after doing several weeks of similar genres. In my experience, instrumental albums can be hit and miss. However, this album was really good. There was a lot going on, but not enough that it became difficult or too intense. The guitars did a really good job making sure that the album wasn’t boring. The only issue was it would have been nice to have a greater focus on the drums and bass but it would seem like this isn’t the focus of the band so you can’t knock them for it. 8/10

Signs of Chaos: Blindsided

Max: This was an interesting album, and not in a bad way. This album had a lot of technical skill from the guitars to the drums and then the screams. This ranged from the speed and intensity of it all with the vocals changing their tone quite a lot to the guitars going from fast and heavy hitting riffs to very well done and thought out solo’s. The only issue was that every now and again some parts of the mix felt like they got lost in the rest of the music which was dissapointing as it was all very very good. Overall this band deserves a lot of praise and far more attention than they have at the time of writing. 9/10

New Music Mondays: Powerwolf, Mudhoney and More!

An interesting week of new music this time, as it spans all different types of genre. Check it out with us!

Powerwolf: Interludium

The German power metal titans are back with their first album since 2021. We’ve been doing this for a while now, as evidenced by the fact that we reviewed their last one too! Call of the Wild got a 7.5 from us, how will this one fare in comparison?

Honestly, it’s just as good as their last album, if not better. It’s power metal through and through; fast drums, big riffs, catchy hooks from the vocals and strings and an overall huge, epic feel. ‘Sainted By the Storm’ and ‘Alters of Fire’ are my personal favourites of the album. Don’t get me wrong, none of it reinvents the wheel, it’s very similar. It would have been nice to have had a change of pace somewhere on the album, but overall it’s a solid power metal offering. It’s another 7.5/10 from me!

P.S. Shoutout to the deluxe, three disc edition. The second disc of other bands covering their old track is genius, especially when one of them is Electric Callboy. Meanwhile disc three is an orchestral version of the album, which is also phenomenal. The deluxe boxset gets 8.5/10

Mudhoney: Plastic Eternity

Seattle’s grunge/alt rock outliers Mudhoney are back with their 11th studio album. It’s… oh it’s weird. Like, early Soundgarden weird, which tracks. However, it also has that 90s swaggering edge to it, a touch of Ugly Kid Joe, while also feeling like it has a bit of modern indie in there, think IDLES. Heck, ‘Flush the Fascists’ is Dead Kennedys in every way, as well as a little Lou Reed. It’s a hodgepodge of A LOT styles, a lot of which the band had helped pioneer or start across it’s lengthy career.

That doesn’t mean it’s good, though. Because, at least to my ears, it’s not. Heck, the band even have a track that perfectly describes the album, ‘Cascades of Crap’. Ironically, ‘Cascades…’ is one of the better tracks on the album, too.

All joking aside though, I wasn’t a fan of this. As I said before, there are a lot of different styles and sub-genres involved here, from alt to grunge to punk, and I didn’t feel like they pulled many of them off very well. ‘Move Under’ was about the only track I’d happily have on semi-heavy rotation. If you liked this, more power to you, but I couldn’t get into it at all. They’re probably good at what they do, but what they do isn’t for me. 4/10

Cursebinder: Drifting

Max: So this album is okay. They know what they want to do and they certainly do it. Whilst listening to the album, I couldn’t find anything that I thought was notable, either in a good way or a bad way. However there was one part that I couldn’t quite work out what happens. In ‘no dreams’ there is a strange low frequency noise and I am not sure whether it was intentional from the band or if it was a mix issue but I know it was not a comfortable sound at all. Overall 6/10

Wednesday: Rat Saw God

Hey look, more weirdness. It’s got a lot more indie in there than Mudhoney did, but heavy indie. Unfortunately, it comes across very much like Wet Leg in its execution. In fact, it very much feels like a slightly heavier clone of said band. As you can probably tell, I’m really not a fan of Wet Leg. So, you can probably ascertain that I’m not really a fan of this either. The whole messy guitaring and honestly really grating vocals made me want to turn it off just two tracks in. I powered through but it didn’t get any better after that. I couldn’t find anything appealing about this, so will give it a 3/10. However, if you liked it, that’s great!

Covet: catharsis

One of the shortest albums we’ve ever covered on New Music Mondays, this is only 8 tracks and 28 minutes in length. To say the band make the most of their time, however, is an understatement. In such a brief time period, the band show that they are some of the most talented musicians currently active. Yvette Young is one of the best guitarists possibly ever, and it’s so evident on tracks like ‘firebird’ and ‘lovespell’. She is beyond underrated, and I cannot get enough of the music. Considering it is 99% instrumental, too, the emotion on display from the instrumentation is incredible. Honestly, if you have a spare half-hour to kill at any time, whack this on, you won’t be disappointed. 8.5/10

Sunrot: The Unfailing Rope

Max: This album was quite fun to listen to. It is aggressive and has lots of energy which is exactly what you want in an album like this. The features are all great and really add to the album rather than subtract from anything. Throughout the album there were guitar sounds that I haven’t heard used in this way before and it was good fun to hear. Consider that this only their second album, I hope that this picks up far more tractions as I would love to hear what they will do in the future as they continue to develop their craft. 7/10

Ian Munsick: White Buffalo

Time for the first of a few country albums this week. Ian’s sophomore album, a follow-up to 2021’s Coyote Cry, is apparently ‘the most me my music has ever been‘. If that is true, he’s very good at making music. Right from opener ‘From the Horse’s Mouth’, it’s clear it’s a modern take on country americana music, filled with catchy vocal melodies and a huge, open sound. He’s got a very bro-country voice, but the music and lyrics are a little more traditional country, which was is a cool combo. Tracks like ‘Arrowhead’, ‘Neon Brightside’ and the emotional ‘Little Man’ are all big highlights of the album. As is the norm now unfortunately, it’s about 2x longer than I feel like it should be, but honestly I’m sick of saying it. There are some good tracks throughout, and a good few tracks that could have ben left on the cutting-room floor. 7/10, good stuff!

Ruston Kelly: The Weakness

More country, and this time a normal length album (praise the lord!). Ruston’s fifth album walks the line between country and indie pretty closely, too. It took me a little bit to get into it, but honestly it’s just a great album to put on and chill out to. Tracks like ‘Hellfire’, ‘Michael Keaton’ and ‘Holy Shit’ are all highlights, but honestly the whole album is a simplistic, relaxed collection. It’s all a little samey by the end, but the lyric writing is so good it held my attention throughout. 7/10

Lurk: Aegis

Max: Right. I’ll be honest, I did not like this album at all. I could find much value in listening to it which I understand seems harsh but it is my honest opinion. Every song felt relatively the same and the same as every other standard song of this genre. I so see that all of the musicians are quite talented so I really hope that an album in the future will be better and will push them in to their own area where they can actually shine. 4/10

Jake Worthington: Self-Titled

More country and, thank god, another normal length album! The Texan’s debut album has been anticipated for a while as his singles and EPs have generated one hell of a buzz around him. Tracks like ‘Single at the Same Time’, ‘Honky Tonk Crowd’ and ‘Night Time is My Time’ are all highlights of an incredibly impressive album. Jake plays very traditional, honky tonk style country, but still manages to add a modern sheen and edge to it. He’s going to be a huge, household name in a matter of years, mark my words. For now, 8.5/10!

New Music Mondays: Avatar, Those Damn Crows and More!

Another big week for New Music Mondays, with everything ranging from death metal to country! Check out some great albums with us!

Avatar: Dance Devil Dance

We’ve been looking forward to this album for a while (hence why it ended up on our top upcoming albums of 2023 list), so of course we had to do an in depth review of it! Check it out here!

Those Damn Crows: Inhale/Exhale

This is phenomenal. And yes, I actually said that out loud while listening to it. It’s that good. Possibly the biggest export of the UK underground scene in recent years (they can fight it out with Massive Wagons), the Welsh quintet have worked hard and deserve every single slot and height they’ve reached in the last couple of years. I’ve been a fan of them since their debut album and have seen and heard them get better and better. This album is a step up yet again, as if they weren’t fantastic enough as is.

There isn’t a bad track on it. I use my personal Spotify to check NMM stuff out on (no ads, yey) and usually like any track I want to put on the playlist. 6/10 tracks on the album ended up liked. I LOVE their early 2000s hard rock style, Shinedown/Burn Halo/Black Stone Cherry, on tracks like ‘Takedown’ and ‘Wake Up’. Meanwhile ballads like ‘This Time I’m Ready’ are excellent and fit the rest of the album so well. I could honestly gush about this album all day, and would if I don’t reign myself in quick. 10/10, it’s not even in question. Fucking amazing.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs: Land of Sleeper

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, that is a lot of pigs. Stonery, doomy pigs.

In all seriousness, this was awesome. Filled with huge riffs, this is like the bastard child of The Sword, Black Sabbath, Kyuss and, surprisingly, Motorhead. There’s a certain pace and attitude to it all that just screamed Lemmy to me. Tracks like the opener and ‘Mr Medicine’ are personal highlights of mine. As a fan of this band for a while now, this album did not disappoint! If anyone likes sludgy, grungy hard rock, this is definitely the album for you! 8/10

Inhaler: Cuts & Bruises

The Irish indie/pop rock returned with their sophomore album last week. Their last one was an enjoyable affair that topped the UK charts, so I’m curious to check this one out!

While it’s lighter than the vast majority of the music we cover here (and I was close to not covering it), it’s a damn enjoyable album. Tracks like ‘Love Will Get you There’, ‘These are the Days’ and ‘Dublin in Ecstasy’ are highlights of an overall very good collection of songs. There again isn’t especially a bad track on here, though it did get just a little repetitive for me after a while. Though that’s more than likely because I don’t listen to the genre as much as the same sort of pace bores me after more than half an hour. Still though, an impressive, fun album that I’ll definitely be listening to again! 8/10

Winds of Tragedy: Hating Life

This is some heavy shit. Hot off the heels of their last album just eight months ago, the black metal powerhouses are back with their second offering. If any of y’all read this series regularly, you’ll know that Overtone has been my diving in point for black metal, and that it is definitely taking some getting used to. However, it’s clearly happening as I found myself digging this. Not as much as the Avatar or Those Damn Crows albums, don’t get me wrong, but it was definitely listenable, which is a start! I don’t really have specific highlight tracks for this one, but the proggy opener was good fun, as was ‘Wake Me Up From This Act’. So, if you’re into the really heavy stuff, give this a listen! For now, I shall give it a 7/10

Screaming Females: Desire Pathway

The alt rock band are back with their eighth studio album after the biggest gap between releases they’ve have ever had. It definitely maintains the bands punk influences, feeling a perfect blend of 70s, 80s and modern punk and alt rock. Right from the offset when their opening track, ‘Brass Bell’, drops, you can tell exactly what the band are about. Interesting, quirky yet infectiously catchy vocal melodies, some big riffs and some incredibly good guitar and bass playing, maybe a little surprising in the genre. Said opening track is a highlight of the album, alongside songs like ‘So Low’ and ‘Titan’ are definite highlights. 7.5/10, a fun album!

Craig Campbell: The Lost Files: Exhibit A

The country boy returns after a full decade since his last full-length release. It is a return to roots of sorts, too, with Cambell stating ‘My fans fell in love with me when there was steel and fiddle on my records. I truly hate that I got away from that for a bit trying to chase something that wasn’t real’. I have to admit I’m not familiar with any of his work, but it made the album sound promising to me.

The album itself is pretty great, too. The opener, ‘Lot to Live Up To’, is a country rock stomper that fits in well with the heavier side of the genre these days. However, a lot of the rest of the album is a fair bit slower. Tracks like ‘Church Clothes with Mindy Ellis Campbell’ and ‘Night Like Last Night’ are beautiful ballad tracks. However, there’s enough slightly more upbeat, fun tracks to sink your teeth into. ‘Things You Do in a Truck’, ‘Johnny’s Cash’ and ‘Talk Country to Me’ are all massive highlights of the album. My only real critique at all is my usual gripe with country albums, 16 tracks is too long. But it’s 16 good songs, at least! 8.5/10

Siege of Power: This is Tomorrow

The death metal group return with their first new album in five years, and second overall. This is everything you’d expect from an excellent death metal album. From blistering speed to some insane riffing to great harsh vocals, it’s all great. It’s hard to say much else about it as anyone who knows the genre knows exactly what to expect. However, the slightly slower tracks like ‘Scavengers’ and the clean-opening ‘Ghosts of Humanity’ stood out to me as great tracks. 8/10, I will never not love a great death/thrash band!

DUSK: Spectrums

We’ve treated you this week, reviewing not just one but two albums in full! Check out the second, awesome proggy album here.

New Music Mondays: The Smashing Pumpkins, Shania Twain and More!

A pretty big week for new music this week, from rock to metal to a fair bit of country. Check it out below!

The Smashing Pumpkins: Atum – Act II

The follow-up to last year’s Act I (read our thoughts on it here), Act II is at least more of the same. A fitting middle part to an album that is in large parts sadly underwhelming. ‘Moss’ and ‘Empires’ were the standout tracks on the album, mainly because they were the only two rock tracks. The former is a slower, almost sludgy grunge track while the latter channels heavy Muse vibes. Unfortunately everything else is more synth pop, like the majority of act I. It feels like it’s almost trying to ride the nostalgia wave of the 80s sound. Don’t get me wrong, none of it is inherently bad, but being a big fan of early Smashing Pumpkins in my childhood, this isn’t what I wanted to be hearing. 5/10, hopefully Act III closes things with a bang.

Shania Twain: Queen of Me

The queen of country music returns with only her sixth studio album. It’s insane that she’s sold over 100 million albums off of just the five that were released before Friday. This one will help boost those numbers even higher, too. It leans heavily into pop territory, but it’s a BANGIN’ album. Single ‘Giddy Up!’ is old-school Shania-country goodness, while ‘Best Friends’ and TikTok sensation ‘Waking up Dreaming’ are both country-pop awesomeness. ‘Last Day of Summer’ even gave me Michael Buble vibes a little bit, which I also loved. It all reminds me of early Miley Cyrus/Taylor Swift, which I am a fan of both of and really wish they’d both go back to that style. 9/10, this was awesome without a bad track on it!

All Out War: Celestial Rot

Wiki told me this is a metalcore band. Wiki lied. This is crossover thrash at it’s core, with maybe even old-school death metal mixed in at its heaviest points. It’s definitely a good album, but there isn’t even a hint of the metalcore I went into the album expecting. Bad Wikipedia. This is why teachers don’t like you.

The opening track is the aggressive, balls-to-the-wall start I love in these sort of albums. The singles, ‘Wrath/Plague’ and ‘Hideous Disdain’ are also big highlights of the album, having some awesome heavy, slower riffs as well as the aggressive thrashier elements. The whole album has a similar feel and style too it, and I’m not complaining at all. 7.5/10, good stuff!

Xandria: The Wonders Still Awaiting

The symphonic/power metal titans released their ninth album last week. Spoiler alert, it’s pretty fucking good! Opener ‘Two Worlds’ is quickly becoming one of my favourite tracks in the genre, up there with Nightwish and Within Temptation. Heck, the breakdown is awesome, heavy yet so melodic and catchy. Single ‘Reborn’ has one of the best vocal performances of the year already. Primal Fear’s own Ralf Scheepers lends his awesome growls to ‘You Will Never Be Our God’, adding et another epic layer to the dynamics. And that’s all the first three songs! My only slight issue is that the album is 74-minutes long and is pretty similar throughout. As excellent as it all is, it got a little samey by the end. 8.5/10

REXORIA: Imperial Dawn

Very similar to the previous entry into this weeks list, REXORIA are a little behind with only three albums now to their name. Because of this, while it is still very enjoyable music, it doesn’t feel quite as refined as Xandria did. It’s also a little lighter, feeling more AOR than power metal, but still having that symphonic edge. ‘The New Revelation’ and ‘Set Me on Fire’ are personal highlights of the album, with the latter being a synthy, 80s AOR masterpiece. 8/10, good stuff!

The Men: New York City

This is the closest thing to old-school punk I’ve heard in ages. It sounds like it could be ripped straight from the Sex Pistols or Ramones discography. It’s nice to hear new music in the genre, to be honest, and especially with the higher production value that this has. It’s hard to pick highlights as, like the Xandria album, it’s all relatively similar. Just 35-minutes of 70s goodness. However, personal highlights include the opening track and ‘Through the Night’. 7/10

Blackwülf: Thieves and Liars

The closest thing I’ve heard to modern Black Sabbath since that Dead City Ruin song. It’s NWOBHM as fuck, combining the best elements of Sabbath and Priest together amazingly. Evil, sludgy riffs and low, powerful vocals combine together perfectly. Heck, ‘Killing Kind’ has a very similar feel from its riff to ‘Black Sabbath’ itself. That, ‘Brother’ and ‘Shadow’ are definite highlights for me. An album you’ll love if you like old-school metal, but it has enough of a modern twang to keep it all fresh and interesting. 7.5/10

Doomsday Outlaw: Damaged Goods

This is excellent. Drawing together so many inspirations, everything from Blackberry Smoke to Soundgarden, Status Quo to Black Stone Cherry. Whether it’s through heavier blues riffs, powerful, catchy, stadium-filling vocals or lead guitar lines that would give Slash a run for his money, it has a bit of everything! I honestly cannot praise this album enough, every track is phenomenal. It was hard not to put the whole thing onto our playlist. However, three of my top songs did… but you’ll have to take a look to find out which!

One of the brightest sparks in the UK underground scene right now, this album will for sure push them into the mainstream, it’s just that good! They’ll be supporting huge bands in arenas across the world before the end of the year, and playing these amazing tracks as they go! 9.5/10

Jarrod Dickenson: Big Talk

I’d not even heard the name before, but I really enjoyed this album. It had an old-school feel to it, being more basic and stripped back, not as anthemic as the modern day country music. There was also a darker edge to some of the tracks, such as ‘Bamboozled’, that I found myself really drawn to and enjoying. And of course one of the singles, ‘Home Again’ featuring Oliver Wood and Jano Rix, was excellent. It for some reason reminded me of the non-Elvis track from Lilo and Stich, but with an Americana/indie vibe. It was hugely catchy, as is a lot of the album. The album fits in well alongside the country music that isn’t bro-country these days, and this could be Jarrod’s year! 8/10

New Music Mondays: Måneskin, New Found Glory and More!

Måneskin: RUSH!

The band that all the young people are obsessed with due to their (sometimes) punk attitude and catchy Eurovision song a couple of years back, Maneskin are back with their first album since exploding into superstardom. There is a LOT of hype to live up to this release, but does it manage to?

In this humble writers opinion… no, no it does not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with it (aside the massively bloated length), and I’m sure the kids on TikTok will go mad for it. But for the sheer amount of love this band get, it’s nothing special. There are a lot more rock bands that get nowhere near as much love that I would say have released better music.

Having said that, there are some good tracks on here. ‘GOSSIP’ is a fun, catchy track and Morello does a typically amazing job for his guest spot. Tracks like ‘IF NOT FOR YOU’ and closer ‘THE LONELIEST’ are fantastic ballads. ‘LA FINE’ is, well, exactly that.

There is also some right drivel, though. ‘BLA BLA BLA’ is the worst track I have ever covered here at Overtone, and I covered Devin Townsend’s Puzzle and Snuggles. ‘BABY SAID’ feels like a worse Arctic Monkeys track. And the odd ‘KOOL KIDS’ (where Damiano attempts a terrible English accent) seems to be attacking a large portion of their own fanbase.

Fans of pop music will probably love this as they will like to think this is them being a rock fan. However, it is practically pop music. Some of it is good pop music, some of it is god awful. In the band’s own words, ‘you’re not iconic, you’re just like them all’… I’ll see myself out! 4/10

New Found Glory: Make the Most of It

One of the most underrated pop-punk bands ever, New Found Glory returned with their 12th album this week. I have to say, it’s lighter than I expected. It’s a LOT of ballads. Like seven ballads and seven live recordings. It made me go and have a look to see if it was an official album, but the band are classing it as one so so am I.

However, it’s a good album. The slower pop-punk style has grown on me in recent years, in large part thanks to Simple Plan, and this knocks that style out of the park. The harmonies are a huge highlight of the album, as are the choruses in general. But the album is so simple yet so very effective, it’s hard not to praise it all. Even the live tracks were slower, acoustic tracks. It’s a chilled out, fun but emotional album that I already have stuck in my head due to how catchy it is. 8/10

HARDY: the mockingbird & THE CROW

This fucking thing is 17 tracks long and goes on for over an hour. No matter how good it all is, can we STOP WITH THE BLOATED COUNTRY ALBUMS NOW PLEASE?

It’s generally a good album. However, it’s all very bro/stadium country. When you think of any country music released in the last 15 years or so that isn’t a fun partying song, I can guarantee it sounds like all of this. I got bored around five tracks in and it never really regained my attention.

That is, until THE CROW arrives, and turns this review and this reviewer both on their respective heads.

Wow. Okay. Give me a minute to just word vomit as after three days I’m still trying to process it properly.

The first half of the album (exactly half too, I know), the lower case half, is slower country stuff that he writes for other people, FGL etc. Then, he sheds the mockingbird persona, writing his own style of music and becomes the final form of Kid Rock. It’s fucking awesome. Just check out the transformation video below, it explains it all perfectly and sounds incredible. Then, it features everything from country rock to pop-punk to straight-up metal for the rest of the album, and I can’t get enough. ‘RADIO SONG’ is not only a satirical track making fun of country norms, but has an ironically fantastic chorus and a HEAVY FUCKING BREAKDOWN featuring Jeremy of ADTR. What more could you want?

I’ve rambled on enough about this album but honestly, check it out. As a fan of creative, out-of-the-box storytelling, especially in music where it is not done all too often any more, I loved the concept for this. And the music fully backed it up, too. Everyone will find something to love on here. And, while I still think the album could trim the fat just a little with a couple of tracks, I still can’t not give it a rare 10/10

Katatonia: Sky Void of Stars

The Swedish prog metal titans are back with their 12th studio album. While I have to admit I wasn’t too familiar with the band outside of the name, I really enjoyed this! I have a sometimes strained relationship with prog since starting Overtone, but this band kept things interesting enough throughout with changing riffs and dynamics. ‘Colossal Shade’ hooked me in immediately with that stomping, mid-tempo riff and remains a favourite track of mine on the album. ‘Birds’ was a beautiful faster track, sounding almost ethereal and had some catchy elements. The closing two tracks are also fantastic, feeling suitably epic. While not quite as mind-blowing as the previous album on this list, it’s still a damn good album and a must for anyone into proggier stuff. 8/10

Black Star Riders: Wrong Side of Paradise

The spiritual successor of Thin Lizzy put out their fifth studio album last Friday. So, if you’re a fan of the old band or its newer incarnation, chances are you’ll love this. However, that’s hardly a bad thing. Single ‘Better Than Saturday Night’ wouldn’t seem out of place among Lizzy’s greatest hits, it’s that good. However, I struggled to hear Joe Elliott on it, if Spotify didn’t tell me I would have never known. Tracks like ‘Green and Troubled Land’ and ‘Burning Rome’ are also personal highlights of mine. It’s honestly hard to find something to talk or complain about, it’s simply a good, solid Black Star Riders album. It’s nice to hear Ricky sounding as good as ever after his health issues during the pandemic! 7/10

Check out our interview with Ricky himself here.

Twilight Force: At the Heart of Wintervale

Our first power metal album of 2023 on this page, and it’s a damn good one! If you heard power metal and saw the album artwork before reading this, you’ll know exactly what to expect. Soaring vocals, quick drumming and lead lines and enough epiness to make Howard Shore hard. Whether it’s the massive, quick opener or the epic, slower ten-and-a-half minute epic ‘Highlands of the Elder Dragon’, this is maybe the most epic music I have ever heard. If anything, it was a little too fantasy storybook for me. It got a bit too musical theatre/Christmas movie for me at certain points. Still though, I cannot deny the bands talent for playing and songwriting. 7/10, it definitely won’t be the last tie I listen to a couple of these tracks.

For I Am King: Crown

This album has come out at the perfect time. Not only have Lorna Shore pushed deathcore deeper into the mainstream than the sub-genre has ever been before, but female screams are also at the height of their appeal and popularity due to bands like Jinjer, Spiritbox and Cage Fight. With any luck, For I Am King could ride this phenomenal album to the top because of this.

‘Liars’ was a standout track to me, a very good choice for the album’s lead single. It’s brutal, heavy and yet somehow maintains a catchy, melodic edge to it all. That’s pretty much the story through the whole album, too. Crushing riffs and breakdowns, insane drums, and harsh yet earworm vocals. Tracks like ‘Barriers’ and ‘Bloodline’ are also personal highlights of mine, but there isn’t a bad track on the album. 8/10

Tidal Wave: The Lord Knows

Well, this is damn fun groovy, grungy slab of desert rock nestled in with the heavier stuff, isn’t it? The bastard love child of Queens of the Stone Age and The Sword, I love it. It’s all about the fuzzy riffs and big sounds, but the Mastadon-like vocals are also impressive and fit so well. The album is chock full of highlights too, I can’t pick just one or two tracks to name. From the QOTSA-esque opener to the faster paced, heavier single ‘ End of the Line’ to the slower, plodding epicness of ‘By Order of the King’, it’s all excellent. This will be one I’ll be listening to on and off for the rest of the year, and the band have a huge new fan in me. 9/10

Oak Pantheon: The Absence

This is one of the first atmospheric black metal bands I think I’ve truly ‘got’. While I still wouldn’t sit down and listen to a track on a one off too much, I really enjoyed listening to the album in full and it gave me a new appreciation of the black metal genre. From the slow build of the acoustic-based intro to the absolute bop that is ‘Listen!’ (it has clean vocals in it *shocked face*), this was an extremely well put together and dynamic album. Even the shorter tracks had enough melody to them to keep me gripped throughout. ‘Dissociate’ was another banger, as was ‘Decisions’. But of course, the proggy epic ‘Silence We Plead’ is still awesome too. 9/10, am I a black metal fan now?

SKÁLD: Huldufólk

This is a new one for us, as it bares really no basis at all in rock music. However, it is dark AF folk music that feels heavier than some of the music on this list, which earnt its place. If anyone has played or watched THe Witcher at any point in their lives, it’s essentially the music from that. It’s fucking AWESOME. There’s even screams in here, so it’s practically metal, right? It also gives me heavy The Hu vibes with the chanting, tribal-style vocals. It’s hard to pick specific highlights as it all sounded pretty similar, but it was all enjoyable and I’d definitely recommend if you want something out of the ordinary! 7/10

Did you enjoy the article? Check out more of them from our Instagram here.

New Music Mondays: Iggy Pop, Anti-Flag and More!

We’re back! Now that the holidays are done with and out of the way, bands are starting to put out music again, and we have a whole new 12 months to look at! And for some reason, though there aren’t many releases in this first week of the year, it’s quite a punky one! Let’s check it out!

Iggy Pop: Every Loser

This impressed the hell out of me. I know he is affectionately dubbed the ‘Godfather of Punk’, but the man is like three million years old at this point (give or take a couple of months) so to hear that he can still go this hard is fantastic. ‘Frenzy’ is an angry punk masterpiece while single ‘Strung Out Johnny’ feels more of a new-wave track.

That’s how the album goes, there’s a surprising amount of depth. Tracks like ‘Neo-Punk’ and ‘Modern Day Ripoff’ are straight up punk while tracks like ‘The Regency’, ‘Morning Show’ and ‘All the Way Down’ are slower, more reflective tracks. It’s an incredibly well written album over all and full of great tracks from both sides. I’m hard pressed to find anything wrong with it, even the interludes are fun and felt fitting. 7.5/10

Check out more punk here.


I’ve been a fan of this band for years, ever since that song was on the Shaun White games. The band also have one of the most consistent back catalogue’s of anyone, with everything from their debut to recent releases being stellar.

They keep up the streak with this one. They have always been some of the best lyricists in the game, and this is up their with their last album in terms of flawless anti-establishment sentiment. Going after the government and the worst parts of modern society’s way of thinking is something I can 100% get behind, and it is done masterfully here.

Plus, nearly every track featuring a different guest artist gave it all a different feel to it and most really added a lot to the tracks. Even the track with Rise Against’s Tim Mcllrath, ‘THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES’, has grown on me a lot listening to the album since I first heard it as a single. The track is very Rise Against, which is cool. The band have seemed to attempt to adopt the style of the guest’s music into their sound for each track, which is both interesting and insanely impressive.

It’s hard to pick out a highlight here as every track is really great. If you’re in any way a punk fan you’ll love this just like I did. These guys don’t get nearly enough credit as being solidly one of the best things in the rock scene for over two decades now. Everyone reading this, check out the album immediately, it’s fantastic. 9/10

Beautiful Death: Finis

So, this was a weird one for us. Acoustic instrumental stuff isn’t usually our vibe here at Overtone. However, this was all so dark and ominous, it was essentially atmospheric black metal without the distortion and extreme vocals. I put this on a fair bit in the background over the weekend and honestly love it. It’d work so perfectly as a soundtrack to a movie or game, especially an epic or horror. I don’t have too much to say about this given that it’s all pretty similar, but it is all great! 7/10

And there we have it, everything from the first week of the year! Check out some of last weeks from our Instagram here.