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New Music Mondays: Brantley Gilbert, Chelsea Grin and More!

Not a huge week, not that we’ll get many now as we head towards the holiday season, but there’s still plenty of new music to sink our teeth into. From rock to metal to country, let’s get into it!

Brantley Gilbert: So Help Me God

This was unfortunately quite a slow country album. I’m a big fan of Gilbert’s sludgy brand of country rock, but I found it hard to get into this. It was all rather slow and acoustic, which is fine, I love a good country ballad, but it’s not what I got into Brantley because of. Heck, in some turn of über double-irony, ‘The Worst Country Song of All Time’ is one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album, despite the lyrics. ‘Son of the Dirty South’ was an awesome song and finally what I was expecting, but I shouldn’t start to enjoy an album over halfway through it. However, afterwards it very quickly gets back to the slow tracks again. Again, I’m not opposed to slower country tracks, but when it’s a whole album of them nearly, it does tend to get boring. When Brantley is cutting back and having fun, it’s the most fun I have listening to the whole album. Definitely his worst album for me. 4.5/10

Chelsea Grin: Suffer in Hell

No prizes for guessing this album is heavy as balls. The first part of their afterlife-inspired double album is filled with crushing riffs and some of the most brutal screams in the industry today. However, it will be now impossible to not compare this band with Darko US. And, I have to admit, I prefer the Darko album. It’s nothing at all against Grin, their talent for playing and songwriting is off the charts on this album. It’s simply that it’s straight-up deathcore, like they’ve always done, while Darko brings a new, interesting edge to the sound. When the band go a bit more sinister and dark on tracks like ‘Deathbed Companion’, it definitely holds my interest more. However, when bands like Whitechapel, Lorna Shore and even Darko themselves have put out some of the best deathcore albums ever these last few years, it’s a high standard to live up to, and I’m not sure this one does.

I still really enjoyed the album and I do think it’ll continue to grow on me through the next month or so. However, for now I’m going to give it a 7.5/10

P.S. sorry P67, ‘Crystal Casket’ gets my bleh of the year. That one at the end is filthy, as is the riff and breakdown in the song. A real highlight track of the album!

He is Legend: ENDLESS HALLWAY

The illegitimate lovechild of Cane Hill and Alice in Chains. Somehow, that means the album sits in an odd void between the modern nu metal revival and the mid-naughties radio rock of Shinedown, Rev Theory and Burn Halo. I love every band and genre I’ve just named so, of course, I fucking love this.

I was not familiar with this hand at all before now and this album has immediately made me a fan and want to check out more of their back catalogue. The riffing is so heavy and chuggy, it wouldn’t sound out of place on a Gojira album, but the clean, low vocals give it a fantastic radio edge. Tracks like ‘LIFELESS LEMONADE’, ‘HONEY FROM THE HIVE’ and the utterly amazing ‘CIRCUS CIRCUS’ (yes, they are another band that shout at you) are massive highlights on an album chocked to the brim of them. There’re even elements of Mike Patton or Mushroomhead on the latter track, alongside the usual Korn and Tetrarch.

If you haven’t checked this band or, more importantly, this album out yet, do it right now. There honestly isn’t a bad track on it. 9.5/10 holy crap, a new obsession of mine.

Epica: The Alchemy Project

Symphonic metal always works well with guests, and Epica may very well be at the top of the symphonic scene in recent years. After last year’s FANTASTIC Omega, the band return with an experimental side album featuring a guest on every track, hence the album title.

Safe to say it’s pretty amazing. Most of the guests are a little heavier than the band, such as Fleshgod Apocalypse, Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid and God Dethroned. However, every single vocalist played off Simone Simons’ beautiful vocals perfectly. Simone’s soaring, operatic tones always mesh well with the heavy, chuggy instrumentation and Mark Jansen’s powerful lows and growls. However, when adding in even heavier artists and vocals on top, it somehow makes everything even more epic and enjoyable. It all combines together to form something truly enjoyable and special, and I hope this isn’t the last time we get one of these Alchemy Projects. Highlights include ‘Wake the World’ and ‘The Final Lullaby’ but honestly, any track off the album could have made that selection. 9/10

Enuff Z’nuff: Finer than Sin

Glam/Sleaze’s answer to Oasis are back with their first album in just a year. Having seen them a couple of times over the last few years, I really enjoy them live. However, I’ve never managed to get into them on track, and this album didn’t change that. It’s pretty much all at the same steady, subdued pace throughout that doesn’t appeal to me too much. It’s so massively produced and polished, drawing comparisons to Def Leppard’s Hysteria, that when talking about drug abuse and other dark topics it’s a very odd contrast. It all reminds me of Terrorvision but just less fun.

‘Lost and Out of Control’ or ‘Hurricane’ were probably highlights. It’s not a bad album by any means, I just found myself getting distracted and bored though it, outside of these two tracks. 6/10

Randy Houser: Note to Self

The first guy I discovered when I finally started to dip into country by myself. I do feel slightly hypocritical now, as this is on the slower end of country. However, this was so well written and there were some truly awesome tracks on it. From ‘Workin’ Man’ to ‘Out and Down’ to ‘Country Round Here Tonight’, there is plenty to love with this album. I’m struggling to even say much, if you like country music, no matter the style, you’ll love this. Heck, I’d recommend anyone listening to this to check it out, as I love this. 8.5/10, this was awesome.

Warkings: Morgana

The most power metal band to ever power metal, now. Warkings seem to be the butt of a lot of jokes in the dub-genre’s community, but honestly I really enjoyed this. However, that may have been more because of Morgana Le Fay’s impressive harsher vocals every few tracks, as they were definitely my favourite songs on the album. ‘Monsters’ is my favourite track on the album, but ‘Immortal’ and even ‘The Rite’ are close followers. While the latter doesn’t include Morgana, I do still think they should try and find a harsh vocalist going forward, because the contrast between the vocals added a new layer of fun and awesomeness to the tracks. You know exactly what to expect with Warkings, straight up power metal, ‘no nonsense’ or anything outside of that, and for that this album is definitely good. 7.5/10

Cassyette: Sad Girl Mixtape

2022’s answer to Avril Lavigne while also adding a bit of Billy Eillish to the rock scene… I do love Casseyette. This album blends the two previously named artists perfectly while adding an edge seen in Dorothy’s music. While generally the album gets a little boring by the midpoint for me, I can fully understand and appreciate the importance of her music. She is the perfect gateway for young people, especially women, to get into rock music. I’m personally curious to see the generation in a few years time having come up on this and see what it gets them into.

Plus, while most of it is rather pop and punkish, she still hits us with the likes of ‘Die Hate Cry’ out of nowhere, brutal, heavy and full of harsh vocals. It definitely caught me by surprise after the first few stellar pop-punk opening tracks. If you’re into pop-rock, or even metal given the last few tracks on the album, check this out, you won’t be disappointed. 8/10

REMINA: STRATA

We’ve already covered this awesome album. Check out the review and score here.

Did you enjoy our article? As always keep up to date on all of our content here.

New Music Mondays: Devin Townsend, Dayseeker and More!

Less massive releases this week, but plenty of great new music to sink our teeth into. Let’s dive straight in!

Devin Townsend: Lightwork

Joe: I have tried for years to get into Devin. Whether it’s his solo stuff or Strapping Young Lad, none of it seems to hook me. It’s weird too, as on paper I should love it all, but something about it doesn’t appeal to my ears.

Lightwork is no different. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly better than that electro-concept drivel he put out last year, but I still didn’t enjoy it too much. This is the guy who headlined Bloodstock last year, yet here he is doing synth-pop-rock, for lack of a better term. It’s like he’s trying to sound like Album of the Year or even parts of Angel Dust by Faith No More, but generally less interesting. I know I’mma catch a lot of flack for all of this as Devin has a pretty huge, devoted cult following, but I just don’t get it. Honestly, I couldn’t wait for this album to be over. I feel like maybe the tracks may translate better to me in a live setting, but I couldn’t pick out a highlight from the album. I’m sure there will be some journalists who give this top (or nearly top) marks, but I’m sadly going to have to give it a 3.5/10

Dayseeker: Dark Sun

Max: This is a review that I find quite hard to write, not because the album is bad, it is far from it, but because I absolutely adore Dayseeker. Due to this it is quite hard to not have a bias, but no one can convince me that this album isn’t phenomenal. The sheer emotion through really hits hard but it is the icing on top as it is such a raw and passionate album. The fact that they dedicated the album to the singer’s dad just makes this point even more apparent. Going from songs like ‘Neon Grave’ and ‘Dreamstate’ with the perfectly ugly breakdowns that you can’t help but pull a face to and then changing to ‘Paper Heart’ and ‘Crying While You’re Dancing’ which are so pretty and full of feeling whilst also making me want to lie down and transcend. Overall, I really think that everyone should listen to this album and just enjoy how well this band has evolved. A fantastic 9/10, quite possibly even another 10/10

96 Bitter Beings: Synergy Restored

Joe: Anyone who’s familiar with the frontman of this band will know exactly what to expect from this album. The founder of Jackass’ favourite band, CKY, formed this project in 2016, a few years after leaving his old band. As the band name implies, the band picks up right where Deron Miller left off with CKY.

‘Vaudeville’s Revenge’ is a great album starter and ‘Wish Me Dead’ is a definite highlight of the collection. The album soon runs into the same issue I have with CKY, though. I LOVE the riffs and his guitar tone is still phenomenal and surprisingly unique. But that’s where it about ends for me. The drums are pretty basic and the bass generally just follows the guitars. And there isn’t especially much in the way of memorable vocal performances throughout. Don’t get me wrong, not every band needs albums full of stadium-filling choruses, but a catchy hook to sing along with every so often would be nice. The closest I found was ‘Throw Yourself Inside’, which was another highlight. Still though, as a musician I massively appreciate and adore the guitaring, and can’t give it any less than a 7/10

Black Anvil: Regensis

Joe: Ahh, another black metal band that has such an everything-in-your-face-all-at-once production that it’s hard to distinguish anything specific, including the vocals. It’s feels like I’ve been a while since I’ve done one of these. However, I’ve clearly grown, as I was quite enjoying this! I think it helped that there were some fun vocal dynamics, with some clean backing vocals being present too. It made it all feel more epic.

Everyone played their parts well, there being some awesome riffs and some (characteristic to the genre) amazing drumming. ‘8-Bit Terror’ was my album highlight, in terms of sound ans subject matter. However, I enjoyed just about every track. Don’t get me wrong, this still isn’t my sort of music, but I wouldn’t turn it off if it came on and may probably find myself listening to this album again at some point in the future. Maybe this will be the album to win me round into the genre! 6.5/10

Black Mirrors: Tomorrow Will be Without Us

We’ve already covered this excellent album in detail. Find the full review and the score here.

Joji: SMITHEREENS

Max: So, this is an interesting album to say the least. The most important thing to note is that this album will probably make you cry just like the Dayseeker one. It tugged at my heart strings through out with lines like “I hear that you’re happy without me, and I hope it’s true” from ‘Die For You’ and basically the entirety of ‘Glimpses of Us’ where I just want to curl up and cry. This album won’t be for everyone and it isn’t perfect, but I loved it. The raw emotion in so much of Joji’s music makes it feel so personal and relatable. Never in this album did it feel to me like, like so much other similar music can, he was singing words to try and get a response from everyone or that someone in a studio had just written them for him. Instead, it felt like someone talking to someone that they can’t say is there’s anymore but still truly loves. Or maybe that’s just me hoping that’s what it is all about. Anyways it is a solid 8/10 for me.

Madeline Edwards: Crashlanded

Joe: Finally, a short, mainstream country album. At 12 tracks and just over 35 minutes long, this is like a dream come true after so many hour-long slogs! On top of that too, it’s a pretty great album!

It’s got that sort of Dorothy, folk-pop-rock style on top of the already country/americana roots. Honestly, there isn’t a bad track on the album. If you’re into country or americana or even slight rock, you’ll find a lot to love here. Having said that, it’s hard not to find the singles as the highlights of the album. ‘Hold my Horses’ is a particularly fantastic track. 7.5/10, a good, fun album!

Disillusion: Ayam

Right so a shorter album here and I can’t say that my review will be much longer. The biggest downside of this album was me not realising that there are two 11 minute songs which I thought were all multiple tracks. There are some really fun parts and I loved the changing of paces and the building up. The solo’s and the riffs were great fun. The only thing that I think might catch people off guard on their first time listening is the fact that they have songs which will end slowly or start slowly but it is worth sitting through and getting to the rest as it really doesn’t disappoint. A very respectable 7/10

Magnolia Park: Baku’s Revenge

Okay I won’t lie, not for me in the slightest. It has the same-style big catchy chorus that seems to repeat a dozen times. In fairness those choruses are fun, and the occasional scream is nice and reminds me of a more pop-centric version of A Day To Remember’s Homesick record. I think it would be pretty fun to see this band live as I can envision the amount of energy that they have on stage. For me though I don’t think it’s a genre I fit in to in the slightest 5.5/10

Ingested: Ashes Lie Still

This is more like it. This album is super heavy and intense. It was a lot to try and digest on the first time around, but it really was good fun. I love seeing bands collaborate with others and the ones in this album were fantastic. It must be said that this still has the issue that most bands within this genre have where they aren’t super accessible, but they really really are worth the effort. I hope this band tours this album near me because I would love to see it live as there is so much energy and I reckon crowds would absolutely love it. 8/10

Sarcator: Alkahest

This album grew on me more and more throughout. When the opener was a balls to the wall thrash/death metal track, I almost sighed. Not because I dislike either genre, quite the contrary actually, but because I’m pretty death-ed out in 2022.

However, by just the second track, ‘Perdition’s Hand’, my opinion had changed. the track is still heavy, but it’s a tad slower and groovier, the riffing being fantastic. By the time the album had ripped into the slow-build opener of ‘Grave Maggot Future’ and the truly epic ‘Dreameater’, I was hooked and very impressed. The sludgy, groove metal of ‘The Long Lost’ was also fantastic, especially with that acoustic intro. Heck, the same could be said about the equally proggy and epic ‘He Who Comes from the Dark’ and ‘Alkahest’. It means that when the band do go back to the all-out thrash sound on ‘Devil Sun’ it feels funner.

I know this album won’t be for everyone. It’s a heavy, dark, prog death metal album. However, if you think you’re up for the challenge I’d urge you to check out the tracks I have named above. I honestly don’t throw the word around too often, but if the opening track was just a little stronger this very well could have been a masterpiece of heavy music for me. Heck, even just a revised track order may have helped. But even so, I can’t give this any less than I 9/10

Tough on Fridays: The Encore you Didn’t Ask For

I struggled to put a genre to this, and that’s definitely a good thing. Lurking on the murky boarder of pop punk and indie, this album also feels darker, broodier and more mature than most of its genre-mates on either side. I almost called it goth pop punk but a) that seems oxymoronic or b) there already is goth pop punk, and this isn’t exactly Good Charlotte.

Oh, and did I also mention it’s an amazing album? Because it most certainly is. Its rare to find a band that would easily fit on any lineup or festival bill, and even rarer to find one that is this high a quality. Tracks like the opener, ‘Sink or Swim’ and ‘The Awakening’ all feel completely different while all being huge highlights of the album. I honestly am struggling to say much more about this album, it truly needs to be heard to be appreciated. Stop what you’re doing, especially since this is conveniently last on the list, and listen to this album right now! 9/10

So, a pretty stellar week in the end! Did you enjoy the article? As usual find more of them from our Instagram here.

New Music Mondays: Alter Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers and More!

Another big week for rock music, from metalcore to sleaze. Check it all out down below!

Alter Bridge: Pawns & Kings

We’ve already reviewed this very good album. Check it out, alongside the score we gave it, here.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Return of the Dream Canteen

This fucking thing is 17 tracks and 75 minutes long. Why is it so SLOW. I used to be a HUGE fan of this band in my youth, from Mother’s Milk to I’m With You all being amazing. However, these last three albums now have not been good. Of those albums, the only track that really feels like the RHCP I grew up loving is ‘Dark Necessities’, and it’s a good few years old at this point.

I reviewed their last album earlier this year when it was release and didn’t score it too high, giving it a lowly 3.5/10 (you can read it here). I don’t even think this one gets that high. There was nothing on here that I remember as soon as I stopped listening to it, nothing about it was at all memorable. Just a collection of almost easy-listening tracks, with the odd good bassline or guitar work. Kedis’ lyrics were all over the place again and there was barely a vocal hook in sight. If it wasn’t for Overtone, I wouldn’t be checking this album out, which is a real shame. The band have slipped so far and even with Frusciante back, they cannot capture the magic they once had. 3/10

Lorna Shore: Pain Remains

Max: So, the deathcore greats are back with a new album and the first full length release since Will Ramos joined the band. This album really proves that they are the new faces of this entire genre. From the painful beauty of ‘Pain Remains I’, to the intensity of ‘In To The Earth’ and ‘Sun//Eater’, this album is genuinely amazing and is a game changing album for the genre. There is so much that makes this album stand about, from the aggressive precision of the drumming, the breakdowns and the solo’s all the way to Will’s vocals going from the ultra-low all the way to the pain filled yells in the bridge of ‘Pain Remains I’.

This band is phenomenal in so many ways. I may be biased to some level since this is one of my favourite bands and I have been looking forward to this album for quite a while and I did see them only a couple of weeks ago when they were on tour with While She Sleeps and Parkway Drive. However, I do believe that everyone should listen to this album and experience the beauty for themselves so they can understand why everyone is so enamoured by this band. Whether there is bias here or not I think this is one of the best albums in this genre, so it really does deserve the 10/10 rating. Now, hurry up and go listen to this album.

Skid Row: The Gang’s All Here

I’ve seen a lot of people gushing over this album already, it being their first in a while and with new singer, Erik Gronwall of H.E.A.T fame. Personally, I wouldn’t go as far as a lot have, but it’s not a bad album!

I somehow didn’t have time to check out the singles before this, but I actually thought the lead single ‘The Gang’s All Here’ was the weakest track on the album. Between that and the equally weak opening track, I was worried about this album to begin with, and thought I was missing what everyone else heard. However, ‘Not Dead Yet’ then began a fantastic run of tracks. In fact, with the exception of the average ‘Nowhere Fast’, the rest of the album is pretty great. Even the slower ‘October’s Song’ was good, Erik channelling his best Bach energy here. I’d put ‘Tear it Down’ and tracks 3-5 up there with some of the very best Skid Row songs, period. 8.5/10

We Came as Romans: Darkbloom

We Came as Romans obviously didn’t get the memo. Metalcore in 2022 is supposed to try and sound like Deep Blue, not Sempiternal. Then again, WCAR push it even further than BMTH ever have with their Linkin Park inspiration here. However, all jokes aside, this was a pretty decent album.

It feels like just about every metalcore band of my teens came out of the woodwork with a new album within the last year. As a result, I feel rather metalcore-d out. But, this felt just different and interesting enough to hold my attention, at least for most of it. Tracks like the opener and the brutal ‘Daggers’ are personal highlights, but the first 2/3rds of the album are definitely worth a listen. I have to admit, I got a tad bored after that. Definitely a good album, though, and the most I’ve enjoyed the band in a while. I must get back into these! 7.5/10

Sleeping with Sirens: Complete Collapse

This was heavier than I expected it to be at times. It was also… fine. The heavier tracks and parts were okay, and the poppier sections and tracks were okay. But nothing at all about this made me want to listen again. Even the guests (including two I’m a big fan of in Dorothy and Spencer Chamberlain) couldn’t really save the album or tracks they were on. Heck, ‘Us’ is a terrible track, with Dorothy very much feeling like she was phoning it in.

I remember not being into this band when they were first getting big a decade ago (mainly because of Quinn’s grating clean vocals), and this did little to nothing to change my mind. It was okay, but absolutely nothing to write home about. 5/10

Nothing More: SPIRITS

The vast majority of their descriptions say that Nothing More are a rock band. I got far more metal vibes from the band’s sixth album, from the heavy riffs, dark lyrics and a good few harsh, screamed vocals. Honestly, it all worked perfectly, and this was an awesome album. Right from the opener the band come across as pissed off and ready to take names (pun intended). It’s great fun and a real infectious level of energy. The vocals also reminded me of My Chemical Romance at times with the level of expression and cadence, which is never a bad thing.

I honestly can’t pick fault with a single track on this album. It reminds me of Coldrain and Palisades’ albums this year too: two bands that I knew of but hadn’t checked out really before but put out insanely good albums that are right up my alley, sound-wise. I NEED to check out more of their back catalogue, ASAP. 9/10

Boston Manor: Datura

Another album that surprised me with its heaviness, Boston Manor channelled their inner BMTH with their short fourth album. Emo pop is definitely the best way to describe it, as it feels like a dark blend of modern metal and indie. There are some good riffs and melodies in here, but ultimately it isn’t especially my sort of music. It’d be fantastic to see live I feel, but on track it felt a little more like background music. I’d not skip it if it came on, but I won’t go out of my way to listen to it again. 5/10

New Music Mondays: Lamb of God, The Cult and Much More!

You know the drill by now. A dozen amazing bands releasing new music, and we’re here to check it all out! See what we think below!

Lamb of God: Omens

Lamb of God releasing their ninth studio album makes me feel old. But that’s exactly what they did this last week. I’ve been a fan of the band for over half my life at this point, getting into them from Sacrament. I’ve seen the bands ups and downs and they really seem to be having a bit of a career resurgence recently after some slightly more questionable output in the 2010s. Their previous, self-titled album was fantastic and, honestly, this may one up it to an even higher level.

It takes everything new it seemed to build up well on the previous album, the spoken work/sung stuff and the dynamics with up and downs and tempos, and rolls with it all to new heights. The fact that in 2022 we have a Lamb of God album open with a track that has mostly clean verses is insane, especially when it’s one of the best tracks on the album. If anything it just makes Randy’s screams have even greater impact. And of course, from an instrumental perspective they’re still a metal guitarist and drummers dream band. The talent on display is unbelievable. The riffs are insane and Art Cruz again kills it on the drums.

The singles are of course great, and other tracks like ‘To The Grave’ and ‘September Song’ are also awesome. The whole album is a highlight, however, and hopefully will be the one to finally push LoG through that glass ceiling they seem to hit a while back. 8.5/10

The Cult: Under the Midnight Sun

I’ve never been much of a fan of The Cult. I get and respect the impact they’ve had on modern rock music, but they never did anything for me. This album didn’t change my mind. There wasn’t even a riff like ‘Rise’ or even ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ to keep me interested. There’s very little to this, and as someone who’s not that into Ian Astbury’s vocals, this was a tough listen. Sorry to anyone who I offend with this, but… 3/10

Bush: The Art of Survival

This was heavier than I expected it to be! I haven’t heard much recent Bush stuff, pretty much reserving myself to the phenomenal Sixteen Stone, so this took me a little off guard. In a good way, though!

Of course the vocals are still the melodic, radio-rock style Gavin is known for. However, the riffs are HUGE. Like, de-tuned, ch0nky and almost metal, huge. And on top of that, there’s some genuinely catchy, stadium-filling choruses and melodies on here. ‘Slow Me’ is my favourite track on the album and maybe my favourite track the band has ever put out. Tracks like ‘More Than Machines’ and ‘Human Sand’ are also amazing. They’ve almost added a progg element to their sound, sounding a little like Karnivool and Chevelle.

My only slight issue is that it all sounds just a bit similar. Most of the tracks follow the same sort of formula; slower, stripped-back verses and then the big riff that opened the track comes back for the chorus. At least it made ‘Creatures of the Fire’ feel different and unique, as the it the main exception to the rule. Still though, I’d LOVE to hear this stuff live, I feel like it would be one hell of a show. I need to check out more Bush now! 8/10

Queensrÿche: Digital Noise Alliance

I’m not all too familiar with the band outside of Mindcrime and Empire. However, I have heard that Geoff Tate’s replacement has done wonders for the band, so I’m curious to hear how this sounds!

Sadly, the opening track and biggest single didn’t actually grab my attention. However, the opposite could be said for ‘Chapters’. It’s an incredible catchy track, straddling the line between AOR and even some modern Iron Maiden. I do have to say though, the mixing on the vocals was a bit odd. It felt distant, quieter than it maybe should have been. Tracks like ‘Sicdeth’, ‘Nocturnal Light’ and prog epic ‘Tormentum’ are also highlights of the album.

And I would like to add that it is a good album. I wanted to stress that before I went on to say… it’s a little overdone at this point. I know Queensryche are very much one of the originators of the sound, but there is so much amazing AOR music these days, that I feel like it’s just already been done. I love this sort of music, but bands like Eclipse and Tygers of Pan Tang are just as good, and I am more familiar with their work. So it is definitely a good album full of good tracks, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as their older stuff, or as much as I could have done. Hence why I shall give it a 7/10

Wednesday 13: Horrifier

We had the chance to review this before it’s release. Spoilers, it’s awesome. To find out just how awesome, check out our full review here.

Everette: Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot – Side B

Another album we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, and another amazing one. Find the review here.

Goatwhore: Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven

The extreme metal titans returned with their eighth album this last Friday. If you’re a fan of the genre, like I am turning out to be, you’ll love this. Don’t get me wrong, It got a bit much and repetitive by around the halfway mark, but then I also loved the epic, plodding closing tracked. It’s everything you could want from an extreme metal album and certainly had me wanting to mosh! I shan’t pretend to be an expert on these things, but I enjoyed it, so will give it a 6.5/10

Counterparts: A Eulogy for Those Still Here

This feels very much like a Max album. Unfortunately, his uni has kept him too busy to help out this week. Depressing lyrics, heavy, Djenty riffing, solid drums and hardcore, bordering on extreme harsh vocals. I have to say, it’s not for me. I couldn’t really get anything memorable to come away with out of it, I just know the general sound and that it wasn’t for me. While I can appreciate they are all talented players, nothing about this prompted my will for a second listen. Sorry for anyone who is a fan, and I know that they are a pretty big band, but I’mma have too give this a 3.5/10

Barrett Davis: The Ballad of Aesop Fin

The North Carolinan country singer songwriter put out his debut album last week after months of putting out some great singles. It has a real old-school feel to it all and shows off some real talent as far as playing and songwriting is concerned. ‘Carolina Still’ is a personal highlight of the album, showing off Barrett’s impressive vocal range and some great guitar and piano. It almost boarders on easy listening, at times. It’s a good, relaxing album that I’ll definitely be chilling out to a lot in the coming weeks and months. 7/10

Acid Witch: Rot Among Us

This was a whole lot of fun. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I was ready for the stoner/doom metal riffing, but the almost Nightmare Before Christmas level of theatrical, extreme vocals over the top I was not. Honestly the duelling vocals and more stage-show style feel always does it for me in tracks, it’s why I love Ice Nine Kills so much.

‘Gather Each Witch’ and ‘Rot Among Us’ are the perfect tracks to open the album on, giving me a complete, great feel for what the band is about. The horror themes, big riffs and fun dynamics are all clear staples of the album. While not all tracks have the play-off style vocals, we still have some on ‘5508 Martin St.’ and ‘Evil Dad’. The later gives me ever so slight ‘Three Little Pigs‘ vibes with the higher vocals. Both tracks are amazing. However, saying that, there isn’t a bad track on this album.

I came into this not expecting to come away with one of my most enjoyable listens of the year, but there we go. It came out at the perfect time of the year but, honestly, I’m going to be listening to this way past Halloween. Great stuff, 9/10

VUKOVI: NULA

The Scottish rockers are back with maybe their most ambitious release to date. Just listening to opener ‘DEPARTURE’ sets up the epic feel they are going for. ‘TAINTED’ does a great job of continuing that feel and is a fantastic radio-rock track. ‘LASSO’ is another good track, the rapping being an interesting, fun addition. It has elements of Linkin Park and modern BMTH, while being a little lighter and indie/punky than both.

However, while I did enjoy the rest of the album, it only took me 4/5 songs to realise that it’s all going to be rather similar. Tracks like ‘I EXIST’ and ‘KILL IT’ are good and more highlights, but the album suffers from a similar issue and structure to Bush’s. It’s good, but I found myself getting distracted from the exact same formula in every song by the midpoint. It will most likely be more of a solo track album for me as opposed to listening through it front to back again. Because of that I can’t give it tippy top marks, but it still gets a very impressive 8.5/10

Borealis: Illusions

This is some of the most epic shit I’ve ever heard. Not many bands could have an epic intro track and then have a mega intro to the first proper song on top of it. And musically it’s like if Dream Theater did power metal. It’s definitely got that epic power/symphonic side to it, but the riffs wouldn’t sound out of place on a Djent album. I love it. The first three tracks are perfect. From a slow, epic intro to a radio track to the first epic prog track across 13 minutes, it’s fantastic. Then you have tracks like ‘Burning Tears’ and ‘Abandon All Hope’ and this is a damn good album. They deserve to be huge, and hopefully this album is the one to do it! 8.5/10

New Music Mondays: Slipknot, Monster Truck and More!

Another week, another batch if great new music for us all to check out. Let’s not waste time, and Let’s get into it! However, also a big shout out to Burridge. and her new EP, which also came out this week and we reviewed here!

Slipknot: The End, For Now

One of the biggest albums of the year from one of the biggest bands of the century, and boy has it got people divided. Check out our opinion of it here.

Monster Truck: Warriors

The Canadian southern rockers returned with their much anticipated fourth album this last week. I’ve been a fan of the band since their debut, but even I can admit that you know exactly what you’re getting from the band. Big riffs, powerful vocals, plenty of fuzz and attitude and a good guitar lick or two. This album is that to a T. Tracks like the opener, ‘Golden Woman’ and ‘Wild Man’ are all great. However, they don’t quite stack up to the likes of ‘Sweet Mountain River’ or ‘Old Train’. The issue with doing the same formula over and over is that if you already perfected it the first time it’s hard to capture that same magic again. 7/10. Definitely good, but I’ve heard better from the band.

Pixies: Doggerel

This went harder than I ever expected it to. The alt/indie rock band hit us with their eighth studio album and it caught me off guard, at the very least. From the punk AF opening track to a more Americana sound on ‘Thunder and Lightening’ to even some classic rock leanings and inspiration throughout, there is a LOT of variety here. Not all of it is my sort of thing and I do think that if a few of the tracks are going to sound so similar maybe cut a few out as it feels a little bloated. However, there isn’t really a bad song on the album and it’s definitely one I’d chuck on if I was driving or had stuff to do. Clearly I need to check out some more Pixies stuff. 7/10

Drowning Pool: Strike a Nerve

A band that 90% of people wrote off after the untimely passing of Dave Williams, the band are now seven albums deep into their careers with generally some pretty great output. I have to say, though, that while Jasen Moreno is good live with them, I haven’t enjoyed all too much of their last two albums since he took over vocals.

However, despite the ugly album artwork, I really enjoyed this. It finally feels like Jasen fits in the band. It has a renewed sense of attitude, aggression and motivation behind it. It sounds like the band wanted to make this album, not just put it out because of the label or as an excuse to tour. ‘Hate Against Hate’, ‘Stay and Bleed’, ‘Mind Right’ and ‘Down in the Dirt’ are all huge highlights on a very good album. I’d put them up against any other single the band have done, including any of Sinner. People definitely need to give this and another chance, and this is a fantastic album to dive back into them with. 8.5/10

Adam Doleac: Barstool Whiskey Wonderland

It feels like it’s been a couple of quiet weeks for country, so let’s dive into the next rising star in Nashville’s debut album.

Firstly, to get my usual gripe with country music out of the way, 18 tracks is just far too long. I love the genre, but nearly an hour spread out into 18 songs is going to bore the hell out of me at times unless Adam plans on exploring different forms of the genre too. Spoiler alert, he doesn’t. It’s 18 slower tempo country ballads. Now typically that wouldn’t be an issue, and there’s some great songs on the album, but my ADD made this album rather had to make it through in one sitting.

Tracks like the title one, ‘Drinkin’ it Wrong’ and ‘Somewhere Cool With You’ are really good and definite high points of the album. However, between them is a lot of slowish, similar music. I’d had enough around 10 tracks in, and I do think there are nine tracks you could cut to make this a fantastic, concise album. It’s another album that I’d happily stick on in the car, but outside of that I fear a fair few of the tracks will be lost to obscurity, only listened to on full album listens. And it’s a shame, because Adam is a fantastic songwriter, and half of this is amazing. 6/10

The Dead Daisies: Radiance

Another album we’ve already reviewed, this time ahead of release! Check out our thoughts and score on the supergroup’s sixth studio album here.

Darko US: Oni

If you want to know what hell sounds like, this is it. It’s like the Doom soundtrack on acid. It’s ludicrously heavy, and even if you aren’t into the music at all, you kinda have to admire and love them for that. The pair push every boundary they come across and the results are honestly like your favourite horror film. I honestly don’t understand how Tom Barber does most of this with his voice, and Josh Miller’s instrumentation is off the charts. Tracks like ‘Hyper Kill’, ‘Dragon Chaser’, ‘Evolving’ and ‘Acid Inject’ all had my face both scrunched up and grinning throughout, in the best ways. But it also has variety too, as ‘Infinite Beauty’ veered into an ethereal, almost Spiritbox style.

It’s definitely not going to be everyones cup of tea, I get that. I didn’t think it’d be mine, but it’s so heavy it’s come out the other end and laugh in far, shock and adoration. It’s insane in every way and I couldn’t stop listening to it. 9/10

Pulled Apart by Horses: Reality Cheques

Another indie/alt rock band suddenly channelling a lot more punk influence than they normally would. Heck, the bands 5th album wouldn’t look out of place in the Ramones or Iggy and the Stooges discography. The band are a bit more known for this sound than Pixies, but it still caught me off guard for some reason. And being a big fan of this style of early punk, I loved this. Being just eight tracks and half an hour in length too, I can’t really pick out a highlight. If you’re a fan of the other bands I mentioned or of punk at all, check this out, you’ll love it. I’m going to have this in rotation for the rest of the ye3ar now. 8.5/10

Icon for Hire: The Reckoning

I’ve heard the band name around for a while now and don’t know why I thought these were more of a deathcore band. Instead, they are a more pop/metalcore In This Moment. While I wasn’t sold on their opening track, they really grew on me by a few tracks in. Whether it’s ‘Ready for Combat’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Garekeepers’ or ‘All I See is Darkness’, there are some fantastic heavier track on here.

There are one or two duds too, though. ‘Sunflower’ is a glorified pop song and ‘Emo Dreams’ is probably a fair bit more cringy than they’d have hoped. Having said that, she is actually a good rapper, and I think if the lyrics had a little more substance than ‘I’m good’ then the track would have been a huge standout on the album.

However, it was far better than I was expecting. I can see it becoming more and more of a favourite with each listen. I need to.cjeck out more Icon for Hire, because this was sick. 8/10

Coldworld: Isolation

It feels like it’s been a while since I covered straight-up black metal here on New Music Mondays. Don’t get me wrong, my feelings generally haven’t changed about it, but the ambient nature of it, mixed with the very infrequent vocals, made this at least listenable. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it, but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to turn it off if it came on again. It was atmospheric as hell and really well put together and produced. I also haven’t found an album that matched its artwork so well in a while, this was a eerie, depressing album, and while I won’t probably listen to it much going forward, it was good. 6/10

Autopsy: Morbidity Triumphant

Old-school, straight up death metal from one of the pioneers of the genre in the US. It’s aggressive, it’s brutal, and it’s insanely fast. I don’t really know what else to say, really. It’s exactly what you’d expect when you the words ‘death metal’. If you’re a fan of Cannibal Corpse, you’ll love this. I’d love to see them live, even if on track I could take it or leave it. Still though, the band are insanely talented players and it shines through in every track. 5/10

Kristian Bush: 52/New Blue

A fantastic, but this time appropriately lengthed, country album. It’s heavily blues driven, meaning it’s a little more rock than Adam’s album earlier on, too. It’s another album that I’m struggling to pick highlights from too, as it’s all great. The first five tracks are how to do country perfectly, but the whole album is a masterclass in good songwriting really. I can’t praise this album enough, 8.5/10

Amaurot: …To Tread the Ancient Waters

And onto the last album of the week, a dark, symphonic power metal one. I have to admit, while this was definitely atmospheric and epic, it didn’t grab me much. It’s an incredibly cluttered sub-genre, especially this year, and I unfortunately feel like I’ve heard better. It’s not bad by any stretch, but it didn’t hold my attention at all. ‘Des Wanderers Leid’ is probably my highlight. 4/10

Derby Alt Fest 2022

Derby Alt Fest is the biggest metal festival to hit Derby city in maybe ever, we just had to cover it, right? Go and check out the line-up now if you haven’t already, it’s insane. Liam has put on one hell of a bill for everyone this year at the famous, already nearing packed-out Hairy Dog, and we’re here to give you a taste of what to expect!

Thursday:

‘Thrash Thursday’, as it has been dubbed, plays host to six of the very best in the genre in the UK scene right now. From Elyrean, Helgrind and our good friends at Thrasherwolf, it’s a damn strong opening to the day and the festival. We managed to get a few words from the frontman of the latter band, sharing his thoughts on the festival:

“Hi wolvers! Dan from Thrasherwolf here! Just to say we can’t wait to bring the pack down to ALT FEST and get some good old-fashioned violence started! We hope you’re ready for the carnage that night because you won’t be leaving the same way you came in! 🤘😝🐺

The evening then continues on its brutal ways with All Consumed and Hellfekted. Both are fantastic bands which you have to see live to get the full brunt of their energy and force. Then we reach the headliner of the evening, the mighty Cage Fight. The band have gone from strength to strength in the last few months since dropping their monster of a debut album, and this writer in particular cannot wait to be in the pit for them! They’re all worth the price of admission alone, and we still have two days left!

Check out us talk about the album here.

Friday:

The more alternative day on the wonderfully odd Dacara. The band bring their big hooks and huge guitar tones to the Dog to open up a stellar day of music. Medusa Touch bring an air of old-school, NWOBHM sound to the proceedings while WarlocK A.D. bring the power metal in spectacular fashion.

Then we reach possibly the most interesting band on the line-up, Luna Kiss. They are the lightest on the bill by quite a margin, being the only real rock band on the bill. Despite that, the band seem more than excited to be playing:

“Wil here from Luna Kiss. We’re stoked to be playing on the bill at this years Alt festival at the Hairy Dog. We’ve got a beast of a set planned and it’s going to be a good ’en’”

They are going to be a band not to be missed, and I’m curious to see how the crowd will react!

The insane local boys, Raised by Owls, are up afterwards, sharing their own brand of craziness and heaviness with the attendees. The guys have been going years at this point and have perfectly honed their craft with a show that should definitely not be missed.

Then we reach the awesome headliners of the evening, the death metal legends at this point themselves, Evil Scarecrow. The comedic, heavy band are possibly the biggest to ever grace the Alt Fest stage, and always bring with them one hell of a stage show to entertain their audience with. Not to mention, their songs are incredible, and they are all at the top of the game at what they do.

We managed to get a few words from the band too about their sure to be legendary set:

“Evil Scarecrow are so excited to be back at The Hairy Dog for the first time in a long time and looking forward to be returning back since the big room was opened. So get them crab claws, karate moves and robotic dancing at the ready as we look forward to seeing you all on the Friday night!”

Saturday:

The final day is packed full of incredible bands, with a whole afternoon and evening of great music. OATHS bring the heavy straight away with some great deathcore while Past the Fall are set to follow them with their own brand of brutality. The crushing heaviness continues with the likes of Beyond Extinction, Worship the Sacrifice and Hounds before Abduction give us a more black metal tint.

Inhuman Nature bring it back to the thrash sound again but with an extreme edge while Monasteries look to blast everyone away with their heaviness and insane talent. Fairly local band The Five Hundred return to blow the roof off the Dog as they always do, while crowd favourites Osiah pile on more insane brutality to the proceedings.

Then we reach the headliner and final band of the festival, the incredible Martyr Defiled. What more could you ask for? They are the perfect way to close out a heavy festival. Huge, heavy, at the top of their game and ready to put on an insane show to a roaring crowd. This is going to be a fantastic set, I’m sure, and one that I cannot wait to see!

We also managed to get a quick interview with the organiser and Unearthed main-man Liam about the festival, which you can check out below!

How did you decide on the bands?

Alt fest has always been as alternative as I can make it. It used to be a lot more difficult when I had just one day to smash as many genres as we could into it but now, we can really experiment. For this year I’ve based it on Thrash Thursday, Alternative Friday, and Heavy Saturday, so then I built it around that model.

How long does it take to plan an event like this and how many people are involved?

Planning pretty much starts when the previous year finishes, you look at what went well and what might have not and then begin building from there, looking at potential headliners and then opening applications and seeing who’s about. I have to shout out my guy Harry who I run Unearthed with, he’s not only helped structure the line up with me this year but also done all the graphics internally, and also everyone at The Hairy Dog, for continuing to allow me to put as many bands as physically possible on over the weekend and looking after us all.

What’s the history of Derby Alt Fest?

I actually started it as a standalone in 2016 to go along with my old bands EP release show, and it really just spiralled from that. I’ve tried to make it bigger and better every year and to not only bring bands back who have become fest favourites but also bring bigger bands who have never played. Were now in the sixth year of the event.

What can we expect at the festival this year?

Every day is going to be different. The style of bands make the shows great as standalones as well as forming into the three-day weekend. Thursday we have Cage Fight who are just rising at a rapid rate, and after just smashing Bloodstock second stage I can’t wait to see them destroy the Dog. Friday really is mental thinking about it, EVIL SCARECROW. I’ve seen this band on huge stages in the past and it’s going to be an incredible show. The Saturday is just going to be flat out brutal from start to finish. Headlined by Martyr Defiled.

New Music Mondays: Megadeth, Yungblud and More!

Megadeth: The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!

So, I was a thrash-head as a kid. Growing up I idolised the Big 4, Testament, Evile etc, alongside other 80s bands too. Though I have dropped off as my horizons have expanded getting older, Megadeth will always have a place in my heart. My dad introduced me to them, I’ve seen them multiple times and have a bunch of their albums.

So, it comes from a place of love when I say… this wasn’t great. It’s not bad by any stretch, but this is fuckin’ Megadeth we’re talking, it shouldn’t be as average as this. Mustaine didn’t sound like he was struggling, given his struggles the last few years. He just sounded tired. The whole band do, in fact. When the most standout point of the album is that Ice T is underused, you know that it’s not great. And ‘Night Stalker’ is still the best track on the album despite that!

But as I said, none of it is bad. The rhythm work is fine. The lead work is fine. The lyrics are fine. It’s all fine. But I guess after Dystopia I came in expecting a little more. It’s not as bad as Super Collider or Risk, but does sit comfortably around the Thirteen/Criptic Writings mark. 5.5/10

Yubgblud: Self-Titled

I didn’t think this was going to be for me. Surprise, it wasn’t. It’s like he’s tried to do a more pop punk Billy Idol, and it doesn’t really work. In terms of a continuation of this strange pop-rock trend going around it’s passable, I guess. But it’s exactly that, pop. No matter how much he wears eyeliner and acts ‘punk’, it’s no different to Olivia Rodrigo. Also, no matter how much I hear it, WILLOW’s voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me, so ‘Memories’ was like torture.

And look, I’m not saying that slightly rockier music being in the mainstream is a bad thing. Anything that will open more people’s eyes to the rock world and encourage them to support bands or even pick up an instrument themselves is a good thing. But that doesn’t mean that gateway music is any good, still. I’m sure the generation before me thought the exact same about me listening to Busted as a kid, but it definitely helped push me in the right direction. But then again, while Busted’s lyrics were cheesy, at least they weren’t all about being depressed and suicidal and doing drugs. Great message to give to the kids!

Yeah, no thanks. This is up there with MGK as one of the worst ‘rock’ albums of the year. If I never have to listen to it again it’ll be too soon. 2.5/10

Blind Guardian: The God Machine

This might as well be called ‘Painkiller Pt. 2’, and that’s in no way a bad thing. It’s like Iron Maiden, WASP and Judas Priest had a lovechild and that child got really into vikings and medieval times. It’s epic power metal and I love it.

Aside from the ch0nky riffs, the main highlight for me is the vocal harmonies. They’re almost Muse/Queen levels of good. It makes each song so catchy and fun to listen to. But yes, each member of the band does amazingly, the instrumentation is off the charts.

‘Secrets of the American Gods’ is a massive highlight of the album, as is ‘Blood of the Elves’. An album full of really great power metal, I can’t complain about any of it! 7.5/10

The Hu: Rumble of Thunder

The Mongolian folk metal band are back with their second album. Now, when these first came out with their original couple of singles, I LOVED them. However, I felt myself falling off them a little when the hype got huge and their debut album came out. That makes me feel like a huge hipster, but I cannot help the truth!

However, I really enjoyed this, it was really good! From the Metalica inspired opening track to the slower, almost upbeat indie stylings of ‘Triangle’, it’s got a bit of everything! It’s a good album in its entirety though, I enjoyed every track and it all went by in a flash. However, as good as it all was, the band did a good job at choosing the singles, as ‘Black Thunder’ and ‘This is Mongol’ are definitely the highlights. It’s nice to hear the band have some range, but they are at their best when doing their own take on epic metal.

The Butterfly Effect: IV

Having never even heard the band name before, I was really pleasantly surprised by this! It was like Dream Theater without the length, which is arguably their downfall to my ears at times. This was dark and heavy without technically being classed as metal, I’d say. It straddled the line perfectly and had some great tracks like ‘Dark Light’ and ‘Unbroken’. I’m definitely going to have to check out more of these guys moving forward! 7/10

Jon Pardi: Mr. Saturday Night

One of the biggest names in country is back with his fourth studio album. Now, none of the tracks are quite as big as the HUGE ‘Dirt on my Boots’ or even ‘Heartache Medication’. However, every track on this is solid. There isn’t even a hint if a dud track. ‘Mr Saturday Night’ is a fantastic, emotional opener and a definite highlight. Tracks like ‘New Place to Drink’ and ‘Longneck Way to Go’ are also huge highlights, but there are plenty to pick from. If you’re into country again all this is worth checking out, you definitely won’t regret it! 8/10

Oceans Ate Alaska: Disparity

The metalcore Brits returned this last week with their third studio album. I heard the name a lot in my youth as my friends were big into the band. I didn’t pay them too much attention though, unfortunately. That all changes today!

Right from the heavy opening of fan-favourite ‘Paradigm’ I was hooked, and hooked until the end. It’s definitely on the heavier side of metalcore so isn’t going to be for everyone, but it’s like 30 minutes of continuous breakdowns and I love it. Of course lead single ‘Metamorph’ is another huge highlight, as is ‘Plague Speach’. But the whole album is worth a listen if you’re into modern UK metalcore, this is great stuff. 8.5/10

King’s X: Three Sides of One

The Christian hard/blues rock band just put out their 13th studio album, and first since 208. I’ve heard the name at least this time, but had no idea they’d been going since 1979. Another insane fact I found out in my research is that it’s the same three band members, they haven’t had a lineup change in their entire 40+ year career. That’s damn impressive.

The album itself is pretty good! Opening track ‘Let it Rain’ is a fantastic way to kick off the album and gives a great insight into what the band sound like throughout. It’s dark, fun and catchy. Tracks like ‘Give it Up’ and ‘Swipe Up’ are also great. However, there is a surprising number of slower tracks on this album. It’s not really a bad thing, but does throw the pacing of the album off almost immediately. Front-loading the album with the slower tracks is an odd choice, but ultimately doesn’t make the album that much worse! 7/10

ENSANGUINATE: Eldritch Anatomy

Surprisingly opening into a fat riff to open up the album, this was much more thrash/death than I was expecting. I don’t know why I was expecting black metal. The speed and catchy gang vocals of ‘Haunted’ won me round to this album immediately and I ended up really enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not or everyone. But this is a fun, great old-school death metal album. I’d even say it gives the classics a run for their money, if I’m being honest! Great stuff that I’ll definitely be listening to again and again. 8/10

Defacing God: The Resurrection of Lilith

This one is much more black metal, being more epic in feel and having much more blast beats. It’s more extreme or melodeath in its presentation, though. It reminded me a little bit of Cradle of Filth actually in the harsh vocals and the grand scale. Maybe because of this I didn’t hate this at all. I’m still a little fussy when it comes to the super heavy side of things, but when it feels epiclike this it definitely wins me over. Everything about ‘The Resurrection’ is fantastic, from the emotion and harsh vocals to the onslaught of fantastic riffs. Again though most of this is great, there really isn’t anything not worth listening to if you like this style of music. 7.5/10

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New Music Mondays: Five Finger Death Punch, Panic! At the Disco and Much More!

A STACKED week of new music from the rock and metal world this week. Join us in checking it out!

Five Finger Death Punch: AfterLife

Okay, let’s get the controversial one out of the way first. I know that if I give this band and album any praise at all y’all will disagree, and that’s fine, I’ve made peace with it. But underneath the Monster guzzling, Drywall and partner punching Kyle energy, there are some damn talented musicians. Heck, ANDY FUCKING JAMES guitars for them these days, the talent is there. And their first couple of albums were honestly fantastic. I haven’t heard the new singles or much after Wrong Side of Heaven as they began to bore me, but hopefully this album brings them back to their roots more!

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. It’s nowhere near as bad as people will make it out to be, it’s still okay. It’s just incredibly generic radio metal. The riffs are still phat and fun and the production is still up there with some of the best. And of course James shreds some of the best highlights of the album. The issue, much like with most of their music, is Ivan’s lyrics. The angsty, angry, juvenile writing is really something a man in his 40s should have grown out of by now. He has a great voice still and is clearly good at writing catchy, huge vocal melodies and choruses, they’re just dampened considerably by the lyrical content. If they were a bit deeper or had more to them or had changed at all in the last decade+, I feel like this would be great.

‘Times Like These’ was an okay ballad and the title track is okay. But for every good track on the album, there’s a ‘Roll Dem Bones’ or the utterly terrible ‘Judgement Day’. Honestly, the good was few and far between and this was a really tough listen. I was bored way before halfway through. It’s such a shame because their thrash-Slipknot sound and attitude of Way of the Fist was fantastic and they have yet to get close to its quality. It’s a pretty slow album all-round, actually. The biggest praise I can give it, I guess, is that it’s somehow easy-listening metal. But still, it’s the worst album I’ve heard from them, of the five I’ve heard. 3/10

Panic! At The Disco: Viva Las Vengeance

Brendan Urie and friends (it stopped being Panic! years ago) are back with the follow-up to their massive 2018 album Pray For the Wicked. I have to admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of this band at their rock peak, I always preferred Fallout Boy, but I like a few tracks here and there. Heck, even ‘High Hopes’ isn’t bad as far as earworms go, just incredibly overplayed. With how poppy the singles have been so far, I feel like they’re going to be the same.

While a terrible album opener, the title track is a fun, Vegas-inspired pop-rock song. That’s pretty much the entire story of the album, if I’m being honest. And I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing. It’s not bad music at all, just a tad boring. It’s okay chilled out pop ‘rock’, but it’s a far cry from ‘I Write Sins not Tragedies’. It is pretty much musical music, which is exactly where Urie wants to be. Honestly if this was a musical I’d probably enjoy it a lot more than I do. Brendan is still one of the best vocalists alive today, but outside some pretty basic instrumentation behind his voice, that’s all there is to this album.

‘God Killed Rock And Roll’ is maybe the highlight of the album, but that’s because it’s so obviously and unapologetically Queen that it’s almost laughable. It’s a good album and I wouldn’t turn it off if it came on again, but it’s not really my sort of thing. 5/10

Demi Lovato: HOLY FVCK

It took Demi adding one of the most acclaimed rock guitarists currently in Nita Strauss in order to go back to pop punk. However, that was a relatively new addition so maybe this had been in the works for a while. Either way, a minute into the album and it’s already better than anything else she’s ever done. That riff for FREAK is tasty and for once the awful Yungblud doesn’t even overstay his welcome on a guest slot.

I’m so glad artists of this ilk, the latest being Avril Lavigne, are returning to this rock-inspired sound, and that a new generation is stepping up to join them. Hopefully it starts to lead towards more rock in the mainstream again. Plus, hopefully P!nk comes back to join the style soon too!

This album is fucking incredible, by the way. This is the album she should have put out after her return from rehab last year. Its full of emotion and a look into her thoughts and feelings about her past few years. And musically it’s catchy, radio friendly and, most importantly, ROCK. The genre that (kinda) introduced the world to her, and she returns with a vengeance. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the album art seems pretty similar to The Pretty Reckless’s last album, it’s clear that album’s inspired this one quite a bit. There’s nothing to really complain about anything, aside maybe the bloated track listing, but the album is that well paced that it doesn’t really even matter. I can’t believe I’m putting this but 8.5/10, it really is that good!

I Prevail: TRUE POWER

Another band I feel like I should have given more time to before now. It’s metalcore and has everything I should like in a band. I have one of their tracks on my Spotify (Gasoline, I think) and do enjoy it. So, I’m excited to sink my teeth into this album.

Truthfully, this album is a bit of a mixed bag. I liked when they got heavier on tracks like ‘Body Bag’, ‘Fake’ and ‘Judgement Day’. However their lighter stuff didn’t do much for me and their pop-punk, clean choruses almost felt a little… generic? I feel like that’s not the right word but I can’t think of a better one. I feel like I’ve heard them before. And some of the rap didn’t do it for me either, while some parts of it really did. Overall there was enough to keep me coming back, and plenty of it has made our playlist. 7/10

Soilwork: Overgivenheten

This was all over the place in the best way. So much so that I had to listen to it multiple times through over the weekend in order to just compose my thoughts. Sometimes melodeath, sometimes prog, sometimes power metal, sometimes straight up Scorpions-style hard rock, this had a bit of everything.

Having said that, everything they do sounds great. The heavier, epic opener into the lighter, clean-centric following track did a great job of showing what the band are about right from the offset. From there the quality stays, as does the variety. ‘Electric Again’ is one of my favourite tracks on the album, as is ‘Is It in Your Darkness’. No two songs are alike, especially when next to each other on the album, a fantastic display of songwriting prowess and honestly made for an insanely fun listen. Every track is good, not just the highlights, and this is an album I’ll be listening to a lot going forward! 8/10

The Chats: Get Fucked

Unapologetically punk as FUCK. Basically The Sex Pistols but with actual talent. I don’t even know what else I can say about it, it’s that straightforward an album. It’s punk, if you like the genre, you’ll like this. I’d struggle to even pick some highlight tracks as, due to the style, they all sound pretty similar. However, the album is so concise at 27-minutes that it never overstays its welcome. Good stuff! 7/10

Silversun Pickups: Physical Thrills

This was not what I was expecting, but I have no idea why. I’ve seen the name floating around for a good few years and always associated them with the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead. And guess what, this was exactly like those two bands. I guess I was simply expecting a little more, however foolishly. I’m not really a fan of either of the aforementioned bands, and I can’t get into this much either.

It’s dark, moody prog rock with just enough of a commercial edge that it could be considered radio-friendly. I wasn’t a fan of some of the artier tracks, but then songs like ‘Sacred Together’ and ‘Hereafter’ were so good it made me almost forget how much I wasn’t fussed by the rest of the album.

Conan: Evidence of Immortality

Heavy prog doom metal from the UK, this feels like the most ‘true metal’ thing I’ve ever listened to. When the opening track is 10+ minutes long, you know you’re in for one hell of a ride.

Unfortunately, that ride is pretty slow and takes a while to get to any fun sightseeing locations. I’m a fan of doom, but the same riffs repeated for two minutes or more don’t do much for me. The vocals help breakup the repetitiveness of the tracks a little, and the scream is very good. But it wasn’t enough to hold my attention for too long.

I remember seeing them a few years ago at a small venue my old band played at and remember enjoying them live, so maybe that’s what I need. Seeing music live helps it translate a lot better, being surrounded by likeminded people and having it all much louder and seeing them play it etc. Until I can make it down to one of their gigs, however, I feel like I can only give this a 4.5/10. Sorry guys.

Thundermother: Black and Gold

A controversial band next, at least in the UK underground rock scene. The NWOCR band return with their fifth album, looking to shake some of that negative energy off them, and honestly it’s very good.

Opening track ‘The Light in the Sky’ sets a great stadium-filling sound and precedent that continues throughout. The title track is mid-tempoed, catchy awesomeness and the riff for ‘Raise Your Hands’ is sleazy greatness. The soft, almost jazz rock ballad ‘Hot Mess’ is another massive highlight of the album too, as is the Thunderstruck-esque ‘I Don’t Know You’.

It’s all massive, catchy, radio-friendly hard rock, and it’s great. Some bands you can just tell from their sound and songwriting that they’re going to be massive, and these are definitely one of them. I could easily hear this opening for amassive stadium tour like GnR or the Crue/Leppard one, it’d go down a storm. I can’t praise this enough. 9/10

Hammer King: Kingdemonium

We checked this out already and loved it. Check out the full review and score here.

Lillian Axe: From Womb to Tomb

The first new album to be released by the band in over a decade, it’s not as black metal as the album title suggests it is. If anything a lot of it channels more soft/prog rock sounds than the ‘hard rock’ they are. While the opening track sounds ELO-like, the second goes in a completely different direction and goes full Dream Theater. I actually quite like the prog sound they go for for the most part, but it is so very DT I might as well just be listening to Octavarium. There’s some fun riffs none the less and the vocals are powerful and fit the music well. Good stuff, but nothing that I haven’t heard plenty before. 6/10

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New Music Mondays: Arch Enemy, Hollywood Undead and More!

Some great new music in both the rock and metal worlds this week. Let’s waste no time, let’s look at some!

Arch Enemy: Deceivers

For a band that contains the guitar god Jeff Loomis, Arch Enemy definitely don’t get a lot of praise. Yes, I know their more recent stuff after Alissa joined isn’t a lot of peoples favourite stuff by the band but honestly, the singles for this album have been great and if they are anything to go by, it should be fantastic.

I can confirm it is indeed, in my opinion, fantastic. Alissa has one of the most effortlessly powerful screams in the game today, and the introduction of more cleans to their sound adds a great commercial range to the band. It’s (almost) radio-friendly death metal, which is a damn impressive genre if I do say so myself. And while Loomis doesn’t have a huge amount of writing credit for the album, his lead and rhythm playing is incredible and shows that he is stuill very much at the top of his game.

‘Handshake With Hell’ is an amazing single and the perfect way to open the album. ‘Deceiver, Deceiver’ is a good balls-to-the-wall follow-up but it’s the stadium-filling ‘In the Eye of the Storm’ and ‘House of Mirrors’ that are the real highlights of the album. This heavier take on European power metal that bands like these and Parkway Drive are doing these days is controversial but, in this writers humble opinion, amazing. The whole album is great and a really good jumping off point for anyone who wants to get into the heavier side of metal. 9/10

Hollywood Undead: Hotel Kalifornia

What a 180. I never got Hollywood Undead even back in the day, but then I don’t think I was their target audience. But then again I’m a fan of RATM, Fever 333, Hyro The Hero, Linkin Park etc, so I don’t really know why this didn’t click for me. I think it’s more the 2edgy4U lyrics, it comes across as rather cringy.

It wasn’t quite as bad as some of their older stuff. There were hits of decent riffs in the likes of ‘CHAOS’ and ‘Alone at the Top’ (by far the saving grace of the album), and there are plenty of big choruses. But then there are tracks like ‘Ruin My Life’ and ‘Trap God’ that are just terrible. If you are a fan of the band I am sorry for most likely offending you, but I found this hard to get even halfway through this album. I’m going to leave it here otherwise I’ll continue to be negative. 3/10

The Goo Goo Dolls: Chaos In Bloom

Yes, they’ve done more than ‘Iris’. This was actually a pretty good album. A combination of Matchbox Twenty, the slower Aerosmith tracks and a surprising amount of Britpop. Tracks like ‘War’ and ‘Going Crazy’ were personal highlights for me, but the whole album was decent. Don’t go in expecting much more than slower, ballady pop-rock, but if that’s your thing than it’s a good album for just relax to or have on while you’re doing other things! 6.5/10

The Halo Effect: Days of the Lost

In Flames in everything but name alone, The Halo Effect’s debut album is okay. I have to admit that I never quite ‘got’ In Flames outside of a track or two, and this didn’t do much for me either. Everyone is clearly very good at what they do but nothing gripped me or stood out to me at all. It’s all pretty samey and that sound just doesn’t make me want to listen to more. The closest thing to a track I enjoyed here was ‘A Truth Worth Dying For’, and that’s probably because it’s basically a Trivium song. Sorry guys, I feel like I’m going to catch some flack for this. 4/10

Check out some more death metal here.

Boris: Heavy Rocks

The Japanese experimental band put out their third Heavy Rocks album in which they explore the rock and metal genre. It’s weird. Like as an experimental art piece I get it, especially if they are constantly exploring different genres. However, I cannot envision myself listening to this much more after this review. Tracks like the early-Nirvana-inspired ‘My Name is Blank’ and the almost Black Metal ‘Question 1’ are as close to highlights as the album has. None of it is bad, it just feels like exactly what it is, a group of people deciding “lets make a rock album, that could be cool!”, instead of wanting to write the genre their entire lives, like most in rock have. 4.5/10

Thee Oh Sees/Osees: A Foul Form

The alt/punk rock band put out a lot of music under various different incarnations of the band name, though it would always be similar. Somehow, while always writing music within the rock genre, this channelled as lot of the same energies as the previous album for me. I’m not quite into the experimental side of rock as some people so if you love this, I can understand why. However, this is not for me. At least it’s a short album, as I’d gotten bored by the fourth track and it changed very little in the final six tracks. 3.5/10

Pale Waves: Unwanted

Leaning harder into the pop elements over the rock or indie ones of their sound, I almost didn’t cover this album. Then I remembered I’ve already done the likes of Avril Lavigne and Stand Atlantic so I might as well! And, to tell you the truth, this album is better than half the others this week. The slow build of ‘The Hard Way’ won me over, and tracks like ‘Alone’ and ‘Only Problem’ are other great highlights of the album. It’s just catchy, inoffensive pop-rock, and it was enjoyable to listen to. Yes, I’m going to score this higher than Halo Effect, and I’d also probably put it above most In Flames albums too. Sue me. 7/10

Norma Jean: Deathrattle Sing for Me

Time for some of the dirtiest metalcore I’ve ever heard. It grew on me more and more the more I listened. I pretty much had a breakdown face for a full 53-minutes. ‘Spearmint Revolt’ is one of the best metalcore tracks I’ve heard period, never mind just this year. That riff is CH0NKY. ‘Aria Obscura’ is also packed full of great, heavy riffs while having a more radio-friendly edge. But honestly, this whole album is worth a listen. Even if you’re not typically into heavy stuff and screaming, there’s enough commercial edge to ease you in. 8.5/10

Seventh Storm: Maledictus

A more thrashy version of pirate metal, like a heavier, more serious Alestorm. I fucking love it. Right from the offset, this had me hooked (pun intended) and I loved it from start to finish. And, it’s another example of an utterly fantastic debut album, something that has happened a lot in recent weeks. It’s somehow an amagamation of bands like Alestorm, Machine Head, Amon Amarth, Disturbed and even some Behemoth in the riffs. It’s a fantastic blend of styles and really has something for everyone. The opener and ‘The Reckoning’ are personal favourites of mine, but again the whole album is fantastic. The only thing that could possibly put people off is the song lengths but honestly, the band does so much per track it’s easy to get lost and not realise seven minutes have been and gone. 8.5/10

Carrion Vael: Abhorrent Obsessions

The melodeath band round out this week’s New Music Mondays with a brutal album. It’s heavier than a lot in the genre, definitely adding in a lot of extreme and blackened elements. Still, tracks like ‘The Devil in Me’ and ‘Disturbia’ are great. A good album for anyone who’s into quick, heavy music! 7/10

New Music Mondays: Amon Amarth, Soulfly and More!

You know what’s happening by now. Lots of new music from ten awesome bands. Lets check them out together down below!

Amon Amarth: The Great Heathen Army

Scandinavian Viking metallers return with their 12th studio album, and once again it’s awesome. However, the first thing I noticed was that the fantastic single ‘Put Your Back into the Oar’ that was released earlier this year did not make the album. An unfortunate omission as it’s a great track, but so are the others that made the album’s cut. It’s a concise nine tracks of great death metal. The opener sets the scene perfectly while the title track is simply awesome. However, tracks like ‘Heidrun’ and ‘Find a Way or Make One’ are definite highlights of the album. And of course, the collab between them and Saxon, aptly titled ‘Saxons and Vikings’, is as amazing as you’d expect it to be. While I do have to admit I did prefer the bands last two albums over this one, it’s still a great album I’ll be listening to a lot going forward!7.5/10

Soulfly: Totem

A band that I really should listen to more given how much I like Sepultura, Soulfly have now released a whopping 12 albums for me to catch up on. The groove/death metal band go hard right from the opening track, ‘Superstition’, and to little surprise also go hard through all ten tracks. It shares similar characteristics to the previous album in that both are a similar genre and draw on their culture for inspiration (though Max doesn’t do it as much here as he used to). However, I do think Amon Amarth did it slightly better. Soulfly definitely have the more aggressive edge to their sound, but I found the catchier element of AA funner and ultimately more enjoyable. I know I shouldn’t compare the two bands, and tracks like ‘Souring the Vile’ and ‘Ancestors’ are great, but it’s hard not to when both come out on the same day. Maybe it would translate better live for me! 6.5/10

The Interrupters: In the Wild

We don’t have enough ska on this site, or in the music scene in general any more, so I am so glad The Interrupters are flying the flag for the fourth wave of ska. The Distillers-inspired band have put out three of the best punk albums of the last decade in their short career, and look to continue their streak with this one. Starting out punky it soon goes full ska with the awesome ‘As We Live’ (anything with Tim Armstrong is awesome). The rather silly ‘Raised by Wolves’ gives way to the fantastic lead single, ‘In the Mirror’, and the album is off to a fantastic start.

My only issue with this album is how bloated it is. I love the band and genre as much as the next guy, but 14 tracks is a lot for a ska album. However, having said that, each song is amazing, so I don’t know how they’d have cut any as I wouldn’t be able to choose which to get rid of. The tracks are short enough too, the album is still less than 45-minutes long. I guess it’s just my easily distracted brain wanting slightly ore variety when listening to so many tracks at once. Still, every track on the album is awesome, especially ‘Love Never Dies’ featuring the criminally underrated Skints. Check this out, as it really is a fantastic album, and definitely continues their winning streak! 9/10

Dub War: Westgate Under Fire

Skindred mastermind Benji Webbe’s original band have been on and off active for the last eight years now, but their first new music release in 24 years is a pretty massive deal. The reggae punk-rock works just as well with the political subject matter that ‘Blackkk Man’ explores as it does the slightly lighter subject matter of Skindred’s lyrics. For anyone who isn’t as familiar with the band, it’s more closely related to Public Enemy, Suicidal Tendencies and even Wildhearts than the heavier riffs that Mikey Demus brings to Skindred. However, tracks like ‘Vibes in the Place’, ‘Mary Shelley’ and ‘Fun Done’ are all awesome. A good album and a great return from a band that should have gotten further the first time round! 7.5/10

Psycroptic: Divine Council

The death metal Aussies put out one hell of an eighth studio album last Friday. I cannot get over how fucking incredible the riffs are throughout the entire album, and just the guitars in general. Joe Haley is another criminally underrated guitarist, creating a dream album for those into the rhythm side of the instrument. Just check out ‘A Fool’s Errand’ to hear what I’m talking about. The rest of the band are fantastic too, the drummer working overtime throughout and all the different screams fitting the genre perfectly and being amazing. This is the sort of death metal that I love and holy crap, what an album. At just nine tracks and under f40 minutes, it’s also compact and concise awesomeness. Check this out, you won’t be disappointed! 8/.5/10

The Flatliners: New Ruin

The punk/almost post-hardcore band released their first album in half a decade last week. I wasn’t familiar with the band before writing this review and, honestly, I’m not sure how to feel about the album even after listening to it all. It wasn’t bad at all, it just felt like nothing really stood out to me. It reminds me of this year’s Static Dress album in that it’s a genre that I should LOVE, but for some reason it just doesn’t resonate with me the way I thought it would. However, the more indie-like chorus for ‘Rat King’ did have me singing along pretty quick and is definitely a highlight o the album. 6/10

Abbadon Incarnate: The Wretched Sermon

This at least wins the award for best album artwork of the week. It’s fuckin’ awesome. As for the music, it’s impressively fast death metal. Like, if thrash and death had a baby and then gave it speed. It’s a lot of fun. However, I did find myself loosing track of which song was wihich rather quickly, they all blended into one. Outside of the more up and down, longer ‘Isolation and Decay’ it was all rather samey. It was still a good listen and worth it for anyone who’s into the heavy stuff, but it’s exactly what you’d expect it to be. 6.5/10

StormbounD: December

Check out our full review of this awesome album, alongside it’s score, here.

Grave Bathers: Rock’n’Roll Fetish

The stoner/doom rock band’s debut gives us more riffs than 99.99% of other albums combined, so it feels. The band seem like the second coming of The Sword, something that the industry has needed ever since said band released High Country. ‘Ghost ‘Em All’ pens the album in spectacular fashion and perfectly encapsulates what the band is about and going for It’s amazing. The rest of the album is just as spectacular, too. Again though, and I feel like a broken record at this point, it’s a damn long album. 12 tracks spanning 81-minutes is a lot, even if given the genre it’s a little more forgivable than others. However, the sheer talent of the bands playing and songwriting on display means that even at the insane length of the tracks, it is still one hell of a great listen. No highlights again here, all the tracks are great. 9/10

Devil’s Paradise: Post Mortem

17 tracks for 80-minutes of music. What is it about this week and really long albums? It feels like the bands are cottoning on to how many albums I listen to to review a week and are taking the piss a bit now!

In all seriousness though, this was fantastic. Another great debut album (even if some of these tracks have been out nearly a decade already), making a whopping three in the same day! They remind me a lot of one of my favourite newer bands this year, South of Salem. I really hope this combo of Misfits style goth-punk and modern-day sleaze sticks around and continues to get bigger, because it’s a fantastic sub-genre. This does have a little more of a US radio rock edge to it too (think Burn Halo, Soil etc), especially on the slower tracks like ‘Ghost’. There’s also a handful of slower tracks that sound like Avenged Sevenfold when they they to sound like GNR. I love all of it, these ballads or the heavier, faster goth-sleaze tracks.

There are plenty of highlights from the album, a handful of which made our playlist. This is DEFINITELY worth checking out, these guys are gonna be huge. 9/10

And there we have it, an absolutely fantastic week for new music, a lot of it coming from the youngest bands on the list. Rock music is in an incredibly strong place right now with the next generation coming up, and I cannot wait to see where they all go from here!

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