Tag Archives: NWOCR

Call This a Reality?: A Bold New Step for Anchor Lane!

Scottish rockers Anchor Lane have been gathering a lot of steam over the last couple of years, with headline tours, festival appearances at the likes of Download and Isle of White, and supporting bands like Ricky Warwick. They’re riding a wave of momentum heading into the release of their second album. If it’s anywhere near as good as the singles have been, we’re in for a treat. Let’s check it out and see!

A great, groove-filled riff opens the album and ‘Stutter’. It gives the track an immediate bounce and sets the heavy rock tone of the album perfectly. The vocals are catchy throughout, even in the verses which is always a bit of a struggle. I can hear people singing along to the entire track live, and it’ll be awesome. The Arctic Monkeys/Royal Blood style chorus is a definite highlight of the track, though! The bridge riff is also awesome, giving off heavy Muse vibes. I can see this going OFF live and being a definite crowd favourite. It’s also a definite favourite of mine as it easily makes our playlist!

Check out our interview with the band here.

The Muse sound continues through ‘Ministry’, the opening feeling pretty ‘Knights of Cydonia’ while the rest gives off 2nd Law vibes. It’s another HUGE, stadium-filling chorus, and is almost a ballad. It’s a pretty ballsy move to have a slower song this early on a rock album, but Anchor Lane pull it off to perfection. It’s a simple yet very affective track, and another major highlight of the album.

The album’s title track has another fantastic, bouncy riff running through it. This time it’s very Royal Blood in the best of ways. It’s another song where every time the vocals are present it’s catchy as anything, but hot damn is that harmony heading into the second verse just amazing. It’s so clean and perfect, you need to stop reading this and listen to it right now. Still here? Well it also has an amazing guitar solo, so there’s that too. The outro part of the chorus with all the vocal harmonies even gave me SOAD vibes, which was a nice, unexpected surprise. Honestly, this may be my favourite track on the album and one of my favourite of the year so far. Playlisted.

‘Nitroglycerin’ opens on a heavy guitar riff before dropping back to a more Artic Monkeys style verse and chorus. It’s a damn catchy slower track again, dripping with attitude and swagger. I LOVE the higher vocals on the final chorus, too. It adds another layer to it and sounds really awesome. Another fantastic track.

‘I’ve Been Waiting’ is another good track but gives off very similar vibes to the previous track. Meanwhile ‘The Mischievous Song’ has a fun almost indie vibe to it. It’s simpler instrumentally, being more heavily lead by the bass and drums, the guitars being a little scrappier and looser. The ‘ooo’s in the chorus are of course catchy and remind me a little of ‘Bohemian Like You’. It’s just a fun track, and a nice change of pace for the album.

The distant vocals were a cool opening for ‘Choke’, making the riff exploding in after into an even bigger punch to the face. The rest of the track is just a great, straight-up rock song. It’s fast, heavy and yet massively radio-friendly. Anchor Lane have found the perfect formula and balance of hard rock and pop hooks, and it’s on display at its best in this track. It’s awesome.

‘Electric Karma’ is another bouncy, heavier indie-style track. It’s hard not to compare the band to Artic Monkeys as the vocal melodies are pretty similar a lot of times, but I would put them far and above AM in terms of talent and songwriting. This is better than anything the former Glastonbury headliners have put out in years. Not much to say about the track, it’s just another fantastic one.

‘Bitter’ is the true ballad of the album, and I love it. It’s slow, moody and builds perfectly throughout. This one reminds me more of Placebo than anything else, but that may just be because ‘bitter end’ is said so much. I also for some reason get BFMV ballad vibes. Like one of the slower tracks from Gravity or Fever. The brooding, emotional track is another one that I recommend checking out immediately. No matter what I say, I won’t do it justice, it’s so good. You might as well just check it out on our playlist, right…?

After a brief yet beautiful piano interlude, we get the final two tracks. ‘Sychophant Disorder’ is another heavy track that bears surprising resemblance to a metalcore song. From the great riff to the heaviness to the almost djent-like moments, it’s definitely the closest to metal on the album. The lyrics are also fantastic here. They have been throughout the entire album, but it feels somehow even a step beyond with this track. And it’s catchy as hell as always. It actually felt like a better closing track for the album than the actual closer, ‘I Don’t Have Another Soul to Pour’, did. I like the final track, don’t get me wrong, but it’s another track of similar stuff, while ‘Sychophant…’ was something interestingly different. Still, both tracks are amazing and the former makes our playlist!

Overall: This was phenomenal. There isn’t a bad track on the album, and some of them are some of the best tracks I’ve heard in a while. I’ve not listened to something that’s made me feel like this in a while, either. This album is going to catapult the band to the stratosphere, and it is 110% deserved. It’s going to be up there in my album of the year discussions in 11 months time, that’s for damn sure.

The Score: 9.5/10

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King Kraken: ‘We fit in every little genre which is great!’

Wales’ own King Kraken sat down to chat to us ahead of the release of their new album, talking about the recording and writing process as well as their plans for the future. Check it out below!

Check out our review of the album here.

So firstly, how would you describe your sound?

Yeah, it’s a bit of a difficult thing to describe to be honest. There’s so many different influences in there that it’s difficult to nail down one sound. Like the second song on the album, the middle part, is something completely different to the rest of the song. I don’t think we’re just one genre of music.

We sort of drift between everything to do with rock and… we’ve been told thrash, which I don’t really agree with. There’s just elements of different genres in there and it’s difficult to pinpoint what we are I suppose. We fit in every little genre which is great!

I suppose the main way we sound is a heavier version of Clutch, Mastadon, Black Stone Cherry, a mix of all of three!

What was it like to write and record the new album?

We came out of the dreaded lockdowns and said, right, we need to get back on it. Because we live so far apart from eachother we couldn’t actually get together during lockdowns. We had lost of different bits of songs we’d written and used them as building blocks to start off the album. We’re really picky writers and we just tear everything apart so it’s quite a long writing process. It always works out for the best! It was an enjoyable process and we had vision of just getting it done. We had a date that we wanted to get it done by and we did it. It just kinda flowed to be honest.

I imagine there’s not a full story to the album? I saw you’d written a couple of tracks a bit ago?

Yeah, the last two tracks of the album are off an EP that was actually recorded just before Covid became a thing. And there is one other track that we basically finished before lockdown. Then the rest were after the long gap really. I think one of them only got finished about a week before we went into the studio!

That was ‘Green Terror’ that was! That was the last track we wrote for the album. Mad!

I assume you have a bit of a tour pensilled in off the back of the album?

There’s lots of stuff that we can’t actually talk about at the moment, but yeah, we’ve obviously got Call of the Wild, Wildfire fest in Scotland. I really want to go to Europe this year, I really hope we can pull something off there! We did Ibiza last year and that was awesome, a wicked experience. Even if it was a bit of a nightmare getting out there!

But yeah, there’s lots of stuff going on in the background. The beginning of ’23 has just been mental. Every day we’ve been doing something. I’m not used to this! The amount of interviews we’ve had to do is mad. It’s just been so many Zoom calls, we’ve been loving it! We wouldn’t have it any other way really, it’s been a hell of a ride. Ever since the album was announced in October everything’s been really cool.

What do you think to the music scene at the minute?

The Welsh music scene is absolutely kicking off at the moment. The Welsh bands are taking off and it’s amazing to watch the bands that were the next stage up jumping up another step. Those Damn Crows, for example. They’re selling out all over the UK and we love it. We’re so proud of them!

I don’t think the scene as a whole as recovered. There’s still a lot of venues that have gone under, there aren’t as many places that we can play. But it’s definitely getting better. Especially here in Wales. Covid seems to have done Wales an enormous amount of good to be honest, there are so many bands coming out of here.

But the weird thing is we have a bigger following in England than we do in Wales! It may be because we played our biggest gigs, Hammerfest last year on the main stage for example. It’s getting there, slowly.

What’s it like being added to the NWOCR scene?

It’s a bit mental isn’t it? None of us really actually like that genre so it’s kinda funny really. But being incorporated into a scene is cool as it means we get gigs in that scene. And I don’t think we’re any more out of place in that scene than we are in the metal thing either.

I think that because we have the ability to cross genres we have that ability to be on different bills wit all sorts of genres. We love that!

Have you got any plans for the next few years?

There’s definitely… play Download, play Bloodstock, play all the big festivals. We’re getting better slots and it’s just about working your way up the levels. I think this album has definitely got us off of the toilet circuit so to speak.

As for album two, we’ve definitely talked about it. We haven’t got any songs written for it yet because we really want to focus on this album. We put a lot into this album. For the next year it’ll probably be a split between touring for this album and writing for the next. Maybe not next year but the year after. It would definitely be nice to capitalise on everything with this album!

New Music Mondays: VV, Obituary and More!

The first full week for New Music Mondays, and it’s full of some great releases. You know the drill by now, check them out!

VV: Neon Noir

The HIM frontman released his muchly anticipated debut solo album on Friday. It’s about what you’d expect, to be honest. As someone who never quite ‘got’ HIM back in the day, I hate to say that this didn’t do much for me. I never quite got into the whole ‘love rock’ thing they had going on and always found myself preferring bands that leaned heavier into the goth side of their sound.

Having said that, it is objectively not a bad album. If you like HIM, you’ll love this. Single ‘Run Away from the Sun’ is still incredibly catchy and a decent synth-pop-rock track. I personally just got pretty bored of it by a few tracks in. 4/10

Obituary: Dying of Everything

The death metal legends’ 11th album is an assault to the senses in the best way. It’s old-school death metal, I don’t know what else you want me to say. If you like their earlier stuff, as well as bands like Death or Slayer, you’ll love this. It’s fast, aggressive and all the band are massively talented to be able to play and write this sort of thing. I’m a big old-school thrash head so tracks like ‘Barely Alive’, ‘Without a Conscience’ and ‘My Will to Live’ are all amazing. 7.5/10

Check out a similar band here.

Margo Price: Strays

Country/blues/pop-rock singer-songwriter Margo Price is on her fourth album with this release, and it’s maybe her most ambitious yet. A lot of it is stripped back, steady country music, but it also somehow has a polished pop edge and a rock sound at the same time. It’s honestly hard to pick highlight tracks as it’s all so superbly written and genuinely interesting. There isn’t much out there like this, especially not up to this standard. However, ‘Light Me Up’ feels like the best showcase of exactly what Margo is about so would be a good place to start for a newcomer. Also, the Dolly Parton-esque single ‘Lydia’ is phenomenal, made even more impactful and epic thanks to the string backing. A good album, and a great start to the country year! 8/10

Ropes Inside a Hole: A Man and his Nature

So this is an odd one. Honestly for the first five minutes of the bands sophomore album I thought it was going to be a similar situation to Beautiful Death; a slower, dark, atmospheric album, but this time with lyrics. Then, I was suddenly slapped in the face by atmospheric black metal. There aren’t any screams or anything like that, the sporadic vocals stay clean and almost ethereal, very much another background instrument. But the instrumentation itself gets heavy.

And, due to the prog elements of the album, it is constantly changing up between clean, stripped-back, slower parts and epic, distorted heavy sections. However, also due to the prog elements, I found myself getting bored after the 3rd track or so. I can definitely appreciate how amazing the music is and will happily listen to it again if it comes on, but it’s like Tool without the amazing lyrics and soaring vocal hooks, something’s missing. Still, if you like proggier music and insane musicianship, check this out. Especially ‘Feet in The Swamp, Gaze to the Sky’, from the heavy riffs to the sexy sax, what a track. 7/10

Ahab: The Coral Tombs

Not gonna lie, I only really started my death/black metal journey over the last year or so, so extreme, proggy blackened death metal like this is a little much for me, it’s not really my jam. However, the slower, quieter and more stripped-back bits were pretty enjoyable, in a dark, atmospheric kinda way. And I cannot deny the sheer talent that the band have for being able to play and write like this, it’s definitely one hell of a skill.

If you like this sort of thing, you’ll probably love this, but I didn’t quite ‘get’ it. Because of that, I’m sorry, but I have to give it a 3.5/10

Beyond The Black: Self-Titled

I’ve loved this band for a few years now, since Heart of the Hurricane came randomly across my Spotify. So, when I was doing the research for this weeks New Music Monday and saw they had a new album out, I was pretty excited.

For the most part, it lives up to the hype I put on it. The band have been one of the most underrated symphonic metal bands in the world the last few years, and this shows why they should be towards the top of the genre. It’s filled with beefy riffs and huge, epic choruses. There are also some insane lead guitar lines and vocal harmonies throughout. It’s also yet again almost impossible to pick standout tracks. Every track is incredible and a highlight in its own right. From the heaviness of ‘Reincarnation’ to the beautiful ballad ‘Wide Awake’, all of it is top notch. This is already going to be a tough album to beat this year, and it’s only the second week! 9/10

Screamer: Kingmaker

The heavy rock/mythological AOR boys are back for their fifth studio album, and honestly, it’s pretty good! It’s very reminiscent of the NWOBH, I assume that’s why they self identify so much as being in Sweden’s modern equivalent. It’s a great mix of Judas Priest, early Iron Maiden and Tygers of Pan Tang. Of course single ‘The Traveller’ is a huge highlight, but tracks like ‘Ashes and Fire’ and opener ‘Kingmaker’ are also great. It’s just a great classic metal album, and if that’s the sort of thing you like then you’ll love it. 8/10, these guys should be so much bigger than they are.

Crom: The Era of Darkness

This was one hell of an epic album. Think Iron Maiden if it was injected with a healthy dose of power metal. The instrumentation was a massive highlight throughout, there being some insane riffs and lead parts, as well as the drummer working harder than anyone not in a death metal band. There’s some amazingly huge, catchy choruses on the album too, from the opener to ‘Higher Ground’ to ‘Bridge of Paradise’. There were also some pretty great extreme metal growls thrown in for good measure, sounding awesome and very fitting.

My only slight issue is that it’s maybe a tad too long. The tracks are good, but the album is nearly an hour in length. Though that may have just been because I had another eight albums to listen to this weekend too…

Either way, this was very good, and I’d highly recommend checking it out! 8.5/10

Degradations: Masque

The sophomore album and first in six years from the melodic deathcore band, Masque goes hard. I wasn’t familiar with the band prior to this, but given the quality of this album, I’d imagine it was worth the wait! The whole album is awesome from start to finish, a masterclass on how to write fast, aggressive, heavy music. Tracks like ‘New World Vulture’ and the epic closer/title track are personal highlights of the album for me. 8/10, this was fucking awesome!

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MCLXXX: The album to push King Kraken to the Top?

British rockers King Kraken have been going from strength to strength the last couple of years. Though pretty heavy by comparison, they have been adopted by the NWOCR scene and are getting a fair amount of buzz from it. I’m a pretty big fan, so when sent through the album jumped at the chance to review it early. Let’s see what it’s like, shall we?

Opening the album on a dirty, slow bass riff is amazing, and it’s a great riff when the guitars come in too. It’s heavy and sludgy, the perfect stoner metal combo. It somehow feels more open in the verse, the vocals sound great over the top of the still phat riff. The vocal melody reminds me of a Clutch/Black Label Society lovechild and I love it. The chorus is catchy without losing a single ounce of the heaviness too, which is a testament to their songwriting. The bridge after the second chorus was another awesome riff, being steady and massive, building layer upon layer on top until we’re suddenly slapped with another fantastic riff and a sleazy AF solo. A final chorus and outro take us out in style and cap off one hell of an opening track. Of course this makes the playlist!

‘Bastard Liar’ suddenly shifts the tone of the album drastically into thrash/melodic death metal, and I’m all here for it. From the blinding fast speed to the ‘Collateral Damage (Exodus, 2014)’ intro noodle to the amazing scream, it’s all brilliant. The thrash continues the verse while the vocals clean up, Mark Donoghue’s signature power on full display. It slows up heading into the chorus with a fantastic riff and a really catchy stoner/doom vocal melody.

An awesome, technical solo follows the second chorus, reminding me a lot of Kirk Hammett in its style, especially his leads on Death Magnetic. It perfectly transitions back into a final verse and chorus before an absolutely INCREDIBLE outro follows it. It’s an extended, heavy as fuck breakdown. The riff is slow, evil and heavy, and the screaming returns with a vengeance. What a way to close a track. I NEED to see this live. Playlisted.

Single ‘Green Terror’ opens on a heavy riff and stays stomping throughout. It kinda gives off Danko Jones vibes with how full on it is, and y’all know how much I love Danko. It’s infectiously catchy throughout, the riffs and the vocals both being huge highlights. There’s also some fantastic soloing in here, doing the Megadeth thing of stripping back the riff for the solo, then building it back up for a bar, then another solo. Heck, we get multiple riffs behind the lead stuff, it’s a real guitarists dream. This was another amazing song and I see why they chose it as a single, it highlights them all perfectly.

‘Veins’ feels like a slightly lighter ‘Bastard Liar’, a balls-to-the-wall track full of quick drums, catchy, powerful vocals and plenty of sludgy riffs. Then we reach the lead single of the album, ‘Haddonfield 78’. The Halloween-based track sounds suitably evil in its riffs, fitting the lyrical content perfectly. It’s one of my favourite choruses of the album too, massively catchy while maintaining the fun heaviness. Also, we get a HUGE breakdown in this, complete with screams and even a key change. Everything about the track is awesome. Playlisted!

‘Man Made Monster’ heavies things back up with some screams and a very Metallica, Death Magnetic feel to things again. It’s just more awesomeness from King Kraken. The same could be said for ‘Walls of Jericho’, ‘Chaos Engine’ and even closing track ‘Castle of Bone’. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with these tracks, quite the opposite, honestly. They are all fantastic. They are all just fairly similar, and it’s hard to write about them all individually without repeating myself.

The only track in the back half that stood out to me was ‘Proctors Ledge’. It was a little slower and slightly more relaxed, the main riff reminding me of Sublime’s ‘Pawn Shop’. I enjoyed it a lot, but have to admit it might have been fun to have an even slower, even ballad-like track on the album, letting the band show off another side of them and even more depth. Still though, I cannot complain about what I got!

Overall: I loved this. It was the perfect blend of heavy and melodic, sludgy and Clutch. These guys are going to have a HUGE year with this coming out at the start of it. Hopefully I can get to see them live as this is going to be so good at a gig or festival. I know it’s early but an album of the year candidate, for sure. One of my new favourite modern bands.

The Score: 9/10

The Top 50 Albums of 2022 – Part 3

30: Frank Turner – FTHC

A guy who has been making fantastic music for over a decade and a half, Frank Turner also happens to be my favourite lyricist of all time. He has such a way with words, be it positive or negative he always finds the perfect ways to express his emotions. Heck, just look at ‘Haven’t been Doing so Well’ or the tear-jerking ‘A Wave Across a Bay’ to see what I mean.

This is one of the most heartfelt albums I’ve heard in years and details exactly how Frank has felt since he last spoke about his life. It’s deep, fun and hugely catchy throughout. We gave this a very deserving 8.5/10 in our review so if you like stuff on the punkier side, check this out!

Listen to: Haven’t Been Doing so Well, A Wave Across a Bay, The Gathering.

29: Oceans Ate Alaska – Disparity

Max: Oceans Ate Alaska were a band that made more exploratory music and music genres in ways that I had never encountered before. With the return of their original singer, there is so much that I love there and Chris Turners drums are phenomenal as they always have been. It’s a great metalcore album that is heavier than most and is a real return to form for a band that should be much bigger than they are.

Check out our review of the album, where we gave it and 8.5/10.

Listen to: Paradigm, Sol, Plague Speech.

28: Horizon Ignited – Towards the Dying Lands

A band that I discovered through the release of this album and New Music Mondays, and have loved them ever since. It’s another, like most on this list, that I wish I could put higher, as it deserves to be showcased as much as possible.

For just the bands second album, this was phenomenal. I’ve since been back and checked out their debut and this builds on it so well, adding fun new layers and plenty of amazing melodies. This is melodic death metal at its very best in 2022, and there are plenty of tracks on this album to prove that. We gave it a 9/10 and for clearly very good reason. Check this out, right now. Seriously, stop what you’re doing and give this a spin!

Listen to: Towards the Dying Lands, Aching Wings, Beyond Your Reach.

27: He is Legend – ENDLESS HALLWAY

It’s Alice in Chains, Gojira, Metallica and Nickelback all rolled into one. It’s fucking awesome. Having never heard of this band before, I can safely ask the question ‘what sad rock was I living under all this time?’. The band have been around for a good while now, but having checked out their older stuff, I couldn’t get into it quite as much as this. The opening four/five tracks alone are perfection for this album and blend together so many different styles perfectly. They’re heavy, fuzzy and arena-filling all rolled into one.

This got a whopping 9.5/10 from us, which it fully deserved, but I (Joe) was also the only one to check it out, so it didn’t score as high overall. Plus, it’s a little niche, I guess! But damn, if you like any of the bands mentioned above, you’ll love this!

Listen to: THE PROWLER, LIFELESS LEMONADE, RETURN TO THE GARDEN.

26: Electric Callboy – Tekkno

This album has such a strange feeling to me. I adore the singles. ‘We Got the Moves’, ‘Pump It’, ‘Spaceman’ and ‘Hurrikan’ are all some of the best tracks released in the last 18 months (and ‘Fuckboi’ was also released too). However, that’s exactly the issue. The first single off the album came out in September of 2021, a full year before the release of the album. And, said singles make up half of the album. So, honestly, I felt a little burnt out by the time the album was released, and not too many of the album tracks did much to change that. ‘Tekkno Train’ is okay, as is ‘Arrow of Love’, but the others felt a little serious and dark, contrasting strangely with the comedy singles.

We still gave it a 9/10, but that was mainly on how good the four main singles were. It’s a damn good album, but hearing it all through for the first time it’d probably come across as much better than a years worth of anticipation.

Listen to: Pump It, We Got the Moves, Hurrikan.

25: Chez Kane – Powerzone

The glammest thing I’ve heard in years, and it’s so fucking good. This is one of the best AOR albums I’ve heard in so long, and it’s going to catapult Chez to the very top of the rock world in no time at all. It’s catchy, poppy and just the right amount of rock and heavy. I’m honestly finding it hard to find words to say about this album aside for the fact that if you loved the booze soaked sunset strip sound of the 80s, the Rock of Ages tone, you’ll LOVE this. She’s already set to take over the NWOCR scene in 2023, but this deserves mainstream exposure, as it’s so damn accessible. it got another very deserving 9/10 from us!

Listen to: I Just want You, I’m Ready (For your Love), Love Gone Wild.

24: Ibaraki – Rashomon

Would it even be an end-of-the-year-best list without Matt Heafy on it? For the last two years the latest Trivium albums have ranked #1 and #2 respectively for me, and now he ends up on our list for the third straight year! Yes, Ibaraki is not quite as high as those, but that’s in part due to the death/black metal genre not appealing to me as much as metalcore, and part due to the sheer number of incredible albums this year.

However, even if you aren’t a fan of the extreme side of metal, I’d recommend checking this out. It’s not all insanely heavy, and when it gets there it feels like it’s certainly earned. Just check out ‘Ronin’ below, a plodding, slow track for the most part, but Gerard Way screams his lungs out midway through in what my be his best, most surprising vocal performance ever. It’s dark, melancolic yet wonderfully addictive to listen to, as is the rest of the album. Matt does an amazing job, but honestly the guests are the true highlights. It got a very deserving 9/10 from us!

Listen to: Ronin, Jigoku Dayu, Akumu.

23: Fit for an Autopsy – Oh What the Future Holds

Max: This album is angry and raw and there is nothing to not love about that. I have always loved the intensity of this band and their last album is still on of my favourites of all time so this really scratched the itch that I had for more.

We didn’t actually cover this one on our site at the time of release, but upon reflection it’s easily an 8.5/10!

Listen to: Pandora, In Shadows, Savages.

22: Coldrain – Nonnegative

I am absolutely gutted this didn’t make it any higher on our list. It’s so good! It was higher for a good chunk of the year, but dropped down when starting to get stuff ready for this list. That shouldn’t dull your opinion of this album at all, though, it’s amazing. From the soaring vocals to harsh screams and ch0nky riffs, it has everything you’d want from metalcore/modern nu metal and does it all perfectly. It’s only this far down because, for some reason, I haven’t listened to it as much as I feel like I should have. But damn, this thing is packed full of AMAZING tracks.

It got an 8.5/10 from us and it’s hard not to push it up to a 9 to be honest!

Listen to: Cut Me, CALLING, PARADISE (Kill the Silence).

21: Motionless in White – Scoring the End of the World

Max: So growing up, this was one of my favourite bands and I have loved seeing them get better and improve over the years and this album might well be their biggest improvement yet. There are so many fantastic things going on here that I don’t have enough time to say them all but to keep it short and sweet, the vocals destroy me in every good way and there is so much there everyone will find that they love. It got an 8.5/10 from us!

Listen to: Werewolf, Porcelain, Slaughterhouse.

The Top 50 Albums of 2022 – Part 4

20: Stray From the Path – Euthanasia

Like Fever 333 on angrier drugs, this album is a fantastic protest from start to finish. A modern day Rage Against the Machine but with a metalcore/hardcore edge, I really loved this album, and have barely stopped listening to half of it since it was released. These guys are young, hungry and putting out a fantastic into the world, as well as playing insanely good music to accompany it. We gave it a 9/10 in our review and it’s just as good these months later. It’s packed full of great tracks, and I can see them being a massive deal in the future! Check this out if you are into heavier stuff or either if the hands mentioned above.

Listen to: Bed of Roses, III, Needful Things.

19: Northlane – Obsidian

Max: So Northlane is a band that I absolutely love and the best part of this album was the fun and the change of genres in to this almost nu-metal group with songs like Carbonized. Overall this album is just fun and there not much more that I can say. Joe gave it a very cruel 3/10 so we have compromised and bumped it up to an 8/10!

Listen to: Carbonized, Clockwork, Is This a Test?.

18: Lacrimas Profundere – How to Shroud Yourself With Night

A band that I discovered mainly by doing our reaction videos this year, I have become a little bit obsessed since! Melodic, gothic deathcore is a fantastic, rather mysterious genre for me, and this was an amazing introduction to it.

Of course Julien’s insane vocal range and prowess are the highlight, but the instrumentation behind it is also so good. Every track on this album begs to be listened to over and over and there isn’t a dud in sight. The singles are of course a massive highlight, but every album track is just as good too. We gave it 9/10 and I stand by it. It’s an amazing album and hopefully it’s the one to finally push the band into the mainstream in the West.

Listen to: A Cloak Woven of Stars, In a Lengthening Shadow, An Invisible Beginning.

17: Muse – Will of the People

This album has grown on me so much since its release. At first, after they’d put out the one, fantastic heavy single in ‘Won’t Stand Down’ I was buzzing, but the following two singles being lighter did put a bit of a dampener on it. I do like slower stuff, but I LOVE when Muse get heavy, and always feel like we’ve had enough pop music from them now. However, unlike some of their previous lighter stuff, this was so infectiously catchy and well written that I can’t not love even the weirdest of tracks from this album. Of course, the heavier tracks are great, but ‘Compliance’ and the title track are so damn catchy that I’ve grown to love it and they are massive highlights of the album. And their Halloween track is the best song Muse have put out since their Blackholes album, in my opinion.

We gave it 8.5/10 and I fully stand by that. Even if it doesn’t get bumped up any higher, this is still an amazing album and one you should all check out right now!

Listen to: You Make me Feel Like It’s Halloween, Killer Be Killed, Compliance.

16: Fit for a King – The Hell We Create

More metalcore, and this album had no right to be this good. This was the best straight metalcore album this year, and honestly one of my favourite outputs in the genre in years. It’s aggressive, heavy and hugely melodic, and pushes the sub-genre forward into a new sound almost as much as Sempiternal did back in the day.

I honestly can’t praise this album enough (as you can tell by our review). It not only made me go back and listen to their old stuff, but also listen to the early albums in the sub-genre. It rekindled a love for metalcore I didn’t know I’d let dwindle. The 9/10 we gave it is incredibly justified. For anyone who’s a fan of the genre or heavy music as a whole, thus us a must.

Listen to: Reaper, Sink Below, The Hell We Create.

15: Whiskey Myers – Tornillo

Some more country, and this time from the swaggering titans Whiskey Myers. After discovering them a few years ago at Download they have quickly become one of my favourite bands, at least from a streaming stats standpoint.

Now, I do have to admit, this wasn’t quite as good as their self-titled fifth album in 2019. But if anything that is even more a testament to how good this album is, that an album that isn’t their best is still this high. And it’s still a phenomenal album, jam packed with blues/country rock tracks from start to finish. This band are really at the very top of a very packed genre at the minute, and with albums like this they deserve to be. How they’re not at the top of the country genre as a whole already is beyond me, they deserve to be massive.

9/10 was very justified for this album, as I haven’t stopped listening to certain tracks since it’s release. I loved it.

Listen to: Feet’s, John Wayne, The Wolf.

14: Machine Head – OF KINGDOM AND CROWN

What a fantastic return to form this was. I’m a MASSIVE Machine (fuckin’) Head fan, with Through Ashes of Empires to Bloodstone and Diamonds being one of my favourite runs of albums from any band ever. However, I had not been a fan of anything the band had put out after that album… until now!

The album’s opener, ‘SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR’, is the perfect example why I love this album. It’s a 10+ minute epic with a slow, Tool-esque building intro followed by the crushing, perfect heaviness the band are typically known for. It’s epic, emotional and amazing, and it’s a perfect allegory for the rest of the album.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the only or latest album on this list to not be perfect, but there is some really amazing metal in here, and reminds me of my teen years growing up with their best work. Machine Head are back with a vengence, and put out one of the best metal albums of 2022. 9/10 was fully deserved in our review.

13: The Interrupters – In The Wild

A band at the forefront of the 4th wave of ska music, The Interrupters keep going from strength to strength with each release. While I will be the first to admit this album is long and a little bloated, this is by far the most confident I have heard the band. This is a band that are writing the music they want to write, be it slower or faster, longer or shorter, and I’m fully here for it. I’m really hoping this continues to build the genre like it so sorely deserves and inspires more kids to play ska-punk. But even if not, this is a solid album that I’ve had on a lot this year.

Oh, and I’m sticking wit my 9/10 again from our review!

Listen to: Raised by Wolves, As We Live, Love Never Dies.

12: FES – With Regards from Home

A band that I only discovered last year through Overtone, but have been a little obsessed with ever since. I’ve been listening to this album for months and still cannot get over the sheer talent on display by the three of them. Their unique blend of pop rock drew me in right from the start, blending together old-school Paramore with a more math rock leaning. If you’re into the lighter stuff this one is definitely one for you, and I haven’t gotten enough of it since its release back in April. We gave it a 9/10 in our review and I stand by that today too!

Listen to: Clarinet, Sun Visor, Trial and Error.

11: Billy Talent – Crisis of Faith

Another band that are incapable of doing a bad album. I’ve been a fan of them for over a decade at this point and they are yet to disappoint. And they are one of the rare bands that can evolve their sound while still maintaining their same sound and style. The band’s sixth album picks up right where Afraid of Heights left off, and did so with all the same talent, swagger and amazing songwriting. If you’re a fan of their earlier work, or punk in general, you’ll love this. It was six long years, but well worth the wait. It definitely deserves the 9/10 we gave it!

Listen to: Reckless Paradise, Judged, Hanging Out with All the Wrong People.

James of She Burns Red: ‘A bit all over the place, in a good way!’

We had the chance to sit down with James of the amazing She Burns Red after their set at Winter Rocks Festival a couple of weeks ago (read our review of the festival here). Check it out as we talk about the set and what they have planned for the next year!

So, how was the gig?

Really good, I really enjoyed it! Really fun! Always love playing Sheffield, we’ve done it a few times now. We did HRH Sleaze and then we played here last year on the Saturday. It was just good fun, I just love playing music!

And how would you describe your sound?

So we’re a wee bit punky and a wee bit grungy and a wee bit heavy… I don’t know man! A bit Wildhearts and Therapy and a bit all over the place, in a good way!

What’s it like being a part of this scene at the minute? It seems like the NWOCR genre is encapsulating a bit of everything nowadays!

Yeah, I mean because the New Wave of Classic Rock is a fanpage on Facebook, if they like a band then you’ll be included in it, it doesn’t matter what you sound like. ‘Oh, you should check out this band, they’re great’ and suddenly you’re part of that scene. Whether you like it or not, and I don’t mean that in a bad way! It’s almost like this creation of this scene out of nowhere. It’s really good though because people are coming to gigs, and after Covid especially which we were all a bit worried about. But no, it’s been an amazing thing to be part of.

I mean you think about the grunge scene; there were load of bands that sounded fuck all like each other. Like The Gets and Pearl Jam and all these bands, nothing like each other. But they all kinda worked together. And it’s the same here. It means that we can play with bands like South of Salem or Twister or Ward XVI or Massive Wagons, all these that sound different but all fit together.

You’ve released a couple of singles this year, right?

Yes, our next single is also due I think the start of next year. We’re actually in the studio from Monday to record the next part of the album. Finishing that around January/February time. Releasing it hopefully May or June.

So I assume it’ll be touring for the rest of the year after that?

I really fuckin’ hope so! The stage we’re at at the minute is we’re doing a lot of support tours, because there’s less financial risk involved. However, if things start to spike by the summer, fingers crossed.

Any surprises from the new music? Anything a departure from what you’ve put out so far?

Not really. As we said earlier, there’s a few songs that are a bit punky, a few that are more grungy, some melodic stuff in there too. So nothing out of the ordinary. If you’re familiar with our stuff you’ll know what to expect.

We’ve kinda got our sound harnessed. And that’s what’s really good, is that we did our EP and that kinda took us one direction, but then we managed to harness our sound and go in a different one. We’ve got everything going at the minute and it’s working really well.

And do you have a dream tour line-up you’d love to be a part of?

Fuck man, I’d love to support Danko Jones, they’re one of my favourite bands. That’d be amazing! They just get on with it on stage, play three songs and then ‘hey, we’re Danko Jones’ and then bam, loads more music. I love them. To the extent that this year on Spotify, 4/5 top tracks were Danko Jones.

We also love the South of Salem guys, it’s so great to be playing with them. I’m sure some people would say like Aerosmith or Metallica or something, but for me it’s Danko Jones and South of Salem, that’s who I’d want!

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Dallas Dwight of The LA Maybe: ‘They’re rock fans, so we feel right at home!’

We were at Winter Rocks Festival last weekend (check out our review of the weekend here) and had the pleasure of chatting to Dallas of the amazing LA Maybe. Unfortunately the video and audio quality both suck as we were shooting in the smoking area, so I’ve painstakingly typed it all out, just for you! Check it out below!

So this is the first stop of the tour, right?

First stop of the tour, yeah. It was our first time out here at Call of the Wild earlier this year, did a little run then and now we’re back out! We’ll be here for most of December.

And have you seen any differences in playing here as opposed to the US?

Yeah, people seem to like us more over here! So we like it over here, we’ve had a blast. As far as rock fans, they’re rock fans, so we feel right at home!

And how did the whole UK shows comes about? I Know Raz (UPSTGD) got in touch?

Raz just discovered our album and then contacted us and we just kinda went from there. That would have probably been right before the album came out in 2021, so we were talking to him for about a year setting up that first time, and now we’re back. And it’s going really well!

And you guys just put out a single, right?

‘Down to Fight’, yeah! It came out when we were on the Kiss Cruise which was Octoberish. It’s gone well so far, the video was a lot of fun to make. It was crazy, we got to chainsaw through a couch on fire and all sort of stuff. We’re really happy with how it’s turned out.

And is it the start of another album or?

We’re gonna do singles, and it’ll lead up to an album! All the singles will be on the album and it started with this one! Probably be the end of next year for sure. We’re excited about that too!

Have you got much else planned for next year?

Yeah, we’ll be at home, hiding away money and figuring out where to spend it. Back here maybe or a tour at home. Fortunately in music there’s a lot of places your money can go these days. I don’t know if we’re going to come back here next year, it’d be awesome but I don’t think it’s on the cards, so to speak. But in 2024 I’m sure we’ll be back!

And you’ve started up a podcast, right?

We did, earlier this year! It’s called Your New Favourite Band. We’ve been highlighting bands we like as well as recap what we’ve been doing like the Kiss Cruise and stuff.

Oh yeah, how did that come about?

The Kiss Cruise, we actually won the contest for it! On there with Sebastien Bach and a bunch of other great names. It was super fun. A real once in a lifetime experience. Hopefully not just once though!

And speaking of, do you have a dream tour lineup you’d want to be a part of?

I mean I’ve always loved Guns N’Roses so that’d be fun! But then I don’t know how many years they have left in them. But that’d be a dream for sure! But also all the younger bands we’ve been playing with would be awesome. Dirty Honey, Black Crows, that’d be good. Any and all people!

And finally, what’s it like being adopted into the NWOCR scene?

Yeah, it’s really nice! It’s really vibrant over here. It feels really good to be back over here and be a part of this whole family of it all. It’s a lot of the same people which is all good.

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Credit to the wonderful Mark Ellis for the photo.

Rock N Roll Soul: Does Jamie Porter Top MMXXI With This Second Album?

Blues rock mastermind Jamie Porter is back with what he is dubbing a mini album. A short collection of seven tracks to follow up his last years release (read our review of that here). It’s set for release tomorrow so join us in checking out what it’s like!

‘A Girl Like You’ opens on one of the most blusey riffs I’ve heard all year. The perfect blend of Black Stone Cherry, old Deep Purple and Electric Boys. The track strips back a little as Jamie Porter ‘s vocals come in, it all having a very chilled out vibe to it. The chorus is still relaxed but is bigger and pretty anthemic thanks to the second guitar and harmonised vocals. It’s catchy and made to be played in front of a huge crowd. And while the solo was a little basic, it fit well with the feel and groove of the track, which is much harder to get right! It’s a simple yet hugely effective track, a fun, good way to start the album!

‘I’m Not Running Away’ opens on a slower, quieter riff, almost a little Brit-pop influence in there. The steady, almost ballad-like pace of the track was awesome and a bold choice for the second song on the album. It was another very catchy track, too. There wasn’t a massive difference between the verse and chorus, sonically, but subtle changes of adding another vocal and slightly more instrumentation added an amazing couple of layers to it. The lyrics were fantastic too, meaningful and straight from the heart. They definitely worked for me! It all builds perfectly into the final chorus. Jamie has the innate ability to make ANYTHING into an epic anthem, and I both love it and am incredibly jealous. This easily makes the playlist, it was an awesome track!

The heaviness ramps back up with ‘Need a Little Love’, the main riff reminding me a lot of Velvet Revolver. It’s got that effortless swagger that’s so associated with Slash. The catchy as FUCK vocals are pretty Scott Weiland, too. The harmonised gang vocals when it drops back a little too are very GnR. Jamie is wearing his inspirations on his sleeve in the best way. There’s an extended instrumental in the middle that, while it was awesome, I do think it dragged the song out a little. As much as I love prog, seven-and-a-half minutes of a similar sound got to me just a little. Still though, it ends in spectacular fashion with another huge chorus.

‘You Are the One’ is another ballad. It starts slow with clean guitars and the multi-layered vocals and building slowly through the verse and chorus before the drums come in behind to add another great later. It never even hits the huge stadium-chorus height that I was expecting it to, it stayed stripped back and simple throughout. Honestly, I preferred it. It was beautiful and the message of the song came across perfectly this way. And heck, as I said before, when you can turn anything into a huge chorus, knowing when not to is also impressive.

Speaking of big anthemic choruses, ‘Remember Yesterday’ encapsulates everything I was praising the previous track for not being. It’s a mid-tempoed, ballad-like banger of a track. It gives off slight Bon Jovi vibes, but obviously with a British twang. It’s fucking awesome! This is everything that the band is about in terms of their sound, so if you’re going to check any out first, I’d recommend this one! It’s awesome, and easily makes the playlist!

The final two tracks are both excellent too. I enjoyed when the track dropped down in ‘Ready for Action’. It sounded very AC/DC and the build back up was perfect. Then the album ended with the surprisingly AOR ‘Hero’. It’s one of the rockier tracks on the album but still maintains Jamie Porter ‘s now signature tempo and style. Both are fantastic tracks and ‘Hero’ closes the album well.

Overall: This was great! I wouldn’t say it was quite as strong as the full album last year, but that’s simply because the other one was a tad heavier so it’s personal preference. However, there isn’t a bad track on this collection and a couple stand out amongst some of his best work. Both can have the same score, as this does feel like an extension of MMXXI…

The Score: 8/10

Winter Rocks 2022: The Big Bad Review – Day 2

Diving right into day two of Winter Rocks, the main stage opened on the awesome Dead Man’s Whiskey (with an E). They’re another band that I wasn’t too familiar with outside of the name heading into the set. However, loved them coming out of it. Even with some slight technical difficulties with one of the guitars for the first couple of tracks, these guys did one hell of a job at setting the pace for the day. Their unique blend of hard and southern rock was awesome. And, every single one of them put on a great show to accompany it. You could tell they were having fun, so as a result, so did the crowd.

Next up we headed over to the second stage to catch the awesome Slyder Smith. While not especially my thing, there was no denying the talent of any of the three people up on that stage. They all performed masterfully and Slyder had oodles of charisma, keeping the crowd entertained and encapsulated throughout.

Next it was back across to the main stage for another Scottish band, Jason Sweeney. This was apparently the furthest South the band had performed to date, and I think they’ll definitely have a lot of new fans coming out of this set. It was bluey, it was funky, it was hard rock, but once again it was a lot of fun. Jason was laughing and joking around with the crowd and in return they were giving a fair bit of energy and attention back. And of course the music was also great to top it all off. Just another band that I’mma have to see again!

Over on the second stage we were then treated to a blues/country rock masterclass from Tom Kilner and his band. We caught a bit of his set at Call of the Wild earlier this year and were blown away then, but this was on another level. It reminded me a lot of Whiskey Myres (one of my favourite bands). It’s insane that a bloke from Yorkshire can sound this southern. The technicality from Tom’s playing, alongside his phenomenal bassist, was off the charts, and his songwriting is frankly amazing. They did a longer, almost prog track where they stripped it back and almost just jammed and it was fantastic. A great way to chill out and marvel at some insanely good music.

Fallen State soon took to the main stage after, heavying proceedings back up again. I’ve been a fan of this band for a while now and honestly, this felt just a tad flat to me. I’m not sure whether I was just getting a little worn out by this point or restless for the later bands, and the crowd may have been the same, but it just didn’t seem to click. The band all played their parts well and the songs were good. But, for whatever reason, the crowd weren’t into it. Thus, neither were the band. Hopefully they were just having an off night as I’d love to see them again at full force!

Next up were a band that, if everything goes the way it should, will be one of the biggest bands in rock in a decades time. Very few know what ‘it’ is in terms of the music industry, but for anyone who hasn’t seen The LA Maybe yet, they’ve most certainly got it. Not only do they have unbelievable talent (the duelling guitar solo and snippets of Star Wars, Eagles, Metallica and Thin Lizzy at the end of ‘Peace of Mind’ honestly made me feel like I should never pick up a guitar again), but they are incredibly good songwriters.

‘Mr. Danger’ and ‘Oh Sugar’ have been stuck in my head for days, as well as being stuck on my Spotify. And I have never seen someone so effortlessly become Axl Rose, in voice and body, as I did watching Goliath perform ‘Welcome to the Jungle’. This is the second time we’ve seen them and I already want to see them again. They are currently on tour over here and I urge you to make it down if you can, you’ll find your new favourite band!

Headlining the second stage were our good friends Bastette! It’s been a while since we’d seen them, over a year, in fact, and the band has changed quite a lot in that time. a pretty large line-up change, including bringing in The Hot Damn!/Cult Classics guitarist Laura Buchanan. It seemed to give the band a new lease of life as they were on top form here. Whether it was their older stuff or tracks that have come out in the last year, they all sounded great. And Caroline is sounded and performing better than ever. There were times where she almost growled/screamed and honestly I think it would have helped the tracks even more. My only slight point is that I kinda wish they’d get a second guitarist back in to fill out the rest of the sound live and make it a little heavier again.

Finally we reach the mainstage headliners for the Saturday, one of my favourite bands for a few years now, The New Roses. I’ve seen them four times and every time they get better and better. This was a phenomenal set. Coming off the back of their much praised new album, Sweet Poison, they played a set heavy of that, alongside all of the classics and crowd favourites.

Check out our review of Sweet Poison here.

And speaking of the crowd, it was packed and everyone loved it. I’ve seen them at festivals before and, while the crowds are never bad, they’re never that familiar with the music going in so just sit back and appreciate it. However, everyone around me knew every track and were down to have a great time partying with Timmy and Co for well over an hour.

And, because of the adoration of the crowd, the guys were clearly enjoying themselves and seemed the most comfortable that I’ve seen them too. Timmy was laughing and joking around with the crowd, oozing charisma, and the rest of the band were just as entertaining too. This was not only my set of the weekend, but one of my favourite shows I’ve seen this year. I cannot wait for them to come back over here next year, as I’ll be travelling to wherever they end up to see them!

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