Tag Archives: punk

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

Another big week for new music in rock and metal, both for younger bands and older ones. 11 albums in total, so let’s not waste time, here they are!

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Unlimited Love

I’m just going to leave a link to my full review of the album here. I hated that I wasn’t a big fan of it , and given that it’s had mixed (at best) reviews, at least I’m not alone. But hell, I don’t want to talk about this album any more, I want something funner. Find the score from the link, but it was not great.

Meshuggah: Immutable

The extreme-prog metal band have been on the roll of their careers the last 15 years or so. Despite forming way back in the late 80s, it wasn’t until 2008s ObZen when it felt like the band truly hit their stride commercially and artistically. The two albums that followed that were also amazing. Does this one live up to them?

After a slow start, we reach the single ‘The Abysmal Eye’ and the album takes off into a gear only few can hit. It’s heavy and crazy proggy while somehow still maintaining an almost Mushroomhead-like catchiness to it all vocally. It’s a good album, but I do have to admit it does get a little repetitive at times. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to have a reprieve from the brutality momentarily thanks to ‘They Move Below’ (what a track, by the way), but otherwise it’s pretty full on. Still, I cannot complain about having too much of a good thing really, can I? If you are a fan of Machine Head, Parkway Drive, or just general industrial, prog or extreme metal at all, check this out! 9/10

Islander: It’s Not Easy Being Human

The South Carolina alt-metal band has a lot of guests on it. Eight of the 17 tracks on the album has a guest vocalist or band member be a part of it. I’m not sure if that’s cool or overkill or feels cheep and like they couldn’t write a full album by themselves. Especially since tracks like ‘Evil’ and ‘The Outsider’ are just the band on their own and are both awesome tracks. Having said that though, some of the tracks with guests are also fantastic. In particular, ‘Skin Crawl’ with members of Korn, Zao and Living Sacrifice. It somehow sounds like a mixture of all four bands, blending the styles perfectly. The album as a whole is a diverse blend of styles, a melting pot of the early 2000s metal scene, from Linkin Park to Machine Head to Papa Roach to Korn. I love the whole scene they are going for, so the band have definitely gained a new fan in me! It’s maybe a tad bloated at 17 tracks, but it’s worth a listen from front to back, for sure! 8.5/10

Nekrogoblikon: The Fundamental Slimes and Humours

And now it’s time for a band that I don’t really get. I’ve always seen it as a gimmick that’s fun at first but the appeal never lasted too long. After this new album, I still don’t think I get it. I enjoyed it more than everything else I have heard from the band (which admittedly isn’t a lot), but I still don’t think I liked it. There’s some fun, catchy vocal lines and keyboard melodies, and the vocalist that sounds like he’s trying to be Axl Rose has a good voice. If it was just him and the carnival-style metal instrumentation behind it I could at a push enjoy it. But switching between that and the growling goblin and the sheer mess of songwriting each track is, I found myself getting lost and bored easily. ‘This is It’ is kind of a bop, though. I get that a lot of people like it and they aren’t the most serious of bands so maybe I’d appreciate it more live. But for now, 4/10

PUP: THE UNRAVELLING OF PUPTHEBAND

Pathetic Use of Potential, the band, are a fantastic Canadian punk band. Another band I hadn’t even heard of before I’d started doing this NMM, I’m disappointed that I hadn’t found them sooner. This album is amazing. It’s so refreshing to hear bands actually having fun with their music these days, especially when talking about some pretty deep subject matter at times. All of the ‘Four Chords’ parts are hilarious and tracks like ‘Totally Fine’, ‘Robot Writes a Love Song’ and ‘PUPTHEBAND Inc. Is Filing for Bankruptcy’ are all amazing. They can get pretty heavy at times, almost feeling like a punk version of early Biffy. And it all fits so well with the concept of the album. There isn’t a bad track on here and I’ll definitely be listening to it a lot over the coming months! 8.5/10

Wolf: Shadowland

The Swedish heavy metal band have worked hard since forming in ’95, on their 9th album since the turn of the millennium. Shadowland is exactly what you would expect out of a band heavily inspired by NWOBHM in 2022. It’s a good, fun rock album, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the sub-genre that arguably peaked nearly half a century ago. All the band members are immensely talented at music and songwriting, and tracks like ‘Dust’ and ‘Seek the Silence’ are definite highlights. I simply feel that after so much from Saxon and Priest and Accept over the years that new music like this isn’t too interesting to me. But as I said, I did enjoy the album, and I feel like I would love it live! 5.5/10

Crows: Beware Believers

The sophomore album of fast-rising indie-punk band Crows feels like a big deal for them. Having toured with the likes of Wolf Alice and IDLES before and their first album being well received, this second seemed a little make or break. While I’m not really down with the whole indie scene, it definitely feels like it’s a big deal album for the scene. It’s pretty heavy and dirty, almost transcending the typical genre restraints. It definitely meant I enjoyed it more! The singles from the album are definite highlights, but I managed to listen through this whole thing without getting bored, which is rare for me! 5/10

Carpenter Brut: Leather Terror

I had never heard darksynth before today but came across this album when I was doing my research for this article. It’s pretty fucking heavy. Like, surprisingly so. And I kinda love it. Whenever the guest vocalists come in it feels like it takes away the heaviness a little, but it only drops down to around a BMTH level. If you are into industrial or techno influenced music or not I’d recommend checking this out anyway, it’s a completely different approach to heavy music and is interesting if nothing else. However, I found it damn enjoyable, with highlights including ‘Straight Outta Hell’ and ‘Night Prowler’. 7/10

Satan: Earth Infernal

The Geordie heavy metal band were around during the first surge of NWOBHM and have been on and off again ever since. Their fourth album since their 2011 reunion, Earth Infernal continues the band’s legacy pretty well. Some tracks, like ‘Twelve Infernal Lords’ and ‘Poison Elegy’ were enjoyable and highlights, but as I stated when it came to Wolf, I’ve simply gotten a tad bored of NWOBHM recently. At least new tracks in it, anyway. It’s not a bad album and it’s not like I’d skip a track if it came on or anything, it’s just not something I’d go out of my way to listen to. 5.5/10

Evil Invaders: Shattering Reflection

And finally we end this week on some thrash/heavy metal. The Belgian band have been around since 2007 but this third album may be their best yet. The riffs are fantastic, the vocals powerful, high and impressive and the song writing top notch. ‘In Deepest Black’ is one of the best ballads I’ve heard this year and ‘Eternal Darkness’ is a masterclass in old-school thrash metal the kind I haven’t heard in a long time. It reminds me a lot of Judas Priest’s Painkiller album, and it’s right up my street! Check this out! 8/10

And there we have it! What a week for metal music! As usual join us again next week, this time for nu-metal legends Papa Roach!

Chaos and Light: The First Good Thing The Pandemic Produced?

Neptune Rain is one of the few bands that started during the pandemic era of music, not gigging until just a month or so ago after having an EP out for nearly a year. To support the fact that they can now play their stuff live, the band has released a reissue of said EP with a few bonus tracks on it, which is available everywhere from today. We managed to get hold of it a little early so that we could get it out to you as soon as it dropped, so check out said review below!

‘All Pain no Gain’ opens on an electronic sample sound and some awesome drums before a great guitar riff comes in over the top of it. It unfortunately stops pretty quick, and I’d have loved it to have lasted longer, but the stripped-back verse afterwards is also awesome, working very well with the same drumbeat and just simpler guitars. The soft, almost whispered vocals also add so much depth and atmosphere to the track, filling it out a bunch. Some rapped vocals come in for the pre, sounding great and building the track up perfectly for a MASSIVE chorus. The duelling vocals were awesome, adding to the catchiness, and the slightly rappier second half was great fun! A brief bridge filled with more awesome vocals leads to a final chorus to finish things off. A simple, radio-friendly structure to a song that was infectiously catchy and fun to listen to. Easily playlisted!

New track ‘Bitter Pill’ opens on some rap-inspired vocals, giving off massive Linkin Park vibes. The instrumentation behind it builds perfectly up, getting heavier and heavier before exploding into another HUGE chorus. The vocals are all sung in this one, and it’s catchy and very enjoyable, written to fill a huge stage by the sound of it. The build-up through the bridge was also a nice touch, especially with the vocals moving up an octave or two as it got heavier. We then again get a final big chorus to finish off another AWESOME song! Another that makes it straight to the playlist!

‘If That Was Love’ opens on a pretty mid-tempo yet heavy riff, the synths in the back adding so much depth to the sound. It drops back again for the verses, being very drum-led, although that may be more down to the production than anything. The pre was also amazing, the guitars getting heavier and a great, catchy vocal melody being present over the top. It all leads into a typically huge, open chorus, the harmonies on the vocals making them hugely catchy and the instrumentation filling out the section massively. We get a rappy bridge after the second chorus, a breakdown almost behind it from the guitar and drums. We then head into a final chorus again to take us home. Damn this was also excellent!

Another new track, ‘Legend’, is one of the slower tracks on the EP. It follows the same sort of formula as the other tracks and has another awesome, huge chorus, but definitely feels like the ballad of the release. Having said that, ‘Taste of Air’ is also another slower track. It’s not bad at all, both are fantastic tracks, with the latter being a particular highlight of the entire EP. It’s simple, just vocals and guitar, but it is so emotional and the vocals and lyrics are fantastic, a really good track and one I am shocked didn’t make the initial release.

OG EP track ‘Nothing Left to Save’ is another heavy one, the opening riff giving off Bring Me the Horizon vibes as much as Linkin Park ones. It doesn’t slow up through the verses either, staying at a quick, almost thrash pace, a nice change from the other tracks I have checked out so far. The chorus keeps the same quick pace but opens up perfectly. The rappier bridge after the second chorus was awesome as always too before it drops down to a beautiful little string section. It’s another part that I’d have happily had go on a little longer, but it’s a small gripe to have with an otherwise amazing song. It ends with another big chorus, the drums working double-time for the last part and adding even more craziness to it all. Another playlisted track!

Added track ‘Rise’ opens on a great guitar riff, the call of ‘1234’ adding even more bounce to it, somehow. It’s another track that stays pretty heavy from start to finish, the riff in the verses keeping me headbanging, especially with the little dropouts from the guitar. The chorus is now expected awesomeness, too. The little ‘woo’ after the first chorus was a nice touch too, it makes it sound like the band had some real fun recording the track, making it a funner listen as a result. The breakdown riff after the second chorus was awesome too, and the singing coming in over the top added some more depth to it all. Again, it didn’t last as long as it could have, but the final chorus is so infectiously catchy that I just cannot complain.

The final two tracks on the EP, OG ‘The Weight of Giving Up’ and ‘We Breathe the Same’ are both two more great tracks. Unfortunately, they have gotten a little lost in the shuffle for me at this point. I LOVE the band’s sound, I really do, but outside of the two slower tracks, they all follow roughly the same formula. I’d happily listen to these tracks a bunch on their own, but when they are part of an album of similar songs, it’s ever so slightly a slog for me to listen to all in one sitting. Heck, that might just be because I’m more of a prog fan than a more radio-friendly sound, but still! As I said, both are good songs, but I’ve run out of praise to give them or stuff to talk about without me repeating myself from previous songs!

Overall: I loved this! It’s a fantastic blend of Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Bring me the Horizon and even stuff like Fall Out Boy that I truly think hasn’t been attempted before (not that I’ve heard, anyway). It’s fresh, catchy, and all-round enjoyable. It’s clear that every member is incredibly talented too, at both their roles and as songwriters. I cannot wait for the chance to see these guys live hopefully next year, and I look forward to hearing what they put out in the future!

The Score: 8.5/10

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A Joker Among Thieves: Don’t Run Away

A Joker Among Thieves are a three-piece heavy rock band hailing from Yorkshire. The band have released a couple of tracks over the last two years to pretty great success, and now they are gearing up to drop their latest one, ‘Don’t Run Away’, at the end of this month. We discovered the band through their awesome set at Rockin’ The Bowl last month and we were kindly given a sneak preview ahead of the big release in order to review it. Well, here is that review!

Starting out pretty fast and heavy, the drums keep a steady beat behind an awesome little guitar riff. The vocals come in, powerful and melodic, almost giving the track more of a punk feel than anything else. If it is punk, though, it’s still pretty heavy. The pre is pretty fun, building up perfectly into a catchy, massive chorus. It’s easy to sing along to vocally and the instrumentation behind it makes it all sound massive, a real credit to the producer of the track for that one too! The vocals ever so slightly remind me of Rob Zombie at times, for whatever reason.

The awesome riff continues out of the second chorus, the bass being turned up and the bassist really getting to show off his awesome skill. It reminds me a little bit of Frank Bello’s playing, or even Cliff Burton. We also get an awesome, pretty technical guitar solo over the top, something that shows off even more of the bands thrash influences. We then get a great stripped back final verse, this time having some extra vocals that repeat or mirror the main ones, giving a sweet echo effect but also giving a slight unnerving tone, which I imagine is exactly what they were going for. We then get a final chorus afterwards with an awesome, catchy outro, the repeated vocal of the song’s title being the perfect thing for a crowd to sing back to the band in a live setting.

Overall, it’s an awesome track, and one that will easily make the playlist as soon as it is out on streaming services. I would recommend the track and the band as a whole for anyone who is into rock music, as they are also damn good live. Good stuff!

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Decade: How Does the Band’s Debut Compare to the Members’ Other Work?

They Fell From the Sky are comprised of members of both Bullet for my Valentine and Hundred Reasons, two bands I am very much a fan of! I hadn’t heard much of the band before getting asked to do the review, but the people involved made me pumped enough for its release. Add onto that the fantastic latest single I heard, and this should be one hell of a review. Join me in checking out this hard rock/metal/punk fusion band!

‘Dry’ opens on a fantastic building guitar riff backed by a solid drum roll before exploding into an even better riff. The vocals soon come over the top, having a harsher, hardcore edge to them than I was expecting. It also gives the track a lot more of a punky edge, like a heavier Frank Turner vocally. The verse builds perfectly into a catchy chorus, the vocals being an instant ear-worm. There’s a short bridge part after the second chorus as it drops down a bit, but it doesn’t really go anywhere before the final chorus comes in to take us home. There is an AWESOME scream at the end though, and the stopping dead was pretty cool!

‘Crush This World’ opens on an aptly crushing riff, heavy and huge. It drops down a little in the verse but still maintains a bouncy heaviness, while also having a great vocal hook. If anything it’s a little more catchy than the chorus, but that’s saying a lot as the chorus is also very good! We get an awesome bridge that leads suddenly into a pretty heavy (if short), breakdown, more awesome heaviness. We then get a quick final chorus to take us home. This was an awesome under three minutes, especially with the breakdown being reprised for the outro. Playlisted!

One of the singles from the album, ‘The Line’, is the song that got me into the band in the first place after being sent it to us for promotion. It’s a slower track than the previous two, more of an emotional ballad, but it’s awesome. The intro gives off almost Foo Fighters vibes with the powerful vocals over the lighter guitar riff, and the chorus is honestly beautiful thanks to the profound lyrics. The bridge is even very entertaining, the duelling vocals and harmonies over the top of the riff giving off Biffy Clyro vibes too, another fantastic band to be compared to. It’s just an awesome song all around and definitely one to check out!

‘Can’t Think of Anything’ opens on a chord build-up which gave me slight Offspring vibes before the main, pretty heavy riff kicked in. It drops back down for the verse, a beautiful vocal melody over the top of an equally beautiful guitar riff. The chorus is again very Foo Fighters thanks to the descending vocal melody at times; it sounds great. However, the song had a pretty odd structure. Because the intro and verses were so long, it meant that even at three minutes in length it only had two verses and choruses before fading out. It might have been nice to have had a longer song and had a bridge or changeup in there somewhere, but it was still a decent song nonetheless!

‘Take it or Leave it’ is the punkiest of the songs on the album simply due to the main riff, it’s light and bouncy and quite frankly Punk AF. The pre and chorus are also much of the same, both massively catchy in their own right and very enjoyable, maybe also the best of the album. The bridge riff is still pretty heavy, and the effect on the vocals for the first part of the last chorus SCREAMS pop-punk, I love it all! It was another easily playlisted song!

‘Mantrap’ heavies things up a bit again, the main riff being down-tuned awesomeness from the guitars and the drums follow it perfectly. Speaking of the drums, Jason has been solid throughout this whole album, a real unsung hero in this review so far as he has been so crazy consistent. The effect on the vocals in the verses was also awesome, adding some great dynamics and even more heaviness to it all. The screams coming out of the choruses were also awesome, really giving the band plenty of styles to work with after the punkier previous song. I always love it much more when the bands keep it interesting and have some different sounding songs on their albums, not just the same sound recycled ten times over, and this album does exactly that. Again bringing up the drums, the fading out drum solo at the end was another massive highlight of the song!

‘The Joy of Hindsight’ opens on a pretty great riff, but for some reason outside of that, the track didn’t grip me as much as the others. It was a steadier number and I think it just wasn’t quite as good as ‘The Line’, which I wasn’t expecting it to, but yeah, it was good but not as great as the others. The same could be said for the following song, ‘One More Obstacle’. It’s a good song in its own right, but other songs have done heavy better on this album so it gets a tad lost in the shuffle.

‘Staring at the Sun’ is another great combination of their heaviness and punkier aspects, a thoroughly enjoyable song. There isn’t much I can talk about with it though, or I’d just be repeating what I’ve said already at times in this review. It’s good, check it out. It also fades perfectly into the final track ‘Birth of the Stars’ something I always appreciate when listening to albums. Said song is unfortunately nothing to gush over, it’s again slightly more of an album track like the previous one. However, after ten minutes of dead air after the track, the band explode back in with a bonus track! I’m not 100% sure what the title of the track is, but the chorus is damn heavy and FULL of screaming, which I loved. The structure itself was weird (of course it was, it’s a bonus track) and mainly consists of a riff, verse and chorus before it spends a couple of minutes fading out, but it was a very enjoyable track, more so than the one it was attached to, in my opinion!

Overall: this was awesome. Almost every song was fantastic, the singles definitely not being the only ones. There were a couple of album tracks feeling songs by the end, but overall it was a damn solid release that was massively enjoyable, and it is an album I shall be listening to for a while. I look forward to hearing where the band goes from here! 

The Score: 8/10

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Nowhere Generation: Can this be the album that finally put Rise Against on top of the rock world where they belong?

Chicagoan punk rockers Rise Against have been established as a force in the rock world for years now, their breakout album The Sufferer & The Witness being released back in 2006. Putting out a further five albums since then (including the one being reviewed here), the band has continued with their solid, fantastic releases, having huge singles like Saviour, Satellite, and The Violence. However, despite that, for some reason in the UK, they have never quite reached the pinnacle of the scene. I’ve been a fan of them since hearing Saviour on Kerrang!, Appeal to Reason being one of the first few albums I brought soon after. I have been a fan of the band ever since; they are some of the best lyric writers in the game right now and their brand of punk is awesome. So, it’s safe to say I’m pretty excited for this one. Let’s get into it!

One of the album’s singles, ‘The Numbers’, is up first. Starting with some distorted, distant-sounding pre-war song, it soon fades out into a quite beautiful clean guitar chord progression. It doesn’t last long, though, soon bursting into a fantastic and very Rise Against-y riff, the chords and lead parts working perfectly together. The pace keeps pretty quick, Tim McIlrath’s distinctive vocals already coming in with some great lyrics that sound like more revolution ‘call to arms’ types. They follow the formula that has worked so well for them until this point, a fast yet catchy pre that gives way to a slower, more open chorus, the vocals soaring through their catchy melody and the lead instrumentation behind them only adding to the epic feel. It strips back a little after the second chorus, dropping down to just bass and vocals for a bit before slowly building up more and more as more instruments come back. The analogy of us being horses oppressed by our owners was fantastic here and so masterfully written. My god, I’m going to gush about the lyrics a lot. Sorry in advance! I just love the whole anti-establishment style that punk has lost so much of recently outside of these guys. “Fuck what you call normal” is just such a fantastic line, and delivered with such anger and emotion. It all builds into a great little riff before launching into a massive final chorus. This was a great song and album opener. It was formulaic for the band at this point, but any time we get new music by them I can’t help but enjoy it. This easily made the playlist.

‘Sudden Urge’ opened on another great yet pretty simple riff. The pace is much slower here, a nice change from the breakneck speed of the opener. The vocals and lyrics are still great, and the guitar chords behind them sounded good. The pace picks up heading into the pre before we get a middle-of-the-road chorus. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t quite as good as the previous one, in my opinion. I actually thought that the second verse was catchier and better written than the chorus, which is always a little odd. The bridges were enjoyable again but not as memorable as the previous song’s. The song as a whole was good, a good album track, but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to listen to it on its own.

The lead single and the album’s title track is up next. It opens on just vocals and a simple guitar chord progression and it sounds awesome. There are some more fantastic lyrics, the same ones that make up the chorus, more talk of being the outcasts of society, and it just fits the genre perfectly. The verses sound almost a little bland after just how great and catchy the chorus is, but that’s kind of the point of them, no? There isn’t too much of a bridge in the middle but the even more stripped-back chorus afterwards was fantastic, adding some great dynamics to a genre of music that is notoriously hard to do that to. Also, I have to give some love to the backing vocals, which have been on point throughout this. I cannot praise this song enough, it’s easily playlisted. Check it out if you like catchier, slightly slower songs.

The album’s most recent single, ‘Talking to Ourselves’, is next. Bursting straight in with an almost pop-punk riff was interesting, but it soon slows down again heading into the verse. There isn’t too much I can say about the verses and choruses, it follows a very similar formula to the first couple of songs. It’s all massively catchy and there are some more great lyrics scattered throughout. A good song in its own right, there just isn’t really anything special about this song like the other singles so far have shown. It feels more of an album track to me, which is probably why it was only released a week or so before the album was. A good song, but not quite as good as the others so far.

The final single on the album, ‘Broken Dreams, Inc’, opens on a few seconds of a pretty cool bass riff before the guitar comes in to drown it out a little. It again slows down for the first half of the verse before speeding back up again. It’s another good, fast punk rock song, the chorus being the fastest part of the song this time. It was a nice change from the slower, epic feeling choruses that we’ve had so far, but it did result in it feeling a little less catchy. The breakdown after the bridge was nice, but that might be me being bias as it was just bass and vocals. The final chorus felt a little catchier with the backing vocals doing the call and response thing, but it still didn’t do a whole lot for me. Another album track, for me.

‘Forfeit’ was an immediate change of pace, Tim and his guitar starting off the track slowly and calmly with some beautiful vocals and picking work. It builds and builds so much while it’s still just him, his vocals soaring in the very catchy chorus and the guitar playing solid chords behind them. There wasn’t much to this, and it was perfect. I think the band does just as good at the slow, emotional ballads as they do with their faster, punky stuff. The emotion rings through so well, it being maybe my favourite slower song by them since Hero of War. This would be one I would LOVE to see live, and has easily made the playlist!

‘Monarch’ immediately picks up the pace again, a blisteringly quick drumbeat driving through the whole song, it barely slowing aside for a little bit in the chorus. Having this after the slower song was a great choice as I felt there wasn’t much particularly special about this song again, aside from some more great lyrics and an awesome guitar riff around the middle, but I found myself enjoying this a lot more than a couple of the other songs on this album so far. I also loved that it had a few faint noises as an outro which then led immediately into the next song, something I always love when albums do.

‘Sounds Like’ has some great lyrics throughout again, but outside of that feels like another fairly standard Rise Against song at this point. However, ‘Sooner or Later’ is another slower song, opening on some distorted keys before drums and vocals come in over the top. It’s pretty beautiful, especially some more great, profound lyrics. It doesn’t pick up the pace much, just in the slightly bigger, very catchy chorus. There isn’t much to the song but it is really great, catchy, and even features a scream from Tim at one point, something I feel like I haven’t heard in a long time! It’s another that made the playlist!

Unfortunately, the last couple of tracks, ‘Middle of a Dream’ and ‘Rules of Play’ fall into the same sort of formula that I have spoken about before. Both are again very good, enjoyable songs, and the latter has a damn good, catchy chorus, but neither piqued my interest quite as much as a few others on here. It’s a shame the album didn’t end with one of the biggest hitters it has, but Rules was still a damn good song, and at least it was pretty fast-paced!

Overall: I loved this. Rise Against always impress me and while it wasn’t necessarily a ground-breaking song for the band in terms of the sound, it was still a damn enjoyable one filled to the brim with good to great songs. There are a few here that I will be listening to a lot over the coming weeks and months, and the whole album as a whole will get listened to again more than a few times!

The Score: 8/10