Tag Archives: southern rock

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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The New Roses: ‘There’s a whole bunch of stuff in there that I wouldn’t have come up with myself!’

Hard/classic rock band The New Roses put out their much-acclaimed new album, Sweet Poison, last month (check out our review of it here). We managed to sit down with frontman Timmy Rough to talk all about it, from the writing process to their touring plans. Check it out below!

You just put out the new album. What was it like to record it?

Yeah. So, every song on the record actually came to life during the lockdowns. The very first song sounded really terrible because we were dealing with all the frustration, it was really sad stuff. Nobody felt anything listening to them. We didn’t feel like making an album back then, all the material just made it worse.

So, I wrote a song called ‘The Usual Suspects’ and after that everyone was really engaged and really wanted to do something. We had the right motivation and vibe for the record. After that I wrote maybe 60 songs and we took the time and hooked it down to the last 11 songs that were lasting. Then we took all them and recorded them.

And what about those other 49 songs? Do you think they’ll ever see the light of day?

Yeah, maybe! You know a lot of them are just shit because for every good song I write I write maybe two or three shitty songs. But a couple of them are really good! They were a little too close to the new record though and we don’t want that. Maybe we’ll take them out when there’s enough space between the new stuff and the Nothing But Wild record and we can just blend them in, I guess.

You said last time we talked that it was the first time you’d written with the rest of the band. How was that compared to writing on your own?

It was way more fun. Still, the initial ideas come from me but this time everybody participated a lot more than we used to do it. Maybe that’s maybe because we had a bit more time; we could try things out and go back and forth a little. I guess you hear that on the record, everybody’s input. There’s a whole bunch of stuff in there that I wouldn’t have come up with myself!

Is there a main inspiration or sound to the album?

We recorded at the same studio that we recorded all our other records in, so it’s just a little improvement but the same foundation of our sound. Every record we make we’re scratching stuff away, carving it away. You try to distil it down to a point where there’s just 100% necessary stuff. This record is really the most we’ve done that. It’s pretty much exactly what we play live. It was much easier to bring those songs to the stage this time because most of the songs are just two guitars, two vocals, bass and drums.

The other inspiration, the main topic, was not to bitch. Not to complain or take the victim role. We wanted to stand up for ourselves, stand up for our audience and give them a good time and demonstrate some strength and some faith. That was the main goal for the record.

Have you got any highlights or stories from making the album?

You know at first it was very difficult because we couldn’t get into the rehearsal room together. We always had to send tracks around and everybody recorded their stuff at home. We’d always meet in Skype or Zoom meetings and talk about the recordings. At first it was really weird because the songs were coming to life but we weren’t playing together. But when it finally did it was really weird. We all knew the songs so well, but we’d never played them together. But when it happened, and fortunately it did happen before we went to the studio, so in the end we recorded in the studio like we used to do.

That was very fortunate for us, we were afraid we would have to record and create the whole record without even once being together. But that didn’t happen. So, when we finally got together it felt really energetic and really cool to get the stuff recorded together.

And I assume you have a big tour planned off the back of it? There are some UK dates, right?

Yes sir! It’s gonna be December. London on the 1st, Cardiff on the 2nd and Sheffield on the 3rd. Winter Rocks festival is the Sheffield date. I’m really looking forward to it, it’s been a long time. I think late in the Covid year we did a festival in the UK, we did Call of the Wild, so it’s been too long! It’s gonna be fantastic!

And I assume there’ll be a bit more of an expansive tour coming in the new year?

Yeah! So, at the moment we’re on the German tour and we’re playing all our important German cities. Then after that we’re in the UK. Early next year we’ll be in France and then we’ll kinda see how winter goes and see how the Covid thing is gonna be. As soon as we’ve got a bit better of a vision we’re gonna be all over the place!

I imagine there’ll still be a hint of writing going on, too?

Hell yeah, that’s what I do. I’ve got my notebook, my scratch book with me. I keep on collecting stuff right away. It’s what I always do. When touring is done I’ll take everything out and lock myself up in a small room and I go through everything I wrote down and start making songs out of that nonesense!

New Music Mondays: Architects, Ugly Kid Joe and More!

Another week of awesome new music, from classic rock to metalcore. Check it all out down below!

Architects: the classic symptoms of a broken spirit

I’m sorry, didn’t Architects used to be heavy and… y’know… interesting? Sempiternal came out nearly a decade ago at this point, yet metalcore is STILL trying to replicate its sound and success. This album didn’t do so well as others this year, or even earlier Architects albums. It’s not bad, but it’s incredible predicable and radio friendly. The band that wrote the epic Daybreaker and Lost Forever have officially lost their fangs, falling into the same fame-baiting, pop-leaning pattern that a lot of other metalcore bands have found themselves in.

Outside of the actually heavy closing track, the whole album feels so subdued. Gone is the slight edge they had left on their last album. Heck, even the strings, the best part of For Those That Wish to Exist, have been replaced by synths. It’s made the wall-of-sound mixing style they have even harder for me to digest; nothing stands out or impacts, even the odd big riff or breakdown hits the same as everything else. I know this is an already incredibly divisive album, and a lot of people love it. I’ve tried hard but I just can’t. Hopefully it’s at least the direction the band want to go and that they’re happy with the record instead of them being creatively dry. Even a return to the Holy Hell style would be hugely appreciated after this! 3.5/10

Ugly Kid Joe: Red Wings of Destiny

This was surprisingly, unfortunately average. Being a big fan of the bands earlier work, I was excited to hear how they sound these days. Okay. They sound okay these days.

None of this was bad by any stretch, but none of it was amazing either. It reminded me more of 2000s Red Hot Chili Peppers than the fun, energy and swagger filled band everyone loved them as back in the 90s. This was essentially a soft rock album with a couple of grungier tracks thrown in for good measure. That’s not bad at all, but not quite what I was hoping for or expecting. Heck, the guys are 30 years older and more mature than they were when they wrote ‘Everything About You’, of course it would mean they sound different to that. As I said, I was just hoping the fun element was still here.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. The band did a cracking cover of The Kinks’ ‘Lola’, and ‘Dead Friends Play’ is a bittersweet track about the rock legends we’ve lost over the years. And it’s a stomping blues rock track and my favourite on the album. It reminds me of early Dead Daisies, which I cannot at all complain about! Even the closing track is country-inspired fun. But overall, another slightly disappointing, meh album. 4/10. oh, and of course, the Judas Priest reference for the album title is also great.

Avantasia: A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society

The epic, metal opera band released the best album they’ve put out in years with their ninth. Whether it’s Tobias himself taking the lead or incredible guest vocals from the likes of Floor Jansen, Geoff Tate or Michael Kiske, it’s all hugely epic, massively talented, and a real joy to listen to. With all of the effort put into the story and characters for the videos/artwork, I want to see one of these as a full stage show more than anything. It’s so theatrical in all aspects that it would make for an incredible musical.

It’s another album with not a bad song on it, and honestly, I’d put it up against any other power metal-style album of the last decade, it’s that good. Check this out, no matter what sort of music you are into. You’ll find something to love, I’m sure. This will be on heavy rotation for me for months to come, and I’m more than happy about that! 9/10

Simple Minds: Direction of the Heart

When this company started last year, I did not think I’d be sat here on a Sunday afternoon covering a Simple Minds album. If I’m honest, I didn’t even know they were still a thing. So, not once did I think it’d actually be a pretty good album!

Don’t get me wrong, this definitely my sort of thing through and through. After the first three or four tracks I felt like I’d heard everything this album had to offer. However, it’s Simple Minds, I knew what to expect heading into it and was not disappointed. Tracks like ‘Human Traffic’, ‘Who Killed Truth?’ and ‘Act of Love’ are all highlights and honestly just as good as any other big Simple Minds songs. I don’t know if it’s just me not being a big fan of the band, but they sound just as good as ever to me.

A good album and one well worth checking out if you’re a fan of the band or soft rock/new wave music. 6.5/10

Exhumed: To the Dead

Time to change the pace. Death metal, anyone? Or deathgrind, as they are now being referred to, apparently. Either way, the bands ninth album goes just as hard as ever. I have to admit while I’m definitely getting into much more death these days thanks to Overtone, some of the vocals still felt a bit much for me. The usual screams were fine, but the lower, early Cannibal Corpse style ones were too far back in the mix and too growly for me to really enjoy. However, the riffs throughout the whole album were sick, and the drummer was the real highlight o it all, working a blinding pace from start to finish. I feel like I’d get a lot more out of hearing this stuff live than on track. It’s good, and if you like the sub-genre you’ll definitely love it, but it may take me a few more listens to truly appreciate. 6/10

Stryper: The Final Battle

The glam metal/NWOHM band get a lot of stick for being overtly Christian, but those who choose not to listen to them because of this are missing out on some damn good music. Their back catalogue speaks for itself and this, their fourteenth album, shows that the band very much still has it.

‘Transgressor’ is a powerful, fast-paced intro track full of some very solid drums, a great vocal performance and even a HEAVY riff behind an impressive guitar solo. ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil’ is a highlight of the album for sure, giving off heavy Painkiller vibes and having an infectiously catchy chorus. Then there are tracks like ‘Same Old Story’ ‘Rise to the Call’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’ that feel just like modern day Saxon, in both sound and quality. Overall, it’s just a solid heavy metal album. It’s hard to pick fault with it, but there also isn’t a massive amount that stands out. 6.5/10

The New Roses: Sweet Poison

We’ve already checked this out. It’s awesome. Check it out here.

Avatarium: Death, Where is your Sting

The prog/doom metal band returned this last week with their fifth studio album. While not an active touring member of the band, Candlemass alumni Leif Edling can very much still be heard in the songwriting process. However, although I used to be a fairly big Candlemass fan back in my teens, I didn’t get on with this album too much. I don’t know what it was, either.

The instrumentation, although a tad reserved and boring, was good. And Jennie-Ann Smith’s bassey, bluesy voice sounds as great as ever. But it all just felt like moody, depressing, dark Fleetwood Mac, but without the catchiness. Or a less fun Ghost. None of it is inherently bad, but it did nothing to grip me. I don’t think I’m goth enough for this sort of thing anymore. ‘Stockholm’ was probably the highlight, just because the riff was pretty decent. As I said, it’s not bad, and would probably make for good background music or as a movie soundtrack. But to sit down and analyse, this was a slog. 4.5/10

Spencer Crandall: Western

The country singer/songwriter came back with his fourth studio album this last week. It’s another far too long country album, a plague in 2022, as it seems. Seeing it was 20 tracks long almost brought a tear to my eye. However, it’s still a pretty decent album despite it’s obvious bloatedness.

‘Didn’t Do’, ‘Girls Like You’ and ‘Red Flags’ are all good tracks, if rather pop-centric. However, they are also surrounded by a lot of average tracks as well. This album could have easily been half the length and been a much better release. Still, if you like modern stadium-country music, you’ll probably find enough here to enjoy! 4.5/10

Brutus: Unison Life

The post-hardcore Belgians released their highly anticipated fourth album last Friday. Considering I’m not a huge fan of the genre, I found myself enjoying this a lot. From the slow-build intro of ‘Miles Away’ into the heavy, open and MASSIVE ‘Brave’, it’s a cracking way to open an album. ‘Victoria’ almost felt ballad-like in its execution; and was a good one at that. The more this album went on, the less post-hardcore it felt. It’s just a good pop-rock album. ‘Dust’ was a highlight for me. One of the heavier tracks on the album, the Americana-style guitar tone and chords combined with the great drumming, dirty bass and slightly harsh vocals made for one hell of a song. The whole album is dark, brooding and a lot of fun, even if it does all blur into one a bit by the end. 7/10

Sloan: Steady

The 13th album from one of Canada’s biggest bands of the last 25 years is another good one. Canada’s late answer to Status Quo have an innate quality to write incredibly catchy songs throughout. That probably has something to do with every band member taking the helm of lead vocals at different times, meaning that there are plenty of fantastic harmonies across the whole album.

Tracks like the opener, ‘Scratch the Surface’ and ‘Simply Leaving’ are good examples of what the band is about, for those who aren’t too familiar. The whole album is worth checking out though if you’re a fan of the softer side of rock. A band that are still very much still at the top of their game as songwriters and an album that is simply a fun, interesting listen. 7/10

Chez Kane: Powerzone

This is a fantastic album. Being a fan of Chez since her time in Kane’d, I felt like this would be heavier heading into it. However, it’s so very AOR, more Journey than Journey have been in years. It wouldn’t feel at all out of place in Rock of Ages, and I LOVE IT.

From start to finish this was a masterclass in 80s sunset strip glam rock. ‘I Just Want You’ is not only an amazing album opener, but one of the most epic rock tracks released this millennium. The title track is another massive, powerful track. However, there isn’t really a low point on the album. We’re experiencing a bit of a glam/AOR revival at the minute in the scene, and I would put it up there with any of the top albums from it. Heck, I’d put it up there with some of the top albums in the genre, no matter the time period, be it Poison, Journey or Crüe.

If you’re into this sort of music at all, check this out, you’ll love it. There really isn’t a bad track on the album. It’s definitely going to end up on heavy rotation for me at least for the rest of the year. 9/10

Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot – Side B: Is It Somehow Even Better than Everette’s Debut?

Country duo Everette released their muchly anticipated second album yesterday. A part two to their incredible debut album, it looks set to launch them into the stratosphere, as the band are gaining a lot of traction recently. I’d not even heard them before checking them out thanks to The Long Road Festival (find our review of it here), and have since become a little obsessed! I’ve been eagerly anticipating this album for the last couple of months now, so let’s see what it’s like!

Opening track ‘Run’ is one I’ve heard already, having reacted to it and ‘Make Me Want One’ when they were released as singles a few weeks ago. It’s just as fantastic a track as the first time I heard it. It’s slow, chilled out and infectiously catchy. It sets a fantastic mood for the rest of the album. I don’t have much more to add, if you like relaxed acoustic-country you’ll love this just as much as I do.

‘Woo Hoo Hoo’ has a great bouncy, groovy guitar riff running through it which starts the track off on a high. Add in the title lyrics being VERY catchy again and this is another great track. Also, the high ‘Woo hoo hoo’ing brought back vague drunken memories of The Long Road… I think they played this! It’s a testament to how fantastic these two are at writing songs that I can suddenly remember a track that I’d heard once months ago while half-cocked. The first chorus felt a little low but, honestly, by the second and third it all fit perfectly and felt just as anthemic as their other tracks. And the jamming outro is amazing, too Playlisted!

The lead single of the album, ‘Gonna be a Problem’, is another like ‘Run’. It’s chilled out, slower, but one of the most memorable, catchy songs I’ve heard in years. That chorus is incredible. It’s memorable and honestly everyone should hear this. It deserves to be the ‘next big song’, and hopefully now it’s gotten a second release it will get even bigger. It’s somehow pop, country, southern, blues and everything in between mushed together perfectly, and it couldn’t be better. We even get a guitar solo AND a half-time part in the barely three-minute track. This is phenomenal. Playlisted.

‘She Got That From Me’ is a cute but sad slower ballad. The lyrics here are amazing, which even more of an achievement when everything else plays second fiddle to them a little. It’s simple drums and guitar chords but Brent Rupard’s effortlessly amazing vocals make this song another great one. Another track that I can’t pick fault with, I feel like it’s a trend…

‘Wild Woman’ picks up a bit more of the southern rock style than anything else so far. Honestly this would fit right at home on a Cadillac Three album. It drops down a little for the verses but stays higher energy throughout. It’s a lot of fun and my only complaint is that it’s only two-and-a-half minutes.

The cleverly titled ‘Shrunk as Drit’ is just as fun in its lyrics. I don’t know whether it’s my childish sense of humour, but all the letter swapping and mispronunciation did make me giggle. It’s a good old-school country song on its own right, too. It reminds me a bit of Blake Shelton’s ‘Some Beach’, which is also a fantastic song. It’s an upbeat, silly and infectiously fun and catchy, as hard as it’s going to be to learn the lyrics! Playlisted!

Next up is a track I have been literally obsessed with since they released it, ‘Make me Want One’. I reacted to this one in the same video as ‘Run’ a few days after its release, which I’ll link below. Having first heard this track live, I have barely gotten it out of my head. I can go a few days without hearing it and have checked out another few albums and then bam, out of nowhere it’s back in my head again. That’s fine though because I LOVE this song. How do two guys write such simple yet massively catchy and emotion-filled tracks? It’s not fair, but so awesome. Check this one out, everything about it is amazing. It’s already on the playlist.

Closing track ‘Get By’ is of course an amazing track, but is maybe the weakest on the album. However, that’s saying nothing, as it’s still great. It’s chilled out again, catchy and another anthem for the people. I can’t say anything else without appearing like a fangirl or repeating what I’ve said about previous tracks. Check this out!

Overall: What a phenomenal album. I don’t think I was expecting any less, but it’s still incredible that I can’t pick a single fault with it. Every song is amazing in its own right and the whole album, unlike most country albums these days, is short, concise and perfectly put together. I cannot gush about this album enough. Therefore, it has to get top marks…

The Score: 10/10

New Music Mondays: Ozzy Osbourne, Parkway Drive and More!

Strap yourselves in, ladies and gents, because we have a long one ahead of us. 18, yes 18 albums to check out. And I apologise in advance because half of this more than likely isn’t going to be for you. For all of our fans we have built up over the years there is a fair amount of heavy in here. But for all of the country fans we have started to gain recently, there is a fair bit of that too. Sorry if we scare anyone off with the stark contrasts. But check it out anyway, who knows, you might find your new favourite band! Let’s get into some new music!

Oh, and our newest writer, Max, jumped on to give me a hand again with some of these, so of course give him a hand!

Ozzy Osbourne: Patient Number 9

Ozzy should have called it a day a decade ago. He was struggling a little on Sabbath’s farewell tour but they still went out with a bang. Since then, his health has deteriorated and, let’s be honest, he can’t tour any more.

Having said that, this was better than it had any right to be. I wasn’t into Ordinary Man at all but this makes up for it. I’ve been a big advocate of ‘Patient Number 9’ since its release, it’s one of the best choruses Ozzy’s ever done. The same could be said for ‘One of Those Days’. And, of course, he has a guest guitarist on each track, and he’s selected some of the very best of all time. Between Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Zakk Wylde and Toni Iommi, there is some incredible soloing here.

My only slight negative would be that it’s all a little slow. However, for a 73 year old man, I didn’t really expect him to have the same energy in his tracks as he did 50 years ago. If Ozzy is going to stick to just studio music from now on, this is how to do it! 7.5/10

Parkway Drive: Darker Still

I really wanted to like this. And the weird thing is that sometimes I found myself enjoying it, but then other times it fell beneath expectation. Heck, sometimes both in the same track.

The Australian band continue to let more and more European power metal to seep into their American metalcore, to mixed results. And this isn’t even coming from a jaded old Parkway fan. I didn’t really get into them until IRE. But I LOVED that and Reverence so was excited for this album. I don’t think it lives up to my hype, but that’s not saying it’s bad. It’s certainly odd though.

I’m one of the seemingly few who loved ‘Glitch’ when it was released and I still do now. ‘The Greatest Fear’ is okay too, though it doesn’t go quite hard enough. ‘Darker Still’ however, can get in the bin. The only genuine highlight I’ve found that I’ve listened to multiple times since is ‘Soul Bleach’. Having said that though, the more I listen to that track, the more I love it. It’s heavy and the sound I wish they’d gone for for the whole record. ‘If a God can Bleed’ is weird enough to work and ‘Imperial Heretic’ is okay, but both are pretty average really. The couple of closing tracks are good, too.

As I say, nothing on here is bad at all. Maybe (hopefully) it’ll grow on me with another few listens, but right now I feel like it’s around a 7/10. Not as ground-breaking as I was hoping for.

Flogging Molly: Anthem

The not-so-Irish Irish folk punk band are back with their seventh studio album. That makes me feel old. The whole early 2000s skate-punk scene was a big part of my childhood, and hearing new music from them just makes me smile. How can anyone not like this music? It’s got the very best parts of folk, punk and rock.

There isn’t a bad track on the album. From the raucous opening track to the slower, full-on old folk songs to the fantastic ‘This Road of Mine’, it’s all great! Whether you’re into folk, punk, rock, americana or probably a bunch of other genres too, you’ll find something to enjoy here. This may be their best album since Float, and that’s saying something! 8/10

Highly Suspect: The Midnight Demon Club

I loved the first couple of Highly Suspect albums. Tracks like ‘Lydia’, ‘Bloodfeather’ and ‘My Name is Human’ all felt like they were harkening in the next big, heavy indie band. However, their last album seemed to soil that, at least over here. I wasn’t a big fan and I’ve not really seen them on any line-ups or heard them on the radio much over the last five years.

This album is at least a step in the right direction. None of it is quite as impactful as any of the previous tracks I named, but they’re at least solid, moody radio rock songs. That is, aside for the heavy AF single ‘Pink Lullabye’. It was like listening to a Zeal & Ardor track and I loved it. The rest of it was pretty similar, steady-paced, okayness (with lyrics of questionable quality), but damn is ‘Lullabye’ a tune. 6/10

ONE OK ROCK: Luxury Disease

The Japanese alt rock band returned last week with their tenth studio album. Going into it completely blind, having never heard the band before, I enjoyed it! It’s pretty basic pop rock, but there is nothing offensive or inherently bad about it. It was cool to hear the combination of English and Japanese vocals too, highlighting their own sound and culture as well as the sounds that inspired them. It reminds me of a combination of Panic! and Set it Off, but then with an even poppier ting to it.

‘Neon’ is probably my favourite track on the album, but again there aren’t really bad tracks here. The emotional ‘When They Turn the Lights On’ channelled heavy British vibes, whether it was Muse or Busted or Queen. Also, Teddy Swims sounds great in his guest vocals for ‘Free Them’. There’s a lot of good here if you’re into the lighter stuff. 7/10

Blackment: Plains of Oblivion

We’ve already done a full review of this album. Check it out, along with the fantastic score, here.

Built to Spill: When the Wind Forgets Your Name

Max: The American indie rock band, Built To Spill, is back with another great album. WTWFYN is the 10th album by the band, and it is a perfect addition. If you enjoy slower music its perfect for you as it, as always, focuses around Doug Martsch’s vocals and guitar. I found it difficult to sum up exactly what made this album so good but the simplicity of some for the riffs and the fun but relaxed vocals feel very relaxing. I sat up the other night listening to it and letting all of the instruments just wash over me and tell me everything that they have hidden beneath. It is a beautiful and yet thoughtful listen that can definitely click with everyone so long as it lets you. My rating might be slightly biased as I’ve been looking for an album that makes me feel the same way I did when I first listened to Motion City Soundtracks acoustics song, but it is an almost perfect 9/10 and I hope everyone reading this takes a listen.

Bloodbath: “Survival of the Sickest”

Max: Time for a sharp change of pace. The death metal supergroup is back with another very, very intense album. For those who are unfamiliar this group and has had a wild line up but currently consist of Martin Axenrot (Opeth), Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost), Jonas Renkse (Katatonia) and Anders Nystrom (Katatonia). so, with such a wild line up it is unsurprising that this album is brilliant for most and even better for those who follow black metal. The album is intense and is not always the friendliest of listens but it is a great one and i must say it isn’t a bad or hard place to start for those who don’t listen to black metal. So, if this becomes your entrance album, I do not blame you as it has got me back in to Katatonia and Paradise Lost. As I’ve mentioned this is a fun and intense album that does not disappoint and is great for those who need a heavy dose of music in their system. A very respectable 8/10

Laurence Jones: Destination Unknown

This is an old blues rock fans dream. Between the awesome riffs, powerful vocals and heavy focus on synth, this felt like it was ripped straight from the 70s. The guitar is of course a huge highlight of the album, but that shouldn’t take away from his great vocals and the awesome work of the band behind him. This sound has been coming back more and more in recent times, be it with Rival Sons or in the NWOCR scene, and tracks like ‘Anywhere With Me’, ‘Give Me that Feeling’ and ‘In Too Deep’ look to catapult Laurence pretty high up in that scene. If you’re into the likes of Rainbow, Foghat, Rival Sons or even ZZ Top, check this out, you won’t be disappointed! 7.5/10

BRELAND: Cross Country

Cross Country is the debut studio album of platinum single-selling artist BRELAND. He became big off of said single, ‘My Truck’, in 2020 after it hitting big on social media. This album features guest slots from the likes of Keith Urban, Ingred Andress and Thomas Rhett.

If all of that sounds insane for a 27-year-old musician… well I fucking agree.

The music itself combines R&B, rap and soul to the country sound. It’s basically what everyone wanted Lil Nas X to continue to sound like after ‘Old Town Road’. Now, I completely understand that this isn’t going to be every readers cup of tea. I get that I am in the small part of the Ven diagram that like both this and Bloodbath further up. However, I loved this. Tracks like ‘Praise the Lord’, ‘Natural’, ‘Don’t Look at Me’ and ‘For What it’s Worth’ are all fantastic tracks.

However, it’s not perfect. The album is pretty bloated at 14 tracks and there is a noticeable dip in energy (and arguably quality too) around the middle which it doesn’t really recover from. It verges more into his soul stuff which I’m sure a lot of his fans love, but it’s not as much for me. 6.5/10

Revocation: Netherheaven

Stray From the Path: Euthanasia

This was like Fever 333 on acid, and I loved every second of it. The bounce and swagger of the opening track had me hooked immediately, especially with the fantastic lyrics harshly rapped over the top.

The same energy continued throughout the album, too. It’s dark, heavy and dripping with attitude and anger. Tracks like ‘III’, ‘Bread and Roses’ and ‘The Salt in Your Spit’ are highlights of an album honestly filled with them. In an age where Rage Against the Machine feel corporate, having a younger, angrier, heavier band pick up the flag they dropped feels like a very good thing.

I feel bad for myself that this band have been going for a while now but this is the first I’ve really heard of them. I feel like the rest of my week is going to be checking out their older stuff, because that was fucking fantastic. 9/10

I AM: Eternal Steel

This band are very hard to find online. I don’t think they are the Fre3nch hip hop artist IAM, nor are they ZP (Dragonforce)’s side band I Am I. Therefore, all I can tell you is what I hear.

What I hear is heavy but damn good. ‘The Primal Wave’ opens things on a brutal, fantastic note, and it’s only up and up from there. Tracks like the title song and ‘Queen Incarnate’ are great and make me want to check out more of what the band I have to offer. Hopefully I can find more about them than just their discography and can see if they venture over here for live shows at all. This whole album would be fantastic live. Check it out if you’re into the heavy, almost medieval death metal stuff, you won’t regret it! 7.5/10

Kane Brown: Different Man

Kane Brown is going to become to Georgia what RHCP are to California if he keeps up like this. In all seriousness though, the man who did what BRELAND has just done but a few years earlier is back with his third studio album. After the HUGE sucess of the last one, I’m curious to see if he can keep his momentum going.

Right out of the gate ‘Bury Me in Georgia’ is a fantastic southern rock track. Next up is a dark, brooding roots track with Blake Shelton. But damn, it’s still good. ‘Like I Love Country Music’ channels the best kind of bro-country and adds some rock and fiddle to it. It’s a fantastic run of three tracks to open. It unfortunately again drops in energy a little again after that until ‘the excellent ‘Riot’. At least this one manages to claw back the fun and tempo, unlike BRELAND. The couple of tracks after it, ‘One Mississippi’ and ‘Drunk or Dreamin” are also great. ‘Pop’s Last Name’ is a beautiful, emotional ballad. ‘Devil Don’t Even Bother’ is True Blood style awesomeness.

However, my issue is the same as BRELAND (sorry to keep bringing him up). 17 tracks is simply too long. Is it an issue throughout country as a whole at the minute? Do none of them have producers? I can give four or five tracks that, while not bad by any stretch, I’d have cut to make this an easier, more concise listen. There are maybe 11 tracks on this that are phenomenal, and the rest seem too much as a result. 8.5/10, but it would have gotten a 9 if it was a little shorter.

Eat Your Heart Out: Can’t Stay Forever

Some more pop rock now, this time from Geordie Australia. I have to admit it was pretty enjoyable. I know it’s cliche at this point to compare any pop rock/pop punk with a female vocalist to Paramore, but screw you guys, I’mma do it anyway. They’re like a slightly heavier Paramore. They definitely feel like they are bridging the gap between rock and the weird ‘rock’ that is in pop these days. If you like this sort of music, check out tracks like ‘Down’, ‘Heavenly’ and ‘Sour’. 6.5/10

Until I Wake: Inside My Head

The creepy ‘The Sacrifice’ heading into the harsh vocals and huge riffing of ‘Forsaken’ may be one of my favourite album openings of recent times. For a debut album, too, that is one hell of an achievement. Heck, I would even good as far as to argue that ‘Forsaken’ is one of the best metalcore tracks released in the last nearly decade. That shit goes hard.

It is because of that track that I was surprised and a tad disappointed with the rest of the album. It’s still good, don’t get me wrong, but it feels like a different album to the opener entirely. It’s closer to Sempiternal/That’s the Spirit era Bring Me or even Linkin Park than the Norma Jean style metalcore I was expecting. We finally get some heavy stuff again towards the back end of the album like ‘Still Sinking’ and ‘Blue Beam’. Both are great tracks and I just wish more of the album had this sort of energy. Sprinkling a few in around radio-metal tracks is an odd choice and would definitely scare a casual listener checking them out after hearing their lighter stuff.

But still, the rest of the tracks are still good, just not what I was expecting after the opening. The band do both sides of metalcore very well so if you like the genre you’ll find something to enjoy! 7.5/10

Warforged: The Grove / Sundial

Aside for having some of the best album artwork I’ve ever seen, I actually found this the hardest album for me to review this week. While some of the music and riff are great, it’s the very definition of chaos. The vocals don’t help matters either, being very heavy death metal growls. It’s the least accessible album on this list, and that’s actually saying something this week, but I’m sure the band don’t care. There’s a couple of cool moments, like in ‘Hymn of Broken Teeth’, where multiple screams join together and sound awesome. I’d definitely recommend checking that track out out of any of them, it’s probably the best representation of them as a band. But it was even a little to heavy and chaotic for me. If you enjoy this then awesome, I’m sure its fucking fantastic if you like the genre. But it wasn’t for me, so gets a 4/10

Derek Hoke: Electric Mountain

While some of this was a tad too slow for me, tracks like ‘Let Go of my Heart’, ‘Hush Your Mouth’ and ‘Novocaine’ being particular standouts. It takes a very traditional approach to country music which I can definitely appreciate and would probably love a lot more after seeing it live. I don’t really have many more thoughts about this one, it’s a good, atmospheric album that I feel would make a fantastic soundtrack to a moody movie/tv series. It may take me another couple of listens to fully ‘get’ though. 6.5/10

And there we have it guys. We did it! What a crazy weekend, but there are some insanely good albums here. If you enjoyed the article, check out more from our Instagram here.

Kyle Daniel: ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins!’

We had the chance to sit down with Kentucky’s own Kyle Daniel to talk about his European tour (including The Long Road Festival), and his music, past and future!

How was the European tour?

Oh man, I’m still on an absolute high from that thing. It was incredible. This time felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was very nice!

The cool thing about this run was all of the different places that we played. We played on a boat, we played the blues garage which felt like we were in Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Tennessee or something. I love playing clubs, I’ve played clubs my whole life, and a couple of venues in Germany were like that. And then obviously The Long Road Festival (review here) was super cool as well!

What’s the scene like in Europe compared to over there?

I think there’s a different appreciation for music all together. It feels a little hungrier I guess. Maybe it’s the fact that they don’t get to see a bunch of American artists so part of the hunger comes from that. But man, some of the best fans that anybody could as for, definitely. The support from socials to merchandise to streaming songs, the crowd over there is a different beast, for sure.

Your local scene looks to be having a bit of a resurgence too, right? Any other artists you want to shout out?

Yeah! I mean there’s so many that it’s really tough to kinda single anybody out. There’s a lot of groups in and around Kentucky that are making a splash right now. I think it’s really cool. For the longest time I think Kentucky Tennessee people think like ‘do your cousins wear shoes?’ and stuff like that. For the longest time there was a weird stigma about being from Kentucky. I think guys like Tyler Childers and Sturgil Simpson and Chris Stapleton obviously blew the doors wide open for it to be cool to be from Kentucky again. I’m just glad to see some buddies overseas, I got to see Everette while over there and it’s like man, we played in a bar that holds 350 people for years and years called Tidballs in my hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Super proud of them!

How would you describe your sound? What inspirations do you draw from?

I would categorise it as southern rock personally, as that’s what I grew up on. I love The Almond Brothers, Greg Almond is my hero. And obviously the duel guitar leads, that leant itself to [Lynyrd] Skynyrd and Thin Lizzy and The Band, that classic sound that was this Southern thing. Even though The Band weren’t from the south they definitely sounded like a southern band.

I think that was what really initially for me that set the hook. My dad was a big Almond Brothers and Skynyrd fan and Marshal Tucker and Charlie Daniels so you put all that stuff together… I specifically remember I think that all leant itself to my own personal taste when I remember my dad saying ‘Son, this is real music’ and put on The Almond Brothers band. ‘Statesboro Blues’, they counted it off and I will never forget what it sounded like when that slide guitar came in. I was like ‘what is that?’ and my dad was like ‘son, that’s slide guitar, you need to learn how to play that!’.

So that was it. I went from some teenage punk kid that loved what was popular. Ironically early on Green Day was one of my favourite bands. I had a different eclectic taste, I loved a lot of hip-hop and rap. I grew up in the 90s so a lot of that R&B, soul stuff kinda peppered in with the alt rock stuff so it was kind of a jolt to say the least when that kind of stuff was introduced. I was listening to something completely different at the time. It definitely spun me in the right direction!

You put out the Following the Rain EP a couple of months ago. Did you want to talk about it? It seems like quite the journey!

Yeah man. I think this entire record, which will be ‘Kentucky Gold’, is quite the journey. I started writing this probably a year before Covid started and it’s still not out. There’s many reasons for that. The record itself, the songs are very close to me. I think this record as a whole gives a 30,000ft view of who Kyle Daniel is as a writer, as an artist, as a human being. A lot of them are very emotional songs.

I wrote a song for my wife on the record which I had never done before. I wrote a song that touches on dealing with depression and the things that I’d kinda gone through in that time. We did cut the record in the midst of Covid so that was in 2020 I believe. They’re very close to me, they’re very personable. I wrote a song about my old man on the record. I wrote about the state of the Union in some of the stuff. Not politically charged one way or the other, just a hey, this is where we’re at. A sign of the times sort of song. Ironically it still rings true to this day.

I think I tried to give as broad of a perspective of the way that I think, the way that I can feel at times and who I really am. That way people that don’t know who I am maybe get a little better understanding of that.

I can’t imagine you can give much about the dates of the album but is looking like this year?

No, I think it’s probably going to be a next year thing. I waited on it because I couldn’t tour in the midst of Covid so I tried to do what I could to keep the fire burning on socials and just being selective. I felt like what I have in this record is special and I didn’t want to rush it out just to rush it out. I probably could have done that but I’ve spent a small fortune as an unsigned artist on this record so I felt like as a businessman I had to make sound decisions on when and how I release the record.

You know, some things work, some things don’t. I feel like I’m in a really good position at this point and I think it’ll definitely coming out next year. And I think the patience I’ve had will lead to the record being hopefully more successful.

The unsigned artist thing is really taking of recently, it’s easier than ever to get heard.

Yeah it is. For me I know that can be good and bad. Part of the frustration sometimes is not being able to cast a wider net. But you can sit here in your home studio and record a record and put it up on Tunecore just like that. I think it has its pros and its cons. You have the freedom and the creativity to do what you’d like but you can hit a ceiling real fast.

Have you got any advice you could give to an artist just starting out?

Stay after it. I think that’s the number one name of the game here in Nashville and I think maybe anything in life. My old man used to always tell me ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins’. That’s a very true statement, I think that only the strong survive. It’s a dog eat dog world. There are 2500 artists in Nashville right now at my level doing what I’m doing. They’d cut my throat to get in front of me any day of the week. I’m not saying that maliciously, but everybody’s serious about what they do. I think if you don’t have an undying hunger for music you should probably try to find something different. It’s a gruelling, long road that artists take.

I’ve been here for 13 years and watched them blow up like a firework but then do just that and be done. Then I’ve also seen people who’ve taken a bit more of the long road approach. Put the time in, played their dues, played the small dirty venues for $25 and they have continued to write, record, tour, just continue to push the ball down the court. Sooner or later that gets recognised.

And there we have it! As always keep up to date on all of our content from our Instagram here.

New Music Mondays: Whiskey Myres, Dance Gavin Dance and More!

You should know the dealio by now. New music from nine awesome bands. Let’s get straight to it!

Whiskey Myres: Tornillo

The southern rockers returned with their sixth album this last week. I was a HUGE fan of their last couple of albums so this one had a lot to live up to. I think Tornillo does just that. Tracks like ‘John Wayne’ and ‘Feet’s’ perfectly encapsulate what the band are about in terms of sound and style, and are hugely catchy and fun to boot. But, fun quick country or ballad, the band are such good songwriters that it’s all incredible and arena-filling without it being the modern day country cheese. This band deserve to be massive, and I really hope they start getting the love and praise they should over here now country is starting to take off big. A damn hard album to beat in this genre this year! 9/10

Beddy Rays: Self-Titled

The Aussie rockers put out a damn fun indie-drenched album on Friday. For a debut album too, it’s fantastic. The band have been putting out music for five years already, but putting out a full length release so consistent first time is always impressive. Tracks like ‘Week on Repeat’, ‘Sort it Out’ and ‘Sobercoaster’ are all excellent highlights. However, honestly if you are into the more indie side of rock, you’ll enjoy every track on the album. Good stuff! 8/10

Dance Gavin Dance: Jackpot Juicer

Controversy aside, this band has always been a collection of insanely talented musicians, and that is on full display again with this album. It’s an hour of post-Tool math post hardcore craziness, and I found myself loving it. Will Swan is a criminally underrated Guitarist and both Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson handle the duel vocals perfectly. The album also acts as a fitting tribute to longtime bassist Tim Feerick, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Tracks like ‘For the Jeers’ and ‘Cream of the Crop’ are fantastic, but yet again this whole album is great. 8.5/10

Check out more (kinda) math rock here.

Krisiun: Mortem Solis

Time for some Brazilian death metal. The band’s 12th studio album opens going hard and doesn’t let up once. It’s a brutal assault to the ears in the best way. If you are a fan of the heavy side of metal you’ll definitely get enjoyment out of this. Tracks like ‘Serpent Messiah’ and ‘Temple of the Abattoir’ are awe3some. The guitaring is a real highlight, Moyses Kolesne being another underrated player. However, the only negative I had was that nothing really stood out. It was all solid, but it just sounded like your typical straight-up death metal. That’s completely fine, but I’d love a bit of variety in it at times! 6.5/10

Funeral Chic: Roman Candle

The old-school biker sludge/hardcore metallers returned with their third studio album last week. Opening on the interesting, slower, great ‘Made in America’, the pace soon picks up with ‘Spit and Crawl’. The pace flits between the two styles throughout, sounding like anything from Metallica to Rob Zombie to Misfits. The whole album is awesome, every track being just as good as the last. I also love it when the band lean more and more into the sludgy edge the have, there being some great riffs and breakdowns here. My only ever so slight criticism is that the vocals could have been slightly higher in the mix. 7.5/10

Stick to Your Guns: Spectre

Hardcore punk and metalcore often go hand-in-hand, but I’ve not heard it done quite as masterfully was I have here. From the opening track you get a clear indication of the bands impressive signwriting skill, blending together anger and aggression with huge, anthemic choruses. They remind me of a heavier A Day to Remember, inspired by metal instead of pop punk. Everything from the clean and harsh vocals to the quick drums and guitars to the insane breakdowns, all of it was fantastic. It’s a modern heavy-lover’s dream while still having arena-filling earworms to get them plenty of new fans from the more mainstream audiences. I honestly can’t pick highlights from this, a lot of it made it onto the playlist. An album I’ll be listening to a lot over the coming weeks and months. 9/10

Bastions: Majestic Desolation

The first album released by the band in 11 years, The band make the most of showcasing their talent after so much time off. The band go HARD on this album, combining elements of black metal and hardcore together well. It’s not really my thing, and the tracks did all blend together a little when I listened to them, but I can definitely appreciate the talent and songwriting skill of the band. I’ll give it a 5/10, though I’m sure bigger fans of the genre would give it much higher!

Belphegor: The Devils

It’s blackened death metal. If you like the genre, like I am starting to, you’ll love this. It takes all the good parts from black metal but adds fun stuff too like riffs and good production. And this is a band very clearly near the top of the genre where songwriting is concerned. Tracks like ‘Damnation’ and ‘Kingdom of Cold Flesh’ are awesome and definite highlights! 6.5/10

Cats in Space: Kickstart the Sun

The AOR/power Prog rock space lovers are back with their fifth album. It’s pretty great if you like this sort of thing. Fantastic instrumentation, amazing vocals and harmonies and some good lyrics. I again cannot help but compare them to the awesome Night Ranger, and that is definitely a compliment. My only slight issue is that it does all seem a little similar. I was much more than happy to listen to the album all the way through, but the tracks blended together a little and I’d struggle to name them if it weren’t written in front of me. A different sound, feeling or timing would have been nice somewhere! Still, there is plenty to love from start to finish! 7.5/10

And there we have it, another surprisingly awesome week! As always keep up to date on all of our content from our Instagram here.