Pop-rock act General Fiasco are a rare gem of a band, the type of which, sadly, aren’t discovered very often. This album, their latest full length studio release entitled ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ showcases that perfectly, as it’s a perfect mixture of musical talent and, music that’s actually good (as talented music isn’t necessarily good).
It’s hard to describe the music on ‘Unfaithfully Yours’ without resorting to very overused phrases, phrases which don’t do the album justice particularly. It’s rock music, with a melodic vocal overtone and an excellent, shoulder-bop-inducing groove to it. Brilliant, that describes just about every indie-rock album out there. See? That just doesn’t do it justice. This album has got that little-bit-of-something that makes it slightly different, slightly special, and, overall, that little bit better than every other indie-rock album.
Looks like there’s no alternative. Overused phrases it is. To put it on a basic level, the music style and especially some of the verses have the capacity to remind one of indie bands such as The Hives, or similar. On top of that, there’s extremely catchy choruses, melodic vocals and an excellent rock/indie groove that gives this album a solid backbone with which to work.
Now for the tough bit. That extra bit that’s tough to put into words. Well, this album has a little bit of everything, so that’s a good starting point. From melodic, sing along pop-punk songs in the form of ‘Closer’ to a harder rock style on ‘Bad Habits’, which is a song that instantly makes a listener want to start headbanging like they’re fifteen again. That’s an example of that little something that makes this album special compared to other albums. There’s even a classic-rock esque guitar solo on ‘The Age You Start Losing Friends’ that can only bring a smile to a listener’s face, unless they’re completely without musical feeling, in which case they need to be locked in a dark room with a full iPod and not let out again until they’ve listened to everything on it.
Bad points–that’s even tougher. There’s enough variety on this album to keep everyone happy, except possibly hardcore metal-heads. If one were to nitpick, it could be said that some of the solos are a little unnecessary, and some of the songs a little repetitive. That’s not really noticeable though.
Overall, an extraordinarily well put together album, lyrically heartfelt and musically talented. It has ups, downs, fast music and slower, more emotive music, as well as lighter, indie-pop styles and harder, rockier sounds. Something for everyone, and everyone will be happy. Excellent.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/07/general-fiasco-unfaithfully-yours-30-07-12-authority-communications/
Electronic maestro Room E, a producer from San Diego, USA, releases full length studio album entitled Penguin Child through label Kudos Records. It’s an ambient, chilling sound that Room E seems to have gone for with this album. Not a bad thing, although maybe slightly overdone.
There are some strong points on this album – as electronica goes, it definitely ticks all the boxes. It’s uplifting and obviously talented. The use of live drums also seems to set it apart slightly from other electronica, making it sound more ‘bandy’ than other electronic releases. There is also a pervading sense of it being completely saturated in effects that ‘twinkle’ their way through the album, again, setting it apart from other electronica that uses mainly synth riffs to create songs, rather than a mixture of effects all put together to create sound. It’s a different approach and it appears to have been a bit of a success.
Limitations – some vocals wouldn’t go amiss to break the monotony of the music, which can get quite ‘samey’ as the album progresses. It’s also, despite its differences, still electronica that’s been done before. Talented, yes, but not wholly original. Maybe that’s not the point; maybe it’s not meant to be completely original and groundbreaking. It is, however, still rather good.
So, overall, nothing special, but yet, importantly, it’s nothing terrible. The music is good, excellent to put on in the background when a listener is busy with something else or it’s particularly good when put on in the car on a long drive. It could be improved with a little more originality, but it definitely shows much promise.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/room-e-penguin-child
Metallers Transcendency, apparently ‘approved’ by Rise to Remain, have had a busy year since their formation in Summer 2011. After playing various shows with various other artists, the band entered the studio to record their debut EP, Weight of the World.
The opener, Perseverance, throws the listener right into Transcendency’s style immediately, which is good because the EP isn’t exactly long and they don’t have a lot of time to let a listener know what they sound like. So, good points of the sound –Transendency are clearly very talented musicians. There is some very good guitar playing here, with quick riffs, excellent changes in tempo and general ‘feel’ at unexpected places which keeps a listener guessing. The band themselves say that they are very Trivium and Iron Maideninfluenced, and this is very, very easy to see. If it wasn’t for the slight difference in sound on the recordings (less distortion on guitar, etc) and the different sounding vocals,Transcendency could almost be Trivium, from the sound of this EP.
Bad points – the vocals could use some work. The screaming is slightly too deep and sounds a little bit forced. With a little practice, this could easily be improved. The same goes for the occasional actual singing – it needs a little practice and cleaning up in the studio, and they would sound great. Other than that, the only other issue is how much they sound like some other bands. It’s great for a band to be influenced by others, but to almost copy them exactly is getting towards ‘tribute band’ territory, and that’s not great. Transcendency need to come up with something that identifies them and them alone, so the comparison doesn’t become exactly what defines them.
A good release through and through, then. Talented music, excellently produced and recorded and very catchy. It just needs a little bit of refining to give it that polished edge, especially in the vocal department, and it also needs a little ‘spice’ to move away from those influences. Armed with both of those, Transcendency will become a metal force to be reckoned with.
Read the original article here: http://www.hevypetal.com/release-reviews/883/transcendency–weight-of-the-world-ep
Maths has always been synonymous with music. The two go hand in hand, music is full of counting, keeping time and working out what fits where. Metal band Athura, hailing from Plymouth have taken technicality to a new level with this release, their latest full length studio album, entitled A Hand in Death’s Design. It’s fast-paced, extraordinarily arranged and musically brilliant.
The band themselves claim that their aim when writing this album was “to create a modern metal fusion of powerful melody, gut wrenching groove and sophisticated harmony.” They’ve certainly managed it, it’s powerfully ‘groovy’ and yet powerfully technical right from the beginning. Very fast guitar picking, which creates speedy and deep, death-metal-esque chugs not unlike some fast In Flames.
This definitely goes in the ‘what’s good about it’ pile then. Clearly talented musicians, Athura have set out to create an album in a specific way, and have managed to pull it off spectacularly. Their description is spot on, and the music hosts some of the best low-end screams heard in recent times, as well as some of the most gut-wrenchingly heavy breakdowns heard recently as well, especially on Drown What You’ve Become.
Now for the limitations – the screams could use a little bit more melody to them, and conversely, the clean singing could use a little more melody (and be slightly less monotone), but there’s problems with that, the main one being that melodising the screams might make Athura sound even more like In Flames, so it might be for the best to leave them like they are, even if they are a little bland. The only other issue is that the sound doesn’t really change as the album goes on. Athura have fired at their target sound with gusto, and consequently have left little room for variation. To be fair, there are hints at changes away from the fast, chugging sound, especially with the epic, uplifting choruses onPlague Upon Plague, and again on Oceans. This reviewer is nitpicking, though. These aren’t big issues at all; in fact they’re more issues for the sake of finding issues.
The rest of A Hand in Death’s Design is wholly excellent, and, to use a very overused cliché, it ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’. Athura are talented guys, creating some very technical music and they’re definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Overall, then, technicality is clearly a key idea here. It could almost be wholly mathematical, the way in which Athura have written and recorded A Hand in Death’s Design. This might appeal to a very specific audience, others might not appreciate it as much, but from what the band themselves have said, that’s exactly what it’s meant to do and they don’t mind. It sounds like a few guys writing the style of music that they’re passionate about. That’s what music is all about really. Excellent.
Read the original article here: http://hevypetal.com/release-reviews/876/athura–a-hand-in-deaths-design-album
Lake District hardcore band Horizons release their latest full length studio album, Not Everybody Lives this week, and it’s been well anticipated. With a lot of live dates already in the works and a large fan-following, this looks set to be a very successful release for the metallers.
The opener, Everybody Dies, is a hell of an intro song, lasting well over two minutes and is completely devoid of vocals. It’s a good introduction to the sound of the album, and works well to keep the listener interested – it has an air of mystery about it, as Horizons have neglected to put vocals on it, the listener is intrigued as to what they are eventually going to sound like.
As for the rest of the album, it’s musically very good.
The vocals, a strained, gravelly sounding sort of scream, aren’t so much in the foreground of the music as more blended in with the rest of it, meaning that they don’t particularly stand out, but aren’t easily ignored either. But, the real showcase for this album is the music. It’s choppy, full of tempo changes and tricky little guitar licks in between riffs and in tempo transitions that really show off Horizons’ talent as musicians. Genre wise, this means it’s not quite ‘djent’, a very progressive genre of metal presided over by extreme metal bands such as Fellsilent, but the strange time signatures, unexpected changes in tempo and strange strumming patterns give it that progressive edge that is so characteristic of it. In other ways the music can remind one of rockers Proceed, who have a habit of achieving this as well through the same means. It’s really quite something.
Limitations of this album – it needs a little bit of singing, if only for just a little bit. A break from the consistent, rasping screams would definitely not go amiss. In the slower parts of the album, such as the interlude on The Better Man, the vocals are omitted completely, rather than putting in a softer vocal track, which detracts a little bit from the overall sound. Sure, that gives the musicians a chance to show off their softer side and that they aren’t all about speed and distortion, but it would end up even better with a few softer vocals in there too. It would also be better if the vocalist’s screams throughout the album weren’t so blended in with the rest of the music, but sat above it slightly instead, so as to give the impression of them actually being the ‘lead’ part. A good example of this is when the vocals shout “one two three four!” at the beginning of Different Directions – it’s almost impossible to tell if this is a backing singer, or the main singer. The screaming itself is very good, if a little monotone, it just needs that little bit extra to make it stand out.
So Not Everybody Lives, is an overall excellent and extraordinarily musically talented album – there’s plenty in there to keep the more music-orientated listener happy, even enough to make the jaw drop and give the “why didn’t I think of that?!” kind of effect. It needs some work in the vocals department – just a little bit more variety would really boost this album a lot.
Read the original article here: http://hevypetal.com/release-reviews/861/horizons–not-everybody-lives-album
Electro / Rap / Dubstep artists Seething Akira, hailing from the southern city of Portsmouth, begin their rage against ‘the machine’ with their latest EP release, Incoming Transmission, a four-song-strong record with plenty of hefty, electronic bite and filthy dance crunch.
Initially, this comes off as a very basic release. In plain terms, it ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’. Or, what it says on the sleeve inside the album EP, anyway. The point is, there doesn’t initially appear to be a lot to say about this album when a listener first encounters this record. It’s only when a listener really pays attention to the music that it starts to become a little bit more interesting and unique.
Electro / Rap / Dubstep is a broad spectrum of genres to claim to belong to, but in factSeething Akira might actually belong to something completely different. Vocally, they’re much more aggressive than electro or dubstep (in fact, the vocals have the uncanny capacity to remind of rockers Enter Shikari, who can be put in the same category). They don’t sound like they were too hard to sing, either, which is a big plus. Quite often with this style of music, the vocals sound very tight and difficult to sing, an issue which Seething Akira have managed well to avoid.
Musically, it’s again, a bit of an enigma. It has plenty of electronic, artificially generated, synthetic computer sounds and hefty, thudding basslines and drums, which would tend to characterise it within the dubstep / trance and electronic genres. But, there are a few problems with that. It just doesn’t weigh enough on the ears to be classed as dubstep, and just isn’t atmospheric enough to be classed as electronica, definitely not in the same way as, for example Jean-Michel Jarre or Vangelis. So it’s actually neither dubstep nor electronica, and yet somehow manages to be both at the same time. Is this a good thing? Probably.Seething Akira, with Incoming Transmission, have pushed the boundary further very slightly, making something recognisable and also yet just a little bit different than everything else. It’s good, too, catchy, entertaining and very easy to get into.
So, Seething Akira claim Incoming Transmission to be a mixture of Dubstep, electronica “with a bit of guitar thrown in”, and in complete honesty this is a pretty accurate claim. But in truth, this does mean that they aren’t actually any of them, but somewhere in the middle of all of them.
Therein lies the best part of the EP, and yet also the worst problem. The fact that it’s so diverse either makes Seething Akira’s music style appeal to a massively wide audience or to no audience at all. This might be slightly unfair, considering the obvious talent that the southern artists have, but it remains to be seen which outcome actually happens.
Keep a close eye on these guys, they might just be the next big thing.
Read the original article here: http://hevypetal.com/release-reviews/824/seething-akira–incoming-transmission-ep
US based singer-songwriter Alex Kelly releases her first full length studio album, Orange Circle this month. I caught up with her recently to find out how things are going and what her plans are for the future. Read the interview below.
Orange Circle is your first full length studio album, since going solo. Excited?
Yes! It’s a wild ride.
2. Has the road to Orange Circle’s release been a smooth one, or has it been tough?
It’s been a bit of both. Even at times of extreme frustration, I enjoy finding the answers, I enjoy my process.
3. Who are your main influences? How far can they be heard on Orange Circle?
During vocal practices, I sing songs from my real book. I purposely made references to that music when it came to the vocal styling of Orange Circle. You can really hear it in Splendor Solis.
4. What’s your creative source? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I find inspiration mostly in nature. There is an underlying intelligence in nature that keeps me in a state of wonder. Sometimes I just listen to birds sing, sometimes I stare at trees.
5. Can we expect to be seeing you in Europe any time soon?
I certainly hope so. With any luck we will be there by the end of the year (hint hint).
6. Any other outlets than music?
Many. Too many. I like to cook, hula-hoop, write poetry, and grow watermelons (just to name a few things).
7. What’s next? Any plans for after the release?
We want to do a tour in Europe, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. We have a few music videos in the works and of course, more shows in NYC. Check out calendar at alexkellymusic.com for future dates.
London based pop/ska band Buster Shuffle (formed under the motivation of apparent imminent homelessness and a need to get free beer) return with this; their latest full-length, self-produced studio album Do Nothing – a title that completely belies the effort the band put into writing, recording and putting it together. The end result is something rather special.
In fact, this album is best summed up in one word – nostalgic. Do Nothing is a collection of songs that remind a listener of age-old favourites like Madness, bringing a smile to the face. The great thing about it, though, is that it’s modern and fashionable rather than dusty and old-fashioned. Buster Shuffle bring pop/ska into the 21st century and, refreshingly, make it extra-cool.
Highlights of the album – The Lake Song brings the tone to a slower pace, giving it a more thoughtful and emotive twist whilst still keeping the feel of the music upbeat and interesting. It’s a nice breather from the fast-paced music of the opening four tracks giving the listener time to find their feelings about the music without having to take too much in, all in one go.
Vocally, the distinct accents make some very interesting listening, giving the music a more regional feel and adding to the nostalgic feeling of the music (again, it throws a general salute in the direction of pop/ska legends Madness). Musically, it’s very talented. Funky bass lines, just slightly protruding from behind shoulder-bopping guitar and piano give an overall pleasant sound and help to support the vocals very well. It gives an overall extremely ‘catchy’ sound and gets the shoulders moving back and forth appreciatively.
Problems – it’s slightly samey. Each song is easily distinguishable from another, but it can get tough to remember which song is which due to the similar tempos of each song when compared to another. This is an issue easily resolved – a listener just needs to listen to it more! Nothing brings familiarity to an album that constant listening and, due to the quality of the music on Do Nothing, listening to it more won’t be an issue for many people.
Overall then, Do Nothing is a catchy, nostalgic salute to an era of pop/ska gone by, brought forwards into the 21st century and re-popularised. The decline of the style means that Buster Shuffle are now one of the forefront runners in revitalising it, giving them an edge in reaching the target listening audience. Plus, the sheer quality of the music means that whosoever they do manage to reach with this album is likely to be hooked on it immediately. Fabulous.
Read the original article here: http://www.contactmusic.com/album-review/buster-shuffle-do-nothing
The first thing that strikes a listener is how emotive Growth and Squalor is. It’s a thoughtful, slow and almost melancholy sound that prevails over the release. It provokes silence and almost forces a listener to pay attention to it, purely because it’s on.
So, with Growth and Squalor, Accents have hit the nail on the indie-folk head. It’s uplifting, atmospheric, punchy and, above all, catchy. Even those who don’t particularly like folk music but have an open mind will almost definitely find something to love about this album, it’s an overall indie-folk musical masterpiece.
Trance-metal has had a bad press. “It’s not really metal” is one of the main phrases used when it’s being criticised, but there doesn’t seem like two genres of music that go hand-in-hand better than the two, a fact that band Silent Descent seem to subscribe to. Their latest release, full length album Mind Games is packed full of punchy metal riffs, deep, throaty screams and uplifting choruses, packed together with the presence of electronic synth sounds and artificial drums. In fact, one might go so far as to call it Trance-Metalcore, due to the speed and nature of the guitars and screaming. Even better.
The best word to describe it is creative. From the opener, Overture, the album sounds very experimental. Silent Descent seem to have taken elements from all aspects of music that influence them and put them together – consequently, it can remind one of anything from Guns ‘n’ Roses to Bring Me The Horizon to Children of Bodom – a broad spectrum of rock and metal. This is good, it shows that the band all have shedloads of musical talent, bags of creativity and the guts to put everything into their music without worry of the consequences. The result is, actually, something rather special. Every song is very catchy, induces appreciative head-bopping and a slight smile in a listener and has elements to please all kinds of people. There’s something for everyone here.
One of the most special moments is the breakdown in the title track Mind Games, which has the ability to make a jaw drop at both its speed and actual sound. This album has moments all across it that sound so simple, every musician out there listening to it will wonder why they didn’t come up with them first. In short, it’s packed full of moments of complete genius.
Bad points of the album – they are few and far between. Lyrically, there could be a little improvement in some of the chorus lines, but it does feel like the lyrics weren’t really a focus when writing this album, instead the music was. There also doesn’t seem to be any more ‘freshness’ since their last release, either, but instead more-of-the-same. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. It gets new fans, gives the band more exposure, and pleases the fans that they already had. Plus, the band get to carry on making music that they are clearly passionate about. So, everyone is a winner.
So, trance-metal gets another breath of fresh air from metallers Silent Descent. It’s business as usual for them, meaning they haven’t really moved on from their previous releases, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Not many bands have managed to get that mixture of genre right, but in this case, Silent Descent have nailed it. More of the same? Yes please.
Read the original article here: http://www.hevypetal.com/release-reviews/798/silent-descent–mind-games-album
- Biffy Clyro – Opposites Album Review (Planetmosh Review)
- When We Were Wolves – The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same EP Review (Planetmosh Review)
- Alexisonfire – Death Letter EP Review (Bring the Noise Review)
- Lewis Watson – Another Four Sad Songs EP Review (Never Enough Notes Review)
- Parkway Drive – Atlas Album Review (Bring the Noise Review)
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