It seems that world-domination wasn’t quite enough for Biffy Clyro. Following the mainstream success of Only Revolutions a few years ago, plus their already-popular Puzzle album, the band has recently seen their success go from strength to strength in a very short space of time, and before they knew it, Biffy Clyrobecame a household name. The whole episode apparently took its toll, and the band has been quiet for a while. That is, until now, because they’re back with an epic double-disc album, Opposites.
It’s ambitious, which is good because it has a lot to live up to. Only Revolutions was an album that could very easily be listened to from start to finish (without noticing, either). To boot, Puzzle was exactly the same, so consistency is definitely a must with Opposites. Happily, it lives up to it – Biffy Clyro set the tone with opener Different People, which starts slowly and patiently, as if the band know that they have a lot of time on the album to get their musical point across, and that they’re certainly going to take their time about it. Next up is the familiar notes of released-single Black Chandelier, and listeners know that they’re settling in for the long haul. The first disc proceeds to up-and-down its way through to the end, and the second disc opens with the again, familiar sounding Stingin’ Belle, bringing a first-time listener back into familiar territory and keeping them going. Clever.
Opposites is a showcase of a much darker sounding Biffy Clyro. Not so much musically, as the music itself sounds very similar to previous albums, but instead more thematically. The music is as consistently interesting, different and idiosyncratic as it ever was, and the heavier guitar parts sound very similar to previous albums (well, if it’s not broken then don’t fix it). But the lyrics and themes of the songs get across the feeling that this album is the culmination of a lot of emotional effort, sweat and tears. Next-to-gone are the more quirky, comical sounding songs such asWho’s Got a Match? and Born on a Horse, but instead in the upbeat songs, the themes are more ‘serious’ than before. There’s a prevalence of more emotive sounding songs, too. The Joke’s on Us and Little Hospitals are great examples of this, speedy and interesting, but somehow more weighty and substantial than before.
There’s not many issues with this album either, but the main one is that new listeners of Biffy Clyro won’t appreciate the differences in sound and theme that an experienced Biffy listener might. That doesn’t matter, though, because it’s still a great album to start listening to. It might be a little overwhelming to a casual listener, though, because there’s a heck of a lot to take in. It also cannot be listened to in one go, from the beginning of one disc to the end of the other, because there’s purely just too much.
Biffy Clyro have managed to pull off something very special, overall. Opposites is a very consistent album from start to finish, with so much to listen to it’s almost like a project to undertake when listening to it for the first time. It showcases more mature, deep sounding and thoughtful Biffy Clyro, if that’s even possible, and that’s great to see.
Read the original article on Planetmosh here: http://planetmosh.com/biffy-clyro-opposites/
The demise of Alexisonfire came as a tough blow to many in the rock music world. Formed in 2001, their best releases included the self released and self titled debut Alexisonfire, as well as probably their most famous full length album, Crisis. Almost as if it were a self-made lament to their career’s ending, the band have released a short EP, entitled Death Letter, which includes some re-imagined versions of classic songs from the releases spanning their career.
As goodbyes go, there are definitely worse ones out there. It would be an understandable concern that Death Letter would end up more of a completely sad affair, or a tantalising release that would leave fans more annoyed that Alexisonfire won’t be producing any more music, rather than as a fond farewell to a great band. Happily, though, Death Letteris talented enough to make fans remember what the band were capable of, but mature enough to let the fans know that it’s for the best that they called it a day.
It’s an enjoyable listen on its own, outside of the context of the record. It’s slow, melodic, thoughtful and talented, and there’s some wonderful reworking of some classic songs. Midnight Regulations is a complete triumph, and can really change the mood of a room within seconds. It has some wonderful vocal work, a great juxtaposition of satisfyingly husky and sparkling clean singing that punctuate a beautifully bright sounding acoustic guitar.
The guitars, as mentioned before, are wonderfully tinny and bright, and don’t cover up the vocal work that’s so melancholy it’s impossible to stop listening to it. Issues? Just one. And that’s that it’s tough to forget just how much the music scene is going to missAlexisonfire after eleven years of wonderful music whilst listening to Death Letter.
In the end, Death Letter is obviously designed as a final farewell to the fans, almost ‘something for the road’. Alexisonfire, embarking on their final tour, are going to be missed once they are gone, and this lament is something that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Great work, it’s a shame that it won’t happen again.
Read the original article here: http://www.bringthenoiseuk.com/201301/music/reviews/ep-review-alexisonfire-death-letter
Let’s start this one with a sweeping yet thoughtful statement. Derbyshire-based electro-rock-pop duoCrushing Blows are extraordinarily hard to describe. Put it this way, they descrive themselves as ‘noise-pop’. That’s not even a thing.
There’s so much in their music, it’s impossible to listen to it all in one go without missing something. In fact, their latest EP, a self titled record is only four songs long, and yet it seems like they’ve managed to pack so much into it that they’re almost impossible to put into a genre without missing out a huge chunk of the music.
It might sound from this that Crushing Blows are too technical and too complicated for their own good. Cries of “it’s too complex and overpacked, it’ll sound a mess” would be well reasoned, justified arguments. But they’d also be dead wrong. Opener The People You Will Never Meet sets the tone for the rest of the record – it has a slow, plodding and yet peaceful feel to it, but there’s still elements from thrash (trebly sounding, distorted guitars) to psychedelic funk in there that mix up the sound nicely, don’t sound too complicated and make the music hard to classify. It’s really talented, and really well done, because this style of music is something that could be quite easily ruined if not properly paid attention to.
The rest of the EP continues in this fashion, I Dream of Becoming a Girl is a psychedelic, trippy masterpiece of crystallised sounding synthesizers and dance-track-esque basslines that have the capacity either get a listener lying back and relaxing, or on their feet bounding up and down like a loon. In some ways, the music is quite scary.
Issues – really not many at all, but there’s a couple. As a sound, the fact that it’s hard to classify(whilst a good thing when it comes to originality) means that some listeners might shy away from it (their loss) because it’s not what they’re used to. Going deeper into this idea, those who do dare to listen to it might find that it’s just too strange to listen to. In Lehman’s terms, the music is almost post-modern.
Overall, then a great EP, if a little bit weird and trippy. Nothing wrong with this, though, it will just take a bit of getting used to if Crushing Blows are to make it into the mainstream. Nobody is denying that the guys have songwriting talent, though, they’re really onto something that could make them very successful, as well as very expressive. Keep it up, it’d be great to hear more.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/11/crushing-blows-crushing-blows-12-11-2012-super-heavy-weight-records/#.UJvT9m996So
Progressive rock masters Coheed and Cambria should add the word “consistency” into their name somewhere. Coheed, Cambria and Consistency. All right, fine, so it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but it does accurately describe the band’s illustrious career so far, as they’ve managed to constantly spew out album after album of progressive, experimental and sometimes downright bonkers-yet-brilliant releases. Their latest offering, part one of a double concept album, is entitled The Afterman: Ascension, and is definitely no exception to this rule.
Coheed and Cambria have, in some ways, always come across as a little ‘tough to get into’. Maybe inaccessible is the right word, because there are so many aspects of the music that take so much getting used to for listeners. Whether it’s the ridiculous amount of concept back-story to each album (and all the albums progressively), or even something so simple as the high pitched, snappy singing style of lead vocalist and songwriter Claudio Sanchez, Coheed and Cambria have always appealed to a very specific set of people, and that’s the way they like it.
The Afterman: Ascension is more of the same, in effect. Those who aren’t used to Coheed and Cambria will both dislike the music, and not fully appreciate it, so it would make sense for the “newbie” as it were to begin listening to Coheed and Cambria at a point where they are less established as storytellers.
To put it into perspective, this double album comes in conjunction with a hard-covered, coffee-table book that tells the story of Sanchez’s science fiction universe. It’s that immersive.
Musically, it’s hard to fault The Afterman: Ascension. There’s everything that one would expect from a Coheed album, and it definitely leaves the listener wanting the second part of the double album, which is great to see. Coheed are moving away from messing around with their sound to a more established, recognisable one, which shows the bands immense talent for both playing their instruments and crafting an album, but also their intelligence to make the decisions that will steer the album’s direction where they want it to actually go.
Problems – very, very few. The only real one is one that’s already been mentioned. Listeners – the best piece of advice is: do not begin a journey listening to Coheed and Cambria with this album. Not because it’s bad, but because it will be impossible to appreciate it fully.
So overall, The Afterman: Ascension is a fantastic album from a well established band, who know exactly what they want from an album, wrote the songs, put it together and released it. It’s a fitting start to yet another chapter in the epic saga of Coheed and Cambria, and this reviewer feels like there’s still a lot of gas left in the proverbial tank. Or should that be hyperdrive?
Read the original article here: http://planetmosh.com/coheed-and-cambria-the-afterman-ascension/
Philadelphia based rock band Circa Survive – who shot to fame back in 2005 – are back with another album. That’s something to get excited about without even reading anything about it! This one, released on August 28th, is actually entitled Violent Waves, despite the many protestations that came from the band that it wasn’t when the name was recently leaked by an online magazine.
From the beginning, it’s plain to see that Circa Survive haven’t lost any of their songwriting talent. Vocalist Anthony Green’s trademark high pitched, almost mournful vocals that have become characteristic are back with a vengeance right from the beginning of Violent Waves. In fact, the singing is almost hypnotic; wonderful to listen to, the vocals have become one of the instantly recognisable features of Circa Survive.Musically, the guitars do occasionally break away from the lighter and atmospheric side and drop in with a low growl to give it that heavier edge, making this a harder rock album than it first appears.
As for the album itself, Violent Waves is one of those albums that manages to start slowly and sneak up on a listener, and get itself going without anybody really noticing it. The one thing that really is noticeable though is the sound of the snare drum. It’s very loud, but in quite a satisfying way that gives the songs much more backbone than was intended. The mix itself is very good, especially obvious on the second track Birth of the Economic Hitman, where there are a lot of elements playing a lot of complicated musical riffs and parts, but they all fit together very well.
That notion, complex musical parts fitting together well, becomes characteristic of this album as it goes on. It really shows off Circa Survive’s talent as musicians; the fact that they can write something like that and still make it great to listen to. That’s something that hasn’t been done since Incubus. And Circa Survive do remind a listener of a perhaps heavier phase of the Incubus discography. My Only Friend is a complete musical triumph, full of vocal passion and pitch changes, tempo and dynamic changes and offbeat drums that give it a controlled-yet-chaotic feel. Brilliant.
Issues with the album? There aren’t many actually. Similarly to some other bands, Circa Survive are so well established that anybody who was never going to like them have already decided so and stopped listening to them. Anybody left is going to love this album, high pitched vocal tracks and all. The music is insanely talented, very catchy and very easy to listen to in any number of situations and moods.
So overall, Violent Waves is a mournful and yet excellent fifth album from Circa Survive. They’re not going anywhere any time soon – they’ve still got a huge amount of talent and apparently a huge amount left in the tank and we’re totally chuffed about that. When it comes to this album, it’s something for the band to be proud of.
Standout Track: My Only Friend
For Fans of: Thrice, Billy Talent, Incubus, Muse
Read the original article here: http://www.bringthenoiseuk.com/201208/music/reviews/album-review-circa-survive-violent-waves
Texan music maestro and electro-pop sensation Matthew Dear returns with his new release, tentatively entitled Beams. His fifth studio effort is an easy listen, but it still remains true to the dance-music roots that Dear has made so much effort to stick to.
Spending a few years in Detroit, well known for its contribution to techno music, Dear’s retro electronic influence is clear. His is an available yet nostalgic brand of music, certain to appeal to a wide audience. This ease of access has apparently held Matthew Dear in good stead over the years, and Beams is set to be no exception. It’s a dynamic and psychedelic record, with a lot of strange sounds in the background that might raise an eyebrow or two on first listen, but in the long run, it’s definitely a grower. Beams doesn’t really know where to sit – there’s music not unlike to club and dance tracks, vocals not unlike David Bowie or even Marilyn Manson, and percussion in the background that wouldn’t sound out of place at a Stomp show. Despite all of this, though, Beamsis on the whole quite pleasant to listen to.
The 70s and 80s influences that Dear is so famous for relaying are clear. Uplifting synth sounds are used in conjunction with some great padded bass lines that make tracks sound not unlike Eurythmics, darker Vangelis or any similar 80s electro-pop act. It’s a throwback; nostalgia for anyone who was in their teens in 1986. It’s also an interesting, new direction for the younger listener open to new genres. Above all Beams is an accessible, reflective album that has both clear influences and clear talent.
There aren’t many issues. This is the kind of music that is very clear on what it’s meant to sound like: the ‘does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin’ kind of approach. That’s all very well, but if the music is no good the plan is irreparably flawed. Happily Matthew Dear’s music is good, so this approach only helps his success. The only real problem is that the nostalgic techno might be dismissed as ‘unoriginal’ by more cynical listeners.
Overall however this is another success for Dear. It’s not like he isn’t used to it, but apparently it’s not gone to his head, because he’s still making great music. In terms of this album, it’s just as catchy and just as accessible as it would be if it were to come out in 1985, and that, it seems, is the point.
Release date: August 27th 2012, Ghostly International
Read the original article here: http://www.drunkenwerewolf.com/2012/08/21/matthew-dear-beams/
With a tagline like ‘a savage colossus of sound’, anyone in their right mind would be eager to listen to the new single from electronic/rock artist ‘Hooray For Earth’, entitled ‘Never’. Released on September 24th, first impressions are that it’s going to be filling dancefloors everywhere the minute it’s released. But is that really the case? It’s certainly not David Guetta type music, put it that way.
It’s an uplifting, synth-heavy release, with a catchy vocal line and electronic-strings in the chorus that wouldn’t sound out of place if a listener was surrounded by a lot of people, flashing lights and lasers. But it’s not necessarily a club-anthem just yet. The drums don’t pulse almost painfully in the ears, as is the standard for a lot of dance music, and the focus on the vocals is higher than in a lot of club music, which focuses more on bass.
Problems – it might not actually be popular with the clubbers among listeners, purely because it’s not pure club music. That’s a bit unenlightened, though, and for every listener who dismisses ‘Hooray For Earth’, there will be ten who fall in love with them.
So it’s slightly different, but still fits into the dance scene. The most important thing is that it’s good. It’s like club music without the headache, and rock music with an added electronic twist that makes it slightly euphoric. It’s got a little bit of everything, and certainly does fit into that tagline – ‘a savage colossus of sound’ very well.
Read the original article here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/08/hooray-for-earth-never-24-09-12-memphis-industries/
Four piece rock/indie band Damn Vandals release their latest record, a full length studio album entitled Done For Desire. Out now, this album follows up on their last EP called Beautiful Mind, which was released in February this year. Done For Desire therefore has a lot to live up to, because the EP received rather good and passionate criticism from the press.
The best way to describe Done For Desire in one phrase is ‘pure rock and roll’. From the outset, it’s filled with low, buzzing bass guitars which punctuate some excellent guitar work and half-sang, half-chanted vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Arctic Monkeys album. Therefore, it’s fair to say that Damn Vandals are really onto something here. Done For Desire is jammed full of groundbreaking, feel good rock and roll, filled to bursting with a groovy, crunchy sort of sound. It’s almost as if the backbone of each song is designed to be a bass guitar with a fair amount of electronic-sounding distortion added to it, with the other musical elements surrounding to create a fuller, busier ambience. It’s a revolutionary, unique and groundbreaking sort of sound, a shift in the indie-rock genre that really has the capacity to become the standard sound of the future.
Damn Vandals’ style of music is therefore a bit of an enigma. It squeezes itself in between heavy rock and roll and indie music. In fact, whilst some parts might sound rather like tracks such as Brianstorm, again by The Arctic Monkeys as mentioned before, the key thing to notice is that not all of it does. Instead, it builds on a sound that’s already made famous and improved on it, making it familiar and easy to listen to, and yet fresh at the same time.
There aren’t really any problems with it, either. Perhaps the unenlightened listener might assume that Damn Vandals are ‘just another indie band’ and that Done For Desire is ‘just another indie album’, which might reduce listener numbers slightly. Not that Damn Vandals should really care about this, they’re making fantastic music, which will appeal to a great number of people.
So overall, then, Done For Desire is a fantastic album. It’s not heavy, it’s not light. It’s not grunge, it’s not rock. It’s just feel-good music, and it’s great. Keep a close watch on Damn Vandals, they’ll be back very soon.
Read the original article by clicking here: http://www.neverenoughnotes.co.uk/2012/08/damn-vandals-done-for-desire-out-now-sexy-beast-records/
Hertfordshire is getting a bit of a habit of producing excellent bands. First Enter Shikari appear out of St. Albans, then The Subways out of Welwyn Garden City. Now, it looks like the musical county is at it again, with Welwyn Garden City based metallers Thousand Autumns cooking up a big storm. Their latest EP, entitled Chasing Boatsis out now for the public to get hold of, and it looks set to be a huge release for the band.
Chasing Boats kicks off as it apparently means to go on. And to use exactly the right word, it kicks off hard. It’s a hefty-yet-melodic sounding EP, chock full of almost metal-core type sounds with throaty screams and overdriven guitars everywhere. There’s some really great sounding instruments, heavy, thumping basslines, uplifting, sing-along choruses and riffs that actually have the ability to really strongly remind a listener of now broken-up metallers Disturbed on the one hand, but with faster, more full-sounding choruses and more meaningful song construction. In other words, by the time the listener gets to the end, with the endless chants of ‘I’m chasing boats!’ they feel as if they’ve come a long way from the opener, despite the EP only being short. And that takes real production talent.
There aren’t really that many problems with this record, either. The vocals could use a small amount of work, because the clean singing voice sometimes comes across as a little bit thin, and it has a slight tendency to sit in the background of the music, underneath the guitars as if they’re not meant to be in the foreground. Apart from anything else, though, that’s a slight production hitch that has absolutely nothing to do with the music itself, and therefore it shouldn’t be assumed that this is a musical issue. It isn’t.
So overall, Chasing Boats is a successful, heavy and yet melodic EP that’s sure to be popular. Hertfordshire seems to have pulled it off again, producing a metal band of the highest quality and with the highest prospects. Keep a close eye on these guys, there could be another Enter Shikari in the pipeline.
Read the original article here: http://planetmosh.com/thousand-autumns-chasing-boats/
Well Muse have been quiet for the last couple of years. 2009 saw the release of their last album, The Resistance, and since then? Not a lot. Not until now, because they’re back. The band first made an appearance at the London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, which pre-empted a resurfacing from them, and now the British supergroup are releasing a single ahead of their sixth studio album, entitledThe 2nd Law. Entitled Madness, this song is the medium through which Muse have chosen to rear their heads again, and it has to be said, it’s very different.
There was a bit of a scare a couple of months ago when listeners got a preview of the new Muse through YouTube and were worried. “Oh no!” came the cries, “Muse have gone dubstep!” Well, it looks like those claims have become a bit of a reality. Madness is slow, electronic, pulsing, thudding dance/dubstep. It does, however, have a lot of redeeming features. It is very, very progressive and yet somehow very classicMuse. It’s definitely catchy, it has a great, pulsating beat to it, and vocally it gets listeners singing along with the endlessly repeated “m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-mad, mad, mad” (it looks daft when it’s written down) even if they don’t like the song.
The best thing about it, though, is that Madness builds up in a very satisfying way. It sneaks up on a listener and manages to explode into an epic finale section at about three minutes in, without anyone listening actually noticing it’s coming until it happens. It’s clever, and from then on until the end, the song becomes fantastic.
It’s well titled too because it does seem to epitomise feelings of madness (especially if listened to through large headphones) in musical form. The drums pound very heavily on listeners ears, and there doesn’t seem to be any guitar work that isn’t smothered in chaotic-sounding effects so much it no longer sounds like a guitar, except for a brief (and well played) solo. As always with Muse, the bass work is phenomenal. Hats off to Chris Wolstenholme, again.
The vocal work sounds very familiar, very typical Muse, which obviously it would do. But, it also sounds suspiciously like a bit of an ode to Queen. This reviewer wonders if that’s deliberate. Do Muse fancy themselves a bit of a new Queen?
By releasing it ahead of, The 2nd Law, an album due for release on October 2nd 2012 (clever.), Muse are playing a dangerous game, because this is a very love/hate kind of song. Fans of the old Muse, where the main instrument was a guitar rather than a synthesizer (Origin of Symmetry) aren’t going to like this song. At all. But that’s not the point, is it? Muse are moving on, experimenting with new sounds, and expecting the true fans of their music to come along for the ride. As well they should. It’s different from the Devon rockers, but not necessarily bad. Muse are drawing a line under their older material and beginning a new phase of their musical career. And we as listeners should all watch with interest, these guys aren’t done yet.
Read the original article here: http://www.bornmusiconline.com/muse-madness/
- 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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- January 2013
- November 2012
- October 2012
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- Born Music Online
- Bring the Noise
- Contact Music
- Never Enough Notes
- New Junk
- Popped Culture
- The Daily Mail
- The Daily Post
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