Archive for November 2017

Goya – ‘Kathmandu’   9 comments

The point of ‘Kathmandu’ is originality of sound, utilising their favoured elements of trad rock, whilst keeping a unique flavour to it and thereby, creating a form of rock music which exists solely for its own sake, unconfined and unrestricted by the attachment of meaning or concepts.

‘Collider’ is based on 2 central riffs, performed with feeling. ‘Venenatus’ is a lengthy 12 minute combo of neo-classical, Sab-esque doom, upbeat melody, reverb and acoustic styles, recorded live, from pure improvisation. ‘Ashoka’, a track which began life as a notion of rhythm, based around the evolution of a triple note riff. The song’s process is varied and intuitive, becoming a simpler noise performance. The band have experimented with other versions of this concept. ‘Kathmandu’, originally centred around a melodically surrounded bass line, was selected as the best of 3 live takes and is a live favourite of the band, specifically for its closing groove.

Collider – Screeching feedback intro, moving easily, into a relaxed style, with a loose tempo and a free and easy sound, with a bluesy tone. Lots of groove and a laid-back feel, conveyed through the mid-range key and the natural expression in the fretwork. Closing on a much lighter, shorter feedback section, it’s just a warm, easy listen, ideal for winding down and chilling out, after a long day.

Venenatus – Opening acoustically, with a mellow, downbeat tone, carrying a fair amount of ambience and no shortage of melancholia. It’s not long before that’s overtaken, by the crash of unexpected all-out rock, but it then alternates back-and-forth, between the lower, introspective sections and the noise rock. In 1 sense, it showcases perfectly their aim of meaningless sound, free from any associations, yet the very fact that it creates the kind of musical space you could get lost in seems to contradict that. Ultimately, it’s a colourful experience, which could mean anything or nothing and which is simply designed to be enjoyed on its own merits. There are some tighter notes at the end and it has to be said that the 12 minutes goes exceptionally quickly, which, in itself is testament to the fact of its enjoyability and the extent to which you can get lost inside it. There’s also a classic old school quality to those quietly thoughtful closing riffs, which, if you’re anything like me, will have you rifling through your CDs, to try and identify it.

Ashoka – A gradual feedback intro, with a darkly rocky element to it, morphing into more of that ambient, atmospheric sound. A lighter feel to this, carried by a more uplifting tone and a faster paced rhythm. Quite an experimental, proggy edge to it, there’s also quite a strong visual, psychedelic aspect, freeing it up, to be enjoyed for itself or for the listener to attach their own meanings and associations.

Kathmandu – Introing with a thought-provoking sound, reminiscent of water and seascapes, again, with a large dose of ambience. Injecting some heavier sounds, based around a low central key, still, the visual, imaginative thread remains. There’s a faint hint of ‘Tubular Bells’ type eclecticism here and it seems to cross all the perceived boundaries. A determinism to the end becomes apparent in the final drum hits and the overriding message seems to be, ‘make what you want of this – there are no rules’.

Overall – A rare example of eclectic, limitless experimentalism, in action. ‘Kathmandu’ is an EP through which you can see the world, or just 1 small part of it. Creative freedom is its watchword and on that basis, music can travel anywhere. ‘Kathmandu’ could easily be called a psychedelic experience, without the side-effects. It’s basically an alternative mind trip, experienced entirely, through music.

8/10 ********

For fans of psychedelic, alt, prog, experimental, eclectic rock.

Posted November 15, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

XVII – ‘Bow To Me’   1 comment

XVII are a 5 piece metal band from Kidderminster, formed in 2012. Fast-paced heavy-metal, influences – In Flames, Lamb of God, Devildriver and Caliban. They’ve built their sound to one of in-your-face, full on live performance. Since their 2015 launch of ‘From The Ashes’, XVII have worked towards the new release, showcasing their heavier profile. Based on feedback from their gigs at Bloodstock 2015 and Hard Rock Hell Metal 2017, they’ve created a 3 track production, with scorching riffs, storm driven drum hits and ferocious powered screamy vocals.

‘Shatter The Waves’, (the EP’s single) is a relentless vocally driven, high speed metal track. ‘Bow To Me’ – a fast and melodic track, showing a darker aspect of the band, based around living with trauma and how it affects life. ‘Scorned’ is a popular live favourite, bringing closure and consolidation to the rest of the EP.

Shatter The Waves – Introing with 4 focused cymbal hits, giving way to an intensely aggressive powered section, with both screamo and melodic styles. Consistent fast-paced sound, with heavy feel and drum work to prove it. Good strong sense about it and an overruling air of remorseless rage. It just shouts metal energy.

Bow To Me – Great insistent intro riff! Instant memorability. Moving into a gentler vocal tone, whilst still retaining that angry edge, compounded by the blackened roars, persisting in combo with the more melodic vocals and accompaniments. Lyrically intriguing and showcasing that lighter side, yet continuing to temper it with equal extremity. Some fairly vibrant riffs and generally, an effective, easily listenable track.

Scorned – Not missing a beat, introing as if the song’s already started, that quality born of long experience comes across instantly in that intro drumming. A lot of catch to the rhythm and melody, making it a pleasant listen. Liking that drum attack at the mid-section, immediately before the gory roar. They pack a lot of power into this. It’s extreme, yet melodic and the energy is its driving factor.

Overall – Energy, extremity and melody, with catch. That’s the carefully cultivated combo that makes ‘BTM’ what it is. Those three things will ensure it stays current and memorable. It may not be mind blowing or gargantuan, but it’s still powerful, with a lot in its favour. If nothing else, ‘BTM’ is accomplished, multi-dimensional and able to carry off the rarely successful combo of melody and extremity, which is likely to become XVII’s hallmark.

7/10 *******

For fans of Skreamer.

https://www.facebook.com/XVIIofficialband/

Available digitally and physically.

Posted November 13, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Fister and CHRCH – ‘Split’   1 comment

Due for release on November 17th, on limited edition vinyl, through Crown and Throne Ltd and Battleground Records, ‘Split’ is a collaboration between Fister and CHRCH.

CHRCH formed in 2013 and are all about the basic aspects of their combo genres of metal and honouring the roots of such. Their debut, ‘Unanswered Hymns’ is a comprehensive work, which soars and dips, with the emotions of the moment. Produced by Patrick Hills, at Earthtone studios, in Rocklin, California, it expresses a natural catch and hook, based on trad doom, psych rock, drone and ambience. CHRCH sports an intelligent blend of songcraft, lyricism and bold strength, to tell their story, combining light and dark, narrated through the shaded nature of the riffs and melodies. Summarily, CHRCH’s music is ‘whatever the listener wants it to be’.

Fister are a 3 piece band. Following their latest vinyl edition of ‘Gemini’, (Encapsulated Records), their collaboration 7 ” with TEETH (Broken Limbs Recordings) and their most recent 12 “, ‘IV’ (Crown and Throne Ltd), Fister still include heavy black and death metal genre influences in their heavy breed of sludge, attained by few.

Temples – Very dark intro, exuding a feel of space and alienation, resonant of Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’. Slow and ambient, very bass led and showcasing much down tuned riffage. Strikingly slow, spaced out drumming, with echoes of ‘Black Sabbath’. Then suddenly exploding into shards of light and dark, expressed through edgy, tortured vocals and crashing loud accompaniments. Quite a marked gore sound enters the equation here, with a lot of blackened emphasis. Still, some light does shine through it, though the atmosphere’s decidedly dark and doomy, by now. It’s fair to say the doom overtakes here and becomes the prime focus, so entrenched as to make it difficult to retain focus on any other aspect. It’s drowning in sludge and whilst the bass is strong, the dark element’s possibly overdone, slightly. Some small tonal variations are brought in, but it’s rather like dredging the bottom of a lake, for corpses. Ultimately, it does get dragged out a bit, to an almost proggy point and whether it sinks or swims at this point is going to be down to its target audience and just how dedicated their allegiance to doom sludge is. For me, it’s a bit heavy going.

The Ditch – Livening things up, with this intro, revolving around drums and screamy, roary vocals, it might be at the other extreme, tonally, but honestly, you have to question how much tortured screaming and funereal drumming you can take; especially when it’s all based around a noticeable atmosphere of imminent, impending doom. Black isn’t a black enough word to describe it. Overwhelmingly torturously painful. Now, approximately 3/4 in, they do attempt to alternate the mood and tones a bit, but it’s too little, too late. Just too samey and forcefully dark. Lifting it up towards the close, slightly, with some lighter riff solos, that helps to take the edge off, but that’s all. There’s a feel and sound of running water and encroaching relief, before the close, but still, it’s overshadowed by morose misery. Drums becoming stronger again, the heavy doom takes over once more, building in volume and vibration, as it tries to destroy your brain. On and on it continues, pouring forced depression into your mind, adding in a bit more pained roaring, for good measure. When will it ever end? That’s what you’ll be asking yourself. Oh thank the gods of metal for that. When you hear the intolerable screech, you’ll know it’s finally over.

Overall – Massively overdone, overplayed, enforced helpings of misery, with dirge-like emphasis thrown in, to entrench the depression, further. My ears need some melody and my brain needs to escape. You’ll probably feel the same.

2/10 **

For fans of Radiohead, Fleshpress, Iron Monkey and other mood destroying morosity.

Pre-orders available at: http://crownandthroneltd.bigcartel.com/product/fister-chrch-split-12

Or at: http://www.battlegroundmr.com/product/chrch-fister-split-album

Posted November 12, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Zero Fire – ‘Ghosts’   6 comments

Zero Fire is a Canadian hard rock/metal band, who attempt to conjure a marriage of impacting riffs with uplifting vocals, groove and intuitive sense and flow. It pays homage to the 90’s and 2000’s eras, whilst retaining an individual style. Founded from the brainchild of vocalist Graham King and drummer Eric Thorkildsen. The self titled, 5 track EP was nominated for a Hamilton Music Award, for Loud/Metal Recording of the Year, 2016 and showcases their signature sound. Taylor Lucas, at Wood Street Studios, London, worked with them on and contributed to the production. Mainly, the tracks represent the heavy catchiness for which the band are aiming. ‘Ghosts’, the self release, is now available digitally, including on spotify and iTunes.

Ghosts – Gorgeous bluesy slide intro, instantly and unexpectedly moving into a crushingly loud, explosive sound. Massively melodic, pop rock style, with a crushing metallic edge. The drumming reinforcement’s particularly noticeable, providing the perfect structural surround. Lively upbeat vocal tones, which stand out, by themselves. Effective harmonies, with plenty of catch. A highly expressive song, with a lot of energy within it. This is what Skin from Skunk Anansie would sound like if she was a bloke. That’s a good thing. The world needs more of this.

9/10 *********

For fans of Skunk Anansie.

Self released, October 27th. Available now, on all digital platforms.

Posted November 10, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

The Courtesans – ‘Feel The Same’   11 comments

London based doom pop rock band The Courtesans’ new pre-tour video release, ‘Feel The Same’, is the 2nd video from their current launch, after ‘Mesmerise’, prior to their support gig for Wednesday 13, which took place in October and their headlining UK tour, from late November.

‘Feel The Same’ relates to the disappointment and devastation inherent in discovering the truth of others, their treatment of us and the inevitable harrowing process that follows, as we struggle to make sense of it.

‘Feel The Same’ – Introing on a contemplative, edging on mournful spoken word section, before exploding into a plainly felt accompaniment. Very rap rock in much of its sound, but it’s combined with melancholy sung vocals, carrying a slight sense of 90’s pop rock. Very abrupt ending, leaving you with an anguished scream, saying much about the theme of the track. Throughout most of the song, the same question, reflected in the title, is asked, in a plausibly delivered, hopeless, need to know tone. So much wrapped up in 1 track. It’s definitely one which’ll likely appeal more to the Brit rock, Emo, pop rock fans, than those of straight out rock, but it’s real, honest and unashamedly raw, in an emotional sense. Its ability to hit emotions is phenomenal and for that alone, it deserves huge credit.

8/10 ********

For fans of Dido, Embrace, The Smiths, The Clash, Razorlight, The Kooks, Placebo, Elastica.

Released 26th October 2017.

The Courtesans will play various dates from 23rd November-10th December, on their Subspecies UK tour, with special guests Bullet Height.

Posted November 9, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Dustland Express – ‘The Question, Sir, Is Why?’   3 comments

From Cape Town, formed in 2008, Dustland Express is a highly energised combo of rock, pop and punk, with meaningful lyrics, pertaining to socio-political issues. Having been playing live locally for several years, including a slot at the 2016 ‘Rocking The Daisies’ Fest, their debut EP is available digitally, for free. Their music video for ‘The Poetic Injustice Of Rats’ in August 2017, led to this, their debut album, ‘The Question, Sir, Is Why? ‘TPIOR’ is the first single from the album.

The songs for ‘TQSIW’ emerged naturally, out of a home studio, with the usual recreational influences, fulsome emotive experiences and discussions behind them. The outcome is a unique, resolved and affecting album, of deep personal meaning to the band.

Voyage Of Men – Very unexpected vocal intro there, with more of a musical theatre atmosphere than a metal one, but there’s something very Queen-esque about it and the metal grit and aggression does find its way in there, as it goes on, showing extraordinary strength and volume. There may still be a significant thread of stage and film production infiltrating this, but it’s categorically unique and true to say that you won’t forget its’ style.

The Poetic Injustice Of Rats – Again, you’ll feel that theatrical sense about it, but its power is undeniable. Slight rap theme creeping in, but it moves through a range of emotions in its short duration and one thing’s for sure – there’s an unpredictable quality, which will leave you wondering where it’s going next, but you’ll be willing to stay for the ride.

Flight Of The Meek – Now this is heading into a more metallic arena, with a touch of operatic metal about it. An intelligently crafted and well-placed technique. Consistently powerful, alternating between volumes, styles and pace, via some fairly complex arrangements. By now, the vocalist’s range is becoming apparent and it’s definitely impressive. It’s also well supported, instrumentally and there’s an unarguable strength in the performance.

The Question, Sir, Is Why? – The title track opens on a drum and bass type intro, followed by another operatic metal vocal style, gradually growing into a grittier sound, but not quite losing that classical edge. Nightwish fans will dig this. The strength in that vocal seems to be increasing all the time. An unusual and creative track.

Empire Of Dreams/ = Heisenberg – A gentler song now, very ballady. Quite lovely, in its own way, again, there’s incredible vocal power at play. More repetition in here, but that’s forgivable, given the loveliness of its sound. Ending on a piano outro, it’s haunting, in the way of most ballads.

The Solution – Very Lacuna Coil-esque intro there! Drumming central focus initially, along with a bit of piano work, till the vocals take over again, accompanied by the riffs and a general air of passion. The strength of feeling just grows throughout and it ends on that vocal power.

Nemesis – Piano intro, very visually evocative of winter scenes, before that film score sound overtakes again. Quickening pace, almost like a chase in action. Clever alternation of rhythms and tones. Ultimately, the main thing is it’s building strength and momentum, to the end, which genuinely would make a great film soundtrack, with all the heightened atmosphere to match.

Take The Devil For A Spin – Bloody hell! That’s some intro! Incredible feeling and passion’s gone into that. The full impact of this alone could knock you down and make it difficult to get back up again. The flute section’s a markedly well-placed part, making it stand out all the more.

Don’t Say Goodbye, Scott – Lots of emotion here, profoundly felt and conveyed. It may repeat slightly, but it doesn’t seem to need to say much more than it does. Short, but meaningful and possibly cathartically resonant for some.

Apocalypse – Opening with a slowly gathering sense of meaning and impact, it’s a curious melding of sounds and styles, but always demonstrates quality of sound and production.

Overall – A well produced and startlingly vocally powerful album, with a great deal of obvious passion and strength of feeling thrown into it. Unusual in style and atmosphere, but that’s why it stands out. It may be more theatrically/operatically based than straight out heavy-metal, but one thing it has in spades is strength of conviction and that stands out a mile.

8/10 ********

For fans of Queen, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil.

http://www.dustlandexpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/dustlandexpress/
https:// http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwsyqMb6qn5W3DtpHMTToFg

https://open.spotify.com/album/0lkTgTBiZkCFY3ZH2hBH6u
http://www.deezer.com/en/artist/1o635585
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-question-sir-is-why/id1258082051
https://play.google.com/music/m/Azjxgerbs3pbec4ububhbptopvi?t=Dustland_Express
https://www.instagram.com/dustlandexpress/
https://dustlandexpress.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyT6BVaYRUY (‘The Poetic Injustice Of Rats’ video).

Posted November 6, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Trucker Diablo – ‘Fighting For Everything’   7 comments

Introducing Irish rockers Trucker Diablo’s new album, ‘Fighting For Everything’.

Born Trucker – Crash bang intro, exploding into life, with full on passion and no holds barred. Vocally and instrumentally characterised by true Trucker style all-out rock). Catchy as hell and instantly lovable. Absolutely packed to the rafters with 100% hard rock, with full on flavour. Love it.

We Will Conquer All – Opening up with more of that true Trucker stuff and injecting a harder edge now, hooking you in, with that memorable chorus, as strong as concrete and making a massive sound, with undeniable plausibility and top-class audio values. It’s a stunner and it rocks damn hard!

Drown In The Fire – Very tasty banjo intro, rapidly drowned by the mega watt volume of heavy rock, with attitude. True passion lies at the heart of this and it’s got plenty of heart and then some. Throwing in some divine riffage, making the most of its space, you could easily drown in this song. Solid, defiant and unshakeable. Hugely expressive performance.

Voodoo II – Sliding in there, with a bluesy road type track, filled to the brim with true heart and passion and hitting the apex of rock rhythm, this is immense. A perfected class follow-up to ‘Voodoo’, which all true Trucker followers will know well. Rockin’ all the way, with that special blend of rock, unique to T.D. An ace and no mistake.

Let’s Just Ride – Starting with a gorgeous piece of riffage, a real rock ‘n’ roll flavour and a taste of sentiment thrown into the lyrics, this one’s a classic anthem, Journey style. Much in the vein of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, only with a heavier edge. Just an enormously big sound, with a whole humongous heap of feeling thrown in. Spectacular.

Fighting For Everything – Right in there, with rock, rock and more rock. Plenty of high octane material here. Extraordinarily powerful track, with gigantic riffs, ginormous vocal strength and drumming sensation. You couldn’t fail to be moved, caught and sucked in by this. Passion so great, no words could describe it. Just hugely, hugely powerful.

Over The Wall – Drumming inferno intro’s and much in that same way, the rest of the track continues, like a towering fire of heartfelt passion. Mounting riffs, building momentum and showcasing sheer unbreakable conviction. Lyrically explicable, clear and relatable, for anyone who’s experienced the same scenario. It’s a song with which it’s easy to identify and it shakes the world to its foundations.

Detroit Steel – Banging intro again, as the drums declare war and the riffs follow suit. Vocals kicking in with just the same intention, as headstrong, justifiable anger and determination pours out of them. Harking back to earlier Trucker material, in arrangement and sound, the magic shines on in this, blowing your mind, to the end. Magnificent.

Die For You – Tribal like drumming style here, with a warlike command inherent in the entire performance, the hardened edge takes over once more, with gloriously involving sounds, it’s just catch all the way, till the gorgeously well-placed reverb closing riff. Divine.

Pocket Full Of Changes – Bang! No hesitation at all, lyrically focused and so, so strong. Just get that delicious high-pitched riff! You could die for that alone. A briefer, but certainly no less lively, enthused track, with such heavy drumming closing, it’ll get you at first listen.

When The Waters Rise – Changing tack now, to a poignant string and vocal solo and acoustic intro. Thoroughly believable and thoroughly beautiful. If this doesn’t get you, you ain’t got a heart. An entirely touching and truly sincere performance, utilising thoughtfully placed electric sections to maximum effect, proving just how moving electric guitars can be, in the right hands. It leaves you at a loss for words, except to say how deeply affecting and meaningful it is.

Overall – Showing Trucker Diablo at their best, ‘Fighting For Everything’ is an earth-moving demonstration of the real and profound emotion that lies at the heart of the best that rock has to offer. T.D. never give any less than their best and few bands rock as hard, as ‘F.F.E.’ attests.

10/10 **********

For fans of high-powered, anthemic rock, with a classic feel, a harder edge and a heavy base.

http://www.facebook.com/truckerdiablo
http://www.twitter.com/truckerdiablo
http://www.instagram.com/truckerdiablo
http://www.bigtruckkeepsonrolling.com

Posted November 2, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized