Category: Album Reviews

EP Review: Never Found – The Human Condition

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The second instalment from punk-metal quartet Never Found comes more than two years after they released their first EP ‘Sorrow and Cyanide’. The time in between has been spent touring; sharing a stage with bands such as Aiden and FVK has allowed them to hone their talents. New EP ‘The Human Condition’ provides an exploration of the effect humanity’s worst elements can have on a person. The genuine lyrics demonstrate a band who are not afraid to put their soul into their music, and it pays off.

Recent single Come to Me opens the record with an explosion of vocals, the dynamic guitars sending the fires spiralling upwards in time with the forceful beat. Not quite out of control but dangerous. Favourite Mistake feels the full force of the blaze; full of anger but also devastation, like burning and drowning at the same time. From all of this emerges The Monster Remains, a creature formed from the ruins of the destruction. Its vengeful lyrics couple with driving drums to create a heated energy that infects the listener, forcing them to take pleasure in the monster’s revenge on the things that created it.

Anyone but Me’s conflicted lyrics don’t slow the power of the beast. The standout guitars and perfectly timed hang in the chorus ensure that it keeps everyone’s attention. Penultimate song My Grave has a more decisive feel than before, embracing the life it has whether that will ultimately lead to greatness or ruin. A song that will go down very well at live shows, with a menacing breakdown that is impossible to resist. The grand finale Misanthropy is an ultimate defiant stance, quite literally saying ‘fuck you’ to the world. Atmospheric yet heavier than the previous songs, its ferocious vocals will haunt your spirit until you give in and listen to the whole thing over again.

There’s also one final surprise in store, but only for those who buy the physical CD. The secret song at the end of Misanthropy is a stripped back ballad which shows a rare glimpse into the ‘good’ side of the monster, the side that still has some hope for the world. The fact that this song is a lot harder to find than the others seems to emphasise how far deep down this feeling is hidden.

You can find ‘The Human Condition’ at http://neverfound.bigcartel.com/product/the-human-condition-cd, as well as on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. Check out the video for Come to Me below.

 
Score: 8.5/10
Listen to: Misanthropy

 

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Album Review: Without Andrew – ‘With Great Power Comes Great Irresponsibility’

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Without Andrew are a three-piece Manchester punk band who already have five years of experience in the music industry (with various line-up changes) despite their young ages. Their first full album Let’s Boo Boo was released around two years ago and they’ve since played a sold-out home show and supported bands such as Ashestoangels, William Control and The Dead XIII. Never feeling the need to stick to convention, their live shows and lyrics can be relied upon to be entertaining.

New album With Great Power Comes Great Irresponsibility has been a DIY production due to financial issues, but the band say they are immensely proud to have accomplished this. It comes after a tough two years in which the band nearly broke up. Commenting on this, drummer and backing vocalist Mat states:

“Our new album… is what we are referring to as a bit of a ‘comeback’ album, if you will. We’ve had a rough two years in which the band almost split up due to drama and tension within the band, which made this album somehow very special. The problems sparked songs and the songs sparked an urge to put out the best damn thing we could; we have touched on topics we never dreamed we would and have opened ourselves up in ways we didn’t think we would. This album has turned into something we are all super proud of. It takes a slightly different tone in comparison to our first album; it’s darker, heavier and not as whimsical, although, as you can tell by the art, we haven’t lost our fun side!”

The album certainly has the punk feel we’ve been promised; occasionally straying a little too far into Green-Day-mode but with more than enough originality to get away with it. They’ve certainly matured their sound since the last record, without having compromised on personality or the interesting song titles (see Who Hurt Lionel Richie.) Right from the start Wheel and Neverwinter throw catchy hooks at us by the bucketload, the type that get you singing along before you even realise you’ve picked up the lyrics. There’s instantly a strangely classic-yet-modern sound about it, how one would imagine the original punk bands to have sounded if they’d begun to make music today. Braindead adds an interesting pinch of harsher vocal style and more pop-punk guitars, all accompanied by lyrics about “fucked up braindead youth” which one can imagine being enthusiastically screamed back at them at a live show. No Escape also has the feel of something which could easily catch on, its fast pace ensuring a lively response. Dirty Rotten Liar produces a more relaxed tempo, but this doesn’t stop the powerful chorus rousing your emotions. The most forlorn track of the record is unquestionably Time Turner, but rather than being merely the token “sad song” of the record it has a sincerity to the lyrics which isn’t difficult to identify. The vocals prove increasingly versatile as the record goes on, and one notices how good the whole thing sounds for a self-produced album. There’s certainly a lot more to come from Without Andrew.

Score: 8 / 10

Listen to: Braindead

 

EP Review: Seasonal – ‘Bloom’

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‘Bloom’ is the five-track debut EP from Guildford quartet Seasonal. It is intended as an exploration of the trials and tribulations involved in growing up in the UK, based on the personal experiences of the band. Their pop-rock sound should appeal to fans of You Me At Six, Kids In Glass Houses and Five Seconds Of Summer.

The record has a reminiscent tone; opening up a vivid window to past experiences most of us can relate to. Their style isn’t something that instantly smacks of being totally unique, but has the ability to infiltrate the senses and make limbs start bouncing along. Latest single Headphones has a distinct singalong quality, its upbeat tune wrapping you in a warm blanket of nostalgia. The catchy riffs of These Games give it a little more of a rock aura, whilst Certainty opens with much gentler guitars merging into a lively song which retains a laidback beat. Ranger‘s added emotion is especially perceptible through its repeated lyrics assuring listeners “you’re not alone”, emphasised by the strong, building beat. Final track Homeward has a calmer, dejected tune which grows ultimately towards an impassioned chorus and a sense of closure. An appropriate ending.

The record feels like it would have fairly wide appeal, especially to a younger crowd. Check out ‘Headphones’ – the latest single from the EP – below.

Score: 7/10

Listen to: Ranger

Album Review: ANEWRAGE – ‘Life-Related Symptoms’

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‘Life-Related Symptoms’ is the second studio album from alternative metal quartet ANEWRAGE. The band have been working hard in recent years to make a name for themselves in their native Italy, touring with multiple bands. With this album they say they have tried to avoid sticking to one narrow genre, instead encompassing a variety of influences.

Strong opener Upside Down has a catchy hook which distinctly grabs the listener’s attention and focuses it on the animated beat of the chorus. This tune subsequently remains on repeat like some undying melodic poltergeist in one’s head for some substantial time afterwards. Dancefloor produces a similarly dominating chorus, this time because of the raw, soulful feel of the vocals coupled with the stirring repetition of lines. Vocal ability is also showcased within Floating Man, seamlessly shifting from wistful, gentle verses to powerful, rapturous choruses. The explosion of drum power and guitar riffs emphasises this change. Insight and Wolves and Sirens more clearly display the variation in the band’s influences, both leaning towards hard rock rather than just metal. This is not where ANEWRAGE draw the line, however. The haunting Life Is You precedes grunge-tinted Outside, the latter having distortions and a harmony of melodic voices which form a particularly melancholic effect. There’s even a theatrical twist near the end; Clockwork Therapy with its electronic, dark intro and menacing ticking sound mix with the slow beat for an ominous aura. It produces hints of industrial as well as even orchestral music to create a song which certainly stands out from the rest.

This is an album which shows extensively varied influences, put together in a way which pleases the senses. A few of the remaining songs could do with better hooks to make it a truly great album, but as it stands it is certainly impressive.

Score: 8/10

Listen to: Upside Down and Clockwork Therapy

EP Review: Nineteen Fifty Eight – ‘Dark Blue’

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Dark Blue is the new release from Swansea alt-rockers Nineteen Fifty Eight. Inspired by the South Wales music scene as well as the theatricality of young bands such as Lower Than Atlantis and PVRIS, the quintet have a lot to live up to. They explain that the EP’s six tracks reflect the real-life anxieties of early adulthood, but it is ultimately intended as an affirmation that everything will always turn out okay in the end.

The whole record feels like an emotional journey. Ceryn’s almost-serene lead vocals mix with the strong hooks of Dark Blue to create a sort of impassioned sadness. Under My Skin goes further, producing a hypnotic chorus with constant ripples of sound immersing the listener. The tense guitar track behind this, alongside the driving drum beat make for a sense of emotional overwhelmment. This anxiety comes to the fore in the distressed riffs of Optimistic and God Forbid, though a sense of resilience and defiance also fights its way through. Temporary Feelings is in itself a build-up of passion, opening with a timid, soft aura but ending on full, resounding notes; a sort of mental release from fear. The final instalment Watch Me Burn is a satisfying end to the record, mixing the passion and tranquil vocals of the previous songs, but this time without the underlying tension. It certainly feels like the band have put a lot of thought into the production of the EP. The overall effect is of a particularly therapeutic 20-minute listen, especially for any young adult experiencing the same feelings.

Score: 7.5/10

Listen to: Temporary Feelings

EP Review: Adam Kills Eve – ‘Of Time’

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Alt-rock quintet Adam Kills Eve, hailing from Italy, have a strong foundation of ten years experience in the music industry of their own country, and are set to break into the UK in the near future with their first six tour dates in the country planned this month. They will be showing off the material from their recently released EP Of Time. This EP boasts six full songs, as well a short intro track and an interlude, coming in at around 22 minutes in length. Incorporating a range of styles; from serene, near-mesmerizing melodies, to upbeat pop-rock, right the way to harsh, ferocious growls and more in-between; the record should appeal to fans of bands such as Thirty Seconds To Mars, Young Guns and Hands Like Houses.

From the very first track the EP has something of a reminiscent, melancholy, yet intense tone to it. Like wandering through the halls of a haunted house, where every doorway opened leads to new memories – of sorrow, regret, anger – all melding together to engulf us in their atmosphere. Lead single Authenti(city) showcases their mixture of styles; a melodic rock track with occasional harsher vocals interjected, it feels like something which could have wide appeal. The Snowglobe Forecast stands out with its passionate, almost anthemic chorus in a Young Guns-esque style. Full lung capacity is absolutely required to sing along. This is in contrast to the angrier Tomorrow is DOA, bringing a harsher sound full of piercing emotion. Final song On The Inside, Breaking Out has a rousing feel, one which stays with you once the record is over. The entire EP comes across as very well put-together, like a lot of time and effort have been invested into it, and this certainly pays off. It never becomes boring or repetitive, and leaves us satisfied.

Check out the single Authenti(city) from the EP below. Adam Kills Eve will be touring the UK from 24th to 29th of this month.

Score: 8/10

Listen to: The Snowglobe Forecast

EP Review: Lay Your Ghost – ‘A Darker Love’

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Our first musical offering from Lay Your Ghost, the synthpop solo-project of Axel Otero / Axel Ghosts, is one we’ve been more than happy to have occupying our eardrums since it was released. Debut EP A Darker Love mixes the darkwave synthy vibes of artists such as William Control – whose record label Lay Your Ghost has incidentally just signed to – with the commanding vocals and sensual feel of artists such as Marylin Manson. Consisting of five tracks in total, it is just long enough to satisfy us for now.

From the very first song, also entitled A Darker Love, the EP feels like something intended to gradually entice the listener. It’s not so much the lightning bolt in the sky which forces your attention skyward, but the subtle gust of wind brushing past your face which you feel the effects of increasingly as time goes by. The intros to the songs tend to share the gradual effect; Death of Me best exemplifies this with its anticipation-building opening, creating the sensation that we’re on the edge of some exhilarating new experience. This leads into a song soaked with sensual energy, one which is best listened to through earphones to get the full up-close feel. The more emotional quality and automated drum beat of Das Ende couple together to make it the catchiest song of the record, but Holy Ghost is certainly the most intense. It’s the only track to have slightly more powerful vocals during the bridge and the chorus, but it doesn’t lose the laid back feel of the record. This powerful-sensual sound gives it an almost religious feel. Final song The Flame has the most full-sounding synths of the EP, which seem to have been building throughout. It continues the mesmerising feel of the whole record and feels like an accumulation of all the sounds within, leaving listeners engrossed and eager to hear it all over again. A Darker Love has been released exclusively through Bandcamp, and is available to listen to and buy now.

Score: 7/10

Listen to: The Flame