Category: Features

Top 10 Albums of 2017 by Genre

As we near the end of 2017, here’s our rundown of our favourite albums from 10 genres…

Alternative Rock

Creeper – Eternity, In Your Arms

Creeper’s first full album had a lot of expectation placed upon it, riding on the back of the hype built up by their theatrical story of The Stranger and the disappearance of James Scythe. The record is certainly impressive, retaining their ability to make you feel nostalgic about a time, a place and events that have never even happened. The modern rock ‘n’ roll style is best showcased in Suzanne and Hiding With The Boys, while the well-loved ballad Misery is re-released. Only occasionally can it feel like they’re trying a little too hard, such as with the overly ‘inspirational’ I Choose To Live. On the whole, however, it is easy to see why an entire cult has formed around this band.

Pop Rock

Lower Than Atlantis – Safe In Sound

Safe In Sound certainly seems to have been produced with radio play in mind to a much greater extent than their previous releases, meaning that LTA lose some of the raw elements of their earlier sound. This secures them as more of a pop-rock band, but allows an abundance of big, catchy choruses and strong melodies. Each song seems to vary from the last and stand alone in its own right.


Melodic Rock

Of Allies – Night Sky

Of Allies’ self-funded debut album builds on the sound defined by their first two EPs – haunting melodic vocals, melancholic opening notes and powerful choruses – to produce impressive tracks such as 17, Collapse and Lost Not Found. However, it also includes new elements, most notably the punk influences on CMD-Q. The theatricality has also been ramped up to give it a more immersive feel. It seems that a full album has given them the freedom to experiment and further distinguish themselves from the pack. 2018 will surely be a big year for them.

Indie Rock

Nothing But Thieves – Broken Machine

The second release from Nothing But Thieves builds on their first, with vocals ranging from soothing melodies to towering cries upon a backdrop which channels the usual indie-rock sounds but gives them a distinctly modern feel. The contemporary theme also runs to the lyrics, which will no doubt appeal to the young generation. The whole thing has been intricately put together as one entity rather than merely a number of individual songs, each element with its own sense of drama.

Mainstream Rock

Asking Alexandria – self titled

The return of Danny Worsnop sees AA take on a rather new sound in their fifth album, beginning a move away from their metalcore beginnings and towards a more arena-filling rock sound. The lyrics throughout have a very personal touch, relating to the singer’s experiences during his time away from – and returning to – the band. The record winds alternately through heavy, anthemic, and ballad-like tracks, and though it can feel a little uncertain in its trajectory at times, this is certainly the beginning of something new and exciting from the band.


Rise Against – Wolves

The melodic-hardcore quartet retain the essence of their sound and their politically charged lyrics, whilst adding in diverse elements where punk roots meet with pop undertones. It is not as heavy as some of their previous releases, and can take a few listens to fully appreciate, but the energy and talent behind it ensure that it stands as an impressive headliner for the genre.

Modern Metal

Never Found – The Human Condition

Never Found’s debut album came crashing into existence in 2017, feeling like they’ve managed to successfully capture all of the hatred and anger at the world that they’ve been trying to express since their first EP. This is channelled into an impressive, well put-together album which includes rock, metal and punk influences, and even a secret ballad at the end of the physical CD. Songs such as Misanthropy – a fan favourite at their live shows – finally get an outing on record, and are all the more impressive for it.


While She Sleeps – You Are We

The album that is finally pushing While She Sleeps into the limelight is a self-funded release that manages to stay true to their original sound. The slashing main vocals and forceful riffs keep their raw edge as the record is not over-produced, but experimental touches such as the rapping on Steal The Sun ensure that it is full of variety. It also features guest vocals from Oli Sykes of BMTH on Silence Speaks.

Melodic Metalcore

Motionless In White – Graveyard Shift

Reflecting on their past but taking their music in a more experimental direction with some new sounds, Graveyard Shift shows that MIW are not willing to sit back and let things come easily. Heavy, breakdown-filled songs such as The Ladder and 570 contrast rock ‘n’ roll/nu-metal influenced Loud (Fuck It) and emotional anthem Eternally Yours. The usual industrial influences are still abundant, but this definitely feels like something fresh.

Mainstream Metal

Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence

The latest release from Trivium manages to meld together some of the best elements from their often hit-and-miss backlog, putting a new spin on them to give it an up-to-date sound. The classic sounding clean vocals become increasingly prominent, and provide a pleasing contrast to the more modern harsh screams. Abundant riffs fill the songs, the majority of which are rather lengthy. A band as well-known as them could have gone down a more commercial route, but it has certainly played in their favour that they did not.


Harbour Sharks Release Ferocious New Video ‘The Killer Inside Me’

harbour sharks

The Killer Inside Me is the first track released from Kingston alt-metal band Harbour Sharks’ upcoming debut album. The band have spent two years touring and perfecting their sound since forming in 2015, producing the grizzly, rhythmic riffs and powerful vocals present in this track. They should appeal to fans of Beartooth, A Day To Remember and Stone Sour.

When asked about the themes behind the song, the band explain:

The Killer Inside Me is about the thought process of a serial killer with a split personality who feels hard done by and struggles to act on their instincts. The killer eventually reasons that as humans we are insignificant, yet vows to never feel this way as he doesn’t feel he fits in with human normality. Although we don’t condone the acts of serial killers, we feel that this is a song for anyone who has ever felt outcast or humiliated in social norms that they can relate to.”

The video further encapsulates this theme with its portrayal of a man who is clearly such an outcast and its depiction of his disturbed mental state. It is an excellent overall piece and we highly recommend checking it out.

October Ends Release Music Video For ‘Faith In Me’

unnamed (1)

Four-piece Newcastle metalcore band October Ends have released a new music video for latest single ‘Faith In Me’. The song is taken from their upcoming EP ‘A New Path’ to be released on 26th June. According to the band, the song is about battling with mental illness and asking loved ones for help and trust.

“We’ve either all been there or we’re still going through it, but all it takes is to make the first move and ask for help. We hope that ‘Faith In Me’ will connect with people who are struggling with situations like this, because no matter what happens behind closed doors, you’re never alone.”

The single features ferocious roars alongside breakdowns galore. Its big sound creates a stirring feel, whilst the additional vocal styles and theatrical chimes sprinkled throughout add a sense of suspense. We hope this is a sign of things to come from the rest of the EP.

Check it out below and see what you think.

Light It Up Release Alt-Rock Cover of Halsey’s ‘Eyes Closed’


New England alternative-rock band Light It Up have just released a transfigurative cover of Halsey’s ‘Eyes Closed’. The five-piece female fronted band have only been together since September 2016, yet they have already supported the likes of We The Kings, Hawthorne Heights, Metro Station and Cute Is What We Aim For and have been stylistically compared to Bring Me The Horizon and PVRIS.

The cover track manages to seamlessly blend the emotional feel of the original with a newly charged spirit. The melodic intro has an absorbing, almost-ethereal sound, before the hefty drums and solid guitars of the chorus bring us crashing down to the musical fires below.  It brings a fierceness to the lyrics, managing to remain firmly within the pop-rock genre whilst still pushing boundaries. Light It Up will gain fans at a rapid pace if they continue to produce such a sound.

Check out the track below and let us know what you think!

Griever Release New Music Video ‘Welcome To Hell’

Bournemouth metalcore goths Griever have just released their first single of 2017, a previously unheard song entitled ‘Welcome To Hell’. This comes almost a year after the release of their most recent EP ‘Soul Searcher’. The new single had not been widely publicised by the band prior to its release, but is making its presence felt now.

The track contains all of Griever’s usual bellowing vocals, heavy riffs and breakdowns, as well as particularly meaningful lyrics. Ever keen to improve the quality of their sound, a lot of work has clearly gone into the production. The clean vocals especially sound fuller than before, giving them an added sense of drama and dominance to create a chorus which is passionate and instantly memorable. The music video features the band in their usual macabre get-up, flanked behind by pyro. The flames exaggerate every gruesome expression and striking movement, creating an extra level of atmosphere.

This is presumably a sign of a new release to come in the not-too-distant future. We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes open for that!

Check out the video below. The single is available to buy on iTunes and Google Play.

London J-Rock Band Esprit D’Air Release Stunning Comeback Single ‘Rebirth’


London based Japanese alt-rock outfit Esprit D’Air only recently reformed after a three year hiatus, but they are already stunning our eardrums with appropriately-named comeback single ‘Rebirth’. Guitarist Kai has now taken over the role of lead vocalist, a job for which he seems to have been destined. Their sound combines aggression and soul-destroying breakdowns with ethereal melodies, making their music an immersive experience. Considering the fact that the band have a strong DIY ethic and produce everything themselves, they are even more worthy of our praise!

When asked to tell us a little more about the new single, Kai explains:

“The song ‘Rebirth’ tells the story of a man who finds his voice and sings under the stars, this leads to him becoming the saviour of his town as his voice inspires and refreshes everyone who hears it. The video reflects this. The first and second lines allude to the beautiful view of audiences from the stage (“Aoku yureta hoshi wo matoi” – In blurred lights of the blue stars). The middle bridge implies his bright future, and how he’s moving forward towards it.

As Esprit D’Air have just reformed after three years, we feel this is our ‘Rebirth'”

This is certainly one of those songs where knowledge of the language is not required to be able to appreciate and understand its message, the mere sound is enough. If Esprit D’Air are capable of providing us with this as their first offering after three years off, we cannot wait to see what they’ve got lined up next!

Check out the music video for ‘Rebirth’ below. If you like what you hear, Esprit D’Air will also be headlining the O2 Academy in Islington on March 31st.

Behind the Scenes: The Skeleton Strings Tour (William Control & Crilly Ashes)

As I was offered the opportunity to go on the Skeleton Strings tour as merch seller, travelling with William (Control) and Crilly (Ashes), this seemed an excellent chance to give a more behind the scenes look at a tour. I’m going to start with a warning: it’s not as exciting as you think, I spent a lot of time on my phone travelling in a van. In tour-diary style fashion, here’s a summary of the entire five dates of the Skeleton Strings acoustic tour.


Tour begins in Newcastle. Prior to the first VIP meeting we encounter the first instance of no-one having a clue where William is – he’s surprisingly good at disappearing. He does however reappear on time after an unidentified knocking sound turns out to be him trapped behind a door no one had noticed. During the show he goes backstage to decide the contents of his set list; I’m already getting the impression things don’t tend to be too planned out. On stage Zac from One Way Street kicks off the show, beginning with a few nervous jokes but soon relaxing as he sees the crowd warm to his set. Second are Strange Creatures, a band whose electric set I wasn’t too keen on last time I saw them, but who pleasantly surprised me with their acoustic set. Crilly soon takes the stage, rather merry after a few malibu and cokes (yep, he drinks that), and puts on an entertaining set of his own songs and covers. This is the first night that the crowd are encouraged to make the now infamous pirate noises along to recent single Down We Go. William soon enters the stage, carrying with him his guitar branded with the words “this machine kills sadness” which he notes is a phrase adapted for his own purposes from Woody Guthrie’s 1941 message “this machine kills fascists” written on his own guitar. His set includes a number of his own songs such as Cemetery, Noir and Soliloquy as well as covers including New Order and Morrissey, and there’s even an acoustic version of a track from his upcoming album. The whole night goes down well. After the show William leaves for the hotel and a few of us head off for some drinks in Gotham Town. This includes a rather worse for wear Crilly who thinks it’s a good idea to start spontaneously playing the piano in Newcastle station, and who ends up with straws in his hair multiple times during the night.


[Photo credit: Kate Rattray]

The next morning there is definitely hangovers in the air. Crilly introduces me to his ‘medicinal’ hangover cure in the form of a Starbucks triple espresso over ice. This turns out to be everyone’s drink of choice on tour, and it certainly does the job of replenishing energy levels, unfortunate side effects are the potent taste, heart palpitations and shakes. Newcastle to London is a long journey, mostly consisting of idly sitting around checking Facebook whilst Crilly has a nap in the back of the van. We do get treated to a few plays of the new William Control album, which certainly livens the atmosphere up. Upon reaching the venue it is instantly apparent that the room is nowhere near big enough to comfortably fit the amount of people who have bought tickets, never mind squeezing in a merch table and PA system too. Crilly needs to find somewhere more spacious to do his horror cult meet and greet, and decides upon a particularly appropriate goth location: a nearby graveyard. As the show begins it is decided that everyone should sit down to have any chance of a decent view. Loveless take the opening slot, filling in for 48 Hours who are delayed on their way to the venue. They put on a decent performance of their own songs with an AFI cover thrown in, though nerves may have affected the vocals a little. 48 Hours do eventually show up and take the second slot, and do put on an enjoyable acoustic performance, including a cover of Truly Madly Deeply joined by Crilly. The majority of Crilly’s own set sees a crowd member having to fan him whilst he plays, as the humidity increases along with the number of people. This certainly doesn’t put anyone off being lively though, with the crowd providing spontaneous backing vocals to tracks such as Ghost In The Machine and being the most enthusiastic pirate-noise-makers of the whole tour. This enthusiasm isn’t dampened during William’s set, where they sing along to practically every song, getting especially loud during Aiden tracks Moment and Silent Eyes, his cover of The Smiths’ There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and his own London Town. Once the show is over a few of us head off for some more drinks at Underworld where Kier Kemp is DJ-ing. Crilly manages to match his own drunkenness levels from the night before, developing an interest in changing the various lighting effects on the dancefloor and proving himself not the best lighting technician. We end up getting back to the hotel at gone 4am once more, armed with food from a 24 hour Subway yet having had to spend an extortionate amount on a taxi because our beloved Uber app did not seem to be working.


[Photo credit: Sammy Lilley]

The next morning sees hangover 2.0, and we are grateful for a little time to relax in the hotel garden. Crilly reveals a major perk to taking merch on tour; you always have clean clothes. His opinion is that all you really need to take on tour from your own things are new socks and a toothbrush, a highly debatable statement. We find our hotel and enjoy a much needed nap in our rooms before we’re off again, this time to Santiagos in Leeds, another venue which is always cramped and sweaty but seems almost airy compared to yesterday. William disappears once more after VIP as the show begins, noting only that he’s going “to nap”. He definitely never recovered from the jet lag. First on stage is Jason from Kill The Silence, putting on a good acoustic set which ends on the forever dodgy song choice of covering Wonderwall. He just about pulled that one off. Next are As Sirens Fall, whose extremely enjoyable acoustic set includes some of their impressive new material from recently released album The Hospital Party. The crowd are lively again throughout Crilly and William’s sets, probably being the most proficient mass hecklers of the tour, especially when urging William to play other songs during his set. One request even asks for him to play Justin Bieber, probably the point when you know the heckling is going a little far. There’s a reprieve from the nights out after this show, and we return to our hotel in Bradford with the firm intention of finding a good pizza. This we manage more successfully than expected, who knew Bradford did such good pizza?


[Photo credit: Kate Rattray]

Before we set off to Manchester the next day we pop into Primark, which feels far too ordinary when accompanied by a man commonly referred to as “the gothfather”. The van journey is a short but productive one, where general conversation leads to a decision to live stream William’s set tonight, and also to have Crilly join him for a performance of Love Will Tear Us Apart, a song which Crilly may or may not have learned how to play on that very journey. We reach Satans Hollow far too early to set anything up, so end up going on a hunt around Manchester for somewhere that serves a decent cooked breakfast. Back at the venue the weather is deteriorating, and as we approach opening time the heavens open and people begin to huddle in the entrance for some hope of shelter. No one hangs around once doors are open, and inside the show kicks off with local bands Without Andrew and Don’t Stop! Go!, both putting on excellent acoustic performances. Crilly and William both get an enthusiastic reception to their sets, especially their joint cover. William’s performance of his b-side track Heaven also seems popular. We had earlier been invited out to a club night to see a drag queen named Acid Betty, so once the show is over some of us go off to this. Meeting her was fun, if expensive, and lots more drunkenness and horrendous dancing ensues. A possible alcohol-induced lack of common sense may be to blame for the fact that neither Crilly nor I realised we had been given the wrong room when we arrived at the hotel. The fact that neither of the room keys initially worked, coupled with the tiny, hot, windowless room which only provided one towel didn’t seem to indicate anything strange to us until the next morning. On closer inspection what we thought was a three at the start of the room number was actually a badly written five. Handwriting really does matter kids.


[Photo credit: Leanne Haywood]

The final tour date is in Cannock. On the journey there William and Crilly look over the comments and reactions from the live stream and seem happy with what people thought about it. We find another Wetherspoons upon our arrival, William doesn’t join us but asks for a plate of sausages to be brought back for him, a request which gets poor Crilly some odd looks from the bar staff. As it’s the final night of tour we decide to do a mega merch sale in the hope that William won’t have quite so many bags to carry at the airport. As the VIP begins, an unfortunate mix up at the door means all the non-VIPs get let in too, leaving them having to linger around in the hallways for a good while. The show has no support acts tonight, and Crilly admits it’s odd being the opener. The crowd are definitely the quietest of the tour, but he still manages to draw some pirate noises out of them. He even does a performance of Pirouette, a song which he was adamant he’d finally avoid playing on a tour. Tonight sees a lone rather drunk heckler, but after learning that it’s his 18th birthday today Crilly stops in the middle of his set to buy the guy a drink. William is not quite so generous and jokingly tells him off during his set, making him sit at the side of the stage. The crowd are still a little quiet, but certainly enjoy his performance. Some odd noises during one song cause Crilly to have to run around on stage behind him as he continues playing to try to resolve the problem. He ends, as he has done every night, with the fan favourite London Town. After the show William says his final goodbyes and heads off to Manchester for his airport trip. Crilly and I head off to stay with As Sirens Fall, whose tour he now joins as their driver. The man literally never rests. On the journey there comes the realisation that the tour is now officially over, and though this is sad the past few days have been a lot of fun. I’m hugely looking forward to William’s next tour, which we thankfully only have to wait until September for!


[Photo credit: Leanne Haywood]