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

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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.

Gig Review: Vexxes / Dream State / The Guts / Brightlight City – London, 21/01/2017

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Kicking things off at the Crowndale tonight are alternative rock group Brightlight City. Their set is certainly better than one expects from the opening band of a small gig – that is, when their instruments are working at least. It does feel like they need to develop their style into something more unique, as it does not produce anything striking enough to stick in the mind. They certainly demonstrate clear talent though; we look forward to seeing them develop.

Second to take the stage are The Guts, and one could not fail to notice their set. Two of their members take to the floor, constantly moving, jumping on sofas, knocking microphone stands over. Their style matches their actions; it could be quite accurately described as something like Korn mixed with System Of A Down on speed. Their vigour is impressive, but could make things seem a bit haphazard at times. It’s not altogether clear who the lead singer is, and feels a little like anyone who can scream is given a microphone – with three of them going simultaneously at times. The performance is certainly memorable, and appears to appeal to their niche in the crowd.

Playing their first set in London tonight are Welsh female-fronted post-hardcore band Dream State. They instantly have a noticeable amount of stage presence. Lead singer Charlotte puts enough energy into her performance to draw the attention of the crowd without being overpowering. Her powerful harsh vocals are striking, and are well matched with equally talented backing vocalist Sam. The crowd give an increasingly enthusiastic reaction after every song played, with some standout ones being Rebuild, Recreate and Relentless. We certainly hope to see them return to London again.

Headlining are Leeds alt/pop-rock band Vexxes, who are making the round trip to London and back in one day just to play this show. Their sound is more relaxed than the previous bands, making for a nice variety in tempo throughout the night. They could perhaps do with a little more enthusiasm in their movements – when lead singer Tom enters the crowd it feels a little more like he is aimlessly wandering around the room – but their overall set is pleasing. They produce some catchy hooks and intricate riffs from songs such as Everything I’ve Ever Known and Lead Us Home. Plus we certainly approve of any band whose merchandise stall has a banner saying ‘Fuck Trump’.

Gig Review: Nightlife, Cavalier, Never Hill, Photo Finish, Our Lives In Cinema – London, 17/01/2017

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Opening up the show at Surya tonight are Our Lives In Cinema, a local pop-punk band with a little more emphasis on the punk. They burst onto the stage, their set a fast-paced blur of guitar riffs which gives some life to the room. They are followed by Photo Finish, overflowing with pop-punk vibes which they even manage to confer onto a Katy Perry cover. Their performance is certainly entertaining – feeling more like a comedy show at times – and they seem to have fun being on stage. Both opening bands could do with refining their sound, as they do not have anything distinctly unique to offer as yet. They are, however, perfectly acceptable as a start to the night.

Next up are Never Hill, bringing with them a more pop-rock sound, a massive pink banner and a singer who definitely prefers being on the floor to the stage. They appear to have a few fans in the crowd, and despite the venue’s sound sometimes drowning out the vocals a little they produced some songs which get the crowd moving. Most notable was final track Caffeine, particularly memorable and catchy.

Melodic rock band Cavalier take the stage as the penultimate act. Their set produces the most variety of the night, managing to move expertly from emotional songs such as Sedative to livelier tracks like Come Home, which ends their performance. Singer Jamie is another frontman keen to spend time down with the crowd rather than on stage, and manages to get the crowd jumping in the air along with him as well as screaming the words. They could easily have headlined the night.

Rounding off the show are Nightlife, with a mature, grunge rock sound. They bring a more restrained feel to their set, not producing the energy of the previous band but instead focusing on their music. Again the vocals could be a little drowned out by the instruments, something out of the band’s control, but they manage to successfully showcase a range of old and new songs, including For the Record and not-yet-released Salt and Acid from their forthcoming EP of the same name. The crowd appear to appreciate the tracks, bringing a satisfying close to the night.

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

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

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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.

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