Archive for September, 2011

Rock The Ringside [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 30th September 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Bands: XIII, Pastel Jack, Self Inflicted Revolution, Sunbeam Lipstick
Venue: The Ringside, Hull, East Yorkshire.
Date: 28th September

Rock The Ringside, organised by Hull based metal webzine Denim & Leather, certainly seemed to be the place to be on a warm Wednesday evening featuring four bands from Hull and the surrounding area. The first band to take to the stage were none other than Self Inflicted Revolution, a five piece metal outfit from Hull. They started the set with an original song called “All My Crimes”, which seemed like it could have been heavier than what it was. The band did an amazing rendition of “Hurt” (Orignally by Nine Inch Nails) and a good cover of “Cocaine” (Originally by Eric Clapton”). One thing that certainly stuck out about this band was the James Hetfield-sounding vocals and tight, heavy riffs.

Self Inflicted Revolution – All My Crimes

The second band of the night were Driffield-based trio Sunbeam Lipstick, who were an interesting bunch to say the least and despite their not-so-rock sounding name, some of their set was raw and aggressive. The drummer partook in the vocal work in some of the songs which was unusual to hear, to say the least and did seem to take something away from the drums. In other songs, the guitarist did the vocal work, though his vocals did seem to be more like a drone compared to that of the drummer’s. The bassist certainly kept a nice flow to the music either way though.

The main support of the night came in the home of local Yorkshire-styled thrash metal outfit Pastel Jack. They began their set in true metal style, with the vocalist moving into the crowd and encouraging them to come forward. Part of their set included songs such as “Part 2” and “Methematic”. Pastel Jack certainly added an energetic vibe to the event.


XIII were the headliners for “Rock The Ringside” and for good reason as well. They put on a hell of a show, pulling no punches with their set, though the frontman did prattle on a bit in between some of the songs. XIII played a fair few tracks from their upcoming album “North Of Nowhere”. “Rock The Ringside” was certainly a enjoyable night for the most part and those that attended seemed entertained enough.


Nico Davidson

Photos of the event can be found here.

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Capricia – Fooled by the Hush [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 29th September 2011 by corvusofmorlich

Band: Capricia
Album: Fooled by the Hush
Release year: 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal

Being somebody who’d never heard of this band, I was quite eager to jump in and have a listen:

An interesting piece of artwork for an interesting piece of music..

On my first play through, I was taken aback. There’s a lot different genres mashed into this 5 track CD; from jazz to symphonic metal and from a more progressive rock sound to one that’s driven by industrial metal sounding guitars.

The first track is “Recline in the Fire” and it starts with a sad string section, that slowly swells with horns and drum rolls being added. This is an effective intro into the CD for sure and when the guitars and double bass comes in, it all comes together well. Then comes some choir chants which remind me of some early Nightwish. The song then slows into a drifty bridge with distorted chords thickening up the piano and vocals, followed by another verse that once again fastens the song up with orchestra hits and double kicks. After this comes the solo – primarily pentatonic with a smooth taping sections and finishing with a somewhat messily ended sweep. The outro is abrupt, but in a good way, finishing on those familiar choir chants. This song, for me, started off very well but, after the mid-point, stayed at the same level, which rendered it a somewhat bland second half. It’s still very listenable, though. The solo, I feel, could have done with a couple of more takes to get it a little less noisy and a little smoother.

The next song, “Before the Storm Arrives” starts off with majory chords and male vocals, which genuinely caught me a bit off guard. It’s then followed by a short and warm toned solo, over piano. This sets the song off in a very standard kind of rock mood before switching around completely, going into a jazz sounding verse with very soulful singing and ending the section in a couple of major modulations, that really add to the progressive feel. Silence follows but is interrupted by distorted guitar that really reminds me of Static-X. Then a couple of lead runs by the guitar and then synth with distorted male vocals following after. Then, some clean female vocals that remind me in a way of a Tim Burton movie, in terms of their neatness and drama. The song’s main guitar solo kicks in over some synth lead (mixed with rock organ) sounds which then go into their own jazzy solo over those Static-X chords again. There’s then a to and fro section between the clean female vocals and the distorted male ones. The song’s outro consists of a lead guitar following the same major modulations as before. This song required me to throw away my musical preferences to truly get into and appreciate – which I definitely do – but it didn’t rid the song of some of the things I didn’t like. The mixing and changing of genres is a cool idea on paper, but it so often takes the attention away from what the song is about and that definitely happened with me. I spent more time anticipating the next change than I did listening to the music and words as a whole. This, however, is not always a bad thing as it definitely hooked me in and kept me interested in what was coming next and the tiny gaps of silence between these different styles kept me from thinking too much about how they might not have fit together.

The next song, “Melodic Scream”, starts with a drifty and melodic clean guitar with strings joining that make the song feel very melancholic – something I adore in music. With a voice whispering in your ear, too, this is easily my favourite intro from the CD. The drums and guitar enter now and the solo that follows after is pretty darn tasty. When the vocals come in, it feels stripped down for a couple of bars before the distorted guitar comes in. The drums, I feel, fit the song really well. The singing starts off soft before an opera-esque backing ‘Ah’s come in which help complete the picture. The song strips down even more with just piano and singing which helps you really appreciate the sheer talent in the vocals. A violin comes in and it really does just sound amazing. Again, the distorted guitar comes in and the slow solo that comes in under the vocals sounds so good mixed with everything. However, the rhythm guitar feels a little out of place without drums being there. The outro is very effective – just a piano chord on its own. It ends one of the best songs on the album very well.

The penultimate song, “Chaotic”, blasts out and you can really hear some Israeli influences, led by the synth. An interesting timing sequence follows before the synth leads the song into a verse that I didn’t expect – one with harsh vocals! These are raw, but awesome because of it. It then breaks once again and goes into a slow and echoey clean singing section which almost reminds me of Opeth a little bit. This goes to show just how versatile this band is. A chuggy guitar riff is layered underneath some very Eastern sounding singing which then goes into some harsh vocals which pan from left to right – this is awesome. Later in the song, you hear the harsh vocals mixed with the female ones, though it sounds more like talking, either side of your head which sounds very dramatic. It follows a lyricless heavy section into a bloody bass solo! Followed by another awesome harsh vocals section. This is an amazing song which blends so many different sounds really, really well. This is probably tied my favourite song.

The final song is called “Something’s Wrong” and it starts with some really gruff male vocals which overlap with some clean female vocals that really remind me of Bjork. These voice switch around for the first minute or so, but sound really well. Then the guitars and drums come in with a tasty as f***k rhythm and an equally tasty guitar solo. This then gets wrapped up in some really interesting, half-harsh, male vocals that get modulate up, but very effectively, with string strikes. There’s then a section with just the guitars and drums that sounds very chunky. The next vocal section is backed by some awesome piano runs that run into a guitar solo section that sounds good with the everything backing it, although these sound a lot messier in the gaps between. The some very bouncy jazz bass comes in which sweeps the song into a guitar solo that just sounds absolutely awesome. The fade out ending happens a little too quickly and is a total let down as the bouncy bass and solo are just so good.

All in all, this album blends a lot together and is very interesting and pleasing to listen to. The genre changes that knock you off guard are well executed and flow well, albeit it sometimes distracting. The metal sections are very well written to allow the focus to be on the atmosphere and the vocals, although this means the guitar riffs are a little bland. This, however, is made up by the guitar solos that, despite being a little messy and maybe a little too frequent, show you that each musician is very skilled at what they do. This is especially apparent in the last 3 songs.

The balance of influences is perfect and there’s a real sense of drama and emotion – ranging from happy down to sad. This album blew away the expectations I had and I’d recommend to metal fans that are open-minded enough to appreciate the different influences, or to fans of progressive music in general. I think the biggest, if only, main problem I have with this album is the guitar tone. Being a lead guitarist myself, I can’t help but find problems with it – it’s not crisp enough to fit well with the pounds of the bass drum and it’s not muted enough to get that real chuggy sound and it definitely affects how professional the album sounds – everything else has been very well recorded and the guitar tone definitely adds a raw, almost demo-ish, feel to it which some people might actually like. I, however, definitely feel as though it takes something away from the album.

It’s a good album, most enjoyable It just needs a little neatening up here and there. It’s a solid album and one that’s most definitely unique and original. I’ll continue to look out for this band and I urge others too, as well.

3.5/5

Reviewed by Corvus, of Morlich.

Tersivel Video Now Online

Posted in News with tags , , on 26th September 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Argentinian Pagan Metallers Tersivel have now released the video for their song “As Brothers We Shall Fight”, taken from their album “For One Pagan Brotherhood”. The video is available for viewing on Youtube.

Ben Parcell – Painted By Numbers [2011]

Posted in Folk with tags , , , , , , on 25th September 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Ben Parcell
Album: Painted By Numbers
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk/Pop-Punk
Ben Parcell has been on the rise in the British acoustic scene since the recording and release of his debut album “Humble Beginnings” though he had already established a name for himself with his old band “The Trailers”. His song “The Only One” is featured on the benefit compilation ‘Unity’ by Engineer Records which features mainstream acts such as ‘The Gaslight Anthem’ ‘Fightstar’, ‘Funeral For a Friend’ and ‘Luke Pickett’. “Painted By Numbers” is his latest release.

The title track “Painted By Numbers” starts the album with a brilliantly composed guitar section with a slight use of percussion. The vocals soon follow adding a mellow sound on top of the soothing acoustic riffs. The song has a soulful flow, enchanting the listener. The backing vocals, provided by Edwina Hayes, are powerful yet subtle, adding emphasis to the lead vocals, giving the song a certain warmth in the sound. The small use of piano is unexpected and surprising but a brilliant addition to the song. “Too Late To Say Goodbye” follows after with a solemn sound in both the vocals and music. The track is slower compared to “Painted By Numbers”, capturing the essence of Ben’s talent and musical style in a deep, emotional way. The lyrics help bring a certain touch of emotion to the song as well bringing a tear to the eyes of the listener. The vocals are very distinct and strong throughout “Too Late To Say Goodbye”, helping add to its sound and masterful composition.

“Stay In Touch” picks up the pace though staying slow and steady during in the introduction. The vocals adapt well to the changed tempo, working well with the acoustic riffs. Parts of the song make the listener feel like having a small jig along to the music. The tempo changes add character to the music as well, giving it a very original edge. The EP finishes with “Love Song” which brings back the slow pace combined with awe-inspiring vocals and well-written lyrics. The calmness of the music could easily ease the listener into a relaxed state of mind. The combination of lead and backing vocals brings about a very soothing atmosphere and the use of keyboards throughout the song add a touch of brilliance.

After hearing “Painted By Numbers”, the listener will no doubt know why Ben Parcell has been doing so well. Each track is composed in such a way that it would be near enough impossible to try replicate the sound that Ben creates with his talent. “Painted By Numbers” is certainly an EP that one could listen to over and over again without growing bored of it. Even if you’re not a fan of acoustic music, this is a brilliant EP with a happy medium of pop-punk and folk music. The only downside to it is that it’s not a full-length release, though no doubt Ben will have a full-length release somewhere in the pipelines.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Verona – We The Hunted [Single Review]

Posted in 'Core, CD with tags , , , , on 25th September 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Verona
Single: We The Hunted
Genre: Melodic Post-Hardcore
Release year: 2011

”We the Hunted” is the latest single by Newcastle based hardcore sextet Verona. Straight away, the song is an aggressive and pounding assault on the ears of the listener. The vocals are raw, violent and savage keeping that hint of brutality when the melodic riffs are played. The clean vocals are very distinct and unique compared to a lot of hardcore bands that use clean vocals. The drums are well played throughout the song though seem to lack in sections. Another issue with the song is the sound quality during in some of the vocal sections, making the vocals sound extremely distorted and inaudible. The synths add a very different sound to the song as well, whilst not clashing with the hardcore sound of the track. “We The Hunted” is certainly different to a lot of hardcore-orientated songs but still retains the hardcore stylings of Verona. If their next EP or album is anything like “We The Hunted”, then we’ll all be in for a treat.

Nico Davidson

Verona will be playing Valkyrian Festival on 27th November. For more info, click here.

Equaleft – The Truth Vnravels EP [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 24th September 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Equaleft
Album: …The Truth Vnravels EP
Release Year: 2010
Genre: Metal/Groove/Progressive

truthvnravels
Portugal’s underground scene is mostly about thrash, death, hardcore: the “noisier” the better. So it’s really refreshing listening to something like EQUALEFT: “metal full of groove, power and melody”, to quote the band itself. To achieve that mixture, EQUALEFT uses 8-string guitars, increasing the scale range of the instruments and getting a closer approach to progressive elements. Nothing overstated, though – just the right measure. In my opinion, too much technical use and “flourishes” may sound mind-blowing to other musicians and connoisseurs, but to the simple layman (like me), it can become pretty boring. But these guys know where to draw the line in that matter, and so you have songs like “Alone In Emptiness” or “Amnesia” – the latter having Filipe Ferreira, from local veteran thrashers WEB, performing a solo.

“Cynical Plague” also gives tempo shifts a try – not as extreme as MESHUGGAH or THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, but the influence is there, on EQUALEFT’s own terms.

And “Uncover The Masks” could be easily considered an avant-garde metal song, given the crazy saxophone on it, courtesy of João Martins (LOST GORBACHEVS). Despite the vocal capacity of Miguel Inglês – who, by the way, experimented clean tones for the first time on “Suffer No More” – the band invited Paulo from metalcore band E.A.K. to contrast his higher screams with Inglês’ lower growls in “Denial”. And then, at some point, both tones meet and blend. They could have released an album instead of this 6-track EP. But either they postponed it while took the time to write more quality songs, or they recorded a few crappy tracks just to “fill the gaps” of a full-length. So they went for the EP, where all the songs are potential killers on stage. Assuming they’ll keep this philosophy for the debut album (due in 2012, or so rumour has it), we can expect something big from these guys. I’ll make sure to let you know about it when it sees the light of day.

4.5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Band Of The Month [October – Voting]

Posted in Band Of The Month with tags , , , , , , , on 24th September 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

It’s that time of the month, where you get to vote for the next Band Of The Month!

Voting will last for one week [24th September – 30th September].

The nominees are:

Heat-Ray
Obsolete Tomorrow
Old Corpse Road
[in:audium]
Lost Effect
ReVerbed
The Colour Line