Archive for Alternative rock

Sunflower Dead – Coma

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , on 12th November 2018 by Paul Macmillan

Sunflower Dead
Coma
Released  16th November 2018
Hard Rock
Released via Combat Records

Featuring former Fear Factory bassist, Christian Olde-Wolbers, Coma is the latest recorded work from Californian rock band, Sunflower Dead. If you’re expecting chuntering, mechanical metal, however, sit back and prepare for a surprise. This is nothing like the aforementioned metal giants of the 1990s.

Drawing in equal parts on nu-metal and 80s classics, SD have melded together a surefire concoction, utterly guaranteed for rotation on mainstream alternative channels. Big chunks of Korn, Dope, and Disturbed have been cherry picked to form a large part of the body of sound, but are equally matched by volumes of Skid Row, and Zakk Wylde (especially in some of the lead work shredding). Everything is further fleshed out with something else of the band’s own creation, plus a spritz of something akin to Pist. On. jamming with Sevendust.

Nothing groundbreaking, then, yet it still has character worth giving a chance. It wouldn’t be too much of a shock to see this band taking the reigns of the soundtrack for a sequel to Queen Of The Damned. Looking over their back catalogue, Coma is certainly a big step up from previous releases, but continues in the same style. Existing SD fans should get a real kick out of it. Personally, I’ve moved away from such things for the most part, as years have gone by. I wouldn’t shy away from it, but I’d be more likely to plump for yet another spin of Demanufacture. Maybe I’m just old…

3/5

Paul Macmillan

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Soul Desire – Ignite

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 1st August 2018 by mickbirchy

Soul Desire
Ignite
Hard Rock, Alternative Rock
Released 13 July 2018
Self Released



I was quite interested to listen to Soul Desire. Formed this year, and already armed with an exciting and well-executed EP. I can’t say I knew much about their previous band, One Last Run, so I’m not really going to touch that. However, Ignite is the first taste that we’ve got from Becky Jade (Vocals), Rob Leach (Guitar) & Chris Smith (Bass) in this new project and I am thoroughly impressed. The sound is good, the melodies are catchy, the lyrics are well written all leading to a great debut for them.

The album opens with their lead-in single, “Rapture” and it automatically sets the tone for the EP, which is rocking hard and clearly enjoying it. I like the sound of the guitars and the bass which chug away and the riff is a great one to open with. It really feels like that sound that I have been listening to for a long time, with bands like Papa Roach, Skarlett Riot and Firewind. So points there and the same can be said across the EP. It has that really clear and defined tone that just punches you right in the gut. Also, the songs “Dark Light” and “Ignite” were brilliant headbangers as well. From the production standpoint, this album is great to listen to and catches the ear just right.

My only problem with the EP is that it reminds me too much of other bands out there. In all honesty, there’s not much in this genre anymore that you can make original without co-opting other musical influences. Whilst the lead vocalist, Becky Jade, certainly brings her own charm, energy and personality to the music, the overall sound is something I’ve heard a lot of. Not so much a problem with the band it’s more the genre itself. However, they do suffer from it. I would have liked some other musical ideas or just something to put meat on the bare bones. Maybe some backing tracks, electronics or other instrumentation, but that’s just me spitballing.

I will admit it’s a fine EP. It has some very strong production and beautiful lyrics. I particularly liked the ballad “Falling Apart”, it broke up the EP and showed that they’re not just a one trick pony. I would definitely like to hear more from them as they’re very talented musicians. I also would really be interested in hearing them in a live setting. Ultimately I’m giving this EP a thumbs up. If you’re into you alternative hard rock then I would recommend giving them a listen.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Lumous Gothic Festival 2018

Posted in Alternative, Festival, Industrial, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 15th July 2018 by izaforestspirit

Novus, Auger, Terrolokaust
Dog’s Home and Klubi, Tampere, Finland
13-14th July 2018

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to attend festivals. Lumous Gothic Festival is the biggest Gothic event in Finland and it just happens to take place in the city where I live. I’ve been attending this every year since 2012. The music ranges from Goth rock, darkwave, neo-folk to various forms of industrial and EBM.

Friday

This time I was mostly interested in the Saturday line-up. There was however a free show happening at The Dog’s Home (a pub next door to the main venue). So I went to check it out. I did not know anything about the band except their name – Chaos Research. It turned out to be a mixture of neo-folk, neo-classical, darkwave and ambient. Eerie operatic vocals, electronic with some additional instruments such as an electric cello and drums. Their show produced a relaxed atmosphere in the venue. 3/5

Saturday

The main day of the festival. I was mainly interested in the industrial rock band Terrolokaust but I checked out the rest of the line-up as well. First up was a British electronic duo called Novus. I quite enjoyed their show. It was fun to dance to. So a good start to the night. 3.5/5

I really liked the next band, Auger – darkwave and also from the UK. Their music sounded like a mixture of Blutengel with the Gothic horror atmosphere of The Vision Bleak. Very theatrical performance, powerful vocals, haunting keyboards and good guitar work. Great show! I really want to check out some of their music. 4.5/5

Then it was time for the night’s headliner – the industrial rock band from Cataluña, Terrolokaust. I’ve seen them live once before at Resistanz Festival in 2016, so I pretty much knew what to expect. They played a very energetic show featuring a mixture of old and new material from all their albums. My personal favorites included ‘El Mundo Sigue Girando’, ‘Reasons’ and their cover of The Prodigy’s ‘Spitfire’ which they played as an encore. 5/5


In summary I had a great time. Terrolokaust was my favorite performance of the night. I also made a new discovery in the form of Auger. I really liked their show. Lumous Gothic Festival was pleasure as always. See you next year!

Iza Raittila

 

Escape The Fate – I Am Human

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags , , , on 26th May 2018 by Pieni

Escape The Fate
“I Am Human”
Alternative Rock
Released: 30th March 2018
Via Eleven Seven Music

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Escape The Fate have conquered a few million fans over the past decade with their modern alternative rock. That’s still the best way to describe their sound, although with “I Am Human” it has lost a bit of its original edge. One could say it’s heading towards a more mainstream direction, but let’s face it – they’ve always been down that road. But now there’s a refinement to it, a maturity that gives texture to all the catchiness and class to the briskness. Some of the guitar work has even hints of the eighties, the solos in “I Will Make It Up To You” and “Beautifully Tragic” being the most notorious.

On the other hand, we have more “up-to-date” tunes, such as “Empire”, featuring this decade’s trend of blending the most spirited anger with the most fetching melody. Speaking of melodies, the mandatory ballad comes in the form of “Bleed For Me”. Not exactly extraordinary, but it serves its purpose of touching your heart.

Touching are also the lyrics of “If Only”, contradicting the chirpy acoustic chords provided. The kind of song you associate with Summer camps, even if these usually don’t bear so much regret. “Let Me Be”, however, is lighthearted enough to make you want to dance to its rhythm and sing-along cheerfully.

The title-track is quite seductive, but my personal favorite is “Do You Love Me” – the bass in this album is so overlooked that it’s refreshing to feel its vibrancy in this song.

All in all is a pretty pleasant record. Its new path didn’t take such a dramatic detour – especially when you’re able to recognize the step forward it represents in song-writing – but indeed some of the most hardcore fans of the band may be disappointed. At the sane time, “I Am Human” is prone to gain them a handful of new ones.

3,5/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Projecto Sem Nome – Bulas Para Dedos E Coração

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd April 2017 by Pieni

Projecto Sem Nome
“Bulas Para Dedos E Coração”
alternative rock
Released: 8th October 2016
Via Raising Legends Records

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Projecto Sem Nome is Portuguese for “nameless project”, and while some of you may see it as a tacky lack of imagination, I think it’s quite ingenious and liberating – “nameless” but it’s still the name they go by, so it’s a clever pun, and at the same time, having such an empty meaning, it’s up to you to give it one. Just like with their lyrical content, which is so full of metaphors that even if Portuguese is your mother tongue, you’ll be left wondering about what singer/lyricist Cristovão Siano really means with those words.

Musically, it’s not so hard to label them as “alternative rock” is probably the most comprehensive and vague genre ever. “Até Amanhã” (see you tomorrow), for instance, is a rough post-grunge piece seasoned with delicate acoustic guitar fragments. “Detalhes” (details) has a more upbeat and catchy main riff but eventually sounds somewhat heavier, and then the guitar solo is pretty dire, as if out of one of those eighties hard rock hits. The ballad “Identidade XXX” (identity XXX) features a xylophone and an intense vocalization, while “Havia Lá” (there was) is probably the fiercest track, a double bass drum backing up Cristóvão’s high-pitch lament towards the end. And the duet with Blame ZeusSandra in “Marcha Gole” (sip march) gives the song an extra refinement.

Is therefore safe to say that “Bulas Para Dedos E Coração” (leaflets for fingers and heart) offers a batch of rock songs written and performed on a basis of a myriad of styles and influences. One word: classy.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Ann My Guard – Ourania

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , on 14th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Ann My Guard
Ourania
Released 13th January 2017
Melodic Metal/ Alternative Rock
Released via Rock’N’Growl Records

‘Ourania’ is the second album from the Hungarian metal band Ann My Guard. The band was formed in 2007 by singer-bassist Eszter Anna Baumann-Toth. The singer has described their new album as “mixing the ethereal feminine vocals with heavy guitar riffs and dark melodies”. I am not very fond the term “female-fronted metal” so I’ve decided to classify this as melodic metal for the purpose of this review.

Based on the album titles, there seems to be a fair few references to mythology, most notably Greek in songs such as ‘Callisto’ and ‘Hekate’. Let’s talk about Callisto first, shall we? It’s a very melodic track that really highlights Eszter Anna Baumann’s vocal skills. Now I have a better understanding what she meant by the “ethereal” vocals, for her voice has a certain celestial or dare I say it nymph/siren-like quality to it. I’ll probably just stick with the nymph analogy as references to “heaven” or “angels” do not seem to fit here. The vocals and the playful guitar riffs make this track one of the most catchy on the album. You could definitely picture yourself dancing along to this tune. Obsidian Tears caught my attention as one of the more ‘metal-sounding’, guitar-driven tracks on here. The guitars seem to act as a contrast, representing Ann My Guard’s harsher, heavier side while the vocals symbolize the melodic, more ‘innocent’ side. Then there is Hekate – a really well executed mix of heavy metal guitars, the aforementioned ethereal vocals with the sombre sounds of a string quartet.

Overall, listening to ‘Ourania’ has been a pleasant and somewhat uplifting experience. It’s refreshing to hear a new band with a female singer who isn’t trying to join the already rather full club of Nightwish-wannabes playing the same symphonic/Gothic metal with their best attempt at operatic vocals. Ann My Guard actually reminded me more of the early works of Evanescence and to some extent folk metal bands such as Dalriada.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Marius Tilly – Nebula Rising

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 8th May 2016 by izaforestspirit

Marius Tilly
Nebula Rising
Released 22nd April 2016
Alternative Rock
Released via M.I.G.-Music GmbH

‘Nebula Rising’ is the third album from the German blues rock artist Marius Tilly. His music has been compared to bands such as Robert Plant and Rival Sons. This is a concept album about the universe and outer space. Marius Tilly cites Douglas Adams’s classic science fiction novel ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ and more specifically states that: “The lyrics are a glance on our world from the outer space.”

Kicking off the album is Dinosaur – an uplifting piece of guitar-driven rock that makes you want to get up and dance along to the catchy chorus. Marius has a very distinctive voice which seems to be perfectly suited for both the blues and rock styles. Take Colder Below for example, his vocals adopt a ballad-like, sombre, bluesy tone to match the slower pace and melancholic sound of the guitars. At the opposite end of the spectrum you get the ‘rocking’ and somewhat more cheerful-sounding songs such as Solar Woman – another tune that I could see myself dancing to if I heard it playing at some rock club or bar.

The space theme continues with song titles such as Orion and Revel outer Space. Orion caught my attention due the slightly progressive-sounding instrumental in the second half of the song. Luckily it’s not long until the guitars pick up the pace and the vocals re-emerge marking the return to the album’s predominant style – alternative rock. Slender Man is a bit of an oddity, being the only song on here to feature some distortion in the guitars and the vocals at the start.

In summary, this album offers a variety of different styles all squeezed inside the “alternative rock” pigeonhole. There’s elements of the blues, classic rock and even progressive rock. I enjoyed certain songs more than others but overall the only consistent feature they all have in common is the vocals. There’s too many changes and inconsistencies in the style and structure for me to appreciate the album as a whole.

3/5
Iza Raittila