Archive for ‘Core

Hills Have Eyes’ “Antebellum” release party – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 28th October 2015 by Pieni

Hills Have Eyes, Ash Is A Robot, The Year, Dimension
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
23rd October 2015
Promoted by Hell Xis Agency

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Hills Have Eyes released their third album “Antebellum” early this month (review here) but gave their fans a couple of weeks to learn the lyrics before presenting it live in two shows – one in Porto and another in Lisboa (Oporto and Lisbon, as you like to call them).

 photo _DSC0023_zps55cl8mfw.jpgAlong with that enthusiastic crowd of 200 people, give or take (I’m terrible with numerical estimations, sorry), three other bands joined the party. First one on stage was Dimension. I’d seen them back in August, at Casainhos Fest, but this was the first time they were playing in Porto, promoting their own debut album “Life Is A Mystery”. The latter has been getting a very positive feedback and their shows are a match, but it took a little while for the crowd to engage completely in their groovy hardcore. Singer Poli himself said he wasn’t “recognizing the people of Porto” (he has played there several times before with his other band Devil In Me). He was also a little disappointed when no one seemed to know about Luaty Beirão, the Portuguese Angolan musician and activist who had been on a hunger strike after being arrested for speaking his mind (the Angolan authorities saw that as an overthrow attempt…). But after Poli enlightened them and dedicated a song to Beirão (“Times Of Grace”, if I’m not mistaken), everybody applauded. Meanwhile the mosh circles had gained strength and the overall response to Dimension had grown intense, so when they finished their set with the title-track of “Life Is A Mystery”, Poli had a big smile on his face.

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 photo _DSC0288_zpsomgsdkq8.jpgI confess The Year was a novelty to me, but many in the audience were happily singing along most of the songs, so I’m guessing they have a fair share of popularity. Deserved, for what I could see in this show – not only for the music but for the posture on stage. And the professionalism when facing sudden setbacks – Jaca’s guitar was silent for a while (I saw him fumbling with the wire, maybe it got disconnected, but I’m not sure) and the rest of the band went on playing, singer Johnny jumping around, while waiting for the problem to get solved. Improvisation is always a plus.
They’re working on a new album – two days prior to this show they even released a teaser for an upcoming video/song, “Omotenashi” – but they’ve only played “oldies” that night, like “Karma Farmer” or “Death By Media”.

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 photo _DSC0654 copy_zpshncibefg.jpgAsh Is A Robot’s exquisite sound – a kind of progressive post-hardcore, seasoned with synths – may not agree with everybody’s ear, but Hard Club’s audience that night was pretty open-minded and overjoyed with those Hills Have Eyes neighbors (Setúbal, a little south of Lisboa, is turning out a big talent breeder). And even if the music was taking a bit to sink in, singer /keyboard player Cláudio surely got the moves to catch your attention: that guy’s restless! And funny. Like when no one reacted to his mention of supporting the underground national bands and so he repeated it, slowly, with a cursing word in the end. Or when he said they were going to play a new song (don’t think he introduced the title – if he did, I missed it) and so it would be shit. Or when he asked for a wall of death as soon as “the following relaxing moment” was over – the latter being no other than Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Impossible to stay indifferent.
Like in their self-titled album (the follow-up it’s in the making, by the way), Dado Nunes from Ella Palmer joined on stage to sing “Philophobia Part 1”. And it’s also worth saying that Cláudio joined the mosh pit twice and, unlike last time I’ve seen them, managed to come out of it without bleeding (it seems he needed to go to the hospital after the Lisboa show the next day, though, so I wish him a full recovery soon).

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To the sound of a snippet of The Weeknd’s “The Hills” (yes, you’ve got it – the part where Mr. Tesfaye sings “the hills have eyes, the hills have eyes”), the party hosts got on stage and… well, singer Fábio said something about starting a fire before the last song “Strangers”, as that’s precisely its first verse, but the arson lit up right on the first moment of their show. The sound was a bit messy at first (eventually it got straightened out), but the crowd was singing along so loud –  photo _DSC0961_zps9fb6bbda.jpgmyself included – that I believe only a few of us noticed it. And no one cared. The passion HHE put in their performance makes up for any technical detail. After all, as said in the aforementioned album review, I call them “probably the best Portuguese metalcore band” – that includes the live aspect of the thing as well.
“A new phase in HHE’s life”, using Fábio’s own words, so they went through all the previous ones – even the one that included a split album with My Ocean and Last Reunion, in the form of the song “Ending The Cliché”. And because a party needs its special guests, this was the first song of the set featuring one – Ricardo “Congas”  photo _DSC0984 copy_zpsnubriidl.jpgDias, from For The Glory. Then Vasco Ramos from More Than A Thousand – a good friend and producer of the band – joined in to his usual “Anyway, It’s Gone”, and also Di Noise gave her beautiful voice to “The Bringer Of Rain”, just as she does in the studio version.
I’ve lost count of how many times we were told “thank you”, not just during the show but afterwards, on social media. But I think I speak for everyone who was there that we’re even on gratitude grounds – we all had a blast of a night. When the time comes to write an overview about 2015, “Antebellum” will be listed as number 1 in my album chart. And this gig of Hills Have Eyes will surely top the live performances.

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Full gallery here.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Sea Of Giants – To The Deepest Depths [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , , , , , , on 31st October 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Sea Of Giants
Album: To The Deepest Depths EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metalcore/Deathcore

Sea Of Giants are fairly new to the British metalcore scene but have already proven their worth by supporting Shadows Chasing Ghosts at Home From Home Fest back in August as well as playing a number of other gig as well. “To The Deepest Depths” is their first release which was recorded and produced by Lee Rule [Windrider, Ravenage, Obsolete Tomorrow] who also produced the recent release by Collisions.

”See You In Court” starts off with a surprisingly catchy and melodic riff. The track progresses into a more in-your-face brutal styled piece. The vocals show quite the range, going from death metal grunts to hardcore screams and everything in between. The drums fit their part pretty well, adding to the energy of the music. “This Is To Death” takes no prisoners as it ravages its way on next like a bull that’s just seen red. The vocals are on top form though its the guitars that are the most entertaining aspect of the song.

Coming into the second half of the EP is “Filthy Animal”. The intro is a sound sample which sounds to be taken from a movie. The section that follows after feels weak in comparison to the previous two songs though the vocals keep the track going enough to keep the attention of the listener. The break down is an interesting part of the song as well as it leads into a more powerful part. The one thing that is truly a shock is the melodic guitar section about half way through which probably would sound more solid with a second guitar. Fortunately the drums and vocals save it.

The EP finishes with “Bloodshot Eyes” – Otherwise known as the most violent and aggressive part of the EP. The vocals literally border on the line of being black metal styled screams and the guitars are like the bloodthirsty howls of the damned. The drums are barbaric and savage but intelligently played at the same time. The section towards the end that features no guitars, leaving only the drums, vocals and bass is definitely one of the highlights of the EP.

For a debut release, “To The Deepest Depths” is good. There’s clear signs of hardcore, metalcore and deathcore influences in the music but the band keep their own sound. The EP has a strong start and a strong finish. The sound is clean and polished without ruining the raw aggression of the music or the vocals. The only negative thing about the EP is the third track which is mediocre at best.


Nico Davidson

As I Lay Dying – Decas [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , , , on 21st October 2011 by corvusofmorlich

Band: As I Lay Dying
Album: Decas
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metalcore

Not a fan of the artwork? Same here!

Disclaimer: Now, I’m definitely not a fan of metalcore. I was closer to being one back when I was about 14 and I can kinda hear how it might be appealing, but it’s definitely not for me any more. However, seeing as most of this album is filled with cover songs and dance remixes, it should be okay.

Decas is the new compilation album from American metalcore band As I Lay Dying. The album starts without taking a breath. The first song is suitably called ‘Paralyzed’. There’s no slow intro, it’s just straight in there with heavy chugs beneath a drifty melody, before launching into some screams! This album sounds very good, in terms of the mix and how it all sits together. Not long after, the typical clean vocals come in, instantly reminding me of bands like Bullet for my Valentine and the like. The song switches between the cleans and screams up until a solo. The song lacked a lead melody, aside from the clean vocals, so the solo was very welcome and it was actually really good, despite being not especially technical, but that’s not the important thing when it comes to solos.

The next song (‘From Shapeless to Breakable’) is a lot more fast pace and starts very well – reminding me of bands like Chimaira, mixed with some more thrashy death metal bands. I was pleasantly surprised and it worked really well. Layered vocals and heavy as hell guitars  throughout, accompanied by chunky breakdowns and a dark solo render this song one of the best songs on the album.

The next song, ‘Moving Forward’, starts very typically, not just for the genre, but it actually sounds really bland for the album itself. The clean vocals and screams all sound very much like typical metalcore and it ruins it a little, because some of the riffs aren’t unbearable, with some of those reminding me a little of modern Children of Bodom. The clichés here really knock this song, and therefore the album, down. The song, like those before it, is essentially saved by the solo, which – like the rest – might not be technically impressive, but fits the song well and is welcome after a wall of bland riffage.

This finishes the original songs that are present on the album.

The next track is ‘War Ensemble’, a cover of Slayer. The song genuinely sounds a lot like the original, but what with it being recorded more recently, the song is a fuckload heavier and this really does it justice. The vocals are screamed, as opposed to Tom Araya’d (shouting) and again, this works perfectly. The solos sound a bit better, too, if I’m honest. I genuinely prefer this to the original song, so kudos to AILD.

The next cover up is ‘Hellion’/’Electric Eye’ (originally by Judas Preist). The first song starts slowly, with pounding drums and harmonised guitars. When the next song actually starts, it knocks you down. The drums smash in and it, again, sounds really good due to being a modern recording. The vocals come in harsh before layering up cleans with high pitched screams, which really doesn’t sound good to my ears and the cleans remind me of My Chemical Romance far too much. The solo is, again, tasty and the highlight of the song.

The next song is a 40 second cover of an American punk band called Descendents called ‘Coffee Mug’. Not much to say other than it sounds really punk rocky, but with screams!

‘Beneath the Encasing’ is up next and is apparently a re-recorded medley. The song sounds very much like the first 3 – a blend of groove, death, thrash and metalcore, steering more towards the latter. It’s not a bad song necessarily, but it’s very boring and could do with a little more variation – something a medley really shouldn’t need.

Next up are 4 songs that have been remixed to become dance tracks! Not only am I up against metalcore, but dance versions, too! I actually prefer a lot of dance music to metalcore and I’m a regular listener of electronic music. Also, due to studying sound production and engineering, I was very keen to hear these.

The first is titled ‘The Blinding of False Light’ and is a dubstep remix. There’s a slow build before harsh vocals come in, leading to the drop and the start of the standard dubstep sound. They clear up eventually and head to a break, where clean vocals echoe through. Another build follows and leads to a dance beat, with altered harsh vocals. The dubstep side returns and plays us towards a piano strike and a slow drumbeat out. The song was a refreshing change and wasn’t especially bad, just a little bland (as most dubstep is).

‘Wrath Upon Ourselves’ is next. The song is just noise. They’ve clearly taken the vocal track and just fuzzed the hell out of it, and stuck it under some fuzzed drums. A drifty and synthy part comes in for a split second before more mashed up noise! Being a fan of strange and industrial music/sound, I actually really like it. The fuzz breaks for clean vocals to come in and choir ‘aah’s then follow, under more fuzz and drums. I don’t think this song would be one for most to just listen to as part of recreation. I think this is more suited to those who understand and appreciate this kind of mashed up music.

‘Confined’ is next and has a fade in snare patter, under a synth and distant clean vocals, which fade into focus for some distorted riffs and some tasty artificial drums. The clean vocals are so very metalcorey and I couldn’t get into this song at all, despite it just repeating the same section all the way through it. Harsh vocals come and go underneath, but it doesn’t change a thing.

The final song is ‘Elegy’ and it starts with some torn up and distorted vocals before going into a very good Drum ‘n’ Bass drum rhythm. The song uses the cut up voice as an instrument at this point and it sounds very good. Harsh vocals come next and on top of synths. There’s then a breakdown section, which throws itself towards dubstep, but the bass section is so different to normal dubstep, that it doesn’t sound bland or typical in any way. Again, using the cut up vocals, which I actually adore in this song. At nearly 3 minutes in, the song jumps right down dubstep lane. The heavy bass sections still don’t sound typical, but they’re a lot closer than the ones before. The drums abruptly slow and then stop just as abruptly – a perfect ending in my opinion. This is the best song on the album, for me.

All in all, this album was a big blend of genres. The remixed tracks added a refreshing breeze to the otherwise standard album. It was interesting and fun to listen to the covers and how they’d been changed, but the music ended up being so similar to As I Lay Dying’s original work that it never really felt like a change. As for the 3 songs written by the band, only one was genuinely good, in my opinion (From Shapeless to Breakable). I know that the band will want to play the genre they love and appeal to their demographic, but surely there’s enough room for some experimentation? I think overall this album held some surprises and some good music, too. It’s just a shame that the highlights came from simple solos or work which had a sound that wasn’t even achieved by them.

In terms of the album and it’s music, there’s enough change and variety in there to outweigh any bad traits that it may have, but it’s a shame that the band can’t claim much to do with this variety, as a third of the album wasn’t written by them and another was built from past songs edited (by somebody else) beyond recognition. I respect their sound and originality, in terms of releasing an album like this, though, and it’s perhaps something more bands should think about, as fans deserve a change and a treat every now and then.


Reviewed by Jobe Robin

(Corvus of Morlich)

Abercion – Depth And Perception [2011]

Posted in 'Core, CD with tags , , , , , on 3rd October 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Abercion
Album: Depth And Perception
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Progressive Hardcore

Abercion are a five-piece hardcore out from Birmingham, UK. 2011 saw the release of their EP “Depth And Perception”.

”Words Can Only Hurt From The Inside” is definitely not a song you want to be listening to via headphones on full volume when it begins, due to the sheer of aggression of the introduction. The vocals are raw, bloodthirsty and untameable, while the guitars are full of pure angst and anger, adding to that heavy hardcore sound. The vocals do sound frail in one or two small sections of the song but the drums make up for that. The acoustic section comes as a massive surprise, putting a halt to the brutality of the song.

”See You Next Tuesday” follows after, starting with a unique sound. The guitars eventually kick in properly, though this song is lacking in comparison to the opening song. The guitars just don’t seem to be as aggressive or have that certain bite and the vocals seem to be extremely strained for the most part. The drums are the more interesting aspect of the song. The EP finishes with “From dusk ‘Till Dawn” which brings the angst and energy back onto the EP fortunately. The acoustic section is probably something that should have been expected yet wasn’t, the heavy section that follows after it brings the energy back into the song and the vocals add that extra bite to the song.

”Depth And Perception” is an interesting EP, as it displays a mixture of progressive, melodic and hardcore elements and influences. Abercion show potential, at least, with this EP and with some more hardcore they’ll definitely fuse the different elements and influences together for a truly unique sound – Hopefully they’ll be less acoustic passages.


Nico Davidson

Collisions – Heavy Echo [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , , , , on 3rd October 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Collisions
Album: Heavy Echo EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metalcore

Collisions are a metalcore band from Hull, East Yorkshire who started playing shows in February 2011. They their EP “Heavy Echo” was produced by Lee Rule [Obsolete Tomorrow, Ravenage, Windrider, e-Divine Sinn].

”XII” is the first track of the EP, only being a breakdown-styled instrumental lasting for half a minute. “Seige” continues on where “XII” ended. The vocals seem weak and strained and the excessive use of drums doesn’t seem to blend well with the guitars in some parts – Truly disappointing as the drums are beasty. The guitars are powerful and on the verge of being real face melters in certain sections.

“Old Wounds” starts with a very drum dominated sound combined with raw vocals and some guitar riffs. The use of melodic riffs inserts an interesting sound to the track, mush more enjoyable than the overuse of drums. Energy quite literally bursts from this song, this could definitely be a mosh pit anthem at a live show – Let’s hope so. The vocals definitely give the song a brutalising edge. The halfway point of the EP comes in the form of “Don’t Pity Me”, beginning with a loud, aggressive vocal section followed by angsty guitars and drums. The big issue with this song is its length – It’s too short!

”Empty Threats” follows after, starting with an intro that has less emphasis on the drum work, which is fortunate for those who aren’t keen on drum overuse. The guitars have subtle hints of melodic stylings in their composition whilst the vocals and drums bring the powerful, destructive sound. The riffs do progress into something more openly melodic yet keeping true to a heavy touch for the song as well. “The Vigil” is a very calm instrumental for the most part, being somewhat similar to a natural high feeling in its atmosphere. There is a heavy section towards the end but nothing to heavy, keeping the mellow sound there. “IWIHMH” is the final part of the EP, sending the EP out with a loud and face breaking roar of guitars and drums, similar to the way “XII” began the EP.

Though having a somewhat distasteful start, the EP is definitely a treat for fans of metalcore and might even wow some non-metalcore fans as well. The production values are simply amazing as well, giving “Heavy Echo” that crisp, clean sound without betraying the style of the band.


Nico Davidson

Letters From a Stranger – Apologies Mean Nothing [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , on 15th September 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: Letters From A Stranger
Album:  Apologies Mean Nothing EP
Release year: 2011
Genre:  Metalcore

Apologies Mean Nothing is the debut EP from the British metalcore band Letters From a Stranger.  The growing interest in the band has resulted in a decision to make this particular EP available for free download from the band’s Facebook page.

The opening track ‘Intro’ is the product of the band’s producer Mikey R. Scott and offers a very good atmospheric start to the EP. This is the only highlight of the EP and the only track that makes it stand out from a sea of up and coming metalcore albums. Sadly most the other tracks do not offer anything new to the scene or the overcrowded genre. For instance ‘Cowards Preying on the Weak’ starts off with a promising, catchy guitar riff only to be let down by the vocals. Similar things can be said for the title track ‘Apologies Mean Nothing’ which despite the catchy guitar solos, sounds average at best.

So if you’re not a fan of metalcore style vocals then this EP is unlikely to change your mind. My advice to Letters From a Stranger would be to take some inspiration from successful metalcore bands like DevilDriver or Lamb of God for their next album.


Iza Raittila (formerly Iza Lesniak)

UNEARTH – Darkness in the Light [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , , on 13th August 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Album: Darkness in the Light
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Metalcore

It’s hard not to detect the Machine Head influence when listening to this album. Not only does the opening track ‘Watch it Burn’ feature Machine Head style- guitar riffs it also has “burn your eyes” in the lyrics. Shame they had to add the yelping backing vocals which ruin an otherwise catchy and well composed track.

‘Last Wish’ suffers from a similar problem. It starts off well, the guitar solos are good but once again the backing vocals ruin the effect. Luckily the album has a few hidden gems – ‘Arise the War Cry’ is quite possibly the best track on here with a great intro and several catchy guitar solos. At times I almost forgot that this is a Metalcore album.

‘Equinox’ offers an interesting change in style. I really wasn’t expecting to hear a piano on here. The intro is surprisingly melodic and it’s not until the vocals kick in half-way through the song that you realise this is still Unearth and not some gothic metal band.

Overall this isn’t too bad and I’m actually surprised to say this.


3.5 /5