Archive for Grunge

Alice In Chains – Rainer Fog

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , on 16th September 2018 by mickbirchy

Alice In Chains
Rainer Fog
Grunge, Alternative Metal, Stoner Rock
Released: 24 August 2018
via BMG Records

The grunge rock icons, Alice In Chains return with their sixth studio album, Rainer Fog. They’ve always been one of those bands for me that I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with. I think they’ve had some amazing songs over the years and their influence is certainly felt across the world of rock music. Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever really enjoyed a full album from them, I like a few songs but never a full record. So, when I got the chance to check out their new album, I was curious to have a listen. This album is the third album with William DuVall as lead vocalist sharing vocals duties with Jerry Cantrell, and the first Alice in Chains album in 22 years to be recorded in their hometown of Seattle. The album’s title was inspired by Mount Rainier, a volcano that overlooks the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area.

Straight away the grunge tone takes over with sharp heavy blasts of the guitar as the opening tune “The One You Know”. The riffs are heavy and have that chugging tone. A lot of bass and the drum hits come through sharp. From a production standpoint, they sound excellent with a great balance and a clear tone. I will say they have a lot of strong hooks that keep you listening. There are moments of the album that just get stuck in your head. Also, the weird vocal effect is so strange to my ears it gets lodged in my brain. The dueling vocals between DuVall and Cantrell creates some very nice moments of harmony. Even the weirder moments from a musical perspective are save by the harmony. Like on the track “Fly”. A song that sounds like it was cut and pasted straight from the nineties.

Musically, Rainer Fog has some particularly strong tunes. The title track is great as it has that old-school Seattle grunge feel injected into it. Also, I really like “So Far Under” with it’s Sabbath-esk riff and bass tone that hits you right in the gut. However, I can’t stand up for the whole thing. A lot of the album feels like filler from previous Alice In Chains albums and it might as well be white noise to me. It has interesting ideas but for the most part it does nothing super interesting with them. It sounds fine and if you’re in to Alice In Chains you’re probably used to the hit and miss songwriting. For me though, there are just long stretches of the album that either don’t pack enough punch like on “Red Giant” or feels like it’s there to just take up space on the album such as “Drones”.

Yet again, Alice In Chains just makes an okay album. Nothing bad just nothing that really gets me going. It’s produced well but lacks a lot of imagination and feels like a band that’s just stuck, spinning their wheels. There are some great songs here and ones I really liked, with strong riffs and hooks. Others, where just long windy tunes that didn’t go anywhere. If you’re really into Alice In Chains and the Seattle scene then… well, you’ve probably already got it.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall

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Cairo Son – Storm Clouds

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 26th February 2016 by mickbirchy

Cairo Son
Storm Clouds
Rock, Grunge, Stoner, Blues
Released: 18th March 2016
Self released

The British rockers have been growing in popularity for some time and with their new album Storm Clouds on the horizon, pun totally intended, the trio look to expand.  Cairo Son, from London, mix together the hypnotic rhythm of blues and stoner rock and the heaviness and intensity of heavy metal and grunge to create a really fascinating listen. Their riffs are precise and sharp, with heavy bass that thunders in the background of the production. With their debut “Heart Against The Feather” backing them up, the band look to capitalise on that with this upcoming album in 2016.

The album opens with that riff styling I’ve mentioned already. It captivates you and makes you want to hear more. “Lost in the Shadow” is dark and twisted and uses the bluesy tone to its advantage.  Letting the music do its job of creating a dark and twisted sound, as the vocals are entrancing over the top. The harmonies on this album are simply lovely and really invoke that early 90’s grunge/stoner sound that they’re clearly aiming for.  The strong and powerful vocals really counter the music perfectly as it’s quite subdued. The two singles from this album “Lion in a Cage” and “Devil’s Tongue” are well performed, with anthemic choruses and hard-hitting riffs.  It brings to mind the early 2000’s nu-metal scene.  At the same time though it’s not as petty or whiny as that.  There genuinely seems to be a great sense of command and power to their performance here.

Although there aren’t many tracks, it still reaches a substantial length thanks to the near 11 minute epic that is the album’s title track “Storm Clouds” which drudges along at that bluesy pace. However, the song never feels like it’s dragging you by the nose to get through it.  The run time is justified as a lot of emotion comes out in this song and it feels very grandiose, like the band were aiming for something big. It hits all of the points you’d want a song like this to hit. I love Magdy’s voice on this song, he just matches the tone to the words and to the music so well.  It really does feel epic.

As you can probably tell I’m loving this album.  I can’t really name any drawbacks, it just works for me.  Is it for everyone?  Honestly, no but I feel that there is an audience for it.  A big audience. People who like well crafted riffs and emotional melodies will love this. However if you’re not into music that takes its time with bluesy sounds and heavy riffs then you’re probably not going to have a good time with this. Overall, I loved it and I would recommend giving it a listen.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Kismet – Shades of Clarity

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags on 1st June 2014 by izaforestspirit

Kismet
Shades of Clarity
Released 23rd May 20134
Alternative Rock
Released via Dust on The Tracks Records

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‘Shades of Clarity’ is the second album from the Italian rock band Kismet. It is the follow up to their debut ‘Trudging Down Your Soul’. The band cite Led Zeppelin, Alice in Chains and Tool amongst their influences.

First up is Cobweb which comes complete with a somewhat unusual mixture of guitar sounds. There’s hints of the gritty Soundgarden-style grunge along with some experimental, psychedelic melodies. The pace tends to shift depending on the song and even mid-song in some cases. The vocals are melancholic and very much in line with the ’90s grunge scene.

The guitars on Aeternal Blame and the ambient synth intro to Time are good examples of the experimental style. These parts are confusing because they sound as though they were created during a jamming session which somehow found its way on to the final recording of the album. Another thing that I wasn’t expecting was the slow ballad Carry Me Down. It features a violin and softer sounding guitar riffs making it one of the more pleasant tracks to listen to. Then there’s the heavier, more aggressive and faster Quit which has a much simpler construction compared to its predecessor. The guitar riffs on that particular track are heavier and more akin to a hard rock song than a grunge one. The final track that caught my attention is Fill The Vacuum due to the energetic sounding guitar riffs mid-way through the song.

Overall, Kismet’s style is not an easy one to classify. Their music has a general melancholic feel to it and their sound is a unique blend which incorporates elements of ’90s grunge, ’70s psychedelic rock and hard rock. The result is confusing at times and I feel that it might be a bit too experimental for my liking.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Fadeout – To Protect our Way of Living

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 25th June 2012 by mariadodarmata

Fadeout

To Protect our Way of Living

Grunge / Experimental Rock

Released: 22nd of February 2012-06-25

Via: Secret Entertainment

Image

From the northern lands of Seinäjoki (Finland), comes Fadeout, and oh! Actual surprise! It is not a melodic Death Metal band!

The album starts with Solar Lights. A pretty good song if you don’t take into account the cheesy ballroom dancing music reference, that in my opinion is a hundred percent unnecessary. The “grunge” part of this album is hidden in track number three and by this point all I can think while listening to these guys is those late 90’s teenage movies mixed with Nickelback (Eww!!) and a subtle touch of The Cure. By the end of the album comes a song that I liked a lot, Palestine. But the slow acoustic songs seems a bit out of place, like if it came a bit too late in the album, yet it makes a lot of contrast with the next and last song, which brings the speed that this whole album is craving. I am not asking for them to pull out the double bass and rape the blast beats, but the drummer’s job on this album is borderline unnoticeable.

Overall the album is sort of good, even though half of the songs sound like the others (something I like to call “The Late Iron Maiden Syndrome”). To Protect our Way of Living sounds like good mainstream material, even if I have the feeling the band would slap me if they could for saying that.  They say their sound is *Actual Quote* Indescribable, but funny enough I find a huge resemblance with the band Armour For Sleep

3.5/5

 

María Mata

 

ReVerbed – Lies You Can Believe [2011]

Posted in Alternative, CD with tags , , , , , , on 2nd October 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: ReVerbed
Album: Lies You Can Believe
Release year: 2011
Genre: Alternative Rock

ReVerbed are a Doncaster-based alt. rock band, who despite being young have already played in venues around the UK, including in London, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and so forth. “Lies You Can Believe” was released earlier this year.

”What Went Wrong” begins with an interesting piano medley which finds itself eventually replaced by an energetic, slightly-punk orientated riff. The vocals are an odd combination of gruff and soft pop-punk stylings that don’t agree with one another. The female vocals harmonise the leads vocals slightly but not enough to stop the lead vocals ruining the track. The riffs are well composed and the drums are soulfully played. The short acoustic section would have been more enjoyable without the vocals.

”Obsession” starts with a strange riff, which weirdly sounds similar to a small extent, like a part of “Enter Sandman”. The female vocals do the lead vocal work on this track, fortunately for the listener’s ears. The track feels lifeless and lacking of any sort of passion – Listening to it is kind of like being forced at gunpoint to listen to Justin Bieber. The third song of the album, “Run”, injects a bit of life back into the album though not much as the male vocals are doing most of the work. The guitar riffs are well enough composed, though it still feels like they need something adding to them like an extra dose of adrenaline. In all honesty, the drums are the most entertaining aspect of this song.

”You” has a typical bland sort of grunge sound, which would no doubt cause even the most active of people to slowly drift off to sleep. The vocals seem to drown out the guitars. The good sections of the song would have to be when there is no vocal work, as the music can actually be heard properly. “Scream” has a better start, bringing some kind of passion to the music, keeping it from being a tiring, droning sound. The female vocals are once again the lead, thankfully, though they don’t quite gel with the backing vocals on this track. The only major issue is the drums in one section of the track, as they don’t work well aside the guitar section in one part.

The sixth song “Not Alone” has the generic pop-punk sound that a lot of young bands seem to establish. The track as a whole lacks musical and emotional maturity, as well as substance, sounding more akin to something that a twelve year old would write. There really isn’t a redeeming thing about this song. It’s one of those tracks that would have been better off not being written – or recorded. “Shadow” is the halfway point of the album and is another part of the album with the overly generic pop-punk sound, which is heard loud and clearly in the vocals, to the point where it sounds like the band are trying to be the next Blink 182. The guitar riffs sound half-composed and the drums don’t really add anything interesting to the song either.

”Through The Rain” is an improvement to the previous tracks, though only by so much. Some of the riffs have real bite to them though some of the other riffs seem to be the leftovers of an MCR album. The lack of male vocals is a bonus for the song as well. Following after, beginning with a few samples, is “No Hero”. The riff that follows the intro is a fairly mediocre sounding composition and the vocal section is in need of major tweaking. The drum work sounds familiar to some of the drum work in the other parts of the album – Disappointing to say the least.

Nearing the end is “Burn”, bringing a tiny Bryan Adams sound at the beginning – To as whether this is an intentional part of the composition remains to be seen. The female vocals add life to the song while the male vocals ruin it, kind of like the way police ruin parties. The chorus drains a lot of the energy out of the music, which is unfortunately as this one could have been a party anthem, despite the lyrical content.

”Don’t Look Back” sounds more like a mature composition and the male vocals actually work with the music – For once. Shockingly, it’s the female vocals that don’t do this song any justice. The guitar work is well written and played, as are the drums. “Beautiful Lie” has a semi-mature sound to it mixed with a hint of punk, which the male vocals, again, work with well the music. “Tomorrow” is the final track on the album and is a poor choice to finish the album with. Nothing seems to blend well with anything else, the vocals sound out of key and dissonant and the song just seems to be the kind of song that you’d “accidentally” delete on your media player device.

”Lies You Can Believe” is definitely not a masterpiece, if anything, it’s more akin to a disasterpiece. The vocals are one of the biggest negative factors as neither vocalist seems to harmonise with the other – They could invest in vocal lessons or find a new vocalist – and the music sounds too similar to each track combined with the generic sound of pop-punk, which may or may not have been intentional in the composition. The sound quality of the album is excellent, however. The album doesn’t really say much about ReVerb’s talent as a band who have played all over the UK. Perhaps they should take more time writing songs and perfecting their craft than playing shows.

1.5/5

Nico Davidson