Archive for Rock Music

As Lions – Selfish Age

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , on 15th January 2017 by mickbirchy

Artist: As Lions

Album: Selfish Age

Genre: Rock

Released: 20 January 2017

via Eleven Seven Music

 

I’ll admit I was a fan of the past project of Austin Dickinson, Rise To Remain.  I thought they were a fun group. Austin always came across as a competent and energetic front man. Every time I saw him live he did everything keep the show moving at a good pace and kept the crowd involved. I’ll admit I’ve not taken that much notice of his new band As Lions. So, when I saw the new album was up for a review, I thought that it might be worth checking out. I’ve heard bad things here and there but I’m going to listen to this album with fresh ears and relay some thought.

Selfish Age, for the most part is a pretty average album. I wouldn’t say bad, as they’re not doing anything wrong. There are nice melodies. The singing is clear and in tune, and there are flashes of inspiration here and there. Yet, there isn’t a point that I became invested in the album or what they’re singing about. Save for a few tunes that did stick with me a little. I just feel that this album could be much better.  The guitars feel watered down a touch and all the songs have this really processed feel to them. It feels like a pop-rock album that wants to be treated like a heavy metal album and it doesn’t work like that. All the songs just meld together into one melody at times. Seriously, on certain play-throughs they do just mash up together.

I’ve been bad mouthing this album a little too much. There are good songs on the record. In fact, there are moments that I really enjoyed myself. Austin Dickinson’s vocals are absolutely brilliant. He brings so much emotion and finesse to the album. He oozes with charisma and brings a lot of energy. I like some of the tunes and some of the choruses are rather ear-wormy. It does come together at times. Although, it does come off as a little bland for my taste.

I liked it and I’m sure that they’ll have their fans. Though lyrics are powerful and deep with a strong focus on the problems of the current day. The production is a little flat and it feels washed out. It could have been so much more than what it is. If it was more full force rock, with more of a crunch to the guitar tone, it could have really work. Yet, as is it’s just an okay album. Not amazing but not terrible either. Just meh.

3/ 5

Mick Birchall

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End Of Green – The Painstream

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 28th August 2013 by Paul

End Of Green
The Painstream
Released16th August
Depressive Rock
Released via Napalm Records

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German rockers End Of Green can be best described as the hard rock Type O Negative. That doesn’t quite tell the full story, but it’s a good start. The band describe their music as depressed subcore, an unholy trinity of doom, gothic and hard rock. This release leans more toward a more accessible rock sound than previous efforts and despite the depressive subject matter; it makes for some pleasant listening. Having been producing albums since ’96, the band has clearly developed some noteworthy talent and experience, which really shows on this album. Each one of these melancholy rockers has a great hook and a simple but effective formula, with occasional splashes of gothic theatricality and black humour.

At 11 tracks, it’s difficult to pick any weak moments, and this is a very strong album. From slow, depressing, droning dirges to more pop orientated, upbeat songs with great hooks, this album has a lot going for it, and the band never wallow in their excesses but manage to sound fresh all the way through. Released just as summer is fading into autumn, this is one of the best examples of all things gothic and gloomy in 2013. A very pleasant listen.

4/5

Paul Gibbins

Hot Shock – Hot Shock Demo

Posted in Experimental, Instrumental with tags , on 16th July 2013 by Paul

Hot Shock
Hot Shock Demo
Released: Summer 2013
Jazz Fusion
Self-Released

Sometimes on a sunny afternoon, Heavy Metal just doesn’t cut it. Instead, something jazzy and bluesy goes down better. Hot Shock describes their music as Jazz Fusion infused with Latin, Caribbean, Funk, Blues, R&B, and Rock. If this sounds like an enjoyable musical cocktail to you, you’d be right. This laid back sound makes for the ideal chill out track, with vague flourishes of each of the previously mentioned genres fading in and out naturally. Neither style dominates any song, but Jazz is indeed the underlying style that drives each song forward. The music here is instrumental, and the band aren’t afraid to take their time, with most of the songs gleefully meandering beyond the five minute mark. Not the most complex or inspiring music, but then again that’s not the point and it’s difficult to dislike music in which the musicians are clearly enjoying what they do. I look forward to hearing more.

3.5/5

Paul Gibbins

 

Graveyard – Lights Out

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 19th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

Graveyard
Lights Out
Released: October 2012
Hard Rock/Blues Rock
Released via Nuclear Blast

‘Lights Out’ is the third album from the Swedish hard rock band Graveyard. It is the follow up to last year’s award-winning ‘Hisingen Blues’.

The opening track ‘An Industry of Murder’ takes a while to get going. Once the vocals kick in it’s pretty evident where the Black Sabbath comparisons stem from. Everything from the riffs to the vocal style sounds similar, though this has the additional blues rock feel to it. ‘Slow Motion Countdown’ is true to its name, as a slow and melancholic ballad. By contrast ‘Seven Seven’ is far more energetic, and dare I say it…a ‘happy’ rock song with some catchy riffs.

Other noteworthy tracks include: the blues rock style ‘The Suits, The Law & The Uniforms’ where the groove guitars complement the hard rock vocals, the catchy riff infused ‘Endless Night’, which features some progressive elements in the middle and ‘Goliath’ which has the most original lyrics and some catchy guitar tunes to match.

Overall, I must admit that this type of music isn’t really my specialty and I really did step out of my comfort zone whilst reviewing this. My personal preference leans more towards the catchy, rocking tracks on this album rather than the ballads. Having said that it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with this album.

3/5 – It’s not my style, but if you’re a fan of bluesy hard rock then I would strongly recommend this.

Iza Raittila

 

Crunge – Throwdown [EP]

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , on 18th October 2012 by Pieni

Crunge
Throwdown [EP]
Released: 25th October 2012
Hard Rock/Alternative
Self-Released

Photobucket

There’s a new rock band from Stockholm that you might want to check out. Why? Because Crunge plays this hard rock full of classic ‘70s groove, blends it with hints of post-grunge, and spices it up with modern rock polish.

Both guitars in the opening track, “We Are”, produce that straightforward hard rock sound, backed up by a vivid and distinctive rhythm section. But unlike typical hard rock songs and very much like modern rock ones, “We Are” lacks a guitar solo. Instead, a melodic bridge takes place. The chorus is quite easy-listening – the aforementioned polish – and after the last one, the song darkens a notch, its beats, riffs and vocals becoming more syncopated and stronger.

The second song, “Take Me Back”, it’s the other way around – mainly a grunge tune, the roughness of the genre was smoothed without losing a certain edge. This one does have a guitar solo, a rocky one, and the chorus is also catchy.

The title-track is probably the most classic of the five pieces, with a slight whiff of southern rock to it. Really groovy and swayful, great to be played lived.

“All The Lights” returns to the post-grungy path, but detours often to the hard rock alleys in independent passages – not a rock & grunge cocktail as until now, but a sandwich with its distinct layers. And yet they melt perfectly at the point where one ends and the other begins.

And “Falling To Pieces” is a nice rock song with a pumping rhythm.

Formed in 2010, Crunge released a self-titled EP in April the following year, and now on October 25th this “Throwdown” will see the light of day (with a proper release party at RoQ, in their hometown, two days later). Hopefully, the next time I review their work it will be regarding a full-length.

4/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

 

Hands Like Houses – Ground Dweller

Posted in CD, Experimental, Rock with tags , , , on 17th March 2012 by izaforestspirit

Band: Hands Like Houses
Album: Ground Dweller
Release date: March 2012
Genre: Rock/ Experimental
Label: Rise Records

‘Ground Dweller’ is the debut album from the Austrialian experimental rock band Hands Like Houses.

The intro to opening track ‘Antarctica’ reminds me of some the soundtrack work by the electro-rock artist Celldweller. However the similarity ends as soon as the vocals kick in and true nature of the song is unmasked. Whilst there might be a hint of experimental music or even electronica this is mostly just radio-friendly rock. ‘Don’t Look Now, I’m Being Followed. Act Normal’ offers more of the same and whilst the guitars and keyboards work well there’s really nothing distinctive about this at all.

The electronics and overall ambience in ‘This Ain’t No Place For Animals’ bear a resemblance to Celldweller making the song stand out as one of the best and more unsual tracks on the album. The sample and keyboard intro to ‘Spineless Crow’ has a certain soundtrack feel to it whilst the husky vocals remind me of Muse. ‘A Clown and His Pipe’ offers some experimental guitar riffs and changes in vocal style making for a somewhat freaky twist to what is otherwise a fairly average rock song.

The atmospheric keyboard intro to ‘The Definition of Not Leaving’ gives the song a very tranquil feel which is complemented by the soft sounding electronics and the husky, almost whisper-like vocals. There’s something very soothing about this track. Another prominent track is the elecronica-infused ‘Watchmaker’ (feat. Matty Mullins) which highlights the full spectrum of the band’s experimental repertoire.

3/5 – Not bad but somewhat monotonous at times

Iza Raittila

Nordagust – In The Mist Of Morning [2010]

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 18th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Nordagust
Album: In The Mist Of Morning
Release year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Rock

Musically, Norway is known for its infamous black metal scene, however there are some rising stars in the other music scenes of Norway and one of those rising stars are the progressive rock band known as “Nordagust”, whom take their name from the mythological spirit of the North wind. Their most recent release is “In The Mist Of Morning”.

The title track, “In The Mist Of Morning” is the first track of the album beginning with a gentle keyboard intro which is gradually accompanied by a slow paced guitar riff. The drums gently join in at the same time as the guitar. The vocals are soft yet powerful, blending well with the music. The keyboard sections add a very calming yet eerie atmospheric feel whilst the guitar riffs are very melodic. This track conjures up images of a mist hanging around the mountain ranges of Norway and along the coast. One couldn’t ask for a better track to begin the album.
“Expectations” is the second track, carrying on the eerie atmosphere created by the keyboard sections. Again, the vocals are soft yet powerful whilst the guitars are, again, melodic and are heavier and more rocky than the previous track in some sections. The drums seem to have more of a part on this track as well. The track is beautifully and well composed. Next is “Mysterious Ways”, beginning with a dark and terrifying keyboard section mixed with some strange sounds. The guitar riffs are slow but strong and melodic in some sections. However, the drums are the thing that stand out most about this track as they match up to the guitar riffs for strength and power. “Mysterious Ways” certainly sets a mystifying atmosphere and feeling.

”In The Woods” begins with the intelligently combined sound of running water and a slow guitar riff, setting a calm mood. The riff is masterfully composed and played. The keyboard section brings a more dramatic sound to the track, making ever more enjoyable to listen to. The only downside to this track is the lack of bass, vocals and drums. “Elegy” seems to carry on from where “In The Woods” finishes. The guitars are soft yet sorrowful, whilst the drums are too light, almost been fully overpowered by the guitar riffs in some sections though they do increase in power and strength is other sections of the track. The vocals, however, make up for the lightly played drum sections, bringing a new level of power to the track. The keyboard sections are brilliant.

“Forcing” is one of the more aggressive sounding tracks of the album. The riffs seem to have more bite than the previous tracks whilst maintaining their melodic flair. The drums and keyboards virtually match the guitar riffs for power, strength and heaviness. The lack of vocals on this track is disappointing but nevertheless it is still an immense track. The next track is “Frozen” which seems to continue on from “Forcing”. The keyboard sections seem to dominate this track for the first minute. The vocals contrast well with the guitar and keyboard sections, while the drums beautifully switch from light to heavy throughout the track, making it more interesting.

“The Tide” begins with a very synth/keyboard orientated intro which is soon accompanied by a wonderful guitar section. The vocals work well with the keyboard sections. The drums are masterfully played throughout the track. The second to last track, “Make Me Believe”, begins with a very dramatic and tense keyboard section. The guitar riff that follows adds a certain brilliance to the track. The vocals are still going strong. The track has some very powerful sections, which contrast greatly with the more lighter sections. The final track of the album is “Elegy Epilogue”. The intro is very atmospheric, whilst the piano section is very calm and soothing. It is a beautiful end to a great album.

”In The Mist Of Morning” is a testament to the talent and musical genius of “Nordagust”. The album is very atmospheric and melodic and captures the very soul of Norway while at the same time retains the progressive rock sound. This is a great addition to any progressive rock fan’s collection.

4/5

Nico Davidson