Archive for Skratch The Surface

Nya – Self-Titled

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 4th March 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Nya
Album: Nya (Self-Titled)
Genre: Alt. Metal
Release Date: 2011
Label: Self Released

Nya’s self-titled EP has been sitting in my office for a while, waiting to be reviewed and I’m finally getting round to it. The band, according to the several reviews I’ve read of them, are a mix of modern metal, alternative and rock. Sadly, I’ve not found much in terms of the band’s history – unless you include the fact that this British quintet hail from South East England.

Beginning the EP comes the alternative-meets-nu-metal riffs of Face The Music. The vocals of frontwoman Anezka Piska sound eerily familiar, though I’m unable to place where I may heard them. The drums provide a soft, industrialesque flavour to the music, reinforcing the alternative sound of the well crafted riffs. The chorus is quite catchy and will stay with you like a timeless melody. Better Off This Way tears through the speakers with a very alternative flare to the riffs and keyboards. The vocals take up a slight Lacuna Coil sound in the verses, bringing to mind some seriously Gothic metal sounds.

The semi-death metal riffs of The Beckoning tear their through next like scissors cutting through paper with a powerful use of male and female vocals, creating some memorable verses. The guitars in the latter half sound too alternative for the song, especially compared to vicious riffs that screamed with a certain power in the beginning. The EP ends with Fall Of Man, a track that has a certain hint of Slipknot-meets-Korn to the riffs while the drums, in certain sections, sound quite tribal. The awe-inspiring use of male and female vocals echo quite well through the song, adding a quite unique sound to the track while some of the guitar parts lay down some catchy, melodic riffs.

I’m always a skeptic when it comes to alternative music being mixed with metal but Nya are a band I can quite easily forgive for what I normally consider an unholy union of genres. Nya did more than just a good job of mixing two different genres. The riffs have been clearly crafted with both talent and musical genius while the vocals offer up a powerful sound. If melodic yet aggressive riffs, insane drumming and larger than life vocals are what you crave in your daily diet of metal, look no further than Nya.

4.6/5

Nico Davidson

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Sworn To Oath – Leave You For Dead [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 25th November 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Sworn To Oath
Album: Leave You For Dead EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metal

Sworn To Oath are one of the UK’s most talked about live bands since their formation two years ago with their sound being compared to bands such as Pantera, Audioslave and 36 Crazy Fists. Their hard work ethic has seen them play over 300 shows and festivals including their current UK tour – one of which brought them to my town of Bridlington. They’ve supported acts such as Hatebreed, Meshuggah and Young Guns. After handing the band my contact details at the Brid show, I was quite surprised when their new EP arrived through the post, courtesy of their management Skratch The Surface.

The EP begins with the fierce snarling guitars of “Last Call”, a track that features some seriously thunderous drum sections. The vocals are like a mixture of hard rock and power metal. The song pretty much slams itself into the listener’s ears like a door to the face – Only it being much easier on the face and ears. “(Everything) Reminds Me Of You” might sound like the name of some whiney emo song about heartache but I assure you, it doesn’t even come within a mile of being emo. The drums pound their way through each section like Thor’s hammer cracking a jotun’s skull. The guitar riffs throw in a powerful, raw sound full of pure aggression while the bass creates a happy medium of the two. Vocally, the song is mighty, adding a “36 Crazy Fists”-like element to the music. “(Everything) Reminds Me Of You” finishes with a very destructive sounding verse with back-up from some very angry gang vocals.

”False Promise” focuses more on the bass, drums and vocals for a lot of the time. Fear not though, the guitars do still bring the metaphorical thunder in an Olympianesque style, adding the power of an earthquake to the music and vocals. The distorted bass stylings introduce the final track “Leave You For Dead”, taking the tempo down several notches but increasing the strength like steroids being injected into a muscle-bound weight lifter. The bass riffs feel somewhat very-Pantera styled along with some of the guitar riffs in the second half. The vocals border on a thrash-stylised snarl in a similar vein to Mustaine or Hetfield [Before the St. Anger release].

Not only do Sworn To Oath put on an exciting live performance, they also make their recorded material just as exciting. Listening to the “Leave You For Dead” EP felt like being back in the underground venue that is Shades in Bridlington. If you like riffs that would tear the face apart of the average Joe, drums that could easily topple the Walls of Jericho and vocals that can toe-to-toe with the of Dickinson [Iron Maiden] and Hetfield [Metallica], then this is an EP for you. I see big things for these guys in the near future. Sworn To Oath could be the next Iron Maiden minus the skeleton mascot.

Not Above Evil- The Transcendental Signified

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 23rd November 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: NOT ABOVE EVIL
Album: THE TRANSCENDENTAL SIGNIFIED
Release year: 2011
Genre: MELODIC DEATH/BLACK METAL

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‘The Transcendental Signified’ is the second album from British melodic death metal band Not Above Evil.

The opening track ‘Crossroads’ features a very promising melodic intro proceeded by fast guitar riffs and black metal vocals similar to those of Dimmu Borgir or even old Agathodaimon. There is also a clear Lamb of God influence in the bass guitar riffs and drums structures in tracks such as ‘Capture the Dawn’.

‘Against The Tides’ is one of the best tracks on here with memorable guitar solos that allow you to look past the slightly cheesy sounding lyrics. The only major let down is the progressive intro to ‘Nexus’ which doesn’t seem to fit the style set by the rest of the album. I’m not quite sure what they were trying to achieve with this. Luckily that track does have certain redeeming features such as the guitar solos towards the end.

Another notable track is ‘As The Curtain Falls’ which continues where ‘Against The Tides’ left off with more memorable guitar riffs and solos that have enormous mosh-pit potential. The final track ‘The Duel’ seems like the perfect way to end this album with its deceptively slow and melodic intro that ensures the listener is all the more unprepared for the intensity of the remainder of the song.

Overall this is a very solid release.

4/5
Iza Raittila