Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Wildheart "Gypsy Soul"

When Toronto hard rock band Wildheart gave me their EP Gypsy Soul for review, I’ll admit that the first thing I did was judge them on appearance, before giving them one listen. I thought to myself they’re just another band trying to look and play the part of an 80s band, whose real talent in performing and writing are oblivious to their attempt revive a musical genre by only its clichés. Luckily I was wrong.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Anyone's Guess "March in the Dark - Chapter 1"

It’s been a while since I’ve been given a good alternative rock album. I almost forgot how much I enjoy the genre. Being one to indulge in so many different kinds of rock, I usually have to find my way back to certain genres every now and then, though I never stay away from any genre for too long. Sometimes it takes a good song or album to do that. In this case it was Florida alternative trio Anyone’s Guess whose EP March In The Dark – Chapter 1 brought me back to my love of slightly damaged sounding well written music and transgressive lyrics.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Breach of Silence "Dead or Alive"

I feel as though I’ve started off so many articles saying this but “screaming” in music is something I don’t enjoy. I mean, especially in punk/pop-punk/anything remotely related to modern punk with screaming is just so bland. There are exceptions when it comes to metal related screaming though, but only some. I look at screaming in metal the same way people in the early 90’s looked at the high-pitched voices of what 80’s “hair” metal became, it all sounds the same, which is why I downright dislike bands whose sole vocal performance on every to almost every song involves nothing but screaming. It’s good to listen to when a little anger is needed to be offset, but that’s about it. Bands like, off the top of my head, All That Remains who, even in their heaviest days, combined screaming vocals with clean vocals fairly evenly and feature no real punk elements, so they can still retain my attention. Australia’s ABreach of Silence also fit under this category.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Red Dragon Cartel "Red Dragon Cartel"

It took me a little longer than I’d like to admit to truly appreciate Jake E. Lee. He is known prominently as one of Ozzy Osbourne’s most popular guitarists, having played on his immortal Bark At The Moon album, but it wasn’t until I first heard Shot In The Dark from his second album with Ozzy, The Ultimate Sin, when I first truly discovered who this man was. I was in my early years of high school by this time. It was a little bit after then that I discovered Badlands; the other band Jake is well known for. However, despite having found out of his existence, I still didn’t truly have a grasp on how significant Jake E. Lee is as a guitar player. Just before graduation, I got my hands on a copy of The Ultimate Sin and was blown away. To this day it remains my favourite Ozzy album, completely because of Jake E. Lee’s ability to bring the best out of Ozzy Osbourne as a singer.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Blowsight "Life & Death"

If there is one thing I enjoy, it’s being given an album by a band that is as hard to classify as Sweden’s Blowsight. Any band that can manage to put out an album of thirteen songs such as their album Life & Death (fourteen tracks including the bonus track) and have just about every song sound different from the other is not an easy task. I couldn’t properly decide on a true genre for the band; I mean they are definitely alternative metal, or alternative punk, but they feature elements of pop and show other surprises the more you listen to them.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Skrou "Skrou"

It’s very obvious, after listening to the band Skrou, how much influence the band takes from the 80’s. A time when rock songs were big and hair metal reigned supreme. Before grunge came and changed music (you can argue for better or worse, but that isn’t the point of this article) it was more common for rock bands to have fun and sound like they were having fun. It kind of trailed into pop metal, or glam metal, with acts like Autograph or Vixen adding in a lot of keyboards to their already pop-oriented rock hooks. Before this, though, with bands like Ratt in their earliest days and Mötley Crüe, to name a few, recorded a lot of songs, though most were centred on partying and sex, which would eventually become a complete cliché. Despite the lyrics, the songs were always big; I mean layered guitars, over emphasized drums: big. And I feel this is all what Skrou are trying to encompass.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

decoded "Topanga"

When decoded leader Derek Jordan first emailed me to listen to Topanga, his bands new EP, he made it a point to mention that Dead Sara were a major influence on their sound. That is an intriguing statement to make, as I find Dead Sara to be easily one of modern rocks most all around talented band, possibly the most talented band to have debuted this decade. After having listened to the six-track EP, I could kind of see what he meant.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Fake Figures "They Must Be Destroyed"

In a time when heavy punk music is unfortunately turning out far too many whiny sung pop induced outfits, one must wonder what happened to not long ago when bands like Eighteen Visions and Atreyu were making music; bands that included a lot of screaming in to their music, as well as a lot of clean singing, all while being taken seriously by many music fans and not just kids. Now we have bands like Escape the Fate and Blessthefall who have a tendency to produce a lot of plastic songs, much like a pop song heard on a top 40 station, and it’s unfortunate that these bands take such influence from the likes of the previously mentioned Atreyu or Alexisonfire, and they are the closest thing we have to new music of the similar genre. That being said, it is always good to discover a band that can capture the serious side of the heavy punk, some may call “post-hardcore” sound. The most recent band that I have come across that features such aspects is California’s Fake Figures.