Category: Album Reviews

AVENOIR – ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE – REVIEW

Avenoir have changed. With their original vocalist/bassist departing and two new members joining the party, there is a lot on the line for the Leeds quartet. ‘Orpheus and Eurydice’, named from the Greek myth tragedy (well the majority were tragedies) is the next step for the group. How does the story end?

A consistant buildup of intensity shrouds the track in a fuzzy, yet slightly distorted manner, bringing the power of the lyrics to light. Guitar solo? Not entirely necessary, but fits well enough that it isn’t too isolated, but adds some extra length and change to the track. The track is fairly similar throughout, but the slow build saves what could have ended up as a constant repetition. It isn’t bad, in fact, the melancholic guitar tones help bring a gloomy atmosphere to the track, similarly seen in their EP ‘3027‘.

However, there is an obvious change from their previous releases. This is always the risk when changing members, especially vocalists. The vocals aren’t mixed as well into the track, but with their distorted grunge style, this could be attributed towards their gritty, raw genre. Yet, what does come through is that the vocal tone is less fitting. Slightly off at points, and too separate from the rest of the track. As the track builds the vocals do become more fitting, clearly seen through in the lead-up to the tracks guitar-solo bridge. This helps settle the tracks flow creating more balance, but gaining this through the tracks entirety is the next step.

Avenoir have the musical potential as seen in their previous releases. With two lineup changes now in place, Avenoir could go down a completely different route. Finding the balance as a band is the next step and only time will tell if they will reach it.

Rating: 6/10

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FALLUJAH – ULTRAVIOLET – REVIEW

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Nearly three years since the release of ‘Dreamless‘, Fallujah are back on track to present what could be their biggest risk yet. An altered line-up and adapted sound, the band are going forward to release their new album ‘Undying Light‘, starting with their new single ‘Ultraviolet’.

As a comparison to their older material from ‘Dreamless’, this is a change. With new vocalist Antonio Palermo taking the reins, there is a noticeable difference in the raspy screams of Ultraviolet compared to Alex’s harsh lows featured over their past material. While Palermo is a good vocalist, his accentuated screams don’t fit over the track. Perhaps more tuned to a post-hardcore styled band over atmospheric metal, the vocal difference contrasts a little too much for the track.

The interesting lead guitar work still holds strong in the track, lifting the track upwards with the clean cutting solos. It seems that while every instrumental has its place, the guitars are almost drowned out by the vocal layers of the track. At points, it almost becomes a battle as to which aspect takes the lead, instead of a balanced flow. Midway through the track is where a balance is almost reached, and just needs to be tweaked and spread through the track to balance it. Despite the differences the track brings, the lyrical content is still up to a high standard, even with Palermo taking the lead on song writing. With the whole album based around a ‘snapshot of a disillusioned, narcissistic society’ (Scott, guitar) hopefully we can continue to see this high standard highlighted through the full album.

The main point is, this is most definitely a change for Fallujah. Taking a turn into a new route is inevitable, even if their first attempt does seem a little generic amongst their discography. One point is clear – this is not the old Fallujah and probably will never be. From a single, it’s hard to judge the upcoming albums potential, but the single is not bad. From a standalone viewpoint, the release is good, however it has and will cause a few issues for older fans of the metal quartet. Their new album is to be released on March 15th, then we can truly see where they are going.

Rating: 6.5/10

CHIASMATA – HAUSTORIUM – REVIEW

If you are up to date on Manchester’s upcoming prog/metal scene, or Tech-Fest’s singular shows, you will most likely be aware of Chiasmata. A four piece, progressive rock forming in 2017, bringing a debut EP and single ‘Haustorium’ to the table. So what is there to say about the track?
 
Chiasmata bring some interesting technicality to ‘Haustorium’. Opening with a more technical bass/guitar crossover riff, the two create a deep, sombre tone that leads into the tracks next stage. Vocals are echoic creating a haunting atmosphere to the tracks already gloom-ridden atmosphere. While vocals are strong, more blending into the instrumental track is a potential improvement. But, this doesn’t bring the track down as the progression only strengthens the track.
 
 
This track is all about musical changes, with techniques and structures morphing throughout the 5 minute length. Absorbing other ideas, much like the metaphor of the tracks title, allows the track to bloom in many retrospective ways. Transforming the track from a haunting approach, to a much deeper, heavier progression. Transitions are smooth, each part more or less follows on from each other in a well written way. A little bit choppy, but smooth transitions run across the board. Yet, mid-track emerges a segment of the track that does feel cluttered. The heaviest part of the song seems to meld into a section of cluttered noise – making the track harder to listen to. This is only one segment though. The rest of the track is impressive, with the sound of every instrument prioritised.
 
Chiasmata have done a good job on ‘Haustorium’. A good progressive track with emphasis on every instrumental element, not just vocals. Make sure to catch them opening for Exist Immortal on Saturday 6th February in Manchester (Satan’s Hollow) to hear more!

Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

OF VIRTUE – SUFFER – REVIEW

Christmas is over and Of Virtue are already hitting the ground running for the year ahead. Signing to Sharptone Records also comes the release of ‘Suffer’, a new step ahead for the group, but where does it hold up in the ratings?

Well, Of Virtue are undoubtly throwing the heavy punches to the track. Combining harsh and clean vocals perhaps takes the track to different tones, but as a whole the bands usual heavy influence still remains. Verses are heavy, gritty with a hardcore depth emerging juxtaposed by the melodic choruses where emotional depth is concieved. This is a contrast that works in the bands favour, with the balance almost right for the style of music Of Virtue are working to create. In terms of the tracks length, the breakdown is slightly underwhelming. Pehaps better fitting as a track intro, the breakdown leaves you wanting more. Something solidified, something to really impact listeners.

Of Virtue are still putting out good tracks. Trial and error is a factor all bands must embrace from time to time. ‘Suffer’ is still a great track with the potential still shining through from the band, its just the polishing that is the next stage.

8/10

 

DIVENIRE – WONDERLAND – REVIEW

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How many bands have you heard of from Stoke-On-Trent? The answer is probably few. This is about to change. Divenire are setting themselves a platform, releasing their debut EP ‘Wonderland’ to an audience of new listeners. Presenting themselves as ‘Goosebump inducing, emotionally powerful indie rock’, how far do the 4-piece live up to this expectation?
As far as emotional conveyance in the EP, ‘Captain of The Sea’ is an immensely strong contender. Storytelling is a side to Divenire merely scratched upon in single ‘Caravan’, but never truly delved into now. Weaving ambient guitars with echoic waves of backing vocals, the heart-wrenching story of a man and his fatal love and longing for the sea comes to life. Yet, if one issue is to be pointed out with the release, it is with the sound of the tracks. The depth is somewhat lost by the track’s compression, losing some of the layering. ‘S.I.A.R’ showing this issue the most and while not a major issue, is something to learn from.
Simplicity is a factor found in the EP, with ‘Old Oak Tree’ presenting what on the outside looks to be a simple backing. Simple drum patterns with repeating guitar leads graze the tracks outer layers. Yet, blend these separate components together and the track almost gives off an ambiance of colour. A talent emerging through this EP is the bands ability to balance simplicity and complexity. Presenting this in a way that doesn’t form a neutral middle-ground, but instead juxtaposes one another through each track. Take ‘Mercy’, a slow-burn bonus track with an opening simplicity, emerging into a layered, complex track in its prime. Like most tracks, the soft tones veiled in the undertones of the EP build the atmosphere around Wonderland release. Surrounded in what should be aura of sadness, the EP’s title track still offers an upbeat musical style in its chorus. But still adding a sub-conscious sadness in its depth.
Divenire have produced their own ‘Wonderland’ of storytelling, emotion and truth. There are improvements , but there are for any release. A relaxing listen with substance there should you wish to find it.
Rating: 9/10
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DIRTY SOUND MAGNET – SOCIAL MEDIA BOY – REVIEW

Political and social commentary is a rising theme in underground music. Dirty Sound Magnet have been brewing on this idea for years, especially in their 2017 album release ‘Western Lies’. However, a new era is coming for DSM, a fall into the world of their new single: ‘Social Media Boy’.
Combining a retro 70’s style with an easily recognizable sound, DSM know exactly where they’re heading with their new track. Flowing down a similar route to the style of previous 2017 album ‘Western Lies’, ‘Social Media Boy’ follows a similar standard. Despite mirroring previous tracks, there is still a distinguishable difference between this and previous releases. Exploring the diversity of their sound is always a fun task, as the range of each track varies so much. Similar lyrical themes, still portrayed in a new, intriguing way each time. ‘So many birthday wishes make you feel loved’ proves a sense of fragility and obsession in today’s society. Another example of DSM’s bluntly direct lyricism? Yes. Another aspect that heightens the trios music? Definitely.
 
As a glimpse of the music we are yet to hear, ‘Social Media Boy’ is another excellent single release from the group. Strength grows with experience. With the experience the band already have, they are definitely getting stronger.
Rating: 8/10   

ARCHITECTS – HOLY HELL – REVIEW

Architects have torn themselves down to the raw bones of their sound and rebuilt. After the tragedy Tom Searle’s (guitar) passing in 2016, it lead to questions on whether the band would ever be able to reconvene. Yet, with the joining of Josh Middleton on guitar, Architects have stepped up once again to release their eighth studio album ‘Holy Hell’
In an album, when you can feel a persons pain penetrating deeper than the intricate structure of a song, you know you are looking at more than a simple album. ‘Death Is Not Defeat’, brings about a mantra exposed to its bare roots in the records opening number. While this track encompasses a more dramatic, slower opening, in no way is this track one to leave out. From a musical perspective, the layering of this track (and album) is intricate and intriguing. With the clever heartbeat drum pattern to the hidden guitar riffs, these features help add a subconscious hidden depth. Topped with Sam Carters raw, cutting anguished vocals, this track is one of the many clever ideas Architects throw into the mix. Even single ‘Royal Beggars’ brings a diverse change to the albums nature. Dominated by deep basslines and a slower atmospheric approach, you can see the band are pushing the boundaries of their music. Carter’s lighter cleans add an ethereal tone to the track, bringing an extra kick of emotion to the curb of the tracks ultimate build-up. Architects want you to feel. To experience the pain they are writing. Listening in a full depth, the bridge’s melancholic lyricism, ‘We have totally lost our way’, offers both an emotional outpouring and a bridging connection to the albums listeners
 
Yet, to long-time listeners, its a common factor for the band to bring a theme of preordained doom to their tracks. ‘Modern Misery’s’ focus on the demise of humanity plagues the lyricism of the track, forcing the track into a black hole of raw vulnerability. Even varying in themes, the nods to Tom with ‘I will go to the grave with a song still in me’ still reign ever-present. Even title-track ‘Holy Hell’s’ downbeat, gloom-ridden riffs mixed with the orchestra style strings settle as a foundation to lift the track. The full flowing impact of mortality intertwined with the theme of mourning only makes this release more heartbreaking, truthful and inspiring,
 
Every track has something to offer. ‘Mortal After All’ and ‘A Wasted Hymn’ bring no hesitation to throwing the truthful punches of the album at full force. Lyricism still being a strong factor, ‘A Wasted Hymn’s’ slow building bridge centres around one line – ‘Can you live a life worth dying for’. Impacting lyrics are a strength of Architects work, providing an extra layer of depth in the song. But don’t let this depth fool you. ‘Holy Hell’ is still one hell of a metal record. ‘The Seventh Circle’ projects the bands heaviest riffs and sound, with Carter’s harsh barbed-wire vocals and heavy musicality melting together in some kind of incandescent fury.
 
With the tragedy of 2016, it was a surprise to many that Architects recouped so soon. It would be no surprise if many gave a pass to this album, due to the pain the band have endured over the previous two years. Yet, a pass of sympathy is one not given to ‘Holy Hell’. Instead, this album is everything expected and more. As a progression from predecessor ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us‘, Architects prove themselves as a well polished band. ‘Holy Hell’ is deserving of its place – and is possibly one of the greatest pieces of work Architects have ever showcased.
 
Rating: 9.5/10