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Dance Gavin Dance – Instant Gratification


Nothing can be more devastating to a band than losing their lead singer; a fact that has lead to the demise of quite a few very promising ones in the past. There is, however, one band that has evolved in a very positive way with every singer they had. Of course I’m talking about Dance Gavin Dance, who are back with their sixth full-length Instant Gratification…and boy, is it a banger!

This is the second record in a row of the quintet with Tilian Pearson in charge of the clean vocals, and it just feels like he’s played a much bigger role in the creation of it. Don’t get me wrong, the predecessor, Acceptance Speech, was a really strong record, but at times it felt like it was written with the previous singer, Jonny Craig, in mind. The timbre of the two singers is very different, however, and so it felt off at some points. These twelve songs on the other hand demonstrate a perfect fusion of all the elements, and are a pure aural delight.

Musically, there are two things that immediately caught my attention: first off, this is definitely the heaviest DGD album to date, and the erratic and highly technical guitar play and drumming is often reminiscent of Secret Band, a side project of some of the members, which injects a new kind of power into the Californians’ sound. The other thing is a clear resemblance to Tides Of Men, Tilian’s former band, in terms of groove and the structure of the melodies. Truly a mix of two very different worlds that results in one delicious post-hardcore stew that takes no prisoners.

When it comes to the vocals, what can I say? The screams have already been perfect in the past, but I feel like this time around they’re even a tad bit stronger…maybe just my impression. With the change of the instrumental backdrop, the cleans feel a lot more organic this time around and Tilian seems to be vastly more at ease, because he pushes his voice to its boundaries. On top of that, there’s a track, Eagle Vs. Crows, with raps by the almighty Will Swan and the trifecta of voices on that one just blows everything out of the water!

Last but not least, if you are familiar with the band, you will know that the lyrics, especially the screamed ones, are very…unique. This hasn’t changed on these forty-three minutes, and I couldn’t be happier about it! So, watch the video below and be sure to give Instant Gratification a spin, since it’s a masterpiece that you don’t wanna miss! Also, head over to the band’s Facebook page for more information and a link to the official album stream.

Mutiny On The Bounty – Digital Tropics


I have to be honest with you: already at a young age, I hated math. So, naturally when I discovered a genre that had the word in it, I avoided it like the plague. Years later, not only do I work with numbers all day every day, but I also got into the musical genre…at least somewhat. I started off with mathcore and I quickly took a liking to its hectic and sometimes chaotic style. Eventually, I started giving math rock a chance and this is why I have the great pleasure of writing about Digital Tropics, the new full-length by our local math dealers, Mutiny On The Bounty, today!

Furthermore, I should also point out that until this new one I had never listened to an entire album by the quartet, but I am familiar with their previous works. The one thing that is apparent is that, while the core of the music is still math-orientated, the complexity and tempo changes have been toned down and made way for a more atmospheric approach. A direction change that I can appreciate one hundred percent, especially because if there’s one thing that these ten tracks manage, it’s putting the listener in a sort of trance-like state.

On the other hand, I do have to note that I found the beginning of the record to be rather slow and uninspired in comparison to the middle part. The first four songs all feature the genre-typical staccato riffing, with driving bass lines as well as technical and precise drumming, but I personally found no real highlight in them. This all changes with the song Mkl Jksn, however, and from there on it’s a pure blast to listen to the musical outpour that follows.

Another factor that really irked me during these forty-six minutes is the total lack of vocals, which in itself would be fine, because the music shines on its own. But it simply feels like several songs were written with a vocal line in mind, yet recorded without; a fact that is predominant on the opening tracks. Then again, I am aware that the singing duties were handled by the drummer in the past, which is very demanding when coupled with the complex drum patterns…so it’s an excusable issue in my opinion.

All in all, I believe that the band, that is in no way affiliated with the chocolate bar, will manage to win over their fans and music lovers alike with such brilliant songs as Strobocop and the simply magnificent Ballet Mécanique, but as a whole their newest record is not flawless. Either way, I can still recommend you giving Mutiny On The Bounty numero tres a fair chance and to make up your own mind. You can do so this Friday, April 17th, at the Kulturfabrik, where the Digital Tropics release will be held! In the meantime, head over to their Facebook page and watch the fantastic video for their ode to Jacko!

The Kut – Rock Paper Scissors


Only seven months after the release of their previous EP, the gals from The Kut are back with a new EP, entitled Rock Paper Scissors, and show how much a band can evolve in such a short amount of time! Let’s dive in!

The trio stays true to its grunge sound but in terms of songwriting the four tracks feel a lot more mature and, dare I say, infinitely catchier. Soundwise, they took everything I loved about Make Up and fine-tuned it: while the bass still plays a major role, the guitar has moved further into the foreground and serves as more than just support for the four-stringer.

The drumming is still rather basic, but also in that department you can notice an improvement, especially when it comes to groove. The biggest addition to these twenty minutes, however, are the screams that add a lot of musical depth, due to their perfect use: just enough to still remain faithful to the genre, but at the same time prominently enough to distinguish the EP from its predecessor.

In closing, I think it’s safe to say that “Rock” won every match in the EP’s title, and that The Kut have successfully added another chapter to their hopefully long band history. Be sure to check out the video below and head to their Facebook page, and last but not least give the EP a listen when it drops on April 14th!

Faceshift – All Crumbles Down


It’s funny: last week I discovered my appreciation for a genre that I could never stand, and this week I have to notice that a genre, that I enjoyed back in the day, no longer appeals to me. Objectively speaking, it’s got nothing to do with the quality of the release, because Faceshift‘s All Crumbles Down is a really solid modern heavy metal release, still the spark simply didn’t ignite after my usual ten listening sessions.

As I said, the Swedish quintet’s sound is orientated towards modern heavy metal, with down-tuned guitars and hammering drums, heavy riffs and a lot of palm-muting. The songwriting, however, has that classic feel to it with massive melodies and occasional keyboard use. Generally speaking, every element that is necessary to make an album of said genre appealing is there and well executed.

The same goes for the vocal performance during these eleven songs, which is mostly kept in the clean range and very occasionally accentuated by screams. There is absolutely no denying that the singer has great pipes either and he displays a broad repertoire of melodic singing capabilities. At times his timbre reminds me of Layne Staley from Alice In Chains and in other passages he has that slight Dio resemblance, the mix of the two truly makes it an enjoyable ride.

In the opening lines I said that I just couldn’t get into the music, which is sadly true, because during the forty-nine minutes that are All Crumbles Down, I was never taken “into the zone”; which is a major factor to me when it comes to liking a band.

Honestly, I entirely attribute that to the fact that I simply lost touch with heavy metal, and I’m convinced that Faceshift will manage to impress many of their listeners. So please, do yourself a favor and check out their video below and head over to their Facebook page to follow their progress. Last but not least, if you like what you hear, be sure to check out their album when it drops in April 14th!

Twin Planets – These Walls Hold Nothing But The Death Of All That We Hold Dear


I know I seem like a broken a record this year, but I can’t stress enough how many “new” genres I’ve discovered for myself in these past three months. Today is yet another example, because usually I would have changed the channel if I heard this kind of music…but Twin Planets have managed to make alternative rock or, how I used to call it, radio-friendly rock, very relevant to my interests. Their new album with the super long name These Walls Hold Nothing But The Death Of All That We Hold Dear is going to be released on April 6th, and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you in advance!

While the music the Brits play is indeed very pop-orientated, there is one major thing that sets them apart from all the previous bands that I’ve heard in this genre: post-rock elements. The song structures are quite traditional and, dare I say, simple but the musicianship that is hidden within them is very intricate, and manages to make them more than just boring melodies that hold the eleven songs together.

Especially songs like Communicator and Empires succeeded in making me lose myself in the soundscape, due to their almost hypnotic build-up and the resulting aural explosion. While I genuinely love the instrumental side of the quartet’s sound, the vocals add another layer of melody and diversity to the forty minutes, making TWHNBTDOATWHD quite the ride.

My only minor gripe are the repetitive lyrics, especially when it comes to choruses, since they are often limited to about ten lines per song and often sung over and over. While that could be considered a plus for live performances, because they favor sing-alongs, I quite honestly tended to ignore the words during my listening sessions after the first time.

All in all, Twin Planets convinced me that alternative rock can be more than just background noise, and I sincerely hope to experience these guys live in the near future! If you want to find out if it’s to your liking, be sure to click on the video below and head over to their Facebook page! Enjoy!

Your Own Decline – Stay True To Yourself


The following sentence is as shocking to me, as it might be to some of my returning readers: I found a power metal album that I thoroughly enjoy! The “culprit” is called Stay True To Yourself by the Italians Your Own Decline, and there is a good reason why I like it so much…read on if you want to find out!

First off, you should know that my long-lasting aversion to this particular genre is solely based on the, to me, often cringe-worthy vocals that are prevalent in the majority of bands. While I do enjoy the instrumental parts in general, the singing makes out a big part of the whole package, which is why I can’t stomach the ensemble in most cases!

The quartet, however, features a very diverse singer whose “power metal” voice is not only very bearable to my ears but I would even go as far as saying that it’s brilliant. On top of that he also screams from time to time and even growls occasionally, which adds a very welcome twist to the six songs.

Another huge plus during these twenty minutes is the fact that the instruments don’t follow the traditional rules of the genre, because you can, for example, find several modern influences in the guitar sound and the riffing, coupled with the one or the other breakdown, without excessive chugging, this makes for a super interesting mix…one that I can honestly say blew me away.

Ironically, Your Own Decline have completely ignored the title of the EP in a way, because they have added many different “new” elements to this, in my opinion, worn-out genre…and it definitely paid off. Stay True To Yourself is another record that you should absolutely check out if you don’t want to miss out on a great experience! So, please click on the video and head over to the band’s Facebook page if you like what you hear! Forza Azzurri!

No Return – Fearless Walk To Rise


I’m going to be honest here…even though No Return are a fairly well-established death metal band that has been around for twenty-six years, I have never heard of them before. Which is why I won’t be able to tell you how well their new record Fearless Walk To Rise fares against their previous releases, but what I can tell you is: boy, does it rock!

The quintet plays death metal that definitely has old school roots, but doesn’t shy away from throwing in more modern, melodic, elements, which prevents the ten songs from ever sounding stale. The interplay between brutal riffs and devastating blast beats lends the tracks a lot of tempo and ferocity. On the other hand, you have groove-laden and truly melodic parts that infuse variety in just the right spots.

I get a certain Scandinavian metal feel from the music the Frenchmen play, mainly due to the fact that the song structures resemble those of the aforementioned genre and I personally don’t mind at all, because they absolutely nail it. The sheer mass of crazy-fast solos and technical goodness that is buried in these forty-seven minutes will certainly be appealing to returning listeners.

The only aspect that might be a bit difficult for some to get into, are the occasional clean vocals, or shouts rather, that are thrown in…especially because the French accent, that I personally adore so much, is hard to ignore in these passages. If you can overlook that small fact, the singer’s performance is top notch and he definitely delivers on the whole line.

All in all, as a first-time-listener, I can honestly say that Fearless Walk To Rise is a very solid death metal record, for fans of the genre as well as newcomers. I strongly urge you to give the song below a listen and visit the band’s Facebook page if you like what you hear, for more info on where to get the album once it’s released on March 30th!

A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man – Escape Escape


Today’s a first for me, because I’m writing about another genre that I have never really listened to and while I was skeptical about whether I’d like it or not, my first impressions have been generally positive. A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man makes its debut with an interesting noise rock EP called Escape Escape, which is due to be released on March 23rd!

Due to my unfamiliarity with this kind of music, some of the following lines might be common knowledge to you, but bear with me here. Most of the time, the quartet needs a lot of momentum to get going, but once they are rolling, there’s no stopping the intensity. In the groovy parts, I always get a certain stoner rock feel, akin to the slower and more intense QOTSA songs. A bit of grunge also shines through to me, and I love the resulting sound.

The Danes know how to build up atmosphere during the five songs, and even though, as I mentioned earlier, they sometimes take their time before climaxing, for lack of a better word, it’s never boring. Coupled with a fittingly dirty, yet crisp, production Escape Escape packs quite a punch. Especially the last song, A Radient City Return Trip, with its Sweet Dreams-esque intro riff has quite the effect on me.

During the twenty-four minutes the vocals are arguably the thing connecting the dots and keeping the ensemble together. The singers dreamily creepy timbre hits just the spot for me and should be able to entrance the listener easily.

All in all, A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man have managed to introduce me to a “new” genre without leaving a bitter aftertaste. I strongly recommend giving them a listen below and heading to their Facebook page if you like what you hear, in order to keep up with them!

The Agonist – The Eye Of Providence


The remaining band members of The Agonist seem a bit lost without Alissa White-Gluz. At least that’s what I thought when I heard their new album The Eye Of Providence for the first time. I have to admit, that there are some interesting riffs on the new album, the pounding drums are fine as well and the new singer Vicky Psarakis definitely knows how to cast her magic spell on you with her brilliant voice. But somehow it’s not only the vocals that have changed… It seems as if the whole line up is different on this record.

Let me explain what I mean: As mentioned in the beginning, there are indeed some really cool riffs on The Eye Of Providence (e.g. Gates Of Horn And Ivory, Faceless Messenger, Perpetual Notion, Follow The Crossed Line). However, I do feel quite a lack of innovation throughout the whole album. The riffs are often quite boring, repetitive and even pop-like. And many times, the guitars only sound like some sort of background noise, especially during Vicky’s choruses. Maybe they did that on purpose in order to be able to show off her awesome voice…

Apart from the riffs themselves, the structure of the songs is quite different on the new The Agonist album. Compared to the previous albums, the song structures have been simplified as well. The Agonist have become a bit less progressive and are now sticking a bit more to the typical verse-bridge-chorus structure. Since this is a matter of taste, I’m not going to comment on whether that is a positive or a negative change.

Another thing that has changed is the sound of the band as a whole. Not only has the percentage of the clean vocals been upped a lot, also the guitars sound a bit more polished. I haven’t checked out the old stuff especially for the purpose of this review, but I think I remember the guitar sound to be a bit more aggressive and tuned down a bit more.

I tip my hat to Vicky though. She truly has an amazing voice and can easily poison your heart with her soulful clean vocals. She also does know how to scream and growl but Vicky’s unclean vocals can’t compare to Alissa’s, which might just be the reason why there’s more clean vocals on this new The Agonist album. This will probably also disappoint one or the other fan.

All in all I can’t say that The Eye Of Providence is a bad album! It can actually get you going at some points. However, the points that I mentioned in the article will probably disappoint old school fans. But maybe they changed with the goal to attract a new audience… It’s clear that this album is definitely more suitable for the masses.

This review was written by our Freelancer David from The Metal Diplomat!

Bio-Cancer – Tormenting The Innocent


The Greek guys from Bio-Cancer are demonstrating with their second album Tormenting The Innocent how vital old-school Thrash sounds in the year 2015. With a lot of rage and a maniacal speed their opener Obliged To Incest immediately shows that they take no prisoners.

The vocals are a bit atypical as they are completely guttural and rather high pitched while one might expect a more snotty performance in their particular style of music. This might at first seem strange to the listener given the fact that it is also sometimes hard to understand the lyrics but it brings in more aggression and can definitely be considered as a unique selling point. It’s a bit of a pity that the vocals are mostly on the same pitch, as there could have been more variation right here, but the great vocal rhythms make up for this.

One major focus are the infectious riffs and soli which are played insanely fast and grant the nine songs a particular quality. Nevertheless Bio-Cancer do not only rely on speed, but also understand how to write mature songs which results in great tunes like Bulletproof and the title track.

Some calmer parts like the beginning of F(r)riends Or Fiends with its use of strings are a nice variation while the short Haters Gonna… Suffer!, which adds even more to the insane speed of the album, stands out as a nice eye-catcher by adding more of the same.

This review was written by our freelancer Luc Francois from Legacy.de!