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Chabtan – The Kiss Of Coatlicue


I honestly can’t put into words what it is, but there is something about French metal that I can distinguish nine out of ten times upon my first listen. One thing that does come to mind is that they absolutely love the almighty groove and modern elements, the same goes for Chabtan, who are going to release their new album, The Kiss Of Coatlicue, on May 25th!

More specifically, the quintet roams into the deathcore genre while adding some symphonic elements and, as mentioned before, a thick layer of groove. A mix that works quite well in my opinion, but on the other hand the songwriting is for the majority of the eleven songs very similar and there are admittedly very few surprises.

The production is very modern but it delivers in the right places, with every double bass kick as well as every blast beat sounding nice and crisp. However, the guitars, while generally-speaking well recorded as well, do lack a bit of punch and have a tendency of turning into mush during the quicker passages, but that’s forgivable because the main sound hammers well enough throughout the forty-seven minutes.

The entire record is a concept album about the Mayan gods, notably the death gods, and despite having a bit of a hard time understanding the lyrics, due to the notorious Frenchie accent on one hand and the screams, screeches and growls on the other hand, they seem to be fairly interesting. The different singing styles offer enough variation to avoid repetition and there are a couple of dual-layered passages that sent shivers down my spine…chapeau!

All in all, Chabtan deliver a solid debut record that will definitely win over genre-enthusiasts but, for me personally, there was that special little something that was missing to make the spark jump over. As always, I do advise you to make up your own mind and check out the song below, before heading to their Facebook page to keep up with them!

Sounds Of Fury – Mediocracy


Before listening to today’s album, I came up with a nice little play on words to describe it, in case it was bad…however, despite regretting the lost pun, I am glad to say that Mediocracy is anything but mediocre. As a matter of fact, the new album by Sounds Of Fury actually made me feel really nostalgic and reminded me of the good old days when I enjoyed the hell out of death metal.

The Swiss quartet play classic death metal, with a strong nuance toward the technical kind, that consists of almost incessant blast beats and non-stop double bass work, coupled with truly evil riffs. The technical side is filled by erratic licks as well as crazy-sounding solos, that blend into the grand scheme of the nine tracks quite neatly, thus creating a truly challenging listening experience.

I do have to say that the non-stop barrage of brutality does at times border the monotonous. Then again, at least to me this genre isn’t about necessarily being diverse for diversity’s sake, but rather about creating a tense atmosphere…and that goal is absolutely achieved throughout the thirty-eight minutes.

The only real gripe I have is the fact that the vocals have very little variation to them. At least the one style that is present, growls, is mastered to perfection and often reminded me of a certain man with an inverted cross on his forehead. No, not Charles Manson. A couple of screeches or screams would certainly benefit the ensemble a lot and add an interesting layer to the music.

While they aren’t quite as versatile as their knife counterpart from the same country, Sounds Of Fury are definitely worth checking out, whether you are a fan of bands like Deicide or not, because they deliver where it matters: in your face! If I managed to make you curious, head over to the band’s Facebook page and keep your eyes peeled for the official release on May 25th! Sadly, no song this time since I couldn’t find anything online.

Brunel – Smash On


After bringing you a couple of reviews from my musical comfort zone these past two weeks, it’s time to step out of said zone again and venture toward the unfamiliar! My first thought when I put on Brunel‘s record Smash On, was “Oh hey, this sounds like Sex Bob-Omb from Scott Pilgrim Vs The World!”. I know this sounds random, but if you’ve seen this, seriously underrated, movie, you might not take me for bat-shit crazy.

The quartet plays this weird mix of stoner rock and hardcore-punk, that just makes you wanna dance. While the massive bass lines are definitely the driving force behind the instrumental part of the nine tracks, the guitars and the drums contribute a lot to the energetic vibe as well. On a technical level, the music is nothing to write home about, but the groove shines when it has to and there is enough diversity to avoid boredom.

Just as the title of the Englishmen’s record might suggest, these thirty-eight minutes are fairly straight-forward and combined with the, dare I say, primitive production, they don’t try to be something they’re not. If the word “primitive” has discouraged you from even considering this record, you are on the definitely on the wrong track. The instruments all sound organic and convey a truly honest sound. No bullshit allowed.

The vocals are, what I would predict to be, hit or miss for the majority of listeners however. The performance itself is really solid, but the way they are recorded might make it difficult to get into them at first. The way I imagine them being recorded, is by placing a megaphone five meters away from the mic, then the singer another two meters away from that. While I’m quite sure that that’s not at all how it was done, I must say that after a few tries, I enjoyed them for their uniqueness.

All in all, Brunel are definitely not your run-off-the-mill band or everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like music that is different than the rest and that is a bit wonky, in a good way, at times…don’t hesitate and give Smash On a spin! Side note: in my humble opinion they have some similarities to our local stoner-rockers Dirty Crows in some instances…maybe that might incite you further. Either way, head over to their Facebook page and listen to the song below until the official release date on May 11th!

Eidola – Degeneraterra


I have learned something over the past sixteen months: if you find the Blue Swan Records logo on an album, you can just go ahead and buy it. There is no way you won’t be satisfied by the quality of what you’re going to be listening to…even more so if you’re into post-hardcore. Despite all the previous releases being in the same vein, yet different enough to avoid repetition, today’s record wanders off in new territories, while still staying true to the label’s main genre. And let me tell you: Degeneraterra by Eidola manages to open even further horizons for this promising label!

As mention before, the quintet plays post-hardcore, but of the very experimental fashion, with many elements borrowed from other directions. At times you get a progressive metal vibe, which blends into a blues-inspired part, before erupting in an explosion of complex and heavy riffing. Just when you think you figured the guys’ music, they throw something new at you. This can be demanding to you as a listener at times, but trust me when I tell you that the effort you put into paying close attention and feeling the music, is rewarded tenfold.

Especially the ingenious and well-structured songwriting plays a huge role in fusing all these various elements into thirteen songs that are a blast from start to finish. Add to that the fact that it’s a concept album which, as the name might suggest, deals with the decline of the world and the environment we live in, as well as a glass-clean production and you find yourself having a hard time letting go from the Uthans’ music. Small side note: they’re also genuinely nice people that deeply care about their fans, which became very clear when I found a personal note in my package, that contained their previous record, with them thanking me for my support…definitely a first for me.

If all that wasn’t enough already to make a brilliant album, the instruments are only a part of the goodness…because the vocals take this hour-long musical journey to a whole new level. I have to admit that I am not one hundred percent sure about which of the three vocalists sang, or screamed, which parts, but the result is simply hypnotic, to me. Especially, the “main” singer has some phenomenal pipes and keeps pushing his vocal chords further and further on each song, delivering a brilliant performance. This being a concept album, the lyrics are also everything but your typical “oh no, she broke my heart, now I’m sad” run-off-the-mill read.

While I did not have a doubt about it to begin with, Degeneraterra has really cemented Eidola, as well as the earlier mentioned label, into being a force to be reckoned with. Mainly due to the fact that I’m confident in saying that this band, just as their labelmates, truly feels the music they make and shares that enthusiasm with their listeners…it doesn’t hurt that said music moves on a very high level of intensity and ingenuity either. If I managed to make you curious, be sure to listen to their song below and head over to their Facebook page. Last but not least, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on May 5th, when this gem hits the (digital) stores!

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!