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Tigers Of Junction Street – Tigers Of Junction Street

I believe a brief back story is in order about today’s review: when I started writing reviews I tried to stay away from labels and such and just pick the stuff I wanted to write about, from my own collection. As time went on, we occasionally got contacted by small, mostly UK-based, promoters and that’s when the idea of working together with people like that grew on me. I don’t review everything we are being sent, since I don’t like bashing what the people that made it are proud of. In the case of Tigers Of Junction Street the opposite applies though: I jumped on it from the first second since their self-titled EP simply blew me away! Enough of that lengthy introduction, let’s cut to the chase!

The quintet from High Wycombe, in England for those that are as proficient in geography as myself, plays what it, I presume, jokingly calls “melodic tech-rock”…I’m going to be that guy and say that it’s post-hardcore though. Even though I try to avoid making comparisons when I write about a band…I just have to come out and say that the five songs actually really remind me of Emarosa‘s self-titled record; which might a big reason why I dig them so much.

Melody is definitely an important factor in the band’s sound and that is made clear by the diverse riffing present during the eighteen minutes. However, the heavier side isn’t being short-handed either because there are quite a few headbang-worthy passages strewn in on more than one occasion. The drumming adapts perfectly to both aspects and delivers a truly solid basis for the music, with several truly interesting rhythms.

While the instrumental part could easily be enough to satisfy me, the other major selling point is the vocal performance! Yet again, my comparison above applies quite well to the singer’s voice, because in all the people that tried to adapt a similar singing style, this guy actually pulls it off flawlessly and even manages to add his own personal flavor. Even the lyrics, and enunciation, are aching to those of Mister Craig…I absolutely fucking love it.

All in all, there is no excuse whatsoever to not check out Tigers Of Junction Street because this EP is sure to put these newcomers in the best possible light. I, for one, am much impressed by what they managed to deliver here and I hope that a full-length will see the light of day at some point in the near future! You can listen to their song Incarnation below and visit their Facebook page to keep up with their news!

Heel – Stranger Just The Same

In case you’re unfamiliar with the proceedings of promo packages you get as a review site, let me tell you real quick that generally you get the (digital) record as well as a small biography of the band. When I read today’s band’s bio, one sentence caught my attention: “Yes, we have a young female singer, but she doesn’t sing like Hayley Williams or Avril Lavigne”. And let me tell you right from the start that Heel did not promise something they couldn’t keep, because their second EP Stranger Just The Same is quite something!

While I, personally, enjoy both mentioned above ladies’ voices very much, it’s always nice to hear a different approach…even if it does remind me of the sound of the mid-nineties No Doubt era, which is when I think they were at their best; but I digress. The singer has a rougher, yet feminine, voice than what you’d expect and she puts all her soul into her performance, managing to win you over from the first second she opens her mouth.

Despite the EP only having four tracks, you get a reasonable amount of variety on the instrumental level; covering both the up-beat and the quiet sonic spectrums. In terms of songwriting it’s kept concisely, but everything that makes a good listening experience is present. Especially the opener, which you can listen to below, is just catchy as hell and is bound to make you sing along after the first time you hear the chorus!

The London-based quartet has certainly left a very favorable impression on me after these fourteen minutes, and I genuinely hope that a full-length is planned for the, not-too, distant future. If you are into female-fronted bands, but in need of a change from the general monotony…terrible pun incoming…don’t be a Stranger and give Heel a chance and visit their Facebook page for more information. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Trash Monday CXXVII

What we have here might officially be the weirdest music video ever. Enjoy.

Homebound – Coming Of Age

Before I start today’s review, I have to admit that the main reason why I agreed to write about Homebound‘s EP Coming Of Age was the cover. I mean, a skyscraper-sized warthog can only mean greatness, right? Turns out my intuition didn’t betray me, because the music itself is quite worth listening to as well!

First of all, the English quintet plays pop punk, in many ways comparable to Fall Out Boy, but yet interlaced with several “punkier” elements, which puts a nice spin on the old formula. Even though the instrumental front is held rather simple, the songs manage to convince on the whole line since they’re really easy to get into. Always a plus in this genre, despite the lack of any major surprise throughout the eighteen minutes.

The vocals are mostly clean-sung, apart from some minor screams, and complement the drums and guitars perfectly. The thing that I liked most about the singing is that there’s a wholly separate melody to it, thus providing another layer of variation to the six songs.

While this rather short review doesn’t quite do this EP justice, I feel like there’s not much more I can tell you, since it’s definitely worth giving a spin if you’re into pop punk, and that any additional words would be a waste of time. So what are you waiting for? Listen to the song below and head to the band’s Facebook page!

Trash Monday CXXVI

I have never tried any hallucinogens, but this is very much like I would imagine my trip…

For All Those Sleeping – Incomplete Me

Moments like these always bring a smile onto my face, because it means that I’ve been doing this for a while, since one of my first reviews I wrote for El Gore was about the second album of today’s band: For All Those Sleeping! A bit more than two years later, they have just released their third one Incomplete Me, and I obviously couldn’t get around writing about it. So let’s see what has changed and what hasn’t!

The quintet has mainly stuck to what their sound evolved into on the predecessor, which in itself is not a mistake, since it felt to me like they had managed to find just the right direction. However, there is the small addition of industrial-sounding parts, which avoids a complete copy-paste of Outspoken, so rest assured that you won’t feel like you put on the same record. So far so good.

This means that the riffs will come flying at you in alternation of heavy neckbreakers and melodic goodness. The drums are, more or less, on the same level as previously and deliver a diverse mix of groove and straight-forward drum-skin pounding. I do have the feeling that, generally speaking, the twelve songs are heavier than what you’re used to by the Minnesotans, with the exception of one song, but more on that in just a second.

The vocal performance has not seen a major improvement, but there was none necessary in the first place since it was quite tight to begin with. As mentioned before, since the songs are heavier, the growls are much more predominant however and cement these forty-eight minutes as a strong metalcore album. The lyrical horizon has also been broadened and features experiences from the band’s extensive touring schedule of the past two years. The biggest addition are the guest vocals by Jessica Ess on the afore-mentioned song, Hell Or Heaven, which is as close to a ballad as you can get on here.

All in all, the strong production and the few new elements make this FATS record possibly the best one so far…but I must admit that I’m still on the fence whether I prefer album number two or this one. Incomplete Me is more of a grower than an instant killer, and I’ve only started to appreciate it after probably my fifth listen. If you do give it a chance to wrap itself around your brain, I can guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed. So be sure to give the song below a go and check out the band on Facebook.

Trash Monday CXXV

How the hell did they convince Ron Jeremy to be part of this amazing piece of shit? Worst Band I have heard in years.

Iron Maiden Live in Roeser 01.07.2014 Concert Review

Can I play with Madness?

When the tickets for Iron Maiden (THE band that got me into Metal, when I was still a wee little lad) at the Rockhal concert site became available in February, I was one of the first to get one online. I was even happier about this, when they were sold out shortly after. Seeing Iron Maiden in a relatively small venue would surely be amazing. But then, shortly after they were sold out, den Atelier announced that they would move the concert to the Rock-A-Field site. This outraged a lot of fans who paid for something they wouldn’t get. Even more confusing was that a second band was booked as an opening act, namely Ghost from Sweden.

Let’s skip ahead a few months to the actual concert. As I had been at the Rock-A-Field festival (RAF) the weekend before, I was familiar with the site and the parking arrangements. The shuttle service worked perfectly, although the parking price was a bit steep (8€ for a few hours of parking – the three days of parking in the same spot for the RAF cost 10€ combined). When I finally arrived at the concert site, I was glad to see, that the mud from the festival weekend had disappeared and that the site looked fine. As a little premium for being one of the “lucky ones” who had acquired tickets to the Rockhal concert, I got a wristband that would consequently allow me to enter a gated off area in front of the stage. The idea behind this might have been nice, but it seemed unfair that people who bought their tickets later and paid almost the same amount of money would not be able to get closer to the stage. On the other hand this meant that we would have quite a lot of room and could enjoy the show without too much pushing from the crowd.

Ghost as an opener might have seemed as a good idea to somebody who thinks that Metal sounds all the same, but it turned out that their music and show (if you can call it a show, when everybody is wearing a mask and the singers persona is a demonic priest, who can’t break character to cheer on the masses) didn’t fit this particular billing. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad, they just weren’t a good match. The organisers might have had better luck with a local band like Lost in Pain to get the audience’s juices flowing. People came to see Iron Maiden after all.

Then it was finally time for the main act. The show started with an intro video showing crumbling icebergs, invoking images of the famous Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album. Then Iron Maiden exploded onto the stage and the crowd went wild. For almost two hours, Bruce Dickinson and his band kept the audience heavily (hrhr) entertained. They played most of the tracks from the aforementioned album and most of their other hits. The Trooper (including the obligatory swinging of the Union Jack), The Number of the Beast and 2 Minutes to Midnight were all performed almost perfectly. The highlight for me was Fear of the Dark. There is nothing quite like a huge crowd of people singing and cheering together.

I hadn’t seen Iron Maiden in quite a long time and I had almost forgotten, how theatrical their shows can be. Eddie came on stage for Run to the Hills, Dickinson turned himself into Dracula, flames burst out of the floor and fireworks accompanied a few songs. Dickinson ran around on stage like he was on fire, using the multilevel stage to his advantage, and all the other band members were in constant motion, cheering on the crowd and performing semi-acrobatic moves with their instruments. This is quite impressive, considering most of them have been doing this for over 25 years.

After their main set, the band returned for an encore (starting with Aces High – including the Churchill speech). Interestingly enough they played none of the songs released after the mid 90s. Sadly the whole thing was over way too quickly and it was time to leave the area. The shuttle service was running smoothly, limiting waiting times to tolerable levels.

Although it was quite a feat, to get a huge band like Iron Maiden to play in Luxembourg, there are a few points of criticism I have to mention. I didn’t like that the organisers kept the pricing/ticket system from their RAF festival. You had to change your money into tickets (3,5€ per ticket) and you couldn’t even change them back at the end (which wasn’t mentioned when you bought them). 3,5€ for a beer or a sparkling water (no, the 1,75€ upgrade from regular water doesn’t make its sparkle shoot rainbows) is quite a lot, especially if you count how much they earn on drinks alone. At least the 7€ burger was really tasty and big enough. Ticket prices were also quite expensive, considering that you pay 50€ (which is 40€ less than what I paid) to see the same band in France. As a Luxemburgish music fan, who goes to quite a lot of concerts, I think it’s high time that people start to question the pricing policy of Den Atelier, especially since they have been overpromising for quite a while and rarely deliver exactly what they have promised.

To sum it all up: Bullshit pricing, an opening band that didn’t fit the billing and IRON MAIDEN. I say it again: IRON *fuckin* MAIDEN! Scream for me, Luxembourg!!!!

This review was written by our freelancer Yves!

Slaves – Through Art We Are All Equals

Today’s review is about another very promising “newcomer”, even though I don’t really consider the quintet to be true newcomers since their lead singer is very well-known and him being famous definitely helped to put the band in the spotlight. However, I can’t hold it against Slaves for making use of that initial boost, since the rest of the musicians is a very talented bunch and their debut album Through Art We Are All Equals proves that on the whole line!

The California-based post-hardcore formation adds an interesting layer to their sound by using seven-string guitars, which results in a vibe similar to djent but with a highly melodic and a bit less technical approach. It sounds a bit weird written out but it works extremely well when you listen to it. The stringed instruments in general have a, for lack of a better word, bouncy feel to them and I must admit that I’m not entirely sure if it’s just because of the seven-strings or if the bass plays the same riffs and is prominent in the mix. All I know is that I absolutely adore the end result.

The drums pretty much cover every aspect, be it driving beats or intricate fills, and fit the ensemble perfectly, without ever diverting from the rest. To round it off, the production is truly massive but maybe too modern for some people out there. For me, this adds another plus point to these forty-two minutes though.

Earlier I said that the lead singer was well-known…that was a bit of an understatement, since Jonny Craig is probably one of the most notorious modern singers; many consider him a douchebag and he has been through some messed-up things, but from what I have read in the “press” this has changed. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because there is one fact that is undeniable: this man’s voice is one of the best ones in the entire genre, or even in the music scene in general. That’s what ultimately counts for me and he proves it yet again on these eleven tracks.

But apparently his soulful vocals weren’t yet enough to make everyone happy, so the band has recruited no less than four guest singers: Tyler Carter from Issues, Vic Fuentes from Pierce The Veil, Kyle Lucas and last but definitely not least Jonny’s sister Natalie Craig. All the guest appearances truly enhance the respective songs they’re on but especially the performance of the latter on The Hearts Of Our Young blew me away: talent apparently seems to run in the family and makes this song a true masterpiece.

To finish up here, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that TAWAAE is not only Jonny’s strongest work, both lyrically and performance-wise, in possibly forever but also an amazing record in all other aspects. Basically yet another very strong contender for my top 5 of 2014, filled with so many quotable lyrics. Head to the band’s Facebook page for more information and make sure to listen to the song below!

Trash Monday CXXIV

Possibly the cheapest music video in the history of music videos?