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The Kut – Make Up

I wanted to start this review with stating something, but then I read the band’s bio and thought to myself: let’s not. So let me skip that sentence and move on straight to the introduction: The Kut from lovely London are a three piece band that plays, as they like to call it, basement rock but to the uninitiated I’ll just refer to it as grunge for now. Their new EP Make Up was released in mid-August, however due to our break here at El Gore, I’ll just give you my impressions now.

The first interesting point that struck me about the trio is that, partly due to their low number of musicians, the bass is nice and strong in the mix, providing a groovy line throughout the five songs. As a matter of fact, the guitar is for the most part underlining the bass guitar, which is something I have rarely heard, but I absolutely dig it! The drums didn’t strike me as anything particularly special, but they do provide a fitting backdrop to the stringed instruments during the five songs, so nothing to argue there.

The vocalist has a nice rough and powerful voice, as is fitting for the genre, and has no issues whatsoever with busting out sweet melodies throughout the almost twenty minutes with her vocal chords. My favorite one being on the track Mario, which reminds me of something but I can’t, for the life of me, put my finger on it.

This about does it for Make Up, since it’s pretty straight-forward music but still well worth your while, so give it a listen below and in case you are truly curious what my opening statement could have been, head on over the band’s Facebook page!

Trash Monday CXXIX

Not technically a music video, but still the most hilarious artistic display I’ve encountered in a long, long time. 3:26 and 5:04 is when shit gets real.

The Hiding Place – This Is Home

To be quite frank, when I think of post-hardcore, one of the last countries I think of is the UK. While they do have a handful of bands in the genre, the majority hails from across the bigger pond…but that impression has changed with my introduction to The Hiding Place! Their new release This Is Home has just dropped a few days ago and it’s fine display of how to sound genuine and diverse.

The quintet from the Midlands seems to take inspiration from several big names in the genre and creates its own blend. Even though I don’t like name-dropping very much when I review smaller bands, I can’t resist mentioning (old) Sleeping With Sirens and (old) Chiodos. Some passages in the five songs have distinguishable elements from both bands, yet still sound fresh and entrancing.

There are hardly any moments where any of the instruments takes a break and slower parts are almost non-existent…I can dig that, and so should you. The few calm instances are highly atmospheric though, so they don’t take away a single second from the drive of the sixteen minutes. The production is clean, heavy where it needs to be and feels rather genuine.

The vocals were what bothered me during the, approximately, first two minutes on the EP…but then the wobbly, for lack of a better word, singing turned into heartfelt screams and beautifully sung cleans. The overall performance blends in nicely with the ensemble and there’s really nothing negative I could state. So kudos! Just on a personal note, there was one lyric that really made me smile because I never looked at it that way myself: “I drink to remember, not to forget”…cheers for that!

To sum things up: while The Hiding Place probably won’t claim the award for best band of the year or some shit like that, they’re a solid band that deserves your attention and I’m quite confident in saying that if they continue this way, they will be putting out some more brilliant stuff in the future! To get an impression, check out the video below and visit the band’s Facebook page!

Aphyxion – Earth Entangled

I must say that there are few things that are more gratifying to me than when a prediction, I made in one of my early reviews, becomes true. The reason I’m mentioning this is because back in 2012 when I wrote about today’s band’s second EP, I said that you should keep a close eye on their future evolution since it should be a promising one…turns out I was right. The Danish guys from Aphyxion are about to release their first full-length album, Earth Entangled, and the progress they’ve made is astonishing!

In case you’ve never heard of the quintet: they play a modern type of melodic death metal that gives away their Scandinavian roots immediately. This unique talent for groove seems to be an omnipresent quality in band’s emerging from up north, and so is the case here as well. The first improvement to its predecessor can be noticed in the production quality: what sounded good before, sounds fucking massive now, both the drums and the guitars hammer you into the ground equally effectively.

The ten songs are generally speaking a lot more technical and the structures more intricate, but still retain a feeling of being from the same ensemble. In a way that is a strong selling point, because at no point is the listening experience disrupted by too much of a change of tone, but on the other hand it sometimes makes it harder to differentiate the individual songs, despite of every song being essentially different. It’s kind of hard to explain, but personally even after more than ten listen-throughs I wasn’t able to say which song I was listening to without peeking at the songlist.

The vocal performance remains nearly flawless and the evil growls fit perfectly into the instrumental backdrop. The vocal rhythmic as well as the lyrical content has, in my opinion, improved quite a bit and add a new layer to the band’s music. Only minor gripe I have, is that the vocal variety seems to have diminished and the screeches I have praised on the EP, have almost completely disappeared. I doesn’t really make the whole less interesting, but I thought they were a nice little addition in the past.

All in all, Aphyxion have managed to deliver a very strong forty-six minute debut album with Earth Entangled, that deserves a spot in every melodic death metal fan’s library. Be sure to head to the band’s Facebook page and give their music video below a click. And last but not least: be sure to catch them on their European tour in support of the record! One of the stops will be at Soul Kitchen in Luxembourg on the September 19th, so be sure to move your asses out there and bang those heads!

Summer Break, as is tradition

After another 7 months of providing you with content, it is time for us to take a little one month break.

There won’t be any Trash Monday nor any planned reviews. Possibly a spontaneous one but no guarantees.

We’ll be back on September 1st with a fresh batch of reviews, so be sure to enjoy your time until then and drink a beer for or with us!

Astpai – Burden Calls

Let me start by saying that today’s band flabbergasted me for various reasons, because if in the past you would have asked me to name music from Austria I would come up with Mozart and, sadly, DJ Ötzi. However, the four guys from Astpai have nothing in common with the two mentioned above…and that’s just as well. Their fourth full-length Burden Calls is going to be released on August 22nd and I’m happy to share my thoughts on it with you now already.

The punk-rock quartet definitely knows their stuff and recorded a really eclectic and fun-to-listen-to album, which didn’t leave my ear buds for quite some time. The major selling point for me was a certain sense of nostalgia that I got when I listened to their songs: I felt like being a young teenager again, playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for hours on end, because many of their songs would have fit perfectly into the game’s soundtrack.

Let me elaborate: the majority of the thirteen songs is an explosion of power chords and driving melodies that is bound to make you bounce around and bop your head. The interplay of the drummer and the bassist, who you can distinguish at all times, is top notch and provides a strong base for the guitars to go wild, when appropriate, or to take it easy when necessary. The songwriting isn’t going to rival the earlier-mentioned composer’s works, but it’s so well put together that you’ll say “fuck you Amadeus” in no time. The strong, yet real-sounding, production is just the icing on that delicious cake.

Then there’s the singer, who delivers an astounding performance, with his quite unique voice. I would say that he isn’t a virtuoso when it comes to vocals, but he takes everything out of the cards he’s been dealt and his slightly raspy voice will be stuck in your head before long. And as a little easter egg there’s a little detail on the song Emotion In The Way that lifts it to a whole new level, in my opinion: a female vocal track that is almost inaudible but very well used and gives the last track of these thirty-five minutes that extra something.

All in all, Astpai managed to put out a truly great punk record that should be checked out by every fan of the genre and newbie alike. Plus, they’ve won my (early) award for best outro of a song with the third track Out, but you’ll have to listen to that for yourselves when it comes out. On top of all that, having seen them live recently, I can only recommend going to one of their shows because they will (punk) rock you! To keep up with the band and their touring schedule, head over to Facebook and be sure to check the video below.

Trash Monday CXXVIII

Trying to emulate US gangster rapper music videos in one of the richest countries on earth just isn’t the same…

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.