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Adoptees – Adopt These


After a whole month of downtime, to recharge the batteries, it truly feels good to be back. And what better way to restart the machine than with a brand new local release? Adoptees, a Luxembourgish punk rock quartet, is actually releasing their (very) long-awaited debut full length, Adopt These, today at noon and I’m very excited to share my thoughts with you, just a couple of hours ahead of time.

But first, a quick back story: the record was actually recorded, mixed and mastered in 2012..but like a good wine, the guys waited before they made it available to the public. When I first learned this little information, I was a bit worried that maybe the twelve songs would sound a bit “old”, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that age has not done anything to diminish the quality and enjoyability of the music, quite the contrary.

Musically-speaking, Adoptees is very old-school punk with a healthy dash of melody thrown in for good measure and together with relatively straight-forward, yet super catchy, songwriting, the twenty-nine minutes are bound to amaze from beginning to end. During the approximately twenty times I listened to the album in its entirety, there were numerous parts that got stuck in my head and I absolutely have to praise the recognizability of the individual tracks. The majority of the songs are balls-to-the-walls punk rock that many of us grew up with, whether actively or passively, and no instrument takes any prisoners.

In case you shouldn’t recognize the voice when listening to the song below, let me tell you that Adoptees is fronted by Eric Rosenfeld, of Versus You and Communicaution, making this his third active band to my knowledge. While the former is more pop punk oriented and the latter more of a singer-songwriter deal…Adoptees is, for me, a release for his angrier side, especially on the instrumental side. Lyrically, there are also quite a number of angry songs, but I found that they all left a somewhat positive aftertaste in my…ears, I guess? Even the one or the other serenade finds its way into the mix, which adds quite a bit to the diversity factor.

All in all, Adopt These has everything that a timeless album needs: lots of musical ingenuity, tons of catchy parts and an overall great production. The three year waiting period might have seemed like forever to fans of the band, but it’s safe to say that the wait was well worth the while. So, be sure to show Adoptees some love on Facebook, listen to the song below and head over to their Bandcamp around noon to grab the record! Smell you next week!

Time off


Dear readers,

After another seven months straight of reviewing, it’s time for me to take a short one month break. I’ll be back with a fresh review on September 2nd!

Enjoy the summer days!

Cheers,

El Gore one-man-team

Plaguewielder – Chambers Of Death


Even though the metal scene in Luxembourg is a presence that cannot be underestimated these days, there are some genres that are very scarcely represented. Doom metal is certainly one of them because, unless I am mistaken, there is only a single band that chose to invest their talent in it. That formation is called Plaguewielder and the guys are about to release their first album, which goes by the name Chambers Of Death.

Now, if you look at the amount of tracks, you could assume that it’s just an EP, but I must remind you that it’s doom metal we’re talking about here: forty-nine minutes of music await you! I have to add that three out of the five tracks are new versions of the songs that were on their debut EP, but since we haven’t gotten around to reviewing that on here in the past, it was a wholly fresh experience for me. Due to the low amount of songs, I’m going to do something I rarely do, but which I think is justified in this case: a song by song breakdown.

Existence Is Our Exile starts off with black metalesque screams of pure desperation, present on the entire record, before kicking it off with a powerful outburst which follows that same emotion. The soundscape is enriched by minor use of string instruments which fit the mood perfectly and give the song that extra something. About halfway through, the synthesized piano kicks in and, without really breaking the feeling of despair, drives the song into a completely different direction before reverting back to the main part to close the song.

The second song, Drowned, which remains largely unchanged from its former glory except for a handful of added vocals, is the slowest song on the album and the most basic one out of the bunch. While it’s nowhere near anything I would consider bad, it doesn’t have any of those surprise moments which I love so much on the other tracks.

The new version of Casket Of Dying Flesh follows, which takes a while to build up an atmosphere before the organ kicks in. Baring in mind that I hadn’t given the EP a listen before, this really took me by surprise since it fits so nicely into the concept of the song that I couldn’t imagine it without it. The melody of the organ just has this looney bin feel to it, which complements the lyrics so well…in case you’ve read them.

I’ll be straight-forward here: Father Suicide, the second new song, is by far my favorite on the album. The first half of the song is an almost post-rock-worthy barrage of fast-paced riffing and drumming, which conveys, to me at least, this feeling of total freedom but yet of deep sadness. The synthesized piano is the omnipresent instrument throughout the seven minutes and helps guide the song into its heavier part in the second half, which is on the heavier spectrum of the band’s sound.

The closing track, The Funeral March, is the longest song and at the same time a perfect way to close the Chambers Of Death. Its gloomy vibe is carried all throughout the almost fourteen minutes and even when the song picks up the pace, the depressing mood is not lifted, quite the contrary: it has this goosebump-inducing quality to it until the very last seconds.

That’s about it. Plaguewielder is a very promising band with loads of potential to be quite prominent in the scene, and definitely not simply because they are the only ones in their musical field. While I think it would have been welcomed by their fans if there had been more new material, I think the guys did the right thing by spicing up their old material, since it sounds so much more powerful now. Generally speaking, the production is just what it should be: clean but not artificial sounding in any way whatsoever. Be sure to visit the band’s Facebook page and do yourself a favor by giving Chambers Of Death a listen when it drops on August 25th and get sucked into (your) doom!

Colorbred – Synergy


As an independent reviewer, there is nothing more gratifying than having a band, young or old, write you an e-mail asking for a review because they’ve read one of your articles and liked it. In my case, I usually agree without any questions asked but it definitely helps if the genre is something I actually dig myself…such is the case with today’s band: Colorbred, a three-piece that has found together over the internet. They are releasing their debut EP Synergy on July 26th and were kind enough to provide me with a very early digital copy!

Having had more than enough time to go heart to heart with the six tracks, I’ve actually grown to love the guys’ approach to post-hardcore. While it is not really innovative, since it is largely inspired by bands such as Dance Gavin Dance, Sianvar and Hail The Sun, it is clear that they are a talented bunch and the fact that they openly cite those bands as their inspirations is also a plus. Honesty is key and, as I always say, it’s better to create a good copy than a bad original…even more so when it comes to the first steps as a band.

These seventeen minutes are also a beautiful testimony to what the internet can achieve, other than providing tons of amusing cat videos, since the singer, who also plays guitar, is from Spain and the bassist and drummer are from two different states in the US…yet they’ve managed to come up with a dynamic and varied handful of songs, which is something that some bands, where the members live in the same town can’t always claim. The tracks all have a very dreamy, yet intense, atmosphere, with interestingly playful melodies and just the right amount of technical spice to keep things lively.

One truly charismatic factor in the mix is the vocal performance. Because not only does the singer have a fairly wide range and generally speaking great pipes; he also comes with a charming accent that makes his voice quite unique in my opinion. I am also quite impressed by his feel for vocal melodies and the chorus and bridge of Green Eyes is a great example that he also has a talent for catchy lyrics.

All in all, Colorbred have managed to write a strong debut EP, especially considering the fact they’ve only been in existence for six months. While there is definitely air for improvement, you would have to be a total ignoramus if you didn’t recognize the talent that they bring to the table. The fact that they’ve recruited a fourth member, a guitarist, also promises great things, with the only major step left being actually “moving in” together and start playing shows….but one step after the another. For more information, head over to the band’s Facebook page and if you enjoy the song below, why not throw a like their way? Enjoy!

An Elegy – Embrace The Rain


I don’t know if it speaks for or against me, but I remember the exact moment the metalcore scene was flooded by dual vocal bands. There were obviously some that were meant to stay and that have proven their longevity through evolving their sound over the years and had brilliant songwriting to begin with…but a whole plethora of them simply disappeared in the vast ocean that is music. Since this medium is a very eclectic one, there are regular resurgences of this style in newer bands, and I always give them a go to judge the current state of things. Which is what lead me to today’s band: An Elegy! The quintet is about to release its debut EP, Embrace The Rain, on July 27th and I’m here to tell you whether you should give them a chance or just move on.

Let’s get one thing out of the way that hit me right from the get-go: these Brits must love Upon This Dawning. Their sound is very European, even though I couldn’t explain to you what I mean by that if you held a gun to my head, and it reminded me very much of the aforementioned Italian’s first major release…which is a good thing, to me, by the way. Throughout the eleven songs, down-tuned guitars, and chugging rhythms are ever-present, but usually overlaid by mildly technical elements, before exploding into purely melodic parts for the choruses. Obviously, the drumming goes hand in hand with that, while alternating between fast-paced and groove-laden play.

Next up are the vocals: as mentioned at the beginning of this review, there are two different types of vocals, provided by two different people, that intertwine during the nineteen minutes, as is tradition for this style. The unclean vocals are fairly diverse and cover deep growls, screeches and regular screams; while the clean vocals, that are provided by one of the axemen, stay rather constantly on an enjoyable level of melodic goodness.

All in all, I would say that Embrace The Rain is an ambitious first step in the right direction but, despite all the musicians being talented, that it’s missing that little extra something to distance itself from the masses. Now, maybe I’m just too critical or over-saturated, but nevertheless I am very confident in saying that An Elegy has the potential to go big, when they find their own sound and manage to execute it well. Either way, your time will not be wasted by giving them a listen, so please do so below and head over to their Facebook page for more information.

August Burns Red – Found In Far Away Places


In 2013 I had a tough time choosing my top five albums of the year…so I just picked four as my number one. Two years later, one of those four bands has released the follow-up to their previous masterpiece and my excitement couldn’t have been greater: I am talking about August Burns Red, who have released their sixth full-length, Found In Far Away Places, on June 29th!

What can I say? The quintet has definitely found its sound on the predecessor, that much is certain, because these eleven songs are very much in the same vein, albeit a bit more akin to their old material: the experimentation and diversity factor are two things that were maintained, but chugging parts are back with a vengeance; creating a truly eclectic feeling, with a ton of depth.

I could go over how well the Pennsylvanians master their instruments…but that’s as much of a known fact than that the sun sets in the west. So let me just reassure you: nothing that changed in that department…every musician pushes his technical prowess to the limit and the songwriting is very multifaceted. But, at least that’s what I think, what ABR has mastered over the course of the past two records, is the implementation of atypical instruments, without them sounding out of place or even breaking the flow of the other instruments. It is a rare feat in my opinion to make a trumpet, a clarinet, a cello, a violin, and a piano feel right at home in a metalcore song…but it works so well during these fifty-two minutes.

The vocals and lyrical themes are also in line with the band’s previous works, featuring a strong performance from both screamers and highly interesting topics, with a hint of Christianity, that are just a blast to listen to. This is something I have mentioned previously, but it’s one of the major reasons why I love this band: even though they are openly religious, I have not once felt like they try to force their faith on their listeners, be it through their lyrics or anything else. Another fact worth mentioning is that FIFAP contains the second vocal guest appearance in the band’s twelve year history…and they got none other than Jeremy McKinnon from A Day To Remember to perform on Ghosts.

All in all, to me this new record does not exceed Rescue & Restore but it is a very worthy equal…but I think that this is mostly due to the fact that I connected more with the themes on the previous record. Musically-speaking, Found In Far Away Places is just as strong and will bring many hours of discovery to fans and newcomers alike. So, be sure to listen to the song below and head over to the band’s Facebook page for more information!

alone. – Somewhere In The Sierras


Today I’m going to tell you a bit about one of the most interesting solo projects I’ve heard of in recent times. Michael Franzino, of A Lot Like Birds fame, started a crowdfunding campaign a while ago, so he could isolate himself for an entire month in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, in order to write his, as he called it, most personal album thus far. After successfully raising the amount, alone. was born and more or less a year later, yesterday June 30th as a matter of fact, Somewhere In The Sierras was released…and it’s not what I expected…at all.

To be frank, I got into ALLB quite late but I devoured all of their previous releases with great appetite, so obviously when I read that one of the main songwriters was starting a side project, I immediately backed it and I was eager to hear the first song, full well knowing that it would not have the same magnitude as the full band music. When I did hear the first track, I was a bit underwhelmed, simply because it sounded very electronic and soulless to me. In hindsight I must say that I was a fool, trying to judge such a conceptual album after a single output…but even now, after having listened to it around twenty times, I’m not as flabbergasted as I thought I would be.

Obviously, expectations are always a double-edged sword but I have to say that SITS is a definite grower. Once you get your head around the fact that the music is not necessarily driven by the “classical” instruments (or lack thereof in some instances) used, but rather the atmosphere that is created through the extremely melodic soundscape of various atypical instruments and electronic devices. There’s cello, violin and trumpet…which, to be fair, have been present on his previous works in one form or another but have never been as much of a driving force as during these thirty-six minutes, as well as a lot of electronic sounds.

The vocal duties are mostly shared between Michael himself Danika McClure on a few songs, who have a really enjoyable dynamic going on between them…even though I guess technically the project should be called together. then, but I digress. The lyrics are mostly themed around solitude and melancholia, which is to be expected if you consider how and where the ten songs were written. The songwriting on the other hand is top notch, in my opinion, because even though there is only one major “hit single”, so to speak, the ensemble is just so soothing and thought-inspiring that it’s a pure pleasure to delve into it.

All in all, alone. is one of those things that I can’t really recommend everyone to listen to, simply because I think that if the idea behind it doesn’t appeal to you or at least intrigue you ..it’s most likely not your cup of tea. With that being said, listen to the above-mentioned song below and if it touches you in one way or another…do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on this beautiful piece of art. More information can be found on Facebook.

I The Mighty – Connector


The biggest, and only, fear I always have when I discover a new(comer) band with a brilliant debut album, is whether their next album can live up to my, naturally, high expectations. I’m not going to lie: I’ve been sorely disappointed in the past, and I know that it will most likely happen at least a dozen more times in the future…but when I The Mighty, one of my favorites of 2013, released their new record Connector on June 2nd, I was relieved to find out that all my hopes had been fulfilled! Which is why I just can’t pass up on delivering a belated review!

The Californians have stayed true to their post-hardcore roots, but I feel like they built upon that foundation and expanded it tenfold: everything just seems even richer and fuller than on Satori, and is simply a pure delight from start to finish. One thing that the quartet has always had going for itself, was their ability to write catchy, yet complex and technical, songs and let me reassure you that they have not lost that talent, as is perfectly showcased during these twelve new songs!

Each musician shines in his own way, be it through addictive groove in the drumming, spiced up with some delicious fills; through beautiful melodies on the guitar in stark contrast to some truly slamming riffs, or through enjoyable bass lines that provide a clear line through the forty-four minutes. Connector also sees the implication of some select few synthesized sounds, that, while not strictly necessary in my opinion, provide a nice change to the aural spectrum.

While the entire instrumentation is worth listening to on its own, especially when it transcends into epically built-up explosions of energy, the cherry on the musical cake definitely comes in the form of the phenomenal performance of the vocalist. Covering a wide range of styles with his beautiful clean vocals, his powerful and heartfelt screams and most of all his prowess in melodious vocal patterns, I could listen to this guy day in, day out.

As last time, there is very little for me to criticize about I The Mighty‘s new output, except the fact that one song/interlude could have been scratched from the record, since it steals a bit of the power from an else very strong album…so what are you waiting you for? Head over to the band’s Facebook page for more information, be sure to watch the fabulous single-shot music video below and, if you like what you hear, buy the friggin’ record! And trust me: it’s a grower! …that’s what…she…said…?

Versus The World – Homesick/Roadsick


I feel like there’s been some sort of pattern these past few months, where I alternate between punk and metal reviews…and honestly: I’ve never been happier. I’ll be honest: at times it’s really difficult to provide content all by myself on a weekly basis, but records like Homesick/Roadsick by Versus The World make the struggle well worth it!

The Californians play punk rock with a penchant toward the pop punk genre with some minor emo elements, which goes down so smoothly because of their proficient songwriting skills and mastery of their instruments. Melody is definitely the major driving force behind the eleven songs, but in terms of speed and power the quintet doesn’t lag behind either, providing a truly solid backdrop for the vocals.

The drumming is energetic and is accompanied by clearly audible bass lines, and both in perfect interplay the achieve a groove-laden base, that is overlaid by tons of simple but truly effective guitar riffs that range from heavy to soft melodies. The cherry on the cake are the playful solos that spice things up in just the right moments, thus creating a massively catchy experience to every listener.

The emo elements I mentioned earlier are only found in the vocals, which despite being melodic and screamed for the most part, are shaky and a bit whiny in some moments…and I absolutely dig it. Simply because it provides a truly heartfelt quality to the vocals, that is often lacking in the (pop) punk genre. In case you are not into that type of performance, don’t shy away, because it’s very minor, easily ignored and it doesn’t distract from the strong singing capabilities of the vocalist at all.

Homesick/Roadsick is the first output of the band that I’ve listened to and it managed to leave a very positive impression of Versus The World! So be sure to give the record a spin when it’s released on June 23rd, despite the most-likely major hangover you’ll be having after the National Holiday celebrations! In the meantime, you can listen to the first single below and head over to the guys’ Facebook page for more information!

Epsilon – Zu Richten


Since it’s been rather quiet in the post-hardcore realm lately, safe for a few gems, I’ve had to enlarge my scope and delve into other genres…truth be told I couldn’t be happier. Especially since I’ve been treated to some true quality material, most of which was in the death metal direction. Today marks yet another entry of said style: Epsilon‘s Zu Richten, which was released last Friday!

The Austrians take a very old school approach and definitely like it raw and brutal, since there is little to no high tech bullshit involved and, at least that’s what it sounds like to my ears, every instrument is recorded as is. No triggers, no digital alteration, no nothing. Just pure, honest, mayhem…just like it should be!

The forty-six minutes are mostly a series of balls to the wall blast-beats and double bass rampage, combined with fast-paced, technical guitar play and a very distinct and clearly audible bass sound…a true delight to my ears! Obviously, and thankfully, there is also variation in the form of slower and groovier parts, that truly drive home the ever-present feeling of heaviness.

The thing that stands out to me, however, about the quintet is that throughout the eleven songs, they have six which are sung in German, complete with the typically Austrian rolled R. And to be honest…those are truly the ones that stand out, not only because of the language but also because they have the best songwriting and variety. Especially the seven-minute piece Die Schuld des Lebens is a ride to hell and along with the song Nutzmensch Agonie definitely among the masterpieces on here.

All in all, there is no doubt to me that Epsilon have managed to write a record that knows how to convince genre fans of their prowess and I’m quite certain that Zu Richten will not leave the playlists of many of their listeners. So be sure to listen to the song below and head over to their Facebook page for more information!