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That’s all folks!

The time has come to put an end to El Gore…at least partially. When I joined in June 2012, I discovered a real passion for writing reviews and I have since written close to two hundred of them (195 to be exact). Sadly, that passion has slowly faded these past six months, and while my main goal was to keep at least weekly content a thing on here, simply because I like routine and it’s always good to know that there’s a fresh album waiting for you to be discovered on each Wednesday, but my favorite pastime has become more and more of a chore for me.

However, I do not have the heart to just drop everything I’ve built over these, almost, past two years, where I’ve been doing this as a one-man-show, completely. Which is why I’ve decided to keep the machine going, but simply post reviews at random intervals while still keeping Wednesday as the general day for them to go online.

The main goal of El Gore, when it was founded in 2011, was to support the local scene, so you can still expect reviews of every local (metal/rock/punk) release and for the rest, it will most likely be just new albums of bands that I really love or the occasional “holy shit, check this out” review.

To be honest, I don’t know how long I will go on reviewing, but my aim for now is to at least get to the five year anniversary (October 4th 2016). And who knows…maybe between now and then, the passion will return and El Gore will return to its former glory. Never say never.

Either way, I would like to thank all the bands, musicians, readers and contributors who have helped make El Gore what it is today!


Devil You Know – They Bleed Red

Quick fact about myself: ever since I got into Killswitch Engage around 2009, I’ve become quite a huge fan of their music. Naturally, I was a bit devastated when their singer Howard Jones left the band in 2012 due to medical reasons. It turned out to be be a blessing in disguise, when their original vocalist eventually returned to the band, but that’s the point of this story. Jones was officially no longer in the music business, and I was quite saddened because I consider him to be one of the most unique and strongest singers in metalcore. Fast forward to 2014, when I learned that the man himself was back with a new band called Devil You Know, who were about to release their debut record, The Beauty Of Destruction. Despite my high hopes for the record, I wasn’t really convinced by the instrumental side of it, since it was a bit generic and lackluster, only being above average due to the vocal performance. Little did I know that merely a year later, the quartet would surprise with a fresh album called They Bleed Red, which is the subject of today’s review!

After that lengthy introduction, I should really just cut to the chase: it’s a major step up from its predecessor! The songwriting has vastly improved and actually has numerous memorable riffs and hooks that embedded themselves in my head even after the first listen. The heavy parts are truly in your face and guaranteed to instigate many vicious moshpits as well as enthusiastic headbanging! The technical level has also definitely been raised, providing more than just mere background noise to the vocals. The same goes for the melodic side of these eleven tracks, which frankly has a much catchier aspect to it.

The fact that the production packs a by far fiercer punch than before is just an added bonus to these already neckbreaking forty-seven minutes. All this provides the perfect stage, so to speak, for the afore-mentioned vocal prowess present on this record. It goes without saying that HoJo nails it and actually delivers, what I feel is, his strongest performance to date. The amount of face-melting screams and growls on TBR just can’t be put into words, it’s that good.

To sum things up, Devil You Know have definitely saved face with their new record and proven that they are a force in the making to be reckoned with. At the time of writing this review I am, as a matter of fact, going to see them live in three days, so I’m twice as excited as before to witness their performance! Check out the song below, which admittedly is one of my least favorite on here, and visit the band’s Facebook profile for more info!

Reject The Sickness – Chains Of Solitude

After several weeks of quieter tunes, I think it would be a good idea to crank things up a bit again? What do you think? Well, what better way to do so than with some fresh technical death metal from Belgium? But don’t roll your eyes in case you expect yet another bog standard metal act: Reject The Sickness add a few tasty flavors to the genre on their new record Chains Of Solitude! Read on to find out more!

The quintet has a fairly modern sound and also draws influences from modern metal acts, which can clearly be heard from the start. While the song structures are reminiscent of the classic bands everyone knows and loves, you will periodically find the occasional metalcore breakdown and chugging riffs along the way. Melody is also a big factor for the guys, since it is omnipresent, mainly in the guitar department, throughout the eleven tracks.

The groove is also strong with these musicians, and provides quite a few memorable headbang passages during the forty minutes, but the majority of the songs are filled with barrages of blast beats and crazy double bass work.

The vocals are mostly comprised of guttural growls, interspersed with maniacal screeches and topped off with fierce screams. Occasionally, however, the singer dives into a sort of clean vocals that gave me a very Gojira-esque vibe, which at times did feel a bit out of context, but didn’t throw me off too much.

All in all, Reject The Sickness is one of those bands that I’d like to write more about but feel unable to be descriptive or convincing enough…so I simply end this with: listen to Chains Of Solitude. It’s a solid record and it might tickle you in just the right spot. Song below and info on Facebook as usual. Take care until next week!

Smokey Bastard – Back To The Drawing Room

Folk punk. One of the greatest inventions since lactose free cheese. All joking aside: I love folk punk, since it usually has great danceability, even for someone as stiff-legged as myself, a lot of musical diversity and it’s usually a blast to experience live. But, let’s face it…there are a lot of bands that choose this genre without bringing anything new to the table…today’s musicians will change that, trust me. Smokey Bastard from Reading are about to release their new full-length, Back To The Drawing Room, and they incorporate certain elements that I’ve never heard in combination with folk punk. Read on if you want to find out what I mean!

The six guys have all the typical instruments such as drums, guitars and bass at their disposal and of course they add the (English) folk-typical instruments such as banjo, accordion and mandolin to the mix. The kicker about them, however, is the fact that while they do stay faithful to the typical folk punk sound, they have some truly metal-sounding parts with really distorted guitar riffs and crazy double bass work. While it might come across quite underwhelmingly on paper, it sounds so massive when performed that it blew me away the first time I put the record on.

A good example of this is toward the end of the song Screens, where the folk instruments play a beautiful melody in harmony while being backed-up by a heavy groove riff and some fabulously hard-hitting footwork on the drums. I love it. The ten songs are chock-full with such “oh shit” moments and even after my twentieth listen I’m still amazed by the perfectly fitting interplay of all the different elements.

Of course no folk punk ensemble is complete with a charismatic voice to recount tales of days gone by. Such is the case on BTTDR as well, and the singer delivers a gripping performance which varies between screams, clean singing and insanely fast spoken word, making these forty minutes fairly diverse yet never entirely pulling you away from the rest.

All in all, Smokey Bastard really took me by surprise since I was expecting just another, albeit good, folk punk ensemble, but was instead introduced to one of the most promising acts in the genre. Do yourself a favor and give Back To The Drawing Room a listen when it’s released on November 13th and in the meantime listen to their song below. Also look them up on Facebook if you so desire.

ReVerbed – Another Year, Still Here

It’s been a while since I wrote about a band that I wasn’t familiar with before-hand, and I thought it would be high time to change that, which is why I’m pleased to bring you a fresh review of a little EP called Another Year, Still Here. The culprits behind this rather enjoyable pop-rock release, which was released last Friday, October 23rd, are ReVerbed, a young band from Brighton.

I’ll get to the point rather quickly because the four tracks are sadly almost over before they even started: it’s solid. Very much so even, because of one simple yet very effective feature: dual vocals throughout all the songs. Not just in alternation but also very often at the same time, which is something that sounds banal in written form but actually elevates the performance to a level of its own.

Especially so because the male and female voices create a highly distinctive harmony that goes perfectly with the, to be frank, straight-forward yet catchy instrumentals. I honestly can’t quite put my finger on what it is that ReVerbed have, but I know that they do have exactly that. While no stand-alone element is anything to write home about, the final result of these twelve minutes will be stuck in your head, I promise.

All in all, Another Year, Still Here is an EP that deserves your attention, because it does everything right and, I know many share this opinion, this band has the potential to make it big. So if you want to be among the people that knew about ReVerbed “before they were cool”…be sure to listen to the song below and check out the band’s Facebook page!

Trivium – Silence In The Snow

After BMTH have drastically changed their style, it is now time to write about yet another band that has strayed quite far from its roots. Trivium has always been an ensemble whose music I’ve greatly appreciated for the most part, but their new record Silence In The Snow has taken a very different path from what I was expecting. Let’s see what has happened, shall we?

The quartet started in metalcore, and has constantly expanded its musical range by adding new elements and also removing some…but never in their fifteen year history has the evolution been this drastic. Well…almost. The band’s third record The Crusade had the lead singer mostly refrain from screaming, especially live, because he blew his voice while constantly being on tour and not having a proper technique. Along with that, the music felt a bit too much like a cheap Metallica copy and it is with no doubt my least favorite release of the band.

On subsequent albums he had not only regained his screams but also vastly improved his range and vocal power, resulting in amazing works of art and live shows. But apparently he damaged his voice again in 2014 and was thus forced to refrain from screaming again. Which is why, I suppose, the band chose to go a different route with their seventh release: no screams at all. The reaction to this decision has been very mixed so far, as was mine at first…but Superman damn it: it works! And how!

Logically, this also has a small influence on the instrumental side of things, but not as much as you’d think. Trivium still very much sounds like the fans have grown to love them, but the focus is clearly more on melody and, for lack of a better word, grandeur. The eleven songs all have this majestic feel to them, while at the same time remaining heavy; albeit having less of a “mosh-along” vibe. The only minor gripe I have is that some more technical aspects have gone missing in the process.

Now, onto the main change: the vocals. There is not a single scream, growl, shout or anything alike during these forty-three minutes and everything is kept in clean singing. However, the sheer vocal range of the singer has so vastly improved that it doesn’t feel like that much of a loss. But I have to admit that there were a handful of passages where I would have expected and loved the guitarist to maybe add a little growl here and there, simply because I kept waiting for it. On the other hand, I have to quote the latter: “you don’t need screams to be heavy”, and I have to agree 100%.

At the end of the day, there is no doubt Silence In The Snow will divide the ranks of Trivium fans, but to the naysayers I can only say: the old records did not disappear from the face of the earth, so feel free to go back and enjoy them! I, on the other hand, embrace this change wholeheartedly and while it probably won’t be my favorite record by them, I will fully support them! So be sure to listen to the track below and head over to their Facebook page if you want to do the same.

Everwaiting Serenade – No Harbor

Ten years. Unless you speak of the earth itself, that’s a long time. Even more so if a band reaches that milestone in its existence, since in today’s music industry that’s becoming more and more rare, with many formations splitting up after a record already.  Which is why I am delighted to write a review about Everwaiting Serenade, who are celebrating that achievement with the release of their new record No Harbor on October 17th!

I must admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of their previous record All Rise, which dates back to 2011, since it didn’t have any real musical highlight to me…but a creative break of four years has definitely remedied that and has helped the quintet (re)define their style! While the metalcore elements have taken a step back, and made way for a more hardcore-orientated sound, they are still found in the essence of the ten songs in the form of melodic riffing and the genre-typical breakdowns.

EWS have always been fond of chugging rhythms and that hasn’t changed either but, especially due to the truly massive production, it’s very well-blended with the various instruments, allowing a clear distinction of the other things going on in a song. Sadly, my only gripe with these thirty-six minutes stems from said chugging though. I’ve said it numerous times in conversations, but I don’t recall ever bringing it up in a review: Luxembourg has tons of amazing musicians, but very few good songwriters. While the songs all have a clear structure and even some truly memorable parts, I was constantly waiting for the massive hook or chorus to come and hit me in the face.

However, this doesn’t mean that No Harbor is your standard uninspired hardcore release either, quite the contrary actually. Especially since the vocals contribute a lot to the variety, since there are numerous sing-along parts in the form of crowd chants and catchy one-liners. While the vocalist has refrained from any vocal style other than screaming, I feel that he has vastly improved and it elevates the ensemble to a new level.

All in all, I’d say that Everwaiting Serenade have managed to capture that which makes them a local force to be reckoned with: raw energy! It might just be personal preference but I’m more than confident that if they iron out the above-mentioned part, they will be here for at least another ten years. Either way, I’m excited to follow their future and if you want to do the same, be sure to head over to Facebook and watch their new video for the title track of No Harbor! Last but not least: Melusina is the place to be on October 17th if you want to experience them live and get your hands on the record!

Mindpatrol – The Marble Fall

Imagine this: you start a musical project with your good friend, you write, record, produce and release it all by yourself in complete DIY fashion and it is met with with mixed to negative reviews. What do you do? I’ll tell you what you should do: dust yourself off, recruit some more like-minded individuals, start rehearsing as a band, play live shows and start writing the next record! That is exactly what Mindpatrol did after the release of Downfall Theatre in 2013, which is why I have the great pleasure of writing about their upcoming output, The Marble Fall!

Back when I reviewed their debut album, I praised them for covering a broad spectrum in their music, and I also mentioned the well thought-through songwriting…boy, was I a fool. Because even though they have narrowed their range down to what I would call progressive power-death metal, the songwriting during these twelve tracks is riddled with so many catchy hooks, riffs and melodies that I don’t even want to start counting. It’s clear that the omission of certain elements from the predecessor has greatly improved the sextet’s sound!

At the core of The Marble Fall is an epic story that is, admittedly, very similar to the biblical downfall of man, but with a new twist to it. In order to do this opus, that is recounted in sixty-two minutes, justice, Mindpatrol has incorporated some rather classical instruments such as trumpets, violins and organs, which gives the entirety a much more majestic vibe, without being cheesy though.

Despite already praising the improved songwriting, I can’t help but highlight the fact that the vocals have also further improved. Mainly because the clean vocals, which were the main caveat on DT, have been completely scratched and replaced with shouted singing. Furthermore, I feel like the growls and screams have also gained in strength, and especially the screeches are almost like the cries of the undead. Add to that a much better sense for vocal melodies and you’ve got a very promising vocalist! Hell, even his accent has become much more bareable…still not quite disappeared though.

In closing, I must say that the evolution that Mindpatrol have undergone in two years is quite remarkable…and a little bird tells me that they have not even reached their final form yet. Be sure to check out The Marble Fall when it’s released digitally on October 16th and, if you like what you hear, move your ass to the Schungfabrik in Differdange on October 30th for the release show of the record! In the meantime, watch the band’s music video below and head to their Facebook page to keep up with what else they have planned.

Cristobal And The Sea – Sugar Now

I am really glad to be back on El Gore to talk about a debut album that I, as a huge fan of the London-based quartet, had been eagerly awaiting: Sugar Now by Cristobal and the Sea! I’m obsessed with their experimental approach to folk with Mediterranean influences, and this release has been a definite musical highlight of my year.

I know comparisons are tricky, but it’s less the musical similarity that makes me point it out and more the general vibe and feeling I got from the record – I was immediately struck by how much it reminds me of Fleet Foxes‘ spectacular Helplessness Blues. The folk element is way more pronounced than in much of their previous work, which was dunked in trippy reverb, delayed guitars, some auto tune and other spacey effects. It’s less crammed, more subdued, very organic, fairly stripped down yet still big-sounding, and somehow feels close to nature. The particular way the band melds their haunting chants and vocal harmonies, flute playing, Latin riffs and at times borderline bizarre melodies creates a mystical atmosphere and invites you to get lost in a panorama of colourful sounds.

Pretty much every piece of media I’ve read about Cristobal and the Sea makes mention of the members’ different European backgrounds. With reason, as this cultural variety definitely spills over into the album, most evidently in the form of parts sung in Portuguese, French and Spanish (the two singers’ and bass player’s respective native languages). The lyrics themselves – sometimes abstract, other times more concrete philosophical musings – support the instrumentals in painting vivid pictures.

There are upbeat moments, but there’s also an ever-present profundity, perhaps even slight melancholy, hanging over the album. Honestly, if I had to sum it up succinctly and in less descriptive terms, I’d just call it beautiful. You can feel the passion and emotional honesty of the musicians shining through. It’s a truly refreshing spin on indie folk music that will be a delight to everyone who digs the warm sounds of Latin America and the Iberian peninsula.

The band is active on Facebook and other social media platforms, and Sugar Now, which will be out on the 2nd, can be pre-ordered here, as well as on iTunes and Amazon.

Idle Class – Of Glass And Paper

It’s been a little over a year since I first discovered today’s band at all-day punk show here in Luxembourg, and after reviewing a split EP they were on in October, I’m excited to say that Idle Class are back with a full-length entitled Of Glass And Paper, that is going to be released on September 25th!

What can I say? Everything that has attracted me to the quintet’s sound at first, is back with a vengeance! The essence is still very much punk rock, along with the dreaminess and melodic finesse that made them stand out to me, except that this time the joy isn’t over after two songs. As a matter of fact, the eleven songs allow the Germans to develop a much deeper-felt experience and thereby ensures the need to re-listen to the album over and over again.

The songwriting is nice and tight and is jam-packed with tons of sing-along-worthy passages as well as a healthy dose of heaviness and even a dash melancholy, rounding off the forty minute package quite well. Musically, I found a couple of riffs to really stand out through their intricacy, but in general there’s not many “look what I can play” moments…which I totally appreciate, since the songs as as a whole are more important to these guys than comparing penis sizes…then again, what happens on the tour van, stays on the tour van.

Vocally, you are treated to clean singing and shouting, as well as a moderate amount of screams for good measure, providing a very fitting performance to the music. But, my only minor nitpick also lies in this department: the singer’s accent seems slightly forced at times, which made me raise an eyebrow every now and then…but it’s not relevant enough to distract from the ensemble. So no “points” deducted there.

All in all, Idle Class have managed to confirm my love at first listen for them with their new outing, and I can only recommend OGAP to every fan of the genre, since it’s quite a hidden gem! Be sure to check out the song below and head over to the band’s Facebook page for more infos and even a full stream!