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Desdemonia – Anguish


The death metal titans from Luxembourg, Desdemonia, are finally back with a new album in tow! With a career of over twenty years and this only being their fourth release, the quartet might be one of the slowest bands out there when it comes to output. But I’d like to tell you whether they’re like a good wine, and the wait for Anguish was worth the while, or not!

If you are familiar with the band’s previous work, one motto springs immediately to mind when you put on the new record: why change a winning team? The trademark Desdemonia sound shines in all its glory, but with a fresh coat of paint slapped on it, which truly revitalizes the band’s modus operandi. The drums sound and feel like a tank that’s relentlessly mowing down everything in its path, and their ferocity is only rivaled by the bite of the guitars.

It is worth noting that the string department has seen a slight change of personnel, and the new guitarist has definitely brought in a breath of fresh air, while also understanding and maintaining the sound that makes the band sound the way it does. Endless Fight, the song below, is a prime example of a combination of both worlds: crushing riffs on one hand, and on the other hand a melodic aspect that lifts the song to a whole new level. Hell, there’s even a freaking harmonic part in there!

I feel like the guys didn’t set out to re-invent the wheel with these nine songs, but instead put a fresh set of tires on there, and oil it up nicely…and boy did they achieve that. The new material will still make you want to bang your head until you suffer from severe whiplash, but it also provides, dare I say, growl-along choruses that will incite a lot of crowd participation at gigs.

You can’t speak about Desdemonia without mentioning the powerhouse that is their vocalist, and bassist, who delivers another stellar performance during these almost forty-eight minutes. Truly vile growls go hand in hand with soul-shattering screams that round off this thrilling death metal ride just perfectly. The icing on the cake is a really massive production, that lets every note rip even harder into your eardrums.

All in all, the fans’ wait is without a doubt being rewarded and the quartet delivers another strong entry into their catalogue, despite it having taken them eight years. Make sure to listen to the song below, and head over the band’s Facebook page for more information regarding the release. Since it’s being split in two, so to speak: the official release and a listening party will be held this Friday at Rock Solid; and a release show will take place on April 14th at Kulturfabrik! See you there, when it’s time to schalalalala!

Mike Litoris Complot – The Art Of Pony Party

Goregrind. What can I say? It’s one of those genres that never strongly appealed to me, but also one that didn’t put me off completely. A song here and there was actually quite welcome since I liked the straight-forward attitude, however I couldn’t subject myself to much more than that at a time. This has all changed now, since I “had to” listen to Mike Litoris Complot’s debut album The Art Of Pony Party at least once in its entirety in order to review it. Funny thing is: once turned into twice, into thrice, and from there on I stopped counting. Let me tell you why!

First off, I should say that MLC is not strictly goregrind, but instead takes elements of it, fuses them with slam and adds a major dose of humor. Resulting in this weird, but highly entertaining, aural potpourri, where childlike vocals transition into pig squeals and evolve into frog noises. This combination is not necessarily a first, as far as I know, since there is an entire underground scene and even a relatively large festival that revolves around those ingredients in one way or another. But what really makes the sextet stand out to me is the fact that their songs actually have a lot of substance, which honestly surprised me. I wouldn’t exactly call them symphonic masterpieces but the amount of diversity and standout elements is truly captivating.

There are tons of influences, or maybe parodies, throughout the twelve songs that can be discovered with every subsequent listen-through. A thrash gallop riff will be followed by a pure open-string slam attack and end in an almost pop-sounding chord, allowing almost no room to catch your breath, or gather your thoughts. The drumming is fairly straight-forward, with lots of blasting and tons of double-bass barrages, yet never monotonous. The entire ensemble is wrapped in a tight but natural production and knows exactly how to deliver the goods to the listener: right in the face.

As mentioned earlier, the vocals are all over the place and both singers alternate between their styles perfectly, creating an immersive experience during these forty-six minutes of madness. Lyrically, I don’t know what to tell you…it’s certainly nor radio- or child-friendly, but if you can take the band as serious as they take themselves, you’ll be fine. The titles alone are guaranteed to send mothers and priests across the globe into spastic fits, with classics such as Gangbang Abortion or Orphan Crippler.

All in all, The Art Of Pony Party is definitely a surprisingly well-rounded debut album with very little to no complaints, and I’m sure that Mike Litoris Complot will make waves in the goregrind scene, and perhaps beyond, if they get the necessary and well-deserved coverage. You can listen to the song Circus SlammyGranny below and head over to the band’s Facebook page for more info. And last but not least, consider moving your bum to the Schungfabrik this Saturday, March 17th, where the guys will release this banger!

Top 10 2017 by Yannick

Another year comes to an end and while it has, arguably, had the lowest of lows in the history of mankind in some areas, it has also stood for acceptance and social evolution in many other areas. However, what is truly relevant at least on this platform is the music…and it has definitely been another strong year with many brilliant releases. I’m here to give you my personal top 10, which will, again, include a majority of records that I didn’t get to review.

#10 While She Sleeps – You Are We

I’ve seen WSS live twice over the past few years and while I was always impressed by their energetic and spot-on performance, their albums never really convinced me. However, with You Are We the quintet have definitely hit a new level and managed to put themselves not only on my radar but gained my deep appreciation.

#9 Paramore – After Laughter

What started out as a crush on the lead singer all those years ago when Misery Business was released, developed into a real fascination with their music by the time they released their self-titled record five years ago. Naturally when they announced a new record, I was fairly excited and looking forward to their evolution; and After Laughter did not disappoint: not only was the music fresh, but the songs were also lyrically very honest, at times even too much.

#8 Taylor Swift – Reputation

Well. How do I put this? After buying the previous record when Shake It Off was released, I realized that it’s actually great pop! When the first single off the new one was released I felt a bit disappointed but I decided to give the record a chance anyways…and I was rewarded. It’s debatable, but I would say that this is her best record to that. Give it a shot, seriously!

#7 Adventurer – Sacred Grove (review)

When I first discovered Adventurer, around three years ago, I was immediately enamored with their chaotic yet highly melodic sound, reminiscent of The Fall Of Troy. Naturally, I was super hyped for their, at the time already announced, full-length album…but it took until fairly recently to be released. And the wait was definitely worth the while! You can read more thoughts on it in my review.

#6 Andrés – Strange Memories On This Nervous Night

By far my biggest surprise-discovery this year was Andrés! His tongue-in-cheek lyrics, his charismatic performances and his pure talent simply shine in every corner of his debut solo album! I had the chance to meet him earlier this year in London and I’m confident in saying that the future will hold some big things for this dude. Get on the hype train before it’s too late!

#5 Wolf & Bear – Everything Is Going Grey

Let’s not kid ourselves…pretty much every Blue Swan release will usually make it on my top 10. The second one on the list, so far, is the debut album of Wolf & Bear, a band that is fairly similar to Dance Gavin Dance in terms of their setup (they even share the same bassist), but are different altogether in their song structures and sound. This one has been on heavy rotation for quite a while on my playlist.

#4 Asking Alexandria – Asking Alexandria

Another, so to speak, surprise entry: the fifth full-length by Asking Alexandria was just released five days ago, but I can safely say that the return of their original singer was the best thing that could happen to the band. A re-vitalized sound, a very open-minded songwriting and a lot of weird, but good, stylistic choices make the self-titled album a force to be reckoned with and put the quintet back on the map.

#3 Trivium – The Sin And The Sentence

When Trivium released their screamless Silence In The Snow, I accepted their change of direction and was ready to follow them down that path. But when the first teaser for their eighth studio album was released, I knew that I might have lied to myself at the time. Because THIS is what I first loved about the band: a perfect blend of heavy and melodic with loads and loads of details to be discovered with every subsequent listen. TSATS is the epitome of what this band is about and I can only recommend it to everyone!

#2 Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

This one is a bit weird for me…since I haven’t even listened to it more than ten times. But I feel like it deserves a spot this far up simply for what it did to me on every single listen. Julien Baker‘s debut album already affected me deeply, but Turn Out The Lights is one a whole new level. It is not for everyone, but for me it was a very cathartic experience that I believe should be had by everyone.

EP-Special
Eternity Forever – Fantasy
Hail The Sun – Secret Wars
Happy Hour – What’s Your Poison
Push Over – Demo

I know, I know, I’m kind of bending my own fictitious rules here…but this year saw the release of quite a few really solid EPs, that I think deserve a quick shout-out! Two of those feature one of my favorite vocalists, Kurt Travis, and they are both very different. The, sadly, already defunct Eternity Forever is one of the dreamiest things I’ve gotten to hear all year and Push Over is a fun project with Thomas Erak, of TFOT. Happy Hour is another very DGD-y band, but they managed to stand out to me because of some very unusual elements like a reggae part in one song. Another band that I have fairly high hopes for. And last, but certainly not least, is Hail The Sun‘s new release Secret Wars, which has them going back to their roots, so to speak and just delivers on every single level. What a treat!

#1 A Lot Like Birds – Divisi (review)
Sufferer – Sufferer
Eidola – To Speak, To Listen (review)

While last year had a clear winner, this year I will have to settle for a three-way tie. I’ve written reviews about two of these, so I will just say a few words about the one that eluded me. In the past I’ve dealt with anxiety quite a bit and, while I never dove into real depression, it has definitely made many aspects of my life fairly difficult and it was a real struggle to overcome the hard times. While I have managed to rid myself of the majority of those things on my own, Sufferer is a record that, I feel, can serve as a form of self-therapy to some people out there. (note: of course it does not replace actual therapy) It certainly put a lot of things into perspective for me and, besides, it is just a phenomenal work of musical art.

All in all, I really enjoyed the dynamic this year. I was a bit more active, writing fifteen reviews, and I managed to cover all the local releases that were relevant, to me. However, looking into the future at the moment is a bit weird since, aside from a new Dance Gavin Dance record, I have very few albums I’m actively looking forward to…maybe 2018 will be the year of surprises!

Mindpatrol – Vulture City


I figured I’d end the year the way I started it: with a review of a local band. There is, to my knowledge, no band in Luxembourg that is as productive as Mindpatrol, since they are about to release their third full length in more or less five years. They stick to their concept album approach and this time around they are taking us to Vulture City, a drug infested dystopian setting! Are you ready to take the trip with me?

I realize that I’m sounding like a broken record here, since I said the exact same thing last time around, but the sextet continues to evolve in remarkable ways. Their sound has become a little more concise, settling comfortably in, what I would consider, progressive death metal and the band seems to know exactly what works, and what doesn’t. The result is a fifty-one minute journey that is jam-packed with memorable riffs and impressive drum patterns. Fun fact: this is the first time that the drums were actually recorded and not created on the computer…and can definitely be heard and felt!

The other factor where Mindpatrol really stand out, to me, is their songwriting, which I would rank among the best in the country. It is one of my main critiques I have with local bands especially, since most of them are fairly solid musicians, but the songs rarely have that extra little something that makes them stand out. While not every single one of these ten songs has “hit potential”, the vast majority is truly well-written and has a nice flow to it. Solos complement the riffs superbly, a good example being toward the end of He, Summoned By The Needle, and small, almost hidden, details like subtle licks every now and then really add a ton of depth. The ensemble is rounded off by a truly massive production quality, that makes every note shine even more!

On the predecessor, one major selling point was the fact that the weakest part of the debut album, the clean vocals, was completely scrapped and replaced by shouted vocals. Ironically enough, I am happy to say that the cleans have found their way back into the fold. Having taken the negative comments to heart, the vocalist decided to completely start from scratch and improve his technique to bring a fresh wind to the mix…and it worked! While he won’t be singing acapella at weddings quite yet, it is a real joy to hear the vast improvement and makes me excited for what is yet to come. I won’t spoil any of the story, but I would consider it the most original and risqué one to date.

What can I say? Vulture City is a major step forward for Mindpatrol and I am convinced that it will appeal to a fairly wide audience, if given the right exposure. To get an idea of what I mean, just check out the brilliantly filmed and edited music video to Her Dire Sacrifice below, and I dare you to not hum that intro along after you’re done listening to the song. The band is putting on a really cool release show this Saturday, December 9th, at Kulturfabrik in Esch, so make sure to swing your behind over there and in the meantime visit their Facebook page for more info.

At this point I’d like to thank you for another year of El Gore and you’ll read me again in a few weeks with my annual Top Ten!

Icarus The Owl – Rearm Circuits


As the year is coming to an end, the window for good albums to be released is also slowly closing. Luckily my, hands down, favorite label at the moment decided to slate one last release from their catalogue in 2017: Icarus The Owl’s fifth full length, Rearm Circuits, is being released on December 1st and I had the privilege to dive into it ahead of time. You can read my thoughts below.

It won’t come as a surprise that the Blue Swan Records-signed quartet plays post-hardcore, but I might put you in disbelief if I tell you that they are wandering a fine line between that genre and radio pop. Did I just hear an eyeroll? Don’t, and bear with me for a second here. The beauty about ITO’s blend of styles is that they manage to create a soundscape that sounds very real and honest, since everything is played on instruments, but their knack for melodies and super catchy hooks is just beyond this world.

However, technique and intricacy is not sacrificed for said catchiness: every instrument shines and especially the guitars are a tapping extravaganza on one hand and a perfect mix of riffing and chord progressions on the other hand. That doesn’t mean that the drums don’t offer a solid foundation, because they absolutely do! There are some songs among these twelve songs where the drum patterns and fills stand out more, but in general they serve the song, rather than showing off.

The one thing that really ties these forty-seven minutes together, beside the stellar songwriting, are the vocals, which add another layer of melody to the mix. I remember when I first discovered the band, I had a few initial difficulties to get past the singer’s voice, since it has a slightly nasal and whiny quality to it, but it grows on you really quickly. I also really dig his lyricism, which has a very, for lack of a better word, dramatic and grand feel to it, with analogies and images all throughout.

To sum things up: Rearm Circuits is a phenomenal entry into both Icarus The Owl’s and Blue Swan Records catalogue, and, for me, it blows its predecessor out of the water. You should check out the song below to give you a good idea of what awaits you, and also has a super cool music video! More info can be found on the band’s Facebook page and I hope you’ll have as much fun with this one as I did!

Tardis – Machines Are Talking Behind Your Back


“Indie rock with heart” – that is the tagline of today’s band, and I couldn’t agree more. In a genre that seems to spawn so many new bands on a regular basis, it’s difficult to stand out, but at least for me Tardis managed to do just that with their debut album Machines Are Talking Behind Your Back. Read on if you want to know how they did it.

The quartet is comprised of members of various French rock bands, Sliver, Brainwashed and Victis to be precise, who decided that they wanted a change of pace and a different platform to express their creativity. After releasing an initial one-man-recorded demo in mid 2016 and playing several gigs in and around France, the band entered the studio to track these twelve songs. The result is a record that is filled to the brim with goodness, where every note struck and every chord strummed has a sense of purpose.

While the music of a band is, or should be, always the core upon which you should decide your affinity towards them, Tardis deserve a standing ovation for one other very important thing: presentation. The name of the Frenchies might ring a bell for some, since it’s the time machine in Doctor Who, and it comes as no surprise that a lot of the social media presence is just as geeky and chock full of nods to old TV show and movies. The same goes for the album artwork, which is crafted with a ton of love and a blast to look for small details.

The other thing that differentiates the band from the majority of the other indie rockers, is the fact that they chose to attack socio-political issues such as the recent migrant crisis and the desensitization of people under the constant influence of technology. One of my favorite lines is “Do you miss your brain? Do you miss your heart?”, since it hits the zeitgeist of today’s society right on the head. There are many other brilliant lines and witty track titles throughout the forty-five minutes that I will leave unspoken for you to explore.

All in all, Machines Are Talking Behind Your Back is a charming first entry into the catalogue of a band with a ton of potential, and I’m sure that Tardis could appeal to a fairly wide audience if they get the chance. The album is available on Bandcamp as of now and there will be an official release party on November 24th at the Irish Pub in Metz. So be sure to check out the music below and head to Facebook if you want to keep up with their progress. Also, those who buy the album might even find a teaser of what’s to come if they keep their eyes peeled and are a bit crafty. Enjoy!

Versus You – Birthday Boys


If I had to name one thing that I like the most about reviewing records, it is the fact that I am occasionally “forced” to listen to genres that I don’t dabble into on a regular basis. I am using the quotation marks, because it is my own decision which albums I review, and which I don’t, but I try to cover the majority of the national releases either way. Now, today’s candidate is definitely not out of my comfort zone, but in listening to Versus You‘s new EP Birthday Boys, and researching it a bit, I realized that there is a great deal of punk rock history that I am totally unaware of.

Immediately upon listening to the opening track, you are welcomed by a very different-sounding band than what you may be used to from the previous record, Moving On. In hindsight the title might as well have been an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come, but I don’t think it was intentional. Generally-speaking, the speed and intensity of the band’s entire sound has been dialed down from eleven to a comfortable six. While I have to admit that on my first listen I wasn’t quite sold on this decision, it ended up making sense on the second go.

These five tracks are, to me, an ode to the past: the band’s inspirations, as well as the experiences they went through individually and as a group. The result is a melancholic musical journey, which does, at times, allow a few glimpses of the brighter future ahead. In a way, it marks the end of an era and the opening of new paths.

To be frank, there is not much more that I could tell you about these seventeen minutes, because they need to be experienced. In order to do that, you can move your bums to Sang an Klang this Saturday, November 11th, where Versus You will be hosting a fairly massive release party. You can find more information about that and the upcoming releases on their Facebook page, so don’t be shy!

I The Mighty – Where The Mind Wants To Go/Where You Let It Go

I would consider myself to be someone follows a lot of bands in the post-hardcore scene and thus is usually up-to-date with the evolution of the genre and the tendencies that it’s taken in the past few years. One such direction is that many bands have changed their sound into something, for lack of a better word, more radio-friendly; a fact that I don’t mind since a good record does not necessarily need screams, or mosh parts. While some listeners absolutely despise change and subsequently claim that the bands have sold out, I’d like to argue that it all lies in the execution. While I don’t like to Gossip, there is definitely a recent entry in the catalog of bands that I listen to, where the new style has failed quite spectacularly. But enough opening monologue: today I have the pleasure of writing about I The Mighty‘s new record Where The Mind Wants To Go/Where You Let It Go, which does it right!

Upon the first listen, it is undeniably obvious that the quartet has taken a step back and fine-tuned their sound into a tamer version of their former selves. However, the trademark ITM sound is still there: well thought-out rhythmic patterns brought to life by energetic performances and painted over with the distinctive vocals. I feel like the main aspect that was altered is the guitar sound, which is mostly void of distortion and fast-paced riffing; opting instead for chords and a cleaner sound. But fret not! There are some “old-school” sounding gems that can be found among these forty-nine minutes…and they are true bangers!

Where the Californians definitely stand out are the two most important features in music, to me: coherent and captivating songwriting, as well as intelligent lyrics or themes. A fact that many bands tend to forget when they change their sound. There is one song, called Sleepwalker, that stood out to me immediately due to it checking both those boxes and, on top of that, being catchy right off the bat! Another aspect where WTMWTG gets bonus points, is the order of the individual eleven songs, which is the perfect simulation of a roller-coaster. Just when you think you’ve heard all the record has to offer, it hits you with another looping!

As mentioned previously, lyrics are an extremely important factor when it comes to my personal enjoyment of music and, to no surprise, this third full-length is filled to the brim with memorable lines and clever analogies, which make every new listening a joy. The vocal performance itself is also as top-notch as was to be expected, albeit with fewer screams, but therefore a special gem in the form of a guest appearance by Dance Gavin Dance‘s Tilian Pearson on Silver Tongues, which can be found below.

All in all, Where The Mind Wants To Go/Where You Let It Go is not only a worthy follow-up to its predecessor, but also a very well-executed transition toward appealing to a larger audience. I am convinced that I The Mighty have bright days ahead of them, and I can’t wait to hear the general reaction to this record! In the meantime, you can head to their Facebook page and keep up with their doings until this Friday, October 20th, when the record is released!

Five Of The Eyes – The Venus Transit

Five Of The Eyes - The Venus Transit
I really got into post-hardcore about four years ago, and ever since I’ve kept discovering new, and sometimes old, bands. Yet, every now and then, I stop and wonder if this genre can ever stagnate and become boring to me and despite some people claiming that the downfall is already underway, I find it hard to believe that I will ever be over-saturated by this genre, especially when I come across bands like Five Of The Eyes. Their debut album The Venus Transit really caught me by surprise when I was granted early access and I hope that the following words can entice you to give it a listen as well.

Now, technically, they are considered progressive rock but I found so many post-hardcore elements in the Portlanders’ sound that I will approach them as such. My first impulse was to call their style psychedelic post-hardcore, because at times I could have sworn I was listening to a modern approach to Deep Purple or the likes, mainly due to the vocalist having a similar timbre…but more on that later. I would say that 5OTE‘s music is best characterized by the words grandeur and theatrics: every note seems to build up to a great finale in each of the nine songs.

The drums undergo numerous temporal and rhythmic changes all throughout the record and serve as a perfect foundation for the guitars to unfold their entire glory of both dreamy melodies and ferocious riffs that hit you with a highly eclectic tone. In general, the forty-two minutes have this really natural and old school sound to them that enhance the experience even further, because every strum and every hit come at you in biting clarity.

On top of that, there’s the wide range of the singer who, as mentioned above, at times channels his inner Ian Gillan and really works those pipes to their extreme, though luckily not quite as high-pitched. His performance also deserves praise because he really makes every line come across as heartfelt and, coupled with a great feel for melodic singing, delivers a solid result.

All in all, exploring The Venus Transit was definitely a surprise for me and if you are into bands like Artifex Pereo or Eidola, you will have a blast with Five Of The Eyes! So be sure to give their debut a listen when it drops on Friday, September 30th, and in the meantime listen to the song below to get a first impression. Also, if you want to keep up to date with their progress, head over to their Facebook page…I know I will.

Retrace My Fragments – Tidal Lock

Retrace My Fragments - Tidal Lock
Three years have passed since the local progressive death metal heroes in Retrace My Fragments have released their skull-shattering full-length Ethereal Flux and it began to be quiet around the quintet for a while. It wasn’t until recently that they announced their return with a small EP in order to whet the appetite for new adventures to come. However, Tidal Lock is much more than just an amuse-bouche: it is a transition.

The reason for said transition is the, amicable, departure of their vocalist after more than ten years as the frontman. After several try-outs and careful consideration, the guys decided to continue as an instrumental four-piece; a choice I wholeheartedly welcome! While the Luxembourgish metal scene has a few very talented instru-bands already, I am convinced that RMF has a fairly distinct sound that will nicely fit between the existing and established formations without singers.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, back to the EP: in a way the sixteen minutes sound nothing like the band’s previous material, but on the other hand they feel very much like what we’ve grown to love about the band. The song structures are on the same crazy level as before, with frequent tempo changes and numerous riffs being thrown at you in rapid succession, whereas the content is “simpler”. The technicality takes a step back in favor of the almighty beast that is groove, and it works…for the most part.

There is no doubt in my mind that large portions of these three songs were written with a vocal melody in mind and were later on changed into an instrumental arrangement, which is absolutely understandable and legit. But I am also convinced that they do not represent the final form of the new Retrace My Fragments, and that future endeavors will have that extra little something that will make people fall in love with their sound all over again.

If you want to see the band one last time as a quintet, I advise you to move your sweet cheeks over to Rockhal this Friday, where the band will hold a release party for Tidal Lock which will at the same time be the farewell for their singer. In the meantime, you can check their Facebook page for more info!