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Tag Archives: Post-Hardcore

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…?

Eidola – Degeneraterra


I have learned something over the past sixteen months: if you find the Blue Swan Records logo on an album, you can just go ahead and buy it. There is no way you won’t be satisfied by the quality of what you’re going to be listening to…even more so if you’re into post-hardcore. Despite all the previous releases being in the same vein, yet different enough to avoid repetition, today’s record wanders off in new territories, while still staying true to the label’s main genre. And let me tell you: Degeneraterra by Eidola manages to open even further horizons for this promising label!

As mention before, the quintet plays post-hardcore, but of the very experimental fashion, with many elements borrowed from other directions. At times you get a progressive metal vibe, which blends into a blues-inspired part, before erupting in an explosion of complex and heavy riffing. Just when you think you figured the guys’ music, they throw something new at you. This can be demanding to you as a listener at times, but trust me when I tell you that the effort you put into paying close attention and feeling the music, is rewarded tenfold.

Especially the ingenious and well-structured songwriting plays a huge role in fusing all these various elements into thirteen songs that are a blast from start to finish. Add to that the fact that it’s a concept album which, as the name might suggest, deals with the decline of the world and the environment we live in, as well as a glass-clean production and you find yourself having a hard time letting go from the Uthans’ music. Small side note: they’re also genuinely nice people that deeply care about their fans, which became very clear when I found a personal note in my package, that contained their previous record, with them thanking me for my support…definitely a first for me.

If all that wasn’t enough already to make a brilliant album, the instruments are only a part of the goodness…because the vocals take this hour-long musical journey to a whole new level. I have to admit that I am not one hundred percent sure about which of the three vocalists sang, or screamed, which parts, but the result is simply hypnotic, to me. Especially, the “main” singer has some phenomenal pipes and keeps pushing his vocal chords further and further on each song, delivering a brilliant performance. This being a concept album, the lyrics are also everything but your typical “oh no, she broke my heart, now I’m sad” run-off-the-mill read.

While I did not have a doubt about it to begin with, Degeneraterra has really cemented Eidola, as well as the earlier mentioned label, into being a force to be reckoned with. Mainly due to the fact that I’m confident in saying that this band, just as their labelmates, truly feels the music they make and shares that enthusiasm with their listeners…it doesn’t hurt that said music moves on a very high level of intensity and ingenuity either. If I managed to make you curious, be sure to listen to their song below and head over to their Facebook page. Last but not least, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on May 5th, when this gem hits the (digital) stores!

Dance Gavin Dance – Instant Gratification


Nothing can be more devastating to a band than losing their lead singer; a fact that has lead to the demise of quite a few very promising ones in the past. There is, however, one band that has evolved in a very positive way with every singer they had. Of course I’m talking about Dance Gavin Dance, who are back with their sixth full-length Instant Gratification…and boy, is it a banger!

This is the second record in a row of the quintet with Tilian Pearson in charge of the clean vocals, and it just feels like he’s played a much bigger role in the creation of it. Don’t get me wrong, the predecessor, Acceptance Speech, was a really strong record, but at times it felt like it was written with the previous singer, Jonny Craig, in mind. The timbre of the two singers is very different, however, and so it felt off at some points. These twelve songs on the other hand demonstrate a perfect fusion of all the elements, and are a pure aural delight.

Musically, there are two things that immediately caught my attention: first off, this is definitely the heaviest DGD album to date, and the erratic and highly technical guitar play and drumming is often reminiscent of Secret Band, a side project of some of the members, which injects a new kind of power into the Californians’ sound. The other thing is a clear resemblance to Tides Of Men, Tilian’s former band, in terms of groove and the structure of the melodies. Truly a mix of two very different worlds that results in one delicious post-hardcore stew that takes no prisoners.

When it comes to the vocals, what can I say? The screams have already been perfect in the past, but I feel like this time around they’re even a tad bit stronger…maybe just my impression. With the change of the instrumental backdrop, the cleans feel a lot more organic this time around and Tilian seems to be vastly more at ease, because he pushes his voice to its boundaries. On top of that, there’s a track, Eagle Vs. Crows, with raps by the almighty Will Swan and the trifecta of voices on that one just blows everything out of the water!

Last but not least, if you are familiar with the band, you will know that the lyrics, especially the screamed ones, are very…unique. This hasn’t changed on these forty-three minutes, and I couldn’t be happier about it! So, watch the video below and be sure to give Instant Gratification a spin, since it’s a masterpiece that you don’t wanna miss! Also, head over to the band’s Facebook page for more information and a link to the official album stream.

Adventurer – Adventurer


Today’s post isn’t really an in-depth review, but more like a brief introduction to a band that I only discovered very recently since they signed to Blue Swan Records, a label that has released three albums that were part of my top ten, last year. Let’s get down to business then: Adventurer‘s self-titled debut EP is the subject of the following couple of paragraphs!

If you are familiar with the label, it will come as no surprise that the Michiganders play post-hardcore, since every artist on the roster is part of the same genre. A fact that might seem boring to the ignorant, but the variety that can be found between all the bands is phenomenal! Personally, I’d rather have a label focus on a single genre and hand-pick every single group of musicians, thus ensuring a very high quality standard…a fact that is confirmed by today’s trio!

What equals complex guitar melodies, intricately rhythmic drumming and interesting songwriting? Correct! A seven track strong EP that is a blast from start to finish! If one considers that this is the first year that the band has been truly active, including touring and gaining inspiration, I can only imagine what the guys are going to come up with for their debut full-length!

Despite them being a three piece band, Adventurer employs dual vocals, with one covering the clean vocals, and the other one the screams and occasional growls. Throughout the twenty-nine minutes, the dynamic between both styles is always spot-on and guarantees a diverse ride! On a speculative side note: the cleans have a timbre that no other band on the label has, so a third superband in the near future could be a possibility…just saying.

This about does it for today. I’m aware that it reads more like a Wiki entry than a proper review, but I just felt like I had to spread the word and, hopefully, introduce some of you to them! You can listen to their entire EP below, and visit their Facebook page for more info on the progress of the recordings of their debut album, which will hopefully see the light of day this year!

Stolas – Allomaternal


I already teased today’s review in the one I wrote about their labelmates’ latest release, and now it’s finally time to dive into Stolas‘ new full length Allomaternal! The way I’m going to kick off the next few paragraphs is by reiterating the same question as last time: what kind of drug was invented this year, that was apparently distributed among most post-hardcore bands? Because this is yet another truly phenomenal effort in the genre!

One thing right off the bat: the stuff this quartet writes is not for everyone…by far not. It’s truly complex and very chaotic music, so nothing for an easy-listening session on your couch in your slippers with a glass of red wine…actually…that might be the perfect setting for it. But I digress. Saying that the Las Vegians are a talented bunch of musicians would be the under-statement of the year because every single instrument is mastered at a, almost, virtuoso level. The songwriting is equally brilliant, inventive and complex, yet never two inches away from an explosion of audible chaos.

To me, every second of these fifty-one minutes is like walking on a tightrope while being drunk: you never know what’s going to happen and while it lasts, it’s a blast. Beware, however, of falling off because it will hurt…to apply that analogy to Stolas‘ sound: the album is full of dreamy passages filled with beautiful melodies and highly technical drumming, yet the next neckbreaking heavy part is just around the corner and it might explode in your face at any given moment. I absolutely love it. When it comes to skill, the guitars don’t have to hide behind the percussive elements at all, because there are some riffs on here that will, literally, blow your mind.

The vocal diversity on the ten songs is massive, mostly due to the fact that there are three different people covering that duty with one of them being, déjà-vu, the drummer. The best part about this triforce of awesomeness is that, as far as I can tell, at least two of the vocalists both do cleans and screams, which just adds another layer of variety…as if it was necessary in the first place. Another fact that seems to be a recurring theme with swancore bands is that the lyrics don’t follow the usual “oh no she broke my heart, I’m so super sad and angry” formula but actually tell truly interesting stories with a lot of depth to them.

To sum things up: while Allomaternal was a bit more difficult for me to get my head around at first, it revealed itself to me as a fabulous record that has tons of replay value and deserves a high place on every must-have post-hardcore list of 2014! Be sure to convince yourself of the quality of it below and if you like what you hear, head over their Facebook page! Long live the almighty swan!

Hail The Sun – Wake


Holy shit! I don’t know what kind of drugs most post-hardcore bands took this year, but they seem to work wonders. So far almost every single release of bigger bands has been a pure blast and I’ve discovered so many new quality bands that it’s hard for me to catch a break…and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Today’s record of choice is the new release of Hail The Sun, called Wake which saw the light of day on September 23rd!

I first stumbled upon HTS on the very first day of the year, when I listened to Sianvar, a superband composed of members of bands that are signed to Blue Swan Records. Both bands share the same singer and therefore some similarities in their sound. However, the three other members of the California-based quartet are such proficient musicians with a fascinating range of ideas that both bands could not be any more different in their approach.

The twelve songs are a perfect mixture of calm, melancholic goodness and balls to the walls insanity, often borrowing elements, such as ultra-complex guitar parts and drum patterns, from mathcore. Their songwriting in general is rivaled by few, but their feel for going over the top is so phenomenal that Wake could well be a stand-alone instrumental record and still hold a high rank in the top ten of the genre. Seldom has a band managed to make transitions from neck-breaking mosh to totally idyllic parts in such a genuine way.

But, luckily, the musicians are fronted by an extremely diverse and talented singer who, seemingly effortlessly, covers every range of singing techniques that are common in post-hardcore. His, quite high-pitched, clean vocals are flawless and are always employed in the right moments during the fifty-two minutes, whereas his screams are energetic and I’m convinced that if they fail to animate you, there is something seriously wrong with your ears and you should consult an otologist. Extra kudos for the guy since he’s also responsible for the drumming, a feat that is quite remarkable to perform live. An extra touch are the screams by the guitarist on the song Cosmic Narcissism, which I would have loved to hear more often…but then again, their rarity makes them extra delicious to my ears.

As if all of the above was not enough to make it a super strong contender in my album of the year category, the lyrics are captivating and intelligently written with way more than a few memorable lines. There is simply no downside I can find to Wake, and I strongly urge you to click on the Bandcamp below, listen to the entire record and ideally buy it because these dudes deserve every cent that you throw at them. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page and keep your eyes peeled for the next possibly big release from their label mates Stolas, another band that is part of the above-mentioned superband.

The Color Morale – Hold On Pain Ends


2014 has been a truly interesting year for me, especially musically-speaking, so far…I might even go as far and say that it’s the best one in recent memory and definitely the number one during my times here at El Gore. Not only have “my” bands released great new records thus far, but also bands that I haven’t been into in the past have come out with some amazing music. One of the latter is The Color Morale, from Illinois, who have released their fourth full-length, entitled Hold On Pain Ends, just a few weeks ago.

Back around 2008/2009 when I started getting into the whole post-hardcore scene, I kind of had to ignore quite a few bands because I was just overwhelmed by the sheer amount of formations being started left and right. Sadly, one of them was TCM…however, earlier this year when the vocalist was featured on a song from the new Jamie’s Elsewhere album, I actually gave his band a shot and liked what I heard. When a few weeks later the quintet released their version of the classic song Everlong, I was sold and was impatiently awaiting the new record. Fast forward to when I actually heard it for the first time and picture myself being in a state of complete awe.

There are many reasons for me being so attracted to these twelve songs with the main reason being the lyrics and the emotion-laden vocal performance. The Color Morale falls into my drawer of bands that I consider lyric-porn, while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and you probably have to be in the appropriate mind-set while listening to it, it just speaks to you on a very deep level. Almost every song has a certain melancholy to it, but still comes up with a message of positivity in one way or another. On top of that, the two guest vocal spots fit perfectly into the ensemble: Dave Stephens of We Came As Romans on Suicide;Stigma and most notably Craig Owens of Chiodos on Developing Negative.

But the sung parts aren’t the only selling factor during the forty-four minute ride. The instrumental front has all the melodic goodness coupled with heavy riffs and the occasional breakdown, that is necessary to make every post-hardcore fan feel right at home. Furthermore, even though there aren’t all that many groovy parts on H.O.P.E., let me assure that if one pops up, you will want to bang that head and karate-chop your neighbor with full force.

All of the above makes the follow-up to Know Hope a record that I would recommend to everyone who might be going through a tough time, or who simply wants to listen to some genuine music. Be sure to check out the video below and visit the band’s Facebook page for more information. And to end this review with a note of positivity and a lame word play: never forget to Hold On since Pain indeed Ends.

Emarosa – Versus


Emarosa. The name of a brilliant post-hardcore band that will make almost everyone think of Jonny Craig immediately. One simply can’t ignore the first two records when mentioning amazing genre releases of the past ten years, and rightly so. However, the band parted ways with their previous singer and, after more than a four year recording hiatus, are now back with a new album, called Versus, and a new frontman. But more about that a bit further down.

The sextet, at least that was the case during the recording, from Kentucky still has its distinctive style that fans have grown to love on the past two endeavors, but it has also expanded its sonic repertoire. With the song I’ll Just Wait they venture into the general territory of a ballad, and in another instance, Gold Dust, they almost play pop…but both songs are incredibly exciting to listen to, trust me.

Instrumentally-speaking, unless I’m completely mistaken, the band has changed their guitar tuning to standard, to accommodate the new vocalist’s range, but therefor the bass guitar is in the foreground on the majority of the songs. The resulting sound is so gratifyingly rich that I wish more records sounded like this. The drums interlock perfectly with the string instruments and create an immersive listening experience from the first second of these forty minutes to the last.

Now onto the biggest addition: the new singer, who goes by the name Bradley Walden, was previously in Squid The Whale and, while he does have a similar singing style in some instances, is nothing like Jonny. Which is a blessing and a curse at the same time…but let me explain: his timbre is different, his vocal technique is much more diverse and his lyrics are also in a slightly different tone. All those elements bring a fresh new breeze into Emarosa. But sadly, I fear that quite a few people will simply dismiss the band because “it’s no longer Emarosa”…which I think is just fucking stupid, pardon my French, since the eleven songs are top notch.

In closing, I’ll say that Versus is yet another strong post-hardcore release this year and, if you are open-minded enough to give “the new guy” a chance, you will not be disappointed…I promise. For more information you can visit the band’s Facebook page and listen to the song below to get an idea what awaits you! Enjoy!

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!

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!