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Tag Archives: USA

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!

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!

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.

Jonny X Kyle X Midnite – The Blueprint For Going In Circles


In case you are a regular reader, you might have noticed that I never, or very rarely, write a negative review. A fact that is easily explained: if I don’t find at least something that appeals to me on a record, I simply don’t bother, because I don’t get off on putting someone’s effort down just because I dislike it. And in cases when I am not completely into the music, I don’t hide that fact but I don’t emphasize it too much, because music is subjective…and that’s what’s most important to me.

Today, on the other hand, it’s time to get back to what got me into reviewing in the first place: writing about music that I truly love and want to share with the public. The Blueprint For Going In Circles is a new collaborative project between Jonny Craig, Kyle Lucas and Captain Midnite; in short: Jonny X Kyle X Midnite!

In its essence, the album is hip hop with a RnB vibe to it. Tight raps, minimalistic electronic beats, keyboards and various other sampled instruments, coupled with heartfelt and clever lyrics make these forty-one minutes an already highly enjoyable experience. But much like hot sauce on food, Jonny Craig’s soulful vocals make everything even better and complete the sonic spectrum perfectly.

As a matter of fact, the vocal duties are split slightly unevenly in the favor of singing instead of rapping, which suits me just fine, to be frank. Seven songs out of the eleven are duets, three are JC-solo songs and only one is a Kyle Lucas solo. However, the order of the songs is well chosen and at no point it feels like it’s a forced collaboration, which I applaud.

Honestly, that’s about as much as I can tell you about The Blueprint, because this might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I absolutely dig it and I predict that it will stay on heavy repeat for quite a while on my travels and at home. You can find the artists’ respective Facebook pages above, and listen to one of my favorite songs below. Enjoy! I know I did.

Salvation – Resurrect The Tradition


I’ve set a personal goal for myself this year, which is to review as many different genres as possible, and after being off to a good start already, I’ll continue in the same vein with today’s band: Salvation! The Florida-based old-school hardcore formation is about to release its debut album Resurrect The Tradition on January 26th, so I’ll give you my two cents on it!

Before I do so, I should probably confess that I’m not a huge fan of traditional hardcore, especially in a live setting, but there are a few bands that I enjoy quite a lot. Today’s quintet, however, has all the elements that draw me toward this specific genre: massive amounts of groove, neckbreaking riffs and a no bullshit attitude!

On the other hand, it also highlights some of the factors that make me so picky when it comes to this type of music: too many chugging rhythms and generally-speaking a very repetitive songwriting. Which is why the eleven songs all seamlessly blend into each other and before you notice what hit you, the album is over. Luckily this doesn’t always necessarily equal something bad, because in this case I actually wanted to press the replay button.

During the thirty-five minutes, the singer mainly sticks to his aggressive screams and hardcore-typical spoken word-like singing, but occasionally he goes into deep growls and sometimes even into screeches, which gives the vocal front a nice multifaceted feel. Lyrically, I just can’t get around saying that it’s nothing I’ve heard on pretty much every record in the same genre that is out there already.

To sum things up, I’ll say that Resurrect The Tradition is exactly what its name suggests: a revival of many classic elements, with a dash of modern aspects, that managed to keep me interested but didn’t exactly blow me away. If you are into classic hardcore I can strongly recommend giving it a listen though! For more information, be sure to head over to their Facebook page and if you are curious, listen to the song below!

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!