Inhuman Rampage – Savage

I’ve mentioned it frequently on here that Luxembourgish bands very often operate on a much different schedule than any other country, because almost a full decade after their debut EP, Pathfinder, Inhuman Rampage have decided to grace us with their second release. This time around it is a full-fledged album, accurately titled Savage. I’ve had the opportunity to get quite a few listens in already ahead of time, so let’s dive in!

First off, you’ll notice that the quintet has changed its sound a bit and has decided to mostly move away from deathcore, into a more technical death metal direction. This decision can be felt in the songwriting which feels a lot more diversified than on its predecessor. While there is still the occasional chugging, the riffs err on the technical side most of the time. As an example: to me, every song after the title track has at least one riff that stood out to me.

The drums can only be described as a constant assault on the ears, and I mean that as a compliment. I very rarely had the feeling that they dropped under 200 BPM and when one blast beat ended, the next one took its place. This is not to say that it’s an endless barrage of fast playing, because there is a fair share of groove as well.  

The vocals also see a fairly major addition in the form of clean singing, which on my very first listen took me out because I was simply not expecting it at all. But on every subsequent time I pressed play, I appreciated them more and more. They add a completely new layer to these fifty-one minutes that makes the songs they’re used on, stand out. But I can’t forget to mention the overall improvement to the vocals, especially the growls, that took place over these past ten years! Definitely another great metal vocalist that can be added to the list of Luxembourgish singers.

My only criticism with these ten tracks, is that at times they felt unnecessarily long: almost every song exceeds the five minute mark and I’m willing to bet that a minute shaved off of the majority of them would have made the album a tad more dynamic. However, this does not deter from my overall enjoyment because the guys deliver exactly what they promise: pure savagery!

All in all, Inhuman Rampage managed to exceed all my expectations and then some! Savage is an album that has something in petto for all types of fans of (modern) metal and I highly recommend give it a listen. For more information, be sure to head to the band’s Facebook page and keep your eyes peeled for the official release on February 23rd, which is also accompanied by a release show over at L’Entrepôt in Arlon!

Top 10 2023 by Yannick

It’s that time of the year again where I reflect upon my favorite albums of the year! This one has been quite phenomenal, especially in terms of live performances that I got to witness! I finally completed the scene kid trifecta by seeing Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy after seeing My Chemical Romance last year. I also got to see Pantera perform some of their biggest hits, and I finally saw Silent Planet, twice in a row in fact, after missing them three times in the past. But live music is only one component…without a daily dose of music it would have been hard(er) to get through the year. So here’s the ten albums that I either listened to the most or stood out to me the most!

#10 Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust

While FOB were never gone, I have to admit that I never gave their more recent albums a proper listen but their most recent one changed that for me and while the entirety is good, the title track alone is worth the price of admission and a reason why it deserves a spot in this list! What a chorus!

#9 Emarosa – Sting

I was pumped last year when it became clear that Emarosa were going to release a new record, and when they then announced that they were going to tour in Germany, my joy turned into ecstasy! A brilliant pop record and a charismatic live performance cements this one as an immediate classic for me.

#8 Beartooth – The Surface

I finally got to see Beartooth live for the first, and certainly not last, time this year and their new record just scratches that itch that I feel only they can reach! Aggressively catchy songs coupled with a truly energetic performance on stage make this band a member in my “bangers only” club!

#7 Periphery – Periphery V: Djent Is Not A Genre

Periphery were always just a name for me and I never really paid close attention to them, but this year I decided to change that and gave their new record a shot and it blew me away! The vocal performance, the songwriting, the riff fest…it’s all just too good! The closing track is an absolute masterpiece that has all the elements I need to be happy! Can’t wait to see them live in about a month!

 #6 Hail The Sun – Divine Inner Tension

Hail The Sun have, and always will be, a band I enjoy very much, and when Divine Inner Tension shaped up to be the closest to my favorite record of them, Wake, they’ve been in ten years, I was sold!

#5 Silent Planet – Superbloom

As I mentioned in the intro, I finally got to see Silent Planet this year, in their original line-up, before they amicably parted ways with their bassist who also took care of clean vocals. At first I was a bit worried because the dynamic between both singers was always something that fascinated me, but I should have known that the band knew what they were doing. Superbloom is a very different record but it handles the transition perfectly!

#4 Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden

Honestly, at this point it feels redundant to even write about Sleep Token because rarely has one band made such huge leaps in terms of popularity in a span of only twelve months. I was also a latecomer to them and only discovered all three of their records this year…and I think that this year’s Take Me Back To Eden might be my favorite, simply for its sheer diversity.

#3 Off Road Minivan – May This Keep You Safe From Harm

This one almost completely missed my list because it was nowhere near my radar. But as fate would have it, I bumped into just two weeks ago and it’s been on repeat ever since. Off Road Minivan hits the exact spot between catchy and meaningful, dare I say deep? It’s very accessible alternative rock yet it isn’t bland in any way. This is the one record I would recommend you check out the most, even though it’s only my number three.

#2 Dwellings – Little Garden   

My top two picks really won’t come as a surprise, yet again, to those who know me. Dwellings already held the number one spot five years ago, because their fresh take on post-hardcore was so addictive to me that I couldn’t stop listening to it. Their sophomore is on the same level, with a slightly more refined sound. So clearly a keeper!

EP-Special

Spiritbox – The Fear Of Fear

Bugsy – Now I Spend All Of My Time Alone

Jamie’s Elsewhere – Paradise

Fusion Bomb – Fusion Bomb

Quick intermission for the EP special!

This year Spiritbox delivered a full-sized EP and they perfectly evolved both aspects of their sound, making The Fear Of Fear a 10/10 EP.

A very different type of music comes from Bugsy, whose second EP has that perfect blend of indie rock and a touch of grunge.

Probably the most unexpected comeback in metalcore, Jamie’s Elsewhere delivered a five track EP almost out of nowhere…and it caught every aspect of what made them great back in the day. More of this please.

Last but not least, despite not writing a proper review for it (sorry, guys!), the new EP by the local skinny jeans thrashers, Fusion Bomb, is a beautiful showcase of what the band may or may not sound like in the future! Either way, these four tracks are definitely worth checking out!

#1 Wolf & Bear – Bloodletter

I was a big of the band’s debut record six years ago, but this one easily blows it out of the water. Wolf & Bear just have that extra groove that makes every song a bop. The R&B elements in their music gel so well with the heavier parts that I can’t imagine how they could further improve their sound…but I’ll be here for it either way.

2023 was a really good year in terms of music and concerts for me, and I hope you all had at least a similar experience! Personally, I am already looking forward to a couple of very promising international and local live acts next year and it looks like both Dance Gavin Dance and Eidola will release new records…so I’m already a happy camper. I hope you can enjoy the coming days in whichever fashion you like and read you next year!

Venlafvckscene – Poetry

While I love writing reviews, there are instances where I’m not sure if there is a point to it. Not because the music is bad or anything, just because some releases are so short that the time invested in writing down my thoughts, is longer than just telling you to listen to it yourself. Which is why I set myself a time limit of twelve minutes today, which is exactly how long Venlafvckscene’s new EP Poetry is.

The German trio delivers eleven songs that each hover around the one-minute-mark, so of course there can only be one genre that we’re talking about today: bingo! Grindcore!

The instrumentals are fairly “standard”, and that is in no way meant in a bad sense: it’s just a lot of fast-paced bass riffs that perfectly gel together with a barrage of blast-beats. You read that right: there is no guitar here, only fuzzy (and distorted to hell) bass!

The vocals are purely demonic and I would bet that the band has had exorcists called to their practice space on frequent occasions. All joking aside: the lyrics are barked relentlessly and deal with all kinds of societal issues and injustices, especially toward women. Which is quite refreshing, because in my (admittedly limited) experience with grindcore, that is not the norm. The background vocals also add a nice extra layer of aggression.

All in all, Poetry is a perfect snack for lovers of grindcore and, dare I say, a fairly easy gateway drug for people who are not yet familiar with the genre but into heavier music already. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the band’s Facebook page for more information! In the meantime, you can listen to their previous release on their Bandcamp page below, to which the new one will also be added on December 20th!

Mean To You – What We Could Have Been

Not giving up after a setback can be very difficult but usually the perseverance pays off, as can be seen quite beautifully by today’s record! Mean To You started off as a band but after all the members left, the bassist decided to continue the project on his own and is about to release his third solo-effort, titled What We Could Have Been!

After an album that can be seen as an excursion into the electronic soundscape and a collaborative second EP, this time around all instruments are done by himself and on the vocal front he enlists the help of local dread-headed legend Tap, from Atomic Rocket Seeders.

That’s enough background info, let’s get to the meat of the thing: the music! Upon my first listen my initial thoughts were that it sounds very familiar, in a good way, and it didn’t take long for the gears in my head to piece together who I was thinking of: Diecast! Especially the vocals could be on the metalcore classic Internal Revolution and you wouldn’t notice a difference between the original. Specifically the fry screams are just the perfect early 2000s throwback and made me really nostalgic.

The instrumentals on the other hand are very fast-paced and groove-heavy, making sure that there is not a dull moment during these six songs. To me they have just the right mix between chugging riffs and more intricate guitar parts that stand out quite a bit, a good example of this can be heard in the song below, Straight Ahead.

The drums are fairly diverse as well, but they never take away the focus from the vocals or the strings, always choosing to serve the song instead. Last but not least, these twenty-six minutes are surprisingly well produced, for such a small project, every note can be heard clearly but it never sounds over-polished, which I appreciate quite a bit, especially in this genre.

To sum things up, Mean To You honestly took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting what was delivered in any way. What Could Have Been is an EP that will make older metalcore fans’ hearts beat faster and I’m sure that non-aficionados will also enjoy the ride. For more information, you can head to the band’s Facebook page and make sure to listen to the song below.

Kitshickers – The Boarwin Hunt

Seven years after their previous record, Kitshickers are back with yet another crowd-funded album, a model that luckily seems to work really well for the guys! As is tradition at this point, The Boarwin Hunt is of course a concept album and this time around the band deals with digital worlds and the immersiveness, good and bad, that comes with them. So, pick up your controller and join me!

Since the predecessor the band parted ways with their drummer, and when they announced that two members of The Majestic Unicorns From Hell, the bassist and guitarist, would be joining the band as drummer and third guitarist respectively, my interest was definitely piqued.

While the new drummer is not completely new to the craft, he has less experience with hitting the skins, so naturally the parts are a little less complex in their nature than what you might expect, but he makes up for that in attitude and feeling in my opinion. Especially since the songwriting of the record itself is much more atmospheric, for lack of a better word, and the more basic drum patterns definitely make it easier to get lost in the music.

The third guitarist also adds a new layer of depth to the music and brings a riffier sound to the table that complements the sound in every aspect. Ranging from very groovy parts to, almost, black metal riffs, it’s really hard not to like the guitar work here.

At this point, I feel like writing about the singer’s vocal performance is almost redundant, because the guy can basically do it all, no further comments needed. However, he does have a few new tricks up his sleeve for these fifty-six minutes, for example: during the sixth track, he hits us with shouted vocals that are somewhat reminiscent of Accept, just much less annoying, and they fit the instrumentals perfectly!

There is one thing that confused me a bit, though. But for that I have to briefly explain the track listing: technically there are four songs, but the first two songs are split into five and three tracks respectively. The final two songs are kept whole and each of those songs goes above the eleven minute mark; so far so good. My only gripe, however, is that the second to last song is a super atmospheric and fairly soft instrumental song that in my opinion would have been the perfect album closer, instead. But with the track listing as is, it almost feels like filler to me, sadly.

All in all, The Boarwin Hunt will definitely satisfy fans and might actually be the most accessible record to people who are not yet into Kitshickers! So make sure to check out the album when it releases this Friday, December 1st and if you have no plans yet, move your butt to Kulturfabrik where the band will host a mini-festival as their release show! In the meantime, you can find more info on their Facebook page!

Fallen Lies – Broken

Four years can be a long time, but especially in these recent years it feels like they flew by quite quickly. Four years for a band, however, can hold quite a few changes and such is the case for Fallen Lies, who are about to release their sophomore album Broken with a new vocalist at the helm. I had the chance to get quite a few early listens in and want to share my thoughts.

The quintet stays true to its, dare I say, signature style of blending fairly accessible alternative rock with a handful of thrash influences, yet never fully crossing over into alternative metal. The mixture worked well on their debut, Confusion, and it feels even further refined on these ten new tracks.

Where I previously remarked that the guitars were arguably the, instrumental, stars of the show, I feel like this time around the guitarists looked at each other, nodded and cranked the dial up by another notch, delivering both highly melodic and at times heavy riffage. I also can’t get rid of the feeling that the song No Place For Us pays homage to the two influential bands I mentioned in my previous review: Alter Bridge and Metallica. Because the chorus and bridge riffs seem to pay tribute to both bands respectively.

Contrary to last time, both the drummer and bassist have a lot more room to shine on Broken. With the drummer, especially, laying down some tasty drum parts that no longer just serve the song but also display a lot of variation.

However, the biggest change the band has gone through since the release of their debut is the new vocalist, which fixes the main, albeit minor, issue I had with it: the new woman with the pipes does not hold back in any way when it comes to her vocal performance. It is clear that she enjoys what she does and gives it her all and the recorded result is just as powerful as the live version. On the other hand, the change brings a minor gripe with it, which could just be personal preference: the vocal melodies as well lyrics are less memorable, or rather less catchy, which led to these forty minutes needing more listens to really get through to me.

All in all, Fallen Lies manage to deliver yet another solid record that will scratch the alternative rock itch of their fans and new listeners alike. The album will be available to the public starting this Friday, October 20th, along with a release show at Rockhal, which is already sold out, sadly. If you want to keep up with the band, be sure to head over to their Facebook page!

Dreadnought – The Fire Within

Almost as if taking my comment in my last review of today’s band to heart, they didn’t even wait two full years before releasing new material! As you might have guessed it by the title, I am delighted to share my first impressions of Dreadnought‘s upcoming release The Fire Within with you!

First off, the sound, that was solidified on the previous record, makes its glorious return and delivers very enjoyable black metal that features guitar melodies that stick with you quite quickly. The vocals have remained consistent and tick all the boxes the black metal heart desires.

The three songs feature three different iterations of the band’s sound spectrum: Nightmares being the straight-forward black metal assault, Asbestor being the tongue-in-cheek black’n’roll track and Memento Mori being the, dare I say, trve frostbitten grim song, but with a twist.

While I am not a big fan of releasing individual singles or EPs that don’t hit the twenty or, ideally, the twenty-five minute mark, it is not something that I can hold against The Fire Within, since the final product does what it’s supposed to…albeit seventeen minutes not being long enough for my taste.

The band has released two songs thus far, and the third and final one will release this Friday, September 1st, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that! You can find more information on their Facebook page and listen to the first 66,6% of the EP below.

Godmorgon – Out Of Spite

Let’s face it: the heavy music scene is a massive sausagefest. I do have to acknowledge that the crowds have diversified quite a bit over these past twenty years that I’ve been going to shows, but the people on stage are still for the most part men, which tends to be more and more true the heavier, and therefore more niche, the genre is. But quite recently I went to a show where I was pleasantly surprised by the opposite and I ended up discovering quite a few interesting bands, one of which I have the pleasure of writing about today. Godmorgon are a fairly new band and their debut album, the name of which sums up the quartet’s raison d’être and driving force: Out Of Spite!

Musically, the band moves somewhere between hardcore and death metal, with the drums taking the rhythmic inspiration from the former and the guitar riffs leaning more towards the death metal side of things. At no point during these twenty-six minutes the wheel is being reinvented, but the result is constantly engaging and genuinely makes you want to move around, the entire instrumentals of Rose, is a perfect example of the band’s sound. It is also worth mentioning that the entire album was recorded in pure DIY-fashion and the result is not only fitting the genre but also objectively enjoyable.

In several of my past reviews I have made it clear that I don’t subscribe to the term “female-fronted” as a musical genre and I try to avoid pointing towards the gender of any of the members, because it deters from the essential part: the music. However, it is definitely refreshing to get a different take on more extreme musical genres, be it from a lyrical or vocal performance point of view. For example, you can only hear Cannibal Corpse‘s Corpsegrinder sing about (sexual) mutilation so often before it gets old…but hearing a woman sing about breaking a glass in a sleazy guy’s asshole and torturing him is a welcome change.

All joking aside: the singer’s screams are for the most part in the higher register and she manages to deliver a performance that is a mix between evil possession and pure despair. I think my favorite example of this would be the chorus of Can’t Stop Me, which gave me goosebumps when I first heard it live. Another positive aspect of her performance is the very clear enunciation, which makes the lyrics very easy to understand. The latter are, hopefully, not all based on personal experience but deal with aspects that many women are faced with on a regular basis and also provide, shall we say, solutions to some of those issues.

All in all, Out Of Spite is a very solid first record that should appeal to fans of both genres I mentioned above alike, or simply function as a gateway to a very vast library of other bands in those genres. Godmorgon managed to capture my attention every single time I put on these ten songs and I strongly recommend giving them a listen below. For more information, you can head to their Facebook page and be sure to check out the album on April 13th!

Sublind – The Cenosillicaphobic Sessions

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: most Luxembourgish bands take way too much time between albums! It’s been nine whole years since Sublind‘s debut album came out and they’ve played a ton of shows and have grown as musicians and songwriters alike, which is the other, positive, side of the long wait: it usually allows bands here to develop and mature their sound before releasing new music. Such is the case with today’s beer-loving quintet, who are about to release their sophomore with one of the catchiest names in metal history: The Cenosillicaphobic Sessions. Rolls right off the tongue, eh? Now try saying it five times in a row. Let’s dive in, uh!

Over the course of the past almost-decade the band has gone through several line-up changes where everyone brought their own flavor and expertise to the mix, which has resulted in what I would call a solidified version of the sound you know from Thrashing Delirium. Thrash metal is still the main course being served, but there are some elements from other genres that make guest appearances every now and then. One of the stand-outs in that regard is a track that has a sludge vibe to it, which goes down a route that you definitely haven’t heard or expected Sublind in…and succeeds effortlessly.

Among the eleven tracks there are some songs that long-time fans and concert-goers know from the past, but they appear in a new shine here, especially the band’s best drinking anthem, other than the iconic Humpeknupper of course, Highspeed Hangover hits harder than ever and despite having listened to it countless times five years ago while working on the lyric video, it manages to still get me pumped in this new version. You also get (re-)recorded versions of the, dare I say, oldies Bommeleeër and Cenosillicaphobia, which all sound great in their new coat of aural paint.

In my opinion however, the firm core of TCS is the trilogy of songs that starts with False Existence and tells a condensed version of the story of Dante’s Inferno. Not only is it among the heaviest material the band has put out, but it also has compelling songwriting that flows well with the narrative. The two other new songs are just as solid neckbreakers, with the first single, For Those About To Riot, being another song with earworm potential. Last but not least, the opener and closer are what I would call joke songs…but they work great to get you pumped on your first listen and to re-listen for the umpteenth time respectively.

Vocally, the contrast is fairly stark when comparing the performance from ten years ago to today, because the amount of snotty screams is just perfect. The pressure that these forty-two minutes manage to convey is really remarkable…but I do have to mention that there is a slight dip in that at one point, however. And it annoys me to have to say it, because it’s at the same time one of the cooler aspects of the album but also one of the weaker ones: the guys managed to get a guest appearance by none other than Tankard‘s singer Gerre on the eponymous track and while it is quite a privilege, it takes away from the power of the song, since the two vocalists have such a different singing style. Then again, I never really got into Tankard, so maybe it’s just not for me.

This minor detail luckily doesn’t take away anything for me, and it definitely makes The Cenosillicaphobic Sessions my new bar to clear (no pun intended) when it comes to (not only) local thrash metal. Sublind will unleash their new album for public consumption on March 24th with a release show at KuFa the following day, so mark your calendars and prepare your liver. In the meantime, check out the band’s Facebook page and the hilarious music video below. Beers!

Hexeen – Hexeentanz

In Hollywood, there’s this old tradition that film studios dump their worst movies in January, because nobody will really notice them anyways. This approach has also been applied in other forms of media, but it seems that the Luxembourgish metal scene doesn’t apply it to their release philosophy, because I can’t really think of a bad January release. With today’s candidate being no exception. Hexeen is a fairly mysterious new band that chooses to remain anonymous and despite doing some detective work I haven’t really gotten any further than identifying one member. Either way, their debut EP Hexeentanz was released a few days ago and I want to tell you a bit about it!

The quintet plays black metal that I would put into the more modern part of the genre, without it being avant-garde or symphonic black metal, but there is enough grit to the sound that it never feels artificial at all. When I first listened to the five songs, the opener stood out to me immediately, especially when the first chorus ended with the lyrics “nothingness is my God!”, I had to smile…both because it was totally cliché, but also because it was so well executed. Coupled with the really, dare I say, catchy main riff, I knew I was in for a good time.

Something that I don’t remember being on a Luxembourgish black metal record in the recent-ish past is a synthesizer that rounds off the few tracks that it’s on quite nicely, and manages to never be obtrusive, especially at the end of the second song. The third song on the other hand delivers a true drumming stampede with blast beats and double bass barrages to satisfy every headbanger, whereas on the other songs they’re a bit, really just a bit, calmer and with a bit more groove.

The instrumentals are overlaid by a terrific performance by the vocalist, who goes all out on all the songs but most noticeably on the closer where you can practically cut the despair with a knife.

At just under thirty minutes, the EP is perfect for a daily commute and it will put you in the right mood for these cold and wet weeks ahead of us. So be sure to check out Hexeentanz on Bandcamp and if you want to be among fellow black metal lovers, head to Rocas this Saturday where Hexeen will host a listening session along with a live concert by Inzest and Dreadnought!