Parity – Ocean

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I recently saw a tweet that said “female-fronted is not a musical genre!” and I couldn’t agree more, which is why I generally avoid highlighting the gender of the vocalist, or other members, of a band in my reviews. Today will be an exception to that rule though, since today I’m writing about the newcomer band Parity, that brings a breath of fresh air into our local scene. Their debut EP Ocean is due to be released this Friday and I’ve had the chance to get in quite a few listens so far, so let’s go!

The reason why I’m deviating from my principles today, is because the Luxembourgish (metal) music scene is very male-dominated, and with the hiatus (or end?) of Rude Revelation there is definitely a lack of female singers that scream…which is why I was very delighted when I found out about the existence of Parity about a year ago and was eagerly awaiting their first output. Therefore, I will skip to what is usually in the second to last paragraph, which is the vocal part of the review.

I’ll make it short: there is without a doubt a new star on the horizon in the form of the quintet’s vocalist. She flawlessly switches between techniques and jumps from clean singing to screams in a matter of seconds, never skipping a beat. But what I dig the most about her performance is that her screams have this hint of despair and, dare I say, evil possession in them. Her cleans on the other hand also stand out to me because they are not super high-pitched or the nasal type. She is already at a very good level and I am confident in saying that she will keep evolving and expanding her voice even further.

However, even the strongest vocalist can only do so much for a record if the music behind is crap. Fret not though, since that is by far not the case with these four songs! It’s hard to pinpoint a specific genre but I would lean towards modern (death) metal with notes of djent and a hearty dose of groove metal. I hear all kinds of very different influences and elements that I, at times, wondered how the guys on the instruments managed to make this potpourri work out in the end. But suffice it to say that they did, so lay your head at ease.

The only negative point about Ocean is that it only lasts twenty minutes, because even after the, at least, twentieth listen I still hunger for more every time the last song ends. Nevertheless, I’d rather have a really solid and convincing first output by a band than overly long repetition of, basically, the same song over and over. So, I guess there is no real negative point about Parity‘s EP after all! So, if I managed to make you curious, please head over to the band’s Facebook page and check out their making of below. Also, if you want to witness them live, they are hosting a release show at Kulturfabrik this Friday!

Theophagist – I Am Abyss

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The older local metalheads among you might remember a little band called Elitist Death Squad, which was active about a decade ago and then faded into obscurity. Four years ago parts of that group reformed under a new name and a somewhat different sound…it was the birth of Theophagist! Fast forward to today, where the quintet has played many shows and finally recorded its debut album, titled I Am Abyss, which is due to be released this Saturday, February 22nd! Of course, I had to get my hands on this baby ahead of time and try to make you drool over what’s to hit your ears soon.

I find the band’s sound quite interesting, simply by the mere fact that they’re generally-speaking a modern death metal band, but they have that little je ne sais quoi that gives me strong old school vibes. So, let’s just pretend that they reside in their own genre: eclectic modern death metal! I think that if I had to somehow describe it in more detail, I’d say that the song structures are very modern, with “slamming” parts, but the riffs for example are very traditional. It creates a very diverse sonic experience, that should satisfy all kinds of listeners, old and young, if they actually give the mixture a chance.

Throughout the ten songs you are treated to a fairly relentless barrage of neck-breaking guitar parts that range from fast riffing to headbang-inducing melodies. The bass usually complements the guitar and adds another layer of force to the string department. The guitar solos are always used at just the right times to spice the whole affair up whenever you just about think that the song has peaked.

In the skin-beating and metal-hitting realm, you are confronted by a tank that plows through blast-beats and double bass parts with no mercy whatsoever. Yet, precision is never missing either, and every little cymbal nuance and drum-fill rolls effortlessly off the sticks at all times.

While staying in the instrumental department, by far the track that stands out the most to me, however, is weirdly enough the interlude titled Awakening The… It is a two and a half minute cello piece that has a bone-chilling quality to it and it’s almost a shame that it’s incorporated into the actual song it precedes or, for that matter, on more songs. But, on the other hand it might have been a wise choice to avoid it from becoming a gimmick rather than the head-turner it is now.

It would be a very incomplete review if I didn’t mention the men with the pipes. Vocal duties are shared between one of the guitarists and a stand-alone singer, with the former doing mostly higher pitched screeches and the latter providing all the rest, from screams to the lowest of the low growls you can imagine. It is no secret that I am a huge sucker for dual vocals and, although they’re mostly used for choruses during these forty-three minutes, they definitely added a lot of enjoyment for me personally.

The one aspect where the band might either lose your interest…or capture it completely, is the lyrics. Recipe For Human Cake is, to me, a brilliantly provocative track (and tasty, too) but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

All in all, what we have here is yet another strong Luxembourgish debut album that, I am sure, will please more than one pair of ears. So, please, do yourself a favor and give I Am Abyss a listen when it’s out and if you want to keep up with Theophagist head over to their Facebook page. Last but not least, check out the song below and if you like what you hear, you can attend the band’s release show this Saturday at Mix’n’Kawa in Belval!

Miles To Perdition – 2084

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A brief glance at the world we live in and the society that populates it these days can make you shudder to think where it will be headed in the decades to come. Today’s review is about a band that took a look at a classic when it comes to dystopian future, gave it a more modern coat of paint and composed music to go with it. Miles To Perdition are going to release their brand new album 2084 this Friday and I want to try to explain to you why I enjoyed it as much as I did!

While the quintet had already undergone a fairly big style change with their previous record, Blasphemous Rhapsody, this time around they completely dropped the metalcore elements and went straight melodic death metal. An evolution strongly welcome, especially when it is executed as flawlessly as with this new outing.

Fans of the Gothenburg style will feel right at home when the first song starts blasting after the iconic speech of George Orwell, which is set to atmospheric synthesizers, since the first riff is already one that will nestle yourself deep into your ear canals. Sheer despair and hopelessness are omnipresent and coupled with just the right amount of repetition in the string department, they will keep sinking into your very soul. I would say that the leitmotif of the eight songs is, at least on the guitars, that less is more: the different riffs sound simpler but to me they work much better than on the predecessor, since they serve the song as a whole more.

The bass on the other hand is clearly audible at all times and I really like the tone they chose for it, since it truly slams right in your face with its raspiness. The drums, and actually the entire production, have a very organic and raw feel to them, which accentuates the thematic and guarantees a truly immersive listening experience.

The icing on top of this black and bitter tasting cake, and I mean that as a compliment, are the vocals, which I already liked a lot in the past but have also been elevated to a different level. The vocalist truly knows how to sell the disgust that this record is supposed to convey, since he truly gives it his all during these forty-one minutes. I also particularly enjoyed the lyrics, since they pick up some of the thematic from the original inspiration and transpose them into today’s world but also feature some memorable lines.

Another thing I can’t leave unmentioned is the fact that they decided to put an almost thirteen minute song on here with the closer, Doom. I mean…when I first saw the track length I was a bit worried, but I have to say that they pulled it off: I was never once bored with it, even after my twentieth listen. While it does rely heavily on returning elements, in every department, it does so splendidly and manages to entertain all throughout.

All in all, Miles To Perdition have added a very strong new notch in their belt with 2084, and I truly hope that they will get the chance to bring it to as many people as possible. If you want to get an idea of what Swedish melodic death metal from Luxembourg sounds like, be sure to check out the video below and head to the band’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date. Also, before I leave with one of my favorite lyrical passages from the record, consider going to their release show at the Kulturfabrik this Friday, January 31st.

Choose life, choose the right for a fucking opinion.

Fallen Lies – Confusion

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Alternative rock is, generally-speaking, a very interesting genre since it appeals to a fairly wide audience, but it can also serve as a gateway drug which leads its “users” to heavier music. However, those two things only apply if the music is executed correctly, and let’s be honest: more often than not it isn’t and leads to an, at best, average end product. Now, if you know me and my philosophy of not writing negative reviews, you’ve already come to the conclusion that today’s record is an example of how to pull off this genre correctly: Fallen Lies‘ debut Confusion does everything right and then some…let me tell you why!

If I had to explain to someone, who’s never heard of the band, what to expect I’d say that the quintet is Luxembourg’s answer to Alter Bridge. Now I know that using comparisons is always a lazy way of making your point, but if the shoe fits, it fits. The song structures share similarities and the riffs are also fairly reminiscent of AB; especially the opening of the third song, Neverending Mind, could be straight from Tremonti’s feather. However, while I’m at it, I will also add another comparative layer and say that at times I noticed a fine mist of Metallica influences, especially in the guitar department, which always spice things up at just the right time.

The drums and bass on the other hand both play for the song as a whole at all times, meaning that they never go over the top and always serve as the perfect backdrop for the guitarists and the singer. While the album is generally high-powered the entire time, the ten songs, of course, feature a ballad but I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit, since it never went into full cheesy territory and has an engaging guitar solo to round things off.

The vocal performance throughout the forty-five minutes is always solid and contains some very interesting melodies as well as catchy choruses. Furthermore, the vocalist also delivers a strong performance, but at times I felt that she might have been holding back during the recordings and I seem to remember the songs having a bit more oomph when I experienced them live. However, I would consider that personal gusto.

All in all, Fallen Lies have definitely managed to cook up a very respectable first entry in their, hopefully expanding, music catalogue and believe me when I tell you that, despite its title, this debut record will not leave you with feelings of Confusion. For more information, be sure to check out the band’s Facebook page and check out the song, which is one of my favorites, below. Sadly, the release show is already sold out…but I’m sure that you will be able to catch them live soon enough!

Top 10 2019 by Yannick

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And yet another year comes to an end. 2019 has been an exciting musical year and it definitely allowed this decade to go out with a bang. As usual I put together a small list of records that particularly stood out to me, which you can either use as inspiration for a last minute gift or just to pass the time during the (boring) holidays!

#10 Andrés – Once Upon A Time In Bakersfield

Andrés is one of those artists that can’t really be put into a specific genre and so far each of his three records sounded fairly different. The style of this one appealed less to me than the other ones’, but nevertheless it still is a killer record for those sad boy moments. Also, added bonus: I got to experience him live in London this year, which was an absolute blast!

#9 Kurt Travis – There’s A Place I Want To Take You

I was very excited when it was announced that one of my favorite vocalists was finally releasing the follow-up to his 2014 solo record. The fact that it includes a studio version of one of my favorite songs (It’s You) by him, which he only performed live thus far, definitely added immensely to how much I liked this album.

#8 Sleeping With Sirens – How It Feels To Be Lost

I’ve been a SWS fan for quite a while now and I stuck to them even through their two less-stellar records, this year it all paid off because their sixth record might just be my favorite one thus far. A real retour-de-force and an absolute beast live!

#7 Fusion Bomb – Concrete Jungle (review)

While there were quite a few very solid Luxembourgish releases this year, I think it’s safe to say that Fusion Bomb trumped them all. The ferocity of their debut full-length is just out of this world and the immense success they’ve had locally and internationally speaks volumes. If you haven’t jumped into the Slam Tornado yet, what are you waiting for?

#6 Thank You Scientist – Terraformer

Despite writing reviews and “having to” listen to new music regularly, I am usually very reluctant to get into new bands. But when a friend of mine sent me the title track of this record, I immediately fell in love and went ahead and ordered it immediately. The video clip alone is worth your while, and the whole album will keep your ear holes busy for a while.

#5 Bring Me The Horizon – amo

Ever since their style change BMTH have been either loved or hated by the music scene. Their newest release saw some more musical experimentation and, at least in my eyes, it led to a beautiful result. Nihilist Blues has such a spacey vibe that when I first heard it, I had to check if I was still on planet earth.

#4 Knocked Loose – A Different Shade Of Blue

I had first properly noticed Knocked Loose in 2017 when I saw them open for Comeback Kid & Every Time I Die and they definitely delivered a powerful show, but it wasn’t enough to win me over. However, when they released the first single off their second record this year it blew me away completely. I recommended the record to friends as the most genuinely hate-filled record since IOWA, and a high-speed ride on the highway while being dragged behind the car, naked, while somebody punches you in the face simultaneously. Don’t ask.

#3 Emarosa – Peach Club

Another band that strayed very far away from their post-hardcore roots, and opted for a much more pop-orientated sound, where it absolutely paid off. Peach Club is an experience from start to finish that will have you shaking your butt and crying your heart out just minutes later. Give it a listen!

#2 Issues – Beautiful Oblivion

Headspace was a nearly perfect record, which is why it landed so high on my list back when it was released. The follow-up is something else for sure, since it lacks screams almost entirely, but this to me is the definitive Issues sound. While it is not for everyone, I would recommend a listen to everyone!

EP-Special
Nova Charisma – Exposition I & II
Origami Button – Button Season
Unimagined – Friendless
Wolf & Bear – Wolf & Bear EP

Continuing the tradition of the EP shout-outs: Nova Charisma is a side-project of Hail The Sun‘s Donovan Melero on vocals and Royal Coda‘s Sergio Medina on guitar that is very experimental and their two EPs are very varied releases. Origami Button is a band that really caught me with their melodic approach to post-hardcore and their EP has been in my playlist at different times all throughout the year. Unimagined is a horror-themed post-hardcore band that has a very unique vibe and is a perfect pallet cleanser. Finally, Wolf & Bear are a band that have enormous potential and it is, once again, proven on this amazing EP.

#1 Royal Coda – Compassion
Secret Band – LP2
Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind

I said it once before: if Slipknot release a record, it is a given that it will land on my top ten somewhere. This year they managed to make it to my number one spot because We Are Not Your Kind was definitely what I wanted after a, in hindsight, mediocre fifth record. Secret Band released their second full-length by surprise on 4/20 this year and when I first listened to it on my train ride from Vienna to Bratislava, I smiled the entire time. This is, by far, the most ferocious album of the year for me, despite being with filled with utter nonsensical lyrics, and if you do not like this record, I do not like you. I kid. I think. Last but not least, Royal Coda followed their fairly good debut with an amazing album this year and it’s been on heavy rotation since its release a bit more than six weeks ago.

All in all, 2019 was a super interesting musical year, with many unlisted records from all sorts of genres that I discovered and thoroughly enjoyed. However, I am salivating when I’m thinking about 2020, because it will see the release of the tenth studio record by my favorites Dance Gavin Dance, the new Eidola record is also finally due to be released, as well as a new Every Time I Die album. Locally, most likely the new Scarred record at some point and some other interesting releases fairly early in the year. So, with that being said, I hope to be able to welcome you back next decade! Party hard and be safe!

Asathor – Vegvísir

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It is said that a good wine needs time to develop its real flavor and I’d say that today’s review is about a band that has followed that same principal, because they’ve been around for almost a decade and a half without releasing any recorded music. This Saturday, however, it is finally time for Asathor to unleash their debut record Vegvísir on the hungry masses! I was fortunate enough to get an early listen and I’d like to share my thoughts on it!

But first, a quick and brief introduction: the band has been around and active in the concert scene since the mid-2000s, playing regular shows until they underwent several line-up changes before finding their current five-man setup and recording this album. They play a viking-themed mixture between black and death metal and, while not reinventing the wheel in any shape or form, churn out captivating tunes.

A black metal aficionado will immediately feel at home while the rhythm guitar spits out riffs filled with pure despair and the lead guitar sometimes wanders into fairly unconventional territories, that always end up being extremely memorable and catchy. I would even go as far and say that the leads are what set the local pagans apart from many of their peers, since they are so different to what you’d expect, yet blend in perfectly at the same time. I also have to give special credit for the bass guitar, which adds an extra sonic layer with its nice and chunky sound.

It would be very remiss of me not to mention the drums, since they soldier on steadily throughout the entire listening experience and almost never relent from bombarding you with double bass attacks. However, they also provide a lot of variety between the blast beats and groove-laden parts in the form of occasional tasty fills. They also interlock perfectly with the other instruments and perform their duty of musical wayfinder at all times.

Arguably, my personal star of the show is the vocalist though. Not only is his performance very versatile and overall spot-on in terms of techniques used, but he also manages to almost always clearly enunciate the lyrics, making it fairly easy to follow along the stories about viking lore after the second or third listen. On top of that, he also brings a certain viciousness and perseverance to the table that constantly shines through.

Despite all my praise, there is one minor gripe I have with Vegvísir: it’s too short! The seven tracks, of which two are an intro and an interlude, clock in just under thirty minutes. On the other hand, this might also be an asset, since the five actual tracks are very solid and have an almost infinite replay value. Last but not least, I should also mention the overall mixing of the record, which is very organic sounding and is very comparable to the guys’ live sound.

To sum things up I would say that, even though they took their sweet time, Asathor have managed to come up with a very respectable first entry into their discography and I hope that Vegvísir will see a successor in the not too distant future. If you want to be part of the release show, you should set sail for the Mix N’ Kawa in Belval this Saturday, November 2nd. In the meantime, you can listen to the song below or head to the band’s Facebook page. Skål!

Kitshickers & The Majestic Unicorns From Hell – Split EP

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Today’s post is not really going to be a review, just to be clear. By now, I don’t think you need an introduction to the two bands that are the subject of this piece, but Kitshickers and The Majestic Unicorns From Hell teamed up to release a short but sweet split EP this Saturday and play a very special show for it. So if you are into instrumental, and not so instrumental, music make sure to not miss this possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

The Kitshicorns fiesta is going to take place on October 26th at the legendary Kulturfabrik in Esch/Alzette, so make sure to swing your behind over there and have some fun with the bands! More info can be found on the bands’ respective Facebook pages. See you there!

Feradur – Legion

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Feradur - Legion

A bit more than four years have passed since the local band Feradur surprised me with its debut record, and the journey to the follow-up has been a wild one, to say the least. Shortly after the release of the first album, the guys amicably parted ways with their vocalist, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise since the new man on the mic brought a fresh energy and expertise to the ensemble, as well as a third pair of hands that plays a guitar. They were then hit with several bumps during the recording of the new songs, one of which was when a large portion of their gear was stolen, but the wait is finally over and I am excited to give you my thoughts on the mammoth that is Legion!

The quintet essentially stays true to the previously established melodic death metal sound, but the creativity has definitely been ramped up and the influences seem to be coming from a more diverse mix of genres, resulting in a gripping amalgamation of soundscapes. At times you can feel a progressive metal vibe, then at other times it turns semi-symphonic, but the result is always the same: you end up with a hefty metal slap in the face.

It is easily noticeable that Feradur has evolved quite a bit since they put out Epimetheus in 2015, because not only has the musicianship of every single member reached new levels, but the songwriting is also a lot more coherent and, dare I say, memorable. Each of the eleven tracks has a hook that will nest itself into your ear canal, be it in the form of a “catchy” chorus like those of Deus or Of Greater Deeds, or via an unexpected aural shift as during the second half of Fake Creator. One, admittedly stupid, nitpick I have though, is the fact that the majority of the songs ends in the exact same way: abruptly.

Time to get to the major new element: the vocalist! Back when I wrote my first review, I praised the original singer’s performance and I still stand by that statement, because it fit the music the guys were playing at the time perfectly…but I have to give credit where credit is due: the new man behind the mic absolutely kills it! His growls are pure evil packed into sonic form and his screeches will chill you right to the bone, and on top of that he has a fairly precise and clear enunciation, which make it possible to make out most of the lyrics without even having to refer to the booklet.

Earlier, I jokingly mentioned a minor gripe I had with these fifty-one minutes, and I wish I could end this review there, but there is another one I have, which takes Legion from a perfect melodic death metal record, to “just” a very good one. In some portions of the record, the mixing and the mastering are really off, in my opinion, and it results in the fact that at times the guitars just create this wall of sound that make it almost impossible to discern any specifics. Which is a true shame since there are so many excellent riffs and drum patterns hidden all throughout. Now, to be fair, I should add that that I listened to the album on non-high-end in-ear headphones every time, except during the writing of the review where I used my non-high-end speakers and the latter made quite a difference. So, I am cautiously saying that this is just not a headphone-record, which is not necessarily bad. That’s for you to decide.

All in all, Feradur have a true gem on their hands and I can guarantee that they shred the living hell out of the songs if you get to witness them in a live setting. Now, the best way to experience Legion will be on June 22nd, when the band is inviting you all to their release party in Dudelange’s Atelier D, but if you want a pre-listening session, you can also head to Rock Solid this Friday, June 14th, where a DJ will play the entire record for you. Until then, be sure to head to the band’s Facebook page and check out the video below!

Hybridism – Hybridism

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Hybridism - Hybridism

I am not a musician, nor do I have any experience when it comes to writing a song, but I know for a fact that composing purely instrumental music while being confined to the setup of a typical rock or metal band is insanely difficult. Case in point: there must be at least a thousand bands out there that only utilize drums, bass and one or two guitars, but only very few stand out from the masses. Today I’m writing about a fairly new band that, in my opinion, manages to have that extra little something to differentiate itself from the others: Hybridism! Their self-titled debut EP was released almost exactly two months ago and after giving it a first listen recently, thus discovering what I had missed, I decided to bring my thoughts to virtual paper.

The issue I have with many instrumental bands, is that they have not found the balance between variation and catchiness: it’s either too repetitive, with two riffs being repeated ad nauseam or it’s an uncoordinated mess of “look what I can do”…and I do understand that it is very fine line between both ends of that spectrum, but I just can’t get invested in the majority of bands that try to achieve that balance act. What sets the quartet apart from the rest, is that every instrument knows exactly how often to play its part before switching it up, and especially the guitar parts are built and arranged in a fashion that they feel like an evolution of each other, rather than completely new parts.

I know, the main question on your mind is probably the one that is always on everyone’s mind: does it djent? It does. Yes, it very much does. The six tracks are packed with tasty bass riffs and a non-negligible amount of open A guitar strings being played, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s never too much and always thrown in at just the right time. Especially since the second guitar provides a sonic variation in those instances in the form of more intricate parts.

I remember on my first listen, I wasn’t completely paying attention until the fourth track, Glitch, came around and that was exactly the moment that I knew that I had something special ahead of me with these thirty-two minutes. I guess that my affinity for said track is because it starts with a video-game-like midi track being played before erupting into a fast-paced riff explosion that I immediately fell in love with. At this point I also have to mention the flawless production of the EP, because it lends a ton of gravitas to the well-crafted compositions.

All in all, what can I say? If you are not averse to music without vocals and liked the heavier spectrum of it, absolutely give Hybridism a shot! The guys managed to cook up a nice and well-varied debut release that deserves to be heard. So be sure to click on the video below for a full stream and if you want to keep up with them, head over to their Facebook page.

Versus You – Worn And Loved

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Versus You - Worn And Loved

I would say that one of the main factors, that make me listen to a record repeatedly, is how much I can identify with it on a personal level, since I find little to no sense in listening to music that gives me nothing in return for my time spent. Now, what you take from music is very subjective and can differ strongly from case to case: some might be into lyrics, others more into the feeling that the instrumentation gives them, and so forth. Well, today I have the pleasure of writing a piece about a record that manages to push just the right buttons on several levels: Versus You‘s fourth full-length called Worn And Loved, which is going to be released this Friday, March 15th. So let’s go!

In essence, this new record is a return to what worked really well on the predecessor, Moving On, and delivers top notch pop punk. Even though I would say that it’s less on the pop side this time around, it still maintains super catchy and each song has an instant recognizability to it. In the five years that have passed between records, the quartet has switched drummers and I feel like he brings a breath of fresh air behind the kit. While I had nothing to fault in the past, I find the drumming even more diverse and full of small surprises this time around. I also really want to make a Spinal Tap joke here…but nothing good comes to mind.

When it comes to the guitar work, I am always impressed by the prolific songwriting that can be found in Eric Rosenfeld’s songs, no matter which moniker he releases them under. While the complexity is never on a virtuoso level, the execution and songwriting definitely are, because I dare you not to whistle along to the main riff of at least half of the thirteen tracks on your first listen. Which brings me back to what I said at the beginning: music is, for the most part, subjective and I always welcome well-written and uplifting music with open arms.

Despite the mostly happy sounding instrumentation, W&L is not a happy go lucky album by any means…and that is exactly what makes it so good. The thirty-five minute musical journey deals with many feelings and situations that people experience growing up. It is a raw representation of the many struggles that teenagers and young adults, that are often not touched upon by society as a whole. Be it anxiety over never being able to satisfy expectations of our parents or our friends, being alienated by our peers, or vice versa.

All in all, Versus You return with what I would consider their best record to date, and I feel like Worn And Loved has the potential of helping a few people who might be going through a rough time, by telling them that it is OK to not be perfect, that it will become better. In that spirit, if you want to have a, what I expect to be, great night, be sure to come to den Atelier this Friday, where the band is inviting everyone to a release show, free-of-charge. For more information, you can head to the band’s Facebook page and in order to get pumped, listen to the track below.