Author Archives: Yannick

Your Own Decline – Stay True To Yourself

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The following sentence is as shocking to me, as it might be to some of my returning readers: I found a power metal album that I thoroughly enjoy! The “culprit” is called Stay True To Yourself by the Italians Your Own Decline, and there is a good reason why I like it so much…read on if you want to find out!

First off, you should know that my long-lasting aversion to this particular genre is solely based on the, to me, often cringe-worthy vocals that are prevalent in the majority of bands. While I do enjoy the instrumental parts in general, the singing makes out a big part of the whole package, which is why I can’t stomach the ensemble in most cases!

The quartet, however, features a very diverse singer whose “power metal” voice is not only very bearable to my ears but I would even go as far as saying that it’s brilliant. On top of that he also screams from time to time and even growls occasionally, which adds a very welcome twist to the six songs.

Another huge plus during these twenty minutes is the fact that the instruments don’t follow the traditional rules of the genre, because you can, for example, find several modern influences in the guitar sound and the riffing, coupled with the one or the other breakdown, without excessive chugging, this makes for a super interesting mix…one that I can honestly say blew me away.

Ironically, Your Own Decline have completely ignored the title of the EP in a way, because they have added many different “new” elements to this, in my opinion, worn-out genre…and it definitely paid off. Stay True To Yourself is another record that you should absolutely check out if you don’t want to miss out on a great experience! So, please click on the video and head over to the band’s Facebook page if you like what you hear! Forza Azzurri!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny2YL_bYPc4]

No Return – Fearless Walk To Rise

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I’m going to be honest here…even though No Return are a fairly well-established death metal band that has been around for twenty-six years, I have never heard of them before. Which is why I won’t be able to tell you how well their new record Fearless Walk To Rise fares against their previous releases, but what I can tell you is: boy, does it rock!

The quintet plays death metal that definitely has old school roots, but doesn’t shy away from throwing in more modern, melodic, elements, which prevents the ten songs from ever sounding stale. The interplay between brutal riffs and devastating blast beats lends the tracks a lot of tempo and ferocity. On the other hand, you have groove-laden and truly melodic parts that infuse variety in just the right spots.

I get a certain Scandinavian metal feel from the music the Frenchmen play, mainly due to the fact that the song structures resemble those of the aforementioned genre and I personally don’t mind at all, because they absolutely nail it. The sheer mass of crazy-fast solos and technical goodness that is buried in these forty-seven minutes will certainly be appealing to returning listeners.

The only aspect that might be a bit difficult for some to get into, are the occasional clean vocals, or shouts rather, that are thrown in…especially because the French accent, that I personally adore so much, is hard to ignore in these passages. If you can overlook that small fact, the singer’s performance is top notch and he definitely delivers on the whole line.

All in all, as a first-time-listener, I can honestly say that Fearless Walk To Rise is a very solid death metal record, for fans of the genre as well as newcomers. I strongly urge you to give the song below a listen and visit the band’s Facebook page if you like what you hear, for more info on where to get the album once it’s released on March 30th!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM-QQcPJI3U]

A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man – Escape Escape

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Today’s a first for me, because I’m writing about another genre that I have never really listened to and while I was skeptical about whether I’d like it or not, my first impressions have been generally positive. A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man makes its debut with an interesting noise rock EP called Escape Escape, which is due to be released on March 23rd!

Due to my unfamiliarity with this kind of music, some of the following lines might be common knowledge to you, but bear with me here. Most of the time, the quartet needs a lot of momentum to get going, but once they are rolling, there’s no stopping the intensity. In the groovy parts, I always get a certain stoner rock feel, akin to the slower and more intense QOTSA songs. A bit of grunge also shines through to me, and I love the resulting sound.

The Danes know how to build up atmosphere during the five songs, and even though, as I mentioned earlier, they sometimes take their time before climaxing, for lack of a better word, it’s never boring. Coupled with a fittingly dirty, yet crisp, production Escape Escape packs quite a punch. Especially the last song, A Radient City Return Trip, with its Sweet Dreams-esque intro riff has quite the effect on me.

During the twenty-four minutes the vocals are arguably the thing connecting the dots and keeping the ensemble together. The singers dreamily creepy timbre hits just the spot for me and should be able to entrance the listener easily.

All in all, A Horrible Death To A Horrible Man have managed to introduce me to a “new” genre without leaving a bitter aftertaste. I strongly recommend giving them a listen below and heading to their Facebook page if you like what you hear, in order to keep up with them!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRfnos8xoYA]

Red Seas Fire – Resolution

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Three-word-bands can be found like sand on the beach and while some are really good, some are just bloody awful. Luckily for me, and by association you, Red Seas Fire falls in the former category, because their fourth EP Resolution, which was released yesterday, is a piece of music that can stand its own very well and doesn’t afraid of anything. …sorry, I had to. Anyways, let’s dive in!

The Englishmen play progressive metalcore that reminds me a bit of the early Architects days but with way more grandiose melodies, yet enough progressive elements to keep avid listeners interested all throughout the four songs. The guitars have a powerful down-tuned tone and are guaranteed to kick you in the teeth riff by riff, while the drums provide a solid backdrop, filled with lots of crazy double bass work and a ton of tiny fills.

While all the songs present solid songwriting, the heart of the EP is definitely The Mistakes We Make, which constitutes almost half the playtime of these twenty minutes. That particular track perfectly showcases the epic scale that the quartet can reach with their music.

Especially the vocal performance is very multifaceted, covering screams, growls and most of all the simply entrancing clean vocals. One comparison kept coming back to me on every listen-through: a mix of both Tesseract vocalists, with an equally stunning instrumentation. I don’t know, maybe I’m just imaging it but that’s all I could think of.

I don’t want to be premature here, but Red Seas Fire might just be my personal favorite new discovery of 2015, because Resolution is one of those cases where you wish there were another ten tracks waiting for you. Be sure to check out their video below, and if you like what you hear, head over to their Facebook page!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24UqhahIIUo]

Not Scientists – Destroy To Rebuild

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A bit less than a year ago I reviewed the debut EP, Leave Stickers On Our Graves, of the French punk supergroup Not Scientists, and today I have the great pleasure to write about their follow-up full-length Destroy To Rebuild!

What can I say? Not much has changed. But that wasn’t necessary to begin with, since the quartet had already found its sound on the predecessor and the musicianship was at a high level from the start. The main thing that stands out in comparison, however, is a more traditional production, with more natural sounding instruments or in other words, dare I say, simply a more punk approach.

In terms of songwriting, the eleven songs are still in the same vein as before, with a, for the most part, pop punk vibe and mostly good mood potential. But, the Frenchmen do take a few risks and add bluesy elements in some parts, and even some ska in other parts, which definitely adds a lot of variety to the mix. But the main addition to their sound is in the form of the dreamy and melancholic style, such as on the opener and on Just Break Me, which I absolutely love.

The singer still delivers on the entire line, and even performs some double takes on one song to form a really cool harmony. The lyrics during the thirty-eight minutes are less optimistic though, and lend additional depth to the music, with their reflective tone. Especially Tomorrow’s Another Day and the above-mentioned Just Break Me stand out to me in that domain. My only gripe is the fact that the background screams that I liked so much in the past, have almost completely disappeared…but that’s OK, I guess.

All in all, Destroy To Rebuild is a great full-length follow-up to a strong debut EP, and can easily be listened to several times on repeat without being boring even once. Last but not least, I can only strongly recommend going to a gig if Not Scientists are nearby, because their show’s a treat! So, if you are intrigued, head over to their Facebook page and listen to the album below, before the official release on March 6th!

Darwin & The Dinosaur – A Thousand Ships

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They say that when it rains, it pours…usually that has a negative connotation, but this time it’s a highly positive one: shortly after discovering the post-punk genre for myself, I was sent an EP by another band in the same vein, and it blew me away just as much as the first one! The English band Darwin & The Dinosaur is about to release its new EP A Thousand Ships on March 9th, and I’m going to give you my five cents on it!

As mentioned above, the quartet plays punk in its essence but with a post-hardcore twist to it and I, personally, dig the mix a lot! The in-your-face attitude goes hand in hand with the more technical and dreamy elements, which creates a highly enjoyable listening experience.

The ten tracks, four of which are interludes that actually improve the EP because they contribute toward a sense of immersion, have an airtight production and every riff and every single drum beat finds its way perfectly into one’s eardrums. Combined with the songwriting that moves on a very high level, the neat musicianship and the great sing-along choruses, the result is phenomenal! Add to that the charming accent of the singer, and the diverse vocal melodies and techniques and the twenty-five minutes make you crave more immediately!

All in all, Darwin & The Dinosaur are another name to keep in mind, because with a bit of luck they will go far in the scene, since their sound is relatively fresh and truly powerful! So be sure to listen to the song below and head over to their Facebook page for more information! And if all else fails…look at that fucking cover! LOOK AT IT!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toqTo_t_FiU]

The Jury And The Saints – The Jury And The Saints

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Let me ask you something: do you like punk? You do? Good. Now, do you enjoy stadium rock? Not your thing, you say? Well…then today might be exactly what is necessary to broaden your horizon! The Jury And The Saints deliver an impressive mixture of both genres on their self-titled album that is due on February 27th!

The New Zealanders’ sound feels like if you took Foo Fighters and sprayed them with a healthy dose of punk: catchy songwriting that features huge sing-along choruses and loads of easy-to-remember melodies, blended with partially screamed vocals and a ton of power chords!

In fact, the quartet doesn’t try to sound super technical on these twelve songs, but rather focuses on being efficient…a task they achieve, hands down. Luckily, the musicians are plenty skillful and manage to avoid boredom at any moment by delivering a flawless performance.

Actually, every time I listened to TJATS, I was amazed by how much the forty minutes managed to animate me and, had I not been sitting on public transport, make me want to dance around shout along to the songs. I’m convinced that, even without having seen them live yet, if you go to one of their shows, you will be severely rocked!

All in all, I’m quite positive that these guys will have a bright future, especially with songs like Freedom Fighter and Make Our Mark which have a lot of potential to reach large audiences! So don’t be a stranger and check out the guys on Facebook and listen to the song below!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYMvlCGNQhk]

Pandemia – At The Gates Of Nihilism

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When I put on today’s record, I felt like it had been a decade since I listened to a death metal album, then I realized that it’s already 2015 and my feeling is actually confirmed: it’s been a long time. My roots were in thrash and death metal before I started venturing into other genres and eventually discovering the genres I enjoy the most these days. However, Pandemia managed to make me miss those olden days with their new album At The Gates Of Nihilism!

Interestingly enough, the Czechs are celebrating their twentieth band anniversary this year, so it kind of feels like full circle…but I digress. This long-time experience means that they have got this traditional genre down to a t: the guitars sound so menacing that at times you might start to worry about your health, the drums are an inferno of blast beats and double bass attacks, and the vocals tear everything to shreds that is in their way.

The quartet doesn’t stop there though, instead they blend the brutality with bite-sized pieces of groove and melody, which adds a ton of depth to the eleven, twelve if you count the Loudblast cover bonus track, songs. Combined with the crazy solos that are thrown in the mix and, most of all, the truly catchy songwriting, this creates a sound spectrum that managed to grip me from the get-go.

During the forty-one minutes, the vocalist delivers a stunning performance that is mostly kept in the growl range, but also features, what I like to call, “insanity screams”. You know, those screams that would make you feel concerned about a person’s mental well-being if you heard them outside of a musical environment. Good stuff!

All in all, Pandemia made a genre that I had mostly written off, in terms of personal taste, really relevant to me again. While I definitely won’t go out and buy twenty death metal records at once, I feel like it won’t hurt to give some albums in the genre a chance in the near future. So, do yourself a favor and give At The Gates Of Nihilism a spin when it’s released, on February 23rd! Until then, visit the band’s Facebook page and listen to the song below!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crJB5yQTUNQ]

Fractal Universe – Boundaries Of Reality

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Today I’m going to write about a fairly new band called Fractal Universe, which is about to release its debut EP Boundaries Of Reality on February 20th. But make no mistake: the quartet is by no means comprised of beginners, quite the contrary. Every single musician is well-experienced and masters his instrument, which makes for an interesting first release.

The crowd-funded record shows the Frenchmen right at home in finest technical death metal, which features a great deal of variety. Be it the wet dream of the guitar-geeks out there in form of intricate riffs and fast-paced drumming on one hand, or the groove-laden palm-muting extravaganza on the other hand…it certainly never gets boring during the twenty-four minutes.

The vocals are always on point, be it in the form of deep growls or desperate screams, and from a technical standpoint they leave nothing to be desired from. There also some experimental vocal effects, such as whispered echoes or distorted lines, giving the entirety a very Gojira-esque feel…which, while nothing new, is always a nice addition, if used correctly such as in this case, in my opinion.

There is one gripe I have with the four tracks however. The production fluctuates heavily between accentuated clear guitars and a sometimes mushy sound. While it doesn’t make Boundaries Of Reality sound terrible, I am convinced that a better mixing would have benefited the record enormously and elevated it to a completely new level of awesomeness.

All in all, Fractal Universe has made a very respectable first step in the music scene, and if they iron out the minor issues, I am sure that their future will be a bright one. In terms of creativity and skill, the guys are definitely set for it. So do yourselves a favor and listen to the song below, and keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page for the release of the full EP!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAKXgF6Ky9Q]

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

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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.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B_0TNwgIgg]