Author Archives: Yannick

Basement – Colourmeinkindness

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I think it’s time for a little variation, which is why I’ve decided to review the British band Basement and their new release Colourmeinkindness. Let me start by giving you a little back story: in 2011 I saw the band at a hardcore show here in Luxembourg and I was immediately amazed by them because, not only did they stick out with their style but they also laid down a killer performance. Needless to say I went home and bought their back then freshly released EP Songs About The Weather which I still listen to every now and then because of the raw and honest feel it has to it. A bit more than year later I saw that the band had released a new full length album, so I bought it without even thinking about it: a wise choice.

The album has a different feel to it than the previously mentioned EP, in the way that it feels more mature and also more diverse. But it has also become a bit softer in the process, which doesn’t bother me all that much since the songs have gained a lot in structure and recognition value.

The guitars will surprise you with catchy riffs that might sound familiar at first, but more of that later. The same goes for the drums: a clean, organic sound with catchy beats and interesting fills. The vocals range from clean to slightly screamed and perfectly fit the ensemble since they add the right amount of melancholy to the whole thing.

The thing that stands out the most, to me at least, is that I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve loved this album before I even knew it was released. The reason for this is that I’ve encountered a lot of elements that remind me of bands that I used to listen to ten or more years ago and still listen to from time to time. I’m going to go out on a limb here and just say that it sounds like Nirvana‘s In Utero meets Foo FightersColour And The Shape meets Bush‘s Golden State and a touch of Pixies thrown in for good measure. I’m aware that I might get death threats for that statement but that’s my honest impression and that is also the reason why I was so awed by this release. It just struck a little nostalgic nerve in me and sucked me in.

But instead of trying to explain it to you, you should just check it out for yourself. Especially since the ten tracks can be legally downloaded for only 5 bucks on Basement‘s Bandcamp page. For more info you can check their Facebook page and I strongly urge you to listen to the song below and tell me if you think my description was accurate.

Upon This Dawning – To Keep Us Safe

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This week it’s time to review a “new” band: Upon This Dawning! The quotation marks are there because the Italian band has been active since 2006 but To Keep Us Safe is their major label debut. The record, which was released in October 2012, sounds like a mix between Asking Alexandria‘s Stand Up And Scream and Motionless In White‘s Creatures. Obviously this means that it doesn’t re-invent the wheel but I’m confident in saying that people who liked these two CDs will not be disappointed by this one. For the others: sit back and give it a chance.

The twelve songs are well-written and feature quite a few memorable break-downs aswell as entertaining riffs. And even though there are no major musical surprises, boredom is not a factor that comes into play. On the drumming level you can find some tasty double-bass work but other than that it’s nothing you’ve never heard before. One thing to note is that the drum sound is very modern and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I don’t mind very much…so I’m not put off by it.

The whole ensemble is underlaid by electronic parts and a couple of orchestral parts featuring violins and various other string instruments. Even though this is, again, nothing revolutionary it spices things up quite nicely and adds a certain dynamic to the songs.

Lyrically the songs venture into well-known themes but luckily a handful of passages will stand out immediately which also adds a recognizable factor to most songs. The vocals are provided by two people: the main singer taking care of the screams and the guitarist singing the clean passages. Probably the highlight to most newcomers to this record is the guest appearance of Chris Motionless of the earlier-mentioned band Motionless In White on the song A New Beginning.

All in all, I’ll say that the band shows a lot of potential and I’m sure that in due time they will end up finding their own style and refine it like many bands have done before them. For a debut album these thirty-eight minutes are definitely not a result to be ashamed of! Check out their Facebook page if you want to keep up to date with news and listen to their debut single below! Forza!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrE1YQV8sG0]

Trash Monday XLII

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Love the song, reminds me of the good old Playstation 2 days. The video isn’t trashy either but damn hilarious: a singing brain. Come on.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAURo0rwt6g]

Stone Sour – House Of Gold And Bones Part 1

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Stone Sour are back! Their new record House Of Gold And Bones Part 1 was recently released and since they’re among my favorite bands of all time I decided to review it, even though they hardly need any special attention since they have a solid fan base already. As you guys might have noticed from past reviews, I’m a pretty big fanboy when it comes to anything Corey Taylor related so I’ll warn you: I might not be super objective from here on out, but I’ll try.

First things first: HOGAB Part 1 is the first of two concept albums, with the second one being released in early 2013 along with a tie-in comic published by Dark Horse. Secondly, I think it’s important to note that the band has moved away quite a bit from the way they sounded on their self-titled record, which is a reason why many of the previous listeners might have a rude awakening in they case they haven’t followed the evolution that Stone Sour has undergone with Come What(ever) May and Audio Secrecy. Even though I have followed everything they’ve done since first discovering them I was still a bit surprised on my first listening session…but I can safely say that this album is a grower if you give it a chance to unfold.

To be more concrete: I’d say it’s a rockier sound, similar to the previous record, but with a lot of heavy parts thrown in there. Some of the riffs are so genius with the way they creep up on you, especially after re-listening to the eleven tracks a second or third time. The same goes for the drumming, which has a lot more rock’n’roll beats than before but way cooler drum fills than what you’re used to.

The vocals are, as you probably guessed, exactly what you expect from the Great Big Mouth: powerful and flawlessly executed. The same goes for the lyrics, which tell the story of The Human, who is constantly questioning himself and his surroundings. So far that’s all I can get from the songs, and I hope to explore them further after Part 2 has been released. And to everyone who was not really into the softer side of Audio Secrecy: rest at ease; there’s only two ballads this time.

I’m confident to say that even a non-fanboy, unlike myself, will spend forty-three minutes with this record that they won’t easily forget…especially if it’s their first contact with Stone Sour. To returning listeners I can only strongly recommend giving this album a chance even if at first you might be put off. I for one am really looking forward to House Of Gold & Bones Part 2 next year. Check out the band’s Facebook page and listen to the song below if I got you interested.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm-yNBwhC3o]

Wednesday 13 – Spook And Destroy

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It’s Halloween! So what better way to celebrate the arguably coolest holiday of the year than listen to some spooky tunes, watch horror movies and have a couple of beers? I’ll try to provide at least the musical part with today’s review: Wednesday 13‘s recently released EP Spook & Destroy!

Wednesday 13, who is known to most for his vocal duties in Murderdolls, has been active for almost two decades now and has amassed quite a respectable library of songs and on this eight song EP he decided to do something special for the long time fans: remake three of his older songs in a more timely fashion. The songs he chose for this are Mr. Motherfucker and Rambo from his former band Frankenstein Drag Queens Of Planet 13‘s album Night Of The Living Drag Queens, as well as Bad Things off his solo record Transylvania 90210: Songs Of Death, Dying, And The Dead. On top of that you have an acoustic version of the song Curse Of Me off Fang Bang and two electro/dubstep remixes of Rambo and Bad Things. Finally, to round it all off you have two completely new songs which are supposed to be a teaser for his next album The Dixie Dead which is scheduled for release in 2013.

But enough basic information, let’s take this thing apart! The production is generally speaking what fans are used to: nothing groundbreaking but just right for the genre, meaning that it won’t distract from the essence of the songs but you won’t have to shield your ears from bad sound either. The same goes for the instrumental division, where the motto has always been “why show off with crazy riffs and drum fills when you can accomplish just as much with simpler stuff”; or at least that’s what I always associate with this type of music. The lyrics have always been mostly horror-themed and nothing has changed here either. But why change something that isn’t broken? I like it.

The new songs, M.F.T.W and Halloween 13-13, are quite cool and I’m definitely looking forward to the rest in 2013 but I hope that there will be a bit more variation. The three remakes are definitely a step-up from their older counterparts and made me rediscover them for all their old goodness. The acoustic song is kind of weird but in a good way…something that you’ll have to listen to several times before you warm up to it. And last but not least come the two remixes…which I, sadly, don’t like at all…but I’m not a fan of remixes in general to begin with.

To conclude, I have to say that this EP is probably more aimed at die-hard W13 fans than new fans but it pretty much gives newcomers an all-around taste of what this guy is all about: fun and enjoyable music. So if you’re curious, check out the song below and visit Wednesday 13‘s Facebook page! And if you liked it: he’s playing in Luxembourg on the 14th of November. Happy Halloween Ghoulies!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya2GYOpDQXY]

In Fear And Faith – In Fear And Faith

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In April 2010 I discovered In Fear And Faith at a show and really enjoyed their set, so I talked to them after the show for a while and bought the two CDs they had put out at the time. However, they told me that they were about to release a new album called Imperial in June, so I decided to pre-order it on a whim. To make it short: I was overwhelmed by the progression they made to their previous record Your World On Fire and I listened to it repeatedly over the course of many months. Then as time went by the band underwent several changes and I was worried what might happen to them…my worry was completely unfounded since their newest self-titled release blew me away even harder.

A bit of an introduction: it’s a concept album about the survivor of a nuclear apocalypse who is the only one to be able to breathe without a mask, which evokes feelings of loneliness and self-questioning in him. He then travels through the devastated lands and is plagued by nightmares and such. This whole journey is wonderfully underlaid with different musical aspects, many of which gave me severe chills; in the best way possible.

The first thing you’ll notice if you’re not familiar with the band is that they have a lot of piano (not keyboard) parts and that the other “modern” instruments support the “classical” instrument, rather than the other way around, which is something rather unique to the genre in my opinion. This also gives each and every song a symphonic and epic touch but to a degree where it doesn’t overload your senses: you can listen to it without having to focus one hundred percent on every little detail and still be engulfed by the twelve songs.

Aside from the simply fantastic piano play, the guitars also stand out really well and give the whole thing the perfect amount of heaviness. There are a handful of riffs that leave my mouth wide open whenever I hear them because they’re not only perfectly written but are also used at the perfect moments. To top it all off: they exactly hit my taste in tuning and production…a true treat. Due to my apparent inability to track down a bass line in music in general I can’t really comment on it too much, but in the few instances where the bass guitar is clearly audible I enjoyed it thoroughly since it complements the drums perfectly.

Which brings me to one of the biggest “wow”-factors of these forty-four minutes of goodness: the drumming. First of all, I’m absolutely in love with the way they sound: even though slightly over-triggered it exactly hits the spot for me. Secondly, the double bass play is just phenomenal and makes me automatically try to tap my feet along to it…needless to say I don’t quite succeed. Last but not least is the general rhythm that the drums have to them which exactly fits the vibe of the other instruments.

The other big selling point on this CD are the vocals, especially more so if you know a bit about their back-story. Quick sum-up: on the previous three records IFAF always had two singers who split clean and unclean vocal duties. In late 2010 they were only left with one, the clean singer, and the future was uncertain for a while…in 2011 however it was revealed that he was taking over screaming duties as well. My first reaction was mixed since he has a very clean and soft singing voice but on their Symphonies EP I was proven wrong. In the year that has passed his screams have improved further and he has even surpassed his former co-singer, in my opinion. The icing on the cake is a guest appearance by We Came As Romans singer Dave Stephens on the song The Calm Before Reform.

All in all, it’s quite safe for me to say that this album is a very strong rival to my current number 1 record of 2012 by Pierce The Veil, and it might even surpass it in due time. Ironically both bands hail from San Diego, California. I strongly recommend that you check it out for yourself and I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I do. More information can be found on the band’s Facebook page and a little taste can be heard below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWhsZgDxl0c]

Mortal Kombat

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In the early nineties there were two major fighting game series: Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. And as you know, whenever a game is successful, Hollywood wants to make a movie out of it. Since Street Fighter got one in 1994, the Mortal Kombat faction soon followed in 1995, and to be honest: it’s not even bad!

The story is quickly summed up: Shang Tsung, an evil magician, hosts a tournament which will decide the faith of the Earthrealm and he is opposed by Raiden, the God of Thunder, who is played by Christopher Lambert and his chosen fighters: Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage. Pretty standard story, but what can you expect from a fighting game? Then again, if you’re watching stuff like this for the story you must be a pretty confused person.

The fighting sequences are rare, not very long and not super impressive either. Not meaning that they’re terrible but I guess I was expecting more brutality…similar to the video games. The dialogue is average at best as well, with so many corny lines that it almost hurts. The acting is generally speaking decent but some of the actors just make you cringe.

You might ask yourself how I can say that this flick isn’t bad when all I do is criticize it. Easy answer: I grew up with the games and therefore I don’t care about all of the above negative points. There are many subtle and not so subtle references to them that make every fan happy; whenever Shang Tsung says the magic words “Finish him!” I see the blood-red writing in my mind and I have to smile. Plus there’s the characters’ special moves that are added in a few scenes; yet another wink to the fans.

Especially the villains are really well done in my opinion. Amongst them are the three ninjas Scorpion, Sub-Zero and Reptile as well as Goro, who is a four-armed giant. Even though pretty poor CGI is used for Scorpion’s trademark move “Get over here!” I’m still impressed by the Scorpion fight, mainly the fact that they travel into hell to finish the fight and Scorpion takes off his mask to reveal his skull. Goro also looks pretty much the way he does in the games, and as far as I can tell is done completely without CGI.

The main reason why I think this movie is worth watching however is the music, or more precisely the main theme. Every time you hear the famous voice scream “Mortal Kombat!” you know that shit is going to hit the fan. The rest of the soundtrack also has some other cool songs by bands like Fear Factory and Type O Negative.

To sum it up: check out this movie, especially if you’ve seen it as a kid and haven’t seen it in ages…nostalgia guaranteed!

Isles And Glaciers – The Hearts Of Lonely People

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Before I start, let me just say upfront that this is probably going to be the shortest review I’ve written so far; not because I’m lazy but simply because there’s no point in over-analyzing this record. Nevertheless I want to express my thoughts on Isles And Glaciers and their 2010 album The Hearts Of Lonely People.

Even though the seven songs only amount to twenty-seven minutes in total, it’s one of my biggest “discoveries” this year since it’s a supergroup comprised, amongst others, of members from three bands I enjoy a lot: Emarosa, Chiodos and Pierce The Veil. There are also other musicians but to be quite honest…they’re not the centerpiece of this collaboration so I won’t talk about them.

Instrumentally there’s not much to say either, it’s very enjoyable but no real highlight. However, there’s no need for any highlights on the instruments because what this record, at least to me, is all about are the vocals. Jonny Craig of Emarosa, Craig Owens of Chiodos and Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil take you on a, for lack of a better word, beautiful journey with their amazing voices. Lyrically it’s very cheesy but not to a point where it’s annoying…I definitely love them.

To sum it up I can only say that if you’re into any of the bands I mentioned…you need to check this out, no questions asked. If you’re not, but you’re not averse to higher pitched vocals, I strongly recommend that you give this a shot. Sadly, the band is on an indefinite hiatus and there are no real plans of releasing any new material in the near future. But that’s OK, since they’ve left a mark in my memory with this debut. Check out the song below if you’re curious.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXxeev6kczE]

Perish With Pride – Domination

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After an exploration of different musical spheres last week, it’s time to go back to the heavy side. So today I chose to review the debut album Domination of the Luxembourgish band Perish With Pride, which was released in 2010. This young quartet has taken the great ambition of recording twelve songs entirely by themselves, and before I say anything further I’ll just spoil the ending: they mostly succeeded.

Musically they wander the path of melodic death metal (contrary to what I claimed in my live review…shame on me) and the thematic of the songs is mostly sociocritical, safe for one. This means that you won’t get much time to rest, especially at a show, since it’s very straight-forward which isn’t a bad thing to me.

The drum sound is quite enjoyable and actually sounds like a real instrument; so fear not, you won’t be treated to something over-produced. One minor gripe I have though is that they generally lack variation, at least on the hand-level…the footwork therefor impressed me more than once. This however doesn’t really put down the album as a whole but it’s definitely a point that can easily be improved in the future.

The guitar-work on the other hand is more diverse and delivers several neck-breaker riffs, the same goes for the sound which is pretty clean and nice on the ears. Special mention for the mini-solo at the beginning of Pull The Trigger.

The vocals are the one thing where I’m still a bit on the fence: essentially they’re good, but they lack something, which I can’t even put into words, that doesn’t quite convince me. Maybe it’s part of the mixing or because the CD is a bit older, but when I saw them live the voice impressed me more.

Even though there is quite a bit of critique, there are two major selling points for me on this forty-two minute album: the first one is a completely unexpected funk interlude on one of the songs which I won’t name now, as to not ruin the surprise. And the second one is the second-to last song Tribute To Metal: probably the greatest collaboration in the history of the Luxembourgish metal scene, yes…that good. To sum it up, it’s basically a shout-out to the entire metal scene featuring the vocalists from local bands like Arkaeon, Dreadnought, Asathor and Desdemonia, amongst others.

To finish up I can only say that Perish With Pride have made it onto my “list of local bands that I will follow in the future” and that you should absolutely check them out to make up your own mind. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and the video below. Please note that the version below is not the final mix, so it’s not as polished yet.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaB9doOLFpk]