Author Archives: Yannick

Memphis May Fire – Challenger

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Memphis May Fire is a band that I first stumbled upon around May 2011 because Danny Worsnop, singer of Asking Alexandria, tweeted one of their lines and I ended up looking them up. The lyrics were from their back then fresh album The Hollow, to which I listened to countless times in the following months. Needless to say I was surprised yet excited when they announced in early 2012 that they were working on a new record already, and several weeks later the release date was set for late June.

The new album Challenger was teased prior to its release by two full songs: Prove Me Right and most of all Vices. Both those songs were killer and got me severely stoked for the full release, mainly the latter song because of its topic, but more about that later. So when I finally held the CD in my hands I was a bit giddy to hear what else they had come up with and on my first listening session I was kind of disappointed.

But let’s rewind: the album has a clean and powerful production which puts you in the proper mood right from the first riff that is played during the intro. The drums have a slightly industrial note to them and sound really over-triggered all throughout, but that’s already been the case on the predecessor and thus it’s kind of part of their trademark sound. The guitars have also kept their powerful sound and only the bass seems to be more pronounced on this record, which is very enjoyable to me since I am usually unable to filter out the bass lines in metalcore…but then again I’m no musician.

The vocals are also at their usual perfection in both the clean and scream department and there are quite a few very melodic vocal passages that are almost bound to stick in your head at the latest after the second listening. On top of that there are two guest vocalists: Kellin Quinn from Sleeping With Sirens and Danny Worsnop from Asking Alexandria. Since I enjoy both their voices I was truly looking forward to their performance but I ended up being partially let down. The song that Quinn appears on is, lyrics aside, the weakest on the album and his singing was kind of boring, especially if you compare it to his guest appearance on Pierce The Veil‘s song that was released around the same time as the first teaser for Challenger. Worsnop’s song however put everything right for me again since it’s the exact opposite: among the top songs of the album and an equally fitting performance.

Now, you might ask yourself why I was disappointed after my first listening session…easy answer: I listened to the album without having the booklet with me. Let me elaborate. I’m the kind of person that pays a lot of attention to lyrics and the ones on this album had some very interesting topics. They’re about the difficulties in the music business, the touring stress, love lost and alcoholism. The latter is the theme of the aforementioned song Vices to which I could relate to in some parts.

All in all I can safely say that Challenger is probably not an album that you’ll like from the get go but which needs some time to settle in your head first…if you give it a chance. But even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll end up finding the one or the other interesting riff or breakdown here and there. Be sure to check out the band’s Facebook page as well as the video to my favorite song below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I8cVlZDOT4]

For All Those Sleeping – Outspoken

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For All Those Sleeping from Minnesota is yet another band that doesn’t seem very well known in Europe, and I don’t really get why that’s the case. In 2010 they released their debut album Cross Your Fingers which had a very pop punk-ish feel to it and which I thoroughly enjoyed. Even though some people might argue that it was rather generic in the musical department I can’t really claim the opposite but the whole record was kind of a concept album which featured zombie inspired lyrics and it had quite a few musical highlights to it.

But it doesn’t really matter how you feel about their first endeavor since their newest record Outspoken, in my opinion, tops it in every single way. But let me backtrack a little here: in late April F.A.T.S. released the first single Mark My Words off of it…which left me with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth since I was rather underwhelmed. Fast forward two or three weeks to where they released the second preview song Once A Liar (Always A Fake) and I can tell you that by this point I was positively stoked for the release of the album.

When I finally got my hands on the full release I was greeted by one of the coolest intros in recent times (as well as a pretty cool artwork) and from there on I was completely immersed into the album. The first thing that struck me was the change in the quality of the production in comparison to their first record: the drums sound richer yet not overproduced, the guitars are sharper and heavier, and the vocals are even fuller than previously.

Lyrically the album deals with more general or generic, depending on your point of view, themes such as teenage angst, love and love lost. Yet they seemed a bit better thought through than the ones on the predecessor and feature more sing-along parts which luckily don’t strike me as too cheesy as is sometimes the case with metalcore songs. In the musical department they also added certain small touches, like violins and more dominant keyboard parts, which spice things up nicely.

All in all, I can only say that the Outspoken 40 minutes have not disappointed me, even though two of the twelve songs are a bit weaker than the rest. Ironically, the first single actually grew on me since it fits nicely into the album as a whole but the strongest song, to me, is by far Follow My Voice and I hope to experience the band live in the near future so I can go nuts to it.

Be sure to check to check out their Facebook page for more information and give my favorite song off the record a listen.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAPbYqCiU3Q]

Trash Monday XXIII

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I’m a 90s kid, and in my early years I mostly watched German TV. I remember back in the mid-90s when VIVA had its big success there was this cute girl singing something about Satellites and stuff…of course I’m talking about Blümchen. A few months later she released the song Boomerang which, as an eight or nine year old kid, I enjoyed quite a bit and as it usually is with people as they tend to get older I became nostalgic many years later and went looking for the song on YouTube, and that’s where I stumbled upon this jewel: an English version of the song. I’m sure she was trying to emulate Nena‘s (mild?) success with her 99 Red Balloons but failed miserably. Enjoy this jewel of all that was the nineties.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWqYEsN0EHQ]

Sleepers’ Guilt – Sleepers’ Guilt

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Sleepers’ Guilt are a rather fresh band from Luxembourg who released their self-titled debut EP at the end of March 2012. Even though the quartet was only formed in 2011, it consists of experienced musicians from the now defunct bands Ophidian, Clean State and I Spy Apocalypse.

I’ll start this review with a very unusual and for the end consumer unimportant thing: the digital press kit that was given to me was very nicely put together and featured the songs, the entire booklet in very high quality, some promo pictures as well as an info sheet. And from the latter I’ll actually quote a sentence before I dive into the actual review since it describes their style perfectly: “they play modern melodic metal with a progressive touch and clean vocals, without losing the aggressiveness and trying to create their own sound and their own approach towards making music.”

The first thing that struck me as a listener was the remarkably clean and yet powerful production. Since this EP is entirely self-produced in a private studio in Luxembourg I was blown away by the tight guitar sound and the very organic drum sound. The vocals are also very intelligible and are perfectly mixed into the instrumental surroundings.

The six song EP is all throughout accompanied by piano play and the one or the other synthesizer which gives the ensemble somewhat of a symphonic undertone, as is tradition in the melodic metal genre. However it isn’t too blatant and thus doesn’t distract you at all from the, in some parts, very interesting riffs nor does it sound kitschy. The riffs are actually the part that impress me the most on this record, there are some real neckbreakers on here that I’m sure will motivate many people at home and mostly at shows to headbang enthusiastically.

Lyrically, the EP is mainly sociocritical and definitely a nice read. There is however one thing that heavily bothers me on a personal level: the singer’s voice. This is obviously very subjective but I’m just not a fan of this type of voices, no matter how flawless the performance. It’s what I like to call the “Dream Theater Paradox”: instrumentally to my liking but ruined by the singing. Don’t get me wrong: the vocalist does a great job and in some parts reminds me a bit of the singer of Sabaton but except for a ten second part towards the middle of the last song Raven’s Fight where he (almost) growls it just doesn’t appeal to me.

In conclusion I can definitely recommend giving the EP a chance if you are either open-minded about vocals or if you are into melodic metal. Personally I’ll try to check them out live at the next best opportunity to make up my mind. For more information about their tour dates and possibilities where you can buy their EP, check out their Facebook page and make sure to give the song below a listen.

Architects – Daybreaker

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I’m pretty sure that everyone that is at least a bit into metalcore has heard of Architects before as they have managed to establish themselves in the scene quite well, at the latest in 2009 with their album Hollow Crown.

In 2011 they released The Here And Now which was quite different from the aforementioned album: a lot more melodic and “softer”, but still a very powerful record nevertheless. Their latest endeavor Daybreaker however is very reminiscent of the 2009 released record.

In terms of instruments this means that it is a bit more complex and definitely heavier. Great, almost mathcore-ish, riffs are found througout the whole 42 minutes.

Sam Carter’s vocals are, who would have thought (wink wink), at their usual high level. This guy just manages to deliver on all levels, be it super clean vocals or very emotion-ladden screams. You just believe everything he sings.

Then there are 3 guest appearances on vocals: Jon Green of Deez Nuts, Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon and Drew York of Stray From The Path. The one that sticks out the most to me is Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon on the song Even If You Win, You’re Still A Rat. This is, of course, mostly due to the fact that I’m a big follower of BMTH but also because he sounds very different to the way he does on his albums. This might be because it’s mixed differently or it might be a foreshadowing of THEIR upcoming album.

Lyrically the whole record is very sociocritical and songs like These Colours Don’t Run are a prime example of that. And, because of the vocalist’s talent, you can actually make out about 90% of them without even looking at the booklet.

All in all I can only say that this album is, in some ways, a step back but not really in a bad way: their previous record might have been too much of a change for the band and this feels much more architectural. See what I did there?)

Be sure to check them out on Facebook and listen to the song below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHHJF2cUwyY]

Aphyxion – Obliteration Of The Weak

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Aphyxion. A name that will most likely not ring a bell for a lot of people, however the people that do know the name will be able to tell you that it’s a band that you should observe in the future.

The, surprisingly, very young Danish quintet shows a degree of professionalism in both their studio endeavors as well as their live performances where many bands these days barely manage to deliver on one of those levels.

Their 5 track 2010 EP Obliteration Of The Weak starts off with an eponymous track that lets you know in the first 15 seconds what they’re all about: heaviness mixed with that well-known Scandinavian groove.

On the instrumental level they remind me of a modern take on At The GatesSlaughter Of The Soul, which is definitely a good thing. One could also compare their sound to the older stuff of their compatriots from Hatesphere.

The vocalist’s screams are on an equal level throughout the entire EP and although they are mainly guttural, he adds some small screechy nuances to them that give you just the right amount of diversity.

Soundwise I must say that I’m mostly surprised by how well it all sounds, especially because we aren’t talking about a major label band here. No, my guess is that this was a rather low-budget production and yet the result is just impressive. The drums don’t sound over-triggered, as is often the case with new bands these days, and the guitars come at you with a thick clear sound.

There is, however, one negative point that struck me during my listening sessions: a lack of diversity. After listening to the EP around a dozen times I wasn’t really able to differentiate clearly between the songs. Despite that, I am confident that this is something that will pose no problems to them on their next record since I’ve had a chance to see them live not too long ago here in Luxembourg and unless my ears betrayed me they played new songs that have a much diverse sound to them.

All in all I can only say that you should definitely give this fresh band a try since they hold a lot of potential and I, for one, will follow their evolution with great interest.

And if you get the chance to see them live, do so. Their energy on stage will surely make you bang your head (or ninja-dance around, if that’s what you fancy) and they are genuinely nice people have a drink with and talk to.

Be sure to check out their Facebook profile and the song below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUSroUOB9do]

Adestria – Chapters

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This is my first review for El Gore and I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing; so bear with me here.

The record I decided to write about is the debut album Chapters of the rather unknown metalcore band Adestria. At first you might think that Adestria is just your generic “more breakdowns please” metalcore clone but you couldn’t be more wrong.

What these 6 guys from San Diego managed to capture in these 10 songs is a perfect mixture between heaviness and melody that a lot of more famous bands are unable to find.

On top of the amazing harmony on an instrumental level you have the truly strong voice of the lead singer who manages growls, screeches and clean vocals equally well. But it doesn’t stop there. 3 guest vocalists also make an appearance to give 3 songs that special something: Tyler Smith from The Word Alive, Davey Muise of Vanna and Scott Barnes of In Fear And Faith. And if all that isn’t enough yet you have a brilliant production to make it even easier for you to like this album. Lyrically the album is also satisfying and mostly pirate-inspired but not in a corny way, I’d say.

You might notice that I haven’t found anything negative about the record and that is correct. To me this is the best album (in this genre, of course) of 2012 so far and one of the biggest surprises in recent times.

I want to add that I don’t mean to say that Adestria have re-invented the (metalcore) wheel but that they definitely gave it a new spin and future releases of other bands will have to be able to hold up with this album.

You can check them out on their Facebook page and be sure to listen to the song Scarlett Letter below.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4PaA-WTtOA]