Category Archives: Music

Sleepers’ Guilt – Kilesa

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It’s been almost three years since one local band underwent a line-up change that made them go from “OK, I guess” to “Nice, I do declare!” in my book. This change was in the form of their lead singer, who was previously of the power metal variant, but was replaced with a growler and thus changed the entire dynamic of the quintet…if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m going to write about Sleepers’ Guilt today! The guys are about to release their first full-length, or should I say overfull-length, called Kilesa on February 27th!

While the line-up is the same as on the 2013 released EP Road Of Emptiness, this marks the first real release in the current line-up, since the aforementioned record was written with the ex-singer in mind and even though it worked out quite well in the end, you can definitely tell what the true potential of the new sound is this time around. While the Sleepies are staying true to their symphonic and melodic roots, the songwriting is a lot heavier this time around, and almost a one-eighty degree turn, because instead of having the occasional mosh-worthy part among the progressive tunes, these thirteen songs are almost non-stop headbang extravaganza.

But fear not, SG have not descended into bland death metal or hardcore or whatever you’re picturing right now…no, no: they created a, in my opinion, perfect blend of brutally heavy and dreamy melodic parts. If I had to explain it to a stranger, I’d say that they sound like Amon Amarth, but with actually well-written and diverse songs. There’s one for the album sticker, people.

In the opener I mentioned that Kilesa was an overfull-length album…let me delve into that a bit more: the crowd-funded record is a double album which amounts to a total playtime of seventy-eight minutes! Ambitious, to say the least. Ingenious too, though. In order to avoid boredom and repetition, the second half of this opus, is a concept album that features guest vocals of Noémie Leer, of Elysian Gates, and that has a slightly more orchestral and progressive feel to it. The three songs are all around the ten minute mark and provide a wonderful listening experience.

However, this zest for action also has a negative side to it…at least for me. I am simply not a huge fan of albums that are almost as long as a friggin’ movie! I always try to listen to a record at least twenty times before reviewing it…but with a playtime like this, it’s a sheer impossibility. Maybe I’m showing signs of the fast-food society we live in, but I fear that it’s just too long for some. …and that’s what she said.

In all seriousness and in closing: Kilesa is a brilliant work of art that will capture everyone that takes the time to be absorbed by it. And if you are, like me, apprehensive about the playtime…take it one disc at a time. Trust me, it’s worth it. You can visit Sleepers’ Guilt‘s Facebook page for more information, watch the video below for a first impression and last but not least, swing your butt to KuFa on Saturday for the release show of Kilesa!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbsZz-WBOBU]

The Majestic Unicorns From Hell – A Matter Of Less In More

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“How can less be more? It’s impossible. More is more.” Never has this sentence been more accurate and more false at the same time than in the intro of the new record by a band that is definitely in the top 4 of all the instrumental bands that we have here in Luxembourg. I’m a terrible liar: it’s actually on the new record, A Matter Of Less In More, of, hands down, my favorite one of the genre: The Majestic Unicorns From Hell. The band that is guaranteed to cure any illnesses you have in exchange for a hefty dose of tinnitus and whiplash. So let’s dive in before the actual release date of February 12th!

When I reviewed their debut, Valde Purgamentum, in 2013 my first reaction was “holy fuck!”. Well…not much has changed in that regard this time around, except that the sentence was slightly more articulate, in the form of: “holy fucking shit, they did it again, those bastards”. Mainly because, as stated in the intro, the quartet followed the recipe of more is more: instead of just cranking those dials to eleven, they yanked them to forty-two, sixty-nine and finally six hundred and sixty-six.

The intensity is constantly present and each musician explores the limits of the sonic spectrum in their own regard, be it in speed, technicality, atmosphere or groove. And let me tell you something about these ten songs: the groove is strong in this one! But, here’s where the Teenage Mutant Music Turtles also contradict themselves! Less is sometimes more, because the number of songs and the playtime of thirty minutes is definitely less than on the predecessor…but it works, it works so damn well!

Level with me here: I think my playcount of AMOLIM (so catchy!) is probably close to fifty times, and I still feel like I’m listening to the soundtrack of a movie! I can’t really tell you which type, because it ranges from psycho thriller, to horror flick, to seventies porno, but the atmosphere is always palpable. A very good example of this cinematic feel is on the song Green Thursday Mr Beast, during the last two and a half minutes when this riff sets in that just screams despair and I picture a 28 Days Later-like scenario where humans are being chased by zombies, before erupting into an almost catatonic melody interlaced with a sampled speech, giving me a feeling of hope. Pure joy.

To sum things up, I can without a doubt claim that the magical equestrian beasts from the very deep south have not only outdone themselves this time around, but also hands down found their sound and I’m confident that, with a bit of luck, their future will be a bright one…and if not…remember: less is more! If I managed to spark your curiosity, be sure to head to their Facebook page and don’t forget to listen to the new TMUFH album below! But beware: you touch, you buy! Thank you, come again! Oh, and if you like what you just bought, be sure to move your sweet cheeks to De Gudde Wëllen this Friday, where the fellas will play a concert that somehow coincides with the release of new music…but it’s not a release show, I swear.

Sliver – No Idols/No Icons

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The way I choose what to review is pretty easy: if it’s national, I’ll most likely write about it and if it’s an international one whose previous album I liked, they’ll probably also be featured on here. There are of course a couple of exceptions but that’s the, albeit slightly unfair, modus operandi. Well, with that said: Sliver are definitely a band that impressed me with their 2012 endeavor Disobey Giants, and they’re about to release the follow-up, called No Idols/No Icons. So here’s my two cents on it!

Essentially, the Belgo-Franco-Luxembourgish potpourri plays punk, but of a very experimental kind, where you can find screamo elements, as well as some hardcore (punk) ingredients, which all come together nicely and thus provide an enjoyable listening experience. While I do feel that the quartet has found its definitive sound this time around, thus being more concise in its execution, there is still enough variety to go around for everyone.

Returning listeners be assured: many “trademark” aspects from their previous records have found their way into these eleven songs, so the megaphone screams and socio-critical themes will still provide you entertainment and/or food for thought. The greatest improvement to me, however, is the more straight-forward songwriting, because it makes the different songs a lot more memorable. I also feel like the production has become cleaner, making it easier to distinguish the individual instruments…but that might just be my imagination.

The thirty-seven minutes also feel like they pack a tad more groove, and therefore danceability (read: moshability) plays a big part too. The vocal performance has remained at its previous high level and, even though the singer jokingly berated me that it was impossible when I mentioned it in my previous review, the lovely Frenglish accent is also still present. Add to that the truly fitting quoted interludes, and you have a well-rounded package.

All in all, not only have Sliver proven to me that getting into their music a while ago was definitely worth my time, but also that sticking to them was the right choice. NI/NI is a fairly diverse work of art with a lot of strong messages, and a fitting musical backdrop as its medium. So, do yourself a favor and listen to the song below and head over to the guys’ Facebook page if you want to keep up with their future! Last but not least, as you’re reading this, the entire album will be available on Bandcamp, so head on over and give it a proper listen!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNcYAyyWs18&]

The Filthy Broke Billionaires – In God We Trust, The Others Pay Cash

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A new year means new releases to look forward to, which is always nice…even more so when it’s a national release! The start of the annual Luxembourgish releases is made by the fairly new band The Filthy Broke Billionaires, that has their debut EP In God We Trust, The Others Pay Cash in tow! And I’m happy to give you my two cents on it before its release on January 15th!

While the band itself has only been around for about a year, all of its members are experienced musicians that wanted a change of scenery I guess, which is why they play something akin to classic rock, with a few hints of blues thrown in for good measure. The quartet has a fairly elementary line-up, comprised of drums, one guitar, bass and vocals, making the five songs a fairly easy listening experience that never throws too much to handle at you.

However, this approach doesn’t entail a boring nineteen minutes, at all! Especially the guitar has some tasty parts that stand out quite a lot, mixed with the tight interplay between bass and drums and the powerful yet soulful female vocals, the time flies by without you even noticing it. The only gripe I have is the fact that the production is fairly old-school and could use a bit more of a punch in my humble opinion…but then again, I believe that the classic sound was one of the main ideas behind the EP.

All in all, I have to say that classic rock isn’t really my thing at all…but after going through IGWTTOPC about twenty times, the EP has definitely grown on me. Personally, I probably won’t have this on repeat until the day I die, but I can absolutely recommend giving it a fair listen! The band will be hosting a release show at Rockhal this Friday, so be sure to head on over if you like what you hear and in the meantime head to their Facebook page for further information! Read you soon, until then: have a good one!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MkOnXDtf6g]

Devil You Know – They Bleed Red

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Quick fact about myself: ever since I got into Killswitch Engage around 2009, I’ve become quite a huge fan of their music. Naturally, I was a bit devastated when their singer Howard Jones left the band in 2012 due to medical reasons. It turned out to be be a blessing in disguise, when their original vocalist eventually returned to the band, but that’s the point of this story. Jones was officially no longer in the music business, and I was quite saddened because I consider him to be one of the most unique and strongest singers in metalcore. Fast forward to 2014, when I learned that the man himself was back with a new band called Devil You Know, who were about to release their debut record, The Beauty Of Destruction. Despite my high hopes for the record, I wasn’t really convinced by the instrumental side of it, since it was a bit generic and lackluster, only being above average due to the vocal performance. Little did I know that merely a year later, the quartet would surprise with a fresh album called They Bleed Red, which is the subject of today’s review!

After that lengthy introduction, I should really just cut to the chase: it’s a major step up from its predecessor! The songwriting has vastly improved and actually has numerous memorable riffs and hooks that embedded themselves in my head even after the first listen. The heavy parts are truly in your face and guaranteed to instigate many vicious moshpits as well as enthusiastic headbanging! The technical level has also definitely been raised, providing more than just mere background noise to the vocals. The same goes for the melodic side of these eleven tracks, which frankly has a much catchier aspect to it.

The fact that the production packs a by far fiercer punch than before is just an added bonus to these already neckbreaking forty-seven minutes. All this provides the perfect stage, so to speak, for the afore-mentioned vocal prowess present on this record. It goes without saying that HoJo nails it and actually delivers, what I feel is, his strongest performance to date. The amount of face-melting screams and growls on TBR just can’t be put into words, it’s that good.

To sum things up, Devil You Know have definitely saved face with their new record and proven that they are a force in the making to be reckoned with. At the time of writing this review I am, as a matter of fact, going to see them live in three days, so I’m twice as excited as before to witness their performance! Check out the song below, which admittedly is one of my least favorite on here, and visit the band’s Facebook profile for more info!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG8DzO1gJ4g]

Reject The Sickness – Chains Of Solitude

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After several weeks of quieter tunes, I think it would be a good idea to crank things up a bit again? What do you think? Well, what better way to do so than with some fresh technical death metal from Belgium? But don’t roll your eyes in case you expect yet another bog standard metal act: Reject The Sickness add a few tasty flavors to the genre on their new record Chains Of Solitude! Read on to find out more!

The quintet has a fairly modern sound and also draws influences from modern metal acts, which can clearly be heard from the start. While the song structures are reminiscent of the classic bands everyone knows and loves, you will periodically find the occasional metalcore breakdown and chugging riffs along the way. Melody is also a big factor for the guys, since it is omnipresent, mainly in the guitar department, throughout the eleven tracks.

The groove is also strong with these musicians, and provides quite a few memorable headbang passages during the forty minutes, but the majority of the songs are filled with barrages of blast beats and crazy double bass work.

The vocals are mostly comprised of guttural growls, interspersed with maniacal screeches and topped off with fierce screams. Occasionally, however, the singer dives into a sort of clean vocals that gave me a very Gojira-esque vibe, which at times did feel a bit out of context, but didn’t throw me off too much.

All in all, Reject The Sickness is one of those bands that I’d like to write more about but feel unable to be descriptive or convincing enough…so I simply end this with: listen to Chains Of Solitude. It’s a solid record and it might tickle you in just the right spot. Song below and info on Facebook as usual. Take care until next week!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ofN9qtSHFE]

Smokey Bastard – Back To The Drawing Room

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Folk punk. One of the greatest inventions since lactose free cheese. All joking aside: I love folk punk, since it usually has great danceability, even for someone as stiff-legged as myself, a lot of musical diversity and it’s usually a blast to experience live. But, let’s face it…there are a lot of bands that choose this genre without bringing anything new to the table…today’s musicians will change that, trust me. Smokey Bastard from Reading are about to release their new full-length, Back To The Drawing Room, and they incorporate certain elements that I’ve never heard in combination with folk punk. Read on if you want to find out what I mean!

The six guys have all the typical instruments such as drums, guitars and bass at their disposal and of course they add the (English) folk-typical instruments such as banjo, accordion and mandolin to the mix. The kicker about them, however, is the fact that while they do stay faithful to the typical folk punk sound, they have some truly metal-sounding parts with really distorted guitar riffs and crazy double bass work. While it might come across quite underwhelmingly on paper, it sounds so massive when performed that it blew me away the first time I put the record on.

A good example of this is toward the end of the song Screens, where the folk instruments play a beautiful melody in harmony while being backed-up by a heavy groove riff and some fabulously hard-hitting footwork on the drums. I love it. The ten songs are chock-full with such “oh shit” moments and even after my twentieth listen I’m still amazed by the perfectly fitting interplay of all the different elements.

Of course no folk punk ensemble is complete with a charismatic voice to recount tales of days gone by. Such is the case on BTTDR as well, and the singer delivers a gripping performance which varies between screams, clean singing and insanely fast spoken word, making these forty minutes fairly diverse yet never entirely pulling you away from the rest.

All in all, Smokey Bastard really took me by surprise since I was expecting just another, albeit good, folk punk ensemble, but was instead introduced to one of the most promising acts in the genre. Do yourself a favor and give Back To The Drawing Room a listen when it’s released on November 13th and in the meantime listen to their song below. Also look them up on Facebook if you so desire.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvkFoIl9kIc]

ReVerbed – Another Year, Still Here

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It’s been a while since I wrote about a band that I wasn’t familiar with before-hand, and I thought it would be high time to change that, which is why I’m pleased to bring you a fresh review of a little EP called Another Year, Still Here. The culprits behind this rather enjoyable pop-rock release, which was released last Friday, October 23rd, are ReVerbed, a young band from Brighton.

I’ll get to the point rather quickly because the four tracks are sadly almost over before they even started: it’s solid. Very much so even, because of one simple yet very effective feature: dual vocals throughout all the songs. Not just in alternation but also very often at the same time, which is something that sounds banal in written form but actually elevates the performance to a level of its own.

Especially so because the male and female voices create a highly distinctive harmony that goes perfectly with the, to be frank, straight-forward yet catchy instrumentals. I honestly can’t quite put my finger on what it is that ReVerbed have, but I know that they do have exactly that. While no stand-alone element is anything to write home about, the final result of these twelve minutes will be stuck in your head, I promise.

All in all, Another Year, Still Here is an EP that deserves your attention, because it does everything right and, I know many share this opinion, this band has the potential to make it big. So if you want to be among the people that knew about ReVerbed “before they were cool”…be sure to listen to the song below and check out the band’s Facebook page!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTmRwsXuC6w]

Trivium – Silence In The Snow

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After BMTH have drastically changed their style, it is now time to write about yet another band that has strayed quite far from its roots. Trivium has always been an ensemble whose music I’ve greatly appreciated for the most part, but their new record Silence In The Snow has taken a very different path from what I was expecting. Let’s see what has happened, shall we?

The quartet started in metalcore, and has constantly expanded its musical range by adding new elements and also removing some…but never in their fifteen year history has the evolution been this drastic. Well…almost. The band’s third record The Crusade had the lead singer mostly refrain from screaming, especially live, because he blew his voice while constantly being on tour and not having a proper technique. Along with that, the music felt a bit too much like a cheap Metallica copy and it is with no doubt my least favorite release of the band.

On subsequent albums he had not only regained his screams but also vastly improved his range and vocal power, resulting in amazing works of art and live shows. But apparently he damaged his voice again in 2014 and was thus forced to refrain from screaming again. Which is why, I suppose, the band chose to go a different route with their seventh release: no screams at all. The reaction to this decision has been very mixed so far, as was mine at first…but Superman damn it: it works! And how!

Logically, this also has a small influence on the instrumental side of things, but not as much as you’d think. Trivium still very much sounds like the fans have grown to love them, but the focus is clearly more on melody and, for lack of a better word, grandeur. The eleven songs all have this majestic feel to them, while at the same time remaining heavy; albeit having less of a “mosh-along” vibe. The only minor gripe I have is that some more technical aspects have gone missing in the process.

Now, onto the main change: the vocals. There is not a single scream, growl, shout or anything alike during these forty-three minutes and everything is kept in clean singing. However, the sheer vocal range of the singer has so vastly improved that it doesn’t feel like that much of a loss. But I have to admit that there were a handful of passages where I would have expected and loved the guitarist to maybe add a little growl here and there, simply because I kept waiting for it. On the other hand, I have to quote the latter: “you don’t need screams to be heavy”, and I have to agree 100%.

At the end of the day, there is no doubt Silence In The Snow will divide the ranks of Trivium fans, but to the naysayers I can only say: the old records did not disappear from the face of the earth, so feel free to go back and enjoy them! I, on the other hand, embrace this change wholeheartedly and while it probably won’t be my favorite record by them, I will fully support them! So be sure to listen to the track below and head over to their Facebook page if you want to do the same.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVpU-OXrg1c]

Everwaiting Serenade – No Harbor

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Ten years. Unless you speak of the earth itself, that’s a long time. Even more so if a band reaches that milestone in its existence, since in today’s music industry that’s becoming more and more rare, with many formations splitting up after a record already.  Which is why I am delighted to write a review about Everwaiting Serenade, who are celebrating that achievement with the release of their new record No Harbor on October 17th!

I must admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of their previous record All Rise, which dates back to 2011, since it didn’t have any real musical highlight to me…but a creative break of four years has definitely remedied that and has helped the quintet (re)define their style! While the metalcore elements have taken a step back, and made way for a more hardcore-orientated sound, they are still found in the essence of the ten songs in the form of melodic riffing and the genre-typical breakdowns.

EWS have always been fond of chugging rhythms and that hasn’t changed either but, especially due to the truly massive production, it’s very well-blended with the various instruments, allowing a clear distinction of the other things going on in a song. Sadly, my only gripe with these thirty-six minutes stems from said chugging though. I’ve said it numerous times in conversations, but I don’t recall ever bringing it up in a review: Luxembourg has tons of amazing musicians, but very few good songwriters. While the songs all have a clear structure and even some truly memorable parts, I was constantly waiting for the massive hook or chorus to come and hit me in the face.

However, this doesn’t mean that No Harbor is your standard uninspired hardcore release either, quite the contrary actually. Especially since the vocals contribute a lot to the variety, since there are numerous sing-along parts in the form of crowd chants and catchy one-liners. While the vocalist has refrained from any vocal style other than screaming, I feel that he has vastly improved and it elevates the ensemble to a new level.

All in all, I’d say that Everwaiting Serenade have managed to capture that which makes them a local force to be reckoned with: raw energy! It might just be personal preference but I’m more than confident that if they iron out the above-mentioned part, they will be here for at least another ten years. Either way, I’m excited to follow their future and if you want to do the same, be sure to head over to Facebook and watch their new video for the title track of No Harbor! Last but not least: Melusina is the place to be on October 17th if you want to experience them live and get your hands on the record!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_sxsNJ0NX8]