Adventurer – Adventurer

Today’s post isn’t really an in-depth review, but more like a brief introduction to a band that I only discovered very recently since they signed to Blue Swan Records, a label that has released three albums that were part of my top ten, last year. Let’s get down to business then: Adventurer‘s self-titled debut EP is the subject of the following couple of paragraphs!

If you are familiar with the label, it will come as no surprise that the Michiganders play post-hardcore, since every artist on the roster is part of the same genre. A fact that might seem boring to the ignorant, but the variety that can be found between all the bands is phenomenal! Personally, I’d rather have a label focus on a single genre and hand-pick every single group of musicians, thus ensuring a very high quality standard…a fact that is confirmed by today’s trio!

What equals complex guitar melodies, intricately rhythmic drumming and interesting songwriting? Correct! A seven track strong EP that is a blast from start to finish! If one considers that this is the first year that the band has been truly active, including touring and gaining inspiration, I can only imagine what the guys are going to come up with for their debut full-length!

Despite them being a three piece band, Adventurer employs dual vocals, with one covering the clean vocals, and the other one the screams and occasional growls. Throughout the twenty-nine minutes, the dynamic between both styles is always spot-on and guarantees a diverse ride! On a speculative side note: the cleans have a timbre that no other band on the label has, so a third superband in the near future could be a possibility…just saying.

This about does it for today. I’m aware that it reads more like a Wiki entry than a proper review, but I just felt like I had to spread the word and, hopefully, introduce some of you to them! You can listen to their entire EP below, and visit their Facebook page for more info on the progress of the recordings of their debut album, which will hopefully see the light of day this year!

Saint Rebel – Saint Rebel

What are the first bands that come to mind when someone mentions Danish metal? Volbeat? King Diamond or Mercyful Fate? Right on! But over the past two years I’ve found out that there are many rather unknown bands that have a lot of potential to amount to something big! One of these is the quintet Saint Rebel, who are about to release their self-titled full length worldwide on January 12th, after a successful launch in their home country!

The guys from Copenhagen have a rather distinct style, which reminds me a bit of the classic 80s hair metal bands, but with a huge twist in terms of heaviness and groove. Elements of doomy stoner can also be heard in some instances, as well as some modern tunes akin to metalcore, but not quite. The resulting mixture is a highly captivating blend, that I’ve never heard so well executed thus far.

While heavy riffs and fast-paced drumming are predominant, there are also a couple of slower songs among the twelve tracks, which loosens up the whole experience quite nicely; hence repetition is not a word you can associate with Saint Rebel. In terms of production quality, every instrument is spot-on when it comes to sounding its best, which is definitely another positive aspect.

Last but not least, the main factor that contributes to my association with 80s hair metal, is the brilliant performance of the singer, who, with his mostly raspy voice, rounds of the forty-nine minute package off perfectly. But even here, it’s never monotonous…since his higher vocals are also an eye-, or rather, earcatcher. Coupled with the occasional screams and a strong sense for melody, I can’t really find anything negative to say.

All in all, this record is one that I can openly recommend to anyone who wants a fresh approach to mixing the old and the new, because it accomplishes it quite nicely! Personally, I have yet another Scandinavian entry on my ever-growing list of bands to follow in the future! Be sure to check out the video below and pay Saint Rebel a visit on their Facebook page.

Shredhead – Death Is Righteous

Let me ask you: what better way to start the new year than with some kickass thrash metal? Shredhead are just what you need to wake up from all the partying these past few days, since their record Death Is Righteous is every thrasher’s wet dream!

I don’t know about you, but I was always pretty ignorant about the fact that Israel had a solid metal scene and it wasn’t until I came across Ferium in mid-2013 that my opinion changed greatly! Today’s quartet is originally from the same country and helps underline its importance in heavy music, since their modern approach to thrash metal is a blast from start to finish and doesn’t have to hide behind the big bands’ releases at all.

The eleven songs are a pure riff fest from start to finish and shower the listener in equal amounts of groove and fast-paced shredding. The influences are very wide-spread and at times you even get brief stoner metal moments to complement the gallop riff galore. One big thumbs up from me goes to the bassist, and the producer, since his instrument is clearly audible and noticeable on DIR! The strings are accompanied by very versatile drums, that make every genre enthusiast feel right at home with their relentless tempo and diversified beats, making the instrumental front an indestructible thrash tank!

Throughout the forty-two minutes, the vocalist delivers an extremely strong performance with numerous different techniques. Showcasing impressively fast screams, deep growls, high-pitched screech-like vocals and last but not least, almost, clean vocals in a few instances. From a lyrical point of view, it’s quite honestly nothing really surprising: zombies, death, violence and social criticism…but I’m fine with that. They are well written and to be frank: I don’t listen to thrash metal to discover life-changing points of view.

All in all, I can only say that Shredhead is a band to watch in the near future, because their future should be a bright one…or at least they have an album in tow that has a lot of potential. I believe that you will be able to catch them on quite a few European stages this year, so don’t miss out but meanwhile, check out their Facebook page and their video below until Death Is Righteous is out on January 12th!


Top 10 2014 by Yannick, Part 2

#5 Secret Band – Secret Band

Starting part two off with another major surprise album. The band basically features all the members of Dance Gavin Dance, except the clean vocals, and holy shit does it rock! Utter craziness from start to finish…just the way I like it.

#4 Stolas – Allomaternal (review)

Continuing in the same spirit: Stolas managed to convince me as soon as I heard the first single of their new album. And the end product is just as amazing. A must for post-hardcore fans!

#3 Miss Fortune – A Spark To Believe (review)

Hands down my newcomer of the year, Miss Fortune have released an absolutely fascinating debut record. Here’s hoping that the band will go on, despite recent band-internal drama.

#2 Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter (review)

Must I say anything? How could this not be very high up on the list? However, it didn’t take the cake for me this year, despite awaiting this moment for six years.

#1 Issues – Issues (review)
Chiodos – Devil (review)
Slaves – Through Art We Are All Equals (review)
Hail The Sun – Wake (review)

Déjà-vu? I couldn’t decide last year, and it’s no different this year either…that’s why I don’t add scores or percentages to my reviews. I would consider all four of these records to be masterpieces in their own way. And I can strongly recommend them to anyone who might have some spare cash, each one of these is well worth your money. Trust me. If I did have to pick an absolute winner, it would probably be Slaves though; I can’t even count the number of times I’ve gone through that one.

That’s all I’m going to bore you with for this year. I hope to welcome back many of you, dear readers, next year! Until then: get drunk, stay safe and get laid! My personal highlights on the horizon are new albums by Lamb Of God, Devildriver, Pierce The Veil, Jonny Craig and Bring Me The Horizon! On the local level, the year starts with Lost In Pain‘s second album, for which I have high hopes as well! Well, read you soon!

Top 10 2014 by Yannick, Part 1

2014 has been a truly eventful year, both in the musical department and the El Gore internal department. Our team has gone down from five to two people, which explains the lack of movie reviews in the past few months and the disappearance of the weekly Trash Mondays. Personally, it motivated me to work even harder and I managed to write sixty-nine reviews, a personal record, and thus ensured weekly content. But enough of tooting my own horn, back to the thing that matters: music. I can’t recall a year in the past decade that had so many great releases, so it’s been really difficult to compile the following list, despite upgrading it from five to ten. Either way, enjoy!

#10 Cosmogon – Chaos Magnum (review)

There have been many truly solid Luxembourgish releases this year, but for me personally this one just had everything I needed: catchy riffs, almighty groove and the necessary raw energy to make me bang my head at many shows.

#9 The Ghost Inside – Dear Youth

I’ve known about TGI for quite a while, but I never really cared about them. What a fool I was: after seeing them live this year, I could not await the release of this most recent record. The opener alone is worth checking this one out!

#8 La Dispute – Rooms Of The House (review)

There is seriously not much I can tell you here, except that you should check out my review or simply give the album a shot. But be warned: it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

#7 Betraying The Martyrs – Phantom (review)

The second full-length by the Frenchies is everything its predecessor was, and then some. I had high hopes, and they were not disappointed…making me even more anxious to see them live next year in February!

#6 Masked Intruder – M.I.

I had never heard of the US pop punk quartet, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw them live this year and they rocked so hard that I went ahead and bought both their albums. Good stuff!

Come back tomorrow for part two!

Win big with El Gore, again in 2014

Good morning!

Yesterday marked our last review of the year, and we would like to thank you so much for the continuous interest and support in 2014! Despite heavy staff changes, we managed to provide you with fresh reviews every single week, except the month-off in August. We are highly motivated to keep doing so in the new year as well!

What’s next, you ask? Well, today marks the start of a big competition that is going down on our Facebook page, where you can win a copy of every Luxembourgish release that came out this year, and that we wrote about, so be sure to head there right now! It’s going to go on for exactly seven days!

Next week we will publish our yearly top 5 lists and then we’ll go on a holiday break until most likely January 6th 2015, possibly a week later.

So, again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Good luck in the contest and have an enjoyable holiday season, if that’s what you’re into, or simply party hard during the remaining days of the year!

Read you soon!

Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter

If you’ve followed my reviews for a while, you hopefully didn’t think that I would not write about today’s record. I know I did take my sweet time before getting to it, but I didn’t want to rush it in any way and soak up the new Slipknot album as much as I could before putting down the first word of what follows. Released on October 17th, a bit more than six years after its predecessor, .5: The Gray Chapter puts the Nine back in the picture after a long period of mourning and finding themselves again, due to the passing of their bassist Paul Gray.

Right off the bat, I have to say that the new material is a perfect mixture of the aggressiveness that was predominant on IOWA and the creativity as well as the variation that marked Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses. One factor that may or may not have played a role in this well-executed fusion, was the departure of Joey Jordison, drummer and one of the main songwriters, and the arrival of fresh blood in the form of, even though unconfirmed by the band, Jay Weinberg. As I said, it is not really known if “the new guy” has contributed much to the songwriting but his different style of drumming is definitely noticeable during these sixty-three minutes. Despite being a huge Jordison fanboy myself, I welcome the change because the groove is strong with this one and the blast-beats don’t have to hide either.

In the stringed department, the bass spot is, supposedly, filled by Alessandro Venturella who I have to admit, I can’t really distinguish clearly in the mix but I guess that’s a good sign, because why change a winning team? The guitars are stronger and more menacing than ever, while at the same time bringing some of the biggest melodies the Iowans have ever come up with. Truly a genius mix, filled with experimental elements in the form of more prominent synthesizers and turntable effects, without ever losing the drive and the force.

In the two months that 5:TGC has been out, I’ve heard and read many complaints about Corey Taylor’s vocals, especially the clean ones, being too much like on the new Stone Sour stuff and to a certain extent I have to agree. Because it’s a fact. Simple as that. What I don’t agree with, however, is that that’s a negative aspect, since I don’t see the point in him changing his style for one band, if he has found a range that he’s comfortable with. You see, there’s always people who can’t let go of the past and wish that everything could forever remain the same, but at the end of the day change and evolution, especially in music, is a good thing and you, the listener, should welcome it with open arms. If it ends up not being your cup of tea, move on, or simply listen to the old material.

Moving on to the lyrics which I feared at first would be very Paul Gray-centered, with the name of the album and all, thus resulting in repetition. In hindsight, I feel almost silly for doubting the Knot, since only three out of the fourteen, sixteen including the bonus tracks, songs are clearly about him. The remaining ones are what fans are used to: metaphorical lyrics with tons of words that you’ve never heard before and catchy as hell choruses.

To sum things up, this is a phenomenal album, at least in my completely biased opinion, and easily the nontet’s most diverse effort to date. However, Vol. 3 will remain my number one, because it’s how it all started for me. If you live behind the moon and haven’t checked out .5: The Gray Chapter yet, do yourself a favor by doing so immediately and head over the band’s Facebook page for more info. For our Luxembourgish readers: mark February 2nd on your calendar, because that’s when Slipknot will hit our little country at the Rockhal! This is my last review for this year, so stay (sic) and check out our top five posts next week!

Calypso’s Call – Delirious

Ever since I started checking out local metal bands, back in the early 2000s, I noticed that Luxembourg was severely lacking quality in one department: male clean vocals. While we do have some phenomenal screams, growlers and shouters as well as talented female vocalists, this hasn’t much changed in the past decade. You can imagine my surprise when I was introduced to Calypso’s Call and discovered that they feature just what I was longing for! However, my happiness was short, since I learned that their debut Delirious is at the same time their farewell album. Doesn’t matter, let’s see what they delivered!

The quintet’s sound is a mixture of traditional elements, in the vain of melodic death metal, and modern sounds, closest to metalcore, which should appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners. The guitars are well played, lay forth enough diversity to keep you interested and even have the one or the other surprise waiting to be heard. The drumming is to the point and mostly mid-tempo, generally keeping in the background during the songs, but exploding in terms of technicality during choruses.

While the main focus of the band’s songwriting is definitely on melody, the heavier parts don’t lack in headbang-potential either, thus creating an overall enjoyable experience. On the other hand, I did have one gripe during the forty-seven minutes: most songs could have been one or even two minutes shorter, because they tend to repeat themselves a bit. A fact that is forgivable though, since there are several elements like keyboards that spice up the whole thing.

Let’s get down to what dragged me in to begin with: the vocals! The singer uses many different techniques, such as growls, screams and screeches, which are overall well-executed, but the fact that there is a fair amount of clean-sung parts, is what makes these eleven tracks stand out from the majority of the local bands. Furthermore, there is another premiere on here, unless I’m forgetting something: female guest vocals, provided by Deborah Marinkovic, give the title track that extra special flavor!

To end this, I’ll just say that even though my pleasure with Calypso’s Call was a short one, I hope that all of these guys find their way into new bands at some point and continue to exploit their talent. Be sure to check out Delirious once it’s available, whet your appetite with the self-shot video below and last but not least follow the band on Facebook in order to keep up with the release date of the album!

Communicaution – Unfixed

Fact: there are some extraordinarily talented musicians and songwriters that have countless song ideas and the necessary motivation to use that gift, unfortunately for every single one of those individuals, there are at least ten that churn out the same boring and uninspired crap year after year. Luckily for all of us, Eric Rosenfeld, lead singer and guitarist of Versus You, is part of the former category which is why he decided to start the solo project Communicaution in 2012. Initially, it was just him and his acoustic guitar but for his second full-length Unfixed, he has recorded some other instruments himself as well as gotten the instrumental help of Charel Stoltz.

According to the opening lyrics of the record, Eric comes up with about a hundred songs a year, which I don’t even doubt, but for this one he picked twelve special ones that make a great ensemble. The evolution from Revenge! Revenge! Revenge! is quite obvious from the get-go: all the songs, except three, feature full instrumentation, including drums, bass and electric guitar as well as the occasional keyboards. However, the core of each song is still made up of the acoustic guitar and the vocals, which is something I appreciate, because it’s still a different enough sound when compared to his other project.

Also worth a mention is the fact that the drums are kept very basic, in order to not distract in any way from the rest but rather add an additional layer to the sound spectrum. As a matter of fact, most of the songwriting is rather simple, usually following a clear verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus structure, but despite (or possibly because of?) that, each and every single second of these thirty minutes goes down like butter and clogs up your coronary arteries just as much…except that in this case it’s good for you!

Let’s cut to the chase: the heart of Communicaution are the, in my opinion, one-of-a-kind vocals as well as the very unique lyrics of Eric. I didn’t really talk about his voice in my previous review, but I’ll do so this time around: if you’ve ever heard him sing, I guarantee you that you will be able to tell his voice apart from at least a thousand other singers. The ever-present raspiness adds so much charisma to his performance that it’s hard not to listen to him. Additionally, there is a short but sweet guest spot by Martine Becker on Come Clean, which adds an extra little something to the melancholic song…more of that please!

What can I say? Is Unfixed a good record? Totally! Does it have enough replay value to remain in your CD player for more than ten playthroughs? You betcha! Is it for everyone? I wouldn’t say so, no. If you’re looking to wear your dancing shoes, this probably isn’t for you…but if you like to sink into the happy sad world that is Communicaution‘s sound, you will find everything and more than you need. Be sure to check out one of my favorite songs below and visit the Facebook page if you want to be kept up to date. Last but not least, move your bum to Kulturfabrik on December 12th if you like what you hear, where the official release party will be held!

Stolas – Allomaternal

I already teased today’s review in the one I wrote about their labelmates’ latest release, and now it’s finally time to dive into Stolas‘ new full length Allomaternal! The way I’m going to kick off the next few paragraphs is by reiterating the same question as last time: what kind of drug was invented this year, that was apparently distributed among most post-hardcore bands? Because this is yet another truly phenomenal effort in the genre!

One thing right off the bat: the stuff this quartet writes is not for everyone…by far not. It’s truly complex and very chaotic music, so nothing for an easy-listening session on your couch in your slippers with a glass of red wine…actually…that might be the perfect setting for it. But I digress. Saying that the Las Vegians are a talented bunch of musicians would be the under-statement of the year because every single instrument is mastered at a, almost, virtuoso level. The songwriting is equally brilliant, inventive and complex, yet never two inches away from an explosion of audible chaos.

To me, every second of these fifty-one minutes is like walking on a tightrope while being drunk: you never know what’s going to happen and while it lasts, it’s a blast. Beware, however, of falling off because it will hurt…to apply that analogy to Stolas‘ sound: the album is full of dreamy passages filled with beautiful melodies and highly technical drumming, yet the next neckbreaking heavy part is just around the corner and it might explode in your face at any given moment. I absolutely love it. When it comes to skill, the guitars don’t have to hide behind the percussive elements at all, because there are some riffs on here that will, literally, blow your mind.

The vocal diversity on the ten songs is massive, mostly due to the fact that there are three different people covering that duty with one of them being, déjà-vu, the drummer. The best part about this triforce of awesomeness is that, as far as I can tell, at least two of the vocalists both do cleans and screams, which just adds another layer of variety…as if it was necessary in the first place. Another fact that seems to be a recurring theme with swancore bands is that the lyrics don’t follow the usual “oh no she broke my heart, I’m so super sad and angry” formula but actually tell truly interesting stories with a lot of depth to them.

To sum things up: while Allomaternal was a bit more difficult for me to get my head around at first, it revealed itself to me as a fabulous record that has tons of replay value and deserves a high place on every must-have post-hardcore list of 2014! Be sure to convince yourself of the quality of it below and if you like what you hear, head over their Facebook page! Long live the almighty swan!