Tag Archives: Australia

Capture The Crown – Reign Of Terror

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Before you read today’s review I’d suggest reading this one first, since it’s of the first album of today’s band and it saves me a bit of back story here. Moving on: a bit less than two years after their debut record, Capture The Crown are back with number two: Reign Of Terror!

The, mostly, Australian guys have kept true to their sound but, as I hoped back in 2012, have given it their own flavor which definitely gives them a right of existence in the metalcore scene. To elaborate: this means that the down-tuned guitars are still ever-present, breakdowns are never far and the music still has electronic parts. On the other hand, the drums have become a bit more diverse and more technical, but their main function is still clearly to keep the other components together.

The ten songs do sound more mature and the songwriting in general has greatly improved, while it’s no Beethoven or whatever, the album does have a lot more structure to it. Generally-speaking, it’s also become a lot heavier, featuring less poppy melodies except for the clean-sung choruses. On the predecessor, there were many different styles of songs, whereas this time around the whole endeavor sounds more stream-lined, which is the strongest and at the same time the weakest aspect of the record. While you are not thrown off by a completely different sounding song, they all sound almost too similar. Definitely a matter of taste.

The vocals are still as diverse and well-executed as before, and therefore I can’t report a major improvement. The lyrics have also ripened and feature a lot less profanity, which I welcome even though I didn’t mind the barrage of “fuck”s on ‘Til Death. To spice up the thirty minutes, CTC have gotten two guest vocalists: Alex Koheler of Chelsea Grin on the song Make War, Not Love and rapper Cheyne Truitt on Beating The Blade.

Time to come to an end. Is Reign Of Terrror a must-have album of 2014? Definitely not. Is it worth checking out? Abso-fucking-lutely! While the quintet doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it has managed to cement its position in the scene and come up with a fairly enjoyable record for fans and newcomers alike. Head over to Facebook to get more insight on the band and listen to the song below!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hqn7loflXE]

Tonight Alive – The Other Side

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It’s time that I come clean about something I do not deny when asked about, but that I don’t usually say out loud: I’m a sucker for pop punk with female lead singers. It all started in 2002 when Avril Lavigne released her debut album and since then I, almost religiously, check out everything that is vaguely similar. Earlier this year Paramore came back with a brilliant album but I wasn’t able to review it, so I’ve felt like I had to do so for Tonight Alive‘s second album The Other Side! Enjoy!

As earlier mentioned, the Australian quintet plays pop punk and that hasn’t changed on this record. However, one can definitely notice an improvement in song writing and execution in comparison to their debut: everything comes across as more mature. Which does not mean that What Are You So Scared Of? was poorly written, but it had that “typical” feel to it. This time it all sounds smoother and it’s simply more appealing to re-listen to the twelve songs over and over again.

As is tradition for the genre, the songs are generally upbeat and happy sounding with some heavier parts thrown in here and there. The technical amelioration of the band brings more intricate riffs and drumming with it, which, again, adds to the overall quality of the forty minutes. On a positive, however personal, side-note: the bass is perfectly mixed into the ensemble and even I, the bass-deaf guy, can clearly distinguish it at all times.

The icing on the auditive cake is the amazing voice of the vocalist, who doesn’t have to hide behind any of the famous (or lesser famous) front-women. The lyrics are still at the same, enjoyable, level as before but, I guess, also more grown-up and influenced by experiences from touring and so on.

To sum things up, I would say that if you are like me and like this kind of music…do not miss out on The Other Side for any reason whatsoever. If you are not at all familiar with the genre, this is probably a good record to give it a shot! For more information, be sure to check out the band’s Facebook page and get your musical dose below.

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

Jagwar Ma – Howlin

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Is it right to review an album that’s been out for a while now? Don’t think I should feel bad about it as I’m not working for NME or another hype machine. The three blokes from Jagwar Ma have been in the game since 2011 but their first LP Howlin has only been available in Europe since June this year and it quickly got my attention, to be quite honest.

The music can be described as a mix between Django Django and Tame Impala. Not that the latter do have something to do with electronic music but I personally tend to classify Jagwar Ma‘s music as slightly dreamy, yet hypnotic even if it’s dance music, in first instance. Maybe it’s too “soft” to be considered as psychedelic but it somehow totally stimulates my hypothalamus, which is a good thing.

The Throw, for example, is the best proof that Jagwar Ma isn’t just a typical electronic act. If first starts with a decent drum loop, reverb-loaded vocals, guitars and loads of other samples just to burst into some kind of dancy tune in the likes of Chk Chk Chk (a.k.a. !!!) or LCD Soundsystem. Four keeps the pace up and should be on every party playlist or whatever kids call it these days.

My favorite song is still Man I Need, not because it’s some kind of stomper or something alike, but it sounds like a perfect POP song (yes, pop music can be enjoyable sometimes). So does That Loneliness as it sounds like if The Beach Boys and The Beatles had a child. A dangerous comparison, I reckon, but the songwriting has these retro references and a feel good vibe with enjoyable melodies. This is obviously due to the production which used a lot of pan gimmicky in addition with shitloads of effects and samples coming out of nowhere, plunging the listener into a motley dreamworld making it irresistible to stand still and not to dance at all. Some call it Madchester but I don’t feel this music as a revival of that genre with the exception of The Throw which could be from that era, to be honest.

These blokes definitely haven’t re-invented the wheel but Howlin surely is a solid release and a pleasant surprise. You should give it a go and see them on stage anytime soon!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vU6a7Haw78]

PVT – Homosapien

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If you decide to call an album Homosapien all I can think of is evolution, be it as a human being or as a band. So I was really looking forward to PVT‘s newest release, as their last album Church with no magic (specially the first half of it) was one of my favourite records in 2010. The newest single Shiver made me quite curious as it sounded quite different and experimental with its spacy arpeggios and distorted, quirky vocals. Could Homosapien be a better album than the previous releases O Soundtrack My Heart, with its grandeur in sound varying from Jean-Michel Jarre to Kraftwerk influences?

The answer is no, unfortunately. Let me get this straight, from the beginning; Homosapien is not that bad, if you give it more than 5 listens. It grows a little. But it still feels like driving a car without loosening the handbrake, you think you’re driving 75 on the highway but all you do is blurring the sight of others.
I really greet the new approach in PVT‘s songwriting, more vocals and catchy moments like in Love & Defeat, or Evolution that reminds me of Kraftwerk’s Spacelab in the beginning which is a really cool thing but then there are songs like Homosapien, that is truly uninspired in everything; generic drumming, a little glitch here and there, a slightly distorted guitar and a bored vocal performance.

Vertigo is also a failure in case it was supposed to be a chilly intermezzo between some killer tunes. It tries to be relaxing and dreamy but sounds as innovative as if James Blake would fart into a vocoder. And this is the ONE real problem with this album.

Homosapien does not have any surprises nor does it challenge the listener. It’s more filler than killer. The dancy, crazy moments in older songs like Window have completely disappeared, it’s just like PVT have been taking tranquilizers for the last 3 years. The album lacks aggressivity, joy in performing and also consequence. What happened to the megalomania and wittiness that they had in O Soundtrack My Heart or Church With No Magic?

I guess it was just a hard task to keep up with the older albums so I think that this album must be considered as a pardonable faux pas. Let’s hope it was for the last time.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jufWwb4Car0]

Capture The Crown – Til Death

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In the couple of years that I’ve been listening to metalcore and similar music I’ve seldom seen one band receive as much hate as Capture The Crown. The reason for all this malice is that people argued that they blatantly copied Asking Alexandria‘s style from their Stand Up And Scream era. This includes: the way they dress, their musical style, their lyrical content and so on. I have to admit that back when I heard their first single You Call That A Knife? This Is A Knife! I had the same impression and opinion…but since I usually don’t judge a band after a single song I decided to wait for their first full length. In late 2012 they announced that their debut Til Death would be released in December 2012 via Sumerian Records, which wasn’t really a surprise since they have also signed AA. But enough back story, let’s get down to business.

Already during the intro you’ll know what direction this record is taking: metalcore infused with electronic elements. The guitars come at you with great ferocity and even though the main riffs are pretty generic, there are a lot of tasty licks to keep it from being monotonous. And, as you may or may not know, even though I usually have a hard time to hear the bass lines, there is absolutely no problem here, they are clearly distinguishable.

The drums throughout the fourteen songs are nothing awe-inducing but they do exactly what they are supposed to do: keep the beat and rhythm. So no complaints there. The vocals vary between deep growls, high screeches and clean singing and are altogether very well executed. The lyrics are laden with curse words but if you’re not too much of a wimp when it comes to that it shouldn’t bother you.

There’s only one small gripe during this forty-eight minute album: the “dubstep” song Storm In A Tea Cup is just awful, especially with the auto-tuned vocals…but I’m not a big fan of stuff like that to begin with. But since it’s easily skipped it doesn’t bother me much when I listen to the entire record.

All in all, I’d say that CTC have managed to make a respectable first step into the scene and that they’re definitely worth checking out, especially if you liked the above mentioned Asking Alexandria album. I’m eager to follow their evolution and I hope that people will at one point look past the prejudices and just accept the band’s style, be it original or not. Check out their Facebook page and listen to the song below!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC9ru4LLNHU]