Tag Archives: Belgium

Hybridism – Hybridism

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Hybridism - Hybridism

I am not a musician, nor do I have any experience when it comes to writing a song, but I know for a fact that composing purely instrumental music while being confined to the setup of a typical rock or metal band is insanely difficult. Case in point: there must be at least a thousand bands out there that only utilize drums, bass and one or two guitars, but only very few stand out from the masses. Today I’m writing about a fairly new band that, in my opinion, manages to have that extra little something to differentiate itself from the others: Hybridism! Their self-titled debut EP was released almost exactly two months ago and after giving it a first listen recently, thus discovering what I had missed, I decided to bring my thoughts to virtual paper.

The issue I have with many instrumental bands, is that they have not found the balance between variation and catchiness: it’s either too repetitive, with two riffs being repeated ad nauseam or it’s an uncoordinated mess of “look what I can do”…and I do understand that it is very fine line between both ends of that spectrum, but I just can’t get invested in the majority of bands that try to achieve that balance act. What sets the quartet apart from the rest, is that every instrument knows exactly how often to play its part before switching it up, and especially the guitar parts are built and arranged in a fashion that they feel like an evolution of each other, rather than completely new parts.

I know, the main question on your mind is probably the one that is always on everyone’s mind: does it djent? It does. Yes, it very much does. The six tracks are packed with tasty bass riffs and a non-negligible amount of open A guitar strings being played, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s never too much and always thrown in at just the right time. Especially since the second guitar provides a sonic variation in those instances in the form of more intricate parts.

I remember on my first listen, I wasn’t completely paying attention until the fourth track, Glitch, came around and that was exactly the moment that I knew that I had something special ahead of me with these thirty-two minutes. I guess that my affinity for said track is because it starts with a video-game-like midi track being played before erupting into a fast-paced riff explosion that I immediately fell in love with. At this point I also have to mention the flawless production of the EP, because it lends a ton of gravitas to the well-crafted compositions.

All in all, what can I say? If you are not averse to music without vocals and liked the heavier spectrum of it, absolutely give Hybridism a shot! The guys managed to cook up a nice and well-varied debut release that deserves to be heard. So be sure to click on the video below for a full stream and if you want to keep up with them, head over to their Facebook page.

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&]

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]

Essence – Smoke And Mirrrors

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Sometimes I listen to music and I just can’t get into it, even though every separate element on its own is to my liking, the final result just slightly misses my personal taste. Today’s review is about such a case: Essence is a progressive metalcore band from Belgium, and the guys are about to release their new EP Smoke And Mirrors on February 2nd!

As I said above, the quintet has all the ingredients to make me love the five songs: technically-sound guitar playing, solid drumming, enjoyable vocals, all wrapped in a matching massive production. But, in my opinion, it lacks one key thing: diverse songwriting with real highlights; which is a shame since the musicians seem to master their instruments quite well.

The other fact that kind of irks me, is the almost omnipresent “chugging”, which makes up almost half the time of these twenty-five minutes. Luckily, the progressive parts make up for that though, since they’re interesting enough to forget the rest. For me personally, an eighty to twenty ratio would have been the ideal mixture between melodic and heavy, but I guess that’s a subjective criteria.

The vocalist delivers a strong performance from start to finish, while solely relying on his powerful screams; sadly this is yet another tidbit where I would have liked some diversity. The usage of one singing style simply makes it hard to distinguish the choruses from the verses, which, to a melody-lover like myself, makes it hard to get into the songs.

I realize that this comes across as a negative review, but I’m actually really glad that I found out about Essence, because I’m convinced that, with a bit of tweaking, their approach to music has a lot of potential. Which is why, in closing, I can definitely recommend giving their EP a try, maybe you’ll enjoy it from the get-go. I, on the other hand, will follow their progress in the future and hope to get a chance to catch them live some time soon! Head over to their Facebook page for more information and watch their video below!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-VL-MsdAvg]

Sliver – Disobey Giants

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A few weeks ago I went to a local show and since I was there quite early, I got to witness the soundcheck of the opening band Sliver. Having never heard of them, I was severely impressed by the two half-songs they played and I figured that I had to feature them on here and after their gig I was one hundred percent sure about it. Sadly, they didn’t have a recent release which is why I’m going to write a few words about their 2012 record Disobey Giants!

The quartet, which is composed of people from France, Belgium and Luxembourg, plays a hard-hitting mix of alternative rock and hardcore which sounds unlike most of the stuff you hear these days. Especially the omnipresent usage of synthesizers and keyboards is something that makes them rather unique in my opinion. The traditional instruments don’t fall short either though, by delivering a driving performance all throughout the twelve tracks.

The main concept of the band, and this album, is of a very anti-political and anti-capitalistic nature and the lyrics make that quite clear. While it might be annoying to some, because they prefer ignoring the sad reality, it is exactly that strong message that makes these thirty-seven minutes so special. On top of that you have the amazing clean vocal work, with that lovely “Frenglish” accent, and the screams which are amplified by a megaphone that just make it a blast to listen to.

All in all, there is absolutely no excuse for not checking out Sliver, especially since the entire album can be downloaded for free on the band’s Bandcamp page. I, for one, am very excited for later this year or early 2015, when the guys are supposed to release new music. As a closing statement, I’ll say that if you get the chance to see them live, do so; you won’t be disappointed. Be sure to sure to listen to my favorite track Small Is Beautiful below to give you an idea!

Mambo – Bertier

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It’s finally time to review some mathrock extravaganza, this time introducing the 4 piece band Mambo from Belgium with their first LP Bertier. They recently played a show in town with Mutiny on the bounty and Dirty Crows and we were lucky enough to get an early insight into their debut.

The style is something between Honey for Petzi and Don Caballero, not too technical but still challenging head mathematics, which is just the perfect balance for an enjoyable experience. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m totally into math rockish stuff but when it’s just too technical you feel bad for your brain not being able to cope with auditory overstimulation.

The 10 songs on Bertier offer enough diversification, whilst keeping the high rhythm up for most of the time. Krokodile Junkie reminds me of the band Piglet, which is pretty cool and songs like Tokyo Tripot or Renfort Caisse have this unmistakeable, typical groove and edgyness of the genre; credits given to the drums and bass section here.

Don’t think of Mambo as a generic math band, there’s too much talent in this combo to be classified as such. Make up your own opinion and go see them live, as they are on tour right now!