Tag Archives: Metalcore

Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal

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Today’s band needs to introduction since they are widely popular, so I’ll skip that part. The story of the record, however, deserves a small explanation: Bring Me The Horizon were supposed to release their fourth full album Sempiternal on April 29th but it leaked in its entirety in late February. What could have been the worst thing to ever happen to the band turned out to be quite a blessing, since the general reactions were very positive. Encouraged by this, the band pushed the release forward to April 1st and offered a one week-long listening period of a legal stream on their website. So before I give you my two cents on the album, I urge you to buy it, if you dig it.

From the first second onward you will immediately notice that there has been a change in the sound of BMTH: keyboards and synthesizers are now used as a main instrument. This addition might seem (and sound) weird at first but don’t let it scare you off: it’s perfectly used and the eleven songs still sound like Bring Me.

The keyboards actually add a layer of versatility and freshness to the band’s sound even though it wasn’t necessary since the predecessor, with the freakishly long name, There Is A Hell Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven Let’s Keep It A Secret. was already diverse enough, at least for my taste. But there’s no point in comparing the two records since this one is just on a whole new level of awesomeness, for lack of a better word. Side-note: the guitar and drum sound hasn’t been changed much and remains at its usual height.

The thing that struck me the most on my first listening though were the vocals. On more than one occasion I thought to myself “oh, look: guest vocals”…when that same thought came again a song later, and then again on the next one, I became suspicious and paid closer attention: it’s all the same guy. Now, you must know that I dig Oli Skyes’ vocals on all of the band’s previous work, but I wasn’t prepared for this huge improvement! His clean vocals just stand out so much that they still give me shivers every now and then on certain songs. But enough of that, since the lyrics are another very interesting factor of these forty-six minutes. The general theme is a mix between happiness and sadness, which is nicely reflected by the instrumental ensemble, but I’ll let you discover the different aspects yourself.

All in all, I have to say that Bring Me The Horizon have outdone themselves on this one and that Sempiternal has definitely entered my, still young, top five albums list of 2013. If you’re a fan of the band you should not miss out on this, and if you’re a hater of the band…give it a go: it might change your opinion of them. For more information, you can find the band on Facebook and to get an idea of their new sound, check out the song below!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lir3dzYIhz0]

In The Name Of – This Will All Make Sense Soon

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Today’s review needs a little introduction, since in recent times I’ve never heard of this happening to a metal band, or at least it was not openly acknowledged: In The Name Of is, what you could call, a casting band. In 2010 the vocalist Tyler Small started the band, with Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria (fun fact: I’ve lost count of how often I’ve mentioned AA in my reviews) acting as manager. They recruited several band members over the course of, roughly, half a year and started recording almost immediately.

The first result did not impress me much, but it was just a rough edit of a song so I didn’t really lose interest in the band itself but I stopped checking their page regularly. A bit more than a year later, in late 2012, I saw that they were about to release their first record completely for free via Facebook. I was assuming that it’d be nothing more than a handful of songs but I was surprised to see that it was a full album with eleven songs. So now, without further ado, here is my review of said record: This Will All Make Sense Soon.

The album starts with a couple of acoustic chords but quickly picks up the pace with finest metalcore coming at you. The similarities between ITNO and AA are hard to miss but it’s not to the point where it’s a bother, at least to me. The guitars as well as the drums have a surprisingly good sound, considering that the band is unsigned and has only had, I’d imagine, access to limited funds. I must say that the entire production value is at a pretty sick level, another factor that made my jaw drop the first I listened through the thirty-nine minutes. The songwriting might not blow away everything that has ever been written but it’s solid, with a good sense for catchiness in the choruses, so no critique there.

The one thing that might put you off at first is the vocalist’s clean singing. It’s a bit “whiny” at first, but you get used to it quickly and, at least that was the case for me, you’ll enjoy them after, at the latest, your first listen-through of the album. His screams and growls on the other hand are on an excellent level and you’ll feel right at home. Additional support is given by Nick Arthur of Molotov Solution and Sean Neumann of This Romantic Tragedy on the songs Evoker and Discord, respectively.

To sum it up: give these guys a chance if you like the above-mentioned band or similar stuff, you will not be disappointed. And if you’ve never listened to anything of the kind, this might actually be a good start, especially since you can listen to it absolutely for free on their Facebook page. Here’s to hoping that the band is going to keep up the same level of output and possibly go on tour in the near future. They have my support for sure! You know the drill: song below if you need convincing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzV8r5nEwQo]

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]

Woe, Is Me – Genesis

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As you might have guessed from last week’s review, the other band I was talking was Woe, Is Me. This week it’s time for me to throw in my two cents on their new record Genesi[s] to see if their two new singers are worthy replacements and if the band has managed to put out a good record despite its many line-up changes. Enjoy!

After a short intro followed by a song, that feels like another intro, the record kicks off with A Story To Tell, a song about the difficulties the band has faced in the past two years and how they have overcome them. It’s followed by a song which features Caleb Shomo, the singer of Attack Attack!, and deals with the struggles the band had to endure since their last record Number[s]…the next song pretty much has the same theme, and so does the rest of the eleven songs. This is the first negative thing that really stands out to me: the album focusses too much on revenge and the “we-made-it-anyways” theme is just annoying after a while.

Musically, it’s not bad in any way but it just lacks that extra spice to make it stand out among your average metalcore record. The production is very modern and almost a bit too overproduced, even for me. The second thing that left a sour taste in my mouth was the fact that the same riff seems to be used all throughout the record and makes most of it sound like one giant breakdown; only in the chorus the songs start to shine because those actually have quite catchy melodies.

At this point I’d like to take back a word from the first paragraph: the new singers are not just mere replacements; they stand their ground very well and I’m going to go ahead and say that the clean vocals are a tick better than before. Apart from the earlier mentioned guest vocals there is also an appearance by Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire.

All in all, these thirty-one minutes ended up being a bit of a let-down for me, if it weren’t for the highly enjoyable clean vocals. However, I will not turn my back on Woe, Is Me but instead follow their progress further and hope that this record was just a slow new beginning for a bright future. You can check out the band’s Facebook page for more info and listen to the song below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GttItGw-HVo]

Motionless In White – Infamous

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Imagine this: before there was the internet and YouTube, people who bought music had to rely solely on written reviews or just their gut feeling when buying a new record. If the album I’m reviewing today had come out back then, I’m sure that most buyers would have wondered if they were the victim of a mix-up. The reason for this is that Infamous, the second album, by Motionless In White sounds a lot different than its predecessor Creatures, which was released in 2010.

Let me elaborate: the band’s first record was “typical” metalcore with a few minor influences from other genres, which added just what it needed to differentiate itself from the vast mass of competitors. Their newest endeavor however is heavily eclectic, in the way that it is influenced by a wide range of “older” (note: music released in the early 2000s) styles. I won’t get into what bands it sounds like because I’m pretty sure you will recognize several of them yourselves, but I’ll say that you can find a lot of industrial elements and some that are reminiscent of black metal.

On the instrumental front you can clearly distinguish between two tunings: the “classic” one and the “industrial” one; when you reach the third song you will know what I mean by this. This difference is something I thoroughly enjoy since it adds an extra bit of variation to the whole mix.

But what makes this album, for me, are the vocals: the singer was already quite experimental on the debut record but here it’s literally an avalanche of singing styles that are thrown at you. On top of that you have, for the most part, great lyrics that are no longer about horror themed stuff but about more socio-critical topics. And to round it all off, you have three guest appearances by the singers of Vampires Everywhere, Soilwork and Bleeding Through: Michael Vampire, Bjorn Speed Strid and Brandan Schieppati, respectively.

I’m convinced that the rather radical change off direction might piss of some of the early fans but I for one greatly welcome the risk they took with this record. If you are not too stubborn when it comes to how you want to have your metalcore served, I strongly recommend that you give Infamous a spin, or two. You can find more information about the band on their Facebook page and you can get an impression of their new style through the track below. And last but not least, if you like what you hear be sure to head to Kulturfabrik on the 8th of February 2013, where Motionless In White will be supporting Asking Alexandria.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKyji3uXqOY]

Upon This Dawning – To Keep Us Safe

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This week it’s time to review a “new” band: Upon This Dawning! The quotation marks are there because the Italian band has been active since 2006 but To Keep Us Safe is their major label debut. The record, which was released in October 2012, sounds like a mix between Asking Alexandria‘s Stand Up And Scream and Motionless In White‘s Creatures. Obviously this means that it doesn’t re-invent the wheel but I’m confident in saying that people who liked these two CDs will not be disappointed by this one. For the others: sit back and give it a chance.

The twelve songs are well-written and feature quite a few memorable break-downs aswell as entertaining riffs. And even though there are no major musical surprises, boredom is not a factor that comes into play. On the drumming level you can find some tasty double-bass work but other than that it’s nothing you’ve never heard before. One thing to note is that the drum sound is very modern and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I don’t mind very much…so I’m not put off by it.

The whole ensemble is underlaid by electronic parts and a couple of orchestral parts featuring violins and various other string instruments. Even though this is, again, nothing revolutionary it spices things up quite nicely and adds a certain dynamic to the songs.

Lyrically the songs venture into well-known themes but luckily a handful of passages will stand out immediately which also adds a recognizable factor to most songs. The vocals are provided by two people: the main singer taking care of the screams and the guitarist singing the clean passages. Probably the highlight to most newcomers to this record is the guest appearance of Chris Motionless of the earlier-mentioned band Motionless In White on the song A New Beginning.

All in all, I’ll say that the band shows a lot of potential and I’m sure that in due time they will end up finding their own style and refine it like many bands have done before them. For a debut album these thirty-eight minutes are definitely not a result to be ashamed of! Check out their Facebook page if you want to keep up to date with news and listen to their debut single below! Forza!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrE1YQV8sG0]

Perish With Pride – Domination

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After an exploration of different musical spheres last week, it’s time to go back to the heavy side. So today I chose to review the debut album Domination of the Luxembourgish band Perish With Pride, which was released in 2010. This young quartet has taken the great ambition of recording twelve songs entirely by themselves, and before I say anything further I’ll just spoil the ending: they mostly succeeded.

Musically they wander the path of melodic death metal (contrary to what I claimed in my live review…shame on me) and the thematic of the songs is mostly sociocritical, safe for one. This means that you won’t get much time to rest, especially at a show, since it’s very straight-forward which isn’t a bad thing to me.

The drum sound is quite enjoyable and actually sounds like a real instrument; so fear not, you won’t be treated to something over-produced. One minor gripe I have though is that they generally lack variation, at least on the hand-level…the footwork therefor impressed me more than once. This however doesn’t really put down the album as a whole but it’s definitely a point that can easily be improved in the future.

The guitar-work on the other hand is more diverse and delivers several neck-breaker riffs, the same goes for the sound which is pretty clean and nice on the ears. Special mention for the mini-solo at the beginning of Pull The Trigger.

The vocals are the one thing where I’m still a bit on the fence: essentially they’re good, but they lack something, which I can’t even put into words, that doesn’t quite convince me. Maybe it’s part of the mixing or because the CD is a bit older, but when I saw them live the voice impressed me more.

Even though there is quite a bit of critique, there are two major selling points for me on this forty-two minute album: the first one is a completely unexpected funk interlude on one of the songs which I won’t name now, as to not ruin the surprise. And the second one is the second-to last song Tribute To Metal: probably the greatest collaboration in the history of the Luxembourgish metal scene, yes…that good. To sum it up, it’s basically a shout-out to the entire metal scene featuring the vocalists from local bands like Arkaeon, Dreadnought, Asathor and Desdemonia, amongst others.

To finish up I can only say that Perish With Pride have made it onto my “list of local bands that I will follow in the future” and that you should absolutely check them out to make up your own mind. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and the video below. Please note that the version below is not the final mix, so it’s not as polished yet.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaB9doOLFpk]

The Empire Shall Fall – Volume 1: Solar Plexus

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Killswitch Engage: a name that pretty much every metalhead has at least heard before. Their first album Alive Or Just Breathing featured Jesse Leach as a singer and is to this day still a milestone in metalcore, at least in my opinion. After its success however, he decided to leave the band and did a couple of side-projects, one of them was The Empire Shall Fall. Their 2009 release Awaken went completely unnoticed by me and I was quite delighted when I stumbled over them in 2011 when I heard that they’d release a new album called Volume 1: Solar Plexus.

The record, which as the name might suggest is the first part of a trilogy, was released in December solely in a digital format in order to save unnecessary expenses and took me by complete surprise since I had no real clue what I’d get for my money. But since I absolutely loved Leach’s other project Times Of Grace I decided to give it a shot. To put it mildly: I was not disappointed, at all. I should add that the record was released on vinyl a bit later, for those of you that are into that.

The seven song album starts off quite fast and then almost immediately settles into a mid-paced groovy tempo without losing a bit of its heaviness. The rest of the songs always keeps a similar approach which never puts you out of the atmosphere of the whole thing. More non-traditional instruments, at least to the genre, are thrown in as well on the journey. Things like pianos and saxophones just give it a slight jazz feeling which simply fits perfectly.

Every single instrument has a rich sound and hits home non-stop; especially the guitars sound like your finest djent band at some points and make you wish there was more than twenty-five minutes of music. On top of that are the magnificent vocals which alternate between melodic singing and raw screaming.

That is all I’m going to write since I believe you should check it out for yourself, especially since it’s a rather short pleasure. I for one am looking forward to the sequels to Volume 1; even though their release is sat in the stars, since Jesse rejoined Killswitch Engage and might not have time in the near future. I’m sure that the wait will be worth it though. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and listen to the song below.

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

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]