Tag Archives: Music

Trash Monday LXXIV

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Listen to this great song and watch the most epic metal video ever shot! Suicidal Black Metal takes on a completely new meaning.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIEb3t0jm_U]

Like Lovers – Former Selves

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You might have probably read the name Jan Kerscher in case you’re an avid reader of our dear blog. As a short introduction, Jan Kerscher is a German aspiring producer based in Bavaria who’s well known for his recording skills. Luxembourgish bands like Inborn or Dirty Crows are the perfect proof for his unquestionable talent in motivating and pushing musicians beyond their personal limits. I’ve experienced it firsthand during the pre-recordings from Dirty Crows‘s debut album and I have to admit that I do have an enormous respect for this guy!

If Jan’s not busy recording new gems or performing on stage with Inborn, he’s still got enough output to share. This time with his solo project Like Lovers, debuting with a 6 track EP named Former Selves. What you can expect is a nice blend of post hardcore with post rock and indie / emo influences. The artist / band describes the style as a “post-songwriter project influenced by everything between Björk, Jeff Buckley and Beck” but there’s a lot more, obviously. The first time I listened to the EP it reminded me of Circa Survive, a band that I personally appreciate quite much.

The opening track Again nails it by being powerful and atmospheric at once, and boy, can he sing. This is post-emocore at it’s finest, simple and catchy, just the way I like it. Imagine this band playing on stage with 2 guitarists and the wall of sound experience will be fullfilled.

Teach me the right then is a fragile, acoustic dirge that is depressive without drifting too much into pathos. This is heartbreak and pain as it should be. Sad, gutt-wrenching and disturbing at once.

Honestly, I cannot help myself but think of Radiohead when I listen to Serious Man and Walls. The latter reminds me of a mix between Reckoner and I might be wrong but the track profiles as a Like Lovers song instead of being a Radiohead copy. But the real strong point of the EP is the variety of genres and talent in songwriting / performing. Too long and the acoustic version of Serious Man are the complete opposite of the opening tracks and could easily make every singer / songwriter burst in jealousy.

It is quite easy for me to write about music but the hardest task to me is to make / create good music. The worst part is to compose something with which you’re thoroughly satisfied and that can be presentable to a broad audience. Like Lovers can be more than a side project or a “past-time activity” and I’m really looking forward to where this big talent and potential might be leading.

Former Selves is available on Bandcamp for 6 bucks. Buy the EP and support the artist, please!

Trash Monday LXIV

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Did you ever wonder how a rap song by Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks would sound like? Yes?? Watch the video in case you did.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT_QRKfv8H4]

Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent

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Before I start with today’s review I’d like to warn you that April marks the release of new records by several “mainstream” bands…so be prepared to read about those, since I love writing about records that I’ve been waiting for for quite some time. The first one of those is Killswitch Engage‘s new album Disarm The Descent, so here we go.

Their new album marks the return of their first singer Jesse Leach after a bit more than ten years of absence following the release of the phenomenal Alive Or Just Breathing. Just right off the bat: I won’t go into the eternal “Team Jesse vs Team Howard” debate, since I enjoy both their contributions to KSE. But I will say that this record by far surpasses the band’s last, self-titled, output with Howard Jones.

Musically DTD is very reminiscent of AOJB with a bit of influences from Jesse’s side-project Times Of Grace which clearly shine through. However, it does feel like their heaviest output to date since, except the typically extremely melodic choruses, you barely get a chance to catch your breath between the walls of fast-paced riffs, crushing drum beats and angry, heartfelt screams that come your way almost non-stop.

I have to say that the main gravitas on these twelve tracks, to me, are the vocals and the accompanying lyrics. While trying to keep to what I said in the second paragraph, I won’t expand too much on it but I’m a huge fan of Leach’s vocal performance in general, since his screams are super raw and you just “buy” what he’s singing. The fact that he’s vastly improved since his first output with the band just makes it even better.

To sum things up I’d say that this is definitely an amazing comeback and if you are, like me, an avid listener of the band’s debut album, you will immediately feel at home when you put on this record. Is it their best record? I wouldn’t say so…but it’s totally worth the forty-one minutes of your time and almost guaranteed to entertain for far longer than that. Check out the band’s Facebook page for further info and listen to the song below!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoga4cROMvE]

DillenDub – DillenDub

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Here’s for something completely different. In case you’ve never heard of this band before, DillenDub (which is a clever pun for trompo in Luxembourgish) are a talented trio from Luxembourg consisting of Pol Belardi on bass and synthesizer, Jérôme Klein on the synths and Aloyse Weyler on the drums, who is also active in bands like TheCarps’ or The Majestic Unicorns from Hell.

What DillenDub actually serve is a pleasant blend of dub, mixed with some fine kraut or psychedelic elements underlined in a jazzy groundwork; you might even find a few reggae influences too. Songs like Tapir Cakewalk catch the listener’s attention from the very beginning, unfolding enough free space to slowly enter into the spell of each track. What starts slowly as an ambient, jazzy track becomes a trippy journey to what I perceive as a mild drug induced trip to lala-land, which is a very good thing.

Ford Prefect keeps the pace up, making you want to shake your moneymaker all the time, it’s just groovy as hell. I remember listening to this track for the first time and I was all upset because of the nervous synthie part but if you give this beauty a few listens it could become your potential new favourite track on the LP.

My personal favourite track is Fruity Loop. Calling it “perfect” might be a tad bit exagerated, but the synthie violins got me from the very first second. This IS my personal soundtrack to listen at sunset on the lakeside on a warm spring day, drifting along to the mellow mood of this chill masterpiece and be one with each and everything. Honestly, it reminds me of AIR during their Moon Safari period, which is very positive; AIR never sounded any better than on that album.

I will not sink in for the remaining songs and hope I made you curious enough to get DillenDub‘s self-titled debut or to see them live as soon as possible. This band has got enough potential and it would be a shame not to give credit to these talented musicians for this promising album they created!

Eric

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOWNuf3yeFA]

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]

SunnO))) live at Astra Kulturhaus Berlin

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I was looking forward to attending a SunnO))) gig for the past three years now. Last Sunday I got the opportunity to see them again as they were the closing act for the Transmediale festival in Berlin and they did not disappoint me. In fact, SunnO))) is the single best live act who has ever walked the Earth (see what I did there?).

But first things first, as I was pretty late for the gig I missed the opening band but let’s be honest, I attended a drone doom concert and was not in the mood to hear/feel anything else.

The SunnO))) stage looked as always. The huge backline of amplifiers, just as the musicians, in their typical monk robes and the crowd itself, were completely embedded in exposured fog. When it comes to SunnO))) the performance is very important and always raises the tone of the ensemble.

Talking about the music, it was, as usual, very diffcult to distinguish different songs and I would rather describe SunnO)))’s act as a 3 segmented ritualistic performance. The first half hour consisted of instrumental, extremely loud drone feedbacks coupled with hypnotic oscillating pulsing riffs. At some point during these 30 minutes the band nearly managed to create something which could be defined as a toting percussive feel.

The transition to the second part was kind of surprising. Attila Csihar entered the stage and boosted the ritualistic performance to a new level. The atmospheric sound images eclipsed and supported Atilla’s vocal performance from the background while he was crying, mumbling, whispering and roaring like a dying man in pain. During his last prayers the whole band joined him to evoke an insane arrhythmic noise-apocalypse.

At first I wasn’t sure if the middle part would fit into the performance but after I witnessed the extreme discrepant and dissonant atmospheric last segment, I am pretty sure that it worked that well because of the middle part. The ending of the performance outshined everything heard before.

SunnO))) are able to create an atmosphere and soundscapes which slowly turn my body and mind in some kind of hypnotic state which leaves me unable to control myself. At the end I was completely dazed by this overwhelming, destructive beauty.

(Pictures were taken from here)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

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Postrock is dead! Deal with it. The only thing that sucks more is to revive a defunct post hardcore band from the late 90’s and play at Loolapallooza or Rock Am Ring.

Honestly, I really don’t know where to start here. Godspeed You! Black Emperor are one of my all-time favourite postrock bands and they have been on an indefinite hiatus since 2002. With Yanqui U.X.O. (released in 2002) , they disappointed their fans and did not meet the expectations after they set the bar to an unattainable height with their legendary record Lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven, so going on hiatus or disbanding would have been the logical consequence, as GY!BE achieved everything there was to achieve and said everything there was to say, as a monumental political band.

Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is not that bad, though. The first song Mladic contains every known ingredient in GY!BE’s songwriting but lacks any big surprises. It starts with wiry samples of a radio conversation, gets over to what I call uninspired riff rocking hence the rhythm and aggressiveness and ends in an epical orchestral climax in best GY!BE manner. As far as I recall Mladic used to be Albanian and We drift like worried fire used to be Gamelan, 2 songs from their live repertoire back in the past.

There’s not much to add to Their Helicopters Sing and Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable. 2 tormenting interludes between 2 tracks that last for 20 minutes is nothing new here.

We drift like worried fire is my personal highlight. It’s got the melancholia I know from older songs like Sleep from Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven and a lot of variation. It’s chaos and control in every single aspect though the only thing missing is the big bang, the moment that gives you shivers down your spine. We drift like worried fire is a good GY!BE song, don’t get me wrong, Godspeed You! Black Emperor dominate the loud / quiet game unlike any other band but the song is too cranky to arouse deep emotions.

All in all, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is an okay record, not the best but also not the worst. It saddens me to see one of my all time favourite bands coming back, trying to give a sign of life even though their momentum and zenith has been over 10 years ago and post rock has been over used for longer than Michael Jackson’s demise, especially when both main tracks are re-interpretations from former live tracks. Next!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP6-wlhviKw]

Serpent’s Tongue – Desolation & Vices (double review)

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If you’ve read a couple of my reviews you know that I’m mostly into post-hardcore and metalcore. However, I love me some hardcore from time to time, and what better way is there to do so than by checking out a new band that isn’t influenced by a record label?

This is why today’s review is going to be about Serpent’s Tongue, an Indiana based quartet. But to make things a little more interesting I’ll review both their releases, the first one being Vices which was released in March 2012.

The six songs start off without any delay and deliver punch after punch and before you even realize what’s happening to your eardrums, the EP is over. This is partly due to its Guinness-worthy length of eight minutes and a half, but also to the fact that no song sounds like the other which is something that impressed me.

If I had to describe the direction of the instruments I’d say that it has a very beatdown-esque vibe to it: relentless drum rhythms, heavily accented bass guitars and simple but effective riffs. Might not be ideal for everybody’s ears but I dig it; it makes me want to punch baby pandas…OK, maybe not.

The vocals are the one thing that absolutely sell it for me though: the vocalist screams his heart out and leaves no doubt that he’s into what he does. My personal highlight being the “intro” to the second song Faces And Revenge.

But why babble so much? Check out the record below and be your own judge.

Their second release Desolation, which was released in December last year, starts a bit differently but with the same train of thought: fuck shit up. The track count has been reduced to five but augmented in length to twelve minutes.

Luckily, the increased duration doesn’t take anything away from the intensity and you’re treated to basically the same approach in the instrumental department. The production has seen a slight change as well: whereas the predecessor was slightly rougher, this one has a bit more fine-tuned feel to it which goes quite nicely with the lengthier songs.

The vocals remain strong but with slightly more diversity, so nothing to complain about there. Another surprise there, I have to admit, since in a matter of nine months the band managed to improve upon something that was already quite enjoyable to begin with.

Again, talking about it doesn’t do it justice…so make up your own mind below.

All in all, this band definitely deserves the twenty minutes of your time, that it takes you to listen to both releases. I’d say that you get your money’s worth but that would be a lie since both EPs can be downloaded absolutely for free. If you want to keep up with future releases by the band, be sure to check out their Facebook page!