Wednesday, 31 August 2011

My elaborate thoughts - Korn to record Dubstep album

 Despite being in exsistance sice at least 1998, 2011 has seen a considerable rise in poularity of the genre known as Dubstep, a style electronic dance music, charecterised by its syncopated and shuffled rythm and it's use of an extended bass note which is manipulated rythmically, known as a "wobble bass" (Yeas, I can copy off of Wikipedia as well.) Anyway, As an all time rock fan, I've never cared too much for electronic dance music, however, there is something about this type of music that is very intreguing. It's grimier, darker and overall slicker than most of the hectic mindless ance music that enters the charts and seeing it gaining more mainstream popularity than ever before is an indeed positive sign, in the hope that it shall see the downfall of the frankly retarded dance music. I first gained an interst in Dubstep after hearing it used extensivley to accompany the jagged and heavy riffs and metallic breakdowns that made up Enter Shikari's 2010 single Destabalise which to date remains my favourite song by the St. Albans quartet. Hearing the genre mixed with the hard hitting thrash of Enter Shikari was intreguing, howeevr on hearing Dubstep songs on the radio afterwards, when the style was played on its own, it was very underwhelming. Dubstep simply seemed weak without having any style of rock music to accompany it.
 And so, my interest in the genre died down a bit, except for when listening to the various works of Enter Shikari. However, it was to my surprise when seeing on the Kerrang! website and in the gig list in the magazine, some details were published about a Dubstep musician. This, and the the most likely reason why Kerrang! featured him was former vocalist of hardcore group From First to Last, Sonny Moore, who departed from the band, following serious vocal problems in 2006, and after a succesful surgical procedure, went on to pusue a much more succesful and popular career as a Dubstep musician playing under the psuedonym, Skrillex. Things seemed a little more exciting towards the Dubstep scene, perhaps Skrillex would use his hardcore roots to add a little more of a harder edge to the Dubstep scene, however, and it could be seen as biased, after listening to two tracks Kill EVERYBODY and his remix of Bring Me the Horizon's The Sadness Will Never End,  I was left unimpressed, as it was not really any different from what I heard on the radio previously.
 However, interest in the genre has once again been ignited after perhaps discovering at a late time that Nu Metal titans Korn are to release their new album The Path to Totality which will be made available on the 15th of November, and it is to be entirely Dubstep inspired.
 Repirts have stated that the Bakersfield quartet have been experimenting and collaborating with a number of Dubstep musicians including Kill the Noise, Excision, 12th Planet and of course Skrillex.
 Speaking to The Pulse of Radio earlier in the year, frontman Jonathan Davis stated "I thought it would be fun to experiment again and see what we come up with, and maybe come up with something like this that we're really, really excited about", a statement providing much anticipation and excitement given the harsher view towards some of their more recent releases. Indeed, creating a Dubstep  album is one of Korn's more experimental and unexpected moves.
 I remain excited and awe inspired by the news of the album and it's release, after all it will be good to see some more musicians giving Dubstep a greater set of balls, like Enter Skikari did. What's more, I have reason to be excited since being able to hear a track from the album, Get Up! which features an electronic contribution from Skrillex, who really amnages to redeem himself. However, Korn remain the standout feature of the track. Many may have imagined they would sound withered and out of place on the track and Skrillex would steal the show, but this is absolutely not the case, with hard hitting riffs, Davis' soaring and furious vocals, and even a good dose of Fieldy's instantly recognisable bass slapping, all of which is raised to higher levels of intensity and insanity by the slick electronic work of Skrillex, and really manages to capture the band at top form.
 Thus, the news of Korn taking a new musical dirction continues to thrill and impress. Howvever, one thing to rise from this is that, in many ways this truly marks the end of Nu Metal. With the genres godfathers moving on to something new, Slipknot having redefined themselves into a true heavy metal group, Disturbed venturing onto a temporary hiatus, Papa Roach sounding more like Mötley Crüe and Linkin Park, doing... God knows, all that is lef is the rap metal sounds of Limp Bizkit, who have really become a guilty pleasure band. To like Limp Bizkit has always seemed to be something of a social faux pas, and admitting it today would seem almost shameful, and thus the reputation of Nu Metal appears in a rather grim state.
 However, seeing Korn moving on to something different as admirable and I can only hope that such actions inspire various other rack and metal acts trying something similar, thus making Dubstep more extreme and giving way to a new era of popularity for rock and metal.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

 Making a triumphant return once more after a five year hiatus, Funk rock legends and overall rock icons, Red Hot Chili Peppers have released their tenth album I'm With You and thank goodness. Thank goodness that while we live in times of strife and despair, with more bad news lurking round every corner, we can take joy in such a groovy, danceable and fun rock and roll album, which also manages to maintain a sense of a dramatic and original sense of character about it.
 Once again, I'm With You allows Flea to be the driving force behind the music again, allowing for some funky-as-hell, joyful, uplifting and overall awesome rock. A lot of the songs on the album take a slower and more relaxed pace then some previous work, but it works, as it gives a greater sense of the desire to lay back relax and let the good times roll, clearly an underlying message of the album. Of course the songs remain funky so listeners have the ability chill out or get up and dance and party to them. Best examples of this can be seen in Goodbye Hooray, Look Around, and hit single The Adventures of Raindance Maggie. Elsewhere, a more melancholic, emotional side to RHCP can be found, most notably on the tracks Police Station and Brendan's Death Song, which are played with a real energy and passion.
 Now, the main worry many had towards this album was regarding the departure of long time guitarist John Frusciante and are cynical towards the recruitment of new axe man Josh Klinghoffer. I mean, does anyone else find seeing photos of the 2011 lineup a little weird? Klinghoffer just looks so young next to his fellow bandmates. But he looks like he's having fun and judging from his axe-work on the album, it sounds like it too. Wether he's just chilling out and making slicker more subtle riffs on Ethiopia or he's making some deranged fretboard licks during Did I Let You Know, you can see a real raw talent and you can tell he's just having a great time, making the listening even more satisfying.
 And so, if ever an album is needed to lift spirits and these days, looking around us, it often is, I'm With You is played with the laid back joy that can lift anyone and grant them with the ability to relax, get lost in the world of uplifting funk and embrace a musical world of blissfulness and goodwill.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Alice Cooper - I'll Bite Your Face Off

 American shock rock legend Alice Cooper returned this week with news single I'll Bite Your Face Off the first official single from new album Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a title and featuring artwork implying the album to be a sequel to 1975's critically acclaimed Welcome to My Nightmare album.
 It's hard to think of what exactly can be said about this because at the I'll Bite Your Face Off is just a rock n' roll song. A pure, simple, non-complex, sweet rock n' roll song. Cooper has stated the track to be a tribute to the earlier work of The Rolling Stones and from the classic rock n' roll guitar riffs, Coopers similarly classic rock n' roll vocals and lyrical subject of... a tough one night stand, the statement is understandable. Overall, though it hardly serves as a new sound, I'll Bite Your Face Off serves as a sweet effective sing along rock n' roll song and it's never a bad thing to have more of those around.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Florence + The Machine - What the Water Gave Me

 Back in 2009, the hearts and minds of the British pop music loving public were captured by the obscure and totally unique artful indie rock that the BBC introduced to us in the form of singer Florence Welch and her wonderful backing machine with the release of their debut Lungs, a collection of sometimes tranquil, sometimes bitter, often lyrically bleak and bizarre and fully captivating indie rock. Consequently, the band were on everyones lips. Several tracks from the album received mass amounts of radio airplay, the group were awarded with the Best Album Award at the 2010 Brit awards and their popularity managed to spread worldwide.
 It was great to see a group so different and out-of-the-ordinary rise to such levels of success, however as a consequence, their always was a longing sense of fear of what this success would do to them. Would other members grow a sense of resentment due to the mass amount of attention being focused purely on Welch as she grew major celebrity status? Maybe being major superstars in the world of chart music may affect them negatively. Welch's collaboration with rapper Dizzee Rascal on the mashup You've Got the Dirtee Love implied this may happen. However, I've been thankfully proven wrong, as new single What the Water Gave Me shows Florence + The Machine sounding as strong and original as ever.
 What the Water Gave Me takes listeners on a musically atmospheric journey. The song creates a chilling and eerie soundscape instantly creating a feeling of awful mystery and despair, the chilling feel is emphasized by Welch's serene and ethereal vocals. Already, the feeling of awe and suspense the listener feels makes the song fantastic, when a sudden bridge of the song appears as a harp begins playing and things change. A more prosperous feel begins to emerge in the music. And then riffs start to kick in. Riffs kick in and we are transported from this atmosphere of despair and doom to an overall feeling of hope and prosperity which simply lifts one's spirits and it becomes a song of celebration. A song one can dance to. It's simply amazing.
 I'm glad to say that their masses of success have not changed the group one bit. What the Water Gave Me truly shows Florence + The Machine doing what they do best.

Anterior - Echoes of the Fallen

 Proving that metalcore is still thriving, Tredegar quintet Anterior return with their second release, Echoes of the Fallen and it is pretty epic. Pretty epic indeed.
 The album presents listeners with ten tracks of awesome metalcore, a prospect that many may find disparaging due to a common hatred of metalcore, something that has become a cliché in the ways of being a true metalhead. It's also disparaging due to the fact that a lot of newer metalcore albums being released are sounding uninventive, sloppy and generally rehashed. However, if this is your main complaint, you need not worry as Echoes of the Fallen is a triumphant metalcore sound bursting with energy and passion, wether it be in the power metal inspired uplifting sounding To Live Not Remain or in the thrashcore inflicted belter that is The Evangelist. 
 Obviously, many metalcore techniques are present. Breakdowns don't exactly act inconspicuous and the songs are played in an emotional heartfelt fashion that is ever present in the likes of Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying, but Anterior perform these in a way that is a million miles away from what could be considered "rehashing". Breakdowns are teeth rattlingly brutal and unlike some newer metalcore bands, the emotional elements of the album are extremely genuine. Also vocalist Luke Davies actually has his mind set on which vocals to use, rather than the constant metalcore use of screamed vocals in verses, then melodic in the chorus and choosing to make full use of his guttural growling.
 All this makes Echoes of the Fallen a really enjoyable metalcore album. It's well made, energetic, brutal and much more genuine than other counterparts of the genre. A must have for fans of the genre.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ivyrise - Ivyrise

  On the self titled debut from Up-and-coming pop rock stars, London's Ivyrise manage to impress and raise a few spirits with their sometimes uplifting, sometimes bursting with emotions, overall heartfelt and pretty sounding album.
 When opener, Hurts begins with its melancholic piano intro, many cynics will be put off, accuse the band of being soppy and perhaps even think of Coldplay. However many others hear this and know this is going to escalate into a much bigger sound. And it does. As, powerful drum beats begin crashing into action and sharp and heavy guitar riffs are emitted, listeners realize this album stands on a more hard hitting level of pop rock bands, with a sound that is closer to that of Biffy Clyro, or You Me At Six. 
 Certainly, Ivyrise show a talent for making uplifting pop rock songs, as seen in the heartfelt but hard hitting indie rock sound of Too Much or the more melancholic ballad performance in You Know Me, with lyrics of a loving nature "Line up the stars/ What do you see/ A picture of me/ Or an imagine of love", I guess would be a good example. However, this is something of a problem. It's too romantic and over-emotional and tends to get a bit repetitive, which is a shame because Ivyrise are a band who seem capable of making a really fun sounding belter of a song, were the lyrical qualities more spiteful, even if the subject is about a girl being a bitch, as You Me At Six has been seen to do. The constant amount of over-romantic lyrics on a pop rock album just seems to give the impression that Ivyrise wanted their fanbase to made up largely of... tweens. 
 Well, Ivyrise is certainly a solid debut and the songs are well executed and catchy, as all great pop rock should be. Hopefully, we'll hear more from these guys and if we do, hopefully there'll be a broader expansion upon their lyrical horizons.

Monday, 22 August 2011

New details of Metallica and Lou Reed collaboration announced!

A photo I find to epitomize all that is
cool in the world.
 More details have been provided about the opinion dividing forthcoming album featuring a collaboration between metal heroes, Metallica and Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed through an official website,
 Set for a Halloween release in the UK, the collaboration album, entitled Lulu is still in a process of recording, and also wether the name was written down jokingly or not, the mane for the album artist appears to be "Loutallica"... okay then.
 To defeat any reason for you guys to click on the link, since not a lot is happening on the site, a post explaining the albums concept and reason for collaborating has been uploaded which reads:

 "Lulu" was inspired by German expressionist writer Frank Wededkind's plays "Earth Spirit" and "Pandora's Box," which tell a story of a young abused dancer's life and relationships and are now collectively known as the "Lulu Plays." Since their publication in the early 1900's, the plays have been the inspiration for a silent film ("Pandora's Box," 1929), an opera, and countless other creative endeavors."

 Actually, that's pretty great lyrical material. It's dark and brooding and is reminiscent of the kind of lyrics seen in the music of Metallica and The Velvet Underground.

 The post goes on to read "Originally the lyrics and musical landscape were sketched out by Lou for a theatrical production in Berlin, but after coming together with the 'Tallica boys for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts in New York in 2009 all guilty parties knew they wanted to make more music together. Lou was inspired enough by that performance to recently ask the band to join him in taking his theatrical "Lulu" piece to the next level and so starting in early May of this year we were all camped out recording at HQ studios in Northern California, bringing us to today and ten complete songs."

 Seriously, I'm really excited about all this. I think the issue that is more on everyones mind is regarding the quality in which Metallica will play on the album. With the album being based on what was originally to be a theatrical production, it suggests work that will be closer to that on The Black Album rather than Kill 'Em All, a factor which many find offputting. Well, I love The Black Album, and I live in hope that this album is going to be a miraculous musical collaboration.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Hard Fi - Killer Sounds

 Killer Sounds is the third album by Staines radio-friendly Indie Rockers, Hard Fi. Does it live up to it's name? No, no it really does not.
 That's not to slam the album to the ground or anything. All the songs are catchy as hell. Listening to them, you just want to get up and start moving, you want to start stomping your feet around or nodding your head (not full on headbanging, now) or just start jumping around with a big crowd of other people, good examples of this being the tracks Bring It On and Love Song. Other tracks show off the group's ska-punk influence, mainly on Stop with it's more relaxed pace and usage of brass influences aside the rough sounding guitar riffs. Also, on many of the tracks the combination of powerful riffs and constant synthesizer pounding makes the album pretty heavy, which makes for pretty fun listening.
 But ultimately, this album is not killer, due to its astonishing lack of reinvention or originality. Radio-friendly rock mixed with dance music is something that's been done and done over and over again. Perhaps I can be seen as hypocritical for complaining about this due to my complete adoration of metalcore but at least every band of that genre remains unique and dynamic in their own way. This album just isn't. Nothing really makes it stand out. It's far less unique or memorable than any albums made by fellow indie rock and electronica combiners Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian and a much better album for catchy-as-fuck and danceable dance rock choruses would be Panic! At the Disco's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out which packs much more punch and is filled with much more life. Also, the lyrics aren't exactly anything to write home about. It's just very basic get-up-and-go party lyrics , with the occasional break while Richard Archer tries to chat up some girl. The one exception to this is the album's title track. The one track that is worth writing home about. Following an unusual structure of a simple indie rock chorus, before then fading into a piano ballad during the verses, the song Killer Sounds has something of a lyrical exception where Archer explains his grief as after a friend of his committed suicide (wether this is based on a real event or not, I have no idea) and for this reason he wants everyone to go out and make their lives worthwhile and enter get-up-and-go party lyrics. However, at least this song gives the lyrics more reason, making them less boring.
 Finally, I have to say something about the album's cover with four cartoon-ish skull heads all piled together with the whitespace background. It totally reminds me of one of those interlude slides from BBC3's Russell Howard's Good News that appear throughout the show to show the introduction of a new segment. Like, a speech bubble should a appear above one of the skulls that reads "Mystery Guest" or something. Yeah, that was my immediate thought when I first saw the album cover.
 So, overall, Killer Sounds is by all means a good album, very catchy and would make a great party soundtrack. However, it's definitely not the best around for a catchy party rock album, especially whilst many more bands who make a similar sound with much more substance are around.

††† (Crosses) - EP †

 Shamefully, I must admit that my knowledge of Sacramento Alt-Metal greats, Deftones is very limited, gathering past experience only from music videos and appearances on video game soundtracks, however it must be said that these limited moments of the group are moments of pure joy. Far is a group that I had no idea about and even now have little knowledge of. And so, I was in the perfect position to listen to the debut EP from ††† (Crosses), a side project formed by Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno and Far guitarist Shaun Lopez.
 EP †, which is available free for download using some widget that I couldn't get to work and show up on this blog, really surprised me. When I first discovered Chino Moreno was to form a side project, I imagined a result similar to Shawn Chrahan's The Black Dots of Death project. Something slow paced, moodily atmosphered, very dark and often uncomfortable. In fact, with Lopez and fellow musician Scott Chuck, Moreno has created a very pleasant and engaging set of tunes on this electronic rock EP. Built upon various keyboard and synthesizer effects EP † can be described as being atmospheric, as an unusual soundscape is created which often comes across due to the contrasts between the performances between Moreno and Lopez. A good example of this is on the track †hholyghos†, in which Moreno's vocals and style in which keys are played creates an brooding atmosphere of despair, which is then completely changed when Shaun kicks in on the chorus and the track has a very uplifting sound. Switches between these two feelings can be found throughout.
 Though I could barely find a way to compare it to the work of Deftones and Far, apart from perhaps saying "It's not as heavy as Deftones", one reason I enjoyed it is that the overall sound reminded me a lot of the music of Trent Reznor in both his work in Nine Inch Nails and his film soundtracks.
 Overall, EP is a very interesting, soothing and overall listening experience and according to NME a full length 16 track debut is in the works, which is great news because this is a group we don't want to be losing any time soon. They give electronic synth rock the kind of talent it had back in the 80's unlike many dull bands who give it a crack today. Anyway, it's free so go ahead and download it. What have you got to lose?

 Also, I seriously can't make the widget thing work. Just type "Crosses EP" into Google and a bunch of better music blogs will come up where you download it.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Four Year Strong - Stuck in the Middle

 Hardcore Pop-Punk... I guess... group Four Year Strong have announced their follow up to 2010's Enemy of the World is in the middle of being recorded. Set to be released on the third of October, In Some Way, Shape or Form sees the melodic hardcore crew create the first album as a four piece since the departure of keyboardist, Josh Lyford, since the bands decision that synthesizers would not be needed in the group. This suggests there will be less of a pop sound in their work and they will concentrate and having a more hardcore, even metallic edge.
 I suppose new single Stuck in the Middle is a good way of demonstrating this theory. Four Year Strong, along with A Day to Remember have been seen as bands who give Pop-Punk music a rougher edge, cited as bands who mange to combine elements of Pop-Punk with those of Metalcore. It's a good description for this song, with it's numerous breakdowns that accompany the jagged, uplifting punk riffs. The mixture is astounding and unique. The Massachusetts rockers create a solid hard rock sound, and actually create a good song which in future could be used to introduce people to heavier stuff. Man, what else can I say? It's awesome! Check it out!

Blink-182 - Neighborhoods tracklisting and Heart's All Gone

  About last week, or something, pop punk's finest, Blink-182 did some more to anticipate fans for their sixth album Neighborhoods released on the 27th of September via Interscope, by revealing the album's tracklisting. The tracklisting continues to show Blink's more mature evolution, with more sophisticated titles than the likes of Dick Lips and Does My Breath Smell from their early releases throughout the '90's. Here's evidence of the evolution in this respect. The tracklisting for Neighborhoods is as follows:

Ghost on the Dance Floor
A La Mode
This Is Home
Snake Charmer
MH 4.18.2011
Even If She Falls
You Too
After Midnight

The deluxe edition of the album contains three extra tracks, being:

Fighting the Gravity
Heart's All Gone

 Now, I'm still unaware of what each song will be like. Can we make judgements based on titles alone? Why not? One thing that comes to mind is that This Is Home sounds like a good name for a ballad like song, perhaps it will be similar to 2003's I'm Lost Without You. I hope not, I'll be honest. That song is very much a drag. MH 4.18.2011 sounds like the name for some obscure interlude. The type of thing laden with keyboards and synthesizers while Travis Barker has a crazed drum solo. Other than that I imagine neighborhoods will be a show of spiky punk riffs with fresh experimental digital effects.
 Now, I know what a lot are thinking. Looking at the tracklisting for the regular version of the album, many have had one common complaint. They've been working on the album for three years and there's only ten tracks. Understandable, I suppose. Perhaps Neighborhoods will be a case of quality over quantity, as I said in a previous and much angrier post, I stated that Blink had to make this generations Back in Black to make up for all the screwing around they had previously been doing about their album release. Well, Back in Black had ten tracks, so perhaps things for Neighborhoods will work in the same way.
 Anyway, another complaint is that the deluxe version is likely to be much more expensive and something that could be argued is that the band have made a clever move that many would look on with spite and say "Oh, you clever bastards!" And that is to anticipate fans for the albums release by giving fans the chance to hear a new track from the album. And it's a bonus track.

 Hearts All Gone is a much more serious and mature track speaking of the issue of betrayal and letdown. ("Hopeless and destitute/ Destroyed my gratitude/ Your strongest lines of defense/ are just all just self-inflicted wounds") In spite of this, the track has less of the musical style of their other more serious work and is more like the part-serious, part-jokey Take off Your Pants and Jacket, with it's speedy pace and relentless heavy punk sound, which takes away from the poppier element of the band. Another thing that could be said is that if the previous release Up All Night was argued to be too similar to the work in Tom DeLonge's other group Angels and Airwaves, then this song, with it's dirty punk riffs and frantic drum work is similar to Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker's former side project, +44. Surprisingly, Heart's All Gone is a really genuine and well played punk song that bites and the fact that Blink-182 are still capable of this is unexpected and for now, reassuring.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Opeth - The Devil's Orchard

 At six minutes and forty seconds, The Devil's Orchard is one of the shorter songs from Swedish Prog metal legends, Opeth. Taken from their forthcoming album, Heritage released September 20th via Roadrunner Records, The Devil's Orchard shows Mikael Åkerfeldt and his melodic death gang taking a lesson from Prog heroes of the past.
 Right away, the powerful riffs that come crashing together in accompaniment with the playing of an organ shows an obvious Deep Purple influence and this is a good way to describe the single overall. Those looking for Opeth's death metal element in their music need look elsewhere. This is purely prog orienteered, and judging by the artwork of Heritage, featuring the faces of the band on a growing tree with roots that reach down to hell, on a sunny day, well, it's more of a pleasant looking spectacle, rather than say, the masses of dead trees and lurking shadowy figures that graced the cover of 2001's Blackwater Park. Therefore suggesting Heritage will be less grisly sounding and as on The Devil's Orchard show the band influenced and creating their own take on the sounds of  groups like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.
 The style in which the track is played, creates an atmosphere of sorrow and hopelessness, matching the lyrical themes of the track, particularly with Åkerfeldt's repetition of "God is dead".
 The Devil's Orchard is one of those Opeth songs, that while played incredibly heavy, maintains a very mellow feel and feels like a good heavy song that one could relax, or perhaps sulk too rather than crazily headbang too. It's actually a very sweet listening experience.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Chimaira - The Age of Hell

 Yesterday, all the lucky Americans were able to purchase The Age of Hell, the sixth album from Thrashcore titans, Chimaira. While here in the UK, the loyal fanbase of the Cleveland sextet will have to wait another twelve days to get our hands on a copy of the album, I've had the chance to hear the album online, and I'm totally excited for the 29th. This is some damn fine thrashcore here which sees the group create an effective mixture between the slower and doom-ish sound from 2009's The Infection and the anger-and spiteful, thrashy sound that was prevalent on the previous three albums, which is very satisfying.
 Right away the albums eponymous opener rushes listeners into a session of sterile ear pummeling, from there on we are taken into a dark and brutal world where fury, hated and thrash-inspired insanity rules. A good example being the pulverizing battle song Time is Running Out with it's furious yet victorious riffs, as well as the perfect balance between Mark Hunter's triumphant screams and smarmy low pitched clean vocals. Single, Trigger Finger also sees the band thrashing things out, making an impassioned sound in the process, which also allows listeners to truly marvel guitarist Rob Arnold's skills on bass guitar, as he creates an astounding galloping bassline.
 This albums sees a return of the bands slower and deeper sounding riffing from The Infection, which is heard in tracks such as Beyond the Grave and the much more stronger, yet still as doomy and sludgy Powerless, a song which is pretty much owned by Matt DeVries on rhythm guitar.
 As well as these tracks, the album is filled with some more unexpected and bizarre songs. Clockwork for example sounds like the result of Killswitch Engage and Nine Inch Nails combining their sounds together and Scapegoat shows a total contrast between the dramatic slow verses and the pummeling yet bouncy chorus, which chooses to end on a serious note by ending with an outro played on an acoustic guitar and a series of string instruments.
 A personal highlight would be the previously reviewed Born in Blood, which amongst it's aggression delivered largely through guest vocals by Whitechapel's Phil Bozeman, shows Matt and Rob at their most deluded, taking their insanity out on their guitars. It's a joy to listen to.
 Final thoughts on The Age of Hell, while it shows Chimaira doing what they do best, wether it shows them at their best must to be put into question. For me, it doesn't, but then Resurrection is simply one of my favourite metal albums ever and this album doesn't surpass the sheer excellence and fury that album had. However, this is no album to be shunned though. The Age of Hell is a brilliant Chimaira album combining elements from previous styles into this furious, hate filled, yet enjoyable experience. An experience that is just like Hell. So this album really does live up to it's expectations.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Probably best to ignore the last post.

Tony Iommi looking sad about shooting
down the online spread of joy.
 Don't I feel foolish? Many others with me as well. After my sheer flurry of excitement and joy in hearing the reunion of legends Black Sabbath being confirmed, Tony Iommi has now revealed that all this was in fact a foul lie created by some bastard journalist who wants to build up everyone's hopes just for us all to be let down again.
 Iommi had the sad task of breaking the news to the legions of online fans, releasing the statement "I'm saddened that a Birmingham journalist whom I trusted has chosen this point in time to take a conversation we had in June and make it sound like we spoke yesterday about a Black Sabbath reunion."

"At the time I was supporting the Home of Metal exhibition [and] was merely speculating, shooting the breeze on something all of us get asked constantly. 'Are you getting back together?'

"Thanks to the internet, it's now gone round the world as some sort of 'official' statement on my part; absolute nonsense. I hope he's enjoyed his moment of glory, he won't have another at my expense. To my old pals, Ozzy, Geezer and Bill, sorry about this. I should have known better."

 Total let down. I can't understand what was going through the mind of that journalist when he chose to publish Iommi's words as a statement two months after hearing it. It's absolutely ludicrous. I hope he's aware of how much hatred he's created for himself online, and I can only apologize to all Sabbath fans who discovered the reunion myth on this blog. I did get truly caught in the moment. Still, there is now speculations that Iommi's statement may be fake to divert fans from rumours of the reunion. I still think a reformation and a new album from Sabbath would be awesome and would probably be the main musical highlight of 2012, however, with their amazing legacy, it would not be at all necessary. But seriously, fuck that journalist! If I become a professional journalist, I promise I won't do anything like that.

Best news of the year, much?

 Only just discovered this and, yeah it's pretty much the greatest story of the year.
 Basically... basically, Sabbath are reforming. HELL YEAH!!!
 Obviously, I'm excited as you guess, since, you know Black Sabbath are the band who invented heavy metal. Guitarist Tony Iommi has told the Birmingham Mail about the reunion of the legendary group and are writing material for a new album and planning a series of shows. Hopefully a headlining slot at Download or Sonisphere. That would make my year complete as I'm totally planning on going.

 Iommi told the local newspaper "It's all been very hush-hush". "Ozzy's been the worst at trying to hold it back. He's been doing a lot of TV and he's been asked about a reunion and he's going 'well I never say never'. He told me, 'I don't know what to say'".

 Ah, Ozzy. You got me so excited when you said a reunion was possible last year, now I'm experiencing it all over again! This is just pure ecstasy.

 Speaking of the new material Iommi claims "We're really looking forward to it and I think the stuff we've been writing is really good. It's more back to the old original stuff.''

 I'm still reeling in the awesomeness. I hope there's more material like my favourite Sabbath track, Sweet Leaf. Sorry, there's not much more to say. I'm just gonna end this post with a smiley. :D

Mastodon - Curl of the Burl

 Wow. What else needs to be said? Curl of the Burl, Mastodon's latest single from soon to be released The Hunter is such a simplistic Balls-to-the-Wall sludgy and heavy piece of doomy progressive stoner rock. It's groovy, yet ferocious and clearly inspired by various peers of Mastodon like Black Sabbath and Kyuss. It's a wonderful piece of music for listeners to get lost in, with it's thrashy guitar licks and epic solos and smooth vocals. This song is pure awesomeness. It's left me speechless. Genuinely. I have nothing else to say about this, apart from have a listen yourself and allow yourself to fall into this trance of glory that I am currently feeling. Seriously, people say listening to stoner rock has a better feeling than actually getting stoned and I'm totally inclined to agree using this as evidence.

Kids In Glass Houses - In Gold Blood

 A somewhat late review from a band I've only gotten to know through hearing various singles. Okay.
 So my main experience of the music from Cardiff Alt rockers Kids In Glass Houses has come mainly from Kerrang! TV and Scuzz, starting from hearing the song The Best Is Yet to Come from last years release Dirt, a catchy enough uplifting Pop Rock like tune, but never really managed to attract my full interest on it's own. However, a few months later, a greater sense of interest towards the band emerged with the much more passionate and thought-provoking Matters at All. This feeling of content with the group remained and it didn't seem like they could do anything wrong. However, they proved me wrong when in February I saw the video for Undercover Lover, their collaboration with Frankie Sandford, probably the best known singer in The Saturdays. Says it all, really. It was dull, moronic and had an prominent lack of talent alone, never mind passion.
 And so, I wasn't feeling too optimistic when discovering there was a new video of theirs coming out from their single Animals from their latest album In Gold Blood. However, my negativity was proven wrong, as Animals is a raw dangerous piece of classic Indie Rock and shows a real sense of progression for these lads.
 Therefore a listen to In Gold Blood is essential to ensure this sense of progression remains. And thankfully it does. From the messy unclear and murky intro to Gold Blood, listeners are immediately transported into a raw, thrashy, hard hitting world of traditional Indie Rock. Riffs are heavy and jagged, drum beats are hard hitting yet catchy, basslines are distorted and rhythmic and guitar solo's come fast and wild with a sweet Hardcore sound. Various tracks give the album a more melancholic sound than what has been heard from the group, such as the slow ballad like Fire and the whining vocals and sorrow-laden riffs that makes up Annie May, however an uplifting more hopeful sound makes up the supposedly darker new album such as Not In This World, a hope fueled Indie anthem, with a sound that best emphasizes the bands desire to move forward and the Brass assisted catchy Hard Rock sound of Only the Brave Die Free, featuring a danceable drum beat and grimy bassline which makes KIGH sound like a cheerier version of Muse.
 Personal favourite would have to be the final two tracks Black Crush and A God to Many Devil's because the former sounded like a lighter version of Queens of the Stone Age's Go With the Flow, and A God To Many Devils surprised me for it's dynamic transition from a traditional Indie Rock album send-off into a much heavier sound with more bite.
 In Gold Blood has been claimed by many to divide opinion across previous fans of Kids In Glass Houses and judging by the music videos of tracks from previous albums I've seen, I can understand. In Gold Blood is a much raw and rougher sounding album than any of those previous acts and it's the best sound they've made by far. This is an album that shows a real sense of progression. This album is likely to make the band more respected in the world of rock music than being seen previously as a band that appeals to Pop-Rock loving teenagers. We can only hope that the sound on In Gold Blood is a sound that Kids In Glass Houses comfortably settles into and chooses to develop in the future.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Andrew O'Neill - Alternative

 I've just returned from a weekend from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where I pretty much had a "See-shows-from-comedians-who-you occasionally-see-on-the-telly" spree. However, I came to the conclusion afterwards that the bast show I caught was from the least known comedian out of those I saw. It was the hour of oddness, quirkiness and sheer brilliance that came in the form of Alternative, the new show from transvestite comedian (or "Clothes Spastic" as he would prefer) and fellow Metalhead, Andrew O'Neill.
 Known best for being the warmup act for the audience of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and being a regular on the comedy stage at Download, Andrew O'Neill is spending some time doing more intimate gigs at Edinburgh to perform this new show, a show with the theme of O'Neill's ways of living an alternative lifestyle from that of the mainstream. Wether it be by being a transvestite, a metalhead, by hitchhiking or squatting, O'Neill has done plenty that defies the mainstream ways of society. And there's plenty of amazing, hilarious and often shocking stories to have come from all of this. Of course, the show is also packed with plenty unexpected off-the-wall skits, which have the audience in stitches, from singing about when his father lied to him about being an astronaut, to revealing the original working titles of Michael Jackson songs (Thriller was originally titled Horror Film and Smooth Criminal had once been Shaved Villain.) The show is filled with intelligence nonsense, intelligent nonsense and gives a clear look into someone who had lived a very Rock N' Roll life.
 So if you're around Edinburgh for the next few weeks, I strongly recommend you see Andrew O'Neill in Alternative, as there's something for everyone on offer. Weirdness, more interesting anecdotes from the Edinburgh festival, and lots of Metal references. The show is on every night from now until the 28th, excluding the 22nd at the Assembly venue in George Square. You can check here for more information on the show, for buying a ticket. I'd recommend you do. It's a show you won't be left disappointed with and will be remembering for a long time.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Chimaira - Year of the Snake

 Groove Metals finest, Chimaira are back again with another single from their soon to be released from their sixth album, The Age of Hell. This time the Cleveland sextet deliver a pounding to eardrums in the form of Year of the Snake.
 Now, plenty of times I have heard a track from this band and fallen in love. Hell, I first bought "The Impossibility of Reason after watching a That Guy with the Glasses review of the dreadful Uwe Boll video game adaptation Alone in the Dark. On hearing this wonderful metalcore breakdown in the background amongst the sounds of gunfire, screaming monsters and Doug Walker complaining, I immediately looked at the film's soundtrack and went through every song listed until I found the one matching that beautiful sound, revealing itself to be Down Again. Thus, I immediately bought The Impossibility of Reason, along with 2007's Resurrection. Yes, with every song, I immediatley went crazy and developed a wonderful fixation for them,
 With Year of the Snake, however, this kind of thing didn't happen. And I really don't know why. It has all the ingredients of a perfect Chimaira single. Powerful guitar breakdowns, a tense buildup which transcends into a killer fast riff. Even the guitar solo is made to feel incredibly trippy as a bonus, a feeling which may have also been assisted by the effects added to the video at that point. It should be amazing.
 And yet, I feel somewhat underwhelmed with it. And I don't know why. There just seems to be something missing. Maybe the feeling is caused due because the band feels a little incomplete since three members of the band left prior tho this albums release but this has never been a real problem I've had before plus I loved Trigger Finger and Born in Blood. This song just seems to not carry the same amount of passion I've seen from these guys before. There are some other small troubles I have with the song as well. Mainly the vocals Mark Hunter adopts in each pre-chorus and the whisper used at the very end. To me, this felt a little uncomfortable, but then, knowing Chimaira, this was probably the desired effect.
 Overall, Year of the Snake is a good Chimaira song. It clearly shows the band doing what they do best, yet it doesn't show them at their best. I really think this song needs a lot more than one listen for you to fall in love with it.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

You Me At Six - "Loverboy"

Just a few minutes ago, "Loverboy" the latest single from Surrey rockers You Me At Six was previewed on radio. Speaking of the track from their soon to be released third album "Sinners Never Sleep", an album that the band have promised will see a change of direction from their perky sounding Pop-Punk sound, frontman Josh Franceschi stated:
 "I felt like this was the song we needed to put on first, I guess to cater for our fans who are into the older stuff, but also suggest that there's other stuff happening on this record."
 Does the song live up to this premise? In a way, I suppose. It has a modern Pop-Punk sound, but is more reminiscent of the darker, more bitter Pop-Punk sound of Fall Out Boy, from their 2005 album "From Under the Cork Tree." Perhaps this is what they mean by saying that Sinners Never Sleep will not be their traditional sound, as YMAS's traditional sound judging extensively by 2008's "Take Off Your Colours" was very cheery sounding Punk rock music. Cheery this isn't. The bitter sound, gang vocals and Metalcore-esque guitar solo actually gives the song more sinister and vengeful qualities.
 However, the song, though I suppose it's not fully meant to doesn't really do a whole lot show the movement from Pop-Punk that the band are promising, only perhaps giving them the qualities of heavier and more spiteful Pop-Punk bands like Fall Out Boy or A Day To Remember. Of course, if you're into that kind of sound then "Loverboy fits in quite well and at least shows a small sense of evolution for YMAS, which is good enough for now.

Sorry the video's not the best quality around but the track has just been released and this is all I could find.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hell or Highwater - "Begin Again"

 In a time while the capital is burning in the wake mass riots of people hellbent on causing mindless destruction, It's a good time to find some music with a sound and message of hope amongst an overwhelming feeling of despair. As it turns out, a good example of such a soundtrack has been released today, in the form of "Begin Again", the debut album from Hell or Highwater, a new heavy punk rock group formed by Brandon Saller of Atreyu. "Uplifting" is a good term to describe this album in an overall manner.
 I previously reviewed lead single "Gimme Love", referring it as an simple and honest love song, and a sense of honesty is prominent on this album and lyrically, often gives the feeling of Saller looking for a feeling of hope amongst all the despair in this world. This is in then emphasized in the music itself, which has a very uplifting sound to it heard most effectively in the winding guitar solos and jaggy and heavy Hardcore Punk like riffs that surround the choruses. Much of the album follows in this trend, I would say the best example being the track "Rock Waters Edge" and "When the Morning Comes". Exceptions to this are the tracks "Tragedy", a simple yet effective classic sad rock song and "Crash and Burn" which has the darkest musical sound and is probably the track that is closest to Saller's work in Atreyu, and even then a feeling of optimism can be found lyrically. In fact, a good band to compare Hell or Highwater to would probably be Rise Against, due to the heavy and passionate punk rock sound. Only Hell or Highwater displays much more positivity.
 Overall, "Begin Again" is a really fun Punk rock album to go a little crazy to. There is a heavy and uplifting sound throughout and Saller's vocals are on top form, particularly as he just sounds very happy on this album, perhaps because he's incredibly happy to be doing some lighter songs than those that have surrounded his Atreyu career. And at this current time, when activities occurring in London seem to be showing the beginning of a complete breakdown in society, we're all needing a little positivity. And this album may be something to stop us from going insane.

 For all those currently residing in London who do still have some sense in their minds, my thoughts go out to you at this hard time.

Evanescence - "What You Want"

 After a reasonably lengthy break of five years, Arkansas Goth Rockers Evanescence have released a new single from their third, self-titled album, to be released in October. This single is called "What You Want" and while serving as a return to form for the band there is the odd difference that surrounding the song.
 The main factor that makes this song different is a usage of electronic beats in the background. But not in a Nu Metal way, as was popular with the band on 2003's "Fallen", but more in an Electronica sort of way, which is heard in synthesizers and synth drum beats. Frontwoman Amy Lee stated that the new album is inspired by the likes of Depeche Mode, Massive Attack and MGMT, which is relatively obvious.
 Otherwise, the single has the quality of a traditional Evanescence track, with heavy metal riffs, which expand on the feeling of hatred and bitterness of which the song seems to deal with, which is also found in Amy's powerful vocals. Violin and piano also appear in the songs arrangement, traditional of Evanescence. If there's one thing I would complain about, it's that I find Amy's repetition of the phrase "Do what you want-you want" to sound like something from a cheesy 80's pop song, which is quite annoying.
 Other than this, "What You Want" is a slick and catchy goth rock song which serves as evidence that Evanescence have been evolving during their time out of the limelight.

Anthrax - "The Devil You Know"

 No time for celebrations. Too much going on in the world of Rock music right now, including "The Devil You Know" by thrash metal legends Anthrax being released. From their forthcoming album, "Worship Music", "The Devil You Know" is a delightful piece of old-school thrash.
 Listening to it, it can be argued that it's maybe not showing Anthrax at their most frantic and energetic, it's more reminiscent of the music on 2003's "We've Come For You All" and listeners are hit harder by the sharp licks of thrashing guitar riffs. It contains more of a hard rock sound to it, which is good as it matches a statement on the song said by lead guitarist Rob Caggiano who states:

"That song's kind of a cross between "Caught in a Mosh" and an AC/DC song, like "Whole Lotta Rosie." It's got that thrashy rock 'n' roll vibe to it, which I love."

 Really, I couldn't have said it better myself, which is quite obvious, having read this back. There are definitely elements of the single which reminds me of older AC/DC material, which combines with Anthrax's traditional thrash metal sound to make this awesome metal anthem.
 And a combination of thrash metal and old school hard rock is certainly the kind of music I'd worship.

 The track's been released exclusively to, so check it out using the link on offer.

Jesus! I've reached a milestone!

 Well, looking on my blog now, I've just realized that I have reached the ultimate target of 1000 views. And all I can say is, this is an absolute honour. The fact that I have reached a milestone that I thought I could never reach in a million years in just three months in just astonishing.
 I have a lot of people to thank for making all this possible. First theirs all those who made this blog possible in the first place. My geography teacher, Miss Stewart, for giving me the original idea to set up a blog in the first place who, with the help of some good friends, Callum and Sylvie helped me set this up, you are all part of the stimulus to Ramblings of a Rock Fan.
 As things have come along, and this blog progressed, I have many more people to thank for their incredible support and help in promoting me along the way. I have my loving family to thank for this, my Mum, my Dad and my sister Cara, as well as some good friends, Megan, Russell (Beany), Steven and Patrick and also my other geography teacher, Miss Quigley, who would tell anyone about my blog and stop to ask how things are going. You all really helped to get the ball rolling for me.
 Also, on my list of thanks, for giving me my main piece of inspiration to begin writing about events in the rock world and reviewing new music, for introducing me to an entire range of new music I never would have found on my own and for recently promoting my Ramblings to crowds of masses, my thanks go to Kerrang! magazine. The impact that has been left on my life by the weekly magazine allowing fans of Rock, punk and metal from across the world to unite for their common interest. The impact you have left on me is unforgettable and has changed by life, most certainly for the better.
 Finally my thanks go to the world of Rock music itself. You allow me to see the craziest people do the craziest of things and release the best of music which keeps this blog increasingly relevant and gives me a fresh topic to write about almost daily.
 My heart goes out to everyone who has had the time, patience and interest to read these ramblings from me, a Rock Fan, and let's hope these ramblings have a long and prosperous future and hope we see many more thousands of views.

 Until then, it's back to business \m/

Monday, 8 August 2011

Trivium - "In Waves"

 It's been an amazing morning. And this is due to the fact that I have had the pleasure of listening to the special edition of "In Waves", the fifth album from Floridian Metalcore titans, Trivium. And I would say it's the best album of 2011.
 "In Waves" is a cut above the rest of Trivium's releases, not to knock any of the others, as they're all phenomenal, but "In Waves" carries a little something more. There's a greater sense of uniqueness in this album, though the sound is that of traditional metalcore, with frequent guitar breakdowns, chugging riffs and an equal balance between scream and melodic vocals, Trivium seem to spice things up with their unique sense of passion and pride. Pride is a key word. You can quite clearly tell this is music being played with a high sense of pride and achievement, as a feeling of grace can be heard amongst the brutality and heaviness of the album, and as passion oozes out of every monstrous riff from Corey Beaulieu, every complex guitar solo and scream from Matt Heafy, every thunderous bass line from Paolo Gregoletto and every blast beat from latest recruit Nick Augusto, who proves himself a worthy and incredibly talented drummer, destined for a long and prosperous future in Trivium.
 There are many stand out moments on "In Waves", from the entire opening, consisting of the coupling of "Capsizing the Sea" and the album's title track, which could be one of my favourite album openings, to the seemingly deathcore inspired "Skyline's Severance" As well as the slower and softer emotion-welling bridge and solo heard in "Caustic Are the Ties That Bind", which sounds positively Maiden-esque, and the arrangement of "Forsake Not the Dream, which reminded me bizarrely of the kind of song one may find on Blink-182's "Dude Ranch", with the heaviness multiplied by at least ten. Not sure if that's what they had in mind, but hey, that's just what I thought.
 Finally, the outro of "Leaving This World Behind" features a gloomy and continuous riff, delivering the motion of drifting away, which gives an avid depiction of the listener at this point, who would be feeling gloomy as "In Waves" begins drifting away and they are leaving the world of the album behind. Unless you're me, who physically abused the repeat button on the CD player in my house.
 Overall, "In Waves" is a simply outstanding piece of metal. Trivium are a band who always discuss being influenced in interviews and "In Waves" is an album in which the group show a sense of being influenced and playing music in a traditional style and yet, it just seems so fresh and unique and if that's not the sign of an amazing album being created, I don't know what is. Furthermore, the music on this album is just some of the best music to jump around and headbang to, which gets me particularly excited for seeing them in December on the Metal Hammer Defenders of the Faith tour. Really, I'm quite confident "In Waves" is an album that will become a future classic metal album.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Foo Fighters Garage Tour

 I finally got the chance to see the full length documentary showing highlights of the 2011 Garage Tour of the USA that Rock N' Roll legends, Foo Fighters embarked on, which was very enjoyable to watch and showed just how down to earth and caring these guys are.
 For those unaware of the concept behind this, basically a few months ago, the Foos set up a competition for fans across the U.S, asking them to send in photos of their garages and write down in twenty five words or less why the band should play there. The ones they liked best would be the ones they would play a live set in, as they toured the country with the sole purpose of performing in fan's garages. No wonder Dave Grohl has been referred to on countless occasions as "The Nicest Man in Rock".
 Their garage performances are simply awesome to watch. The cramped space of the garages is much more effective in delivering their sound directly to the small audiences that are huddled around the band, and is particularly successful for the delivery of songs from their latest album "Wasting Light", which can be heard as they perform tracks like "White Limo", "Arlandia" and "Bridge Burning". Touring songs from "Wasting Light" this way is wonderful homage as well, since, as Dave explains "We made the record in a garage, right?". Of course bigger hits from the band can be heard in the documentary as well, such as "Learn to Fly", "All My Life" and "My Hero", which puts the crowd in an absolute frenzy at which point you fear the house may collapse. Musically, the Garage Tour displays a much more enjoyable live Foo Fighters experience than, say, 2006's "Skin and Bones" album, which I've never been very fond of since I've never really enjoyed hearing acoustic versions of hard rock songs, so a whole live album of it was... not fun. However, the Garage Tour shows the Foo Fighters going crazy and giving the crowd a good old Rock N' Roll thrashing.
 Performing aside, the documentary also shows the band to be kind and caring bunch towards their fans and upholds Dave Grohl's quirky sense of humour, seen at several points such as when playing at a New York home, as Dave takes kindly to the garage owner's speech about them "If there's a better rock band in the world... Fuck, there isn't!", stating "I think he should introduce us every night." Further along, another moment of kindness can be seen when the band allow the owner of third house in which they play to play guitar with them on several tracks. It is revealed at the end of the show that the owner is probably the biggest Foo Fighters fan ever, as Dave explains to the crowd "If I had a fuckin' nickel(?) for every time this guy right here came up to me after a show and said 'Hey, can you sign this incredibly obscure fuckin' bootleg I found the other day' or 'Remember me?'", before going on to explain that he must have met him at least 29 times after shows and then forming a real friendship with him onstage. Another amazing act of kindness can be seen from bassist, Pat Smear as a group of children who watches the band in Denver ask if they could get his guitar, and he is simply seen to crouch down, put his signature on the back of the guitar and hand it to the kids. It's amazing to watch and shows Pat to be a absolute legend.
 These are some the highlights of the documentary. It's a lot of fun and the music is simply wonderful and certainly worth a watch. At the end, Dave delivers a message to the crowd saying that the shows they have done had the spirit of some of the first shows they ever did in smaller venues. I can only hope they choose to do it again in the UK. And if they do I can only hope I get a garage put up at my house, because having the Foo Fighters perform right in front of you surely has to be one of the best experience in the world.

Here it is below. Check it out for sheer awesomeness!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

My simple thoughts on "The 50 Greatest Rockstars in the World Today"

 It seems that this week's issue, Kerrang! stirred some controversy in publishing a list known as "The 50 Greatest Rockstars in the World Today". A reason for this was due to the fact that the figure who made the Number 1 title was someone completely unexpected, who is not exactly an iconic figure, as many were expecting. I did some thinking while waiting for the issue to arrive at my doorstep (admittedly there wasn't a whole lot thought since my higher exam results arrived on the same day) and came to a conclusion that K! would surely pick some kind of rock icon to receive number one position, an individual who is viewed as a legend and loved by all. Someone like Slash, Dave Grohl, Ozzy Osbourne, maybe Bruce Dickinson or even one of my icons, Corey Taylor, since he's certainly led a rockstar life. Others thought Kerrang! would give the title to one of the many figures who make frequent appearances in the pages of the magazines, to appeal to the kind of people who's messages often appear on the Feedback page. Basically, they thought the title would go to someone like Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars, Hayley Williams of Paramore or Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six.
 However, Kerrang! did what essentially was the right thing. They picked someone who creates a truly unique sound, who is incredibly hard-working, and puts his heart and soul into his music. And with that, they have picked the frontman of a band who are not known to everyone in the world. A band that admittedly, I only started listening to after discovering about this list and who had topped it. The band in question is a LA hardcore group called letlive., and their frontman Jason Aalon Butler, has been named The Greatest Rockstar in the World Today by Kerrang!.
 Unsurprisingly, the reaction by many was negative with remarks like "Who the fuck is letlive?" spreading around the place, as many were demanding more iconic figures. Though I wasn't too aware of the band, I think it's great that K! has chosen to feature Butler as Number 1, as bands like letlive. are some of the most hard-working and passionate in the music scene today and really deserve more recognition and this is a great sign for these bands.
 Needless to say, many iconic figures who I imagined would make Number 1 were featured throughout the list including Dave Grohl and Corey Taylor, as well as Angus Young, Gene Simmons, Lemmy, Josh Homme, Nikki Sixx and Marilyn Manson. Similarly, various figures that would appeal to Kerrang!'s frequent pop-rock loving readers were featured, including Jared Leto, Hayley Williams, Josh Franceschi, as well as Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low and Matt Bellamy of Muse.
 Surprisingly, Gerard Way made no appearance in the list, which must have really pissed of loads of readers. Instead, MCR guitarist Frank Iero, who often has often had less to say than his fellow bandmates, made an appearance on the list. This was great to see, as Frank really is the heart and talent of My Chemical Romance. For me I particularly enjoyed this as MCR are a band I have looked up to for a long time now, plus I've only very recently started learning to play rhythm guitar, so Frank is someone who I genuinely look up to amongst several other guitarists.
 Well, that's all I really have to say on the feature. I think the people on the list have been well picked though I may perhaps do some re-arranging. if you're reading this and haven't read the issue yet, I'm sorry if I've given some things away, but go read it anyway. It's really worth a look at and I can only hope they do it again this time next year.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Five Finger Death Punch - "Under and Over It"

 Through the past four years, a sound that has been described by many as "traditional American Heavy Metal" has been delivered through LA's Five Finger Death Punch. Their two albums "The Way of the Fist" and "War is the Answer" has delivered a head-pounding, violent, bludgeoning metal sound with monstrous crunching guitar riffs which is partnered perfectly with the aggressive screams and soulful melodic vocals of frontman Ivan Moody, often having a verse filled with screams mixed with a melodic chorus, in a metalcore-esque fashion. It's clearly a winning formula. Which is assumably why there's little change on their latest single "Under and Over It".
 The first single from their soon to be released third effort "American Capitalist" "Under and Over It" shows FFDP display their obvious talent in creating crunchy, brutal, fist-pumping heavy metal, which is fantastic if you want to see them on a return to form, as it is essentially a traditional Death Punch song, similar to their work on "The Way of the Fist", if you want something completely new from these guys, maybe this isn't the best place to look.


Monday, 1 August 2011

Hell Or Highwater - "Gimme Love"

 Hell or Highwater is a new group fronted by Brandon Saller, drummer and other lead vocalist of Atreyu, as something to do while that band remains on hiatus, and have very recently offered the single "Gimme Love" from their soon to be released debut album "Begin Again" as a free download. Always being one to take advantage of these things, I've downloaded and am pleasantly surprised with what's been presented to me.
 It's surprising, as I've become used to the dark and saddening lyrics and musical atmosphere found in the work of Atreyu and "Gimme Love" has... well... a really uplifting sound to it. Lyrically, it's an honest and genuine love song, which is always nicer to hear about than songs about trying to overdose on pills or a girl who is "bleeding mascara". Musically, the track is just like a simple optimistic sounding hard rock song, which is just fine, it helps emphasize the simple nature of the lyrics.
 The idea of simple sounding rock music with fairly simple lyrics played effectively actually makes me think of Hell or Highwater to be like a modern day equivalent of The Ramones, a comment I imagine the group would be appreciative for. Seems like a good trailer for their debut. Wether the other tracks of the album will be as uplifting... not so sure about that. We'll have to wait and see.

 All you need to do is Like the bands page on Facebook and a link for you to download "Gimme Love" for free should be made available.

I scream! I shout! I am a fallen angel!

 Over the past week, something unexpected happened. A band who have quickly rose to fame and popularity over the past eight months, despite much negativity put towards their name, causing me to adopt a sense of confusion whenever their names were mentioned, just became one of my favourite bands. I am of course talking about the warpaint and leather-clad Hollywood quintet, Black Veil Brides.
 At this point, it is likely that I may have lost the respect of much of my mysterious audience. My thoughts take these forms as BVB are a band, who have generated a lot of hatred, as you may find on almost every music website, for various reasons. Their stage appearance, loyal fanbase made up largely of teenage girls (The BVB Army) and their positive and chirpy attitudes they display in interviews has encouraged such words towards their name as "posers", "wankers" and "faggots". Then others, just don't like their music, which is fair enough until one realizes the joy many people seem to have in posting their hatred towards them anywhere they can. The Kerrang! website comment boards for any BVB story can be an incredibly depressing place with comments such as this from station33 popping up:

 "Fuck off ur shite no matter what u do u'll never be legendary u'll never be one of the greats that gets remembered if u split up or if u all die o stop making shit tunes and leave it 2 the people that can play music"

 However I can not agree with dear station33. Black Veil Brides are an incredibly talented band, with a sound that is almost difficult to describe. I was going to go with Thrash Metal/Metalcore (Thrashcore?) -inspired, Glam soaked Hard Rock, but that doesn't exactly roll of the tongue too easily. In interviews, they often refer to hard rock legends KISS being their main influence, and this can be heard clearly with frontman Andy Biersack's vocals having a close resemblance to those of Paul Stanley, and the wailing guitar sound created by Jake Pitts, which gives a huge shout out to 80's glam-metal. Anyway, the track that particularly drew me to them was their latest video hit,"The Legacy", which sounds a little like something Avenged Sevenfold or perhaps Atreyu would have created. This thrashcore (I'm gonna go with that term for now) inspired hard rock, is particularly prevalent on the bands latest release, "Set the World On Fire", rather than their previous album "We Stitch These Wounds" which featured more in the way of Emo music. Both are very enjoyable, but "Set the World On Fire" is so much more extreme and packed with adrenaline, which ultimately is a more appealing factor.
 So call me a loser, a scene kid, a fag, whatever you want if you don't approve of me liking this band, but after eight months of looking at magazine interviews, hearing songs and reading negative comments, after eight months of "I guess they're okay"'s and generally unsure feeling towards them, after all this time of that, it has taken one week and now, it's obvious that the Black Veil Brides have found themselves a new fan, a new recruitment to the BVB Army, in the form of me.