Fiona Stephens

The Pretty Reckless release video for ‘Oh My God’

American rockers The Pretty Reckless have released a video for their latest single Oh My God. It’s the second single to be taken from their third album Who You Selling For, and one of the edgier songs.

It’s just me and the band, pouring ourselves into the song, and into the camera.  It’s subtle, you have to really watch it to understand all the layers, but it’s honest, and that to me always yields the best art.” – Lead singer Taylor Momsen


Halflives announce debut album ‘Empty Rooms’

Italian group Halflives have announced the release date of their debut album, Empty Rooms, which will be 14th April. Halflives have managed to crowd fund the cost of the album and actually smashed their target. Well done guys!

In support of their album, Halflives will tour Europe with Courage My Love, who they have previously collaborated with on a cover of All The Things She Said. UK dates below:

Halflives UK Tour May / June 2017 w/ Courage My Love

May 31st – Southampton – Talking Heads (tickets)
June 1st – Bristol – The Exchange (tickets)
June 2nd – Bridgwater – Cobblestones (tickets)
June 3rd – London – Camden Rocks Festival (tickets)
June 4th – Manchester – Rebellion (tickets)

Epoch – Sacrosanct

Sacrosanct was originally released digitally by death metallers Epoch in 2015, but on January 31st, almost 2 years later, the group released the album on CD.

Sacrosanct opens with To Datechon, ho Katechon. It is a very typical death metal track, with fast, heavy cymbals and double kick pedals, guitar riffs that interchange between chugs and riffs, and heavy heated vocals where the lyrics are indiscernible. However the track ends early at barely 2 minutes and 50 seconds, tapering off and building suspense for the rest of the album.

The following track, Vision Absolute, contains sudden stops in the first verse that are in direct contrast with the rest of the layers and complicated riffs of the track. The listener expects the stops to occur again throughout the track, however the music evolves and changes so that by the time the track is halfway through, it sounds completely different. Even by the end, the music has changed again, making the casual listener do a double take.

Each track has a clear instrumental introduction section which would traditionally set the tone for the rest of the song, however in Sacrosanct these sections are cleverly used to provide the listener with variety. The trouble with many death metal albums is that they sound the same all the way through, however Sacrosanct is cleverly layered and sectioned to avoid this problem.

Ichneumon is the track that sticks out on Sacrosanct due to the discordant nature of the chord progression. A very atonal and musically complex song, it is very difficult with a lot going on as there usually is in death metal to pull these types of chords off, however Epoch do it extremely well.

The downside to Sacrosanct is that there are no slow songs and all the vocals are heated screamed vocals. It would be interesting to see Epoch perform a metal ballad, the musicians certainly have the capability and it would provide a nice variety to the album. The downside with constant screamed vocals is that to the average listener the lyrical content is difficult to decipher. Most of the tracks on the album are also roughly the same bpm.


Dearly Beloved – Admission

Admission, the fifth album from duo Dearly Beloved was released on 27th January. For a two piece, their music has many different layers, and clearly both members of the group are well qualified in several instruments.

Admission opens with RIP, which has elements of different genres: straight up 4/4 rock, ska, garage, and classic rock to name a few. These genres are not usually mixed together, however Dearly Beloved pull it off.

Dearly Beloved have a unique sound for a modern group. Admission was recorded at Studio 666, owned by Dave Grohl, recorded on the very same console as Nirvana‘s Nevermind. Analogue consoles tend to capture more warmth and tone than many digital consoles used today. The song I Tried To Leave captures the sound of rock from the 70s and 80s not only in written style, but also in the recording, which is partially down to the legendary console. Adding to that ‘old garage’ sound is producer Daniel Rey, who produced Ramones and Misfits.

Who Wants To Know includes more alternative themes than the tracks that precede it. It sounds a little like tracks from Muse‘s debut album Showbiz, but with more garage. With a repeating riff and some exploration with the melody, it’s a tune that won’t leave the listener’s head any time soon.

Around halfway through the album in Strobe-Dosing there is some exploration with musical themes that is rarely seen in modern music. However, the abrupt end to the track jars the listener. The track that follows, Currents, follows the same sort of structure, however the listener may start to get bored here.

The second half of Admission is far more experimental than the first half, which is the more commercial half. As Dearly Beloved are a group who regularly tour, it would be interesting to see how they pull off a live show with only two core members.

The penultimate track, When You Had The Choice, returns to the more commercial side of Dearly Beloved. It would be a good choice for a single.

The final track, Future Shock, contains a lot more energy than the rest of the album and would also be a great choice for a single. It’s a particularly good track to end an album with as it will stick in the listener’s head for a long time after the album has finished.

All in all, although there is a dip in the middle where some listeners may not enjoy the experimental side of Dearly BelovedAdmission is a good album, containing variation of genre and is a new and exciting twist on an old style of music.


LIVE: Black Peaks – Leicester Firebug 4/2/17

Friday night saw the return of Black Peaks to Leicester – they’d performed once before at the renowned venue The Shed, famous for the promoter that runs off with the profits, but that time they’d literally played to a man and his dog. This time, Firebug was sold out, and the tiny room was jam packed full of people.

First up were Croydon’s Bad Sign – an alternative three piece that somehow made a much bigger sound than seemed possible, probably helped by the impressive sound technician’s skills, which only added to the performance. Each group had their own introduction of sound effects to build hype, helping to tie all the acts in together.

Bad Sign had great stage presence, and interacted often with the audience, provoking huge cheers. Their sound was more musically interesting than the usual alt rock acts, with the bass carrying the rhythm and providing well placed filler notes, and the guitar sitting gracefully on top. They also had some prog influences in terms of time and style changes within songs. Different influences such as RadioheadRed Hot Chili Peppers and Feeder could be heard in their music.


Next up were Tigercub, originally from Brighton. They had a more experimental feel to them than Bad Sign, and were more musically talented but had less of a positive reaction from the audience, and their music was less commercial. They sounded like a more alternative, less grungy NirvanaTigercub used lots of counterpoint and variation within and between their songs. They had more interesting drum patterns than Bad Sign, however the drums were used to pull everything together in Bad Sign. While Tigercub were obviously well rehearsed, they felt less fluent and less together than Bad Sign did. Most of the audience were on their phones after just a few songs from Tigercub, and the audience winced at some of the effects used as it was just too much.


Finally, Black Peaks came on to a massive audience cheer. There was almost instantly a mosh pit and the group were obviously happy to be playing to such a great crowd. It was easy to see why Black Peaks are so popular, their music is simpler than the other two groups preceding them, however they were heavier and incorporated elements of metal into alternative rock. They had great timing between the musicians and work really well together. Black Peaks put on a great show, and thanked not only the two support acts, but all the staff at Firebug. It won’t be long before Black Peaks are playing much bigger venues. Ending with To Take The First Turn, the audience did not want Black Peaks to go.


Glories – There Is No Stillness

Birmingham (Alabama, not UK) born instrumental Glories released their new album There Is No Stillness on 20th January. Glories are a post rock foursome with tremendous talent.

There Is No Stillness opens with an 8 and a half minute track called Bravo Sierra, and it is immediately clear that Glories combine a number of influences to create their sound. From the likes of Coldplay to Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, even the most casual listener can find something to appreciate in this track. Telescopes follows on from Bravo Sierra, and is a slightly gentler track. Introduced here are themes taken from “airport music”. A Hint of the Sea is a cinematic masterpiece that would sit well as background music to a film, or a relaxing beach scene on Netflix. It could also be used as background music in a spa, as the subtle changes in the music ebb and flow like the tide.

Dead Wait paints the image of a busy city flying past a bystander, perhaps people watching out the window of a coffee shop. However at around the five minute mark, the music changes and the scene the listener pictures also changes. This is a new development compared to the other tracks on the album. The final track, As Walls Keep Shifting, ties the whole album in together, as it takes many of the sound themes from the first track, Bravo Sierra. The chord progression is similar to that of a pop song, and the bassline reminds the listener of a slow Red Hot Chili Peppers track. This is also the first track to include any vocals, although it is a background choir.

Although Glories can be appreciated by casual music fans, There Is No Stillness is not an album to be tackled in one sitting for these people. The tracks are long and have too many similarities, although musically they are fantastic pieces of art.

Malacoda release video for ‘Linger Here’

Malacoda have recorded and released a new video for their latest single Linger Here, from the EP Ritualis Eterna. It was premiered on New Noise Magazine on Friday morning, and you can watch it below.

“The introspective video for Linger Here is a private look into the studio I own (Old Haunt Recording Studio) where we write, rehearse and record all of our ideas.” – Vocalist Lucas Di Mascio