James Leese

Coast To Coast – Birmingham – LIVE REVIEW 18/04/2017

Coast To Coast earlier this year released their new EP The Length Of A Smile which was received with a lot of success from critics and fans alike. Following on from this release the band have headed out on tour with label buddies Better Than Never and Pine. This tour promised to be a big hit due to the success of the EP and from past experiences with Coast To Coast’s live shows.

Opening up the night was Pine a band whom had released their own EP just before heading out on the road with Coast To Coast, for many in the room it was the first time seeing Pine live and was a great chance for them to impress people who may have never heard of them before. The band managed to get the evening off to a great start despite their overly short set time. With very strong instrumentation and vocals to match Pine did showcase why they have gained a following thus far.

Part way through their set Pine dropped a cover, one which made the room come alive with even more energy then it already had been during the main chunk of their set, as they powered through Teenage Dirtbag there weren’t many people who weren’t shouting the words back at them, and it was in this moment that the first crowd surfer of the night surfaced. Overall Pine opened up this night well, with a very cohesive performance which was strong instrumentally and vocally throughout, with songs like Barricade and Empty Head truly showcasing their ability in not only creating a cohesive track but also keeping their live performance close to their recorded sound. Pine truly show why they will be a band to watch in the near future. [6/10]

Following on from Pine was Luke Rainsford. During this tour Luke had been filling in on drums for Coast To Coast and during the Birmingham show got his chance to play full band once again. Starting off with Home Safe it was apparent that many people were excited for Luke’s set as the room seemed to have tripled in attendance between Pine and himself, and without a single voice being left out of the crowd it was clear how well Luke’s set was landing with the Birmingham crowd.

Throughout Luke’s set the band made up of members of Fullshore and Zak Taylor from Coast To Coast showed their tight instrumentation and flawlessness in replicating what was on Luke’s latest record I Feel At Home With You. It was in these moments in which the band were perfectly orchestrated and well rehearsed that it was evident that there is no difference between Luke playing solo or as a full ensemble as the emotional delivery of the lyrics truly hone in on the messages that are being portrayed through tracks such as I am Melodramatic (A Song About Death). As this set powered on through it was evident that not only did the amount of people shouting back his lyrics mean so much to Luke but the words meant a lot to the members of the audience as by the end of the set there weren’t many dry eyes in the house.

As Luke Rainsford brought his set to a close with Frame, he took a moment to address the issue of mental health with the audience in which he spoke as honestly as I Feel At Home With You does. The words spoken at this moment hit home and accompanied by the messages in Frame it truly made Luke’s set stay in the forefront of the mind for a long time after the band had departed from the stage, and with his tremendously honest vocal delivery and the band’s tight and well orchestrated instrumentation this set felt perfect. [9/10]

Following on from Luke Rainsford was Oxford’s Better Than Never, whom wasted no time in showing just how much energy they would be injecting in to the evening. With an explosive opener in the form of 126, Better Than Never showed just how tight they are instrumentally and how quickly they can get an audience moving. Alongside the tight instrumentation it was in this moment that James Harris and Will Keating showed their coordination and ability to accompany each others vocal melodies well track after track.

Credit: Nick Neuenhaus

As Better Than Never moved on through their set, the amount of energy continued to build coming to a climax during set highlights Fourty Eight and their rendition of Sugar We’re Going Down. These tracks showed a mass amount of audience participation, with a hardcore style space being created by a few audience members and mic grabs galore during the Fall Out Boy number. Despite what seemed a few minor mistakes the band managed to continue creating a strong performance which showcased their ability in recreating their recorded tracks almost beat for beat as they are on their latest EP.

Credit: Nick Neuenhaus

As Better Than Never brought their set to a close with the first single off of Head Under Water, Learning To Swim their set truly came in to fruition, the best parts of their set in terms of tight instrumentation, strong vocal performances and mass amounts of crowd energy came together to end their set strongly. Despite a few slip ups here and there Better Than Never did produce a very entertaining set. [8/10]

Following a 15 minute change over Keiran Hyland of Coast To Coast uttered a slightly different line many people from Birmingham have heard before ‘We are Coast To Coast everyone come down’. Without a second thought the entirety of the audience moved forward for the first track in Coast To Coast’s set Geranium. This track which not only beautifully opened up their set also showcased their clear instrumental ability, as Keiran Hyland effortlessly sang note for note as it is on The Length Of  A Smile. As the band continued on through their set they played hits of off of their first EP Bloom and Cornerstone, which were met with a chorus of voices shouting back every word.

During this set Coast To Coast continually showed their strong instrumentation but also their ablity to control an audience, getting them moving and singing back words from track to track. As the band plowed through AjaxHeredity and set highlight Stale the band continued to put on a performance that was almost flawless, apart from a few slip ups, and showcased just why Coast To Coast may be one of the next big bands in the UK.

As Coast To Coast started to bring their set to close everyone in the room was fully involved with the band even taking time to bring guitarist Josh Taylor in to a crowd surf, it was during these moments that the set truly came in to fruition with the entire band playing cohesively, as they have done for the majority of their set. After finishing on Post Graduation the chant of ‘one more song’ began, before Coast To Coast began Bunkbeds to a chorus of people shouting back words as the set came to a close, not only rounding off a near perfect set, but also perfectly ending a show full of emotion and energy [9/10]

Halflives – Empty Rooms – REVIEW

Italian based quintet Halflives are soon to be heading out on the road with Courage My Love on their EU/UK Tour. However, more recently the band dropped their debut full length Empty Rooms, and album which not only is the result of 18 months work but also shows their already increasing fan base, due to the fact that Empty Rooms found its birth from Crowd Funding. The album which was released on the 14th of April promises to be a big step forward for the band, however let’s breakdown Halflives debut full length Empty Rooms.

Opening up this 8 track debut is Lone Wolf, which moves in gently with a mix of well toned guitars and accompanying drums. Soon though Halflives’ Linda Battilani comes in with full force bringing the attention to her and her vocals, for the most part in this track she feels to dominate the track but also allows the rest of the band to showcase their ability and the well orchestrated instrumentation the band has pieced together. Overall Lone Wolf opens this debut well, with a well constructed tone and at times interesting instrumentation it shows the potential this album has and sets a good precedent for what else lies on this album.

Coming next are the tracks Mayday and Burn the two main singles from this release. Mayday features first and with it’s almost Against The Current sound it is a track which truly shows why there was a lot of excitement surrounding this record, from the extremely well constructed vocal melodies to the well presented instrumentation that carries the track along at a brisk pace. Following on is Burn, which plays a little more on Linda Battilani’s vocals and gives you the sense that it could be a cut from a summer blockbuster. Burn also happens to be the strongest cut off of this album with the very minimal instrumentation, which at first can seem like an issue does in fact add to the overall feel of the song. Alongside this Burn feels almost anthemic in its structure.

Following on is a trio of tracks the first which is Echo, a track which yet again shows the potential this band has, with this very palatable sound. Highlives also drags this anthem sounding construction from Burn in to Echo allowing for a clear indication in their capability of writing tracks which are consistent and cohesive. Next in this trio of tracks is The Sickness, which is the first time that Halflives drop the ball as it is in this moment that the tracks instrumental composition starts to get repetitive and the overall execution of the track feels lack luster. However, that isn’t to say that the dynamic shifts aren’t interesting as the occasional shift does add something to the track.

Half Alive is the final track in this trio and after what is a somewhat dull moment on the album, Halflives manage to get the ball rolling with a track which comes with it’s own instinctive bop and a great cohesive merging of electronic instrumentation and a full band sound. Half Alive also comes with a catchy chorus similarly to many tracks on this debut record, alongside a great use of dynamic changes which bring a new element and layer to the instrumentation which is present on this track.

Acting as the title track to this debut full length Empty Room follows as the album starts to come to its close. It is in this track where the thematic structure of the album truly comes in to play and allows for the vocals to carry a lot of weight and make an impact through the lyricism and vocal presentation that effortlessly mixes with the instrumentation. However, similarly to how it had on The Sickness it is in this that the tracks length still feels a little labouring for what is actually in this track, even despite the massive impact the lyricism makes.

Ending this debut record is Collide. Collide is the most interesting track on this release simply because of the high usage of electronic instrumentation, however when the band do finally mix in the electronic instrumentation with their well orchestrated guitars and drums the track comes together for a well rounded ending that brings this debut album to a close well. Alongside this it seems that in this track Halflives are yet again making an impact with the lyricism that is present in the track and allows for a haunting feeling long after the album has finished.

Overall, through Empty Rooms Halflives have created an album which wonderfully showcases their abilities and their potential to go on further with this sound that they and many other bands are using today. With the occasional anthemy sounding cut off of this album and their well orchestrated instrumentation there are many positives on this record. However, when the tracks do feel labouring to get through, which does happen once or twice on this record it does drag away from what could have been an excellent album. [6.5/10]

New Tour and Video for Paramore


Well renowned Tennessee band Paramore have been quiet since their 2013 Self-Titled record. However after recent posts about recording, Paramore have today announced a new album, dropped a new track and video, as well as announcing a string of UK tour dates for June this year.

Paramore‘s new record titled After Laughter promises to be a great releases and based off this brand new single Hard Times it seems that this new record will be as successful as their last. Alongside this new single Hard Times, the band have announced a short string of UK shows this June, the tickets for which will go on sale on the 28th of April.

Tour Dates

15th June, Dublin, Olympia

15th June, Belfast, Waterfront

18th June, Manchester, O2 Apollo

19th June, London, Royal Albert Hall

21st June, Bristol, Colston Hall

22nd June, Edinburgh, Usher Hall

 

Pre-Order Paramore’s After Laughter HERE.

Tracklisting

1. Hard Times

2. Rose-Colored Boy

3. Told You So

4. Forgiveness

5. Fake Happy

6. 26

7. Pool

8. Grudges

9. Caught In The Middle

10. Idle Worship

11. No Friend

12. Tell Me How

 

Fat Lip Fest Announces Full Lineup

After hosting an array of events and a few great announcements thus far Fat Lip Fest have announced the rest of the line up for their first festival. Joining the likes of ROAM, Feed The Rhino and Blood Youth are a vast array of acoustic sets and full band performances from Montroze, Beyond Recall, All Ears Avow and Dead!. This Festival which is being hosted in Bristol this July is shaping up to be another great one day festival. Check out the Poster below.

Buy Tickets HERE.

Stormzy – Birmingham – 11/04/2017 LIVE REVIEW

Following a few years of breakthrough success for not only himself but also for Grime as a genre, Stormzy has been making quite the name for himself through his performances and music alike. This year after the release of his debut album Gang Signs and Prayer, Stormzy has headed out on tour to showcase and celebrate the release of this album, which had Spotify crashing moments after its midnight release, and if the Brit performance with Ed Sheeran was anything to go by it will be a night bursting with energy.

Opening up this night full of high octane beats and energy is support act A2 whom came out to a packed crowd, something that doesn’t always happen for an opening act, but was good to see. As A2 began his set there was this sense that it took him a few moments to fully find his footing and get in to the swing of his set, be it nerves or otherwise. However, post his opening number which was strong in not only his ability to keep up his flow live, but also in the accompanying beat which powered through speakers and managed to get the crowd moving A2 seemed to get more comfortable.

As A2’s set progressed his set allowed him to showcase his ability to rap closely to the original beat that his music sits upon but it also allowed him to show his ability at keeping the crowd engaged through not only his energy, which although at times felt minimal still did what it needed, but also the vast array in tempos that his songs have, allowing for slower moments but also more upbeat moments as well. A2, powered through his extremely short set, which displayed his ability at keeping his flow in time with these fast or slow tempos. As he reached toward the end of his set it was clear the crowd were far more engaged with him then they had been st the beginning which was almost apparent in how much more A2 gave the more the crowd had been won over. A2’s final track was by far the highlight of his set as it gave a different flare that hadn’t yet been present at this point in his set. Overall A2’s performance was solid and opened up the evening well, however due to its short run time it feels like A2 almost held back in comparison to what may be present in his full set (6/10)

Following what almost seemed to be an abrupt end to A2’s set, two DJ’s took the stage to fill in the big gap left between sets, unfortunately the 90’s classics, grime classics and other well known anthems seemed to make A2’s set disappear in to the ether, which truly was a shame.

After a huge crowd reaction Stormzy took to the stage, beginning things with First Things First. This opener alone showed just what was in store for the rest of the night, with not a single person not being involved with Stormzy yelling back as he held himself confidently on stage not missing a chance to showcase just what has blown him up during the past few years.  Cold, followed quickly after which truly brought the room alive. Following this track, which had been packed to the brim with high octane energy Stormzy took a moment to address the crowd, talking about how we are all here for a good night, so no one should be ruining someone else’s evening.

Stormzy then showed his ability to control the crowd getting everyone ready for the vast array of dynamics the rest of his set would encompass from the big hits such as One Take Freestyle which showed the crowd come alive to slower cuts of his debut album like Velvet/Jenny Francis (Interlude) . Similarly to how the album commands Mr. Skeng made his way through to the speakers making the room come alive like many other times during the evening, a track which yet again showed how effortlessly Stormzy can rap upon the beat, almost moment for moment like it had been on Gang Signs and Prayer. This similarly to many moments during his set Stormzy showed his almost flawless merging with the recorded beat. After this vast array in dynamics tracks like Cigarettes and Kush, Return of The Rucksack  and Blinded By Your Grace pt.1 graced the crowd however, it was in these moments where it felt that the hype surrounding these tracks and Stormzy’s live shows felt lost as the energy wasn’t as consistent as it first seemed.
As Stormzy’s set continued, it was clear that his live performance was mainly pushed by his energy and his vocal and rapping ability, alongside this the synergy between him and his DJ seemed perfect with every moment seeming perfectly rehearsed and well coordinated. Stormzy then quickly pushed through a surprising rendition of Shape Of You, 100 Bags, 21 Gun Salute and Know Me From it was evident through all of these moments why Stormzy has blown up in such an exceptional way. Finally as Stormzy started to bring his set to a close the crowd finally picked up the energy from a small lull that had been evident a few moments, with Shut Up being the driving force behind this energy increase. Big For Your Boots and Blinded By Your Grace Pt.2 the came along to perfectly ending his set and the night which had been full of musical dynamics and explosive energy. (9/10)

 

The Royal – Seven – REVIEW

Dutch Metal outfit The Royal have been making waves ever since their 2012 single Blind Eye. Currently on tour in Europe the band are continuing to make splashes through live performances. Alongside this current tour the band recently released their new record Seven, for a band with such a good driving force behind them after supporting the likes of Architects this album promises to be a big accelerator for the band. Without further ado let’s break down The Royal’s Seven. 

Opening up Seven is Thunder which if you mind the pun is thunderous, with a wall of guitars bringing in this opening track and album there is a great sense of what is to come from the Dutch outfit. Overall Thunder is a well presented opening track which allows Seven to open with a lot of promise, through not only the instrumentation but also well crafted vocals the track does what it needs to, although there is variety in pacing this opener allows the band to show off a little as The Royal’s album begins.

Coming next is a duo of tracks the first of which is Feeding Wolves, this track despite it’s opening soon comes crashing in to a full frontal attack of guitars and drums which occasionally feel deafening with their composition, alongside this despite the softer opening, which is lacking from any other part of this song, the riffs and instrumentation starts to feel extremely laboured as the track reached its 5 minute run time. Paired with this track is Wildmind which has this shifting tempo and instrumentation that felt missing from the first two songs. With this slight change in instrumentation and pacing the track somewhat shows the potential the rest of this record has.

After this quick duo of tracks there comes a trio of tracks which continue along this line of high octane instrumentation that the band display true prowess in. The first of this trio is Creeds and The Vultures which shows a bit more diversity in their clear ability to play, as it is in this track that The Royal that there is more emphesis on the levels and diversity the band can bring in to a singular track and with Sem Pisharahu’s vocals laying on top of that the band re-affirm their ability to create a cohesive track.

The second part of this trio is Counterculture which has an opening which is somewhat misleading, with this piano introduction it seems to be this moment of complete dynamic change which could have been an interesting change at this point on the album but that is soon revoked as the piano medley is replicated by the wall of guitars that come crashing in. Despite this Counterculture is the strongest cut off this album as in comparison to the rest of the track listing this is the one track that carries on far past it’s run time and with it’s vocal performance and instrumentation it is a track that can be spun time and time again.

The final part of this trio few tracks is simply titled Interlude and it is where The Royal seem to calm down, allow for a break from the wall of sound that has been present so far on this record, the only thing missing from this track is some clean vocals or spoken word which could have solidified Interlude as the strongest track on this record simply due to its dynamic change.

Following on from this short break is the the album’s title track Seven, a song which seems to bring the band back in to full swing as this yet again is a strong contender for the best cut off of this record with what is a extremely well orchestrated track in terms of not only vocal performance but also instrumentation. Accompanying this track are the songs Life Breaker and Thalassa which unfortunately bring nothing new to the table with the former being the weakest cut off this album. Despite both having strong instrumentation and still displaying the bands capability to create a cohesive track, Life Breaker just seems to be missing something to warrant more than a spin or two.

The penultimate track on this record by The Royal is Draining Veins which manages to get the ball rolling again, with the interesting and well orchestrated instrumentation the band show their ability to get things moving again with an impressive number, especially after what had been a dull note through Life Breaker and Thalassa. The main highlight from Draining Veins is its orchestration as with the way in to which is picks up the pace before subtly moving it back down again the song has this almost circular effect, which is a great addition as the album starts to come to it’s close.

Rounding off Seven is the final cut of this record Viridian. With the somewhat understated instrumentation the song comes in gently and slowly finds it’s footing as the track builds up to it’s climaxed point, which at this point the ranging dynamics are great and something that could have been done before this point. However, once this track kicks in The Royal show all the have, with slick riffs and powerful drums which help carry the track at a blistering pace the band show their music prowess yet again. Overall this track is a powerful closer which is allows the band to close off this album despite the brief moment where the band changed pace again but soon reverted back to the crashing wall of guitars and drums which have featured heavily on this record.

Overall Seven by The Royal showcases the band doing what they do best, with this metal, groove and melody mix the band are creating something that is very cohesive with many highlights. However, although this album is strong in all aspects of instrumentation and vocals it does lack this variety in dynamics which would be a great addition and would propel this album further, as the wall of guitars does at times becomes labouring to listen to. Despite this, if you are a fan of Metal, then The Royal’s album Seven is definitely not something to skip. [6.5/10]

 

 

Northlane – Mesmer – REVIEW

Recently the Metalcore outfit Northlane dropped their surprise new album Mesmer, something that came out of the blue for many fans. This album comes two years after their well received Node, this new album from the Australian Metalcore outfit promised to be a great listen ever since the first since Intuition dropped in January which came with the announcement of the new album. Although this gave many two months two prepare for what the band would eventually drop, the fact they had been working on new material was a surprise to many. But without further ado let’s break down Northlane’s new record Mesmer.

Opening up Nortlane’s new full length is the track Citizen, which almost feels like the perfect opening for this album. As not only does it encompass so many dynamics which this album ventures in to but it also is a very well constructed track with well orchestrated instrumentation and vocals which allow for some hauntingly beautiful moments as the track plays through it’s run time. Though the constant shifting between soft and heavy instrumentation occasionally feels abrupt on a second listen there is a clear sense of simple transition which allows for this dynamic shift which truly brings an extra layer to the track. Citizen definitely does what it needs to, opens up this album well giving a strong impression for what else lays on this track listing.

Following this opener is a duo of tracks, with the first of these being Colourwave, this track with it’s more spacey opening instrumentation sees Northlane bring something else new to the table allowing for the quick drop in to their more heavy instrumentation to carry weight. This is something that Northlane does do well on this album, as time and again there are little flaws or issues that can be found with this heavy instrumentation and well presented screamed vocal lines. This more spacey undertone runs throughout the track Colourwave and does bring in a new element to the track then what there was preceding it. The second part of this duo is Savage which although is still a very well constructed track with highlights mainly being in the form of the vocals and guitars on this track there does feel to be something missing, something fundamental that would push this track that bit further.

Coming next off of Mesmer is Solar, which is possibly the strongest cut off of this record due to how interesting it’s composition is. Not only does it present the band in a different light to what is on the rest of this record, it is different to everything else on this record with it’s lack or less frequent heavy instrumentation, it almost allows for some form of exploration from the band, which allows for what Solar is in which it doesn’t seem to fit the normal Metalcore mold which many of the tracks on this record do. Overall this track is interesting and a great listen not only in terms of instrumentation but also in terms of vocal presentation.

Heartmachine and Mesmer’s lead single Intuition follow next. The former of the two tracks Heratmachine is let down by the fact that is the first time where things, for the lack of a better term, become a little samey. Despite the instrumentation being strong and Marcus Bridges’ vocals being a driving force in this track there is something about it that feels lack luster. The latter of these tracks, Intuition, is where things pick up again as the spacey vocals truly echo in the mind for long after the track has finished. With Bridges’ yet again impressive vocal delivery the track brings the album back in to full swing.

Zero-One follows on from this quick succession of tracks and although brings with it this more electronic undertone that hasn’t yet been heard on this album makes it feel a little cluttered. Despite this however, Zero-One brings in one of the best instrumentation on the entire album and truly solidifies the fact that Norhtlane know exactly what they are doing when it comes to constructing their music. Following directly on from this is Fade another track whihc comes with this wall of sound that is very constructed and orchestrated, which is similar to that of Solar as it attempts to explore an avenue which at this moment is left undiscovered on Mesmer.

Coming in next is Render which is where yet again the album starts to feel ‘samey’ as the instrumentation and vocal delivery feels almost as if it could be pulled off of any of this track listing which presents a similar sound. Despite a far more concentrated focus on the screamed vocals, this song seems to be the weakest cut off of the album and almost tarnishes what has been an overall strong album up unto this point, even with this tracks individual highlights.

As this album starts to come to it’s close we find Veridian, which although doesn’t break the mold similarly to many of the tracks on this album it is an enjoyable listen even if it is mainly down to the tight orchestration Northlane presents through the tracks instrumentation and vocals. Finally, closing off this new album from Northlane is Paragon, which comes with this slow introduction of electronic sampling,  although they have done once or twice before on this album it brings with it a new sensation as the track drops in to this deafening wall of sound. This track however feels like a great closer as with it’s focus on the heavier instrumentation there is almost a cliche sense of giving it all you’ve got. Overall Paragon is a very well presented tack and with it’s subtle clean vocals the track does a great job of rounding off Mesmer.

Overall Mesmer is a good album and for any Metalcore fan it is an album that will be a strong contender for AOTY come December, however despite Northlane presenting an album with some very powerful and well constructed tracks they aren’t breaking the mold which although isn’t an issue may see the album fall through the cracks in a year to come or even by the end of the year depending on what else is released. Yet Mesmer by Northlane does warrant quite a few listens due to the many highlights it does have in terms of instrumentation and vocals.

 

Blink-182 Announce California Deluxe

California was the comeback album for blink-182, which came along with Matt Skiba being in the band. After a great reception from fans and new listeners alike. blink-182 are back with a deluxe version of California, which is looking effectively like a double album. Alongside all the tracks which could be found upon California, blink-182 are releasing a further 11 songs, one of which is single Parking Lot. The Deluxe Edition of California is pipped for release on the 19th of May. Check out blink-182’s new track Parking Lot below and Pre-Order HERE.

 

Steel Panther Unveil New Song and Video

Internationally renowned Glam Rock giants Steel Panther are set to release their new studio album Lower The Bar at the end of the month. However, before it is release the band have now dropped a new track and accompanying video for a cut straight off of this upcoming release. Steel Panther’s upcoming release can be found for Pre-Order through their site with many different bundles for the general listener or die hard fan can get their hands on. I Got What You Want is Steel Panther’s new single and it’s video can be seen below. For those who can’t wait to see the Glam Rock giants live, Steel Panther will be at Download this year.

 

Tigress Release New Video

Tigress are getting ready to head out on the road with Counterfeit this April but their new EP Like It Is will be released soon after this upcoming tour. This new and highly anticipated EP is available for Pre-Order now, if you do pre-order this EP their new single Give Me a Chance comes with your purchase. This new single has been released with an accompanying video. Tigress’ vocalist, Katy Jackson, speaks about he video and single saying ‘We had a lot of fun writing this song and directing the music video. We took full control and let our creativity flow. We couldn’t be happier’

You can check out the video below, along with a link to where you can pre-order Tigress’ new EP.

Itunes – PRE-ORDER