James Leese

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

The Raven Age – Darkness Will Rise – REVIEW

The Raven Age have been dubbed in many magazines as Britain’s next big metal band and after their recent tour with Anthrax it is truly shaping up to be that this statement is true. Now after releasing their debut album Darkness Will Rise it is showing more than now that this band are gaining traction in such a beloved genre, by those who follow Metal music closely. The album in the words of Guitarist George Harris will cover many different instrumental dynamics that themselves love as Metal fans. Without further ado lets break down this Debut Album.

Kicking off the album is the albums title track Darkness Will Rise, which although acts as more of an instrumental does introduce the album well especially with its immediate follow up track Promised Land. When this opener first comes in the soft strings bring you in gently as it is very juxtaposing to what you may think you are going to get at first, but as the track continues on the band comes in to their own as they show their musical prowess and well constructed instrumental composition. Following what feels more as the first half of this album’s opener is Promised Land which is punchy in the right way. With a introduction to this track which feels slightly cliche for a Metal band it soon makes up for it with Michael Burrough’s vocal performance. Although the vocals feel slightly slugish on the verses of this track there is no doubting the power in Michael’s voice from start to finish on this track. Both of these songs combine in to an amazing opening for this album

Coming next on this debut is a set of three songs. The first of these is what sits as the title track, Age Of The Raven. The song is mainly driven by the drums and bass that in a sense carry the song, similarly to many of the songs on the album. However yet again with the well choreographed guitars and well presented vocal melodies. Overall this track continues on a great set of well constructed songs that excels instrumentally. Following this is The Death March which after a brief fade in simply comes crashing in, and despite being a well constructed song with each part accompanying the other excellently it does feel a little long for a song which doesn’t bring anything new to the table except for a well presented and constructed solo.

The final part of this trio is Salem’s Fate, which starts of slower which is a welcome change at this point on the album, and although it sticks at this slower pace it is somewhat let down by the introduction of the more riff centric make up the album has had thus far. Although there is nothing exactly wrong with this continuation of blasting drums and blaring guitars, this cut could have stuck at a much slower pace giving a nice break from the overly brisk pace the album has been going through at this point.

The Merciful One comes next on this album and yet again shows how well the band work together in creating a track which encompasses a cohesive sound. This is by the greatest cut off the album with a very upbeat track which you can’t help but move along to, the only downside with this track is that it is followed up by Eye Among The Blind. This unfortunately is the weakest cut off the album. The main reason for this is, is because despite the interesting drum patterns everything else on the track feels lack luster, even the vocals which up until this point have been a big highlight of this album.

Another trio of tracks follows on from Eye Among The Blind. Starting with Winds of Change, which is one of the most interesting songs on the album with it’s very slow opening which slowly builds up to this crescendo which allows the band to somewhat explore more. Due to this slow build there is a clear sense of musical knowledge and even when the track kicks in to full swing the overall composition makes this a strong contender for the best track on this release. Following on from the interesting Winds of Change is Trapped Within The Shadows  which doesn’t bring anything new to the table similarly to alot of this album.

The final part of this second trio is My Revenge, which yet again excels in terms of vocal presentation but amplify’s the point that none of these tracks truly bring anything new to the album. Almost as if you could pluck any track from this record and despite subtle differences it could be any of the track listing. However, My Revenge does bring along a extremely catchy chorus which shows a different side to Michael Burrough’s vocals

As The Raven Age’s debut album start to draw to a close, the band explore something tat up until this point is untocuhed and this is a somewhat acoustic feeling opening to a track which explodes brilliantly in it’s latter half. The Dying Embers Of Life is a near perfect track with it’s dynamic differences. Accompanying this is Angels in Disgrace which is a full throttle penultimate track.

Closing this debut is Behind The Mask, which with an 8 minute run time which at firs appearances seems daunting but after a very powerful opening half soon drops in to a calmer calmer section which brings a nice and deserved break from the walls of sound that sit throughout most of this debuts track listing. Yet, the song then does pick up again hammering out the ending of this track and the album like it’s life depended on it, however it could have perfectly ended 2 minutes before it does which somewhat weakens this closer despite all of its positives.

Coming to the end of Darkness Will Rise a few things clearly stick in the mind. Firstly, The Raven Age have the potential and most likely will go far in terms of the metal genre. However these songs for the most part are far too long. Although the length allows for more representation of their musical ability the lengths sometimes feel labored and excessive. Alongside this despite some dynamic changes on the album it sticks mainly to this full band and occassionaly deafening wall of sound, even when it feels like the album is taking a swift change ti soon swings back and almost draws away from the change of pace that there had been. However, this isn’t to say that this album isn’t good as it is and any Metal fan will see just how good The Raven Age are bound to become in a year or two

2far2jump – First Attempts At Everything – REVIEW

Hailing from Surrey Pop-Punk trio 2far2jump have been making waves in the UK Pop-Punk scene which is now, at least in some eyes, over saturated with Pop-Punk bands popping up left, right and center. 2far2jump dropped their debut EP on the 5th of May and after releasing the EP’s debut single Deepdene it was set to be a great release. However, let’s breakdown 2far2jump’s Debut EP First Attempt At Everything.

Opening up this EP is Set Your Goals, which after a short but powerful riff the song kicks in too full swing with the vocals which are effortlessly placed over by Alistair Hynes. However, this is where one issue lies although it is something that adds charm to 2far2jump their is a sense that Alistair’s vocals switch from a British to American sense depending on his vocal notes, but as aforementioned it is in this where charm is brought to the song. Overall this opener does exactly what it needs to, brilliantly opens up what is set to be an energetic EP. Through the tight instrumentation and well orchestrated song structure, it is clear the trio understands their genre perfectly.

Coming next on this EP is a volley of tracks starting with single Deepdene, which is the strongest track on this release with great instrumentation the song throws them in the depths of Pop-Punk and shows their ability to go far in this overly-competitive genre. The drums are truly the highlight on this track as they bring the power in to this track and they help carry the song along for its full run time. With this also being the single from the EP it showed how much potential this EP has and with Hynes’ vocals it does leave a lasting impression.

The second half of this volley of tracks is Static, which is a juxtaposing track in it’s tone, being a far softer track in its make up. With the more ethereal vocals, bolstered with a decent amount of delay in a good portion of the song, it shows the variety the band has, alongside the more complex guitar parts that exist in the instrumentation of this track.

Following on from this is A Place To Run which starts off with this more electronic instrumentation that starts off the song well. With this electronic instrumentation mixing in with the full band instrumentation it shows 2far2jump representing yet another side to themselves. Again like with many tracks on this EP it is the vocals of Hynes that brings an extra layer to the track and warrant it to be spun a few more times. This is a close contender for the strongest track on the EP with the tight instrumentation which is present on the track.

The penultimate track on this EP is Think For The New Days which has a feel good opening, that in one sense is a generic riff that could be found in different tunings across many different genres and artists. However, the continuation of this riff and the occasional musical delays on the riff bring something unexpected to the track with the way in to which it then drops in to the chorus and bridge. This unfortunately at the same time is the weakest track on the EP due to this generic feel that comes through at the same time whilst the track powers through to its end runtime.

Rounding off 2far2jump’s debut EP is A Winner In A Loser’s Eyes, which is the slowest cut on this EP. Although it is something that can be found on every Pop-Punk album or EP it is executed perfectly with Hynes’ voice complimenting the guitar parts and the harmonies laying on top of one another with finesse. Overall this track ties the EP to a well rounded and deserved close with ease. Through the simple yet effective instrumentation and well orchestrated song the band proved their potential yet again like many times on this EP.

Overall this EP, does what it needs to do, it represents the band in the best possible light. Although 2far2jump aren’t breaking any new ground on this EP they are showing potential to be a band who could make it far in an over saturated Pop-Punk market. With the tight instrumentation and well presented vocals 2far2jump are showing their knowledge of the genre and thei ability to work inside it. Whether or not they will be able to make a name for themselves in a genre which is so competetitive is yet to be determined but First Attempts At Everything has the foundations in which 2far2jump can build from.

William Control – The Black EP – REVIEW

William Control had announced his four part album in the later half of last year and after dropping the first part in October of 2016, many were looking forward to what the rest of Revelations may offer. Following this on the 17th of February William Control dropped the second part of this album The Black EP. After having The Pale EP top the Billboard Dance and Electronic charts there is a lot of hope for this next installment. Without further a do let’s break down The Black EP.

Opening up William Control’s latest installment to Revelations is Analog Flesh in A Digital World. As openers go it is a strong start to the second installment of what will eventually be a feature length album. As the track starts the first clear thing is the strength of the instrumentation and the electronic backdrop that powers the track along. Soon after the vocals of William Control come in to play the song shows the potential this EP has especially with the cohesiveness that both parts of this song have. One of the only downsides of this track is that it’s musical instrumentation becomes a little repetitive towards the tail end of the track, and although having an instinctive bop does become a little stale. But all in all is an a powerful opener.

Following on from this opener is All I Need which yet again shows this clever and well orchestrated instrumentation that lasts throughout the majority of the EP. Yet again William’s vocals are a highlight on the track, however the main thing that stays vividly in the mind post this tracks run time is the samples drum patterns that help carry the song along. However this song does feel lackluster in comparison to that which comes before it. Yet that doesn’t mean the track doesn’t carry some power on it’s own.

After hitting the half way point on this EP we find Knife Play. This song is unfortunately the weakest on the release however that isn’t exactly a negative thing as it is in this track that the influences of Depeche Mode truly come in fruition and William Control sort of hit a stride which is a shame considering there is only one track left on this EP. Despite this being where the influence truly come in to view and where some form of stride is hit, the track feels like it is missing some vital parts the would warrant more than two listens.

Finally rounding off The Black EP is Velvet Rose, and this is truly an interesting closer as it is a huge change pace in comparison to the rest of the EP. One of the first things that is noticeable on this track is the instrumentation and the soft piano that runs throughout, it in this that the track finds it’s subtlety but also it’s beauty as it needs no more and no less. This undoubtedly is the best track on this release and is a perfect closer.

Overall, Wlliam Control’s new release The Black EP wouldn’t feel out of place again on the Billboard’s Electronic and Dance top ten, however at the same time it is easy to see why for at least some this EP may not hit all the right spots. However, with the well constructed vocal melodies and interesting instrumental arrangements this album does have many highlights even though it is only four tracks long. [7/10]