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James Maddern

Nick johnston

Nick Johnston – Remarkably Human

Opening track Ignore Alien Orders gives a full flavour of the album to follow: a progressive piece that builds from piano to a giant crescendo and calming down once more. A slightly creepy vocal sample plays throughout the opening that gives a sense of unease to the piece to start with, but the major key following feels reassuring and warm. The building further with the piano and percussive sounds with a lead guitar is reminiscent of the full mastery Johnston has, and a real tribute to his talents. The track would fit seamlessly into a sci-fi film soundtrack with its opening and closing running towards that kind of feel.

Throughout the album, there is a blend of a huge range of influences. Elements of hard rock creep in with the title track with the shredding and sweeping sections on the lead with crashing drums, blues rock on Impossible Things with its moody guitar riffs and more complex, cymbal/tom-driven drums. Poison Touch brings a neat funky style that is not as strong on other tracks, and the jazz-influenced riff and piano are key to this. Elsewhere, aspects of gypsy and pure prog rock are evident in every little touch of all instrument from the muted upstrokes of the guitar to plinky-sounding fingerstyle of the chording. Mostly this gives way to Johnston’s fantastic solos of the centre of the piece.

The album is mixed to near-perfection also. In the centre sits the lead guitar that gives the melody that would be given by the voice in a piece with vocals. The drums are directionally set to give a fully surrounding and immersive sound with the main groove in the centre and the toms and cymbals surrounding the spectrum. The piano even moves about in the mix on occasion, which weaves through the many layers of complex instrumentation seamlessly.

The standout track has to be the epic Hypergiant which stands at a solid 7:32. The track features some of the more complex, rock-focussed lead guitar parts that really show off Johnston’s abilities in this department, and the piano chording works well. The drums are heavy and simple, which allow a beat to be kept while not interfering with the supremacy of the guitar.

Overall then, Nick Johnston has put together a very good album. Spanning a range of genres with a mass of infusion, the work must surely be counted as one of the best prog albums of the last year for its sheer musicianship and capability on display. Not just guitars but piano, bass, drums, synthesisers and samples are used to create an auditory sensation like few vocal albums can, and the album really is a treat.

Stream the whole album below:

halfnoise

Halfnoise release new video for ‘Sudden Feeling’

Ex-Paramore drummer Zac Farro’s solo project Halfnoise has released the new video for the song Sudden Feeling. The video was directed by Sam Kristofski and filmed entirely on 16mm film.

Farro said: “Sam and I have been friends for a bit and had talked about making a clip for one of these songs and it all just happened… Sam had some ideas and also had access to some beautiful film stock so we just let him do his thing! Film is so important to us in the way that vinyl is important to us as well…Aesthetically its important but also its true to the medium and solid. You can’t fake it on film. It is what it is. There is something really exciting about that! Enjoy.”

Halfnoise is also on tour at the following dates:

11th January Deaf Institute, Manchester TICKETS
12th January Joiners, Southampton
13th January- The Lexington, London TICKETS
Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon & Bossy Love/The Line Of Best Fit’s 10 Year party. SOLD OUT
14th January Headrow House, Leeds TICKETS
16th January O2 Academy 3, Birmingham TICKETS
17th January King Tuts, Glasgow TICKETS
19th January The Camden Assembly, London TICKETS

See the video below:

butserfest roam

ROAM release ‘Leaving Notice’ video, on tour in 2017

Eastbourne’s resident pop punkers ROAM have released another music video, this time for Leaving Notice. The track is taken from their debut full-length Backbone which was released earlier this year. See the video at the bottom of the page.

They were also announced recently for the Lower Than Atlantis UK Tour (with Young Guns & Hands Like Houses), the dates of which are:
9 March – UEA, Norwich
10 March – O2 Academy, Birmingham
11 March – Academy, Manchester
13 March – O2 Academy, Leeds
14 March – O2 Academy, Newcastle
15 March – O2 ABC, Glasgow
17 March – O2 Academy Brixton, London
18 March – The Great Hall, Cardiff

Decade

Decade release video for new single ‘Peach Milk’

British alternative rockers Decade have unveiled a brand new video for their track Peach Milk. The song is the second single to be taken from their forthcoming second album Pleasantries which is due out on 24th February on Rude Records.

Decade said: “For the Peach Milk video we wanted to try our hand at creating something as cinematic as possible with a budget of approximately £0, using only the tools at our disposal. Towards the end of Summer 2016 we drove to the west coast of England with Jess Greaves (videographer) and repeatedly burned Alex’s face and torso with the sheer and brute power of English sand (mud). 

The concept for the video stems from the chorus lyric ‘Drag me to the sea’. We wanted to present the theme literally but instil doubt as to whether anyone actually was dragging Alex into the tide against his will, or rather that he’s almost schizophrenically attempting to drown himself. Cheerful for sure. The question we attempted to ask, albeit in a metaphorically artsy way; are we unwillingly consumed by emotions and people, or do we wade in voluntarily? How can we tell the difference? The video resolves with the clarity of liberation (as you do). Ultimately with this visual accompaniment to the song we just wanted to see what was possible with our own bare hands. We think what we managed to create, taking into account our inexperience with film, turned out pretty cool.

See the video below:

Young Legionnaire

Young Legionnaire (inc. ex-Bloc Party) reveal UK tour dates

Featuring former Yourcodenameis:Milo frontman Paul Mullen and ex-Bloc Party bassist Gordon Moakes, Young Legionnaire are scheduled to set foot in the UK next year.

Moakes said “This will be our longest UK tour, or any kind of tour, for about five years. A Young Legionnaire tour is like a bus: you wait years for one to come along, and then one comes along. Not three. Anyway, it will be considerably louder, more full of riffs and all-round rock goodness than any bus I’ve ever been on.

The dates look as follows:
11/02 – Huddersfield, Parish
12/02 – York, Fibbers
13/02 – Glasgow, Broadcast
14/02 – Manchester, Deaf Institute
15/02 – London, Boston Music Room
17/02 – Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms
18/02 – Aldershot, West End Centre
A sample of their second album Zero Worship is Candidate, which you can hear below:

Hexvessel

Hexvessel release concert film, tour in 2017

Self-proclaimed ‘psychadelic forest rock’ band Hexvessel have released a short concert film following their appearance Menuo Juodaragis festival this year, which you can see at the bottom of the page.

The band comments: “Our idea was to try to capture a sense of the transcendental nature of one of our live shows, when you set our music to the backdrop of the forest at an event that has great meaning for us spiritually. There are a few events that have enabled this perfect conjuration of what Hexvessel means to happen. Menuo Juodaragis is one of those such magic events. A pagan festival held deep in the wilds of Lithuania on a beautifully lush island surrounded by forests, It is an event which celebrates our culture and heritage and it is utterly unique in Europe. We were so proud to go there and play the main stage and in our own way offer a sacrifice of sound to the great transformation that was taking place within people at the festival. It’s a place where you can feel the ancients breath, you can sense a great unity of spirit and mind and it’s a very warm and inclusive, familiar atmosphere. We were delighted to feel bound and compelled together with people from all parts of the world who had travelled there to get some sense of an old and almost forgotten religion. When you are there, really brought out of yourself and back into your more primitive awareness, you know that the old religion still exists only waiting to be pulled out again from the earth, the ash and the roots of age-old trees. Here you know the real meaning of what it was to truly know the earth and the universe. It was a beautiful and life-changing event that we are very happy to have this visual and resonant memento of.”

Hexvessel are on tour with Death Hawks and Kairon Irse in Finland next year, check out the full list of dates below:
02.02 45 Special, Oulu
03.02 Bar 15, Seinäjoki
04.02 Tanssisali Lutakko, Jyväskylä
09.02 Tavastia-klubi, Helsinki
10.02  Suistoklubi, Hämeenlinna
11.02 Olympia-kortteli, Tampere
17.02 Ravintola Torvi, Lahti
18.02 Dynamo, Turku
24.02 Ravintola Kerubi, Joensuu
25.02 Bar Downtown Kouvola, Kouvola

Great Cynics

Great Cynics announce album, release single

London four-piece Great Cynics have announced a new album and have released a single. The record will be called POSI and will be released on March 24th via Specialist Subject Records.

Their debut of the single, titled Only In Memories was by no means conventional though – they played it no less than 50 times back to back on a Facebook Live video. A look-in at their style before even listening, perhaps?

See the video for the Only In Memories below:

creeper hiding

Creeper release ‘Hiding With Boys’ video

Southampton horror punks Creeper have released the video for their new single Hiding With Boys.

The track debuted on the Radio 1 Rock Show last night ahead of its full release at midnight on all platforms. It takes the fourth slot (directly after previous single Suzanne in the third slot) on their upcoming album Eternity, In Your Arms which is due out March 24th on Roadrunner.

hiding suzanne eternity creeper

 

 

 

 

 

 

The band are also on tour:
March
25th – Manchester, Academy 2
26th – Glasgow, The Garage
28th – Leeds, Stylus
30th – London, Electric Ballroom
31st – Southampton, The 1885
April
1st – Birmingham, Institute 2

Killswitch Engage Joel

Interview: Joel Stroetzel (Killswitch Engage), Brixton 10/12/16

On the last date of the Bullet For My Valentine tour, we caught up with Killswitch Engage guitarist Joel Stroetzel to talk about music, food and products of capitalism…

How do you think hard rock music has changed in the 17 years Killswitch has been going?

I think a lot of what used to be totally separate genres of music have kinda pulled together a little bit. Death metal and hardcore and punk and rock, you hear a lot of those elements all from the same band nowadays more than ever before. Heavy music is just more accepted than it was, you hear stuff on the radio with double bass drum and screaming – stuff you wouldn’t hear fifteen or twenty years ago.

What do you eat on tour?

On this tour there’s been catering ever night so it’s whatever. Some nights a roast, other nights soup and salad, whatever they have! Only on this tour though… A lot of the time we go to McDonalds and stuff [laughs]. Most of us like burgers and steaks and things like that, pizza is always a good go-to. Who doesn’t like pizza?

How do you feel Killswitch has adapted to fit each of your personal needs?

Between band members and crew members, we’ve had the same people around us for years and years. I think we just surround ourselves with friends really. Hanging out, eating together, drinking together. Just being around those you get along with is the biggest thing. I can’t imagine going out and being in a band where nobody hangs out. I think everybody would go crazy [laughs]. I guess it could work for some people but I personally wouldn’t be happy with that situation. I don’t think any of our guys would. If we couldn’t hang out together, listen to music and drink beers I don’t think any of us would do it.

How does the writing process work for Killswitch?

It’s changed a little bit over the past few years because Justin [Foley, drums] has moved down south to Florida, Adam [Dutkiewicz, guitar] is on the West Coast and me, Mike and Jesse are still up in New York/New England area on the East Coast. We tend to write a lot more on our own, like doing demos and sending them to each other. We don’t really stand in a room together and bang out riffs like we used to. We just don’t have the luxury anymore. We still do it to some degree but it’s not as frequent. Everyone will fly in, practise for a week or two straight then go home again to digest what just happened [laughs]. Usually we don’t write on tour either. We may come up with little demos here or there but we don’t try to do anything.

On the next trip over, will you be concentrating on an extensive UK tour or EU dates?

It’s usually a combination, really. If we’re going to come over then just from a cost perspective it makes sense to just do both. I think the last UK tour we did was with Trivium almost two years ago and we didn’t take that to mainland Europe so next time we’ll probably do both, maybe in two legs. Spend a couple of weeks in the UK, spend a couple in Europe. Germany is a good spot for us too, so we’ll definitely hit there when we come back. London is always great though, and honestly the UK has been really good to us since the beginning. Birmingham’s fun, people get rowdy there. What do you call it, the “Midlands”? [laughs] I think people like their metal there.

How does the reaction you get in the UK compare to that in the US?

People were initially a lot more accepting of us here, actually. It took many rounds around the States for people to start noticing. The first time we came here, the shows were really fun and people were excited. I think people in the UK are just really enthusiastic about music which is cool. It’s probably a combination of us getting bigger before we came over as well as the attitudes though. When a lot of bands tour the States, a lot of people don’t go the extra mile. An American band coming to the UK isn’t something that necessarily happens as often. Bands from the States play the States so much that people don’t really make that much of an effort to go out all the time. Here, it’s more like “oh, I may not see these guys for a year or two!” That’s a problem with the States too – the circuit in the states has got over-saturated when bands do three or even four tours a year so it’s more like “oh I just saw them” or “they’ll be back soon”. There’s more of an impact when you space things out.

What do you think about the subject of ticket reselling for profit?

I get people reselling when they can’t go, like the whole StubHub thing. If you buy a ticket and can’t go it makes sense to me to be able to sell it to someone else but I don’t agree with buying out tickets and selling them for more after the show sells out. I’ve noticed people outside venues walking around the town buying and selling tickets which is weird – we don’t have that much in the States. It’s kinda a shame that they buy shows out and people get forced to go through these people. I just think it’s unfair.

Where do you see the next move for Killswitch, either in the UK or worldwide?

I’m really psyched we got to do this tour with Bullet. We’ve been here a number of times and getting a chance to get in front of some different people is cool. The festival circuit is great to do too, maybe not every year but every other year. I think the next step for us will be doing another record and coming back to support that. We’ll hopefully be back at some point next year so yeah, before the end of 2017. It just depends. We have a few more things lined up like Australia, touring the States but I think after that the record is the one so we can finish that sooner rather than later. We can’t have a three or four year gap between records, just trying to shorten it a little bit. Makes sense for everybody hopefully!

Thanks to Joel for taking time out to chat with us. See the review of Killswitch Engage‘s set, as well as those of Bullet For My Valentine and Cane Hill here.