Opening up Reckless Intentions‘ Lights is Ghost Town which explodes with pop punk energy. Octave chords and a strong bassline make this track what it is, but the vocal style would have benefitted from taking a leaf from The Story So Far or Boston Manor and adding a load more grit into the vocals which would have fronted the energy of the band much better from the very start of the release. The more emo feel to the vocals leaves the punchy and fairly aggressive instrumentation to fall a bit flat, especially in the most whiny parts. Following this comes single Stitches which feels a lot more like an alt-rock song than the previous attempt on the release. The whiny lack of power in the forced-accent vocals actually works well here, and added harmonies through certain lines adds some depth that remains promising.
L I G H T S is the third track which is an instrumental. It is the best of the first half from its inherent control over the instrumentation which is honestly very good. This is let down a bit again in fourth track Outcast where the forced accent on the vocals is just not working out well, and the tuning has some issues too. Contrasting this fully is the final track Home which is an all-round brilliant song. Instrumentation and vocals gel incredibly well, and the opening demonstrates the true ability of frontman Matty Halliwell’s voice.
The overarching feeling across the tracks is a lack of inspiration really. The obvious exception is Home, where Reckless Intentions come into their own and this is the main area that has legs to go forward into the next release. Not a bad release, but 4 of 5 tracks are fairly generic and could do with something to set them apart whereas Home has a newfound power and emotion that is lacking elsewhere in the EP.
Opening the EP is the rawest-sounding grunge instrumental track of 2017, titled Maureen. The guitar tones from the very start are crunchy and the development of a glazey tone on the lead smooths over the crashing cymbals to make the track settle into the fabric of the EP. Co-frontman Lloyd Carter-Crosby’s vocals on Home come as a good accompaniment to the instrumentation behind him. The grit in his voice brings added depth to the track, and at the 2 minute mark the harsh tones of Alex Went are added to provide a grounding to the lifting melodies. The song also features a guest lead solo from bassist Sam Durham which demonstrates the versatility of the LOVE BUZZ members. Following this is Take Love which begins in a delayed instrumental before the bite begins with Tim Charlwood’s hard-hit drums. The verses are slightly understated before Lloyd’s vocals shine straight through to make a fantastically beefy sound that will be pit-inducing in the live arena.
Fourth track Feed The Sun is a fast-paced track and remains the weakest on the EP, which is definitely saying something. The octave-chord bridge shows off the instrumental prowess of the four-piece in true emo style before breaking into the final track Babygirl which has one of the most fantastic intro riffs and grooves of any track in the genre in the last 20 years. This is clearly shown every time they play it live with the amount of dancing and bouncing about that ensues without fail. Finishing up strong with Alex’s howls as backing, this song is set to be the head on their arrow to success.
Being named after Nirvana‘s first single shows you’re not mucking about and you know your stuff as well as the clear pedigree of influences, and having your debut EP produced by an ex-member of a platinum-selling hardcore punk band backs that up but LOVE BUZZ have come out with a somewhat unpredictably good EP. They sound like they’ve been throwing out tracks into academies for a decade, and this EP could get them seriously noticed on the touring and festival circuits around the UK.
Opening up Blood Youth‘s London Beyond Repair release show came Holding Absence, a band making serious waves in the rock world currently. The band came out with one of the unreleased songs but quickly broke into Permanent, which featured on their picture disc release for Record Store Day this year. The stunning voice work of frontman Lucas Woodland sets Holding Absence out from the crowd, and the soaring chorus of Dream of Me allows for him to show off – a chance he rarely passes up in the moment and tonight was no different. With only two songs released though, the set inevitably didn’t live up to the quality of the performance atmosphere-wise. That being said, a stunning live band who are definitely set for precedental shows as soon as their new material comes. [8/10]
Next up came the consistently-heaviest band on the lineup in the shape of Liverpool’s Loathe. Frontman Kadeem France made his way through the crowd wearing a Slipknot-esque mask and jumped up onto the stage before breaking straight into their barrage of noise. Playing through songs from last year’s Prepare Consume Proceed EP as well as the upcoming full-length The Cold Sun, which was being sold for the first and only time four days before release date on their merch table. Just to finish it all off, Loathe finished up with The Cold Sun single It’s Yours which featured a guest appearance from Lucas again who provided added even more depth to the 3 vocalist setup of the band alone. The atmosphere turned from awe of Holding Absence to mild hysteria with hardcore dancing all over the place, warming up perfectly for the headliners while playing a fantastic set in their own right. [8/10]
The last week has been big for Blood Youth – the trio have released their debut album, played their first acoustic shows ahead of their release shows and had their first major crowd injury (read more about the latter in our interview with Kaya here). None of these seemed to slow them down in the slightest though; opening track Making Waves was a hard-hitter when they played it on September’s Closure UK tour but it had an extra gusto when the mob watching on knew and screamed the words back.
Older favourites 24/7, Mood Swing and Dead Space all made outings for fantastic crowd interaction as the lyrics were thrown back in the band’s faces, and newer tracks Savanna and I Remember allowed for a lot of mindless mosh. Heaviest track Parasite (somewhat surprisingly) resulted in no injuries unlike the performance the night before in Leeds, but gave a refresher to the tiring audience. Closure provided an emotional end to the main body of the set for a quick breather for everyone in the ever-warmer room under the lights before Blood Youth returned for the traditional scrum-style brawl around the mic for Failure. As ever, it proved the cathartic moment of the show as “I am nothing to no-one and I’ve been running for one day too long” was belted out by everyone around into the one mic – a magical moment that never fails to bring some to tears.
Unlike on the September tour, there remained one song after Failure – Beyond Repair‘s lead single Reason To Stay. The combination of melodic chorus and increadibly heavy verses and breakdowns sum up what Blood Youth are all about, and the addition to the setlist made the closing moments all the more powerful. A night to remember by a band you just can’t afford to sleep on. [9/10]
On their trip down to the capital to celebrate the release of their debut album Beyond Repair, we caught up with Blood Youth frontman Kaya Tarsus (and briefly the other two) to talk recording the album, touring with While She Sleeps and dislocated knees…
How are you doing? Kaya: Cool actually thanks, a little tired. Yesterday was really intense because the show got called off… We had three songs left of the set – the three bangers left – and all of a sudden we finish playing a song and there’s just this hysteria at this absolutely ram-packed show. It was nuts. Everyone was looking really worried and crazy, and it turns out that some guy had dislocated his knee which we didn’t know at the time. Everyone was just signalling that he’d broken his leg or something. Our tech came onstage and said to us “let’s just go into the dressing room and let them sort it out” so they put all the house lights on, and [the injured fan] was just getting seen to so we just decided to call it there. It didn’t make sense to say “we’ll play after this is done” – we had to let the paramedics have as much time as they wanted. There was an announcement that the show was over and everyone was really cool about it, they got it. [The injured] was actually in really good spirits about it all, and I gave him a hug getting into the ambulance and apologised. I felt so bad but he was really cool about everything too. I saw him tweet today [Monday] that he’s off to ParkwayDrive later so he’s obviously okay now [laughs].
Back in September you mentioned having parts of the album sorted but it seemed to come together quickly. How did that come about? Kaya: Straight after that tour, we thought we definitely had to finish recording the album in 2016. We had the While She Sleeps tour following Closure tour, but we got in the studio pretty much straight away when we got back. Chris (Pritchard, guitars) and Sam (Hallett, drums) went into the studio and recorded all the music then about two weeks later I recorded all the vocal stuff. I recorded it all with our sound guy Robin who is one of my best mates so it was really cool but pretty intense. Chris was going through some pretty tough times personally and the fact you can hear that emotion, all those sounds we left in there, was really intense for him. Beyond Repair speaks to all of us but for him especially it is a real marker of how he was going through some seriously bad stuff. It was really easy though, really smooth and we just got on with it, then it was released Friday.
How was it doing European dates with While She Sleeps? Kaya: Well, we’ve done some with Architects before, but I think it was our first time out there apart from that.
Sam: Yeah, it was our first trip out there. We didn’t do any “one-offs” because we did [German festival] Destruction Derby around that time.
Kaya: It was. The Sleeps tour was great though, we knew they were going to be great guys because they live really close to us. The first show was in Paris and we went direct there, and they hugged us meeting us for the first time. I used to listen to them literally all the time when I was going to school, on the bus and everything. Loz [Taylor, WSS frontman] asked me to do Crows with him which I did nearly every night, and doing that was just mad. We would just talk and sit with them, it was always that moment where I thought “I really really listened to you guys, I was such a huge fan”. Obviously I didn’t say that but… [laughs]. It was kinda weird in a way. The best show on that tour was in Madrid which was a sold-out show on my birthday. It was the loudest, rowdiest crowd we’d ever played to. We were playing places like Serbia too, and Romania, there were people there that knew the words to our songs. Playing in Serbia, people were singing Closure back to us. We were all looking at each other like “what is this…?”. It was honestly amazing to experience.
How do you think the band has grown then? Kaya: That’s a tough one. I still consider us a baby band even though we’ve been going two years. People are still finding us, plus the album, touring with people like [While She] Sleeps and everything like that. I feel like we get more pro every tour, every single show. We know how to act onstage now, how to talk to people. Every show is a learning process and that means we’re still growing every show.
What was the rationale behind the three release shows as opposed to a Beyond Repair tour? Kaya: We just wanted it to be a bit special. We only did our last UK tour in September so we decided to do three exclusive shows coming down the country. We’ve never been a band who’s toured for the sake of touring, we’ve turned down plenty of tours because our question is “would that help us at this stage?” and any doubts mean we don’t go. Everything is really carefully planned out.
What would you say is the show you’re most looking forward to in 2017? Kaya: Of the ones that are announced, probably Download. It’s quite a “big boy” stage, plus it’s nearly exactly two years on from when we did Download for the first time. We had no songs out then but now we have the three releases with Beyond Repair, so it’ll be good to see what the turnout and reaction will be like. We’re the type of band that don’t bank on anyone turning up and just assume nobody cares!
What’s your album of the year so far? Kaya: I’ve been listening to the new Mastodon one [Emperor of Sand] so maybe that. The Code Orange one is cool as well and honestly Stormzy‘s new album is good. Really, really good. Erm… Yeah, I’ll stick with those three. I can never ever choose just one when people ask me. I really like the new Emmure album as well. Oh, and Beyond Repair.
Have you had any discoveries of other bands or artists to listen to or tour with? Kaya: I’m really really into LANY at the moment. I’ve fallen in love with blink-182 recently, been listening to them a lot. I watched a documentary Tom DeLonge did speaking about how he wrote certain songs driving around California saying “I did this here and this there” and started listening to them thinking “oh these songs are so good”. Nobody really new exactly, just a lot of LANY. Kinda sunshine happy stuff.
Last question: what would be in a Blood Youth cocktail? Kaya: For me, has to be whiskey. Really like whiskey… Diet Coke too, but Chris would have to put Jager in it.
Chris: I want to get on that Black Tooth Grin vibe, the Pantera one. Crown Royal whiskey, Seagrams 7 and Coke.
Kaya: Yeah, that…
Sam: I’d probably go with some gin-based thing. Little dash of Sprite maybe.
Kaya: Basically the grossest drink you will ever have. It would get you pumped up and make you feel pretty good though.
Sam: Ready to make some waves…
Kaya: Yeah it would be called Making Waves.
As always, huge thanks to Blood Youth for taking time out to talk to us yet again. The debut album Beyond Repair is out now on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and physical media.
The first track Anti-Anthem starts as a heavy song with a female-fronted Limp Bizkit feel at times that turns into a completely individual sound as it moves through. Frontwoman Sever combines screams and bubblegum-accented singing to form a bittersweet feel that works fantastically throughout until it is thrown away at around the two minute mark where the song turns into an electro-pop song for a while before reverting then changing to a piano ballad for a few bars and reverting again. The inconsistency leaves the song feeling somewhat empty, far from the advice of “keep on keeping on” that is repeated in Durst-style rap vocals panned far out on both sides in the mix. Not a good start.
Bizarre lyrical choices also strike the album down mid-flow like “if you think someone will save you, save yourself. If you think that time will heal you, heal yourself” which falls a bit flat for an otherwise functional chorus, but they have nothing on this: the introduction to fourth track Passengers sounds like Sumo Cyco been listening to a bit to much Absolution-era Muse (you’ll understand when you hear it, it sounds rather similar to a certain song…). It’s just far too obvious or coincidental to ignore, with an identical tone and everything. It’s not like they just use it as an introduction to anything either – the riff is everywhere through the song, including an electronically-butchered rendition in what structurally seems to be the breakdown.
The songs throughout are instrumentally and vocally sound for the mostpart – the issue is the electronic usage. Vocals with so many effects they sound like they’ve been through a Skrillex mix and out the other side just don’t work in the way the band think they should judging by the fact they’re on the album. Electronic instrumental sounds throughout as well do admittedly add a depth to the sound, but a large portion of the time they play it just ruins the otherwise heavy instruments.
Overall, Sumo Cyco haven’t developed all that much from the debut album back in 2014. Describing Opus Mar without using the words “screamo” or “scene” is difficult with raps and copious quantities of electronics, but the album isn’t bad for what it is. The third track Move Mountains ft. Benji Webbe sums it all up – it would sound better as a soundtrack for a new instalment for the Need For Speed franchise than it does as a serious music release… There are moments of brilliance but they are clouded over by the generally poor use of electronics and very, very strong “influences” that are apparent. Let’s just hope this doesn’t work out to be their magnum Opus!
2013’s Fashionably Late introduced a mass of electronic sounds to Falling In Reverse‘s style which proved to divide the fanbase which turned into more industrial sounds on 2015’s Just Like You. It is evident to see from the title track opening the album that this continues through to Coming Home.
The contrast between overly obnoxious F*** You And All Your Friends and I Hate Everyone is fantastic; the large band sound gives way to an acoustic verse that lets Radke’s voice come to the forefront of the piece once and for all – love it or hate it, this works on the track. The acoustic sound then expands into a whole band piece to become what the previous track was trying to be, and while the effect could have been achieved by just placing the one track on the album it sounds instead like a demo and a final version of the song. Come the halfway point of the sing, out comes a giant solo with a fantastic blues overdrive tone that makes the song work on a level above from the tracks surrounding it. Unsurprisingly, the lyrics leave something to be desired as will always come with a Ronnie Radke album but the irritation he causes only adds to the huge atmosphere being shaped in the album which works incredibly well.
As per usual, this album will be controversial by the fact it has come from the minds of Falling In Reverse but this should be far less polarising than 2015’s Just Like You due to the fact it is far more tastefully self-aware. The cheesiness of Coming Home is also toned down with fewer lines like “sexy girl I just fell in love” and “I am aware that I am an asshole” from Just Like You, instead replacing them with “I feel like a loser” and “everybody thinks you’re a f***ing fool” among others.
Not having Jacky Vincent on lead guitar was also a concern for a lot of people for this album with his unbeatable flair and finesse in his solos and fills, but the addition of Christian Thompson has brought a lot more restraint; where Vincent seemed to absolutely nail solos at any opportunity, Thompson adds them where necessary and leaves space where it is effective. This allows the album’s contrast to play neatly to the style of the songs and work out as a whole.
Overall then, a good album that shows a certain maturity has grown into Falling In Reverse that many believed would never have been gained. Having said this though, the album still features Ronnie Radke’s lyrics which keep the album totally class-less and it will provide a good laugh at points. Halfway between a quality album and a so-bad-it’s-good album, Coming Home is one not to miss this year.
UK hardcore/metal crossover kings Malevolence announced the details of their new album Self Supremacy which is due out on the 19th May, a couple of weeks ago. Since then there’s been a new video, a sell out on pre-orders and an insane amount of anticipation for the album to drop – we had the chance to sit down and talk with drummer Charlie about all of this.
The video for Slave to Satisfaction has been shared loads since you released it, how has it been? “Exciting and a little bit scary to finally release some music after three years or so with a new twist and see what people have to say about it. We were banking on the internet booting off and expected much more hate and negativity to be honest but everyone just seemed to love it. I saw the odd comment saying they hoped the album wasn’t all in that particular style but that’s it”.
What’s your favourite track from Self Supremacy? And what song are you most excited for people to hear? “I like Outnumbered the best personally, but that’s definitely not anyone else’s. Self Supremacy the title track is a game changer however”.
The pre-orders for Self Supremacy went live on BDHW and the most limited variant sold out within half an hour, how does that feel? “It feels great that people still fuck with us. You can never know how it’s going to go after leaving the amount of time that we did without releasing anything but after such anticipation I’d have been disappointed with anything less. We see it as ‘only 100 copies’ but it’s a start. I would have liked to keep one of those to frame for my wall though!”
It’s been three and a half years since Reign of Suffering was released, how excited are you to finally get a new album out and show people how much Malevolence have developed musically? “I don’t know, it’s been so long it’s hard to comprehend now. I spent the first 2 years absolutely gassed for it and now it’s just surreal. The annoying thing is we developed musically ages ago… wrote the whole thing ages ago and then by the time it’s actually recorded and dusted, we’ve all personally moved on and the record is old in our minds”
What can we expect from the new album? “Take all your favourite bits of the last album and multiply it by 3, with more hooks than a curtain rail”.
In Slave to Satisfaction, we see Konan (lead guitarist) has taken on a lot of the vocal duties, is this consistent throughout the album? “There’s more of Konan, but it’s another diverse album. Each song is different”.
What made you go with the guest vocalists that you’ve got on Self Supremacy? “We got Kevin from the Merciless Concept because he has one of the hardest voices we’ve ever heard, his band are absolutely sick and also surprisingly unheard of, therefore our unique guest! (Check them out ASAP) He kindly put us up when we played near his town in the USA and he is one hilarious dude.
Andrew from Comeback Kid’s voice is also outstanding but it gives a great contrast to that of Alex’s, Kon’s and Kevin’s. Those guys took us on our first ‘legit’ euro tour in 2013. They’re one of the kindest, most supportive and fun bands we’ve ever befriended so we are honoured he agreed to feature. We knew he’d come through with something sick but exceeded all expectations”.
Talking about guest vocalists, do you think that some hardcore/beatdown bands have too many on their releases? There’s been a couple of EP’s in the last six months where 4 out of 5 songs have had some featuring on it – do you think it stops the band being able to show their full potential, especially when it’s bigger names featuring?
“No, the more guest vocalists the better! Although that is pretty funny and I know what you’re talking about. If you’re serious about your band, you may not want to fully take the focus away from your actual singer, unless he’s dogshit”.
What would you say has the best guest feature on any album ever? “The old school Nasty albums have some ridiculously hard ones from 6 ft Ditch for example. That time the Oceano singer did MVP live with Despised Icon back in the day is the winner for me though”.
In the past you’ve said that Crowbar have been a massive influence for the band’s sound, who else would you say influences you? “Each member has their own personal ones. I suppose the core influences comes from Hatebreed, Lamb of God, Crowbar and Chimaira but I could just go on forever, then add in every other thing we’ve been into at some point and you have our sound.”
Talking about your sound, do you mix multiple genres into your music on purpose, or does it just happen? “We just make metal that we like then try to make it flow despite throwing in a fucked up mix of genre. So it ‘just happens’ really. John writes a riff and I come up with a beat, then we try and get to the next riff in the sickest way possible. But these days we take a step back and actually look at the structure whereas previously we used to veer off on mindless tangents. Lyrics come second in the process but not in terms of importance”.
Going onto shows and touring, how was the USA tour with Jesus Piece and Kublai Khan last year and what was the craziest thing that happened on it? Mustangs and guns seemed to play a big part.
“Absolutely sick! Very interesting and eye opening to experience things over there as it was also the first time for some members. Quite rough in a way too as the open armed hospitality that the Europeans bombard you with just doesn’t happen over there (bar Texas) – they go hard as fuck in the pit but at the end of the day you’re just some lads in a van to them. The UK is similar in that sense..
Yeah, guns and Mustangs for sure! And maybe the first show in Orlando which was a new level of violence we’d not experienced”.
Last time we spoke with you, the band said their favourite place to play was Sheffield, is this still the same or has it changed? “I suppose it is because it’s still where we draw the biggest crowd somehow, our families come out and we know everyone”.
If you could arrange a tour and have any 4 bands, active or not – who would you pick? “If I had to personally spectate then: Lamb of God, Despised Icon, Dying Fetus, Cold Hard Truth.”
Thanks to Charlie for taking the time out to talk to us, grateful as always!
Malevolence embark on a month-long tour supporting Self Supremacy starting on the 26th May in Glasgow. They’re taking along No Zodiac and Revulsion as support, full dates on the poster below.
You can pick up pre-orders for Self Supremacy on vinyl, CD and with merch packages over at BDHW Records.
Ice Nine Kills have released the third part of their video trilogy, continuing the stories told in 2015’s Communion Of The Cursed and 2016’s Hell In The Hallways videos. The song of the video is called The Nature of the Beast, taken from their latest album Every Trick In The Book.
The video itself pays tribute to Orwell’s Animal Farm.
The band are also on tour in May:
27 May – Birmingham, Slam Dunk Midlands
28 May – Leeds, Slam Dunk North
29 May – Hatfield, Slam Dunk South
31 May – London, The Underworld
USA singer-songwriter Ryan Adams has cancelled upcoming dates he was due to play in the UK to support latest album Prisoner. He has cited a lineup change to his band as the reason for the decision.
The affected dates are:
April 20 – Parr Hall – Warrington
April 21 – Assembly – Leamington Spa
Other dates later in the year remain unaffected:
August 17-20 – Green Man Festival – Brecon Beacons
September 8 – Ulster Hall – Belfast (SOLD OUT)
September 14 – Apollo – Manchester (SOLD OUT)
September 15 – Usher Hall – Edinburgh (SOLD OUT)
September 17 – Sage 1 – Gateshead
September 18 – O2 Academy – Leeds (SOLD OUT)
September 19 – O2 Academy – Bournemouth
September 21 – Corn Exchange – Cambridge
September 22 – Royal Albert Hall – London (SOLD OUT)
Canadian melodic prog quartet Slyde have released a new video for their song Divide, which comes from the Back Again EP released back in February. The EP marked the band’s return from a 2 year hiatus and explored the relationship between sci-fi and environmentalism.