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James Maddern

Uneven Structure

Uneven Structure sign to Long Branch, announce album

French prog metal 6-piece Uneven Structure have signed to Long Branch records, alongside announcing their new album which they’ve worked on for almost four years. The album will be titled La Partition and will officially be released in Spring 2017.

La Partition is a concept album that acts as the follow-up to the band’s 2009 EP 8 and their 2011 debut full-length Februus which both received great critical acclaim.

Guitarist Igor Omodei said: “While not being a fresh start, La Partition is a very different beast from what we’ve released in the past. So it made sense for us to move over to the SPV/ Longbranch Records team to back our evolution both as artists and individuals.  We can’t wait to see these five years of work to unfold over the next weeks. See you on the other side and cheers to you all!

See Uneven Structure live: 
25.02.17 –  Haarlem – Complexity Fest, Netherlands
01.04. 17 –  Sucy-en-Brie – Heart Sound Metal Fest, France
29.09.17 -01.10.17 – Cologne – Euroblast Festival, Germany

Standing Like Statues

Standing Like Statues release ‘Daytime TV’ video

Cambridgeshire band Standing Like Statues have released a new video for their track Daytime TV. The song comes ahead of their debut album, which is currently in the final stages of the writing process.

They said “We wanted the video to highlight an issue that is all too common, and that each and every one of us can do something about. Any victims of domestic violence are usually too scared to reach out for help, or don’t even realise there’s a problem… Together as a human race, we have a connection. Let’s use that to look after each other in any and every circumstance that life throws our way.”

See the video below:

Tengger Cavalry

Tengger Cavalry release Rammstein ‘Du Hast’ cover

Mongolian folk metal band Tengger Cavalry have released another one of their covers series with Rammstein‘s Du Hast. In their own words, “Tengger Cavalry infuse the nomadic music tradition of Central Asia with heavy metal, creating their own unique genre”, which does sound immaculate when brought together!

The video comes following their other covers, including most recently Megadeth‘s Symphony of Destruction.

See the video below:

Betraying the Martyrs the resilient

Betraying The Martyrs – The Resilient

The Resilient‘s opening track Lost For Words brings right to the fore how big the sound is from Betraying The Martyrs for this whole release. A high lead riff opens into heavy-hit drums and chugging guitars before gutteral vocals break in. The song moves quickly with good instrumental control displayed; the lead riffs throughout are mixed through the vocals well and hold well in the verse. The chorus is melodic and starts to show the huge sound The Resilient will hold

The title track provides a highlight, with its space-filling opening. Faint choral vocals with a string arrangement brings the introduction real class, then the band coming back in causes a huge punch. The soaring chorus keeps a lot of the heaviness as tuned vocals return, and the riffs are inspired enough to keep the song moving. Riff variation also helps here – the riffs may be similar between verses, but they have subtle difference in the execution that keep them spread widely. The harmonised solo shows a good creativity, with a wah-heavy sound before turning into a crystal-clear harmonised trem line.

Another good track is Unregistered, which has probably the “heaviest” verse on the album. Riffs featuring copious volumes of string bends are always a winner, and when the bends come as the rest of the band go quiet it leads to a heaviness spread through the song. The breakdown here is rather generic with a huge buildup into incredibly slow time with harmonics and gutturals, but it is this that brings a lot of the “crowdkill-ability” to the track which fans will enjoy. The length of the chorus allows for more contrast between the screams and clean vocals which works better than a lot of the scream-dominated tracks.

Vocally, the melody combined with the harshness of the screams is a formula that has worked for so many bands for so long. The Resilient sees melody take a back seat to the uncleans which that is a mistake – a wholly screamed or half-and-half album would have worked better. As it stands, the screams stay static in pitch with little pronounciation of words which makes the album sound a bit lacking.

Overall, The Resilient is a mixed bag as a whole. While there are some brutal songs that carry great weight, a few fall into the category of “heavy for heavy’s sake” as opposed to feeling particularly thought out. The melody within the songs is definitely the key to their good sound, but they don’t exploit this nearly enough.

ed sheeran divide

Ed Sheeran releases ‘Castle on the Hill’ video

Suffolk’s finest Ed Sheeran has released a music video for one of his new singles Castle on the Hill. The video features students from his high school, as he stated on Facebook.

The track debuted earlier this month alongside Shape of You, and the pair hit #2 and #1 respectively in over 20 countries. Both feature on his upcoming album Divide, which will hit shelves worldwide on March 3rd.

See the video below:

Hartsick

Our Hollow Our Home – Hartsick

Opening Hartsick is The Sea Will Sleep… which outlines how the record is going to go when it fully kicks off. There is an electronically-processed first section that erupts into instrumentation that moves into a breakdown, definitely one of the earliest half-time sequences on any metalcore album ever. This then progresses to Lone Shark which holds close the heaviness, but uses the clean vocals that hold elements of the likes of The Amity Affliction. By challenging even those at the top on this track, Our Hollow Our Home establish their dominance to then build a work which has the chance of cementing a big slot for them within the genre. The following works do anything but disappoint.

With piano and orchestral lines opening Throne To The Wolves, the sound absolutely fills the space with a thick and layered styling. The change from melody to the explosive djent feel to a combination is seamless, with equally high levels of skill being demonstrated across the board. The title track Hartsick has a groove feel in the chunky guitar tones, and even in breakdowns remains bouncy back to the melodic lines. The effects placed on the guitars give them a really sweet, polished tone that retains the distortion in the high frequencies but reins them in to keep from pick sqeaking peaks.

Karmadillo has to be one of the best songs on Hartsick because it just embodies the album. Cleans with stacked vocals give a complete soundsphere, but begins with absolutely belting screams that break into a chaotic breakdown with technical leads on top that signify a band on top of their game. The whole track demonstrates the two-sided attack of hooking with the melody and absolutely demolishing with the earth-shatteringly heavy sections.

Vocally, Hartsick is absolutely sound throughout. The clean vocals demand for space in the mix and are given it, which floods the sound with melody and often layers. The breaking in of unclean vocals then closes down the layers and allows more complex guitar riffs to come in as it shuts the space left by cleans. The switching between the two provides a masterful contrast which makes the album as a whole work incredibly well.

Overall, an incredibly powerful album that keeps a distinct feeling of brutality even in the cleaner sections. The whole album is almost reminiscent of The Amity Affliction as they hit their stride on their first full-length with the more polished and professional sound of their later albums. In that way, it takes the best aspects of one of the best-loved melodic metalcore bands and throws down a gauntlet. If that doesn’t prove to you how powerful Our Hollow Our Home are, nothing will.

strange fate

Out Came The Wolves – Strange Fate

Earlier this year, a little band called Out Came The Wolves made their break when they scored a deal with Roadrunner Records. They had previously supported the likes of Asking Alexandria and We Came As Romans in  This move gave them a platform to create what they wanted on a far higher budget than before on the “best label in the world” according to guitarist George Shrouder. This can clearly be seen on Strange Fate: the record is a massive sound that is new even to their fans.

Opening track 96 shows that the band mean business from the very start. Screamed vocals come in within the first fifteen seconds and the whole of the first verse seems to be a build. This then results into a soaring chorus that then breaks into a screamed second verse and the sound just grows from there. The real influence of bands like Asking Alexandria is evident and it is pretty clear that the following collection will be of a high-quality melodic metalcore sound.

Lyrically, Strange Fate is pretty sound as you would expect from a seasoned band but it is still surprising Out Came The Wolves can produce tracks of this quality so early in their recording career. A notable line is one from the opening of Bleed which states simply “if we die then we die but at least we could scream for our lives”. This is reminiscent of the rest of the album in terms of its vaguely nihilistic outlook and the emphasis of doing something with the one life you get.

A big addition to the record’s individual tracks is the gang/layered vocal lines. A prime example is the repetition of “buried alive” in Queen Mary which reinforces the desperate place from which the lyrics of the track are written. The mixing of these lines adds a depth to the lead vocal that gives the song sound almost symphonic in nature.

The standout of Strange Fate is Bleed, which holds some of the strongest lyrics on the record as well as a fantastic bassline at the start. It is probably the most “radio rock” sound on the album, and this works well as a contrast to the pure ferocity of a lot of the rest of the release. Having said that, in the middle there is a screamed section that keeps the track in cohesion with the rest – it is anything but sticking out noticeably. A song that could define the band’s career progression for the future, but will by no means be their only hit from the album.

Overall then, the release is one of power yet control, of anger but with great thought and attention to detail. Out Came The Wolves are surely set to be breaking into the metalcore elite of today sometime soon, so get in on their style now and take the ride with them.

 

Modern Ruin frank carter and the rattlesnakes

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin

Opening the album is a slow, slightly dark but thoughtful track titled Bluebelle which is performed by Frank alone. It acts as the only track from the band so far for which he has recorded an instrument, and doing so on the opening of the Modern Ruin chapter as many will know it seems like a logical move. At just over a minute long, it would be expected to be the shortest track on the album but no – that is saved for the absolutely savage Jackals later on which has been performed a few times around the country on tour.

Modern Ruin does a fantastic job of contrasting musical styles presented within the new era of The Rattlesnakes and there is no exception through the whole thirty-eight minutes of the album. Bluebelle starts quietly, then Lullaby has a groove and Snake Eyes is darker and gets progressively heavier. Vampires is fuzzy and agressive behind a veil of backing vocals and control, Wild Flowers is almost alt-pop in a very catchy way and Acid Veins is incredibly dark with a confident swaying rhythm. God Is My Friend is quick and loud yet shows a lot of control, Jackals is quicker, louder and shorter with a murderous edge, and Thunder is much slower and more reflective. Real Life is bold with a crashing and punchy rhythm, Modern Ruin is gritty and purely vicious throughout the whole period, and Neon Rust is the epic finale that gives a slow closure to the piece to mirror Bluebelle after a reflective look back at the masterpiece sandwiched between the two.

The standout tracks have to be Acid VeinsLullaby and Modern Ruin. As a trio, they represent what the album is about – exploring different ideas in very different ways that can gel into one big artistic expression. Acid Veins has a swing in the beat that few would have predicted this time last year on the back of Blossom, which gets combined with some of the darkest lyrics on the album to create an imaginative dichotomy within the storytelling. Lullaby holds a groove yet has distinct undertones of fighting against mental darkness as Carter asks “sleep, where have you gone?”. Modern Ruin is the heaviest song on the album in terms of instrumental, and it would have easily fit in on the debut album. It has a huge buildup that waits for the explosion which by no means disappoints – an absolute venue-shredder of a track.

In addition, Jackals adds a short burst of fire to liven up the quieter tracks in the middle of the album. With crashing drums and echoed vocals that climax at around 50 seconds, the quick and beat-heavy track culminates in the slightly terrifying lyric “burn them all like sickened cattle and leave nothing for the jackals”, which indicates that although the band may have seemed to mellow out musically their content is just as dark in other ways.

Overall, a very different and nearly-as-perfect album from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes that contrasts nicely with the 2015 debut Blossom. The tracks only touch on common ground with its older sibling, but it is clear Frank and Dean are exploring their musical range. Whether musically heavy or not, the album aches with sickening danger that characterises the band and there is no doubting this will help them break through on mainstream radio despite them keeping the incredibly dark feeling in their fabrication of material. Some people will adore it, some will hate it but it is sure to make their live set crank up  yet another notch. Modern Ruin hits shelves next Friday (20th Jan) so don’t sleep on it.

afi the blood album

A Fire Inside – AFI (The Blood Album)

The Blood Album opens out in a way that may not be expected of AFI: the big, heavily electronic sound of Dark Snow appears with a little guitar lick played over the top that works well. The vocals here are an instant pull back to the older material in the veteran band’s catalogue with melody and harmony atop the instrumental, though the instrumental is perhaps not of the norm.

They return to what would be expected on second track Still A Stranger however, which opens with acoustic guitar chording followed by a lead-bass-drum buildup to the eccentrically-voiced verse and a soaring chorus. The layered backing vocals half-harmonising and half-shouting are a throwback almost to Decemberunderground all those years ago. Octave guitar parts and bass fills keep the track particularly AFI, and the middle eight section brings back the classic Havok desperate layered shout style which works well to break down the energy for a time.

Vocally, the album varies hugely. Mixed with the layered screams there are traces of rock, punk, pop punk, alt-rock and even some chorus sounds in tracks like Dumb Kids reminiscent of a child of Kaiser Chiefs‘ Ricky Wilson and Meat Loaf. The backing vocals again fit fantastically on the back of Havok’s leads, with stacked sounds absolutely filling any remaining space in the audiosphere with harmonies and powerful shouts.

Stylistically, Aurelia is one of the better tracks. It acts as one of AFI‘s more alt-rock ended songs as opposed to their “punk” pigeonhole in many minds, and shows how they can explore different parts of their sound in a short period of time. It has just the kind of rhythm that would lend itself to an acoustic version incredibly well – whether one of those will come is another question though. It is almost impossible however to ignore Hidden Knives when speaking of Aurelia – the two tracks sound as if they are each two halves of a conversation. The former acts as the more upbeat reply with its more constant rhythm as opposed to Aurelia‘s lilting and more pulsating feel.

Overall then, it’s a very solid return for the California crew. A vast array of styles have been combined in AFI (The Blood Album) that they haven’t fully explored in past releases and hearing them become very comfortable within that area cranks the album up a notch. It sounds almost like AFI got a bit excited with some new pedals and effects they’ve found so they’ve spent hours working them into songs – a bit weird but working in a very AFI way.