Well known for their range of influences across hardcore and punk rock, Palm Reader haven’t been afraid to get stuck right in when they’re recording in the studio and they’re anything but strangers to going hard. Luckily, since the release of 2015 album Beside the Ones We Love they’ve definitely not lost that attitude or identity. Right from the very first notes of Swarm, the pace and power of this third effort are clearly evident. The influence of old-school Gallows is clear throughout the verses, with the hardcore screams having that “couldn’t give a damn” feel conveyed throughout their 2006 debut album Orchestra of Wolves.
Crashing through Internal Winter and Like A Wave, the band show no signs of slowing down. The former has elements of a djent feel with some low-tuned chug and bend work underneath the higher octave distortion to provide a hugely deep tone before moving into a melodic chorus with some quick lead riffs that fill all the remaining space. In the same vein, the latter is a no-holds-barred melodic hardcore tune with some ferocious screams mixed in with very well-mixed clean vocals to provide a fantastic blend as frontman Josh McKeown demonstrates his sheer power and ability in one track.
The highlights, however, sit a little lower down the tracklist. Following more emo-influenced Inertia, the instrumental track Breach splits up the album immaculately. The stuttering delay and rich reverb of the guitars combined with synth sounds creates an atmospheric, almost dream-like pause in the heaviness to leave time to think of where the album has been and the direction it is set to take. A long fade out brings the track to an end, and the calm before the storm is broken by the immense Coalesce. The giant guitar sounds bring the release right back to the track it set before the interlude, and the visceral screams of “wake up, wake up” instantly grab the attention back after the rest. The song by itself sums up the album incredibly well – a bolshy and raucous sound with refined and melodic elements, clearly influenced by a number of different artists.
Parallelling those tracks are another instrumental track Dorothy and the following Clockwork but with one key difference – Clockwork is a phenomenally broad and somewhat surprisingly restrained piece. Featuring no screams until a bridge over two minutes in, the first half of the song relies on lyrical content and the relationship between the dynamic vocal melody and the effect-rich guitar tones before developing into a pulsating, confident and heavy message of encouragement to “keep breathing”. Unlike with many bands though, the two parts of the song are not only blended through the dynamic bridge but somehow Palm Reader manage to retain the integral feel of the emotive first section throughout the heavy second – one of (if not the) best track in their repertoire.
Overall, not only a well-written and performed album but a beautifully crafted record with many, many faces. If anyone had any doubts about the ability or questioned the power of Palm Reader, Braille is set to make them look incredibly, incredibly stupid.
A shoutout has to go to the label Silent Cult as well – they’re giving some fantastic bands a platform to put out some excellent music.
Ahead of the release of their fifth album on Friday (16th Feb), Feed The Rhino frontman Lee Tobin took some time out to talk to us about the return of the band, the new album and Jamie Lenman.
First of all, congratulations on a fantastic new record! It feels just as angry but more controlled than your past releases – do you feel the band has matured in the last 4 years? I definitely think we’ve learned a lot, not just now but in the last nine or ten years. Over the last four years definitely. Parting ways for a while to do our own thing, having our own space to contend with ourselves. You find out how involved you were in the band. You have to mature really, it’s the only thing you can do.
In terms of lyrics, has your approach changed since The Sorrow and the Sound? I don’t think it’s changed that much, really. If anything, I always wear my heart on my sleeve to try to write what I personally feel and say. At the same time, there are a few different elements on this album where it’s not too personal to me – one of the songs is about someone else for a start. It’s about finding the right words to say and put forward for that, as well as trying to connect a bit at the same time. My general way is putting across a good feeling in the music and use that to try to put out what’s in my head to the best of my ability.
Yellow And Green is a fantastic melodic tune from the album – will it be one for the setlist or will it be a while before we hear it? It’ll be one to wait for, to be honest. That track was a late bloomer really, we finished writing it in the studio. I love that tune – it’s one of the tracks that I find really sets the album up and it’s a lovely transitional song in the album. It was great fun to record and write as well. I’d love to play it live though because I think it would sound amazing. I don’t know how well I’d sing it but I’d definitely give it a go.
Was it one of the more vocally challenging songs for you to record then? It’s not so much the fact that any of them are difficult. I think it was always something that was always in the back of my mind; I always wanted to push the cleaner vocals a little bit more and we wanted to write a bigger chorus. It’s just a challenge really, going from heavy into clean vocals. It’s something I’m not really used to but it’ll be a really big test on this tour. I really want to do it and I hope I can do it well.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why? It’s changed a lot. First of all, I really like Losing Ground because it was different from every one of our albums. Not completely different because we’ve always written those interlude songs on our albums like Tides [on 2012 album The Burning Sons], Empty Mirrors [on 2010 album Mr Red Eye], Sitting Ducks [on Mr Red Eye] and now this on this album. Losing Ground is more of a song than a transition like those though, less of an interlude track. It’s a song that means a lot to me and I thought we connected really well writing it. I think we’ve made it sound really good, but I really love [album opener] Timewave Zero too because it’s a bridge between the old and the new. It’s still got the heavy vocals, the real slap-heavy riffs and a bit more of a polished sound. It’s got that clean chorus too which we’ve tried to do on this album more. I’ll listen through the album and end up sticking on All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy – that song is a thumper. That reminds me of the old us, it really brings nostalgia. For me, it’s probably that song really.
What do you hope this album will do for Feed the Rhino? Just give us the opportunity to tour again really. We’re a live band; we love playing live. It’s our heartbeat. Other than that, maybe just to show people a different side to us which hopefully they like. It’s going to get mixed reviews because it’s something slightly unusual for us to take this kind of direction but if we didn’t try we wouldn’t know. The thing is for us – this is really stepping back in. We love the music industry, the scene, we love playing music live. We’ve always written the stuff we want to write and we always will. If it sounds good to us and it sounds like Feed The Rhino then we’ll write it. We want people to see this album as something new that is still very us. We want it to get the excitement back to bring people to watch us again.
Do you feel the UK heavy music scene has changed in the time you’ve been active? I think it’s changed a lot. Coming back now, it feels different. We’re going out now for the first time in a while and there are bands we toured with back then that have gotten a lot bigger and doing bigger things, but there is a new crop of bands coming through playing different kinds of music. The good thing about the industry and the heavy scene is that the change and new feel is good, but at the same time it’s good to see old dogs doing good things as well. Look how long Jamie Lenman‘s been around but what he’s writing at the moment is genius! He’s the Beethoven of the industry at the moment, and I love that. It’s good to see bands like While She Sleeps doing the shows they’re doing, and Architects deserve everything they’re getting at the moment. They’re just great at what they do. Everything they’ve written has been really, really good but bands have to progress. Doomsday, just wow. Everything they’re writing now is brilliant. Those boys should be proud of themselves.
If you could have written any one song in the world, what would it be and why? I don’t know what song it would be, but it would have to be a Rage Against The Machine song. I mean, for one they’re the best band ever. Their songs just make you react. Off the top of my head, probably Killing In The Name but they have so many good ones.
What albums have you been listening to recently? Jamie Lenman‘s new album, a lot. I actually listened to Black Peaks for the first time recently too which is great, because I didn’t know too much about them. I haven’t got round to listening to new Marmozets‘ but I will do, definitely.
Where do you see the band in 5 years’ time? Still kicking the s*** out of it… I’d like to think we’ll still be here in five years’ time, and I can see us doing bigger and better things. We’re making a start on that now, and we’ll build on it and build with it. We’ll keep writing, stay Feed The Rhino and re-establish us as Feed The Rhino really.
If you could create a dream tour lineup including yourselves, who would accompany you? Feed The Rhino, Rage Against The Machine and Pantera, easy. There would be nothing left of anywhere. Obviously with Dimebag though. I’d dream about that stuff. That’s one of those situations where you’d get asked who you’re touring with and you’d say ‘the two best bands ever!’
Have you got any specific hopes for the upcoming headline tour? Hoping people come out to see us and have some fun. The shows are going to be some really good times. There will be new stuff and old stuff, because people that know us know we love a party and that’s what’s going to happen on these shows. We’re playing some great places, playing some cool little venues with some bigger venues and selling the album out on tour too. Just come and party with us!
Thanks to Lee for talking to us and best of luck to the band for the album release!
The Silence will drop on Century Media on Friday 16th February across all platforms, and you can catch Feed The Rhino on tour at these dates:
Feb 20 – Bristol @ Exchange Feb 21– Exeter @ Cavern Feb 22 – Southampton @ Joiners Feb 23 – London @ The Underworld Feb 24 – Norwich @ The Owl Sanctuary Feb 27 – Nottingham @ The Rescue Rooms Feb 28, 2018 – Newcastle @ Think Tank Mar 1 – Glasgow @ G2 Mar 2 – Manchester @ Rebellion Mar 3 – Birmingham @ The Flapper Mar 15 – North Wales @ Hammerfest
Being birthed from the ashes of what was Lock and Key, Lifetight are set to make a name for themselves with their new EP Self-Tightled an EP which was released on November 3rd is set to produce some “posi” vibes as the band draw from their experiences with mental health and the military to create some positivity. This EP is set to be a great release so without further ado let’s breakdown this EP
Opening up this 4-track self-titled EP is Energy. The track overall is a powerful and great opener for the band, showcasing their ability in creating a well-composed track which easily shows their Hardcore and Punk influences. Alongside this the track lives up to its name providing a mass amount of energy from start to finish on this first cut, from the tight instrumentation to well presented vocal performance the track cracks open this EP well for what else will follow.
Misguided is the second track on the whistlestop tour of what is Lifetight‘s self-titled EP, this track is far heavier in its instrumentation than the track which sat before it. The more aggressive and up-tempo instrumentation powers this track along at a far brisker pace, which allows for more experimentation in terms of the vocal delivery that comes along with this track. This cut is possibly the strongest on this short release in all aspects. Following directly from this is Big Boy House a great cut off of this record that was close to being the strongest on the EP. With a somewhat more Punk orientated makeup, the track does seem to lack something that was present on Misguided which made it as strong as it is.
Closing off this EP from Lifetight is Dreams a track which appears to be the perfect blend of the two genres the band are influenced by the mix of Hardcore and Punk allow for a great overall sound that make this track such a powerful closer for the band, however this track also brings along the main downside of this EP and that is it’s length, the track like the others on this EP, seems to fly by and leaves you wanting more from the band. However, despite this the band yet again showcase their musical prowess on this track from the strong instrumentation and great vocal power that exists in this track.
Overall Lifetight have presented here a great EP which showcases not only their musical ability but also the “posi” vibes that they said it would. From the powerful vocals that speak so clearly to the positive messages that the band wished to portray to the great instrumentation that allowed this EP to, unfortunately, blast through its runtime a little too quickly. This EP as a whole is a great listen that showcases something for nearly all hardcore fans. [6.5/10]
Dutch three-piece Paceshifters were first up on the bill with their energetic alt-rock anthems being belted out at the ever-filling venue. Despite being first up, the band has been going longer than any of the other projects by a considerable margin but that hasn’t made them look tired; brothers Paul and Seb Dokman co-fronting the show brings a warm connection with not only each other but with the audience, and a portion of the audience fell in love with the fraternity all three members seemed to have onstage. Drummer Jesper Albers is by no means the odd-one-out alongside the siblings either – his hard-hitting drumbeats and phenomenal energy showed off he was the best drummer of the night’s bill. Finishing off with a guest appearance from The Patience guitarist Evan Nestor to play a Nirvana cover A punchy and momentum-building tour for them, no doubt. [8/10]
Next up, bringing his stripped-down stage show to the UK stage was Derek Zanetti (better known as The Homeless GospelChoir) who possesses unique stage presence which just makes every member of the audience feel at ease with his style and grace. Very much the US Frank Turner in terms of song-style, his recorded music varies from acoustic to full-band but his stage show is an incredibly vulnerable, heart-on-his-sleeve affair with breaks mid-song to talk to the crowd. The stop-start nature is anything but a disappointment though, and it felt like he became a friend to every audience member watching on in his time onstage performing songs largely from his latest album The Homeless Gospel Choir Presents: Normal. A fantastic talent with some very poignant opinions and stories to share, someone to never miss if he’s touring. [9/10]
Punk frontman Dave Hause may have only been with The Mermaid as a band since February, but the last show on the tour before he departed was his 111th of the year with them – not bad going for a new band. The diversity in his catalogue was evident throughout with some songs having hints of Bryan Adams in them and others being far more middle-of-the-road rock and roll styling, but Hause‘s frontman capabilities are completely evident throughout every single song. His display of Rickenbacker, Gibson and Nash guitars showed his experience and commitment to the road after all these years, and storming through songs from each of his solo albums proved his songwriting prowess. Dedicating fan-favourite Dirty Fucker to Donald Trump proved popular, but not as popular as him giving out free shirts throughout the song because he didn’t want to take them back home to the US. A cover of Tom Petty seemed a fitting tribute as members of The Patience came out to make a giant supergroup of the two bands. A classy set from a band that will definitely make their name on the road with ease if they choose to stick together as The Mermaid. [9/10]
Now infamous in his own right after 2 stellar albums and fresh of the back of his first EP, Frank Iero and his band The Patience came out to a lot of excited fans and immediately broke into World Destroyer to kick off one of the best punk rock sets Nottingham has seen in recent years. The no-holds-barred, sing-scream-shout blend of Frank’s vocals brings the level of excitement through the roof and the backing of long-time guitarist Evan Nestor brings a stage chemistry to rival many of the biggest bands in the world right now. A The Replacements cover with Dave Hause and a rendition of The Beatles‘ Helter Skelter threw some proof of their cultured influences (as if they needed the proof anyway), and the emotional performance of Best Friends Forever proved a set highlight – a song cowritten with his daughters back in 2014. Between songs, the chats with the crowd and accepting beers from the crowd just demonstrates Frank is one of the last true punk rockers onstage in 2017 – a sad reality but he is keeping the breed alive. Fantastic set from a fantastic band, The Patience are one of the most exciting touring bands right now. [9/10]
In terms of live performance, The Five Hundred are a total throwback. Complete with 8 string guitars and 5 string bass, the dance moves are somewhat reminiscent of a 2009 crab-filled Attack Attack! set. That’s where the similarities end though; guitarists Mark Byrne and Paul Doughty put together some fantastic chugging riffs and slick leads which combine with the thumping bass and drums for a real suckerpunch sound.
Unfortunately, the boxy and untreated venue didn’t do much for the heavy tones of the locals; frontman John Eley’s vocals were often lost in the somewhat sludgy sound bounding around the room to the extent that it looked as if he was forcing himself to go louder in parts in order to be heard. That aside, a solid set from good local talent. [6/10]
Harrogate natives Blood Youth were the touring support on this run, bringing their melodic hardcore mania to the Rescue Rooms stage. Well-experienced in playing their debut full-length Beyond Repair by now since its release in April, the heavy verses blew the audience away as is the custom of the three-piece. A better set of tonal settings allowed each band member to cut through the sludgy sound in the venue and despite some microphone issues while walking out onto the stage, frontman Kaya Tarsus put on a phenomenal show.
It’s rare to have someone who has fantastic clean vocals as well as screams and even more rare for them to be backed up by musicians who can also sing, but all three permanent members can harmonise and take over each other’s parts seamlessly; drummer Sam Hallett doing a line in the chorus of I Remember to allow Kaya to breathe indicating the seamless transitioning.
In the middle of the set, Tarsus informed the crowd about filming a video for the self-proclaimed “hesviest Blood Youth song” Parasite, which got the full response it deserved. A great crowd reaction throughout for the band, proving they are one of the best touring bands right now, period. [9/10]
Headliners Blessthefall were last up to work their magic for the Nottingham audience, which perfectly did the job of topping off the night. Having the two vocalists allows Blessthefall an opportunity of having the depth in both vocalists’ voices to do each half immaculately, but having the designated frontman being the clean vocalist in a heavy band means Beau Bokan can move around a lot more – he spent nigh-on half the show in the crowd giving high-fives and hugs.
Ploughing through tracks old and new only showed off Bokan’s vocal abilities, combining with Jared’s screams (also immaculate throughout the set) and Eric’s silky-smooth leads led to a melody/aggression combination that was backed up with the rhythm section to a T. A fantastic set from a band who seem to have a lot to prove over the next couple of years. [8/10]
See some fan-filmed footage of 2015 album track Dead Air performed on Saturday:
Taking to the stage first was Midlands acoustic man Luke Rainsford who brought in a fair crowd considering he was first up and had come a long way. Opening with Home Safe, Luke played through material from both of his full length albums with aplomb as he always does, blowing away both fans and first timers alike with his honest lyrics and catchy hooks. Closing with his personal favourite track Frame, Luke looked as though he was going to cry as he screamed out “I know that I’ll never learn” to an already emotional crowd as the cathartic close to a set that always seems to short from his restrictions – just about the only criticism that can be made about his live shows. [9/10]
ICYMI took to the stage in the difficult situation of following Rainsford, but the energy and vocal ability of frontwoman Elin Allan stood them in good stead for the set to follow. Playing through their tracks proved to be fairly hit and miss up to their cover of NSYNC‘s Bye Bye Bye (yes, really) which turned the whole set around. The version featured heavy guitars and the attitude of Allan shining through to sweeten the crowd up before finishing with their single Get Out to finish off the set. The band have big things coming towards the end of this year, so keep an eye out – they’re one for the future. [7/10]
As the only local band of the night, pop punkers All These Years took to the stage. It appeared throughout that the band weren’t particularly well known among the onlookers but pretty quickly gained some fans with their more punk-influenced tracks as they hopped about the stage being generally offensive in the best possible way. Playing through the material from both EPs and latest single What Was Left Unsaid, All These Years put life into what was previously a fairly still crowd, perfectly filling their role as a support for the show. [8/10]
Coming off the back of their debut EP release a couple of weeks ago, touring newcomers Maypine were absolutely filled with confidence hitting the Camden attic’s stage. They played through the EP’s five tracks with a couple of additional originals, but the real gem in the set was their emo rendition of Fix You by Coldplay which they released back in July (if you’re curious, listen here). The set was filled with enthusiasm, talent and hope – qualities that can are lacking in a lot of new touring bands, which are virtually never captured in the same capacity as Maypine have them. [9/10]
Finishing up the night came Better Than Never who, surprisingly, drew less of a crowd than Maypine though the remaining audience were the rowdiest of the night by some margin. Blasting through both EPs, frontman James Harris bounced around with no visible intention of slowing down as he hyped up the crowd. Later, some growls mid-song produced a few looks of confusion from those not fully aware of Forty Eight from the band’s latest collection Head Under Water as they expected more pop punk tracks, but that didn’t subtract from any enjoyment on anyone’s faces. Towards the end of the set, Luke Rainsford was floating around the front of the crowd making gestures before he (somewhat unsurprisingly) made another appearance to duet Panama with Harris. A good performance to round off the night. [8/10]
With their latest album due out later this year, Canadian hardcore band Counterparts have released their latest single. It is titled No Servant of Mine and has a video out to accompany it, which you can watch below. The album itself is their third full-length which is due out on 22nd September, titled You’re Not You Anymore.
Vocalist Brendan Murphy said of the track: “No Servant is about relationships failing whether they be romantic, platonic or business oriented. One way or another, the connection between two or more people is gone and we have to carry on knowing that it may be for the better. The song is my way of saying ‘If you no longer care, then go. You don’t need to stay because you owe me nothing.'”
Watch the video of No Servant of Mine here:
Catch them playing these dates with Napoleon and Polar:
11th November Patterns, Brighton, UK
12th November Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, UK
13th November Vintage Bar, Doncaster, UK
14th November Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
15th November G2, Glasgow, UK
16th November Rebellion, Manchester, UK
17th November Think Tank, Newcastle, UK
18th November The Dome, London, UK
19th November Joiners, Southampton, UK
21st November Patronaat, Haarlem, Holland
22nd November Lux, Hanover, Germany
23rd November Poglos, Warsaw, Poland
24th November Firlej, Wroclaw, Poland
25th Durer Kert, Budapest, Hungary
Looking at the cover of Earl Grey‘s latest release, one might wonder if such a band name holds much meaning other than a penchant for hot beverages. All jokes aside, Monchengladbach, Germany’s very own Earl Grey are a band who have surely been treading the hard-worn path to success. Two EP’s down, the band followed these releases with 8000km’s worth of European touring and a slew of success on their home-turf’s DIY punk rock scene. With latest release The Times You Cross My Mind being mastered by Seb Barlow (Neck Deep, As It Is, WSTR), the band look to garner further acclaim within the wider musical community.
The EP opens with 1 minute 37 seconds of adulterated melodic hardcore joy. Nothing bursts out of the speakers, the track revolving around a series of muscular, soaring guitar parts which back vocalist Malte Unnasch’s Comeback Kid-like vocal approach. Never Sleep connects seamlessly with the opener with chugging fury and features gang vocals aplenty. The band don’t particularly take an original approach here, treading the same lines as band’s like The Story So Far, but it’s the sheer force of delivery both from Unnasch and the rest of the band that make them such an irresistible prospect.
The production locks everything in tightly with snappy drums underpinning both the rhythmic and melodic elements well. These elements shine bright on the faster tracks such as Hollow which begins with classic hardcore vehemence before shifting into half-time grooves with minimum effort. Even on the slower moments such as the stomping Snake Hips the band still don’t let up despite offering some beautiful guitar lines ala early Alexisonfire, giving the EP a little room to breathe before kicking into the next belter.
The third EP for the German crew is easily a defining moment in their short career. It pulses with vibrancy and despite this essentially being a modern hardcore record, the songs on offer are just so darn catchy that there is a good chance of seeing them supporting some of the scene leaders in the coming year. Although The Times You Cross My Mind will be many listeners first time hearing Earl Grey, the band are unquestionably worth every second of your time.
The Times You Cross My Mind is released on the 16th July.
Jack The Envious are a London quartet formed, interestingly enough, during core members Nir Perlman and Guy Avnon’s respective military service. After recruiting bassist Guy Checkarov, the band set out to combine their experiences in the forces and band life, distilling it down to produce debut EP Pull You Down. Since the EP’s release, it would seem the band have sought to push themselves, combining punk stylings and a post-hardcore rush for maximum impact. With a string of successful local shows, the band is all set to release their sophomore EP In Your Own Way.
Straight off the bat, the band embrace a dark atmosphere with pulsing synths and music box sounds ascending before they kick in with Shut It Off. It’s a fine start to the EP with a tectonic opening riff, coming across with the same snarling energy that My Chemical Romance embraced on their first couple of records. Single Begging For More starts with choppy acoustics before the songs signature riff makes way for a hooky chorus, vocalist Perlman sounding like a hybrid of The Used’s Bert McCracken and The Movielife’s Vinnie Caruana.
The mix on the EP is strong, the guitars sitting well and creating memorable, anthemic parts and also huge backdrops for Perlman’s snarling vocal jabs. This is demonstrated no better than on the thunderous Guilty which comes complete with a stomping breakdown section and Letlive-esque spoken word part which helps set the song apart from formulaic hardcore structure.
The album closes things off with Never Look Down which is possibly the strongest offering here. The track builds from its ethereal intro and goes onto incorporate the best parts of the record, including huge reverberant guitar lines, gutsy vocals and another huge chorus. As only the second offering from Jack The Envious, In Your Own Way makes it clear that the band are determined to prove themselves as unique commodity of the British music scene. They stand to make their mark with this dynamic and energetic EP.