Machine Head – ‘Catharsis’ – Review

There’s often a stigma associated with metalheads that their preference is an immovable object, and that there’s no unstoppable force that can make their taste shift. “It’s not about selling out and making money, it’s about the music, man”, they say, probably. The truth is, there comes a time when every artist, true CVLT metal or not, has to think about making money and selling albums. This is where we find Machine Head in 2018, seeking what is perhaps more of a mass market appeal. Catharsis is the ninth album by the thrash/groove metal crossover act from California, and it sees ringleader Robb Flynn trying something a little different.

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Of Mice & Men

Of Mice & Men – Defy

Many of Of Mice & Men‘s fans were surprised when clean vocalist Aaron Pauley confirmed he would be taking on lead vocal duties alongside the release of first single Unbreakable, but Defy takes on a blend of the sounds of Of Mice & Men‘s older material and Pauley’s former band Jamie’s Elsewhere during his vocal tenure.

Defy is kicked off with the title track which again shocked a large portion of the fanbase when it was released. A return to heavy riffs and crushing vocals is evident as soon as the song kicks in with screams and chugging guitars dominating all of the space on the recording. Come the chorus, these somewhat make way for a wide, sweeping gang vocal that demonstrates the incorporation of Restoring Force ideas for what seems like the first time since it was released. The heaviest breakdown since at least 2011’s The Flood hits around halfway through the track, bookended by the choruses that ground the track safely in the band’s style. A very promising start.

Following up the opener comes what is arguably the best song on the album – titled Instincts. The sheer power of the guitar work is sure to be enough to make many sit in awe of the tone crafted throughout, and backed up by the cymbal-filled drum wrap-around created by Tino and the producers that cuts through the chunky guitar-bass hybrid. The wah-riddled solo from Phil sounds dystopian in sections and is just plain technical in others – this is a lead guitarist who has his confidence and ability on display now more than ever before. It’s not all heavy and crazy though – lighter songs including pre-release single Back To Me are sure to keep fans of the newer eras of the band with the catchy choruses and more middle-of-the-road rock sound they have crafted.

Vocally throughout, Aaron sounds very much in practice as if he never slowed up his screaming at all. Forever YDG’n is written somewhat as a tribute to the first two albums of the band, and the vocal work throughout the tune does it justice entirely. Slightly contrasting the nostalgia is Sunflower which brings a new dual-scream dynamic with Pauley providing harsh growls alongside higher screams to create a wonderful blend that matches the feeling of the instrumentals perfectly.

The elephant in the room must be addressed though: yes, the track titled Money really is a cover of that Pink Floyd song. Was it expected? Not at all. Does it work? Honestly, it does in its own strange way. Taken as a single, the cover seems to be a rather strange rendition and outside the comfort zone of Of Mice & Men as a band, but when woven into the fabric of the album as a whole the placement of the song and the themes within the lyrics work to slot in seamlessly.

Overall, Defy is a fantastic return to form for a band that seemed to lose their way with their last release. Losing the spearhead figure of your band often crushes all morale and demands dramatic reinvention. As Robert Burns said in his poem from which the band’s name originated, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley” – Of Mice & Men had the perfect solution to Defy all expectations.

Asking alexandria where did it go?

Asking Alexandria announce fifth album, release song

 

Following the announcement of their album, Asking Alexandria have announced the title and have released another song. The new record will be self-titled and is set for a 15th December release. The album is the first to have original frontman Danny Worsnop back after his departure in 2015.

The new song released today is called Where Did It Go? and throws some serious shade at modern metal bands… It sounds a bit like this:

Fozzy

ICYMI: Fozzy to tour Europe in October

Rock veterans Fozzy are coming back to Europe in October this year with Hardcore Superstar on a co-headline run.

Fozzy are set to close the UK dates with their set, while Hardcore Superstar will finish off the European dates. Support comes in the shape of Madame Mayhem and The Last Band, but they’re not in a standard order either – The Last Band are going to open the UK run with Madame Mayhem following and vice versa for Europe.

See the full list below:

27.10.2017 (UK) Birmingham – O2 Academy 2
28.10.2017 (IRL) Dublin – Tivoli
29.10.2017 (UK) Belfast – Limelight 2
31.10.2017 (UK) Chester – Live Rooms
01.11.2017 (UK) Manchester – Waterfront
02.11.2017 (UK) London – Islington Academy
03.11.2017 (UK) Sheffield – Corporation
04.11.2017 (UK) Glasgow – The Garage
05.11.2017 (UK) Newcastle – Riverside
07.11.2017 (NL) Amsterdam – Q Factory
08.11.2017 (DE) Aschaffenburg – Colas Saal
09.11.2017 (CH) Pratteln – Z7
10.11.2017 (IT) Trezzo Sull’Adda – Live Club
11.11.2017 (IT) Roncade – New Age Club
12.11.2017 (IT) Rome – Kimera Rock
14.11.2017 (AT) Vienna – Flex
15.11.2017 (DE) Munich – Technikum
16.11.2017 (DE) Essen – Turock
17.11.2017 (DE) Hamburg – Gruenespan
18.11.2017 (BE) Genk – CPG

Fozzy also recently released a new song titled Judas, so watch that below too:

Shaman’s Harvest Release New Single

Following on from the announcement of their newest studio album Red Hands Black DeedsShaman’s Harvest have released the first single off of this upcoming record. This new single The Come Up implements this well orchestrated and juxtaposing instrumentation that houses a Motown backbeat and this classic rock and roll swagger. This single sets a great precedent for everything which is to follow on Shaman’s Harvest’s new record. Check out The Come Up below.

Hollowstar – Some Things Matter

St Ives quartet Hollowstar fall heavily into the bracket of classic rock. It’s a genre that by the very nature of being labelled ‘classic’ can at times be somewhat redundant in its approach to fresh sounds. There are still bands (The Answer for example) who have managed to keep the bombastic flame from going out by penning music that although it may be rooted in the older school of rock, delivers on songs and musical presence. On Some Things Matter, Hollowstar fall somewhere between those two extremes.

The emphasis here is on the blues side of rock with opener Lay Down – a song seemingly about an ageing hometown girl not able to let go of her youth – being driven by a huge groovy riff reminiscent of Audioslave’s Cochise. Vocalist Joe Bonson delivers some heavyweight moments throughout the EP, sounding a lot like The Cult’s Ian Astbury and tracks like the slow build of Feel The Burn allow him to show this off well.

For a band still in its relative musical youth, the songwriting although somewhat repetitive in nature at times, has clearly developed from years of listening to Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake and even heavier acts such as Pantera. Guilty in particularly shows off crunchy rolling guitar lines, punctuated by a sturdy rhythm section – coming together to sound like a mutated take on The Black Crowes.

For a straight up classic rock release, the songs on Some Things Matter are strong and deliver on expectations of dominant choruses and churning riffs. The thing missing here is a sense of urgency and reliance on basic song structure which can occasionally leave songs blurring into one another. If however the listener is one who frequents classic rock nights/clubs and enjoys blues driven rock turned up to eleven, Some Things Matter is an enjoyable trip into rocks past.

Alestorm Announce EU Tour

In celebration of their successful album No Grave But The Sea, metallers Alestorm have announced a European tour in September to follow on from their stint on Warped Tour. Aether Realm and Troldhaugen will provide support at these shows which is marked as part one of the tour, fans should expect more dates to surface in the near future. The bands full touring itinerary thus far:

ALESTORM FESTIVAL SHOWS:

09.-11.06.17 UK – Castle Donington / Download Festival
16.-18.06.17 FR – Clisson / Hellfest
16.-18.06.17 BE – Dessel / Graspop Metal Meeting
09-.12.08.17 ES – Villena / Leyendas Del Rock
11.-12.08.17 AT – Graz / Metal On The Hill

VANS WARPED TOUR 2017:

6/21: Albuquerque, NM @ Balloon Fiesta Park
6/22: Phoenix, AZ @ Fear Farm Festival Grounds
6/23: Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel
6/24: Salt Lake City, UT @ Utah State Fair Park
6/25: Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
6/27: Nashville, TN @ The Fairgrounds Nashville
6/28: Metairie, LA @ Zephyr Field
6/29: Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre
6/30: Orlando, FL @ Tinker Field
7/1: St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa) @ Vinoy Park
7/2: West Palm Beach, FL (Miami) @ Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
7/4: Wilmington, NC @ Legion Stadium
7/6: Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte
7/7: Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
7/8: Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Amphitheatre
7/9: Hartford, CT @ Xfinity Theatre
7/10: Scranton, PA @ The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
7/11: Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre
7/12: Mansfield, MA (Boston) @ Xfinity Center
7/13: Darien Center, NY (Buffalo) @ Darien Lake PAC
7/14: Burgettstown, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion
7/15: Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
7/16: Columbia, MD (Washington, DC) @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
7/18: Cuyahoga Falls, OH (Cleveland) @ Blossom Music Center
7/19: Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
7/20: Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
7/21: Tinley Park, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills
7/22: Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/23: Shakopee, MN (Minneapolis) @ Canterbury Park
7/24: Milwaukee, WI @ Marcus Amphitheater
7/26: Maryland Heights, MO @ Hollywood Casino
7/27: Bonner Springs, KS (Kansas City) @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
7/28: Dallas, TX @ Starplex Pavilion
7/29: San Antonio, TX @ AT&T center
7/30: Houston, TX @ NRG Park – Main Street Lot
8/1: Las Cruces, NM @ New Mexico State University (Intramural Field)
8/4: Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
8/5: San Diego, CA @ Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Field
8/6: Pomona, CA @ Fairplex Pomona

ALESTORM
+ special guests AETHER REALM & TROLDHAUGEN
No Grave But The Sea World Tour – Part 1

28.9 – Bochum, DE @ Zeche
29.9 – Berlin, DE @ Festsaal Kreuzberg
30.9 – Munich, DE @ Backstage
1.10 – Budapest, HU @ Barba Negra
2.10 – Zwickau, DE @ Break Out Festival
3.10 – Frankfurt, DE @ Batschkapp
4.10 – Hamburg, DE @ Gruenspan
5.10 – Hannover, DE @ Faust
6.10 – Vienna, AT @ Simm City
7.10 – Cologne, DE @ Essigfabrik
8.10 – Bern, CH @ Gaskessel
9.10 – Toulouse, FR @ Bikini
10.10 – Rennes, FR @ L’etage
11.10 – Rouen, FR @ Le 106
13.10 – Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
14.10 – Nijmegen, NL @ Doornroosje
15.10 – Pratteln, CH @ Z7
16.10 – Nuremberg, DE @ Hirsch
17.10 – Stutgart, DE @ Club Universum
18.10 – Lyon, FR @ Transbordeur
19.10 – Sion, CH @ Le Port Franc
20.10 – Selestat, FR @ Rock Your Brain Fest
21.10 – Paris, FR @ Elysee Montmarte
22.10 – Antwerpen, BE @ Trix

Of their success with their recent release, the band had the following to say:

“For an awful band like Alestorm, that’s incredibly impressive, and it’s higher than anything we’ve ever achieved before! Thank you to everyone who bought an album and made this possible! Oh yeah, the coolest thing about this is, we charted higher than the new Shakira album, and she’s an international pop sensation! Does this mean we’ll be doing the theme tune for the next FIFA World Cup? Maybe. Does this mean we’ll dress in leather bikinis and record a cover of ‘Whenever, Wherever’? Definitely.“

Implore Annouce New Album

Metallers Implore have finished the writing and recording process for their upcoming album and it is ready for a release date of September 22nd via Century Media Records. Subjugate will be available on CD, LP and digital formats. During the recording process the band made 3 studio diaries, check out the first below:

In Late October the band will embark on a European tour with Gadget:

26.10.2017 Zürich (CH) Werk21/Dynamo
27.10.2017 Eindhoven (NL) Bloodshed Fest
28.10.2017 Leipzig (DE) Westwerk
29.10.2017 Ruzemberok (SK) Nove Korzo
31.10.2017 Karlsruhe (DE) Dudefest Halloween Edt.
01.11.2017  Brussels (BE) Magasin 4
02.11.2017 Hamburg (DE) Hafenklang
03.11.2017  Berlin (DE) Tommyhaus, Grindcore Fachtagung

Wednesday 13 – Condolences

20 years ago, a quirky little band named Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 was birthed, fronted by horror and shock rock aficionado Wednesday 13. As purveyors of sandpaper-throated horror rock ‘n roll, they developed a cult like following and several sleazy releases later, caught the eye of one Joey Jordinson of Slipknot. In a shared vision between between Jordinson and 13 the group morphed into platinum selling ghoul group The Murderdolls . Fast forward some 15 plus years and our man Wednesday 13 is cranking out spooky tunes at an extremely prolific rate, bringing us to his latest (trick or) treat, Condolences.

Kicking off the record is undoubtedly it’s strongest cut – What The Night Brings. Like the majority of the record, it rips and roars with machine gun guitars, spooky keys and gutter-trash vocals, serving up a devilish slice of ghoulish rock. Speaking prior to the albums release, 13 announced “The punk rock vibe has left the building and it’s become a full-on metal vibe” which is certainly apparent when listening to the bruising metalcore of You Breathe, I Kill and the thuggish grooves of Prey For Me. 

Previous releases saw high octane punk rock combined with Wednesday’s beloved shock rock – giving songs a buzz that matched his b-movie themed snarls. Here, the emphasis on slickly produced stock metal riffs and pitch black lyrical content can at times feel tiresome, leaving the record a little empty. For fans still looking for the full speed ahead vibe of old though, Lonesome Road To Hell comes complete with a monstrous chorus, while Cruel To You injects a little Motley Crue glam into the proceedings.

Wednesday 13 remains a troubadour for a bygone age of rock –  A fiend who may not have the mainstream spotlight he once held, but whose frequent and consistent output hopes to place him alongside such greats as Alice Cooper and The Misfits someday soon. On Condolences, he shifts gears slightly, beefing up the sound and darkening the tone a little – but for fans who have followed Mr 13 this far, there is nothing on his seventh solo release that will scare them off. That is….unless you want him to…

Condolences is out now on Nuclear Blast Records

Helsott begin tour with I Am Morbid and Necrophagia

Death Metal rockers Helsott are beginning a 13 date EU tour today with the guys in I Am Morbid and  Necrophagia

 

They kick off the tour in Poland, before heading to a further 7 countries.

 

Check out the full tour details below

29.05.2017 (PL) Bielsko Biala, Rudeboy
30.05.2017 (SVK) Kosice, Collosseum
31.05.2017 (HU) Budapest, Durer Kert
01.06.2017 (SVN) Ljubljana, Orto Bar
02.06.2017 (IT) Venice, Revolver
03.06.2017 (CH) Lyss, Kulturfabrik
04.06.2017 (DE) Hamburg, Logo
06.06.2017 (DE) Munich, Feierwerk
07.06.2017 (DE) Erfurt, From Hell
08.06.2017 (DE) Flensburg, Roxy
09.06.2017 (NL) The Hague, Paard von Troje
10.06.2017 (NL) Tilburg, 013
11.06.2017 (DE) Leipzig, Hellraiser

 

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