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.
Hailing from New England the Punk Rockers Four Year Strong are set to release their new record on the 8th of September. The record which is titled Some Of You Will Like This // Some Of You Won’t is set to be a great release with the band playing some of their old songs in new compositions or unplugged and also dropping a few new cuts at the same time. But without further ado let’s break down this new Four Year Strong release.
It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now kick starts this new record. It is a song everyone knows and is possibly FYS’ most recognizable song, but on this record and with its reimagination the song finds a new lease of life with a very beautiful and haunting musical composition that adds a new dimension to the track. Alongside this, the re-work just shows what is in-store for the rest of this record, from the beautiful vocal performances to the well-orchestrated instrumentation it is clear that FYS on this record, are setting out to please with this unplugged rarities album. All together this opening track is a beautiful redesign which opens up the album in a clear and strong way.
following on from this album opener is a duo of tracks which is fronted by Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die. The simple acoustic rendition of this song allows for the vocal performances to come to the foreground and display the ability that Alan Day and Dan O’Connor have. Although the instrumentation is far simpler than the songs original makeup there doesn’t seem to be any loss of quality in between the two very different versions of this song, with each word being just as powerful as they once had been and the new instrumentation allowing for some further internal meaning.
The second half of this duo is Go Down In History; A song which shows FYS taking a different approach to this notion of re-imagining a track, as in this the band find themselves adding in these brief moments of electronic instrumentation. Alongside this, the band switch out from the acoustic to add in this fuller and well toned electric which exists for the most part of the track. Again, as with the first two tracks and any other cuts off of this record the vocal performances are the main thing to keep an eye out for on this song, as with Four Year Strong taking a far more relaxed approach to the vocals they are able to showcase some beautifully crafted vocal melodies whilst also being able to fall back into the rougher vocal performances that they are known for
Following on from this duo is the a trio of tracks which starts with We All Float Down Here. A track which exists as far more than just a simple reimagining of the track that first came on their S/T (Self-Titled) from 2015, as the rendition of the track on this record feels like it is almost a step up from the bands original composition, especially when the band take a step away from the breakdown to focus more on to a country influenced solo.
The second part of this trio is Nice To Know which is not only the first full band song but is also the first new track on the record. The track moves along at a very steady pace with well-orchestrated instrumentation and well-toned guitars which are almost the center piece of the track. At the same time, the band start to mix in some electronic drums and instrumentation. This track is a great addition to the record as the overall composition of the song flows well with the album and what has come before it, but also shows the bands ability to create a cohesive track in and amongst some of their best cuts. The final part of this cut is Who Cares? which is a great unplugged rendition of a song of their 2015 s/t record whose tempo is slightly slower than thre original but also allows for more clarity vocally than what many may be used to from the full band version that sat upon the bands last album.
Let Me Down is another new track that is situated upon Some Of You May Like This…. Musically this track is interesting as it yet again explores more dynamics that the band has shown that they are able to do before. Specifically in this, however, FYS are almost exploring some Alt-Rock ideas whilst sticking to their iconic sound vocally. Overall this song is possibly the best of the new songs that exist on this record as even though the instrumentation feels simple at times none of it is wasted. Everything has a specific purpose.
Following on from the second original track is Stuck In The Middle and so happens to be one of the closest fully unplugged songs that exists on the record. However, even then the change to acoustic forces the band to alter things up, still showing some form of country exploration, which although at first feels odd completely compliments the track and showcases the bands musical ability as the song powers through to the end. Accompanying this is Abandon Ship, which is not only a stripped back version of the title of the song, but also of the song itself. Boiling it down to this very simple and beautifully constructed acoustic track which in a way almost takes on a ballad feeling. Having said that this is unfortunately the weakest track on the record. Even though this by no means is a bad track, as the band explore even more of these country ideas with this waning guitar that occassionaly features in the track as FYS’ vocalists croon on top.
Your Ego Is Writing Checks Your Body Can’t Cash is a song which has existed since the bands EP titled Demo 2006 and despite some slightly higher production the track hasn’t changed all that much. Having said that the instrumentation on this song is beautifully orchestrated which again allows for these chilling vocal melodies to take a hold of the song. This Summer Session is a similar track which finds its beginnings in the early part of FYS’ discography.
For Our Father’s rounds off what is a spectacular journey through Four Year Strong reimagining tracks and displaying new songs such as this one. For Our Father’s is a powerful and beautifully crafted closer to this record. This song is a haunting cut which sends chills down the spine from the vocal performances which stick in the mind long after this record finishes.
Overall, Some Of You Will Like This // Some Of You Won’t from Four Year Strong has little to no flaws, with them looking back at some of their best songs and them producing three new cuts which are second to none. Four Year Strong do not once drop the ball on this record displaying their ability to create songs out of their normal area of expertise but doing so with finesse. This record is definetly one to check out if you still are or have ever been a fan of the band as there is little to not be loved, from the beautiful vocal performances to the tight and well written instrumentation this album is a joy. [8.5/10]
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.
It’s certainly interesting when musicians known for such a strong body of work within their genre, release albums so intermittently. In the case of London street punks Cock Sparrer it comes as a real treat for their fans when the band drop a new album – and with Forever, their sixth album in a whopping 45 year long career, the band update their sound without shifting too far from the classic Oi! sound which they helped to define.
The key thing to remember about Cock Sparrer is that, despite their sometimes aggressive, socially questioning lyrics, the band has always managed to deliver the melodies that keep these lyrical barbs stuck in the listeners head. This comes across on lead single Gonna Be Alright with its very British take on pop-punk – sporting a punchy chorus complete with vibrant harmonies.
To be fair to the band, they keep the hostilities at a minimum here, with only a couple of tracks like opener One By One – which recalls youthful scrapping – coming across slightly brutish. The majority of the record deals with themes of unity and even tackles socially relevant issues such as unprovoked attacks on Somebodies Brother, Somebodies Son.
Although the format remains familiar, what separates this record from early releases, even from 2008’s Here We Stand, is the chunky production. Where once they embraced the minimal, buzzsaw guitar approach – on Forever, a meaty rhythm section holds up Mikey Beaufoy’s ultra-melodic lead guitar lines, even frontman Colin McFaull’s cockney snarl is pushed front and center.
With the band now releasing music at a declining rate, it seems that Cock Sparrer has put all they have into Forever and it shows through walloping anthems and their trademark brutally honest lyrics. It’s more than likely that the question on the lips of fans is “Could this be the bands last record?” If the answer is yes, Forever stands as a fine epitaph for an enduring band.
Forever is available now.
A new punk duo for you to check out. Toronto’s own High Signs are here to make a lasting impression with their new single ‘A Much Larger Ocean‘ and you can listen to the fiery riffs below!
Amplifier are here and are about to return with their sixth studio album, ‘Trippin’ With Dr Faustus’ which is due for release this June 30th. As well as this news, they’ve released a single titled ‘Kosmos‘ for you to listen to below!
Here to show you some twisted electro rock, theatrical punks Felix Hagan & The Family have released their brand new single ‘Delirium Tremendous’. Check out the track below!
Giving you some alternative punk flavours, Plastic are here to show you their first track from their new album! The track is called ‘Flossing‘ and you can listen to the single below.
With the fans holding baited breath for Bowling For Soup’s eagerly awaited headline slot on The Fireball Stage at this years’ Slam Dunk Festival, it seemed like the perfect time for the band to release a new acoustic single titled ‘Punk Rock 101‘. Check it out below!
Giving you some punk to keep you warm this winter, London-based trio Slowcoaches have announced their biggest headline tour to date for October and November this year. View the dates below as well as a peek of what the band are like sonically.
Oct / Nov 2017 Headline Tour
18/10/2017 – UK, Liverpool – Studio 2
19/10/2017 – UK, Manchester – Soup Kitchen
20/10/2017 – UK, Sheffield – The Rocking Chair
21/10/2017 – UK, Leeds – Lending Room
23/10/2017 – UK, Newcastle – Think Tank Underground
24/10/2017 – UK, Glasgow – Broadcast
25/10/2017 – UK, Nottingham – Bodega
27/10/2017 – UK, Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach Downstairs
28/10/2017 – UK, Exeter – Cavern – Indie Club
30/10/2017 – UK, Bristol – The Louisiana
31/10/2017 – UK, Oxford – Cellar
01/11/2017 – UK, Brighton – The Joker
02/11/2017 – UK, London – Kamio