stoner rock / alternative rock / grunge
Hell yeah, rock 'n fucking roll, causing desert level reaching temperatures and making me regret that I don't have a car. This is road music pur sang, perfectly suited for a cross country trip. Well, in most countries it is. In Belgium I wouldn't recommend going on a cross country trip by car. Our traffic is awful. Our highways look exactly the same as our parking spots, filled with stationary cars and fighting families.
Wait, sorry, I'm digressing again.
Her Name Was Fire is a Portuguese duo, formed in 2015 or 2016 after a heated conversation about rock music. Shortly after, they found themselves in some kind of room, rocking their asses off to their own groovy mix of of stoner rock and grunge. They liked what they heard and decided to record an album. That thing is now available for your enjoyment and here are a few reasons why you check it out.
One. It rocks. That first song, 'Little Pain' is a smasher and it's far from the only one on this album. It's an uptempo rocker, delivered straight from the nineties. It brings all the goodness of Queens Of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters and Nirvana. The whole album is loaded with these groovy and fuzzy tunes, irresistible to stoner rockers and grunge adepts alike. Even when the tempo goes down, the songs never lose their immersive character.
Two. This album contains some of the best vocal performances I have ever heard in this scene. Both musicians sing, quite often together, which enhances the joyous and powerful atmosphere of the whole thing. Furthermore, Nirvana's 'Heart Shaped Box' must have been a big influence, coincidentally one of the grunge songs with the best vocals lines. The song 'Way To Control' even manages to come up with poppy and punky vocals and they work bloody damn well.
Three. It rocks. It rocks so damn well that I have decided to turn it into a reason twice. My absolute favorite here is 'Summer Strummer', another irresistible uptempo blaster. There's a touch of noise rock in that one too, which obviously is another huge plus. Oh well, maybe I'm just being nostalgic for those awesome and exhilarating nineties. Then again, some huge band forgot to record this album back then and Her Name Was Fire turned it in a potential future classic now.
shoegaze / post-punk / alternative rock
Things you do not want to experience as a band: arriving at your rehearsal room only to find out that someone had broken in and stolen the equipment. That happened to Belgian post punk act The Mary Hart Attack and, needless to say, they were devastated. Still, they stubbornly kept working on their debut full-length and crowdfunded themselves some new equipment. Now, that album is ready to be released, and it's a blast.
The album opens with the song 'In Dreams' which is basically Joy Division meets Sonic Youth. There is a lot of noise and feedback, tonnes of energy and a dark, aggressive atmosphere. In short, the perfect opener for a brilliant post post record. From then on, the band takes on a what can only be described as a vintage post punk journey. The earlier mentioned bands are never far away, which is a good thing.
'Spiders' is a great song too, slower but immersive as hell. It is followed by one of my absolute favorites here, the uptempo and mesmerizing 'All Wrong No Bliss' which drives on an almost industrial drum beat. This one will get many people shaking their butts off at gigs, no doubt about that. Who knows, maybe I will be one of them too. My feet are already tapping along and my head nods like a madman.
By now, we're halfway through the album and I have decided that this album is one where we Belgians should be proud of. It's one of the most dynamic and entertaining alternative rock albums I've heard recently, just listen to the murderous 'This Room' (after it's strange intro). If that doesn't get you off your feet, you might as well amputate them. That was a little joke, please do not amputate your feet.
Anyway. I guess it's clear by now that The Mary Hart Attack is a firm candidate to become the next big thing in alternative Belgium. I won't be surprised when these guys appear in Humo and on Studio Brussel a lot from now on. I will be surprised if they don't end up on the bills of Pukkelpop, Rock Werchter or Marktrock. They definitely deserve it, especially with such a vintage sounding and immersive album as this one.
post rock / alternative
Ghost Shirt Society is an album by Russian experimental/ post rock group Antethic, released on April 2. Fifty minutes long, the album has eight tracks: Ilium, Modulor, Metamachine, Fragments, Cascadia, Tsunami Museum, Sentinel and The Moon Must Fall. A beautiful, quiet and subtle post rock work with an interesting display of experimentalism, Ghost Shirt Society is a very introspective album, with a modular universe condensed in the core of its moderated melodies. Full of intriguing, splendorous and audacious qualities, Ghost Shirt Society is a record ostensibly delineated by a conjuncture of fascinating and impeccably punctuated peculiarities, amazingly combined to conceive a lucid and overwhelming work of art.
Although the harmonies in general are very discreet, they can be also intrinsically intense. With a pulsating layer of inebriating beauty, Ghost Shirt Society has interesting melodies, that sometimes expands its general line of sonorous flavors into the colorful zones of indie and alternative rock as well. With a somewhat simple, but ostensibly dynamic musical sensibility, Antethic really has created on Ghost Shirt Society an intriguing mosaic of genres, where different styles play along altogether, in a beautiful and intuitive coalition of sounds, filtered as one infinite and monumental soundscape.
Nonetheless, calmness is the main element that punctuates Antethic ‘s music. The harmonies are smooth and serene, and into their wings the listener can undertake a marvelous journey of ambivalent dreams, where everything is sidelined with reality, although in more colorful, charming and surprising shapes. Undoubtedly, all your sensibilities will tell you that the music of Antethic has to be felt, for its strength has so much consistency that you almost can sense its palpable and vivid resonances to pressure your skin, and legitimize a spectacle inside your soul.
In Ghost Shirt Society, beautiful melodies, poetic harmonies and amazingly elevated sonorous layers perfectly complement each other, to fully diffuse throughout a creative universe of overwhelming serenity a marvelous dimension of sensibility and splendor. With a delicate and dispersive touch of primal intensity, the music of Antethic reaches a formidable level of authenticity, that makes you literally feel that everything is possible, in each and every conceivable way. A fantastic and terrific album, Ghost Shirt Society is an aggrandizing overview of an evolutionary and expansive model to dilate a more imponderable and dense musical universe. A very peculiar album, evidently, it will fascinate all the enthusiasts of the genre, without exceptions.
Thunder On The Fields is an album by Danish alternative rock group Demon Head, released on April 7. Forty minutes long, the album has seven tracks: Menneskeæderen, We Are Burning, Thunder On The Fields, Older Now, Hic Svnt Dracones, Gallow's Omen and Untune The Sky. An amazing, vigorous, fantastic and volatile album, with subtle inclinations to rockabilly, indie and punk rock, Thunder On The Fields is a gracious, flexible, imponderable and hallucinating masterpiece. With amazing melodies, a classic appeal, a genuine sonorous framework and an abrasively mordacious and consistent style, the record scores high on energy, originality and authenticity. Its seems a perfect mixture of The Strokes, The Smiths and The Hellacopters, with the best elements of these bands having been thoroughly worked and improved. Nevertheless, do not allow these comparisons to fool yourself, they’re just superficial. Demon Head highlights the venture of its own qualities, all the way through.
With an incredibly amazing pace, the tunes are characteristically soft and easy-minded, although they can be perceived as deeply tempestuous and rebellious as well. The guitar solos are simply strikingly extraordinary, as well as the vocals, incisively sober, but with an effusively audacious serious intonation, that juxtaposes the more poetic sidelines of their music. With a powerful, pungent, precise and elegant artistic sensibility, Thunder On The Fields has marvelous tracks after marvelous tracks.
Highly recommended for enthusiasts of indie and alternative rock, Demon Head wisely evokes in their sound that affectionate atmosphere typical of sixties rock’n’roll, while maintaining the easy-going fluidity of their style cohesively inserted in a contemporary arrangement. Although the general structure of their music can be classified as simple, the melodies are astoundingly poetic, essentially charming and proverbially translucent. Their overall sound is a mixture of arrogant dreams and sincere smiles, and you can’t avoid the temptation to incorporate the behavioral rapture evoked by their music.
There is not a singular element in their music that can be categorized as unfavorable. With an essentially dominant musical security that standardizes a dynamic sense of independent fruition concerning their sensitive and elaborated style, Demon Head has really conceived in Thunder On The Fields a very singular work, that excels in the propensities of its sonorous validations. An expressively mature and ostensibly impressive work that intensifies in the vast scope of its wide range of influences a new anagram of musical beauty, Demon Head is a sensational and wonderful group, that really knows how to enlarge the magnificent artistry of the genre, and with such a sonorous richness and abundance, that you inevitably wishes everybody to discover their sound!
psychedelic / alternative / rock / post punk
I always wonder how bands like to tag themselves, what kinds of music they claim they play, and then compare it to my own opinions. Sometimes, we seem to think very different things about the music. With this album by Polish rock band Manescape, that is exactly what happened. Their bandcamp mentions 'rock, psychedelic and stoner' but I politely disagree. It is rock, that's true. There are psychedelic aspects, that's also true. But this is not stoner rock, although you can easily enjoying it while smoking a joint.
So, you might wonder, what is it? Well, in short, 'Antibodies' is an excellent alternative rock album where post rock, post punk and shoegaze meet psychedelic rock. At least, that is my opinion. 'Antibodies' contains ten songs, and each of them makes me long for the summer festivals. Songs like the brilliant opener 'Helium' or the energetic 'Beautiful Agony' make me wish I was on a sunlit festival terrain, shaking my hips and tapping my feet, much like songs by Soulwax, Placebo, Muse, The Twilight Sad, The Pixies and many of their colleagues do.
I also hear a lot of references toward English new wave or post-punk bands like Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen and so on. But what I hear most on this album, is enjoyment. These guys love to play music together, which results in music that will easily bring a smile to your face. Their enthusiasm is contagious. I have been tapping along with each and every song so far. 'Helium' remains my favorite but I also adore the uptempo yet melancholic 'Decadence And The Wind', a song that will often appear in my day-to-day playlist from now on.
So, the question now is, who to recommend this album to? To stoner rockers? Well, yeah, why not. This might not really compare to Karma To Burn, Kyuss or Queens Of The Stone Age, but it is superb rock music with some nice groovy riffs. Besides, 'The Yearning' somewhat reminds me of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, so that's that. Furthermore, of course, all alternative rockers should really try this one. I am absolutely sure that some of you will find a new favorite song on this album. I know I have...
blues / alternative rock
Professor Electric's Pandemonium Shadow Show is the debut album of the eponymous blues/ savage/ desert rock project of American musician Kyle Hicks Dodel, from Las Vegas, Nevada, released in April 8. Almost forty seven minutes long, the album has eight tracks: Reap What You Sow, I Wanna Be Your Man, Son of Sleep, Brain's Got The Map, Sunduin Ang Abularyo, Down By Law, Kroatoan and Obediance. Although it is an album with prominently ecstatic and frozen melodies, its style is virtually interesting, profusely concentrated, and ostensibly directed to a very specific audience. A very pub styled rock’n’roll, that has on the shadows of the vicinities of the legal limits of decadent sceneries and alcoholic stupors the perfect presumption of a sordidness amazingly duplicated into the sound, Professor Electric's Pandemonium Shadow Show is rock’n’roll from another breed, that inherently belongs to transient and declining atmospheres. These are fundamental elements to this project’s conceptual and very categorical style.
At first, you may not think of Professor Electric's Pandemonium Shadow Show as a great or terrific album. But strange as it is, on its own terms, the album can be considered as such, and much more, if you allow yourself to really listen to this album with all the attention it deserves. With the personal atmosphere of a dilacerating rock’n’roll that celebrates in great style the filth, the dirtiness and the savageness of the genre, this album – and the overall spirit of the project, of course – are conspicuously omniscient of the efficiency demanded by a purely genuine and outcast style, that rescues the soul and the fragile authenticity of a musical alignment that has been marginalized over time, and aspire, in the sidelines of compelling voracious influences, the vivid rebelliousness of truly inhospitable melodies, that incorporates exasperation, decadence, laziness, numbness and wildness as essential sonorous components – omnipotent as well – of a distinctly ferocious work of art.
Despite the fact that Professor Electric's Pandemonium Shadow Show can’t be categorized as a masterpiece, this album is exceedingly peculiar and original. Although the songs are generally slow, this is fundamental not only for the truth of the style per se, but works mainly for the effectiveness of the musical intonations. In this instance, dirty and slow guitar lines elaborate on sonorous barriers the virtual ascendancy of laboriously insane melodies, that acts in an almost frenzy style, although they are paradoxically functioning in a majorly slow and calm sonorous vein.
Professor Electric's Pandemonium Shadow Show is a very interesting, intriguing, delusional, surreal and remarkable musical experience. If you like a more frivolous, condescending and introverted, but at the same time “irresponsible”, free, discreetly distorted and wild styled rock, I highly recommend this album. Be sure you will have a great time listening to it.
alternative rock / hard rock / stoner rock
Beyond The Sun is an album by Canadian hard rock band Woodhawk, released on April 7. Almost forty minutes long, the record has nine tracks: Beyond The Sun, The High Priest, Living In The Sand, Magnetic North, Lawless, Quest For Clarity, A New Hope, Foresee The Future and Chrononaut. Woodhawk, essentially an alternative rock band with hard rock elements, has a style that resembles a little – but very little – almost forgotten post grunge related acts, like Tantric and Days of the New. But the best assertion for their sound – although I really don’t like comparisons – can be described as someone who has really taught Nickelback and Creed how to create and play music decently. Of course, with Deep Purple and Whitesnake elements added to it.
But considerations apart, Woodhawk has a very personal and virtuous style. Fluid, free-flowing, wild and explosive, Beyond The Sun is a highly energetic album, with exceedingly dimensional and expansive guitars, wisely inserted into a vigorous dynamic of persuasive intelligence. With fabulous melodies, and an intensely vibrating – although sometimes crude and rude – level of originality, the songs on this album have a strong personal identity, that abundantly escalates into the voracious fields of their harmonies a virtual solicitude, that captivatingly standardizes in the shapes of the rhythms a splendid vigor, that purposely defines in the labor of its own sonorous universe the voracity of its artistic intentions.
Although Beyond The Sun is not exactly a marvelous album, it’s fantastically pretty revealing, in what concerns scope, style and technique. And it’s undeniable the fact that Woodhawk is several levels above the vast majority of other bands of the genre.
An intelligent, vibrating and interesting album, Beyond The Sun, unfortunately, after a certain time, becomes too uniform and too monotonous, with the general melodies appearing to be too similar to one another. Nevertheless, the album indeed scores high in a general evaluation, and technically, they are astoundingly precise and effective as well. The best songs in this album, in my opinion, are the first and the seventh, the eponymous Beyond The Sun and A New Hope, respectively.
A very interesting album, Beyond The Sun has potential to capture a loyal audience within the hard/ alternative rock music community. And to engrave the strength of their work on the scene, of course.
stoner rock / grunge / alternative rock
Hailing from Lausanne, Switzerland, stoner rock trio Hey Satan comes up with an interesting blend of rock styles, including stoner rock, alternative rock and grunge. The trio, consisting of former members of Shovel and Houston Swing Engine, stands for pure rock 'n roll pleasure, something that is almost always welcome here, even if there is no bass guitar involved. Yes, two guitars, drums and vocal cords are all Hey Satan need to turn a gig into a searing hot party.
Opener 'Fallon City Messiah' immediately drags this thing into the world of stoner rock as Kyuss is by far the first band that comes to mind. Their influence will be a constant throughout the album, but here and there they are being joined by other grandmasters. 'Legal Aspect Of Love' brings Nirvana to mind, and especially their 'Heart Shaped Box' song. Alice In Chains is another influence which is quite noticeable here, along with Led Zeppelin, be it somewhat heavier.
On 'sunshine Blues' the trio shows their knowledge of both blues and psychedelic rock. But then, a first - and only - point of criticism arrives. Those first three songs drive on a modest tempo and that doesn't seem to change on the rest of the album. Although there is plenty of energy to be found, I wouldn't mind a few uptempos songs. Those would add some variation to the entire thing. 'Song For A Lost Mariner' is a step into the right direction but that one too quickly adapts the same tempo as the others.
That being said, 'Bastardizer' is another firm step into that uptempo goodness, be it for a while. This is the stuff I was writing about in the previous paragraph, stuff that might appear more often on the next Hey Satan album. And in that aspect I have to mention the fierce, almost thrash metal/hardcore inspired 'Black Flags Down'. Perhaps that song should have been placed earlier on the album. It's a blast.
So I asked and Hey Satan delivered, that's a good thing. In all, this obviously is an excellent stoner rock album, loaded with thick riffs and hypnotic drums. Fans of the genre can easily trust this trio to bring the fuzz and get the party started. No doubt about that. I'm sure these songs will find thier way to my speakers more often, with 'Black Flags Down' probably becoming the most played song. Of course I will recommend it to all you stoner rockers. After all, you live for this kind of music...
indie / alternative rock
Born in the Heavy is an album by Norwegian indie/ alternative rock band Captain Kill, released on March 10. Thirty six minutes long, and with six tracks – Born in the Heavy, Far, Better Off Dead, Monsters, Critical Point and Absolutely Stellar – Born in the Heavy is a very concise album. With interesting compositions, captivating melodies and a very genuine score, Captain Kill is a honest album, that brings back delightful memories, and an innocent spirit of mindfulness, that splendidly incorporates the spirit of indie rock.
Born in the Heavy has considerable stoner rock elements inserted in the inner layers of its music, which gives to the sound very aggressive features, that adds interesting colors to its well flavored artistic inclinations. With a spontaneous playfulness that has on the core of its style a solid and coherent approach, Born in the Heavy can be regarded as a characteristic exemplar of the genre in several points. Unfortunately, this observation is valid not only for the good ones, but for the bad ones too. If the record has a consistent sound, it should be noted that Born in the Heavy suffers extensively from the main flaws of the genre, and the most terrible of these is certainly the sugar pop shaped songs syndrome, which deeply affects most bands in the indie rock scenario. Excessively happy and uplifting rhythms combined with graceful appraisals of an existentialist combination of clichés contaminates the anatomy of several songs, to the point that sometimes you have the feeling that you are listening to a moderately hazardous rock version of NSYNC.
Born in the heavy is not a bad album, but unfortunately, they aren’t successful in avoiding or deviating from the congenital fails inherent to the genre. So, in the end, they deliver something that manages to be only a little better than just another regular and generic indie rock album. Something similar to a Kings of Leon meets Sting, or anything in this same line of reference.
In the end, Born in the Heavy is recommendable only to very ardent enthusiasts of indie rock. This album suffers from a very critical condition, that is not a problem of the band itself, but it’s something deeper and disgraceful, that affects the entire genre, and whose main symptoms are the excessive use of clichés, monotonous melodies, sentimental poetry and the abuse of an existentialist quest for meaning, reminiscent of thoughts from a teenager that recently had seen his mom naked. So, if you are searching for something with an artistic scope more wise and meaningful than the one offered by this work, I strongly suggest you to skip this album entirely.
The White Flies is an album by the eponymous Brazilian stoner rock act, released in February 5. Thirty seven minutes long, the record has six tracks: Propeller, Chaser, 3am Samba, Liquify, Pipeline Echo and Daydream Tendency. A formidable album, one of the best that I have heard on the genre, I’m extremely proud to be able to acknowledge the fact that this magnificent band is from my country. With a proficient style, and a very methodic line of work, the instrumental sensibility of the musicians can be described as functional and efficient, and they have a genuine technicality that gives to their sound a very special component that is full of life, although its main elements are very gentle, soft and discreet.
The sound is calm and slow, and these characteristics are a mainstay throughout the whole album, although they are expressively competent in more aggressive and abrasive musical passages. But the strongest element of their music is a powerful objectivity, that really digresses from a very methodic and carefully detailed sonorous elaboration, that extracts from exceedingly meticulous guitar lines the arbitrary power of an extremely surreal and intense musicality. In fact, The White Flies reveals itself to be a very splendid work, that has on the intricacy of a permanently detailed calmness the splendid ingredients for a profoundly developed singular style.
Of course, you have to be an ardent enthusiast of this genre of music, to have an affinity with their sound, otherwise chances are high that you will become extremely bored. But if you like slow motion mosaic impressionistic tunes in superbly dense reverberating musical tonalities, The White Flies is an album that becomes almost a religious obligation to hear! A fantastic album indeed. And what can be pointed out as incredibly impressive on this record is the fact that, despite, the predominantly slow harmonies, you never feel yourself encircled by a singular trace of monotony whatsoever. The album is splendidly interesting, expressively wonderful, quite charming, delicate and full of marvelous melodies.
Without a doubt, The White Flies is an amazing album. Certainly, a golden pearl for each and every enthusiast of stoner rock. It’s almost a crime not to listen the astoundingly singular conjunction of qualities that this formidable record proved itself to be!
electronic / alternative rock
Well, since we're dealing with deviant music today, I might as well throw this one in the mix. Again, much like the melodic death metal, the free jazz and the harsh hip hop I wrote about today, here is an album that shatters every expectation and leaves me wondering what the hell I'm going to write about the damn thing. Not that I mind, but the days of easily categorizing a band are over, that's for damn sure.
Unsurprisingly, Margaret Catcher are a French duo, that country is crazy. One is a drummer, the other one plays bass and both throw in heaps of vocoders, effect pedals and sensor paths. The result is something that resembles math rock music in an electronic and abstract way, a bit maybe like something between Add N to (X), Battles and Suicide. This album is loaded with weirdness, but also with uplifting and danceable songs.
Most of the songs are quite short, only a few make the three minutes mark. Nonetheless, they are full of unexpected hooks, dynamic drums and an old school sound that will make every vintage synth fan get aroused, easily. My personal favorites? Well, I'm quite fond of opener 'Not Too Bad' and title track 'Singularity' is a confusing but massively enjoyable piece of music. In between, there are other captivating tracks to be found.
In all, this is a startling album, one that could have been made in the experimental scenes of the seventies or eighties. I think most of these songs will end up in my day-to-day playlist and I'm sure that I will grin each time they appear, especially when I got people over who have no idea that there is such a thing as experimental music. I suggest you do the same, you might be surprised what lurks in the rehearsal rooms of France...
noise rock / alternative
I have a weird relationship with noise rock, more so than any other genre. Usually, when I read the genre in the biography, I can quickly decide if I am going to like the album or not. Post rock is ok, metalcore is not, for example. However, with noise rock things are a bit more complicated than that. There are plenty of bands that I like but there are just as many bands than I don't like. Then, there are even albums containing songs I love and songs I'm not so sure about.
On this particular album, there is one song I don't necessarily want to listen to again but there are five others that earn a spot in my all-time favorite noise rock playlist. That one song is the hardcore punk induced 'Paris'. The others are highlighted by the slow but intense, harsh and dynamic slab of insanity that 'Wild Horses' is. Although, I have to say that opener 'Realm Of Refuge' immediately made me a fan of this band.
The band is a trio from Norway by the way. They have been around for quite some time now and just returned from a two years lasting world tour. The album is produced by Jørgen Træen (Jaga Jazzist/Sondre Lerche/Susanne Sundfør/Golden Serenades/Noxagt) and featuring guest contributions from Japanese noise legend Pain Jerk and Norwegian percussionist Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen.
When I listen to this album, acts like Melvins, Boredoms, Godflesh, Sonic Youth and Melt Banana come to mind. Although the music rarely gets as extreme as Melt Banana, MoE certainly love slab you in the face with massive noise riffs, high energy drums and seemingly incoherent vocals. Here and there I can also hear flashes of Skullflower, obviously mainly in some of the noise outbursts on 'Doll's Eye' or closer 'Letters of Pliny'.
In all, this simply is an excellent noise rock album, one that deserves a spot in your collection if you like any of the bands I mentioned in this review. With elements from sludge metal, grunge and hardcore, these Norwegians can also appeal to fans of other styles. So my advice is simple, check out the album and allow MoE to demolish your sanity. You know you want to...
Industrial / Alternative / Metal
VTT… Vélo Tout Terrain? Not exactly. Voodoo Terror Tribe? Of course! Top shelve music brought by an alternative metal band that already has quite a repertoire. Showing up with bands such as W.A.S.P., Biohazard and more VTT added Il Nino to their list last year. After the ’15 years of revolution’ Anniversary Tour with this last band in 2016 VTT prepared themselves to unleash their newest work, produced by Christian Machado (Il Nino), on the world.
Lead guitarist Emir Erkal explains in an interview (collegenews.com) that his Turkish and therefore some Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences unconsciously return in his work. This immediately becomes concrete in ‘Lady In The Wall’ and ‘Edge Of Within’. He also adds that their music progressed over the years making their third and newest album sound more modern and industrial with catchy melodies. An amusing fact: the song ‘No Hell Like Home’ was written backwards. Starting from the title the music was written and later on the lyrics were added.
This 10-track album is one of my favorites so far this year. ‘City of Sixes’ was the first single released together with a very entertaining music video. I have often caught myself singing its chorus or whistling its tune without even listening to the album. I agree with Erkal when he says that the melodies are catchy. This is not only the fact for ‘City Of Sixes’ but also for songs like ‘Burn More Bridges’ and ‘No Hell Like Home’, which somehow reminds me of Blackstone Cherry.
My personal feeling about their latest release is that it is a high-quality piece of metal magic. It is an album that varies in style. What does that mean? Well, VTT has a wide reach. The different tracks, in my opinion, cannot all be placed in the same basket. ‘Night Wolf’ and ‘Under The Knife’, songs that are a bit heavier, differ from, for example, ‘Die To The Din Of The Drums’, which is more Danko Jones-like. Does that mean that these mentioned titles do not have any resemblances? No, I will not go that far. VTT always succeeds in producing its own unique sound.
Because I do not want to withhold any information from you, I have to add one final thing. There is also a cover on the album, a Rammstein one. Not many bands can pull off something like that. VTT gets away with it. Although ‘Pussy’ is not my favorite song, I enjoy the Voodoo Terror Tribe version. Honestly, I have to conclude that I would not have added that track to the album. Voodoo Terror Tribe is enough on its own. Erkal and his companions do not need to be a cover band. They deserve to be covered.
You're Not As ____ As You Think... is the third album by Sorority Noise, to be released March 17th via Triple Crown Records. With ten tracks – No Halo, A Portrait Of, First Letter From St. Sean, A Better Sun, Disappeared, Car, Where Are You, Second Letter From St Julie, Leave The Fan On and New Room – , You're Not As ____ As You Think... departs from a more typical approach of alternative rock, greatly combining soft passages with more explosive and aggressive parts. With a subtle infusion of pop rock, and very dissonant, but expressively cohesive guitar lines, this album is an interesting and precious exemplar of the genre, despite some limitations. Hardly deviating from their monolithic musical proposal, with a more condensed and frozen creative outline, Sorority Noise remembers The Strokes a little, although they certainly can be considered way much better. The songs have essence, and sometimes a very melancholic vibe, but generally their lucid points of expression are exceedingly high, and the album scores above the general average.
Their striking sense of style is solid, and their coherence and loyalty to themselves strengthens their musical ground. Unfortunately, the excessive uniformity in some songs inevitably gives you an imperative sense of monotony, and you get that sensation that they are playing the same song over and over again. Nonetheless, if you like more depressive songs, with a very lower mood and calmer melodies, You're Not As ____ As You Think... certainly is an album that was made for you.
My general evaluation concerning this album defines it as a very good one. Their technique is decent and very secure, and they certainly display a modest degree of creativity. Nonetheless, they need to leave more ardently their comfort zone, because in a lot of moments, on this album, the sound becomes unexpressive and generic, and they could be easily labeled as just another band of the genre.
You're Not As ____ As You Think... is not a masterpiece, but is a very good record. Easy to please more specific audiences, enthusiasts of a very down to earth pop rock, with surreal influences, a little reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian, will make up your mind, your head and your heart, with a very brave, lucid and solicit genuine essence.
The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues is an album by KYUSS frontman John Garcia, released on late January by Napalm Records. Almost forty six minutes, the record has eleven tracks, being them Kylie, Green Machine, Give Me 250ml, The Hollingsworth Session, Space Cadet, Gardenia, El Rodeo, Argleben II, Court Order, The BLVD (Live) and Give Me 250ml (Live). A pretty much acoustic stoner rock album, The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues is a very powerful and energetic work, filled with twisting, emotional and surprising rhythms. Exceedingly exceptional, several tracks are astounding and ferocious pieces of artistry, amazingly created and beautifully delineated, with very singular, delicate and sensible sonorous appointments.
The album is not just formidable, but incredibly executed. The songs seems to be the creation of a very delusional artist out of this world, and the guitar lines are spirally contracted to breath over a planetary discussion of sonorous cohesion. With a poetic vibration that standardizes overtly cleansed spiritual harmonies, the melodies are so genuinely stricken that you feel comfortable listening to them all the way through, as they seem to know the proper way to your heart, in an unforgivingly right pathway to the emotional staircase of an unbound elemental collision.
With small elements stolen from smooth, wild and southern rock, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues is a major achievement in technical, spiritual and artistic aspects. With beautifully consecrated tracks, the record alternates between mood, emotional and elemental songs, and more unpredictable, encircled and harmonically conscripted ones, almost ballad driven, but always with a very desert rock feature densely impregnated into it. Although I haven’t found the album to be a masterpiece, it certainly gets close to it. Filled with a powerful energy – even in calmer songs – from the beginning to the end, The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues is a major record, that has all the chances to elevate John Garcia to the status of a legend, no doubt about that.
With colorful guitar lines, vigorous and precise rhythms, a major sense of breakable and twisting functional notes, a superbly wild rock mood and sensible walls of melodic superiority, this album certainly can be regarded as a trademark of the genre. Precise, beautiful, aggrandizing, intuitive, genuine and very honest, The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues aggregates a major set of elements into the genre, reworking in a very audacious new platform the very good, elemental and old components of traditional southern, wild and desert rock, giving us a major album as a final result.
Enter Escape is an album by Croatian alternative metal group The Ralph, released on February 20. Forty minutes long, the album has ten tracks: End of Everything, Next In Line, Enter Escape, Means End, Detached, Delimiter, Years Away, Reflux, Untouchable and D.I.G. A very powerful, energizing, strong and exceedingly furious album, Enter Escape really inserts interesting components into the genre. With the digression of pop and alternative rock elements infused into their sound, The Ralph has created a very intriguing and promising album, a little reminiscent of acts such as Seether, Shinedown, Nickelback, Creed and Three Days Grace. But don’t get me wrong: they are much, much, much better than those references. With an exponential sound that has a superb, vigorous, free-flowing, fluid and spontaneous synergy, The Ralph easily manages to be superior than all these other bands combined.
A furious, splendid and very aggressive album, the musical spontaneity of their sound is surprising, They lack the mechanical and mathematical despondency of similar acts, whose aggressiveness sounds forced and artificial. With primitive, but expressively melodic pulses, their music proposes a true and formidable revival on a genre that has been dying for a long time now. Although at first they do not sound innovative, they do insert so many original and authentic components to their music, that their style immediately exposes itself by its unique scope and singularity. With an expressive vitality that shines with a brutal, but marvelous intensity, Enter Escape, song by song, reveals itself as a wonderful album, that has on the verge of a splendidly solicit flame of originality a marvelous ordeal of musical lucidity, artistic ambition and expressive sagacity. One of the best albums of the genre that I have heard, Enter Escape is filled by elements of other genres, that largely contributes to expand the brilliance of The Ralph’s musical style.
For enthusiasts of alternative metal, Enter Escape is not just a tremendous record, but a gracious and overwhelming personal victory. An album that has everything to outstand each and every possible milestone of the genre, there is not a single moment, a single passage or a single track that could be labeled as bad, mediocre or lazy. This is a very energetic, surprising, elemental, formidable and intense album, that certainly will satisfy at large all the expectations demanded on the scene by the devotees of the genre. I don’t have the slightest doubt about that.
With that crude vibe that easily combines with the ongoing lone stranger on the ride, but without losing the youngster appeal, Enter Escape carries on the dimension of its artistic capacities everything you can imagine: free and reverberating guitar lines, intense harmonies, exceedingly major impulsive beats and very unforgiving lacerating rhythms. An impeccable album, full of gold and sensational artistic elements, The Ralph really has proved for once and for all why they are astoundingly relevant on the scene.
post rock / alternative rock
Jan-Dirk Platek returns with his one-man post-rock project We Deserve This, an act that has been featured here several times before. According to the biography, this release takes We Deserve This back to its roots and that might just be spot on. 'Smile' turns out to be quite a heavy album, still thriving on heavily distorted guitars, elaborate keyboards and meticulous drum patterns. In short, post-rock you can bang your head to.
The album opens with the title track, which immediately kicks off with the heaviness. Don't expect any calm intros or slow build-ups. No, We Deserve This is a post-rock act with a firm focus on the 'rock' part. In that aspect, it is not a big surprise that I can hear influences from nineties alternative rock, metal and grunge, and I don't mind either. These elements just make the whole thing even more immersive.
Of course, you can easily place this album among your favorites by Explosions In The Sky, This Will Destroy You and so on. Over the years, this act certainly earned its place there and with this album, he only confirms that. 'Unnahbar' is probably my favorite track here, a solid rocker, perfectly suited for a road trip. 'Gloom' follows that example, be it perhaps in a lighter and somewhat more playful approach.
That being said, and to conclude, 'Smile' is a heavy album, but also a friendly and warm one. I think it's no coincidence that this album will be released shortly before spring arrives. It has a certain atmosphere which somewhat feels similar to the nicest of seasons. So yes, this thing comes highly recommended, what would you expect? Check it out, buy the album and engulf yourself in some vivacious post-rock.
In Tenebris is the most recent album released by French alternative rock group Evenline. With ten tracks – All Against Me, StraitJacket, Silene Capensis, Echoes Of Silence, Sometimes We Die, Broken Promises, Never There, Deeper Underground, From The Ashes and Wasted Years – In Tenebris is a solid, mature and very expressive album, with some aggressive elements, and traditional components inherent to an alternative rock musical structure. With growling and clean vocals, interesting guitar solos and a lucid musical axis, In Tenebris is a promising album, that revolves around a curious dynamic between aggression and sensibility.
Although the album, in several passages, falls into a more generic musical category, with sometimes too symmetric passages between the brutal and soft moments, the record has its merits. With good melodies and a decent pace, there is soul and consistency within the songs. Nevertheless, the lack of stronger and more genuine elements seems to disqualify the album a little, as in some moments you feel you are just listening to another generic band of the genre, similar to Seether, Creed, HIM or Three Days Grace, or an ingenious mixture of all of them. Don’t get me wrong. The band is great. Technically, there is nothing to complain. But they need to reshape their music a little, to add more authentic elements to it.
There are some good moments on the record, and they know how to structure their songs very well, and combine different rhythms, as well as breaking and interrupting them into unpredictable irregular nuances. Nevertheless, the flavor of some of the melodies makes them too dangerously close to pop rock, being an example the track Never There. And all the way through, it becomes impossible to ignore the fact that something is missing, perhaps a more incisive musical component, that could give them the level of excellence they seem to be searching for.
While In Tenebris manages to be just an average album, it offers interesting possibilities. Technically, there is nothing here to complain. You have competent musicians, playing good music. Nevertheless, they fall a little off in the creativity component, which is a shame, since they have potential to go beyond any limits that might be doing a little harm to their artistic goals. Personally, I think they have yet to develop the peculiarities of an individual style, to escape the more generic sound they unfortunately display, and that could possibly associate them with the radio friendly bands I’ve pointed out some lines above.
Apparently, somewhere in Portugal, someone is incredibly sad and melancholic. At least, that's what I think after listening to some of the songs on this gloomy and emotional album. Sweet Nico is a dream-pop duo consisting of vocalist and lyricist Marisa da Anunciação and guitarist and producer David Francisco of post-rockers When The Angels Breathe. Together, they wrote and recorded nine songs that will undoubtedly weigh on your soul, and they top it off with a cover of Mazzy Star's 'Fade Into You'. You can indeed say that Mazzy Star has been a major influence for Sweet Nico, along maybe with acts like Slowdive and Radiohead. Yet, in a way, the songs on 'R Evival' gnaw deeper, probably because of the edgy, lo-fi sound of the whole thing.
When I close my eyes and let my imagination wander, I can see images of an abandoned village, soon to be completely demolished. Yet, somewhere on the edge, in an old, gloomy café, sad music is playing, slowly lingering over the empty streets and into the moonlight. The music feels like ancient blues, driving on soundscapes and percussion which are just as sad and nostalgic as the voice the accompany. Sometimes, the tempo goes up, caused only by the percussion and drums. All else remains slow, dreary and mirthless. Colors seem to fade away, nature seems to retreat. For now, there is only that old café and that murky music.
So no, this is not a happy album, not at all. This is something for shoegazers, dream pop addicts and sombre minds. Fans of Mazzy Star, Slowdive and The Jesus and Mary Chain will definitely appreciate songs like 'Honeymoon', 'Love Caravan' and 'Rain'. The latter is my personal favorite here, a heavily emotional ballad, so minimal it almost hurts your heart. So if you're in for a decent crying session, or you just want to wander in the darker regions of your innerself, you might want to give this album a shot. In that case, this comes highly recommended.