The 30th of October, 2020: Bring Me The Horizon releases the first EP, Survival Horror, in their POST HUMAN quadrology, a set of four projects intended to all be released by the band within the span of a year. A young reviewer sets out to write about this latest release by one of her favourite bands, and spends almost two weeks barely able to write a single coherent paragraph about it. This is the result.
Written by: Izzy
Writing this review has been probably the greatest struggle I’ve faced putting my thoughts out on any piece of music into words. Whenever I sat down at my desk and decided I wanted to express my love for and opinions on this album, I wanted to call it one of the best albums of the year and talk about how amazing it was, but I simply couldn’t type it out in a way I was happy with, or speak on it in a way that felt well constructed and not just rambling. And so here we are, on the fifth or sixth draft of this review, which I intend to write entirely in one sitting, because I really want to get this review over and done with after learning a few important things.
Sometimes I need the time to properly digest an album and develop my thoughts on it, I intended this review to come out the Monday after SURVIVAL HORROR was released, and for a new release by one of my favourite bands of all time, that was not nearly enough time to truly integrate exactly how this album made me feel. It was more like an explosion of hype, I wanted to call it another masterfully crafted classic and just gush about it for 800 words, but as time has passed I’ve realized I do have some very real and numerous critiques of it.
Written by: The Administrator
And now for something completely different! Today's album (and band) in question covers a unique blend of genres that don't get a whole lot of coverage 'round these parts--or any parts, for that matter, that we slumbering scribes tend to frequent. With that disclaimer in mind: let's dive in.
On their latest effort, Shocking Stories! (And Those Who Dare to Tell Them,) The Northway play a difficult-to-place conglomerate of pop punk, prog, math rock, and perhaps some alt metal, with a few other assorted elements weaving their respective ways into the chaotic fold. There's an alternative rock/metal angst on display, as well as a ska-esque sense of hype. Most notable, however, is the prominent role of the utterly unexpected. Take, for example, early album highlight "Trampolinehead," which blends a straightforward punk riff with a delightful Gentle Giant-by-way-of-Primus level of prog weirdness. There's a jazz lounge solo, a de la Rocha rap-rock moment, and a whole lotta assorted oddities besides. And if you think this is wacky, the excellent "City Trial" takes similarly disparate elements and cranks 'em up to 11. This thing is like the unholy alt-metal lovechild of Haken 's proggy tendencies and, I dunno, the early-aughts swagger of Priestess. And even that only covers a fraction of this track's identity. The entire album exists in a similarly fluid state, and, as a result, it's incredibly fun to experience.
Written by: Izzy
Sometimes you gotta be the voice of dissent, the blade going against the grain, the weed growing from a crack in the concrete, the harbinger of anger from thousands of metal fans across the world. Following popular opinion has never done me any good, so I’m going to bear the burden of being THAT guy and say what so many probably don’t want to:
I do not like the new Deftones album.**
(**In comparison with their previous work.)
While I can’t call Ohms “trite” or “trash,” since it’s certainly a new-ish direction in the bands’ sound and is far from the worst thing I’ve ever heard, I do have many issues with it and luckily there’s plenty of other insulting things I can call it to get fanboys ready to piss on my grave! (Speaking of which, hi there Loveloth, I imagine you’re already sharpening your pitchfork, but I’d recommend at least reading the rest of the review before you skewer and burn me at the stake for my blasphemy.)
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally.
The next guest in line to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is Duncan Evans, who creates dark folk/post-punk under his own name, and apocalyptic noise poetry (which we premiered here!) under the Moonlow moniker. He's a producer, an engineer, a writer at Ghost Cult and Alternative Control, and, lest it be forgot, has a twitter you should probably follow. Beyond these current projects, he was previously the guitarist for Forest Of Stars--so, all told, cred certified many times over, amiright? Without further ado: enjoy this retrospective!
Written by: Duncan Evans
This album was my first proper introduction to Nick Cave. It remains an incredibly important piece in the jigsaw of my own development as an artist and as a human being. I also believe it is significant in a wider cultural sense.
Around the mid-2000s, Nick Cave had seemingly grown tired of producing records with the expanded 8-piece lineup of The Bad Seeds: “It felt like every time I took a song into the Bad Seeds, everyone piled in on it. In the Bad Seeds, you play a song, and everyone's grabbing a fuckin' maraca, y'know?" In response, Cave and three Bad Seeds members (Warren Ellis, Martin P. Casey, Jim Sclavunos) formed Grinderman. At the same time, I was growing weary of the virtuoso prog rock I had been listening to. I had listened to a few of Cave’s songs and I had meant to properly explore his work for a while. I remember reading about Grinderman in the music press just before its release, and I thought this was probably as good a place as any to start. I ordered a copy and, strangely, two of them landed on the doormat a week later. Hearing this record on its release in 2007 was something of a Damascene moment for me. It opened up doors which remain unclosed. What follows is an explanation of how this album impacted me so deeply, and why I think it matters in wider terms.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t even realize that Mike Tramp had such a big catalog of solo albums until I stumbled upon his newest, Second Time Around. For those unaware, he was famous for fronting the Danish/American glam metal band White Lion in the ‘80s, before later forming Freak Of Nature, and eventually going solo. The focus has certainly shifted since then, regarding energy. Singers going solo like this can pretty much be hit or miss.
Different doesn’t mean bad, though. Second Time Around is very AOR driven, aiming itself towards songs that are more tame in nature and come from a singer/songwriter life perspective. A lot of this is built around summer-related themes, particularly the fun of highways and driving. Though that obviously leaves room for plenty of cheese, the lyrics have strength in poetic flow. This is usually what I would expect from older artists that once fronted bigger heavy metal acts.
Written by: Loveloth
How does a band evoke the feelings of melancholy? The approach varies from genre to genre, but using the minor scale is a definite foundation. After that anything is game, and as a result, any sadboi--like yours truly--has a plethora of options to choose from. The most extreme examples are the DSBM and adjacent black metal genres. There, melancholy manifests through anguish and despair. Tremolo picking, shrieks and blast beats reign as lords, whereas on the opposite side of the spectrum, such as on the notorious pop ballads, we've got clean vocals covered by electronic-based instrumentation with slower paced beats.
I personally don't have any emotional responses when I hear most of that type of stuff due to how they're manufactured and how much they rely on cheap motifs. I realized this when I was a wee lad and as time went on, I searched far and wide for music to comfort, help me contemplate, and of course cope with any hardships I came across. At one point in time, I found myself listening to “Lethean” by Katatonia via a great YouTube recommendation, remember those? I was stunned with its energy and heaviness, and by the time Jonas Renkse's vocals kicked in, I was hooked. To this very day, Dead End Kings remains my favorite album by them and I would honestly put Katatonia right next to Opeth and that dude Devon Townsent as my go-to sadboi band.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The third guest to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is Steven of (intoxicatingly cathartic and emotive) dark electronica act aortaproject. Notably, this is the second of four(!) NIN retrospectives. Read on!
Written by: Steven of aortaproject
Nine Inch Nails The Fragile: Trent Reznor's opus. Not his most critically acclaimed work, but for diehards, this is "all that could have been" for Nine Inch Nails.
It's been almost 20 years since the iconic double album’s release in Sept of 1999 and I still couldn't be happier with it. The Fragile remains a staple in my reported influences, and a constant in my playlist. Even after thousands of hours of listening, I still find bits and pieces I haven't noticed before. Exploring the threads of Reznor's genius. The Fragile is laced with sonic texture, intricate layering, and an articulate blending of synthetic and natural elements, encroaching the frail temperament of stringed instruments with the powerful programming of electronic drums and pulsating synths.
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
Cardiff was declared the second most musical city in the UK almost a decade ago, thereby formally recognising the city’s unwavering history of producing musical acts that have gone on to dominate almost every genre. Rightfully so, as countless alternative acts have cut their teeth in the basements and dungeons below Womanby Street’s greatly revered venues. Industry legends such as Bullet for My Valentine, Skindred, Budgie, Persian Risk, Icons of Filth, and Desecration have all been spawned from the South Wales scene, and now Sydney Fate are ‘Diff’s metal scene’s newest contenders. Armed with a healthy duality of cleans and screams, stellar production, and an arsenal of guitars, the sextet have recently released their debut album, Silicon Nitride, to the world.
Written by: Izzy
Dance Gavin Dance are a band I only discovered in mid 2018, and the album they released that year, Artificial Selection, is; without exaggeration; one of my favourite albums of all time. I rarely talk about Dance Gavin Dance but I genuinely hold them up there with the likes of Deafheaven and Converge in terms of pure quality and how much I listen to them. Despite their long history and numerous lineup changes they have remained one of the most absurdly consistent bands I know, managing to pour out an amazing album every couple years like clockwork.
Now, if I’m not already getting called a poser by elitist metalheads, I’m about to get into hot water with elitist coreheads when I say I much prefer the Tilian era of DGD. I think his incredibly unique voice, coupled along with his spectacular range, has so much chemistry with Will Swan’s iconic guitar playing and Jon Mess’ gruff harshes that it really allowed the band to skyrocket after a small learning bump with Instant Gratification. Despite their guitarist being the namesake for “swancore,” the particular poppy and more clean-sung microgenre born out of post-hardcore and math rock, Tilian Pearson was the missing piece to truly forging the bands current unmistakable and unreplicable sound. Every current member’s talents gel together so perfectly, becoming a powerhouse quintet where I couldn’t imagine a single member being replaced. All this build up over their 15 year career has led us to Mothership, Artificial Selection, and now Afterburner, making up the best trio of albums the band has released to date.
Says guitarist and vocalist Chris Roo: “This world is fucked and I really just need to get shit out with my friends by my side." And in one fell swoop, Roo thusly describes the sound and the impact of the debut EP from Chicago’s own These Beast far more succinctly than I ever will. Forthcoming glowing recommendation aside, you just gotta appreciate a band that nails it in the artistic statement department. And there's no question: everyone can benefit from a good vent. The trouble, more often than not, is finding an audience willing to subject themselves to your grievances. In the case of These Beasts, it’s looking like this particular Villager shall henceforth lend an ear.
These Beasts don’t defy classification per se--but, as with most artists, describing them in terms of who they sound like versus what they sound like feels reductive. In any case, bear with me here. By kicking in the door with a certain mustardy ferocity, These Beasts take the forthright no-fucks-given experimentality of Botch or “Red Medicine”-era Fugazi, and batter, fairly mercilessly, against the distortion-ridden and axe-bashing aggression of Unsane or Whores. While the sonic differences are obvious, a general Torche-esque weirdness broods beneath, lending the entire affair a comfortable air of genre-melding nostalgia.
It’s clearly noisey, but “noise rock” doesn’t quite do These Beasts any sort of justice, as punk-driven vivacity and doomy undercurrents pervade. For the former, look to the celebratory shouts of “Shirilla In a Tub.” In terms of the latter, melancholic standout “Shovel and Pick,” and the back half of “Impugn” come highly recommended. Churning and angular riffs billow and slice with serrated finesse, leaving ragged wounds with paradoxical precision. All the while the twin vocals are expulsive yet melodic, communing effectively with the guitar to maintain a consistently pugilistic front. Needless to say, the sheer intensity feels genuine throughout. Bludgeoning drums--with particularly excellence cymbal work, I might add--keep the affair appropriately grounded. The entire 6 track packages bristles with an untamed energy, but yet, it never feels overlong or undercooked. In other words, it’s clear to this attentive listener that these boys have a knack for revision.
And throughout, most importantly, this EP demonstrates a cathartic raw anger, a general recognizable fury. For those of you looking to sample, intro track “End of the Whip” (listen below) remains the prime example of this actualized intent. Do These Beasts incite anger, shouldering the burden of rabble-rousers? Not so much. Do they reflect our collective need and appreciation for catharsis? Absolutely. This ferocious EP comes highly recommended.
These Beasts - These Beasts will be released 3/29 from Magnetic Eye Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!