Thursday, March 1, 2018

Nervus - Everything Dies (2018) review

Nervus - Everything Dies
3.9.18 via Big Scary Monsters
Melodic Punk Rock

 "I am safe in my own skin, although my armor is paper thin"

Following the success of their debut album "Permanent Rainbow", U.K. punk rockers NERVUS return 2 years later with their sophomore album "Everything Dies". This album bursts with clarity thanks to Bob Cooper's phenomenal production. Every note sang, or played, is clearly audible and helps bring an added layer to the album that others in the genre tend to usually lack. This is very surprising, considered everything aside from drums were recorded in Em's room. Production aside, the real highlight of the album would have to be Em's vocal performance and lyric content. Although, not steering very far from the norm of punk rock, you can truly feel the raw emotion conveyed in her voice.

Loosely broken up into three distinct acts's: birth, life, and death, the lyricism often treads on very personal topics such as transition and acceptance:

"I'm spending so much time trying to be accepted
But I expect
It might never even happen
If I could learn to just accept myself
Then fuck everybody else
They can try and fucking kill me"

Songs like "Congratulations" are a perfect example of this, with lyricism focused mainly on the societal expectations based solely upon the sex you are given at birth. Don't let the lyricism fool you though, this truly is a fun listen and not as dark and depressing as the lyrics might lead you to believe. 

In due time, this release is bound to bring in lots of new fans for the band and hopefully propel them to the stardom that they are very much deserving of.

FFO: Alkaline Trio, Into It Over It

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Bears Among Men interview

Recently I had the chance to chat with California hardcore band, Bears Among Men. We had a chance to talk about overall influences, who their dream tour would be with, and their relationship with their record label. Read all about it below, and be sure to check them out on Facebook. Preorders are now live for their new album, Backbone due out March 15th via Beckwith Records! Expect my review of the album within the coming week.

In terms of the writing process, what were some of your most listened to albums while writing/recording?
A lot of albums from Breaking Benjamin, My Ticket Home’s Strangers Only is another big one, probably Disobediant by Stick To Your Guns and a bit of Bad Vibrations by A Day To Remember too.

What are some of the lyrical themes or meanings behind some of the songs?
Backbone came from a conversation Jose and Kyle had about religion, specifically our families beliefs and our upbringing in churches. Also viewing people who claim a certain religion and their actions not reflecting that. Disobey was in response to the Michael Brown shooting and the media at that time.

Who did you work with as a producer? What kind of experience did you have with them? 
We did all the preproduction ourselves at Kyle’s place and then took it to Sam Pura to engineer, mix and master. Sam built a great studio and it was awesome to record there. Plus Sam gave us some great advice and a great sounding record.

What bands are some of your biggest influences?
Slipknot for all of us has been an influence all along and in recent years Counterparts and Gideon have influenced the way we play definitely.

If you could tour with any 3 bands, past or present, who would you choose?
Slipknot, The Ghost Inside and A Day To Remember.

Any plans to tour more to support the record once the California leg is over with?
Yes definitely! January 2017 we decided financially we could afford to tour every other month for about a couple weeks each. We haven’t stopped since.

What’s it been like to work with Beckwith? I know they are a newer label, but seem like some really cool dudes from what interaction I’ve had with them. 
It’s been all chill so far. We’re working together really well and we’re hoping the relationship benefits us both for the future!

What albums are you all most looking forward to this year?
New The Story So Far, new Stick To Your Guns and The Plot In Your already came out but those were big ones. Very excited for our own album to come out haha

If there was one song you all would love to cover, what would that be?
Probably Candy Paint by Post Malone

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The New Age - Placebo (2018) review

The New Age - Placebo
3.23.18 (Unsigned)
Post-Hardcore / Alternative Rock

In today’s music scene, it’s getting harder and harder to make a name for yourself. Even with technology and social media being readily available, artists still struggle to get their music out to the world. Some genres are filled with cliches and tropes, and it’s quite difficult to separate yourself from your counterparts when you don’t push the boundaries or try to evolve your sound. Ohio post-hardcore band The New Age intends to shatter your expectations by taking what is great with the genre and putting their own personal spin on it. There are influences from a whole spectrum of genres on “Placebo”: from post-hardcore, to alternative rock, to even RnB. One might think that the interweaving of genres has been done time and time again by other bands and indeed it has. However, The New Age manage to set themselves apart from their contemporary by wearing their influences on their sleeves, playing what they want to play, and just having fun while doing so. You can easily tell while listening, that these gentlemen are truly passionate about what they are doing and have found the sound they have been striving for since their EP “Think Too Much; Feel Too Little”. Everything from the soulful vocals, to the fantastic piano playing in the background, or even the tight instruments. Everything seems to be finely tuned to near perfection in the 4 years between the EP and “Placebo”. This release is bound to help gain some exposure for these Ohioans from both fans and critics alike. Do yourself a favor and give these guys a shot. I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Oathbreaker - Rheia (2016) review

Oathbreaker - Rheia
9.30.16 via Deathwish Records
Blackened Hardcore / Black Metal

I honestly have struggled to come up with a description as to why this album was influential and important to me in 2016 simply because no mere words can do this album justice. This Belgian quartet has evolved and matured drastically from their Deathwish debut “Mælstrøm” back in 2011, with the aforementioned debut and sophomore album “Eros/Anteros” (both being considered classics in my book) being stepping stones for the colossus that is “Rheia”. What ultimately separates “Rheia” from their previous work (and pretty much all other contemporaries in the genre) boils down to 3 distinctive qualities: Caro’s vocal delivery, Jack Shirley’s production, and atmosphere. While we still partially get the vocal delivery from Caro that we have grown to expect, the later portion of “Rheia” (which is much more experimental/progressive) is primarily her angelic-like clean vocals. While this may push some away, I personally feel that the contrast between the cleans and harsh vocals help compliment one another. Jack Shirley’s production (which I first noticed on Deafheavens albums) is truly a work of art here: every instrument (including vocals) is easily distinguishable, and is neither raw nor over-produced. The combination of both Caro’s vocals and the production help create the atmosphere on this album, which is quite immense. No matter how many times I listen, I’m still pulled into the world that is created, which somehow manages to be both dark/brooding and calm/peaceful (how I’ve felt the latter is still a mystery to me). I honestly could talk all day about how much I love this album and why it’s my 2016 album of the year, but I can’t describe conjure into words the true beauty of this album, so just do yourself a favor and check it out, you won't regret it.


Bloodbark - Bonebranches (2018) review

Bloodbark - Bonebranches (2018)
1.5.18 (Unsigned)
Atmospheric Black Metal / Post-Black Metal

It's not very often, or in this listeners experience ever, that when one listens to black metal you get a sense of tranquility with a hint of agressiveness, but with Bonebranches, you get just that. With 3 songs and a rough runtime of 40 minutes, you know you are in for something, in lieu of better terms, "epic". Instead of taking the traditional route, Bloodbark take their time with each song, allowing the listener to truly cherish the beauty that each song crafts without being overly long or boring. Whoever these musicians are, they know through experience how to think outside the box and hone their songwriting skills on the important things as opposed to trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. I for one look forward to seeing who these musicians are and what the future has in store for them, because if this album is any indication, they surely are going to be big in the black metal scene.


Conjurer - Mire (2018) review

Conjurer - Mire 
3.9.18 via Holy Roar Records

Passion is a driving force in all of our lives; something that drives and fuels us or something that can ultimately drive us insane in its pursuit. This passion is something that makes Conjurer's debut record so enthralling: it is teeming to the brim with heavy, deep, sludgy, and brooding music that takes hold of you and does not let go during its 44 minute duration. As dark and brooding as this may be, it is more of an event filled journey as opposed to a struggle to get through. The subtleties are what make this stand out from it's contemporaries: the unexpected, yet exceptionally pleasant "cleans" on "Thankless", the twists and turns that lead you to believe the music is going one way only to be proven left speechless by how it truly turns out, the fantastically done instrumentals that make you a part of the journey, the gut-wrenching screams of Dan and Brady, or even the cryptic yet enthralling lyricism. Debut albums usually are filled with cliches and succumb to genre tropes that are all to present anymore, however Conjurer overcome and craft one of the finest debut albums I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. Bravo boys, this is a debut for the books.


Nervus - Everything Dies (2018) review

Nervus - Everything Dies 3.9.18 via Big Scary Monsters Melodic Punk Rock  " I am safe in my own skin, although my armor is pa...