Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Review 06/07/10- Dining With James "Demos"


Band Name: Dining With James

CD Title: Demos

Press Pack Included: No

Review: These 2 tracks were sent to our hotmail.

Gloucester based Dining With James kick off proceedings with “Intro & Safari,” which sounds like it is a live recording with the crowd coming into the mix. This is clearly a band influenced by their modern indie rock with the slowly picked guitar riffs and ramshackle guitar. The drums are solid and varied in places, while the bass does most of the lead work while the guitar, apart from the bridge sections, sticks to an average chord progression for the genre. Second track “Town Of Irony,” kicks off with a well executed drum pattern, staying solid, keeping a good beat for the guitar and bass to come into without any awkward tempo changes. Again, this track sounds live and the guitar plays the solid chord structure while the bass becomes the lead instrument with it’s slightly varied riffs. It’s a quick track with little variation but is good for a throwaway number.

All in all then, Dining With James are a decent band with decent songs, however with an already over stocked indie genre there is very little here to give them an edge as there is little variation from the standard indie template.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Review 15/06/2010- City Of Ashes "When Black Fuels Blood"


Band Name: City Of Ashes

CD Title: When Black Fuels Blood

Press Pack Included: Yes

Review: This EP was sent in the post by the band. This included a handwritten letter giving brief information about the band, where they have played and how to get in contact with them. This small package also included a promo photo of the band. This handwritten letter was more personal than an email and shows the band have taken the time to sort something out for us and I’m sure they would do the same for any other promotional material.

This EP goes right for the jugular instantly with “The Art Of Opacity.” After the inventive intro, the tempo starts high and continues with a solid metal drumbeat which is not afraid to deviate from the standard beat pattern with fills and rolls to compliment the heavy guitars and passionate vocals. This track really gets the listener going before running smoothly into a slightly more downbeat number called “In The Cold Light Of Day...” The clean guitar for the verses is crisp and actually clean, whereas some “clean,” guitar sounds can still distort. This guitar keeps a great rhythm while the lead guitar uses tremolo picking and inverted chords to create another layer to the track, as do the vocal overdubs which are used throughout the chorus. The drums are again solid if not overly spectacular, something which is a good thing in this nu metal/punk metal genre. Third track “Between A Rock & Her Razor,” seems to have been turned down in the mixing process as it does take a little bit of concentration to hear it as it should be heard, but the performance is once again top notch, with everyone well drilled at their jobs, so this can just be fixed with a little bit of TLC on the desk. Final track “Butterflies & Barflies,” is another acoustic/clean number with a very folksy rhythm and the stripped vocals. Both guitar and vocals are isolated yet still together in the mix, every note of the guitar is heard without any trouble and every intonation of the voice is audible too while the interplay between the 2 is exquisite.

All in all, a fantastic EP from City Of Ashes. This is a band who like to experiment with their genre, not letting themselves be tied down to one way of playing.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Review 14/06/2010- Tiberius Project "Starvation"


Band Name: Tiberius Project

CD Title: Starvation

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This track was sent directly to our hotmail account.

“Starvation,” Tiberius Project’s second submission to us is another metal stomper. The guitars are instantly the main focus of the song as they thrash out an impressive staccato intro. The drums are once again solid despite their immense speed with double bass being thrown in whenever the time feels right. The vocals are more audible than in their previous effort, taking pride of place high in the overall mix. The solos are once again hugely overdriven and laden with various effects to give them a fuzzy yet clear place in the mix while the rest of the band chugs away in the background, pushing the decibel level up.

After the enjoyable “Dream Over,” Tiberius Project have taken our advice on board in terms of levelling everything in the mix, making this their best effort to date with the vocals taking the place they deserved to take in the first place.

Review 14/06/2010- Stereo Influence "Stereo Influence EP"


Band Name: Stereo Influence

CD Title: Stereo Influence EP

Press Pack Included: No

Review: These 2 tracks were sent directly to our hotmail account.

Stereo Influence kick off with “Inequalities,” an indie track which is placed right in the vein of the current crop of British indie bands with it’s overlaid distorted riffs and almost ska funk drumbeat. The guitars are well constructed and are well mixed together while the bass is kept, as tradition in this genre, veiled behind the overall mix. The vocals seem to lack passion for alot of the track. This could either be because they have been turned down or the vocalist was perhaps nervous going into the session. Either way, the focal point of the track seems to lack something which will set it apart. Second track “Eye’s Shut,” takes a slightly heavier stance than the bands previous effort, the drums especially seem to be taking more from the Dave Grohl school of drumming than Matt Helders. The guitars are still constantly riffing but unlike “Inequalities,” there is a solid chorded rhythm for the lead to base itself around. The bass is again lost in the overall mix with the multitude of effects that the guitars use. The vocals in this track are more in your face than the last effort but still seem to be lacking a cutting edge that makes you sit up and take notice. Again, this could be a mixdown problem or the vocalists own nerves.

Overall, this is a decent effort by Stereo Influence but seems to be lacking a killer blow which would perhaps give them the edge in a cluttered market.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Review 03/06/10- Heart Of The Sun "Heart Of The Sun EP"

Band Name: Heart Of The Sun
CD Title: Heart Of The Sun EP
Press Pack Included: Yes
Review: This CD was received via the post with a small press pack, written on word we think but with the added twist of using a picture of the band as the page background, which made the page more visually stimulating. Part of our previous review for “My Media,” was added with other quotes from local press. A good little package.
This is our 2nd experience of Heart Of The Sun and it kicks off once again in slightly funky fashion with “I Don’t Think About It.” The vocals are ear catching despite being shrouded in some effects which sometimes muffle the words, but nothing that is imperative is left out. The guitars are veering between indie, hard rock and funk riffs which gives an anticipation to the sound as to what style will be coming next. The drums are happy to keep the solid reggae/funk beat as long as they get chance to fill where necessary. The added synth in the final chorus adds a new element to the sound and gets away without being too obtrusive. The synth breakdown leads nicely into a repeated chorus which builds to a bit of a whimper instead of a crescendo, Heart Of The Sun deciding to go for a “Speed Of Sound,” style calm section before hitting the ground running again. Second track “Burn Me Up,” is set firmly in the funk camp, little genre variation expressed in the opening seconds. This is very reminiscent of Bristol based band The Hit-Ups, who often have a very funky verse while the chorus could go either into rock or funk. Heart Of The Sun have a heavier sounding chorus but keep the funk vibe of the track alive with the style of guitar play and the sometimes off beat drums. Final track “Sally Think Fast,” is a fast tempo more indie based jaunt, with enough riffage to blow a few of the established acts off the stage while the drums are keeping the tempo fast without sounding like they’re ever going to give up. This track is a particular favourite as the screamed breakdown which devolves into part funk part DIY punk with the very effect laden guitar licks, really sets it off as something new.
Overall, Heart Of The Sun have done it again! Another dose of top quality indie funk without the fuss of some of the more established acts.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Review 26/05/10-Deathalizer "More Than Gone"


Band Name: Deathalizer

CD Title: More Than Gone

Press Pack Included: Yes

Review: This track was sent to our hotmail with a brief biography explaining who Deathalizer are and giving website addresses. This was set up in an interview style format which is not something you see everyday with press packs. This was something slightly different which could have gone into a little more detail.

Deathalizer claim to be “where Metallica left off,” and with the heavy yet slightly funky bassline, you can see why. This track does not overpower in the listener with it’s early bars, and tries to maintain that heavy but polished vibe throughout. The vocals are clear and precise, quite similar to Hetfield in his delivery and intonation. The more screamed vocals are still audible without being too piercing and the overdubs in the chorus are reminiscent of the effects used by Soundgarden. The guitars aren’t hugely prominent, keeping themselves shrouded in the mix to perfect effect until it’s their time to come forward for a well constructed if not overly flamboyant solo. The latter part of the song kicks up a tempo and the drums do this without needing to cover over or build to a crescendo which is something that even the greats have a habit of doing, much to our annoyance. The mix is crisp and clear, not too many fancy effects are used here, which is refreshing in the myriad of Metallica-esque metal which seems to all too often rely on the masking of samples and effects.

All in all, a great track from Deathalizer, something which is both classic and contemporary without being a pastiche of the two. A brilliant effort by Deathalizer.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Review 18/05/10- The Digital "Take Me Back"


Band Name: The Digital

CD Title: Take Me Back

Press Pack Included: Yes

Review: This track was sent to our hotmail account along with a brief, yet highly informative bio and some additional contact details. This is very helpful in determining the assistance we can give The Digital.

The Digital, a band of 16 year olds from Middlesborough have already attracted some local attention, despite their age. “Take Me Back,” seems to be tapping into the current indie scene whilst still having enough power to get dragged into the less respected areas of the genre. Vocalist Lewis really pushes his voice as far as it will go, very much in the same way Dave Grohl does. Lewis is not afraid to let his voice croak and crack while trying to convey the passion he clearly has. His guitar playing is basic, but for this genre you don’t need the guitar acrobatics of something like metal, while Joe’s bass is solid and well executed, not letting himself be tied to one basic riff, which really adds an edge. Matthew’s drumming is hard and loose, not so loose to drop the beat, but loose enough to have a real drive, something we like.

Overall, a cracking tune from these young lads from the north. With their passion and clear goal driven minds, they can go far.