Saturday, 27 March 2010

Review 27/03/10- TLi "Live"

Band Name: TLi
CD Title: Live
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This EP was sent through to our hotmail account.
TLi, Westcountry based punks kill 2 birds with one stone by sending us a Live EP, which shows us what they’re like both on record and live, so that saves a bit of time!
“Fighting Cider,” is a fast paced, true punk rock track with loud but solid drums, fast distorted guitars and the odd screamed backing vocal line. It’s clear that they enjoy what they do as there is a slight laugh from one of the singers during the song, but that just adds to the live effect. It would be good to hear that song properly recorded as there are nuances that are just out of earshot on the live version. Final track ”Smallscreen Horrors,” follows the same basic principle as “Fighting Cider.” Again, fast, short and loud make this song another punk rock belter.
All in all, both tracks are good tracks and their rawness live is encouraging. It would be good to hear them recorded properly but if this is the raw base version, then there is great promise.

Review 27/03/10- Tiberius Project "Dream Over"

Band Name: Tiberius Project
CD Title: Dream Over
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This EP was sent to our hotmail account.
Brazil is not the first place people think of when you mention metal, but this isn’t the first Brazilian metal band that have come into contact! Tiberius Project kick off their “Dream Over,” EP with “Before Sunrise,” which sounds very much like a Megadeth track, heavy, sweep picked guitars, vocals that are growly and low, and drums which fill everywhere. The lead guitar is perhaps too prominent in the mix, making the vocals even harder to hear and the drums almost non-existent at times. This is a good song, just needs that little bit of polishing on the desk to get the drums as epic as they should be and the lead guitar to take it’s place in the mix without being the centre of attention. “You Bitch!” is better in the mix, the lead guitar being heard but not overpowering the vocals in this Metallica style thrash metal track. The drums let the guitars take the tempo strain while they keep a great platform in the back line. The vocals are more screamed this time, with what sounds like group shouting during the title line which adds more texture to the voice. Final track “Avenger,” starts with a Chinese scale and some samples before kicking in with some more furious thrash guitar and great solos and riffs. The vocals are again the main attraction in the mix while not swamping everything else. This is a straight down the line thrash metal track, no great deviation from the tried and tested formula which means that they can be an average thrash metal band, while the other 2 tracks showed their slight differences. Even the pan pipe solo during “Avenger,” is somewhat expected, but still a welcome textural change.
All in all, a great EP by Tiberius Project which demonstrates their differences and their similarities in the genre. Maybe “Before Sunrise,” needs a bit of a touch up in the studio to just get all of the levels right, but otherwise, great effort.

Review 27/03/10- Thee Chancers "Miss Morgan"

Band Name: Thee Chancers
CD Title: Miss Morgan
Press Pack Included: Yes
Review: This EP was sent to our hotmail with a brief biography and contact details for Thee Chancers.
Southampton based Thee Chancers are clearly a band with a bluesy background. “Tomorrow Morning,” kicks off this EP and boy, does it kick it off. There is an urgency, an energy coming off this track with the gritty vocal line and constantly riffing guitar. The drums back up with a solid beat which keeps this track bursting with energy. The breakdown during the song is clean and effective, just building the anticipation for another burst of energy. The guitar riffs near the end of the song are well constructed and well mixed. The title track “Miss Morgan,” is up next and it slows the tempo to a brisk canter, with layers of guitars working well together. The gritty vocals again make this bluesy while the drums yet again tap out a solid rhythm for everyone else to take their lead from. Final track “Colossal Seduction,” is a blues folk number with well written acoustic guitar riffs and chords while the drums take a back seat to let the rhythm guitar keep the beat going. The vocals are slightly less gritty here, but still just as bluesy as they have been throughout.
“Miss Morgan,” is very reminiscent of Rockburn’s EP with it’s clear blues influence and this is on a par with Rockburn too. Not as slick but with this style that Thee Chancers have built, it doesn’t need to be, it needs it’s slight ragged edges. This is a wonderful little EP and this band could do great things.

Review 27/03/10- The Reading Room "Running Without Rest"

Band Name: The Reading Room
CD Title: Running Without Rest
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This track was sent to be considered for Funderworld.
Coventry based folk duo The Reading Room may not quite be out of college, but they know how to put together some quality rhythmic folk. Within the seconds of “Running Without Rest,” it’s clear that these guys have honed their trade. There is a great rhythm to the wonderfully constructed, bright acoustic guitars, a certain jauntiness about the rhythm that is reminiscent of Seth Lakemen’s more fiery moments. The lead line (which maybe a guitar, maybe a mandolin) intertwines fantastically with the impact guitar and even the drums give impact without compromising the overall sound of the track.
“Running Without Rest,” is a beautiful track with great potential, well mixed and produced and with wonderful musicianship.

Review 27/03/10- Swirl "Adrenaline"

Band Name: Swirl
CD Title: Adrenaline
Press Pack Included: Yes
Review: This was sent through to our hotmail with artwork and a brief explanation of the band’s beginnings and their relentless touring from 2009.
Right from the off, it’s clear that “Adrenaline,” is lifted straight from American classic hard rock with the glossy vocals, thumping drums and heavy guitars. This means that it is hard rock by numbers, but this is a good thing. The lack of genre deviation in this genre means that bands can concentrate on writing killer songs and making sure that they are perfectly versed in them. This is a prime example of such beliefs, with well executed guitar solos bringing a break from the solid rhythm work the guitar is doing. The track is well produced and well mixed, meaning that this really does fit perfectly into the American hard rock genre.
All in all, a good little track, nothing too special from Swirl but a great way to be introduced to the band as it leaves you wanting that little bit more.

Review 27/03/10- Starblood "Starblood"

Band Name: Starblood
CD Title: Starblood
Press Pack Included: No
Review: These tracks were sent to our hotmail account.
“Haunted,” kicks off Starblood’s 2 track demo and it begins with something Joy Division would be proud of. Droned synths, digital sounding drums and a sense that this track is going to live up to it’s title. The synth ends up becoming an all too obvious loop which after the 3 minute mark becomes quite grating and too repetitive. It does eventually breed a new riff for a brief period but this is too late as by this point in the track, you’ve begun to switch off. “Door Into Summer,” introduces an acoustic guitar which seems to bring a bit more life to the track, overdubbed riffs sit side by side and work well together while the synth is used for backing music only, while the drums are also overdubbed to create 2 separate rhythms. The introduction of the electric guitar makes this track sound a little like The Cure’s “Wrong Number,” just without being too over reliant on the original loops.
Overall, a good couple of songs, however the repetitiveness of the first track may mean that listeners never get round to the second, much more entertaining track.

Review 27/03/10- Splyce "Splyce"

Band Name: Splyce
CD Title: Splyce
Press Pack Included: No
Review: These tracks were sent for Funderworld consideration.
The package sent through by Splyce starts off with “Infatuation,” a rock stomper with great vocals and guitars that are overdriven and heavy without going too overboard. This track has got a distinctive groove with the bass and drums holding a good rhythm throughout. The track is well mixed, with vocal overdubs that don’t interfere with the well constructed guitar riffs. The second track sent through is “Shame,” another hard rock stomper with a hectic yet wonderfully executed riff as it’s intro. Again, the drums and bass are mixed well and keep a great rhythm throughout. There are moments in this track where the singer is giving his all, and that shows with the slightest break during a long note, but this is all cleaned up so effectively that a casual listener would not notice the change.
All in all, great couple of tracks from Splyce. It would be good to see if they can deviate from their standard a little more, maybe get a cutting edge in an already crowded heavy generic rock market, but they would certainly enjoy some success before having to make any radical changes.

Review 27/03/10- Roisin Ellen Brophy "Roisin Ellen Brophy"

Band Name: Roisin Ellen Brophy
CD Title: Roisin Ellen Brophy
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This track was sent for consideration for Funderworld.
Folk songstress Roisin Ellen Brophy has already had some success in the South West with band Slaveen and the 2 tracks here continue the musical trend she forged with them. “Rid Of You,” starts as a folk ballad with just acoustic guitar but builds as the song moves on, introducing electric guitars and drums later. The vocals are slightly dwarfed by the full band in the mix, but that’s nothing that can’t be sorted on the desk later. And it’s a shame that they’re dwarfed because they are strong and heartfelt. The guitars intertwine without any obstruction and they don’t compete for attention, preferring to all be as important as eachother. The keys throughout are understated yet wonderfully constructed and the drums hit the right beat for the style of song. “Beauty Blue Eyes,” is just straight folk, showing the versatility in Roisin’s song writing styles. This is where her voice comes into it’s own, really setting this song apart from many acoustic numbers out there at the moment.
The 2 songs are great songs from Roisin. The only downside is in “Rid Of You,” with the vocals being lost in the overall mix. But otherwise, a brilliant pair of songs from Roisin.

Review 27/03/10- Oriol Stardust "I'm Sorry For Loving You"

Band Name: Oriol Stardust
CD Title: I’m Sorry For Loving You
Press Pack Included: Yes
Review: This EP arrived in the post with a brief explanation of where Oriol has played.
Barcelona based folk rock singer/songwriter Oriol Stardust starts off his EP with the title track, “I’m Sorry For Loving You.” This track has jangly ramshackle guitars, a varied drum beat and some great vocals. The choruses layer the vocals to create an extra texture while the bridge adds a jaunty drum line. This is very reminiscent of Peter, Bjorn & John as instead of being a ballad it’s a celebration which puts a smile on the face of anyone who listens to it. “September,” brings the tempo down a bit, showing Oriol’s dynamics. The organ backing sounds like The Bad Seeds while the guitar has a similar effect to “Walking After You,” by the Foos. The drums keep another solid rhythm and the electric lead line is distant but well produced. “Dead Town,” begins like a protest song with powerful vocals and guitar alone. Well mixed again and well produced, especially with the second guitar and organ coming in without seeming disjointed. A breakdown lets the drums come in, which again hit a solid beat. The song continues to build throughout, giving a great sense of rhythm. Final track “Top Of The Hill,” settles everything down to it’s climax with it’s 60’s style drumbeat and organ combo. This is perhaps a weaker track than the other 3, but not by any great distance. Oriol just seems a little bit out of place in this track, maybe with the tempo being a little bit lower.
Overall though, “I’m Sorry For Loving You,” is a great EP with some brilliant songwriting by Oriol and some great musicianship thoroughout.

Review 27/03/10- Nothing New "See In The Dark"

Band Name: Nothing New
CD Title: See In The Dark
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This track was sent as demonstration for Funderworld
Cardiff based pop punk trio Nothing New certainly know what their audience likes! This track begins with a faux radio version of this song’s intro before hitting the ground running with power chords and muting through the verses. The drums keep a great beat while enjoying throwing in the fills. The vocals are layered to create more power and the guitars are heavy without sounding like metal guitars. The chorus creates a natural sing-a-long for everyone listening, which is great for the pop punk genre while the riffs that pop up during the course of the song are well constructed and singled out in a quiet yet great mix.
All in all, great track by Nothing New though it would be nice to see if they can go to the other end of the pop punk scale, maybe with an acoustic number or something with a little more bite. However, take nothing away from “See In The Dark,” it’s a great pop punk song.

Review 27/03/10- LAF "Sparkle"

Band Name: LAF
CD Title: Sparkle
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This was sent to the hotmail account.
The LAF have their influences firmly in the classic late 60’s/early 70’s rock and that is no bad thing at all. “Running Out Of Time,” has a great little organ/synth line throughout, sounding very much like “Whiter Shade Of Pale,” and other great songs of the time. The drums keep a solid beat while the guitars are drenched in effects and lower in the mix to just keep another rhythm ticking over. The guitars do come into their own during the solo, throwing on some Hendrix-esque overdrive and riffing with great competency. The vocalist has the hint of Cave about him but likes to extend the note, making this more dreamy than Cave. “The Philosopher,” starts with another guitar riff drenched in reverb and echo which makes the song again quite dreamy and psychedelic, which is what the LAF are going for. It does sound like something The Cure have written during the mid 80’s but that’s just the riff itself. The song overall keeps in the trend set by “Running Out Of Time,” dreamy rock which makes the listener relax and take in all the textures given.
All in all, great little EP by LAF, played to perfection and really chilled without relying too heavily on overproduction or computerised instruments.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Review 26/03/10- Small Engine Repair "Have You Seen What I've Become?"

Band Name: Small Engine Repair
CD Title: Have You Seen What I’ve Become?
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This track was submitted for ScreamLite Records’ charity compilation.
“Have You Seen What I’ve Become?” is a beautifully tragic folk number, with all of the key ingredients. The vocals are gritty and well sung, demonstrating a personal touch to the song while the guitar is allowed to ring and strings to reverberate without too much problem. The piano bassline is well mixed, not too loud in the grand scheme of things, understated but still playing it’s vital role. The string section that comes in during the chorus is again understated, but well put together with the overall sound of the song.
Overall, a beautiful track by Small Engine Repair with all the makings of a folk ballad classic.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Review 25/03/10- The Ruby Kid "Winter In The City"


Band Name: The Ruby Kid

CD Title: Winter In The City

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This EP was picked up at The Croft, March 14th 2010.

Now, The Ruby Kid, at first look, would not normally be something that ScreamLite Records would look at. However, after a closer look, it turns out that The Ruby Kid is far more than just standard rap/hip hop. Like Clayton Blizzard, The Ruby Kid veers away from the usual bling and cars approach and looks more at Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Arctic Monkeys. Like all of his influences, The Ruby Kid (aka Daniel Randall) raps about politics, the music industry, literature and philosophy without sounding contrived or ham fisted. “Art Versus Industry,” is a scathing attack on preconceptions and it’s clear that The Ruby Kid’s music is very much personal expression, the anger and passion all come through in great one liners, a flowing rap which doesn’t rely heavily on swearing but more on the art of popular culture, literature and his Yorkshire upbringing. “East 6th(Between 2nd & 3rd)” he makes mention of Cohen, Miles Davis, Dylan Thomas, Yiddish strike songs and Elis Island, really demonstrating his eclectic music taste and his wide knowledge of American & British history and culture. A word too for his backing musicians who don’t seem like a standard backing band, more like equals in The Ruby Kid’s goal, and all of the musicians and backing vocalists involved are all brilliant throughout, infusing their styles and genres with the eclectic muses of The Ruby Kid.

“Winter In The City,” is a great demonstration why underground hip hop in the UK is thriving. The vast influences and cultural knowledge of The Ruby Kid makes this EP something very special indeed...A hip hop record that a metalhead would like. And for that, and the brilliance of his rhymes, The Ruby Kid has produced something brilliant.

Review 25/03/10- Kids Love Lies "Under The Bed"

Band Name: Kids Love Lies
CD Title: Under The Bed
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This single was picked up at the Mother’s Ruin, March 18th 2010.
Kids Love Lies are making a name for themselves with their female fronted indie post punk and this single, “Under The Bed,” is a perfect display of their sound. The guitars are mixed well while the vocals are allowed to really shine through the melee of catchy hooks and riffs. There is a great drum beat throughout, which moves and flows just as much as the excellent guitar work. Somehow this track restrains itself when there is enough energy going on with the instrumentation to break free and really get even the most critical of indie kids going. The B-Sides kick off with another fast paced guitar driven number, “Big Mouth.” The vocals take a starring role in this track, with yet more passion and drive behind the female voice at the front. As the song reaches it’s chorus, the dynamic guitars and hectic bass make sure that the song doesn’t hit a wall halfway through and the drums yet again flow and change as the song progresses. The final track on this single is the acoustic balladry of “Learning To Smile.” This is a truly beautiful song with the seemingly heartfelt vocal line and bright acoustic guitar keeping the rhythm going to make sure that this is one sure fire lighters in the air moment.
Overall, a great single package from Kids Love Lies. Well mixed, well produced and great musicianship all make Kids Love Lies a great band.

Review 25/03/10- Beltane "...Through Darker Seasons"

Band Name: Beltane
CD Title: ...Through Darker Seasons
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This album was sent through to the hotmail address.
Again, like Laceration, this is not a genre we claim to know much about. But Beltane are one of the bands we’ve heard of in the genre. As one of the bigger names in black metal we were honoured that they contacted us, so thank you to Beltane.
Once the slightly starstruck nature of their emails sunk in, we got stuck into “...Through Darker Seasons.” Right from the off, “Sentinel Ov Death,” hit hard with blast beats and guitar licks aplenty, tearing apart everything in their wake. Even the haunting whistling found a place in the mix, which unlike many bands in the genre, is very well done. Hints of Inkubus Sukkubus and Cauda Pavonis come into the second track “Call The Ships To Port,” with the well executed synth lines in amongst the crushing guitar. The vocal line is hidden by some great production making this track a more EBM style song, something that would not be out of place in London’s Slimelight club, somewhere it’s probably been played! This really shows off Beltane’s dynamics and their genre bending capabilities. People into their black metal will enjoy the song for the guitar lines and drums, while EBM heads will love the synth production. “Winter Forest,” reverted back to the force and fury of “Sentinel Ov Death,” but with another fantastic drum line which bounded along rather than blasting during most of the song. Again, Beltane demonstrated that they can veer off the standard black metal path by changing tempo quickly and freely. “Satanic Reawakening MMVI,” throws both Beltane’s black metal fury and their EBM stylings, making this a louder, faster and much better alternative to the emo-lite pretenders such as Enter Shikari and really puts Beltane up there with the best in both genres.
The rest of the album veers between both confidently and brilliantly, making this a thudding, pounding, roaring record with enough moments for music fans new to the darker side of metal to ease them into it with a good contingency of EBM tracks. Overall, a great album by a great band.

Review 25/03/10- Clayton Blizzard "One Two Three Home"

Band Name: Clayton Blizzard
CD Title: One, Two, Three, Home
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This album was picked up at The Croft, 14th March 2010.
Clayton Blizzard, Bristol based MC-cum-folk wordsmith really straddles genres. “Sad Music Is Uplifting,” gets right to the point with the solid beats of The Streets, piano of Muse and brilliant skills of Clayton who decides that it’s better to use his Bristolian accent to express himself than try and be someone he’s not, which really makes a difference. None of what he’s saying is about the usual rap subjects, which makes him a prime candidate for people who hate the over commercial hip hop and rap and prefer someone who can write something more personal. “New Strings On An Old Guitar,” sees Clayton playing the guitar while still rhyming about things personal to him. With a beatbox style beat in the background and the looped acoustic guitar Clayton could turn heads of the people in The Croft there for a metal gig in the back room without problem. Even the mandolin solo fits perfectly in the overall mix which makes sure that everything finds it’s place without getting in the way of the messages that Clayton is trying to get across. “Winning A Raffle, Losing The War,” is a typical bright folk song with some great lyrics throughout. This is very much like some of Beans On Toast’s true folk moments, beautiful sounding guitar and lyrics that make you chuckle while listening out for the next great line. The end of the song even parodies “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” which is a turn of pure genius from Clayton. “Letter To America,” is another pop at the US and the conflict’s that they’re involved in, and this is a new twist on the well trodden path. A ska/reggae/dub/folk number which relies on the vocals more heavily, along with the samples that pop up in the middle, which is how this track should be.
Overall, Clayton Blizzard is a new twist on folk music which is something more inspired than both most commercial rap and most commercial folk and for that, Clayton Blizzard should be proud.

Review 25/03/10- Discipline X "The Devil's Whore"

Band Name: Discipline X
CD Title: The Devil’s Whore
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This track was sent in for ScreamLite Records’ charity compilation.
Despite the title, “The Devil’s Whore,” is in fact a grunge/punk style track from Discipline X. This track has been mixed well, with the guitars looping around the solid drum beat with well constructed riffs and great little licks. The track as a whole sounds alot like Nirvana “Bleach,” era with the vocals a little better produced than some of that album. The breakdown demonstrates Discipline X’s dynamic structures and even shows a classical guitar can fit into a fast punk track.
All in all, a good track by Discipline X which defies the expectation given by the title!

Review 25/03/10- Fresh Milk "Fresh Milk"

Band Name: Fresh Milk
CD Title: Fresh Milk
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This EP was sent direct to our hotmail.
Fresh Milk start their EP with a blast of heavy metal worthy of Beltane with their growled vocals and heavy guitar. However, part way through first track “Back For More,” the band shift gear and go into lilting ska which comes as a complete shock after the fast start. This is how the track continues until it’s finish, making this one of the most diverse songs around today. The band move back to more familiar territory on “In Control,” where their thrash credentials are again shown to the world. The drums are on fine form, really not sticking to a basic beat and the guitars are played in the right way to make them take a leading role. Final track “Lights Out,” is another thrash through 2 minutes of quality metal which continues to show Fresh Milk on top form throughout.
All in all, a great thrash EP from Fresh Milk, well mixed and produced and, especially with the ska experiment on “Back For More,” shows that being thrash isn’t just playing by numbers loudly!

Review 25/03/10- Birthrite "Is There Anybody Out There?"

Band Name: Birthrite
CD Title: Is Anybody Out There?
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This track was sent for ScreamLite Records’ charity compilation.
“Is There Anybody Out There?” starts with a great drum roll which sets the tone for the track as a whole. With vocals reminiscent of Joy Division and Talking Heads, Birthrite play to it, with the guitar looping round with well constructed riffs and licks to add more texture into the song while the drums keep a solid yet groovy beat behind. Sitting in the post punk style, the guitar rattles and clangs in the foreground of the song while still having enough overdrive bite to make it fuzzy and unmissable. The solos are slightly fraught in places but still have enough to make many guitarists jealous. The middle 8 breakdown shows off the guitar again while the drums build the anticipation for the final fling before the end, with brilliant effect.
A cracking track from Birthrite with all the ingredients to really help to band progress further.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Review 24/03/10-Bateleurs "Hello Girl"


Band Name: Bateleurs

CD Title: Hello Girl

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This track was forwarded for ScreamLite Records’ charity compilation.

This song from Swindon’s Bateleurs is similar to Alberto Veto’s tracks- indie folk. The one major difference between this track and the Alberto Veto EP is that this track is very laid back and calm. “Hello Girl,” seems to have all the makings of a very epic ballad for Bateleurs with it’s mellow acoustic guitar and tambourine backing. The vocals are more Weller than Veto’s which compliments the bright sound of the guitar, despite the minor chords and downbeat mood of the song. The drums are strategically placed, not playing all the way through the early stages of the track and not really coming into their own until during the middle 8.

Overall, great track which maybe could have done with a little more in the way of texture behind the guitar. That, however, does not take anything away from the writing talents of Bateleurs.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Review 23/03/10- Alberto Veto "Alberto Veto"


Band Name: Alberto Veto

CD Title: Alberto Veto

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This EP was submitted for ScreamLite Records’ charity compilation album.

Alberto Veto are clearly a band who are very at ease with their music at the moment, and this is reflected in their brilliantly catchy indie folk rock. “Careful,” is a song that Paul Weller wouldn’t feel bad about putting on his album while the vocals throughout the 3 songs have a hint of the Modfather and Bowie about them, easing the song into it’s mellow groove without being too obtrusive on the well constructed music. “Happiness,” is an insanely catchy uptempo number in the middle which got us jigging along in true Frank Turner fashion with layered vocals and a very solid, jumpy drum beat to keep it ticking over. Even the tempo shift right at the end had a touch of class about it even though we were taken aback by the sudden change, but it was no bad thing whatsoever, really showing off their dynamics. Final song “Ropewalk,” is a real folksy number, pitching somewhere between Elbow and Mumford & Sons, with well strummed guitar throughout, not letting the beat drop at any stage. Again, another song that gets you jigging to it’s relentless beat. You can imagine doing a bit of a Hoedown at their shows!

All in all, a great little package from Alberto Veto, with all of the makings of some great indie folk. If Elbow can do it, then these guys can’t be far behind.

Review 23/03/10- Destruction Of Mankind "Necktie For A Noose"

Band Name: Destruction Of Mankind
CD Title: Necktie For A Noose
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This EP was emailed via our hotmail account.
Another slice of black metal, this time from American solo artist Destruction Of Mankind. “Preeminent,” starts the EP with a sample which runs into some extreme black metal. The guitars are thrashing through the song at a great pace while still showing flashes of brilliance. The drums are blasting throughout while the vocals are lower in the mix than previous black metal offerings, making them harder to decipher in the overall song. “Preeminent,” ends with the sound of smashing glass which drones out and straight into “Hardcore.” This song takes a while to really get going after a lengthy sample at the start. This could be cut down slightly to keep the music flowing, but when the song does kick in, it’s worth the wait. The guitar continues to impress despite the tempo and the drums continue to blast beat through the mix. The samples continue throughout the EP, something which could get distracting after a while and stop the music being the main attraction on this EP. “Genocide,” shows a different dynamic from D.O.M. but only briefly which is a shame.
All in all, “Necktie For A Noose,” is a good EP from Destruction Of Makind but it can be seen as a little too black metal by numbers. “Genocide,” showed flashes of a different dynamic, but it wasn’t expanded on. However, this is a solid black metal record and Destruction Of Mankind really have a future in the genre.

Review 23/03/10- Call The Doctor "CTD"

Band Name: Call The Doctor
CD Title: CTD
Press Pack Included: No
Review: This EP was picked up at The Mother’s Ruin, March 18th 2010.
Bristol’s Call The Doctor are beginning to build quite a following in the area, and their live show was something to behold with all the raw power and passion of a band of their style.
Their power seems to be slightly diminished on record with the guitars taking a backseat approach behind some strong female vocals. The drums are keeping a solid beat throughout the 6 tracks on offer here, but don’t really make too many moves from the formula which is quite a shame. The guitars are overdriven and good, but they could have done with a little more volume in the final mix. They demonstrate their riffing skills during “Running With Scissors,” and throughout there are overdubs and little guitar nuances but it is a shame for them to not have quite as much of a place as their show suggests. The vocals are strong, with the singer showing off her range very well and also showing where that passion would be if there was a bit more on the final mix for everyone. “Four Foot Two,” does demonstrate Call The Doctor’s lower tempo side, with well constructed riffs and muted guitars which make a good song. Again, the vocals show good range and passion but it’s again let down by the final mix.
“CTD,” is overall a good EP, it’s just lacking the kind of energy that Call The Doctor can produce. Whether that’s a side effect of the final mix, or it’s just that their live shows are more raucous than their studio performance remains to be seen, but this is not something that would put us off seeing them again.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Review 09/03/10- Destination Anywhere "Sobstuff, Tales & Anthems"


Band Name: Destination Anywhere

CD Title: Sobstuff, Tales & Anthems

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This was a free album download from Myspace.

Destination Anywhere are a German ska punk band very similar to Less Than Jake and Streetlight Manifesto. But don’t let that put you off! This is an excellently produced album with some great horn production throughout. The first 2 tracks are standard ska punk tracks, high tempo and full of energy, but it’s track 3, “Oblivion,” where it all begins to show how Destination Anywhere bring a little more to the party than most other ska bands. There are hints of metal and thrash throughout, with even some screaming to add to the sound, making this track a turning point for the band. From there, “All The Things That We Have Seen,” takes a more Hendrix approach with the well placed flange on the horns and guitar. The song also slows the tempo a bit without seeming contrived and forced, which many bands of this genre suffer from as they continue to produce the same songs album after album. “Welcome To Hangover,” introduces a reggae tinge to the music, making another stark change to the first couple of tracks, which is welcome at the midway point of the album. “Permission To Sing,” continues a new trend with heavy crushing guitars and horns used minimally. The vocal line is slightly drowned but that benefits the guitar and drums as it allows them to take a starring role after playing second best to the horn section. The final few tracks go back to the traditional ska punk ethos, but the guitars are allowed to play it a little heavier, sounding more like Propaghandi than Less Than Jake.

Overall, “Sobstuff, Tales & Anthems,” is a great album full of catchy, bouncy ska punk tracks which would feel at home in any punk club anywhere in the world.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Review 09/03/10- The Idyllists "Les Singles"


Band Name: The Idyllists

CD Title: Les Singles

Press Pack Included: No

Review: This EP is available for free download via Myspace.

The Idyllists seem to have forged out a very British indie sound from their American location. With guitars like that of The Coral and vocals like that of The Lightning Seeds, The Idyllists are something very special indeed. There are hints of country in “Crowded Room,” which show how this band are happy to tread slightly off the beaten track while still maintaining their principle ideas. Blues, indie, country and rock all mingle in the beautifully constructed pieces of indie pop rock that The Idyllists specialise in. All tracks are beautifully mixed with the vocals slightly distorted to give another layer of sound in the overall mix.

All in all, this EP is a truly spectacular effort by a band that should rightfully be a British band!

Review 08/03/10- The 9's "Here Be Monsters"

Band Name: The 9s
CD Title: Here Be Monsters
Press Pack Included: No
Review: No press pack included as band emailed download link via myspace.
This EP gets off to a flyer in true punk/metal style with “Wrestling With Tigers.” The 9’s use ferocious guitars and strained yet good vocals to have a track which could be played alongside bands like The Blackout and You Me At Six but also alongside some of the classic rock bands that dominate album sales worldwide such as AC/DC. This ferocity and tempo continues through second track “Sweet Victory,” which seems like a bitter and venomous kiss off to someone or something but still has the well mixed sound and punk ethic. The 9s then decide to show their dynamic with a slower number “Nothing Left To Give.” This still has a crushing guitar and heavy overdrive but includes a great guitar breakdown and a slightly more introspective vocal line. As the EP continues on, the tracks begin to show that a less ferocious and more technical approach can also pay dividends in this cluttered genre, with the guitars competing for technical supremacy and lead role in the overall mix, something which seems to have pushed the vocalist to really unleash his full force which in turn benefits the entire band.
Again, The 9s show off another less ferocious number when they throw “Empire Strikes Back,” into the EP. This is a more “bouncy,” song as it were, something that would get any crowd jumping up and down in appreciation of it’s sheer wonderful catchiness! Overall, this EP is a great example of how a band can make themselves a little different in a cluttered genre. Very well done to The 9s.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Review 01/03/10-Various Artists "Home Vol 1"

Band Name: Various Artists
CD Title: Home Volume 1
Press Pack Included: Yes
Review: The press pack included was an overview of the origins of this compilation and included hyperlinks to all the artists involved. Very concise and very relaxed, making us feel part of the creation. This less formal approach worked well.
This is a first for ScreamLite Records, an unsigned compilation put out by like-minded musicians for free. Before we get into the review, we’ve got to say this is a fantastic idea, making sure that bands and musicians you know get a new audience, so well played to Snippet and Bob Wotnot, who both feature on this compilation.
“Home,” is described as an assortment of folk, quirky pop and even Latin music from across the world. American, British and even Norwegian bands all feature on this 15 track compilation. It gets off to a beautiful start with “Collecting Skies,” by The Big I Am. Orchestral and folksy all at once, wonderfully produced and incredible in every way, The Big I Am could feature in an old theatre or an intimate folk club gig and not be out of place with their sound being very reminiscent of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds more subdued moments. That is followed by “Maybe In The Holidays,” a burst of electro indie pop from Big Hands Big Hearts. Again, wonderfully produced and brilliantly executed by both vocalists who seem to be having a conversation through their singing, which makes for a great change. Next up, another piece of quirky indie pop, from Norway, “Skipping Down The Street,” by My Little Pony. Very reminiscent of Peter, Bjorn & John, this Oslo based quartet write catchy melody hooks and drench them in happy go lucky synths and folksy guitars, another killer track. Head Of Light Entertainment follow that up with some offbeat leftfield Euro folk with “Lady Godiva’s Horse,” which sounds both like a great 60’s pop band (think Spencer Davis Group) and the kind of folk you get from Mumford & Sons, both upbeat and offbeat all at once. The tempo and mood quietens next up for The Million Stars track, “Small Rain,” a heartfelt folk ballad with orchestral backing. The vocals sound like Cerys Matthews’ later solo work while the guitar is allowed to do enough to keep a steady song while being the basis for the orchestral touches in the foreground. Another outstanding track.
One of the two brains behind the operation, Snippet is up next, with “Man Without Mobile.” Another quirky little number, this starts like it could have been an early 90’s Oasis B-Side, but develops into something far more agreeable as this short track progresses. A Dan Whitehouse track is next, “If I Grow Old.” This track is a remix by Soap Company and this would not go amiss in a TV programme or sports montage to reflect defeat or loss as this track alone sounds moody and meaningful, but is accentuated by the low end piano and remixed vocal line. This track sounds like it should build to one almighty crescendo and does not disappoint with the vocal line hitting a more powerful stride at the end. Dual credit to Dan Whitehouse and Soap Company. That is followed up by Beachy Head Music Club’s, “English Way Of Coping.” Very Beatles-esque in it’s delivery, this slice of quirky pop relies on the narrative vocals explaining the title, which it does very well. Another great selection. Stealing Sheep are up next with “Sleep.” Another female vocalist, and another beautiful song, perfectly put together and well written. Another dose of Theremin (much like our favourite Jerry Afraid) and even xylophone make this both wonderfully childlike and serious all at once, especially with the very end of the track punctuated by giggling and conversation. The other of the two masterminds behind the compilation, Bobby Wotnot, is up after Stealing Sheep with the longest track “Vermillion.” Both folksy and mildly Latin (even with the harp!) Bobby seems settled and calm, which is a trait running throughout this compilation. This is the kind of song that would go down well as a Sunday calmdown after a loud Saturday night with it’s unobtrusive instrumentation and slow tempo. “Have You Seen My Love?” by Bad Dancer is up next and they’ve taken a funkier, early 80’s approach to electro indie with this track. Great tempo and all electronic instrumentation it seems to borrow from both Gary Numan and “Japanese Whispers,” era Cure while throwing in a modern vibe to move proceedings along without compromising on style. Dutchman Wim Oudijk throws another perfectly made piece of quirky pop our way with “Bath.” This track seems particularly quirky, starting out as a variation on elevator music and breaking down into harmonised vocals and swing, this is one hell of a great song.
Mutley follow up with their own folk swing number, “Medusa.” This track seems to want to swing more than anything else, brass section in full flow while the piano keeps a blues swing variation going. But the haunting Theremin (back by popular demand!) seems to take this track into darker realms and makes this seem more like a track pulled out of a 20’s club but made to sound like the club is haunted but it is still a fantastic track. “Get Up,” by Richard O’Flynn is the penultimate track, which reverts back to more traditional folk and brings the tempo back up. This track sounds like it could fit easily on a pop punk record with full band, but just as easily fits right here with it’s acoustic taps and nuances. Finally, Cleemann finishes this epic compilation off with “Ambitious.” Another track with alot of samples, electronic enhancements and remixed beats, this track may be downtempo but has an optimistic tinge to it, making this song more of a grand finish that perhaps others would have been.
Overall, this compilation is mind blowing, combining so many different sounds and textures, Snippet and Bobby Wotnot should be proud of their achievement here.