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.