News: We’re Now a Part of a Metal Podcast Called Cast Iron

castiron

We interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast to tell you about a podcast that we’re a part of!

Myself and Alan Williamson have started a podcast about metal albums called Cast Iron. In each episode we tackle a modern or classic metal album and dissect what we both like (or dislike) about the record. In the first episode we talk about Iron Maiden’s Powerslave and you can hear what we thought about by clicking here.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here or RSS by clicking here. You can also follow our general activities on the podcast’s website which can be found by clicking here. Please check it out and if you have any feedback then you can fire over any comments to our Facebook page or our Twitter.


Review: InMe’s Trilogy: Dawn

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What were your dreams as a teenager? Could you see yourself achieving those dreams? Could you continue to follow them into adulthood or would you lose interest in them? Is what you dreamt of doing as a teenager the same as what you dream of doing as an adult? InMe are a band that delivered on the dreams of two young men in the form of Dave McPherson and Simon Taylor and twelve years on from their debut album the two men have recruited two other men to continue their dreams into adulthood. It’s an inspiring tale but also an amazing story of knowing what you want to do with your life at such a young age.

Five albums later, InMe are now ready to drop their sixth and it’s the first part in a mammoth three album project. Each album in this trilogy is linked thematically and each showcases a signature part of InMe’s sound. The first album of the project is called Trilogy: Dawn and it showcases the more song-driven, anthemic side of the band that they previously explored in their earlier days. Unlike InMe’s earlier days, the band’s dynamic has changed dramatically with the inclusion of Greg McPherson and Gaz Marlow and while the band showcase moments of rock radio glory on Trilogy: Dawn, a lot of the songs feel bloated and lacking choruses as strong as those in songs like Crushed Like Fruit and So You Know.

There are also some bizarre choices in regards to the album’s running order. Instead of beginning with a song that sets things off in an explosive manner, opener Creation: Amethyst sounds like a mid-album ballad and it’s a very limp and underwhelming experience. In fact, it feels like Trilogy: Dawn takes quite a while before it gets into its stride and starts to deliver the sort of anthemic rock that InMe are so good at.

Four songs in we get Loss: Children of Exile and it finally feels like InMe have arrived. The angular riff that carries the beginning of the track is one the band’s best and it reminds us of Far Reaching from Daydream Anonymous. It isn’t long before the song opens up into a chorus that demands to be sung by a legion of fans and InMe are finally firing on all cylinders.

The second half of Trilogy: Dawn has some of InMe’s best work with the electronic-tinged Amnesty: Bonsai Forest being a real highlight. This is one of the most interesting things InMe have created so far and the beat in the chorus gives the song a trap music vibe. Then there’s the double dose of Chrysalis: Lone Dance on an Empty and Hymn: Ivory Elder which are future InMe classics. InMe have seen fit to make Hymn the lead single but it’ll be a massive shame if that wonderfully uplifting guitar hook in Chrysalis doesn’t get the radio play it deserves.

On the whole Trilogy: Dawn does a lot to showcase how fantastic InMe are and songs like Chrysalis feel almost celebratory. Unfortunately, a lot of Trilogy: Dawn feels unnecessarily drawn out and quite a few songs suffer from a lack of truly memorable melodies. InMe have all the capability to create amazing rock albums and they’ve proven that with their last effort The Pride, but Trilogy: Dawn feels overindulgent and bloated in comparison.

6/10

InMe’s Trilogy: Dawn is released on May 4th via Pledge Music.


Review: Artemis’ Nothing Left to See

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The technical hardcore mob known as Artemis return for their third EP Nothing Left to See and it’s their most extensive to date. The band clearly draw from the Stallone/Palm Reader school of hardcore which means you’re in for a testing blend of razor-sharp, angular guitar work and emphatic, heart-on-sleeve vocals.

The proceedings kick off in an interesting fashion; opener I Am Alive features a relaxed guitar riff that allows the vocals to take centre stage. The highly-strung roar of the vocals is a massive draw on Nothing Left to See and Artemis really do sing it like they mean it.

When Dark Passenger rolls around then Artemis really begin to stretch their legs and break out the big guns in the process. This is Artemis at their best; riffs never outstay their welcome before they break into something new and the vocals tear through the scenery with their bile-ridden fury.

Sadly there are a few moments on Nothing Left to See where Artemis feel like they find their comfort zone and they’re less exciting to listen to as a result. When in Rome has very little in the way of any guitar riffs that help define the song and it becomes a pretty tiresome and forgettable experience. This is also the case for Sinking Ships which features a lot of atonal guitar work which is simply lacking in melody.

However, these are small complaints and the bigger picture of Artemis’ abilities is one that showcases a band full of passion and energy. Artemis’ Nothing Left to See has some amazing moments that are amongst hardcore’s best and despite a few occasions where the guitar spends too much time noodling around with passages that sound a bit lacking in melody, this is on the whole a pretty satisfying and punchy little hardcore EP. Artemis show promise and it’ll be interesting to see where they go next.

7/10

Artemis’ Nothing Left to See is out now and available to buy from Smithsfoodgroup DIY on limited edition cassette.


Review: Iced Out’s Man’s Ruin

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Durham sludgecore nihilists Iced Out have returned for another short burst of down-tuned filth with the release of their third EP, Man’s Ruin. The band’s previous EP Jukai began to show elements of a slower, lurching song style that has more in common with sludge metal than hardcore and Iced Out have made a much bigger step into the world of sludge for this EP.

Slow tempos really suit Iced Out’s brand of punishment. Opening track For the Covern features a neck-snapping riff that is punctuated by some of the most powerful drumming the band have ever produced. By making a more conceited effort to explore the more the darker and moodier side of their music, Iced Out have finally created a sound they can claim as their own.

With this new found confidence, Iced Out have also created the best song of their career so far. The title track of Man’s Ruin has the quintessential Iced Out riff; a nasty, bass-heavy stomper that threatens to leap out of the stereo and drag you into the nearest pit. However, the Entombed-like tone smothers the song in the sort of hardcore growl that the band have dealt with prior. It’s the perfect amalgamation of everything Iced Out have achieved until now.

Rounding things off is another raging, doomy beast of a song with the name of Space Mountain. Iced Out don’t mess about here and pack their special blend of low-end grot into an exhilarating two minutes. Even though the running time gives an inclination to the hardcore Iced Out of old, the weight of the riff takes centre-stage and reminds you that this is sludge metal and it’s some of the best sludge metal you’ll hear this year.

Iced Out have finally found their comfort zone. Man’s Ruin is an enormous, towering beast of an EP that sees the band embrace slower tempos and tunings so low you might soil yourself. Now it’s time for Iced Out to take their sludgecore leanings and finally deliver the sort of devastating album that Man’s Ruin is threatening to. Good luck, boys; we’re looking forward to it.

9/10

Iced Out’s Man’s Ruin is out now and available to buy on limited edition CD from Witch Hunter Records.


Review: Simmer’s Yellow Streak

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Simmer make a wonderful, clattery, emo racket in the vein of early Smashing Pumpkins and Feeder. Their 2nd EP Yellow Streak has a youthful bolt of energy running through it and it’s loaded with glittery melodies that are filtered through some lovely, crunchy distortion.

For an EP this wild and noisy, Simmer have a rather unnerving knack for making their music very approachable. This is helped with the dream-like, drawl of the vocal melodies which are easy on the ears. Some might say they’re a bit pedestrian and inoffensive but I feel like their understated nature allows the listener to focus more heavily on the instrumentation.

Simmer’s instrumentation and song-writing is the real highlight of Yellow Streak. The riffs have some additional reverberation which creates these fantastic images of massive, open plains and beautiful landscapes. There’s a summery and somewhat reflective vibe to the band’s music and it brings forth some wonderfully nostalgic feelings. It’s not often that a band’s music affects me in such a way but listening to Yellow Streak (especially the opening 3 tracks of Douse, Head Trip and Laying Odds) put me in such a positive mind-set.

When the EP comes to a close with its title track, the band’s music changes stylistically for the first time on the record; there’s a very sombre atmosphere on show. Simmer have structured this EP in such a masterful way that when it reaches its final moments it actually feels like the band are saying goodbye.

Simmer’s Yellow Streak is a rare gem of a record. The EP is full of soaring melodies and satisfying riffs that are punctuated with a beautifully reflective vocal performance. Even though this is only the band’s second EP, it feels like they’ve already mastered their craft and Yellow Streak might be a defining moment in their career.

9/10

Simmer’s Yellow Streak is out now through Dog Knights Productions. You can buy it on either translucent green or yellow 7″ by clicking here.


Review: Nembutal’s Demo

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If you haven’t yet familiarised yourself with Yamabushi Recordings then you won’t be aware that the label have become exceedingly good at championing some of the most disgusting, snotty bands currently lurking in the UK’s toilet circuit. Nembutal slot into the Yamabushi fold comfortably and their blend of nasty, vicious fastcore and crust punk means that the band don’t muck around when it comes to song-writing.

Unlike most bands of this nature, Nembutal actually manage to fit more ideas into a single song than your average 30 second power violence band. This is obvious by simply looking at the track times; the band average 2 minutes per song and there’s an awful lot going on in each track. Melody is completely reliant on the guitar and thankfully the band have an onslaught of riffs to throw your way. Despite the speed of the playing, the guitar often stays pretty high in the mix which allows you hear the melodies. There’s even a cheeky little solo on Decay which gives the track some real flare.

The other part of the instrumentation that really excels is the unrelenting drum-work. This is one of the most intense drumming performances I’ve heard on a punk record and it’s exhilarating to listen to. God only knows what seeing Nembutal in a live environment must be like. I imagine it’s the audio equivalent of being dragged under the wheels of a speeding truck. It certainly feels like it on record.

Finally, the vocals tie up the whole package nicely and the constant switch between high-pitched screams and phlegm-ridden growls keep the proceedings as interesting as the instrumentation. The only part of the instrumentation that might be a bit lacking is the bass, but this is more a fault of the mix rather than the actual playing; it’s just very difficult to hear.

Nembutal’s debut demo is a relentless, steamroller of a record that densely packs as many riffs as it can into a single song. 5 tracks later and it’s like you’ve been entered into a UFC match with a professional competitor. Nembutal might not be doing anything countless punk bands have done before them, but they do it with such balls-out aggression that it can’t be ignored.

8/10

Nembutal’s Demo is out now through Yamabushi Recordings. You can download it for a pay-what-you-want price by clicking here.


Review: Oh Captive’s Two Mirrors

Oh Captive - Cover Artwork

Oh Captive make the sort of chart-bothering, pop punk/emo combo that has been so popular with bands like Youmeatsix, Young Guns and Kids in Glass Houses and that’s fine if you like that sort of thing but the band are doing so little to prove their worth in this scene that their Two Mirrors EP could have been made by anyone.

The most irritating thing about this EP is that Oh Captive have managed to write a series of songs that don’t spark any emotion. The vocals are delivered in that tepid mid-range that so many young bands favour and it’s completely lacking in dynamics. The guitars feel like they’ve been belt-sanded smooth and they are completely devoid of any bite. Because of this I couldn’t pin-point a single riff I liked because they all drifted by like a ghost farting.

What really annoys me is that there’s clearly a competent band playing this music. The songs are well written, the choruses aren’t offensive to listen to and occasionally it sounds like they actually care about their music. The opening riff of the EP’s title track is a real stomper and I can envisage a crowd of kids losing their minds when it kicks off.

Unfortunately it isn’t too long until you’re reminded what’s wrong with this band; it’s all too safe. The vocals are capable at best but they won’t spark any meaningful connection between the listener and the band. The same goes for the music. This is heavy guitar music with none of the heavy and it’s bewildering to me that I didn’t have the urge to nod my head along to a single track. That’s a serious failing for any band making rock music.

How do you get excited about a band that are painfully mediocre? There is simply nothing original about Oh Captive and Two Mirrors drifts by without a single memorable moment. There’s nothing wrong with the music and it’s quite competently put together but there isn’t a riff or melody that hasn’t been ripped from another band. Two Mirrors is an EP so bland that getting angry about it would be a waste of time.

4/10

Oh Captive’s Two Mirrors is out now through all major digital outlets.


Review: Bulletproof Rose’s Loud, Hard and Fast

BulletproofRose

Bulletproof Rose are clearly big fans of classic rock which is at odds with their youthfulness. Their debut EP Loud, Hard and Fast draws influence from bands like Guns n Roses, Motley Crue and Van Halen and the band have an unashamed amount of fun pretending to be their heroes.

Bulletproof Rose also have an unnerving talent for writing great riffs and it’s here where the band excel. The EP opens with a statement of intent; Bulletproof Rose is named after the band (or the band are named after the song) and it delivers every trick the band have up their sleeves. The guitar work is exceptional and the riffs will worm their way into your psyche in no time. There’s some outstanding guitar solos to boot and they’re generally used to push a song to its climax during the final moments. The vocals are equally memorable and their anthemic nature means the band should have no trouble commanding big crowds.

Sadly as the EP progresses the lyrics get weaker. Gypsy and My Girl have some of the laziest vocals I’ve witnessed for a long time and they’re repetitive choruses have the unfortunate habit of becoming irritating very quickly. Bulletproof Rose haven’t quite figured out that writing rock anthems requires a chorus that’s punctuated by a memorable line, not drowned in the same phrase until you’re driven into a murderous rampage.

Unfortunately the music also suffers from repetition. Despite the opening track and the bluesy closing track Loud Hard Fast, Bulletproof Rose often write songs with a tiresome, meandering pace that does little to entice the listener. When the band step up the tempo, their songs become infinitely more exciting but even Loud Hard Fast can’t escape its middle-eight which spends far too long in an extended solo and the lack of lyrics during this section make the experience feel incomplete.

Bulletproof Rose have all the right elements to be one of the best bands in a new breed of classic rock but Loud, Hard and Fast doesn’t have enough ideas to keep it interesting for its entirety. When the band are at their best and enjoying what they do, they evoke memories of some of your favourite rock and tracks like Bulletproof Rose and Bang Your Head are great examples of this. However, unless the band can condense all their ideas into shorter, sharper bursts of rock n roll fury, they’re going to suffer from becoming another pub rock band with delusions of grandeur.

6/10

Bulletproof Rose’s Loud, Hard and Fast is released digitally on the 27th of April.


Touring: Palm Reader to Play Five Shows in One Day

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Tech-hardcore mentalists Palm Reader return for a mammoth day of live music. The band celebrate the release of their second album Beside the Ones We Love by playing five shows in a single day. The shows all take place on May the 4th and you can find full details for each show and its line-up below:

1st Show: The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch
14.00 – *Secret Headliner*
13.15 – Let’s Talk Daggers
12.30 – Palm Reader

2nd Show: The Black Heart, Camden
14.30 – Palm Reader
13.45 – Exes
13.00 – Ohhms

3rd Show: The Windmill, Brixton
16.30 – Palm Reader
15.45 – TBA
15.00 – We Never Learned To Live

4th Show: The Cricketers, Kingston
21.30 – Headliner TBA
20.45 – Artemis
20.00 – Palm Reader

5th Show: The Star, Guildford
22.00 – Palm Reader
21.15 – Employed To Serve
20.30 – Stallone

Tickets will be available from AYP? Promotions shortly so keep an eye on this link. You can check out the video to I Watch the Fire Chase My Tongue by Palm Reader below:


Review: Nomadic Rituals/Tome Split

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NOMADIC RITUALS

Those Irish doomsters Nomadic Rituals have finally returned after a lengthy silence since the release of their Holy Giants mini-album and the band are on similarly nihilistic form. This 14 minute behemoth entitled The Great Dying begins with a gentle, low-end rumble and then unleashes a horrendous, down-tuned chord that could shake a building to its foundation.

Nomadic Rituals may err on the slower-side of the doom spectrum (well, slow for doom) but their heavy use of reverb and disgusting tones means their music is almost suffocating in its density. This is not a listening experience for the faint-hearted and it trudges along like you’re making your way through marshland on foot.

This is not to say that Nomadic Rituals have put together a boring song by any means, but The Great Dying is more of an atmospheric experience than one full of catchy melodies and choruses. The thick, sludgy guitar riffs are wonderfully meaty and when the tempo steps up a notch around the 9 minute mark, the band punctuate an absolutely bleak experience with some devastating heaviness.

Nomadic Rituals have returned with a doom epic that showcases exactly what the band are about. This is an extremely testing yet rewarding experience that fans of doom will be stupid to miss.

8/10

TOME

Tome’s contribution to this split is another mammoth doom track with the name of Bone Divinations. Clocking in at 11 minutes, Tome deal in a similar, funeral-doom-esque march but their riffs are more memorable in comparison to Nomadic Rituals who use their guitars to build atmosphere. You can actually bang your head to the dirge-like groove that features in the first 4 minutes of the song and while the band have a similarly reverb-heavy sound, the melodies are the big draw.

Sadly the band’s riffs don’t change as frequently and as a result the song actually feels longer than The Great Dying. There are no tempo changes and the same riff that opens the track features for a greater amount of time. This means that Tome have a more difficult time justifying the length of their song. It often feels long for the sake of being long.

That’s not to say this is by any means a terrible inclusion. Tome have a similarly filthy, low-end tone that feels like it could crush you to death and the atmosphere is just as oppressive. The band have certainly nailed their sound, it’s just their song writing is a bit repetitive.

Tome show great promise and once again fans of doom metal will find plenty to love, but if the band were tighten up their song writing and spend less time getting to the point then they could be onto something truly special.

7/10


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