Tag Archives: digital

Review: Cold Summer’s Cold Summer

Post hardcore mob Cold Summer are back with the follow up to their Wake EP in the form of their self-titled debut album. Following on in a very similar fashion to Wake, the album takes influence from bands like Hundred Reasons, Hell is for Heroes and Funeral for a Friend and while it can be abrasive at times, it’s generally a more melodic affair with memorable chorus’.

If you’re new to the band then there’s plenty to like. Every song is brilliantly written with highs and lows, heart-on-sleeve melodies and moments of raw aggression. Cold Summer have an incredible knack for writing catchy yet extremely hard rocking songs and there’s not a single point on the entire album where it feels like a passage was lazily written and shrugged off as something “that’ll do”.

So there’s a strong recommendation if you’re new to Cold Summer’s music. But what about those of you who have already heard their Wake EP? Well, you might be a little bit disappointed by Cold Summer’s debut album as it only contains 3 new songs you haven’t previously heard. It’s this lack of new material that hindered our enjoyment of the record.

The 3 new songs in question are The Fallen, Ships and Processed Lives and while they’re excellent songs that fit in well with the 4 tracks that previously appeared on Wake, they’re not enough to justify this album as an entirely new release. In addition to the 4 tracks that previously appeared on Wake there’s also a new “alternative version” of Waiting which is essentially a stripped-back, semi-acoustic version of the song and while it’s fine and certainly helps add some variation to the record, you’ve already heard the song by this point just in a different guise.

The album also comes in at a pretty short 23 minutes which means it’s incredibly difficult to recommend to existing fans of the band. Cold Summer’s self-titled album offers a bit of a “value for money” dilemma; if this album was sitting on a shelf for £12 at a HMV, would you feel like you got your money’s worth?

At a budget price there’s certainly plenty of post hardcore fun to be had with Cold Summer’s self-titled debut album, especially if you have yet to discover the band. Every song on this 8 track record is brimming with catchy melodies and massive riffs, but it’s all over with far too quickly and if you’ve already experience the band’s Wake EP then you might come away thinking that this album is essentially an expanded version of Wake. We can’t help but feel like Cold Summer missed their opportunity to really shine here. Hopefully they can correct this on their next release.

7/10

Cold Summer’s self-titled debut album will be released digitally and physically direct from the band on the 1st of July.

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Review: Anacondas’ Sub Contra Blues

Anacondas are a bizarre little project. Stuart and James Hunter are ex members of metalcore legends Johnny Truant, but this fact is pretty irrelevant when you hear what Anacondas sound like. With the addition of drummer Timothy Newman, the band have created an intriguing blend of doom and grunge that is lead with some pleasant, almost shoegazey singing that only occasionally becomes a yell.

Sub Contra Blues is the band’s debut album and it clocks in at a solid 38 minutes with enough riff worship to satisfy your average headbanger. As mentioned before, the band’s sound is a pretty unique blend of doom and grunge that fans of Cave In and even Mastodon will find things to latch onto.

“Now hold on”, I hear you say; “didn’t you say Anacondas sounded doomy?” Well yes, in the sense that a lot of their riffs are massive, down-tuned affairs that are given plenty of room to ring out. But when the band are given an opportunity to showcase their technical abilities they turn out some enormous riffs like the one featured at the beginning of High Horse. It’s these moments that really set Anacondas’ music apart from the rest. Not only are they blending genres like a pro, but they’re also finding opportunities to add lovely little prog flourishes to their music that add a very unique layer to the overall package.

The main issue with the album is that these moments are few and far between. The whole release meanders along at the same tempo and the down-tuned guitars are so bottom heavy that you rarely get to appreciate a melody. When the music moves up the fretboard even the slightest, Anacondas’ music really benefits from the added clarity.

Also, the shared vocals between all 3 members means the album has a problem with consistency. We generally enjoyed Anacondas better when the vocalists were shouting as it worked with the sludgy grooves far better than the alt-rock crooning.

You can’t deny that Anacondas are a band with a tonne of great ideas, but Sub Contra Blues proves that maybe they don’t all work that well together. There are moments of pure brilliance locked away in this record and with some added focus they could be the driving factor in a future Anacondas release. Is this album a failure? Maybe. But it’s certainly an admirable one at that and one that’s massively intriguing which can’t be said about a lot of bands’ music.

6/10

Anacondas’ Sub Contra Blues is available to download now.


Review: Elysium’s In Valour

This cross-breed of metalcore and post hardcore is an interesting prospect that bands like Architects and A Day to Remember have pulled off to great success. Watford mob Elysium are following in these band’s footsteps on debut EP In Valour and generally succeed in paying fitting tribute to their peers.

Unfortunately for Elysium, while they have the chops to roll with the big boys, they haven’t got a lot that makes them stand out. In Valour plods through the metalcore motions and ticks all the right boxes; breakdowns, super-catchy chorus’, screaming, double-bass drumming etc. It’s all here and this genre has got to the point where it’s becoming stale.

Elysium need something else to help them stand out. When these 4 tracks come to a close you’ll realise that you’ve heard all these metalcore tropes in the past and that’s genuinely Elysium’s biggest problem; they offer nothing new.

This is not to say the band don’t have potential. The performances on In Valour are tight and effortlessly played and have the advantage of sounding enormous thanks to the brilliant production-work.

But even this doesn’t help the overbearing realisation that the band have no signature stamp of their own. Even the breakdowns feel cut and paste. 2nd track I’m a Thief But I Keep What I Steal even has a section early on that sounds like a breakdown is about to kick in but for one reason or another it doesn’t, leaving drummer Lewis Crawley to carry the song on his own.

The biggest pull comes in the form of the harsh vocals. These vocals have bite and deliver a sense of urgency that sounds vital. The delivery of these vocals sounds absolutely vicious and helps give the EP something meaty for the listener to get to grips with.

But sadly, Elysium simply showcase 4 tracks that could have been by any metalcore or post hardcore band that’s raised their head in the past 5 years. The band’s music is admirably played and well produced but at the end of the day, you’ve heard it all before. If Elysium can put more of themselves into their music on future releases then we’ll have a reason to revisit them, but for now we’ll just have to wonder what could have been.

4/10

Elysium’s In Valour is released on the 13th of May 2013 through all good digital outlets. It will also be available from the band at some point in the near future.


Review: Milestone’s Medicate the Night

Have you ever got an inclination as to what a band will sound like from their record’s artwork? We can’t say we were expecting a particularly multi-layered sound from Milestone when we saw the artwork to their Medicate the Night EP. Our assumption was that this record with it’s scantily clad women drinking heavily and gambling was going to contain music that was a bit daft and with little substance. Thankfully Milestone have proven us wrong.

Milestone make hard rock for fans of AC/DC, Freeze the Atlantic and Zico Chain and despite only forming last February, they have developed a rather accomplished sound. Vocalist and guitarist Jack Howells has catchy riffs in abundance and his sugary vocals are unique and recognisable which gives the band a considerable edge on other bands this early in their careers.

Let’s not forget the other half of this duel guitar attack as lead guitarist Kris Archer also gives the riffs an awful lot of bite. Blame Me contains one of the best riffs on the EP as well as a fantastic solo. The guitar work on Medicate the Night is wonderfully consistent and memorable throughout. The groove that Howells and Archer provide gives this EP its’ biggest appeal and at no point does the guitar work ever disappoint. This really is impressive stuff for a debut release.

The only real negative we can throw at Medicate the Night is that it tends to find its’ comfort zone and stay there. Most of the songs follow a similar mid-paced tempo that only occasionally changes for a faster moment like on the title track. EP closer Bless the Soul slows things down a bit, but this only makes it evident that Milestone are a better band when they plug their music full of energy. Luckily this corrects itself around the 3 minute mark and the song is better for it.

Medicate the Night is a solid rock EP from an exciting young band. Milestone clearly have bundles of talent and hooks to spare and the fantastic riffs and melodies are massive, lasting affairs that will refuse to leave your head. If the band can work on varying their sound on future releases then the UK might just have another great rock band to showcase to the world.

8/10

Milestone’s Medicate the Night is released digitally on May 13th 2013. A limited edition CD release will also be available from the band soon.


Cold Summer Preview ‘Ships’ from Debut Album

Post hardcore group Cold Summer (who we’ve said rather nice things about in the past) have revealed a new single called Ships which you can preview and purchase below:

Ships comes from Cold Summer’s debut album due July 1st 2013.

Cold Summer support Funeral for a Friend on April 20th at Warehouse 23 in Wakefield. You can get tickets by clicking here.


Music Video: To The Bones’ Emperor’s Ride

Riff rockers To The Bones are back with their first single since the release of their last EP Astral Magic. The song is called Emperor’s Ride and it’s an absolute belter. Get this in your system:

Emperor’s Ride is released April 22nd and can be pre-ordered via iTunes now.

To The Bones will be playing the following dates in support of the single:

Friday 19th April @ Dark Party — Luton
Monday 22nd April @ The Joiners — Southampton
Tuesday 23rd April @ The Black Heart — Camden, London
Thurs 25th April @ The Scholar Bar 02 Academy– Leicester.
Sat April 27th @ The Mad Ferret — Preston ( FREE ENTRY )
Sun 28th April @ The Exchange, Bristol
Monday 29th April @ Band on the Wall, Manchester.
May 2nd , Hare and Hounds , Birmingham.
Friday May 11th @ Mama Viz’s Voodoo Lounge, Stamford.
Saturday May 25th @ Dogstock Outdoor Festival, Bolton.


Music Video: Radio Alcatraz’s The Physical Effect

Post hardcore mob Radio Alcatraz have released a music video for the new, non-album single The Physical Effect which you can watch below:

The single can be downloaded for free from this link: CLICK HERE

Radio Alcatraz’s debut album Populous: In the Belly of the Beast is still available to buy from Banquet Records for £5.99.


News: Hunt / Gather Release New Self Titled EP

Those Scottish post hardcore/metal crossover nutters Hunt / Gather have released a new EP and my word is it a beast. You can stream and download their new self titled EP below for a name-your-own price. Get something heavy in your system:

Hunt / Gather play The Banshee Labyrinth in Edinburgh on December 12th with Birds in Row, Prelude to the Hunt and Horrors That You’ve Seen. Entry is £6 on the door.


News: Total Rock Team Up With Bloodstock Festival to Create Bloodstock Radio

On December 1st Total Rock Radio will be merged with Bloodstock Festival to launch Bloodstock Radio. Here’s the official word from Total Rock head honcho Tony Wilson:

“The provision of a year-round festival radio station is a ground-breaking move, and one that sees both TotalRock and Bloodstock continue their track records of innovation and support for rock and metal music. Our Award-winning roster of TotalRock DJs will be joined by many of the voices already well known to the BOA community to serve up an unrivalled feast of metal and rock. We shall also continue to provide our up-to-the-minute news service and daily newsletter under the Bloodstock banner.”

Bloodstock Radio will be housed at www.bloodstockradio.com. There’s currently no word as to whether it will stay as an Internet radio station or branch out onto other platforms.


News: Blackstorm Release ‘The Darkness is Getting Closer’ EP

Blackstorm, the groove metal super group featuring ex and current members of Earthtone 9, Twin Zero, Fall of Efrafa, Milk White Throat and Skulldozer have released their new EP ‘The Darkness is Getting Closer’ as a digital download. The EP only costs £3 and a 12″ vinyl release will follow in 2013. Check it out:

Blackstorm currently have no live shows planned, probably due to commitments that other members (mainly Karl and Gez from earthtone9) have with their respective bands.

[Source: Blackstorm’s Facebook Page]