Tag Archives: metal

Review: SikTh’s The Future in Whose Eyes?

In 2015, SikTh released their first new music in 9 years with their Opacities EP. Opacities showcased a direct continuation of the band’s sound with their original line-up completely intact, but with the release of their 3rd long-player The Future in Whose Eyes?, founding member and vocalist Justin Hill has parted ways with the band and in his place we now welcome Joe Rosser of Aliases.

As we’ve previously discovered with Rosser’s work in Aliases, the man has a surprisingly similar vocal style to his predecessor, so his inclusion on this record should’ve been a good fit. Unfortunately what’s ended up happening is Mikee Goodman has taken on the brunt of the vocal work on The Future in Whose Eyes? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because Goodman’s vocals are still instantly recognisable and entirely unique; his voice will forever be a huge part of what makes SikTh SikTh.

Sadly, so does Justin Hill’s voice. Hill leaves a big hole in the wider picture of SikTh’s sound and his sugary, sweeping vocals are not emulated by Rosser. Great examples come in the form of Century of the Narcissist? and The Aura which feature chorus melodies that sit more comfortably in the mid-range and don’t have the same impact as Hill’s soaring melodies.

As for instrumentation, there’s been a conceited effort to strip back SikTh’s song-writing style and focus on a more traditional structure that’s more akin to the band’s material on The Trees are Dead & Dried Out… Songs follow the typical verse/chorus structure and don’t show off many progressive tendencies like the band’s material on Opacities and Death of a Dead Day. It’s certainly not simplistic by any stretch of the imagination and the rhythm section always impresses with their technicality, but the song-writing does feel a little more predictable than usual.

That’s not to say that there isn’t some great material here. Vivid, The Aura, Cracks of Light (featuring a fantastic performance by Spencer Sotelo of Periphery), Riddles of Humanity and No Wishbones are obvious highlights with incredible performances throughout and the strongest melodies on the album. These 5 songs deserve their place on any SikTh setlist from here on and they show that regardless of the band’s change in personnel, they’re still the same SikTh you know and love.

There is one glaring flaw with The Future in Whose Eyes? though; someone needs to reign in Mikee Goodman. Goodman is singing on more choruses than ever on this record and it makes Rosser’s inclusion in the line-up feel a little redundant. The point of SikTh’s dual vocalists is that the two men bring different things to the table, but with this record the line is getting quite blurry and it’s not really benefiting the music. We also get 3 different spoken word tracks from Goodman which means there’s only 9 songs on the album which feature the entire band in action. If you’ve been waiting 11 years for another SikTh long-player then that’s a tad disappointing.

However, there’s no denying that there simply isn’t another band like SikTh. The Future in Whose Eyes? does manage to remind you frequently that SikTh are a band like no other and a true innovator in UK heavy music. The performances on this album could only have come from SikTh and as we’ve previously mentioned, there’s definitely 5 future SikTh classics here that deserve your attention. In the end, The Future in Whose Eyes? is an album that sees the band rediscovering themselves in the wake of a vocalist change. It’s sad to see how much it affects the overall product, but there’s more moments of genuine awe then there are moments of weakness on The Future in Whose Eyes? No song on this album is anything you’d regard as bad, but you can definitely tell the change in personnel has had a noticeable effect on the band’s song-writing and overall sound.

7/10

SikTh’s The Future in Whose Eyes? is out now and available to buy direct from the band or via Peaceville Records.


Year End: The 10 Best Albums of 2016

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10) Raging Speedhorn

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Raging Speedhorn released a new album in 2016! Holy shit! And it sounds like a direct continuation of the sound on How the Great Have Fallen! And Frank is back in the band! Raging Speedhorn’s return with their 5th long-player Lost Ritual certainly quashed any worries that their previous album Before the Sea Was Built might have instilled and it’s absolutely fantastic to have them back on top form. The kings of sludgecore have finally returned.

9) Aliases – Derangeable

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“Derangeable is a welcome addition to Aliases very limited library and it’s pretty safe to say that if you were a fan of the band before, then this was certainly a record worth waiting for. However, if you’re well versed in tech metal then you’ll certainly notice the similarities to SikTh and while you’ll probably never ask yourself, “why am I not just listening to SikTh?” you’ll certainly wonder if there wasn’t more the band could have done to differentiate themselves a bit.”

Click here for the full review.

8) Rash Decision – Headstrung

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“Regardless, Rash Decision have managed to churn out 17 minutes of hardcore punk perfection on Headstrung and if the new material doesn’t quench your hardcore thirst then there’s another 19 minutes of songs for you to indulge in, thanks to Seaside Resort to Violence being on the B side. Rash Decision are an immensely enjoyable hardcore punk act that don’t have too many strings on their bow, but thankfully the ones that are there do the job perfectly.”

Click here for the full review.

7) Karybdis – Samsara

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“Karybdis have put together a smorgasbord of metal subgenres and masterfully fused them into a sound that is exclusive to the band. Samsara is a metal album that heavy music fans will be championing for years to come and it establishes Karybdis as one of the UK’s best metal acts.”

Click here for the full review.

6) Iron Witch – A Harrowed Dawn

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“Iron Witch have certainly spent a long time getting to this record and at only 6 tracks long it is a bit slight for a long-player, but those years of writing and touring have turned them into a well-oiled, doom-making machine and A Harrowed Dawn is the realisation of all their achievements so far. This is easily the best and biggest sounding Iron Witch release to date and an essential purchase for any doom fan.”

Click here for the full review.

5) Let It Die – The Liar & the Saint

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It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for Let it Die to put their efforts into a long-player and with The Liar & the Saint the band have finally delivered. In typical Let it Die fashion it’s as heavy as a tonne of bricks to the skull and faster than a cat belting it across the room after having its tail stepped on. The Liar & the Saint is a relentless assault of hardcore punk and grind that demands you’re moshing for its entirety. Let it Die certainly didn’t disappoint on their debut album, but was there really any doubt?

4) The Infernal Sea – The Great Mortality

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“The Infernal Sea’s The Great Mortality is an album that you simply must own if you like metal. The Inferal Sea have absolutely mastered their craft and turned in one of the most satisfying black metal releases you could possibly want. It’s heavy, it’s memorable and it’s pretty much essential if you enjoy metal.”

Click here for the full review.

3) Sunwølf – Eve

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“Eve is another monstrous achievement for Sunwølf. It’s an album of uplifting highs and crushing lows and despite the simplicity in the song-writing and how long the songs can be, everything is crafted with atmosphere in mind. Sunwølf songs will only linger if the atmosphere requires it to and thanks to the simplicity of the song-writing, the band also put focus on their melodies. You wouldn’t think an album like this would be so memorable but thanks to the focus on melody and atmosphere, it’s very easy to find yourself playing Eve repeatedly without even noticing it. Eve is a beautiful album that makes you appreciate good song-writing and if you’re a fan of post rock then it’s an essential purchase.”

Click here for the full review.

2) Wode – Wode

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“Wode’s debut self-titled album is a fantastic achievement. Every element of the band’s song-writing has been so carefully crafted and sculpted to maximise the impact of their music and it makes this album one of the most approachable black metal releases I’ve ever come across. If you’re a fan of heavy music in general then Wode’s self-titled album is something that has a much broader appeal than most underground black metal and it’s a release I’d thoroughly recommend.”

Click here for the full review.

1) Slabdragger – Rise of the Dawncrusher

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“The UK is spoilt for great sludge as Slabdragger are competing with other brilliant acts like Limb, Gurt, Monolithian and Opium Lord, but Rise of the Dawncrusher sets a new standard for UK sludge metal. Slabragger have written a follow-up so utterly devastating that it demands your attention. Slabdragger, man; what a band.”

Click here for the full review.


Year End: The 10 Best EPs of 2016

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10) Cold Summer – Fight to Survive

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“Regardless, Cold Summer have finally hit their groove on Fight to Survive. This is an extremely bold and fearless record that sees all the pieces of the Cold Summer jigsaw puzzle fit together comfortably. If fist-pumping, anthemic post hardcore music is what you crave in life, then Fight to Survive is an EP you can rely on.”

Click here to read the full review.

9) Conjurer – I

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Despite making a name for themselves in the UK underground’s live circuit for what feels like ages, Conjurer finally released their debut EP this year and it’s fantastically difficult to categorise which is always a fun job as a music critic. This EP is a seriously challenging slab of metal that draws on so many different elements from genres as wide and diverse as death metal, classic rock, black metal and doom metal. Conjurer manage to sound like Mastodon, Between the Buried and Me and Deicide running at each other full pelt across a room with the resulting impact birthing whatever Conjurer are.

8) Wren – Host

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Wren continue to impress us with their huge, atmospheric take on doom metal. Host may be only 4 tracks long, but there’s an awful lot of music to indulge in. This is a creepy and forlorn take on doom that intersperses the music with elements of post rock to create a truly desperate and bleak tone that permeates the entire record. If you’ve been looking for a doom release that could probably make you emotionally well up, then Wren will certainly deliver that. Host is a really unique record from a band who are doing something very interesting with this genre.

7) Terrible Love – Change Nothing

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“Terrible Love’s Change Nothing is an incredible debut from a band that comes with a lot of expectation and they absolutely deliver. This is a remarkably accomplished start to a band’s career that I hope lasts for a very long time.”

Click here to read the full review.

6) Nembutal – Pay to Die

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When bands put out releases like this I always get tempted to just write, “FUCK” and leave it at that. Nembutal’s follow-up to their 2014 demo is about as no-nonsense as hardcore punk records come. The goal of every song on Pay to Die is to play as loud and fast as possible and it just so happens that Nembutal are bloody excellent at doing both. Nembutal’s music has about as much depth as a roadside puddle, but if you enjoy your hardcore punk being played with as much energy as the human body can muster then you absolutely have to listen to Pay to Die.

5) Allfather – Bless the Earth With Fire

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“Allfather have evolved significantly since their debut EP and with Bless the Earth with Fire we see the band writing more diverse and interesting songs that complement the shift towards sludge metal. It also rocks like a mother fucker.”

Click here to read the full review.

4) So-Crates – v1

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“Overall, v1 is an accomplished and intense debut from an extremely exciting new band. If you’re a fan of post hardcore and math rock then you’ll find a lot to love here and despite some niggles regarding the production, the song-writing really does shine bright and offer a record that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Click here to read the full review.

3) Underdark – Mourning Cloak

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Nottingham’s Underdark exploded out the gates with a black metal release that’s scarily accomplished for a first drop. Mourning Cloak is a wonderfully textured and beautifully structured EP that betrays how heavy it is. The ebb and flow of every song on this record is so gloriously natural and well placed that there’s a dream-like quality to the music that’s at juxtaposition with all the screaming and double-bass drumming on offer. Underdark are a very special band that instantly have my attention and have me begging for more.

2) Watchcries – Watchcries

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Another EP that took me by complete surprise, Watchcries’ debut self-titled EP is never short on ideas. This 3 track offering of metallic hardcore fuses itself with elements of death and black metal and instantly grabs you by the collar and gets right in your face. Watchcries have no interest in nuance; this is a band who are itching to make the most visceral and aggressive metal they can and if this debut is anything to go by then their next record might actually kill you.

1) Razoreater – Vacuum of Nihil

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“Vacuum of Nihil is a loud, noisy, racket of a metal EP and it contains Razoreater’s finest work to date. This band has only managed to get more ferocious with every record and still manage to find new ways to assault your ears. Vacuum of Nihil might have been a long time coming but when Razoreater deliver a record as disgustingly vicious as this it makes you realise that it might have all been worth it. This is an essential UK metal release.”

Click here to read the full review.


Year End: The 5 Best Splits of 2016

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5) Temple Steps/Wreck

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A massive, lurching doom behemoth from Lincoln’s Temple Steps and Germany’s Wreck, this split highlights two young talents who are making a captivating low-tempo racket. While Temple Steps prefer the long form, almost funeral doom approach to song structures, Wreck have a real sludgy guitar tone and some really creative riffs that make their tracks a little more interesting. The production is a little rough round the edges, but it’ll be fascinating to watch both bands grow on their next releases.

4) God Mother/Artemis

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Sweden’s God Mother teamed up with Basingstoke’s Artemis for their final release (another great band taken by the onslaught of 2016) and it’s a bittersweet effort as Artemis put forward 2 of their best songs. Both bands fit into the same metallic hardcore mold with extremely progressive song structures that focus on speed and aggression. Fans of hardcore are serviced well by this 7”.

3) Szyslak/Misgivings

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This double-dose of pop punk from the two fresh faces of Brighton’s Szyslak and Portsmouth’s Misgivings offers up 4 tracks of no-nonsense, hooky punk-rock for fans of Gnarwolves. It’s great to hear more pop punk cropping up with a little more bite than the usual sugary, hyper-polished efforts by a lot of the big name bands like Blink-182 and Green Day so if you enjoy massive sing-a-long choruses but like your punk with a bit of dirt then you can do no wrong with this split.

2) Harrowed/Art of Burning Water

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“Harrowed are still an exciting hardcore band and these tracks are by no means bad, they’re just not up to the band’s usual standard. Fingers crossed Harrowed have another belter of a long-player in the works because it’s about time we saw something more substantial from the band. It’s weird to think that Into Inferno is around 3 years old now.”

“Thankfully, despite all these elements coming into play, they manage to fuse in a way that makes Art of Burning Water’s music sound utterly ferocious. Let Me Let You Finish is the perfect example of all these musical styles coming together harmoniously and it’s a terrifying and scattershot explosion of disgusting metal that demands your attention. Please start paying attention to what Art of Burning Water are doing because a band like this shouldn’t be so criminally overlooked.”

Click here to read the full review.

1) Gurt/Trippy Wicked – Guppy

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Seeing as how Gurt and Trippy Wicked now share a drummer, it made perfect sense for the sludge metallers to team up for a split and the result is nothing short of excellent. Gurt are on form once again with their special blend of sludge and hardcore that makes for a suitably unpredictable yet surprisingly memorable couple of songs, but it’s Trippy Wicked that really shine. Their first new material in 3 years, this is easily the best the band has sounded. There’s real depth to their bluesy sound now and the production finally makes them sound as massive as they do live. Let’s not forget the wonderfully daft cover of T. Rex’s Children of the Revolution which sees members from both bands team up to create a truly “revolting” version of the rock classic.


Review: SikTh’s Opacities

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SikTh are back! There’s a selection of words I didn’t expect to ever be writing but the original line-up has returned to make new music and the first comeback effort by the band has come into being as Opacities; a 6 track mini-album.

If you’re a fan of the band then you’ll know the SikTh’s 2 long-players actually sit in two different categories. While they have always played technically proficient and extremely progressive metal, their debut album The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out, Wait for Something Wild features music with a much more traditional song structure. Despite how much is going on in the music, there are clear verses, choruses and bridges which is unlike sophomore effort Death of a Dead Day which sees the band indulge in more progressive song-writing.

What Opacities does so well is combine both styles into a cohesive record. The songs are still considerably more long-form like on Death of a Dead Day as most songs average around 5 minutes in length. However, the band has seen fit to structure the songs in the more digestible silhouette of their first record and you’ll notice melodies crop up more frequently in a single song. This means that fans who sat more comfortably with one particular SikTh album can now enjoy the best of both worlds.

There has also been a considerable shift towards heavier grooves on Opacities. Philistine Philosophies is a great example of this as we often find ourselves in almost metalcore-esque beatdown territory but with that wonderfully progressive weirdness that SikTh deal in. While there’s still plenty of tapped leads and general fretboard madness, Opacities doesn’t see guitarists Graham Pinney and Dan Weller dealing in the same higher-pitched, upper-fretboard work that often punctuates The Trees Are Dead and Dried Out.

It’s also extremely satisfying to hear that the duel vocal attack of Mikee Goodman and Justin Hill has improved dramatically. While there is still plenty of screaming on this record, there’s a noticeable shift towards sung melodies with Goodman really showing how versatile a vocalist he can be on songs like Days Are Dreamed. Hill still deals with the glorious, floaty chorus melodies that so often become song highlights but thanks to Goodman’s own singing, Hill’s vocals are bolstered in a more satisfying way on Opacities.

The band still get a little too indulgent for my own liking as another spoken word Goodman piece takes up an entire track on the record where there could have been more music, but this is a minor niggle on a record that showcases exactly why SikTh have become so influential to the tech metal scene we have today.

Opacities is a fantastic comeback by one of the most dearly missed UK metal acts. SikTh are just as exciting and vital as they’ve ever been and despite the 9 year gap between Opacities and Death of a Dead Day, it genuinely feels like the band have never been away. Opacities has a wonderfully natural progression to it and it sounds exactly like the follow-up to Death of a Dead Day that we all dreamed of. It feels wonderful to finally say this but welcome back SikTh. We’ve really missed you.

9/10

SikTh’s Opacities is out now and available to buy from Peaceville Records.


News: Christopher Lee Passes Away

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Christopher Lee has passed away.

While Lee is famous for his many acting roles which include Count Dracula, Scaramanga, King Haggard and Saruman, he is also known as a heavy metal vocalist and released two symphonic metal concept albums about King Charlemagne under his own name.

Christopher Lee was 93 at his time of passing and leaves behind an enduring legacy. UK Scumscene sends our deepest sympathies to Lee’s friends and family.


Review: Empress AD’s Still Life Moving Fast

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It’s so good seeing young bands signed to Roadrunner Records again and Empress AD are a perfect fit for the label’s roster. The band deal with the sort of thunderous, proggy, groove metal that bands like Mastodon deal with but they sprinkle their sound with an earnest and very British-sounding layer of alt rock which reminds us of bands like Reuben.

Empress AD have been honing their craft for quite some time and it really shows on Still Life Moving Fast. This record has a seriously accomplished sound that dives effortlessly in and out of massive riffs and slower, more contemplative moments of restraint. Empress AD make the quiet/loud dynamic sing on this record. The more reserved moments give way to some absolutely Earth-shattering grooves and the contrast makes their impact all the more powerful.

An album highlight comes in the form of Deeper in Disguise which bursts out the gates with a blistering riff before slowing down for a sombre moment. It isn’t long before the track once again bludgeons you with its Glassjaw-esque, post hardcore craziness. It’s a beautiful lesson in heaviness.

Things even manage to move into doom metal territory for the crawling, bass-heavy dirge of On My Return. This is the sort of groove that would make Black Sabbath jealous but it’s juxtaposed with a beautiful vocal melody by Ollie Loring before it opens up into a more spacey, desert rock sound. Empress AD have really packed a surprising amount of influences into these songs.

The only downside to Still Life Moving Fast is that it does get a little bogged down in its prog rock leanings. Some of the quieter moments meander around doing very little for far too long and it unnecessarily bloats the album. Delve into the Retrospect suffers from moments like these and it often feels like the band have extended the run time of the song for the sake of self-indulgence.

Regardless, Empress AD manage to hit a larger amount of highs than they do lows on Still Life Moving Fast. This is a wonderful prog metal album that is stuffed with interesting song structures that are also bolstered by some of the best riffs heavy music has to offer. This is an impressive beginning to what I hope is one of the UK’s brightest metal discographies.

8/10

Empress AD’s Still Life Moving Fast is out now and available to buy from Roadrunner Records.


Review: Corrupt Moral Altar’s Mechanical Tides

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Corrupt Moral Altar have come a very long way in such a short amount of time. The groove-ridden grindcore sound of the band’s previous EPs has now sprouted shoots that extend into genres like black metal, noise and doom to create the band’s debut album Mechanical Tides.

The black metal influences are instantly apparent in the opening track Father Tongue which is full of bleak and moody atmospherics. The band also deliver blast-beats by the bucket load. Then the first instance of electronic noise seeps into the band’s sound for Blood Harmony and the slower pace will put doom fans in a horrible yet comfortable spot. Then we’re back to the classic Corrupt Mortal Altar combo of groove and grindcore for Die Glocke and Line Check but even then we’re getting touches of thrash and death metal in those riffs courtesy of John Cooke.

The ride doesn’t let up here. Vocalist Chris Reese takes a step away from screaming for the hauntingly stripped down Admit Defeat. This level of diversity puts Mechanical Tides on a completely different level than Corrupt Moral Altar’s previous material and it’s a beautifully accomplished cacophony of noise.

What’s all the more impressive is just how well it all works together. Corrupt Moral Altar have always had a knack for writing a smashing riff or twelve but this time they managed to being that proficiency into areas that it hadn’t previously visited. The frequent divergences into slower tempos and dark atmospherics are fantastic additions that make listening to Mechanical Tides feel like a journey into the unknown instead of a simple collection of songs.

Special mention also has to be brought to the guitar because the filthy, Entombed-esque guitar tone smears the whole record in a wonderfully disgusting veneer that is complimented by the raw aggression of Tom Dring’s drum work. Every nasty, distorted imperfection is captured perfectly and the crash-heavy drumming just makes the whole experience even more chaotic. I can’t imagine listening to Mechanical Tides through the bright and almost robotic production that gets applied to things like tech metal. This album is a much better experience for all it’s harsh, wretched volatility.

Corrupt Moral Altar have delivered one of the most amazing debut albums any metal band could hope to make. Mechanical Tides is a raucous, nasty bastard of a record that manages to take influences from as many areas of the metal spectrum it can and it fuses them into the band’s already brilliant sound with ease. It’s not often we get to experience an album that’s so magnificently loud yet diverse at the same time and Corrupt Moral Altar have made us wish this experience occurred more often.

9/10

Corrupt Moral Altar’s Mechanical Tides is out now via Season of Mist.


Review: By Definition’s The Concerns of Mortal Man

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So who likes Black Stone Cherry and Black Label Society? By Definition do. After 2 EPs, By Definition have unleashed their debut album The Concerns of Mortal Man and it’s a big, lurching, groove metal affair with a touch of the American south to it.

By Definition wear their influences with pride and it’s not surprising to discover they’ve even supported both Black Stone Cherry and Black Label Society live. They certainly have an accomplished sound that lends itself well to the big stage.

Unfortunately the band suffers from a lack of creativity. The band riff too heavily on their aforementioned influences and it makes for a record that is devoid of any unique character of its own. This is a very tiresome album to listen to.

By the time you’ve finished listening to opener Lie you’ve heard everything that By Definition are going to do for the next 40 minutes. All the songs are structured thusly: 1) mid-paced southern groove 2) Si Stechler barks all over it 3) a guitar solo is added to every song. You can’t fault By Definition for sticking to a formula that works but after 3 songs of it you’re already beginning to grow weary.

The tempo even manages to get slower on Old Regrets and it does not help with the fatigue that sets in pretty quickly. The song is a crawling dirge that simply doesn’t excite which is something very concerning when you’re supposed to be making heavy metal.

By Definition haven’t been able to give their songs enough defining features of their own. This results in every song on The Concerns of Mortal Man sounding the same as the last. This could’ve been easily avoided if Stechler moved out of his comfort zone but the man never extends his range and his insistence on using a rather guttural, monotone voice is a bit dull to listen to. Also can we not have lyrics that contain the phrase “suck my dick” in 2014 please? This isn’t nu metal.

You can’t fault By Definition for sounding massive though. The production on The Concerns of Mortal Man is often excellent and the drums have a natural chunkiness to them that lets the crashes ring loud and proud. The bass is also satisfyingly thick which helps accentuate By Definition’s quite stellar grooves. It’s just a shame the production can’t fix the band’s unimaginative song writing.

By Definition is a band that have decided they like a very specific form of metal and that they want to make it to. They haven’t thought about what else they can bring to the table and as a result they’ve made a record that is overly familiar and a bit weak as a result. By Definition need to be more dynamic; the tempo needs to change, Stechler needs to be more daring with his vocals and more needs to be done to give each song something unique.

5/10

By Definition’s The Concerns of Mortal Man is out now and available to buy direct from the band.


Review: Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate

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Modern metal is a bit tiring isn’t it? I don’t mean to be a grumpy bastard but Bullet for My Valentine, Glamour of the Kill and Avenged Sevenfold all sound incredibly similar yet modern metal bands are obsessed with sounding like them. Can’t these bands try and add something different into their mix to help them stand out a little better? A different vocalist isn’t really that defining a feature.

Well according to Chasing Dragons having a female vocalist is the answer, except it isn’t. Chasing Dragons sound like Bullet for My Valentine, Glamour of the Kill and Avenged Sevenfold and they bring nothing to the table that hasn’t already been done. The band make the sort of fist-pumping, stadium metal that all these bands have been peddling for years and while they have a knack for writing a catchy melody, you’ve simply heard it all before.

The problem with Chasing Dragons’ new EP Checkmate is that despite all the similarities it has to other bands, it’s difficult to dislike. Chasing Dragons are clearly decent song writers as they turn out catchy pop metal anthem after another and some of the guitar solos like the ones on That’s Not Love and For the Sake of Murder are absolutely brilliant.

So why are the band using this talent to make such completely unimaginative and uncreative pop metal for the masses and where are the elements that make the band sound like them? They’re missing and this is Chasing Dragons biggest problem. If you told me these songs were made by Halestorm or In This Moment I’d have a hard time telling you otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with sounding like two of the biggest bands in pop metal right now but if that’s all that you’ve got going for you then why should I listen to your band specifically?

Regardless if you like this type of music then Chasing Dragons certainly deliver 5 songs of mindless air guitar metal for you to sing into a mirror. Guitarist Mitch has some brilliant old school heavy metal riffs in his arsenal and the guitar work on Broken Jaws makes it a real rocker. Drummer Kate is also a beast behind the kit and the pace of Checkmate is always frantic outside the ill-advised ballad The Last Defence. Vocalist Tank also has a decent set of lungs on her and her powerful yet raspy vocals deliver some seriously hook-laden choruses.

The band are clearly aiming big because the production is nice and bright which means the drumming pops and the bass is satisfyingly chunky. All the elements are here to bring Chasing Dragons in line with the biggest bands in modern metal, but for those of us looking for something more than another Avenged Sevenfold clone, Chasing Dragons just can’t deliver.

Checkmate is a competent pop metal EP with big riffs, catchy choruses and some great solos. I’m sure it probably has a pretty large appeal to fans of the genre but quite frankly the genre has outstayed its welcome and bands like Chasing Dragons are just going to be swallowed up in the festering cess-pit of pop metal. I’d be intrigued to hear what the band do next because if they can add some elements that make them sound a little more unique then they’d be a force to be reckoned with. ‘Til next time, Chasing Dragons.

6/10

Chasing Dragons’ Checkmate is out now and available to buy direct from the band.