Tag Archives: panic cell

Review: Temple of Lies’ From Sand

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Leicester groove metallers Temple of Lies return with their sophomore effort, From Sand. Anyone who’s caught Temple of Lies’ live show will understand how utterly electric this band are and their bluesy riffs command some serious attention. But how well does Temple of Lies’ live sound transfer the mighty to long-player?

Sadly, From Sand is a little underwhelming. While it’s often obvious that Temple of Lies’ song-writing carries their music much better than their producer does, From Sand is a bit undercooked when you consider how devastatingly weighty the band’s live show is.

Album highlights like Bats and Fire in the Hole shine bright on an album that is extremely lacking in power. These tracks in particular are loaded with riffs to bang your head to and the bare-bones job done on the mix (that’s also thoroughly lacking in bass) can’t spoil these perfectly constructed slabs of rock. Unfortunately, you’ll still wonder how massive these songs could have sounded with the right person at the mixing desk.

That becomes the recurring thought while listening to From Sand. Songs like Rope and MoM are perfectly serviceable bursts of riff-laden blues rock that showcase Jon Scranney’s amazing guitar work, but they sound so flat that it’s difficult to get excited.

The other disappointment comes with Si Shaw’s lyricism. This is a real shame when you consider how much of a character Shaw is. When the man performs live his face is always plastered with a crazed grin and wide eyes and his barked vocal style is extremely commanding. However, when he sings stuff like, “you won’t even swallow” without a hint of irony and throws in references to crystal meth simply because he’s been singing about crystal balls, you realise that Shaw is a bit of a lazy lyricist. He writes lyrics that he thinks sound cool but they’re so overloaded with metal clichés that they become somewhat laughable.

Despite all of this, there’s a decent groove metal record hidden amongst the bad decisions. In the right hands, Temple of Lies’ From Sand could have sounded like the lovechild of Panic Cell and Clutch, and while the band’s song-writing often comes close to those lofty goals, the flat and lifeless audio mix drags this album into the dirt. Hopefully Temple of Lies can produce a follow-up that lives up to the potential created by their amazing live show.

6/10

Temple of Lies’ From Sand is out now and available to buy from all good digital music outlets.

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Review: XII Boar’s Pitworthy

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It’s been 2 years since XII Boar piqued our interest with their Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof EP but now the band have returned with their first long-player and it’s got the rather bold title of Pitworthy. If that doesn’t indicate a record promising a collection of songs that’ll make you move then I don’t know what is.

XII Boar are still making their special blend of bluesy, groovy rock with a touch of metal (think Black Spiders wrestling with Panic Cell) and it’s still as engrossing as ever. Opening track Sharpshooter bursts out the gates with a riff that is going to ignite their fans into a feeding frenzy and it’s a joy to listen to.

Things continue in a similarly riff-heavy fashion. XII Boar have a real knack for writing a great slab of hard rock that’s stuffed full of hooks and their music has a strangely danceable quality to it. If you put The Schaeffer Boogie on in any of the UK’s many rock clubs it would have the whole place humming along to the melody in no time.

Unfortunately, Pitworthy suffers from a problem that the band didn’t have to worry about previously thanks to the shorter length of their EP. By the album’s half way point you’ve heard everything XII Boar have to offer. I was suffering from some painful fatigue during the middle of Pitworthy and when Tommy Hardrocks gleefully barks, “bitch” I was beginning to worry why a band needs to use a sexist slur in 2015. It isn’t shocking anymore and it’s simply quite embarrassing to hear such sloppy lyricism.

The final nail in the coffin comes with the last song on the album. The song in question is called Quint and it shows an incredibly self-indulgent side to XII Boar that is completely unnecessary and dull to listen to. The tighter more direct song-writing that’s explored through most of the album is completely dumped in favour of an eleven minute desert rock jam that’s so bloated it might burst due to overindulgence.

XII Boar were so very close to making a hard rock debut that would be remembered for decades. The band have a wonderful sound that’s stupidly fun to listen to and when they get it right their music is full of groove and enough hooks to fill a butcher’s pantry. Sadly, Pitworthy becomes a tiresome and bloated experience that indulges in extended desert rock jams far too often. When XII Boar pack all their ideas into shorter songs they’re absolutely on fire but sadly these songs only take up half the record. A missed opportunity.

6/10

XII Boar’s Pitworthy is released independently by the band on the 9th of March. You can pre-order it direct from the band by clicking here.


Review: In Search of Sun’s The World is Yours

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In Search of Sun is a 5 piece heavy metal band from London making the sort of music that would make Panic Cell, Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold proud. Previously known as Driven, the band have gone through a stylistic change that sees them moving away from their earlier metalcore roots (hence the change in band name) and The World is Yours mark’s the band’s debut album.
The World is Yours is an album built around big vocal melodies and bass-heavy grooves. The songs are structured in a pretty traditional manner that favours verses and choruses so don’t expect anything too progressive from the band.

What really makes the music on The World is Yours shine is the wonderful vocal work by frontman Adam Leader (surely the most appropriate name for a lead singer ever). Leader has a beautifully flexible voice that moves between abrasive yell and soaring croon with ease and you can really visualise the vocalist commanding a massive crowd. It helps that Leader’s melodies and superbly strong and the choruses on the album will stick with you long after the album has finished.

The band are also pretty comfortable dropping in some thrash influences into their music with the lovely galloping shred at the start of 51 56 being a great highlight as well as the opening riff to Idle Crown. These moments of guitar prowess put In Search of Sun in a league of their own and its riffs like these that the band need to focus on bringing to the forefront more often.

Bizarrely the instrumentation often feels quite sparse. Despite having two guitarists in their midst, In Search of Sun often let the lead guitars jangle gently over a thunderous bass-line like at the beginning of In Search of Sun (yes, there’s a song confusingly named after the band). This wouldn’t be such an issue if the song was actually doing something a little more gripping. In Search of Sun are very keen to fix their tempos into a rather unimaginative mid-pace that never really allows the music the freedom to grab you by the balls and let loose with a really rocking riff. This really damages songs like In Search of Sun because the track is drawn out for over 6 minutes and despite an impressive guitar solo it rarely moves away from its quite traditional structure.

The major problem with In Search of Sun is just how similar they sound to many other modern metal bands bothering the charts right now. This is a real shame because it’s clear the band have a knack for writing a decent riff and a great chorus but they need to be more daring to drop into different tempos and get more adventurous with their guitar work because bassist Faz Couri often has to carry the songs. In fact, Couri is so prominent in the mix that I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of the band’s main songwriters.

The World is Yours is a strong modern metal offering from a promising new band. It often succeeds thanks to the massive choruses courtesy of vocalist Adam Leader but the music is too unimaginative to hold your attention for the full 48 minutes. In Search of Sun could really do with stepping up the pace a bit because as To the Axe manages to prove in its fifth minute, the band is vastly more exciting to listen to when they get nice and thrashy. It’s moments like this that justify the band having 5 members because it’s too often the case that the music is very minimalist like in the album’s ballad Skin. In Search of Sun have all the potential to be an incredibly exciting band but at the moment they haven’t quite figured out how to do this.

6/10

In Search of Sun’s The World is Yours is released through Raging Demon Entertainment and Plastic Head Distribution on September 1st.


Review: Zoltar Speaks’ Save As I Save

Zoltar Speaks are a metal band from Somerset that fuse a sound similar to that of Avenged Sevenfold with a more modern streak that brings to mind Panic Cell and Lamb of God. The difference is the band favour singing instead of screaming and their vocalist Louise Body definitely takes some cues from In This Moment’s Maria Brink. The band released their debut album ‘Save As I Save’ at the tail-end of last year and now they’re gearing up to give it a wider release in April.

‘Save As I Save’ is formed from a nice blend of modern and classic metal that is lead by the accomplished guitar work of Daniel Pratt and Jason Coles. The two guitarists become the most enjoyable element of the band’s sound and it’s clear that they have the ability to deliver a great series of thrashy riffs. Songs like ‘I’m Coming’ and ‘Cannot Be’ are also given some rather impressive solos which really set them apart from a lot of the other songs on the record.

Outside of the extremely polished guitar work we start to enter some problems. The main issue that plagues ‘Save As I Save’ is it all sounds a bit flat. Vocalist Louise Body is nothing special to listen to and while she can certainly hold a note she often finds her comfort zone and sticks with it. This means a lot of higher range melodies that all sound very similar from song to song. The real problem with Body’s voice is when she decides to scream. Body sounds like a woman doing an impression of a metal scream and the noise that comes from her mouth sounds like it’s coming from her throat and not her diaphragm. It’s not a pleasant noise to listen to and if she really is using her throat then she’s going to cause herself some damage in the future.

The real casualty of the album’s rather limp delivery is Simon Roocroft’s bass which is so low in the mix you can barely hear it. ‘Save As I Save’ is a record that could desperately use a heavy dosage of bass to help punctuate the riffs and the drum work to make the whole listening experience feel brighter and more energetic. What you get instead is an album that’s under-produced, one-dimensional and delivered in the most passable way possible.

Zoltar Speaks are clearly a group of fairly talented musicians because outside some unnecessary metalcore chugga-chuggas like in ‘I Can, I Can’t’ there is a fair amount of decent melodies, riffs and and solos on offer throughout their debut album ‘Save As I Save’. Their main problem is their rather mediocre delivery which lacks the power and intensity that a lot of their peers are managing. This leads to an unfortunate vibe of averageness that means ‘Save As I Save’ will likely get listened to once and then stuck on a shelve for many years to collect dust.

5/10

Zoltar Speaks’ ‘Save As I Save’ is out now and available to buy on CD direct from the band.