Tag Archives: riff rock

Review: Hawk Eyes’ Everything is Fine

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It pains me to say it but Hawk Eyes have lost something on their latest record, Everything is Fine. The riff rockers have been riding a wave of success thanks to their wonderfully thick Engerica-meets-Reuben sound and their last EP, That’s What This Is showcased a more song-driven side to the band that seemed inevitable. It was energetic and exciting and I could hear the band lighting up rock radio up-and-down the country.

Sadly that song-driven style has been dropped on Everything is Fine and the whole record feels like a backwards step back into Modern Bodies territory. This is obviously not a huge issue because fans of that record will feel right at home thanks to the return of the dense, down-tuned and somewhat dark atmosphere that Modern Bodies is known for. That’s all here on Everything is Fine but listening to songs like Permission and Terribly Quelled sit side-by-side next to a re-recording of More Than a Million, which grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go, makes it clearly apparent that a more direct and less progressive song structure does Hawk Eyes more favours than their moodier material.

The darker and more brooding tracks on Everything is Fine just feel lacking. While they certainly sound impressive on face value with their nasty, oozy guitars and dense production, the songs always lack a tasty hook or riff that could really push them to the next level. Tracks like The Ballad of Michael McGlue are bizarrely pedestrian listening experiences which is not something I ever thought I’d find myself saying about Hawk Eyes.

The weird thing is it’s apparent that this is still the same band. All the Hawk Eyes signatures are here; the riffs are heavy, the drums are thrashy and the vocals are a blend of raw barking and sung choruses. This is still the same Hawk Eyes you know and love but for whatever reason the songs on Everything is Fine simply drift on by without a riff or chorus barely managing to be as devastating or memorable as something like Witch Hunt or Skyspinners from Ideas.

Hawk Eyes have unfortunately made a slight miss-step on Everything is Fine. While the band’s satisfyingly thick riff-rock is still on show throughout the album, the meandering and broody nature of the music doesn’t accommodate memorable riffs and choruses. The absolute barnstormer that is More Than a Million proves exactly what most of Everything is Fine is missing; this album needs to spend more time getting to the point quicker and punctuating it with a catchy melody.

6/10

Hawk Eyes’ Everything is Fine is out now and available to buy direct from the band.


Music Video: Cactus&Cardigan’s George Michael Cums Cobwebs

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Noise-rockers Cactus&Cardigan return with a new music video for George Michael Cums Cobwebs from their debut EP ‘Gag Reflex’ (you know, fourth best EP of 2013). The video was shot and edited entirely by the band with a “non existent budget”. Check it out:

Cactus&Cardigan head to the studio at the end of the month to record the follow-up to ‘Gag Reflex’. I cannot wait. Potato.


Year End: The 10 Best Albums of 2013 Part 1

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Before we start our list of the 10 best albums of 2013, please remember that this list was decided by one person and therefore represents the opinions of one person. This will likely not reflect your own opinion but that’s okay; there’s room for more than one opinion in this crazy world of ours and your’s is just as valid. As per the theme of UK Scumscene, this list also contains releases by UK bands ONLY. Okay then, let’s get this show on the road:

10) Dinosaur Pile-Up – Nature Nurture

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Dinosaur Pile-Up proved they were much more than the British equivalent to Weezer with their second album ‘Nature Nurture’. This is an astounding tribute to the days when pop-rock was made with riffs and overdrive pedals. You can hear a much larger cross-section of bands penetrating Dinosaur Pile-Up’s sound with ‘Arizona Waiting’ sounding like Foo Fighters, ‘Peninsula’ sounding like Ash and ‘Start Again’ sounding like the best Feeder song Feeder never wrote.

9) Subset – Loverdose

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What we said:

“Ignore the issue of flow and you have one of the most exciting and down-right inventive rock albums of the year. Subset are one of the most enjoyable and bizarre rock bands doing the rounds and missing this album would deprive you of one of the most creative rock albums in existence.”

Read the full review by clicking here.

8) Funeral for a Friend – Conduit

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‘Conduit’ has been a strange record for me in that it didn’t instantly click as the Funeral for a Friend I know and love. This is an immediate, hardcore-influenced FFAF that aren’t bothered about taking longer than 3 minutes to get their ideas across. ‘Conduit’ clocks in at just under 30 minutes and it’s absolutely thrilling to hear the band back with a reinvigorated energy that makes the whole record spark and fizz. Many have commented that FFAF sound like a much younger band on ‘Conduit’ and they’ve even managed to prove this on the big stage. ‘Conduit’ is a welcome return to the no-nonsense thrills of the band’s ‘Between Order and Model’ days.

7) Jamie Lenman – Muscle Memory

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What we said:

“So how the hell do we sum up such a bizarre and challenging record? ‘Muscle Memory’ is very literally an album of two sides and while the heavy side of Jamie Lenman’s music can sometimes fall flat without his trademark melody, the side of the record which focuses solely on his beautiful song-writing succeeds on many, many levels. There’s an awful lot to love about Jamie Lenman’s ‘Muscle Memory’ and while not all of it works, a far higher margin of songs do and it reminds you exactly why this man’s music is so special to so many people. Welcome back Jamie you crazy bastard.”

Click here to read the full review.

6) Bovine – The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire

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What we said:

“Bovine’s The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire is an exciting, brash and surprisingly interesting record that manages to balance its’ visceral elements with excellent melodies. The whole record flows naturally from one song to the next and offers one of the most solid listening experiences a rock fan could ask for. Bovine have put together a stunning debut which sets the bar for the rest of their career extremely high. No pressure or anything lads.”

Click here to read the full review.


News: Jamie Lenman (ex-Reuben) is Back With New Double Album

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Jamie Lenman, the iconic frontman of riff-rockers Reuben is back with a solo double-album called Muscle Memory which is split into 2 discs; 1 heavy and 1 not so heavy.

The album will be released on the 4th of November through Xtra Mile Recordings and is available to pre-order now.

You can also check out the music video to both Fizzy Blood and Pretty Please below:

[Source: Thrash Hits]


Review: MG & The Juggernaut’s Tool

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‘Tool’ is the sophomore EP from Bournemouth hard rockers MG & The Juggernaut and it showcases a musical style that can only be described as Breed77 and One Minute Silence meets Metallica. It’s an interesting blend of riff-based rock music and it allows vocalist and guitarist Simon Miller a chance to let loose with some brilliant guitar licks.

The guitar work is the biggest draw on ‘Tool’ and opener ‘Battlefield’ showcases this perfectly with its thrash metal riffing. The song instantly grabs your attention and pulls you in but sadly the EP has a hard time bolstering Miller’s guitar work with decent rhythms and song structures.

Miller’s vocals also play a part in this and the man’s delivery is very uninspiring to listen to. All the vocals on the EP stay in the mid-range and don’t have an awful lot of power behind them. If Miller flexed his pipes a little bit or even added some screaming to beef up the aggression of some of his riffs these songs could have really shone. The only time things change in the vocal department (for better or for worse) is during ‘Crushed to Pieces’ where Miller starts putting those James Hetfield-esque inflections onto his lyrics. It certainly helps diversify the vocals but I’m not sure we should be celebrating a vocalist for simply aping the style of another vocalist.

As we’ve already mentioned, some of the riffs on ‘Tool’ (like the one that opens ‘Crushed to Pieces’) really impress and this is where MG & The Juggernaut should have focussed their efforts. If the band continued to fill this EP full of memorable guitar melodies they would have created a record which would have satisfied the many fans of arena rock, but sadly the song writing just isn’t up to scratch. Most of the songs on ‘Tool’ lack a big chorus and without these focal points it can become a bit of a drag listening to the record.

MG & The Juggernaut definitely have talent and Simon Miller can occasionally conjure up some brilliant thrash riffs. Unfortunately the band suffer from lacklustre vocals and generally can’t pull together songs that really stick in your head. The band really need to focus on structuring their songs to be more catchy so their audience has a decent hook or chorus to latch onto. At the moment MG & The Juggernaut definitely show potential but it hasn’t been realised. Yet.

5/10

MG & The Juggernaut’s ‘Tool’ EP is out now and available to buy on CD direct from the band.


Review: Hawk Eyes’ That’s What This Is

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I think it’s safe to say that with ‘That’s What This Is’ Hawk Eyes have truly left behind the death grunge sound of their Chickenhawk days. ‘That’s What This Is’ continues in the same vein as last year’s ‘Ideas’ and sounds like an unruly mash-up of Pulled Apart By Horses and Reuben. Big riffs and even bigger choruses are the order of the day and it’s something that the band are becoming incredibly good at.

Hawk Eyes’ focus on melody is also heavily featured on ‘That’s What This Is’. Screamed vocals have been paired back considerably which allow for vocal melodies that sound like Foo Fighters in their prime. Songs like ‘Never Never, Just Not Now’ begin with the aforementioned Grohl-esque croon before unleashing one of the EP’s best riffs. Hawk Eyes have mastered the balance between neck-breaking riffage and stadium-sized choruses with finesse.

The real surprise is that Hawk Eyes have lost none of their bite with the increased focus on melody. This is not a sugary, over-processed sounding release at all. ‘That’s What This Is’ is a raw and dirty sounding release that keeps all the grunt and power in the guitar work as well as the absolutely visceral drumming.

Enough can’t be said about how impressive the drums are in particular as it’s about the closest thing to catching the sound of live drumming you can possibly get. The ring of a cymbal crash is always held too long and you can almost feel the force of the pounding that the kit is going through in your chest. Hawk Eyes understand that the appeal of riff-rock is not to hear it played with accuracy; you want to hear it played with passion and if that includes a few mistakes or a more rough-and-ready production style then I’m all for it.

‘That’s What This Is’ showcases Hawk Eyes on top form and songs like ‘More Than A Million’ are future festival anthems. It’s a shame the whole thing is over in under 15 minutes but if this is a taste of things to come then we cannot wait to see what their next album will hold.

8/10

Hawk Eyes’ That’s What This Is is out now and available to buy on CD direct from the band.


News: God Damn to Continue as a Two-Piece Until Dave Copson Recovers

In what has to be one of the most touching and heart-felt press releases to be given by any band ever, God Damn have decided to continue as a two-piece until their second guitarist Dave Copson has fully recovered from a horrible traffic accident.

Here’s an except of the statement which outlines the band’s plans ongoing:

“We finally have a set of songs that work in this format spanning the God Damn career so far, however some are impossible to play without our right hand man. We also have a couple of new songs which have been very much inspired by the way we play with Dave and this whole experience. The plan is that Dave will slip right back in as if he’s never been away and we’ll keep gigging as 2/3rds of the best band in the world until the time is right.”

You can read the full statement from the band by going to Counteract Magazine. We highly suggest you do as it’s bound to bring a tear to your eye.

God Damn play the following dates as a two piece:

August 6 – Buffallo Bar, London
August 24 – Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham

UK Scumscene wish God Damn all the best ongoing and hope Dave has a speedy recovery. We’re looking forward to the day he can rejoin the band.

[Source: Counteract Magazine]


Interview: Jude Jagger from To The Bones

Welcome to Double Cross, a new feature that focuses on the hard rocking women of the UK heavy music scene. The aim of this feature is to promote equality in UK heavy music and also to celebrate the women who have decided that they can rock just as hard as the guys. In our inaugural edition we speak to Jude Jagger, bassist for riff rockers To The Bones.

Hola! I’m Jude Jagger, I play bass in Bolton based rock ‘n’ roll hellraisers To The Bones.

So first of all, congratulations on the release of Emperor’s Ride which is obviously the first To The Bones release with your performance on it! How’s the reception been to the single?

Thank you! It’s been really positive – loads of airplay from Kerrang! Radio, Amazing Radio and the XFM Rock Show, plus random rock stations in Europe – we definitely want to play in Europe at some point so that’s very encouraging. Think we’d go down well in Europe, they love their rrrock! The tour to promote the single has been rad – there’s nothing better than travelling the country to play gigs and cause some trouble! We’ve done everything on a budget – a transit van with one in the back, 4 of us crammed in a Travelodge room, taking the rider to eat for breakfast the next day, going to a casino with £2 cos that’s all we had between us and living off beer and crisps but it’s been a blast.

You guys have a particularly high-energy stage presence. I remember seeing you guys at The Macbeth in Hoxton and loved watching you get your rocks off more than the guys in To The Bones! What inspires your lively performance style?

Haha! I’ve always thought that if people pay money to come and watch a show, then that’s what they deserve to see – a proper show. I can’t stand watching a band who look like they are too cool to get sweaty, or even worse – bored with their own music. It’s the bands job to entertain and that’s what we’re there to do. Plus it’s really fun throwing yourself around a stage playing music with your friends! I like the unpredictability of it.

What introduced you to heavy music and what continues to attract you to it?

My best mate made me a tape when we were kids with Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins on and I just instantly thought “yes this is it, this is the music that SPEAKS to me!” (I was a very melodramatic child!) He was also in a band that covered those songs, and I went to see them play a lot, and just thought ‘I could do that’. I got into bass players like Kim Gordon, D’Arcy, Kim Deal and Melissa Auf de Maur and was completely inspired by those girls. I have a pretty wide taste in music but there’s something very pure about rock music – it’s solid and uplifting and driven and makes you want to dance. Love it.

Have you felt comfortable being a woman in a heavy band in a music scene that is predominantly populated by men?

Yes, but it would be better if there were more girls. I’ve never had any negative experiences – more often its boys trying to be nice and carry my amp for me, but I’m like… “erm… I’m perfectly capable of carrying my own gear thank you!” I do find it odd that there aren’t more female musicians in general, not just in rock music. It’s always better when things are equal – outside of the band I work a lot stage managing and crewing, and there’s hardly any girls in that world too, but everyone says when there’s women on the team it makes the boys behave better! Unfortunately women in music are judged on their appearance – we were at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods the other day, it was full of grufty, wrinkly old blokes, whereas the majority of the women were dressed in tiny clothing, very heavily made up and young. Seems very unfair that women aren’t allowed to grow old or have a day without makeup! I just can’t be bothered making all that effort, especially on stage as it all gets sweated off and messed up within about 2 seconds anyway!

What’s your proudest musical achievement in To The Bones?

At our last recording session at Brock ‘n’ Broll Studios in Chorley, the police were called because some old lady walking past had heard Rhys recording his vocals and thought someone was being murdered!!

What’s next in the pipeline for To The Bones? More shows? New record?

It’s all go! We’ve got a new single out this Autumn with the album due next year. We’ve got loads of festivals booked for next summer already and some more gigs at the end of this year, and I can’t wait for you all to hear the album, it’s going to be immense. Check out www.tothebones.co.uk for dates and news or follow us on Twitter/Facebook/etc.

Any suggestions for other female rock/metal fans who are looking to get involved with heavy music?

Just do it! Please! Even things up a bit! Girls, just find some mates and book a room to rehearse and make some noise, you don’t have to be able to play really. Unless you are a drummer, in which case get some lessons and a kit and a van and get practicing! There’s nothing worse than a shit drummer… There’s not only a lack of female musicians, there’s a lack of female sound engineers, lighting engineers, managers, promoters, publishers, journalists etc and NO ONE is going to ask you if you want to have a go. You need to make those opportunities yourself so just get on with it.

Are there any other rock/metal bands with female members you can suggest our readers?

New bands that I’m into at the moment are Victor from Birmingham, full on in-yer-face crazy show. Their singer reminds me of Iggy Pop a bit. But she can sing properly! Also loving Sky Valley Mistress, proper bluesy rock tunes, they just played at Download. And Bad Grammar; they’re a 2 piece from Manchester, got a Kyuss/QOTSA/Black Keys kind of vibe.


News: Milestone’s Medicate the Night EP Out Now

We like Milestone. We like Milestone’s Medicate the Night EP. We reviewed it and said “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.”

So why not go and buy a copy? The EP is available now directly from the band’s BigCartel on limited edition CD and digitally via the band’s BandCamp.

You can even stream the entire thing below before you make your purchase. What thoughtful fellows Milestone are:


Music Video: God Damn’s Heavy Money

Ladies and Gentlemen; bear witness to what is probably going to be the best UK music video produced all year. God Damn’s single Heavy Money which comes off their new EP of the same name is accompanied by one of the best acted, most charming and most interesting music videos I’ve seen in a long, long time. Just watch and you’ll see what I mean:

You can pre-order God Damn’s Heavy Money EP on limited edition cassette now from Gravy Records. A free download is also included.