Archive for the ‘Bands’ Category

Howzit, brah???

Had a bunch of new things to listen to, but this was top of my list so here’s what I think.

Firstly, let me clarify a few things.

1 – I love Unearth, they are one of my all time favourite bands. They are a bunch of extremely talented musicians who write exceptionally skilled songs that I can really get into! Wish I could play them though!

2 – I don’t hate this album. It is not shit. So while you’re reading this thinking “fuck you, it’s ace” and you’re thinking I don’t like it, you are wrong.

3 – When I started this blog I said I’d give an honest opinion and wouldn’t pussy-foot about, so here’s one on one of my fave bands.

4 – Buz McGrath is my hero… after Slash.

Unearth - Darkness in the Light

Unearth - Darkness in the Light

OK, my initial problem with ‘Darkness in the Light’ was that it just didn’t sound like Unearth! I heard one song that they’d streamed before the CD came out, and it sounded a little different, but still pretty damn good (good enough that I felt the need to comment on twitter – something I rarely do!), so I was eager to hear what the rest of ‘Darkness in the Light’ would be like.

As with all Unearth albums, this one is a host of well thought out riffs and exceptional guitar work, complimented by thundering bass and drums and finished with Trevor Phipps’ excellent vocals to create an album full of catchy songs. Unfortunately, in parts the music sounds more like Killswitch Engage and All That Remains than Unearth! See, I can’t hate it ‘cause I love those bands too!! Also, I say ‘unfortunately’ but there’s nowt wrong with sounding like those two bands! Maybe that s part of it. Lodged in my mind is the Killswitch sound as they have Justin ‘J-Fo’ Foley playing drums on this CD. Anyway…

Unearth have a solid riffing style that while melodic is hard edged and very unique to them. Some of the riffs on ‘Darkness..’ feel even more melodic and, well, happy. It’s not even down to the addition of a clean vocal, which while very good, still isn’t Unearth. I understand the need to branch out and try different things, but I feel like this one has branched out into a realm that has been tried and tested by Unearth’s contemporaries, while the genre that they virtually created is the one they should be building on.

There are few metal bands out there that can match Unearth in this style, the nearest I can think of being Parkway Drive. Buz and Ken’s stand out melodic hardcore metal riffs and Trevor’s unique vocal make Unearth a great band. Not to mention Slo’s driving bass-lines and (enter drummer here)’s pounding beats.

So, that was pretty much what I thought on my first few listens. In my head, I was looking for the differences and not hearing the similarities. Having given it several more listens I can clearly hear the filthy Unearth sounds blazing through. There are some nasty riffs on here mixed in with the melodies, and some extra groove-driven snippets in there too! Yes, I can still hear similar sounding bits from other bands, but they don’t spoil the songs. I was just looking for them and found them!

Opener ‘Watch it Burn’ is a mix of Unearth goodness. Some chunky riffs, melodic guitar and clean vocals. ‘Shadows in the Light’ is another catchy tune with a hooky chorus. ‘Arise the War Cry’ is just awesome and ‘Eyes of Black’ has been on constant rotation due to that awesome groovy riff at about 2:05. Classic stuff.

So, no, I don’t hate this album. In fact, it’s bloody brilliant. It’s just not quite the Unearth I love, whilst at the same time being very much Unearth! Well, in my eyes anyway. And I’m not one of those people who only likes the older stuff of certain bands as ‘The March’ is my fave Unearth album! Very closely followed by ‘The Oncoming Storm’. Regardless of my thoughts on ‘Darkness in the Light’, I will still listen to it to death and am definitely going to see them on their upcoming UK tour! WHICH IS THIS WEEK!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

“Perhaps you’d better start at the beginning….”

So I will! A few weeks back I went to see Suicide Silence. I bigged it up a bit on here cause it was such an awesome looking lineup, and the ‘Silence are always a top live band. The lineup was Suicide Silence (awesome), After the Burial (more awesome) and All Shall Perish (not as awesome, but far from shit).

So off we stomped to Manchester Academy 3 (the little one on the top floor, or the Hop & Grape to you old school Manchester giggers). When we got there, we were early, so we did the usual. We went to The Oxford for a pint. Now, given what happened last time we were there, this was a pint that was gone for with some trepidation! (check ‘The Mosh Lives’ Blog for details of death threats!). Fortunately this time, that weird old coffin dodger wasn’t there to spoil a perfectly good pint with his insane rantings. So we drank and headed over.

Much to my dismay, according to the stage times outside the venue, All Shall Perish weren’t on! I double checked my ticket ‘cause I was cock sure they were there. A fact confirmed by said ticket, but denied by said times list. Some band called Bleed From Within were on instead. Recognised the name, but didn’t know from where….

Suicide Silence Ticket

Definitely says 'All Shall Perish' on there!!!

So, we headed in, grabbed customary beers and headed up to watch After the Burial. A stormingly good band of sheer technical genius. I will say that everything seemed to fall right for them this night. The sound was spot on! For such technical, harmonizing guitar playing to work, the sound needed to be spot on too. Crisp, clear dual guitar shreddery was on display, and the usual behind the head riffage. Cocky bastards. Absolute class.

Headed back down for another beer then straight back up for that band that I kinda knew, but had no clue about…. AAAAAH! Now I remember Bleed From Within. As soon as we walked through the doors of the Academy 3, I spotted their guitarist with far too much flowing ginger hair and it hit me. Sonisphere 2010, while the general flock of people were off watching Corey Taylor, I wandered into the Strongbow Bar to see what it was all about and these guys started playing! They were really good too. I remember then thinking that the singer was a bit like SS’s Mitch Lucker in appearance and mannerisms, so shouldn’t have been surprised to see them supporting one day. Anyways, on the night, they were again pretty good. Tight sounding and with some stand out tunes. One to keep an eye on, defo!

Then Suicide Silence came on and did their thing. Immensely heavy sounding and raw to the point of pain. They blazed through stuff from The Cleansing and No Time To Bleed and even added a new track to the mix. Can’t remember a name or anything, but one of the lads said he’d heard it and it was nothing like their other stuff. Well, to me it sounded quite Suicide Silence in parts and was quite catchy. If catchy is a word you can use to describe deathcore type bands.

About a week later I was raring to go as it was Sonisphere week, and I’d booked the whole week off. To start the week, we’d had a few jars on the Saturday night round a mates house and some cheeky bets on the Haye/Klitschko Boxing match (I won £20 for my accurate guess of a Klitschko win on points), then Monday rolled around and it was Cavalera Conspiracy, Sylosis and Revoker in my li’l hometown of Wrexham.

Sylosis

Sylosis - Shredding from Reading

We all met up in a pub around the corner and proceeded to get leathered on pints of Fosters and Jager shots. Little wonder that I can hardly remember a thing about this gig! Well, I remember thinking it was awesome at the time!

We stayed in the pub around the corner for Revoker. Just not a fan of ‘em. But Sylosis on the other hand, we like. Unfortunately, they only got to play four songs, finishing with Teras as usual, so despite them being ace we were a little disappointed… …so we drank more.

Tha Rizzo

Tha Rizzo - On a Tapping Frenzy

Max and Iggor took to the stage, along with Mark Rizzo (who shall henceforth be referred to as ‘Tha Rizzo’) on Guitar and Johnny Chow on Bass. So I’m expecting to hear a lot of Cavalera Conspiracy stuff and some classic Seps tunes. Which I got. Inflikted, Sanctuary, Warlord, Killing Inside, Refuse/Resist, Territory, Roots Bloody Roots, and so on. However, I was chuffed to bits when they pulled a Nailbomb track out of the bag! Yes, they played Wasting Away. Not heard that in aaaages!!! Ok, my fave Nailbomb track was Cockroaches and I’d have preferred that, but they kept that as a special little surprise for Sonisphere! Oh Yes!

As much as I enjoyed Cavalera Conspiracy, I felt that Tha Rizzo does all the work. Max just doesn’t look that arsed about playing these days. It’s like his heart’s not in it and he’s given up, while Tha Rizzo carries the whole show on his very nimble and talented fingers. Guitar wise, obviously. Iggor was still hammering shit outta the drums like his life depends on it!

So yeah, if a Sepultura reunion does happen sometime in the not too distant future, I hope Max gets his passion back and looks like he’s enjoying it more!!

Cavalera Conspiracy

Cavalera Conspiracy

After it finished, it was time for Ben to do his usual lap of badgering everyone in the room until he got a drumstick. The target of this nights annoying-to-death, was Ritchie Cavalera. Eventually, he was broken by persistence and got Ben a stick. More bugging managed to get said stick signed by Iggor Cavalera. Jammy git!

Next stop: Knebworth.

Just a random thought I had on the way to work this morning whilst listening to ‘In Dreams’ by After the Burial, but have you ever come across a band at a gig that you’ve never heard anything by that have truly blown you away?

Generally, I like to know something by the bands I’m going to see before I can enjoy watching them.  Sometimes, and in hindsight stupidly, I’ve neglected to watch a support band at a gig because I didn’t know them (and probably because Jim said they were amazing and we don’t always agree) and have sat at the bar and missed bands the calibre of Protest the Hero and Whitechapel.  Silly me!

Anywhoo, I have found myself at a few gigs over the years where I’ve been utterly stunned into laughter by an unexpected gem of a band.  I can think of three occurrences that spring to mind.  One I’ve already mentioned on here before, so I’ll keep that one brief…

First up, was waaaaaaay back in the day. Anyone familiar with Canadian all-girl group ‘Kittie’?  Well, I went to watch them.  Didn’t have a ticket and it was sold out so I took a chance and headed to Manchester to see if I could get one off a tout.  Robbing bastard touts wanted £50 for a ticket which I was not willing to pay for a £12 gig!  So, I thought I’d try one more avenue.

I headed to the back of the venue to see if I could get my stuff signed, and lo and behold, Morgan Lander of Kittie was walking to the bus.  Jackpot.  She kindly signed all my bits n bobs, CD’s, singles et al and said “enjoy the show” to which I replied “Not coming. Couldn’t get a ticket!”.  In a move of pure genius, she got me added to the guest list!  Oh yeah!  Bingo!  I’m in.

Pretty sure Sugarcoma were supporting on that show too, but don’t quote me on that.  However, the band that made this night so damn good were about to grace the stage.  I’d heard of them, but nothing by them. They were an unknown entity on this night out, so coke in hand (I was driving) I settled in to watch the show. …and the band was ‘Shadows Fall’.

Shadows Fall

Shadows Fall

They hit the stage hard with a barrage of fast, technical wizardry and thrash-esque riffage that put me in mind of Slayer and early Metallica in parts.  They were amazing.  Thinking back, they were probably the first band of this new breed of metalcore type band that I witnessed, leading to a love of bands like Unearth, Parkway Drive, Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying and more…

I pretty much stood there laughing to myself (I was on my own) as they blasted through some amazing sounding songs with great music and vocals. Topped off by the 6-foot dreadlock windmilling by frontman Brian Fair, Shadows Fall made the ever growing list of bands I needed to hear more of!  Needless to say I nipped to the merch stall after the show and got a copy of ‘Fear Will Drag You Down’ and chatted with the band (except Fair – his autograph still eludes my CD cover, even though I have met him twice since!)

The second band that did this (and the reason for me writing this) were ‘After the Burial’.  I was off to see Caliban with Jim and Ross and supporting were After the Burial, a band I’d never heard of.  Pretty sure I MySpace checked ‘em and thought they sounded ok, but couldn’t remember the song I heard or what they were like.

So we got to the gig and watched the opening act, then on they came.  The stage was dark and then they kicked in.  Silhouettes of two guitarists with their back to the crowd and their guitars behind their heads opened the show and blazed into perfect technical shreddery of their opening song, which I think was ‘Berzerker’!  They nailed some awesome guitar playing – sweeps, the works – from the back of their heads!!!

A brilliant show of skills and some fantastic tunes came from the stage. The only off-putting thing was the god awful illuminous colours of their guitars!! Really enjoyed their set and can’t wait to see them again very soon supporting Suicide Silence along with All Shall Perish.  A beast of a line-up, I’m sure you’ll agree!

Now, here’s where I’ve done that thing where I don’t pay attention to a band only to find they’re actually fantastic and I really like them.  Also on that Caliban line-up are the third band in this story.  A band who were so heavy and bass-pulse destructive that they left me in fits of laughter at the ‘Never Say Die’ Tour in 2010.  Emmure.

Yes, I didn’t pay attention to Emmure, and if I did, they sounded nothing like they did that day at Never Say Die.  I did a full blog about that gig if you wanna know exactly what I thought, but needless to say, I thought they were pretty damn special.  I laughed through their set.  They were immense and aided a thoroughly good night out and have since added a host of great tunes to my iPod!

Have a think.  Pretty sure we all come across a band we don’t know who just stick in the mind as a “fucking hell, these are ace!” band.

Hello!

Ok, so I wrote this post a month or so ago and within minutes of me kinda finishing it I’d gotten hold of a bit more stuff to add to it. So I thought I’d re-write and see where I got with it.

Basically, I’d ordered some new CD’s.  “Whoop” I hear you say, and it is whoop!  I’d been skint so far this year and hadn’t been able to get hold of anything new, and as a collector of CD’s that disappoints me greatly.  So with my new found wealth (which didn’t last) I ordered:

  • Times of Grace – The Hymn of a Broken Man
  • Slash – Slash Special Edition (It had 3 extra songs so I had to!)
  • Emmure – Speaker of the Dead
  • Oceano – Contagion
  • DevilDriver – Beast

Quite a mix there, eh?  Well since I wrote the post about these new bits n pieces I’ve gotten hold of some more stuff by Emmure, albums by Impending Doom, All Shall Perish, Baptized in Blood and my fave at the mo for sheer fun music, Royal Republic.  I’ll blast through and give you the lowdown.

Adam Dutkiewicz

How Cool?

Times of Grace was always going to be good. I love Killswitch Engage.  If you need to know how much I love KSE, then you need to track down the Couple that were standing next to me and Ben at Download in 2009, as they applauded our singing along to every Killswitch song played and apparently, we were better than Howard!  Anyways, Adam D is a legend and Jesse Leach’s vocals on KSE’s ‘Alive or Just Breathing’ are superb, so I was well up for hearing what times of Grace had to offer.  I’d already heard ‘Strength in Numbers’ and loved that and the rest of the album didn’t disappoint.  It’s loaded with melodic, catchy tunes, great Adam D guitar work and excellent vocals from both parties.  Not bad for a 2-man album.  Christ, I hate multi-talented people like Dutkiewicz.  And he looks good in a cape!!!!

Slash’s CD is just a re-release with some bonus tracks, which I wouldn’t usually buy ‘cause they piss me off. Seriously!  It used to be the case that the limited or special edition versions of a CD came out first, so the real fans and collectors got them as soon as they could.  I have many a ltd edition digipak and a few with Roadrunner Records first day stamps (Sepultura’s ‘Roots’, Machine Head’s ‘The More Things Change’, etc.).  A band released an album, the cool kids got the good stuff first and then there were normal versions for those who weren’t that bothered.  We – The Fans – buy our favourite bands albums when they come out, only for you – The Record Company Whores – to release better, more upgraded versions of said albums at a later date.  Err, fuck off!!  Now I have to buy a second copy of the album which I don’t need ’cause you’re money grabbing twats.  That’s not metal, is it??

Anyway, I digress.  I bought the Slash CD AGAIN because, as you know, I am a massive Slash fan (he says, sitting in the office at work in a GN’R t-shirt) and the CD had 3 acoustic tracks of songs I like and love on there.  Slash and Myles Kennedy performing Velvet Revolver’s ‘Fall to Pieces’ Slash and Myles’ ‘Back From Cali’ and my fave GN’R classic ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.  “But Dan, you could have just downloaded the 3 tracks!”  Yes, I could have, but I’m a CD collector and Slash fan.  Unfortunately, this was a buyer.  Anyway, the songs are good and I love the solo album anyway, so it just made it better.  Could have saved these tracks for a limited edition version first release of the next solo album though!!!!!!!!!!!

Emmure - Speaker Of The Dead

Emmure's 'Speaker Of The Dead' - Heavy

Emmure.  Well, if you saw a previous post about me catching Emmure at the Never Say Die! Tour, you’ll know why I needed to get hold of some of their tunes at some point.  They’re just plain heavy.  And live, they’re even heavier and loaded with massive bass pulses that make your insides rattle. Speaker of the Dead was the first set of Emmure tunes I actually listened to properly, and it’s a thoroughly good album. Dirty, low-tuned riffs, nothing over complicated, just big, fat, heavy riffs and shouty vocals. Just what the doctor ordered. I’ve picked up the rest of their back catalogue since and it’s equally heavy. I still think ‘Speaker…’ is the better CD, though Ben will argue in favour of ‘Felony’. They’re all good though.

Got tickets to catch them on tour Next week at Manchester Academy and it’s going to be a bloodbath!  It’s Emmure, with Winds of Plague, I Wrestled A Bear Once, War From A Harlots Mouth and Visions on the “The Mosh Lives” Tour.  Mint.

DevilDriver’s latest album Beast is just another DevilDriver album.  I like DevilDriver, but they tent to do a few really good songs on every album and the rest just sounds the same.  They’re excellent to watch live as they have like 5 albums worth of material to pick an epic set from, but they’re not a band I can get into fully.  Don’t get me wrong, this CD isn’t crap, it’s just similar to all other DevilDriver albums to the point where nothing majorly stands out.  If you love their work, you’ll love Beast.  I only like it though.

Oceano are another great band a stumbled across a while back using the MySpace friends links.  Like Emmure, they just do big heavy riffs and deep growling vocals.  Oceano are more sludgy in their approach.  Listening to ‘Contagion’ is like listening to a giant slowly stomping the world to the point of Armageddon.  Oceano need to get back over to the UK soon, as I missed them last time due to being late out of work. 😦

Myself, Ben and Dave went to see Whitechapel recently inManchester.  It was a good show featuring Whitechapel, The Acacia Strain (who were ace) and a band I knew nothing about – Impending Doom.  These guys were epic.  Such a raw, heavy noise from a band with one guitarist.  Check ‘em out!  Again, following the sludgy heavy route but with a bit more technical stuff in the guitar work.  I’ve got hold of some of their tunes and they’re defo worth a listen.  They’ve got the sound of a band who’ve really worked hard to get where they have.

Baptized by Blood are a band I’ve been interested in hearing something by for a while.  I downloaded ‘Last Line Lady’ from Roadrunner Records website when they were giving it as a free mp3, and liked it.  Apparently, these guys are managed by Dave Mustaine of the mighty Megadeth, so they must be alright!  Album seems pretty solid.  Melodic metal riffage with some top class solos and growled vocals.  Think a more heavy Bullet For My Valentine with no singing or All That Remains type music.

Royal Republic

Royal Republic

Ahh, and now for a band that brought me out in fits of laughter from the moment the first song kicked in.  I downloaded a copy of ‘The Royal’, again from Roadrunner and thought “this sounds like fun”, then I forgot about it.  I remembered again recently that I had it and put it on.  Had to get a copy of the album! RoyalRepublic’s ‘We Are the Royal’ is a gem of an album of you’re into a more poppy, fun rock record.  Happy go lucky riffs, a superb vocal and fun lyrics.  Definitely a summertime album.  If you want a comparison, they’re a bit like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, with some Rocket From the Crypt, Tenacious D and a touch of the B-52’s for sheer novelty value.  It’s the sort of album that you need to stick on if you want cheering up or at a party.   It’s just fun.  They’re not metal, but they are still good to listen to!

And as a final note, I’ve just got the new Winds of Plague album, which is frickin’ ace!  Prob pop on summat about that after the Emmure gig (which is tonight!!!!).

Laters.

Now I never got into Alter Bridge straight off the bat. I think it was the whole ‘they were in Creed’ thing that put me off. I only like a few Creed songs, like ‘Bullets’, so I wasn’t that interested.

It wasn’t until a friend saw them perform at Download a few years back and text me saying “Just watched Alter Bridge. It’s them that do Edge’s entrance music”. For the non-wrestling fans out there, Edge is/was a WWE superstar, and it turns out that his entrance music at the time (still might be for all I know) was Alter Bridge’s ‘Metalingus’. And I liked that song.

So, me being me, just went to a shop the next day and bought myself a copy of ‘One Day Remains’. Got in the car and put it on, skipping straight to the aforementioned track. Loved it. So I listened to the whole C.D., loved that too. Went to see ‘em live and they impressed me. Bought ‘Blackbird’ and loved that. Seen ‘em a few more times since and they’re such a good live act. So it’s hardly surprising I got myself a copy of new album ‘AB III’.

Alter Bridge - AB III

Alter Bridge - AB III

So yeah, I like Alter Bridge. They’re a decent band who can pull out the fast, heavy riffs and still make it melodic, then throw some great clean vocals over the top that just adds to the music so very well. Then they can whip some slower heavy songs and acoustic tunes into the mix and some ‘lighters-in-the-air’ numbers to.

Mark Tremonti is a fantastic guitarist. I’ve watched him thrash the nuts off his guitar and not break a sweat. I’ve read in Total Guitar about how methodical his playing is, and heard some of the showy lead playing (Check out ‘Ahavo Rabo Taco Salad’ if you can) that he can do. And Myles Kennedy is a definite fave vocalist in my books. Always thought he was pretty awesome, but he really sealed the deal when he came over as Slash’s touring singer. I was chuffed to bits to catch the show in Manchester and witness Myles putting Axl to shame on some GN’R classics. Well, just singing the songs without walking off in a strop is putting Axl to shame, but Myles sang everything spot on.

Soooooooo, ‘ABIII’ is yet another great Alter Bridge album, packed full of big riffs, smooth lead playing, catchy vocals and great sing along moments. Each song as a familiarity about it. They’re definitely Alter Bridge tunes. They’re the sort of song you can hear once and the next time you hear it you feel like you’ve listened to it a hundred times before, like it’s one of their classic tunes. You just feel like you know it.

I like that in a song. One you’re instantly singing like you already knew it. For example, I found myself watching the mighty Skindred at Hammerfest performing an acoustic version of ‘Trouble’ at the Jagermeister truck/stage thing. We were all singing along “Trouble’s what you want… then you’re gonna get it!” like it was a firm fave Skindred tune and we’d heard it before. We even did the usual “that’s an ace tune, love that one, gotta stick that on when we get back”. So we got back to our Chalet (how very metal \m/) and proceeded to scour the ipod for the song. I only had Skindred’s first album ‘Bablylon’ at the time and we checked it to no avail. My mate was adamant he had a copy. Alas, no, we’d never actually heard it before! But, it’s the sign of a good song. We were singing it for the remainder of the festival and watched Skindred play the full version later that night. Ace tune. Aaaaanyway, once again I digress….

I’m sitting here with the track ‘I Know It Hurts’ on. It’s another classic Alter Bridge in-car sing along song. Quite fast, catchy chorus and fitting lead guitar. I can see I’m gonna enjoy this CD. On my own, in the car, where the world can’t hear me sing! “We all fall sometimes, you’re not the first, but I know it hurts….

There are some good, punchy songs to get your teeth into, like ‘Isolation’ and ‘Still Remains’, which have some nice metal guitar triplet chuggy moments in, big riffs and big choruses. Or if you prefer a slower tempo, yet still powerful sounding song, check out ‘All Hope Is Gone’. There are other great songs on here like the melodic melancholy of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or ‘Ghost Of Days Gone By’ where you’ll get slow clean verses building up into heavy, epic choruses.

A stand out track for me is ‘’Words Darker Than Their Wings’, which is a mix of everything. Clean intro, big guitars and a great dual lead vocal from Kennedy and Tremonti. Never heard him sing before. He’s got a pretty good voice. This is one of those epic Alter Bridge tunes like ‘Blackbird’ was and I loved that song.

Yep,  i love this album. So if you’re into Alter Bridge’s style, then I’d say get yourself a copy. It’s like Stone Sour, but all singing and no shouting, and a bit heavier musically.   Or like Creed but much heavier and with a much better singer. Defo worth a punt!

Due to my own stupidity and lack of money, I missed watching Alter Bridge on their current UK tour, just a few days ago. Gutted. I was told they were pretty damn good though. Ah well, Next time, Gadget…. Next time!!!

Hmm, they’ve got a DVD out too.  Didn’t know that!  Consider it on my Christmas list.  Here’s a snippet of Myles performing an acoustic version of “Watch Over You” from said DVD. Enjoy!

Find Alter Bridge on Myspace

So there loads of you out there in the metal world who hate this band. I know you do, and I confess, I’ve never been a fan either. Whether it’s just down to musical taste or you’ve read something in the press about Oli Sykes being a knobhead, we’ve all got our reasons to not like them. Bring Me The Hairspray, sorry, Horizon have managed to make themselves the Marmite of metal. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em.

I heard first hand the massive “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” from the crowd at Sonisphere UK this year when they were announced ‘up next on the Saturn stage…Bring Me The Horizon!’ and was a little bit shocked by the response, so I’m hardly making this up!

But…

Before you completely dismiss them and do the usual “nah, not interested, can’t stand ‘em, etc.”(which is what i probably would have done), do yourself a favour and have a listen to their latest album “There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret”. It’s actually pretty damn good.

It wasn’t until recently that I started to pay attention. I’d listened to ‘This is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made For’ and ‘Count Your Blessings’ and they just did nothing for me, so I wasn’t rushing to check out ‘Suicide Season’. I caught their video for ‘The Sadness Will Never End’ featuring Sam Carter from ‘Architects’ recently. I heard it, not knowing who it was, and thought… “this sounds pretty cool, but it sounds like BMTH, but it can’t be, I like it!”.

There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret

There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret

So I bought the new album this week, and have given it a thorough listen and I’m quite impressed. I say thorough, I mean it’s been on non-stop. It’s really good. It doesn’t seem as unhinged as previous albums. You might disagree, but there just seems to be more melody and control in the songs, which in my opinion is a good thing. I’m all for mental metal tunes, and some of these are goliaths of non-stop riffage. But it just sounds better.

Maybe it’s the more grown up songwriting and attitude of a band 3 albums and an E.P. into their career or maybe it’s the addition on this release of former I Killed The Prom Queen/Bleeding Through guitarist Jona Weinhofen. I don’t know. But something’s different.

They used to do the whole random fast tecchy guitar bit for the sake of having one in a song, but on this it’s not like that. Each song sounds big, heavy and fresh in it’s own right. It’s like the next step on from where you could see ‘Suicide Season’ needed to go. Ok, I’m still not convinced by the vocals. They sound much better on this album but I just find his voice to be a bit underpowered for such big songs. But as a package, the songs are great.

The songs on the album are a bit of a mix. You’ve got the big, heavy beasts and you’ve got some well thought out melodic tunes too. The opener ‘Crucify Me’ breaks you into what to expect straight off the bat. It’s got a bit of everything in there. Heavy riffs, atmospheric sections, a female vocal from Lights (Canadian Singer/Songwriter), good melodies, some weird effects and it’s a 6 minute epic. Other songs like ‘Anthem’ are songs that’ll really get you shouting along, with it’s hardcore/punk riffing and big pit-stomping end. “This is an anthem, so fucking sing!”. Erm, ok!

The first track I heard (and saw) was ‘It Never Ends’ which is a great song with a really catchy vocal line “I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice, I’ve said it a thousand fuckin’ times…” which is one of those lines you hear and it sticks in your head. The video’s a bit weird though!

There are some melodic and sing-along tunes, such as ‘Fuck’ with the clean vocal ending from YouMeAtSix vocalist Josh Franceschi and ‘Don’t Go’ with more atmospheric sounding vocals from Lights. And, there are some heavy hitters too. ‘Home Sweet Hole’ is a fast paced number with chanty sing-along moments and ‘Alligator Blood’ ups the pace too, with a catchy riff, more memorable vocals (“Lets play a game of Russian roulette, I’ll load the gun, you place your bets”) and a big stomping ending.

My fave from the CD is ‘Blacklist’. It’s ace. It’s just one of those simple, straight forward, no messing, in-your-face slow heavy riffs that you can imagine people singing along, swinging their arms or punching the air to.

With more fast, yet melodic pieces with great guitar coming in the form of ‘Visions’ and Fox and the Wolf’, and slower, eerie tunes like the instrumental ‘Memorial’ and ‘Blessed with a Curse’ adding more depth to the album, it’s got more playability than previous albums.

All in all, this album has really changed my opinion on Bring Me The Horizon’s music, and I never thought I’d say it, but I genuinely like it. If you’re after a heavy album with some catchy melodies, fast songs, big heavy riffs and solid guitar work, then check this bad boy out.

Catch em at: http://www.myspace.com/bmth

Stone Sour are a great band. They’ve got a good mix of everything you’d like from a metal band, unless you’re after some straight up death or thrash metal, but you know what I mean. They’re a metal band that have heavy riffs, fast songs, great lyrics, great shouting and singing and can even whip an acoustic tune out of the bag if the need arises. If you like that kind of mix, then they’re a band for you.

Stone Sour

Stone Sour

I’m sitting here listening to latest offering ‘Audio Secrecy’ while I’m writing this and it’s a bit different to their previous stuff. Not quite sure what to make of it yet. Think it might be a grower!

I’m looking forward to seeing them in a few weeks as they’re a damn fine live band. It’s their Joint headline tour with Avenged Sevenfold and support from Hellyeah. I didn’t get to watch their full set at Download Festival this year as they clashed with Aerosmith. I’ve never seen Tyler, Perry & Co live before, so sacrifices had to be made. I mean, I needed to hear ‘Eat The Rich’ and ‘Livin On The Edge’ played live at least once in my life.

But I did catch the first 10 mins of Stone Sour and aside from a new song which was a bit slow for an opener, they sounded spot on. I was later informed by a friend that the rest of their set was immense, yet a little emotional given the events of the time (the death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray). FYI, Aerosmith were also good!

Anyway, Audio Secrecy. It’s a good album, but lacks the ‘beans’ that ‘Stone Sour’ and ‘Come What(ever) May’ had. It starts well with opener ‘Mission Statement’ and ‘Digital (Did You Tell)’ hitting you with Stone Sours trademark heavy/shouty/singy combo, but the majority of the album feels a bit slow.

Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy

Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy

They’re not shit songs though, far from it, it’s just I liked the pace and heaviness of the previous two albums with the mix of mainly fast heavy numbers, with a few slow/acoustic chart friendly numbers thrown in. Audio Secrecy appears to be the reverse. Whereas the likes of ‘Bother’ or ‘Through Glass’ stand out in their field as the singalong songs on otherwise metal albums, new songs like ‘Hesitate’ get surrounded by similar songs and lose their impact.

But as always, the album is loaded with gems. As mentioned, ‘Hesitate’ is a real lighters-in-the-air, crowd swaying moment with some great guitar work (which puts me in mind of Velvet Revolver’s ‘Fall To Pieces’. – I’m a Slash fan, that’s a compliment!) and ‘Unfinished’ is an in-your-face number with riffs and power that match the vibe of Stone Sours debut album. Other songs like ‘Nylon 6/6’ have the heavy and melodic feel down to a tee, whereas ‘Dying’ has an unexpected ‘Theory of a Deadman’ vibe to it.

Corey’s lyrics are always superb. His work with both Slipknot and Stone Sour is far superior to most metal bands. Great guitar work from Jim Root & Josh Rand, with lots of technical stuff and very atmospheric playing. Shawn’s bass lines are solid and fit well with the rest of the music, and Roy Mayorga is one of the best drummers in metal (with an impressive list of employers: Soulfly, Sepultura, Medcation, Roadrunner United, etc…), so can’t be faulted.

I like the album, but I’m still 50/50 on how much. As I said, I think it’s a grower. So pick up a copy, it’s defo worth a go.

Find them at: http://www.myspace.com/stonesour, and In the meantime, here’s the video for ‘Say You’ll Haunt Me’.