Album Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW: ARK – IN HEARTS WAKE

ALBUM REVIEW: 

ARK – IN HEARTS WAKE

 

It’s been over 2 years since In Hearts Wake wowed fans with their dual recorded albums Earthwalker and then Skydancer. They even April fooled everyone into thinking their next would be titled Seaskimmer, but no the boys from Byron Bay are back with their fourth release, Ark.

In Hearts Wake have continued their album making formula (If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it right?), starting with an instrumental interlude before ripping straight into single, Passage. It’s clear from the first line of the song, the theme of the album – Water, Earth’s most precious resource.

Third track, Nomad is made for live shows, with its bridge and chanting breakdown ‘Liberate Me’ set to go off, just as The Unknown and Survival have done so in the past.

Jake Taylor’s crushing vocals blend flawlessly with Kyle Erich’s voice, which works so well together. Erich’s vocal range has transformed since the band’s earlier work (especially Divination), allowing his parts to be grittier when needed.

Again, just like previous albums, the band come out blaring for the first few songs, before turning down the volume for a lighter, almost ballad-esque song. Ark’s answer to this is Arrow, showing the bands softer side, before turning it up loud once more.

While In Hearts Wake have already pretty much cemented their position as one of Australia’s favourite metalcore bands, the band have once again done what they do best, sing about what is close to them, with passion, in hopes to help change the world for the better.

Ark is the same In Hearts Wake we all know and love and Australia will get a taste of some of these songs live, come July when the band graces venues across the country in support of the album.

Rating: 7/10

Ark is out now via UNFD

ALBUM REVIEW: THE BLACK – ASKING ALEXANDRIA

THE BLACK – ASKING ALEXANDRIA

Asking Alexandria - the Black album cover

Any doubts about how Asking Alexandria would fare after the departure of singer Danny Worsnop, were erased when the UK metal-core group released single I Won’t Give In back in May last year, introducing Denis Stoff (Make Me Famous and Down & Dirty) to the world as the new vocalist for the band.  Fast forward to March 25th 2016, the band released their fourth and latest album The Black via Sumerian Records.

The Black is Asking Alexandria’s triumphant return to the forefront of the metal-core scene, bringing back all the heaviness we loved from the first two albums, that was lacking on From Death to Destiny (still a great album in its own right). Let it Sleep and The Black are the first two tracks on the album, heavy and fast paced from the get go. After listening to these two songs, I was pretty much hooked.

The album has the hard and fast tracks balanced out with softer, slower more ballad styled pieces in-between. Denis Stoff is a talented vocalist with an incredible range, going from calm clean vocals to the mightiest of screams and growls, flawlessly. Fans that enjoy Ben Bruce’s vocal abilities will be happy to know the album also features more solo parts from the guitarist/vocalist, an element that hasn’t really been featured since the first album. Bruce also has lead vocals on softer track, Gone.

Instrumentally, this album seems a lot more matured and tighter, which reflects the band’s new outlook and its regrouping, which you hear Ben Bruce discuss at the beginning of Sometimes It Ends.

Those that have always been a fan of the band will love this album. Have a listen to it for yourself. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have it on repeat for days. Asking Alexandria are back and better than ever. Their new album may be called The Black but for the band, this is a whole new chapter and their future is bright!

Tracks to listen to: Let It Sleep, The Black and The Lost SoulsI Won’t Give In and Undivided have catchy lyrics that will become sing along crowd favourites at shows in no time.

Rating: 10/10

ALBUM REVIEW: ENEMA OF THE STATE – BLINK182

Blink182 are a “pop punk” or “pseudo punk” rock band, when Enema of the State was released, the band consisted of Travis Barker (percussionist and vocalist), Mark Hoppus
(bass guitarist and co-vocalist), Thomus DeLonge (lead guitarist). It was released on June 1st, 1999 being their third album it featured 12 songs.

imagesThe overall feel of the album was to do with relationships ending or breaking up, although they did have a few songs in Enema of the State that broke that trend. Such as “Aliens Exist” which as the title suggests it is to do with aliens existing, depending on the copy whether it is live or not some of the lyrics may change as they like to have fun with their songs.

One of the other songs that had a different theme was “Adam’s Song”. This song is about teenage suicide, this song is played with care. It was inspired by an email of a child’s suicide letter to his parents. The song ended with the message that things will get better. This was classified as the band’s first mature song.

Most of the songs in the album have very similar beats you might find yourself having one set of lyrics stuck in your head and then end up jumping to a completely different song in your mind and not even realise that you changed songs for a moment or two.

Rating 8/10 

SINGLE REVIEW: HELPING HAND- ABANDONED WILL

Abandoned Will

Helping Hand – Abandoned Will

After Kansas City’s progressive metalcore band Solace and Stable parted ways, two of its members decided to go in a different with each other them starting their own solo projects

Abandoned Will is the melodic hardcore solo project of Solace and Stable’s former drummer, Bill Amsbaugh.

Helping Hand is the first single to be released from this project’s EP. Lyric wise, the track is about faith and could be described as a message or prayer to God, asking for help or to show up in a time of need.

With all the instrumentals and vocals done by Bill himself, the song is a catchy tune and the melodic element was an enjoyable variation from the quite heavy ‘in your face’ music that I have been listening to lately. A great little taste of whats to come from this EP! I look forward to being able to review the entire EP one day.

Listen to it! Like it? Tell your friends about it!

4/5

 

Social Media links to Abandoned Will

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/abandoned-will

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AbandonedWill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AbandonedWill

 

Single Review: Tongues Like Knives – Whose Hearts Were His

Tongues Like Knives – Whose Hearts Were HisWhose Hearts Were His

Metal-core/Death metal fans should seriously consider checking out song, ‘Tongues Like Knives’ from Whose Hearts Were His, the solo project of Gabe Fry (Solace and Stable, From the Shallows).

Tongues Like Knives is the first single released from an upcoming EP. The song is fast paced with chugging guitars and rapid drums. Throughout the progression of the track, it seems to move in and out of the metal-core and death metal genres quite slickly with the last minute being purely instrumentals, with a melodic rock vibe.

Listening to the lyrical content of this song, although the words appear to be quite dark, they are also quite catchy. You may even find yourselves with lines like ‘Murder In, Murder Out’ stuck on repeat in your head for a day or two.

All instrumentals and vocals on this track are carried out by Gabe himself along with the entire writing and recording processes. This project has been described as ‘grit meets grace’, which I totally agree with. If this track is only a mere taste of what is to come, then I definitely look forward to hearing the EP in its entirety in the near future.

Listen to it, like it, tell your friends about it!

4/5

For fans of: bands such as Between the Buried and Me, Gojira and The Red Chord

Album Review: Savages- Breathe Carolina

 

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Savages

Breathe Carolina

Released: 18th of April 2014 via Fearless/Shock Records

It has been two years since they released Hell Is What You Make It: Reloaded (which featured Blackout, the single that pretty much planted them on the map). Now it is 2014 and Breathe Carolina are back, bringing with them, their latest album Savages.

During that time, unclean vocalist Kyle Even has left the band to pursue fatherhood, leaving remaining vocalist David Schmitt to pick up all the vocals for the now four piece, known for their fusion sound of electronic and rock music. Savages sees the group branching out wider into the electronic/dance genre while also managing to stay true to their rock influenced roots.

Sellouts’ was the first single released and the heaviest track of the album. Perfect for fans who love the more edgy rock sound of the group, the song includes guest vocals from Asking Alexandria’s Danny Worsnop who adds the heaviness with his well-known growl. The track is catchy to the max, definitely worth a listen.

Having guest vocals is an element that hasn’t been seen on Breathe Carolina’s previous three albums. Tyler Carter (Issues) and Karmin also contribute to this record on tracks Chasing Hearts and Bang It Out respectively.

Now I will be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of electronic/dance music. To be honest, I am only just slowly starting to actually listen to the genre, but it is very hard not to enjoy this album. Whether it is loud, fast paced tracks or the slower, softer tunes that you’re looking for, Savages has something for everyone. From the opening song ‘Bury Me’ all the way to closing track ‘Mistakes’, it feels like one big dance party, energetic and upbeat. This album will not sound out of place on a club’s playlist anywhere.

Fan or not of the more mainstream electronic direction that Breathe Carolina have chosen to go in, you cannot deny just how catchy this album is.

 

Tracks to listen to: Bury Me, Sellouts (feat. Danny Worsnop), Savages, Chasing Hearts (feat. Tyler Carter)

Rating: 8/10

 

 

 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Restoring Force- Of Mice & Men

Restoring Forceof_mice_and_men_restoring_force

Of Mice & Men

Released: 28th of January 2014 via Rise Records

Since the band released its first single ‘You’re Not Alone’, we knew we would be hearing a different side to Of Mice & Men on their latest album ‘Restoring Force’. With a new outlook and a new producer (David Bendeth), the Californian metalcore heroes challenged themselves and took a chance, broadening their style which seems to have paid off very well.

What makes the album so great you ask? Well it’s the combination of sounds that you hear start to finish. While maintaining part of their original heaviness and brutality, the band have added a nu-metal sound similar to that of their influences (the likes of Slipknot, Linkin Park and Korn) to help create what may possibly be one of the great rock albums released this year. Restoring Force is a product of hard work, evolution and growth that steps away from the same old, same old that has become slightly all too common in the metalcore scene and pushed Of Mice & Men forward into the bigger leagues of this music industry.

The album speaks for itself. Its truthful and honest with no messing around, packed with punch, breakdowns and melodies where needed along with choruses that will rise above when it comes to live shows. Austin Carlile has always been known for his unique vocal range which he extends even further in this album, giving himself more clean vocals than ever (vocals we only got a taste of in The Flood Re-issue). This is the first album from the band to include now full-time member Aaron Pauley on bass and clean vocals. Pauley’s soft, melodic vocals balance well together with Carlile’s screams and growls however he has proved he can hold his own, singing the lead parts in songs such as ‘Another You’. Vocals aside, the instrumentals on this record sound HUGE!

Anyone could pick up this album and take something from it, whether it only be one song or from the entire album. With just one listen, messages throughout the songs are heard loud and clear. It is obvious the lyrics are personal to the band but they are written in a way, on a level which fans can relate and grasp to. Fans of the older Of Mice & Men style will appreciate their heavier, bolder songs such as tracks ‘Public Service Announcement’ and ‘Break Free’ while ones who enjoys hearing Of Mice & Men’s softer side will value songs including ‘Space Enough to Grow’ the closing song of the album with vocals done completely by Pauley.

For Of Mice & Men to make it to where they are, it hasn’t been the smoothest of sailing. Carlile’s health problems and a few line-up changes left the band almost to a standstill, however the band as a whole, have re-energized and reflected on their past while moving forwards which has effectively put them on top of where they want to be.

With the album now released worldwide, Of Mice & Men have a big year of touring ahead of them, including a massive tour across North America with Bring Me the Horizon, their headliners in the UK and many festivals through Europe. Look out world! Of Mice & Men are definitely a force to be reckoned with!

Tracks to listen to:  Public Service Announcement, Feels Like Forever, Bones Exposed, You Make Me Sick, Identity Disorder and Space Enough to Grow.

Rating: 9.5/10

Album Review: The Past Is Not Far Behind EP- Ben Draiman

By Kayla SchultzTPINFB- Ben Draiman

For those of you seeking an artist, who is not only unique but also real, look no further than Ben Draiman.

Ben Draiman’s debut EP The Past Is Not Far Behind is a 6 track musical fusion comprised of his calming, soft vocals with smooth piano and electric guitar. Every track embodying powerful yet soothing rock ballad melodies and choruses that capture you, lingering in your memories for days to come.

The rock style of Ben Draiman could be compared to the likes of bands, Threes Days Grace, Daughtry and even the softer material of Stone Sour however it’s the lyrics that make his music truly unique and stand out from other artists. It is clear his heartfelt words have personal meaning to Draiman, the lyrics inducing the very emotion within his audience that the song musically illustrates.

Every listener, big and small can take Draiman’s lyrics to heart and reflect on their own experiences. The Past is Not Far Behind is an enjoyable EP and a perfect addition to any soft rock playlist. Be prepared to hit the repeat button as you will soon find that at 25 minutes in length, this EP just isn’t long enough.

Rating: 9/10

ALBUM REVIEW: Hollow Bodies- Blessthefall

By Kayla SchultzHollow Bodies

After finishing an American summer on main stage of the Vans Warped Tour, Blessthefall have released their brand new album Hollow Bodies through Fearless Records on August 20th 2013.

Ever since post-hardcore/metal-core band Blessthefall revealed the album artwork for their latest album Hollow Bodies, fans have been expecting something a little different from the Arizonian outfit fourth time around.

Change is sometimes heavily criticised by fans and critics of the music industry, however in Blessthefall’s case, change has certainly worked in their favour. Not only did the band choose to work with producer Joey Sturgis for this album (who is known for his work with bands such as Of Mice & Men and Asking Alexandria), they also decided to feature collaborations with other artists throughout this album which is a first time for Blessthefall. Listen out for guest vocals by Jesse Barnett of Stick to Your Guns and Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red.

Hollow Bodies sees a rise in powerful breakdowns and more unclean vocals from Jared Wrath, which weren’t as predominant in previous releases, but has formed for a much heavier sound. For fans that prefer the mellow vocals of front man Beau Bokan, never fear! Despite the album having some of the heaviest tracks recorded by Blessthefall to date, a couple of lighter, softer songs with only clean vocals have been included, breaking up between the heaviness. ‘Buried in These Walls’ has an intermission feel to it, while ‘Open Water’ is the calm, almost orchestral closing track. This song is a duet between Bokan and his singer/songwriter wife, Lights with their relationship and connection make this ballad all the more meaningful and a really great closing track.

Fellow label friend, Vic Fuentes helped Blessthefall co- write song as ‘See You On the Outside’. As you listen to the lyrics, the way they have been written give off an obvious ‘Pierce the Veil’ vibe. The song is well written and one of the catchiest tunes of the album.

Whether it was the change in producers, addition of guest vocals, the bringing forward of a heavier sound or a combination of all of the above, Blessthefall have released a game changing album that showcases that the band have raised their own bar musically and lyrically.

Hollow Bodies might just be the key Blessthefall needed to prove that they are a great force in the metal-core genre and should be taken seriously.

Tracks to Listen to: Youngbloods feat. Jesse Barnett, You Wear A Crown But You’re No King, Déjà Vu, See You on the Outside, Open Water feat. Lights

Rating: 8/10