EP Review: MAINES – SPRING

Ever looked for a band that combines a nostalgic taste of alternative rock with the modern sounds of today’s hybrid genre? A sound so carefully crafted that it not only includes a balanced distortion on their riffs, but clean melodies and even a little tease of guitar solos that hasn’t really come up a lot in modern music. Brought to you from Conwy, North Wales, MAINES is built up of four members that create the memorable sounds found in their latest EP, Spring.

Made up of six songs, Spring leaves no area untouched. The EP shows various talents in areas of songwriting, such as the intro to Malkovich, the guitar work in Spider Skull, and the chorus in The Battle of Ventral Pallidum for an example. The EP’s tone shifts through the motions, displaying the musical range that MAINES has.

‘You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming’.

For fans of a plethora of genres, Spring has a lot to offer, with something that will stand out to most listeners. If there’s one thing to say, is that bring the first EP I have listened to from MAINES, it brings an excitement of anticipation for future endeavours, and a need to find out how the band plays live – from the sound, I can guess it’s a spectacle.

Spring is available to stream and purchase from BandCamp for £5.

Keep updated with MAINES via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Alternative

SICKONES release AGILITY with full band w/ new singer Kristie Easterbrook and bassist, George Walker

Since formation in 2016, SickOnes have established solid ground in the UK Punk Scene, touring alongside the likes of The Dead Kennedys and Cancer Bats and garnering positive reviews from outlets such as Dead Press, Down For Life Magazine and BBC Radio stations. The band has brought stages to life with their exciting and unpredictable performances during their career, although at the end of 2018, parted ways with their former frontman, Ben. Since then, SickOnes have introduced their latest singer, Kristie Easterbrook with their previous releases, Candid, The Step and Exit Years last year. With this second phase of production, SickOnes saw the introduction of bassist George Walker, furthering the band in creative development and energising them for their latest release, Agility.

Combative distortion opens Agility like a rumble of thunder. With heavy influence from bands such as Beastie Boys and Cancer Bats, Agility grounds itself in the hardcore punk scene with such a tumultuous attitude. It’s a loud track, hitting harder than your first morning coffee and toys with melodic riffs to tie it together throughout. SickOnes are a powerhouse of sound, a force to be reckoned with within the scene, and Agility is an exciting release at the start of 2020, with a plethora of opportunities at their fingertips.

music

[LIVE REVIEW] Slipknot w/ Behemoth @ Motorpoint Arena – 22.01.2020

A crowded Motorpoint Arena this past Thursday is so far, highlight of the month. With the released set list to Slipknot’s show packed with Iowa-era tracks, it was a crowd of hyped fans spanning a variety of ages. With the crowd filling up, plastic cups of some kind of overpriced larger and cans of red bull, it’s hard to tell whether the excited chatter and chanting is from the amount of sugar, liquor or just sheer anticipation.

Behemoth opens the show, and it’s a sure kick off. Heavy riffs and deep bass reverberate from the walls, sending waves of movement throughout the crowd. Devil horns in the air, shouting and screaming from those who have come well equipped of the knowledge of the polish satanists, the crowd were clearly pumped for the headlining act. I didn’t get many photos, mostly because I was part of that crowd fangirling over the exquisite microphone stands and spitting pyrotechnics. The fog machine sets off a layer, opening Bartzabel up for a sea of voices to sing back. Download being the first time I caught Behemoth live, they definitely do not let indoor arenas burden their live performances. Kudos, Behemoth, the Wolfpack are certainly proud.

Pointing out the obvious here as what seemed to be the only sober one in the crowd of now swarming fans drenched in tour merch, but the wait for Slipknot was painful. Putting together a different stage set, loading up the Slipknot curtain and putting up percussion drums dangling in the air took a total of 45 minutes of, well, pretty horrible DJing. With everyone trying to push their way to the front, our center staging was at risk of being lost, but we managed to hold our ground and watched the curtain rise into the air, anticipating the opening of the headliners.

The 3 minute something AC/DC song, “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” felt like another eternity, but alas, the opening for ‘Unsainted’ soon kicked in and so did the crowd energy. It was a full two songs near enough for the crowd to somewhat calm down. Mosh pits trying to take life but forcing the crowd forward and back like some kind of horrific, forceful pressure surge. Barely being able to stand on two feet, it took a total of three songs before two pits finally opened and the crowd around them starting to settle. It was time for the material we had been waiting for. Causing mayhem with Eeyore and Nero Forte, Before I Forget opened up total destruction, and from here on out, I was completely annihilated in mosh pits.

Now, I’m not going to review mosh pits because what can I say? People get thrown around, fall over, picked up and injuries do happen. What I am going to say though, is the entire center crowd was engulfed in them. With two pits only separated by a tiny snake of 4 or 5 people, once you were in the pit it was hard to get out. Slipknot’s crowd did not waiver on their promise to cause mayhem – and the headliners kept giving us the tracks we had been craving. And, as a 25 year old with knees of an 80 something, I’m happy to announce that they did not ask us to get down to the floor to jump up. My knees were saved the aching pain, although the rest of my body suffered. Due to the excitement, the raucousness of the crowd and so on, photos were pretty much unobtainable. Those reasons and the fact that I definitely was not about to pull my phone out from where I was standing after seeing at least 3 of them spread across the pit floor with smashed screens.

The downfall? Slipknot could not get their sound right. With the percussion and drums obviously taking the spotlight, Taylor was nearly obsolete. Maybe I suffered a head injury, but even when the band had stopped playing, there was no way I could even make out what he was saying. His microphone was far too low, and other than following cues from his body language, there was no way for us in the middle of the Motorpoint Arena to actually know when we should be cheering. I’m pretty sure we just started doing it at random intervals. The singalongs were totally following the instruments, which makes me wonder, why did Behemoth get it so right, and Slipknot get it so wrong?

metal

FIRST QUARTER ALBUMS

There’s no denying the sheer amount of albums and ep’s that will be releasing early this year, from Suicide Silence’s upcoming Become The Hunter releasing on Valentines Day, to A Day To Remember’s You’re Welcome set for release early in the year. It’s here, and now we’re all counting down the days to our favourite releases, pencilling it into our diaries and patiently waiting for our pre-orders to arrive and streaming services to update. We may get a little early taster with a track or two, but not enough to really conquer our hunger for the albums we are waiting for the most. Not only does it feel excruciating, but it’s a real test to our patience. TOOL took an entire 13 years to release new material because Maynard just wanted to make wine and Vine videos to pass the time, and while we will still be waiting for the an announcement for new MCR record, we have some dates and albums we’re really excited about. So, we compiled a list of what we know for the albums we are most excited for in this first quarter of 2020.

Breaking Benjamin – Aurora – January 24th.

Other than being a band you remember as owning the anthems of your school days, Breaking Benjamin has gone into 2020 with big things. Not only are they touring with KoRn, the Pennsylvanian hard rock and alternative metal band is also nearing the release of their previously teased album Aurora. What do we know? Well, we know that former Flyleaf singer Lacey Sturm features on the reimagined “Dear Agony” as well as Cold’s Scooter Ward. They really have hit it off with other artists from the industry over the years, with Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlin weighing in on “Red Cold River” and Saint Asonia’s Adam Gontier on “Dance With the Devil.” We’re also about to see RED’s Michael Barnes’ contribution to “Failure” as part of an album that has already gained such massive praise from fellow musicians prior to release. With one new song, the 10-track album is mostly rereleased, acoustic songs from the new Aurora-era. Pre-orders have already gone live here alongside Aurora bundles that you can get hold of here. If you’re lucky enough to be around the areas that Breaking Benjamin are touring with KoRn this month, you can go ahead and visit here for tickets.

Green Day – Father Of All… – February 7th.

We all know Green Day never do their albums lightly, and as they move towards the release of their thirteenth studio album, Father Of All Motherfuckers is set for release THIS February. Yep, no more waiting on a new album filled to really project your own distaste for society with frontman Billie Joe stating that “this record is The New! soul, Motown, glam and manic anthemic. Punks, freaks and punishers!” adding that the lyrics weren’t about politics but “the life AND death of the party” and the “lifestyle of not giving a fuck,” to NME last year. Green Day released the title track, and in an interview with Zane Lowe, Billie Joe criticised the recent state of the industry claiming that rock acts are always trying to look for the “feel-good song of the year or something,” and that everything gets watered down and wimpy, adding that rock music should make you feel bad. It’s a bit different to what we know, but still the Green Day that we love that has managed to sell out a tour along with Weezer and Fall Out Boy – so they still haven’t lost their spark and is still racking up the excitement over new material. The artwork for Father Of All… is a riff on their 2004 release, American Idiot, with a few colour changes and a strange attempt to get the kids of the new generation to take a second glance. Unicorns, really? I mean, it’s clearly punk looking, but COME ON.

Hollywood Undead – New Empire, Vol. 1 – February 14th.

Already garnering attention with their release of “Already Dead” and “Time Bomb,” Hollywood Undead are making it clear that they’re not quite finished with their aggressive style. Johnny 3 Tears has said that the album is “our attempt at reimagining Hollywood Undead, not just a new sound for this release, but a new sound for the band altogether.” Releasing the album through the band’s own Dove & Grenade in association with BMG, the two songs are already attention gripping for all the right reasons, piquing a lot of anticipation for the album set for release of Valentines Day. Pre-orders for the album are already live here and they are set to start their tour with a show on release day in O2 Forum Kentish Town in London before heading over to Barcelona for an all out European showdown.

Weezer – Van Weezer – May 15th

Not only is Weezer teaming up with Green Day and Fall Out Boy for their Hella Mega Tour coming this summer, they’re also releasing an album before we see them take the stage (Fall Out Boy really needs to deliver a surprise album release so we can party with ALL new material). They’ve already released a music video for “The End of the Game” taken off Van Weezer but has also released some details claiming it’s “back to big guitars” and is “Blue Album-ish, but a little more riffy.” Weezer has bene known for their songs such as “Beverly Hills” but, unlike the recorded material, the live shows include pauses to include guitar solos in which the crowd goes a little crazy for, so they incorporated the live shows in to their records. Last year saw them release a covers collection as well as the Black Album, and with the inspiration from their live performances, I’m sure we’re not only going to get some individual talents shining through, but a little more insight to the band and who they are as they lose control over their instrumental impulses.

The Cure – DETAILS TO BE ANNOUNCED

Okay, so there is no release date for this, but it’s THE CURE. We can’t not talk about this. Last year, Robert Smith revealed the details that the band are sitting on three albums, two of which are apparently “more advanced” in terms of including “freer pieces and with a more pronounced, stronger sound, and that to record them has to be live, with that experience of putting together a concept based on the interpretation of the moment,” Smith said. The third album he discusses is a “noise disc, with different aspects and environments, all based on experiences on a stage or on my paths, in situations where noise is present and to which we are so accustomed that we don’t pay attention.” It sounds wild, but definitely interested. But the main thing, is that the first of the three was said to be released “very soon” in an interview that Smith done late last year. He said that the album would be released over Christmas, but here we are again, still waiting. So here’s to hoping we get it early this year!

Foo Fighters – DETAILS TO BE ANNOUNCED

Foo Fighters is no doubt, one of the best bands of our age. Sharing a black and white photo of a disassembled drum kit on Twitter with about a minute audio of a simple drum beat following by the hashtags, #FF2020 and #FF25, we will be getting something this year from the mighty Foo’s. 2020 marking the bands 25th anniversary of their self-titled 1995 debut album, we could be in for a remastered version, a reimagined version or even a self-titled tour announcement. On New Year’s Day, the band tweeted a similar photo, this one being a microphone set up in a bathtub with the same hashtags. With their last album released in 2017, it’s safe to assume that Dave Grohl is sitting on a pile of unreleased work, itching to make something new as he always has.

Deftones – DETAILS TO BE ANNOUNCED

Last, but not least, another TBA. Gore was the last album that Deftones released back in 2016, and this year the band is back on festival line ups including Download, Nova Rock and Rock AM Ring. Chino Moreno said that over a summer, the band wrote an “album’s worth” of material and are hoping for a 2020 release, and we’re sure to get it somewhat early in the year ready for them to jump on stage and get us revelling in the greatness. Talking about the news, Moreno has said the band have enjoyed taking their time making it, working on the material for over a year and noting it’s been a bit of a touch-and-go project since the band hasn’t wanted to be stuck in the studio waiting for it to be finished.

With what we know is coming out and what is speculated, 2020 has barely started and it’s already obvious that deciding what the album of the year is, will be difficult. The industry is bursting with new material from bands that were there when we were discovering ourselves, and I’m not sure if you’re feeling it, but I’m certainly feeling a little nostalgic; optimistic that this year is the year. Not only are we seeing the bands from our younger years returning with big promises, but the local bands and artists are bursting with projects that are set to be released in the coming months – and we’ll sure be covering everything we possibly can.

What albums are you most excited for? Leave a comment below!

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for behind the scenes updates.

music

2020 YEAR AND DECADE PREDICTIONS

The past decade has been a rollercoaster for the industry, we saw highs and lows from all areas. We saw the deaths of legends such as David Bowie and Chester Bennington, saw My Chemical Romance split and then reunite, watched miracle man Dave Grohl take the stage on crutches to do what he does best; David Gilmour did one tour and TOOL released an album after 13 years. We saw Milestones, Mallory Knox, Creeper and The White Stripes disband, yet received some of the best albums to date such as Chris Cornell’s “Higher Truth” (2015) and Royal Blood’s self-titled (2014).

Who knows what 2020 and the upcoming decade has in store for us – but from the last few months of 2019, we have a lot of hope. Winding down the decade with some juicy bits such as My Chemical Romance, Motley Crue reuniting and word of Rage Against The Machine will be touring in 2020, my greedy need for more is thriving. I’ve had a taste of true wonder – and I’m not about to let it end. So, in short, here’s what I’m hoping 2020 and its upcoming decade will bring us –

  1. The reunion of Kids In Glass Houses – it was no surprise that so many of us were upset when South Wales based pop punk outfit bid their farewells, ending their career as a band in Cardiff’s student union. It was an honest and difficult goodbye to say for a lot of us, and it’s about time they came back. Their last bit of interaction from the bands social media was in support of the UK’s Labour Party – which means they came back for They may not be the hero we need right now, but the hero that we want. (Aled, hit me up, I’ve got a few suggestions!)
  2. My Chemical Romance worldwide tour – okay, so this will obviously happen, but I mean WORLDWIDE. They’ve just reunited, played their first show in L.A. and then announced a huge North American tour. Hey, hi, we’re still waiting for word over here! And PLEASE, don’t skip out on South Wales, I’m not sure my heart can take the panic of sold out tickets.
  3. A Chester Bennington tribute – the news of his passing crushed us all. We’ve all seen that viral video of everyone joining in to sing In The End with Mike Shinoda, and it made all of our hairs stand up with goosebumps. In 2027 it will mark 10 years – and we can bet that we may just get the biggest tribute that we have ever seen. Linkin Park may have lost their voice, but their legacy will forever live on in the hearts of many, and their career might take a different path. We’ve heard the rumours of the band not being finished just yet – and I’m sure the next decade will tell us exactly what that entails.
  4. Tom DeLonge – I’m just putting it out there. SOMETHING will happen. He’s been on Instagram constantly uploading photos of his eyes 80% shut, To The Stars Inc are taking their research further and further as time goes on, Angels & Airwaves are far from being done with their experimenting and Poet Anderson needs another book. Will he finally reunite with Blink 182? Will he finally tell us Aliens Exist? Will he open his eyes on his Instagram?
  5. Alkaline Trio New Album and Tour – talking about Blink 182 and the mysterious rise of Tom DeLonge, Alkaline Trio has been quiet since the union of Skiba in Blink. They never announced they were over. They’ve just been Which means that surely we deserve some well-earned Trio love? Fans have been waiting and waiting since they release Is This Thing Cursed? in 2018 – we got no tour, we got nothing. For the love of god, Skiba, give us SOMETHING.
  6. A TOOL tour – so, they released their album and headlined Download last year, but I’m not quite sure it’s over. During interviews, Adam Jones and Danny Carey teamed up, talking about how they are getting older and may not be fit to continue creating the kind of material that TOOL is known for in another ten or thirteen years. I mean, Fear Inoculum was enough after the many years of silence, but that just gives us hope that we may see a little more of them in the next few years than we have in the previous. If anything, (and if they stumble across this little website of ramblings, PLEASE COME TO THE UK!), I’m near sure that we may be getting another album, or some b-sides at least.
  7. NIGHTLIVES New Material And Tour – the South Wales band has been building up some serious momentum, so we’re expecting some new music, new shows, and a new bit of love shown to the South Wales music scene. Welsh bands are currently rising and proving themselves in the industry, and Nightlives may just be the band to take us forth and retain the title of the best city for music and rising talent.
  8. Bring Me The Horizon and Architects – with rumours spreading that the bands don’t want to participate in festivals like Download and their continuous interviews claiming that bands just aren’t doing it anymore, we’re sure to see something from these bands. Bring Me The Horizon just dropped some lo-fi beat album featuring a song 24 minutes long, and Architects have seen more love than ever before. Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes is known for having his fingers in multiple pies – so will we see them create their own festival, will we see them take their band name further a field and entering something different than music? Will Architects and Bring Me The Horizon join forces into some kind of twisted super group where they can bring the life back into the rock music that they claim is dull?
  9. A Nostalgic Kick In The Face – okay, so we’re back bringing up that MCR reunited. (Hey did you know they got back together?) – but, and hear me out. Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy are touring together, Slam Dunk announce The Used, Sum 41, Billy Talent and Jimmy Eat World released a new album – maybe it’s all pre-requisite to a truly nostalgic year. Senses Fail are overdue on their visit to the UK, New Found Glory haven’t done anything in awhile, Taking Back Sunday finished their 20th anniversary tour, The Offspring are jumping back on some festival appearances. We’re going to get something, and I have a little feeling that we’ll be thrown back into our younger years, be it in albums, super tours, collaborations. I’ll eat my own words if we don’t.
  10. Last but not least, former Metal To The Masses Winners Teasing New MusicMerithian went quiet and deleted a lot of their former social media content, leaving us a little lost and confused. But, in November, the page uploaded a 2020 logo as the profile picture, and then, a real treat, gave us a little more context on Christmas Eve. Master hackers aren’t needed to see the spelling of VALENTINES in capital letters laced throughout their holiday wishes, which means we are sure to see something happening this year on the feast of Saint Valentine, February 14th. Here’s to a big year of material we’ve been WAITING for.

So there they are, 10 predictions of the next year and decade. There are plenty others, like a new album from Ghost following their world tour, or  – but those are the big ten that will truly make a girl happy. What about you? Leave a comment below as to what you want to happen, or your predictions!

Kick off your new year with new content! Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for behind the scenes updates.

music

[REVIEW] These Five Years – This Could All Be So Easy EP

 

Heavy with bass, raucous vocal styles and riddled with high energy, the newest These Five Years record is the most definitive they’ve put out. This Could All Be So Easy is a six song EP captures some of the most chilling emotion, the kind that runs down your spine and turns your body cold. The EP feels vulnerable, stripped of walls and barriers and splayed for all to see, vocally and instrumentally intertwined to perfectly emphasise the emotion behind the music. Kicking off with ‘Better The Devil’ the EP wastes no time proving what it’s capable of and how beautifully calculated and produced each track is.

Starring a melodic, weighted bass, These Five Years has not only been able to display their hearts lyrically, but has done so instrumentally, too. The listener feels weighted, fully engaged in empathy, really promoting a relatable anthem to kickstart the EP. Moving in to ‘Enclosure,’ we get more of an upbeat tone, softening the blow of that first track. There’s no dragging of this EP forward, it moves in impeccable timing in all round concise writing. While it feeds us a variety of different tracks, These Five Years has really developed an exclusive sound, for example in ‘I Hope You Know’ it’s lyrically pulling on heart strings, driven by combative drumming throughout. It’s an incomparable collection of compositions, and it feels very These Five Years. It’s a heavier perspective of pop punk, unwilling to stay within boundaries of its foundations.

It feels like a very defining point in the bands career, a proud collection of music that has been nurtured into the released tracks we hear today. Each time stamp packing the right amount of punch, fluently moving through the motions. ‘Mea Culpa’ collects the bands talent and puts it on blast, throwing a bone to each component to really shine.

This Could All Be So Easy is available now on streaming services.

pop punk

[REVIEW] Thy Art Is Murder – Human Target

Released today, Australian notorious death core band Thy Art Is Murder unleashes their latest installment Human Target into the world. It features a new look at a band that has been a staple in the death metal music scene, introducing detailed views and a focused sense of expedition as they reach bigger audiences worldwide. With ‘Human Target’ and ‘Make America Hate Again’ being released prior to the album’s release, Thy Art Is Murder has brought a bigger, more combative sound than their predessecors. Holding on to their combative nature that has brought the band their notoriety over the years, Thy Art pushes forth in their political warfare with calculating their second release ‘Make America Hate Again’ on July 4th. Aware of the current state of the world, Human Target is an attempt to shed light on the one-way ticket to the world’s destruction.

Thy Art Is Murder has earned their place in the top 50 of current metal bands, alongside Slipknot, Metallica, and since the new arrival of drummer Jesse Beahler from Jungle Rot, Back Crown Initiate and Rings Of Saturn, Human Target is a statement of progression and experimentation within their sound. Formulating a texture of fury, grief and a cry of emotion into their death metal genre, Human Target sees unorthodox melodic structure parring full throttle drumming and weighted bass. With each track drawing attention to important messages in this day and age, Thy Art Is Murder has left no subject untouched, discussing issues such as unreported sexual violence, the contribution social media has on the current metal health epidemic, the youth against the system, organ harvesting and the tyrannical surveillance state and for-profit prisons. It’s a truly haunting album, with ‘Eternal Suffering’ perhaps being the darkest track in the history of Thy Art’s discography.

Human Target features some of the strongest songs to date, and it is the comeback of the year since their 2017 release of Dear Desolation. While contouring their sound and reaching a wider audience, the annihilation throughout Human Target is evidence that brutal death metal has heavy backing from the industry, seeing Thy Art sharing stages with bands such as Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive and Architects and placing high-tier festivals such as Download, Graspop and Hellfest under their belt. This year, Thy Art heads to Bloodstock next month, where this album is going to be received with huge excitement. McMahon’s ferocious gutturals are far more focused this time around, emphasising the urgency of uprise in tracks such as ‘New God’ and ‘Eye for an Eye.’

Human Target is available to stream now with the album being available to buy from the bands official website.

metal