Monthly Archives: June 2013

Album Review: Black Veil Brides – Wretched And Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones Ultimate Edition

ImageBlack Veil Brides are a band that don’t really need much introduction anymore. Whether you love them or not you’ve most likely heard of them. Earlier this year they released their third studio album Wretched And Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones and now they are re-releasing it with a few bonus tracks and a bonus film. 

Wretched And Divine is a concept album telling the story of a group of rebels fighting against an an evil organisation know as F.E.A.R. It’s a ridiculous story that adds very little to the album and if it wasn’t for the interludes narrated by Wil Francis of William Control and Aiden fame then the story would be near impossible to follow. Fortunately the songs are a lot better than the concept, with this definitely being Black Veil Brides best work yet. Most of the songs on the album have a really anthemic feel to them, especially closing track “In The End”. The band also show that despite what a lot of people say they are talented musicians, especially guitarists Jake Pitts and Jinxx who provide a number of impressive solos. The addition of orchestral moments also help to give the album a more epic feel. There are some problems though, Andy Biersack’s raspy vocals aren’t amazing and a lot of the songs sound very similar. At times it’s also too cheesy for it’s own good, especially on the albums power ballad “Lost It All”.

The bonus tracks on the re-release are all good and hold their own alongside the rest of the songs on the album with “Revelation” even being on of Black Veil Brides better songs. The problem with this songs is they stick too rigidly to the same structure as most other Black Veil Brides songs so really they are nothing fans have not heard before. The worst part about this package is the bonus film Legion Of The Black. This is amounts to nothing more than an extended music video for the whole album and really adds nothing. Die hard Black Veil Brides fans will most likely love it though.

This “ultimate edition” of Wretched And Divine really doesn’t add much to the original album. If you are a massive fan of Black Veil Brides then it probably is worth picking up mainly for the three new songs and if you aren’t a fan of Black Veil Brides then this really won’t change your mind. (6)

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Five best and worst albums of the year so far

So because we’re basically halfway through the year I thought it would be good to do a rundown of my five best and worst albums so far. At the end of the year I’ll do my final ten best and worst and by then this list could be pretty different.

Five worst albums:

5.  The Blackout – Start The Party: While this wasn’t exactly a bad album it is easily the worst thing The Blackout have released and that’s even more disappointing considering it’s their fourth album. Almost every song on the album sounds similar and “You” is without a doubt the worst song The Blackout have ever recorded. Fortunately it’s not all bad as there are still a few good songs there such as “Radio” and “We Live On”. In the end Start The Party was just a seriously disappointing album from a band who are capable of more.

4. Paramore – Paramore: Whilst some might have considered this to be a bold new direction for Paramore, in reality it’s just a Pop-Rock band releasing a Pop album. The album is full of forgettable songs and for the first time on a Paramore album the band almost feel irrelevant. The album does get a bit better with repeated listens but it doesn’t stop it from being boring and that is the biggest problem with Paramore. Also the ukulele interludes on the album are complete filler and serve absolutely no purpose.

3. Fall Out Boy – Save Rock And Roll: What do you do when you’re one of the biggest Pop-Rock bands around and have been on hiatus since 2009? Well if you’re Fall Out Boy you bring out an album called Save Rock And Roll and you don’t put a single Rock song on it. Instead the album is just full of songs where Fall Out Boy try to sound like other pop acts. The problem isn’t that Save Rock And Roll is a Pop album though, it’s that it just lacks any originality, “Young Volcanoes” sounds like it could have been released by Bruno Mars. There’s nothing wrong with bands trying out new things but here Fall Out Boy just lost what made them great.

2. Sleeping With Sirens – Feel: This could have easily been at the top (bottom?) of this list, Feel isn’t just one of the worst albums released this year. It’s one of the worst Post-Hardcore albums I’ve ever heard. It really sums up everything that is wrong with Post-Hardcore right now. Feel is just a soulless album from a band who are mainly succeeding because of how vocalist Kellin Quinn looks. What’s even worse is that Sleeping With Sirens showed some promise on their debut album.

1. Falling In Reverse: Fashionably Late: This has easily been the most divisive album of the year. Some have praised it for it’s variety and the fact it’s so ridiculous that it must be fun. Yes the album is varied and it is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard for a long time. But it is awful in just about every way. Having to listen to Ronnie Radke rap about his “white boy swagger” and “rocking Gucci sneaks” is not a nice experience. This album is just self indulgent crap. And when Ronnie isn’t rapping about how amazing he is we get generic Metalcore and Synth-Pop songs filled with awful lyrics. Falling In Reverse are a terrible band and Fashionably Late is an offensively bad album.

Five best albums:

5. Senses Fail – Renacer: A lot of bands come out and say “this is our heaviest record yet”, and a lot of the time it doesn’t turn out to be true. But this was not a case here, Renacer is an album that will shock any Senses Fail fan on their first listen. The band have almost completely reinvented them here, which is fitting considering the albums title means “to be reborn” in Spanish. The album perfectly blends heavier and melodic moments and it is just a brilliant Hardcore Punk album.

4. Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal: When a British Metalcore band reach number 3 in the UK album charts then it’s pretty clear they are a big deal. On Sempiternal, Bring Me The Horizon have continued to push boundaries within the Metalcore scene. Bringing in even more electronic elements this time around thanks to new member Jordan Fish has really helped . And most importantly the album is just full of great songs. “Go To Hell For Heavens Sake” is a huge anthem is a massive chorus whilst “Antivist” is perfect for getting the pits going. Whilst it’s not quite as good as their previous album, it’s great to see Bring Me The Horizon try something a bit different here.

3. Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart: There are few musicians in the UK who are as hardworking and passionate as Frank Turner. Tape Deck Heart is his fifth studio album and is easily one of his best. The album is packed full of emotion and is Frank Turners most personal album yet. For some this might have been a problem but the strength of the songs on this album make up for it. The likes of “Recovery” and “The Way I Tend To Be” are some of the best songs Frank Turner has released.

2. Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent: A few years ago Killswitch Engage were beginning to fade away, then their original vocalist Jesse Leech rejoined and suddenly people started to take notice of them again. Disarm The Descent  is Killswitch Engages first album with Jesse since he left in 2002 and is one of their best. Opening track “The Hell In Me” gives you a great idea of how the album is going to sound. Crushing riffs, monstrous screams and the biggest choruses of the year. Killswitch Engage are back and they look set to reclaim their place at the top of the Metalcore scene.

1. Bleed From Within – Uprising: Honestly there could not be a more fitting title for this album. Bleed From Within have been hanging around in the British Metal scene for a few years and have always shown signs of potential and they have finally risen to that potential and brought out the best British Metal album in years. When comparisons to Lamb Of God are thrown around it’s clear that Bleed From Within are one of the best new Metal bands around. Uprising is a crushingly heavy album filled with massive songs. Front-man Scott Kennedy proves he is one of the best young vocalists around and the band all sound amazing, the main riff to “It Lives In Me” will definitely get people going crazy live. This really could be the album that takes Bleed From Within up to the next level and makes them one of the biggest Metal bands in Britain.

 


Album Review: Attila – About That Life

ImageJust by looking at the cover of Atlanta Deathcore band Attila’s latest album you could probably get a good idea of what you’re about to hear. About That Life is about as shallow as music gets, Attila care about partying and little else. However this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as About That Life is a lot of fun to listen to.

One thing that is clear from the beginning is that Attila have started to incorporate more elements from Hip-Hop this time round. Opening track “Middle Fingers Up” begins with a rap from vocalist Chris “Fronz” Fronzack before things really kick off. From here on it’s familiar territory with plenty of breakdowns, Deathcore growls and Fronz’s ridiculously fast screams. Musically the album has quite a bit in common with Nu Metal as some of riffs sound like they could have easily been on a Korn or Limp Bizkit album. This prevents the album from getting too repetitive as it isn’t just breakdown after breakdown. “Callout” further brings in more of the Hip-Hop elements which helps to give the album a bit more variety and is also Attila’s middle finger to people like Ronnie Radke and Christofer Drew. It’s not all good though, lyrically this album is absolutely terrible and at points boarders on being offensive. For example “Break Shit” features the line “Fuck this shit, punch that bitch” and there are plenty of other lyrics like this. In the end though the album is simply just trying to be a load of ridiculous fun and Attila at least seem aware of this fact. They don’t take themselves too seriously and songs like “Rageaholics” and “Party With The Devil” will definitely get crowds going when played live.

About That Life isn’t really a great album, but it is good fun. It’s 40 minutes of dumb party tunes designed to get pits going and little more and it is definitely Attila’s best album yet so that progress has to be appreciated. If you’re a fan of Deathcore then it probably is worth checking out About That Life, there are worse ways to spend 40 minutes. (6)

 


Album Review: Falling In Reverse – Fashionably Late

ImageFalling In Reverse are arguably one of the most controversial bands around right now, this was no more apparent when they released the first single “Alone” off of their latest album Fashionably Late. Whether they were a fan or not most people who listen to Rock and Metal seemed to have an opinion on this song. Now the full album is out and if frontman Ronnie Radke is to be believed, then Fashionably Late is the greatest thing to happen to rock in years and completely redefines the genre, but this is really just ramblings from a man with a huge ego. 

Simply put Fashionably Late will probably be the most ridiculous thing you’ll hear all year. There are synth pop tracks that sound like they could have been by Blood On The Dance Floor with “Bad Girls Club”, Power Metal songs such as “Born To Lead” and even rapping. There really is a lot of variety here, for example opening track “Champion” start’s off as a fairly standard Metalcore track before Ronnie launches into a Rap breakdown halfway through. This variety just makes the album even more ridiculous. The problem is that the majority of the songs on the album are just awful for a number of reasons. The biggest problem being Ronnie’s lyrics, the vast majority of which are just about how great Ronnie Radke is and how he has “white boy swagger”, it’s just self indulgent nonsense. Another problem is despite blending a number of different styles together, they are all done so badly. The vast majority of riffs and breakdowns sound incredibly generic and forgettable, there’s nothing here fan’s of Rap, Rock, Pop or Metal haven’t heard done better elsewhere.

It’s just impossible to take Fashionably Late seriously, this wouldn’t be a problem is Falling In Reverse weren’t convinced they were redefining music here. It’s not really a good sign when an album that’s intended to be serious is better viewed as a comedy album. There are some signs of hope in this album, despite the awful lyrics the choruses are incredibly catchy, particularly “Rolling Stone” and “Born To Lead”. It’s just worrying to think that Ronnie Radke could listen to this and think he is a musical genius. Despite being good for a laugh, Fashionably Late is easily one of the worst albums released this year, hopefully it will be forgotten about by this time next year. (3)


Live Review: A Day To Remember – KOKO, London

It has been almost two years since A Day To Remember last played in the UK and tonight they make their return playing the KOKO in Camden. After such a long time away some were starting to doubt whether people still cared about A Day To Remember. But after tonight’s show sold out in an hour i’ts clear that A Day To Remember are more popular than ever.

First up though was Your Demise, playing one of their final London shows as a band tonight was always going to be a special show for them. Launching into “Push Me Under” pits opened immediately and the entire room was bouncing. Your Demise have always been an incredibly fun band to see live and tonight was no different. Front-man Ed McRae constantly calls for crowd surfers throughout the set and the crowd respond with swarms of fans flying over the barrier and the band play with an incredible amount of energy and passion.  Despite being a late addition to the line up there was still a large amount of Your Demise fans here, which shows that they were a fantastic choice to open. Ending with regular set closer “The Kids We Used To Be” always ends things on a high as Ed joins the fans in the crowd during the songs final chorus. (9)

Despite the great reaction for Your Demise, it was nothing compared to the moment A Day To Remember stepped onstage. Opening with new song “Violence (Enough Is Enough)” resulted in absolute chaos and following this with “2nd Sucks” kept the intensity up with every fan screaming the words and constantly moving. From here on ADTR continued to fire out fan favourite’s and didn’t let up, when they can play a song as good as “I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?” four songs into a set and still top it later shows how many great songs ADTR have. They are also a band who know how to have fun, with beach balls being thrown into the crowd on “All Signs Point To Lauderdale” and t-shirts thrown during “Better Off This Way”. The energy from the band and the crowd just doesn’t stop, even on softer songs like “Have Faith In Me”, it all results in what is probably one of the sweatiest shows ever at the KOKO. A Day To Remember even play “Another Song About The Weekend” for the first time anywhere in Europe and this gets an incredible reaction. It’s clear that after being away so long, ADTR are happy to be back playing a show in the UK. Front-man Jeremy McKinnon even gets quite emotional at points due to the reaction they receive. A Day To Remember offer another taste of the upcoming album Common Courtesy with “Right Back At It Again” before “The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle” brings their main set to a close. Finally everyone is given a break during the first part of A Day To Remember’s encore as they play a short acoustic set, with an acoustic version of  “It’s Complicated” being a nice surprise for fans before “If It Means A Lot To You” results in the biggest singalong of the night. “All I Want” and “The Downfall Of Us All” see one last burst of energy from the band and the crowd with the final pits opening up and fans crowd surfing again before the fans are showered in confetti at the very end. (10)

It is great to have A Day To Remember back after such a long time. It’s clear that when they do play a full UK tour they will play venue’s much bigger than the KOKO and they really deserve to. During the set Jeremy states that A Day To Remember might not be the best band but they care and its clear he really means it. Most fans tonight would disagree with the first part of that statement as A Day To Remember have proved themselves to be on of the best bands in both the Pop-Punk and Metalcore scenes. Mark my words, A Day To Remember are taking over the world. (10)


Live Review: Green Day, Emirates Stadium

After a few small shows last year, Green Day are finally making their big UK return tonight playing a sold out show at the huge Emirates stadium in London. With their album trilogy turning out to be slightly disappointing, some people questioned whether Green Day were still relevant. After tonight though, Green Day have proved they are more relevant than ever.

First up was All Time Low, and these were simply the perfect choice for an opening band tonight. Despite there Pop-Punk songs leaning far more to the Pop side of things they still do a great job in getting the crowd warmed up for Green Day. Playing a setlist that mixed new songs from their latest album Don’t Panic in with older songs, there was not a bad moment. And ending with “Weightless” and “Dear Maria, Count Me In” was a brilliant touch, especially when Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat made their way into the crowd for the very end. Of all the modern Pop-Punk bands around, All Time Low look set to the next ones who could rival the biggest bands in the genre, expect them to be selling out arenas over here in the near future. (9)

In stark contrast, Kaiser Chiefs really proved that they just aren’t relevant anymore. With long moments of awkward silence from the audience during their set as most didn’t know the songs being played. It doesn’t help that with the exception of front-man Ricky Wilson, the band look incredibly bored up onstage and really didn’t bother putting on a great performance. When they eventually play their bigger songs such as “Ruby” and “I Predict A Riot” the audience finally start getting into it but that only happens for a few songs. At times it even seemed like Kaiser Chiefs just resorted to shouting “Green Day” in order to get a cheer from the crowd. (5)

Finally it was time for Green Day to play, not before the entire of the Emirates stadium sing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” as they are played. Opening with “99 Revolutions” helped to show that live the new tracks sound a lot better than on record, but its when they play “Know Your Enemy” that the crowd really goes crazy, with the first of many lucky fans to make it onstage to sing with Billie Joe Armstrong. The rest of the first chunk of Green Day’s set focused on from Uno!, Dos! and Tre! whilst still throwing in a few fan favourites such as “Holiday” and “Nice Guys Finish Last”. 

After 12 songs Billie Joe asks the audience if there are any really old school Green Day fans before launching into “Burnout”, this was when Green Day just cranked things up to a 11. Busting out “Sassafras Roots”, “Hitchin’ A Ride”, “Welcome To Paradise” and “Longview” all in a row was just ridiculous, with every song being sung back to the band by the entire audience. Another fan was brought onstage to sing the end of “Longview” too. At one point in during the set Billie Joe even shoots water, toilet roll and t shirts into the crowd, this just drills home the fact that Green Day’s live shows are simply about having fun. “Basket Case” and “She” understandably see the entire audience go crazy and are the biggest sing-along’s of the night. After a crazy covers medley featuring “Shout”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Teenage Kicks” and “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” the band finally bring the main set to a close with “Minority”.

Green Day soon return to the stage for an encore, kicking it off with “American Idiot”, they even manage to get a Wall Of Death going. “Jesus Of Suburbia” and “Brutal Love” bring the night to a close with the the entire Emirates lit up by fans holding their phones and lighters in the air. Throughout their entire set Green Day had a fantastic lighting set up but kept the theatrics to a minimum, with the live show being the band itself. If there could be one slight complaint about tonight it would be that Billie Joe perhaps got the crowd to sing “WHEEEEYYYYY OHHHHHHH” a few too many times but when everyone was having so much fun doing that, it’s hard to really criticise it. (10)

Green Day are simply one of the best live bands around right now. I doubt anyone who saw them at the Emirates would disagree. Its great to have Billie Joe Armstrong back and when Green Day headline Reading and Leeds later this year it’s going to be amazing. Hopefully they won’t leave it too long to play stadiums over here again. (9)