Black 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)
Just 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)
Falling 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)
Sleeping With Sirens are currently one of the biggest names in the American Post-Hardcore scene. It’s quite hard to understand why seeing as both the bands previous albums weren’t exactly amazing. But Sleeping With Sirens currently have a huge and incredibly dedicated fan-base and with Feel the band are hoping to get even bigger.
Unfortunately for Sleeping With Sirens, Feel is one of the worst albums released this year. Opening track “Feel” sounds like a Coldplay song if Chris Martin was constantly inhaling helium, for a Post-Hardcore band that is not a good sound. Elsewhere tracks such as “Here We Go” and “Low” are completely forgettable Post-Hardcore fodder. Most of the songs on the album barely even qualify as Post-Hardcore, if it wasn’t for a few screams or some guitar riffs this could easily be mistaken for a pop album. There are a few guest vocals too such as Memphis May Fire’s Matty Mullins and Attila’s Fronz but these do little to help and in some cases make things even worse. Rapper MGK appears on the track “Alone” and makes what was already a bad song even worse. The only slightly redeeming feature about this album is at the points the band sound good so its possible to enjoy some of the instrumentals, but it’s all dragged down by Kellin Quinn’s whiny vocals and awful lyrics.
It really is hard to believe that a band who are releasing music this bad are getting as big as they are. Its almost impossible to recommend Feel in any way. What’s unfortunate is that despite being awful, Feel is going to be hugely popular and loved by all of Sleeping With Sirens fans. If this is what modern Post-Hardcore has come to then I worry for the genres future. (3)
Released through the clothing line Drop Dead, Inspire. Create. Destroy. is the latest EP for Guildford Hardcore mob Polar.The EP is a follow up to last years debut album Iron Lungs and is some of Polar’s best work yet.
Opening track “Inspire” starts to demonstrate the bands progression with its mixture of Hardcore riffing and more melodic guitar work. Along with front-man Adam “Woody” Woodford’s vocals it helps to create a huge sound that wasn’t around on Iron Lungs. However it’s on “Create” where Polar really excel, the song perfectly blends pure aggression with anthemic moments and is easily Polar’s best song yet. Closing track “Destroy” further shows that Polar have one of the most dynamic sounds in Hardcore using quieter moments to increase the impact of the breakdowns. Lyrically Woody is as angry as ever screaming every word with an incredible amount of passion. It’s clear that a lot of the lyrics were inspired by the hardships Polar have face as a band and its clear they are not giving up soon as Woody screams “There’s still hope for me, I won’t go quietly”.
At only three tracks and lasting just over 11 minutes, Inspire. Create. Destroy. doesn’t last very long but it is clear that Polar were aiming for quality over quantity and they’ve delivered exactly that. Three incredible Hardcore tracks and a good taster of what’s to come on Polar’s next album. (8)
Almost four years after their last album This Is War, 30 Seconds To Mars have finally made their return with their fourth studio album Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams. Often accused of being simply a vanity project for frontman Jared Leto, can 30 Second To Mars prove themselves to legitmately be one of the biggest modern rock bands around with their newest album?
The album begins on a slightly odd note with the more orchestral song “Birth” and it all just comes off as slightly pretentious, a complaint that is often made about 30 Seconds To Mars. However, “The Conquistador” and “Up In The Air” bring things back to familiar territory with both songs featuring choruses big enough to fill stadiums. Its impossible to deny that Jared Leto is an incredible frontman with one of the most powerful voices in rock music and he once again proves it on Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams, delivering a consistently brilliant vocal performance. Musically the album mixes various styles and sounds with some tracks being guitar driven whilst others are more electronic. It helps to give the album a really dynamic sound. Lyrically the album seems to focus on the themes in its title which does lead to some quite ridiculous lyrics but they work within the theme of the album. For the most part Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams is a great album, however there are a few moments when it just gets too pretentious (instrumental track “Pyres Of Varanasi” in particular). Fortunately the quality of the songs does make up for the these moments.
Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams isn’t a huge departure from their last album, instead it just feels like a natural progression from that album whilst also being their most musically diverse album yet. 30 Seconds To Mars could even move up to headlining slots at festivals such as Reading and Leeds on this album cycle. (8)
Right now the UK Hardcore scene is probably the strongest its ever been. Palm Reader are one of the latest bands to emerge with their recent debut album Bad Weather released through Small Town Records. Having already made a name for themselves in the Hardcore scene thanks to their great live show, Palm Reader look set to be one of the next big UK Hardcore bands.
Sounding almost like a crossover between Frank Carter era Gallows and The Dillinger Escape Plan, Palm Reader do not mess around when it comes to playing crushing, metallic Hardcore. Tracks like “Spineless” and “Smack Hound” are as aggressive as modern hardcore gets, filled with riffs that pummel the listener into submission. Not all the album sounds like this though, with “Noble Host (Grace Pt.3)” being a slower, more melodic track and providing the album with a much needed calmer moment. But with the exception of this, Bad Weather is just pure unrestrained aggression.
Bad Weather is an incredible debut from one of the best new Hardcore bands around. Its clear that Palm Reader have what it takes to stand out in the UK Hardcore scene, expect to see a lot more of Palm Reader in the near future. (9)