Say hello to Wildside Riot, the latest rock band to emerge from the UK’s underground scene, unleashing their debut video and single, Wildside Riot.
Fronted by veteran rocker Rocky Shades, formerly of 80s glam metal band Wrathchild, these boys have be taught by the best. Having done some small circuits in Nottingham and Birmingham earlier this year, the band have just unveiled their new website and are looking at setting off on tour later this year.
Check out their video, see what they’re about, and if you want more you can find it here: http://www.wildsideriot.com/
Nordic Britain: A new Viking age?
This is something that’s greatly interested me for a while. I myself enjoy the Scandinavian music scene and have liked bands from that region for some years, so I’m intrigued as to why it’s suddenly so popular. So I wrote a little something to try and process these thoughts and the recent fascination behind Scandinavian music.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: All the views expressed herein are personal opinions, and do not reflect any work from musical artists or individuals. They are not intended to cause offense.
PHOTOS: All photos are copyrighted to their original owners. Neither myself, nor anybody else who runs Let The Music Do The Talking own them unless otherwise stated.
The last 18 months appear to have given way to a rising popularity of rock and metal from northern Europe. Could it be that Scandinavia is the new home of rock ‘n’ roll revival, or are we suffering from a modern day raping and pillaging?
On reflection of the last two years it seems that 2009 was the beginning of a rebirth of an almost lost music scene, in which many an ‘80s throwback began worming its way back into the mainstream rock scene. Call it what you will – glam metal, hair metal, sleaze rock, cock rock – they’re all adjectives used to describe the genre and the sub culture it created, something that Scandinavian bands have been recently reviving, and the origins of which are likely to have come from the Sunset Strip some time around when most these new age “glammies” were born.
What some describe as “the decade of decadence” the 1980s was really the parent of this scene’s founding, where hairspray, makeup, and shoes taller than the Empire State Building were the common dress of the day. Although the initial “glam rock” phenomenon really started sometime in the ‘70s, with bands like New York Dolls and KISS first donning the platforms and lipstick to shock patriarchal heterosexual audiences, the image and music style didn’t really take off until the new decade, where it started to become a big trend. There then came a huge surge of bands with teased hair and shiny spandex, screeching into microphones about promiscuous sex, parties, drink and drugs.
Nowadays it all seems like such a cliché, but I remember chatting with Richard at an after party at Lincoln’s Tokyo, the drummer for Los Angeles based group Vintage Trouble. He grew up on the Hollywood glam scene and shared some of his memories and experiences with myself and a friend. He more or less told us that back then it was a way of life. It was new, exciting, and had that perfect rebellious streak to it that appealed to teenagers and young adults. You couldn’t walk the streets without some young band thrusting a flyer at you to get you to go and see their show. The streets were littered with posters, flyers, probably a beer can or two. It does sound cliché, it really does, but back then I guess this was how it was, no stereotypes about it. It was new and fun.
The glam rock scene began to die out towards the end of the decade, and was especially flaky in the early ‘90s when grunge became the more appealing musical genre, and teenagers were all about angst and anarchy instead of having fun and partying. Music looked as if it was taking a deeper, more cynical edge to life, lyrically expressing inner demons and social problems of the time. The days when all people cared about was fucking bitches and jacking up and trying to find the next big community party had almost died. There were more important things going on than worrying about the hangover from your boozed up weekend, and musicians seemed to prefer to reflect this in their art. That’s not to say it was all doom and gloom, and grunge and other genres that came from that decade (dance and trance to name but two) are still influential and exciting musical sounds even to this day. But when the ‘90s really hit, “glam” rock was almost long gone, and became a lost artifact from once upon a time.
So what has this got to do with Scandinavia? Anyone familiar with a world map knows Los Angeles is at almost opposite ends of the earth to the colder regions.
Scandinavia has always had a thriving alternative music scene, even in the bleakest of years. Bands like Hardcore Superstar and Backyard Babies, who started their careers in the carnage of the 1990s, had a substantial amount of success in their shared home country of Sweden. Entering into another new decade, the ’00s, provided them with Swedish Grammy nominations, and Backyard Babies managing to collect awards for “Best Hard Rock Act” in 2002 and a “Best Album” award for their 2003 release Stockholm Syndrome. We can’t forget the heavier metal bands either, like Finntroll, Turisas and Dimmu Borgir who all started their musical careers in the late ’90s too, hailing from neighbouring countries Norway and Finland. It was also in the early ’00s that popular present day bands like Crashdïet and Reckless Love began banding together, and would eventually be selling out tour dates and bombarding the European rock charts with their tunes. It seems that while the UK was attracted to techno laser lights like a moth to a flame, the Scandinavians were keeping the dying spirit of rock ‘n’ roll alive all through the dry season.
But how did all this end up becoming such a popular scene in the UK in recent years? Was it always there? Maybe I was just unaware of it until I started discovering more and more bands, and it was perhaps coincidence they were all snus sucking Scandos (and that is not an insult, snus is probably one of the best things I’ve ever put into my mouth). But part of me also questions if it has something to do with the foreign exotic? No matter where in the world you live, there’s always an attraction for that foreign element, something a little different to your own culture. Sexy accents, interesting customs and beautiful countries, and maybe the UK just wasn’t providing the kind of music we lusted for. But if it were that, why should it matter? Music is music, there to be enjoyed, and the origins of it should not reflect its enjoyment.
But then of course, the younger bands who presently are in their late 20s or early 30s are likely to have grown up listening to the very music that once glittered in Hollywood, and want to carry their passion for it into their own records. There is something about its style that is truly captivating, or so I believe, which is why maybe so many modern day bands appear to be reviving it in their own careers. And although the costume differs somewhat these days from the early “glam” look, it’s still a term very much used to describe a lot of the influences and music. With the exception of the heavy metal bands, of course.
Although slow we may be, we seem to have caught the rock revival bug. Opening up our doors and giving long standing bands their much overdue credit – Finntroll, Turisas, and Dimmu Borgir have all accessed a new lease of life – we’ve also paved the way for up and coming bands to showcase their talent with our lust for sleaze culture. But why are they all Scandinavian? Is it really the new home of rock ‘n’ roll or are we getting a twenty-first century incursion?
I was talking about this exact topic with a friend who I met last year, and he laughed and told me he thinks it’s just coincidence they happen to all be from neighbouring countries. I’m also inclined to think this scene hasn’t only just started to grow, I think it’s always been there. For example, if you use older bands like Hardcore Superstar, they’ve been touring successfully in the UK for a number of years. Maybe it hasn’t anything to do with a new teenage “phase”. Maybe the interest has always been there, and maybe it’s just because my circle of friends and acquaintances are all into that music so the intake seems larger than it really is. The only thing I can conclude that’s perhaps really changed is the media’s acknowledgment and coverage of hard rock groups.
And if media culture is becoming increasingly more open to varying musical genres, then has it made it any easier for newer bands to break out of Europe? Houston, Dynazty, Sister… more Scandinavian bands who have been slowly marching our way wafting their new releases under our noses. And to be honest, they smell pretty good. But a conversation Mark and I had with Joel suggests otherwise. I remember him telling us they’d found it difficult getting the right agents and promoters to get themselves over here, and that it’s still a really tough business. Although Dynazty, in my opinion, are first class and more people need to give them the time of day.
So perhaps the glam metal, and rock and metal scenes in general, never really died after all, not in the Nordic countries anyway. And after speaking to people working in the music industry, both in performance and business, is doesn’t really seem we’re getting invaded at all. Rather, the media and fans are simply accepting more music from Scandinavia because it appeals to what we want to be hearing, and that perhaps the scene was always there, just in the wings waiting for something interesting to come along.
So, I guess we can all be safe in the knowledge there’ll be no burning sacrifices to Thor any time soon.
Song of the Day:- Tornado of Souls- Megadeth
Since the Big Four have just played Sonisphere festival in Knebworth at the weekend there, I feel it relevant that we should all get our thrash on!
This song was featured on Megadeth’s Rust in Peace alongside other amazing tracks such as Holy Wars, Hangar 18 and Take No Prisoners but I would say that this song is the jewel in the crown of the album. It’s aggressive yet tasteful , frantic, yet catchy! It also contains possibly one of the most well written guitar solos in all metal. It certainly makes my top-ten.
The version depicted here is from Blood in the Water, San Diego in 2008 with current lead guitarist Chris Broderick- formerly of Nevermore and Jag Panzer- who you’ll see noodling insanely in the opening seconds, The song is then expertly delivered on all fonts. Mega-Dave himself is right en forme, with the his vocals and relentless guitarwork not dimmed in the slightest in all the years since the song was penned. While the guitar solo was originally written and performed by Marty Friedman, Chris more than does it justice, in fact he makes it look easy (trust me, it isn’t- tried it.) Apologies for the Spanish subtitles but this was the only copy of this performance in HD, and i wanted to give you quality! The original album version can be appreciated >HERE<
So step into the eye of the Tornado, and prepare to be blown away!
The Dead Lay Waiting - Almost Heaven Review
The Dead Lay Waiting – “Almost Heaven” Review
By Tom McConnell
Having been looking at stage times and looking to plan my Download 2010 weekend out, I found myself with a blank slot early afternoon on the Saturday, so I started looking at bands further down the line-up and stumbled across The Dead Lay Waiting, the single gaining my intrigue, “Anxiety of an Obsession.” I should have perhaps heeded back to that day as this track didn’t completely overrun me, but it was something I didn’t mind while I had nothing better to listen to. I went along and checked them out on the Redbull Bedroom Jam stage and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t terrible, and kept me satisfied and occupied from waiting in queue to get to the bar to pay over the odds for a few beers waiting on another band coming on. Then, that was it. I hadn’t bothered to jump onto facebook and like them as soon as I got back from the festival, but I knew I’d seen them and they were okay.
Then a few weeks ago, a friend posted a video for their new single “The Days I’m Gone” and I instantly loved it. The chorus was an anthem, stuck in my head on repeat for days, the verses were heavily brutal and it had that sometimes cliché chorus without distortion before all kicking back in for one last time, but I lapped it up. I also noticed this was the single that was going to be pushing the new album “Almost Heaven” and I immediately looked them up to keep on top of information for this upcoming album.
The band are all quite young, and probably will still be asked for identification entering a club, but “Almost Heaven” being their second release on leading British metal independent Rising Records, and with nominations among Kerrang’s Best British Newcomer and MetalHammer’s Best Underground Band at this year’s respective awards- they are showing promise beyond their time perhaps. Sadly, I feel this success may be coming a little too early. I could understand the boys being proud of this release, but I feel, having been introduced through the way of “The Days I’m Gone” with a little more time, this could have been so much more. That is not to say the album is without its moments, there are times when the album shines, but these moments quickly burn away.
When I first loaded the album up, I saw 15 tracks…”nice!” I thought, still holding that optimism from “The Days I’m Gone” but then I noticed 3 of these tracks are under a minute, including the opening 2. The “Intro” track has a drum pattern building up into “Wake Up” when vocals introduce the 3rd track and opening actual song “This Day Will Be Your Last.” Now, I ask why these intro tracks couldn’t be merged into one, but the 2nd track to me does absolutely nothing to build the anticipation at all, this album has got off to a bad start.
In fact, it isn’t until track 6, the 4th song “Burnt To Ashes” that my attention is fully grabbed again, nearly half way through the track listing. This song restores my hope with its soaring chorus and from early fan feedback I have seen, this is the single being screamed out for to be released next. I am however left with one question come the end of this track, “why did it take until nearly half way through the album for a strong track to appear?” Surely album structure 101 dictates that your opening track (especially coming off an intro, or 2!) needs to be powerful and immediately grab the listener? Ah well, on with the album.
From here, we head into “Open Your Fucking Eyes” and I can’t help but think the explicit title somewhat personifies the track. This track is lazily written, and it seems that while the band may have seen this as over the top brutal and therefore deserving of an eye-catching title, this track is far from it and just sounds messy. There is a break midway through the song, somewhat unexpectedly where clean guitar provides a change of pace, but this doesn’t seem to be fit and has just be thrown in at a whim.
The fact this was track 7, and the next I will speak about is track 10 shows that this bland song writing is evident throughout the album. Another point I wish to touch upon here is that throughout many of the songs, the lead vocals range from a fitting and impressive low growl, to an annoying, high pitched nigh type of screech that just grates every time I hear it. More often than not it is the recess of a cleanly sang driven chorus, or competent guitar work that is saving tracks. Track 10 is “The Days I’m Gone” and it is by now clearly evident why this song led the album. It is head and shoulders above the rest and given my optimism for this album off the back of this single, kudos to Rising Records for making the correct decision. I am also noting this time around, having heard earlier track “Decaying King” that repeated vocals are used quite regularly, though in these two cases, it works with the guitars driving them forward.
So, remember my confusion at the 2 intro tracks and how utterly pointless I seen them? Well they threw in an interlude. That’s enough salt in my wound, cheers lads.
“Choke On Your Words” is thankfully showing promise and thought out structure, a clean sang chorus is always a pleasant surprise throughout this album and as we make way for a gang chant, you can find yourself getting into the track, although the chants are led by that screech, that borderline nearly wrecks the illusion.
“Look At Us Now” is a promising title for me, I’m a big sucker for these “middle finger up at all of you who doubted me” songs and I head in hoping this will signal a strong end to an album which has left me so far disappointed with its many misses to now and then hits. Again it is the guitars leading the way, and a half time chorus gives a bit of needed power, but average verses (more than I can say for other tracks) nearly buckle under the contrast of the chorus.
Finally we head into closing and title track “Almost Heaven” and I see it clocks in at a shade over 9 minutes. I’m torn at this, is it going to close well and give me some confidence? Or will it slam in one final nail? Truth is, it does neither. I don’t know if that’s worse- I mean, some closure is always appreciated. The idea is there behind a thin veil, you can see what they are trying to do, but the execution just needed that little bit more. Once again, clean vocals are relied upon to keep the song sounding fresh and when all fades away for an eerie spoken word extract (by none other than Barry Clayton- the voice behind “Number of the Beast”) I can’t help but think this would have proved more haunting and created more atmosphere with a younger, quieter voice. After the extract, strings and an organ come in and really drag this out. As a closing track, this has perhaps dragged on long enough and that screamed line to bring everything back in has came too late. All hope of the triumphant finale is killed as a piano loop plays out for the final two minutes as the band fade away.
So in conclusion, I am left disappointed. The Dead Lay Waiting however have time on their side, in abundance. They did show moments of promise and I feel that with a little more maturity and experience with song writing- future releases will be more appealing. I do feel however that more time needs to be given to those clean vocals, and perhaps less shown to the screech. That being the case, and I think I would have enjoyed this album a lot more!
Tracks to check out; The Days I’m Gone, Burnt To Ashes
Colours to Shame - Colours to Shame EP
Colours to Shame are a Metal band from Glasgow- however, they may not be a metal band as you know it…
Their experimental sound sees them following in the footsteps of Dillinger Escape Plan, Protest the Hero and Meshuggah. I had the good fortune of seeing them fairly recently and picked up their self-titled EP. Their live performance was striking, frantic, compulsive and convulsive entertainment- but do the recordings do it justice?
As its an EP, and Has only 4 tracks I am going to just take it blow by blow!
- Brianpepperspray [0:41]- Letting us know what we’re in for, the band’s penchant for jerky “stop-start” rhythms becomes apparent in this 41 second introduction. Inclusion of vocals seems somewhat redundant.
- The Crushed Ruby *standout Track* [7:47]- The track opens in a grand fashion with the guitar leads soaring. However where this song really shines is in the chorus, it is catchy, and a respite from the harsher vocals is welcome( not that they aren’t well executed- they are) It’s similar in sound to Buckethead, I find- and this sound would not sound out of place on his 2004 release Cuckoo Clocks of Hell, with it’s dissonant sections providing an unsettling feel. The softer interlude section also prevents this song from feeling overbearing and self indulgent, and the more melodic sections minimise the risk of people being alienated from this song.
- Dead above Ground [4:14]- A stab at a more straight-laced modern metal effort, but it is not without its quirks. In this song, it appears to be less about technique, and more about songwriting, and that makes it a compelling listen. They lead guitar and rhythm guitar parts compliment each other very well whether creating a complex counter melody or delivering that all important rhythmic punch. I’ve never put much stock or held much of a candle for “pig squeal” vocals- They appear in the latter stages of the track, and I must say that this song isn’t doing much to help the case any. To each their own I suppose.
- In Search of Sasquatch [7:29]- I’ll admit- the title of the song had me drawing breath. It’s one thing for a band to be able to take itself less seriously, but the amount of ridiculous, puerile, and plain daft song titles out there is astounding. Thankfully, this song -musically- is a good listen; it’s catchy and once again has the technical prowess to back it up. I do find the “stop/start” sections becoming tiring and awkward listening as this album goes on, it’s a good technique, but sometimes it just seems so redundant and over the top. It once again makes use of a clean interlude, but this one is far better utilised and appears at a more unexpected time, which is interesting. I also love the unsettling chord/ arpeggio choices, which create mixed musical feeling in the listener- it is also reprised in the dying seconds of this solid track.
In Conclusion:- The band have the skill, and from watching them I know they have growing presence- but I do have my reservations. They play tightly and show prowess in the demanding style that getting yourself noticed in this field of metal requires, but sometimes I feel it’s at a bit of a consequence to the songwriting. Showboating is all well and good, (and as a lead guitarist I can without a doubt attest to doing it,) but when it’s at the extent of being a detriment to the song itself, maybe a bit of pruning and shaping is necessary. I’d say they are on the right track with Dead Above Ground, as it is concise, yet still contains many of their style elements.Overall The Crushed Ruby Is a better song- but including two tracks over 7 mins in length on your EP doesn’t seem like a recipe for wide appeal. I don’t want to sound overly harsh, because there is good material here and it is worth the listen, but I stand by my comments here.
This band shows real potential, but it’s really important for them to use it wisely.
Arch Enemy- Khaos Legions Album Review
Arch Enemy are a big name in scandinavian melodic death metal. Or at least they were. Their last offering “The Root of All Evil” Was a good album, but the trouble was, there was no original material on it. That is to say, all of the tracks are re-hashed versions of songs written written and performed before current vocalist Angela Gossow fronted the band.
The band initially had more of a thrash metal sound with melodic elements and was fronted by a male vocalist- Johann Liiva. Some of the songs translated well, but many did not embrace the more sophisticated sound that is Arch Enemy today, or rather, the sound that they had been flaunting up to this point. It is for this reason (I think) that Arch Enemy have been pretty much off-the-radar for a while.
However, they are back with a new offering. Khaos Legions. (sic)
First off we have the album intro, which fades in hauntingly, but in true AE style. I would say the spoken word section lays it on a little thickly for my tastes, but it does lay foundation for a conceptual undertone to the album- one of uniqueness, uniting with other around us, and standing up. The material does have a few surprises, with some new fresh song inspirations for Arch Enemy. I feel that this is a more (dare I say) refined and grown up album, as lyrically there is definate subject matter, and in song writing style it is more laid back in places, and varied, which is always good. We still (thank goodness) get the usual liberally applied guitar harmonies and in some areas Michael and Christopher Amott really shine. However some of the melodies sound a bit familiar, in the sense that they are quite similiar to other tracks in their catalogue. They have, since writing and releasing R.O.A.E. revisited their roots somewhat. There are elements of earlier Arch Enemy mixed in with the newer sounding material, so in a sense they seem to be attempting to bring together the fans of both eras of their work. As somewhat of a bonus, we also get 2 live tracks. from Rise of the Tyrant - I Will Live Again, and from Black Earth (debut)- Dark Insanity.
Standout Track:- Yesterday is Dead and Gone- I’ll admit I was less than taken with this when i fist heard it, it is the video single choice for the album and I head it first- however it’s a “grower”. This album opening song retains many of the good elements of Arch Enemy that so many people love. It has memorable lyrics, it has a catchy chorus guitar melody, it has fierce solos from both of the Amott brothers, and you can really tell the two playing styles apart- Chris’s forte is with shred and neo-classical influence, whereas Michael opts for a more bluesy and emotive style of playing. There are other strong tracks such as City of the Dead, Bloodstained Cross, Through the eyes of a Raven and Secrets, but I’ve got a feeling this is the one that people will end up coming back to.
In Conclusion:- Khaos Legions will not be for everyone- even among Arch Enemy fans themselves I can see it causing somewhat of a divide. It is good material, but it seems to have lost some of the high polished finish we saw on Doomsday Machine and Rise of the Tyrant. There seems to be some magic missing in some of these songs, the thing that made these two previous records sound utterly massive. It’s good, but despite some strong material, it’s not nearly as good as I’d hoped, and am sure my thoughts are echoed by the legions of fans out there.
Breaking the Day - Survived by None.
Breaking the Day are a 6 piece band from Chatham in Kent, and signed to In at the Deep End Records (an independent record label in Nottingham who can count bands such as Architects and Gallows among former clients). As frequent readers will be aware, I had the good fortune of seeing their live show in Glasgow not too long ago. I also picked up a copy of this album, Survived by None.
The album is, like their live performance, a sonic force to be reckoned with. Doom laden riffs are at the centre of each song, and the steady slow drumbeats drive the immense musical beast forward. Effects and synth wash over the intros and quieter sections of the songs and help paint a picture that is epic, tragic and dramatic. Close your eyes and you may just see a post-apocalyptic wasteland stretch out endlessly before you, as the cover suggests. The effects, and tasteful use of feedback means that there is often a smooth and gapless transition between tracks- this of course helps the album flow and; at least in my experience- the more you listen to it, the more it grows on you. The Vocals also help express the despair the music to the listener.
Survived by None doesn’t require excessive gore- or indeed excessive anything- to get this point across to us; which makes it all the more worthwhile of a listen. The pace doesn’t break suddenly into a gallop as you might expect from other branches of modern metal, yet the lack thereof does not make it a linear listen. The songs are extremely well put together musically, and on a structural level are enough to keep attention from lapsing, From the ominous rumble of the Intro into “The Streets Will Rain With Blood Tonight.” to- well, “‘Till Death” (The last full track).
My only complaint would be with the Outro of the album. On many albums an Outro isn’t necessary, and if included should be an asset to the album in some way. I would argue that, although this is certainly an album where an Outro could work well, the 4 minutes of guitar feedback, followed by a minute and a half of lightly strummed clean guitar over faint screamed vocals that we are given isn’t really doing that. A bit shorter and it really wouldn’t have been any kind of issue for me- but its a bit of a waste at this length.
Standout Track:- Hours (Broken Clocks)- I enjoyed this track thoroughly live, and instantly recognised it upon reaching it in the album. In addition to having riffs that are set apart from the others up until this point, the middle section contains a somewhat middle eastern flavour in the guitar progression and especially in the tribal style drumbeat that accompanies it. This idea recurs in the subsequent track “Pretty Girls Make Graves” but here it is stronger. Although I would recommend (as ever) that you listen to the whole album- If you are testing the water with one track- spend some minutes on Hours.
In Conclusion:- The source of the vast amount of praise and reaction they have received in press and at shows is evident in this album. They have captured the colossal live sound which is a task for a band. They have developed a sound all their own and demonstrate it in spectacular fashion. Among Britain’s rising stars, this six piece burn brightly, and (if you’ll forgive a further pun) if this is the “dawning” of Breaking the Day… I look forward to what comes next.
La Cheetah, Glasgow 26/5/2011
La Cheetah is a small basement venue located under a cocktail bar on Queen Street in Glasgow city centre. Event organised by Neil Thomas of DeadDeadDead Music.
First band of the night are As Autumn Falls- who are reminiscent of scene/punk rock band Attack Attack. Usually I am averse to music of this type, and I do not generally enjoy it, but I’ll give it anything it’s due here. It begins energetically and remains so throughout, the material is catchy and song structure is varied, often with a pop-punk sensibility. Lyrically, I cannot comment a great deal, due to the frontman’s incomprehensible “teenage-angst” style harsh vocal, it’s certainly angry, though about what? I’m not exactly sure. When the screaming subsides, the vocals become the cliched and put-on voice of countless scene bands (regardless of their place of origin). The backing vocals are drowned out. The lead guitar lines are catchy and melodic but often do not cut through the mix. Riffs rear up in places that are clever, but they often descend into shoulder-strummed mush and exaggerated stage moves by the time the chorus arrives in each song. This band’s highlight was the drummer; his enjoyment and confidence was clear and obvious, and the use of trigger synth samples was very effective. Overall:- Seem somewhat preoccupied with “the look.” Strong in places, but quite frankly, I’ve "scene" it all before.
Next up, Winters take to the stage, with a notably heavier sound. Also noticeable is a definite reaction from the crowd. Each instrument is clear and tonally distinguishable. The band have somewhat of a shaky start, but their confidence and comfort grows as the set continues. The material is well executed, with this band’s drummer also making use of a synth sampling pad to flesh out sections and add introductions to songs (however one seemed to be a guitar line, which I feel could have easily just as well have been played live.) Vocally there are a few shaky points too but the frontman is charismatic and takes on some adventurous notes. The band are largely disinterested in the crowd, most of the time facing the drums and backline (aside from the vocalist) and I’m beginning to think I’m sitting in on a studio session rather than a live gig. The setlist culminates in a very strong song that they seem very much at ease playing, and employs an impressive split-second pause; a testament that they have over time become tighter. I was disappointed to see them leaving the venue promptly after their set- I find this practice disrespectful to the other bands playing and unprofessional. Overall:- I did enjoy this set, and would be interested in their progression from here as I do see definite potential. The songs are well written and performed well, but a step up in stage presence would be of great benefit.
Next to perform are hardcore outfit Search Party, and I am informed that sadly, this is their last show, because a member of the band is relocating to Northampton. Each member takes to the stage in fancy dress and/or facepaint. The left stage guitarist is particularly amusing in his oversized moustache, 118-118 wig and shorts. The crowd is clearly keen to party as when they start playing, there is strong stirring which later led to movement and moshing. Sound-wise, it’s similar to Cancer Bats, complete with angry snarling guitars and in your face vocal. The bass cuts out early on and cannot be revived, as such a replacement is brought on. Next to go a few songs in, is the microphone, due to over active crowd action. The songs in the latter half of the set are very strong, despite the crowd becoming overly intrusive of the band and one individual commandeering the mic and also mounting the vocalist. the same individual tried to play the bass and time wasting ensued. Still, the party charged on! In a way its rather a shame that they are disbanding. Overall:- You cannot argue with a rabid crowd- Search Party played well and their swansong was well received. Regardless of how out of control the whole affair was, those present last night will miss them.
Finally, it’s Breaking The Day's turn. I am assured, during the lengthy setting up and ironing out of technical problems with the elaborate synthesiser rig, that they are an altogether different beast than the fare so far. They were not wrong, as a dramatic opening fades in, and the crowd are transfixed as the first track comes thundering in, accompanied by a music timed strobe effect. The vocalist is truly in his element as he moves with the music, which manifests as a dark, trundling brutal presence. The songs are driven by a recurring idea on the guitars layered on powerful and tasteful beats, washed over by the synth which fits each arrangement beautifully (as out of place a word as that may seem here) and makes each sound utterly massive. Each band member is passionate, and makes their unique, experimental and ambient style look effortless. There is also some clear exotic influences in some of the material, which kept me among the enraptured listeners. The set grinds to a halt in spectacular fashion and the crowd plead for an encore, something which the band clearly did not expect. They agreed, but had to repeat a previously played song as all material had been used. Nevertheless, the crowd positively erupted in response, chanting and clapping enthusiastically, and during that final song moshed like it was their dying act. Overall:- Couldn’t fault them. Every song was an atmospheric and epic triumph. Did not become stale despite all material being slow and deliberate as a ten-ton hammer. Intense.
(Oh and PS readers:- expect a full review of Breaking The Day's album Survived By None over the coming week!!)
Lost Persona - Lost Persona
A progressive metal four-piece from the West of Scotland, Lost Persona have recently taken a break from beasting the Glasgow small venue circuit, entering battles and playing a number of shows. And at each show they entrance the crowds with their precise and melodic style.
Their well-earned break is to work on new material for a forthcoming EP. However, Lost Persona Have a debut self-produced album under their belt, which is what I turn my attention to in this article.
As the word “Progressive” often suggests, the songs are not exactly understated, with three tracks clocking in at over the 10-minute mark. However, let not those with a touch of an Attention-deficit approach to music turn away just yet. These songs are full of thought, with numerous issues are tapped into- Including recession, distrust of government, religion, and environment to name only the obvious- some are more candid, such as the echo of self-dissatisfaction and regret heard in the enigmatic lyrics of Rear View Disorder. Frontman Tony Dunn has a voice which helps to set this band apart from other Glasgow acts: The harsher vocals have a genuine presence and angst to them, But the clean vocals really soar. His guitar collaborator- brother Chris- assists in provision of the driving riffs and soulful clean sections, and also takes the brunt of the lead sections. The intricate yet solid basslines and technical drumming (of Gareth Dunion and Connor Anderson respectively) make this band one not to miss.
Musically it is a sound effort. In addition to the more intricate parts in the longer songs, it does venture slightly from the progressive in shorter efforts, to a more melodic metal driven sound. A good example of this is in the first part (titled Alternate Intentions) of four-part epic The Awakening. In addition, this track contains a guest vocal from none other than our fellow LTMDTT writer Tom McConnell, which contrasts Tony’s parts well.
That said, it does have areas where I have to criticise (constructively of course) The one main bugbear for me on this record is the lead distorted guitar tone, which is a little over-saturated with distortion and as a result sounds thin. This can be a difficult thing to gauge when recording, but is unfortunately recurrent throughout the album. The clean lines are beautifully polished in stark contrast, and going from a harp-like picked section, or one subtly accented with flanger and delay- to the “Grizzly-Adams” fuzz is a bit of a jump. This can be a bit of a detriment to the song’s flow.
Do not let this discourage you from going to see them live- this record does not give them full justice. Since recording this they have honed their skills more, and in addition there are usually no tonal issues at gigs whatsoever. The fuzz is confined to the cd itself, but it is still well worth picking up at a show.
Standout Track- Blood on your Hands. This song has, for me, the most replay value- if it comes on, I cannot skip it. The theme for this song is a distrust in politics- something a vast majority of us can relate to! The song builds and layers itself in intensity up to a bass solo, catchy breakdown, climactic solo and powerful harmony section that really resonated with me. You can really imagine bigger crowds getting involved in the final repeats of “There’s Blood on your Haaaaa-yands” and I can only hope that such a bright future is in store for them.
In Conclusion:- The only thing understated about this band is their name reputation as yet. I hope that in the months and years to come, Lost Persona may become a more prominent name in Scotland and furthermore in UK Prog. Metal as a whole. They certainly have the ability. They certainly have the hooks, they certainly have the songwriting potential. If they continue to polish themselves and spread their banner as wide and as far as they can, they will draw in the volume of listeners they crave; and dare I say deserve. They have already converted us, so reader, let your own ears do the walking while this music does the talking, listen to the record. But see them live, and you may find- To borrow lyrically from 5th track “A Fool and His Money”- that they have you by the balls.
TesseracT - One (Album Review)
A new form of heavy music has in recent years reared its head. Previously unclassified, it was pioneered, and given its namesake by Swedish Technical/ progressive/experimental metallers Meshuggah.
What i’m of course talking about, is Djent.
Pronounced “Gent” and first coined by Meshuggah Guitarist Frederik Thorendal, the word is onomatopoeic- For the characteristic sound of a heavily palm muted chord, especially on 7 or 8 string guitars, which have a much lower and deeper tonal range. Listen to the intro track their song Soul Burn - Such is Djent.
If you can call this a genre (I’d say its more of a style within a genre), a band who find themselves as part of it, are British band TesseracT. They have been newly signed to Century Media Records, who are massive in the Metal world. This new chapter has also heralded their debut album, minimalistically titled One. (Minimalistic cover too, has to be said)
It is far from easy listening. The trouble with Djent is that it can alienate listeners not suited to prog/exp music- a la Dream Theater/ Tool etc. That, and the lyrics have a more poetic sensibility to them than the standard fare of music designed to be “catchy”. TesseracT are fusing all of this, and the result is an ethereal and strange soundscape- even abstract perhaps?. It has somewhat of an Enya-like quality to it in places and it has an unprecedented effect on you. Is it music to headbang to? Or is this for relaxing to? It’s hard to tell in places to be honest, and sudden changes in mood can catch you off guard if you’re not accustomed to that sort of thing. However it’s not just for the musical equivalent of Salvador Dali aficionados .
This album could be an eye-opener for someone who has never encountered music with odd time signatures. Counting beats isn’t just "One-Two-Three-Four" here, and- as is customary in Djent- when it is in 4/4 time, the guitar rhythm over top of it sounds like it only *just* fits; a “nearly impossible” groove. However everything in TesseracT’s record is delivered extremely tightly and to a high standard. Contrary to an outsider thinking that what I’ve described here sounds like music that is coming apart at the seams, and toeing the line between music and “noise,” the result could not be farther from the truth.
Standout Track- Deception (Concealing Fate pt.2) - I considered it, but I feel it would have been a bit cheeky to choose Concealing Fate in its entirety for this section. It comes in six parts, and clocks in at 26 minutes 19 seconds. Part Two is one of the strongest sections among this symphony, and indeed the whole album (again, as always, it was a tough choice, had a few in mind. The vocals soar over the complex ebb and flow of the rhythm, and the structure is full of surprises as you tumble down this musical rabbit hole.
This is a thoroughly strange beast. But since buying it I have listened to it often. I find it is best enjoyed in one go- beginning to end. That way you get the full experience, because this album is truly designed to flow, and surely that is one of the main points in having an album at all, is it not? You should be able to listen to it from start to finish, and enjoy it all the way, not skipping tracks cause you’re not “feelin it.” Every track skip I make on an album I’m listening to, is a nail in it’s coffin, because if you skip it once, chances are you’ll skip it forever. This consistency is, in my eyes, the mark of a good record. I’ll concede, it’s not for everyone, but if you fancy something different, check out these extraordinary Djentlemen. They may just open you up to a whole new musical world.
For Fans of:- Meshuggah, Dream Theater, Tool.