As a girl who had Life Is Peachy album on heavy rotation and saw Korn perform in 1997 (Brisbane, Australia) it had honestly been a long while since I’d connected deeply with a Korn release. So I was curious as to what 2016 Korn sounded like; an impressive 20 years on from Life Is Peachy’s release.
The Serenity of Suffering is Korn’s twelfth studio album and has the same line-up as their previous release, The Paradigm Shift (in 2013): Jonathan Davis (vocals, keyboards, programming), Brian “Head” Welch (guitar, vocals), James “Munky” Shaffer (guitar, vocals), Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu (bass), Ray Luzier (drums). In an interview for Alternative Press, Welch spoke about The Serenity Of Suffering, and described it as going in a direction of heavier sound; “It’s the most intense Korn music in a long time vocally.” Welch described that the focus they had while writing the songs was on future live shows and wanting to create songs they’d want to play live. Hearing Welch describe The Serenity Of Suffering as a “kind of back-to-basics Korn album” had me excited to dive in and take my ears on a reunion and also reintroduction of Korn.
On the initial listen I found The Serenity Of Suffering hard to connect with. There were a lot of things that jarred me about it, but I took the opportunity to look deeper. My approach to listening to music is a deep immersion and as I looked more closely at the themes of the songs, this sense of jarring made sense, and subsequently vanished.
The album starts with Insane, bringing in both more electronics and more raw metal vocals than I’d experienced of Korn. There’s a build up, a sense of moving forward and being focused on getting somewhere. The chorus speaks about being beaten down, despite the building up of sound. I consider this to be a foreshadowing toward the bridge and lyrics of “I’m constantly beat up inside and I’m the one to blame, no one can relate to me”. Cue the maniacal laughter where it shifts into something else. The sense of moving forward is lost, and it feels like everything that was being aimed towards was nothing but a mirage. The pain of knowing but not looking at the mirage is enough to drive one to insanity; a loop of fearing to face disappointment or failure and being stuck in this loop of not getting anywhere at all. The lyric of “Living my life horrified” is a great way to put it. With all of this, the way the song is played is absolutely perfect and any sense of grinding up harshly against the listener is due to the fact that the subject matter and message shared itself is no picnic. If you want easier listening, go somewhere else where they sing about banging chicks and rolling around in money. I took this perspective into the rest of the album.
Rotting in Vain seems to express a similar emotional trap. “Digging deep inside of me, Getting past this agony, I can't seem to get away, Another day rotting in vain”. The song feels almost suffocating as a listener, and the loudness has a sense of being welcoming to drown out difficulty. It’s a treat to hear Davis scatting on this song and together with the melody of the song, it feels like it’s going to be one that’s played a lot.
I described the feeling of Black Is The Soul as ‘searching’ with the metal bass sound, guitars and electronic track combined. It feels lighter than the other songs and has questioning vocals. There’s a feeling of hope being lost and of there being inevitable dread toward being pulled toward darkness: “Why do we play these games in vain” (or could it also be “vein”?).
I found The Hating a difficult track to listen to at first, and I realised it’s because the character in the song is playing a role of being a disruptive voice against the norm. I thought of them as an obnoxious town crier, projecting their sense of paranoia and of feeling controlled and contained by something bigger than them. Davis’ vocals feel at odds to the smooth guitar sound, with desperation in his voice. This all makes perfect sense in that character, begging for people to “pay attention”. There are heavy metal growls in this track, placed in amongst beautiful clean vocals, albeit with some distortion. This clashing and mashing up presents this chaotic feeling, again of this character trying to speak out against something that others may be blissfully unaware of.
The electronics and droning guitars in A Different World set it up to feel like a pulling apart or an expansion outward. It has a sense of separating one from their body and a lightness above the potential to be harmed (“A place where you can’t find me”). But this experience is overwhelming and too much, despite its beauty (which I feel is expressed with the beautiful backing vocals throughout) and the heaviness that comes in is an attempt to get some kind of balance. Having Corey Taylor’s (of Slipknot) voice on the track invites a smooth groundedness, making the rest of the song feel like an alternate reality. All of this combined is a perfect representation of that desperate quest for escape.
Take Me has a sound that could make it very radio friendly; a bouncing beat, light guitars and a catchy chorus. To me this song feels like it creates a space of strange visions and morphing experiences, with limited sense of up or down or gravity itself. It’s reflected in the lyric: “This shit has made me blind to all reality”. There is a very cool bridge to this song (where Davis shouts “GO!”) and much like A Different World, it feels like a quest for escaping.
Everything Falls Apart also has a feeling of being adrift and not being able to grasp onto anything. Musically this song is beautiful with sweet vocals and steady guitar and breathy backing. It speaks to me like a heavy heart, with very little hope and a sense of separation in relation to making it work. The ending of the song with the vocals “There is nothing in my head (these are voices in my head)” on repeat is a very effective way to communicate this frantic attempt of self-conviction and ignoring what is felt, bordering on craziness.
Again in Die Yet Another Night we have repeating voices in the head (“Nobody cares you’re just a bad man”) and it has a bleak feeling of writing a suicide note in the middle of the night, with no one around, and feeling like death wouldn’t even matter due to the sense of nothingness the person feels. It’s heavy, and the guitars support this. The chorus is impressive with a moment of silence before it all kicks in with a strong sound.
I liked the sweetness of When You’re Not There, despite being wrapped inside dirty heavy riffage. It felt to me like being smitten with someone and feeling a pull toward them, yet also feeling a (stronger) pull to keep oneself contained and safe. Not being able to be emotionally open, leaving it all unrequited, yet being stuck thinking about them. The vocal effects feel like the character of this song is being mocked and laughed at; their fears come to life.
The heavy guitars and effects are a great beginning for Next in Line. This song has a sense of a disconnect from reality, and the extreme randomness of the song musically works well for this. A snippet of what goes on in this track: Collisions of record scratching and metal growls before going into clean vocals, then a building drum focus, before screaming. It’s a very unique track! To me it feels like there is a glimmer of wanting to move forward, but it gets to a point of vulnerability before pulling within again and becoming lost.
The last track (on the standard release) is Please Come for Me and it seems to describe something dark trying to seduce someone, and has them feeling very young, vulnerable and threatened. The character is waiting for someone or something to save him, because he’s trapped in the so-called serenity of suffering and can’t break free of it himself.
It’s a shame that the first of the bonus tracks, Baby, isn’t included on the standard release of The Serenity of Suffering because it has a really classic Korn feel with the guitar intro. Lyrically it also feels like it is the pivotal piece of the entire album if you consider it one whole message, where the character who had previously been trapped emotionally is ready to go for it, to make a change for better or for worse, with “Taking my chances” being a lyric at the bridge. It feels like being on the cusp of a change.
The Serenity of Suffering carries the same energy of Korn that we know and love: A sense of deep emotional hurt and vulnerability that’s too horrible and overwhelming to just move through. In this way, there is ‘serenity’ in sitting in suffering. It’s not ideal, but the alternative is much too much.
With the album having come to an end, I feel that The Serenity of Suffering will be appreciated by those who love the classic Korn sound as well as the vibe of emotional vulnerability and escapism. It may take an open mind for those who are not prepared for the heaviness or intensity.
Written by Kelly Burch
The only thing I enjoy more than listening to good music is discovering the inspiration that has sparked it. In this case, Low Teens by Every Time I Die does not disappoint. This metalcore band from Buffalo, NY, masterfully created their 8th album with a scary reality on their minds. Their lead singer, Keith Buckley, received devastating news that his wife was admitted to the hospital for life threatening pregnancy complications. It’s no question that the emotional drive behind this album comes from that troubling time. The lyricism of the entire album really stuck with me. Not only did this band turn the emotions into resounding lines, they each used their own role to expertly back them up and deliver.
It starts with nothing less than an intro of the first track, “Fear and Trembling”, that is reminiscent of the Jaws theme song -- the two repeating low notes lying beneath a higher melody that let us know something terrifying is headed our way. Then, just like that, the inevitable hits us with Keith’s first screams about how death could never tear his relationship apart. The lyrics do not fail to deliver the intensity of emotion that is also represented in the heaviness of the song. From here on, the listener is dragged along on the journey of shock, grief and hopelessness. We are whisked away onto the next track, “Glitches”, with a quickened and chaotic pace. The drummer, Daniel Davison, takes advantage of the cymbals and showcases his skill throughout this song.
“C++ (Love Will Get You Killed)” switches it up with a slower pace and melodic, clean vocals at first. We can clearly see the progression from Keith reasoning that she will go to a better place to an emotional breakdown and pleading her to stay. The first true screams in the song are later when the lyrics set up an imagery of him on his knees in the hospital, willing the machines to keep her alive. The contrast between calm and panic is perfectly executed here. “Two Summers” continues the clean vocals, even adding in a possible Edgar Allen Poe reference that could allude to a haunting guilt.
Daniel Davison is the glue in the next two tracks with his creative drumming precision accompanied by some artful guitar riffs courtesy of Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams. “Awful Lot” and “I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway” keep an angry and defiant vibe that is common in grieving individuals. Just when we thought the album was going to go off the rails, a surprise visit from Brendon Urie graces the seventh track, “It Remembers”. This song is a break in the heavy trend, starting similar to first song, but adding a slower soulful melody. This gives us a chance to truly appreciate the guitarists and bassist, Steve Micciche. Not to mention, Urie’s voice compliments the instruments in a divine way.
We’ve dug all the way down to the heart of the album, “Petal”. This is quite the fragile title for such a heavy hitter. Keith describes life as black and death as white, a dangerous mindset for someone in a situation like this. He delivers his poetry with perfectly executed screams that made me shiver. By the end of the song, we hear “untimely ripped into this world, I was born again as a girl”. The listener can take their first breath: his baby girl was born alive.
The next track, “The Coin Has A Say”, provides a quickly changing landscape of screams, clean vocals, and speaking, as well solid guitar play, all making this single unique. “Religion Of Speed” takes thirty seconds of guitar play to set mood for the message Keith has for us and then delivers a chorus that everyone can relate to. We get two more heavy tracks, “Just As Real But Not As Brightly Lit” and “1977” that lead us up to the last track on the album, “Map Change”.
Saving the best for last, this song describes the reality of tragedy: when you feel like your whole world has stopped, yet everyone else keeps moving. The locusts still hum and the sun still shines even though it refuses to warm you. We get a dynamic five minutes of each member showing off their best work, from terrific guitar lines to the holding down of the drums and the bass, complete with stops for silence as a time to reflect on what was just said. This song fades out while repeating the same phrase to bring the album to a close.
Low Teens is proof that Every Time I Die is nowhere near done bringing their A game. The whole album is full of contradiction and paradox that reveals a greater truth. Burning bright and intense with feeling, this collection of songs drives home a message that will make you shiver. It is a contrast of sun and shadow, light and dark, that is best explained by Keith: “The sun is out, out cold”.
Written by Brenna Nelson
Buckle up and hold on: Dayshell’s newest release, Nexus, is going to take you on a ride! The last we heard from Dayshell was with their self-titled album, released in 2013. Since then the band have gone through three line-up changes before its current configuration of three; Shayley Bourget (vocals & guitar), Jordan Wooley (bass) and Zack Baker (drums). The band have also signed with Spinefarm Records, which lead to their newest album, Nexus.
Nexus (released Oct 7th) leads off with “Car Sick”, which begins unassumingly with a lilting electronic track, before the bass falls in and you’re off and running. Bourget wants to know “Are you with me!?” as the track marches on. Before you know it, the slick blend of electronics, metal guitar and demanding drums have taken you hostage.
Track two, “A New Man” is reminiscent of a rebirth, starting with audio muffled and oppressed before Bourget affirms clearly “I’m on my way, do you see what I mean?”. It’s hard not to feel that Bourget is referring to new music, and asking the listener to hold on and to trust them. Baker’s efforts on this track amplify the request, the beat grabbing hold and not letting go.
The honesty behind Nexus’ lyrics and vocals is endearing, with a midway interlude of “Improvise” seeming to make time stand still. With just this one track, Bourget’s voice ranges from stunningly beautiful through to guttural screams of rage, and musically, the band handle this spectrum of expression effortlessly.
“Low Light” is a dream of a rock song, with a showcase of Baker’s slick drumming in particular. Its pre-chorus build-ups set the stage for this song that you probably won’t be able to get out of your head. The bridge gives Bourget’s silky voice a chance to swirl in amongst the relentlessness of the drumming. “Low Light”’s sedate outro is clearly there so you can catch your breath…
..before being introduced to “The Weapon”. Bourget’s plaintive cries of “I need a weapon”, that escalate from sweet through to enraged over the course of the song will have you coming back to this track more times than you’ll probably publicly admit. Interestingly the bass seems to be what keeps the song grounded and allows Bourget to lose himself as the emotion in the song escalates.
Continuing on our journey through Nexus, we find ourselves at track six, where Bourget’s vocals and the funky baseline of “Ftnw” are reminiscent of an earlier era. “Ftnw” (with “flip-off the new world” sung within the track) incites a heart-based anarchy, its battlecry: “We’re taking over now. The few from underground. Spread your wings and we’re taking over, NOW”.
Over halfway through the album and the hits don’t stop. “Spit in the Face” is a heavier track than we’ve seen on Nexus so far. It is demanding of our ears with musical contortions going on across all instruments and voices, tracks layering and combining together to one kickass track that masterfully expresses its message.
Wooley’s bass greets us leading into track nine, “Master of Making”, along with a gift of a longer introduction with Baker. The vocals are more subtle and withheld at times, and lyrics such as “I come to you with open hand but you disappear”, “Are you a foe or a friend?” and “Would you throw me away” seem to express uncertainty and self-doubt; good reasons to withhold oneself. The shift after the second chorus creates a space drenched in uncertainty and tugs at the heart, including heavy spaces where you’d expect vocals and they don’t come. Bourget’s call of “come to me” breaks the silence and it’s easy to fall in line, absorbing the bridge before we are back in another chorus.
“Terrified” offers up the heaviest intro of the entire album, before falling into a melancholic verse where Bourget asks to “Stop spreading the truth if you know what’s good for you”. This combination of melancholy and metal seems to be a signature of Dayshell, and it works. “Terrified” has what is likely the most beautiful vocal interlude of the entire album after the second chorus. All you can do is hold on to your headphones and sigh as you float off. Thankfully Wooley and Baker keep us grounded in reality and pull us all back to earth for the chorus, giving us an amazing ending that is not in the least terrifying.
Bourget shows us his higher vocal range with the tenth track, “Rush Hour”. This track is easy and enjoyable, and the relaxed tempo of this song incites the inverse of its title. As the different instrument tracks fall away, Baker and his drums are all that remains and gives us an awesome outro.
“Speaking in Tongues”, the second last track on Nexus, combines more Bourget beauty, Baker brilliance, and Wooley wonderment. At this point of the album you might start to wonder what you did right in life to have this gift be present in your ears. For lovers of unique time signatures, “Digital Sand” is a wonderful way to bring our journey through Nexus to a close. It’s a last gasp where the skill of these three musicians is showcased. And we are not disappointed.
Bourget has been quoted as wanting to push boundaries by way of musical style, saying “It might be heavy at the forefront, but there's beauty behind that. It encompasses all of my influences from Deftones and Led Zeppelin to Incubus and Enya. I like to call it 'Fresh Metal'." Nexus is indeed a showcase of these influences and demonstrates the pushing of boundaries by way of genre. The marriage of Dayshell’s melancholy, metal, and individual mastery makes each track of Nexus worthy of deep immersion. Nexus an unmissable album and one you’ll be playing many times over.
Written by Kel Burch
Set It Off are the best of both worlds of pop and punk with Cody Carson’s soaring vocals, dance worthy mixes, all meshed together with a killer guitar from both Dan Clermont and Zach DeWall. Drummer Maxx Danziger creates grooving beats that take each of the tracks over the top. Overall Set It Off absolutely wows with Upside Down. This release punctuates why they were playing one of the main stages at this summer’s Warped Tour.
Carson’s vocals throughout the album are stunning. From the high notes that knock your socks off to the softer melodic vocals he is out to impress. Guitarists Clermont and DeWall stun for the duration of Upside Down. Danziger pulls from pop and punk worlds to produce a beat that is seamless from track to track no matter the tone.
The drums in 'Something New' automatically drew me in and had me dancing. That couplet with the bass have this song locked tight in a best of pop punk playlist. 'Something New' will completely agree with pop music lovers as well as punk enthusiasts. Listeners will have the buh-duh-ba-buh-duns stuck in their heads for hours.
Carson’s vocals in 'Uncontainable' make this song so much fun. The lyrics and guitar combine to hit hard and make you want to fight for whatever you want in life.
'Life Afraid' is easily my favorite track on the entire album. If you want a usual Set It Off track look no further because 'Life Afraid' includes lyrics that are seriously inspiring. I was most drawn to the fact that this track made me feel so awesome and ready to take on the world which is something I now equate with Set It Off.
Having a bad day, turn on Upside Down and automatically start crying alongside the happy trumpets of this song. Belt the uplifting lyrics and smile through the pain, because this song does exactly what the lyrics are suggesting by turning your frown upside down and encouraging a little bit of positive thinking. By the end of this song if you haven’t cracked a smile then I’d suggest putting it on repeat for the rest of the day for good measure. Carson’s vocals sound like a gigantic smile, and the track is for sure going to be my best friend on days when I’m feeling particularly down.
'Want' could compete to be one of the top pop songs of today. The melodies are reminiscent of new pop and older R & B music. This would be the song belonging to a movie soundtrack.
'Hypnotized' is the equivalent of a Taylor Swift breakup song and Beyonce call out song to the punk rock scene. This track includes interesting hip hop influences that intermingle the rock instrumental backing.
No matter the mood you’re in when listening to Upside Down, there will without a doubt be a relatable track.
Set It Off have shown that they can grow and mature while still maintaining the free spirit that is essential to their music. Upside Down should be one of the top albums of this year.
Written by Ashley Long
After two kind of crazy years Sylar have once again set out to change the nu-metal scene. This time with their latest album release Help! under a new record label and a new outlook that has poured into the tracks. Within the past two years these guys must have had a lot to talk about and make music for which I truly believe is the foundation to what is essentially one hell of an album.
Track by track Help! amazes. There are tracks that quite literally cry for help and others that pull on some memory you’ve hidden in the far recesses of your subconscious. The rawness in the lyrics easily transfix listener to the track no matter the title.
Jayden Panesso and Miguel Cardona do a phenomenal job at vocals and that is one of the most hooking parts of the album. Lyrics aside their vocals clearly plead for listeners to pay attention and really hear, add to that the lyrics being sung and the mix is heart dropping and captures whatever the emotion of that particular track happens to be. Some of my favorite tracks vocally are 'Dark Daze', 'South Street Lullaby', and 'Pleasure Paradise'.
Take a moment to lose yourself in the drumming. Try and be completely still and unresponsive; it’s impossible to not move to the beat and I love that about each of the tracks. Thomas Veroutis brings such a great talent to the band that is only amplified throughout the whole album but especially in 'Maintain Closure'.
If anyone is looking for a bassist that is absolutely the best at what he does go no further than Travis Hufton. During Me, Myself, & I it's easy to pick out why I have such great things to say about him. The sound is down and dirty and very distinct.
Guitar tracking in this album must have been quite the process. Listening to tracks like Help! and Dark Daze capture the abilities both Dustin Jennings and Cardona have.
This album can’t be summed up with just a few words of great praise. Just take a listen to each of the tracks on Help! Sylar couldn’t have made a better second album. Help! is purely a vye for people to hear what this band has been through and how they have overcome it all, and the straight up honesty of the tracks is what will take Sylar far.
Written by Ashley Long
Of Mice & Men unleashed their much anticipated fourth album 'Cold World' this September and with this explored yet again different approaches and sub-genres. Of Mice & Men started out as a pure metalcore band but with Aaron Pauley's arrival and clean vocalist Shayley Bourget's departure, the band switched lanes into a more nu-metal approach. With the raging success of 2014's Restoring Force, 'Cold World' was one of 2016's most anticipated releases. Can Of Mice & Men hold on to their success or will the pressure be too much?
Frontman Austin Carlile's ongoing health issues must've been difficult for both him and the band, as the future is uncertain. However, the emotion caused by this uncertainty pours through in the most positive way possible in several tracks among which leadsingle 'Pain'.
The band has gone through a lot and are ready to shock the world once more with 'Cold World'.
With a show-filled summer as opener for Slipknot and several headliner tours coming up, 'Cold World' couldn't have arrived at a better time.
The long anticipated album opens with calm track 'Game of War'. The slow track led by Austin Carlile's brilliant clean vocals which we get to enjoy a lot this album for the first time on 'Cold World' makes for the perfect introduction to a yet again renewed Of Mice & Men.
Besides being a proper introduction to the album, 'Game of War' is also an introduction to destruction. While 'The Lie' starts with a calm guitar riff, hell breaks loose after about 20 seconds. Hard hitting lyrics about how fucked up the world is (or cold) aswell as Carlile's brutal screams combined with Aaron Pauley's clean vocals in between to soften the blow, this track is a true wake up call. The tracks ends with a breakdown in which the classic riff is slightly altered, showing that besides the music enthusiasts also musicians are growing tired of hearing the same riffs over and over again.
'Real' and 'Like A Ghost' are next up and give Aaron Pauley a chance to shine. With more clean vocal parts, it's up to him to make these tracks extraordinary. While I'm personally not a big fan of Pauley's vocals, he is undeniably a great singer and his voice works so exceptionally well with Austin Carlile's. Where especially 'Like A Ghost' lacks in originality, it makes up for that with the well-written lyrics that will truly haunt you like a ghost.
Next up are previously released bangers 'Contagious' and 'Pain'. Both these tracks are led mostly by Austin Carlile's 'spoken screams', and especially 'Pain' has a very original vibe to it. These are the tracks that massively helped building up the anticipation for this entire record and will be jammed to for a long time.
Unfortunately, the album goes slightly downhill from here on. Tracks like 'The Hunger' and 'Relentless' are slightly less proper written, lyrically and musically. 'Relentless' has a oldschool 'Rage Against The Machine' feel to it, but with lyrics such as 'If you want it, you gotta take it. And I got it, so come and get it' I strongly feel Of Mice & Men could've done better. The riffs on these tracks are slightly generic and it feels like the drumparts could've been more complex. Eventhough the slight backslide, these tracks are still nice. Not every track has to be brilliant, cause if they all were, the exceptional tracks wouldn't be exceptional anymore but just average.
The last track on the album is 'Transfigured', which leaves the album on hopeful note. Lyrics such as 'I want to be free again, to feel again, to dream. Till one day I hope I say: I'm finally okay'.
With a cheerful riff and an uplifting vibe throughout the song, the band showcases that they will continue to fight for what they believe in.
With lyrical content revolving around Austin Carlile's health issues, anxiety aswell as political aspects 'Cold World' is all over the place. Not one track is like the previous one. Of Mice & Men demonstrates they're capable of great diversity and are not afraid to experiment with new styles. Austin Carlile on clean vocal duty and altering the longstanding 'breakdown riff' are just a few examples of altering the already existing formule. While some tracks were better than others, overall this album was worth the wait. I for one am very excited to hear many of these tracks in a live setting.
To me, A Day To Remember is a band that screams resilience, a statement exemplified by the release of a second stunning album following their Victory Records litigation case. Some could have called Common Courtesy beginners luck as they began to strike out on their own, but the release of ‘Bad Vibrations’ on their new label, ADTR records, punches that beginners luck myth in the face.
The eponymously named title track, ‘Bad Vibrations’, opens with Jeremy’s brilliant throaty growls before continuing to produce a song that epitomises the band’s heavier sound, with chunky, punchy riffs and crushing vocals. Following is ‘Paranoia’, the first single from the album, a certified punk rage track that will have your grandma headbanging. Bringing together a fast, relentless rhythm and riffs as well as powerfully sung and fiercely screamed vocals from frontman Jeremy McKinnon, it’s a track guaranteed to absolutely smash huge crowds worldwide in the arenas that the 5 lads from Ocala are beginning to frequent.
One of my favourite things with the album is that ADTR seem to have swung nearer towards the heavier side of their varied sound as opposed to the pop-punk side. Don’t get me wrong, I adore both sides of the band, but I just personally feel that their brutal side is better than the bouncier stuff more attributed to Common Courtesy. Breaking the heavier trend is ‘Naivety’, with an opening melody more like a Christmas song, which is a nostalgic reflection on losing the naivety of youth and growing up.
Next up, as if to smash the nostalgia with a hammer, comes ‘Exposed’, a venom-laced political explosion. With a djenty introduction that I’ve never once heard from ADTR, the track bursts into life with Jeremy’s growl “I’M PRO-AMERICAN BUT ANTI-POLITICIAN” followed by a breakdown that has the serene subtlety of a car crash, bringing heavy guitar chugs and little choppy licks together with Alex Shelnutt’s relentless drumming to create the albums main truly brutal song.
Track five is by a mile my highlight of the album ‘Bullfight’ is almost like a deluxe edition track from Homesick, and truly echoes the sound that the band is most popularly known for. Homesick is their best album and thus, anything that mirrors tracks from that album will always be sure-fire winners for the band. In an interview with Kerrang! in June, Jeremy had this to say about ‘Bullfight’:
“On a song like Bullfight the chorus is like a punk chorus, then the bridge is like our version of a Viking-metal breakdown. Then to mix that with the verses which have this almost Spanish feeling. That is definitely something ADTR has never done.”
Though it may have never been done, the track is a brilliant blend of genres that allows a mixture of the bands heavier sounds with an exciting flair of new influence, always promising for a band releasing their sixth studio album. Following my favourite track from the album comes my second, ‘Reassemble’, which brings echoes of ‘The Document Speaks For Itself’ from the previous album, with a full smorgasboard of ADTR’s talents; Jeremy’s brilliant growled and screamed vocals, fast powerful instrumentals and breakdowns, and even the calmer, slowed influences that really made ‘TDSFI’ stand out to me this time two years ago.
‘Justified’ opens up as if it will be a calmer, ‘If It Means A Lot To You’-esque speed sort of track, but then picks up with some backing guitars bringing another ADTR pop-mosh track into the album, particularly after a minute when some screamed vocals and more thrashy instrumentals appear. Pop-mosh is followed by brilliant pop-punk in the form of ‘We Got This’. Another ode to ‘Homesick’, the optimistic punch of ‘Things do get better, trust me I’ve been there’ is a shining light to lonesome fans that may be looking for some support in a challenging time and certainly has a lighter sound to it than many of the other tracks on the album.
‘Same About You’ shows another genre ADTR have touched on by branching into a more alternative rock sound, producing a melancholy rock track that seems to be a response to an ex at the end of a relationship, with a great big punch to the face breakdown to end the song out. Following this is a more classic ADTR track in ‘Turn Off The Radio’, with its ridiculously catchy chorus that I guarantee you’ll fall in love with after listening to the album a few times. The melodies show Jeremy pushing himself a little outside of his own comfort zone, maybe due to the fact that this is the first album the band have sat and written together since For Those Who Have Heart.
The final track on the standard edition is ‘Forgive and Forget’, a beautiful finale that plays harder on the heartstrings than Kevin and Neil do on their respective guitar strings, with simple lyrics that drip with raw emotions for the almost five minutes of sadness. Another song seemingly sung in the vein of an ended relationship. A track that purely focuses on the slow harmonious clean vocals blended wonderfully with melodic instrumentation, it is a powerful closing track that perfectly suits an experimental ADTR album.
A band with A Day To Remember’s prestige aren’t expected to make such radical experimental changes and delve into multiple genres this far into a star-studded career, but the bands ability to sit and write and produce together entirely unaffected by deadlines and schedules for the first time since 2011 has truly resulted in the creation of an absolute masterpiece. I’ve heard some fans say that this is too ‘samey’ and nothing truly jumps out and stands up to be counted, but tracks like ‘Exposed’, ‘Reassemble’, ‘Paranoia’, ‘Bullfight’ and ‘Forgive And Forget’ truly do stand up, and create part of a brilliant 41 minutes of music. With heavy tracks prepped to slay stadiums and slower tracks to be alone to, the brilliantly executed variation takes my breath away. Unlike the albums title, I’m getting nothing but good vibes from this, and can’t wait to leave it on repeat for the next few months.
Written by Laurie Cromwell
It’s finally here, the follow up to The Amity Afflictions 2014 album, Let The Ocean Take Me, but will it be able to to match the stand out anthems and success from it. In true Amity style all emotions come out along with strong melodies and catchy chorus’. Frontman Joel Birch really opens up about his demons on this album, each track telling a very different story.
After the release of single 'Shine On', at the end of last year, they really teased this album to be something special. The Amity Affliction are making their mark on the music scene, after headlining the Impericon Never Say Die Tour late last year and grabbing some incredible spots at various festivals this year, they’re really clinging on to the success they’ve earned.
'I Bring The Weather With Me' is the perfect opener with its great melodies, captivating lyrics and awesome guitar solos, it has everything a great metalcore song needs. It has the kind of catchy chorus where you will find yourself singing along with Ahren Stringers smooth “when I’m gone”s all day.
Title track 'This Could Be Heartbreak', is really where bassist and clean vocalist, Ahren Stringer takes the lead. His vocals, especially in the chorus and bridge really make the song stand out. It's a very different song compared to Amity’s usual heavy title tracks. It is a song however, that is sure to be a crowd favourite live as it’s an easy one for crowds to shout along to with the band, which always makes for a great live performance.
'Tearing Me Apart' starts off with a light intro giving the song a calm feel which shortly changes when the harsh vocals start. Joel Birch’s moany screams in the bridge add anger and frustration to the feel of the song which contrast perfectly with Stringers emotional vocals. He then becomes Stingers echo which really makes the bridge the stand out part of the song, as you can really hear the contrast between them.
The guitar licks at the start of 'OMGIMY (Oh My God I’m Missing You)' really starts off this song strong. The emotions put into it really make it stand out, the track becomes an obvious continuation of 2014’s 'Never Alone', when the song ends with a similar emotional voicemail message saying to someone how he’s “All Fucked Up” which leads perfectly onto the next song 'All Fucked Up'. 'All Fucked Up' is a very light and gentle song compared the others on this album. The song almost feels acoustic, something The Amity Affliction haven’t done before but the guitars gentle riffs behind Stringers clean vocals really give the song its calm feel. They continue the theme of the previous song and carry on the emotional journey Birch is writing about with this album. Anyone going through a break up and coming to terms with how they feel about it will instantly connect with these songs.
Turning it back up, 'Fight My Regret' really adds the heavy metalcore back into the album, where they go back to their roots and the type of songs that got them this far. This song shows off Birches incredible vocals as he takes the lead. Tracks like this really show how underrated an unclean vocalist he is. The deep base lines and heavy drums ensure that pits will be opened whenever this song is played, no matter when or where.
Album closer, 'Blood In My Mouth', closes the album full circle. In a similar way to the albums beginning the music fades out the same way the church bells faded in at the start of 'I Bring The Weather With Me'. In contrast to the songs calm end, it starts off with Birch’s frustrating screams, coupled with some insane guitar it really finishes the album off showing off what The Amity Affliction can do.
The Amity Affliction really know how to make an emotional album. Joel Birch’s amazing lyric writing and his ability to bring his darkness to life really make their songs shine. Although this album lacks the stand out tracks and anthems of Let The Ocean Take Me, it has some experimental tracks on here The Amity Affliction haven’t tried before which really pay off. They pull the album together and show that this band aren’t afraid to mix up their sound up a little and try something new. The Amity Affliction are really making their mark on the metalcore genre and deserve to continue getting higher and higher as they produce more incredible music like this.
Written by Hannah Smith
With the return of Good Charlotte comes their latest album “Youth Authority”, which was released July 15th.
After a four year long hiatus, Good Charlotte returned with a new single last year, and now a new album altogether. Missed these guys? Then you’ll be happy to hear this.
The album begins with “Life Changes”. Already, we’re getting speedy guitar riffs, a catchy melody and a jumpy chorus all on top to kick start this album.
The lyrics are well-written too, focusing on the changes we have to face in life, whether we like them or not. Relatable lyrics (my favourite line being “best friends become strangers) and great instrumentals is always an important factor to a track, and this one doesn’t fail to deliver that. The overall message of this one isn’t either positive or negative, it’s just the full-on truth that life will always keep changing, and that nothing lasts forever. It’s a message that I personally love.
Next up we have “Makeshift Love”, which begins a lot slower than the last track with an acoustic introduction.
What I especially like about the track is during the verses when only the vocals are heard, before the chorus returns again. It’s not new to pop punk, but it’s probably one of my favourite elements of a pop punk track, and this one is no exception.
Another relatable pop punk track about a complicated relationship (I’m sure most of us can relate), and it’s pretty awesome.
Next up is the oddly titled “40 .oz Dream”, but I wouldn’t use that word to describe this track. Instead it’s bouncy and energetic and has some excellent vocal harmonies. Oh, and we can’t forget about lyrics, can we? “I went outside to see, it’s not 2003”, and then the rest of the lyrics are just one big nostalgia fest. Think of “1985” by Bowling For Soup - it’s a little like that.
With this new album, as well as new releases from Blink-182 and Sum 41, it may just feel like 2003. Well, not really, but at least something good has come out of 2016 for once!
The Kerrang! annual awards are one of the most hallowed awards in the modern alternative music industry, with awards being scooped by some of the biggest names in the industry. This years Best International Newcomer award went to Cane Hill, a nu-metal band from New Orleans, after fighting off competition from Biters, Beautiful Bodies, Beach Slang and The Dirty Nil. Cane Hill have followed up by releasing one of the best nu-metal releases I’ve heard in years. Many nu-metal releases try too hard to be bands they aren’t, yet Cane Hill have managed to create a brilliant new sound in a sometimes considered over-populated sub-genre. I heard their single ‘Time Bomb’ from their first self-titled release and I couldn’t contain my excitement as they seemed like a heavy as anything band that didn’t seem to give a single shit about anything other than making heavy music in the exact way they wanted it. ‘Time Bomb’ seemed like the sort of song that would punch you in the face until you loved it. Funnily enough… that’s exactly what they’ve done with this new album as well.
Some bands choose to open an album with an interlude or a slightly more chilled track to ease people in. Cane Hill chose to chew listeners ears off and spit them back out again with a great big “Fuck You”. Opening track ‘MGGDA’, or My Good God Damn American as vocalist Elijah Witt roars down your ears, shatters ear drums and makes you want to start a fight with your couch, with deep bass riffs to go alongside thrashing drums, bringing Korn-esque guitar work that shows you exactly why they won their K! award. Though they may be seen as a newcomer, the quality of their heavy sound would pass as experts as opposed to new boys. Saying that, previous winners of Best International Newcomer include Linkin Park, Sum 41, Evanescence, and more recently Of Mice and Men, Falling in Reverse and PVRIS, so take from that what you will – watch this band!
Anyways, following ‘MGGDA’ is ‘(The New) Jesus’, yet another oral assault to smash the cobwebs clear from your head. With pounding percussion alongside more brutally heavy riffs, we get to see a little more of Elijah’s vocal range and his ability to switch between cleans, roars and screams with not a single bead of sweat forming. At first, the electronic voice that repeats “the new jesus… is on the way” throughout the chorus is irritating but before long it becomes almost catchy as it punches in over the beautiful cacophony of noise it accompanies, reminiscent of Slipknot during the Iowa era.
As ‘True Love’ begins, it feels like Cane Hill might have taken some sleeping pills and finally calmed down, until the bass thumps back in and dispels that rumour entirely. Though Witt has more of a melancholy, broody delivery of vocals here, the chorus still features some heavy roars that he’s slowly making a name for unleashing. ‘St. Veronica’ follows, with some interesting electronic elements thrown into a track that switches tempo every time you expect them to settle on one. This track finally allows us to see Witt’s singing ability a little more and places more focus on his cleans than his brilliant uncleans, again providing sung vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a new Korn track.
‘Fountain of Youth’ is by far one of my favourite tracks on the album, punching away Witt’s focus on cleans, by roaring into life all over again, bringing one of the heaviest tracks on the album into the spotlight. The track provides crashing breakdowns that will have any metalhead ferociously thrashing their head forwards and backwards as percussion and guitars compete as to who can create the most noise.
As I said earlier, Cane Hill simply don’t care what people think about them and seem to be happy to offend many by using blatant profanity in many of their tracks, but ‘Cream Pie’ really accentuates their lack of given fucks. A bizarre two and a half minutes that opens with the line ‘It’s only dirty if you make it’ leads into a few crashing breakdowns followed by what can only be described as a downright weird sound bite of what I will only say, in the interest of any younger readers, as a girl enjoying herself rather a lot with the accompanying noises… if you haven’t quite picked up on my implications, have a listen for yourself, its odd.
‘You’re So Wonderful’ is one of the albums slower tracks, and I was fortunate enough to get to see it performed live prior to the album’s release at Download festival last month. When Witt announced it as a new song, a little slower than their usual stuff, I wasn’t quite sure how much I’d enjoy it, but my friend (who’d never listened to Cane Hill before) and I were both amazed at how good it sounded, and nothing has changed between the live and recorded versions. It’s a slow and dark melody, with Witt providing melancholy lyrics about a deteriorating relationship and his self-inquisition as to whether this is the right girl.
With a change of pace comes ‘Ugly Model Mannequin’, bringing back the chugging guitars, crashing drums and roared vocals that are more commonly associated with Cane Hill, and has a really catchy growl along chorus. ‘Screwtape’ is probably my second favourite track on the album, and despite the fact it is simply a revamp of the track of the same name off their previous album, it has just the same ferocious brutality that its predecessor has and makes a great penultimate track.
Closing the album is probably the most original track off the album, ‘Strange Candy’, a brilliant, slightly slower track that really brings back the elements of Korn that I highlighted earlier, that highlights the way they’re happy to try and take their music, with tortured electric guitar notes accompanying a slow drum beat, with Witt displaying his wonderful varied vocals yet again to finish the album off in style.
All in all, I beg anyone looking for a new band to get into to give this album a chance. With some brilliantly talented musicians that provide slow and heavy tracks with equal brilliance, along with a vocalist with one of the best vocal ranges I’ve heard in the industry for a while, they provide a brilliant album. From experience, their live performances are brutal and beautiful all at the same time, with Witt becoming a live wire on stage in front of his band. Personally, having heard the new releases I cannot wait to see them tear a stage up when they open for Bullet For My Valentine and Killswitch Engage in December this year, so make sure you don’t miss out on this album – it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re opening stadiums for the genres giants within a few years.
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