According to a newly published report by music industry data leader BuzzAngle Music’s and their 2019 year-end report, Metallica is the biggest selling band for the last five years when compared with any other rock group. Queen was the top-selling rock artist of 2019, while Tool’s record-breaking Fear Inoculum album was the best selling rock album of the last calendar year. Continue reading
Toronto Alt-Rock genre defilers Pterodactyl Problems is back after a five-year absence between albums. Their new album Esoteric Hobbies releases on March 8th and pre-orders are live at the link below. The band has just shared their incredible cover of Adele’s global smash hit ‘Hello’. It is definitely the version of the song you didn’t know you needed until now. With the same dramatic gravity of the original, but with an incredible rock finish, it’s definitely an ear-opener.
Previously known as Hearts & Hands, the band recently signed to the Razor & Tie label, the band is in the studio recording their debut album, entitled Continuance, due in 2016.
The New Low are:
Garrett Garfield – vocals
Fletcher Howell – bass, vocals
Hiram Hernandez – guitar
Christopher Kim – guitar
Corey Beaver – drums
There are a plethora of super young bands being scooped up by big labels left and right lately. Remember that when weighing the merits of wunderkind types, you need to judge slowly. From Mozart to Louis Armstrong, Sinatra to Little Stevie Wonder, Tori Amos to Jason Becker, Fiona Apple, Devin Townsend an now Adele; the bristling energy of a talented prodigy can make hearts pound. Recall that except for Adele, they didn’t have to deal with trolls on current social media who have neither talent nor any nurturing it seems. Since forming ten years ago Floridians Black Tide broke out with their explosive début Light From Above (Interscope), and they blew up as fast as their riffing little fingers were moving. In the years passed they have dealt with changing times, changing members, and a back biting scene.
However, the story does not end here and the arc of Black Tide’s career does fade out yet. Founder Gabe Garcia and longtime guitar partner Austin Diaz have matured past the Trivium-esque neo-thrash of their début and the active rock of Post Mortem to make an interesting mix of all those influences and much more. Chasing Shadows (Pavement Music) sees the band come into its own and becoming comfortable with uncomfortable: adulting in this cray decade.
When Chasing Shadows rocks, it blazes hot. After a dramatic classical intro ‘No Guidelines’ just rips. There is a confidence to match the talent now that has seasoned into form. Thrash, heavy metal, harmony guitar solos, great singing: all in the kitchen sink of well written songs. ‘Angel In The Dark’ has a faint hint of a pop-rock chorus, but doesn’t lose the script of a ballsy rocker. ‘Predator (Animal)’ is the best song on the album. Gabe and Austin are super talented shredders and when the band lets their inner Iron Maiden loose, you are sure to smile.
There are other worthy gems on here such as the title track, the stellar ‘Before We Form’ and the epic thrash closer ‘Promised Land’. There are some missteps too, and despite some competently performed balladry the band will always fall nearer to mid-era Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine than Shinedown or Seether. Nothing wrong with that at all by the way.
The hotly contested reunion or comeback album. Purists will bitch and list off 40 million reasons why a band should never re-enter the studio after calling it quits. They’ll tarnish their legacy. They can never re-achieve past glories. They’re too old. They’re not the same band anymore.
The list never ends.
And in a way, those points have some merits. After all it has been 17 years since Refused put out the revolutionary The Shape of Punk to Come. A recording that is universally considered classic and difficult to categorize. And shortly after the release of that record, the band imploded capped it off with a fiery press release stating “Refused are Fucking Dead.”
As new album Freedom (Epitaph) clearly points out, they were not fucking dead. After a series of reunion shows in 2012 and 2014, frontman Dennis Lyxzen, guitarist Kristofer Steen, drummer David Sandstrom and bassist Magnus Flagge still had some of that future punk left in them. Best of all, is that much like Carcass in 2013 and At the Gates last year, Refused sound as good and confident as they did in their 90s heyday.
Lead single ‘Elektra’ probably states it best: “Time has come, no escape.” It indeed is time for Refused’s left-of-center brand of noise. America at least, seems to be in an odd state of regression. We count corporations as people and have segments of the population that see the Confederate flag as “heritage”, and view same-sex marriage as a threat to their religious freedom. That’s without counting those denying global warming or the anti-vaccination movement.
And to show their discontent with the state of affairs, Refused keep the vitriol and attitude going in other punk scorchers like ‘Dawkins Christ’ and ‘Thought is Blood.’ And when they choose to turn down the assault it’s with tracks like ‘Old Friends/New War’ that while not as a raucous still keep a sharp edge as Lyxzen finds that “there’s no other choice but to create some noise and sharpen up my mind.” And we’re glad that you’re up to your old tricks.
Also, much like in The Shape of Punk to Come, these Swedes find room for eccentricity in Freedom. In the liner notes you’ll notice that both ‘Elektra’ and ‘366’ were produced by Shellback, the hitmaker known for his work with Adele and Taylor Swift. Once again proving that they are the most punk by following their muse rather than convention.
We need more records like Freedom. We need them because they remind us that certain genres are supposed to be the dangerous ones. I’m disgusted by the fact that the punk bands that prevail today happen to fall under the abomination known as “Pop-Punk.” A musical oxymoron whose practitioners are perfectly content to play arenas and extol the virtues of eating pizza and wearing fitted hats.
It’s nice to see that some are still choosing to live dangerously.