ALBUM REVIEW: Parkway Drive – Darker Still


 

It’s the age-old debate that has probably led to more physical altercations than any other: should [insert band name] continue churning out similar-sounding material, or are they better off taking risks and testing the waters? Oftentimes, at least in personal encounters, the consensus seems to be: that if a band changes anything about their sound, it’s to their detriment and immediately alienates a specific pocket of fans.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Pistols At Dawn – Ascension


 

Hot on the heels of last year’s four-track EP Nocturnal Youth, comes Pistols At Dawn’s latest album Ascension (JFL Entertainment). The Atlanta-based quintet’s sound is alternative-influenced hard rock, and their newest one Ascension is a promising if patchy, display of heavy grooves and soaring choruses with a brooding atmosphere. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: The Faim – Talk Talk


 

It seems The Faim sprung out of nowhere back in the middle of the last decade. Playing festivals all over the world, like Reading & Leeds, Lollapalooza, etc with their gleaming bright take on pop-rock anthems. Now, several years on and with their first album already under their belt; the next big step for the band is where to go from there to make their name a household name. Getting in various different producers to cement themselves in the scene, it’s clear they’re taking on this mission in strides. Unfortunately, it’s not a complete success.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: coldrain – Nonnegative


 

Fifteen years, and now seven albums into a successful career that has seen them move into both chart success status in their native Japan and mainstream culture by providing the opening theme for Netflix original anime series Bastard, Nagoya five-piece metalcore outfit coldrain are back following the longest gap between releases, with new offering Nonnegative (Warner Japan).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Skillet – Dominion


Eleven albums deep and showing no signs of slowing down, alternative metal tour de force Skillet enter their twenty-sixth year of existence with Dominion (WMG / Atlantic), a collection of big rocking tunes, expertly polished and produced, which continues in their now trademark vein. We get the arena stompers, the WWE PPV-ready (or premium live event as they seem to now be known as) montage accompaniers, the saccharine reflective synth and strings ballad, and the chirpy up-tempo deeper cuts.

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ALBUM REVIEW: While She Sleeps – Sleeps Society


While it may be OK to not be OK, as the main refrain of the thumping anthemic opener ‘Enlightenment?’ insists (and while it absolutely is, we still have much work to do as a collective mass to support each other), Sleeps Society (Sleeps Brothers, in assoc. with Search & Destroy, Spinefarm, UNFD, Universal) takes a step and seeks to provide a place, a community packed with a kinship of like-minded souls who will be there with and for each other. It would be easy for the Sleeps Society (a Patreon-based family) to be empty words and hollow platitudes, but there is integrity to the missives that are as important to the overall point of While She Sleeps in 2021 as the songs. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Architects – For Those That Wish To Exist


Please indulge me for one moment. I am not usually one for breaking the fourth wall when reviewing an album but bear with…. Back in 2004, I had a polar response to two albums in a way that encapsulates a particular dichotomy that fans (and bands) often find themselves caught up in that has stuck with me as a point of reflection ever since. To change, or not to change, that is the question… I remember the unshakeable feeling of disappointment at just how much Slipknot had changed their sound and attack on Vol III: The Subliminal Verses compared to Iowa (both Roadrunner), and the same deep sigh of discontent that Soil hadn’t changed enough (or at all, with Redefine, J Records).Continue reading


Kissin’ Dynamite – Ecstasy


At its molten heart, Rock music should be a very simple beating beast indeed. It should inspire and excite, yes, but it doesn’t need complicated rhythms, progressive tendencies, cerebral lyrics, analysis, politics or a whole plethora of interesting and additional ingredients to be successful or do what it sets out to do. And that is to, unequivocally, “Rock”.Continue reading


Tremonti – A Dying Machine


In the shadow of such arena stomping colossi as Creed and Alter Bridge, Mark Tremonti’s solo venture has, in your scribe’s opinion up until now, felt lacking. Never being outright bad and often capable of huge songs (as you can expect from the driving force behind the two former), the previous Tremonti albums have not hit levels of adventurous writing that Alter Bridge, in particular, have been capable of, and at worst have felt fairly plodding and generic. Proving that fans of any of his works should never write him off, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that A Dying Machine (Napalm) is a step up for the Tremonti band in virtually every fashion.Continue reading


Def Leppard – And There Will Be A Next Time Live In Detroit


 

Riding the crest of the wave of positivity that 2015’s self-titled album (earMUSIC) garnered, Def Leppard’s subsequent tour was equally well received. To celebrate and mark the occasion And There Will Be A Next Time (Eagle Rock Entertainment) was conceived – a double CD live album accompanied by a DVD of the same performance.Continue reading