Northward – Northward

Although Nightwish vocalist Floor Jansen (then still with her previous band, After Forever), and Pagan’s Mind guitarist Jorn Viggo Lofstad had never actually met before, when they played a handful of cover versions during an ‘All-Star Jam’ at Progpower USA in 2007, the two hit it off immediately. Discovering they both shared a fondness for basic, stripped down heavy rock music, the pair sat down the following year and wrote an album’s worth of music quite different to what they were both producing at the time. Continue reading

Gold Key – Hello Phantom

Gold Key is an interesting prospect both in terms of concept and delivery. Formed in Watford, England with former and current members of bands such as Sikth, Gallows and Spycatcher they are now ready to unleash their début album Hello Phantom (Venn) on a world that will probably have already decided on what they think this band will sound like, but right off the bat, the sheer myriad of influences becomes apparent, and it really does take a few listens to appreciate the talent on show, sounding nothing like you’d expect. Continue reading

Hawk Eyes – Everything Is Fine

Hawk-Eyes-Everything-Is-Fine

Leeds’ alt.Rockers Hawk Eyes have successfully married US Discord Records style with off-beat prog melodies to good effect. Everything Is Fine (Pledge/Red Vole) is the sound of the band putting their best foot forward and maturing into a more versatile outfit striving to rise to the top of the Brit-rock pack.

The former Chickenhawk have mastered the blend of pop melodies without sacrificing the deliciously punchy nature of their songs. The driving melodies of nineties post-hardcore are injected with a shot of sludge and mathrock passion to great effect. Angular riffs underpin soaring harmonies which give the likes of ‘The Ambassador’ an urgency reminiscent of At The Drive-In.

The exhilarating rush of ‘Die Trying’ with its soaring chorus is another highlight, a deceptively addictive earworm which embeds itself in your cerebral cortex with its catchy lyrics full of righteous determination. The air of confidence the band has gained is never more evident that on the bruising ‘I Never Lose’, which rides an urgent riff and another great chorus.

In the four years since their Ideas (Vinyl Junkie) opus, Hawk Eyes dogged approach to touring has clearly benefited them, honing their craft through touring with rock journeymen such as Therapy?. Their duel vocals are used to great effect and while the maverick spirit of acts like The Melvins hovers over this it never threatens to extinguish the rabid pop nous of tracks like ‘The Ballad Of Michael McGlue’ which flies high on a rousing call and response chorus which declares “I don’t think God is gonna change his mind”.

Gleefully delivering agitated alt rock wrapped in easily swallowed bubblegum melodies Everything Is Fine is a stirring collection which warrants several visits, and the songs flow superbly from one riotous track to the next making this an intoxicating adrenaline rush which you will want to experience frequently.

“Happiness is a risky business” they spit on ‘Terribly Quelled’; it may be one they have to get used to if they continue to progress in such promising fashion.

 

8.0/10

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