ALBUM REVIEW: Khost – Buried Steel

Those who’ve known me for some time will have had their ears blunted by my constant praise for Birmingham, UK Industrial Doom duo Khost. Equal parts sampled violence, malevolent strings and vocal apocalypse, beautiful Eastern lamentations often deflect from that harsh path and create a nuance flavoured by the likes of VAST and Moby. Their fourth album Buried Steel (Cold Spring Records) sees a band now truly at ease with its style, happy to have edgy two-minute psalms populating a set in the knowledge that they serve a purpose for the whole.

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Devin Townsend – Empath

Many words have been used to describe Devin Townsend over the years. Oddball. Eccentric. Quirky. Canadian. To name but a few. Since exploding into the confused consciousness of metal fans around the world on Steve Vai‘s ‘Down Deep Into the Pain’ video in 1993, Townsend has gone on to create a musical legacy so uniquely unconventional that his career almost defies description. Continue reading

Enter Shikari – Palaye Royale – Black Peaks: Live at O2 Academy, Leicester (UK)

Putting together a good bill is a difficult task. Sometimes the stars can align, schedules are free and the world gets Trivium with Code Orange, Power Trip and Venom Prison. Other times you get Dizzee Rascal supporting Muse. Yes, that did actually happen. When a band as fluid with genre boundaries as Enter Shikari announces a tour, wild speculation breaks out about who will be joining them, or indeed, why a certain band is on the bill. Tonight is no exception as a varied line up graces the frequently gig-bereft Leicester City. Continue reading

The Sacrifice – The Sacrifice


Electronic music comes in many waves. From new, to old to 80’s electro-rock, not many succeed in creating a memorable electronic record. For the French trio, The Sacrifice, it’s a point to revive the genre with nostalgic moments as they debut with their self-titled (Season Of Mist) on their own terms. They have taken synth-wave and incorporated classic 80’s pop and metal to produce this modern electro groove. The 11-track album is an experiment that involved a dozen of vintage synthesizers and drum machines, according to the band. But what listeners will gather here is a record that balances sonic synths full of color and life. The Sacrifice is here to make you dance. Continue reading

The Browning – Geist

Being able to sound fresh both within metal, and then within your own career, is a hard thing to achieve. So, credit where credit is due, The Browning are still leading the way with their brand of synth-heavy Metalcore. New album Geist (Spinefarm Records) shows the band cementing their sound and even bringing more extremity to the table. Continue reading

The Amity Affliction – Misery

There comes a point, it seems, for a lot of bands where they decide to go in a direction that would seem directly opposed to their core sound, or sound with which they are most associated with. Now, and this will not turn into a witch hunt or anything, but these creative directions often split fan bases and in turn lead to a lot of anger, comment, though in balance, often also acclaim. At one such crossroads are Aussie metalcore band The Amity Affliction, and their sixth album Misery (Roadrunner). Continue reading

Man With a Mission – Chasing The Horizon

Formed in 2010 Man With a Mission are a group which fuse rock, rap, and dance to create a distinctive and rather hyperactive sound. Or if you believe the bio on their website a part human – part wolf hybrid with superior strength and intelligence created by a guitar playing biologist Dr. Jimi Hendrix, who were imprisoned in an ice cap until global warming freed them in 2010. Continue reading

Crossfaith – Ex Machina

Only a few years ago, and on the back of their well-received Zion EP (Sony), Crossfaith were heralded as the next big thing, armed with a formidable live reputation and an electronica/dance heavy brand of metalcore that oozed crossover appeal. Fast forward to 2018 and the Osaka troupe haven’t quite risen to such promised heights, to the extent that a brand new album seems to have almost fallen under the radar to some – not that they have lost any edge, as Ex Machina (UNFD) is not only their most creative release to date, but their strongest since Zion. Continue reading

Ledger – Ledger (EP)

It’s very easy in the current musical climate to play it safe in order to succeed at a higher level. The hard part is trying to be original in a world of clones and bring some new flavors. Tougher still when you choose to step into the spotlight for the first time by yourself on a bigger stage, as the stakes are higher. As the saying goes “pressure makes diamonds”.  Jen Ledger, drummer for Skillet, stepping out on her own for a solo led band was inevitable given her talent. If namesake band and self-titled EP (Hear it Loud) are any indication, the frontwoman role is one she can own for a long time.

 

Full of smooth, fun anthemic rock and pop tracks, Ledger has a lot in common with a lot of modern artists, not too far stylistically from In This Moment, New Years Day, Joy Williams, Paramore and others. This might be Jen’s solo debut, but all of the tracks are tight, and fully-fledged. It’s just good songs that Jen  co-wrote with her bandmate Korey Cooper (Skillet) and Grammy award winning producer and writer Seth Mosely. The tracks definitely had Jen’s imprint all over them, especially her powerful, self-assured vocals.

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