All Time Low – Something’s Gotta Give
How did All Time Low get to six albums? Baffling. Their inexplicable popularity remains a mystery to me. Musically they’re beige and come to think of it, that’s an insult to beige. I mean, I get pop-punk, having grown-up listening to enough of it. Maybe this is what’s cool now, I don’t know. Clichéd lyrics + uninspiring fifth-rate pop-rock rhythms make this an absolute stinker. Good luck to them and I do mean that, as there must be a market somewhere, but it’s borderline offensively boring.
As It Is – Dial Tones
Take note All Time Low, this is the exact opposite of what you’re peddling. As It Is launch themselves from the pop-punk barracks with the kind of determination and a huge, monolithic chorus that smacks of sunshine and good times. Vocalists Patty Walters and guitarist Ben Biss bounce off each other -the former, a slightly nasal and earnest tone compliments the latter, a gruffer more mournful croon. This is all-round superb – if their album (Never Happy, Ever After) contains tracks of similar quality, then expect big things from these Brighton lads.
Gallows – Mystic Death
Getting bleak huh? Bring on the despair. Gallows are back and are even further removed from the Frank Carter days. This is a mic-chewing chomp of fury, completed by desolate grim-sounding chords all tied together in the entrails of bile-spitting metallic punk. Wade McNeil’s (who I’ve just seen a recent picture of and he seems to be fully evolving into a bear) roar of “MYSTIC DEATH!” is a commanding battle bellow over some of the heaviest and nastiest hardcore I’ve heard from the Gallows camp – spectacular.
Deez Nuts – Face This On My Own
I’m currently grinding a beer can into my head to get into the Deez Nuts spirit of things. Suns out = guns out? Most definitely. I’ve got a soft spot for jock-meathead-core, so I don’t hate this. I mean, it’s all about brotherhood, staying true and that, and who could disklike that? Vocalist JJ Peters has the pipes to spit the appropriate rhymes and the gang-vocals do the job and there’s some crunching H20-style punk-hardcore riffs that will give that neck a good workout.
In Hearts Wake – Breakaway
Well, the last few years never happened then. Riffs that Static-X probably found embarrassing are repeatedly beaten with a stick, but that would imply some effort has been put in as from what I can hear, there’s almost none whatsoever. Stop-start detuned guitar grunts that date this track so much, it’s practically stone age. Turgid.
Annisokay – Carry Me Away
Ann Perkins? Of course she’s okay, she’s dating Chris Traeger! Does this mean we’re officially running out of band names then? German-based metalcore that leans towards the shouty-brutality end of the spectrum and actually does a damn good job of mixing both the clean/harsh elements under the maelstrom of twisting, wild energy.
Shattered Sun – Hope Within Hatred
Standing around in black t-shirts in a graffiti-covered stone warehouse much? Of course! The keyboards are high in the mix on this slab of bruising metal-meets-hardcore posturing. Not bad really – Shattered Sun throw their all into this, touching on some ridiculous classic-rock soloing near the end.
Like A Storm – Love The Way You Hate Me
Made less than a minute into this. Fuck off.
The Hyena Kill – Still Sick
Not sure what I was expecting with this, but holy moly, it’s fantastic. Distorted, punching guitars clamour for attention against the sporadic and rampant drum fills, whilst the part-mournful, part-enraged vocal spit is acidic and just right for this frantic, Trail of Dead-style punk rock clamour. The Hyena Kill manage to sound so dirty and dishevelled you’ll need a wash after listening to them – excellent all round.
7.5 Tonnes of Beard – Botched Job
Hey, it’s two of the guys from And So I Watch You From Afar! Time to crank it up beyond reasonable and acceptable listening levels then. 7.5 Tonnes of Beard is fucking loads of beard really and a barbaric, tortured twist of uncomfortable and ugly noise-metal endurance. This rules so, so hard in every possible way; the guitars are tuned to some filth-rock encrusted level, whilst a wailing drone of rumbling hate spills forth – think Cult of Luna punching you in the face over a wave of thick, battering grooves.
Lantern For A Gale – Love And War
Hardcore punk is once again given the adrenalin boost it so frequently requires – Lantern For A Gale have the similar, taunt and stripped-back melodic approach of Touché Amoré, with a vocalist who went to the Wes Eisold school of rasping, throaty determination. This is a roaring, calculated and belligerent assault and some of the best three-chords and loads of shouting I’ve heard this year.
Phoenix Calling – Wasted Life
Going for the big choruses on this – think the song-writing structure of Lonely The Brave (albeit not with THAT voice), shoehorn in some New Found Glory-style bouncing pop-punk energy, a nuclear-reactor-sized chunk of melody and you’ve got Phoenix Calling, who will be breaking hearts and smashing up the festival circuit in about a year I reckon. Packed with zealous joy, Wasted Life is an absolute banger.
Timeshares – The Bad Parts
There’s an absolutely sublime guitar twang of The Bad Parts, by New Yorks Timeshares, giving their gruff, scrappy punk rock that country-boy, redneck edge. Praise to the vocals, which have that curled lip sneer, with a side order of lonely, whisky-soaked nights thrown in. Great Latterman/Hot Water Music/Small Arms Dealer-style punk rock.
PigsAsPeople – Rashida
Belfast’s PigsAsPeople are sharpening the knives. Heck, they’re probably revving up the chainsaws. Jarring and unholy, this three-piece are savage to the very core and unlike anything I’ve heard before, forming snarling and unbalanced grooves within their start and murderous sound. Gloom-hardcore terror from a dark dimension.
Milestones – Equal Measures
Some incredible production values on this for such a young-sounding band. Milestones are flying the pop-punk flag proudly and smash the chorus out of the park. It’s very earnest though, almost too polished and fresh-faced, but the jangling bassline at the mid-point where it all goes a bit Lagwagon is refreshing, if sadly, somewhat underused.