This could be the one: Sound Check CD 111

Cheer up, you moody bastardsApologies again for the delay in new posts. I’m actually supposed to be making a forum for a friend at the moment and it’s been slow work, but I’m hopefully on course now, so I can concentrate on posting on Keep It Fast (he says!) Anyway, here’s another Sound Check review for you to enjoy/endure.

Alkaline Trio – In Vein

This is Alkaline Trio? Great Scott Marty, I’d have called you a lying bastard if I hadn’t read the back of the CD and seen their name glaring out at me. Containing almost none of the edge, catchiness or hint of emotion that their older songs had, this is a poor attempt reviving their gothic-lite punk career. The chorus isn’t bad though, but really they can do much better than this.

All Time Low – Dear Maria, Count Me In

Ah pop-punk. It’s like that friend at school who you were always embarrassed to hang around with because they were so wet, yet were so ridiculously happy, they’d probably ask you to beat them up just to make you look good. All Time Low are like that. Pretty standard affair, no-surprises, no-frills radio friendly pop-punk that bounces along like a truck full of springs going over a cliff.

Less Than Jake – Summon Monsters

From the rumbling bass and rapid-fire drums, I knew that Gainesville punks Less Than Jake were finally back to sounding like they did 7 years ago, circa their ‘Borders & Boundaries’ era horns-a-plenty parpfest. The brass is still slightly repressed, (think Rocket From The Crypt rather than Reel Big Fish) but the five-piece still know how to write a tremendously vibrant slice of summer-ska punk, with a chorus so crammed full of hooks you’d think they were taking it fishing. (Stay tuned for album review soon.)

Former Cell Mates – Always
Former Cell Mates obviously listen to a lot of Hot Water Music. In fact, I swore this was a track by the Gainesville 4 piece at one point. This teeters on the edge of Latterman territory, but not as fast and with less gravel-like vocals. It’s a pleasant enough tune, but hardly original really. Yet more post-hardcore fodder methinks, although the guitar solo at the 2 minute mark is particularly fine.

Secondsmile – Everything And All That’s Inbetween

Yet more tappy, twiddling rock music from Big Scary Monsters. Being familiar with Secondsmile’s music, I was always slightly let down by their sound, which always seemed a bit flat. This is the polar opposite however: the guitars screech and whine under the strong tribal drumbeats and the vocals punctuate through the howl impressively. Fine work from a promising band who are about to release their second album.

The Legacy – Fire And Brimstone

I like this. It dips somewhere between the abrasive, throaty hardcore of Give Up The Ghost and stark stand-offish nature of Cursed, with the band’s own touch of raspy vocals and distorted fuzz beneath the build up of anvil-like drumwork. Worth checking out.

Melvins – The Smiling Cobra

Having only heard a few tracks by Washington’s Melvins, I’m kicking myself for not listening to them sooner. This can only be described as fucking amazing. The guitar roars and wails as though it’s been de-tuned and re-tuned at the same time, whilst the duel drums pulverise any subtly this track has into dust under a haze of some monstrous bass riffs and terrifying screams. Sludge/noise/rock whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty special.

Cult of Luna – Curse

The slow build up of dread means it can only be one thing. Super Hans has finally got a record deal, or Cult of Luna are on this CD. Thankfully it’s the Swedes and they make short work of my hearing by bludgeoning it with their soundscape of orchestral metal that hums and reverberates with a furious cacophony and vocals that could strip paint ”“ a savage beast of a track and no mistake!

Valient Thorr – Infinite Lives

Valient Thorr are one of those ‘hilarious’ bands that has a wacky back story. In this case, they landed their spaceship in North Carolina in 1957. Really. Despite this somewhat ludicrous tale (see more on their wikipedia page) their sound isn’t bad, reminiscent slightly of a 21st Century Van Halen. I could see them getting slightly tiresome after a while though. There probably really ‘wacky’ live as well. Oh god no.

Keith Caputo – Troubles Down

Along with Fu Manchu, this is possibly the perfect song to listen to whilst roaring down some dusty road in a souped-up Cadillac in a backwash corner of America. Don’t expect stoner-rock though, this lifts straight from the Velvet Revolver school of huge riffs, drawling vocals and a cool-as-fuck attitude.

D-Rail – Tonight…We Party!!!

A predictable start, which only makes me look at the screen and check the running time. Two minutes? Yeah, I can hack that. D-Rail have already suckered me in by playing their hand early in the form of the gang-chant vocals that I love so much. Apart from that, standard hardcore affair that’s been done so many times before; it’s like looking at a painting done entirely in beige.

Nachtmystium – Your True Enemy

‘Nachtmystium’ sounds like a spell from the Undead Warhammer magic card pack. You have no idea what I’m on about do you? Even the bassist is called Jon Necromancer! Plus, from the photo I’ve seen they all look like reanimated corpses. Oh yeah, the music. Think black metal, think really fast, think drums going “dugga dugga dug dug” and think about how monotonous that all sounds. Bleh.

Ascend – Ample Fire Within

As someone left their guitar too close to a speaker? Oh right, it IS music, gotcha. Only joking. This is actually pretty good, for something that I thought was going to rip off Cult of Luna, instead decides to scare the crap out of me by sounding similar to the music on the last level of Doom 2, but with more terror. Chanting over the top of SunnO))) inspired feedback, coupled with some seriously distorted bass? Hell yeah. Great track and superb band name as well.

Errors – National Prism
I think I’ve seen these guys live. They were supporting Rolo Tomassi with another band that were absolute pony. One of them had really crappy disco drums that every vaguely pop/electro band has. Thankfully, it’s not Errors, who actually sound like the diet coke version of Battles, only slightly less interesting. Big barrel of ‘meh’ right there.

The Ascent of Everest – Mountains

The Ascent of Everest could not have a more apt band name. Their music is a grand, all-encompassing pillar of post-rock that should be back-tracking some slow motion battle sequence in a film and not on a CD being reviewed by a socially inept Games Workshop fan. I’m a sucker for these kind of things, even though I bitch about listening to anything over 10 minutes long, I can’t help but love it sometimes. (Lovely violin bit at the end as well.)

Links

See above, I’m off to try and make something listenable from the horrendous fuzz I recorded a few weeks ago.

By Ross Macdonald

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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