Sunday, 29 May 2011

We Have Moved!

We have a shinier new site at:

www.undergroundreviews.co.uk


Underground

Monday, 25 April 2011

Aliases

The Hope
Sunday, 24th April 


Appropriately named the 'Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself Tour' this night really needed little introduction. Arriving at the venue saw a wide variety of Tech and Metal heads eager for the onslaught of 7 string wizardry.

Since the demise of SiKth in May 2008, Tech has grown from strength to strength and now the world watches eagerly to see what guitarist Pin has up has sleeve.


First band we saw of the night were local Once A Wolf. Since releasing their EP 'Advent' in February this year, the band have been gaining a stronger following with their performances in and out of Brighton. 


The experience they have gained in the last few months has obviously done them well with their performance delivering more aggression and authority than I have seen before. Steve Powell's vocals have made a massive improvement, nailing the clean sections with style and the screams with the supposed anthropomorphic qualities their name suggests. 


Highlights of the set included a tight rendition of 'Primeval Atom' and dusting things off with their EP's title track 'Advent'. With the way things are going for the band, it won't be long till Once A Wolf are on the prowl again in a town near you.



Cyclamen were very much a new band to me, but boasted a performance worthy of the entry fee alone. Frontman Hayato Imanishi greeted the set jumping straight into the audience in a manner that would also see him shouting straight into peoples faces and climbing The Hope's central pillar. 

Featuring Monuments guitar player Olly Steele in the mix the band sounded tight and maintained a heavy presence throughout the whole set. Songs such as the un-acknowledged 'Djent! Djent! And 'Never Ending Dream' created momentum and energy on the floor. Cyclamen were absolutely great emotively creating an heir of unsatisfied desperation whilst raising the flag for modern 'd-jent'.

Break Ya Neck

Metal has come a long was since Steve Vai put his name to the first mass produced 7 string in the early 90's. It would appear that Chimp Spanner's sole commander Paul Ortiz is here to push that envelope further, forgetting industrial sized hair dryers to preen his ego but instead choosing substance over style. Their set for me stole the night and by the audience's reaction of gaping jaws and raised horns I wasn't alone.
As the set continued the band reach unchartered levels of intensity, and the dirty bastard even got his 8 string out, causing the earth to quake and hell to open.

And just like Paul the band he had assembled were equally matched in proficiency. The drummer was groovy, tight as fuck and one hell of a showmen, demonically gurning at the crowd and spinning his sticks as if it were all just a walk in the park.

To anyone who believed like I did, that 'djent' is just a load of trendy bull shit-that quite frankly Meshuggah have done already and better, listen to Chimp Spanner. Just be careful, your head might explode.




Headliners
Aliases come to tech your tits off and oh boy were my tits teched. What is odd though is how little exposure this band have had outside of their sole release: 'We Never Should Have Met'. 

But, I like a lot of members of the audience were gagging to see what kind of sick (or SiKth) shit well renowned bad mother fucker of the 6 string axe Graham 'Pin' Pinney was going to pull.

Expectations can be a cruel thing, but not when they are blown to smithereens. Within seconds of the set opening vocalist Jay Berast was upfront spewing a monstrous vocal performance down the mic and the band collectively stepping up the energy on stage than the other acts.

As expected Pin was an absolute behemoth on the guitar just like fellow axe-women, Leah who together displayed enough fret tapping to put Van Halen out of work.

The bands material is strong and although similarities between them and SiKth can be drawn it's obvious they're evolving on their own terms. Aliases are a band to watch, and fuck me they can play.

Underground

Friday, 22 April 2011

Underoath


Concorde 2
Wednesday 20th April

Support:
This Is Massacre
Devil Sold His Soul
Deaf Havana

Arriving at the gig before doors see's many eager fans already waiting under the evening sunshine of the idilic Brighton Sea Front. Alas, a superb line up awaits the punters and leaves us eager to see what the night has in store.


So far 2011 has proved a very prosperous year for This Is Massacre which has seen them releasing their debut EP 'We Cannot Be Saved' and stepping out of general band circuit to support some high profile acts in some of the best venues in Brighton.

This Is Massacre took the opportunity in their stride looking extremely comfortable on the big stage. Their sound was something to die for with tight kick drum blasts pummelling you chesty bass and a full on saturated Thrash tone to leave all the gear junkies creaming in their pants.

Since last seeing them in February the band have toyed with their line up replacing Tom Chilton on bass with Ross McLean, leaving him to share the more gutsy side of vocals with Dan

It takes real experience and confidence for a band to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and act upon it. This dynamic shift really worked in the bands favour as it allowed them to depict a much more devastating stage show which was well noted by the audience. As the room began to fill more and more so did the level of intensity in the crowd with most pits opening and the people at the front of the onlookers held well and truly in the palm of the bands hand.

This Is Massacre are well and truly climbing up the ranks and once they hit the perfect balance of dynamic in their new line-up change, everything will be in place for them to be a heavy weight act both in and out of Brighton.








Once again Brighton takes a sonic trip into the soundscapes that texturises the Devil Sold His Soul experience. Their set was greeted with just as much anticipation as their set at Digital and just like before, their sound was nothing short of exceptional.The venue was filled with the enigmatic intensity of their music rendering the listener in a near trance like state. 

Just like This Is Massacre before the larger capacity stage and impressive lighting rig showed a higher level of presence and authority than the previous gig.

Frontman Ed Gibbs is very much the driving force of this performance running about the stage to squeeze as much energy out of the willing audience as possible.

Always a band to leave you wanting more and with a growing fan base in the South it most likely won't be long till we see these guys down here again.






Deaf Havanna initially came across as a controversial band to have on the night's bill sounding almost poppy after the previous acts. Frontman, James Veck-Gilodi admitted that 'we're basically a shit rock band sandwiched in-between'. 

Although their appearance showed a slight division in the crowd, a shit rock band they were not offering a refreshing break to distinguish sets. With the click in the bass drum being very quickly removed from the equaliser their set gathered exciting momentum winning me over with personality and hooky songs. 

The audience clearly know all the singles singing them loud and proud and once James dropped the 'Brighton is my favourite place in the UK' it was clear they were on to a winner.

With a headline tour to sweep the UK in July to support the release of their new album Deaf Havana will be hitting a stereo near you soon.





Being the first time Underoath have ever played Brighton, Concorde is well and truly at capacity. The band hit the stage in a furious display of raw power and energy triggering some of the biggest pits of the night and the first few crowd surfers to roll over the fence.

Having been a turbulent few years for the band with various members leaving and re-shuffling of line-ups the band shattered expectations with outright professionalism. In a quick passing hour the band managed to remain at a peak delicately interchanging between material of old and new.

Little time was really spent talking to the audience other than the odd mention of their new album and instead just giving the audience more of what they want. The band finish their sweaty fuelled set to an encore of 'Writing on The Walls' which has the audience singing as loudly as Spencer through the PA.


Underground

Monday, 18 April 2011

The CB6 Back Catalogue

The Beginning (2008) & Carried By Six (2010)
Genre: Metal
For Fans Of: Lamb Of God, Kreator, Machine Head
Stand Out Track: As The Hammer Falls Down, Show Your Skyn
Rating: 7/8

Formed in 2001, these two EP's act as a showcase for a band set to evolve their sound and performances to an every increasing fan base.

Sonically the 2 EP's share similar qualities that you would expect to find in a Metal recording, meaty guitar sounds, in your face drumming and a crazed vocalist that wouldn't sounds out of place at an after hours Wetherspoon pub brawl. 

The production on the earlier EP; 'The Beginning' courtesy of 'Escape Route Productions' for me is the more favourable. The music is as aggressive as it is groovy and vocally it sits tighter than on the latter EP, Ryan has a strong enough without having to double track it.

The Band encompass much of what makes the modern Metal scene so great today. Borrowing from the pioneers of Thrash and their troubadours such as Lamb Of God and Machine Head, CB6 have listened, digested and incorporated it into their own thing.

It is clear that from 'The Beginning' to 'CB6' the band have developed in their songwriting ability. Songs such as 'Show Your Skyn' shows signs of the band incorporating ideas from other genre's to create more interesting compositions allowing the music to have wider emotional impact.


These two sets of recordings show that these Southend boys have a no hold bars approach when it comes to their Metal, Check it out.

Underground

EP Of the Month (March)

Apologies for the lateness of this post, but Underground Reviews are very proud to announce Lithurgy's Mother I as the EP of the month. Although this was released some time ago Lithurgy are now hosting the EP at THIS address for free download, reinstating once again their relevance to the local scene. 





Lithurgy – Mother I

Genre: Progressive/Experimental Metal
For Fans of: Mastodon, Pink Floyd, Neurosis
Stand Out Track: Mother I
Rating: 9.5

The band have been seen nestling in a hot bed of activity since touring with TesseracT and making an appearance at Bloodstock last year. They are currently writing Mother I's follow up that will be slowly shaping over the next 6 months. Considering Lithurgys constant evolution and progressive outlook all is set in place for this to a Mammoth release for Brighton's Metal scene.

Opening track '…' see's almost a minute of electronic noise that acts as an unsettling introduction to the title track, 'Mother I. The first minute of this track prides in Lithurgy's ability to create tension through innovative use of time signatures and melody and see's the band guiding us through some mammoth riffs and huge instrumentation. It is very quickly recognised how serious this band are, using mature use of technicality to create impressive and gripping song form by the likes of Prog elites such as Mastodon and Dream Theater.


Tom Humphrey's vocals are clear and add an heir of gripping emotion throughout the track at particular in the chorus. This is what really makes this EP important. It has the emotional impact of thinking mans Metal without sounding like the bastard offspring of too many drunken jams.
Last track, 'On the road' shows a slight tonality difference, sounding like something from 'Blood Mountain'. This displays the bands wonderful ability to borrow from so many different genre's whilst still maintaining their own sound and feel.


Already established as an impressive live band, making this EP available for free download (well in swap for you're e-mail) will open this band to a wider audience of fans. Mother I is an impressive release and leaves you gagging for the next instalment of Lithurgy's sonic seed.

Underground

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Barking Toad

Barking Toad - ?
Genre: Hardcore, Avant-garde, Jazz
For Fans of: Captain Beefheart, Sabbath, Coltrane
Stand Out Track: Big Doom Cunt
Rating: 6

Everything about this EP reads like a bad acid trip, from the artwork through to the music. What this 3 piece from Folkestone do is blend conventional Hardcore riffs and grooves with avant-garde noise and Jazzy moments from the Sax.

Opening track 'Big Doom Cunt' is fairly typical of the darker side of their sound, alienating you with its savage anti harmony approach and could quite possibly be the soundtrack to insanity.
Lighter points in the album like that of track 3 starts to show a more melodic approach in a minimalist Miles Davis fashion. Thus proving that Kye can play the Sax just as well as murdering it though a little more care to vibrato needs to be taken in lighter moments.

For me however, I believe their sound worked much better live. The visual image of the band coupled with their mind-fucking sound seemed to have more impact on a stage, after a few listens it seems to induce a headache.
After track 4 the rest of the CD plays tracks from another Folkestone band; Sleeping Bear. It seems a little unecessary to share digital space with another band especially when each act has such radically different artistic view points.

Barking Toad are brave enough to try something different. Shocked faces aplenty, get down to the Cowley Club on the 29th (April) and see for yourself.

Underground


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Dirty Leaves & Michael A Grammar

The Prince Albert
Brighton
April 12th

First time that a member of the reviews team had been to the Prince Albert for a gig, but the upstairs room has a lot to offer as a small venue. The sound was excellent at kudos to the sound man who didn't push the levels to the limit as is so often the case. The atmosphere was relaxed and civilised mostly due to everyone being sat at tables, but the 2 bands on showed a great way to spend an evening.

First band on saw the return of old Brightonian Rockers to the scene who have since relocated to Nottingham. They sounded tight and definitive with the vocals coming out clearly through the monitors. 

Their sound predominantly featured delay heavy lead guitar with jangly rhythm beneath and wavered between psychedelia and the Alt. Rock of bands like The Smiths.
Frontman Joel Sayers might not have the greatest vocals but it really works in a similar way to Ian Curtis of Joy Division.

As their set carried on it became clear how wide their range of their influences was that has now been trailered into their own sound. At one point we were enjoying the wishy washy atmospherics that Radiohead do so well and then next song featuring either a full on semi-quaver funk down or a spaghetti western styled feature.

Like a pleasant day dream Michael A Grammar were very enjoyable and offerred a great introduction to headline band; Dirty Leaves.

The last few months have seen Dirty Leaves forcibly having to take a break due to frontman Harry Smyth having broken his arm. But Dirty Leaves quickly begin making up for lost time by blasting through a setlist of their take on good old fashioned Rock N' Roll.

Like the previous act the sound system only added as a compliment, delivering a mix where it was easy to pick out each instrument and the vocals.

At a nice dynamic change the fourth track saw Harry gave up his duties on the guitar and instead focus more on the vocals and stage show, looking very confident as a frontman. 

Throughout the set you could see how Dirty Leaves have developed glittering their compositions with elements of Classic Rock bands such as Zeppelin, contemporary Punk, and at times the riffery and ethos of Metal.



Dirty Leaves proved themselves as a quality live act upon their return with a blend of old and new material. Their set even receiving the highest level of approval with people screaming for more. With an album in the works, 2011 could very much be a promising year for the band.

Underground


*If you want to view our photo's or wish to have a member of our team come to review your gig contact us at: undergroundreviews@live.co.uk

Monday, 11 April 2011

Terra Slim – Sell Out

Terra Slim – Sell Out
Genre: UK Hip-Hop, Grime, Dubstep
For Fans Of: Dizzee Rascal
Stand Out Track: Sell Out
Rating: 6

Trying to sell your CD on the beach to hoards of tanning Brighton beach goers that have never heard of you may not be the best form of marketing, however this is how Terra Slim and Underground Reviews collided and having originally set my sights quite low for this piece of work, I was presently surprised.

The main track of the EP is the title, 'Sell Out' with track 2 being a clean mix for radio edits and an instrumental track 3 presumably for DJ mixing. Terra, or using his alias 'T-Rah the negroid poet' engulfs the London grime sound with some authentic and charged raps about life in the suburbs. His raps flow naturally priding itself on its authenticity, rapping about money, drugs, girls and and self assertion acting obviously as a great form of therapy and cleansing for the rapper and anyone who's interested. And as is always the case, some of it ain't pretty but thus is the life.



Sonically there is one major flaw, throughout the CD there are certain points where the master levels all jump radically up for period and then back down only to repeats. Just watch out for this if you already happen to be pumping the tracks, you may get a nasty shock.

Terra's been working around the scene for the last 10 years which has seen him play many venues around Europe. He's got the rapping and the music down, he now just needs to focus on his production, image and marketing... Listening to your CD for faults before you decide to sell them is key here.

Underground

Sleeping Panda Presents:

Sleeping Panda Presents
The Hobgoblin
Friday 8th April 2011


Brighton Alternative rockers Pesto were the opening band to greet us to the forthcoming event. Unfortunately their Pixies and Violent Femmes style of indie punk came across as slugishly boring through a coherent lack of ideas and development in their songs. 

The band must collectively be rocketing towards their 30's which is sad when you consider how little they have musically accomplished. Their songs followed a simple formula with the bass player rarely moving away from straight crotchet rhythms as well as believing that giving a good vocal performance is just as easy as shouting into the mic.

The biggest problem with this band is they just lack an agenda. They were confusing to watch. Why was the bass player wearing eye liner more suited towards a drag and rag night down some seedy bar of the sea front. It's harsh but it's true, there is to many rubbish bands in this town and Pesto well and truly fit that criteria.


Missing the very opening of their set, walking back into the gig I swear I could hear the tired wrangling of a bed room shredder. But no. There it was in all it's glory. A 3 piece hardcore band finished off with a guy freaking out on the sax. 


In contrast to the last act, Barking Toad completely took me by surprise. Their sound consisted of heavy doom like drum patterns with distorted bass playing chords to fill out the sound with enough Sax squeals and roars to shake a shitty stick at. Imagine it like a more subtle Dillinger with a 1 man avant-garde contemporary horn section. It's a band like this that really stands out on such a night which is a hard thing to do on this circuit.

But once the initial shock of such a radical and unexpected line up wore off, their music proved to be interesting and captive affair that kept my interests intact.


CB6 very quickly assert themselves as the headline band. Their stage show and music has a higher degree of professionalism and development than the acts before them. They make good use of space surrounding them at credit to their confidence, a band with an obvious amount of experience under their belts.

Their sound shows a wide variety of influence. They're delivery had that 'take no prisoners' Punk attitude, like a less sell-out version of Rise Against but with other elements of Hardcore, Thrash and even Death Metal.

Hailing from Southend the band are currently supporting their self titled EP (to be later reviewed) and are a band to be watched, being able to seemingly merge into this towns Metal scene.


Sleeping Panda put on a wide pallet of musical variety tonight that both shocked and rocked. The fairly new promotors on the scene are now beginning to take on their own stride and are shaping themselves out as something different amongst the scene. Underground Reviews are looking forward as to what we can expect over the Summer months.

Underground
*For Photo's get in contact with the Underground Reviews Team at: undergroundreviews@live.co.uk

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Defective by Design - Colour In a Black And White World

Defective by Design - Colour In a Black And White World
Genre: Alternative
For Fans Of: Oceansize, Incubus, Reuben, Placebo
Stand Out Track: I'm A Cynic
Rating: 7.5

With their launch party last month at the Pav Tav proving a success, DBD have added a great new product onto the scene. Now the Summer months are approaching fast, this EP will prove invaluable for any Brightonian that has their ear to the floor on the local music scene. 

The vocals of Eoin O' Toole are the driving element of the EP and show a wide range of diversity. His vocals are quite bizarre in places sounding similar to Brian Molko of Placebo with that wobbly vibrato thing going on. The vocals have enough originality in them to have character and distinction without tacking it to the unbearably extreme lows, that some of the more painfully alternative scene-sters around town seem to enjoy... no names mentioned of course.

The band itself sound great together, building their energy and dynamics in turn to Eoin without over playing. The high point for me being the heavy section of 'I'm a cynic', bringing in some meat and potatoes on the riff and some extra vocal dirt. All in all the drama of the songs gives the music relevance rather than just being a collection of incoherent jams.



The recording sounds great with every instrument coming out the speakers clearly and definitively. However I wish the drums were slightly more in your face, to go with that modern New York trend that every wannabe Drum N' Bass Indie producer creams themselves for. The Bass as well could sound a bit more full bodied, though both these points are just for nick picking's sake.

The title track of the EP can be heard for free here but for any of you that still hold value in music it is now available on Itunes or from the band directly. But to really see the band in action, they're next whoring out their sexy bodies on the local scene at The Hope on the 22nd of April.

Underground

To get your CD reviewed or to get a member of our team to review your gig contact us at: undergroundreviews@live.co.uk

Sunday, 27 March 2011

DKH 'Cabin Fever'

Apologies in the length between the last post, been an extremely busy month for UnderGround Reviews just as it's been very busy on the local scene. We've decided not to release album/EP reviews in one post but instead post them up as and when we get them. However there will still be the prestigious Underground Reviews EP of month award available so everything is still worth fighting for. Happy moshing.
Underground Reviews



DKH - Cabin Fever
Genre: Hardcore, Stoner/Doom
For Fans Of: Down, Deftones
Stand Out Track: Steve Stevens
Rating: 7.5

Having released 'Cabin Fever' last year, what DKH have done here is blend the stoner sound of bands like Kyuss and High On Fire with darker and sludgier overtones. The heavily distorted screamed vocals reminiscent of Chino from Deftones finish off their collative sound in away that makes them angrier and more pissed off than some of their other more lethargic local counter-parts.

The presentation is awesome, the zombiefied artwork by Dan Jones looks fantastic in a jewel case. It's rare to see a product that actually looks like it could go to market... if shop's actually sold CD's these days.

The album features lots of samples at the opening and ending of tracks the most effective being the Jack Nicholson's quote from 'Easy Rider' in the final song, 'Steve Stevens'. However, none of these samples are credited, so let's just hope they cleared them. However a good court case always does wonders for bands marketing and promotion... Hey it's hard to get recognised these days.

The recording is a bit rough in places but actually helps to the authenticity of the sound. The lo-fi mix cuts much of the top end off to leave a dirty swamp of brooding hatred.


The roots of the sound is riff based and grove orientated, with use of Machine Head like atmospherics of swirling phase and delayed whammy in certain tracks. The drum's even get a bit of rework in “Euthanasia” to get that Sepultura like tribal thing going down.

This album is worth checking out for any Hardcore or Stoner Rock fan. The whole package is etched with anger and the essence of spilt bong water. If you want to check it out yourself go see the guys at the Green Door Store on the 11th of April.

Underground

Monday, 14 March 2011

Defective By Design EP Launch

Some Riot Promotions
The Pavilion Tavern
Thursday10th March

First time Underground Reviews has been to the upstairs of the Pav-Tav, and while the sound might be more suited towards club night, the stage and lighting offer a really great setting to watch a show.


Winner's of the 2010 BMA 'Best Emerging Band Award' IAM:YOURHERO were first act on the stage. With quotes on their webpage from Jimmy Page and large amount of hits to boot it would appear that these guys have gained quite a following since their conception from the ashes of 'The Rylics'. 

With an Alternative sound similar to Muse the 3 piece very quickly asserted themselves on and off the stage. Great vocals coupled with interesting instrumental sections and heavy drumming brought the songs to dramatic climax.

Their songs are well crafted bringing in tasty use of fretboard wizadry such as tapping and a hoast of effects. The vocals being no exception using a megaphone in the song 'Paranoid Distortion'. IAM:YOURHERO offered a great start to the night.


Melodic keyboard based act Vienna took to the stage next. Their instrumentation was well bestowed sounding almost uplifting in places where high energy snare and hi-hat grooves were performed in counterpoint to the keys and guitar. This strange use of dynamics worked extremely well in their favour and made sure that my interest was captive throughout the whole of the set.

The band do however need a stronger image as the NY capped drummer looked very out of place performing to this genre.


This band were very enjoyable, bringing something of their own to the gig. The keyboards and Smiths like guitar utilised some interesting use of delay, creating and heir of psychedelic ambience to the set. The guys can next be seen on the 14th March at the Hydrant.



A little later than billed comes the band Defective by Design, the band everyone is here to see to show support for their new EP 'Colour In A Black & White World' (Reviewed later this month). It's been a while since their last Brighton gig but the band carry themselves like a confident and well experienced set of musicians.

Their Alternative Rock sounds lends much to bands such as Oceansize and Incubus and frontman Eion O'Toole kind of reminds me of Ian Watkins of Lostprophets (I mean that in a good way...).

Eion very much apologised for wearing a blue shirt on what he called 'such a sweaty night' and it did get darker as the set gathered pace, cranking up the heat on stage.

Defective By Design have an heir of maturity over their work and pull off some big choruses. The band were very gratuitous for the audiences attendance is support of their cause. It's just a shame that they had their night on the same that Baghdad Country Club were playing their final gig at the Hobgoblin as part of Sleeping Panda Promotions. However, DBD pulled off a great night and their EP is now easily available from their online sources, check it out.


Underground

For more photo's get in contact with the Underground Reviews team: UnderGroundReviews@live.co.uk
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