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.


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.


For more photo's get in contact with the Underground Reviews team:

Sunday, 6 March 2011

February Reviews

Been a great month for Brighton music with an extremely high level of quality in what has been sent my way. It would appear that the Tech-Metal revolution is taking over, occupying a majority of this month's entries but plenty of old school Rock and Grunge to enjoy if you are that way inclined.
Just a reminder that I am taking entries for the March list and already have some great entries! To get you or your bands music reviewed I will need it in Hard copy unless it is a pre-release and by the Friday the 1st of April. Thank's Underground.

EP of the Month

Sweet Ether – Forced To begin
Genre: Grunge, Hard-Rock
For Fans of: Alice In Chains, Tool, Soundgarden
Stand out Track: Like Clockwork, Forced To Begin
Rating: 9

Intent on success, Sweet Ether take their sound to a new level. The new EP shows signs of the band maturing in their songwriting and a further development to their sound. The recording itself sounds massive allowing the lead vocals to take a dominant position upfront which guides you through their dark and melodic sound-scapes. The band have come a long way since the release of their last EP making something that is truly exciting. Frontman 'Riggs'' vocals drip with passion and emotion in every song and for those who have seen the band live, you can imagine him prowling round the studio like a crazed monkey. The instrumentation is utilised perfectly to create their signature sound, such as the Bass wah on 'Like Clockwork' or the full octane Les Paul solo of 'Forced To Begin'. With influence's taken from Grunge hero's that are very much still relevant today such as the mighty Alice In Chains or the lucid of Tool, Grunge music is still very much as relevant today as it was in the 90's. Forced To Begin show's a band confident in themselves and confident to take what is rightfully theirs as they make a bigger name for themselves touring round country. 27 Minutes of pure sadistic bliss.
Sweet Ether

Marseille – Unfinished Business
Genre: Rock, Classic Metal
For Fans of: Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Slade
Stand out Track: Wanna Get High, Unfinished Business
Rating: 6.5

1980 saw Marseille hit the big time touring 20K arena's with Nazareth and Blackfoot as well as a single in the Top 40. They had toured with the likes of UFO, Whitesnake and Judas Priest but an implosion in their management company saw them fighting a Thirty month legal battle that rendered them broke and finished. It is no wonder that 2011 sees the band with some 'Unfinished Business' to resolve.
The tracks on the album hark back to the origins in Metal blending Classic Rock with a more relentless and no compromising attitude. Each track is carefully constructed to stay in your memory for as long as possible, making this dangerously catchy. With ripping solo's from Art Attack's Neil Buchanon and some tasty harmonies with the help of Andy Charters complete with the soaring vocals of Nige Roberts, what more could you want?
There is nothing really new here, but with Pop Music in the putrid state that it's in today the world needs more Rockers. Indefinitely the Art Attack connection is never going to be shaken, but on the back of Neil's fans Marseille have the drive and a continuously expanding fan base to complete what they once started.

Once A Wolf – Advent
Genre: Prog/Tech Metal
For Fans of: SiKth, Between The Buried And Me
Stand out Track: Primeval Atom
Rating: 8

Once A Wolf blend melody, technicality and sheer brutality into a tight package. The mix is crisp and the vocals clear.
The technicality really is the over-bearing concept of this sound, and is handled in a mature way that doesn't get irritating as some bands do. Instead it is used as a tool that music dictates; to create tension and release. Some of the groves of this EP are true headbang worthy such as the Meshuggah like breakdown to Primeval Atom.
The vocals are delivered to a fantastic degree, ranging in style from screamed to melodically high registered. The Progressive nature of their music really takes you on a journey with unexpected twists and turns at the drop of semi-quaver triplet run. An EP of power and control Advent refuses to be dismissed and pulls off it's genre to the highest degree.

By Definition – Red Lines (single)
Genre: Southern
For Fans of: Down, Black Label Society
Rating: 7
For anyone who's heard 2009's 'Eyes on Wires' they will know this is a step forward for the band's Southern sound. Stex's vocals drive the track forward with power and conviction backed up the almighty rhythm section of Rob, Dan, Fil and J.
The recording is excellent being instantly bombarded by an imposing sense of doom that doesn't give way till the end. The song is catchy enough to get stuck in your brain but without losing any credibility. The song will be released as free download here from the 4th of April with a free release show at the Green Door store.

Drown In Entropy – Wolves Under Whitened Skies
Genre: D-jent, Tech
For Fans of: Meshuggah, Periphery
Stand out Track: Wolves Under Whitened Skies
Rating: 7

Drown In Entropy offer an exciting 'venture into syncopation and groove' fulfilling all you need for you fine d-jentleman out there. The songs are rigid tight as you expect in this genre with a rhythm section that pummels you like an angry bull on an untrained matador.
The vocals however need some more time developing. Frontman Ian is obviously very capable but he has tried to take on to much meaning that some of the screams and growls come of a little light.
The title track for me sums up what the band is about with a catchy 'd-jenty' (sorry, the term is here to stay) riff and melodic chorus that builds to a dramatic finale in the penultimate closing of the album. I do feel however that having seen this band live, they are capable of much more than they have recorded on their EP. With some more gigs under their belt the band will hopefully develop into a more uncompromising and sonically exciting act.
With a new guitarist Chris Heales on board Drown In Entropy will be embarking on a tour across the UK in April with Guildford Metalers 'As Gods'. Happy head-banging.

Various Artists - Tech Metal Compilation Volume One
Genre: Tech-Metal
For Fans of: All things Tech
Rating: 8
The last couple of years of Metal has been very stagnant in terms of progress as new genres have been defining themselves. Once thing is for certain though, Tech-metal is very much here to stay and for anyone that has been hiding under a rock for a year this compilation acts as a fine introduction to a genre that shows so much variety.
Released by non-profit organisation 'British Tech-Metal' who have their ear to the ground on quality acts rising through this CD cannot be overlooked. With such a varied range of bands and sounds showing the diversity of this genre a stand out track is impossible to pick out, all I can say is; just listen to it.

Ancient Ascendant – The Bleak Slumber
Genre: Death Metal
For Fans of: Slayer, Decapitated
Stand out Track: The Scorn of Dead Men
Rating: 8

Reading's Ancient Ascendant allow the listener to revel in pure Death Metal nostalgia harking a sound of both old and contemporary styles. The vocals of Alex Butler sound similar to Jared MacEachern of Sanctity and fill you with a sense of dread and despair. Their songs are masterfully worked building to intense climax layered with tight ass kick drums and intricate riffery.
The technical proficiency of the members in this band are brutal. Melody features as part of the mix, with a solo on 'Once Numb' that sounds as though it was crafted from Mikael Ã…kerfeldt himself.
The recording is great with pedals cutting through without being too clicky, guitars panned well and a central vocal that assaults to insult.
This EP acts as the bands 'home recorded' teaser of their debut album, be afraid, be very afraid. Ancient Ascendant are busy travelling around the country but can next be seen on at Black Sunday V Brighton Metalfest on the 23rd of April.


Remi Miles & Written in Waters

Thursday 3rd of March
The Hydrant

Remi Miles and his band put on their first show in Brighton debuting their 60's inspired Pop Rock. Their relatively short set allows the audience to keep interest in their music as the Hendrix and Smith's cliches keep rolling. It's not that their set wasn't enjoyable, it's just apparent that these vocal hooks and musical ideas have been done before and to death.

Frontman Remi has a good voice but not good enough to egotistically name the band after himself. Such confidence demands a vocal that doesn't waver in and out of tune and a performance that doesn't make me feel awkward. At one point he got off the stage in a near attempt to muster some extra enthusiasm from the audience but upon realising this was far to bold a move, got straight back on.

Pardoning the annoying cliches however some of the better rehearsed songs were received well. The melodic harmonies from the backing band sounded much stronger than the lead vocal would have you believe. The rhythm section was tight, albeit the arguably less than sober gurning sweat box that was the drummer had his cymbal stand six foot in the air screaming to be called 'a nob'.

Remi Miles need to do something much more original. For better or for worse the 60's and 70's happened with some great moments in music, it's just not necessary to repeat them. If you are going to name a band after yourself, make sure it is something special.
Remi Miles can be next seen at the Prince Albert on the 26th March.

Written in Waters were a breath of fresh air, boldly trying to create something new and different around Brighton. This is dramatically noticeable upon their image, wearing hockey masks to accentuate the facelessness of the band members and reinforce front-woman Beth Cannon's role in the band. 

Their Avant-Garde/Post Rock sound likened to Sigur Ros and Anthony And The Johnsons was closely watched by everybody in the venue. The opening track saw Beth singing in Italian(?) and an operatic like style that would be continued throughout the set. Her use of vocals was more of an instrumental addition than a lyric spurting bot.

Their line up of Keyboards, Guitar, Bass and Drums was utilised in a very interesting way controlling dynamics masterfully and creating delay drenched sound scapes that tickles the imagination. Guitarist George McKenzie was even seen using a bow in one of the tracks bringing some extra experimentation that works in their favour.

Written In Waters are exciting, original and not afraid to try something new and it will be interesting to see where this takes them as they carve out a name for themselves on the local scene. 

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