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.


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