Albums/EPs

ALBUM: Jamie’s Elsewhere – They Said A Storm Was Coming

Release Date: February 16th, 2010
Label: Victory Records
Rating: 8/10

Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/jamieselsewhere

Jamie’s Elsewhere profile

Finally, a band that takes the hardcore in post-hardcore a little more seriously than just a fashion accessory suggestion for tattoos and flesh tunnels. Whilst they still definitely fall into the very pop end of the aforementioned genre, Jamie’s Elsewhere contain enough of a kick to back up their pleasant melodies and add some thankfully solid bite to the proceedings.

For once a synth has been used for more than just a bleeping, squeaking gimmick, with the band actually having the sense to use it to compliment some of the other goings-on within other areas of their songs. For example, opening track ‘Seasons’ makes great use of the synth to fill out and accentuate the sucker punch intro and sing-a-long friendly chorus alike. Title track ‘They Said A Storm Was Coming’ has the synth on the more familiar duty of spitting out glitchy noises away from the choruses and breakdowns, but here, it’s actually pleasurable!

Other tracks of note include ‘Giants Among Common Men’ with it’s ‘Say Hello To Sunshine’-esque (Finch album) verses, the thunderous momentum of ‘Visions In Sleep’ and the visceral head smacking intensity of ‘A Slave, A Son’. Throughout the album, the vocals stack up well with the throaty power of the screams blending perfectly alongside the melodic sung chorus lines. All in all, this is a prime example of how to do poppy post-hardcore with a synth well without resorting to clichés and cringe inducing cheese: an all too common occurance nowadays.

‘They Said A Storm Was Coming’ is a rare success in a genre littered with failures and parasites. Jamie’s Elsewhere have achieved an album of balance that is extremely accessible, poppy, and of it’s time without soiling their work with unnecessary melodrama and over thought ideas that are too clever for their own good. This is a brilliant pop post-hardcore album by a band that understand what it takes to be a real part of the genre in 2010.

Written by Greg Johnson

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ALBUM: iwrestledabearonce – It’s All Happening

Release Date: August 31st, 2009
Label: Century Media
Rating: 6/10

Website: www.iwrestledabearonce.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/iwrestledabearonce

iwrestledabearonce profile

First things first, apart from the seeming fear of spacing in the name, what do you class them as? iTunes seems to suggest ‘deathcore’, whereas Wikipedia has them down as ‘avant-garde metal’. Perhaps it is best to listen to the album yourself to try and decipher the genre in your own time, otherwise we could be here forever. Let’s just say there are elements of jazz, grindcore, disco, metalcore, swing, electronica and death metal throughout the half hour album… fancy making an acronym to describe all of them in one?

So who are they, where are they from, and is their debut album worth your purchase? The third will be answered in due course but the first couple can be crossed off now. In short they are a five-piece band from Louisiana and are fronted by a woman by the name of Krysta Cameron, a fact which adds to this band’s mystique. Opening track ‘You Ain’t No Family’ features said vocalist singing sections and then launching into screeching and screaming the next, whilst the band around her skip from one tune to another, even throwing in what sounds an almost-banjo-like breakdown and oddly enough, a neighing horse?

‘Danger In The Manger’ is not a bad song at all, mixing melodic vocals with Cameron‘s ability to scream, and cutting out all the knob-twiddling sound effects as well, it sounds a lot better put together than the previous songs and not as mish-mash. The same can be said for ‘I Am Cold And There Are Wolves After Me’. ‘Tastes Like Kevin Bacon’ was one song which they released earlier on as a demo with an accompanying music video, and it all goes well until the 2:25 mark. From there sound effects are just thrown in, and kind of makes you wonder why they bothered. It does nothing for them or the song.

‘Pazuzu For The Win’ could be the best song on the album, or it would be if it wasn’t 4 minutes long. For the most part it is great, but the latter part of the song just seems pointless and repetitive. Were it ended at the 3 minute mark then it would be the best on the album. The final two songs have their moments of goodness but they are plagued by unnecessary breakdowns and sound effects. Much like the formula for the entirety of the record, and sadly results as a frustrating end to a frustrating album.

You want to like this album as it is different to most you will listen to but it seems wrong to do so, especially with the randomly added effects. The songs that stand out are the ones that are without such unnecessary additions when they keep to the melodic vocals/screaming and pure instrument sounds then it would possibly be a better listen.

It is not a bad album all things considered but if they stuck to what they do best then it would definitely be a lot better to listen to. And still I am no closer to deciding what I classify them as… but I will go with my favourite description. That is a “spastic blending of genres”.

Written by Tom Donlan

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ALBUM: Interpol – Our Love To Admire

Release Date: July 7th, 2007
Label: Capitol Records
Rating: 5/10

Website: www.interpolnyc.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/interpol

Interpol profile

The third album in a band’s career is usually very important; they’re past the debut and the struggle of album number two, so they have to step up their game and really impress and surprise their audience. Sadly, with ‘Our Love To Admire’, Interpol have rather fallen at the hurdle.

Things start well with the first minute or two of album opener ‘Pioneer To The Falls’, a haunting guitar riff accompanying the other instruments to great effect. This pleasure does not last though, and the song seems to drag on and on. They do try and liven things up a bit, but to little or no effect at all. It just appears to be 5 minutes of unenjoyable music that has you reaching for the ‘skip’ button on your stereo or computer. This also seems to be the case with ‘Pace Is The Trick’. Although this song does kick in fairly soon, they still seem to be repeating parts over and over, and the worst part is what they repeat provides little entertainment.

There are some pros to this album though, recent single release ‘Heinrich Maneuver’ does liven things up, and is one of the few tracks you want to listen to the whole way through. Upcoming single ‘Mammoth’ is similarly enjoyable.

‘Rest My Chemistry’ is definitely one that sticks out. Whilst it does take over a minute to kick in, it’s certainly worth the patience. The opening build-up riff is quite different to what you’ll find elsewhere on the album, you may actually think this is a different band altogether. It inserts quiet sections for a bit of variety, and a decent chorus that makes you want to sing the lyrics “Tonight I’m gonna rest my chemistry” alongside vocalist Paul Banks. If you only hear one track off this album, it has to be this one.

With ‘Our Love To Admire’ you can tell that the band does have the potential and technique to create songs well, it’s just a shame they drag some of the songs out for far too long and rarely deviate from the same old formula. Unless you’re a regular Interpol fan, this album is probably more of a miss than an essential listen.

Written by Zach Redrup

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EP: InnerPartySystem – Heart Of Fire

Release Date: May 18th, 2009
Label: Stolen Transmission
Rating: 7/10

Website: www.innerpartysystem.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/innerpartysystem

InnerPartySystem profile

Since the release of their self-titled debut album, InnerPartySystem‘s popularity has been soaring sky high. With countless tours, including a position playing at the Give It A Name festival, not much can go wrong for these boys at the moment. Cited and described by the band as a “UK version of ‘The Download’ EP” (which was their release before the album), the ‘Heart Of Fire’ EP contains all the same songs along with two extra exclusives.

‘Heart Of Fire’ is easily the strongest effort on the 6-track, keeping a steady and effective blend of dance synth input with a rub of alternative rock to keep things steady. The repetition of the L-word (no, not lesbian) can at first seem tedious “All this comes back to the love / the love I spoke with honest and pure eyes / now I remember what I had done / something meaningful to get you and fall in love”, but once digested soon becomes one of the catchiest sections – aside from the thumping chorus.

Things are brought to a much more synth-driven ‘The Way We Move’, with pure electronic behind the steering wheel, heading through half-vocoder verses, and keyboard and bass layered chorus sections. ‘Heart That Heals’ is back into the blend of rock and electro once more, but sadly isn’t quite as impressive as what InnerPartySystem are easily capable of from previous work. All the elements are there, but just lacking in that extra oomph-factor to get it going.

The ‘Heart Of Fire’ EP is a great installment to keep fans eagerly fed who are after more and more new material, but the band’s full-length – put simply – just shits all over this.

Written by Zach Redrup

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ALBUM: InnerPartySystem – InnerPartySystem

Release Date: September 29th, 2008
Label: Stolen Transmission
Rating: 7/10

Website: www.innerpartysystem.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/innerpartysystem

InnerPartySystem profile

Admittedly upcoming US rockers InnerPartySystem aren’t creating an incredibly fresh and original sound. Infact, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to create a completely new sound nowadays with the use of Internet giving us better exposure to less commercially accessible bands. But, aslong as the band does what they do well then there’s no issue, and that’s exactly what InnerPartySystem manage to achieve with their self-titled debut effort.

It’s songs like ‘Die Tonight, Live Forever’, ‘Heart Of Fire’ and ‘Last Night In Brooklyn’ that gets your blood pumped and your muscles moving to the beat and rhythms, fueled by the bands energetic industrial electronic tinge upon alternative rock. No doubt there’ll be a few moments that get looped and caught in your head too, creating hooks that bands like Nirvana once achieved back in their day, proving they have the effort to draw the audience in. Then there’s ‘This Town Your Grave’ which is the biggest shove in your face this band have on offer, slowly building up to frontman Patrick Nissley‘s roar of “You will never change!” before immediately shifting into the breakdown mid-section which is as easy to dance along to as it is to start a mosh pit and cause havoc with, creating a moment that even the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Enter Shikari would be proud of. To keep a bit of variety with things, the record doesn’t miss out on more mellow offerings, such as the ‘Obsession’, and the dark and moving atmosphere shining off from ‘This Empty Love’, leaving a bitter meaning behind what should seemingly be a typical love song. Though this album has many pros, it also doesn’t go without its cons, namely the big explosively strong songs at the beginning of the record, before failing to let up quite as well until you’re just halfway through the album.

InnerPartySystem are almost undoubtedly going to swell and grow dramatically if they’re given the proper break to do so, and their debut gives evidence that they deserve such recognition and attention, with its strongest moments easily making up for those slightly weaker ones.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: InnerPartySystem – Don’t Stop

Release Date: June 30th, 2008
Label: Stolen Transmission
Rating: 8/10

Website: www.innerpartysystem.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/innerpartysystem

InnerPartySystem profile

We all know by now that the combination of dance music with rock isn’t a newly introduced invention. Right back from when The Prodigy hit it big on the scene, up to the recent rise of Enter Shikari. Like other bands following a similar path, InnerPartySystem aren’t creating anything fresh or unknown to the music scene, but they are good at what they do, and ones to keep an eye on.

Debut single ‘Don’t Stop’ is a stomping track against today’s media and entertainment, delivering as much aggression as sincerity in an even dosage, and setting an impression that they a serious and emotional band in what they do. What’s more, the single shows the band’s ability to write a catchy chorus and pre-chorus that are likely to be stuck in your head for hours on end, and that’s not a bad thing. The bridge section is also one crafted to upmost perfection, slowing building up to kick you right back into the chorus, while vocalist Patrick Nissley sings the line “Dear future, I bought you. I own the rights.” in a calm yet furious fashion.

No, they’re not pioneers of any kind, but they deliver exciting and aggressive music with this single, with an in-built catchy and rememberal chorus. Prepare to hear more of these very soon!

Written by Zach Redrup

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ALBUM: In This Moment – The Dream

Release Date: April 13th, 2009
Label: Century Media
Rating: 7/10

Website: www.inthismoment.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/inthismoment

In This Moment profile

In This Moment are often known – and remembered by fickle listeners – due to lead vocalist Maria Brink, her combination of high-pitched banshee screams and growls combined with her melodic and harmonic vocals keeping a easy-to-recognise mark on the band’s material.

After the bludgeoning juggernaught that was brought upon us with previous album ‘Beautiful Tragedy’, sophomore album ‘The Dream’ from In This Moment takes a step back from the darkness, into a lighter hard rock approach. Lead single ‘Forever’ is an instant display of this change, bringing heaviness to a minimal and showing the talent of this band with less force. As ever with In This Moment, guitar solos offered from Chris Howorth are as exceptional as ever, such as that shown in ‘You Always Believe’ and ‘A Dying Star’, making sure that Maria doesn’t always steal the show from the male latter. ‘All For You’ is another strong point in the album, giving the perfect blend of harmony and musicianship to prove evidence enough of this band’s progression from their 2007 debut. Things are also made much softer than they ever really were on their previous effort. The album’s title-track is a perfect example of the melodic metalcore 5-piece being a little too melodic to keep the second-half of that genre classification. But, as they approach the more shallow regions of heavy water, they also hit the deeper ends with the likes of ‘The Great Divide’ and ‘Her Kiss’, showing the full potential and reckoning held in Maria‘s throat-scraping vocal work. With all this in place though, and the great variation and evolution this band have clearly gone through, ‘The Dream’ just seems on the end of it all to be an album that can be over-played pretty quickly.

‘The Dream’ is definitely an album to be sought after if you have their previous effort, or if you’re just a general fan of melodic metalcore. But don’t expect this album to be stuck on repeat in your CD player for months on end.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: In This Moment – Forever

Release Date: April 6th, 2009
Label: Century Media
Rating: 7/10

Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/inthismoment

In This Moment profile

After only a short period of time from their last album release, female fronted metal band In This Moment come back again with their second album ‘The Dream’, and lead single ‘Forever’ is a fantastic display of melodic metal.

The simple yet effectively loveable guitar riff opening reels you into what is an evolution and progression of what you’d find on a good amount of their previous material. It has an accessible element that manages to steer far away from the expectations of mainstream to keep it alternative and respected in their scene. Maria Brink‘s vocals have improved too, making for an insatiable performance and thirst to recite the chorus lyrics “Forever starts today / Forever we will be / Forever’s every day / Forever faithfully” everytime. The structure and blend of mellow and melodic and oozes of rock back and forth only add to the quality of the single, boosted with a short yet masterful guitar solo from Chris Howarth.

‘Forever’ almost dabbles towards mainstream, but stays very well in its intended metal scene. No matter what it is, this single is a fucking stormer.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: In Case Of Fire – This Time We Stand

Release Date: November 10th, 2008
Label: Search And Destroy
Rating: 7/10

Website: www.incaseoffire.co.uk
MySpace: www.myspace.com/incaseoffire

In Case Of Fire profile

As always, there are many rising acts in the music industry that just keep growing and growing. It’s a shame though that not all of them make it to a point of great recognition. But, In Case Of Fire may just be one from the latter that reaches the goal.

The band’s debut single ‘This Time We Stand’ shows off a band that wants to make it to the top, but do it without selling out and with their own sound. Adopting sounds across a board of bands like Lostprophets, Muse, Funeral For A Friend, and Feeder, the chugging menace riffs and soulful yet aggressive vocal work adds up to a great and powerful single release that should put them on the radar for a few new unaware fans out there.

Warning: In Case Of Fire are hot ones to look out for.

Written by Zach Redrup

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ALBUM: Iglu & Hartly – & Then Boom

Release Date: September 29th, 2008
Label: Mercury Records
Rating: 2/10

Website: www.igluandhartly.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/igluandhartly

Iglu & Hartly profile

If you’re a fan of amazing music that has truly amazing musicianship, meaningful lyrics, and is powered by passion and emotion both vocally and instrumentally then you’re best avoiding ‘& The Boom’, the debut full-length album from chart bothering group Iglu & Hartly. They’ve managed to enter the mainstream charts recently with their latest single release, but upon hearing what they have on offer it makes you wonder how they even got in there at all.

Perhaps the above was a tad harsh, as to be truthful there are moments where ‘& Then Boom’ would be considered a good piece of work from a hard-working band. The fact that it’s unarguable to say their tunes are really catchy, thanks to the inclusion of programmed electronic sounds, and pleasurable synthesized hooks that will no doubt keep the pop fans happy. However, as some people would say, you can’t really polish a turd. Everything encased in those electronic layers isn’t far from awful, and as shown in ‘DayGlo’, their music seems a little bit outdated to our time. Yeah, 1980’s fashion is ‘in’ at the moment, but that doesn’t mean 1980’s music is coming back. At times the vocal work from Jarvis Anderson and Sam Martin isn’t too far from a pre-puberty version of Phil Collins, especially in ‘Build’ and ‘People’. But, on a more positive note, their chart-breaking hit ‘In This City’ is probably the only thing that would be close to a gem on the whole record, and most of you might even be bored of that now with the amount of times its been aired on the radio. The chorus line is one that’ll probably get caught in your head though, or at least the line “… in this city”.

Iglu & Hartly have entered the charts with ‘In This City’, but with an achievement like that possible it makes you wonder how the public even thinks the music this band make is good enough to purchase as many copies to get them there. As said before, their material is incredibly catchy, but that doesn’t quite cover up how pants everything else is. ‘& Then Boom’ might be a contender for one of the worst debuts of 2008.

Written by Zach Redrup

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