Albums/EPs

ALBUM: Enjoy Destroy – Little Dreams

Release Date: March 17th, 2008
Label: Fire One Records
Rating: 7/10

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

Enjoy Destroy profile

When listening to ‘Little Dreams’, you’d find it pretty hard to believe that such talent and raw velocity would come from a band where the members are as young as under their 20’s. However, Basingstoke’s Enjoy Destroy seem to manage it with no problem at all.

Their album opener, and also first single release from the album ‘Mactier’ pretty much sums up in a nutshell what you’re to find in the core of this record; emotional vocals, energetic music, and sing-a-long lyrics and chorus hooks plentiful throughout. The closing repeated lines “I guess it’s just a matter of taste”, phasing us off into the next 10 tracks of what is ‘Little Dreams’.

As mentioned earlier, this album has plenty of catchy chorus which you want to sing, or in some cases chant along to. This is evident in tracks such as ‘Cities’ with the “Na-na-na, na-na-na”, and a similar feature in the track ‘Screamer’, with a long sustained “Yeah!” brought in at various parts in the chorus. Enjoy Destroy know how to get these songs stuck in your head, and in most cases get you playing the song again, and again.

Although for the most part of the album you’ll get the impression that Enjoy Destroy come off as sort of a younger, rawer, and arguably slightly more exciting version of Feeder at their heaviest, they also have their moments of mellowing out and taking things a little slower. The track the album takes it’s name from ‘Little Dreams’ is just one of such examples, opening the track with a slow guitar riff and soft vocals drawing you ever so closer as the song slowly builds up into a climax.

‘LBJ’ has a similar effect too, with softer and calmer sections of the song being presented before the songs blows up into an explosive chorus. It also shows a darker a much more sinister side of Enjoy Destroy than you’re likely to find in any of their catalogue to this date, with lines such as “How many kids did you kill today?” revealing something a little more macabre onto the listener’s palette.

Enjoy Destroy are young, and though they have much more to learn and develop upon, they certainly have the time and the talent to pull it off. ‘Little Dreams’ has almost everything on offer; calm sections, moments that just explode, and catchy sing-a-long hooks just to sweeten your appetite.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: Enjoy Destroy – Little Dreams

Release Date: October 22nd, 2007
Label: Fire One Records
Rating: 7/10

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

Enjoy Destroy profile

To coincide with their debut album release – ‘Little Dreams’ – Basingstoke’s Enjoy Destroy release their next single lifted from the record, which is of the same name.

The song builds up from a slow and quiet guitar riff of individually picked notes, up until the half-way point where the band blasts into a full force of music and energy. Although this single is good, it’s not the best the band have come up with, and may not neccesarily be a stand-out track on their album for most people. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that the song disappoints, with the force given from this song being much more entertaining and engaging than most of the offerings we get from the mainstream radio charts.

A must have for the already converted hoardes of die-hards, and a neat little introduction to the album for everyone else. A job well done.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: Enjoy Destroy – Screamer

Release Date: October 22nd, 2007
Label: Fire One Records
Rating: 9/10

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

Enjoy Destroy profile

Enjoy Destroy have not long finished a UK tour supporting Reuben during late September and early October, and now they’ve got single ‘Screamer’ for us to listen to.

Exciting from the start, crunching guitar riffs open this sound perfectly and sets the right mood for what the rest of the song is. Although simple it’s very effective. Once you reach the chorus it’s clear why this song’s entitled ‘Screamer’, with an obvious sing-a-long chorus that will get stuck in your head with ease; “Don’t you dare / Don’t you dare / Don’t forget it now.” This is obvious single material.

‘Screamer’ is a monster of a song, and a good piece of alternative rock if that’s what you’re into, and probably the best thing to ever come out of Basingstoke. If you’ve not heard these guys before, there’s no point in waiting much longer and missing out.

Written by Zach Redrupbr>

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ALBUM: Elysia – Lion Of Judas

Release Date: June 10th, 2008
Label: Ferret Music
Rating: 4/10

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

Elysia profile

With a band name like Elysia, the name of the final resting place of Roman Mythology, you would expect this same band to create something meaningful and creative, wheather it were to be deliver melodically or as a heavy juggernaught. Elysia have taken the heavy route chugging powerful riffs and drum lines, with accompanying violent vocal work spat out by frontman Zak Vargas, but seem to have forgotten important factors in ‘Lion Of Judas’.

When you shove the CD into your stereo, or in your PC system, there’s no doubt that you’re going to be attacked by some good hard-balled metal tracks, and 9 of them coming at you non-stop, like ‘Lack Of Culture’ and ‘Crown Of Thorns’. However, if you get bored easily by repetition then you’re not going to want to listen to this album a lot, especially the whole thing in one sitting. Where the vocal work is aggressive and exciting it is also constant and varies very little, with guitar lines and chords seeming to be constantly churned and recycled with the occassional introduction of something new from time to time.

With those bad points aside though, if you’re one who has great patience and loves hardcore metal then this could just be your thing. The vocal work combination of Zak Vargas and Jon Malinowski compliment one another well, with the guitar input from Garrett Gilardi and Chris Cain being far from synchronised. It’s just a shame that this band didn’t try and create something that had a little more variety to it than that in ‘Lion Of Judas’.

Written by Zach Redrup

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ALBUM: Earth Crisis – To The Death

Release Date: April 20th, 2009
Label: Century Media
Rating: 6/10

Website: www.earthcrisis.us
MySpace: www.myspace.com/earthcrisis

Earth Crisis profile

After a six year absence Earth Crisis announced their reunion in 2007, and ‘To The Death’ is the first full length we’ve heard since their questionable covers album that closed out what was then presumed to be their musical career. A straight-edge hardcore band, always passionate about many social issues, adding prominent place for animal rights issues amongst the hardcore scene, will the six year gap have added perspective and clarity to their music or will they have lost their place in a scene full of bands with outspoken opinions in a fast-moving socio-political world?

Musically speaking Earth Crisis has hit their bull’s eye. The guitar work is solid and mixed well with the frantic drum work, and what we get is a slick slice of metalcore which never feels overproduced. Vocally they never stray from harsh style; perhaps a response to a number of fans who complained about the overindulgence in clean vocals on 2000’s ‘Slither’ or just an attempt to reset their own pace reminiscent of their earlier days by just doing things straight up hardcore. Whatever the reason is it works; for the most part. The screams are strong and the statements being made in songs like ‘So Other’s Live’ work in a proclamation like manner but over the course of an entire album the lack of variety starts to grain and some of the straining can irritate. However, the solid guitar soundtracking helps this minor complain along nicely. The band have concocted an unstoppable siege of loud, loud metal music and there are plenty of breakdowns, a refreshing amount of solos (refreshing in them being kept to the minimum and to where it benefits the actual song) and at half an hour, they keep a breakneck pace that keeps the listener’s attention. And while it would be easy to take us through 10 straight-forward metal songs discussing socio-econo-political issues, the band don’t fail on intensity with the combination of breakdowns and doubled up screams in ‘Cities Fall’ meaning we get a song befitting its epic title. There is plenty of momentum developing build-up work, particularly in natural breather instrumental break ‘Plague Bearers’ that prepares us for the even angrier second half, where the band slow things down a little but continue to pummel you incessantly and make their point, with the titular finale being appropriately brutal and strong stately with the band shouting “vegan, to the death” to close us out. Lyrically and thematically the theme of non-conformity is there from the start; what else would you expect with an opener entitled ‘Against The Current’? And to answer my own earlier question, yes, the band seemed to have kept in touch with the world working its way around them. There are various political attacks on the likes of American terrorism policy in ‘Security Threat #1’ and societal chaos in ‘Control Through Fear’. The thing is, they’re not saying anything particularly new or interesting, but this isn’t necessarily the band’s fault. The way governments both sides of the Atlantic handle various dangerous issues means it is very easy to have a negative opinion on our fair rulers, and the media oversaturation globally means there aren’t many opinions left that haven’t already been expressed by a disgruntled citizen. You can’t fault the band for effort though.

So while the music is brutal enough to get a feel of the malice the band feels toward many areas of society and the government and it’s own revisionist history, and the topics on hand are of social conscience as much as they ever were, you can’t help that feel after so long of this genre being prevalent in alternative music that the band play this one a bit too safe. ‘To The Death’ is by no means weak but it ticks the boxes of the genre’s conventions, a feel that I’m sure the band would like to pervade if their music is to match their message. All the same, the ‘fuck the world’ attitude is still there, and I can ponder exactly where Earth Crisis‘ place in the scene and the genre’s world view is, but at the end of the day the material on this record would start a pretty big pit – and that’s as much as a lot of fans of this band and genre would ask for.

Written by Paul Smith

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SINGLE: Duke Special – Freewheel

Release Date: February 5th, 2007
Label: V2
Rating: 8/10

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

Duke Special profile

This single is one that really moves you. ‘Freewheel’ – a re-release from Duke Special‘s 2005 album ‘Adventures In Gramophone’, features a piano and a group of orchestral instruments with great effect.

The lyrics show off Duke Special‘s poetic and soulful side, and also contain an obvious Irish folk influence. This track is definately one for those who enjoy their slower and more melodic music, but it has elements which would appeal and brance off to many more music fans.

Keep your eyes (and ears) open, you’ll be hearing a much more about this guy in the very near future.

Written by Zach Redrup

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SINGLE: Dropkick Murphys – The State Of Massachusetts

Release Date: February 4th, 2008
Label: Cooking Vinyl
Rating: 6/10

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

Dropkick Murphys profile

A fusion of Irish folk music and angry modern punk, Dropkick Murphys release ‘The State Of Massachusetts’, a song with a good few layers behind it, which together create a piece of Celtic Rock that grabs your attention.

The song combines a collection of various instruments and sections into what it is, with the opening being the main song riff played on a ukulele before the electric guitars and drum beats come crashing in. You’re not too sure whether to dance or mosh along to this track. In the lyrical department of things, Dropkick Murphys present what seems to be a narrative storyline along with an occasional gang shout here and there of “They’ve been taken away” and “Hey!” getting the listener to sing along.

With this in mind though, the song does have an element of repetition behind it though. Whether this is a negative or positive one is all a matter of personal opinion.

Written by Zach Redrup

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EP: Drederick Tatum – The John Demo

Release Date: September 1st, 2009
Label: Unsigned
Rating: 8/10

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

Drederick Tatum profile

Talent can be found in the most surprising places, and the speed in which it grows can be just as surprising too. Drederick Tatum from the Chester/Wrexham area are a product of both said surprises, and their debut 3-track ‘The John Demo’ is a stapled piece of evidence to help support this.

As soon as that first distorted chugged note from the opening of ‘In My Neighbourhood? I Don’t Think So’ is played, up ’til the screamed outro of “We’ll live our lives in misery” in ‘They Made Worms Meat Of Me’, there’s very little – if any – breather moments for whoever’s the subject in front of the speakers. They’re tight, heavy, and about as angry as an unemployed chav who’s missed his last dole payment. Frontman Gary Challinor‘s vocals are clearly emotive, from his screams and bellows you can feel the sincerity in what he’s yelling about.

The catchiest moments of the chorus to ‘I Took Her Slam City’, the repeated “I took her to Slam City / Without remorse, without pity / This is right where she belongs / A piece of scum for us to walk along” is a dark and bitter lyric which achieves to be as catchy as chlamydia. The dual-guitar onslaught of Sim and The Shed, combined with the bludgeoning bass lines of Tom Plant, and the fast but steady drum work of Lewis is exposed at its strongest in ‘In My Neighbourhood…’, driving along the hurtful outro line “I was there for you / You weren’t there for me” to an epic climax. Though true and strong, Gary‘s vocals could be seen as a tad too ’emo’, ‘broken’, or ‘whiny’, but the sincerity of the lyrics he wraps them in more than overpowers this slight flaw.

Drederick Tatum can’t really capture their live presence in CD format alone, but if they could, I’m sure ‘The John Demo’ would at least be three times more brutal… if you can imagine it.

Written by Zach Redrup

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EP: Dinosaur Pile-Up – The Most Powerful E.P. In The Universe!!

Release Date: August 17th, 2009
Label: Big Brain Records
Rating: 8/10

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

Dinosaur Pile-Up profile

The Leeds trio which created a buzz last year for the best part of 2008 – thanks to its aggressive and paradoxically delightful debut singles ‘My Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and ‘Love Is A Boat And We’re Sinking’ – are coming back with their brand new confidently titled EP, ‘The Most Powerful E.P. in the Universe!!’. And as their new sound is definitely darker and much more mature than their previous tracks, their fans will be undoubtedly surprised.

Keeping confident titles rolling with opener ‘Summer Hit Single’ and its penetrating chorus, our three dinosaurs quickly introduce us to their new sound and what they’re about. With songs such as ‘Opposites Attract’, and the relaxing ‘Melanin’, the band can easily be compared with the likes of Weezer or The Subways. ‘Cat Attack’, far from being the most interesting song of the ensemble, would have been perfect for a good old American teenage movie due to its repetitive but maybe slightly boring riff. If you are patient enough to wait until their last yet arguably best track, ‘Beach Bug’, you will surely think that it smells like teen spirit with its reek of grunge, all thanks to its dark and sensual vocals.

Is ‘The Most Powerful E.P. In The Universe!!’ really the most powerful EP in the Universe? Probably not. But what really matters is that Dinosaur Pile-Up‘s EP is definitely going to improve your rainy summer and has to be listened to. The boys’ influences might remain a little too obvious, but the band is promising and will hopefully reach its potential very soon.

Written by Elise El Ouardi

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ALBUM: DevilDriver – Pray For Villains

Release Date: July 14th, 2009
Label: Roadrunner Records
Rating: 8/10

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

DevilDriver profile

Californian five-piece DevilDriver made their mark in the metal world in 2003 with their self-titled debut. The distinct vocals from frontman Dez Fafara caused people to stop and pay attention, and soon enough the band’s ferocious sound was loved by metalheads everywhere. With the help of prestigious label Roadrunner Records, the quintet went on to release ‘Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand’ and ‘The Last Kind Words’, two striking albums that took their sound to extremes.

Three years since their last full-length and the band are ready to showcase their fourth masterpiece, ‘Pray For Villains’. Upon first listen, it really comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most anticipated albums of 2009. From the second opening track ‘Pray For Villains’ begins you are sucked into a fierce and vicious record that does not stop for air. This album stresses how versatile DevilDriver are: ‘Back With A Vengence’ sounds like a cross between Slipknot and Velvet Revolver, where as ‘I’ve Been Sober’ could quite easily pass as a Dragonforce and Lordi collaboration. It is also very clear to see that Fafara has developed as a lyricist and has made the songs a lot more personal – on ‘Teach Me To Whisper’ he screams “Another day, another decision / One that eventually affects us both / Teach me to whisper ’cause I feel like screaming”. Other stand-out tracks include ‘Another Night In London’ and ‘Bitter Pill’, both of which flaunt the more melodic side to the metal band.

‘Pray For Villains’ is an immense record, however in certain places it sounded a little too similar to their previous record and shows little musical progression. This is by no means a bad thing and fans are without doubt going to love it regardless. The thirteen tracks on this album are overwhelmingly good and needless to say DevilDriver have done their utter best to outdo themselves. The Californians have once again taken their musical genius and pushed it to the limit their known for. With nearly an hour of music that is both melodic and brutal, it’s safe to say that this record will be a hit with fans of the band. ‘Pray For Villains’ will undeniably sound amazing live, resulting in what can only be an unbelievable reception during their UK tour later this year.

Written by Kate Rees

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