30 January 2019

Swervedriver - Future Ruins

Some bands are names that you hear whispered in revered tones, but never really check out yourself.  I've got tones of bands from my youth which fall into that category, especially when it comes to early '90s UK Alternative Rock bands.  One of the biggest names in that category are Swervedriver, yet I cannot fathom out in my head why I've never picked up an album for either review or listening purposes.   It's not as if I've not had the opportunity, their original run lasted from 1991 to 1998, and they released new music in 2015 in the form of I Wasn't Born to Lose You.  What makes this more galling, is that I've got a copy of I Wasn't Born... in my collection, but I've never listened to it.  That one is my fault, but to be fair, I've only got so much time for music and other essentials these days.  So, I want to be honest before starting this review, I'm a novice when it comes to the output of Swervedriver, also sometimes I listen to too much Zappa for my own good (not really).

Future Ruins is the second studio album Swervedriver have released since reforming, the sixth they've released in total.  It was preceded by "Mary Winter" in October 2018.  Now, I'm always looking for new-ish stuff for my radio show, but I've always thought I should give these guys a fair crack at the whip.  Before I start the review, I would also like to say that I think we've already got a contender for cover of the year with this one.  The monochrome image of a fairground with nothing going on, the bleak sky and the gorgeous contrast as wonderful.  I like an album with a striking image, but is the music up to the same high standard?

01 - Mary Winter

The first track on the album is the first single, "Mary Winter".  This is retro sounding for me, a beautiful cascade of jangly guitar tones, beautiful bass and drifting vocals that sound like the haze of midday in the middle of summer.  This is a beautiful shoegazing song, a punchy and bouncy number that you can also lose yourself in.  In short, it's the perfect introduction to this album, one that had me picking up my jaw from the floor and wondering if the rest of the album will be this good.....

02 - The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air

"The Lonely Crowd Fades In The Air" continues the fine work of "Mary Winter", with a slower tone and pace to the music, but with the same level of impact and that amazing infectious noise.  This one sounds more like the shoegazing songs I heard in my youth, but with a dose of Dinosaur Jr. in the mix.  It'll be a crowd pleaser when played live, it just feels like a song that should be heard in the live environment.

03 - Future Ruins

"Future Ruins" feels epic, long and as relentlessly slow as the march of time towards the end of all things.  To measure the passing of time, you have to look at Ice Age charts.  But this is not to say it's not enjoyable.  Far from it, "Future Ruins" is one of those songs that you can absorb you, set your mind drifting with the music and returning at the other side refreshed.  I'm not gonna lie, "Future Ruins" is not a track that will tickle everyone's fancy, but I think if you're a fan of this genre, you'll love it.

04 - Theeascending

"Theeascending" continues the slow, hypnotic path that was started on "Future Ruins".  Peppered with psychedelic guitars, rolling drums and long instrumental passages, "Theeascending" is a song that will have a few people struggling, but will have the faithful rejoicing.  It's an enjoyable track, but one that I would say is very much for the converted.

05 - Drone Lover

Let's be honest, "Drone Lover" might drone a little, but it's no Sunn 0))))! But enough of the sarcasm here.  This is a traditional Powerpop/Shoegazing/UK 90's drone song. It might sound retro, but as Swervedriver are one of the pioneers of this sound, you have to give them some slack.  Either way, it's a glorious piece of music, one that makes the sunshine in my heart.

06 - Spiked Flower

"Spiked Flower" is a turning point for me on this album, they seem to go from Shoegaze to Post-Grunge in one song and it feels like this has been bubbling under the surface for this album.  "Spiked Flower" is a song about rejection, disenchantment and the lack of communication in the world.  I love this song, the simplistic nature of the song, the innocence and the joy to the music, a direct contrast to the disenchantment of the lyrics.  Each time I play it, I want to jump around like a young kid again.

07 - Everybody's Going Somewhere & No-One's Going Anywhere

So how do Swervedriver follow "Spiked Flower"?  They drift to a desert and drop the atmospheric "Everybody's Going Somewhere & No-one's Going Anywhere".  If I was to try to describe it to someone without referencing any other band, it would be an impossible task.  But I will say this, whatever they used to create this song, I think they got their moneys worth.

08 - Golden Remedy

"Golden Remedy" is probably the first track that doesn't seem to match, diversify or better the track beforehand.  It's a decent little droning number, there is a sweet guitar line in the middle of it, but "Golden Remedy" just seems to drift with no real focus.  It's a good number, but when compared to the first seven, it doesn't match the standard of what has gone beforehand.

09 - Good Times Are So Hard To Follow

Penultimate track "Good Times Are So Hard To Follow" brings everything back on track for me.  The sonic psychedelic noise is wonderful, the Post-Grunge vibe mixed with the shoegazing tone just melt my mind each time.  Whilst this album is approaching the end, it's great to hear another song that just hits all the right buttons for me.

10 - Radio-Silent

Now, this is how to end a Shoegazing record!  With a long, droning and hypnotic track that last a lifetime and feels like the sun is setting slowly in the distance!  "Radio-Silent" is a beautiful way to end an album, because you don't want it to end, you want it to continue until the very last second.  Each repeat of the simple chord sequence, each clash feels like a repreive from the final moment, the last note, until the inevitible ending.  I love this song, it speaks to my youth and to me now, what a way to end this record.

Why have I not got my arse into gear and listened to Swervedriver before?!?!?  Seriously, the shoegazing, the sound like an English version of Dinosaur Jr., the beautiful music that sounds like summer in wintertime.  Everything about Future Ruins is amazing, as far as I'm concerned, Swervedriver have delivered the first classic album of 2019.  There is a real mix bag of sounds on this record.  Some of the songs have a Post Grunge feeling to them as well, some have the classic shoegazer feeling, but all of them are glorious.  Even when a track feels a little ropey, it's only compared to the high standard that Swervedriver have set themselves on this record.  Future Ruins is a stunning album, one that I love so much already.  2019 - you've been put on notice!  Now, to the back-catalogue......

10 out of ten - This is proof there is a Deity

Top track - Spiked Flower

You can purchase Future Ruins from Amazon here.

You can visit the Swervedriver website here.

You can follow the activities of Swervedriver on Facebook here.

You can stream Future Ruins on Spotify here.

You can stream Future Ruins on Deezer here. 

You can stream Future Ruins on Tidal here. 

Baby Scream - Things You Can't Say to Strangers EP

If you've followed ATTIWLTMOWOS over the years (I can actually type that now without it sounding sarcastic), you might be familiar with the work of Juan Pablo Mazzola (aka Baby Scream).  For those of you who are not familiar with his work, a brief history lesson. Back in 2016, I received an email asking if I would review his album Fan Fan Fan.  It was a little Powerpop joyful explosion, with more hooks and swearing that an average Beatles album.  I also reviewed the follow-up, Life's A Trap (you can read both of them at this link here). Things You Can't Say to Strangers is an EP of five songs, which was recently released.  Not gonna lie, sort of disappointed to find out via a Spotify notification (don't worry Juan, still think the world of you - E).  However, I'll just have to make sure my other notification services for this band are up to scratch and get on with the review.

01 - Aching Life

"Aching Life" is a slow and hypnotic song about the cult of personality, the addiction that people feel towards following people and how this can be an unhealthy addiction.  There is also a sense of detachment with the world, looking at the disengagement of reality at times.  "Aching Life" has an early Bowie influence to the music, with a lot of swearing as well.  The passionate delivery of the word "fuck" is beautifully captured here, you need to hear it, it's so raw.  I like it, but the only thing I would say is that it's a little too short and stops as the song is hitting its stride.

02 - Fake It Till You Make It

"Fake It Till You Make It" is a punchy number, with a strong guitar and bass line that forms the bases of this number.  Like cult Indie Rock act Rialto, on "Fake It Till You Make It", Baby Scream have a tale to tell.  They've made a song that is about being one person in the real world, yet having a darker side in private.  I like this song a lot, it's catchy with a brilliant chorus with some biting barbs to delve into at your leisure.

03 - Roundabouts

"Roundabouts" is a slow, calming and beautiful piece of Power Pop, with a retro-vibe to the sound, but a modern production polish to bring it up to date.  With a gentle organ, classic guitar work and minimal percussion in the background, "Roundabouts" is a great song.  It reminds me a bit of "Wish You Were Beer" from Life's A Trap, which is not a bad thing at all.

04 - Live While You Can

"Live While You Can" is a song that feels like a demand for retribution from the creator of worlds.  You can hear the anger in the vocals on this one, as if talking to a Saint isn't enough.  But there is also a hint that love is a probable answer as well.  It starts off with an acoustic guitar, then the song slowly picks up speed and instruments as it goes along.  By the end, it's almost stomping on the listener, with a hint of noise as well (when you look at it as a pure Power Pop number).  I love "Live While You Can", it covers all the bases for Baby Scream, it's also a show stealer in my mind.

05 - Somebody Kill Me Now

Ending Things You Can't Say to Strangers is "Somebody Kill Me Now", a song about wanting to escape this mortal coil. It has an honest pleading to the words, as if the lack of answers has finally taken its toil.  "Somebody Kill Me Now" is the loudest song of this EP, it has the biggest riff, a larger than life persona and a great hook.  Which leads me to ask why it was on the end?  For me, it could have opened this EP, but that is my own thoughts and not a slight on the quality of the music.  Because when all is said and done, "Somebody Kill Me Now" is a brilliant song.

So, apart from the possible track ordering, what is the end result for Things You Can't Say to Strangers EP?  Well, it's another great release from the Argentinian act. When it comes to Powerpop in its purest form, I cannot think of any band who've got their finger on the pulse as much as Baby Scream.  Granted, it might have some cardigan wearing people up in arms with the level of swearing, but that's life baby.  As noted, I would have probably considered a different track ordering, but it's not a big factor at the end of the day.  If you haven't already checked Baby Scream out before, do it now!

4.5 out of five - This is really good, well worth checking out.

Top track - Live While You Can

You can purchase Things You Can't Say to Strangers on the Baby Scream Bandcamp page here.

You can purchase Things You Can't Say to Strangers on Amazon here.

You can visit the Baby Scream site (through Blogger) on this link here.

You can follow the activities of Baby Scream on Facebook here.

You can stream Things You Can't Say to Strangers on Spotify here.

You can stream Things You Can't Say to Strangers on Deezer here.

You can stream Things You Can't Say to Strangers on Tidal here.

15 January 2019

Great Grief - Love, Lust & Greed

Great Grief are an Alternative/Hardcore band from Reykjavík, Iceland.  Formed in 2013, they have played all over the USA, Canada and their home country as well.  They've recently signed to No Sleep Records (home of Wonder Years, La Dispute and Touché Amor) with Love, Lust & Greed being the first fruit of this union.  I heard the lead single from this album "Ivory (Lie)" whilst searching for songs for my radio show, much like Valleyheart, I was immediately intrigued by them.  Love, Lust & Greed was released on 7th December 2018, so it missed the cut for last years best of, but can it make the list for 2019?

01 - Fluoxetine: Burden Me

Wham, bam, and it's straight out of the blocks for Great Grief with "Love, Lust & Greed".  There is an explosive nature to this song, one which seems like a distant cousin to some songs from Converge.  There is nothing sophisticated about this, like a boot to the head, you gonna notice "Fluoxetine: Burden Me".  It's a brutal opening, with a quiet lull in the middle, just to make you feel at ease....before hitting you once again.

02 - Feeling Fine

"Feeling Fine" is another short, sharp number, but with a less-aggressive tone to the guitars.  Much like Minor Threat and Fugazi, there is a power behind the music and shouting, but it's not just brutality for brutalities sake.  I like "Feeling Fine" a lot, it's a unique mix of noise and structure, which is a hard act to pull off.

03 - Troubled Canvas

"Troubled Canvas" sticks closely to the sound developed on "Feeling Fine", with a melodic tone to the guitars and a harsh delivery to the vocals.  You can feel the mosh pit forming already in your mind, this is not a song which you would want to stay still to.  The more I listen to it, to deeper the groove becomes in my head, all brought about by the merciless pounding of Great Grief.

04 - Escaping Reykjavik

Now that was not expected, but I guess it should have been.  The beginning of "Escaping Reykjavik" has what can only be described as a Darkthrone beginning.  It's Black Metal, but without being Black Metal.  It's just an intense and relentless attack, one which doesn't relent or cave in.  You can tell that they're part of Scandinavian Nations, just for that Northern Metal sound to the drums on this one.  What fucking song!

05 - Pathetic

At the beginning of this song, I was scared that Great Grief where going to drop the ball, with a slower song a little too early on this album.  Instead, they just kick me in the head with another aggressive number that starts slowly, but then explodes into life!  I'm digging the traditional Hardcore vibe to this band, one that they mix wonderfully with the modern "noise" sound that is slowly coming back into fashion (more on that later).  What is there not to like here?  It's a great song, one which sounds like it would rather fight you than find out who you are.

06 - Inhale the Smoke

"Inhale the Smoke" is the first song on the album to step away from the amplifier honour path, for the most part, it succeeds in creating a different aspect for Great Grief.  This song has a long piano intro and then a slow and aggressive ending.  And you have to admit that it fits perfectly on Love, Lust and Greed, it also offers a bit of variety to the album.  Whilst not my favourite, it's nice to see some variation to their sound.

07 - The Nihilist Digest

....and it's back on the good foot with "The Nihilist Digest".  More noise, more attack and further aggression from this Icelandic outfit.  This song is full of swearing, loud bass, crashing drums and loud guitars.  As an old school Metal/Punk/Hardcore/Alternative kid, I cannot help but smile whilst listening to this song.  It's a throwback, but with a modern take.  I love that a song such as "The Nihilist Digest" has been created and released in a time when bands with guitars are supposed to be on the decline.  I think Great Grief missed that memo or told the sender to fuck off.

08 - Ivory (Lie)

"Ivory (Lie)" was the first song I heard on this album whilst looking for songs for my radio show, it stuck out from the list I'd been sent by a country mile in the middle of December.  At that point, it was mostly Christmas songs, "Ivory (Lie)" is as far from a Christmas song as you can get without turning into Sunn 0))))).  After a brief drop of feedback, you launched into a sea of noise, swimming against riff after thunderous riff.  It might sound cliched, but the first song you hear is sometimes the best.  This is the case with "Ivory (Lie)" for me.  It captures Great Grief at their best, which is something glorious and noisy at the same time.

09 - God Sent

As subtle as a Presidental debate in America at the moment, "God Sent" is a close third (I'll explain later) in my ranking of songs on Love, Lust and Greed.  It just oozes confidence, this is not the sort of song you can do without that belief in your own sound.  There are no apologies here, no remorse, just a fuck you to the world and everyone who gets in their way.  "God Sent" does not deal in grey areas, there is only those who get it and those who don't.  I'm finding myself falling under their spell more and more with each spin of the record.

10 - Roots (Love, Lust and Greed)

And the reason "God Sent" was this is "Roots (Love, Lust and Greed)".  Pure and simple, it's a hair's breadth away from taking the top track of the album.  I can see why they took the album's title from this track.  You don't get attacked so much as annihilated, you are stamped into the bitter distance and then some more for good measure.  There is nothing fancy or flashy about this song, it's just an explosive and beautiful number. 

11 - Ludge

Alas, all things must come to an end and "Ludge" brings the curtains down on Love, Lust and Greed.  And what an ending we have here Ladies & Gentlemen.  You have a slow and meticulous song, one which attacks you with riff and riff, drum beat after drum beat and low slung bass with hits you in the chest.  There is positive aggression on this album, and "Ludge" is a great example on how you can achieve a sound that is both melodic and noisy at the same time.  It doesn't so much bring the curtain down, as tear it off the chain and set fire to the surroundings.   

Great Grief are in a unique and wonderful position.  At this present time, there are a few bands which are lazily being lumped together as "noise" rock, which is really another name for Hardcore/Alternative Punk.  You have Whores, Idles, Blacklister, The Armed, Tounge Party and now you can add Great Grief to that list of names.  Whilst all of these acts have a similar sonic attack, each one brings something different to the part.  Great Grief bring a new groove to this group of bands, something that is both melodic, noisy and harsh as walk over broken glass.  I love this album, it genuinely brings a smile to my face for all the wrong/right reasons (delete as applicable).  I think there is more to come from Great Grief, hence why I've marked it as shown below.  But that doesn't mean this is not a great album, if it had have been released a week earlier, it would have been in the top ten of 2018.  As it stands, it's the first album to book it's a ticket to the end of year list for 2019.  I hope that people check it out if you like any of the bands listed at the beginning of this paragraph, I know it'll hit that sweet noise spot!

9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost.....

Top track -Ivory (Lie)

You can purchase Love, Lust & Grief on Bandcamp here.

You can follow the activities of Great Grief on Facebook here.

You can stream Love, Lust and Greed on Spotify here.

You can stream Love, Lust & Greed on Deezer here.

At the time of writing, Love, Lust & Greed was not available on Tidal

14 January 2019

Valleyheart - Everyone I've Ever Loved

Valleyheart are a band who first came to my attention through a cover.  Last year, whilst looking for songs for my radio show, I found their cover of "Fourth of July", originally by Sufjan Stevens.   For me, their version of "Fourth of July" did what I always want a cover to do.  It feels different to the original, giving the song another dramatic facet which was the equal of the original.  But what about Valleyheart?  Well, not much to be honest.  They hail from Salem, Massachusetts, USA, they were formed in 2016 and Everyone I've Ever Loved was released on 14th December 2018.  After that, everything else about them, so I will instead focus on the album, how does it sound?

01 - Heaven & Hell

Opening track "Heaven & Hell" sets the scene for Everyone I've Ever Loved here, with a song about self-doubt and the desire to grow.  Their sound is massive (in terms of their chosen genre), it might start off gentle, but it builds slowly and surely towards a spectacular ending.  With"Heaven & Hell", Valleyheart start Everyone I've Ever Loved with a bang.  It's an attention-grabbing song, you're going to take notice of them straight away,

02 - Friends in the Foyer

The past can be a dangerous place for some people, sometimes the ghosts are just a whisper away.  "Friends in the Foyer" seems to be dealing with the implication of lost friendship, either by misadventure or beyond the veil.  Much like "Heaven & Hell", there is an epic feeling to this song, not that this is the most important song ever, but it's damn close.  I love this song, it's not one I could listen to that often, but in a good way.

03 - Crave

"Crave" once again brings the feelings, with a song that deals in the awkwardness of situations, hunger and routine.  It looks at coping mechanisms and a plea for forgiveness.  It's a perfect track three for this album, "Crave" still has a large level of intensity, but it's regained in compared to "Heaven & Hell" and "Friends in the Foyer".  It was the first song I heard off this album and it fills its place perfectly.

04 - Agnosia

"Agnosia" feels like an apology of sorts, which it turns out to be.  Apologising for letting go of a loved one, "Agnosia" is another melodic song with an Emo edge that would not have been out of place in the early days of the genre.  It's another good song, but a pattern is beginning to form with quiet verses and loud choruses.  I like it, just wondering if there will be a change at some point.

05 - Maryland

"Maryland" is a song which slays me, but because I have a feeling it might have been added for a different purpose than what it was given.  For one thing, whilst there is a noticeable increase in volume between the chorus and verse again, it's nowhere near as pronounced as it was on the first four tracks of Everyone I've Ever Loved.  Valleyheart look back on their past once again, watching their memories fade into nought, but the past has a way of grabbing your attention when you least expect it.  "Maryland" is one of my favourite songs on this album, it just feels massive without trying to be.

06 - Dissolve

"Dissolve" keeps up the good work on the album, but it's around this point that everything is starting to merge into one.  We're six songs in and there has been little to no deviation from the opening formula of each song.  It's a very good song, but I would have liked to have seen something different at this point.

07 - Drowned in Living Waters

Thankfully, there is some hope for this with "Drowned in Living Waters".  Whilst it's not that far away from the formula which is the background of Valleyheart, there is a noticeable difference to the little lull which was starting to develop.  It's another mid-paced, heartfelt anthem for the lost and disenchanted, trying to make sense of a world when everything is closing in.  But it's sung with such conviction and passion, that you can't help but fall under its charm.

08 - Your Name

Ah, the acoustic number!  I was wondering when this one would turn up, and Valleyheart have not placed it right on the end (thankfully).  "Your Name" is a beautiful song, a really charming and heartfelt number.  Thankfully it's not one that's by the numbers as well, which is always a danger for new bands.  But they show a level of maturity about them which you don't always see on a debut album.

09 - Intangible Dream

"Intangible Dream" is a song about longing, wish for a lover and promising to be different from everyone else they've ever met.  Using that mixture of light and dark once again, loud chorus and quiet verses which is the driving force of this song.  It's another one which could have easily gone wrong, but it turns out to be a charming number that gets stuck in your brain.  "Intangible Dream" is a sleeper hit on this album, one that creeps on you when you least expect it.

10 - Communion

"Communion" is the song which should have ended the album, if ever a track was screaming "ending track for all your concerts and mixtapes", it's "Communion".  This reflective and beautiful number just brings a lump to the throat, with that build dwarves a lot of this album (but in a good way).  I love "Communion", it sums up this album perfectly, I've been playing it for ages.

11 - Paradisum

"Paradisum" is a good song, a gentle piano ending with a vocal effect to bring the listener back down to earth.  But it's the wrong song to end this album on, it's a coda, an add-on when the album should have ended with "Communion" to be honest.  As I said, it's a good song, but maybe "Paradisum" should have been a secret track, that old-school device that makes old Punk and Alt. Rockers shiver in anticipation. 

Valleyheart have a unique sound in 2018/19, they've challenged the sound of The Ataris, Biffy Clyro, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Brand New (might not be popular, but they share a guitar tone), Counting Crows, Jonah Matranga and Sufjan Stevens.  I'm not saying that these bands and artists are influences, but I'm catching sounds of each of them in the sound of Everyone I've Ever Loved.  Yes, there are a few moments when a change of pace might have been effective, a little deviation from your original sound is never a bad thing.  But that will come naturally in time for Valleyheart, after all, this is the debut record. More importantly, Valleyheart have all these sounds as well as something else. They've their own take on what heartfelt Alternative Rock/Emo should sound like in the modern age.  This album is for the lonely, but without being an album that makes them sound like martyrs to their own pain. This new take on Alternative Rock/Emo seems to be returning to earlier roots of Emotional Rock, pain before fashion, love before profit and music before becoming an icon.  I applaud Valleyheart for this, but maybe a few stripped back songs next time?

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track - Communion

You can purchase Everyone I've Ever Loved on Amazon here.

You can purchase Everyone I've Ever Loved on the Valleyheart Bandcamp page here.

You can follow the activities of Valleyheart on Facebook here.

You can stream Everyone I've Ever Loved on Spotify here.

You can stream Everyone I've Ever Loved on Deezer here.

You can stream Everyone I've Ever Loved on Tidal here.

13 January 2019

We Are Aran Glover Tribute - Cluny 2, Newcastle 12th January 2019

On the 12 of January, at the Cluny 2 in Newcastle upon Tyne, a gig was held in memory of Aran Glover, the frontman of We Are Knuckle Dragger who sadly took his own life last year.  Aran was a Giant in the North-East music scene, the stories (both good, great and cheeky) are soon to become the tales of myth and legend.  We Are Knuckle Dragger is one of my favourite bands and their album The Drone was my album of the year in 2013, I've ended up purchasing this record on CD, Vinyl and digital, each version receiving a regular airing.  Whilst I only chatted to Aran a couple of times, he was always welcoming and charming to a fault.

Last night at the Cluny 2, you could feel the love for Aran from the moment you arrived at the venue.  Each act who was on stage last night had a different sound, but each act was influenced by Aran and wanted to tip their hats one last time.  Opening act Richard McMahon started the show with a beautiful acoustic set, playing songs that could only have been created in the North-East of England.  Next up came Waheela, bringing the biggest contrast in styles that you could have imagined.  If you've followed this blog, you know my love for Waheela and tonight, they brought their "A" game and broke a few eardrums.  Dunes played a storming set, bring their own brand of Desert Rock and dug a groove.  Finally, the legend that is Dragnet grace the stage one more time, bringing their Grunge/Alternative Rock noise back for one night. 

Each act brought a smile to the face, played to the best of their abilities and pay tribute to their fallen brother in arms.  Music between the sets was provided by Steve Jones, who used to DJ at Get Ya Skates On, a Tuesday night at a local Uni which was the place to be at back in the day.  But the star of the show was in the middle of the stage all night, which was Aran's guitar.  It kept falling over, which was a brilliant tribute in its own right.  Aran used to throw it around the stage anyway, smashing it to the ground and subjecting everyone to glorious feedback.  The fact it was doing it on its own accord is the best tribute in my mind.  Whilst Aran is sadly no longer with us, his legend will continue to grow.  Rest in peace Aran, may you live in the hall of your fathers in peace.

All proceeds from last night's show are going to If You Care, Share (link here).  A charity which helps families who have lost loved ones to suicide, or people who feel suicidal and assists them to receive support and help them get the support that they need.  On the link above, you can visit their website and make any donation or see how you can help the charity.

Here is a link to If You Care, Share.

Aran's Guitar
This was the crowd about halfway through the night, it was rammed by the end of it.

From top Left clockwise - Richard McMahon, Waheela, Dragnet, Dunes

2 January 2019

Palisades - Erase the Pain

Palisades are a Post Hardcore/Electronicore five-piece, hailing from Iselin, New Jersey, USA.  Formed in 2011, Erase the Pain is their fourth album, following up from the 2017 self-titled studio record.  Over the years, they've toured with the likes of Capture the Crown, Famous Last Words, Of Mice & Men and many more.  In recent months, they've been coming to my attention via radio promos I've been sent, so I've been interested in this release.  Now, let's be honest here; apart from owning a copy of their last album, my knowledge of everything about Palisades has been harvested from Wikipedia.  However, that doesn't mean I've not been curious about Palisades and Erase the Pain.  The mash-up of Post Hardcore with Electronica sounds is an interesting prospect, so the only way to find out what you think is to listen to it.  So, here are my thoughts on Erase the Pain.

01 - Vendetta

After a short Electronic introduction, "Vendetta" is a song about self-doubt and revenge.  With themes that are familiar in all genres of Metal, you sort of get a feeling for Palisades from the beginning of Erase the Pain.  As introduction tracks, "Vendetta" is a loud and punchy affair.  Palisades grab your attention straight away, with a song that feels familiar and new at the same time.

02 - Erase the Pain

The title track of Erase the Pain is another song about wishing to be forgotten, trying to remember what it's like to not be numb and wanting some emotional baggage to fuck off.  The tempo drops a little with the start of the song, but it soon picks up with the chorus.  Energy-wise though, having this track as the second song on the album is not the best idea.  It takes something away from the album, diluting the fluidity too early.  However, "Erase the Pain" is a decent song, but I would have saved it for later on if I was in charge of the track sequence.

03 - Fade

"Fade" follows "Erase the Pain" and you feel a sense of
déjà vu.  Once again, we have a song about trying to figure out a way forward, about trying to move on.  The narrative of looking at yourself, assessing what has happened, whilst wondering how to move on from a state of emotional shock.  "Fade" is one of many slow numbers on Erase the Pain, one that hits all the Pop/Hardcore moment that have been the hallmarks of mainstream Metal channels over the last few years.  But whilst saying that, I'm aware that some people will have their mind made up about "Fade" and Palisades as well.  However, I would recommend giving "Fade" a chance, as Palisades have created an interesting song here, one that is infectious and beautiful.

04 - War

"War" is quite easily the standout track of Erase the Pain, with a massive riff throughout the song, strong lyrics and so many hooks that you could use it to go fishing.  This was the first track to be released from this album, and you can see why.  "War" left the biggest impression on me once the album had finished, you can feel the passion behind the band, this is them at their best and it shows.

05 - Run Away

"Run Away" returns to the idea of trying to deal with one's issues, to face them head on, but not having the courage to do it alone.  With the level of self-doubt shown on "Run Away", you get the feeling that the damage inflicted in this relationship was substantial.  Musically, "Run Away" feels as if it's been done before, done better and a little bit of a letdown.  After "War", they probably wanted to chill down the album, but I think they've done too good a job if that was their aim.

06 - Ghost

Now "Ghost" has a very interesting opening, a larger than life Metal riff that wouldn't be out of place on a Papa Roach album.  Then it gives way to a rather average little number sadly.  "Ghost" is a track which feels that the studio is not its natural environment.  You get the idea that it could be a definite crowd pleaser, but the drop from the opening into the first verse is too steep. It saps that small build up too much for my tastes.  I'm not saying that "Ghost" is a bad track per se, I've certainly heard a load worse.  But I've also heard a hell of a lot too.

07 - Fragile Bones

"Fragile Bones" returns to some familiar traits for Erase the Pain, with a tale of self-doubt, blame and added accusations of blame.  Musically, "Fragile Bones" is one of the strongest songs on Erase the Pain, as the band on full attack mode.  Lyrically though, I feel that Palisades have written stronger songs than this.  I understand there is a lot self-loathing on this album, but blaming others for issues in your own head has never been something that just doesn't sit well with me, so this is a track I would skip in the future.

08 - Push

"Push" follows that familiar pattern of Erase the Pain; self-doubt, asking for help, feeling stuck in a hole and craving escape.  Musically, Palisades sound very strong on "Push", with a great crunching sound to the guitars and massive drums.  And whilst I realise how it can be important to an isolated person to have a band or song that they can identify at a time of crisis, I also wonder what is Palisades endgame here?  Is there a way that they can point people in the right direction for help (and not in the form of medication)?  Just a thought here people; anyway, "Push" sounds as if it would be a massive hit live, but I'm not digging the lyrical content once again.

09 - Patient

Ah, we've reached the penultimate track with "Patient", which seems to be slightly different to 90% of Erase the Pain.  You have the usual self-loathing, but this time they are questioning the cause of their pain, asking the person behind the pain why they're causing so much pain in their life.  They are wanting to show them the pain that is being caused, trying to get them to stop and spare them any further pain.  By doing this, "Patient" stands out with "War" as one of the better tracks on Erase the Pain.  It's another song I would like to see played live, as it has a great progression throughout.

10 - Shed My Skin

"Shed My Skin" does something I was not expecting for this album, it ends Erase the Pain with a bang.  I was expecting a piano drive song the way the album, what I found was a song about trying to escape oneself.  "Shed My Skin" is another heavy number and it keeps the listener engaged.  The more I hear it, the more I want to press repeat.  If it was not for "War", "Shedding My Skin" would have been the top track on Erase the Pain.  I was pleasantly surprised here, I doth my cap to Palisades for this song, which brings the curtain down on Erase the Pain with a bang.

Overall, Erase the Pain is a good, solid fourth release from Palisades, who reminds me a lot of a few bands.  I'm hearing American Head Charge, I'm hearing Kill Hannah, there is a bit of Deftones, some Incubus, a little bit of Bloodsimple, as well as early Linkin Park and Papa Roach in their sound.  The Linkin Park comparison is the easiest to make with Palisades, but they have a lot more about them (no disrespect to LP there).  I would place their sound at the poppier end of Hardcore, or it might be the best representation of their chosen genre.  Erase the Pain doesn't outstay its welcome and Palisades can be proud of it. However, I think it's fair to say that this mightn't be a record I reach for again.  Not because it's a poor record though, I would never accuse Erase the Pain of being a dud.  I just can't say that it's the most original record I ever heard, or that it would have made my end of year list for 2018.  But equally, I can say that I found myself bored or disengaged by their sound either.  For me, Erase the Pain is a record that ended up not being my type of thing, this is how it turns out sometime.  However, I've got a feeling that some of these songs will thrive in the live arena. So, if Palisades ever come my way, I'd definitely go and see their show. As for Erase the Pain, file under not quite my thing, but well played none the less.

6.5 out of ten - Now, I see where you were going, but it's not quite there

Top track - War

You can purchase Erase the Pain on Amazon here.

You can visit the Palisades website here.

You can follow the activities of Palisades on Facebook here.

You can stream Erase the Pain on Spotify here.

You can stream Erase the Pain on Deezer here.

You can stream Erase the Pain on Tidal here.

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