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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Album Review - Skeleton Kid - It's A Funeral, Not A Fashion Statement

I've had the pleasure of meeting Skeleton Kid on a couple of occasions, and I have to say, they're a genuinely great bunch of guys! September 22nd sees the release of their debut album, It's A Funeral Not a Fashion Statement, (in case you hadn't seen the image above, lol). Fans would argue it's been a long time coming, but believe me, it is well worth the wait, as this is a fantastic album!!

Coming in at 9 tracks and playing for just over half an hour, my only issue is its not long enough, lol!! We start things off with Goodbye. Now traditionally, the opening track of an album should set the stall for what to expect for the remainder, and Goodbye is no exception, it's an instant classic. With Timmy C and Frankie G sharing vocal duties, as they do throughout most of the album, the smoother tone of Timmy's voice making way for a Frankie's screaming chorus. But that's not the whole story! There's a neat little twist to the end of the track, and it finishes it off beautifully. On that note, I'll say no more, you'll just have to listen. You Army, has a more metal feel to the intro, but the punk influences crash right back in with Timmy and Frankie's vocals, and the song almost becomes a vocal fight between the two of them, but it's another cracking track. Going Nowhere Fast is another mix of metal/punk that keeps the pace frantic and the mood angry, the recent single Memories has had somewhat of a facelift for obvious reasons, as when it was recorded Skeleton Kid were a 4 piece. Since then, there have been personnel changes, and they have dropped to a 3 piece, losing the second guitarist and installing Josh D behind the drums. It will be obvious to fans the difference that these changes have made to not just the sound of SK, but to the whole dynamic. For what it's worth, the facelift/remixing to Memories, have made it an even better track :)

We Stand Tall, sees Frankie take the lead in the vocals. It has the kind of anthemic chorus, that in a local venue filled with adoring fans would have the whole place bouncing and shouting along. It also allows Frankie to show off his guitar skills with a cool little solo. Theres a brief respite in pace with Bones Beyond, but no respite in intensity, with almost another power struggle in the vocal department. Miles From Home, in my opinion, is the stand out track on the album. It has an almost Queenlike feel to the guitar work from Frankie, and there's a cracking solo in the mix too. The track is quite a departure from the normal punk/metal theme of the rest of the album. There's an awesome drums only chorus that sounds like a group of mates sat singing in a pub, it's just a great track and should seriously be considered for release as a single. Save Us Now (The End) takes us back to the punk roots, and theres a glimpse of some eighties influenced electronica in there too. Tear It Down, brings the album to a close, and is a menacing mixture mix of rock/punk/metal with a bit of deathcore screamo vocals thrown in for good measure. Again, Frankie shows off his guitar skills with another great solo.

It's A Funeral Not A Fashion Statement, is a great mix of different styles, with punk/metal/gothic/rock/glam all having a say somewhere along the line. The nine tracks are all release quality, with nothing in the way of fillers in sight. Fans are simply gonna love it, and I'm pretty certain it will also help the guys raise a whole new army of support.

Full Track list:
1 Goodbye
2 You Army
3 Going Nowhere Fast
4 Memories
5 We Stand Tall
6 Bones Beyond
7 Miles From Home
8 Save Us Now (The End)
9 Tear It Down

Album Review - Pain! - Waking The Dead

US dark punk rockers Pain! Have had a remarkable 2013. Besides multiple festival appearances, they have appearances with the likes of Saliva, and an opening slot for Black Veil Brides still to come.
For the Pain! Uneducated amongst us, the guys take a fusion of metal, horror punk, rock, and rockabilly, blast it out as loud as your ears can take it. They are well known in the States for high octane live performances, and are signed in the UK to horror/goth indie label Arkham Records (formerly Freaky Pug Records).
Their latest release, Waking The Dead, is a great introduction for UK fans who haven't heard any of their previous material. What you get is 11 tracks that combine rockabilly beats and instrumentals, powerful rock/metal vocals, and lyrics with a horror feel to them, with themes such as Dr Frankenstein in the album opener, through to werewolves, vampires, and other spooky offerings. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

EP Review - Diamond Lil - Misfits of Society

If you live in Birmingham, and haven't at least seen the name Diamond Lil on a line up, poster, etc, then it's obviously Birmingham, Alabama you live in. The West Midlands rockers are more than familiar with the local scene. And with their debut EP Misfits of Society, it's not difficult to see why.
Until recently I'd not had chance to listen to it, but by god!! I've made up for it in the few weeks I've been able to. It's 5 tracks of dirty riffs, great guitar solo's, and a vocal performance from Ellis Wilde that leaves a lot of his more experienced contemporaries in the shade.

 We kick off with 'Bottom of a Glass', and a cracking little riff to get us going. Straight away, you're given an idea of the power and potential that Ellis has in is voice, with some softer vocals, but some real kickass power in the chorus. there's an awesome guitar solo half way through too, so all, it's a great start!
Track 2 has quite possibly the best song title ever, Sex Injuries, it's another cracking track, great power vocals, and more great guitars. The title track, Misfits of Society, is next, and despite the up beat nature of the track, the message it conveys is a serious one. It tells us that being different is cool, it's ok not to conform. Beautiful Nowhere is next, and it's possibly the stand out track, if there is such a thing amongst 6 amazing tracks. It's a ballad-esque track with a great smoother approach to the vocals from Ellis, but still some awesome guitar work surrounding the soft vocals. Reach is just the sort of track that, at a live show would get the crowd jumpin!! Soaring vocals, guitar solos that blow your mind, and a chorus that would get any arena pumping their fists. The EP comes to a close with Barrymore (I Want More), a great little number with a mix of soft and power vocals, pounding drums, yet more intricate guitar solos, and it's a very fitting close to what is a superb piece of work.
I was actually surprised at the quality of the EP, that's not meant in any way disrespectfully, I just didn't know what to expect, and was blown away with what I heard. It's more than worth having a listen, and you can snag yourself one from any of their gigs. They just so happen to be headlining for BritRockArmy at Scruffy Murphys on Friday October 18th!!

Full Track list
1 Bottom of a Glass
2 Sex Injuries
3 Misfits of Society
4 Reach
5 Barrymore (I Want More)

Diamond Lil are
Ellis Wilde - Vocals / Acoustic Guitar
Harry Colley - Lead Guitar
Jamie Downes - Bass
Austin Miller - Drums

Album Review - Promethium - Origins

Fans of Lancaster based hard rockers Promethium, myself included, have had to wait nearly 2 years for a second album. Well, the wait is nearly over, as October 7th will see the release of the eagerly anticipated Origins.
 After the success of their first album, Welcome to The Institution, one of my favourite independent albums, vocalist Gaz and the boys have gone back to their roots, their 'origins' if you like. The result is 10 tracks of hard hitting, smash mouth rock, with more than just a splash of metal. An album that musically sounds very different to WtTI, but still has that unmistakable Promethium sound, thanks largely to Gaz emotive vocal style. He once again manages to convey the sentiment in every song through his vocals.
The album kicks off with the cracking Won't Break Me, with a great riff and drum intro. It then breaks into frantic vocal that straight away shows the power in Gaz's voice. The driving drums and bass almost force you to nod your head in time to the song. We are also treated to a great solo from Dan, before the track is over almost as abruptly as it began.
Now if you follow the band on Twitter or Facebook, you will have seen the link to the teaser track, Gunslinger, well, this is track 2 on the album, and the relentlessness continues. Although a slower pace, the power of Gunslinger is still there in spades. The Art of Hurting and Counterfeit bring the noise in equal measure, both featuring a pounding drum and bassline, a more growling, snarling vocal from Gaz, and more great riffs and guitar work from Dan and Rossi. the next track, Rain, shows another side to Promethium, and proves that they don't always have to smack you round the face to produce kickass music. Although, to describe it as a ballad would be doing it a disservice. It's one of the stand out tracks on the album, the verses show a much smoother side to Gaz's vocals, but when the chorus kicks in, we're soon reminded that Promethium are firmly fixed in the metal bracket. The guitar work and solo again, are outstanding.
Normal service resumes with The Hunted, an out and out metal track with crashing drums, driving guitars and growling chorus. Plagued by Evil and Revolver carry on in the same vein, and Believer, with its dark religious undertones, is sure to be a crowd favourite at live events. The final track on the album is the title track, Origins. This is a complete break from the rest of the album, it's an amazing acoustic track, that you almost expect at some point to break into more metal awesomeness, but it is simply a great, sedate close to an incredible album.
What Promethium have done with Origins is nothing short of amazing. They've taken all the elements of Welcome.... and grown all of them into a giant metal monster of an album. There's simply no fillers, every one of the 10 tracks is superbly written, mixing and producing is top notch and the end result is awesome.

If you're a fan of metal, you need this album, when it's released on October 7th.

Full Track List:
1 Won't Break Me
2 Gunslinger
3 The Art of Hurting
4 Counterfeit
5 Rain
6 The Hunted
7 Plagued by Evil
8 Revolver
9 Believer
10 Origins

 Visions is taken from Promethium's first album, Welcome to The Institution.

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