BEAR – ‘///’ (Album Review)

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Belgian math-metallers BEAR have made a name for themselves as Europe’s answer to The Dillinger Escape Plan.

With Dillinger set to split before the end of the year, the race is on to crown the new kings of mathcore. BEAR have already proven themselves as worthy contenders, and /// carves that fact in stone.

BEAR’s list of influences runs longer than just one band Read more…

Posted on 18 March 2017

Uneven Structure – ‘La Partition’ (Album Review)

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Back in 2011, French progressive metallers Uneven Structure released Februus – a landmark album for the much-maligned genre, djent. Combining a wide range of influences from TesseracT to Karnivool and, of course, Meshuggah, Februus still stands the test of time six years later. Now Uneven Structure are back with La Partition, which marks another career milestone and is, frankly, fucking epic.

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La Partition is a real step up from Februus.

One of Uneven Structure’s main strengths is their ability to pace their music effectively. On La Partition, you won’t be subjected to a constant barrage of unrelenting brutality. Uneven Structure leave plenty of space, giving you room to breathe before the next heavy section hits.

Then, when Uneven Structure do decide to go for it, you’re in for a hell of a ride.

La Partition kicks off with Alkaline Throat and Brazen Tongue, which set out the framework of Uneven Structure’s new style. We’re talking choppy, fragmented grooves; angular, melodic lead lines; and screams like a fighter jet’s afterburners, as well as a hell of a lot of vocal and musical versatility.

Incube was a great choice of advance track – and it is extremely diverse – but if your appetite has been whetted by that track, there’s still more to come. Crystal Teeth was the first real highlight for me, with elastic basslines and riffs reminiscent of Tool and even Rage Against The Machine. Meanwhile, Succube and closing tracks Our Embrace and Your Scent see Uneven Structure really come into their own.

You can hear some familiar influences, but Succube‘s jazzy bass intro and creepy harmonies set it apart – and La Partition‘s closing tracks go completely over the top in the best way possible. Your Scent is especially monolithic and utterly overwhelming. It is beyond intense.

Every copy of this album should come with a free neck brace.

In terms of weak spots, there are a couple of brief interludes called Groomed And Resting and Greeted And Dining, which indicate an underlying storyline. They’re really weird and unsettling, but that’s obviously intentional. Funambule is one of the most intense tracks on La Partition – and again, the vocal versatility is amazing – but in comparison to its peers, it sounds a bit generic. Finally, ninth track The Bait picks up toward the end with a blizzard of notes and drum hits, but there’s a bit too much rhythmic friction, and it drags too much in places.

Overall, though, La Partition is an addictive and engaging album that doesn’t wear out its welcome.

92%

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Posted on 18 March 2017

Ghost Iris – ‘Blind World’ (Review)

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In any saturated genre, you need a band to pop up and stir the pot from time to time, or you risk facing the inevitable downward drag of too much unchallenged mediocrity. Since Ion Dissonance and Animals As Leaders put out Cast The First Stone and The Madness Of Many back in November, I’ve not heard a lot of exciting new tech-metal – but now that Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, I’ve wound up falling in love with an album you need to get on the moment it sees the light of day.

Ghost Iris’s Blind World drops via Long Branch Records on February 17, and it is so fucking full of some of the best riffs I’ve ever heard, I can barely even believe it. I’m deadly serious, serious-as-cancer serious, so I’ll even repeat that bold but easily backed up statement.

Some of the best riffs I’ve ever heard.

Ever Read more…

Posted on 08 February 2017

Lupe Fiasco – ‘Drogas Light’ (Review)

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Lupe Fiasco knows how to make an impact. The Chicago-based rapper scored a Grammy early on in his life as a solo MC with the single Daydreamin’, and has racked up no fewer than twelve Grammy nominations over the course of a career he temporarily cut short late last year amid accusations of anti-Semitism. Throw in speculation-soaked struggles with former label Atlantic Records and the announcement of a farewell trilogy of albums – of which Drogas Light is the first, to be followed by Drogas and Skulls – and you get the idea Read more…

Posted on 06 February 2017

Once Human – ‘Evolution’ [Review]

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Metal is all about questioning, challenging, and ultimately overcoming limits. Listeners tend to find themselves drawn into heavier and less orthodox territory as they become acclimatised to the styles they already know. Meanwhile, metal musicians today are forced to expand their horizons or risk stagnating, boring themselves and ultimately succumbing to some formulaic approach that might please traditionalists, but few others.

The title of Once Human’s sophomore album – Evolution – is well-chosen. It sums up Read more…

Posted on 02 February 2017

Acres – ‘In Sickness & Health’ [Review]

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Musicians often struggle to sum their art up in a handful of words – or, equally often, simply refuse to. It’s understandable, given that creative people naturally tend to be too close to and involved in their work to be able to stand back and take an outsider’s perspective. But on rare occasions, a band manage to hit the nail on the head with impressive concision.

Acres define their music as “sad songs for sad dudes,” and it is definitely Read more…

Posted on 01 February 2017

Ocean Grove – ‘The Rhapsody Tapes’ [Review]

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Just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a band by its name. When I first heard of Ocean Grove, I expected them to be a pop-punk outfit, a happy-go-lucky group of charming cheeky chaps writing songs about looking back nostalgically at teenage years full of good times, sunshine, girl problems, and probably either surfing or skating.

But, of course, expectations don’t always equal Read more…

Posted on 31 January 2017

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