Category: Recently Added

Shadecrown – ‘Riven’ (Inverse)

One of the perks of a music writer being able to delve through the influx of album releases to find their next aural pleasure is that you can scratch your itch for certain genres, and today Jonny B has got a real itch for some melodic death metal. This genre pairs the brutality of death metal with intricate melodies often resulting in some real passionate music which is exactly what he’s looking for in this release from Finnish metallers Shadecrown.

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The Flower Kings – ‘Waiting For Miracles’ (InsideOut Music)

A mere quarter of a century into this particular aspect of their career, The Flower Kings are back with ‘Waiting For Miracles’, something the entire planet seems it could do with at this juncture in time. Anyone with even a vague interest in the softer, more traditional end of prog rock should have heard of these guys, or at the minimum of founder Roine Stolt, who seems to have as many side projects as Mike Portnoy! The main question for a band of this calibre is how does the new release compare to their other material?

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Alter Bridge – ‘Walk The Sky’ (Napalm Records)

‘Walk The Sky’ is the sixth album by Alter Bridge. OnDavid O’Neill’s first listen, it didn’t have any of the grab you by the throat tracks of the previous five (‘Metallingus’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘All Hope Is Gon, ‘Cry of Achilles’ and ‘Poison In Your Veins’ all come to mind); but then on reading the bio, he discovered that it been written separately by Kennedy and Tremonti, so both had a different take on the songs before committing them to record for posterity.  However, repeated listens lead him to proclaim that this is a 14-track pearler from the AB camp, demonstrating the art and craft the protagonists have developed in their various guises over the past 15 years (really, has it been that long since ‘One Day Remains’?)

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Gender Roles/Floorboards/Scavengers – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach – 10 October 2019

This was David O’Neill’s first time in ‘Clwb’ as it’s known locally.  Brought by interest in the Cardiff-based openers Scavengers, he thought it might be an interesting evening.  Looking at the bios of the two bands unknown to him (Gender Roles and Floorboards) led him to listen to some of their tracks on Spotify on the way in the car.  Floorboards hail from Cheltenham and describe themselves as an emo/punk unit, while Gender Roles are an indie-punk three-piece from Brighton.  On listening to both bands tracks there was a fair bit to like, despite emo/punk/indie not being his thing. But, how would get on in the live environment? 

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Bloodshot Dawn/Rupturation/Becomes Astral – Belfast, The Speakeasy – 11 October 2019

The name of the venue for tonight’s feast of death metal may not have been a new one to me, but the setting certainly was. Until recently, The Speakeasy was located several hundred yards away on the first floor of the soon-to-be-demolished local Students’ Union building; however, although redevelopment plans for its former home seem to be temporarily on hold, the SU has found itself scattered to various corners of the Queen’s University campus, including what used to be a rather posh Japanese restaurant now stripped back and converted into a pop-up temporary venue…

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Mantra – ‘Medium’ (Finisterian Dead End)

Prog metal, as a genre, seems to offer far more room for experimentation and exploration than most other genres in the metal world. To the point where you can pretty much pick any two bands who fly the prog metal banner and have completely different experiences, but the one thing that tends to unify all of these bands is the complexity of the music. One band who has continually pushed the boundaries with their experimentation is the French quartet, Mantra, who have wowed fans with their ritualistic live shows and concept albums for the last ten years.

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Ethereal Kingdoms – ‘Hollow Mirror’ (Mighty Music)

Danish four-piece Ethereal Kingdoms offer a darker take on traditional symphonic metal. They have all the staples of the genre; beautiful vocals, classical flourishes and a sense of overblown theatricality, but there’s a nastiness to them you don’t normally find. Their debut album ‘Hollow Mirror’ clearly takes influences from the likes of Epica and Nightwish, but it comes with a more horror-inflected vibe and feels grimly oppressive.

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THVS/Alpha Twin/Fagash McCann – Belfast, Voodoo – 12 October 2019

Despite the band having been kicking around the Northern Ireland scene for a good few years, Monk only came across THVS and their self-styled “heavy pop” musical musings for the first time earlier this year, when they impressively managed to battle their way through to the final of the annual Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses contest. Obviously, the competition had its limitations for them, in that each set only lasted 20 minutes: so, tonight was a chance to catch the trio in all their headlining glory, as they marked the official release of their acerbic debut album, the appropriately titled ‘Fevers’…

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Merda Mundi – ‘Hatred’ (Malpermesita)

John B would like to start by painting a picture for you. He opens his latest email from ÜRHQ and sees that he has a new album that has been sent to him for review. He takes a look at the subject line and sees that it is a band that he has never heard of. Awesome! He loves to hear new bands he did not know about before. He keeps reading and sees that the album is called ‘Hatred’. Okay, so probably something pretty heavy. Sounds good to him. He opens the email and where there is usually a paragraph or two about the album to give you an idea about what to expect or some backstory about the making of the album this time there is just one sentence and all it said was, “four intense tracks, filled with the purest hate you’ll ever hear!” What on Earth has he gotten myself into?

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Birdeatsbaby – ‘The World Conspires’ (Dr Metal)

Sometimes, you just glance through the available albums and take a punt on a band you’ve never heard of before, based solely on their genre. Dark progressive rock? Sure, that sounds like my kind of thing. A glance at their social media, classical, gothic and metal are also included, so the interest of our resident DJ was definitely piqued. Put the album on and then…

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