Mike Shinoda – Post Traumatic

Today marks around 12 months since the passing of Chester Bennington, another all too frequent day that sends shockwaves rippling through the music community. In this instance, more so than most, the sadness and anguish weren’t contained to the metal or rock communities, but the music world more broadly. Yet, as difficult as his death has been for countless people the world over, few would have felt his loss to the extent that friend and bandmate Mike Shinoda has. Our words couldn’t possibly describe how he would have been feeling, for grief is such a personal emotion, and so we won’t even try. But we can touch upon the various motivations that may have been at play when deciding to write, record and release Post Traumatic, a 16-song LP released in June.

Stepping Stone: INXS’s Kick

Like many metalheads, I spent many a year condemning anything verging on pop as simplistic, saccharine drivel manufactured to appeal to the lowest common denominator of music listeners. Over time I’ve softened and come to appreciate that not all pop-infused music can be painted with the same brush. More than…

Against the Grain – Cheated Death

For many who explore the crevasses of extreme music, “rock” is a word that has some not-so-good connotations. Like, “this shit is guaranteed to be boring” connotations. Let’s take a quick look at what’s likely the two biggest offenders to the name of rock. There’s no question that the poor…

Black Pudding – Sci-fi Si / Tillagio

Black Pudding is a garage-rock trio who can rock a mean fuzz sound while coating it with cheesy lo-fi production and intoxicating hooks. The band are still very early into their career, building some hype through the release of singles such as these ones “Sci-fi Si” and “Tillagio”. Nonetheless, the band have a clear goal for their sound to fit this ongoing modern trend of fuzzy garage rock, because while this doesn’t reinvent the wheel, this will surely please any fans of the style. These tracks at times act as a hazy trip of distortion and slurred vocals, but these guys can pen a catchy hook and some sharply humorous lyrics among their warm bedroom rock.

Stone Sour – Hydrograd

In China, there is a myth that carp swimming upstream try valiantly to swim up a waterfall, a clearly impossible task. Yet, they persist and persevere, straining every muscle as they strive to reach the top, and sure enough, a rare few are able to get there. It is said that any carp which successfully makes the climb is then rewarded for their determination with transformation into a mighty dragon. After swimming upstream for a decade, Stone Sour announced themselves a dragon of rock with their last two LPs, House of Gold and Bones (HoGaB) Parts 1 & 2 respectively. The masterful double album was the epitome of progressive hard rock in the modern era, infused with a thrilling concept, reoccurring musical and lyrical motifs, seamless transitions and excellent riffs. Taylor’s vocals moved effortlessly between unbridled aggression and morose beauty. The songwriting was inspired, each song standing proudly on its own two feet, yet even better when placed alongside its brethren. It was a rare release to draw inspiration from the giants of the 70’s and, when all was said and done, comfortably stand shoulder-to-shoulder beside them. Thus one could be forgiven for feeling optimistic about where Stone Sour went next. Unfortunately, Jim Root’s acrimonious departure in mid-2014 led to doubts over their future sound and direction, doubts which a pair of cover EPs did little to dispel. And so here we are in 2017, four years on from the magic that was HoGaB. Stone Sour is back, with Christian Martucci (Black President, ex-Chelsea Smiles) having replaced Root on guitar. The question though, is can they live up to the hype?