Singled Out is our weekly column to round-up the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. Read past entries here, and go on ahead below to get Singled Out!
Baroness – “Chlorine & Wine”
Baroness are back and they’re not pulling any punches: if anyone expected, for some reason, to hear the same old sound on the new, Purple, they were highly mistaken. Opening with dreamy synths and containing a much more shoegaze vibe to it, “Chlorine & Wine” is an interesting direction for the band. While the basic Baroness elements and structure exist, like the solo that is 100% Red Album material, the overall approach seems less aggressive and more introspective.
Singer John Baizley sounds a lot softer with his backing vocals stepped in reverb. This is perhaps the main difference which lends this track more ambiance rather than punching power. I like it. If this signals an overall direction for the album, I would be perfectly okay with an introspective, melodic and glazed over rock album. Let the hype train commence.
Bring Me The Horizon – “True Friends”
Sometimes, when walking down the sidewalk, mind your own business, you will come upon a turd, smack dab in the middle. And, sometimes, this turd will either be, a nice, fresh turd and only smell mildly bad, or, in the truly unfortunate case, it will have sat there awhile, baking in the hot sun and causing everything within a five mile radius to smell an unholy amount. Bring Me The Horizon is that latter turd, somehow managing to not progress at all over their years as a band, but rather slip into the ever growing cracks of radio butt rock-ness (no pun intended). To say this song is painful to make it through is a most gracious understatement, as it by far one of the worse songs that released this year, and its many flaws are worthy of its own article, but will be condensed into a rather long paragraph instead.
First and foremost among its many sins against music is the god awful lyrics. It’s as if BMTH just gave up trying entirely and instead read their “dark”, fifteen year old nephews notebooks, then decided to use his “edgy” poems as lyrics. Worst of all, they repeat that god damn chorus about a hundred times, really driving in the fact that they cannot write a decent set of lyrics to save their lives. Secondly, the vocals are drenched in so much auto tune that T-Pain would be impressed. Add to those two horrendous crimes against modern pop-rock music that this song sounds somewhat like a mash up between Nickelback and a drunk guy on a synth (complete with “dramatic”, predictable “dynamic changes”), and you have Bring Me The Horizons new single. Now, back to the initial turd analogy. Somehow, Bring Me The Horizon has managed to get even worse since their early deathcore days, to their “experimental” middle phase, and have now skipped to attempting to cash out while they still have a bit of relevance, hence them being the turd that has sat in the sun for far too long, ruining just about everything within walking distance with its rancid smell. I would rather sit through a 70’s bar cover band who are all completely wasted and barely know the tunes then be subjected to this song one more time.
Earthside – “Mob Mentality”
We have been silently hyped on Earthside ever since they released the first single from their upcoming album. That track was a complex, modern prog creation that spanned so many different ideas and concepts. It appears as if the guys at Earthside aren’t going to let us rest on our laurels however, as they’v released quite a curveball in the form “Mob Mentality.”
First things first, this video is amazing. The cinematic work is exquisite and the orchestra/modern dance/band/singer visual combinations are smooth, in good taste and well executed. However, what are we to make of this track in relation to other one? First of all, there is Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust. A brilliant singer indeed but not one we would image for a collaboration with these guys, if we imagined vocals at all. Secondly, the musical style: this track is much more epic and straight forward than the last one. If the last single aimed towards acts like Eschar or Gordian Knot, this one is more in key with Dream Theater or Threshold.
Which is great. Don’t get me wrong, the track is great: Witherspoon sounds great, the composition is interesting and the orchestra is used to good effect. But what should we expect from the album when two such different versions of it have been presented to us? All will be revealed soon, we hope, as we move towards reviewing the album. In the meantime, get your much needed epic fix with “Mob Mentality” and watch this space for the answers.
Gods of Eden – The Overseer
How does one even describe Gods of Eden? The Australian technical-progressive-amazing-mind-blowing-death-metal band carved their unique sound with their EP 3 years ago, and finally their album is coming out. “The Overseer” is a further showcasing of the band’s abilities and how ridiculous and unmatched their compositional and technical skills are. Their usage of long and difficult lead lines that defy time signatures, powerful clean vocals, inventive riffing, synths used very effectively to enhance the sound and an overall mastery of not just melody but also rhythm put the band above their peers. Hearing their fresh take on metal, I’m having a really hard time containing my hype for the album (which comes out on the 9th of October). The word “epic” is often overused, but I think it’s appropriate to describe the atmosphere Gods of Eden convey with their songs. And this track isn’t even their flashiest one! I don’t think we’re prepared for what they will unleash with their full length album.
Horrendous – “Sum Of All Failures”
Perhaps Anareta is an attempt for Philly trio Horrendous to continue stoking the hype-fire ignited by last year’s Ecdysis; perhaps the Knox brothers (Jamie – Drums / Matt – Guitars & Bass) and guitarist/bassist Damien Herring have too much of an excess of old school death metal revivalism to delay their third offering any longer. Regardless of the impetus behind Anareta’s release, lead single “Sum of all Failures” should certainly make anything but the exceptional music irrelevant for the listener. Grandiose acoustic guitars are quickly electrified as Matt and Damien seamlessly transform the opening melody into a shredding riff that once again morphs into a soaring lead. Everything about this track flows impeccably; it is impressive to witness the amount of ideas that the trio melds into one track without ever seeming the least bit choppy. Unsurprisingly, nods to DM classics are apparent, with the driving riffs and melodies of Heartwork-era Carcass being detailed with the virtuosity and songwriting prowess of Death’s more progressive releases. However, as is a common compliment awarded to Horrendous, their interpretation of the classics oozes youthful exuberance; a clear desire to derive and uniquely alter influence from the past rather than lightly tampering with existing sheet music. It will be difficult to find a better 2015 DM release if each other track on Anareta performs to this quality.
NYN – “Spirits of the Forest”
Heavy Blog editor Noyan Tokgozoglu is known for a few things: his luscious locks, his shoe game, his smartass attitude, and, most importantly, his knowledgeable grasp on all things metal. He’s the mastermind behind the project NYN, where he uses his combination of musical skill and compositional knowhow to create music in various styles. Last year, he released a technical death metal album, Eventuality, and now, he’s put out a melodeath EP, Equivalence.
This track from Equivalence highlights all of the release’s strengths. Powerful, slightly-folky European melodic death metal rhythms intertwine with soaring, epic leads, creating a riffy dynamic that keeps the listener interested, and his strong vocal presence lords over the track with an iron grip. Reminiscent of bands like Kalmah and Dark Tranquility, it’s a must-have 2015 release for any fan of the genre. Pick it up for the low, low price of entirely free over on his bandcamp (but feel free to throw a dollar or two his way. It’s good to support artists for their work).
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Parkway Drive – “Crushed”
Okay, so the first new Parkway Drive single, “Vice Grip”, had the band polishing their stadium rock chops to a glorious shine. There’s no denying their star power and inherent ability to craft huge metalcore anthems for the modern metal fan. For fans of the heavier stuff (like myself), the newer material seriously lacks any kind of attitude. “Crushed” sounds like the weak child of Rammstein and Hatebreed, there’s even some Rage Against The Machine guitar licks chucked in too for some reason. For a band that are at their best when bouncing off each others energy, turning passive crowds into raging hordes, this track is just remarkably lacking in every department. It’s slow but not slow enough to be a brooding piece, its chorus riff is so Rammstein that I can’t quite place where it’s been stolen from, but it has. Winston’s spoken word in this track as well… I don’t quite know where to go with that. It sucks. I haven’t lost all hope for the new record but if they keep chucking out duds like this… Parkway Drive may very well go the way of the Recycle Bin.
Raein – “Comete”
Italian DIY punk/screamo stalwarts Raein are back with a new single, this time from their split with American scream legends, Ampere. The song highlights Raein’s transition within the last few years from being one of the dominant bands in the emoviolence side of screamo to adopting a much more post rock/mellow post hardcore style, exploring the space more and abandoning d-beats and blast beats for the most part. While it is disappointing to see a band who was so undeniably talented at controlling the chaotic sound of emoviolence shift into much calmer territory, it also seems somewhat of a natural progression for Raein, as they have been steadily slipping more and more into a more melody, post rock driven approach. Their recent album, Perpetuum, as well as this single bode well for their ascent into the post rock-screamo pantheon of gods, and only time will tell if they shall age as gracefully into the sound as their Japanese peers in Envy have.
Skindred – “Under Attack”
At this point in their existence as a band, Skindred would have to drop a blackened sludge metal album to surprise me. When I heard there was a new track from the only British band to still be thriving on nu metal’s tailcoats, I already had a good idea of how it would play out. I was totally right, “Under Attack” is just so, so average in every way. The lazy open string riff that is the basis of the whole track is swamped with electronic bleets that have obviously been thrown at the last minute; the band clearly realising that a Beginners Guide To Rock Guitar is probably not the best place to plagiarise material from, adding electronics to cover this fact. There’s the classic Skindred chorus with Benji doing his Rasta metal thing, again. Throw in the mid-section with a talkbox pinched straight out of Alice In Chain‘s equipment rack and lo and behold, one of the most bland and predictable songs to be released this year. Who still buys this shit?
Skyharbor – “Out of Time”
Skyharbor are back, bringing their delicious ethereal goods along with them. As they move farther and farther into poppy, melodic territory, their music just seems to get better. It shows that they have an incredible handle on their songwriting, one that few other bands in the modern progressive metal/rock scene seem to be able to imitate. And in “Out of Time,” everything carries that signature tasty melodic vibe. The guitars alternate between hard-hitting metalcore style riffing and lush, textured atmospheric bits, and the vocalist croons his sweet melodies on top of it all.
One concern many had is how the band would fair without both Dan Tompkins and Anup Sastry, but it seems that their departure has had a relatively minimal impact: Skyharbor has regrouped around the voids and pushed forward to be, by and large, the same band they were before, moving further on their logical path to be the softest, sweetest band in progressive metal. It remains to be seen whether this single is indicative of something bigger coming soon. We can only hope.
Trivium – “Until The World Goes Cold”
From the three singles they’ve released so far, it definitely seems like this new Trivium album is going to be something different. Frontman Matt has put a lot of effort into his clean singing and coming up with interesting vocal lines. The song is a more mellow, brooding one, and the solo section is also more emotional and less showy. This is probably the “slow song” of the album, and it showcases the range the of the band. While it’s not the most exciting song, it will definitely make more sense in context of the rest of the album, and the vocal lines and general melodies do make one excited for the creativity on the album.