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Label: Universal Republic
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Purchase: Pre-Order or available in stores October 16th
For Fans Of: Saosin, Cartel, Anberlin’s “Never Take Friendship Personal”
Florida natives and alternative rock pioneers, Anberlin have written possibly one of the most interesting and daring albums of 2012 entitled Vital. The first song and single off the record, “Self-Starter” is an appropriate and well-deserved one with its melody that will chase you throughout the song. With expectations of what the Anberlin’s Vital should sound like, listeners will indeed be surprised by the progression and direction of the band. Although many fans and discouraged hipsters may claim that growth in a band is a negative thing, may “Little Tyrants” be a subtle reminder that Anberlin have written an album of energetic songs to be performed live.
The third song on the album “Other Side” is an emotional journey in itself as it features ambient sounds and personal lyrics regarding loneliness. Fear not though, the following song “Someone Anyone” may be similar in lyrics, but musically is no match against any other song off the 11 song album. “No one can walk away” is one of the many intriguing sets of lyrics besides the chorus that makes this song one of the many memorable ones. Along with the number of upbeat and memorable songs found on the album, Anberlin threw us a couple of freebie lighter/cell phone light concert sing-alongs such as “Innocent” and “Type Three”. “Modern Age” in my opinion is a song that brings the most nostalgia to the table. From lyrical content to the hint of ambience heard in the background, this 2nd last track will be the push that keeps you from taking this off your iTunes playlist or out of your car CD slot.
The maturity of Anberlin is consistent and evident on each and every song of Vital. There are so many elements including the pumping bass and snare drum beat on “Someone, Anyone” or the retro-synth lines heard on “Intentions” that make this album so special and new. Grab Vital on October 16th via Universal Republic on iTunes (which includes a bonus track, “Unstable”), Amazon, or your local record store.
Band: Light You Up
Album: Broken Jaw EP
Label: Great Escape Records(UK)/Ice Grill$(JAP)
Release Date: October 15th, 2012
Purchase: Pre-Order coming soon
For Fans Of: Four Year Strong, Hawthorne Heights, Jonny Craig
**Watch the album trailer here**
Without releasing even an official single with the new vocalist, Birmingham’s upcoming, favourite alternative rock band, Light You Up has caught the eye and ear of many; 2,200+ fans to be exact thus far. Not only are they grabbing the attention of fans awaiting the release of the first single “Foxfire”, but Light You Up are also signed to Great Escape Records (UK) and Ice Grill$ Records (JAP) which will both release their upcoming EP, titled Broken Jaw.
With Jonny Craig-esque style vocals that can also be compared to Four Year Strong’s Dan O’Connor…Light You Up’s very own Tom Napier is no stranger; he’s been doing vocal covers on YouTube for a while now. Within 4 songs (none of that EP intro or interlude nonsense), Light You Up prove to you that they’re back with a solid line up and here to stay. Carefully placed back-up vocals by bassist Tom Hill in “Foxfire" indicate the band’s perfect understanding of what a rock song should sound like. The chorus, "Play this broken record on your stereo" will have you hooked on the band; and that’s a fact. The guitar chords used in the song are relaxing yet energetic in the way that they are played. In fact, the opening guitar notes quickly reassure you that you have made a good decision by giving the song a listen.
The title track, Broken Jaw gets right into the song from the get-go. The opening lyric, “I’ve never felt this way before” is probably the same way you’re feeling about your new favourite band. Light You Up are definitely something different than the rest of your music library. The song is not repetitive nor dull in any way, shape, or form - witness it for yourself when you hear the bridge. The third song off the EP is “Without You Here”, which older fans may recognize as it was previously released in Fall 2011 with a former vocalist. The EP version is with the band’s latest vocalist Tom Napier which will not be a disappointment to fans.
The last song on the EP is an appropriate one - it begins with just acoustic guitar along with matching mellow vocals. About halfway through the song, gang vocals accompanied by the rest of the instruments join in on the fun to bring you what I could imagine being in a chick-flick movie. It’s completely different than the rest of the EP; yet, it still is able to bring elements into the song that make it a Light You Up song. In short, the EP appears to be a preview of what we as listeners can expect from the band in the future. Broken Jaw is proof that a full-length album is very much possible for this UK act. This EP will literally light up your day, your music library, and of course you. Grab a copy of Broken Jaw when it’s released October 15th via Great Escape and Ice Grill$.
Review by Patrick of Defiance Press
Band: Our Last Night
Album: Age of Ignorance
Label: Epitaph Records
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Purchase: iTunes or in stores
For Fans Of: The Color Morale, Silverstein, Jamie’s Elsewhere
There is definitely something to be said about accomplishing big things in little time, not to mention at such a young age. Our Last Night (OLN) consisting of at the time 13 year old vocalist Trevor Wentworth had only existed for 3 years before signing to major label, Epitaph Records in 2007. Countless tours and 2 full-length albums later, 4-man band Our Last Night have released yet another spectacular album that is something totally out of left field. One track in, “Fate” becomes a house-warming gift to help the transition into the new OLN sound.
With singing provided by not only by guitarist Matt Wentworth, but his brother Trevor Wentworth,Age of Ignorance is a poppy metalcore album that critics can discuss for hours on end. The album as a whole, but specifically “Send Me To Hell” and the title track “Age of Ignorance” will provide listeners with lyrics that are both intriguing and mind-stimulating. Lyrics from “Liberate Me” such as “You’ll never take my freedom away, and those were the words that made us separate” is one of many examples of the band’s maturity. Although lyrically the album is very powerful and moving, the music is not what long term Our Last Night fans (like myself) are used to. Producer David Bendeth has encouraged OLN to bring out their fullest potential by allowing each and every song on the album to have a catchy hook while still maintaining the band’s heavy roots beginning with their first album The Ghosts Among Us.
The single “Liberate Me” pin points just what I’m referring to. The song ends just where you started with a progressive guitar riff that moves into aggressive drums accompanied by the raw screams of Trevor. Sooner than expected, Matt Wentworth himself provides comfort with notable clean vocals. The last and final track of what has made my top 5 albums of the year is “A Sun That Never Sets”; a song that could very well be found on either The Ghosts Among Us or We Will Evolve (both previous Our Last Night releases). It encompasses everything Age of Ignorance has within it. From meaningful lyrics, to pounding drums, to complex and interesting guitar structure - it has it all. I can proudly say Our Last Night has released another album with songs consisting of something you haven’t heard before.
Review by Patrick of Defiance Press
Band: Everyone Dies In Utah
Album: +//- (Polarities)
Label: Tragic Hero Records
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Purchase: iTunes or Pre-Order
For Fans Of: The Amity Affliction, Ten After Two, As Artifacts
A band’s sophmore release should consist of maturity, growth and improvement all together. Everyone Dies In Utah sets the bar high with their newest release, Polarities due out July 31st on Tragic Hero Records. This Texas band has come a long way since their EP I Hope You Know This Means War was released independently. The first track “Factor X” along with “A Glowing Core Through The Glass Floor” are superb examples of how the band has matured by keeping old elements that seemed to work well within songs such as subtle synth leads and more solid song structure.
Now,if their single “You’re Now Manually Breathing” was too poppy for you with the memorable singing that drove your parents crazy due to how often you would sing it aloud, perhaps “Welcome To The Ward” will please them. This song is both groovy and gritty with its off-beat cymbals and thundering double bass. This song also is not a let down in the sense that they did allow you some throw-down relief with the synth accompanied singing chorus. If smooth synth isn’t really your thing, skip to track 6 “Synthia Where’s R2?” where the intro opens up (the pit and the song) with a gritty synth that will appeal to those dub junkies!
The album as a whole contains songs that will appeal to fans of all different genres. For those that complain of post-hardcore bands having whiney singing, Everyone Dies In Utah’s bassist Justin Yost provides every song with the most manly but aurally appealing singing voice you’ll hear in the genre. Both in “Desoto 55” and “Simply Me 2”, high notes are hit causing even the best singers in the genre to be jealous of this under-rated vocalist. The evidence of commitment and time put into this record is shown through the concentration on song structure. Every song has intros, verses, choruses, bridges, and of course breakdowns. Everyone Dies In Utah blends these song sections seamlessly providing you with what should be one of the most talked about albums of 2012: Polarities.
Review by Patrick of Defiance Press
Band: At The Skylines
Album: The Secrets To life
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: May 8th, 2012
For Fans Of: Woe Is Me, Hands Like Houses, The Amity Affliction
The Secrets To Life is the name of At The Skylines' debut album which took a total of 18 months just to WRITE the album. Months later, the California 5-piece took a plane over to Sweden to record with the legendary, Frederik Nordstrom. If you have been an avid follower of the band, this album will showcase the hard work the band has put in over the years. In other words, the release didn’t happen over night. The catchy pop hooks sung by Chris Shelley mixed with electronic effects done by the band’s own, Shawn Yates is truly a remarkable listening experience in itself. Mark Barela, the man behind the vicious screams doesn’t hold back either as you’ll hear on the first track on the album, “Hush”. The band’s effort as a whole evidently did not go unrecognized seeing as the album is being released on Roadrunner Records.
The band’s success has not only landed them a record label but also landed the band a spot on tour with Enter Shikari. In addition, At The Skylines will be on the Scream It Like You Mean It Tour - dates will be announced early May. The Secrets To Life is an album that includes what a lot of albums in the scene lack: energy, creativity and variety. The classic It’s Cherried was re-recorded for the album and it sounds better than ever. The guitar work in this song is incredible and adds a nice touch overtop of the typical “chugs” known to many. Although, It’s Cherried is an ATS classic…it still is a solid representation of what At The Skylines’ sound is all about.
They seem to have no problem seamlessly combining heavy intros (ie: The Amazing Atom) with upbeat sing-along choruses (listen to every song on the album). Though the final song on the record appears to be the least-heavy song on the album it still has it’s heavier parts that every fan will enjoy bobbing their head (most likely off-beat but who cares!) The breakdown in 143 Princess makes it righteous to bob your head off beat as the breakdown has a cool groove to it. This song happens to also be a song that allows both vocalists to shine; particularly Mark Barela’s low growls. Absolutely deadly.
Unfortunately, The Secrets To Life didn’t get enough attention as it should have. Hopefully this changes when the album officially drops on May 8th. If you were lucky enough to grab a copy of the album while they were on tour with Enter Shikari, spread the word. If you weren’t….May 8th is your chance to catch up and share this listening experience.
Review by Patrick of Defiance Press
Band: Kady! Danger
Album: Gold Blooded
Release Date: December 6th, 2011
Purchase: iTunes or at a show
For Fans Of: Confide, Like Moths To Flames, Scarlett O’Hara
Within the metalcore genre, there are many over-produced bands which result in over-produced albums. Kady! Danger ARE an exception of these types of bands found within the genre. The band’s EP produced by (and featuring) Joel Piper Gold Blooded is heavy, raw, and energetic. Up until the release of their EP, I had not heard of the band before; I can truthfully say I was missing out. This Fresno, CA quartet has written a catchy EP opening with the line “I won’t give up on my dream” introduced by the band’s vocalist Anthony Polanco. The screams this guy let’s out are aggressive and unique - but it doesn’t stop there.
Kings and Pawns is the first song on the EP which has a chorus provided by Mr. Joel Piper. One thing in particular that I really enjoy about this song is that it doesn’t waste much time with transitions (from verse to chorus etc). The band has a story to tell with each song and doesn’t waste any time with boring you. One moment you’ll find yourself listening to an in-your-face screaming verse while within a second, millisecond or possibly a nanosecond the band welcomes Joel Piper to sing a catchy chorus you’ll be posting as your social networking status. “Are you ready” to hear more about this EP? (Go listen to The Open Road and you’ll see what I mean.) On this track too, the band kills it again with a catchy chorus, dance beats, and a bit of programming that is sure to get you grooving. While the band recently released a revised version of the song that I prefer a little bit more, the EP version is still one to rock (and dub) out to.
The second last track on the EP, “Best Intentions" is so energetic that I can imagine arms flailing in a circle pit. If I ever get the chance to see these guys play live, this will definitely be the song I make sure to sing the loudest for. Though the song may be a bit repetitive lyrically, it is sure to help you learn more about this band’s range in style. The final song on Gold Blooded is Mirrors. The soft synths that open the song are sure to calm you down; but not for long. Kady! Danger kicks it up a gear to finish the EP which is evident with the beastly growls found within the verses of the track.
Within 4 songs, Kady! Danger demonstrates what they’re all about through pounding breakdowns found in Mirrors or through melodic choruses found in both Kings and Pawns and The Open Road. Though the production on this EP may not appeal to everyone due to the raw sound of the vocals, those who it does appeal to will appreciate Gold Blooded to a great extent.
Review by Patrick of Defiance Press
Album: Short Songs
Label: Hopeless Records
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Purchase: iTunes or in stores.
For Fans Of: Hawthorne Heights, Senses Fail, Armor For Sleep
One of Canada’s biggest post-hardcore bands, Silverstein (or in the case of their new 22 track album “Short Songs” due out February 7th they may be labeled a punk band) is at it again after 11 years and 5 LP’s later with Short Songs which may be one of the most creative and innovative ways to challenge one’s song-writing ability. The album features 22 songs half of which are original songs while the other half are cover songs of bands such as Dead Kennedys, Gob, NOFX, Green Day just to name a few. Here’s the catch though - just as the album title suggests, the record is filled short songs all of which are under 90 seconds some clocking in at a mere 5 seconds.
Short Songs is definitely not an album for new fans to be welcomed by. Instead, I feel it’s a way of expressing to their current fans that they’re capable of so much more, that they’re willing to experiment, and of course challenge themselves. One of the songs that really highlights this aspect of the album is the second track “Sin & Redemption”. It begins with guitar but within seconds the rest of the band kicks in including Shane Told, the band’s vocalist. His very distinct voice is captivating with the back and forth of his raspy screams along with his singing voice. Out of all the songs on the album, I feel that Sin & Redemption is the closest song to any other Silverstein song.
Another very enjoyable song on the album is Brookfield. It is another song that goes back to Silverstein roots that remind me of the Arrivals & Departures (Silverstein’s third album) days as of the result of the catchy hook and melody. One track later, we find ourselves with a song titled “La Marseillaise” which competes with “World On Fire" to be one of the heaviest songs on the 22 track album. Exactly halfway through the album "See Ya Bill" (the second shortest song on the album) is a prime example of what exactly a short song is. I feel that this track best describes the album seeing as it’s fast, aggressive, loud, old-school and of course only 6 seconds.
Now we approach the cover songs featuring cover songs originally by Dead Kennedys, Gob, Gorilla Biscuits, Orchid, Descendents, The Swarm, The Promise Ring, NOFX, Chixdiggit, Green Day and Good Clean Fun. The title track, Short Songs”is a song FILLED with guest vocals and energy. Though the song’s lyrics are a bit silly just talking about short songs, it demonstrates how amusing it must have been writing/recording the Short Songs LP. One of my favourite cover songs on the record is “Scenes From Parisian Life" (originally by The Promise Ring). It may not be the fastest, most aggressive, nor the shortest song on the album it still is an ear-pleaser (soon to be a crowd-pleaser too!).
As a whole, the songs on the album are very daring in every aspect. Every member exhibits new playing styles and techniques. As previously stated, this is not necessarily an album to attract new Siverstein fans, but instead is an album to demonstrate their ability to be creative and most of all…have fun.
Review by Patrick of Defiance Press
Band: The Gift of Ghosts
Release Date: TBA
Purchase: Single can be purchased via iTunes here.
For Fans Of: Woe, Is Me, The Color Morale, For All Those Sleeping
In the metalcore music scene, it is rare that you will find a band consisting of four band members. If you do find one - I highly doubt they’re writing listenable music. Rockland County, New York gave birth to a band called The Gift of Ghosts. While recently breaking over 15,000 Facebook fans with only releasing an EP in May 2011 and a single off their upcoming release (EP/LP TBA), The Gift of Ghosts are quickly becoming a new favourite band to many. The upcoming album was recorded by Cameron Mizell at Chango Studios (Dream On Dreamer, Sleeping With Sirens, Woe, Is Me). I’ve had the privilege of being able to hear and review the release from the guys. Be sure to listen to your new favourite band at the bottom of this article.
The Gift of Ghosts’ newest single “I, The Architect” (currently available on iTunes) shows the band’s new direction which is both in-your-face and welcoming. Right from the get go, “I, The Architect” opens with the lyric, “I’ve been a walking dead man”. Are you intrigued yet? With two guitar chugs with bass-drum syncopation, the song is ready to begin. The full-sounding vocals of Ray Berly (TGoG front-man) on this EP (especially within “I, The Architect”) are absolutely flawless. ‘I, The Architect” has everything you love in a metalcore song…heavy intro, aggressive verses, breakdowns, and last but not least - catchy choruses.
The band does not let you down with the next track on the EP either. “Lost Boys" may start with a simple drum pattern, but this has to be my absolute favourite track on the EP. There’s so much going on and I love it. The guitar work in this song specifically is top notch. I just wish it was turned up in the mix of the song a little bit more. “Lost Boys” features dark orchestra-like sounds in one part of the breakdown. The song has a good balance of both clean vocals and screams which makes you appreciate the song even more than you already do. The 4th and last song on the EP that I will discuss, “Brave Hearts" also quickly became a favourite. With vocal ranges that almost seem too daring(but really, they’re perfect), this is the track that you will wonder why the band isn’t signed yet. This whole EP will make you wonder why or how the band isn’t signed yet.
The EP is currently not out; however, details will be announced soon. Be sure to check out the lyric video here and the band on Facebook. Although The Gift of Ghosts’ EP may be only 4 songs long (one of which is an intro)…let me tell you… The band has lots of surprises coming that I’m even anxious write about.
The Gift of Ghosts
Ray Berly - Vocals
Alex Kouvatsos - Guitar
Rich Wagner - Bass/Backup Vocals
Michael Galgano - Drums/Backup vocals
Review by Patrick
Band: Various Artists (See tracklist below)
Album: Punk Goes Pop 4
Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: November 21, 2011
Purchase: iTunes or in stores
For Fans Of: (See tracklist below)
If you’re like me who gets sick of pop songs quickly because of how overplayed they are…perhaps I’ve found an alternative for you. Fearless Records gathered all of your favourite bands, got them to record a cover song (a pop song) and put all of the tracks on one CD to add another album to their series to create ”Punk Goes Pop 4”.
The album features Allstar Weekend, Chunk! No Captain Chunk, The Downtown Fiction, For All Those Sleeping, Go Radio, I See Stars, Pierce The Veil, The Ready Set, Silverstein, A Skylit Drive, Sleeping With Sirens, Tonight Alive and Woe, Is Me. Each band that participated in this release did a fantastic job with their song. This is definitely one of the albums you should have on your iPod or even in your car if you’re feeling in the mainstream music mood. In particular, Allstar Weekend along with The Downtown Fiction will leave you chanting along to the fun, upbeat songs. If you’re looking for something heavy to go flash moshing(surprise throwdown in a public place) to, perhaps Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!’s cover of We R Who We R or Woe, Is Me's Last Friday Night is for you.
In short, “Punk Goes Pop 4" is a extremely enjoyable and fun album to listen to. Regardless of what genre of music you’re interested in, the album is sure to find songs you’ll enjoy listening to by yourself or with friends.
Review by Patrick
Band: Mayday Parade
Album: Mayday Parade (Self-Titled)
Label: Independent Label Group
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Purchase: iTunes or in stores
For Fans Of: All Time Low, Go Radio, Every Avenue
Mayday Parade, the rock quintet from Tallahassee, Florida have won hearts over yet again with their newest self-titled release. If the big white text “Mayday Parade” on the cover isn’t enough to intrigue you, perhaps the infamous faceless man on the cover will make you recognize the band. If neither the band name or album artwork are familiar to you…well, no offense - you’ve been living underneath a rock or something. While being compared to the Jason Lancaster days, Mayday Parade’s newest release comes very close to A Lesson In Romantics. Let me tell you something, if you didn’t like Anywhere But Here, you’re going to love this album. if you DID like Anywhere But Here, you’re going to adore this album. The band has gone back to their roots and wrote the album without any help from outside producers.
If you’re a sucker for slow ballads (especially the Mayday Parade kind), you’re going to fall in love with this song just as I did. You’re Dead Wrong showcases the soothing voice of Derek Sanders from start to finish. This is a song that someone could easily fall asleep to (and I don’t mean that in a negative way!) It’s such a peaceful and memorable song. If you talk in your sleep, this song is going to teach you how to sing in your sleep with its sing-a-long lines throughout.
Everything’s An Illusion is my favourite track off the release because it contains catchy hooks, particularly great song structure, acoustic guitar, and overall demonstrates the band’s true ability to write a perfect song. Although the song is about the death of someone, it is a very powerful and moving song. It has a very strong message of closure within it that will be sure to give fans strength when they’re going through a time of loss.
Without The Bitter, The Sweet Isn’t As Sweet begins as an acoustic song but picks up into a full-band track just over halfway through the song. Although I’m not a huge fan of the music, the lyrics certainly caught my ear. For instance, “And even if it’s dark at least we’ll be together//Slowly sinking in the earth to lay forever” clearly shows you the exceptional amount of emotion put into the song. Like Jake Bundrick stated in our interview with him, their songs are sometimes based on experiences or stories they think fans can relate to. In my opinion, this is definitely one of those songs that fans will be able to relate to on both a major and minor scale. Maybe this song will cause two of their fans to fall in love one (may)day. Who knows?
-Review by Patrick