28/12/19 - The Self Titled - Bears and Bulls EP

The Self TItled is a four-piece rock/metal band from London/Kent, UK that re-formed in 2010 featuring Tom Procter on lead vocals, Philipp Hall on lead guitar, bassist Steve Burwell and drummer Paul Brander, the founding member of the band. In 2012 they released their debut full length album entitled Defaced and then followed it up with the Airlock EP/single in 2014. As of June 2019 the band have unleashed their latest offering in the form of a four-track EP called Bears and Bulls.

The EP opens with a real headbanger of track called “Disintegration” that hearkens back to real old-school metal sound with a punkish edge. Tom's lead vocals forcefully demand your attention whilst Phiipp and Steve's rhythm section pummels you into submission with some savage riffage on guitar and bass respectively. “Breathe” begins with a lead guitar intro before the rest of the band dives in no holds barred. This one sounds more modern in style than the previous effort, though this a relative term. When I say “more modern” I mean 90's as opposed to the 80's metal vibe on the first track. “Breathe” is very much in the vein of Rage Against the Machine in its vocal delivery and perhaps Pearl Jam in its impressive musicality.

“Fear and Loathing” retains the style of the former song though is more of a cross between Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam with a touch of a Soundgarden melody thrown in for good measure. The change of pace in the second half heralds a brief return to the metal aggression of the EP opener, illustrating how both styles can be used together if arranged properly. In this case they most definitely are. And finally the title track gives Paul time to shine with a drum intro that builds into very much a Rage Against the Machine affair in vocal style until the Soundgarden-esqe chorus. Philipp's bluesy lead guitar toward the middle of the track sits in the mix perfectly and satisfyingly builds and builds into a blistering guitar solo. The song comes to a close with a reprise of the RATM riffage/vocals and a final blusey homage to where all rock and metal came from.

Bears and Bulls is a solid EP with plenty for traditional and modern metal fans to to enjoy. The band's influences are very clear throughout, however these nods to the old-school are more than just simple homages. Each style absorbed is an addition to the overall musicality of the release. This EP is far more than the sum of its parts and is well worth a listen for that fact alone. And if you don't want to catch a history lesson, stay for the headbang worthy metal anyway, you won't be disappointed.

Bears and Bulls is out now.

Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/2JLF2l0QmmsSf62A9AEu9a

Cheers!

Chris

The Self Titled - Bears and Bulls EP

24/12/19 - Delusional Silence - Fall of Truth [Single]

Acting as the finale to the last couple of weeks of reviews and to give you a brief summary: I have been asked to review three singles to help promote Delusional Silence from Northern Ireland, a band recently signed to Forge AMP. This review is the final one in the trilogy; but first a recap of the band's origins (for those who haven't read the last two reviews).

Delusional Silence is a five-piece hard rock/heavy metal band formed in Belfast in 2017. The line-up comprises of Phil Ashe on vocals and rhythm guitar, Ricki Hewitt and Will McClenaghan on guitars (lead and rhythm respectively), bassist Chris Denvir and drummer Alan Nesbitt. In 2018 the band released an EP entitled Take Two and over the last couple of months have put out the aforementioned three singles in anticipation of their upcoming album. I began this trio of reviews with “Cerebral Pest”, then last week I reviewed “Jekyll and Hyde”, and this week I am finishing off with a review of “Fall of Truth”, the band's latest single, which was released on the 28th November. Have I saved the best till last? Let's find out.

From the start “Fall of Truth” builds up to a satisfying crescendo with a solid lead guitar riff and Phil's screams of “alright!” and “yeah!” only add to the tension and sense of expectation before his bluesy vocals ensue. This track is definitely hard rock through and through, right up to the melodic bridge section at the midway point. Following which comes blistering solo after solo akin to Maiden's “The Trooper”. This song really does play out like a cross between the best bits of Iron Maiden and Guns N' Roses: absolutely brimming with attitude, aggression and melody in equal amounts.

To summarise these past three weeks, all three of the Delusional Silence singles I have reviewed have been right up my street. The perfect blend of old-school hard rock and traditional heavy metal with a hearty dose of modern production. Plenty of solos, chunky riffs and melodic vocals brimming with emotion. What else could a heavy rock/metal fan ask for? I am really looking forward to hearing what the band have in store for us next, and I would highly recommend catching up and checking out all three singles before they drop their next one.

“Fall of Truth” is out now.

Check it out on Spotify at the link below:
https://open.spotify.com/album/4HwegmySlRe44fHBeraGdw

Merry Christmas!

Chris

Delusional Silence - Fall of Truth [Single]

22/12/19 - Black Roze - Spiritual Hell

Black Roze is a five-piece rock band originally formed in Kent, UK in 2015. They began primarily playing covers but soon progressed to performing their own material. The band's line-up includes Viixen, Baz Roze, Jaime Cortinas, Ron Maiden and Vic Stick. Following the release of their debut EP Pleasure and Pain last year they recently put out their first full length album entitled Spiritual Hell on the 5th October 2019, featuring 10 original compositions.

The album begins with “Obscenity”, a seething commentary on the brutality of religious extremism, executed with classic metal cynicism and some foot stomping riffs. The chorus is catchy yet serious in tone, and the bass tone jabs you right in the gut throughout. “Godz n Queenz” by contrast is more light hearted in nature, and is more akin to a track by Alice Cooper. The repeated chants of “I don't wanna hear it” are sure to get stuck in your head for some time.

“Why Don't You” begins on drums and then bass and I am instantly reminded of “Wratchchild” by Iron Maiden. When the guitars and vocals kick in too there is a definite punky edge. The chorus however is perhaps more 80's pop rock in style and somehow makes me think of Blondie which was somewhat unexpected but not such a bad thing. An interesting combination of styles but it works well. Despite being the shortest track on the album it makes up for it with the short sharp shock of hard rock guitar leads and fast-paced riffs. “Soul on Fire” on the other hand is the longest song of the album and sets it self up from the very start as a heavy rock ballad brimming with emotion. In the second half when the track picks up pace I am again reminded of early Maiden. The outro solo is simply stunning.

Up next “Snow White Angel” is different again with a more hard rock vibe, complete with duet style vocals. Moving from metal, to rock, to sleaze, Black Roze do so with considerable ease, and are really able to showcase everything they can do in just a few tracks. “In The Darkness (Hell Version)” brings back old-school metal in full force with a real heavy riff and dramatic vocals the likes of Doro and Lita Ford. There are even some subtle synths in the background which only add to the drama.

“Curse of the Black Roze” is a crash course in hard rock 'n' roll right down to the vocal melody which is suitably sinister. The dual guitars in this one fight against each other for supremacy and for your attention, adding yet another dynamic to the ensuing chaos which is perfect. As the title suggests “So Sleazy” is less heavy metal, more sleaze and infinitely more tongue in cheek; right down to the use of “love gun” in the pre-chorus no less. It's a great track that doesn't take itself too seriously but still has some great musicality and downright hilarious lyrics.

Toward the end of the album “Lost” returns to the Cooper-esque hard rock style featured on “Godz n Queenz”. It has a real thumping rhythm that is impossible to ignore and the lead guitar work is particularly impressive. Rounding out the album comes “In The Darkness (Spiritual Version)”, an alternative stripped down acoustic take of “In the Darkness” featured earlier. This last track highlights Viixen's versatility and range as a vocalist and is great way to bring the album to a close.

Spiritual Hell is a superb debut from a band that have cut their teeth on the road supporting the likes of Diamond Head and Warrior Soul, and being on the same bill as LA Guns and Crashdiet. Their years of experience on the road really show and they should be immensely proud of what they have accomplished here; successfully blurring the lines between rock, metal, and sleaze to create something new.

Spiritual Hell is out now.

Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/6vIsX9SLOGYj9x14q6WYeR

Cheers!

Chris

Black Roze - Spiritual Hell

17/12/19 - Delusional Silence - Jekyll and Hyde [Single]

In continuation of last weeks post, and to give you a quick recap: I have been asked to review three singles to help promote Delusional Silence from Northern Ireland, a band recently signed to Forge AMP. This review is number two of three; but first a short band history lesson (also a recap from last week's review).

Delusional Silence is a five-piece hard rock/heavy metal band formed in Belfast in 2017. The line-up comprises of Phil Ashe on vocals and rhythm guitar, Ricki Hewitt and Will McClenaghan on guitars (lead and rhythm respectively), bassist Chris Denvir and drummer Alan Nesbitt. In 2018 the band released an EP entitled Take Two and over the last couple of months have put out the aforementioned three singles in anticipation of their upcoming album. Last week I reviewed “Cerebral Pest” which I absolutely loved. This week it is the turn of “Jekyll and Hyde” which came out shortly after the former single on the 4th November. Will it be similarly impressive? Only one way to know for sure. Let's dive in.

“Jekyll and Hyde” opens with a steady lead guitar and drum build-up brimming with drama before a swift change of pace that heralds the start of the song proper. Phil's booming vocals and the chugging guitars that follow complement each other in a really satisfying way and the Iron Maiden-esque vibes are undeniable throughout. The chorus is suitably catchy complete with backing vocals and a melody that wouldn't be out of place with some of those classic 80's metal anthems we all know and love. My favourite section of all however has to be the heavy bridge around two thirds of the way through and the guitar harmonies are quite simply the icing on the cake. Given the right amount of airplay I can see this song becoming an anthem in its own right.

Just like last weeks offering “Cerebral Pest”, this track is a perfectly arranged and executed slice of hard rock. It hearkens back to the sound of classic heavy metal with an ever so slight modern twist. I for one can't wait to sink my teeth into review number three next week.

“Jekyll and Hyde” is out now.

Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/1mbgMlwQRcl3S5QOn5erkE

Cheers!

Chris

Delusional Silence - Jekyll and Hyde [Single]

13/12/19 - State of Deceit - Retribution EP

State of Deceit is a four-piece metal band from South Wales, originally formed in 2018. Citing influences such as Pantera, Slayer and Arch Enemy they have just released their debut EP entitled Retribution and have big plans for 2020.

Starting off strong with “Tattered Life” the band showcase their unique cross of thrash and metalcore with both melodic and growled vocals to boot. With a real groove section in the style of Pantera towards the middle and a superb solo courtesy of guitarist Jon Russell to finish it off, this opening track is a great start. Following the opener comes “Vengeance” which was the first single to be released from the EP. This one is more melodic death metal in nature and really does remind me of the brutal prowess of Arch Enemy, that is until the surprising clean section that bursts free half way through. The clean bridge shows another side to the band before the song erupts in another sweet guitar solo.

“When Words Fall” returns to a more thrash orientated sound with a real heavy, head banging chorus. There is a definite shift in groove along the way that culminates in a vicious breakdown. The lead guitar that follows is spectacular but then bassist Matt Wilson takes the spotlight with a short but precise bit off bass riffage. Well into the second half now, “No Solace” begins with the most intriguing riff of the EP before featuring some clean vocals for the first time since the opener. Pete Scammell's adeptness at hair-pin shifting between clean and growled vocals throughout the track is a testament to his skill as a vocalist.

Penultimate song “The Black” is a more metalcore affair beginning with clean vocals and lead harmonies that devolve into some awesome growled lyrics and chugging guitars. The chorus is clean as one would expect with a metalcore track too. The guitar solo is more hard rock in style though which adds yet another cool twist to an already progressive composition. “Vipers” on the other hand is definitely more old-school. From Matt Toner's rapid-fire drumming that Dave Lombardo himself would be proud of, to the gut wrenching riffage that follows, this final track is an epic way to end such a great EP. Adrenaline fuelled, no-holds barred, thrash, groove and metalcore all rolled into one.

Retribution is out now.

Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/15ajMNyHUOkMub0OzMjQr9

Cheers!

Chris

State of Deceit - Retribution EP

11/12/19 - Delusional Silence - Cerebral Pest [Single]

Something a bit different for you all today. I have been asked to review not one, but three singles over the next three weeks to help promote Delusional Silence from Northern Ireland, a band recently signed to Forge AMP.

Delusional Silence is a five-piece hard rock/heavy metal band formed in Belfast in 2017. The line-up comprises of Phil Ashe on vocals and rhythm guitar, Ricki Hewitt and Will McClenaghan on guitars (lead and rhythm respectively), bassist Chris Denvir and drummer Alan Nesbitt. In 2018 the band released an EP entitled Take Two and over the last couple of months have put out the aforementioned three singles in anticipation of their upcoming album. This week I am going to start things off with a review of the first single “Cerebral Pest” that was released on the 19th October.

“Cerebral Pest” is a distinctly hard rock/classic heavy metal track from the very beginning with a serious riff-driven intro akin perhaps to “2 Minutes to Midnight”, that builds into the song proper. This superb riffage provides the backdrop to the bellowing vocals and guitar harmonies that are soon to follow, very much in the same vein as Iron Maiden on both accounts. Every instrument has its place in the perfectly arranged mix and the bass guitar cuts right through just as it should. The blistering guitar solos towards the end of the song after the bridge are full throttle right down to the very last note. And of course the song ends with a lead guitar rock outro. Obviously.

This track was a thoroughly enjoyable listen and now that I've heard this band for the first time, I can't wait to dig into another Delusional Silence single next week. In the meantime, I think I'll give this one another listen or two and I would definitely encourage you to do the same if you get the chance.

“Cerebral Pest” is out now.

Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/6869JU8ZNc7ekfWXBYrwb2

Cheers!

Chris

Delusional Silence - Cerebral Pest [Single]