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Metal

Darkwave danced with opium den chic in CHIRAL’s debut single and music video, I BRING CHAOS

Darkwave slipped into opium den chic in CHIRAL’s debut single and music video, I BRING CHAOS. After an opulently tribalistic intro which sees rhythms snake and shimmer with maximum seductive effect, CHIRAL starts to exhibit the shadow side of the Sunset Strip with their sleazy guitars and harbingering hard rock vox – but that is only the start of the ensnaring experimentalism with I BRING CHAOS, which more than lives up to its titular proclamation.

If it’s been a while since you locked sonic horns with a truly authentic darkwave band, the Irish conduits of alchemic fervour are the ultimate avant-garde antidote to the mundanity that has started to infiltrate and oversaturate the alternative music scene.

After founding in 2023, the fourpiece immediately surpassed their wide-spanning set of influences, which includes Therapy?, Faith No More, Deftones, and Tool. If I BRING CHAOS is a taste of what is to come, I already know I’m going to want to devour the broodingly carnivalesque glamour in the rest of their forthcoming discography.

Stream the official music video for I BRING CHAOS which premiered on January 26th on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Little Villains – Café De Stam: The Ultimate Hard Rock Antidote to the Ennui of Our Times

Café De Stam by Little Villains

The transatlantic hard-rock heavy-hitters Little Villains are priming themselves for the unleashing of their fifth studio LP, Café De Stam. Get a taste of the vintage-wrapped rancour to come by adrenalizing yourself with the recently released title single.

By melding classic rock rhythmics with the frenetic mayhem of metal, the title single will go down a storm with Motorhead and Venom fans. Little Villains ensured none of the high-octane energy from their rock n roll to the core performance was lost in the raw production of the infectiously razor-sharp hit, which proves how tight the fourpiece’s sound has become since their debut.

The anthem of defiance brought to life with an infectious sense of devil may care rebellion, goes beyond paying an ode to the pioneers; it is the ultimate aural antidote to the ennui of our modern times.

Stream and purchase the title single, Café De Stam, which was officially released on January 25, on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The paragons of post-hardcore, Heartbent, gave emo nostalgists more than they bargained for with their seminal hit, House of Mirrors

Emo nostalgists will be in for more than they’ve bargained for when they delve into the third EP, House of Mirrors, from the heretics of post-hardcore, Heartbent. After a melodic pop-punk prelude, the title single lives up to the band’s stake to the claim of being one of the most stylistically unique outfits on the post-hardcore scene.

From start to finish, House of Mirrors is a lesson in hook-rife volition. The pop-punk hooks are balanced between the installations of guttural furore, giving the hit an edge of dualistic Jekyll and Hyde vehemence. With hints of Gallows between the sticky-sweet increments of Rise Against-reminiscent energy, Heartbent found never-before-trodden intersections of hardcore and blazed right through them while bringing House of Mirrors to visceral life.

The way Elle Saulsbury’s backing vox temper Alex Folmer’s scathingly magnetic vocal delivery and the instrumentals thrive on the unpredictability within the progressions proves that Heartbent knows exactly how to tap into their uniquely synchronous dynamism that is taking the East Coast by storm.

The House of Mirrors EP hit the airwaves on January 12th. Stream the fervidly hooked 4-track release on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Riven By Ravens followed the sound of a siren in their prog-rock odyssey, Trainwreck

The Cali progressive hard rock titans who forged Riven By Ravens from the ashes of their previous project, Ghost Army, exhibited their broad range of influence in their monolithically metal-tinged single, Trainwreck. It will leave you insatiable for the unveiling of the forthcoming 14-track LP, Venerate, which is set to drop in January 2024.

With tension and aggression-fraught breakdowns which echo Machine Head’s Bloodstone & Diamonds LP between the hints of Against Me and cultivated melodic prog rock reverberations that will rhythmically entice fans of Porcupine Tree and Tool alike, Riven By Ravens did more than amalgamate their eclectic array of influences. They found unchartered intersections between them and stamped down their sonic signature to mark their territory.

If you can tear yourself away from the magnetism within the complex time signatures, you can lock into the refraining mantras, which act as a carrion call to tenacity while exhibiting the breakthrough band’s determination to better the world, one track at a time.

After the band was formed in 2022 by Brian Havrilla and Paul Wilson, they’ve been making strides in the prog-rock dominion, it is only a matter of time before they hold the keys to it entirely.

Stream Trainwreck, which crashed onto the airwaves in 2023 via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast 

Ramener exhibited the agony of empathy in their debut music video for their seminal single, In Her Hands

With the unveiling of Ramener’s debut album drawing closer, the grungy alt-rock evocators unleashed their first music video to complement their ensnaring lead single, In Her Hands, and draw fans a little closer into their tumultuously provocative world, which is redefining the contemporary nu-metal arena.

With a similar atmosphere and aesthetic to Nirvana’s iconic Smells Like Teen Spirit music video, Ramener succeeded in amplifying the visceralism within their seminal single. The rhythmics of the track mimic a fraught with anxious torment heartbeat in the intro until the single breaks into its first cascade of instrumental candour to complement the complete rejection of inhibition from the vocals, which harmonically tease you into the cacophonous outpour.

If you are yet to see Ramener live, the music video will give you an accurate view of what you can expect from the instrumentally tight outfit which becomes the sum of all parts when they’re using their agony, volition and razor-sharp songwriting chops to seduce you into soundscapes which transcend sound to become immersive expositions into the dark side of empathy. Keep Ramener on your radar. What follows will undoubtedly be just as groundbreaking.

Stream the debut music video from Ramener for their In Her Hands hit single via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Porter – Behind the Banlieu: A Disparaging Sign of Our Digital Disconnected Epoch

Germany’s most tuned-into-the-harrow-of-our-digitised-material-reality progressive alt-rock outfit, Porter, leaned into the disconnect and isolation our instant connectivity has brought us in their aptly dark single, Behind the Banlieu. While no one is living under the illusion that we’re living in the healthiest epoch, Porter’s single is efficacious in its attestation to the damage that is being inflicted on us with each passing day.

This track is a testament to Porter’s ability to fuse various musical influences, from the raw energy of metal and punk to the nuanced storytelling of indie and singer-songwriter styles. The result is a sound that’s uniquely theirs, mature yet vibrant, complex yet accessible.

Raimund, the band’s new frontman, brings an electrifying presence to the track. His vocals resonate, echoing the power of the pounding drums and the deep growls of the basslines. This combination creates a sound that’s as dark as it is energising, a perfect canvas for the song’s powerful message.

With raw rock riffs which tear through the alchemised atmosphere, there’s plenty of room for contemplation, when you’re not locked into the tumultuous volition of the single that carries all of the elements of an electrifying rock anthem. Consider the single as the first stone cast in a sonic revolution and a fierce declaration from a band that knows its power.

In a world where oppressive ideas are gaining ground, Porter uses their music as a tool for resistance and inspiration. The chorus is not just memorable; it’s a call to arms for those who crave a shift towards democracy and freedom.

Behind the Banlieu is now available to stream on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Denacus delivered a trap metal manifesto of mental disquietness with ‘Dark Days’

‘Dark Days’ is the latest nefariously infectious trap metal track from the up-and-coming artist and enigma Denacus, who is set to snarl his way up from the underground with his darkly domineering edge. With a sound as scintillating as Wage War and $uicideboy$, Denacus emerges as a pioneer in the burgeoning trap metal genre, one capable of crafting a visceral, haunting experience that encapsulates the essence of raw emotional turmoil.

The artist, hailing from a humble farm near Moree, NSW, Australia, brings a unique blend of Ragecore and Horrorcore to the table, elevating the track beyond mere musical expression.

What sets Dark Days apart is its ability to resonate deeply with listeners who have experienced the suffocating grip of mental anguish. Denacus delves into the depths of his troubled past, marked by depression, bullying, and recurrent admissions to psychiatric wards. His journey from a struggling teenager to an experimental recording artist is palpable in every beat and lyric of the song.

The track is a short but intense journey through the darkest corridors of the human mind. It’s a macabre piece that clings to your consciousness long after the last note fades. The lyrics, focusing on themes like nihilism, vengeance, and existential dread, are not just words but a window into the artist’s soul.

Dark Days will be available to stream from January 3rd; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Post-hardcore meets hip hop in SEER SEEKER’s viscerally bruising standout release, GONE TOO LONG

Post-hardcore meets nu-metal and creates friction with hard-hitting hip-hop in the standout cinematic mash-up, GONE TOO LONG, from the hotly anticipated debut album TO THE CORE, from SEER SEEKER.

For the seminal track from the LP, SEER SEEKER took the foundation laid by Linkin Park and launched it into a brand-new scintillating atmosphere, which channels the same tumultuous visceralism as ground-breaking artists in the vein of Wage War, Polaris, and Fit for a King. While some artists are content getting up to speed with the contemporary curve, others are palpably determined to sit on a plateau above it. SEER SEEKER is definitively in the latter camp.

High-octane enigmatic energy courses through the electrifying release as SEER SEEKER uses every ounce of their volition to make the weight of the lyricism cascade with bruising and deeply affecting impact. Between the cross-appeal of the monolithic aesthetic and the up-and-coming artist’s maniacally larger-than-life charisma, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more promising breakthrough post-hardcore artist on the airwaves right now.

TO THE CORE was officially released on December 22. Stream it in full on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Master Splinter took their stoner rock sound into an arcane new realm in ‘Dragon’s Blood’

Master Splinter, the Portland-based hard rock powerhouse, has unleashed a storming renegade of a track with Dragon’s Blood, which opens the gateway into the realms of arcane fantasy and fiction, a territory where bands like Gwar and Nekrogoblikon have previously ventured, but Master Splinter carves out their own unique path with an anthem of escapism and empowerment.

The powerful and melodic vocals tie the whole ensemble together, creating a sound that is both classic and refreshingly innovative. Songwriters, Mick Arrell and Jason Schauer, have a knack for weaving epic stories, using metaphorical characters and scenarios to express complex emotions and experiences in a way that is both clever and subtle – perfectly exemplified in Dragon’s Blood.

The track itself is a journey through a fantastical landscape, where the tales of prevailing against adversity are enough to psyche up any listener to smite their challenges. It is stoner rock perfection from a band that continues to adorn our radar with riff-charged insanity, and we eagerly anticipate what they will conjure up next.

Dragon’s Blood dripped onto the airwaves on December 15; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sunset Cobra replenished their venom for their latest feat of hard rock nihilism, I Remain

Sunset Cobra is back with even more hard rock venom than before with their latest single, I Remain. By contorting genres and influences into a ferociously unique high-octane ride through the landscape of rock and metal, the monolith easily sets itself apart in the contemporary music scene.

From the opening notes, I Remain grabs the listener with a relentless intensity. The band channels the spirit of Velvet Revolver, updating it with a serpentine electro-rock edge. The influence of Drowning Pool is evident in the rancorous energy that permeates the track, while the breakdowns echo the tightly controlled chaos reminiscent of Mushroomhead. Yet, amidst this sonic maelstrom, Sunset Cobra finds room for technical, frenetic riffs and fragments of sunset sleaze.

The dynamism is not just in its instrumentation but also in its lyrical depth. The song delves into the darker aspects of the human condition with nihilistic poetry that is as compelling as it is confronting. The lyrics hold no prisoners, expressing contempt with a rawness that is both brutal and beautifully articulated.

As listeners eagerly anticipate what Sunset Cobra will unleash next, I Remain is a testament to their potential. It’s a song that will not only resonate with fans of rock and metal but with anyone who appreciates music that pushes boundaries and defies expectations.

I Remain was released via Reclusive Audio Ltd on December 1st; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast