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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

Face the wrath of Moose Wrench’s synthesised surrealism through their latest single, Ginnel Dick

Not Dead Yet by Moose Wrench

Moose Wrench, a Leeds-based alternative outfit, propelled us into a vortex of macabre synthetics with their latest single, Ginnel Dick, from their debut album, Not Dead Yet. This track is an audacious escapade into the realms of electro-cyberpunk, infused with a Lynchian nightmare aesthetic and Kafkaesque surrealism. The song is a cacophony of genre-bending sounds that merge to form a unique auditory experience, making Moose Wrench a standout in the “dad-bod alt-core” scene, which they created because no other genre pigeon-hole is wide enough for the sheer insanity that ensues once you hit play.

After an 80s horror-adjacent intro, the single opens with a punchy, rolling beat reminiscent of Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, setting the tone for what is to unfold. As the track progresses, it spills over into a psychedelically dark atmosphere, transforming the listening experience into something akin to a séance rather than a mere song. The symphonic synthscape towards the outro echoes the dramatic flair of a Cradle of Filth release, adding an operatic depth to the already rich sonic tapestry.

It’s a masterfully twisted orchestration that mocks conventional structures and sounds and is a testament to the trio’s ability to confront and creatively express life’s annoyances, from poor driving to the existential dread of mid-life. It is a must-listen for those seeking a fresh, unconventional sound.

Ginnel Dick will debut across all major streaming platforms on December 18th; in the run-up to the official release, purchase the single on Bandcamp.  

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The future of alt-rock surged through Adamic’s latest post-hardcore sonic juggernaut, All of a Sudden

Adamic’s latest single All of a Sudden from their self-titled album is a ground-breaking addition to the alt-rock genre. Hailing from Linton, Indiana, Adamic has been shaping their unique sound since 2013, and this track is a testament to their artistic growth.

The song is a masterful blend of alternative, metal, and punk elements, reminiscent of the likes of Deftones, Foo Fighters, Tool, and P.O.D., yet it carves out its own identity. All of a Sudden stands out for its progressive arrangement, echoing bands like Bring Me the Horizon and Enter Shikari while offering a fresh perspective on post-hardcore. The crunchy guitars create a robust foundation, while the percussion leads listeners towards a euphoric oblivion. This innovative instrumentation ensures that the song remains engaging and unpredictable, a quality that will undoubtedly appeal to fans of alt-rock.

The vocal performance by Ian Swaby is another highlight. His endlessly soaring vocal lines drench the track in addictive energy, adding an emotive depth that resonates with listeners. Adamic’s decision to team up with producer Andrew Stanton of Disciple for their fourth studio album has clearly paid off, allowing them to elevate their sound to new heights.

The official music video for All of a Sudden is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast