Small towns in Wales seem to regularly turn up superb melodic rock bands, and Empire of Lights – with their new single ‘Hit The Highway’ is no exception to that rule. Sparse, echoey guitar, pounding drums, and driving bass are the order of the day here; there’s a gothy vibe to the music, a feel of ‘The Forest’ or ‘Jumping Someone Else’s Train’-era Cure, mixed with Johnny Borrell Razorlight vocals from singer John Aziz.
It’s a vaguely psychedelic, spacey sound – there’s something special about the dynamics of three piece rock bands; think Hendrix, Cream, Husker Du and Sugar, and of course Nirvana. The interplay between instruments and vocals, the necessity of accepting and using space rather than simply turning everything up louder than everything else, allows for a different approach and that serves Empire Of Lights well here, adding to that slightly ephemeral, dreamy feel, and coming from such a young band – drummer Eifion Davies is still too young to drink in the bars that Empire Of Lights should be playing this year – shows a realy understanding of arrangement and songwriting. The future looks very bright for Empire Of Lights.
‘Compass Rose’ is just one of the interstellar instrumental tracks to feature on Abandon the Fall’s latest alt-rock EP ‘Infinite Seasons’.
With the morosity of the National resonating in the quiescent interludes, when the track builds up to the breaks, you’ll be on the edge of your seat as Abandon the Fall plays havoc with your emotions and takes control of rhythmic pulses.
Compass Rose is a relentlessly mesmerising single that never leaves you feeling over-faced by the layers of viscerally-charged instrumentals. Instead, it leaves you leaning deeper into the soul of the single which is easy to find in the distinctive guitar notes which linger over atmospheric electronic effect.
Compass Rose is now available to stream via Spotify.
When we reviewed Abandon The Fall’s ‘Enemy’ single back in August 2018, Amelia Vandergast likened them to Linkin Park’s ‘Hybrid Theory’, saying ‘the vocals are stripped back and left emotionally bare around the resounding instrumentals’. In the case of ‘Memories’, from new EP ‘Infinite Seasons’, Abandon The Fall have taken that a step further and provided an instrumental track bereft of vocals altogether. It’s not, however, bereft of power or melancholy, that same electronic-meets-metal vibe that was there on the debut coming through across the track. There’s definitely that Linkin Park feel at times, but with thundering kick drums aplenty behind the shimmering, echoey guitars, there’s touches of Enter Shikari and 30 Seconds To Mars in here too. It’s a potent, powerful track with no loss of emotiveness from its instrumental-only nature.
You can hear ‘Memories’ on Spotify; check out Abandon The Fall on Facebook.
‘UNSAID’ is the latest sonically infectious track from Canadian Hard Rock artist Rise in Veins, the verses may be filled with caustic momentum, but when the chorus hits, the melodicism of the scathingly high-energy release takes hold.
Rise in Veins succeeded in layering a dark gritty sense of despondency within their sound while providing an upbeat anthem to find catharsis within. UNSAID both validates and absolves frustration as the compassionately commanding vocals run through against the tight synergy of the instrumentals; definitively proving that the Hard Rock powerhouse is a force to be reckoned with.
Any fans of Godsmack, Drowning Pool and Seether are definitely going to want to pay Rise in Veins some attention. Their signature take on hard rock is exactly what the airwaves needs in 2021. It’s visceral and ardent enough to shatter any sense of ennui which you may find yourself in before you hit play.
UNSAID was officially released on January 15th, 2021, you can hear it on Rise in Veins’ official website
Lifelong musician, Dimitri Toonen released their debut Alt Rock album ‘Leave My Mind Sometimes’ on November 20th, discernibly, sharing their soulfully captivating sound with the world was criminally overdue,
Leave My Mind Sometimes could easily rival Porcupine Tree’s album Fear of a Blank Planet in terms of emotivity. Yet, this progressively passionate release sets itself apart with the cavernous, gentle complexity.
The standout single Not Home Today bears none of the hallmarks of a self-produced single. It’s a deftly orchestrated pool of escapism twined with lyricism which compels you to delve deeper into the consciousness-consuming release.
You can check out Not Home Today for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
Kicking off with a beautifully overdriven, edge-of-break-up Tube Screamer-esque guitar tone and kicking drums, Godzukey’s ‘Alibi’ is a proper old-school grungy rock track, all laconic vocals and doomy, portentous bass and guitars. There’s an occasional hint at Mudhoney in the voicing of the fuzzed-up repeating guitar motif, some gentle nods to early Pearl Jam or Mother Love Bone, and a serious bit of guitar-hero shredding from Conrad Bylsma on the playout solo from around 3’30”. Singer/songwriter Jonas Briggs has a perfect early Foo Fighters/Nirvana/Alice In Chains vibe going on around the vocal delivery, but it should be said loudly and clearly: this isn’t simply a retro-reworking of Seattle’s great and good.
There’s a freshness here, too, a contemporary take on that West Coast sound which presumably comes from the creative kick of new connections and neoteric projects. Briggs and Bylsma reconnected to form Godzukey recently, after years of not playing together, recording the EP from which ‘Alibi’ is taken from the ‘music Briggs was carrying around in his head’, and that novel vibrancy comes through in the rawness of the track’s delivery. In Godzukey Portland, Oregon, might just have spawned a new baby monster.
While many are despairing about the state that 2020 has left the industry in, artists such as Allan Dawson have been orchestrating maps back to our sanity by offering unifying releases such as the lead single “Bubble” from their latest album “Reflections of Your Face”.
The Colwyn Bay, North Wales-based artist, producer and engineer independently wrote, recorded and mastered Reflections of Your Face during lockdown. It poignantly encompasses our shared yearning for better times, all the while, Allan Dawson utilises the ability to spin a kaleidoscopic colour wheel which paints the human psyche and the multifaceted struggles which will all need to endure while we’re still breathing. While some songwriters are able to exhibit a candid and raw feel with their lyrics, Allan Dawson uses intricate emotional detail to create soundscapes which are simultaneously inspiring and humbling.
Everything from the tone of Allan Dawson’s reflective vocals to the steady pace of the masterfully orchestrated Rock n Roll licks allows you to sink into the production with ease and allow the sonorous feel of the single to convince you that you’re not alone with your lockdown frustration. Even if you want to stick a butter knife in your lockdown companion’s ear, you’ll get the consolation that your embittered mood is one shared globally.
If you could imagine what Nick Cave would sound like if they adopted a more Classic Rock approach and found a resounding amount of compassion, you’ll get an idea of what is in store when you press play on this cathartically comforting release.
You can check out Allan Dawson’s single Bubble along with the rest of their lockdown-born album Reflections of Your Face via Spotify, SoundCloud and Bandcamp.
Sink into the succinct melodicism in Torn Away’s standout single ‘The Viscera Enigma’ which features on their debut album release ‘As We Rise’ and enjoy the tonally indulgent hooks and grooves orchestrated by the Flint, Michigan Alt Rock trailblazers.
Their tones offer finesse to a sound akin to the likes of Pink Floyd, Alice in Chains and Acid Bath. As their standout track runs through, it is almost as though the breezing and purposefully meandering notes leave an imprint on your psyche and compel you to delve into the progressive hit time after time.
Torn Away offer an incredible energy, I have no doubt that this isn’t the last we hear from them. Get them on your radar.
You’ll have to wait a little bit longer before you can check out As We Rise which will be released by Misanthropik Records. In the meantime, head over to the artist’s Facebook page and give them a follow on Bandcamp.
If your playlists are crying out for a hit of funky, sexy Alt-Rock, you can consider the latest single from The Impersonators a playlist staple.
While it’s got all the efficaciously sleazy allure that you’d expect from any accoladed Sunset Strip act, there’s also an extra juicy element of amorously playful sentimentality which means that Rodeo will give your soul a prod to see if it is still alive as you get snared by the seriously lacerating melodic hooks.
The Impersonators may be a new name for the airwaves, but the talented duo behind the moniker definitely aren’t fresh from their inception. Tom Tikka and Antti Autio were formerly two important components of one of Finland’s hottest Rock acts, Carmen Gray. The same talent is exhibited, but a far more organic sense of soul is on offer. You just can’t help getting pulled into the dreamy Pop-laden melodies crafted by The Impersonators.
You can check out The Impersonators’ single Rodeo by heading over to Spotify.
Rock aficionados will be enraptured before the first solo has time to make your jaw drop. But Limerence isn’t solely about Chris Mike’s fretboard wizardry. With symphonic elements amplifying the energy of the electrifying mix, you’re in for a raucously euphoric treat.
We might not be able to go to gigs right now, but even if I found myself front-row for my favourite artist, I’m not entirely sure I could be as blown away as I was when listening to Limerence for the first time.
There’s no amount of acclaim that Limerence is unworthy of. Not only is Chris Mike one of the most talented instrumentalists I’ve heard in 2020, there’s also plenty of distinctive flair around his rhythmically masterful shredding. I think I’ve found a new guitar hero.
Limerence is just one of the tracks which will be featured on the artist’s forthcoming album Socialholic which is due to drop on October 16th. You can pre-save the album via this link.
You can check out the official video to Chris Mike’s single Limerence for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.