Browsing Tag

Progressive Metal

New Zealand powerhouse Thess have made a monolithic hard-rock return with ‘Kombakke’

If Coal Chamber, Deftones, Alice in Chains, Mushroomhead and Pantera were placed in a smouldering sonic pot, the simmering amalgam would groove in the same hard-rock vein as the latest single from the Nelson, New Zealand-hailing fourpiece, Thess.

After a recording hiatus, the monolithically hard-hitting powerhouse released their brand-new single, Kombakke; and there’s the promise that there is plenty more in the pipeline from the criminally underrated act, which more than has what it takes to send ripples through the industry that are powerful enough to move tectonic plates.

The extended single melodically pulls you through a myriad of progressive stylistic exhibitions of the band’s dynamism – never allowing you to get complacent with the ever-transitory rough rancour that efficaciously delivers catharsis to anyone on the same pissed-off page.

Kombakke was released on February 14th. Hear it for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

BackIVBlood – Cuts: Cowboys from Cwmbran

The recently forged South Wales metal three-piece, BackIVBlood, is laceratingly sharp in their debut single, Cuts. With elements of Pantera, Drowning Pool and Static X all legible in the adrenalized off-kilter ride through their progressive furore, it’s impossible not to get sucked into their grungy alt-metal antagonistically cathartic antics.

The caustically sharp vocals rail across the consistently evolving instrumentals that lustfully flirt with nu-metal in the rhythm section, stylise the ferocity with dynamic hard rock guitar licks and add nuanced layers of industrial metal to the fresh production, which unravels as an amalgam you’ve never tested the capacity of your neck with before.

Based on this exceptionally promising debut alone, the juggernautical powerhouse can count on me to be at the front row on their future tour dates.

Listen to Cuts on Spotify and YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lyrical Poetry Heightens the Monolithic Heavy Metal Alchemy in Maximilian Wentz’s Single, Your Silhouette

Sweeter than honey sentimentalism sits side-by-side with melodic hooks, gigantic riffs, and theatrically monolithic breakdowns in Maximilian Wentz’s seminal single, Your Silhouette, which fuses the heart-in-throat feels of Shinedown and the progressively distinct furore of SOAD.

Just when you start to hear the reminiscences of The Calling’s Wherever You Will Go, post-hardcore motifs blaze through the soundscape to prove that when Maximilian Wentz pays homage to a visceral emotion, he goes all in to capture the extreme.

The independent singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Berklee College student is one of the few artists in the heavy metal that is bold enough to fully commit to emotional expression with no pretence. We can’t wait to hear what the Massachusetts-hailing artist who has enriched the industry with his solo work and via his band 51st State has to offer next.

Listen to Your Silhouette on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Black Stone Brewers Distilled Excitement For Their 2023 EP Launch In Their Expositionally Expansive A&R Factory Interview

From the first shot of Perth’s hottest up-and-coming alt-rock outfit, Black Stone Brewers sound, we were intoxicated. Between their hectic tour schedule and priming their new singles to be launched, we sat down with the enthralling outfit to get a more intimate taste of their ingenuity. They’re quickly becoming our new favourite poison.

Black Stone Brewers, welcome to A&R Factory! You’ve been making major strides despite your relatively recent integration into the music industry. What has been the highlight for you so far?

Thanks so much for having us! A few of us have been playing together for several years, with Simon (bass, ridiculous good looks) and Luke (lead guitar, memes) coming on board for this iteration of the band. So having played together for so long, probably the best thing for us right now is landing some shows on some bigger stages in front of more people! We love and believe in our music, and it really makes it real when a few people you’ve never set eyes on before in your life come up after a big set and honestly tell you how much they loved it.

With five of you within the band and your sonic style being so fluid, how often do creative differences crop up?

Often enough to talk about, that’s for sure! I remember a few instances where a couple of us got fixated on one or two notes here or there and argued back and forth about which way it should go, while the rest of the guys shrug and say does it really matter? They’re usually right, but you get so caught up in exactly how you want a certain part to sound that you’re prepared to get into fisticuffs over it! Nothing a cold beer can’t solve, however! But really, we’re usually pretty aligned in the overall feel and direction each song takes as it comes together, where there’s usually one driving idea and everyone gets behind it. If no one seems to know which way a song or melody is going, we tend to find those are the tunes that fall by the wayside anyway.

What’s the secret ingredient in your evocatively Kryptonitic melodies?

What’s the secret in your fabulously worded questions?! You’ve got us stumped here. If by Kryptonitic you mean our melodies are the downfall of superheroes everywhere, then I guess one of the key things we strive for is the perfect blend of heavy, prog, and metal influences, with catchy pop hooks and sing-alongs. Jono (guitar, keys, vocals, any other instrument he can get his grubby mitts on) has some really solid pop foundations and just pulls these incredibly catchy melodies and chord progressions out, whereas Rob (guitar, vocals, beard) is always just sitting around in a corner (when he’s supposed to be working) agonisingly putting note next to note in the rhythmically weirdest spot, trying to create something unique. Throw that at a wall with one of the most solid rhythm sections around in Simon and Blair (drums, cigarettes), layer some well-thought-out leads and Strymon effects on top, and voila! How’s that for Kryptonite?

What led to your two battle of the bands wins in 2020 and 2021 respectively, and how has your stage presence transformed since?

The first battle of the bands we played in 2020 was a little local one at a pub and was the first gig this iteration of the band ever played. It was fun, and we managed to pull enough mates to score the win and a few dollars in the bank. We were nervous, someone was incredibly late and disorganised, and we just about pulled it off. By 2021 we had a solid set of shows under our belt, were working on newer, better material and our stage presence had actually turned into something. We pride ourselves on not just standing on a platform plucking at a few strings, Black Stone Brewers shows are energetic, they’re sweaty, they’re loud, and they’re often punctuated with sub-par banter. We’ve never watched one, but we imagine it’s pretty entertaining to watch. It’s more fun and exciting watching a band play when it looks like they’re having a real good time too. Let’s get sweaty together!

What particular line of philosophy does your latest single, Cut the Cord, lyrically tie in with most closely?

Now that’s a doozy! You’ve done this before! Cut the Cord was a back-and-forth lyric trade-off between Rob and Jono over messenger a while ago, exploring the role religion has played in our formative years, and how different that is to the instant gratification social media mess that a lot of life is today. It’s a bit of a bleak message and a reflection on some things we see around us, but it also has that little undertow of hope – how can this be the next evolution? Let’s cut the cord, clear all these illusions that are blinding people and set a new course. It’s time now to make it right.

It has been a while since rock music has been one of the most popular genres; what do you think it will take for the rock appetite to make a ravenous comeback?

It’s true on the face of it, but there’s still an incredible amount of heavy rock music out there, you just have to look a little harder. Hopefully, with Covid out of the way, the big rock festivals start up again and some of the bigger names in the scene kick off a bunch of tours, and people can get back in the pit and remember how great it feels to be part of a loud, moving mass of people singing along to their favourite tunes, and head banging to their favourite riffs. Nothing get’s you like a brutal riff! And hopefully, we’ll be right there alongside it all, so keep an eye and an ear out!

You worked with the nationally renowned producer, Matthew Templeman, on your forthcoming EP that is set to release in early 2023; how much creative licence did you give him over the EP?

This was such an incredible experience. Matt is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and an absolute wizard at his craft, we’re totally thrilled to have been able to spend as much time working on this EP with him as we did. Matt initially approached the project relatively hands-off, as the songs were already finished, and we hadn’t worked together before. But as we got into the studio and started getting more comfortable with each other, we saw some more of his production mastery. Matt has an incredible grasp of how a song fits together, what each musician needs to get the best performance at any given time, and an innate sense of what just sounds plain old good. We threw all our messy ideas and hopes and dreams at him, and he helped us craft them into a finished product that we couldn’t be prouder of. As far as we’re concerned, the next time around Matt can do whatever he wants!

What else do the Black Stone Brewers have in the pipeline?

So, our focus right now is obviously releasing a couple of singles and building into a big exciting EP launch. We’re working hard to build our brand and get the best of our music out into the world as far as we can get it. If you like what you hear, please give us a spin, sling us a follow-on social media and tell your mates! Other than that, we’ll be pulling together a line of merch with some great local artists and vendors, and then knuckling down to write the next set of straight-up bangers. Our sound is still evolving from the first EP, and we can’t wait to get back into the studio and get the next thing out into the world! Until then, keep on rocking!

Listen to Black Stone Brewers on Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp.

Give them a follow on Facebook & Instagram.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

Hunting Giants unleashed another mythological monolithic monster with their proggy hard rock single, Too Big to Kill

Too Big to Kill is the latest mythologically-inspired monolithic hard rock single to be released from the progressive four-piece outfit Hunting Giants’ upcoming album, Mythos.

With vocals as gnarled as the salaciously ferocious guitar riffs, Too Big to Kill makes no apology before it ravages your attention with the lyrics relayed to instrumentals which refuse to pigeonhole themselves into just one genre. The complexity easily matches the ferocity in this melting pot of grunge, groove metal and prog rock.

Not many tracks could warrant a comparison to Static X’s no Submission, but Hunting Giants easily match the intensity and cataclysmic etherealism between the melodic Godsmack-Esque increments.

Too Big to Kill was officially released on September 9th. Check it out on Spotify, and await the arrival of Mythos, which is set to be unleashed on September 30th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Angils delivered a stellar slice of progressive metal with their latest single, Drowning.

‘Drowning’ is the latest melodic metal single from the arrestingly talented alternative artist, Angils, who puts their own sludgy signature spin on the genre – to an atmospherically enticing effect.

With nuances of grunge in the harmonised vocals before they break into visceral, guttural angst, the progressive nature of the consistently unpredictable track keeps you hooked from start to finish. From grungy reminiscences to Alice in Chains to angular instrumental interludes to straight-up Pantera-Esque aggression, Drowning definitively offers it all. If the metal scene continues to sleep on Angils, they may as well be in a cultural coma.

It isn’t every day that we discover an artist whose instrumental ability is on par with their immersive songwriting prowess. We can’t wait to hear what follows.

Drowning was officially released on December 30th; you can check it out for yourselves via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Baroque Monody reaches the epitome of etherealism with their single, Plan 2021, feat Kellii Scott.

Plan 2021 (Feat. Kellii Scott) by Baroque Monody

Post-punk and symphonic metal converge in the darkened atmosphere of Baroque Monody’s latest single, Plan 2021, featuring percussionist Kellii Scott (Failure).

With Scott’s thrashing percussive flair, the heavy guitars and the etherealism of Jenifer Rose’s vocals as they emanate the same arcane allure of a 15th-century mystic, all of your senses will surrender to the sublimely-paced progressive furore in Plan 2021.

After making their debut in 2013, Baroque Monody has released two albums, and there is plenty more in the pipeline from the powerhouse duo. Save a spot on your radar.

Plan 2021 is available to stream and purchase via Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Alt Metal instrumentalist Jorge Gomez has made his debut with the ‘Beyond Blackened’ EP

Madrid-residing Spanish musician, Jorge Gomez, has made their solo debut with the EP ‘Beyond Blackened’ which serves thrashy furore while fervently stamping down his signature sound on the Metal scene. There’s very little chance his imprint will go unnoticed for much longer.

The 4-track release, which was recorded at the legendary Alex Cappa’s Metal Factory, shows just how much nuance can be packed into a fast-paced offering of blackened instrumental Metal. In the absence of vocals, there’s definitely no absence of feeling as you wrap yourself up in the progressively transfixing soundscapes which are consistently leading you into another facet of Jorge Gomez’s dynamic elemental style.

The build-ups from the melodically tender Rock intro’s, especially with track 3, Hollow, is a journey you’re going to want to take time and time again.

There really is no overstating the level of skill exhibited in Beyond Blackened. It’s so much more than just technical ability. The artist’s talent when it comes to hooking you in from the intro and toying with your emotions and rhythmic pulses and psyche in equal measure right until the outro makes Beyond Blackened one of the most promising debuts we’ve heard in 2020.

You can check out Jorge Gomez’s EP for yourselves via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Grindcore meets Sludge Metal in XMALCOLMX’s humanity damning single ‘MAN IS THE PREY’

Sludge Metal, Black Metal, Nu Metal and Grindcore all cataclysmically collide in the 2020 album from  XMALCOLMX, ‘MAN IS THE PREY’. Each track exhibits the Stockton, California-hailing artist’s experimental style which has set the benchmark for boundary-pushing within the DIY music scene of Northern California. If you want the best introduction to XMALCOLMX’s addictively visceral sound, hit play on the title single.

The progressive track kicks off with distorted trepidation and hostility before rhythm starts to break through the caustic sonic sludge and punky protestive vocals bounce along with the monumental progressions. With an aural curveball at every turn in the tight instrumentals and the vocals proving to be just as versatile, MAN IS THE PREY quickly entices you through the addictively rhythmic abrasive energy

You can check out MAN IS THE PREY along with the rest of XMALCOLMX’s sludgy masterpiece for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast