Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Download Festival

Hello everyone,

Thought I would mention that this year I am lucky enough to go Download Festival in the mighty Donington in June!

Therefore I will be doing a Download Fest Special Review blog in the summer, letting you know my thoughts on the festival, the highlights, the possible low points/shocks (which I doubt will happen) and all of that fun stuff.

http://www.downloadfestival.co.uk/line-up - This year is the ideal line-up for any metal fan, I have attached a link for you to look at and drool over.

Stay tuned for more info

Tom

Bullet For My Valentine - Temper Temper

Tears Might Fall

Now here's an album I've been particularly excited to review. One of my favourite bands of recent years, Bullet For My Valentine have released their fourth album with the vicious name of 'Temper Temper'. The Welsh metallers are what I like to refer to as a 'Marmite band', with the obvious connotations that you'd either love them or hate them, but for me, I definitely love them, and admire how much they've progressed in the last few years. In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect from the newest release, would it sound like 'Fever' (their third album) or would they go back to their roots, and make songs that have an essence of 'The Poison' (debut album), or would it possible that they would change their sound altogether?

I must admit that I had to listen to this album multiple times before I could give it a solid review, mainly because I wasn't quite sure what I thought of it on the initial listen. It was a good album, that's all I could think. But after giving it another couple of listens I felt I could break it down more analytically. My first thought of the album was that it sounded most similar to 'Fever' than any other album they've made, which in a way is a smart move as 'Fever' was generally well-received, much more so than 'Scream, Aim, Fire'. They've stuck to using fairly basic metal riffs and have chosen to use practically the same tempo throughout. Although this annoys me slightly, I can see why they've chosen to do this. It's apparent they're a metal band for casual listeners, and they want to appeal to the most widespread audience that they can. For me, the band's priority should be to work on music that captures their essence without worrying about how big their fan base will be. It's obvious that their first album contains their best music, but they won't go back to using that as a framework for any newer material. However...

When I saw the track listing and my eyes locked into 'Tears Don't Fall Part 2', I cried a little inside. HOW could they take their best song and try and make something different of it? Basically after listening to that song, it is a highlight on the album, but doesn't need to be a sequel of a classic song for it to be appealing. The fact they included Matt Tuck growling "Let's go again!" in the song makes it clear that there's nostalgia present. In general, the songs are of a decent standard, a couple of softer moments as you would expect, but for the most part it is a hard rock/metal album. The tracks are definitely all growers, especially the singles 'Temper Temper' and 'Riot'. First listen they make you feel nonplussed, but with further listens, it is clear why they are the choices of singles. The short, but catchy nature of the songs are great, and will be in their live arsenal for sure this year, and for years to come.

It has to be said though that it is probably the least best album they've made (I won't say worst, because that would imply that the album is bad, when it is in fact mediocre) and the lyrical content is ridiculous at times, so much so that you just know the band need to hire a lyricist to write their songs. Also another criticism is that the songs need to be crafted more intricately, and bundled with well thought out solos. Anyway, it may appear like I've given a bad name to a great band, this isn't the case at all. They're still one of my favourite bands, and I'm seeing them live twice this year. Their older hits will always be my favourite, as well as my undying love for most of 'Fever', but 'Temper Temper' just doesn't fulfil any expectations. Hopefully they'll realise that they need to make an album for all of those fans who have stuck with them from day one, otherwise they'll end up taking the same route Linkin Park have.

Stand-out tracks on the album: 'Dirty Little Secret', 'Riot', 'Tears Don't Fall, Part 2' <--- (If you ignore the name and just concentrate on the song, you'll enjoy it!)

Rating: 6 out of 10

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Courteeners - Anna

Welcome to Manchester

The Smiths Jr are back with their third album 'Anna', three years after the release of 'Falcon'. With the new album, it is apparent that they have developed as a band and have taken a slightly different route, as they venture into the sophisticated side of Indie, whilst being openly experimental with the musicality of 'Anna'. Don't get it twisted though, as The Courteeners are still the same, typical Mancunian four piece.

The band have managed to make a compromise between their earlier two albums, picked the best sections from each and have merged them together to form 'Anna'. Throughout we hear the harsher tones and the multi-dimensional lyrics that were contained in the first album, as well as the anthemic vibe of the second album.

The first single off of 'Anna', called 'Lose Control' is definitely reminiscent of older tracks such as 'Cross My Heart and Hope To Fly' and 'You Overdid It Doll', with a dance feel to it. 'Lose Control' is another song The Courteeners can add to their legendary live arsenal as a classic that the die-hard fans will love.

The album as a whole has a vibe of 'by the Mancunians, for the Mancunians', especially because it is so alike the forefather figures such as Oasis (early-ish days) and The Smiths. However if you look past a lot of the lyrical content, and focus mainly on the music, you'll see that is meant to appeal to a wider audience. Anyone who's a fan of Brit-Pop, Indie, Rock, or pretty much anything will enjoy at least a song or two off this album. For me it's a great record from The Courteeners and the bar is certainly held high, and just to top it all off, I'm very glad I bought a signed copy of the album, something for the collection!

Stand-out tracks on the album: "Lose Control", "Welcome To The Rave"

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Independent Music Promotions

Hi everyone

Just wanted to share some information and spread the word about the company 'Independent Music Promotions'. Basically they are what it says on the tin, a promotion company who are entirely based on the interest of promoting music. They have a number of ways of promoting their artists and bands, anything from an album review to posting their work on their website. They are all about the press.
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Also, IMP are successful in offering full-package marketing to acts of all genres, making sure each act gets its money's worth. They are phenomenal at promoting, and are unlike any regular PR company.

If you are interested in finding out more about what IMP do, then visit the link to their webpage below:

www.independentmusicpromotions.com

As with Projekt Records, I will also be reviewing plenty of music from IMP too. Please read my reviews and help share the awareness of Independent Music Promotions.

Many Thanks,

Tom

Biffy Clyro - Opposites

Do Opposites attract?

This is a review that should have been posted a couple of days ago, but I needed to listen to this album multiple times for it to sink in. Seeing as Opposites is a double album, it required a lot of time and concentration in order for me to give a break-down on it. Alas, I'll begin.

The good ol' Scots of the Rock world; Biffy Clyro are back with their sixth studio album, and it's a double album too. Exciting stuff right? After the huge success of their previous effort, Only Revolutions, it was hard to predict where the band would next head in terms of their musical direction. Would they continue along the path of big anthems which attract a larger, albeit 'light rock and mainsteam' fanbase?, or would they delve deep into their roots and pull out some of their quirky style songs and use them as the guidelines for the new album? So many questions asked that need answering, and after having listened to Opposites, I am here to answer the questions.

As the album is split into two discs, I'll review each disc separately, starting with the first one which is entitled 'The Sand at the Core of Our Bones'. It seems that each disc has a theme, with the former being about the past and the "ifs, buts and maybes" of the world. The lyrics throughout suggest how you can look at an issue and pick out the worst possible solutions from it. It's rough-edged, like how you would expect. The songs are mainly speedy, like most Biffy songs are, but also the odd time signatures are back, like 'Puzzle' era and prior to that too. The jangly, furiously plucked guitar sound still exists in their tracks, making the songs equally as hard rocking as they've ever been. Overall the first disc sets the listener up on a journey, with the anticipation of what the second disc will bring.

The second disc is entitled "The Land at the End of Our Toes". You would think it would be an echo of the first disc, and in some parts that's exactly what it is, but there are also a number of different elements in the songs that portray the musical difference and incoherency between the discs. An example of this would be moments like the mariachi propelled song 'Spanish Radio' and the electronic components that trickle through the entire album, all in reasonably sized doses. Lyrically it is the more uplifting of the two discs, with this one exclaiming optimistic thoughts for the duration of the record. Simon Neil's voice is sounding strong, and so incredibly Scottish, just as we expect.

In my opinion the first disc is slightly more superior to the latter, but both have their strong points. If you want original, angular Biffy, mixed with aresemblance of their arena-filling hits off of the last album, then The Sand at the Core of Our Bones will be perfect for you. Generally, the whole album seems to lack the same spark that their previous albums have all had, it's almost as if they are trying too hard to top 'Only Revolutions' but have fallen slightly flat. Maybe a double album isn't the best idea, they could have just worked on a single album until it was incredible sounding and would be rewarding to listen to. However, Opposites doesn't have this effect. To conclude, it shows signs of promise throughout, but with the exception of a few songs, it is nothing groundbreaking, just generally lacklustre. The cliché of a rising Rock band releasing a double album has been completely met here.

Stand-out songs on the album(s): "Different People", "The Joke's On Us" and "Stingin' Belle"

Rating: 6 out of 10