Marmozets

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Been yonks since I did a band plug and quite a while since I wrote anything about music on here at all. Plenty of potential stuff to write about but nothing that’s quite captured me as much as this little band, Marmozets. Hailing from Yorkshire they deal in math rock, emo, and post-hardcore with an ear for a catchy chorus. Fronted by vocalist Becca McIntyre with a debut album due soon I think they’re ready to set the rock world alight for the first time in ages.

With two EP’s to their name so far and a handful of singles these guys have already shown a great diversity in their abilities. The first EP, Passive Aggressive shows a real pop sensibility with, dare I say it, hints of Paramore in their choruses Becca’s vocals sound so similar to Hayley Williams but she pushes it one step further with a scream that would put a lot of metal bands to shame. They show a real ability to experiment and throw everything they’ve got at us in a barrage of news and overall great musicianship. Their math rock influences shine through on a lot of tracks too, Onemanwolfpack has sections reminiscent of Rolo Tomassi and EP closer The Perfect Beverage at times sounds like The Fall of Troy. But never far away is this sense of mainstream rock and roll, I often pick up an aura of early Biffy Clyro and hence the potential for Marmozets to break out of a niche and perhaps one day headline arenas like the Biff. Their second EP, Vexed, is a lot heavier overall the title track is an absolute screamer. But again the collection is littered with catchiness and the final track, Arrive Alive, will have you repeating the chorus over and over in your head. With their latest singles we get a taste of what to expect from their debut LP, with a more polished sound the band have retained their heaviness along with the infective choruses that’ll get you singing along.

These guys are the most exciting British rock band I’ve come across in years and their record looks set not to disappoint check out their EP’s now, both of which you can get free, and let’s help transform this group into superstars.

Deafheaven

DeafheavenIt’s been a long while since my last band plug post and that’s mainly because there have been a lack of awesome bands that I’ve discovered. But when I heard Deafheaven’s new album, Sunbather, a few weeks ago the band immediately became something I needed to talk about. It’s hard to define the bands sound really as it combines elements of a huge amount of genres and also has something that is completely different from anything I’ve ever heard. Having originally been conceived as a two-piece, founding members George Clarke and Kerry McCoy have been through various touring and recording members but have always maintained their unique style.

It would be hard to describe Deafheaven as any one kind of music but due to their screaming vocals and the fact that they’re signed to Death Wish Records it may be they are seen from the outside as a metal band. The problem with this is that any pigeon holing of this band is vastly limiting their appeal. These guys are not a metal band, they’re not an indie band, they’re not even necessarily a rock band; they are a musicians with a clear cut artistic goal that have managed to create music that is so strikingly personal and raw that it can not be defined as a genre of a music only as the art that it is. There first studio album Roads to Judah didn’t have the sublime production that was to be found on its follow-up but it still holds the bands vision and signature sound that you will become accustomed to after listening to one track. It’s their new album, though, Sunbather, that really is nothing short of a masterpiece. It ebbs and flows through speedy metal beats and riffs swarming their way into psychadelic fades and dreamy waves of music. Its bold music that is both brutal and beautiful.

With two great studio albums under their belt and an ever-growing fan base let’s hope Deafheaven are a band that will continue to push boundaries and create great, unique music. If you scroll down I’ve put this new-fangled Spotify play button so you don’t even have to leave this page to get into perhaps the most exciting band of the year.

Sum 41

sum-41-5002d9de07e67Sum 41 may seem an odd band for to be plugging on here, mainly for the fact that I have no doubt everyone reading this will have heard of them. Everyone I know will remember their early teens being littered with hits by the Canadian punk-pop outfit, their most famous obviously being ‘Fat Lip’. But the reason I feel this post is warranted is because it appears they’re a band that’s been forgotten, remembered fondly but no longer have a place on the iPod, however I would argue that if people gave their new stuff a listen they would be surprised at what they find, in my opinion Sum 41 have been improving with every album.

Back in the day I remember Sum 41 being a favourite amongst the boom of pop punk in the late nineties and early noughties, along with Blink, Good Charlotte, The Offspring and American Idiot-era Green Day. People first started taking notice of them with their debut album All Killer No Filler for a lot of people I think that’s where their love for them both started and finished. It’s injustice really considering this is actually their worst record, it’s eclipsed by the groups original EP, Half Hour of Power and a lot of the songs on the album were taken from that record the only good additions were the aforementioned ‘Fat Lip’ and ‘In Too Deep’ which are now the songs the band are known for. Their follow-up Does This Look Infected? was just as popular at the time and a far superior album. Although nowadays when I talk to people Infected? is much less remembered. When I go back and listen to the record now this is where you can start to see the potential for a serious band, they’re still joking around but there’s some very strong instrumentation and well structured and thought out songs.

It was in 2004 with the release of Chuck were the group really changed their focus and with it lost their commercial success and in retrospect the love of teenage fans. I must admit, I didn’t care for it when it came out I was still more interested in the jokey/poppy stuff that was coming out of Blink or Good Charlotte. Chuck saw Sum 41 start to write about some serious topics after the band had a near death experience on tour and were saved by a man named Chuck, the album though is not without its catchy hooks and fun songs but ultimately was a lot darker than their previous work and perhaps they were still maturing in their musicality as well back then. It wasn’t until 2007’s Underclass Hero that I began to take notice again, having matured massively myself I was heading into the darker side of rock moving towards the emo side of things and while everyone was looking elsewhere I cam across my old friends Sum 41 again and Underclass Hero was breath of fresh air. Combining the more complex emotions I was experiencing in late adolescence with the fun riffs and simplicity of the pop punk that had got me into rock music in the first place. It quickly became one of my favourite albums and to this day I still very much enjoy listening to it.

Their latest album Screaming Bloody Murder furthers their transformation into a serious rock group, the lyrics littered with pain and hurt that may have come from lead singer, Deryck Whibley’s divorce to his wife Avril Lavigne. The music on this record is so well structured it is at times hard to believe these are the same guys that brought us that simple pop music from our childhoods. Sum 41 produce music of top quality these days, go have a listen to their new stuff and I promise you won’t be disappointed, also their documentary to accompany Screaming Bloody Murder is a fun watch as well so here it is:

 

Protest the Hero

The other day I was introduced to this group, Protest the Hero. Upon watching the sublime video that accompanies ‘Hair Trigger’ I was originally planning to just do an album review of Scurrilous which that song features on but after enjoying the album so much I gave the bands previous two records a listen and thought it best to turn this post into a band plug. Protest the Hero are primarily a metal although their music has elements of post-hardcore and at times classic rock. These are a band that have the ability to take themselves overly seriously but chose to have a laugh instead.

Going back to their debut album, Kezia, we see a bit more of their metal origins. This is definitely their most generic metal record but that’s not to say it doesn’t have other elements to it. Songs like ‘Blindfolds Aside’ and ‘A Plateful of Our Dead’ have acoustic, Spanish guitar sections breaking up the erratic rock that surrounds them. The musicianship for a debut is exemplary. Crazy time signatures padded out with insane double bass solos and some of the best vocals in any band around make Kezia a great listen even when compared with their later, more popular, records.

Fortress, is much the same. The bass lines on this album have taken a leaf out of the book of funk and can often be heard rapidly bumbling along beneath the ridiculous guitars, listen to ‘Bone Marrow’ to hear a bit of this. There’s also a lot more of the post-hardcore feel I was talking about on this record which becomes even more apparent on Scurrilous, but we can see them progressing as a band here. There are also tracks on here that sound a lot more like prog-metal similar to The Fall of Troy or even System of a Down at times.

Scurrilous, their latest album is a lot less like a metal album flowing between punk and hardcore and cutting down on the screaming. The guitar parts are still just as crazy though and the lyrics just as ridiculous as ever. Vocally, this album shows how Rody Walker has matured and he gives his strongest performance on this.

Protest the Hero are a band that manage to set themselves well apart from the norm of metal bands at the moment and genuinely capture something unique in the sound by throwing together a mixture of other bands style. These guys are definitely one to watch, got my fingers crossed for UK tour in the near future.

 

The Joy Formidable

Back in early 2011 I was on the prowl for some new music, while scrolling through some new releases on iTunes I came across the release of The Joy Formidable’s debut album The Big Roar. I listened to a couple of track snippets and thought they sounded like a decent indie band so I bought the album. What I got from The Big Roar, though, was so much more than I was expecting. The trio from North Wales can hardly even be called an indie band really. Their album is a powerhouse of indie, rock and at times metal and grunge.

The group are not afraid to just burst into an assault of sound. Songs like ‘Austere’ and ‘A Heavy Abacus’ spend a lot of time rocking your socks off with a cacophony of guitars and drums. Their sound is made even more impressive by the fact that they’re only a three piece and they still manage to replicate this stuff live. It also speaks to their musicianship that with only three members they can be so diverse. As well as being able to burst out your speakers they show, as well, that they know how to be sensitive. For example in ‘Llaw = Wall’ they use one of the boys voices creating a calming juxtaposition from Ritzy Bryan’s usual vocals. The Big Roar genuinely roars.

The two songs they’ve released ahead of their new album, Wolf’s Law due in January, show that they’re still pushing boundaries and creating great new music. ‘Cholla’ is perhaps the bands grungiest song to date with a big rock riff blaring throughout, whereas, ‘Wolf’s Law’ shows, again, their more gentle side and sensitive approach. The Joy Formidable are a band that actually have something fresh, whenever you think you might be able to pigeon hole them they’ll show you something that proves you can’t, and they manage to shatter through a number of different genres. These guys a band to watch. Watch this space for an album review in Jan.

House of Gold and Bones, part 1

 

I have never really got into Stone Sour, or even Slipknot either. I have always said I think Stone Sour are better but if I’m honest I’ve never listened to either of them at any length. So this evening as I was trying to find a new album to review I thought I might go and get some knowledge on them and listen to their new album, the first half of a concept project. Corey Taylor has boldly claimed that the album is ‘Pink Floyds’ The Wall meets Alice in Chains’ Dirt’. Further bold proclamations of the albums greatness have come from critics, getting 5 star reviews across the board the lowest rating I can find is an 8/10, although there is no Metacritic score for the record just yet.

I must admit, I was incredibly impressed within about 30 seconds of putting the album on. The opening track, ‘Gone Sovereign’ starts off slow before it lulls into a deep quietness and then bursts out with a super quick double bass pedal drum solo, propelling you into the albums metal influenced but well educated sound. The first track, for me, was the stand out but that’s not to say the rest of the album isn’t great. It really is.

What I’d found in the past with Stone Sour, the few songs I had heard, is that the lyrics were hopelessly cheesy, and although there are some cringe moments on this record it definitely seems to have improved, and the fact is, on this album the music is so much more mature that it doesn’t actually matter when they are bad. That’s where the great difference between Stone Sour and Slipknot becomes most evident, the musical maturity. Where Slipknot like to just bombard you with power chords andd persistent double bass, Stone Sour know when to attack your ears and then when to calm down. The real art of House of Gold and Bones part 1 is found in the way it juxtaposes its heavier elements with its quieter ones.

The reviews of this album have been incredibly kind, artistdirect’s view claiming it’s on par with Dirt, Master of Puppets, Songs for the Deaf, Superknown or any other game changing albums you can think of. I have to say this is maybe slightly too over enthusiastic but this album certainly is a big step in the right direction for Stone Sour, I can’t wait to hear the second part which is due to be released in May 2013, perhaps in the mean time I’ll have a listen to some of their older stuff.

In short, listen to this album.