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.

Kvelertak

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Recently while I was looking for some good new music I stumbled Norwegian metalers Kvelertak. Their new album Meir which was released last month drew me in immediately and in the week since I have become rather addicted to the groups blend of heavy metal, hardcore, punk and, at times, even classic rock.

Screamy heavy metal like Kvelertak is normally not something I would listen to, while I appreciate there are a huge number of good bands that fall into their category like Mastodon, MachineHead or Lamb of God I’ve always found that type of shouting to be a bit too much for me, melodramatic maybe and I’ve always opted for music with a less deliberate kind of shouting rather than screaming like Gallows. However when I whacked on the first track of Meir there was something about the group that despite the shrieking vocals really grabbed and dragged me into a new world. Perhaps it has something to do with their being Norwegian, perhaps its because the music really is just so well written that it would be impossible not to. Despite being grabbed immediately it wasn’t until later in the album when I became fully aware of how insanely awesome these guys were. Throughout the record there are awesome riffs and shades of a load of different genres but the shit really hits the fan when it gets to track eight, Nekrokosmos and as the song draws to its close it leaves you thrash riff that will keep you head-banging for ages, or all the time it takes your iPod to play the next track and your treated to another of the same calibre. There’s even an air of Foo Fighters in Tordenbrak and the final track eponymously titled Kvelertak has an essence of Led Zeppelin in there while the whole time being as heavy as an elephant sized stack of bricks. Their first album also called Kvelertak is more of the same and holds its own charm even if I don’t like it quite as much as Meir.

With two albums under their belt both of which being rock hard slabs of the finest metal music has to offer surely things can only be looking up for the mighty Kvelertak. Go give them a listen and tell me I’m wrong.

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:

 

¡TRE!

Green-Day-TreSo we have reached the end of Green Day’s concept trilogy after ¡TRÉ!’s release date was brought forward. So far ¡Uno! was a pleasant surprise but ¡Dos! was much less enjoyable. Unfortunately ¡TRÉ! continues in that direction, it is by far the worst of the three. The band clearly didn’t have material to fill three records and it really becomes apparent here.

Kicking off with a downer in the form of ‘Brutal Love’ you may think things are going to pick up but they don’t. The lyrics are tired and boring which is mirrored by Billie Joe’s vocal performance – reaching an all-time low in ‘Drama Queen’ as song which would be better off locked away in Josef Fritzl’s dungeon. We also see the trio return to some of their methods from the dire American Idiot era with the song ‘Dirty Rotten Bastards’ which manages to combine a few shit songs into the space of six minutes making one massively shit song. Then when you finally reach the end we’re given a God-awful ballad going by the title ‘The Forgotten’ in which even the guitars sound like they can’t bothered to make a decent sound. This is quite truly a disaster.

It seems that perhaps people were too scared to tell Green Day that actually not every song they write is good, they could have done well to lose two of these three albums maybe taking some highlights from the second and third and replacing the odd dud that appeared on the first. After being filled with hope listening to ¡Uno! and have now fully reverted to my view that these guys are three washed up middle aged men still desperately trying to be 20 again with ego’s the size of the alps and credibility the size of a gnat.

¡Uno!

Well two parts of Green Day’s new trilogy are now upon us. But it has taken me this long to give the first part a listen, as we all know Green Day are now shit so I thought I’d give it a listen so I could have a good rant. Unfortunately, my opinion of the album was not quite as clear cut as that, but let me know if you agree with me.

Green Day’s last two albums, American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, are incredibly bad records. It seemed that Green Day had got incredibly pretentious and actually started believing they had some kind of statement to make. A confusing choice considering they’re a band that are known for being simplistic, those two album seemed to be saying they’re more than that. Obviously they are not and with ¡Uno! it appears that they may have actually begun to realise that. It often feels like a hark back to their old, more original and better, sound.

When I first heard Kill the DJ I must admit I hated it. I thought it was another nail being hammered into the trio’s coffin but actually since listening to the album a few times my mind has been completely changed. Kill the DJ is actually the biggest step in the right direction Green Day have had in years. Stripping down the music back to basics, because let’s face it none of them are actually good musicians, and singing about something that doesn’t matter. The catchy chorus genuinely does show you what made Green Day good in the first place. They’re not ground-breaking by any means but they can make a good tune that can stick in your head and is incredibly easy to listen to.

That’s not say, though, that there aren’t moments of shitness here. As an album by the halfway point it gets a bit tired and the second half of the album drags, with every song sounding the same. It’s weakest points come Oh Love and Angel Blue. The latter sounds like a re-hash of about 100 previous Green Day songs that have exact some structure and insanely similar sounding riffs. The former being just over five minutes of a boring two-bar song that seems to repeat itself over and over without changing.

This album definitely sounds like a step in the right direction, it seems much more like the original Green Day that was so fresh and listenable and manages to drive the band away from their over-complicated political albums that were so poor. As an album it’s a fun listen but it does beg the question that maybe Green Day should have just stopped while they were ahead, they struggle to kkeep up the quality on this disc and it makes me worried to see how they’ve managed to get three albums of this material. Still, we’ll see what happens, review of ¡Dos! to come next week.

 

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.