#WildCardWednesday: Chiefs of Eden – ‘Feed’

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Over the last year or so I’ve had many conversations with friends and fellow musicians over a worrying lack of younger audiences and bands coming through our local scenes. It’s not non-existent but compared to what I remember growing up, there just isn’t the same feel for shows. Friday nights were solely a time of going to see your friend’s band from school supporting older artists at what ever local space could be hired out for cheap, and if it had a bar, it was a bonus. Sure, some of the bands were crap, but it didn’t matter because occasionally there were some gems that went on to do some great things.

This brings me on to my wild card for this Wednesday, Chiefs of Eden. They are a young metal band from Kent, UK, that I have been following for a while mostly through proxy of a colleague at work. For some reason they just caught my attention and reminded me of times past where we would give the time of day (or night) to young local bands striving just to be heard.

Anyway before I take myself down a very long and old nostalgic road (lockdown’s got me doing that a lot lately!), lets talk about ‘Feed’. This is the debut release for Chiefs of Eden and is the work of a reformation of the band after a break of a year to try and hone their sound. They claim influences from a lot of mid-2000s metallers such as Trivium, Gorjira and Lamb of God. Those influences really shine through the track. It follow that great sequence of trudging verses leading into the sweet relief of melodic metal chorus. The chorus itself is the highlight of the track, a good hook which gets lodged in your brain. The verses are a real mix of nu metal riffing similar to old 36 Crazyfists and the dirtiest vocals of death metal. Perhaps it’s too dirty, perhaps I’m too innocent? I’ve never been a fan of the heavily tracked, multi-tone screams, but the right audience will appreciate it.

I would say that the track lacks ambition in its structure. It’s calling out for a raging guitar solo or something to lift it out of the breakdown before the final chorus. Without it, it feels like it falls a little flat towards the end and you can loose your interest.

For a first release, for a young band, it’s good. There is clearly talent here and as they continue to write together and draw on more influences the small issues will iron themselves out. It’s worth your time just to realise that there are very young bands out there with embers of something worthwhile.

‘Feed’ is out now on all major streaming platforms.

What are your thoughts of this band’s single? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire


‘Feed’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/feed-single/1510140582


#WildCardWednesday: Firing All Cylinders – ‘What Is Love’ (Haddaway Cover)

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I am a huge sucker for 90s dance classics, so when I saw that Firing All Cylinders had done a metal version of ‘What Is Love’ by Haddaway, I was all ears. The Californian metallers toyed with the idea that initially started as a joke but we are happy they went with it!

If you don’t know the song by title, you will certainly know it by its opening synth hook. ‘What Is Love’ charted across the world in 1993, but by no means set it on fire, however, it has become a cult classic along 90s music fans. Firing All Cylinders have kept the essence of the track by keeping that oh so recognisable synth motif almost exactly as it sounds on the original, but have brought their own metal chug and groove underneath.

Personally I love it, but I know it will divide a lot of people. It’s not the first time we’ve seen metal bands do this to beloved pop songs, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. 90s dance just seems to lend itself well to this kind of thing. However unlike others, I feel the band have not strayed too far away from the original that it is not recognisable. There are no heavy breakdowns, no guttural screams just a homage to a classic.

The video really stretches the idea of what love is. The original video had a slight dark feel to it (for the 90s anyway), but Firing All Cylinders have taken it about 1,000 steps further. It’s dark, it’s ritualistic and involves sacrifice and is probably more what fans of the band would expect.

We aren’t too fussed by the video, but the track is definitely worth a listen for all you 90s dance cross metal fans out there!


What are your thoughts of this metal band’s cover of the 90s dance classic? Do you have a cool cover for #WildCardWednesday to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire


‘What Is Love’ can be downloaded off Apple Music now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/what-is-love-single/1505584706


#FeelGoodFriday: The Young Hearts – ‘Fool’s Gold (Alternative)’

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UK alternative outfit, The Young Hearts have given us an alternative version of their single ‘Fool’s Gold’ to keep our spirits up and our ears intrigued. The single is the first from their highly anticipated album, due out later this year.

The original single is a great emo anthem and lyrically makes us hark back to simpler times in our youth. Musically, it’s an emotional affair as it always is with The Young Hearts. We love this stripped down version even more, as they have managed to completely change the tone of the track. Rather than making us miss the things we loved, it’s more of a fanciful reminisce, a trip down memory lane. It’s not a completely acoustic track like you often get with these reworked tracks, but instead ‘Fool’s Gold’ is a showcase of the band’s musical talents and flexibility, which makes their forthcoming album even more tantalising. It has a quieter, more relaxed feel but is not lacking in technical elements.

At this time, when there isn’t much to do apart from think of everything we are missing, it’s nice to see bands pushing out new material to keep us interested, ready to venture back out into the world for shows with those we’ve missed.

The Young Hearts will being doing a livestream Q&A on Facebook tonight at 8:30pm (UK time) and are due back out on tour with WACO in late September 2020.

Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire


‘Fool’s Gold (Alternative)’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/fools-gold-alternative/1497544493?i=1497544499


#Review: Belmont – Reflections (EP)

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Chicago, IL outfit Belmont are about to drop a new EP of tracks they describe as “a collection of new ideas, experimentation and an opportunity to lay down anything we’ve ever wanted to musically”. This make for an interesting prospect for a band who are quite progressive in their approach.

Belmont - Reflections.jpg

I’ve been following the progress of Belmont for a while and really enjoyed their offerings so far. The progressive-punk 5-piece have an appeal for fellow musicians by demonstrating some great technicality in their music, however I always felt they lacked an attraction for a wider audience.

Reflections looks like it’s addressing this. Firstly, there is a good use of synth and samples like those used in the opener ‘By My Side’ and its follow up ‘Deadweight’. This really pulls the tracks towards those big chart hitters you hear when accidently cycling through the radio in the car. If it’s not your thing, it won’t put you off as Belmont incorporate it well into the tracks as it fits nicely with their signature, driving drum lines. ‘Deadweight’ also brings in some quieter sections for the verses which adds to the more radio-friendly appeal – for some reason it reminds me of the likes of Owl City.

The band hasn’t lost any of their progressive nature that they are known for. ‘Back and Forth’ highlights Belmont’s ability to throw you around rhythmically. The fast-changing guitar sections alongside drummer Brian Lada’s ever surprising and chaotic drum fills keep you interested in everything that going on but don’t over power any of the tracks on the EP. This really shows up in ‘Hideout’, which has a beautifully calming verse, but ‘Lada’ can still bring the grooving rhythm without spoiling it.

This EP is a great example of moving a band onto a bigger stage, without losing the essence of what got them there in the first place.

The pop punk vibe shines throughout the EP too. ‘Stay Up’ has that classic, fast-pace feel and gang vocals that are bound to get a crowd up, moving and screaming “Stay Up, Stay Up!”. It’s felt across the EP, with truly catchy chorus lines that really stick with you. It’s not just the catchiness that give it that punk feel, ‘Move Along’ shows Belmont’s pop punk influences further with an awesome verse riff that throw you back to early days of blink-182 and New Found Glory.

Overall, Reflections feels like it’s bridging a gap for Belmont, in connecting with more fans, although I don’t think this was their intention. As they head out on some bigger tours, alongside big hitters like Tiny Moving Parts, this will only put them in great stead to grown their fan base… and deservedly so. This EP is a great example of moving a band onto a bigger stage, without losing the essence of what got them there in the first place.

For fans of: Tiny Moving Parts, Knuckle Puck, Neck Deep.

Rating
4


‘Reflections’ is out now on Pure Noise Records and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/by-my-side/1498675814?i=1498675818


Reflections on Spotify

Deadweight (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest EP? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire

#Review: Four Year Strong – Brain Pain

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Can you believe it’s been almost five years since we’ve had a full release from the boys hailing from Massachusetts?! Four Year Strong helped carved a path for many of our favourite easy-core bands, bringing that fantastic blend of heavy breakdowns and super catchy hooks. The question is, has the wait for the fathers of the genre been worth it?

Four Year Strong - Brain Pain

According to FYS the album has been two years in the making, ensuring that everything was right from initial ideas to production. They have hooked up with producer Will Putney who worked with them on Enemy of the World and this immediately got me excited, as I haven’t really been blow away by much of the band’s work since then. 

You can immediately tell from the first track ‘It’s Cool’ that this is Four Year Strong back at their best. The track comes across as an extended into but I think still is a great song in its own right. Their hardcore influences shine through in the chuggy guitar work and the epic off beat breakdown, but the thing that has been missing with FYS over their last few releases is that signature melodic hook and harmonic vocal. It’s back! The album drips with the super catchy melodic lines right from the off. As well as the intro, tracks such as ‘Talking Myself In Circles’, carry some great vocal work by Day & O’Connor and ‘Learn To Love The Lie’, which I swear just fell straight out of a teen comedy soundtrack from the 2000s, shows that catchiness is there by the bucket load.

The album drips with the super catchy melodic lines right from the off.

The album changes up tempo and feel a bit as it goes into title track ‘Brain Pain’ which starts with a slow trudge towards a classic super-fast pop-punk chorus. In places FYS have gone pretty heavy from what we are used to seeing. This comes through in a few ways. Firstly, the production values on the drums which have that stadium reverberation feel that you usually find on much heavier albums. Secondly the harmonic riff work from the guitars which is found across the whole record but most notably in this track and ‘The Worst Part Of Me’. Thirdly the breakdowns are quite brutal (in context of FYS) but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is very much a pop-punk album at heart.

Tracks such as ‘Mouth Full Of Dirt’ and ‘Seventeen’ encapsulate this perfectly with FYS’ classic blend of upbeat, major key progressions underpinned by some heavy riff work on the guitars. There is also a lot of dynamic shifts with these tracks which help to keep you interested between those catchy choruses, jumping into half time drum breaks such as those found in ‘Usefully Useless’. The album ends with ‘Young At Heart’ which in itself is a big dynamic change up from the rest of the album. We’ve heard a lot of bands do this. Lots of layering of delayed guitars, synth and keeping it nice a slow leading into an epic ending. On first listen, it felt out of place, but after getting used to the album as a whole, it actually rounds it of well and makes it feel like a complete record rather than an assortment of ideas.

If there was one weakness in the record, it’s perhaps the lyric writing. Aside from ‘Be Good When I’m Gone’, which is a nice ballad and really adds to the dynamic tempo of the album, it all feels a bit generic. Some might argue that pop-punk has moved on a bit from this, but that’s never been the point with FYS, or any bands in this style. It’s about writing catchy, positively aggressive tunes that make you want to kick the windows out of your car during a long summer road trip with your mates, so everyone can get in on the action.

Brain Pain is set for release 28th February 2020 on Pure Noise Records.

Rating
4


‘Brain Pain’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/brain-pain/1490648897


Brain Pain on Spotify

Coming 28/02/20.

Talking Myself In Circles (Official Music Video)

Learn To Love The Lie [Official Music Video]


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s latest album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire

#FeelGoodFriday: Midnight Skies – ‘Falling Apart’

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When Matt emailed me to say we had some Pop-Punk to review, I was on it like skaters on a freshly waxed library fire escape. Anyone who knows me, knows I love Pop-Punk and I’ve ruined a fair few Spotify algorithms whilst DJing in the passenger seat, to prove the point (sorry Allen!). Here’s what we had to make of ‘Falling Apart’ from Pop-Punkers Midnight Skies

‘Falling Apart’ is the third single from Seattle’s Midnight Skies. The trio only formed in the summer of 2018 but have been steadily releasing content and building a decent following in that time. As always, the Pop-Punk scene is awash with bands claiming “energetic live shows”, “fun-loving” and “always up for a party” but at the end of the day, good tracks in this genre need three things and this review is broken down across such things:

Thing #1It needs to be “short and sweet” – and unfortunately ‘Falling Apart’ is a full 4 minutes long. Now it would be wrong to judge purely on the length of a song but it doesn’t feel like the track uses the time well. This single could have easily ended prior to its middle 8 and no one would have noticed, but the change of pace here is welcome and worth the wait. The song then classically falls back into its chorus, as it should, but rather than ending here, there is a 30-second outro that dampens the energy of the song by drawing it out for too long. It feels like the band are trying to crowbar in all the features we enjoy in a good Pop-Punk song, some of which really work, others not so much.

Thing #2It’s gotta be catchy! All great Pop-Punk anthems have great hooks and this is no exception. The chorus has a great melodic and lyrical hook which I haven’t stopped humming around the house since my first listen. Its initial repetitiveness, followed by the falling melody with the title lyrics bring memories back to classics from Hit The Lights and Forever The Sickest Kids, leaning slightly more towards the pop than punk element of the genre. This also comes through in the production of the track, which contains many effects across the track, especially on the vocals. Personally, I have never been a big fan of this, but I know some will love it!

Finally Thing #3Does it get the party started? Absolutely! It’s definitely a track that will at least get your head nodding, but stick it on at a party and I think it would get people dancing. Mostly this is down to the driving rhythm and the use of the double snare hits on the drums that give the track a lot of pace. This only relents within that middle 8 section which slows the pace down and adds some nice dynamics to the track.

Overall, this is a good track but it struggles to stand out in an already dominated field. However, if you saw these guys live and heard this track, you would remember it and hearing it again would send you back to a good night out. It feels like a blank canvas ready for you to attach your own good times and every time you put it on, I hope it would cast you back to a good night out with friends.

For Fans Of:
Forever The Sickest Kids, All Time Low, The Summer Set

3

What are your thoughts of this Pop-Punk band? Do you have a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire


‘Falling Apart’ is out on We Are Triumphant and can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/falling-apart/1485448144?i=1485448820


#Review: Cory Wells – The Way We Are

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Cory Wells is a singer-songwriter hailing from Redondo Beach, California. Wells’ past lies in that of the metal scene and although his solo career has taken a lighter path, his debut album, The Way We Are, never forgets his roots. Here’s our take on it…

Cory Wells - The Way We Are.jpg

We all mellow out eventually. As time goes on, our tastes ‘mature’ and many of us fall away from our respective scenes, perhaps in search of something musically that fits our changing needs. It feels like Cory Wells is trying to fill this need and it is clear right from the start in ‘Distant‘, that emo toil and angst are the order of the day. It’s a beautiful introduction to the album which highlights just some of Wells’ vocal talent but it doesn’t give too much away of what this record will deliver. ‘Keiko‘ follows this with a slight tweak up in the mood, which is a feature of the whole album. Wells is constantly shifting the dynamic but not dramatically enough to take away from what is clearly an outpouring from the heart, for himself. Furthermore, these small dynamic shifts help the album to flow in and out of each track.

A particular highlight of the album is ‘Wildfire’. This track delivers brilliant vocal hooks across the chorus and seamlessly blends Wells’ metal influence with the introduction of screamed vocals. It’s a feature also found across the album in ‘Walk Away‘ but it’s not shoehorned in for effect. It works to show Wells’ breaking emotion in the music and it never overstays its welcome, on what is an acoustic-based album. This screamed vocal is also heard on ‘Harbor‘ which throws reminders back to early City and Colour with its falling guitar melodies and stunning vocal range. Across the album, Wells shows great talent both vocally and musically – his voice seamlessly moves from a smooth Dallas Green style, to a more driven feel like those of Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) and of course that vocal scream!

Overall this doesn’t feel like a debut album – Wells shows his prior experience from other projects to produce a truly complete feel to the record.

Don’t be lured into thinking this album is all about the slow pace of that “sucker for anything acoustic” vibe of the mid 2000s emo days (although ‘Fall Apart‘ featuring Lizzy Farrall is a great pastiche to this). Upbeat tracks such as ‘Broken’, ‘Patience’ and ‘Cement’ musically provide some light relief, but lyrically follow a similar trend to the rest.

Overall this doesn’t feel like a debut album. They usually feel like a collection of tracks in this genre, but Wells shows his prior experience from other projects to produce a truly complete feel to the record. Tracks like ‘End of a Good Thing’ and previously mentioned ‘Wildfire‘ are great tracks on their own, highlighting Wells’ writing talent for building suspense and emotion, but the album deserves to be listened to as a whole. There is a well-written narrative here, both musically and lyrically; it’s the kind of album ready to be the soundtrack to your late-night drive.

For fans of: City and Colour, Deaf Havana, This Wild Life.

Rating
4


‘The Way We Are’ is out now on Pure Noise Records and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/the-way-we-are/1480535816


The Way We Are on Spotify

Walk Away (Official Music Video)

Patience (Official Music Video)

Wildfire [Official Music Video]


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this singer-songwriter’s debut album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Rob Manhire
http://www.twitter.com/RobManhire
http://www.instagram.com/robmanhire