#Review: Mallory Knox – Mallory Knox

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Mallory Knox are an alternative rock band from Cambridge and began as a five-piece back in 2009. Following the release of their third album, Wired, news came that lead vocalist, Mikey Chapman, was leaving the band in 2018. With co-lead vocalist, Sam Douglas, taking up the post of lead vocals, alongside the other three original band members; James Gillett (rhythm guitar & backing vocals), Joe Savins (lead guitar & backing vocals) and Dave Rawling (drums), the band are back with their self-titled fourth album (Mallory Knox) as a four-piece. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Mallory Knox - Mallory Knox.jpg

It was a brave choice for Sam Douglas to step into the position of lead vocals, as vocally he is quite different to Mikey Chapman, but he’s certainly come in all guns blazing on lead track, ‘Psycho Killer’ – a massive, garage rock sounding track with a hint of Foo Fighters about the vocals throughout, before careening into a heavy guitar breakdown at the end.

This is certainly a more raw and gritty album than some of their previous releases, with tracks like ‘The World I Know’ taking sonic influences from noughties punk rock and adding in grungy elements and ‘Wherever’ with its muscle guitars and intense drums, giving the illusion of travelling at speed.

Lead single, ‘White Lies‘, has a bit more of an indie feel to it than a lot of the rest of the record and is clear to see why it was chosen to launch the album.

Also, ‘4’ is quite commercial with its “Na, na, nas” and lyrics about vacuous pop market and record labels, such as, “You never mattered anyway.” Is it addressing negativity they have faced and the fact they band went from 5 members to 4, as the track title might suggest? Not sure. You’ll have to make up your own mind on that.

Possibly some the best tracks on the album are: ‘Livewire’ which has changes in pace throughout and echoing breakdowns to really get the listener going; ‘Freaks’ has some really interesting melodies with guitar frills, captivating (and sometimes aggressive) vocal acrobatics (with some serious power behind them) and a great all-round tone to it and ‘Black Holes’ with its chugging guitars and yet more, distinctly Foo Fighters vibes in the intense, shouty chorus.

It’s a risk to continue as a four-piece, with someone new taking up the role of lead vocalist, but it appears to have paid off.

By far, the best track on the album is ‘Gut’ – it’s an intense, fast-paced close to the album, with some insane vocal harmonies, brilliant drums and fast guitars – it’s a generally chaotic moment of ecstatic mosh-out madness that fans are sure to love live.

There are definitely moments when you can tell Douglas doesn’t quite have the power behind his voice that he might have liked and even one track (‘Heartbreak Lover’) that feels like his vocal is lacking in energy – albeit it’s a very commercial-sounding track with a guitar line that plays around the same melody as the chorus.

Additionally, there are the odd places here and there that lyrically feel a bit flat and not quite written with as much depth or maturity as perhaps you might like (‘Fine Lines’ with its candid take on a relationship breakdown) and other tracks, such as ‘Radio’ that are a little forgettable but overall, it’s a solid effort from the now quartet.

It’s been a risk to continue as a four-piece, with someone new taking up the role of lead vocalist, but it appears to have paid off. The album is consistently confident in its approach and hopefully with have old fans excited and on board for the ride as well as pick up new fans with their edgier sound.

Rating


‘Mallory Knox’ is out 16/08/19 and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mallory-knox/1461295820


Mallory Knox on Spotify

White Lies (Official Music Video)

Livewire (Official Music Video)


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


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#Review: The Rocket Summer – Sweet Shivers 🐝

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The Rocket Summer is the solo project from singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Bryce Avary. Since self-releasing his first EP in 2000, at the age of 17, Avary has gone on to release a total of 7 EPs, 7 full-length albums and a live album too! Now, 2019 sees the release of his seventh studio album, Sweet Shivers. Here’s our thoughts on it…

The Rocket Summer - Sweet Shivers.jpg

From the offset, it’s clear that Sweet Shivers is a much more experimental album than his previous efforts, thought it’s still distinctly The Rocket Summer.

We’re instantly thrown in at the deep end with opening track, ‘Morning Light’, a much darker introductory track than some of his previous efforts – there’s a twinge of a more mainstream Nine Inch Nails vibe to it!

We’re then led nicely into ‘Shatter Us’– whilst I’m not keen on the trumpet-like synth effect, the vocal melodies in the chorus and the plonky piano are incredible, especially paired with the very personal lyrics.

‘Blankets’ is possibly one of my favourite tracks on the album – the full-on verses are juxtaposed by the beautifully whispered chorus, making it powerful and captivating. Melodically it is a stunning track and has something a bit Biffy Clyro about it.

We’re then treated to ‘Gardens’ – like an experimental pop track where Avary has clearly played around with production – Jamiroquai inspirations seem to come through in places. ‘Peace Signs’ has a lovely yet simple, descending guitar melody that loops throughout and a strong vocal melody to the chorus. And in the spirit of looping, ‘5 4 3 2 1 Z’ has a looping piano melody, combined with brass sounds and an understated vocal melody. Maybe the most commercial-sounding track on the record, though it completely changes pace two-thirds of the way through before coming back to the original chorus.

‘Wannalife’ then seems to act as an interlude between the first and second half of the record. A nice little acoustic number about his life’s desires.

Overall though, this is a well-written, if slightly more experimental album, that could divide the fans.

As a long-time lover of The Rocket Summer, it pains me to say that ‘Sweet Shivers’ is very much an album of two halves – the first half being a lot stronger than the second. The second half has a lot of melodies that kind of blend into one.

Additionally, throughout the record, there are some rather quirky synth sound choices that I’m not convinced work, at times sounding a little cheap and underwhelming.

‘Slomo’ and ‘Keep Going’ are both pretty forgettable, while ‘Together In TX’ has an edgy breakdown, which stopped me from skipping the track. ‘Apartment 413’ has a dark melody and this is lyrically reflected in the tone too.

It’s the final two tracks that are saving graces for the latter part of the record. ‘World’s Greatest’ has some great deep vocal melodies and heavy bass synths with an amazing breakdown that continually builds back up to the end of the track. Whilst ‘m & m’ is possibly the strongest track in the second half, bringing the album to a strong close – there are intense vocal melodies and a fast-paced drum beat, plus funky guitar riffs and a Busted-esque synth at the end. A great track to end on!

Overall though, this is a well-written, if slightly more experimental album, that could divide the fans. That said, there are plenty of moments to enjoy, so fans will still find parts they love. I’m certainly still a lover of The Rocket Summer and appreciate his artistic license to be experimental, but I hope his next record might return a little more to his roots.

Rating


‘Sweet Shivers’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/sweet-shivers/1473282206


Sweet Shivers on Spotify

Morning Light [Official Music Video]

Shatter Us (Official Music Video)

Blankets (Official Music Video)

Peace Signs (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of The Rocket Summer’s latest album? Do you share the same opinions as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: The Dangerous Summer – Mother Nature 🌊

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerThe Dangerous Summer are a rock band from Maryland, USA who formed back in 2006.

The band released 3 studio albums before parting ways in 2014. However, since reforming in 2017, and releasing their fourth, self-titled album (The Dangerous Summer), the band are now unleashing their fifth studio album to the world, Mother Nature. Here are our thoughts on the record…

The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature.jpg

This feels very much like the album that should have arrived in 2018 to mark the band’s resurrection, because this album is pretty sublime. It’s a unique brand of melodic and mature emo-esque rock that isn’t afraid to talk about feelings in a direct way.

It opens with ‘Prologue’ a track led with a positive voice message from a female, letting the recipient know that she’s there for them. It’s actually a nice, uplifting message that somehow manages to feel personal to us, the listener. Pretty quickly, we’re then catapulted seamlessly into ‘Blind Ambition’, a track with a pretty amazing guitar line that somehow feels forcefully positive, to the point it gives me goosebumps.

There is something quite beautifully simplistic about the way difficult, even tumultuous events in our own lives can be compared to the unstoppable forces of Mother Nature, at times, leaving us weak and powerless – it’s truly poetic. This is displayed with wonderful imagery on tracks such as ‘Virginia’ and ‘Bring Me Back To Life’ with powerful lyrics like “I must be weak, if you couldn’t tell, I couldn’t breathe, bring me back to life now, bring me back to peace, give me back the sun now, can you give it back to me?”

It’s not quite a concept album, yet at the same time kind of is; whatever it is, it works…really well!

‘Mother Nature’ itself is a track that really encapsulates the tone of the record. It’s a song about having hope, accepting changes we face in life and being bold enough to embrace changes within ourself. Perdomo successfully evokes powerful imagery of mother earth and nature, and sells his own willingness to become a part of it.

Equally, the album’s lead single, ‘Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up’, has an apocalyptic feel to it, describing facing demons head-on and attempting to mature.

Other tracks to pay attention to include: ‘Starting Over / Slow Down’ a track of two halves – the first half is slow and melodic with vocals that cross over each other, whilst the second half is more synth-driven and up tempo with an amazing, all-consuming, drum ending. ‘It Is Real’ see Perdomo sing of drug-taking and trying to understand the world with a deep sense of nostalgia. The metronome sound throughout is pretty cool too. ‘Better Light’ has this amazing vocoder-esque intro that sounds somewhat like an Imogen Heap track that builds with soaring falsetto vocals – it’s very euphoric and ethereal. Lastly, there’s ‘Consequence Of Living’, an almost a positive look back at the end of your life and being able to observe how you lived your life.

One major thing that can’t go unnoticed is AJ Perdomo‘s sensational vocals throughout the album! He delivers emotion with utter sincerity from incredible falsetto to aching melancholy with some seriously angst-ridden screams on the likes of ‘Way Down’ – an angry, heavy rock song about dark thoughts; possibly one of the best tracks on the record?!

Mother Nature is an exciting return for the band – it feels like they’ve found a sound and style that works for them. It’s not quite a concept album, yet at the same time kind of is; whatever it is, it works…really well! I defy people not to find themselves drawn to this record time and again to indulge on its honesty to reflect on life’s big events. There’s a real feeling of excitement I get from listening to this album and I can’t wait to see what the band do next!

Rating


‘Mother Nature’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/mother-nature/1458152823


Mother Nature on Spotify

Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up (Official Music Video)

Way Down (Official Music Video)

Bring Me Back To Life (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our latest review! What do you think of this band’s fifth record, Mother Nature? 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.


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#Review: Yonaka – Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow

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Yonaka are one of the hottest bands to come out of Brighton in recent years. The rock quartet, comprised of Theresa Jarvis (vocals), George Edwards (guitar), Alex Crosby (bass guitar) and Robert Mason (drums) formed in our home town, some four years ago. The band have been busy touring and recording, making big waves in the industry, even signing to Asylum Records (part of Warner Music Group). Now, 2019 sees the release of their debut album, Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Yonaka - Don't Wait 'Til Tomorrow.jpg

Having already received a lot of favourable press and released the successful EP, Creature, in 2018, the pressure was on for Yonaka to produce a hard-hitting debut album. Luckily though, the band have delivered a piece of work that really packs a punch, demonstrating just how much potential they have and what a great career they have ahead of them.

From opening track, ‘Bad Company’, with Theresa’s wonderful falsetto vocals and the captivating, accompanying instrumental, the album never fails to impress!

For a fledgling band, it’s so easy for their songwriting to be immature and instrumentation to be lacking in diversity, but that’s where Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow truly stands out. ‘Awake’ is a truly grungy, lyrically cutting track, whilst ‘Guilty (For Your Love)’ displays anthemic rock song qualities, sure to have crowds singing it back to them.

Some other songs to really take note of: ‘Lose Our Heads’ is a rather commercial offering and could easily find its way to mainstream radio, ‘Creature’ has a rock-out feeling that is sure to get audiences moving and ‘Punch Bag’ is a high-energy, no holds barred, knockout track that shows Theresa is just not someone you mess with!

Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow is ambitious and undoubtedly a strong debut, delivered with conviction and tenacity…

Title track, ‘Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow’, very much feels like a modern-day incarnation of Blondie and ‘Fired Up’ could easily be a new direction taken by No Doubt; all of which just goes to show how this could easily be the album a band with a lengthy career already behind them…not their debut!

‘Wake Up’ is a surprising track with its dreamy, almost ethereal feel and is a song to get completely lost in – it could happily sit on repeat and never get boring.

However, probably the best track on the record has to be ‘Rockstar’; the song wonderfully encapsulates Yonaka right now and manages to be chaotic and exhilarating, whilst also be cool and composed. It’s a song that could suit so many moods and sees Theresa forcefully singing, “I just wanna be a rock star, baby,” something the band can rest assured that this debut is sure to help them achieve.

The album draws to a synth-driven close with ‘The Cure’ – a track which leaves the listening hanging and certain to come back for another listen.

Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow is ambitious and undoubtedly a strong debut, delivered with conviction and tenacity and certain to pave the way for one of Britain’s newest and most exciting rock bands! Bring on the tours and roll on album number 2!

Rating
4-5


‘Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/dont-wait-til-tomorrow/1451808477


Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow on Spotify

Lose Our Heads (Official Live Video)

Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow (Official Live Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s debut album, Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow? 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.


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#Review: Siamese – Super Human 🦸‍♂️

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Siamese are a 4-piece metal-pop band from Denmark (read our interview with Mirza here) who made serious waves on the scene with their 2018 album, Shameless. Since touring with that album, the band have once again, been busy in the studio and now return with their latest record, Super Human, alongside a mini UK tour too. Here are our thoughts on the album.

Siamese - Super Human

At times, Siamese have found it difficult to be taken seriously within the genre and it’s easy enough to see why – they are not just a straightforward metal band, and Super Human is no exception. They merge Metal with genres like Pop, R&B and Dance and for die-hard fans of metal, this just doesn’t cut it. However, the band have stuck to their guns with their unique take on the genre and that shows conviction for what they believe in…and it’s a good thing!

From the opening track and lead single, ‘B.A.N.A.N.A.S’, with its reference to Gwen Stefani‘s, ‘Hollaback Girl’, on top of an intense metal instrumental – the pace for the record is set.

Other tracks that really stand out, include ‘Ocean Bed’ – an intensely emotive song with a grungy, heavy metal breakdown; the incredibly unique ‘Super Human’ – an urban-tinted affair with powerful lyrics about inner strength and guest vocals from Olivio Antonio and ‘Unified’ – a very personal track on which Mirza opens up about his background as a refugee.

Super Human is a good album and certainly isn’t lacking in musical diversity throughout. Siamese have managed to successfully amalgamate different genres to create a really cohesive body of work.

There are other moments to enjoy throughout the album though; ‘Animals’ begins with a church-like organ and builds like a Dance track would before launching into chugging metal; ‘You’re Not Alone’ is an uplifting song not only lyrically but reflected in the instrumental too, plus there are great vocal harmonies at the end (even if they are heavily autotuned) and ‘Give Me Up’ has Asian-tinted drums to open and a monasterial gang-vocal breakdown at the end – it’s very confessional in tone.

The only track which feels slightly out of place is ‘Party Monster’. It makes almost tongue-in-cheek jibes at vacuous pop songs however it feels like it might be trying to be serious too – it just doesn’t quite land.

The album is brought to a close by ‘Not Coming Home’ – 90s/00s-style Prodigy-esque Dance opening and drum beat that ends in chaos, leaving the listener wanting more.

Super Human is a good album and certainly isn’t lacking in musical diversity throughout. Siamese have managed to successfully amalgamate different genres to create a really cohesive body of work, mostly self-produced, allowing them freedom to create what they want. However, there are moments when the integrity behind the lyrics is not always sincerely delivered, focusing more on the style than the substance. Plus, one or two of the songs sound fairly similar – overall though, it’s a pretty solid record. The artwork is unusually well-matched to the album too, with several of the songs having an underlying religious or spiritual undertone to them, even if, in parts, it’s just in the musical composition rather than the lyrical content.

This album is surely going to further cement the band’s place within the genre though and demonstrates that they are seriously players on the scene. Personally, the genre-bending brings something interesting to the table, meaning they stand out from the rest, and it’s intriguing to see where they take their style next!

Rating


‘Super Human’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/super-human/1455133470


Super Human on Spotify

B.A.N.A.N.A.S (Official Video)

Super Human featuring Olivio (Official Video)

Animals (Official Video)

Ocean Bed (Official Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s latest album? Is Super Human going to be your soundtrack to 2019? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#WildCardWednesday: Siamese – ‘B.A.N.A.N.A.S’

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Siamese are an award-winning, Danish, Pop-Metal band and following their previous album, Shameless, gained more than 8 million streams, catapulting them to recognition outside of Denmark, and enabling them to play sold out shows in Japan, UK and Germany.

Singer, Mirza Radonjica-Bang, said, “B.A.N.A.N.A.S, the album opener was actually written for the Shameless album. At least the starting riff was. But ultimately we were never satisfied with anything but the riff. We left it alone for two years before absolutely nailing it. One of my favourite tracks on the album for sure.”

This track showcases just how epic this band are – huge synth use, grungy guitars and metal drum patterns, all topped off with the wonderful sample of Gwen Stefani‘s ‘Hollaback Girl’ make this truly stand out! It’s a real genre-bending song that will appeal to people of all tastes from pop to metal.

Their next release, Super Human (out Friday 24th May), continues to showcase their trademark big choruses and well-written instrumental compositions; what’s more, it’s all self-produced!

Watch out for this band as they continue to go from strength to strength!

What are your thoughts of this singer-songwriter? Got a #WildCard Wednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘B.A.N.A.N.A.S’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/ru/album/b-a-n-a-n-a-s/1455133470?i=1455133474&l=en


#Review: ONE OK ROCK – Eye Of The Storm 🌪

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ONE OK ROCK are a Japanese rock band who formed in Tokyo, in 2005. The band currently consists of Takahiro Moriuchi (vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar), Ryota Kohama (bass), and Tomoya Kanki (drums). Since forming, the band have played many different styles of music, from alternative rock to emo and even post-hardcore to their most recent, pop rock style. In 2016, the band signed to Fueled By Ramen, releasing their eighth studio album, Ambitions, featuring collaborations with Avril Lavigne5 Seconds Of Summer and Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low). This year, (2019) sees the release of their ninth studio album (although only their third US release), Eye Of The Storm. Here’s what we have to say about it…

one ok rock - eye of the storm

From the very start of Eye Of The Storm, it’s clear that ONE OK ROCK have made a conscious departure from the previous, emo, alternative rock and post-hardcore incarnations, favouring a much more pop-led sound. That’s not a bad thing though, as this is a brilliantly-crafted pop powerhouse of a record, that is sure to further cement their position as one of big players in the pop rock genre (alongside label mates like Panic! At The Disco and Against The Current. In fact ‘Eye Of The Storm’ and ‘Worst In Me’ are almost an obvious transitioning from their old sound to their new, blending their alternative rock roots with their new, more synth-driven pop elements.

There’s a real passion and raw talent to singer Takahiro “Taka” Moriuchi‘s vocals throughout the record too, as he explores the full extent of his vocal range, pulling off some stunning falsetto notes, intertwined with soaring choruses and exquisitely long-held notes.

‘Stand Out Fit In’ is testament to this – it’s very much an anthem about embracing people’s differences, with the goosebump-inducing, falsetto lines, “They yell, they preach, I’ve heard it all before. Be this, be that, I’ve heard it before.” It’s definitely a track that’s going to capture the hearts of many!

It’s actually very hard to pin-point just a few favourite tracks but ‘Push Back’ is wonderful for its gang vocal harmonies, like a modern-day Queen track. The descending melody echoing throughout the song is truly captivating too. ‘Wasted Nights’ is all about making the most of your life and enjoying each other’s company and the line, “Let’s live like we’re immortal, Maybe just for tonight, We’ll think about tomorrow (yeah), When the sun comes up,” is poetic, conjuring up nostalgic imagery and the underlying gospel vocals are stunning. The video only makes the track even more epic too (see below)! Even ‘Change’ – there’s definitely something a little boyband about the song (like 5 Seconds Of Summer meets One Direction), with the synth-sounding guitar lines, but the melodies are passionate and the message is poignant, positive and uplifting, “Hey, You know it’s not too late for us to make a change, You gotta listen to your heart what does it say? No matter how much we might bend, we will not break.”

It’s great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions.

That’s not to say there aren’t other special moments throughout the album; ‘Head High’ is definitely a pop track and whilst there isn’t much depth behind the lyrics or songwriting on it, it’s certainly catchy! ‘Letting Go’ really stands out for being so unique to the rest of the record – a calm little, acoustic-led track that is so beautifully understated, dealing with getting over a relationship and coming to terms with it. ‘Unforgettable’ has some definite dance music vibes to it, with the intense drum beats and whistling in the chorus, but with guitars thrown in. It’s quite a unique blend of genres.

‘Giants’ leads from delicate verses into a big chorus and has a strong Take That vibe to it, whilst ‘In The Stars’ adds a little vocal diversity with Kiiara featuring on the track, accompanied by a military-style beat.

‘Grow Old Die Young’ is a perplexing track though; it has a strong melody in the chorus but certain elements of it are very mediocre – a synth sound which doesn’t really fit the song and then there’s the lyrics, “I want the cause of my death, to be amazing sex,” which is honestly pretty cringe!

The album actually draws to a powerful close with ‘The Last Time’, led by a really strong chorus melody, topped off with a raspy, scream-like vocal that just knocks the record out of the park, right at the last second.

Eye Of The Storm is an interesting release for the band, as it’s their most commercial-sounding release to date, meaning it’s very palatable, for a broad range of listeners and is certainly bound to pick up a lot of new fans along the way. However, it could be argued that elements of depth and sincerity about their songwriting have been somewhat lost, rendering some of the tracks a little forgettable.

The drastic change in sound is definitely going to be felt by fans of their previous release, Ambitions, as some of the more emotive lyricism and raw instrumentation, has been exchanged for top-rate production values but at its heart, it is clearly still a ONE OK ROCK album.

That said, it’s equally great to see that after nine albums in thirteen years, a band can still find ways to push themselves to adapt and grow, and be completely unafraid to try new directions, and for that, this album should be admired. It’s a great record, with some banging tunes on and I can’t wait to hear what the band do next!

Rating
4


‘Eye Of The Storm’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/eye-of-the-storm/1441817576


Eye Of The Storm on Spotify

Stand Out Fit In (Official Video)

Wasted Nights (Official Video)

Change (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s ninth studio album, Eye Of The Storm? 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 join the conversation via our social media.


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

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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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