#Review: ONE OK ROCK – Eye Of The Storm ūüĆ™

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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 ‚ÄúTaka‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs differences, with the goosebump-inducing, falsetto lines, ‚ÄúThey yell, they preach, I‚Äôve heard it all before. Be this, be that, I‚Äôve heard it before.‚ÄĚ It’s definitely a track that‚Äôs 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, ‚ÄúLet‚Äôs live like we‚Äôre immortal, Maybe just for tonight, We’ll think about tomorrow (yeah), When the sun comes up,‚ÄĚ 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, ‚ÄúHey, 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.‚ÄĚ

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, ‚ÄúI want the cause of my death, to be amazing sex,‚ÄĚ 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.


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#Review: Emarosa – Peach Club ūüćĎ

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerEmarosa are an alternative rock band from Kentucky, consisting of only original founding member, ER White (lead guitar), as well as¬†Bradley Walden¬†(lead vocals), Robert Joffred¬†(bass) and Matthew Marcellus (rhythm guitar). The band have been through quite a few line up changes since their inception in 2006 and in 2016, signed to their current label,¬†Hopeless Records. Now, 2019 sees the release of the band’s fifth studio album (and second through¬†Hopeless Records),¬†Peach Club. Here’s what we have to say about it…

EMAROSA - Peach Club.jpg

From the start of the opening track,¬†‘Givin’ Up’, it’s clear that¬†Emarosa have made a definitive departure from their previous, alternative rock sound, favouring a moreretro synth, heavy bass and ascending pop-chorus sound on this latest record. What’s more, they’ve done it so effortlessly with the opening, no holds barred, funky guitar-drive pop anthem that even has a saxophone solo!

It’s very much a record of two halves – the first half is both strong and diverse but the second half, by comparison, is somewhat lacking in the same depth.

80s synths and vibes run prominently throughout the album – ‘Don’t Cry’ is a very synth-heavy track with some incredible, underlying guitar riffs and this wonderful, descending vocal melody to the chorus, whilst¬†‘So Bad’ has a glossy, 80s funk to it, both in terms of the guitar and beat, topped off with an overtly catchy chorus.

Possibly the best track on the record has to be¬†‘Cautious’¬†– the calm verse, with great falsetto vocals leads into an all-consuming and powerful chorus – the passion behind the lines, ‚ÄúI believe in ecstasy, but you might never love me,‚ÄĚ honestly gives you goosebumps!

A couple of the tracks even give off a similar feel to¬†You Me At Six –¬†‘Get Back Up’ has a vocal style like that of Josh Franceschi but there’s a hip hop-like beat behind the song – I hate to say it, but a rapper feature would actually sit quite well on this. Equally, the heavier parts of¬†‘Help You Out’ have those same¬†YMAS vibes – dreamy falsetto vocal parts and a great clap-along breakdown.

Sonically, this is an album that’s about as far from their former selves as it can be, but it is also a record that demonstrates huge growth from the band and a relentless willingness to try out new sounds.

‘xo’¬†kind of marks a break and turning point in the record. It’s a song made up of just vocals and an electric guitar but it really shows off Bradley Walden‘s¬†raw vocal talent. It’s a very different vibe to the rest of the album and has a soulful feel to it.

I hate to say it, but it’s from here on that things get a little weaker.¬†‘Hell Of It’¬†is definitely an album filler, and although it is a slight nod to their alternative rock roots, it’s very repetitive.¬†‘Comfortable’¬†somehow reminds of Seal‚Äôs ‘Kiss From A Rose’ in places – it’s rather atmospheric but never quite goes to the places it‚Äôs aiming to reach, and then kind of just fades out.¬†‘IW2DWY’¬†(aka I Wanna Die With You) also feels quite empty, lacking any sincerity. Instrumentally it’s probably the weakest track on the record too.

That being said, the album finishes a lot stronger, with¬†‘Wait, Stay’. It features delicate falsetto vocals and intricate guitar lines, building up into a far more full-on sound, than the previous few tracks, making for an epic close to the album. Its subtly catchy chorus makes it quite an understated yet big song.

Sonically, this is an album that’s about as far from their former selves as it can be, but it is also a record that demonstrates huge growth from the band and a relentless willingness to try out new sounds. They haven’t lost their credibility though – they’re still packing a vulnerability to their lyricism and putting enough edginess into the tracks to still show parts of their previous incarnations and due to its diversity,¬†Peach Club¬†is¬†bound to have something you’ll love.

It’s been really interesting to see this band’s evolution with this latest release and it’s bound to pick up a whole new fan base along the way. I’ll be intrigued to see where the band take their sound next!

Rating
3.5


‘Peach Club’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/peach-club/1439380906


Peach Club on Spotify

Givin’ Up (Official Music Video)

Don’t Cry (Official Music Video)


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


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#ThrowbackThursday: Lenny Kravitz – ‘Fly Away’


   

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Lenny Kravitz is well-known for his retro vibes and fusion of various genres, from rock to reggae, folk to funk and soul to psychedelic.

Back in 1998, Kravitz released ‘Fly Away’, one of his most successful singles to date, reaching Number 1 in the UK Charts.

The song was in fact the fourth single to be taken from his fifth album, 5, and due to the huge success of it, not only boosted sales of the album but also earned him a Grammy Award in 1999 for Best Male Rock Performance.

The track is incredibly catchy with its funk bass line and gritty vocals – it’s no wonder it rocketed to the top of the charts.

The music video was directed by Paul Hunter (Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and more) and features Kravitz and his band performing in a club, surrounded by a crowd, dancing and getting frisky. It’s a very iconic video for the artist and shows a real passion in his performance…something he definitely pours into his live shows!

What are your thoughts of this wonderfully unique artist? Did you love this track first time around? Do you still love it now? What’s your favourite Lenny Kravitz track? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

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‘Fly Away’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/fly-away/723338099?i=723338326


#Review: Hawthorne Heights – Bad Frequencies


   

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Hawthorne Heights¬†are an American emo/rock¬†band from¬†Dayton, Ohio, which formed in 2001.¬†The band currently consists of JT Woodruff (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Matt Ridenour (bass guitar, backing vocals), Mark McMillon (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Chris Popadak (drums, percussion). To date, the band have released 5 studio albums and been through a variety of line-up changes but now, in 2018, the band are releasing their sixth studio album,¬†Bad Frequencies, through¬†Pure Noise Records. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hawthorne Heights - Bad Frequencies

This is certainly an album of two mindsets; on the one hand you’ve got a new sound that sees the band edging ever closer to pop punk commerciality and on the other hand they are sticking to their more screamo roots. However you look at it, the band are diversifying and growing their sound at the same time as keeping hold on some of what the fans love.

‘In Gloom’ launches the album with a slow, heartfelt intro from vocalist/guitarist JT Woodruff, but after the first minute, we are thrust into the sound of the full band, making their triumphant return.

The nostalgia continues as first single, ‘Pink Hearts’, reflects on past relationships you carelessly work your way through in your younger years.

An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

More old-school, classic Hawthorne Heights can be heard on tracks such as ‘Crimson Sand’ and ‘Just Another Ghost’ with bassist, Mark McMillion‚Äôs, screams coming through in full force.

Meanwhile, ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Starlighter (Echo, Utah)’ show us the newer, more pop-punk driven sound that moves this record, and indeed the band, forward.

Possibly one of the most stand-out tracks on the record is ‘Pills’; the song deals with the loss of someone you care deeply about but it demonstrates brilliantly, how the band have grown and continue to push their songwriting and sound; where in the past this might have been a heavy, scream track or an altogether more simplistic affair; a great way to finish the album by showing off where the band’s future lies.

That’s not to say the band that people know and love is gone; there are emo lyrics throughout record and still the occasional screaming, it’s just the instrumentation is slicker and more intricate and in places, JT Woodruff uses falsetto in his vocals; something new and interesting for the band’s sound.

There’s no doubt about it; this band know how to write catchy hooks, tying together some of the heavier, more chaotic parts of the record. Armed with a whole load of history and self-reflection plus a strong sense of where they are heading, this record is definitely representative of both their past and the future for the band. An exciting balance of old and new, Hawthorne Heights have made a triumphant return!

Rating


‘Bad Frequencies’¬†can be ordered here –¬†http://smarturl.it/HawthorneHeights¬†or downloaded from iTunes, here –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bad-frequencies/1351452415


Bad Frequencies on Spotify

Just Another Ghost (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Hawthorne Heights’ new album! What are your thoughts of it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it, via our socials.


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#FeelGoodFriday: Shawn Mendes – ‘In My Blood’ & ‘Lost In Japan’


   

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March 2018 saw the return of¬†Shawn Mendes, who brought us not just one, but two brand new singles, both of which vary greatly in style but have equally brilliant Feel-Good Friday vibes. We just couldn’t decide which one to share, so figured, why not share both?!

‘In My Blood’¬†is a (pop)-rock ballad that transcends from a soft, despairing beginning into a thunderous, passionate anthem by the very first chorus and continues to soar from there. This track shows off just how incredible Mendes’ vocals are with their raspy tones that show just how intensely meaningful this song is.

Meanwhile,¬†‘Lost In Japan’ is a melting pot of contemporary funk with R&B and pop flavours too; it’s very reminiscent of something by¬†Justin Timberlake. This track is also passionate but in a very different way; lyrically the song expresses how Mendes would happily travel the globe just to be close to his lover, all of which sits atop a heavy bassline and groovy guitar rhythms.

Sadly, no music videos have been released as yet, but as soon as they do, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of Shawn Mendes’ two new singles? Are you as much of a fan as us? Have you got a #FeelGoodFriday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via our social media.

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Shawn Mendes – ‘In My Blood’


‘In My Blood’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/in-my-blood-single/1359906692



Shawn Mendes – ‘Lost In Japan’


‘Lost In Japan’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lost-in-japan-single/1360548138


#Review: Drones – Exiled


   

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Drones are a London-based, in-your-face, all-out, old-school punk rock band made up of¬†Lois McDougall (vocals), Rob King (guitar),¬†Tim Kramer (guitar/backing vocals),¬†James Kerr (bass/backing vocals) and Mitchell Thomas¬†(drums). They’ve just released their album, Exiled, and here’s what we thought…

Drones - Exiled.jpg

Exiled is very much a hardcore, politically-charged, punk rock, concept album, inspired by the current refugee crisis across Europe and as such, is attempting to deal with a very relevant issue. Vocalist, Lois McDougall, further explains,“Exiled is a collection of songs that we began writing after being struck by the misery of the European refugee crisis. Some of the songs are written from the perspectives of fictional characters of those impacted by the crisis, and others of those who prefer to distance themselves from it. Millions of people are suffering every day and it’s a subject that should be kept at the forefront of all of our minds. Music is a great platform for personal connection. We’ve taken a subject that can so easily be viewed as a distant-seeming ‘world-issue’, and tried to make it more personal. In doing so, we hope that people may feel more compassion for the victims, and that those suffering may find an ounce of comfort in these songs. Exiled is dedicated to those fleeing any war-torn country.”

It certainly has managed to deliver this and lyrically addresses the issues it set out to face, however in places, I find the lyrics a bit frank; too obvious and not necessarily clever, however that is often the nature of punk music. In spite of this, it is a fast, furious and fun record, with some very chantable choruses and moshable guitar riffs, particularly the likes of¬†‘For Those Who Care’,¬†‘Inferno’,¬†‘Rorschach’¬†and¬†‘Anchors’. Then, towards the end of the record, it gets even thrashier.

They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues.

Conversely to this, the band have a couple of tokenistic ballad-like songs, with the acoustic-driven¬†‘Black Blood’ and the¬†Metallica-esque,¬†‘Sickbay’, which add a little depth to this otherwise intense album.

Despite¬†Drones¬†being very much an traditional, politically-fuelled punk band, the production is top-notch, yet still hasn’t lost the charm that an old-school punk band would have had. It’s not over-produced and there a slight imperfections, which all add authenticity to the record. In places, this band remind me of 2004, punk rockers,¬†The Fight¬†(remember¬†‘Can’t Be Bothered’?).

This is certainly an album you would want to see live, to let yourself lose by bouncing around to your heart’s content. They’ve delivered a poignant, angry-sounding album that is intent on highlighting current issues, but unfortunately they are not going to set the world alight or make any significant changes to music, or punk. However, they know their sound and they execute it well.

Rating
3


‘Exiled’¬†is out now¬†and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/exiled/1317378913


Exiled on Spotify

Rorschach (Official Music Video)

Territories (Official Music Video)

Inferno (Lyric Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Drones’ new album, Exiled! What do you make of it? Are you a fan? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Crypitus


   

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Crypitus are a thrashing death metal band from Vermont consisting of four friends,¬†Doug Friend (Guitar/Vocals),¬†Joe Minard II (Bass), Peter Snee (Rhythm Guitar) and Zach Patch (Drums). Find out more about these rockers in our interview below…


Hey guys, how’s it going?
Zach: Hi. It’s going great.
Pete: Hi I’m good.
Joe: Hi. It’s going alright.
Doug: Hey guys! I’m doing well!

What future plans have you got? Any new singles or an album in the pipeline?
Zach: Well the big future plan is world domination, but were working on putting together our next tour for spring/summer.
Pete: One last show this year and we have plenty of shows planned for next year.
Joe: One more show this year and a tour next year.
Doug: We are heading to Portland, ME on 12/8/17, planning on working on a new single this winter and working on setting up our spring tour!

Where do you take inspirations from when making your music?
Zach: My biggest influence is Blake Richardson from Between the Buried and Me, but I also take notes from Terry Bozzio with Frank Zappa and Mike Portnoy.
Pete: The mountainous woods we live in. Some of my favorite artists are Frank Zappa, Roger Waters, Chuck Schuldiner, Aaron Marshall.
Joe: Old Metallica, Primus and System Of A Down are some of my inspirations.
Doug: I take inspiration from how screwed up this fucking world is.

What’s your usual process for writing/recording?
Zach: We usually just start jamming on something, and when we play something that really sounds good, we start to build on it and fine tune it. As far as recording goes, we just try to lay down our parts as best we can.
Pete: We usually jam to a certain riff or riffs over time and they get fleshed out into full songs.
Joe: I just go with the flow.
Doug: Every song has been made on accident.

If you could do a collaboration with anyone, who would it be and why?
Zach: I’d really like to work with the guitarists from An Unction in Braille. I bet we could come up with some sweet Schmidt.
Pete: Any of the incredible musicians I meet at open mic nights in our home town.
Doug: I’d love to collaborate with Black Absence for a track!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
Zach: Blotted Science, Between the Buried and Me, Plini, Sithu Aye.
Pete: Scale the Summit have been blowing my mind for a little while.
Joe: Animals As LeadersMadness of Many album.
Doug: Unflesh, Kreator, Blotted Science and Death Angel.

If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
Zach: I wouldn’t.
Pete: Like Top 40 charts? Fuck that noise.
Doug: Never.

What makes a great show for you?
Zach: A really enthusiastic crowd. Even if it isn’t a big one.
Pete: An energetic, responsive crowd. Not breaking a string too.
Joe: A fun and energetic crowd.
Doug: A good line, inviting audience and headbanging.

Do you have any pre-show or post-show rituals?
Zach: I have to stretch. Otherwise my body will now do what it needs to do. Caffeine too.
Pete: A few minutes by myself to mentally prepare for melting faces.
Joe: Drinkin’.
Doug: Not particularly I like to wear my guitar for like ten minutes before I play though hahah.

Has anything scary ever happened to you on tour?
Zach: Not scary, no.
Pete: I popped a tire going 85 on a snowy highway. That was fun.
Doug: One time Pete road with me, I never wanted to get to a venue so fast.

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
Zach: I like fishing.
Pete: Star Wars, DC comics, nature, movies.
Joe: Video games, beer, and just chillin’.
Doug: Hiking and exploring mostly. I like to see new things.

What really grinds your gears?
Zach: Idiots.
Pete: Lack of lubricant can grind gears pretty bad.
Joe: Not a lot.
Doug: Bad drivers.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
Zach: Natural Born Killers.
Pete: I really liked Justice League.
Joe: I don’t watch movies often.
Doug: I’m with Joe on this one.

If, in say 20 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Zach: Nobody could fill these shoes.
Pete: Well, anyone acting now wouldn’t be the right age. I’d want someone new to the mainstream acting scene.
Joe: I don’t know and don’t care.
Doug: Leonardo DiCaprio.

If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
Zach: A nutty one.
Pete: An Almond Joy.
Joe: A Milky Way.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Zach: Always keep a jar of marbles. Don’t lose them, cause what are you going to do when you lose your marbles?
Pete: “Get yourselves a bass player.”
Joe: Practice makes perfect.
Doug: Hey, don’t eat that.


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