#Review: Hold Close – Time đŸ•


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerHold Close are a Pop Punk band hailing from Springfield, Missouri in the USA. To date, they have had a couple of EP releases through Hopeless Records, across 2016 and 2017 but now, 2019 sees the release of their debut album, Time. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Hold Close - Time

We’re eased into the album with title track, ‘Time’ – an intro-style song, which starts off calm and rather understated, with a nice little gang vocal, riding on top of the acoustic guitar. It has quite a wholesome sound to the opening, with the lyrics, “You know time will always heal,” but by half way, bursts into a chaotic moment and a slightly heavier tone, giving us a sense of what’s to come…before calming back to the way it begins. It doesn’t last long before swiftly leading into ‘Hang Tight’, dramatically picking up the pace.

‘Hang Tight’ has an intense beat, you can’t help but get swept up in, especially as there’s a huge sense of ecstasy in the calmer moments. Near the end of the track, there’s a note that’s almost screamed before a moment of calm that comes back round as if the track is starting again – it’s marvellous.

The best tracks on the record have to be: ‘Breath’ – a beautiful track about losing someone. It’s so stunningly passionate and heartfelt that you hang on every word. The line, “Sometimes I pretend like you’re still here,” really gets me; ‘Tropical Depression’ is deeply engrossing track due to the vocal effects and the metaphor of a relationship being a-likened to a tropical depression is wonderfully poetic; ‘Here Again’ depicts a longing for someone you miss. Subtle synths swirl around powerful vocals in the chorus, which makes for a touching outpouring of emotion; lastly, ‘Separation’ makes for an epic close to the album – hauntingly beautiful guitar melodies in the chorus are met with great instrument pushes and gang vocals to really hit it home, dropping into a long, synth outro and subtle vocals.

Other tracks include: ‘Cast Me Away’ which makes for a slightly more traditional pop punk track, ‘Absent To Reality’ has a much darker tone than most on the record whilst ‘Cloud9’ has something similar about the synth sound and melody to Keane’s ‘She Has No Time’ – it’s the lyrics that mostly resonate with me; “Will I ever learn to dream again, Escape from all the things I fear and then, Find my path to seeing clear again, Make my way through what’s to come from this.”

The only real drawback about Time is that 3 of the 11 tracks are pretty short, acting as intros/interludes – sure they are haunting and give the listener a few seconds to pause, but it would have just been amazing if there were more tracks.

There’s a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it’s not quite pop punk, it’s not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good!

The occasional echo effects on the vocals, interspersed throughout the album, alongside the diverse song-writing and instrumentation, induce real moments and feelings of euphoria – it’s the kind of album you can just turn up loud and get completely lost in – engulfed by the melodies and production.

There’s a real maturity to this record that a lot of bands can only dream of – it’s not quite pop punk, it’s not quite alternative rock – it’s just damn good! The instrumentation is intricate and well-crafted, with deeply considered, honest and relatable lyrics that must have taken a lot of self-reflection.

There is a lot of emphasis placed on memories of love and people lost, right across the album and a very clear theme of time passing, reminiscing and some degree of healing coming from that. “Time will always heal” is very much a repeated phrase. A mantra.

Time is very much like the record of a pop punk band who have already had a lengthy career and matured, going on to create an album of well-considered, thought-provoking and sonically captivating music to push the boundaries of the genre…it’s just that Hold Close have achieved it early on in their career than others. The band have produced something wonderful with this album and I truly can’t wait to hear what they create next.

Rating

4-5


‘Time’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/time/1437338395


Time on Spotify

Tropical Depression (Official Music Video)

Breath (Official Music Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of Hold Close’s album, Time? 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: Afterlife – Breaking Point đŸŒĄ


   

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Muzik Speaks Loves Hopeless Records - SmallerAfterlife are a metal quartet from West Palm Beach, Florida, consisting of Tyler Levenson (vocals), Andrew McGuire (guitar), Tristan Edwards (bass) and Luke Walkinshaw (drums). Since signing to Hopeless Records, the band are now putting out their debut album, Breaking Point. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Afterlife - Breaking Point.jpg

The album bursts into life with serious tenacity, in the form opening track, ‘Sacrifice’ – a song laden with creepy vocal effects (somewhere in the same vein as Marilyn Manson) and come served up with a huge dose of angry, metal instrumentation.

From there, the album takes off into a flurry of metal-induced fury and it’s clear throughout, that the production quality of the record is impeccable. Not only is it a great quality record but there are a lot of layers to the tracks, making it interestingly chaotic, in parts. Unfortunately though, in places it feels like there is more style over substance and that the production and intricate instrumentation outweigh the lyrical content. For example, ‘Giving Back The Pain’ is a great song for crowds to mosh to and it has a certain commercial quality to it, but I hate to say it – lyrically, it is bordering on cringe-worthy. It’s clear what they’re trying to achieve, but I’m just not feeling it.

That’s not to say it’s all bad, by any means. ‘Throat’ has some quirky, downward spiral sounds and a catchy melody to it that is actually reminiscent of the early Eminem track, ‘Kim’, though the lyrics attempt to be profound but end up somewhat disjointed. ‘Breaking Point’ focuses on getting angry to the point that you snap and the motion of the chorus vocal is pretty captivating, while ‘Holding On’ has this brilliant bass-line leading into the track (and underpinning the chorus) with a well-written rap-style verse and an understated melody leading into the chorus, that make for a brilliant listen.

‘Grey Sky’ has a wonderful melody to the chorus line, “Where did your mind go?” that you can’t help but love – it’s gritty and raspy and really captivates the lyrical content about being trapped in your own dark thoughts.

The band’s performance throughout, is brilliant and Tyler Levenson‘s screaming is incredible – he has a great singing vocal too.

Possibly the best tracks on the record have to be ‘Karma’, which is a really great angry anthem to blare out when you just want someone to get what they deserve. “Try to run, try to run, try to hide, Karma’s coming for you bitch” – I mean God, it just oozes rage! And ‘Broken Home’ – the album doesn’t really let up on the anger front until this track, where suddenly it seems to get a little lighter in tone and whilst the subject is sad and there’s still a little grunginess to it, it’s not so fuelled by hatred and dark screaming – it’s more honest and self-reflective. It’s quite possibly the best track on the album.

As far as Hopeless Records releases go, this is not your typical release from the label – it’s a lot heavier but undoubtedly, it will have an appeal to corners of the metal market. In fact, it’s got elements of rap merged with metal, like Linkin Park meets Rage Against The Machine, but just not quite as well-crafted.

That all being said, the band’s performance throughout, is brilliant and Tyler Levenson‘s screaming is incredible – he has a great singing vocal too, but the frequently-used, rap-style verses just don’t quite make the mark (lyrically and stylistically) – perhaps as the band continue to mature, they will grow lyrically too.

I’m sure there will be a lot of support for this album, particularly from fans of Hopeless Records and perhaps those who’ve begun to venture more into the metal realm, from the softer, pop punk genre. However, for the band’s next release, I hope they will work on their lyrical content to match the great instrumental performances.

Rating

2.5


‘Breaking Point’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/breaking-point/1435412838


Breaking Point on Spotify

Throat (Official Music Video)

Holding On (Official Music Video)

Sacrifice (Visual)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s new album? Is our review fair? 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:

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Matt – Muzik Speaks

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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Will Joseph Cook

Before his first, solo Brighton show, Matt got the chance to chat with Will Joseph Cook at The Hope & Ruin. Be sure to check out all the things they got to talk about…


   

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We were fortunate enough to catch up with up-and-coming indie-pop sensation, Will Joseph Cook before his first headline show at The Hope & Ruin in Brighton.

Since signing to Atlantic Records, Will has been beavering away in the studio, writing and recording songs, which he’s now out touring around the country and preparing for his debut album release…

We got the chance to speak to Will, before the show, about a whole host of things, including when we can expect an album, which films he’s enjoyed most recently, how the tour’s been going and of course, we played a game of ‘Would You Rather
?’ You can check it all out below
however as it goes on, you can hear one of the other acts sound-checking, so I’m sorry if it’s not too clear, we did our best.

Finally, huge thanks go to Will Joseph Cook for taking the time to speak to me and a special mention to Isobel from Whiteboard PR for setting up both the interview and the review of the show; I really appreciate it!

Don’t forget to check out our review of their Brighton show!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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Will Joseph Cook‘s releases are all available:

  • To purchase on iTunes –  Will Joseph Cook
  • To listen to on Spotify –


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Muzik Speaks Interviews


#EventSpeaks: InMe @ Patterns, Brighton – 28/10/16


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On 28th October 2016, InMe arrived in Brighton for the final date of their 20th Anniversary Tour and it was amazing! Supported by Empire and Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics, it was a concert not to be missed!

We were fortunate enough to catch Dave McPherson for an interview before the show, which you can check out here…he gave some great responses to the questions we asked and an awesome game of ‘Would You Rather…?’ was played!


Empire

Empire are a high-energy, in-your-face, hard-hitting metal band who kicked off the show with a massive bang. I loved the singer, Joe Green‘s intensity when performing and his funky moves were captivating. This is definitely a band to watch out for!


Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics

Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics were next to take to the stage and they made a huge impact on the audience, getting them worked up for InMe. The stage presence exuded from the lead singer by the bucket load and his voice was impeccable throughout the entire performance. They had some great songs and good banter with the crowd. Great set guys!

Highlight:

  • The singer, Aaron Buchanan, had a great vocal range!
  • The band played a great drinking game with the audience called Buffalo.
  • There was a great stage presence by all the band members.

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InMe

After two great support acts, InMe took to the stage to raucous applause from the audience who clearly couldn’t wait to celebrate 20 years since the bands creation and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Performing a whole host of songs from their debut album, Overgrown Eden, up to their most recent release, Trilogy: Dawn the band showed off an impressive array of tracks from a now, rather vast catalogue. Fans were particularly excited by performances of iconic tracks like ‘Lava Twilight’, ‘Firefly” and ‘Underdose’ from the band’s debut album and were chanting along to ‘7 Weeks’, ‘Safe In A Room’ and ‘Faster The Chase’ taken from the hugely successful White Butterfly.

Dave had the audience enraptured by not only his stage presence but his between-songs banter, telling the crowd the meanings behind some of the songs, thanking his fellow band members (in particular, drummer Simon Taylor, for “spending the last 20 years looking at my [Dave’s] backside”) and even telling the audience where they’d be after the show, so fans could come and chat/have a drink.

This band certainly deserve every success they have due to the loyalty they show their fans, fantastic craftsmanship behind their songs and their impressive, passionate and intense performances; here’s to another 20 years guys!

Highlights:

  • Dave’s incredible ability to switch between singing and screaming is just a marvel to behold!
  • The vocal harmonies between Dave and Greg McPherson were amazing; spot on!
  • The set spanned the length of their career (from Overgrown Eden to Trilogy: Dawn) and had the audience captivated throughout.
  • Good chat between songs and explanations about some of the reasons various tracks were written.
  • The band were very open to having fans come and hang out with them after the show, telling them where they were going for drinks – a really great, open and honest interaction with their fans.

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 Setlist

Myths & Photographs
Ferocity In Desire
7 Weeks
Lava Twilight
Nova Armada
Hymn: Ivory Elder
Safe In A Room
Her Mask (P.A)
Firefly
Reverie Shores
Legacy
Creation: Amethyst
Reverie: Aquarium
Underdose
Faster The Chase


Finally, I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Jamie at Wall Of Sound for setting up this review and interview, thanks to InMe for putting on a great show and to Dave for doing the interview with me!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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