#Review: The Darkness – Easter Is Cancelled ✞

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The Darkness are an English rock band from Lowestoft, Suffolk who first came to the public’s attention in 2003, with their debut album, Permission to Land. In particular, their debut single, ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, was a monster hit, reaching Number 2 in the UK Charts. With 5 albums already under their belt, 2019 sees the release of the band’s sixth album, Easter Is Cancelled. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Darkness - Easter Is Cancelled.jpg

It may have only been a couple of years since The Darkness released their last album, Pinewood Smile, but the band are now back with a bang and have possibly created an even better album than their last!

As with their previous record, the standard edition comes with just 10 tracks, whilst the deluxe edition comes with an extra 4, but that said, the standard version alone, is excellent!

The album opens with single, ‘Rock And Roll Deserves To Die’, a song which starts out quite calm yet epic – almost soundtrack-like – with middle-eastern vibes, alongside an accompanying acoustic guitar. It’s satirical and once it fully kicks in, serves up something very Tenacious D about it, with edgy, hair metal qualities too- especially with the sensational, chaotic guitar solo to finish.

Whilst the album is very much a rock record and clearly, at it’s heart, still very much The Darkness, they have managed to bring some great diversity too. From the wonderful 80s-like guitar licks (with a hint of country vibes thrown in for good measure?!) and sensational falsetto vocals of ‘Live ‘Til I Die’, to the more “middle of the road”, mellow and beautiful tones of ‘In Another Life’ – a great, acoustic-driven, country-style power ballad with clean guitars in the verses and a slightly heavier chorus; Easter Is Cancelled could easily become a classic album for the more recent era of the band.

It certainly has its quirks too though – ‘Deck Chair’ is a serious-sounding, acoustic-led ballad about…a deck chair! Whilst the subject matter is somewhat insincere, there’s a very Queen/Freddie Mercury quality to this song. It’s particularly hilarious when whispered French vocals come in, as well as shimmering guitar effects and plucked violins. ‘Choke On It’ seeks Hawkins sing about gold diggers riding off their success and even busts out a random northern accent at one point before pulling off a strong chorus with his trademark falsetto voice and gritty gang vocals to accompany. Additionally, ‘Easter Is Cancelled’ feels very old school metal, with some great gang vocals, yet is possibly the weakest track on the album – whilst it is still good and the guitar lines are great, it’s just not as strong as the rest of the record, despite being the title track.

Easter Is Cancelled could easily become a classic album for the more recent era of the band.

Moments that impress most are the surefire, new fan-favourite (and mine too!) ‘How Can I Lose Your Love’; sweeping, grungy synths open and build as if it’s going to be an intense beat, before becoming a suddenly, more calm chorus. It’s unusual to have a fast verse and slow chorus – such a great, unexpected yet catchy-as-hell track. ‘Heart Explodes’ is dramatic with wailing, ghost-like vocals during the breakdown and haunting guitar solos too. Also, ‘Heavy Metal Lover’ is a hilariously witty track about a lover being really into heavy metal. Juxtaposition is rife with chaotic and heavy metal-inspired, guitar breakdowns following the sweet-sounding, lovey-dovey, harmony-filled choruses.

The album draws to a strong close with ‘We Are The Guitar Men’, a lyrically diverse ode to the band’s guitars, demonstrating great personification, as though the guitar a beautiful woman. The chorus feels full of nostalgia, like a solid 80s rock tune, blending electric and acoustic guitars, with the occasional synth thrown in too. Ascending vocals lead into a lovely show-off guitar solo at the very end of the track.

I remain captivated by The Darkness, even after them having been around for 16 years now. And sure, they are predominately a modern, not-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek version of a 70s/80s rock band, that doesn’t often deviate from the recipe for their successes, but somehow they are still great to listen to and bring about just enough diversity in each of their records, to still keep them fresh and their fans interested, that you can’t help but love them.

Whilst the band have not had another Number 1 album since their debut, Permission To Land, I’m sure that this record will still do very well and hopefully become a modern classic and fan favourite, since the band reunited in 2011…it’s near perfect!

Rating
4.5


‘Easter Is Cancelled’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/easter-is-cancelled-deluxe/1473988829


Easter Is Cancelled on Spotify

Rock And Roll Deserves To Die (Official Video)

Heart Explodes (Official Video)


THE DARKNESS ‘EASTER IS CANCELLED’ 2019 TOUR

The band are also heading out on tour across November and December 2019. Tickets are available here.

NOVEMBER
26th – Belfast, Limelight
27th – Dublin, Academy
29th – Nottingham, Rock City

DECEMBER
1st – Birmingham, O2 Academy
2nd – Leicester, O2 Academy
3rd – Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
5th – Norwich, UEA
6th – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
7th – Bath, Pavilions
9th – Portsmouth, Pyramids
10th – Brighton, Dome
11th – Watford, Colosseum
13th – Manchester Academy
14th – Newcastle, O2 Academy
15th – Glasgow, O2 Academy
17th – York, Barbican
18th – Liverpool, O2 Academy
20th – London, Roundhouse


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of the band’s sixth 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.


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#Review: Afterlife – Breaking Point 🌡


   

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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.


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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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#ThrowbackThursday: The Used – ‘The Bird And The Worm’


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‘The Bird And The Worm’ was the first single to be released from The Used‘s third studio album, Lies For The Liars. The song was the band’s highest charting single at the time, reaching #9 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

This song is epic with its heavy post-hardcore guitars and Bert McCracken‘s unique vocal style. The way he uses his voice is remarkable – such a talent to be able to blend screaming vocals with singing so seamlessly.

The music video is quirky and cool too but then you’d expect nothing less from The Used.

Do you remember this song? Have you got a different, favourite song by The Used? Or another song you’d choose? Please leave your thoughts or #ThrowbackThursday suggestions in a comment below or via our social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘The Bird And The Worm’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-bird-and-the-worm/id254115609?i=254115685


#ThrowbackThursday: Nickelback – ‘Photograph’


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Nickelback; you either love them or hate them, there doesn’t appear to be a middle ground for people. Personally, I love them!

‘Photograph’ was released back September 2005, and it reached inside the Top 20 of the UK charts and Number 1 in the UK Rock chart.

The song itself is filled with sentiment and is sentimental to me personally, as it was not long after the song’s release, that I left school.

Nickelback have become synonymous with either producing heavy, metal-influenced power songs, or the complete opposite; easy-listening, emotive ballads; this song is the latter, but it’s just perfect!

What do you guys think of Nickelback? Do you like/remember this song? What would be your choice for this #ThrowbackThursday? Please share this post on your social media and tell us your song choice in a comment below.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Photograph’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/photograph/id214403406?i=214403497


#WildCardWednesday: Seether – ‘Broken’ featuring Amy Lee

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Seether are a South African, hard rock band from Pretoria. The band have performed under their current name since 2002 but found more global recognition in 2004, with the release of their second album, Disclaimer II, although this was more of a remixing of their debut, with some extra tracks added.

This particular song, ‘Broken’ was a single from the album and features guest vocals from Amy Lee (singer of Evanescence) who was also formerly the girlfriend of lead singer Shaun Morgan.

The band are known for their hard-hitting metal songs but this is a much more stripped-back, epic song of theirs, featuring strings.

The video for the song is also fairly fantastic, seeing the singers wandering through a post-apocalyptic type of setting, which apparently was a real-life trailer park which was a former meth lab, which burnt to the ground…interesting huh?! Ha!

What do you think of this #WildCardWednesday choice this week? Have you got any similar, epic tracks for us? Please leave your choices in a comment below!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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