If you needed a sonic explosion and a cocktail to savour whilst embracing the audio apocalypse provided herewith by American rock veterans The Used, then their latest offering 'Heartwork' is that explosion. It's easy to brandish this release as stadium rock turned past 13; yes that was a Spinal Tap reference, simply because the energy exhibited on this album is enough to cause tens of thousands of people to party hard. 'Heartwork' certainly carries that feel-good factor as it sparkles with synth-encrusted rock and borderline screamo albeit screamo flirting with dance and synth pop; is this Enter Shikari meets Lady Gaga? Maybe, but one thing is for sure, this is another dimension within The Used realm that is certain to entice new fans from a 360 degree perspective... poetry in music... simply beautiful.
Download This: "Gravity's Rainbow"
For Fans of: Panic! At The Disco, Enter Shikari, Sum 41
[8.5/10] RHYS STEVENSON
THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE
With two brand new members filling the long-filled bassist and drum quarters, The Birthday Massacre once again do not disappoint. Arguably with 'Diamonds' they've stripped back some of the elements they've used in the past and buffered up their background sound, leading to a thumping bassline locking horns with cracking riffs and Chibi's unmistakable vocals flowing over like crashing tides... this sound is as structurally solid as a diamond. It goes without saying that despite these relative adjustments, the core atmosphere The Birthday Massacre has delivered over a illustrious 21 years has remained untethered. 'Diamonds' brings the best of the post-punk swagger that Siousxie & The Banshees delivered and is sprinkled vivaciously with the glitz, synths and gothic aesthetics that make The Birthday Massacre who they are.
Download This: "Flashback"
For fans of: Siousxie & The Banshees, Chvrches, Stitched Up Heart, Evanescence
'Diamonds' is out now via Metropolis Records
[9/10] RHYS STEVENSON
'Order In Decline'
When Sum 41 came onto the scene over 20 years ago, the world arguably saw the rise of one of the finest Canadian bands to ever exist. Forward on to 2019 and their new album 'Order In Decline' is far from their Pop Punk heritage, instead they've slanted towards a Hard Rock / Heavy Metal outlook; changing genre completely is a risky move for anyone, but Sum 41 have pulled it off spectacularly. A slightly darker overtone resides on this album and yet occasionally we feel that Pop Punk element drifts in like a shadow, it's there but it has to be zoned in upon. It's in the music and the lyrics, look at '45 (A Matter Of Time) for example, a protest song about the elections and current state of politics worldwide... echoing the attitude displayed by the Sex Pistols and musically embodying the power exhibited by the likes of Motorhead, AC/DC and Iron Maiden. Just because Sum 41 have changed their sound does not mean Pop Punk is dead, no, Sum 41 are Pop Punk at heart... just now a lot, lot heavier and it has to be said, 'Order In Decline' is the heaviest album they have ever done, a sure Grammy nominee.
Pre-order here: http://smarturl.it/OrderInDecline
Download This: "A Death In The Family"
For Fans of: AC/DC, Motorhead, The Pretty Reckless
[8.5/10] RHYS STEVENSON
'Consequence Of Doubt'
If you want something refreshing and cool, pour out a glass of lemonade. However if you want something refreshing, cool and rocking, then tune into the Lemoncurd Kids. This quartet deliver a lashing of Indie Rock with a sprinkling of alternative and pop rock and with their second album 'Consequence Of Doubt', it's evident the Essex lads have been tweaking away in their garden sheds. 'Consequence Of Doubt' is an album that will suit a wide variety of music tastes, because of this it is hard to find a single error on the album albeit there could have been a few bonus tracks... or maybe a randomly-inserted guitar solo; perhaps at the end just to make you listen to the album in it's whole form. None the less, the Lemoncurd Kids have set the bar high for a potential third album and with this effort, it will be highly anticipated.
Download This: "Tick Tock"
For Fans of: Foo Fighters, Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol
[8/10] RHYS STEVENSON
Scoring a film remake is never an easy task and it just isn't simply about avoiding utilising similar sounds from the original film. But Eli Roth's take on 'Death Wish' (starring Bruce Willis) has a dramatic and dark yet eerie feel accompanying it on the soundtrack thanks to the cold and nerving elements Ludwig Göransson has brought into the mix. Drawing upon rather and arguably unconventional musical instruments in terms of film score composing, Ludwig's creativity runs fluid on the scoring as it's rather electronic or industrial-tinged moments bring into the fore the mentally degrading nature of Dr. Paul Kersey; think of Walter White from Breaking Bad albeit instead of building a drug empire, the main character switches to killing people and taking the law into his own hands and we see this interpreted through Ludwig's compositions. Whilst the film is an action film, the soundtrack however does seem to take elements from the horror genre, with it's spine-tingling, hair-raising elements that leave you cold, conflicted and above all empathic towards Dr. Paul Kersey. Ludwig could be leading a film score revolution with 'Death Wish', but for now the young Swede has certainly made his eye for detail known with this highly-anticipated film and soundtrack.
'Outlander: Season 3'
SONY MUSIC / MADISON GATE RECORDS
When one thinks of the traditional folkloric barrage that Outlander season 3 delivers (in relation to the Scottish clans fighting at Culloden), the feeling of adventure and gusto arises with it and this entwined with the majestic and maestro-elegance of Bear McCreary's repertoire, ultimately delivers a glistening and flowing orchestrated soundtrack. Reflecting on the atmosphere one would experience on the high seas, or the blood-sodden lands of Culloden or indeed stretching to the enriched sounds of The Caribbean, Bear without a shadow of a doubt epitomizes the pinpoint definition of dramatic and embracing scoring; pomp caresses the spine-tingling sounds created, whilst the saddening symphonic moments give the feeling of sorrow and unease. But what makes this soundtrack special is the varying sounds and elements that are amassed to create the scores herewith presented, the intricacies created to translate the visual settings in the third season in to it's musical equivalent and that the listener can engage with it. With 'The Skye Boat Song' having two variations, a Afro-Cuban one and the other of Scottish Celtic elk, aided by the wondrous talents of Raya Yarbrough and Joel Virgel, the official soundtrack for season three of Outlander is a masterpiece that anyone can engage and visualize with.
ELEVEN SEVEN MUSIC / BETTER NOISE RECORDS
Many people would think that Deuce would have never escaped from the shadows of his former group Hollywood Undead, but those who think that have been shot down in a burning ball of flames. Deuce returns with his latest effort 'Invincible' and boy does it crunch, it bolsters the middle-finger attitude of Eminem, the rap rock slickness of Linkin Park and drops an atmosphere as ballistic as a hydrogen bomb. Honestly if anyone doubted this guy, this album has enough conviction to send the jury packing, it's bass-laden beats are just sublime whilst Deuce's emotionally-charged lyrics stun your sense with an unsuspected shock. Move over Kanye West, Deuce is ripped and ready to show you how to be a true rock star... bare rapped up hip-hop rock.
Download This: "Here I Come"
'Invincible' is out now via Eleven Seven Music / Better Noise Records
[9/10] RHYS STEVENSON
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