Review: Code Orange – Forever

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Band: Code Orange
Album: Forever
Genre: Hardcore punk, sludge, metalcore
Social Media: Official site/Facebook/Twitter

Almost done with January and I’ve already got a favourite album for the year. At least, I’ve got a favourite loud/mean sounding album.

Code Orange, formerly known as Code Orange Kids, are a hardcore, experimental, punkish band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and this album is their third, full-length album, Forever.

Forever is, from the beginning, a vicious and aggressive ride that allows a listener few chances to catch their breath, besides maybe one or two points. One such break comes with the third song fourth song on the album, Bleeding In The Blur, which has clean vocals provided by the band’s bassist, Reba Meyers.

This song honestly caught me off guard with it sounding more like an alternative rock song than anything else present on the album. I love the way the song sounds and it offers up a surprising amount of versatility.

The band also brings these strange little editing flourishes into some songs, like stutters and sudden audio stops, and while it is interesting to see the band going for something different, it doesn’t feel necessary. Thankfully, they don’t happen often and when they do, they are brief.

The band also brings these strange little editing flourishes into some songs, like stutters and sudden audio stops, and while it is interesting to see the band going for something different, it doesn’t feel necessary. Thankfully, they don’t happen often and when they do, they are brief.

Speaking of things that may be unnecessary, the last song, dream2, doesn’t really do it for me as a closer. As a stand-alone track, it’s fine, but as a closer, it just shouldn’t be there. Maybe try it as an interlude somewhere in the middle of the track listing.

However, the rest of the album, aside from maybe two other tracks (dream2 and Hurt Goes On), is a complete onslaught of abrasive and girthy punk that proves, the scene still has massive balls. You just need to look for it and looking at Code Orange shows you why this is the band that’s making waves.

The title track, Forever, is brutal,  Just have to know where to finds it. Ugly feels like a grunge throwback until the vocals come in, it’s Code Orange playing with our expectations and it is a blast. You can also hear these expectations challenged in Hurt Goes On.

This album is just a delight, in a sick, twisted way that’ll have you head banging and deciding to just say ‘fuck you to authority, expectations and your dreams.’

Listen to it if you like anything mean, gross, punk, industrial, or sludge sounding.

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New Music Review – three way plane – A Waltz For Unity & Love / New Destination

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Band: three way plane
Single: A Waltz For Unity & Love / New Destination
Genre: Punk, alternative-rock
Social-media: Facebook/Twitter/Bandcamp/Soundcloud

Listen:

And:

Turns out, Greece is a very large place, with lots of places I’ve never heard of, the band I’m looking at today, three way plane, are from another place I’ve never heard of, Αθήνα. So glad I don’t have a Youtube channel, or I’d have to try and pronounce that. These guys are a alternative-rock/punk outfit that have been together for a number of years now and have release a few EPs a full length and now this a single from an upcoming album (?). A Waltz For Unity & Love / New Destination was released on Christmas day of last year, so get festive again and give it a quick listen, afterall, it’s worth it.

This single, with two songs (I still find that strange, no matter how many times I see it), mixes things up in a number of exciting ways – the movements and versatility that three way plane cover in these two songs is actually rather impressive. A Waltz For Unity & Love moves through influences of psychedelic-rock with some quivering guitar, a hint of post-punk in the verses and some harder rock during the chorus. Stick all these together in the blender and you get a rather messy concoction of psychedelic-rock – when the guitar solo kicks in, everything gets very hazy and thick.

Although the song doesn’t take off in the way I’d like it to, there just seems to be something missing, it could be that the chorus seems oddly restrained.

New Destination felt like a mixture of surf-rock and some early punk bands – I’m thinking Red Hot Chilli Peppers mixed with Dead Kennedys? It was killer listening for the funky bass changes to pick-scrapes/chunky chorus. This song also sees the singer letting his hair down a bit more, which is what I think A Waltz For Unity & Love, needed. That being said, both songs are strong with the exotic and varied way they’re put together, so nothing ever feels dull – it’d just be nice to see these guys turn it up a bit more.

Final thoughts:

three way plane have release a fun single, where both tracks are just as great, without one or the other suffering due to the fact it’s just ‘the other less popular song on the single’. And the idea that these guys create their music through jamming and improve shines through here with their stimulating changes and fun sound. Watch out for the new album!

Screaming Females Reveal Another Track From Upcoming LP Rose Mountain

New Song Empty Head

Screaming Females are a punk band from New Jersey and they’re setting up to release their 6th album, Rose Mountain on the 24th of February. I’m just going to put it out there, I’ve never actually heard anything from this lot, but after listening to the opener, Empty Head, from the new album, I’m more than interested!

The song itself hosts a behemoth of an intro and is followed by a slightly restrained verse. It’s all rather fun, as you might have come to expect from Screaming Females, although there has been some debate about the direction that the band have been taking. In some instances, I can see what people are talking about, Empty Head seems extremely down to earth, considering some of the more aggressive songs they’ve put out, like Boyfriend. But it’s only fair to expect some evolution from a band that’s been together as long as this.

It is also only one track from the new album, so for all you know, the rest of the album could be entirely different from the song that’s been previewed.

Either way, if you’re interested, you can pre-order Rose Mountain on iTunes.

 

New Music Review – Champion Lover – Self Titled

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Band: Champion Lover
Album: Self Titled
Genre: Noise-rock, punk
Social Media: Facebook/Bandcamp/Twitter/Official site

Champion Lover is the scuff and hardiness of a good pair of boots. These guys are an Ontario based quartet that plays loud, scrappy and noisy punk and today, we’re looking at their debut self-titled LP that was released back on June 20th. They’re also preparing to release the vinyl itself on the 18th of July (tomorrow), so that’s something to be excited about if these guys arouse your ears.

To get a very basic idea of the noises that these guys make, think of Fugazi, in a way. Although I think that these guys do stand by themselves as musicians, I see a lot of similarities to Fugazi. They’re both very typically aggressive, I mean, the way that lead vocalist, Edward Masuda, belts out his vocals on tracks like Vacant and Bad Day are really desperate and mean. The way that Champion Lover play is also extremely agitated, the vast majority of these songs feel incredibly intense with the way that the rhythms are put together.

The tracks build and shift always keep you on your toes. Shooter, is this really driving song, the bass and drums gel so well together and it’s not hard to imagine bolting down a highway listening to this. However, you also have, Read My Mind, which is energetic, has fantastic drumming and really puts across this sense of urgency that can make decent punk sound like good punk.

Which reminds me, the drumming in this album is really stylish. I love the jazziness during Could You Be Mine (I know it’s not jazzy, but I like the word and sound), similarly, the drums are incredibly punchy and effective during She Likes Wu-Tang. The bass in the intro to this tune is also colossal and I’d love to hear it in a live setting at some point. The drums and the bass work together to create this overwhelming sense of urgency in a lot of the songs.

From this sense of urgency, and often in the vocals, I picked up a strange taste of Nirvana as well. It was mostly in the guitar and vocals of Bad Day and Just Hollow, it’s hard to explain, but I can definitely hear it.

I would have liked to have seen the vocals be turned up, just a smidge in the mixing. Mainly because a genre like punk owes itself to playing loud and shouting louder, but it’s also nice to be able to understand what the vocals are rapping on about. That’s not to say these vocals are indistinguishable, but just a bit difficult to make out sometimes.

Champion Lover’s debut self-titled is a thickly intense album that sounds great; it offers very little in terms of a break whilst listening and comes at you, track after track. It flows well, it’s well produced and at times, it feels catchy with How Will I Know and I see You.

Don’t have a Bad day, Read My Mind and support Champion Lover, or you’ll be Lost and have a Vacant Heart.

 

 

New Music Review – Fate Vs Free Willy – Every Human Was A Child (EP)

artworks-000082458685-zbvc5u-t500x500Band: Fate Vs Free Willy
EP: Every Human Was A Child
Genre: Noise, rock, punk
Social Media: Facebook/Soundcloud/Label Website

Fate Vs Free Willy are a noise/punk outfit from Finland that combine noise elements into a very punk way of making music. Fate Vs Free Willy are releasing their  debut 7″ EP titled Every Human Was A Child in July or August, exact date to be confirmed, on behalf of growing indie label If Society Records.

The band themselves seem to have fit themselves into this niche of sounds, the aggressive mix of punk and fizzy noise, all held together with ritualistic drums and sounds. The overall sound makes me think that I should be joining a cult or sect of some description. It’s all very infectious.

What I’ve noticed with this record is, is that it is one that you have to have up really fucking loud to appreciate; the sounds and noises that are being produced are thick and overwhelming to the ears. However, it’s this loud and proud nature that leads me to think/know that these guys would be incredible in a live situation, with crowd interaction galore.

In terms of what the songs bring to the table, Hearts, has the most graphic of drum beats that get the heart and instincts pumping. There are also these little flurries of guitar bends that are just, so vicious.

This very general sound of noise and catchy, if indistinguishable vocals, are constant throughout the EP. Swallow is the best example of this: you’re given a riff, beat and the simplest of vocals just to bash your head along to and enjoy.

For a 7″ EP, this is an interesting start for Fate Vs Free Willy and i’m dying to see where else they take their material. Give me more angst and huff in the songs and some more content to sing along to.

Check out the debut EP Every Human Was A Child next month or in August; stay tuned for more details from graphic noise heads, Fate Vs Free Willy.

If you want to pre-order the EP, check the link here.

New Music Review – ABRAMS – February (EP)

a2576407083_10Band: ABRAMS
EP: February 
Genre: Grunge, punk, metal
Social Media: Bandcamp/Facebook

ABRAMS are a metal/grunge band from Denver, Colorado that put out their debut EP back in February and after hearing a few clips of it, I thought it might be something I’d want to try. Funnily enough, the EP is also called February, so there’s something.

What February has shown me, is that their is still life in the grunge/punk scene. It features lots of tight and fun songs that work well and sound large and when you consider that ABRAMS are a trio, then this becomes a much more impressive EP. This short EP cuts out the thrill of the chase from any build-ups and just goes straight into the fray with their punk-as-fuck sound.

The Fucking Cops Are Here features a groovy riff on the guitar that is crunchy as you like and just sounds like it should be being played live at a beer soaked party in someones basement; a real mongrels anthem. Everything in this song feels punchy and powerful, except one of the most important parts: the drums feel very dry and quiet in this song when they should be destroying decibels.

However, they still manage to produce memorable guitar hooks, with vocals and lyrics that people can get on a one-to-one basis with. I’d say that Mr Pink Always Wins and Sea Salt Lines, probably show-off the instrumental prowess of these guys the most; the guitar solos/breakdowns sound like crazy fuel to the spark of the vocalists lyrics. The other ones are crunchy, but the instrumentation doesn’t grab me as much as these two.

February is simple and effective release that wets my taste buds for more of these three and their impolite rock. I’d like to see some more work on the production of the drums and maybe some bass breakdowns? I’m not sure really; there’s a kick-ass formula here, explore it some more.

If you like what you’ve heard, you can grab ABRAMS debut EP, February, over at Bandcamp for a ‘name your price’ price.