Album Review: The Bronx ‘IV’


The_Bronx_IVThe Bronx –  IV
Genre: Rock / Punk
Label: White Drugs/ATO Records.

Finally, after a long wait for a new The Bronx album (as good as their Mariachi project is, well… we need more of The Bronx!), their fourth release comes to light five years after their previous self-titled effort. The quintet are made up by energetic vocalist Matt Caughthran, guitarists Joby J. Ford and Ken Horne, bassist Brad Magers and drummer Jorma Vik.

They originally started off as a hardcore punk band, with more emphasise on the punk part, but over time the guys have slowly moved away from the aggressive sound of their first two releases. This release sees another leap in the change of their style, not moving more towards punk, but past it, and further into straight forward rock’n’roll.

This is undeniably the catchiest and most accessible the band has ever sounded, but it’s far from a bad thing at all: they pull it off! Matt’s raspy vocals suit the style just as much as his mixture of screams and singing suited the punk style of their previous albums, and his focus on clean vocals here is nothing short of charming.

The album opens with The Unholy Hand at fast pace and the opening lyrics instantly grab your attention “They’ve got you working on the weekdays / They’ve got you working on the weekends too / I know you’re swallowing your paycheck / Like it’s what you always dreamed you’d do”. The instrumentation and structure of the song is pretty straightfoward, and this attribute rings through the following tracks for the most part of the album, but not in the predictably tiresome way.

Along For The Ride has an upbeat jittery riff and Matt sounds lighter, almost as if smooth-coating the overall sound. The chorus is just ridiculously catchy and unforgettable – something you could easily imagine as a soundtrack to a Jackass film trailer, or cruising along to in your car during the summer. Style Over Everything is perhaps the first track that doesn’t strike as a stand-out track despite having a fairly big sound for The Bronx, it just never really goes anywhere, despite being moderately enjoyable.

The fourth track Youth Wasted has a bit of a punk twang to it but stays so light, and with lyrics like “Youth is not wasted on the young”, it has a happy reminiscent feel to it. Too Many Devils sounds like The Bronx unifying the styles of Floor and Jucifer with it’s guitar and drumming, respectively. Again, the chorus is just very catchy. And then Pilot Light changes the pace, slowing it down slightly with it’s stomping verses, and is way catchier than the chorus, almost majestic and obnoxious in its own way that you can’t imagine Matt doing anything else but pulling some Freddy Mercury moves during it.

Dare it be said, seventh track Torches sounds incredibly Weezer-ish at parts due to its pop-sensibility, and while this might make long-term fans want to snort in disgust… well, The Bronx make it sound really good! The lead guitar with its semi-clean arpeggio and the bursting chorus really sounds like it’s The Bronx’s very own My Name Is Jonas.

Unfortunately, the following track is slightly forgettable as Under The Rabbit doesn’t really bring anything to the table, and feels a bit of a rehash of what you hear in some of the previous tracks. Ribcage is another track that has a slight punk feel to it, instrumentally and lyrically, but again feels so light-hearted that it doesn’t have you feeling like starting a riot but thinking about your best summer.

Valley Heat, while again covering the same ground as a few previous tracks, just has this infectious melody that sounds like a sped-up Sweet Child O’ Mine during the verses, without the sleaze. But then you’re given the only downright morose track on the album, Life Less Ordinary, and as odd as it may sound, is really refreshing at this point in the album. The sobering introspective lyrics “I’m not ashamed to say I’ve lost my mind /Been walking backwards my whole life / Some might say there’s a price I pay /For a life less ordinary” grab your full attention with raw beauty. Plus the coughs and low hums that you hear makes the track feel pure and authentic.

Following with the closer Last Revelation, with its up-beat instrumentation, feels slightly disjointed at first considering the nature of the previous track, but you soon forget about it with its carefree attitude and chorus-focused style.

While “IV” might edge close to being overly repetitive at times, it’s near impossible to feel cheated or claustrophobic, as such is the case with bands that fall into the habit of repetition. Considering most tracks on this album rarely reach the 3-minute mark either, you find yourself putting some songs on over and over again for that particular chorus or verse, as the album just flies by when you’re subjected to so many catchy moments with this.

As the aggression that seethed within The Bronx during their earlier releases shrinks further and further away, this is an equally enjoyable album to those efforts. Yes, the spiteful angst is something that made those albums great and addictive, but there’s no reason a long-term fan should find this hard to sit through. Plus if the band is as happy as the music suggests, then it seems like they’re not leaving us any time soon, and that’s something to take comfort in.

7.9/10
Favourite tracks: Life Less OrdinaryTorchesAlong For The Ride.

Review by Rich Reviewz

Best Of 2012: Our Top 10 Albums List


So here we are. We have almost made it through 2012. Today could be our last day if the Mayan calendar is correct and the world is due to end tomorrow, 21st December but fingers crossed we still have a little more time to enjoy some more great music.

Way back in April we posted our first 4 month round-up of our favourite albums of the year to date. This was followed up 4 months later with another list in August and as promised, here we are 4 months later at the end of the year ready to share some more top picks of the past 4 months as well as our Top 10 albums of 2012 list.

So here we go!
First off, here is a selection of new releases that we have been enjoying since our last post in August:

ZZ Top – La Futura
Soundgarden – King Animal
Feed The Rhino – The Burning Sons
Bury Tomorrow – The Union Of Crowns
Katatonia – Dead End Kings
The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
While She Sleeps – This Is The Six
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
NOFX – NOFX
The Killers – Battle Born
Mumford & Sons – Babel
Down – Down IV Part I
Devin Townsend – Epicloud
Muse – The 2nd Law
Lower Than Atlantis – Changing Tune
Bob Mould – Silver Age
Coheed And Cambria – The Afterman
Hooded Menace – Effigies Of Evil
Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind
Kiss – Monster
Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
Enslaved – RIITIIR
Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
Fear Factory – The Industrialist
Blood On The Dance Floor – Anthem Of The Outcast
Family – Portrait
Black Country Communion – Afterglow
And You Will Kow Us By The Trail Of Dead – Lost Songs
alt J – An Awesome Wave
Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension
The Rolling Stones – GRRR
Rolo Tomassi – Astraea
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Call Me No One – Last Parade
Focus – X

So after much deliberation and discussion we have managed to reach a decision on our top 10 albums of 2012. Take a look and leave a comment with your top 10 list.

(In no order)
Soundgarden – King Animal

Enslaved – RIITIIR
Black Country Communion – Afterglow
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Tank – War Nation
Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
Anathema – Weather Systems
Black Breath – Sentenced To Life
Bob Mould – Silver Age

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Album Review: Deftones ‘Koi No Yokan’


Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Genre: Alternative Rock/Metal
Label: Reprise

Deftones, a name that has undeniably made its way into the life of a fan of rock or metal in general, for better or for worse. Going through the band’s history would require an essay twice as long as this review will be with all the rumours, addictions and the additions of members as years passed. All you need to know is that Deftones are known for never making the same album twice: constantly evolving their sound into something else with every release… is “Koi No Yokan” a step in another direction again? Yes.

It felt an age since Deftones released anything new, but it’s only been over two years when they released “Diamond Eyes”. Two years prior to the 2010 release, a horrible car accident left bassist Chi Cheung in a coma, and instead of putting their talents to rest  the band continued (while garnering moral and financial support for Chi and his family) with the help of Quicksand bassist Sergio Verga, who makes his second album with Deftones via “Koi No Yokan”. However, music is the business here…

To put it bluntly, Deftones have really managed to pull some astonishing feats on this album. Several songs sound like short soundtracks to crumbling of old statues that have finally fallen from time or stars ploughing into cities that have stood through thousands of years of civilisations; like nature the resetting of a score. Then others are some of the most sincere love ballads with a punch that you’ve heard in years. The overall sound is titanic, huge, colossal and any other synonyms for ‘big’ I haven’t included: it’s just massive.

What’s different? Well, Stef’s toned down the obvious Meshuggah-influenced riffs that appeared often in “Diamond Eyes” and has leaned back to style of the hard-hitters on “Saturday Night Wrist”, and it seems that Sergio’s presence is a lot more prominent too, and that his role in the band is a lot more relaxed and creative. Probably the most surprising thing in consideration of the overall sound is that Chino rarely screams on this album – possibly cementing it as the most vocally clean album in their discography to date. Otherwise, Abe and Frank provide their usual attributes to the sound, the former giving his standard powerful and catchy drums while the latter adds keys and moments of ambience to the mix.

Opener Swerve City starts at full pace – no soft introduction, no build-up, just a guitar riff that inspires nothing but high jumps immediately, but then smoothly transcends into an almost drive-at-night soundtrack with its smooth flow and Chino’s alluring vocals. The track just prepares you for what to expect for the rest of the album. Romantic Dreams has an old school alt rock feel, not far from the likes of their favourites Jawbox, and teasingly progresses into one of the catchiest choruses that Deftones have ever penned; which will no doubt have audiences at live performances weeping along to “I’m hypnotised by your name / I wish this night would never end”. Just a powerful track so early into the album that makes you wonder how can they possibly keep the it up.

Leathers starts of softly with some tingling ambience between a clean guitar notes and keys, almost promising a break from the energy of the first two tracks, but then the whole band jumps in and throws a heavy slab of aggressive riffs and generally one of the more metal sounding moments on the album, before dropping into a melodic chorus with the haunting “Shedding your skin / Showing your texture / Time to let everything inside show”. The song could easily have fitted in on “Saturday Night Wrist” too.

Next is Poltergeist, which opens with claps and a rumbling bassline, letting you know that you can expect the same high energy as the previous tracks. In fact, this track feels like it would be at home on “White Pony”, despite the polyrhythmic style of the guitar at parts. Entombed however is the first time where the band mellows out, reminiscing the mood and style of Sextape (from “Diamond Eyes”) with its seductive melody and eloquent chorus, featuring a nice play between synth-keys and drums during the outro.

Sixth track Graphic Nature returns to the aggressive style ,with jarring and slightly disjointed guitars, yet the melody is plentiful. Tempest is the first track to reach to over the 6-minute mark, filled with those driving-through-the-night feeling riffs while mystical lyrics flow over the top, especially with the chorus haunting “Turning in circles / Caught is a stasis / The ancient arrival / Cut to the end”. It’s just hypnotic in its delivery and oddly soothing even with the distorted guitars.

Gauze is yet another track that charges in with aggression as Chino sings warning messages over the top, but there’s no simpler way to describe the following track Rosemary other than if there was a song to describe the beauty of the Universe, this would be it. The sound is on such a grand scale that it feels like it weighs more than the Earth, which peaks with the enormous chorus of “Time shifting / We discover the entry / To other planes”, playing heavily on atmosphere.

Goon Squad, though starting with soft scrapes across clean chords, is full of spiteful aggression – especially with Chino’s opening line “I carve my name across your town when I’m set” and the later “Before we get down you should prepare your heart strings / To cut all the ties and watch the trends begin”. Final track What Happened To You? provides a smooth ending to the album, sounding like a hybrid between the styles of “Saturday Night Wrist” and “Diamond Eyes”, and Sergio’s bassline embeds itself into your memory, as Stef’s guitar sounds more complimentary than being the focus to the overall sound (which isn’t a complaint).

In the end, this may be the most consistently pleasing album since “White Pony”. Every track is memorable and addictive, and there’s nothing that spoils the album or seems out of place in the slightest. Instrumentally, Deftones have tightened the screws since the fairly rough “Diamond Eyes”, and it feels like the band may have been keeping their best riffs and grooves during the last ten years and saved them up for this album alone.

There’s no reason for the hardcore Deftones fan to be disappointed by this. In hindsight, after listening to this album, you might just question what they’ve been doing during the previous few releases, and not because they’re bad, but because you wonder why this album is so much more satisfying than the last few.

It’s been worth the wait.

9.3/10
Favourite tracks: Romantic DreamsRosemary, Leathers, Goon Squad.

Review by Rich Reviewz

A Night Of Salvation III Live Review (Santiago Bar, Leeds. 2/11/12)


Eyesore Merch sponsored the Damnation Festival this weekend just passed. We will be posting a full review of the event shortly but in the meantime, a new friend (Rich Reviewz) from the blogosphere that we met at the event just posted a great review of the Damnation Fest pre-show which took place the night before. We have posted it below for your reading pleasure.

A Night Of Salvation III Live Review (Santiago Bar, Leeds. 2/11/12) by Rich Reviewz
It’s the night before Damnation Festival 2012 takes place at the Leeds Union and walking through town alone, you notice a good number of people wearing extreme metal t-shirts, and it seems that they all end up at one place on the night: the Santiago Bar.

A Night Of Salvation (III) is the pre-show for Damnation Festival yet doesn’t seem remotely overshadowed by the event – people are excited for the bands playing on that pre-show; discussions are in full force in some areas of the bar and outside it. The place itself is full of eye-catching memorabilia – a poster signed by the Foo Fighters (Dave also seems to have gained a blacked out tooth and a unibrow from a pen fiend) and a signed drum skin by Torche hung up on one of the walls/rafters – and so it seems fitting that a night like this should take place in a bar like that.

First up was BongCauldron, and as their name might tell, they inflicted a set full of dirty, bass-heavy riffs along with some solid drumming and vocals taken in turns by the guitarist and bassist – the former roared as the latter was more guttural and throaty. The three-piece made a punishing wall of noise and even though the majority of the set consisted of the doom/sludge mid-to-slow-pace tempo, the band got a lot of heads banging, leaving a lasting impression on the crowd (who seemed under a weedian haze throughout the set).

Next was Liber Necris, perhaps an unlikely band to hear on the night, being of the deathcore influence, but actually held their own really well, even intimidating due to the crazed vocalist who churned out some insane vocals immaculately – screams, growls and pig squeals in regular rotation. Plus, instead of the expected breakdowns that deathcore is famous for, the band seemed to flourish in blastbeats instead – definitely showing a bigger death metal influence than anything else. The band put on a hell of a show and were a great surprise.

Diascorium soon followed and despite showing some technical prowess and black/death metal influences, the band fell short of really engaging with the crowd or moving them in any way as the previous two bands had managed. The performance itself was tight and scarily flawless, but there was just something missing from the performance, which is a shame for a clearly talented band. It just felt there was just a lack of genuine excitement; or that it just didn’t transcend very well on the night.

Then there was one band left, the one that a large portion of the crowd had obviously come to see, the great Humanfly. To describe Humanfly musically is like trying to argue what Mona Lisa is feeling – not that the music is blank, but the band venture into so many styles that you never know whether to mosh or gently sway; mixing sludge, progressive, post-rock, hardcore, drone and even more into their undefinable sound. To add to the confusion, even during moments of crushing riffs where the aggression was sonically ripe, the band looked like the happiest people ever, clearly enjoying the moment. It was also unbelievable at times with the sounds the guys were producing with their guitars, as a few seconds of staring at their array pedals confirmed – the band could not stick to one sound if their livelihood depended on it; which is a good thing.

Simply put, they gave a stellar show, and were absolutely hypnotising. It’s almost a shame that they weren’t playing on the day of Damnation (again, having made an appearance on the bill last year), but to see the band on such an intimate level was a great experience in itself – a band definitely worth seeing if you have the chance.

Read more posts by Rich Reviews HERE