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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Reviews: Hatebreed, Sixx A.M, Messenger (Review By Paul)

Hatebreed: The Concrete Confessional (Nuclear Blast)

Let's be fair. You either love Hatebreed or they do fuck all for you. The Concrete Confessional isn’t going to change that opinion. This is full on in your face aggression and it really hits the buttons. A.D. Opens proceedings, Jamie Jasta’s emotional outpourings right at the fore, riffs galore and a total assault on the senses. Plentiful riffs cascade through every track, urgency the name of the game. Looking Down the Barrel Of Today is the metal equivalent of blitzkrieg, no place to hide as all gauges are set to destroy. And so it continues; Seven Enemies, In The Walls and From Grace We’ve Fallen all follow the same formula. 

It's pit stomping stuff, crashing and rampaging all over the place. From Grace We've Fallen contains a Testament style chorus which moves slightly away from the usual ‘Breed style but otherwise this is a continuation of the Hatebreed onslaught. It's brutal, unforgiving and ideal for venting that anger following a hard day in your mundane existence. Anthems Of Oppression and Rebellion, born from a million frustrations with the state of the world manifest in the themes that run through this release. Us Against Them, Something’s Off (which departures from the usual fare in no uncertain terms) and Dissonance all shout rebellion and to be fair, who can argue. It may not contain the immediacy of their earlier anthems but The Concrete Confessional still kicks your arse from start to finish. Sure, it may not grab you in the same way that Destroy Everything or Become The Fuse did, but by my white beater (a vest no UK folks) is it heavy. Get your arse in the pit and enjoy. 8/10

Sixx A.M: Prayers For The Damned (Eleven Seven Music)
Sixx A.M is the side turned full-time project of Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx and it is probably the most accessible of the band’s three releases. With the first album a companion to The Heroin Diaries, Sixx’s cathartic account of his descent into heroin addiction, and their second release a mixture of more radio friendly tunes, Prayers For The Damned moves the band fully into the ‘real’ status. It is pretty standard radio friendly fare but it ticks all the boxes if you like this type of routine polished rock. Opener Rise and You Have Come To The Right Place both have Planet Rock airtime stamped on the underside, whilst I'm Sick maintains the pomp stomp. 

The title track threatens to unleash an epic, a heartfelt emotive rocker with a large dose of catchy hooks to attract those in need of a good dose of short catchy anthems. Musically it's pretty generic. The likes of Better Man steal riffs from a billion other tunes; Can't Stop maintains the simplicity, enhanced by some heavier chords, singalong chorus and synthesiser layers to pad it out. Of course, there is the obligatory power ballad, this time When We We Gods which is average at best. Belly Of The Beast was clearly intended to be a brooding, smouldering monster and whilst it has an edge to it the final effect falls short. As the album reaches its conclusion the fare remains pretty average although Everything Went To Hell is one of the better tracks. It's listenable middle of the road hard rock. It just doesn't grab you by the lapels and scream “Listen to me!!” I'll be interested to see if the band can hold my attention for their full set at Download. Somehow I doubt it. 6/10
Messenger: Thredonies (InsideOut)

The London outfit’s first album Illusory Blues was one of the albums of the year when it was released in 2014 and a stunning live support slot for Hevy Devy’s Casualties Of Cool at the Union Chapel in London demonstrated that promise could be delivered in the live setting. Follow up Thredonies has been long anticipated at MOM towers. Clocking in at just shy of 50 minutes for eight tracks, Thredonies demands attention and commitment. Allocating your time to listen to this beautiful album is well worth it. Thredonies contains a kaleidoscope of intricate and delicious tunes which cascade and immerse the listener in an ethereal musical journey from beginning to end. 

Opener Calyx is light and complex with shades of Muse springing to mind. Messenger flex their muscles on the eight minute epic Oracles Of War, which contains some delicious riffs and a harder edge than many of their other tracks. Musically Messenger are on stunning form and this track demonstrates their progression, full of stomp and swagger and an indie edge many of that genre would die for. It also illustrates exactly why the band were such a perfect fit for the Von Hertzen Brothers on their March tour. Balearic Blue cements the band firmly into their progressive sound, layered guitars and keyboards merging with the frantic drum beat and James Leach’s rolling bass lines. The guitars and vocals of Khaled Lowe and Barnaby Maddick are just stunning with the Floyd and Opeth fusion of sound incredibly appealing. 

Indeed, throughout the album snippets of the Swedes complex sound regularly catch the attention. This is breathtaking in both composition and performance. Celestial Spheres continues the complexity with a large dose of funk and some chunky Hammond organ riffs transporting you not only back to Opeth but to the 1970s, albeit with a fresh and modern sound. In fact, I’ll stop listing the tracks and invite you to head onto the band’s website and pick up a copy immediately. Thredonies is a superior release to Illusory Blues and a more ambitious one too. However, it is also more accessible; check out Nocturne; instant, simple yet beautifully intricate. I can’t praise this album enough. Khaled Lowe, Barnaby Maddick, Jamie Gomez Arellano Daniel Knight and James Leach take a bow. One of the releases of 2016. 9/10



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