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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Reviews: Starset, Shallow Side, Kemerov

Starset: Vessels (Razor & Tie)

The Starset mothership once again makes orbit with the Earth and their transmissions come through loud and clear. The band is the brainchild of singer Dustin Bates and they play a particularly majestic brand of cinematic rock music, the EDM, Dubstep, synth heavy elements of this music makes it akin to latter period Linkin Park mixed with Muse, 30 Seconds To Mars and the more recent output from Bring Me The Horizon (Into The Unknown).

It's chunky riffs, propulsive percussion, the overpowering synth elements and Bate's impressive vocals that go from emotive screaming, to an almost robotic croon. Vessels is the follow up to their 2014 debut and it really just continues with the sound set out by the debut, this is really modern sounding music, rock for the post-Millennial age, many of the older generation may give this a wide berth and that's understandable mainly due to the records 15 song length and that quite a few of the songs do away with the hard rock all together meaning the radio friendly electronica of Imagine Dragons creeps in. 

This record is built on the stirring sonic soundscapes of tracks such as Back To Earth they are the true sparks of genius this band have. Vessels is the ideal follow up to the band's excellent debut record, it is a little too long at 15 tracks but if you filter out some of the filler much of this album is very impressive. 8/10

Shallow Side: One (Thermal Entertainment)

The past few years have seen Country/Southern rock have a revival but gone are the days of long haired, bearded Stetson wearing crooners, now those older guys have been replaced by new breed of trendy, harder edged rockers. Shallow Side are the latest contenders to the Black Stone Cherry crown and this EP is a hearty lunge towards the global dominance of their Kentucky cousins.

Hailing from Alabama you can really hear the similarities but there are also touches on Shinedown on Flight Or Fight which has buzzing electronics cutting through it, it's these pulsing electronics that separate Shallow Side from many of their contemporaries the songs all have touches of synths through them, their songs are very good indeed Rebel is a defiant Southern statement, We Roll a stomping proto-anthem while Can You Hear Me is a very modern sounding song that you could hear firing up the Billboard Rock charts.

One song will jump out at you though and that's their storming cover of Styx's Renegade which has garnered praise from Tommy Shaw himself. It suits the mood, this is rebellious rocking from the four piece band, colour me impressed, here's waiting for a full length. 7/10

Kemerov: FMKD (Vault Relics)

The Kemerov play death'n'roll, for those that don't know what that is, the music mainly consists of rollicking, scuzzy, heavy rock riffs and harsher vocals that move into the death metal genre, the genre itself was started by Entombed on their Wolverine Blues and has been adopted by many bands most notably Kvelertak and Turbonegro who Kemerov share much of a similarity with.

With the name you'd be forgiven for thinking they come from the former USSR but no Kemerov come from Serres in Northern Greece and they move away from the overwhelming number of stoner and black metal bands by adopting this type of punchy, riff heavy music. The band have touches of metal, punk, and even doom throughout this aggressive record, the songs speed by you built on Giorgos' earsplitting riffs and a brutal bottom end from brothers Spiros and Tasos.

It's frantic, non conformist music that takes the time to be a massive screw you to some of modern life's more depressing elements, the fury increased tenfold by Matt's fervent rasp. FMKD is a furious slab of heavy rock that acts a prelude to the pit, it's an assured debut from this Greek act. 7/10

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