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Monday, 22 October 2018

Reviews: Nosound, Vitja, Walking Dead On Broadway, Rise Of The Northstar (Reviews By Lee & Sean)

Nosound: Allow Yourself (Kscope) [Sean]

Shockingly, there are many genres of music other than metal. Outside the walls of blast beats, shredding and shrieks exists vast eco systems of sounds. Said sounds encompass an even broader spectrum of thoughts, moods and overall aesthetic beyond the metallic horizon. Italy’s Nosound are one such band though the mood here is bittersweet, the aesthetic is stripped down and austere. Once ranging from prog, post rock, ambient and electronic, Nosound's latest offering Allow Yourself casts aside the traditional in favour of a more minimalistic mindset. Guitars have been abandoned, drums absconded with and synths and all manner electronics taking the centre stage. Let us begin….

Ego Drip and Shelter share similar compositional qualities. An ostinato serve as the backbone as layers are gradually added and slowly growing into a crescendo of sweeping synths and pulsing electronics. My Drug plays with the formula more, soaring vocals atop a playful drum beat resulting in a very introspective ambience. Despite this, it all feels a bit….passive? Somewhat akin to silence coloured in. Then everything changes. Miracle is absolutely haunting and beautiful in equal measure, introducing a lonesome cello and providing a much needed change in dynamics. This Night and At Peace are equally strong offerings, perfect examples of Nosound's vision of a sparse sound employed to great effect.

Occasionally Allow Yourself buckles under its own ambition, the newly adopted barebones design robbing the songs of any spark or engagement. Yet the transition is far from a failure, as there are moments where this paradigm shift works beautifully. It’s in these moment that Allow Yourself succeeds and does so with stunning results. When it does work, Nosound create a dense ethereality, one of sadness, aching loneliness and a profound yearning for something better in this world. For those moments alone, Allows Yourself deserves to be experienced. 7/10

Vitja: Mistaken (Century Media Records) [Lee]

When asked to review this album, I saw Djent/Metalcore and I was immediately in. Hailing from Koln, Germany and having opened for some respectable Metalcore bands such as Texas In July and Iwrestledabearonce on the back of their debut album, Echoes, the band were destined for great things. Their entire back catalogue reminds me of bands such as Veil Of Maya, Volumes, Our Hollow, Our Home and Mistaken is no different. Their material is good but not strong enough to move them into the upper echelons of metalcore such as Architects but getting some decent outings as a support act will definitely help their cause. 

Mistaken is a nice mix of metalcore and djent with some melodic parts and if I could describe it in two words, it’d be Angsty Teenager and you only need to look at some song titles to get a feel of this, songs such as Friends Don't Lie, for example. The tracking of the album has a nice pace, a mixture of mellow and metal is an easy 30-minute listen. Standout tracks on the album are dependent on whether you’d prefer either a heavy or an easy listen, Anxiety is definitely a winner here whereas High on You is a complete polar opposite. A solid release but metalcore is such a tough sub-genre to catch a break but having already supported some of the best, they’re doing the right things and it won’t be long before they get to where they want to be. 7/10.

Walking Dead On Broadway: Dead Era (Long Branch Records) [Lee]
Deathcore seems to be a more progressive sub-genre in recent years and recent controversial releases such as Suicide Silence’s self-titled album and Whitechapel’s Our Endless War are prime cases here. Diversity in deathcore is not exactly new, bands such as Winds Of Plague have always included synths and organs in their discography and Walking Dead On Broadway take a page from their book. Dead Era pays homage to both Whitechapel and Winds of Plague and have come out with a belter. After the introduction song, Dead Era, which belongs in a Fallout advert, the album comes into full swing with Red Alert, followed by 50 minutes of ruthless aggression. Utilising technical prowess across the board, the band evidently are growing and have found the right path for them. It’s hard to pick out any standout tracks from the album, after going through the title track, the pace is relentless.

The Fire Never Lies is a favourite of mine along with Anti-Partisan but it’s a struggle to narrow it down to a single standout track which definitely has the makings of a solid album. The only criticism from me is having an instrumental track, Standstill, which has shades of Death’s Voice Of The Soul (one of my favourite songs of all time) two songs before the end of the album but that’s really the worst criticism I can say which is a testament of the strength of the album. Great work from a talented bunch and I really can’t wait to see where they go from here and if they end up on an Impericon Never Say Die tour, I’d advise on checking them out. Worth a listen if you’re a fan of Whitechapel & Winds Of Plague. 8/10

Rise Of The Northstar: The Legacy Of Shi (Nuclear Blast) [Lee]

Holy fucking shit, if you love Japanese Culture and hardcore music, get this in your ears. This is such a hard hitter of an album and checks so many boxes, this is one of the albums of the year. Regardless of the pace of the album, it’s still unbelievably heavy. Standout Hardcore albums rarely happen with the last to be Code Orange’s Forever at the start of 2017 but 18 months later, I think I’ve stumbled on the next big thing in hardcore. The Legend Of Shi takes elements from Hatebreed and makes it their own with heavy riffs, rap vocal elements in a sort of Emmure-esque way. We start off with The Awakening, a very small sample of what’s to come, a nice build up with a finale of aggression. Then Here Comes The Boom, which will get everyone off their feet and is my standout track from the album along with Teenage Rage which has French rap in it because why not? 

The album takes you in so many different directions that it truly is an unpredictable album. RotN vocalist Vithia does an outstanding job with his vocal range on the album, both clean and growl were hypnotic to the ears. He’s supported by 4 very talented hardcore musicians, Evangelion-B on lead guitar supported by Air One on the rhythm, Phantom behind the kit and Fabulous Fab (move over Flava Flav) on bass. This band deserve to get something big out of this release and as this is their “difficult second album” – they proved that if you’re really talented, that’s non-existent. For me, a definite album of the year contender and if you’re a fan of Hatebreed, Emmure and Terror, you’ll love this. I really can’t wait to see where the band goes from here. 9/10

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