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Friday 22 November 2019

Reviews: Liberty Lies, Work Of Art, Eskimo Callboy, Void Vator, (Alex, Stief, Liam, & Matt)

Liberty Lies: It’s The Hope That Kills You (Self Released) [Alex Swift]

Liberty Lies. Where do I remember that name? That’s right, the first time I encountered this band was in 2010 when they were performing in Treforest’s Green Rooms. They were touring an EP at the time, and while I don’t remember everything about the show, I do recall the distinctive chorus of The Wire and the band giving me some drum sticks, for my services to moshing during the gig. It’s the Hope That Kills You, has a distinctly modern if commanding sound. United Nothing opens strongly, the battling guitar melodies and stampeding rhythm section, lending a sense of determination. The lyrics, not wrought with angered political commentary, perfectly compliment the rage and passion at the heart of the album. Four Walls is swaggering, yet no less memorable or forceful in nature.

Mouth Breathers denounces empty rhetoric and is ridden with tension, and clever dynamic alteration. Keeping the dynamism firmly in place is the towering Different Tongues, which continues to prove Liberty Lies penchant for pairing acerbic commentary with spiraling melodies and strong hooks. Even on the balladry of the acoustic-led letters, the sincerity and precision with the instrumentals, see’s us mightily into the second half of the record. A Thousand People commands with a verbose, marching sound and wordplay which evokes the apocalypse. Continuing on this theme, The Day The World Is Done is almost funk-inspired, in the decidedly minimalist, yet strangely engrossing composition. Once again, Family Tree shows an artful use of contrast, with the colorful way it sways from stints of stomping poposity, to mid-tempo grooviness. Combing Home marks a return to that colossal sound which these musicians do best, while These Dark Days is nearly progressive in the way that it develops. across seven minutes from a smoldering anthem, to a gigantic epic.

As the album draws to a close, we are left with the thunderous Are You Listening? and the contemplative Align. By combining such a wide array of influences, while pouring do much heart into their music, they create an impressive combination that eloquently conveys the themes of finding solace in a world gone mad, and make themselves stand out in a diverse and unsettled musical landscape. A lot has happened since that gig I saw them, though Liberty Lies have maintained all their integrity and passion. 9/10

Work Of Art: Exhibits (Frontiers Records) [Stief Illingworth]

It’s been five years since Framework, but it’s clear from the outset that Sweden’s Work Of Art have only improved. Right from the outset of Exhibits, you know what you’re getting. From Misguided Love, which feels like it was marinated in Don Henley’s back catalogue to the quite frankly up lifting If I Could Fly, every song is laced with synths, riffs and great vocals. Of course, there’s the cheesiness, with brilliant lyrics like “Feels like a rush/10,000 volts of love/I’m charging up/Shooting straight to your heart” in Be The Believer and it definitely wouldn’t be AOR without a ballad (Let Me Dream) Lars Safsund’s vocals are perfectly suited to the band’s sound, with him doubling up on keyboards alongside Robert Sall, who also continues providing top level riffing. Herman Furin’s drumming sounds like it could be from the soundtrack to any 80’s movie and as if to make themselves sound anymore 80’s, the band bring in synth maestro Vince DiCola (of Rocky IV and Transformers: The Movie score fame) for This Isn’t Love. An excellent listen for any fan of AOR! 9/10

Eskimo Callboy: Rehab (Century Media) [Liam True]

I’ve heard a few things about Eskimo Callboy. None of them particularly good. But I kept an open mind with Rehab. And to be honest, it’s a solid sounding album. Now it’s not going to be everyone’s taste. Metalcore mixed with electronic elements is always a tricky thing to get the hang of, but ECB hit it on the head. Starting off strong with intro Take Me To and hitting hard with Rehab it sets the pace of the album. It’s not as heavy as most Metalcore, but it hits hard where it needs to. And where it does lack in heaviness, it makes up with in catchy chorus’, foot tapping rhythms and a sort of Pop vibe to it, which does add a certain tone to the album which helps improve it. While the album overall is hit and miss, it’s a strong contender to their previous effort. While they do have a ways to go to make a name fir themselves, they’re on the right track to do so. 7/10

Void Vator: Stranded (Ripple Music) [Matt Bladen]

Initially recorded as 6 track EP, earlier in 2019, Stranded now features two additional tracks and has been released through Ripple Music as the debut full length of Void Vator. Touted as “punk metal” the LA mob certainly have that snarling punk sound as they start things off with Put Away Wet a punchy opening that gets the pulse racing but I’d say that the band take more influence from the Bay Area and NWOBHM seen as Stranded has all the vigour of those early thrash albums as well as the down tuned grooves of 90’s grunge, this is also where the band sit vocally. It means that Void Vator have sound similar to the alt-thrashers Prong and even classic period Foo Fighters especially on Toxic Waste although The Foos never had this many solos!

Stranded is relentless, it never drops in pace for a bit galloping along with some sweet choppy riffs, double tapped solos and shout along hooks, the 8 tracks don’t stick around too long before your caught up in another riff-friendly frenzy! As the twin leads of final track Monster keeps the head nodding until the end, I wanted to spin this album again straight afterwards. It’s not big or clever but it successful merges alt-rock with trad metal, a D.I.Y attitude that I would compare to The Foos playing thrash! Now there’s a comparison! 8/10

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