Harmonies, that's the name of the game here. Three of probably the best singers in the prog genre together in one album, leads to endless harmonies. Just from the opening Everything I Am I immediately noted down the words Crosby, Stills And Nash as Nick D'Virgilio's percussion drives this open chord acoustic first track that, has that live in the studio feel due to the opening, talk between the three men, though the album itself was recorded remotely during lockdown. These yet more CSN on the finale What You Leave Behind.
Schemata Theory - Unity In Time (Self Released)
I haven't heard a band with this kind of politically charged post-hardcore since those glory days of bands such as Funeral For A Friend . Schemata Theory bring dual vocalled, emotional metal music that has a proggy edge and a strong ideology of global unity and triumph over adversity. Fronted by Youtuber and 'cyber philanthropist' Myles Dyer who shares vocals along with Luke Wright, the band were brought together to draw influence from the US metalcore scene as well as post hardcore acts like FFAF and even Enter Shikari, which you can hear when there's some spoken word passages in a full accent ala Rou Reynolds on Mirrors.
Black Lakes – For All We’ve Left Behind (Self Released)
Produced by Cardiff based producer Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon/Motorhead) For All We’ve Left Behind is the new album from Chepstow based modern/alt metal troupe Black Lakes. Now I could be cynical here, extremely so, as Black Lakes have written an album that is aimed exclusively for mass appeal and for radio play. Coming from the school of bands such as Bring Me The Horizon, Linkin Park and South Wales own Bullet For My Valentine, their music is moody, melancholic but packed with anthemic, angsty choruses.
Set against the backdrop of the pandemic, and the uncertainty/fear that is rife in the work, Black Lakes have crafted and album of modern metal anthems that will all easily be added to the playlists of Kerrang and BBC Radio 1. Just heavy enough to appease the rock/metal crowd but with the emotion on tracks such as Verity In Flames, that anyone that saw that was Ed Sheeran/BMTH collab at the Brits, would listen to even if they weren’t a rock/metal fan. For All We’ve Left Behind is a dark record, the title itself conjures images of lost loved ones and freedoms that are only now starting to return here in the post-covid era, but it also carries a sense of hope with tracks like the brooding The Divide.
Much of the emotion is carried by Wil S. Preston’s excellent voice, with nods to Matt Tuck, Corey Taylor and Chester Bennington on tracks like the fist-clenching Landslide (not a Fleetwood Mac cover). The rest of the band, also display dexterity throughout, Dafydd Fuller’s drumming deft but bruising, hooking into the basslines of Lee Harris. On the six string front Scott Bradshaw and James Rowland, provide the melodic/alt metal riffs that drive songs such as Ghost Of Our Memories, which feels a little like InMe, but much of the lead guitar comes from Dylan Burris.
It’s about the song writing though and this is where Black Lakes really display a maturity of band that have been touring and playing for years. My one criticism is that towards the end of the album the pace kind of peeters out in favour of balladry, but a song such as the title track is a surefire single. They are aiming for that oh so difficult crossover market and with For All We’ve Left Behind they have hit the nail on the head. A masterclass in creating rock/metal music for the masses, expect the Black Lakes name to be everywhere soon. 7/10