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Monday 30 May 2022

Reviews: Silverstein, Norilsk, DVL, Sinsid (Reviews By Zak Skane, Paul Scoble, Richard Oliver & Matt Cook)

Silverstein – Misery Made Me (UNFD) [Zak Skane]

Silverstein have been a big part of the mid 2000 “emo” sound since their debut album When Broken Is Easily Fixed, which contained classic singles like Smashed Into Pieces and Giving Up. It wasn’t until they released their second album Discovering The Waterfront which had the classic single My Heroine, which gained them worldwide success. 

Twenty years later with number of releases under their belt I have landed myself the opportunity of reviewing their recent release Misery Made Me. With all guns blazing, Our Song sets the mark with some stabbing riffage grabbing the audience attention for preparation to what the vocalist Shane Todd had to say. Even over 20 years later Shane Todd still sounds as passionate as he did since the bands famous release When Broken Is Easily Fixed. Die Alone opens with some angry slam poetry styled intro verses that will please fans of Being As An Ocean and La Dispute before the guitarist provide their raw sluggy riffs to complement with the surreal angsts featured in the lyrics. Ultra Violet takes us back to the emo sound that the band contributed to in the mid 2000’s with the clean high pitched vocals met with heavy pedal tone riffs. Whilst I was listening to this track it did make me appreciate the singer and bands diversity in their sound. 

The nostalgia comes in the second wave whilst the band step back from the harshness and the high tempos. It’s Over brings us some rocky videos that will please Beartooth fans with their octave fuzzed riffs mixed with groovy drum beats, in the song we also see the band experimenting with string sounds to spice up their style. Which leads us to their most interesting song The Alter_Mary, in this we get hear the band mix up new sounds with classic Post Hardcore arrangements by adding Trap inspired verse sections to retro synths layered outros whilst lyrics are sung through a vocal coder which will make the listeners mind toss and turn with curiosity. Other highlights on this album is the groove laden Bankrupt and it’s emotional closer Misery, which ties the album to a surreal conclusion to this anxiety journey by it’s message of finding peace with depression. 

From only just having three run through of this album I can safely tell you that this is one of the best Post Hardcore releases that I have heard in years which has played with my heart strings since Holding Absence's debut release. The band have captured both old and new styles with perfection, nothing seems forced or try hard. They sound as passionate as they did in the mid 2000s with their debut album, 10/10.

Norilsk - Beyond The Mountains (Hypnotic Dirge Records) [Paul Scoble]

Norilsk are a duo based in Quebec, Canada. The pair have been making music together since 2012 and in that time have made 3 albums; The Idea Of North in 2015, Les Passages Des Glaciers in 2017 and their last album Weepers Of The Land in 2018. The duo is made up of Nick Richer on Drums and Backing Vocals and Nicolas Miquelon on all other instruments and Lead Vocals. 

The EP features 2 tracks, opener Beyond The Horizon is an original Norilsk track, whereas the second track is a cover of an Officium Triste track that was featured on a 2019 covers album to celebrate Officium Triste’s twenty-fifth anniversary as a band. Norilsk have chosen a track called Mountains Of Depressiveness which is featured on Officium Triste’s first EP also called Mountains Of Depressiveness, and on the bands first album Ne Vivam. Beyond The Horizon is a great track, it feels like the early wave of Death/Doom from the early nineties. It reminds me of bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride or Katatonia, probably most like My Dying Bride, there's even a little taste of early Cathedral (back when Lee was still doing harsh vocals, Forest Of Equilibrium Cathedral). The song keeps its slow tempo throughout, and feels sad, despondent and in many ways very sombre. 

The Officium Triste cover Mountain Of Depressiveness has kept it’s intro, which is full of melancholy guitar harmonies, and has a short blast of up-tempo riffs that, due to the harmonies, sound a little bit like a very sad Iron Maiden. The intro fades, to be replaced with the main song which is slow, melancholy and softer than the first track. The feeling is slightly less dark than the preceding track, theres is a smoothness to how the song flows and maybe a little warmth, despite all the sadness. It’s a great song done very well by a band who clearly have a lot of love and respect for the original. Beyond The Mountains is a really enjoyable EP; Beyond The Horizon is a great song to be added to Norilsk’s catalogue, and the Officium Triste cover is sublime, if you are into very heavy Doom you should seek this out, highly recommended. 8/10

DVL - Hush (Wormholedeath) [Rich Oliver]

Hush is the second album from Scottish metal band DVL (formerly known as D3VILMAYCRY) and their first album for WormHoleDeath Records. Hush is a conceptual album made up of short stories that reflect on modern society with each of the ten songs telling a different tale. Musically there is influence from traditional heavy metal but this is mixed with influence from American mainstream hard rock and metal with the bands sound bearing more than a passing resemblance to bands such as Avenged Sevenfold. Songs such as Among Us, Dread, Hallows and Trial By Fire have plenty of swagger and groove mixed in with plenty of melody, hooks and some undeniably good musicianship whilst The Pitch surprised with its dark noir feel complete with saxophone and a good change of pace and tone.

Hush is an album that I struggled with like I do with much latter day hard rock and metal that strays in mainstream leaning sounds as it all sounds a bit disposable and rather unmemorable. The startling resemblance to other bands doesn’t work in its favour as at times it simply sounds like DVL are copying others rather than simply taking influence. Detractions aside Hush is a well written and well performed album by a band that clearly are great musicians (with the guitar work being a real stand out) but I’m afraid it left me rather cold.  I’m sure fans of bands such as Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine will find plenty here to enjoy but aside from appreciation of the musicianship this did very little for me. 5/10

Sinsid – In Victory (Pitch Black Records) [Matt Cook]

Traditional Heavy Metal has become an umbrella term meant to roughly encapsulate bands that don’t fit snugly into a subgenre, but are too heavy to be written off as rock. Oftentimes it’s intended to hit your nostalgia gland and remind you of why you fell in love with this music in the first place. Sinsid fall under this category, however sometimes traditions are best left in the past. The direction (or lack thereof) the Norwegians take on In Victory doesn’t summon fond memories of years past. In fact, it’s an over-exaggerated caricature that does more harm than good.

Sten Roger Knutsen and Even Haavold clearly possess talent as guitarists. But as an esteemed titular video-game boss once (kind of) said: “Not even riffs can save you from this.” Iron Heart is a rusted, dilapidated has-been; the structuring is chaotic and random. The timing and intonations of Terje Singh Sidhu’s vocals is a jumbled hindrance. The record suffers further with introduction transitions that are rough and simply incompatible (Secret Of The Beast). Are you beginning to sense a pattern? Wrath Of Destruction’s time-signature inconsistencies are downright frustrating. It’s not any better with No Fear. Admittedly the only standout song, it’s stunted by an unexpected change in rhythm halfway through, despite a strong riff and suave guitar fill. It comes off as a byproduct of three or four undecided ideas thrown together as one. 

The worst offender is Metalheads. Just the sort of cheesy music your washed-up uncle calls the “heaviest shit” he’s ever heard. It’s more like empty filler, marred further by unnecessary cowbell. Plain and simple, Sidhu’s delivery is better suited fronting an Oi! outfit. Thanks to lazy, low-hanging-fruit remakes of movies nobody asked for, it’s easy to see In Victory as a grab towards a tradition people enjoy, however the journey to get there flopped. Sometimes fond memories are best kept in the past. 5/10

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