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Tuesday 8 November 2022

Reviews: The Commoners, LaVire, Zeke Sky, Chaos Over Cosmos (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

The Commoners - Find A Better Way (Gypsy Soul Record)

Having come together over the course of a decade, Chris Medhurst (vocals/guitar), Ben Spiller (bass), Ross Hayes Citrullo (lead guitar), and Adam Cannon (drums), make up The Commoners with organist Miles Evans-Branagh, coming in when needed (and he's needed a lot). The Commoners are a rootsy rock band that share sounds with bands such as The Allman Brothers, Blackberry Smoke and fellow Canadians The Sheepdogs. 

In fact the Canadian Southern rock scene is one of the the most vibrant around, without the need for Southern Crosses and suspect histories. Find A Better Way exemplifies this throughout, the smoky vocals of Medhurst have enough grit to really bring passion to every lyric. More Than Mistake is a percussive number with a lot of Hammond organ, while Too Much is a gospel rocker that slides into the swampside blues of Naturally which calms everything down as we shift towards the latter half of the album with I Won't keeping the country vibes going. 

Despite there not being many rockers on this album the band as whole play with all their heart, the vocals and organs excellent, Medhurst also adding to the rhythms of Spiller and Cannon with acoustic guitars, underpinning those Black Crowes-like Deadlines. Hayes Citrullo gets a chance to show his talents on the atmospheric Hangin' On Again, searing leads that are from that Allman/Betts songbook. I'll say if you come looking for hard rocking then The Commoners won't be for you but if emotive, blues based, roots music with soul is your thing then pour yourself a Crown Royale and ease into the sounds of The Commoners. 7/10

LaVire - No Truth To Tell Part 1 EP (Self Released)

How about some snot nosed, antagonistic, alt rock from Lincoln? Yeah? Great here's a five track EP from LaVire, who are bringing riffs out of the only city in the UK which has a Roman archway that is still used for traffic to pass under it, as well as the largest steampunk festival. Which are obscure facts even for me. 

Anyway back to the music and it's choppy riffs, deep set grooves and some emotional vocals from ChloĆ©, personal lyrics that I assume are fed by her own experiences, backed by some effect laden riffs from guitarist Aaron, booming bass lines from the other Aaron and catchy rhythms that are brought by the propellant drumming of Adam. LaVire have a very modern sound ala fellow Lincolnshire band Skarlett Riot, the opener Welcome To The Freakshow, chugging rocker hooked on grooves which gets this EP off to a flying start. 

They have a keen balance between heavy and melodic having some emotional alt rock like Biffy Clyro on the punchy Timewasters while on We Play God there's the electronic pulse of Muse. No Truth To Tell Part 1 is a passionate debut EP from LaVire so I predict a a lot more to come from these Lincolnshire rockers. 7/10

Zeke Sky - Intergalactic Demon King (Atomic Fire Records)

American guitarist/pianist/vocalist/composer Zeke Sky is something of an internet sensation, he's been showing off on YouTube since 2018 but now he's a fully fledged recording artist in his own right having had a few singles and self recorded debut, however Intergalactic Demon King is a major label debut that really shows that Zeke King nay possibly the future of progressively-tinged virtuoso metal. 

On this album he sounds a lot like experimental metal artists such as Devin Townsend but also bands with virtuoso guitar players such as Periphery, Tesseract and Plini as well as those from the prog metal sound such as Immortal Guardian. The latter especially because of the way he utilises the keys and guitars simultaneously. 

It's the sort of music you'd want for someone who has supported King's X as it has the same sort of multifaceted sound the prog metal legends have but with some modern metal aggression on Light On The Hollow which goes into Djent/Metalcore, a bit of jazz odyssey on Fire Witch as Endlessly Forever is like glam metal meets pop punk. 

The eclecticism of this album is a deliberate effort from Zeke to write songs that don't pigeonhole him into a particular genre but show his talents as a songwriter and composer. On Intergalactic Demon King he has really set a concrete foundation to show what sort of impressive artist he is. Certainly a name that will become much more recognisable in the next year. 7/10

Chaos Over Cosmos - A Dream if Ever There Was One (Self Released)

We've reviewed international extreme progressive metal band before, with previous incarnations pairing it's Poland based founder with musicians from all over the world, the albums unique as they are recorded totally over the internet, the parties never actually meeting. This time Rafal Bowman (guitars, synths, drum programming, songwriting) teams up with vocalist KC Lyon for yet more sci-fi influenced tracks that will appeal to fans of Strapping Young Lad, Voivod and Cynic. 

On this fourth album things seem much more angry and raging, perhaps due to the Melodeath approved vocals of Lyon, who reminds me of Alexi Laiho. He manages to stand out despite all of the fret melting death metal shredding going on behind him. Mechanical blastbeats and widdly lead guitars get Fire Eater burning out of the gate, the guitar playing moving into the neo-classical guitar sound of bands such as Nile, Atheist and of course Polish tech detach legends Decapitated. 

The guitar playing is mind blowing but then so are the synths used on the very Devy Navigating By Moonlight and the melodeath based A Mantra Of Oppression and Ebb And Flow[ers] both of which bring to mind Children Of Bodom and Soilwork, the six new tracks on this record are all in the on level of musical dexterity Chaos Of Cosmos have shown on their previous albums, but tweaked upwardly. 

What you also get here after the Vangelis-like Melatonin are four tracks from old records that have been remastered, partly re-recorded and featuring this albums vocalist. It imbues a new life into them, keeping the sonic impression of this album but throwing back to the bands earlier days. This fourth record makes Chaos Over Cosmos as an extreme metal force. 8/10 

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