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Monday 20 March 2023

Reviews: Robert Jon & The Wreck, Ingraves, For The Fallen Dreams, Theory Of A Deadman (Reviews By Matt Bladen, Zak Skane, James Jackson & GC)

Robert Jon & The Wreck - One Of A Kind (Journeyman Records) [Matt Bladen]

Released as part of Joe Bonamassa and Ray Weisman's new endeavour Journeyman Records, it was produced by award winning producer Don Was and legendary producer Dave Cobb. It's Cobb who adds the rootsy, classic sound to the title track, twin guitar harmonies, vocal harmonies and swirling organs set to a bluesy beat.

This EP is supposed to be the first of many from Robert Jon & The Wreck where they weren't bound by release schedules and could work with various producers to try their hand at styles that are not always in their remit. Almost like a jam/experimental arrangement where they have complete freedom. The country rock Pain No More gets it going with Blackberry Smoke swagger, while Who Can You Love shows their tender side, dialling up those lush arrangements of The Eagles pre-Hotel California, it's with closer Come At Me that we have the rollicking rock n roll return.

Four individual cuts giving different aspects of the bands style, in this format though they can do whatever they want musically and crucially will always have some new music to play on their relentless tour schedule without having to stop and record a full album or retread over old ground every time. It's a risky strategy but with a band as good as this and support from Bonamassa/Weisman it's hard to see how it can fail. 8/10

Ingraves – Human Abyss (Self Released) [Zak Skane]

Ingraves are a new band that have formed in the summer of 2018 and started gigging in the following year. Since their formation and their time on the road the band have accumulated a five track e.p that descends the listener into the raw emotions of anger and sadness.

The journey of angst and resentment begins with swells dissonant guitars and static and glitching effects before the bawl rumbling breakdowns come in reminiscing me of the 2010’s. Williams vents about the philosophical side of human idealisation through his mid harsh growls. The track arrangements transcend from the brutality of Emmure to the melodic tenacity of Korn. 

Stress Depress Repeat channels some serious 2000 nu metal crossover energy with William challenging some Mark Hunter old Chimera venom, whilst the Byran and Matts guitar riffs are delivered with sledgehammer brutality accompanied with Adams drum parts which sway from head banging up tempos to throwing down beats. Wake Up takes the tempo down a notch to allow some eerie soundscapes whilst containing some classic Hatebreed inspired group chants. 

Self Medicated takes the band down a dark path with it’s lyrical themes of toxic forms of self medicating whilst the instrumentation tears the listeners world around them by arming themselves with cold atmospheric tones and skull crushing breakdowns. Isolated ends with album on a venous climax with swings grooves, deathcore inspired riffs and Mathews cried of isolation. 

Reflecting back on this EP it has great potential, the venom spiting out of Williams vocals are fatal, the crushing wall of and the moving atmospheres from the guitar team of Brian, Matt and Jamie along with pounding rhythms of (insert name) are tied together in a well produced bow. 

Songs like the old-souled Stress Depress Repeat and Self Medicate really show the bands potential instrumentally. The only down side I find with this album is that the message of their lyrics could be delivered with more nuance instead of it being too on the nose, I have heard plenty of this delivery from this type of metalcore in 2013. 6/10

For The Fallen Dreams - For The Fallen Dreams (Arising Empire) [James Jackson]

The band, For The Fallen Dreams, have been around for a decade or so and seem to have had a revolving door when it comes to band members; the current incarnation holds only one member that has been with the band since it’s conception, multi instrumentalist Jim Hocking, the rest of the band having been members on and off; as this is my first time listening to them I don’t know whether this heavy rotation has helped or hindered them along the way. Current vocalist Chad Ruhlig performs that clean/unclean style that has become synonymous with the metalcore genre, that the band play within.

Their self titled, seventh album kicks of with Reanimate, a blistering intro leads into an angst ridden track, sitting somewhere between Metalcore and NuMetal it’s got a groove to it that alongside clean/growled vocals really kick the album off to a great start. What If follows next and it poses the question: what if we completely f..k up and start with the most cringe inducing Rap I’ve heard since Roland Rat. If the Rap sections of this track were left on the cutting room floor then this would have been another great track - I am all of a sudden wary of what is going to come next. Last One Out goes some way towards redeeming the album from its previous sins but I’m only three songs in and once bitten, twice shy. 

Waiting for the next big disappointment, I tentatively work my way through the rest of the album. Without You follows and if there has to be a “ballad” on the album then this is the closest thing to it, it’s not a bad track but Testify, track 5 upon the album has more of that Rap that I’ve enjoyed so much and I’m moving on to Searching and after 6 tracks, I’ve decided enough is enough. When For The Fallen Dreams get it right, when the riffs are heavy but full of groove, the drums on point and the vocals aren’t rapping then, for me, they’re solid, the Metalcore side to this album is pretty good but those ill advised ventures into crossing over and incorporating Rap into the mix, just don’t work for me and let it downs.

Genre blending needs to feel effortless and symbiotic, to be fluid and complimentary of each separate genre working as a whole, countless bands have done it to great effect, for me this album and this band aren’t good examples of that. 4/10

Theory Of A Deadman - Dinosaur (Roadrunner Records) [GC]

Disclaimer: I hate radio friendly arena rock and always have since the day my mate made me listen to Nickelback insisting, they were actually quite heavy, his view of course was completely incorrect, and it has scarred me for life, so having said that I have absolutely no idea why I picked the new Theory of a Deadman to review but, here we are! T.O.A.D.M are about to release album, number 8 upon us and it’s called Dinosaur.

First track Dinosaur actually opens up with a fairly decent riff and has a nice catchy hook to it but then the vocals start and although they are not bad to melodically it’s the actual words that are being sung; they are fucking side splittingly bad! I can’t believe nobody flagged this up!? Medusa continues on with the awful lyrics and this time the delivery matches the cringe factor and that they lead the song so heavily just makes this an absolute shit show of a song, trying to mute the noise of the vocals and pay attention to the music doesn’t help either as its just so bland and one paced its insulting usually filler track are towards the end of an album surely not track 2? 

Sick honestly might be one of the worst songs I have ever heard in my 41 years of being on this planet and I reviewed So Long, Space Girl recently its an attempt to create an up lifting and bouncy song but it falls flat on its arse and is a joke of a song, SKIP.THIS.SONG. Two Of Us (Stuck) is a play on the Bill Withers classic and of course that is where any comparison ends as it is, not surprisingly complete fucking garbage and frankly embarrassing how they though this would be a good idea I will never know?! These are grown men making these choices. Fucking Dickheads. 

Ambulance then actually shocks me and begins in a half decent way, until Captain Shit Vocals opens his mouth, seriously this guy is a wanker, decent riff in the song though, so there’s that little bonus at least? Sideways is the predictable piano led balled type song that bands like this thrive off and honestly, listening to it made me feel sick, its so limp & weak, it just offers nothing and at this point this album is just an embarrassment, how have this bunch of wankers lasted this long and had so many albums?? Shocking.

Get In Line sounds more like Nickelback than Nickelback does but it manages to be a watered down version and because of this just drifts around trying to get your attention before you just get bored and pray for it to be over when it thankfully does end Head In The Clouds then bores you to tears with vomit inducing saccharine and earnest “I’m so sensitive” lyrics that seem to completely clash with the “I’m a fuckin’ badass” vibes they have been pushing for the vast majority of this heaping turd of an album. 

Hearts Too Wild has a straight up country feel and sounds like fucking Lonestar and because of that it just sits directly out of sync with everything else and makes zero sense to include it, although I will say it’s probably the best song on the whole album and that’s because it doesn’t sound like the rest of it, still shit though! 

Thankfully, Summer Song is the last song and it’s another attempt a sing a long in an arena song and it will come as absolutely no shock to anyone that is another steaming turd of a song! There really aren’t enough words to describe how much I hated this album, it started bad, got worse and carried on getting worse on every song! 

The lyrical content is embarrassing and he should really have look at himself and ask some serious questions, the music was timid, weak and offered absolutely nothing bar a couple of riffs that lasted about 30 seconds and that is the only reason this didn’t get a big fat zero. 

Now pay attention to this finishing statement as it might be the best advice I have ever given out, ahem, clears throat: AVOID THIS PIECE OF SHIT ALBUM AT ALL COSTS. 1/10

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