Album of the Month... August 2014

Pop Culture by Knocked Loose

22 Jun 2014

Expire: 'Pretty Low'

Expire - 'Pretty Low'

I’ve been waiting for this for a quite a while now and I have to admit it was more than worth the wait to listen to it! Yet again Expire have smashed it and created another fantastic, powerful record. Pretty Low features 11 brand new tracks which are a little longer on track lengths than their usual material which is a bonus. I’d love to end the review here and just state that you need to listen to this now, however that would be a little silly of me as I need to describe how great this record is. Easily one of the strongest releases of the year. Each track is equally as heavy as the next and Expire keep to their trend of dark, gloomy and bleak lyrics.

I can’t fault a single track and the vocals are equally as raw and shredding as their previous releases (possibly even more so), Josh has some serious throaty screams which complements the heaviness of the instrumentals. The introduction track Pretty Low sets the tone for the record, the down tuned guitars kick in with meaty riffs and the drums crashing alongside this. This is definitely a record to play loud, Just Don’t and Fiction keep the rapid tempo going throughout. One listen and I’m hooked. I particularly like the part in Just Don’t where it slows and you can hear the chunky bass line, so catchy!

Gravity is one of the most mosh-worthy songs on the record and has a heavy breakdown going on towards the end. Nobody starts soon after this and has a frenzy of smashing drum rhythms and more chugging riffs that kick you in the face. There’s some really entertaining and energetic 2 step style riffs towards the mid-end of this track and is also evident in Old Habits. From here onwards, through tracks like Forgetting, Rejection and Second Face they really show the true rawness and darkness of Expire. I think the second half of the record will capture the listeners more as it just seems to take all the anger from the first half and multiply it by a million. The vocals are fantastic and really show off the dark side of this band and makes you want to lose your mind.

Pretty Low is the birth of a monster and takes all the best bits of hardcore that people want to hear, combining it with metallic elements but not to the point of it becoming a metal record. Expire have progressed a hell of an amount since their demo released in 2009. I didn’t think they could get any angrier and heavier than Pendulum Swings but they have exceeded that expectation and have produced a record of full of viciousness, anger and rawness. Order it now because I think you’re gonna love it!

18 Jun 2014

Don't We All: 'Demo'

Don't We All - 'Demo'

The debut demo/EP from France’s Don’t We All certainly does not disappoint. Featuring members of Upstart and First Try (who are also awesome) Don’t We All take on more of a melodic approach that is similar to bands like Capsize, Landscapes and MidnightSouls. If you enjoy melodic hardcore then you will most likely enjoy this 4 track release. The vocals are however a bit more variable than some of the more popular melodic bands that can be seen of today but seem to add a lot more emotion and become almost borderline traditional metalcore. To be honest it probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I think it works really well.

There are some excellent melodies and technical guitar playing on this and you can see a big influence of earlier style metalcore/hardcore mixed with a recent Verse/Bane type sound. I don’t know how to describe it to be honest, it’s just a good quality sound!! As well as the instrumental qualities that this release holds, I do think the high pitched, screaming vocals fit perfectly within this sound and this really shows off the emotion and passion present throughout the demo.

To start with there is a sound clip used for the introduction track which sets the theme and tone for what to expect in the song writing, especially lyrically. This quickly cuts into the track Against the Tide and the fast paced drum beats kick in straight away with a melodic instrumental build up. Despite this being their first release the quality is quite crisp and they keep everything tied down. The gang style vocals on the slower parts are also effective that can be heard above the lead guitar and add some variation.

The second half of the demo including tracks Misled Youth and Get Back in Touch also show quality musicianship and a huge amount of devotion and passion towards the hardcore scene. This has been a good year for French hardcore and a lot of bands seem to be popping up around this area. Don’t We All are a good example of this and you should be sure to check them out on the link provided below.


29 Apr 2014

Mean Little Blanket: 'Blast Off!'

Mean Little Blanket - 'Blast Off!'

Earlier this month my friends in Ashes Forever sent me a recommendation which is their friends band Mean Little Blanket who have just released their debut record titled Blast Off! Formed in 2009 by Corey Dozier and Jason Prushko based in New York, this 3 piece are re-inventing the sound of hard rock. This record contains 10 tracks of mathcore and jazz enfused hard rock that leaves you thinking, ‘what did I just listen to?’ Taking influence from bands like The Fall of Troy, Incubus and Between the Buried and Me , I think if you mixed all three of these bands plus others you would end up with a perfect description of Mean Little Blanket

The record starts off with Don’t be Scared It’s Only a Crescendo which in an instant, shows off these two people’s talents and sets the tone for the whole album. The time signatures are all over the place which I love. Everybody’s Good shows a perfect blend of guitar sequences with steady drums and some nice varied vocal patterns. No song on this record is alike and contain completely different styles of song making. I feel a lot of time, effort and passion have gone into creating this musical masterpiece and every song has been carefully pieced together like a jigsaw. This record is far from repetitive and leaves me wanting to listen to it more. It’s entertaining, interesting and pleasant to the ears.

I really like the track Bermuda which includes some blues sounding guitar rhythms mixed with some rocky riffs and also has some cool effects throughout. This record seems to have a bit of something for everyone and I am sure this will appeal to all sorts of music fans as they have incorporated so many genres into their sound. Your Monster, My Ancestor goes back into a more progressive rock sound and the clean vocals work really well throughout. Power Wash is another one of my favourites on this record especially with the instrumental attributes and technical skill present. This track is broken down into a hundred different parts and my ears don’t get too accustomed to one part as there is an impeccable mix of slow tempo beats with melodies and soft vocals but soon cuts back in with some jazzy, experimental parts.

Although the songs are all quite long (some ranging from 7-12 minutes) they are a perfect time for the listener to absorb all of the musicianship present. You really don’t want to miss out on this release. Mean Little Blanket provide a fresh sound, not just for people who like rock music but for almost everyone. I really do not see what there is not to like about Blast Off! I believe this band will go far in the future but I do wonder how they will manager to top this release. Do not miss out on this and check it out on the link below.

Official band website