Reviews

Album Review: Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me

Album Review: Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me

Band: Against Me! Album: Shape Shift With Me Genre: Punk/Folk rock Date of Release: 16/09/2016 Location: Florida, United States Reviewer: 5StringSamurai For Fans Of: Rancid, Hot Water Music Track Listing: 1. ProVision 2. 12-03 3. Boyfriend 4. Crash 5. Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be 6. 333 7. Haunting, Haunted, Haunts 8. Dead Rats 9. Rebecca 10. Norse Truth 11. Suicide Bomber 10. All Of This And More The primary focus of all martial arts is self-defence. Its easy to swing a tachi (sword) and cause grievous harm, easier yet to point a gun and pull the trigger. True skill lies in learning how to avoid these situations or, if that is not possible, how to counter them and gain the upper hand. An equally import lesson to learn is that its not just physical attacks that you need to be able to defend against. Attacks on your character, beliefs and identity can be just as damaging, not only to your psyche, they can be used in a way to provoke you into physical combat where the enraged mind may falter into making a mistake. The calm mind has a much better chance of seeing through the fog to avoid falling into the trap. In this day and age, it is perhaps more important to learn how to defend against the non-physical attacks than the physical. We are much more likely to come across internet bullying/trolling, discrimination, homophobia, and racism than roving street gangs of armed thugs. You’re number one technique against these attacks is self confidence but this is also easier said then done. We all... read more
Live Review: THE JEZABELS @ Manning Bar, Sydney (14/09/16)

Live Review: THE JEZABELS @ Manning Bar, Sydney (14/09/16)

Band: The Jezabels Venue: Manning Bar, Sydney Date: 14th September, 2016 Reviewer: Karl Grovenor On the 14th of September, 2016, a secret gig by former triple j poster children The Jezabels was announced. Returning to Sydney’s Manning Bar just shy of ten years after their first show on the very same stage, the band would perform an intimate eight-song set, breaking a brief hiatus with the same blend of finesse and energy that made them a phenomenon. It’s hard not to view the career arc of the local Sydney indie-pop darlings in the same light as that of a child actor. For all intents and purposes, the band was still in its infancy when songs like ‘Disco Biscuit Love’ and ‘Hurt Me’ began to dominate the airwaves on radio stations like JJJ and FBI. Indeed, with their first trilogy of EPs, the band found themselves sitting on an almost obscenely brilliant discography, capped off by their masterwork, 2010’s Dark Storm, without even having yet released a full-length album. For a few years, the former University of Sydney students were the soundtrack to every front-porch craft-beer tasting session in Surry Hills – and quite a few boozy nights at the Annandale as well. Like every child actor, however, their transition to adolescence was fraught with troubles. Though not as dramatic as Macaulay Culkin exclusively performing Velvet Underground songs with lyrics about pizza, the increasing focus on subtle songwriting and radio hooks displayed on the follow-up to their hailed 2011 debut album Prisoner, The Brink, left as many people swaying their hips to ‘Time To Dance’ as it did bewildered by... read more
Album Review: Sylar – Help!

Album Review: Sylar – Help!

Band: Sylar Album: Help! Date Of Release: 26/08/2016 Label: Hopeless Records Genre: Metalcore/Nu-metal Location: Queens, NY Reviewer: Alex “keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’” Sievers For Fans Of: Any and all things nu-metal. Track Listing: 1. Help! 2. Soul Addiction 3. Assume 4. Me, Myself, & I 5. Doubting Out 6. Dark Daze 7. South Street Lullaby 8. I Know, You Know, I Know 9. Gambit Rogue Delight 10. Pleasure Paradise 11. Maintain Closure I’ve never once cared for guilty pleasures. Thus, I’ll gladly raise my hand when they start reading out names for the great culling of nu-metal fans via lobotomy. Linkin Park, Korn, Deftones, System Of A Down, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, and Disturbed – I love those bands, and nostalgia be damned, I still do. I’m not at all embarrassed to admit it. After all, if you’re embarrassed to openly admit you enjoy something, I feel that’s a telling sign you’re battling with some insecurity about how much you actually enjoy said thing. But we’re here to talk about Sylar’s new album Help!, not your insecurities. Sylar is one of many bands riding out nu-metal’s resurgence, of which is bound to end within the next 18 months (calling it now). However, the scene’s quickly approaching critical mass of this sound, and that means a host of severely average bands flooding in. For instance, From Ashes To New, Cane Hill, Gift Giver, & Darke Complex. As for Sylar, I wouldn’t count them among those aforementioned bands. While not original, they’ve got the chops to potentially outlive this returning trend, and keep their heads above the waters of forgettable background music... read more
Album Review: Hellions – ‘Opera Oblivia’

Album Review: Hellions – ‘Opera Oblivia’

Band: Hellions Album: Opera Oblivia Genre: Melodic hardcore Date of Release: 28th July, 2016 Location: Sydney, New South Wales Reviewer: Chris Giacca For Fans Of: My Chemical Romance but heavier. Sort of. Track Listing: 1. 24 2. Quality of Life 3. Thresher 4. Lotus Eater 5. He Without Sin i) Halation 6. He Without Sin ii) Heels of the Hands 7. Bad Way 8. Nightliner Rhapsody 9. Nuestra Culpa 10. 25 It’s 2016, picture the scene: the world is awash with discontent, and conflict. Terrorism runs rife amid a geopolitical landscape that is eerily similar to many pre-apocalyptic works of fiction that were dismissed as nonsensical and unrealistic. The choices in American presidency amount to a bumbling narcissist or a calculating sociopath. Pigs fly, unchecked, through the night skies. Hell freezes over, as the price of rent skyrockets to the point where heating is unaffordable. And Hellions release a good album Now, I know we’ve been pretty quick to take the piss out of them in the past, but this album is really fucking good. Naturally, when it was released, there was the normal cacophony of ‘OMG new Hellions guise!!11!!’ and whatnot from the usual UNFD sweaters, but this time was a little different. This time, the hype was actually warranted in full. So kick back, relax, and enjoy as I eat a nice, big ol’ serving of humble fucking pie. So starting off, I’d like to make a couple of observations, which may or may not have eluded the general populace. This album is titled Opera Oblivia, and a lot of people may have felt that it was... read more
Album Review: Down With The Ship – Late Nights And Stage Fights [EP]

Album Review: Down With The Ship – Late Nights And Stage Fights [EP]

Band: Down With The Ship Album: Late Nights And Stage Fights Genre: Easycore Date of release: 11th July, 2016 Reviewer: David Coppi For Fans Of: Four Year Strong, Abandoned By Bears, The Wonder Years Track Listing: 1. Stuck In A Life Raft With Matthew McConaughey 2. Hot Diggity Damn, That’s Good Enough For Me! 3. Set Phasers To Fun 4. You’ve Got More Than Dreams In Your Diaper, Tommy 5. Soberphobia Remember when Sandra Bullock made movies like The Proposal and Miss Congeniality? These were tolerable films, albeit for a certain demographic, but didn’t really give a glimpse into the fine acting that Ms Bullock would be capable of in the future. Think The Blindside, Gravity, and The Heat that was to follow. I think Adelaide punks Down With The Ship are in the midst of their Sandra-Bullock-Miss-Congeniality-phase. Not that that is a bad thing at all. Rather, I feel that their best work is right around the corner. Fans of easycore will probably love this EP with its chuggy verses, catchy choruses, and heavy breakdowns. Critics of this type of music often complain that the songs tend to blend in to one another and begin to sound similar after a few listens and while this EP does suffer slightly from this, I think there are still enough fresh ideas and studio tweaks to give this release its own identity. Kicking off with the gloriously titled ‘Stuck In A Life Raft With Matthew McConaughey’, the opening riff sets the tone for an ode to their hometown of Adelaide, referencing everything from Victoria Square, skating down North Terrace, and even... read more
Album Review: A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations

Album Review: A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations

Band: A Day To Remember Album: Bad Vibrations Genre: Metalcore/Pop-punk Label: Epitaph/ADTR Records Location: Ocala, Florida Reviewer: Alex “He actually bombed the Panhandle” Sievers For Fans Of: Breakdowns, sing-alongs, bands that don’t do anything different. Track Listing: 1. Bad Vibrations 2. Paranoia 3. Naivety 4. Exposed 5. Bullfight 6. Reassemble 7. Justified 8. We Got This 9. Same About You 10. Turn Off The Radio 11. Forgive And Forget Bad Vibrations, you say? Well, it is bad and their music causes vibrations in the air, so you can’t fault A Day To Remember for being honest. ADTR’s sixth album to date is the musical equivalent of an exasperated sigh, and it hurts to know that the band is capable of so much more. The group’s supposedly most “daring record” is also their weakest. There’s good reason why For Those Who Have Heart, Homesick, and What Separates Me From You are typically labeled as the band’s best works. It’s because they are really good fucking albums, plain and simple! But you could not pay me enough to like Bad Vibrations, not when this album goes in one ear and is shat out the other because I don’t want to subject my brain to any long-term issues. As cliché as it sounds, Bad Vibrations feels rather stripped back in its songwriting and its mix. But this is band that’s not really known for their complex, intricate compositions or musical technicality; they’re known for big breakdowns and even bigger choruses. So when you strip back their sound to the bone to hone in on the riffs, the vocals, and the drumming, there’s... read more
Album Review: Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence

Album Review: Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence

Band: Devin Townsend Project Album: Transcendence Genre: Progressive/Symphonic metal Date of Release: 09/09/16 Location: Vancouver, Canada Reviewer: Harvey Danger For Fans Of: Devin Townsend, walls of sound, reverb Track Listing: 1. Truth 2. Stormbending 3. Failure 4. Secret Services 5. Higher 6. Stars 7. Transcendence 8. Offer You Light 9. From The Heart 10. Transdermal Celebration Devin Townsend is back with Transcendence, the seventh album in his ongoing Devin Townsend Project series of albums. I’m going to come straight out with it and say that in my opinion, this is some of Townsend’s best work. The entire album is characterised by the artist’s “wall of sound” production style, dislocating your jaw from the moment the music begins and continuing to lay waste to everything in its path until the album’s climax. Starting with a re-recording of ‘Truth’, the opening track from 1998’s ‘Infinity’, the album moving onto the symphonic masterpiece ‘Stormbending’, resplendent with its subtle keys, riffs, and plenty of solos throughout the track. The mood changes on ‘Failure’, with angry chugs and quavering vocals adorning the entire song, with a lengthy guitar solo and keys also featuring heavily. Acoustic and distorted guitars are layered during the intro of ‘Secret Sciences’, giving the impression ol’ Hevy Devy is about trade in his beautifully polished baldness for a mullet and go all country-rock on us, however, this is forgiven once the riffage kicks in and Townsend’s soaring voice reminds you just whose album this is his idea of a good time, with haunting female backing vocals and more ridiculous solos rounding out the symphonic ballad. Thankfully (or disappointingly, depending on... read more
Album Review: Our Past Days – Keep Safe

Album Review: Our Past Days – Keep Safe

Band: Our Past Days Album: Keep Safe Genre: Pop-punk/emocore Date of Release: 2/9/2016 Location: Sydney Reviewer: Harvey Danger For Fans Of: Neck Deep, Knocked Loose, Thrice Track Listing: 1. Graves (2:35) 2. The Distance (0:47) 3. Too Much, Too Soon (4:02) 4. Restless (2:03) 5. Tired Eyes (2:43) 6. Numb (2:38) 7. Sleep & Stir (3:53) 8. I Still Fear You In My Bones (3:26) 9. Split My Brain (2:57) 10. Bloom Where You’re Planted (3:15) 11. Daylight (3:50) From lineup changes to almost breaking up, Sydney emocore lords OUR PAST DAYS have had a hectic year. Whether through touring with The Wonder Years, or signing to newbie Australian label Greyscale Records, the boys can safely say they’ve earned their keep in the last 12 months. And, as a result of their signing (along with the support and love from their family and friends), Our Past Days are proud to present their debut album Keep Safe. Opening with the banger single Graves, the band set the stage with their exceptional blend of pop-punk, emo, and post-hardcore from the get go. One barely has time to settle before being popped squarely in the jaw by the opening guitar and drum to ‘The Distance’, pounding you into the ground at a blistering pace for the entirety of its 47 seconds, before segueing into ‘Too Much, Too Soon’, which, whilst full of raw emotion, is devoid of any discernible vocal hook whatsoever, unfortunately killing the song for this reviewer. Despite the disappointment afforded by ‘Too Much, Too Soon’s lack of hook, it is more than made up for by the pure, laid... read more
Album Review: Twelve Foot Ninja – ‘Outlier’

Album Review: Twelve Foot Ninja – ‘Outlier’

Band: Twelve Foot Ninja Album: Outlier Genre: Heavy Fusion Date of Release: 26th August, 2016 Location: Melbourne, Victoria Reviewer: Chris Giacca For Fans Of: Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Meshuggah, Periphery Track Listing: 1. One Hand Killing 4:29 2. Sick 3:37 3. Invincible 3:43 4. Oxygen 4:24 5. Collateral 4:04 6. Post Mortem 3:38 7. Point of You 3:35 8. Monsoon 3:18 9. Adios 4:01 10. Dig For Bones 4:01 Does everyone remember that episode of The Simpsons where Bart’s evil twin stitches the pigeon and the rat together to create a ‘pigeonrat’? Of course you do. Well, Twelve Foot Ninja have very much been guilty of doing that with their music in the past. Silent Machine is a pretty enjoyable record, but the overriding vibe was basically ‘here’s a heavy part, and now here’s the obligatory funk/reggae/whatever part, because that’s our thing that we do, aaaaaand now back to heavy again’. Basically, there is a lot of golden moments, but there is also a bunch of times when the change is so jarring, you question whether the change was actually necessary, or whether it was just a case of we haven’t had a reggae bit in this song yet. It’s a bit ironic, in that a device designed to stave off predictability, becomes predictable in of itself by virtue of necessity. Outlier, however, seems to have ditched this penchant for haphazardly affixing one style to another and hoping for the best, in favour of a more considered approach to truly fusing their various stylistic deviations. We kick off with the debut single, ‘One Hand Killing’, which is actually... read more
Album Review: Ceres – ‘Drag It Down On You’

Album Review: Ceres – ‘Drag It Down On You’

Band: Ceres Album: Drag It Down On You Genre: Emo/pop-rock Date of Release: 2nd September, 2016 Location: Melbourne, Victoria Reviewer: Chris Giacca For Fans Of: Turnover, Basement, Bloc Party Track Listing: 1. Okay 1:49 2. Happy In Your Head 3:52 3. Roll Ur Eyes 2:59 4. ’91 Your House 3:46 5. Laundry Echo 2:26 6. Spinning Wheel 3:41 7. Loner Blood 1:42 8. Choke 4:30 9. Talking 3:05 10. Us 1:26 11. Nothing On Your Shoulders 3:19 12. Loaf 3:13 13. Del 3:20 14. Baby’s Breath 3:47 There’s something to be said for honesty. For instance, if I said ‘I thought I’d hate this record’, that would be honest. If I said ‘the singer’s moustache looks like he waxed it off a ’70s porn star’s cock, and then slapped the wax strip straight above his top lip’, that would also be honest. Honesty is good, and so is this album. Funny thing about honesty, it doesn’t always equate to quality. I’ve just spent a lengthy amount of time arguing with people about King 810, and the main thing I got from them was ‘but they are honest, and that makes them better than x band’. No. No, it doesn’t. Just because a band, or vocalist, or poet, or writer, can relate what they are writing directly back to their own life experiences, does not mean that their product is inherently good. Leaving aside the whole subjectivity argument for just a second, the point is that, whilst honesty is a great trait to have, if it isn’t allied to interesting, engaging execution, it probably isn’t worth shit. In the case... read more

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