Consinity - Sea of Lonely (song review) |self-released, single, 2013| 5/5
Consinity was formed in Florida in 2005. The band is set to release its debut album in Spring 2014. It may seem a long time since the start, but the band had to solidify its sound and line-up before moving on. "Sea of Lonely" is Consinity's latest rock ballad. The track opens with a gentle guitar, making you expect the motif to be a foretaste of a typical ballad. Yet the song is not deprived of heavier, rhythmical tunes thanks to the hard rock, grunge and progressive rock influences that come up soon after the intro.
You'll find passion, emotion and dynamics running within the music of Mark Kievit (drums), Jack Rose (bass), Wayne Hite and Chris Shupe (both on guitars). They perform very well when it comes to individual instrumental parts, as well as collectively. Moreover, their arrangements written for vocals and bass sound very melodious. If you focus a bit more, your ears should catch and follow these two lines only. The guitar solo with a bit of shredding near the end of the track puts a high accent on the rhythmic and repetitive background.
There's a undeniable yet neat contrast between the high pitched guitar and slightly raspy but still lyrical vocals. Beau Brady has a great voice representatively showcasing the genres mentioned earlier. In fact, it is as memorable as that of DANIEL JOHNS (Silverchair) or Layne Stanley (Alice in Chains). Additional, angrier background vocals performed by Wayne Hite and Jack Rose support Beau and give the track an edgy flavor. The lyrics also perfectly fit into the arrangements and refer to feelings of solitude and frustration.
The composition sounds complete since there are no empty, unused spaces. The majority of it is based on catchy motifs and a chorus that will not leave your ears for the next few hours past the first listening. The intro interlocks with the ending part very well. Both the musical theme and the voice remain haunting. What we’re given here is quite convincingly a potential hit.
The 88's - Addiction (song review) |self-released, The 88's, 2013| 4/5
When somebody recommends you a new song and says 'it's metal', what do you usually expect? Most probably, dense heavy arrangements and dynamic, straightforward guitar riffs that support powerful vocals. The song by The 88's has most of these and more, since it's not such a typical metal track.
"Addiction" begins with a heavy and rhythmic mix written for the drums, guitar and vocals. The overall sound may fall under the category of 'sounds-a-bit-like-metallica’. However, this passionate track has also a surprising acoustic side, based on soft melodic arrangements. This contrast instantly gave me an idea for an animated short, in which a line of fast driving tanks (illustrated by the heavy part of the track) splits in two. They part ways because a subtle female silhouette wearing a thin wavy white dress (symbolizing the softer arrangements) appears in their way. There are also a professionally played guitar solo influenced by classic rock, as well as guitar parts drawing inspiration from Latin music. Both are very skillfully layered. Hand drums at the end bring an organic, slightly ritualistic feel.
The vocals sound rebellious, rough and stand out over the instrumental parts, as you would expect from hard rock and metal. As an interesting aside you should note that the song is bilingual. The heavy part sounds like an American metal track and is sung in English. The lyrics for all subtle arrangements are performed in French. Finally, the song lasts a bit over 7 minutes. It's quite long considering radio airplay preferences, as well standards for potential hit songs. Still, the composition is solid throughout and includes everything to sound complete.
It should be noted that band has an international line-up. The members make music in China, Portugal, France and the US. Joe Mahone brings the hard rock/metal drive through excellent drumming, Pheel Duarte feeds the songs with dynamic vocals, while Luis Coelho enriches The 88's music with Latin guitar influences. The trio has been playing together since 2009 - first jamming, then starting a band and releasing an EP in 2011. The band announced they'd be presenting songs from the most recent, 2nd EP during their incoming tour through Europe, Asia and Australia in 2014. Therefore, you'll have an opportunity to see them live. If you can't however, there are still a few videos from their shows on official The 88's YouTube channel.
As ever I'm working away on the new album, when I get the chance, about 3 months in the year, which works out well because I write the songs beforehand and only record the good stuff. I've recorded 2 new songs, one is a jazz-funk tune with jazz flute!, the other is a medieval prog song, I've got 11 songs at the moment but will record 2-3 more and pick the best 12 out of 14/15. However this album is also quite elaborate in terms of the harmonies and layering so it will take a while to mix, I'm thinking I can release it at the beginning of 2015.
In addition I'm working on the cg for a new music video for Ziggurat which should be uploaded by Easter. Again it's an on/off project which I work on whenever I get the time but having spent 1.5 years on it already (although about 5 months in total) so it should be ready by April.
CalatrilloZ - Lords of Misery (song review) |self-released, single, 2013| 5/5 neo-classical metal
Founded in UK in 2009, CalatrilloZ offers much more than just heavy metal music. Their songs are composed around a tale entitled The Marionette's Theatre. The story, written by Mr. Z (vocals), speaks of supernatural beings searching the world for the possessed string puppets and their power within. The musicians recreate the characters of the story on stage. Visually, they can be compared to a breed of vampires mixed with vile magicians wearing a mischievous "expect everything" Joker-esque smile.
"Lords Of Misery" is their latest single. Based on neo-classical arrangements, the track brings a fresh breeze of memorable audio to the listeners. The beginning sounds like the introduction to an opera composition. The leading drum beat makes it heroic, then a duo of violin and keyboards brings forth the symphonic atmosphere. Soon, it gains heavy metal accents such as graded guitar riffs, fast-paced drum beats, groovy bass lines and explicit lyrics encrusted with one of the rock’s golden-oldies - a strong 'yeah!' ending the track. The guitars collaborate with drums and bass very well, dotting the composition like a Morse code message. The core of "Lords of Misery" sounds as if it was living its own life. Yet the musicians keep the composition within a certain frame, so the soundscape does not spread in too many directions.
In most cases you would hear a female voice (i.e. Epica) doing vocal parts in similar symphonic or neo-classicalmetal compositions. However, here the male singer successfully ties up arrangements with a high pitched voice that never goes out of tune. The lead vocals are at moments supported by background vocals with a high epic feel. The melody of the chorus ("Burn, Burn, Burn / We don't care we don't mind / Close the gates") is very memorable. The audience could well be singing along with the band during a live performance and get more involved into the show as a result.
The CalatrilloZ' line-up consists of Zahyin (Mr. Z), Mobius (bass), Count Viktor (guitar) and Mattias (drums). Thanks to their various musical inspirations (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Rush, Tool, Alice in Chains, Korn, Nine Inch Nails but also Muse or Bjork), their music isn't focused on one theme. CalatrilloZ introduces several very intense artistic and dramatic concepts that cover music, theatre and opera. Their live performances include special outfits, make up and stage design as well. In addition, each of their songs is like a separate chapter of a book - just like King Diamond did with his plot-orientated albums. An interesting storyline with matching music means much more action than just a regular metal show. Take a chance and see CalatrilloZ live if you can.
November Veil - 18.104.22.168 EP |self-released, 2013| 4/5 alt-rock metal
1. Inside Eyelids, 2. Withered, 3. Dying Again, 4. Hell Within Your Heart, 5. A Sinner's Wish (bonus track)
First of all, this is a free, newly released EP, so you can already download it from the sources recommended by the band. Once you start listening, you'll probably notice its concept. Music on 22.214.171.124 is based on dualities. There are strong guitar-driven melodies mixed with distorted and syncopated sounds, alternating smooth and angry vocals, and even slightly symphonic parts.
"Inside Eyelids" is a rocking opener. It includes a bit of sampling, though it's rather casual. The band doesn't have a keyboard player so their sound is quite rough. Therefore, some songs were additionally enriched with electronic effects. On the other hand, sparkling guitar riffs collaborate well with both bass and vocals. The composition sounds solid from start to finish thanks to tightly packed, yet not overwhelming arrangements.
Azz' voice is rock and metal-friendly, so it works with November Veil’s music very well. He can scream but also sing in a slightly higher voice which creates a softer atmosphere within a track. His skills are more audible in "Withered". The song dynamics are dense, but the high-pitched guitar riffs as known from Korn’s music were smartly smuggled in. The bass stays a bit in the background while the drums, vocals and guitars steal the listener's attention. There's also a very short symphonic part, just like in "Inside Eyelids".
Initially, "Dying Again" sounds softer, almost like a Metallica ballad. It gains power later, however. Peter’s bass is more accented here and makes for a nice duo along with Jerome's guitar riffs.
Undoubtedly, the band’s songwriting is their forte. Take "Hell Within Your Heart" for instance, which has serious hit potential. It's a beautiful and powerful track thanks to a mixture of catchy hard rock and modern alt-rock arrangements. The dynamics roll on smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. The middle of the track is enriched with a classically swirling guitar solo, eventually followed by a metal shout and heavier riffs.
The bonus track, "A Sinner's Wish", swerves slightly into the djent territory with its guitar and bass arrangements. The band can definitely surprise by using strong distortion effects on this EP. Fast forward "A Sinner's Wish" to the 1:58 mark and feel the impact.
There's only one thing that I think could have been done a bit better on this EP. Kamil plays the drums very well, but their sound turned out flat, too mechanical. The final result is that they obscure the instrumental parts written for guitar and bass in songs such as "Inside Eyelids", "Withered" and "Hell Within Your Heart".
November Veil, founded in London, UK in 2010 will easily meet the expectations of younger listeners, mainly because the members are quite young as well. They naturally keep up with contemporary and new music, its business models and trends. Their main influences seem to be Tool, Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage, Breaking Benjamin and Korn. When you download and listen to this EP, make sure you let the band know what you think. It's extremely important, because they want to know if their efforts paid off. Once they learn it from you, they can move on with new ideas towards their next release.
Today, I had an interesting idea. Since I had done some pretty lame and pretty nasty stuff in the past, I'm deleting all my albums amd videos and start off on a clean slate. If you happened to not see any of my music (or yours if you have collaborated with me in the past) I have deleted it and I'm restarting not only my netlabel, but also my youtube channel as well. Sorry, but it's the best decision I've made yet, considering on how much lame stuff I've been uploading since 2009.
I know some people won't understand by this decision, but I feel a lot of peace in my heart, and I can guarantee you that in the future, I will make better, more structured music (especially songs/tracks praising the Lord, Jesus Christ)(btw, I am a Christian, as in a true believer in Jesus Christ.) Plus, I will make better videos and art for my youtube and deviantart accounts.
On top of that, I have also decided not to do the two video ideas I had in mind at this very moment, which was make a series of videos showing a lot of artists need recommeding, and a video about my favorite songs/tracks of all time, to which I'm seriously reconsidering what I'm listening to. (No, I'm not turning down the genre, noise, but for several other genres, I probably will stop listening to 'em.)
Thank you so, so much for reading, and I hope this change will be for the better.
Sincerely, Christian AKA John the Fox
P.S.: I'm still willing to collaborate but I have to finish some musical projects first.