COLD SUMMER – ‘Fight To Survive’ (4/5)

cold-summer-cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since forming in 2010, Leeds post-hardcore four-piece Cold Summer have released two critically acclaimed EPs and an album, therefore, ‘Fight To Survive’, their third EP, has experienced a high level of expectation.

Well, it’s safe to say it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

It kicks off with ‘Bear Eats Wolf’, a track where frontman Dan Feast frankly sings about his battles with anxiety and depression, cleverly using a bear and wolf as metaphors, which are a recurring theme throughout the entire EP, for his states of mind.

Lyrically, a lot of ‘Fight To Survive’ deals with the band musing about the current global economic and political turmoil and how a lot of people these days are seduced by power and money, leading to widespread corruption and greed.

An example is the song ‘Car Crash (In Progress)’, where Dan likens the world at the moment to a car driving head on towards a massive crash, and that time is fast running out to prevent it.

Throughout, Dan’s vocal delivery, which switches from melodic to screaming with relative ease, acts as an effective guide to the diversely-influenced sound, for example, whenever the vocals increase in angst and aggression, the guitar riffs and drum beats noticeably become heavier.

Overall, this is a well put-together EP that is an enjoyable listen, but at the same time, it makes you really think about the direction we are all heading in, as individuals and as a collective.

TOP TRACK: ‘Bear Eats Wolf’

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

DELAMERE – ‘Delamere’ (4/5)

(Scruff of the Neck)

delamere-cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN 

Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, but now adopted Mancunians, Delamere’s self-titled full debut has been eagerly anticipated, following the success of last year’s EP ‘Bright Young Things’, exposure on such programmes as Made In Chelsea and Soccer AM and the fact they recorded at the same Liverpool studio where Blossoms put together their recent chart-topping offering.

Right from the very beginning, it is clear that this is definitely not going to be a run-of-the-mill first LP.

With each track, the band bring something new to the table, with a diverse, mature sound switching seamlessly from soft to heavy, for example, the tender ‘Woods’ is sandwiched between two of the heftiest sounding songs, ‘Heart’ and ‘Headstrong’.

A constant is the emotive, melodic vocal delivery of frontman James Fitchford, which fits both the slower and more faster paced compositions easily.

Some albums will have three or four brilliantly crafted tracks, with the rest basically being filler material, but with this, you can tell much care and attention has gone into getting everything right.

It is one of the strongest debut albums I have heard in a long time, and judging by this, it will surely only be a matter of time before Delamere are enjoying the same success that bands like Blossoms are at the moment.

TOP TRACK: ‘Black & White Space’

 

 

 

THE SHERLOCKS – The Sugarmill, Hanley, 19/09/2016

SUPPORT: Blaenavon, RINSE

the-sherlocks-gig-photo-1

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTOS by CHRIS HOLLINGWORTH

2016 so far has been a year to remember for Sheffield indie/alternative outfit The Sherlocks.

The band, comprising of two sets of brothers, have enjoyed regular airplay on BBC Radios 1 and 6 Music, they have been championed as one to watch by the music press, and they even went to Texas in March to play the prestigious South by Southwest festival.

They were in Hanley as part of a nationwide tour promoting their new single “Will You Be There?”

Support acts Blaenavon and local boys RINSE have also been tipped to go on to bigger and better things, and if their sets were anything to go by, then they both have bright futures ahead of them.

I first saw RINSE only four months ago, and even though they were good then, they now seem to have definitely taken things up to another level.

Blaenavon, not from the Welsh town but actually from Hampshire, played a confident set, with energy in abundance from all three members.

Young frontman Ben Gregory had the crowd in the palm of his hand with a stage presence that could have belonged to a musician with many more years of experience behind them.

After two solid support performances, The Sherlocks must have been feeling the pressure when the time came for them to get under way, but there was absolutely no evidence of this during their set.

the-sherlocks-gig-photo-2

The crowd were instantly hooked on the fast-paced sound, complimented by the melodic vocals of frontman Kiaran Crook.

Their new single, “Will You Be There?” has a rather heavier, more guitar-led sound than what they have done before, but they pulled it off brilliantly and I can see this song as a possible chart breakthrough for them.

the-sherlocks-gig-photo-3

Overall, with their set, The Sherlocks showed exactly why they are possibly being seen as the biggest indie band to come out of the Steel City since the Arctic Monkeys just over a decade ago.

 

 

SikTh

SikTh band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since their first formation seventeen years ago, London six-piece SikTh have gained much respect for their diverse style, encompassing the metal genre, and they are seen as one of the pioneers of djent.

Splitting up in 2007, they shocked the crowd at the 2014 Download Festival by reuniting live on stage.

They have had a brilliant summer touring all across the USA, and there are rumours a new full-length studio album, their first in almost a decade, is on the cards.

I sat down and chatted with bassist James Leach just before they played a headline set at the Macmillan Fest in Nottingham.

How was the band formed initially?

Dan and Pin were, before SikTh, in a band called Malpractice, and that came to an end.

The two of them decided that they wanted to carry on, I think they saw Mikee playing with his old band, and they realised he had a thing about him, so they asked Mikee if he wanted to join their new band.

The three of them got together, and I think they originally had a bassist and drummer as well, one of them was called Jamie, the other Ali, and they also had a vocalist named Tristan, and the band formed in late 1999, early 2000.

Things didn’t work out with some of the members, so they reformed with a new line-up, and that’s where me and Dan Foord came in, and that was in 2001, when the band as we know it really began.

How did the name SikTh come about?

I think they wanted a name that wasn’t really anything, you know what I mean?

They decided to take the word “Sixth” and changed the “x” to a “k”, and obviously, when you Google our name, it’s the only thing that comes up.

You’ve recently been on tour in the USA with Periphery. How did that go?

It was incredible, one of the best experiences we’ve ever had as a band.

Before we went out there, we weren’t really sure how it would go, because we hadn’t really played in the States before, but we were completely blown away from the responses we got from the crowds every night, how enthusiastic and passionate they were about our music, it was a real nice surprise.

Do you think that there’s a difference between American and British crowds at all?

Not really, a mad crowd’s a mad crowd, whether you’re playing in Glasgow, Manchester or New York City.

You know, people are the same the world over.

You surprisingly reunited at Download a few years back. How did that come about?

We split in 2007, mainly because we wanted to pursue other things.

The year before the reunion, me and Dan Foord were playing together at Download, and it was there we bumped in Dan Weller and Mikee.

It was the first time four of us had been in the same room together for what must have been around six, seven years, and we were remembering the old times we’d had when the band had played Download, and someone suggested “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that again?”

So that was when the plan was hatched, and we played Download the following year with the sort of surprise comeback.

It’s been almost a decade since your last full studio album. Are there any plans at the moment for a new one at all?

Yeah, as soon as we play here, we all have a week off, and then we’ll all start writing the songs for our third full studio album.

Hopefully, we’ll be recording that before or during Christmas, so the idea is to get it out some time next year.

What’s your opinion of the current state of the British music industry?

I think it’s okay, people don’t buy records any more, so you can’t make money in the same way you could have done in the past.

Now, you’ve got to diversify and look at other ways of maintaining an income, such as through live shows and merchandise.

Some people are down about it, but I don’t think it’s that bad, because as long as you’re prepared to adapt, you will be okay.

The band has been around for a while now, and you’ve achieved a lot. Is there anything you would like to do that you haven’t managed to yet?

I mean, we’ve just returned from our US tour, and that was a landmark for us, because it was something that we’ve always wanted to do.

I guess what I would like to do, at least at one time in my life, is to do a real world tour, that would be incredible.

We have achieved a lot, not that we’ve rested on our laurels, but we would love to do more shows, play live as much as we can, because when I get old and grey, I don’t want to think “we should have played live more often”, so that’s the aim.

Have you got anything lined up in the near future at all?

SikTh wise, like I said earlier, we’ll be working on a new album as soon as we’ve had our week’s break.

We’ve got touring plans for next year, we would like to go back to the States and Europe, and play countries we haven’t played yet, like Australia, but nothing’s for definite at the moment, so I can’t really go into great detail.

What advice would you give to a band that is just starting out?

Play as much as you can, play live as much as you can.

Obviously, there’s a lot of bands out there that don’t get out as much as they ought to, because they have more of an online presence.

Accept as many offers as you can, because you may turn down something that might be really good, and take every opportunity that comes your way.

When you first joined the band, did you ever think SikTh would have become as successful as they are now?

Not really, when me and Dan Foord joined, we rehearsed in a small basement studio in Watford, and I think the idea was initially to get out there and do some gigs, hoping somebody would at least turn up.

To achieved what we have achieved, it’s pretty unbelievable.

EASTDEAR PARK

eastdear-park-interview-photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Heavy metal outfit EastDear Park can best be summed up like this: ambitious but humble.

As with the majority of up-and-coming bands out there, the Maryland five-piece are aiming for global success, but most of all want to dedicate themselves to playing music with personal lyrics that many can identify with.

They are already making the first big steps towards achieving their goals, earning rave reviews for their recent album “M” and live shows which focus on having a good time and involving the crowd as much as possible.

I spoke to bassist Ben Rockwood about the band’s journey so far, and what the future holds for them.

How did the band get together?

After weeks of getting stoned and air banding to Lamb of God, Shields and I decided we wanted to start a metal band and play shows!

We met Kevin at a party and started playing as a three piece. We eventually met Ryan and Colin and wrote a song our very first day of practice!!

We started jamming every day since then and have grown into what we are now!!

How did the name EastDear Park come about?

We wanted something that represented where we came from, but wouldn’t define our sound at all.

We wanted a neutral name that would allow us to come into every show with a clean slate to kill that first impression every time!

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

If August Burns Red and The Contortionist had a baby, that would be our band.

We make serious music but are all about having a good time on stage! We want our lyrics to represent both the good and the bad in everything.

What are your musical influences?

Our biggest influences are August Burns Red, The Contortionist, Fallujah, Balance and Composure, BTBAM, Snarky Puppy, and the list really goes on and on.

What is the band’s approach to songwriting?

Ryan or Colin always start the song off by composing riffs together, but overall it’s definitely a team effort.

After Ryan or Colin put together some riffs, Kevin and I start to add the bass and drums and then we add the lyrics on top of the finished song!

Where does the inspiration come from for your lyrics?

The lyrics are everything I feel, see and hear. They represent what I go through on a personal level, what the band goes through together, and/or what we observe other people go through.

You had an album come out recently. How’s the reaction been so far?

Nothing but positive! The release show was absolutely insane too!

We definitely have a lot more work to do so that we can keep pushing it globally, but everything we have heard back so far have done nothing but lift our spirits!

What’s the experience of playing live?

We try to bring the room together and throw one big party. We want everybody in that room watching us to be able to escape their earthly problems the way bands did for us growing up.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

We’ll be filming a music video for our song “Malice” at the end of this month and then we hope to start hitting the road in October!!

Then, we start sending out our press kits and ideally will hear back from a label asap! We just want to tour!!!

What is the band’s long-term aim?

To travel the world playing shows and meet as many of our fans as possible.

We want to get to know them personally, and we want to know how our music affected them.

Hopefully, that will broaden our perception on everything and keep us humble.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE BAND’S MUSIC AT http://www.eastdearpark.bandcamp.com

DARKSTONE CROWS

darkstone-crows-interview-photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Canadian alternative metal band Darkstone Crows have only been together for nearly three years, but they have already taken their home country by storm with their aggressive but melodic style.

With a second studio album in the works, the Toronto five-piece are looking to expand on a global scale and are hopeful of crossing the Atlantic to make a mark on the British metal scene.

I chatted with them about their past, present and hopes for the future.

How did the band get together?

The band was formed in January 2014 by Jiv and Elle, through a programme at a music school they were both attending.

They ran through a rigorous process of line-up switches over the next year, with our bassist Russ joining in July 2014, our first guitarist Adam joining in January 2015, and drummer Matt joining the following month.

We recorded a four track EP between April and June last year and toured that album heavily over the summer and autumn.

Nick replaced Adam in January this year and we began work on our second album,
while still maintaining a presence on the live circuit and online.

How did the band name come about?

Originally, we were thinking Darkstorm Crows, but one day, Jiv was stumbling on her words and said Darkstone Crows and it stuck.

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

Melodic, alternative metal.

What are the band’s musical influences?

Halestorm, Disturbed, Slipknot, Lamb Of God, System Of A Down, Periphery and more.

What is the band’s approach to songwriting?

Creating something unique that we are all proud of and can use as an outlet.

Where does the inspiration come from for the band’s lyrics?

Different events that occur around the globe. Usually serious, dark topics.

As you said earlier, you have been working on your second album recently. How has the process of recording it been?

It’s been going great so far! We’ve got a great sound, some exciting features and the songs are coming out like we wanted, and we’re excited to share!

What’s the experience for you playing live?

A lot of energy and emotion. Music is an outlet for all of us so we shed a lot of emotion on stage.

We’re all great friends so there’s a lot of energy on stage as we’re always having fun.

What is the long-term aim for the band?

To be able to make music and perform for a living, and to make a difference with our music and see the world.

MAXDMYZ

maxdmyz

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In the time they have been together, London alternative metal five-piece Maxdmyz have gained both critical acclaim and a devout fan base with their avant-garde approach to their music and live shows.

With some new work coming out soon, and a gig in France next month, the band’s future is looking rather good.

I chatted to them about all things Maxdmyz.

How did the band get together?

PIETRO “TWISTER” VALENTE (VOCALS): I was at a creative loose end some years ago – and a mate of mine knew a guitarist who was looking to start a band.

Since then, Maxdmyz has been through many incarnations over the years, new members have been recruited as and when via friends of friends, some online advertising, chance meetings in clubs or bars.

The band has kind of come about organically and informally – by far the best way to do it.

How did the name Maxdmyz come about?

JAY TATNELL (DRUMS): This is a mystery – no-one knows as the geezer who came up with left years ago – if he’s reading this, can he send the answer to us on a postcard?

To someone discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it?

ROGER KIRCHNER (GUITAR): Melodic, passionate, aggressive, inspiring, thought-provoking, heavy, light, heavy again, groovy, catchy – brilliant, moving – I’ll stop now – oh, yes, and heavy again and again.

What are the band’s musical influences?

AREK “A’ZEDD” ZDROJEWSKI (BASS): Hendrix, Slayer, Doors, Kate Bush, Type O, John Coltrane, The Beach Boys, Andrews Sisters – anything heavy and gutsy written over the last 50 years or so.

What is the band’s approach to songwriting?

MARKUS “VORTEX” PESONEN (KEYBOARDS): Extreme caution – no, seriously, gay abandon, spontaneity, joy, levity.

Let me start anew – we’re methodical, rigorous and at the same time flexible in the way we do things.

We let things flow though and in a way every song we do as its own rules and rhythm – literally and figuratively – some fall from you ready-made, others really need to be crafted and worked on.

Where does the inspiration come from for your lyrics?

TWISTER: Love, hate, lust, indifference, weltshcmerz, just the whole gamut of human emotion, which we all share – with me it comes out in words to music – Twister is just a part of me though, and sometimes not even that – every song gives voice literally to another facet of that fractured identity – it’s not inspiration, the lyrics come to me and then have to be sung – they’re born of necessity, compulsion almost.

What’s the experience for the band playing live?

ROGER: At its best, the most amazing thing after sex.

I struggle to find words to describe the high and deep satisfaction you get from doing a great gig – and even if I could – well, it just can’t get anywhere near conveying how great it is to make music together with people whom I not only respect musically but consider friends.

You have some stuff coming out soon. How was the process of recording it, from initial idea to completion?

VORTEX: Pretty smooth really – the ideas came to us often at the studio as we jammed and just fooled about – we just developed them without giving it much thought – if we were still messing with a riff or groove for more than 10 minutes we thought, hey, this might be a keeper.

At some point, Twister got off his ass and wrote a lyric or two, we then played them to our producer Ays Kura – the recording took a week or two – we’re currently at the pre-mix stage.

Next comes production – which Ays will be handling with a modicum of input here and there from the band.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

JAY: We’ve got gigs in London on 2 and 8 October at the Redrock Festival and the Albany Theatre (supporting Anta) respectively, and we’re playing at an industrial festival in Lille on 15 October – also appearing at Club Antichrist in January, which we are particularly looking forward to.

What is the long-term aim for the band?

A-ZEDD: To survive, educate, enlighten, entertain, learn – but above all to prevail.

We want to be doing this till the grave – and maybe beyond…