WSTR – ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ (4/5)

(No Sleep)

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ is the debut full-length album from Liverpool pop-punk quartet WSTR.

Since the release in 2015 of their debut EP ‘SKRWD’, which generate rave reviews, the band have grown in stature, gaining a large and fast expanding following and wowing many with their well-received live shows and festival slots.

Therefore, it is little wonder that this offering has been eagerly anticipated for some time.

Well now, it is finally here and on listening to this, the wait has been worthwhile.

The sound, which to the four-piece’s admittance, is directly influenced by the outfits of the first wave of pop-punk, such as Blink-182, Sum 41 and New Found Glory, with upbeat, fast-paced melodies, sing-along choruses and heavy guitar riffery.

This does make it sound rather generic, however, it is bigger and better and a step up from their EP.

The lyrics are where the album is strongest, with frontman Sammy Clifford singing frankly about bad luck, regrets and failed relationships.

Both ‘Footprints’ and ‘Nail The Casket (Thanks For Nothing)’ deal with romantic breakdowns and trying to move on from them, which should relate to anybody who has been going through this, either presently or in the past.

That said, it is clear that the band are a relaxed bunch, taking everything as it comes.

They have worked hard at crafting their sound, but at the same time, seem to have put just as much emphasis on fun and having a good time.

Overall, ‘Red, Green or Inbetween’ is a solid offering that should keep WSTR at their position of being one of the outfits at the forefront of the mainly British based new wave of pop punk.

TOP TRACK: ‘Footprints’

 

 

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THREATPOINT – ‘R.I.P.’ (4/5)

(Self-released)

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

With two critically acclaimed studio albums already under their belts, it may have been seen as a tough ask for Pennsylvanian four-piece Threatpoint to top them with their third offering ‘R.I.P.’

However, it is safe to say that they have pulled it off successfully.

The sound throughout, from the opening title track to finale ‘Death Rides Again’, is abundant in intensity and aggression, with thrashy guitar riffs, pounding drum beats and roaring vocals a plenty, it seems that the band have tailor-made each song for the mosh pit.

As well as this, not one track sounds exactly the same, with each song having a unique feel to it.

The music is predominantly groove metal, but also crosses into other sub-genres of metal, ranging from power to death.

For example, ‘Bury The Wicked’ has a dark tone to it, but contains a melodic riff in the middle, whereas ‘Angels With Broken Wings’ features DramaScream vocalist Lauren Balogh, who compliments frontman Chris James with a vocal delivery that switches with ease from aggressive to melodic.

With all of this into the mix, as well as solid songwriting and lyrical themes dealing with life, struggle, hope and spirituality, it makes for a good album overall.

I find it hard to believe that Threatpoint have not yet been signed to a major record label, but hopefully ‘R.I.P.’ will get them some much deserved interest.

TOP TRACK: ‘Light Bleeds Through The Black’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THREATPOINT

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Threatpoint, a Pennsylvanian groove metal outfit, have made quite an impact on the American underground rock scene since forming in 2012.

They have gained a devoted following in the States, with a sound which crosses the metal sub-genres and drawn from a diverse range of influences.

With two well-received studio albums and a third on the way, I chatted with them about their journey so far, and also what the future holds for the band.

How did the band get together initially?

The band formed in early 2012. CJ Krukowski (drums) and Alex Olivetti (guitar) were in a band that had just broken up and Chris James’s (vocals) band at the time had just broken up as well. We had known each other for a few years since our old bands used to play together.

Our bassist Matt Van Fleet is actually the one that told Chris we were looking for a singer, that’s where the initial seed for the band was planted.

We’ve had many line-up changes through the years and now Matt is officially a part of the band. It’s very fitting since he’s the one that pretty much put the band together and we all knew each other prior.

How did the name Threatpoint come about?

We were throwing around name ideas, one idea had the word ‘threat’ and another idea had the word ‘point’ in it, so we just decided to combine the two.
No crazy meaning behind it, just trying to come up with something cool.
To somebody discovering your sound for the first time, how would you describe it to them?
Aggressive and groovy. We like to play heavy music but also focus on the groove aspect and keeping the listeners’ head banging. We also try to combine our influences to make our sound a little different than the typical new-age metal band.
We don’t want to repeat ourselves and make sure no two songs sound alike on our records.
What are the band’s musical influences?
Everything from The Doors to Cannibal Corpse. We all listen to different bands within and outside of the metal genre. As far as bands that are similar, we get a lot of comparisons to Testament, Killswitch Engage, Devildriver and Pantera.
What is your approach to songwriting?
We don’t really have a set formula, songs can spark from anyone’s ideas. We’ve had songs start off from guitar riffs, bass lines, drum patterns and even lyrics and a vocal melody. We all bring our ideas to the practice space and work from there.
The fact that everyone in the band contributes to the writing process makes it easier to come up with multiple ideas for songs. We put all of our styles and influences in a blender; that’s where the Threatpoint sound comes from.
Where does the inspiration come from for the band’s lyrics?
In general, the songs are about going through life, struggle, hope and spirituality.
We try to stay positive lyrically, we make songs that are relatable to anyone for any situation they may be going through.
What are your experiences playing live?
Playing live is everyone’s favourite and in my opinion, strongest aspect of the band.
We are very energetic and always write our music with the live show in mind.
Keeping the energy up allows the audience to get into more and we feed off of that energy.
Anything lined up in the near future at all?
We’ve just started bouncing around ideas for songs for the next record. We also have a few shows lined up but nothing extensive.
We were actually just on a little hiatus for the holiday season spending time with family and friends, so it’s nice to get back in the swing of things.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
To get the name out there and reach as many listeners as possible. Thanks for having us!
For more info, check out our website: www.threatpointofficial.com

 

TAKE TODAY – ‘Choices’ (4/5)

(Self-released)

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

‘Choices’ is the debut album from Glaswegian alternative rock four-piece Take Today.

The band have described their sound as a combination of Nirvana, Foo Fighters and fellow Scotsmen Biffy Clyro, and on listening to this, that is perhaps an accurate description, with elements of the work of these three outfits forming the foundations on which they have built this offering on.

The music switches easily with each track, from grungy fare such as the title track and ‘You Were The One’, containing a heavy, loud but catchy sound, to more melodic songs such as ‘The Mend’ and ‘Believe The Difference’, where the quartet try their hand at doing ballads.

This rather eclectic sound works well though, all connected together throughout with two key parts: lengthy guitar solos that alternate between a slow and a fast pace, depending on the track, and a strong vocal delivery from a frontman seemingly channelling his inner Kurt Cobain.

It is a well put together debut, a good listen and the band, even at this early stage of their career, do seem confident of the direction they want to take themselves in musically.

If they can keep up this momentum for the notoriously difficult second album and beyond, then personally, I think that Take Today, in time, will become a force to be reckoned with.

TOP TRACK: ‘Believe The Difference’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEYOND RECALL – ‘Selfish Scars’ (3/5)

(Self-released)

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

‘Selfish Scars’ is the second EP from Bristol alternative rock outfit Beyond Recall.

There has been much anticipation from the band’s growing legion of followers these last couple of months, eager to see if they could top their successful 2015 debut release ‘The Mixtape’.

Well, the good news for them is that they have.

The trio still sound like they’re having fun, but at the same time, there seems to be a more mature underlay.

The lyrics and sound both have added strength and depth, reflecting their growth in the last two years.

The first five tracks of the EP are delivered breakneck speed, with fast-paced, heavy but catchy guitar riffs and drum beats.

It’s a good listen, but does get repetitive by the fifth song.

However, their last two tracks, ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Almost (Alternative)’, show that the band certainly aren’t afraid of breaking out of their comfort zone and becoming a little more adventurous with their music.

Both songs are real mixes of genres, with elements of metal, punk, pop and funk thrown in.

This could have been disastrous, but the tracks act as an effective showcase for the three-piece’s talents.

The finale, and perhaps strongest track, ‘Almost (Alternative)’ is a more mature version of ‘Almost’, also on this EP.

The sound is still very much rock, but is gentler and has the inclusion of elements of funk, it is rather Don Broco-esque.

I personally think that if Beyond Recall do this more often in future, they will surely mature into a band with wider appeal.

TOP TRACK: ‘Almost (Alternative)’

 

 

RUDE BOYS: 7 MINUTES IN HEAVEN ANNOUNCE SIGNING TO RUDE RECORDS

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Chicago based alternative group, 7 Minutes In Heaven, best known for their 2015 smash ‘Side Effects’, which featured singles ‘I’m Okay’ and ‘Fireworks’, have signed with independent record label Rude Records.

Rude, founded in 1999, based in Europe and distributed worldwide, currently house heavy-hitters such as The Maine, The Dear Hunter, Set It Off, and Knuckle Puck.

New music is on the horizon, but in the meantime, get psyched with this video announcement from the quartet: http://smarturl.it/

7 Minutes In Heaven, consisting of Timmy Rasmussen (vocals/guitar), Alex Rogers (vocals/bass), Justin Mondzak (guitar) and Brennan Gilbert (drums), also had this to say: Being such an active DIY band, signing to a label has never been our end goal but once we met Rude, we knew this was the right move! It’s all new territory for us and we’re happy to be joining a family that shares the same purpose and passion that we do. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone that’s been a part of this journey, we’re excited to begin a new chapter with you. Expect new music this year, we think you might like it.”

Weighing in to similarly express their delight, the label also commented: “It’s hard to find such passionate, talented, open-minded and hard-working dudes as 7 Minutes in Heaven are. It could be nothing but love at first sight; we absolutely wanted them to be part of the Family and to start over a new and incredible adventure together. We really can’t wait to show the fans what we’ve all got up our sleeves!”

7 Minutes in Heaven had a hectic 2016 with key performances at Vans Warped Tour and So What?! Music Festival, alongside supporting the likes of Assuming We Survive, Cold Kids, and Broadside. Past support slots have also seen them sharing the stage with artists including Metro Station, Set It Off and BoyMeetsWorld.

With the announcement of this signing marking five years since their inception, the Chicago crew’s discography to date includes self-released debut EP ‘Get In The Van’, 2014 LP ‘The Statement’, later also released an ‘The Statement: Deluxe’ featuring additional acoustic renditions, and the aforementioned ‘Side Effects’.

Released in late 2015, ‘Side Effects’ was met by success, placing on several Billboard music charts including #1 on Alternative New Artists, #9 on Heatseekers, and #60 on the Independent chart.

With good attitudes and high morale, in 2017 7MIH is committed to continuously building their relationship with their fan base and putting out their next release… soon enough it’s all you’re going to be hearing about!

MORE INFO ON 7 MINUTES IN HEAVEN CAN BE FOUND AT:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/7MIHband

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/7MIHband

FOR MORE INFO ON RUDE RECORDS, GO TO http://www.ruderecords.com/

 

THE ULTRAVIOLET ANNOUNCE DEBUT EP

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Lincolnshire four-piece The Ultraviolet have unveiled plans for their debut EP ‘The Tales of Our Youth’ to be released on March 21st. This will be the band’s newest music since the release of their debut single ‘Wake Up Dead’ last year.

As guitarist Sam Beck explains: “The EP is inspired by experiences and situations we’ve been through personally, and touches on a number of issues such as dealing with the past, and how you grow as a person from those lessons. With it being such a public display of our personal feelings and thoughts, we hope that this will create a bond between us and the listener. We’ve been working on these songs for nearly three years with the recording process beginning almost two and a half years ago, so it has definitely been a labour of love!”.

With a sound that can most accurately be described as alternative Rock with a dash of pop-punk, The Ultraviolet explain that ‘The Tales of Our Youth’  is all about the band establishing themselves with a distinct yet accessible brand of music.

Lead vocalist Ben Thorn reveals: “With this being our debut EP, our goal is to establish who and what we are as a band. We want the EP to resonate with listeners, and hopefully they will recognise the love and creative effort that has gone into it!”.

Drummer Russ Smith agrees, clarifying: “We worked hard on the construction of the tracks, and we always endeavoured to bring our own quirky, genuine and original feel to the songs”.

The thought given to the songs is clear, from the poppy, bouncy riff of ‘You’re Better On Your Own’, to the moody, heartfelt vocals layered throughout ‘Signal Flare’.

The band have spent the past year honing their live show, securing major support slots alongside the likes of Lonely The Brave, Hunter & The Bear, Anavae, My Heart Is A Metronome, Grumble Bee and Like Torches.

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THE ULTRAVIOLET’S DEBUT EP, ‘THE TALES OF OUR YOUTH’, WILL BE RELEASED ON MARCH 21ST.

CHECK OUT THE BAND’S SITES AT:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/theultraviolet.music

TWITTER:  https://www.twitter.com/The_Ultraviolet

INSTAGRAM:  https://www.instagram.com/theultravioletofficial/

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaBjcuDQnMwkluZT89qxF5Q

BANDCAMP:  https://www.theultravioletofficial.bandcamp.com/releases