Category Archives: EP Reviews

BEYOND RECALL – ‘Selfish Scars’ (3/5)

(Self-released)

beyond-recall-cover

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)’

 

 

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HEART AVAIL – ‘Heart Avail’ (4/5)

(Milagro)

heart-avail-ep-cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

‘Heart Avail’ is the self-titled debut release from the Washington symphonic rock four-piece.

In a recent interview I conducted with the band, vocalist Aleisha Simpson told me that recording the EP had “acted as a sort of therapy session” for her, and this can easily be heard.

With lyrics that are frank and personal, dealing with an overall sensitive theme of the loss of loved ones, Simpson pours her heart out with an emotional, melodic vocal delivery, which at times, resembles that of Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee.

The vocals are just one of the highlights of an offering that has clearly been crafted with much love.

The heavy but catchy guitar riffery also plays an important role in the make-up of the sound, with strong solos, courtesy of guitarist Greg Hanson, featuring throughout, also acting as a bookend to each of the five tracks.

Every song has been well put together, substantial in both length and depth, and it seems that the outfit have recorded these with one eye on how they would go down at a live show.

An example of this is the seven minute epic ‘Always’, which for almost the first two minutes, contains a haunting Fields of the Nephilim-style instrumental.

With this robust debut, it will be interesting to see how Heart Avail, who should appeal to fans of bands such as Evanescence and Nightwish, will go from here.

Hopefully, in time, they will scale the same heights of the two outfits just mentioned.

TOP TRACK: ‘Always’

CHECK OUT OUR INTERVIEW WITH HEART AVAIL USING THIS LINK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAGE CAVE – ‘Rage Cave’ (4/5)

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

rage-cave-ep-cover

‘Rage Cave’ is the self-titled debut EP from the emerging Stoke-on-Trent rock trio.

This release has been eagerly anticipated by those who have seen their live sets, which have got stronger with each performance.

There were questions about whether they could translate the essence of this on to a record.

However, the good news is that they have comfortably succeeded.

Listening to the EP, it is clear the band specialise in a sound that seems to be heavily influenced by the works of such classic groups as Black Sabbath, but with a contemporary edge at the same time.

The hooky guitar solos of frontman Max Jeffries are the centrepiece, being heavy, progressive at times and infectious.

Coupled with the vocals, it results in some well put together compositions that linger in your mind for quite a while after listening.

On some of the tracks, they also show that they are certainly not afraid to experiment a little.

For example, ‘Stop, Go’ begins with a guitar riff being played at breakneck speed and the band chanting the title of the song, it’s rather punk-esque.

Credit must be given to them, as you can tell that they have put a lot of hard work and effort into making ‘Rage Cave’ a very solid debut, and based on this, it can be said that they can only get better from here.

TOP TRACK: ‘Devil’s Advocate’

 

 

 

WE FEW – ‘Morse Factory’ (4/5)

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

‘Morse Factory’ is the debut studio EP from Stoke-on-Trent indie outfit We Few.

The four-piece have a good live reputation, so I was interested to see if they could capture the essence of their live sound and translate it well on to a studio recording.

Well, it seems that they have achieved exactly this.

Listening to the EP, I closed my eyes and could feel myself transported to one of the fine Potteries music venues.

The sound is pulsating and full of catchy and soaring guitar riffs, with lengthy solos forming a key part.

The choruses are anthemic, with the gravelly, chanting vocals of frontman Tom Machin acting as rallying cries to the listener.

It definitely seems that the band have gone all out to make this as big sounding as possible.

The pick of the bunch has to be the title track, which sees them being adventurously creative with the effective use of the beeping sound of Morse code, which acts as a prologue and epilogue, and which also contains an excellent guitar solo.

It is a very strong debut, and if they can sustain this, which I am absolutely sure they can do, then they have a bright future ahead of them.

TOP TRACK: ‘Morse Factory’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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’