Tag Archives: Failure Is An Option

CHORDS AGAINST CANCER II – The Old Star, Uttoxeter, 27/10/2017

Chords Against Cancer II poster

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

King Abyss PHOTO by DAN FELLOWS

Last year, Matt Hudson and Rhys Bryan, the duo who make up Staffordshire heavy metal outfit Doomsday Sun, put on an evening of live sets performed by an assortment of talented Midlands rock and metal bands in their local town of Uttoxeter, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Research.

Following the huge success of that, it was inevitable that another evening would be on the cards, and so, towards the end of October, the town’s go-to place for rock, The Old Star, a pub situated just behind Uttoxeter’s market place, prepared to play host to the second Chords Against Cancer.

Birmingham sextet Failure Is An Option were the first band on, however, due to them being stuck in the Friday rush hour traffic, they were late arriving, meaning their set, and the evening, had a delayed start.

Failure Is An Option band photo

Nobody seemed to mind, though, to be honest with you, their lateness probably helped, as by the time they got on the stage, situated outdoors in the pub’s beer garden, the place was already packed.

For the majority of the gigs that I have covered in the almost two years that Muzak Review has been going, the opening outfit has often played to a sparse, slightly uninterested crowd, but this was truly an exception, as it seemed that every rock and metal enthusiast from Uttoxeter and the surrounding area was in attendance.

The Brummies launched full throttle into their performance, impressing with an intense mix of metalcore, post-hardcore and djent.

Brandon Hart, one of the band’s two vocalists, added some humour to proceedings, teasing Matt Jeffries, his fellow vocalist, for his support of fallen football giants Aston Villa, and asking the audience to express sympathy for him.

Also during the set, Brandon grabbed one of the yellow plastic buckets that were being used for the venue’s patrons to make a donation, pointed at it, and went into full Bob Geldof at Live Aid mode, shouting, “Put some fucking money in there!

Credit to the six-piece for getting the evening off to a good start.

Next up were an emerging local band by the name of Vox Populi. Doing some homework on the bands in the run-up to the event, I hadn’t been able to find much info on these guys, so their set was the very first time that i had heard their music.

Vox Populi band photo

They gave a strong performance, playing a sound that was reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine, with the inclusion of some lengthy instrumentals.

Their frontman, Lee Sellers, rather like Brandon before him, used the interludes between songs as an outlet for some humorous banter.

It was under Vox Populi’s watch that we had our first moshpit of the night, with some members of the crowd rushing up to the edge of the stage and engaging in some playful shoving, with one even taking the opportunity, when the band had finished, to get up and take a small leap off the stage.

As I was doing an interview with Failure Is An Option at the time Afterburn started to play, I missed the first half, which was a shame, but I managed to finish things just in time for a fantastic cover of the Steppenwolf classic, ‘Born To Be Wild’, which, along with their sound harking back to classic metal, had some of the more seasoned crowd members lapping it up.

Afterburn band photo

The Chesterfield quintet ended their set by premiering a brand new track, which they said beforehand was a little different to what they had done up to now.

However, the song got the same positive reaction as the rest of their set list.

The fourth band, and the second local outfit, of the evening were five-piece King Abyss.

King Abyss gig photo

Even before they had played a single note, they were cheered, and that’s the good thing about small town music scenes, like I saw with Anonymous at the same venue on a couple of occasions, and last year with Rage Cave in Newcastle-under-Lyme, the bands are well supported, and that would have been the case even if King Abyss had played their entire set completely out of tune and littered with mistakes.

However, that was certainly not the case, as they brought the place down with a mix of aggressive thrash metal and more melodic fare. With all five band members having different artistic styles, they managed to join it all up together well, to create a sound that was truly original.

Having chatted with two of the guys, Sam and Jay, prior to the start of the event, they had said to me that they prioritise playing the best possible live set. This determination, as well as playing on home turf, definitely helped them in pulling off a great performance.

Even though it will be harder for them to energise the crowd like they did here when they play in other towns and cities, where they are not as well-known, having watched them for the first time here, I had the same gut feeling that I had had when I first saw Anonymous three years ago, and I’ve seen since, first-hand, how well they have proved themselves in other places.

The final performance of the night came from headliners Doomsday Sun. You could immediately sense that their set wasn’t going to be a jolly one, with a placard saying “THE END IS NIGH” in big letters just in front of the stage, as well as the dark suits and make-up the duo were both wearing. However, their attire befitted their doom-enriched metal sound.

Doomsday Sun band photo

As they played tracks from their well-received EP, ‘Red Light Fever’, their output was thought-provoking, reflecting on a post-apocalyptic world. Judging by recent world events, the two were probably giving everyone a taster of what to expect, should any of the major world leaders press the big red button.

Doomsday Sun are an outfit that hark back to an age where musical talent was deemed higher than good looks, and I personally believe, if they start getting more exposure, then in a couple of years, they could be a real force to be reckoned with.

The Midlands was the birthplace of heavy metal, and it was good to see, even now, that the region still has an abundance of great talent in that genre.

It was a great night, made even better by the fact that it was all in aid of a good cause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FAILURE IS AN OPTION

Failure Is An Option band photo

FAILURE IS AN OPTION (from l-r): Brandon Hart (heavy vocals), Louis Barr (drums), Joura Torabi (lead guitar), Matt Jeffries (clean vocals), Jay Fellows (rhythm guitar), Chris Butler (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Birmingham six-piece Failure Is An Option may have only been together for just over a year, but they have achieved much in that time.

Combining elements of both metalcore and post-hardcore to create a heavy, rhythmic sound, the band have supported live the likes of Our Hollow, Our Home and fellow Brummies Oceans Ate Alaska, and have also released a debut EP, ‘Lost Vessel’, to positive reviews.

The metal outfit will be heading out on the road again at the start of next month, playing a host of different venues across the UK over two consecutive weekends, and the rock fans of Uttoxeter got a taste of this recently when they played the Chords Against Cancer evening in the Staffordshire town.

I sat down with the band after their set, and they spoke to me about what has been an incredible start for them.

How did the band get together initially?

MATT JEFFRIES (clean vocals): Initially, we were a pop-punk band comprising of me, Jay and a few other guys who left because of their unloyalty to the cause. I then met Brandon, who pretty much sorted the rest of the band out.

We then began to move away from pop-punk more towards post-hardcore metal, and we’ve just branched out from there.

How did the name Failure Is An Option come about?

MATT (laughing): Next question, next question!

Basically, I was trying to think up a name for the band, and my ex-girlfriend suggested that we call ourselves Failure Is An Option. At that point, I went, “Oh shit! That fits us perfectly.”

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

LOUIS BARR (drums): I don’t really do much songwriting, I just hit stuff, but from where I see it, the bare bones of a song either come from Brandon or Matt, in the form of lyrics, and it’ll just build up from there.

To be honest, usually, I’m one of the last to contribute anything to a track, as it has usually been put together by the time it gets to me. What about the rest of you guys?

BRANDON HART (heavy vocals): What helps me write the songs is that I go into my own little world, as far as I possibly can, and I think about how I’m feeling right there and then. It’s out of all that that I tend to form a song.

MATT: Brandon goes emo!

What inspires the band lyrically?

BRANDON: It’s just the trials and tribulations of life, whatever we can do to pour our emotions into our songs.

If you read deeply into our lyrics and pick them apart, you’ll find that they have a lot of meaning to them, with a lot of hidden messages as well. If you actually laid them out, they would read like chapters of a novel. It’s good to follow.

We are thinking of putting up some lyric videos in the near future, so people can get a better understanding of what we’re singing about.

Your debut EP, ‘Lost Vessel’, came out earlier this year. How was the recording process?

MATT: A few people who will be reading this will laugh at what I’m about to say. Honestly, when you hear the EP, it’s hard to envision the room in which it was recorded.

BRANDON: If you had a UV light, you would have been afraid! (All laugh) We were there for about five months.

MATT: A lot of shit went on in that room. We were living there for weeks at a time. It was a really good place, though, however, we haven’t got it any more, unfortunately, but we’ll take a lot of memories.

If you were to look at that room, which was kind of a lock-up where everything had been bootlegged to an extent, it would be quite surprising that we managed to get the quality the EP had. We were all very happy with it, but there’s much better stuff still to come.

BRANDON: It was just the first stepping stone, and we’re looking forward to making progress.

How well do you all think the EP was received?

MATT: To be honest with you, in terms of the actual distribution across the different platforms, one of the tracks, ‘The Coloured Canvas’, got the most plays, that’s probably because it was the softest song on the EP. With ‘Lost Vessel’, we did try to be versatile.

BRANDON: Someone’s girlfriend probably plays it on a loop!

MATT: Yeah, we do have a lot of people who have listened to that specific track regularly, but I think the overall reaction was really good.

At the moment, we’re just trying to push it as much as we can, so we can get more exposure, because as soon as we get that, the EP will generate some more feedback, then we’ll get a better idea of what we’re doing right, and how to best approach the next single or album.

BRANDON: We’ll replace everyone in the band except Chris!

MATT: Yeah, that’s the way forward.

You’ve supported the likes of Oceans Ate Alaska and Our Hollow, Our Home at some of their live shows. How were they as experiences?

MATT: To support Oceans was one of the biggest experiences we’ve all ever had up to now.

BRANDON: Yeah, that and pretty much everything else so far have all been awesome experiences.

CHRIS BUTLER (bass): Everyone’s been really chill, as well.

BRANDON: Yeah, we played with a Swedish band called Aviana, and they treated us like we’d been their lifelong friends. They were super cool guys, and are also incredible live.

The band will be embarking on a winter tour at the beginning of December. Can any of you share any more details about this at all?

MATT: Basically, it’s going to be two weekenders back-to-back.

BRANDON: I’m the one who’s organised them, so in the first week of December, we’ll be playing in Norwich with a local band, The Killing Culture, also, we’ll be heading back to Birmingham to play with Shields, and then down to Hereford to play a headliner. The Shields gig is going to be fucking insane. It’s going to be a sold out show, so if you want to get a ticket, get one now!

The following week, we’re heading up to Scotland, playing Glasgow and Edinburgh, and then we’ll be finishing things off with a gig in Manchester.

At the moment, we’re planning more tours and weekenders for next year, so keep your eyes open for that.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

JAY FELLOWS (rhythm guitar): Seriously, we just want people to like our music and have a good time while doing so.

BRANDON: If we can get one, just one, person to say to us, “You’ve affected my life”, then we can all retire happy. I can then just go and party all the time, because that’s what I’m better at!

MATT: Having listened to and watched Oceans for a while now, it would be amazing if we could actually get to somewhere near their level, it would be like living the dream.

The way I see it, it can only go up from here.

Failure Is An Option EP Cover

‘LOST VESSEL’, THE DEBUT EP FROM FAILURE IS AN OPTION, IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD & PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY & iTunes.

Failure Is An Option Single Cover

‘SAFE FROM THE DOWNSIDE’, THE BAND’S NEW SINGLE, WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS MONTH.

FAILURE IS AN OPTION ARE ALSO EMBARKING ON A WINTER TOUR THIS DECEMBER. FURTHER INFO IS BELOW:

Failure Is An Option tour poster

ALSO, YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BAND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: fiao.co.uk

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/FailureIsAnOptionOfficial

TWITTER: twitter.com/officialfiao

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/failureisanoptionband

BANDCAMP: failureisanoption.bandcamp.com