Tag Archives: Metal


Villainous band photo


Emerging heavyweights Villainous have released their captivating self-titled debut EP, available from all platforms. The UK newcomers have also just released a spanking new lyric video, ‘In Solace’.

Coming at you from Brighton, Villainous bond together a commanding sound tugging from the rampant power of Mastodon and Lamb Of God, the astuteness of Deftones and Alice In Chains, and the progressive intrigue of Tool.

The southern riff slingers feature Sean Stakim (vocals), Neil MacCallum (guitar/vocals), Nick Read (bass/vocals), and Callum Armitage (drums), and pack together a heady mix of groove-driven drop-tuned riffs with expansive choruses and gripping multiple vocal lines.

Born at the end of last year, the inventive quartet soon amassed a stout set, and have just released their self-titled EP. The band comment about the release: “The EP represents three characters in a different state of acceptance of their own existence. One is someone who has given in and allowed themselves to be shaped and moulded by their surroundings, one reflects on the time they have wasted but asks for more when aware of their impending death, and one refuses to be a product of their environment, revelling in the chaos that they have been born into.

Villainous have a series of shows in the works for the end of this year, and are currently planning a host of releases and tours for 2019.

Villainous EP Cover














InVisions band photo

INVISIONS (from l-r): Alex Scott (guitar), Josh Hardy (drums), Ben Ville (vocals), Lucas Gabb (guitar)


Formed from the ashes of defunct bands in their home city of York, InVisions are a quartet driven by an ambition to create an adrenaline-fuelled, heavy-hitting yet anthemic metalcore sound.

Since releasing their debut album, ‘Never Nothing’, last year, the outfit’s stock has kept on rising, winning plaudits from much of the rock music press, and performances at prestigious festivals such as Download and Tech Fest.

Two of the four-piece, guitarist Lucas Gabb and drummer Josh Hardy, spoke to me about all this, and more, prior to their headline set at the Derby Alt Fest recently.

How did the band get together?

LUCAS GABB: Basically, Ben, our singer, hit me up, saying that he wanted to start something new after our old bands had split up.

We talked about it, what we wanted to sound like, I then spoke about it with Alex, who I had known for years, as we had played in a band together before, he decided to join, and then, we realised we needed a drummer, and Josh was recommended to us by Simon and Joe, producers on our local music scene.

JOSH HARDY: The only reason Simon and Joe actually knew about me was through a previous project I had done with them, and they had liked what I had done, so they told the others, “Josh is the one you want in your band“.

LUCAS: I was glad, as well, because we had messaged loads of people about becoming the band’s drummer, and all we had had were replies telling us that they weren’t that interested.

JOSH: We met up for a beer, didn’t we?

LUCAS: Yeah, we just talked business, and I kept persuading him to join the band.

JOSH: I remember it took a few beers, didn’t it?

LUCAS (laughs): Yeah, and that was actually the first time I had ever met him.

How did the name InVisions come about?

LUCAS: It’s a horrible process trying to come up with band names, and no-one really wants to do it.

We were just firing out possible band names one day, and the title of a Trivium song suddenly came into my head, ‘Ignition’, and when I was a kid, I kept hearing it as ‘In Vision’, so I just came out with “How about InVisions?“, and the other guys went, “Yeah, that sounds cool“, and that’s pretty much how the name came about.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

JOSH: That’s a difficult one, to be honest, as everyone in the band has different musical tastes, to be fair.

LUCAS: Yeah, we do enjoy listening to loads of metal, but Josh, you come from more of a hardcore background, didn’t you?

JOSH: Yeah.

LUCAS: Whereas me and Alex are more into your old school thrash metal and stuff, and Ben’s into bands like Parkway Drive. We kind of combine that all, but we also listen to a fuckload of hip-hop, as that’s all we will listen to when we’re on the bus heading back from a gig.

JOSH: Yeah, with blue lights on, and getting pissed as fuck!

LUCAS: There’s loads of different things that we’re influenced by, but for me, when I was a kid, it was bands like Trivium and Metallica.

JOSH: The first band that actually made me want to play drums, but I’m not saying they’ve carried any influence into our band, was Slipknot.

LUCAS: Slipknot are the ones.

JOSH: Absolutely.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

LUCAS: Lock ourselves in a room, and hope everything turns out alright!

(Lucas and Josh laugh)

LUCAS: It depends, like I will sit at a computer, trying to come up with ideas, and when I do, they will be almost fully-formed songs that I will send to the guys, and from there, we will change things around and stuff.

Overall, it depends on what we’re thinking, sometimes, we’ll be listening to a song and then go, “That sounds really cool!“, and we’ll try and get a bit of that into our music, but a lot of the time, I will basically just sit there with a click track, choose the tempo, and just jam that out for a while until something good comes, or I will write some riffs and take it from there.

Our songwriting process has to be natural, because it just won’t work if you’re trying to force something through that won’t fit.

JOSH: Yeah.

In August last year, the band brought out their debut album, entitled ‘Never Nothing’, which was very well-received. Was that something any of you were expecting at all?

LUCAS: No, not at all. The thing is that we knew it had been produced well, as we had spent a lot of time writing the songs and stuff, but generally, we didn’t really know, as there’s still a lot of shit out there that people find offensive, especially in regards to metal, for example, if you listen to one of the recent singles by Post Malone, some of the lyrics to that go, “I’m going to put my bitch’s pussy in a body bag“, and that is a number one hit song being played on Radio 1, but if a metal band have any lyrics that are even remotely offensive, then everyone goes nuts.

Anyway, we were very surprised by the reaction the album got, as we were a band who had just come out of nowhere. We didn’t want to jump straight in with an EP, because we wanted to do everything right, but yeah, it’s really exciting stuff.

JOSH: Yeah, like Lucas has just said, we didn’t set out to get the response the album got, as we had been in different projects before that hadn’t worked out, so we decided if we were going to do things properly, then so be it.

LUCAS: At the end of the day, especially with your first release, you have to work your ass off, and we’ve believed in doing that from day one.

And you’re currently working on a second album, aren’t you?

LUCAS: Yeah, we are. Actually, we’ve finished doing it.

When will that be coming out?

LUCAS: I can’t tell you at the moment.

What can be expected of the album?

LUCAS: Basically, if you take our first album, send it to the moon, inject it with loads of experience, knowledge, and steroids, the results will just be 10% of the follow-up.

Everything’s just been turned up to ten, it’s more consistent, and there are literally no filler songs, so keep your eyes out for it!

And you’re currently working on a second album, aren’t you?

LUCAS: Yeah, we are. Actually, we’ve finished doing it.

When will that be coming out?

LUCAS: I can’t tell you at the moment.

What can be expected of the album?

LUCAS: Basically, if you take our first album, send it to the moon, inject it with loads of experience, knowledge, and steroids, the results will just be 10% of the follow-up.

Everything’s just been turned up to ten, it’s more consistent, and there are literally no filler songs, so keep your eyes out for it!

This summer, the band played Download and Tech Fest. How were they as experiences?

JOSH: Unbelievable.

LUCAS: How can you describe Download as an experience? If you told me as a kid that I would be playing Download one day, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Actually, we got the phone call confirming us on the bill on April 1, so obviously, we initially thought it was just a joke.

Download, it was just a blur, with plenty of cans of Carlsberg.

JOSH: It was just crazy, man. It was something that we always dreamed of doing, but never thought we would actually get to do. It was just the craziest show we’ve ever played.

LUCAS: And we’d love to do it again one day. I would also love to play Tech Fest again, as it just had a really chilled out vibe.

And how is the overall experience of playing live, for you all?

LUCAS: Terrible!

(Lucas and Josh laugh)

LUCAS: No, it’s the best buzz you can ever get, just one big adrenaline rush. It’s one of those things that you live for when you’re in a band. It’s also good fun, hanging out with your best mates, playing kick-ass songs, and drinking a lllllllot of beer!

(Lucas and Josh laugh)

And finally, album aside, what are your plans for the near future?

LUCAS: More tours, we’ve got a lot of stuff in the works other than the album, and we’ve got some really interesting stuff coming through, and that’s super exciting for all of us. We’ve had a sick year, and we just want to keep that momentum going.

InVisions Single Cover








CANAVAR – ‘Canavar’

Canavar Album Cover


Canavar are a four man punk-infused metal band from Southampton, comprising of Deklan Webb on guitar/vocals, Jack Bowden on guitar, Rowan Rashley on bass, and Toby Rashley on drums, and today, I’ll be reviewing their self-titled debut album.

‘Sacrilege’ kicks things off with a bang, thrashing guitars and heavy vocals that hit you right in the face, and there is a really nice counterpoint to this track where the vocalist slows things down, showing a softer side to his voice, then ratchets things back up again. It’s jarring, but in a really good way.

Also the extended instrumental section towards the end is phenomenal, and improved even more with some screaming to give it that extra edge.

‘Brick by Brick’ opens with fast-paced guitars and some epic screaming, and having tried and failed to start my own metal band, I know how hard this type of high intensity screaming is, especially without it just becoming noise, but the singer really knows how to keep a grip on his voice while letting it all out.

I also love the densely layered instrumental sections, I’ve spent the past few weeks reviewing folk and indie music, so this was probably more of a shift than had I been reviewing heavier stuff, but I actually think coming from that has helped me appreciate the band’s style that much more.

‘Moral Compass’ has a nice slowed down bassy intro, and the track really shows both a different side to the band as a whole, as well as a different side to the lead vocalist’s voice.

Some people who are talented at screaming can’t transition well into other types of vocals, but I think the lead singer has a strong, distinctive voice, and when he’s backed up by such strong instrumentals, it’s not hard to put out tracks like this.

‘Daybreak’ hammers through its opening line, all speed and edge, and you just get swept away with it, I personally love this track because it’s decisive and clear, and you get to know the band really well. This track, along with ‘Sacrilege’, are singles that have been previously released, with some good music videos you can check out.

‘Devils in the Details’ is another vocal transition that really gives the singer a chance to shine, I listened to the tracks a good few times while writing this review, and this song was the one that got stuck in my head the most.

It has what I liked about the previous few tracks, but there’s just something that’s a little different about it, which made me really enjoy it.

‘Deadly Sins’ slows things down, with softer, more mellow guitars, bass and drums that support a more melancholic vocal section. You get a lot from this track, and you get picked up along with it as it rises and the melancholy is replaced with passion and energy.

‘Fire Inside’ is a big track, with long, sweeping guitar notes, backed up by a consistent and tight bassline, it both seems busy and very open as a track, a nice balance of things, and as I’ve noticed with the previous tracks, you just kind of get swept away in their rhythms.

‘Lost and Found’ follows ‘Devil in the Details’ as a personal favourite of the album, I just think by this point in the album, especially since I’m experiencing each track and the band as a whole for the first time, they’ve really cemented a style, and that’s very clear in this track. I wasn’t lost after listening to this track, and I’m certainly glad I found it, terrible joke aside, it was really good.

‘Burnout’ really fought with the previous track for second top track on this album, it’s a really strong addition, but what kept it from beating out ‘Lost and Found’ was that while being a good track, I didn’t really feel like it was saying anything, as sometimes when listening to an album as a whole, you get an impression from each track, other times you get something from the full album, and so far, every other track has been different, but this one just feels a little too similar.

‘Blacklist’ has my favourite opening on the entire album, some sweeping guitar and building up to the vocal sections, which I could go on about for ages, but I’ll just say, at this point I’m definitely a fan of it, and the band, as a whole.

‘Ready and Willing’ is the last track on the album, which can sometimes make or break the release, but it doesn’t let ‘Canavar’ down, as it’s a great track to end on, its got energy to it, but it’s a little slower as we wind down to a finish on what is a strong debut release from the band.

TOP TRACK: ‘Devils In The Details’




Harmed band photo


From the Hungarian capital of Budapest, Harmed formed early last year with an aim to elevate a hard, dark, and captivating style of metal to a whole new level.

Since then, the band have brought out a debut EP to an overwhelmingly positive response, and have also played across much of continental Europe.

I recently chatted with the guys prior to their first ever UK live set, at the Derby Alt Fest, and the following is what they had to say:

How did the band form?

GABOR TOTH (guitar): Basically, me, Balazs (Keresztesi, guitar), and Mihaly (Zsakay, drums) got together, wrote a few songs, and somehow, it turned into a band. After a couple of years, we decided to form a new musical project, and that’s when Levente joined.

LEVENTE SPICZE (vocals): I had known the guys for a while through our local music scene, I had recorded a demo, but I wanted a band to collaborate with on it, then, actually it was on the same day, Gabor contacted me, said his band were doing a project of their own, asked me if I would like to join, and I accepted his offer.

How did the name Harmed come about?

LEVENTE: We all have a lot in common with each other, and we’re all kind of fucked up in our own way.

GABOR: Yeah.

LEVENTE: I think we weren’t the most popular kids at school, you know, and I think that’s why we called our debut EP ‘From Day One’, because you know, we have a few scars from the past that will always be with us, and that’s pretty much how Harmed came to be our name.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

GABOR: For me, it has to be bands like Slipknot, who are probably also our main influence.

LEVENTE: Slipknot are my favourite band as well, and also my biggest inspiration, but I like listening to all kinds of music, such as electronic music.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

GABOR: Either me or Mihaly will come up with a riff or something, depending on how we’re feeling at the time, and we basically form a song around that, adding to it as we go along.

You mentioned the band’s debut EP, ‘From Day One’, earlier. How was the reaction to that?

LEVENTE: Overwhelming, I would say. People seemed to really like it, we had a really good reaction, the only real negative critique being that it was too short, but overall, we’re super happy about it.

GABOR: We never thought it would get the reaction that it has, especially with it being our first EP.

LEVENTE: Yeah, it definitely has turned out better than expected, and we’re so thankful for those who enjoyed listening to it.

You’re playing here at the Derby Alt Fest today, which is actually the first time the band have ever played in the UK. What can British audiences expect from your live sets?

LEVENTE: This is cliched, but expect some heavy riffs…

GABOR: Complete chaos.

LEVENTE: Yeah, complete chaos, breakdowns. Overall, we just want to give British crowds a real live experience.

The band hail from Hungary. How is the contemporary metal scene over there?

GABOR: It’s healthy. There are a lot of good bands coming through.

LEVENTE: Yeah, and it seems to me that metal is getting back into trend, as at concerts, there are more and more people attending. It’s mostly in Budapest at the moment, but it’s starting to happen in other Hungarian cities, which is good.

What are your plans for the near future?

GABOR: We’re going to be working on stuff that we can’t really talk about right now, but that will be something we’ll be doing in the next couple of months.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

LEVENTE: Tour as much as we can, go to places we’ve never been to before, and keep bringing out new music.

Harmed EP Cover



Harmed tour poster




Rozu band photo


An emerging four-piece from Colorado, Rozu, comprising of vocalist Tim Graham, guitarist David Sundine, bassist Henry Navarre, and drummer Brian Robertson, are aiming to take the post-hardcore world by storm with an eclectic, hard-hitting but melodic sound.

The two singles, including latest release, ‘Fearless’, the band have brought out so far have been positively received, which bodes well for when they bring out their debut EP towards the end of this year.

The Denver quartet told me more about that, as well as themselves, when we spoke recently.

How did the band get together?

We came together back in January this year. We had all been playing in bands around the Denver area for years, we all had this vision on how a band should operate, and the pieces just kind of fell into place.

We all have this drive and ethic to us that just has everyone grinding and pushing this band forward.

How did the name Rozu come about?

The name came from the idea of a rose blooming, a kind of metaphor for the band. We also wanted something that was short and sweet, only one or two syllables, and our guitarist brought Rozu to the table, as it is the Japanese word for rose. We polled it around, and people really liked it, so from the other five names we were considering, Rozu was the one that was chosen.

How would you describe your sound?

Our music is pretty much all over the place, but rooted within our love of post-hardcore.

The songs can be straight-up acoustic, jazzy, or heavy, as we don’t want to just keep writing the same track over and over again, resulting in our sound becoming rather formulaic, but no matter what it is, it’s always going to be driving and very melodic.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We are all over the board with our influences, but our main ones are Underoath, Every Time I Die, Saosin, and Taking Back Sunday.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our approach is really just depending on how we are feeling on that given day, hence our diversity in sounds. We live in such a beautifully digital age and have these abilities to share ideas over the web, so we really write first, then jam them out in a practice space.

What inspires the band lyrically?

With the lyrics, Tim always really tries to find positives in the negatives. In a very unique and kind of straightforward way, he talks about his own personal hardships or problems within our society, trying to fight the light in the situation and preaching hope for everyone.

How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?

We are working on some of our first shows right now, but it will be an experience with high energy. We don’t just want to be that band that plugs in and plays, we really want to put on a show with production value.

What are the band’s plans for the near future?

Currently, we are still writing and have about 16 songs done and ready to go now, so we are going to continue to just keep putting singles out there to continue growing our fan base while trying to formulate an album.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

For us, we just love/need music in our life, so our long-term plan is to just continue to grind and write and create art to share with the world.

Rozu Single Cover










Sylar band photo


Taking their name from the primary villain of late 2000’s sci-fi drama Heroes, Sylar are a five-piece from New York City.

Having formed in 2011 from members of various bands on the Big Apple’s post-hardcore scene, the outfit have truly gone from strength to strength ever since, redefining the rap-metal genre, and positioning themselves as a champion of the underdog, with a sound full of unrestrained energy and huge anthemic choruses.

Currently supporting pals Beartooth on a US tour, the quintet’s frontman, Jayden Panesso, spoke to me about their upcoming third album, ‘Seasons’, how that was put together, what the fan base can expect from it, and much more.

How did the band form?

Funnily enough, we formed on the internet. I was already playing bass and doing backing vocals in another local band in New York, but I wanted more.

I wanted to tour the world and write the music I really wanted to write as a lyricist, so I set out with a goal, and went out looking for people online.

It was so hard, but after some trial and error, here we are. It’s wild to think about how close we are now, not only as a band, but as a family.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

To be honest, it has been different for each record. This time around, though, we took our time with it. We were able to go in the studio with lots of material already written, and it made the process a lot smoother.

Before going to California to fully finalise the record, Miguel and I would send each other ideas back and forth while we were off tour. He would write instrumentals, send them over, and I would brainstorm and send my ideas back.

Thank you modern technology for stuff like FaceTime, as that always helped us be more in touch with each other while we were putting this record together.

What inspires the band lyrically?

I take a lot of pride in my lyrics, it’s something that I’m very picky with. I guess it also doesn’t help that I’m a massive perfectionist, as at times, I’ll sit down with a lyric for days just because one word bothers me (laughs). It’s a blessing, but also a curse.

For ‘Seasons’, I wanted to be very straightforward. I want people to understand the theme and message of each song with the first listen, you won’t have to read between the lines for this one.

I always find inspiration lyrically by just writing about my personal emotions. When I put a record together, it’s like an open diary.

Speaking of ‘Seasons’, coming out next month, how was the recording process for that?

Like I mentioned earlier, it was a more relaxed working environment this time around. We knew exactly what we wanted with this album, so that was already a massive plus. We’ve also grown more mature as musicians, so us coming in prepared with much more material than previously just made everything a whole lot easier.

And how will it differ from the work that the band have put out up to now?

I think people have already weighed in their opinion on the new stuff thus far, as we’ve already released two singles off ‘Seasons’, and fans can tell the difference. Like I said, it is more straight to the point, and it’s easier to listen to vocally than it ever was before.

You’ve supported bands such as Issues and Memphis May Fire, as well as playing at festivals such as the Vans Warped Tour and Slam Dunk. How, for you all, is it performing live?

Performing live is hands down my favourite part of being in the band. I can go on a limb and say the rest of the band feel the same.

Our set time, whether it’s 25 minutes, 45 minutes – is ALWAYS sacred. We take our live performance really seriously, and we always want to be the BEST on every stage, so I think it’s very important to go into shows with that mentality as artists.

And the band have also toured Europe with Of Mice & Men, and Australia with Miss May I. How were they as experiences?

Honestly, playing in different countries is probably my favourite, especially as I used to daydream about being in a successful band that would play shows over the world. It’s amazing. When I step out on stage for things like that, I always talk to myself and give myself pep talks, like, “soak this in Jayden, this is what you always wanted“.

You have a following around the world, had over four million views for your videos, and have also had approval from the likes of Corey Taylor. When the band started, did any of you expect all of this to happen?

It’s crazy because we were working so hard, while also sacrificing tons of things to be able to get this band up on its feet, but even in the midst of all of that, all the things we’ve accomplished already seemed so far out of reach, you know? It’s like you gotta see it to believe it.

I’m just thankful and proud to see our hard work paying off, and it’s only just the beginning.

What are the band’s plans once ‘Seasons’ has been released?

Well, we’ll already be on tour by then, so we’ll be playing new songs and supporting the album. My goal always is to bring our new music to as many places as possible worldwide.

And finally, what advice would you all give to any bands/artists that are just starting out?

Man, I could write a never-ending list of mistakes I’ve made (laughs).

My best advice to any artists trying to do this would be to be patient, and take your time. Things get scary, and exciting, but the best bet is to always take your time.

Also, make sure that you’re happy with what you’re putting out to the world, and lastly, just be yourself, as only you know yourself, and it’s never worth it to be something that you’re not. Real recognises real, and people relate with that the most.

Sylar Album Cover



Sylar tour poster










Dayshifter band photo


Described as “the love child of Architects and Counterparts“, Newcastle-upon-Tyne quartet Dayshifter have made quite an impact on the British underground metal scene in the past year with a melodic hardcore sound, containing a vocal delivery that is both heartfelt and passionate.

Having recently signed to label Famined Records, the band spoke to me about such things as this, ‘Serpent Eyes’, their latest single release, and the four-piece’s just-completed UK tour supporting Greyhaven.

How did the band form?

We’d previously been in bands before together that had ended for one reason or anything, and Dayshifter formed as an end result.

From where did the name Dayshifter originate?

The band name came about after a previous band we were involved in ended. To us,  the band name stands for change, how just like night turns into day, everything around you is always changing and moving.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Life in general, the whole experience we go through as individuals. From heartache to regret, happiness to depression, life flows and moves in such a wild and changing way, and you learn so much about yourself and the people around you, as you flow with it.

Recently, the band signed to label Famined Records. That must have felt good for you all.

It’s honestly quite surreal for us, like a goal you have in your younger days is finally ticked off. We’re super happy to be working with the Famined guys, they’ve been super good to us so far, and this is just the start of it.

And shortly after that, you brought out a single, entitled ‘Serpent Eyes’. How was the recording process for the track?

We really enjoyed the recording process for this track, as we had a lot more time compared to when we recorded ‘Hopeful / Regretful’, it was super laid back, and all our ideas flowed really well with our producer Dan Kerr.

And how has the reaction been to that so far?

It’s been nothing short of amazing, we’ve received so much positive feedback, and it has truly shown how much we’ve grown as a band in such a short space of time.

The band have consistently toured across the UK, having just completed a few dates supporting Greyhaven, as well as sharing stages with the likes of Oceans Ate Alaska and Loathe. How were they as experiences?

We’ve loved every show we’ve played, no matter if the crowd has been 30 or 300 people, having the opportunity to share the stage with so many bands and other musicians you admire is an amazing thing. We’ve loved every moment, and can’t wait to experience more.

And how is it overall, for you all, performing live?

Live shows are simply the best part of being in a band, for us, it’s the one time we can switch off from everything else around us, and really pour our emotions and energy into something collectively.

‘Serpent Eyes’ was the first of a two-part series. What can be expected from the second part?

The second part is a sequel in a way, as it addresses the final outcome of an individual as you finally sever your ties with them.

Also, expect the biggest chorus we’ve written to date.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

We’re happy to continue doing what we do, as writing music, and showcasing it to as many people as possible, are things that we’re truly passionate about.