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THE REVIEWS: TOGETHER WE FIGHT “GET A NEW HERO” EP

In recent years, the pop punk scene has been revived with bands such as Set Your Goals, The Wonder Years, and Four Year Strong, to name a few. Together We Fight, a five piece outfit from Maidstone, UK, is a force to look out for. The band recently released their latest EP, Get a New Hero, independently and it has made quite an impression. 

The EP opens with a nice pop punk vibe that most in the scene will instantly feel at home with, which then follows with a transition into some fairly exceptional clean vocals. The hints of unclean vocals are welcome with open ears, although they sometimes don’t quite blend with the instrumentals. Transitions from song to song are seamless, and the vocal patterns and harmonies are enough to keep anyone interested. The guitar parts are somewhat average, but that doesn’t detract from the overall sound of the EP. The mixing is superb, giving the band an overall sense of professionalism. 

Overall, TWF don’t bring much new to the table, but rather they solidify the sound that most pop punk bands truly aim to achieve. This EP can easily stand its ground among the greats in the genre.

 4/5

Written by: Addison Hussey

THE REVIEWS: AMERICAN WOLF “MYRIAD”

American Wolf is a dream pop band from Chicago, Illinois. A four-piece outfit, American Wolf recently released their latest album, appropriately titled, Myriad, on January 22nd. American Wolf is Sal Plant on vocals, John Imburgia on bass, Hristo Mintchev on lead guitar and Joe Sherman on drums.

When I first heard American Wolf (yesterday), I was rather on the fence about them. They present a very dreamy, spacey sort of atmosphere which definitely grabs your attention, though it may not be for everyone. Plant’s organic vocals sound distant, which makes them all the more haunting. Mintchev shows his palette to be widely varied, showing signs of simple yet elegant, ‘twinkle,’ to psychedelic riffs that add to the multidimensional feeling of the record. Certain tracks even give me a HRVRD vibe, progressive and gentle, however not always interchangeably.

Thank (the) god(s), “Skin Tight,” has audible bass, courtesy of Imburgia, making it a hell of a lot better in my book. Sherman lays down some absolutely wonderful beats throughout the album. Plant’s vocals remind me occasionally of Anthony Green, but still holds true to his unique abilities. The bass, as with every album ever I’ve heard so far and can remember, is too low and not very audible in the album, and that’s always a personal downside.

All in all, American Wolf brings a very chill, mellow and satisfactory record with Myriad, and it’s definitely something to be proud of.

3.5/5

Written by: Mark Garza

THE REVIEWS: GOOD LUCK VARSITY “MOUNTAINS” EP

In this day and age, finding real musicians in the music industry can, unfortunately, be a disheartening task. With a large portion of this scene comprised of so called “artists” whose only goal is to make a quick buck, stumbling across a group of musicians who actually care about their fans along with the music they create can be contrasted to the equivalent of striking gold. If you’ve ever had the distinct privilege to unearth the musical bliss that is Good Luck Varsity, then you know exactly what ‘striking gold’ feels like.

Canton, Michigan, natives, GLV, recently independently released their third EP, titled, Mountains. After giving the three-track release a handful of thorough listens, it’s simple to see the sole burden it bears: it’s far to short. Granted, it is only an EP, however, once you’ve listened to Mountains all the way through (just shy of 13 minutes), you’re going to feel such an utter sadness due to the fact that it’s over, you’ll have no choice but to listen to it again, and again, and again, and… you get the point.

The band kick things off with “Firstborn.” A slightly Taking Back Sunday reminiscent track which has enough power to raise the south and take it down again. Right off the bat, you can notice the most unique feature GLV has to offer, and that is their constant rotation of vocals. Each and every member of the band contributes their own vocal chords to make their sound unparalleled.

The release seamlessly transitions into, “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose,” which is arguably the bands best piece of material to date. Insanely powerful hooks, unmistakeable musicianship, and pristine lyricism conglomerate together to create a track that is destined to dominate the airwaves of speakers everywhere.

GLV close the EP with a moving acoustic ditty, titled, “Rewind,” which features fellow pop rockers, Rival Season. And just like that, you find yourself having an undying quench for more GLV, so you repeat this entire process over again. In a simpler sense, GLV have something extremely special on their hands and it has left us yearning for more (*cough* full length *cough*). We’re sure you will too.

4.5/5

Written by: Tyler Sharp

THE REVIEWS: TICKS TALK “DRUG DIMENSION” SINGLE

Ticks Talk is a new progressive metal band hailing all the way from India. With a very Pinkly Smooth sounding groove, they have released their first single, entitled, “Drug Dimension.” “Drug Dimension,” which is a crazy sounding track, was completely unexpected. The song was written about a mad scientist who was frustrated about the world being such a dark place, so he traversed into the future to discover an even darker world.

It starts off with a very beautiful piano, but is abruptly ruined by the undertoned chugging of guitars. The synths and piano feel entirely out of place during most of the song, but in certain parts, it highlights the tracks overall feel very well. Hearing the guitar solo towards the end was very reasurring, because it told me there is more to this band other then just crazy synth and guitar chugging.

All in all, I wasn’t a huge fan of this single, but they’re a young band, with only the future ahead of them.

2/5

Written By: Robert Weston

THE REVIEWS: THE PERFECT ADDICTION “ENDLESS HORIZON” EP

As I sit here on photoshop, designing my next tattoo, I turn on my iTunes and zone out. Suddenly, a new voice caught my attention. Listening more closely, the melodies catch my ear’s attention. Now I’m interested. So, I switch windows and see that I am listening to The Perfect Addiction‘s new EP, entitled Endless Horizon.

My typical genres of choice are metal, rock, and hardcore, but this new music that I was now indulging in was a surprising, refreshing change of pace from what I normally listen to. Representing Chandler, AZ, The Perfect Addiction put together a solid EP, blending together sweet melodies, joyful lyrics, and a groove you can get lost in. Lead singer Sean Silvestro supplies some seriously catchy vocals, and after just a couple runs through Endless Horizon, I found myself singing along.

“Damage,” the opening track, is a perfect beginning to the EP, showcasing Sean’s tasteful vocals and dangerously catchy lyrics. Saving the best for last, closing track, “Good Life,” turned out to be my favorite on the album. I loved the guitar work, particularly lead guitarist Kyle Kovalchick’s ending solo – the perfect finale to a great EP.

I could run through a summary of Endless Horizon, but your time would be much better spent enjoying the record yourself than reading my two cents. Now I can definitely say, I am hooked on The Perfect Addiction.

4/5

Written by: Rob Weston

Edited by: Brandon Mariotti

THE REVIEWS: SCARLET WOUNDS “WAKE UP” EP

Scarlet Wounds is a Christian pop-core band from Missouri and their new EP is out now. You can check it out for yourself on the bands facebook.

This record was not an enjoyable one from my perspective. I would call myself a pop music and pop rock fan, but this just had to many elements for me to overcome. I’m not a fan of effects and often suspect that bands are trying to cover things.

My constructive criticism would be to compare them to Never Shout Never, an outfit which started with some very juvenile subject matter and a very young sound. That acts latest release, Indigo, is a drastic improvement from the band’s previous internet-pop sound. Perhaps with some line up tweaks this act can find and achieve that growth. In some occasions, Christian bands cant get past that simple stigma. The fact that they are a religious band. I myself was raised in a religious home, but I know this can be a red flag for some. You should write about what you know, but anytime you allow yourself to be limited by any influence, no matter how positive it may be, you can’t escape the fact that it is somewhat limiting.

Every song spoke of faith, so no songs really had much separation from one and other. I believe that can turn a listener away. The band has been together since 2010, and although I am not sure how long this current roster has been a unit, t

he tracks seemed as though the band weren’t quite sure who they were yet. They seemed to be exploring their sound still. The EP is five songs in total. It opens with a very strong pop rock sound and closes with a light post hardcore track fittingly titled, “Salvation,” staying with the bands Christian roots.

The second track on this EP, “This Ends,” has much more of a rock sound with some deeper vocals, but its still shielded by the protective synth. I don’t think bands should over use effects like reverb or synths. It can be a fun effect to use on a single but it shouldn’t be “your sound.”

2/5

This review was written by Michael Flanagan

THE REVIEWS: APNEA “SELF-TITLED” EP

Flordia-based group, Apnea, flaunt a string of breakdowns and spastic riffs on their self-titled EP. In just four quick songs, the band covers over their various influences with a mixture of deathcore and post-hardcore.

I enjoy the variety the EP brings about. The talked vocals and the oddly soothing outro guitar make, ‘Business As Usual,” the most enjoyable song on the EP. The groovy guitar near the end of  “Maki Spring Rolls,” adds a great sense of diversity as well. I wish the band incorporated elements like this into their music more, because in small doses this album does surprise.

The guitars tend to chug a bit much, especially in the breakdown-heavy, “Redcliff Descent.” The guitarists are capable of creating some catchy riffs throughout the EP, and I wish they would utilize and branch off that more.  It would greatly improve their song structure.

My biggest complaint with the EP is some of the vocal sections. Some areas show the vocalist isn’t on par with the rest of the band, and his voice sounds too strained. It might be the recording quality, but his vocals just sound far too rough to blend well with everything else going on.

So, the tough question — Is the band pushing any boundaries?  Unfortunately, just a little. But for a self-produced debut EP, what all can you ask? I like the approach they’ve taken to really change things up and give each song it’s own feel.  And for the most part, it does work. If you enjoy the heavier side of post-hardcore/deathcore, I would say this EP is worth a listen.

3.5/5

Written by: Alex Wilking

THE REVIEWS: STAY GOLDEN “THE COMPASS & THE VESSEL” EP

Chicago 4 piece pop-rock outfit, Stay Golden, released their 5 song EP, The Compass & The Vessel, yesterday. The album, which was co-produced by Derek Grant of Alkaline Trio fame, pairs clear catchy lyrics with relatable subject matter. Tracks like, “Bitter Scene,” tell an appropriate story of how musicians sometimes get forgotten by their hometown & even so called friends when they leave town to tour. Lyrics like “You’re leaving all your friends behind / They hope that you won’t look back and maybe you’ll die,” paint an all to familiar picture for anyone who has been in the same spot.

“Don’t leave this way or we’ll leave it a bitter scene,” is another stand-out line that proves pop music can be powerful and is more than just love songs with catchy choruses.

Track 2, titled, “Days We’d Take Over” seems to be the story of love and loss. Listening to lyrics on repeat you can’t help but notice how much emotion went into writing the song. Songs like this are what separate good artists from great ones. The band is so willing to open up and share what is clearly an emotional subject.

The EP’s title track, “Benefits With Friends,” is a ballad of pure optimism which preaches that friends matter most along with the importance of not being fickle. “Let me show, you how we do / I’ll make a believer out of you,”  jumps out along with lyrics like, “This is the part of the song where we talk about what moves us forward / Is it music or friends?”

Its always enlightening when you listen to a body of work and you feel like you know and understand the people who have written it. When the people writing the music are having fun, that’s contagious, not ear worms. Catchy songs don’t define good songs, being real does – and Hollywood can’t buy that.

A refreshing element found in the EP is use of time. The songs are on average around 4 to 5 minutes long. The length allows you to absorb and enjoy the stories the group is sharing, but isn’t overly reliant on a catchy repeated chorus filled with splash words. The bands sound is common, but still fun.

The Compass & The Vessel is definitely above average, but it falls into some of the familiarity of its genre. A good pick up for fans of the pop rock variety. I’d go out and support these guys on the road.

3.8/5

Written by: Michael Flanagan

THE REVIEWS: CASTLES IN THE SKY “VALIANT”

The post-hardcore genre has evolved tenfold since its conception in the 1980s. After deriving its original sound from revolutionary outfits such as Black Flag and The Effigies, the post-hardcore mold has progressed into a electronic chugging routine that many have grown to love, while others despise. It seems as though everyday we see new bands that jump on the widely known ‘crabcore’ bandwagon and get signed just for the sole fact that it’s what the kiddies yearn for.
Jumping on the extremely weighed down band wagon is Tampa, FL natives, Castles In the Sky. The extremely young quintet have taken todays definition of the post-hardcore genre and crafted it to near perfection on their debut EP, Valiant. From the pernicious, guttural growls and soaring cleans found throughout the entire release to the frequent use of vehement electronics and breakdowns conglomerated with ground trembling bass drops, CITS have quite obviously mastered the epitome of todays post-hardcore genre.
In other words, these five Florida boys can do no wrong, right? Not entirely.
Valiant, presents one major fault: It’s extremely vapid. The release contains almost nothing new in which the scene hasn’t been already been presented with before. Only so many people can jump on a bandwagon before the wheels come off and its progress ceases to exist. CITS show an immense amount of potential on their debut release, but unless they learn harness that energy and progress to the next level, they will easily get lost in this ever-growing, overpopulated place that we call the scene.
3.5/5
Go Download: “For Granted”

THE REVIEWS: SHAPIST “WE SPEAK IN VOLUMES” SINGLE

If after listening to Shapist‘s debut single, “We Speak In Volumes,” one were to say that the St. Louis progressive metalcore outfit formed not even seven months ago, the response would most likely be a hefty chuckle followed with a questioning as to if you were on any drugs.

In a lesser-complex sense, it’s extremely hard to believe that a band so young, could produce such a mind-bending debut single – but they are, and they did.

“We Speak In Volumes,” in short, is what most bands in this genre take entire careers to create – and this sextet did it in their very first produced song. The track features pernicious growls from unclean vocalist, Rex Carroll, which contrast uncannily with clean vocalist, Sam Bedichek’s glass-shattering highs. When we say glass-shattering, we mean it in the best way possible. In fact, Bedichek would have no problem competing alongside the likes of Anthony Green – yes, you read that correctly.

The instrumentation on “We Speak In Volumes,” is nothing short of major label worthy. From the intense guitar work of both Trevor West and Devan LaBrier to Jake Willman’s destructive ‘drumist’ poundings, this is the band’s warning that this scene better prepare itself, because Shapist is only getting started.

So what are you waiting for? Go check them out and after all you friends start listening to them, you can be the guy who “knew them before everyone else did.”

4.5/5