Black Veil Brides – Mourning (Sumerian)
There is an underlying belief that draft releases are just disappointing cash-ins made up mostly of filler and scrap material. A strong title track usually followed by cover versions, demo versions, live cuts, or songs just not worthy of being on a full disc. A theory on which Hollywood based five plays black Veil Brides clearly do not subscribe.
With the success of last year The Phantom Tomorrow the band wanted to continue their working relationship with the producer Erik Ron and engineer Anthony Rederand four-track EP Mourning is the result. A too short collection of songs that perfectly illustrate the current position of the group.
Opener ‘Devil’ boasts an aggressive kick and another of the band’s famous infectious woah-oh refrains while follow-up to 2011’s ‘Saviour’ Set the world on fire, “Savior 2” is a powerful and inspiring ballad backed by strings. A good track even if it sounds uncomfortably like the Disney song ‘Let it Go’ in places. The penultimate cut ‘The Revival’ is a powerful mid-rhythm rocker and the piano keys and power chords of ‘Better Angels’ ensure a resolute and upbeat climax.
Singer Andy Biersack makes the most of his powerful midrange voice while playing guitar Jake Pitts throws in some nasty little solos. Armed with four high-quality tracks that could have easily graced any of the band’s full releases, Mourning is a worthy addition to any fan’s collection.
8 / 10
Oversized – In the ceiling (Church Road)
There is something to be said for the miserable Covid-19 pandemic and that is the amount of music that has been recorded and released during it. It should also be noted that a large number of projects were also forged, and the Bristol five-piece oversized were one of them, albeit slightly earlier at the end of 2019, just before it really kicked off and you know what hit the fan.
Oversizes are part of Church Road Records‘ (who was born from the ashes of Holy Roar) ever-growing and impressive list. Tag companions include Ohms, slow crush, Heriot and Implore, so you are already promised a high degree of quality even before the needle hits the vinyl. The band, despite the aforementioned pandemic, has toured extensively with artists like Puppy and narrow head and participated in festivals such as Epidemic (which featured hardcore legends such as Today’s youth, mad ball and total war) and burn it downthe latter exhibiting relatively lesser-known smaller bands.
Before the In the ceiling EP, the band released both the In balance EP and the single “Drive” (taken from this release). The EP’s cover alludes to classic shoegaze, hail my bloody valentine, Slow dive, Stroll etc, with its psychedelic and supernatural vibes.
‘Different Light’ reminders off Smash pumpkinsgiving the track an alternative ’90s rock flavor. It’s definitely not as heavy as this band, but the vocals are a lot less confrontational than Billy Corgan‘s, more plaintive and less ‘moaning’ in other words. It is also reminiscent of contemporary bands such as Narrow Head, especially their latest album Rock of the 12th house and in particular the track “Stuttering Stanley”, which makes for a fantastic opening number with which to kick off proceedings.
If MTV were to focus on the music again instead of lame, irrelevant reality TV drivel, I could certainly foresee that ‘Taste’ (the first single from the EP) would become serious, regular airplay. There are undertones of new wave present that The treatment could have played mid to late 80s, with heavier tracks junior dinosaur moments, with all the quiet/loud contrast giving it a distinctly grungy flavor.
With “Wasted Soul”, think of groups such as Failure and Hmm, due to the massive dynamics of space rocks that these two demonstrate. The former are, in my opinion, one of the most criminally overlooked bands of our time who, despite being revered by both fans and critics, are unfortunately not commercially “attractive” enough to play. the kind of rooms that say Greta VanFlotte are sold with their pennies frankly ridiculous and without originality Zeppelin absurdity.
Yes, go figure, no justice in this world.
‘Dissolve’ sees a much more muscular post-hardcore approach that evokes the best Quicksands has to offer as well as Walter Schreifels‘other outfit Rival schools. The heavy, grating riffs contrast beautifully with the emotive vocal style, making it a perfect way to wrap up the EP.
One of the genres that has been assigned to Oversize is shoegaze, and while there are hints of it present, for your average fan of the genre, I wouldn’t go so far as to think that In the ceiling is a simple remake of Without love Where Souvlaki. This is a much more streamlined, even brawny affair that will have you rocking like a mother (not like a hurricane, sorry Scorpions) and dreaming through the colder fall and winter months.
8 / 10
Sugar Horse – Waterloo teeth (small pond)
Bristol UK, based sugar horse are a relatively prolific band when it comes to releasing new music, and have been bubbling up well in the UK underground metal scene for a few years now. In 2021 they released their first full album life long afterwhich was a nice mix of slow, muddy doom with intriguing elements of post-metal with moments of melodic respite.
This year they released the digital single “Pictures Of Dogs Have Sex” this summer, and follow up with this new collaborative EP. The band also had a busy gig schedule in 2022, having co-headlined tours across the UK with The hyena kills earlier in the year, hitting various festivals over the summer, and embarking on a lavish fall tour with Illusionist and Tuskarbefore playing a tasty slot machine with divine flesh.
So Waterloo teeth features four new tracks and is an ambitious mix of styles expanding on the eclectic style shown on last year’s player. Opening with ‘Disco Loadout’ which, after a resounding intro of feedback, explodes into a short burst of abrasiveness, managing to be both atmospheric and chaotic. This one features guest vocals from Heriotit is Deb Gough and Damien Sayell of St. Peter’s Snake Invasion.
Then the title track opens with a quiet moment as a saxophone twists and turns against an atmospheric backdrop. Sugar Horse Singer Ashley Tubb showcases her clear vocals as the track slowly weaves its way into a reminiscent sound The treatmentbefore turning into a climactic finale as the warp explodes into life with towering screams, before returning to the woe-laden sludge that was predominant on life long after.
‘Gutted’ is a collaboration with Conjurer, which is heavier from the start in a minimalist style with the vocals at the center of an ominous beat, with the guitars flowing in and out of the mix. Through a doom instrumental interlude, the track then hits like a beast with piercing blackened death grunts before dropping into dreamy atmospheric clarity with the elegant clean vocals of Kate Daviesas the trail heads towards the final catastrophic conclusion.
The EP disconnects with ‘Super Army Soldiers’ which includes Adam Devonshire of Slow motion on bass, Mike Venart on guitar and Connie Matthews on vocals, and is another slow burner with a clean guitar melody and an almost hymn-like quality to the vocals on the verse. There’s a cool guitar solo hidden within and as the song progresses the distortion pedal clicks into life, providing a bottom-end buzz of feedback.
An interesting version of Sugar Horse and Friends that has raw sound quality. It may not be as polished as last year’s debut album, but it comes with an undeniable passion for delivering adventurous music.
7 / 10
Bay side – The Red (Hopeless Records)
Now in their third decade, Queens’ own melodic punk rock band bay side are trying something a little different – recording sessions as they feel inspired and releasing them as EPs rather than waiting to release them as a feature film. And it certainly brings out the best in them.
Three songs, ten minutes, with plenty of hooks, The Red still manages to cover a lot of ground. ‘Strangest Faces’ is perfect for Halloween, with its IFA cool choruses and visuals, based on thick, steady guitars and a distinctive vocalist Anthony Raneri tell the scary story.
“Good Advice” is a more traditional American punk rock track, guitars fueling a big chorus that waits for a sweaty room to sing along, while “Just Like Home” shifts from a pogo-friendly riff and a powerful chorus to a more thoughtful verse. .
You can’t have the following and the reputation of Bayside without having the moxie to back it up, and without having the songwriting strength. And if the short-sharp-shock write/record/release approach continues in that vein, then the shorter attack form may be their weapon of choice.
8 / 10