Album Review: “The Black”, by Asking Alexandria

 

Metalcore band Asking Alexandria recently released their highly anticipated fourth full-length album, The Black. It’s their first album with new vocalist Denis Shaforostov (AKA, Denis Stoff), who replaced Danny Worsnop when Worsnop departed in January 2015. On May 26, 2015, Stoff was officially announced as the lead vocalist.

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When asked if he had considered anyone else for the role, lead guitarist Ben Bruce stated “it has to be Denis.”  He then went on topraise Stoff’s vocal range, which is much better than Worsnop’s. Stoff also had been a fan of the band and so was familiar with the earlier material. However, when Stoff himself was asked about how he would distinguish himself from Worsnop, he said that he wouldn’t make any comparisons, since they are two completely different people.

Asking Alexandria opens up their album with a pure banger, “Let it Sleep”. The song kicks off with some distorted guitars and when the whole song kicks in, it pummels its listeners with fast guitars, double kick drums, and screamed vocals. Some other highlights of this album are the heavy songs, which is what the band is mainly known for. Some of those songs are ‘The Lost Souls”, “Undivided”, and really cool and unique songs like, “The Black.”

The band also recorded some major throwback songs, which happen to be my personal favorites, such as “Circled By The Wolves” and “Just A Slave To Rock ‘n Roll.” While a great album in all, there two “eh” moments. Some of the lyrics were kind of cheesy and overdone. Although the songs show off Stoff’s vocal range (which is immense and really beautiful), the song “Send Me Home” was just so over done. It comes off as an attempt at an anthem or a radio-friendly song, but doesn’t quite work. They definitely pulled off the other softer songs like, “Here I Am”, and “We’ll Be OK.” Overall, this album is a definite 9.5/10.

Click below for links to the album stream, the band’s website, and their label’s site and channel:
Asking Alexandria website
Asking Alexandria official twitter
Asking Alexandria Facebook page
Spotify
Sumerian Records
Sumerian Records You Tube channel

Artist Spotlight: Being As An Ocean

Being As An Ocean playing live.

‘Being As An Ocean’ playing live.

Being As An Ocean is a post-hardcore/melodic hardcore band from Alpine, California. The band was formed in 2011 and is currently still active and making new music under the record company, Equal Vision. They were originally formed when Tyler Ross, Ralph Sica, Joel Quartuccio, and Shad Hamawe left their previous band, Vanguard, because they were looking for a different sound. The demo versions of two songs, “The Hardest Part Is Forgetting Those You Swore You Would Never Forget”, and “Humble Servant, Am I” that appeared on their debut album, “Dear G-d”, were streamed as two singles on the band’s myspace page on January 4, 2011.Originally, they had their guitarist write the entire album as soon as they formed. Later, it was fully tracked in an old hotel called, “The Palms”, and was then later sent to Brian Hood to be mixed and mastered. “Dear G-d” received overwhelmingly positive reviews. After its release, they toured over 20 countries including Canada, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and Australia.

The lyrical content of this album in particular is arguably very Christian. While many critics assert that the band is a Christian band, the band has said several times that they’re just Christians who love to make music. In 2013, Shad Hamawe and Jacob Prest left the band due to personal reasons, and their desires to step away from the intense touring schedule. The members who still remained started to record some material and also held auditions to recruit new members. The band recruited Connor Dennis, the former drummer of the hardcore punk band, Sleep Patterns, and Michael McGough, guitarist of the band of post hardcore band, The Elijah.

With these two new band members, they released their second album, “How We Both Wondrously Perish”.  Lyrically, musically, and vocally, this album surpasses the last one. They recorded the album in Atlanta, Georgia at “Glow in the Dark Studios” and it was released on May 6, 2014. McGough was the biggest addition to BAAO in all the best ways from his playing to his singing. Quartuccio’s vocal delivery on this album drastically improved, but over all, he is very well known for his passionate, yelled vocals and the spoken word poetry usually infused with the band’s music. Shortly after it’s release, the band stated they were working on a new album to be released later in 2015. They released the main single, ‘Little Richie” and soon after they released their self- titled album.

On this album, the lyrics rip through listeners’ hearts: ‘We still defile and abuse the innocent/Like items to be sold or owned/Slavery and prostitution is no place for a nine year old”(Death’s Great Black Wing Scrapes The Air, “Mediocre Shakespeare”, 2014) and “A loving marriage from the outside, but oh,/ how ferociously he’d hit her/Richie stood by the bleach white bedside/Ma held his face in her hands while he cried”(Little Richie, “Being As An Ocean”, 2015). Overall, this is possibly the best and most authentic band in the music scene today. Check them out; you won’t regret it one bit.

Here are some links to their social media outlets and music outlets:
http://www.facebook.com/BeingAsAnOcean
http://www.twitter.com/beingasanocean
https://www.instagram.com/beingasanocean/
https://myspace.com/beingasanocean/music/songs
https://invoguerecords.bandcamp.com/album/being-as-an-ocean
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/being-as-an-ocean/id492982354
Merch:
http://merchnow.com/catalogs/being-as-an-ocean
http://www.impericon.com/en/being-as-an-ocean.html
http://www.merchconnectioninc.com/collections/being-as-an-ocean

Album Review: Bring Me The Horizon’s, “Sempiternal”

BMTH_SempiternalBring Me The Horizon is a band from Sheffield, UK.  The band has five members: lead vocalist Oliver Sykes, lead guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls, and keyboardist Jordan Fish.  Bring Me The Horizon is known for originally being categorized in the genre known as Deathcore. Deathcore has either been upgraded (or downgraded, depending on who you ask) to a mixed genre that is known as Electronic Metalcore. As their sound has evolved, they have found success with each new release, causing each album to be better than the last. They are a band that has one of the most dedicated fan bases to date. Sempiternal was released in 2013,  and followed three previous studio albums and an EP.  On each album, Oliver Sykes’ technique continues to improve and the band’s execution and lyrics show growth and maturity.

Though it isn’t their most recent album ( That’s the Spirit was released in 2015), Sempiternal serves as Bring Me The Horizon’s all-around most diverse record, with softer to heavier songs. This album is the first with Sykes singing. The opening track ‘Can You Feel My Heart’ is arguably their most experimental track they’ve done over the span of their career. Sykes’ vocals were almost Linkin Park-esque, sounding like he was both singing and screaming at the same time, which is of what most of the album consists. His voice soars through the chorus with intensity and passion. To add to it all, the glitchy vocals throughout that whole song adds another layer, as do the harmonies and the many electronic parts.

There are more experimental songs similar to this song such as ‘Sleepwalking’. In it, crazy, clean, and screamed vocals combine with melodic electronic elements and little breaks of soft singing, showcasing Sykes’ maturing vocals. There are also songs to please their fans of their previous albums.

The album features some memorable but really provocative, anti-religion lyrics in this such as, “And when you die, the only kingdom you’ll see is two foot wide and six foot deep.”  These lyrics are screamed on a track called “The House Of Wolves,” a song that has a very memorable breakdown after that line is delivered. Some other parts in a track called “Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake” seem to mock and really question the hypocrisy of Christianity in lines like, “I’m burning down every bridge we make/ I’ll watch you choke on the hearts you break/I’m bleeding out every word you said/Go to hell for heaven’s sake.” 

These lines mock God and Jesus and the lies the Bible imposes on us as well as the sheer hypocrisy of thinking they (God/Jesus) are above mistakes. It was put very bluntly and quite sarcastically in the song (one of my personal favorites) “Crooked Young” when he screeches the lyrics, “Believe in the one/ Hallelujah, well I’m saved/
Just a dozen steps and 28 days/It’s a miracle, I’ll be born again/As the Lord as my Shepherd I will find a way,”which makes a stark contrast to the lyrics at the end of this song when he screams,“Hallelujah/ I say it’s a miracle, thank you Jesus/ Hallelujah, I say/ — your faith, — your faith.”

Overall, Bring Me The Horizon has really outdone themselves with this album. It’s diverse, it’s heavy, and it’s all over the place. Sempiternal is their best and most mature album to date in all aspects. I’d give this album a solid 10/10.

 

The Many Flavors of Zac Brown Band

imageOn April 28th, Zac Brown Band came out with their new album called Jekyll and Hyde. The name of the album has to do with the book called a Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

In the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually the same person. One is a sane doctor and the other is a crazy man and the album is set up the same way. There are many different types of songs like Castaway, which is an island-type song about drinking and having fun. Then, there is Young and Wild which is an nostalgia song where Zac sings about when he was younger and the things he used to do. Lastly, there is the song Homegrown which is a country song about a small town that feels like he was born there and he wants to die there.

The album is very good gift for someone If you don’t know their taste in music. And if you are trying to get into country music, you should start with buying this album because it has many different sounds and styles.

Check out the lyrics video below for Homegrown, the first single off the album.

Album Review: Lost Isles

Ocean Ate Alaska

Lost Isles, the new album.

In the latest album from Ocean Ate Alaska, it is quite apparent that the music from the band has evolved a lot since the beginning of their career. In their older songs such as “Clocks” or “To Catch a Flame,” compared to a newer song like “Blood Brother” or “Linger,” the difference between the lyrics as they put meaning into the songs is very apparent: “If you fell down we would fall together/ Like a sinking ship in stormy weather/ You’re the bones to our flesh and skin/ But now that you’re gone/ It’s time to rethink without you.” But even coupled with such lyrics, the music doesn’t get any softer; it actually gets heavier with additional tones to the song.

Even though the band has been working on the album for two years, they finally made it and finished satisfied saying, “We hit so many brick walls during the process of creating this album, however to now hear it start to finish we literally couldn’t be any more proud.” My favorite songs from them were the ones I discussed from before (Clocks, To Catch a Flame, Blood Brothers, Linger).

In my opinion, I think it is a better album just because it’s a little heavier and that’s kind of the type of music I like personally prefer. For a newer type of band, I think Ocean Ate Alaska are going in a good direction and will hopefully expand their fan base throughout the years.

B4.DA.$$ Review

By Ben Varughese

Joey Bad's Latest Project

Joey Bad’s Latest Project

The Badmon himself has managed to further the Pro Era vibe he has worked so hard to build up with the drop of his album B4.DA.$$. Dropped January 20th, he manages to combine his thoughts and his story with a good number of hard-hitting tracks. Some argue that Joey gets repetitive, saying his style never changes. But personally I believe his consistency is what makes his game so solid. Tracks like Belly of the Beast (feat. Chronixx) go into depth about life in Brooklyn, and just his point of view in general, as exemplified in Hazeus View. He also upholds the 95 till Infinity hustle in tracks like Big Dusty and Christ Conscious, stating he won’t stop spitting hot until he reaches Christ Conscious. He also

Big Poppa Swank Been At It

Big Poppa Swank Been At It

outlines some of his more personal aches and pains in tracks like O.C.B., where he expresses the loneliness of being an only child, hence Only Child Blues. Arguments have been made that the Beast Coast rapper’s most recent project fails to reach the same heights as his former mixtapes. I will not lie, tracks like #LongLiveSteelo off of Summer Knights will always make me feel a type of way. However, I personally believe that Joey Bada$$ continues to make solid growth, and being only 20 years old, not even in his prime, he is no doubt destined to continue to be successful and identify with Classic hard-hitting vibe New York rap has always personified.