Venues – Aspire (Review)

VenuesVenues are a post-hardcore/metalcore band from Germany and this is their debut album.

This is an enjoyable 47 minutes of modern heaviness, with a style that fits somewhere between post-hardcore and metalcore. Continue reading

Ann My Guard – Innocence Descent (Review)

Ann My GuardAnn My Guard are from Hungary and play Melodic Rock/Metal. This is their début album.

Mixing the extravagance of bands like Evanescence and Lacuna Coil with the Earthy grit of bands like Hole, Ann My Guard have produced a very impressive début.

The singer has a very powerful voice that’s versatile and strong. The vocals seems to seep from every pore of the music, however they don’t overpower it as the band has a core of Rock/Metal that refuses to be subdued.

This is richly melodic and falls on the more commercial side of the Modern Metal spectrum, although that certainly doesn’t intrinsically mean anything is wrong with it. Quite the reverse in fact, as the songs are strongly written and well-produced.

Although the vocals are undoubtedly the central focus, the music doesn’t slack. The instruments are well played and have a good sound to them. The fact that the guitars are not completely watered down like some bands of a similar style to this should tell you all you need to know. Rather than a vehicle for a singer this is a real band, as the coherence of the album attests to.

The band create very lush and textured soundscapes, with plenty of piano and subtle sounds to accompany the traditional drums/bass/guitar triad. This is an album of memorable tunes and good songs.

Although a lot lighter and considerably less extreme than a lot of the stuff that makes its way onto this site, this is nonetheless a worthy acquisition for when you want something a bit less intense and a lot more floating-ly melodic.

Check them out and have a listen.

Tothem – Beyond the Sea (Review)

TothemItalian Gothic Metallers Tothem have released their début album Beyond the Sea.

This is a stirring and spirited album, with angelic female vocals layering a solid Metal base. Sometimes with this type of genre, with so much focus on the vocals, the underlying music can seem left behind a bit; the guitars especially can be left to sound quite weak. Not so for Tothem; thankfully they have kept the guitars nice and loud and pleasantly thick.

Musically we have a modern Power Metal foundation with liberal keyboards and sweeping feminine harmonies soaring over the top of everything.

If you have heard bands such as Within Temptation, Evanescence, Nightwish, et al then you know what kind of songs are on offer here. Of course it’s easy to say that we’ve heard this all before, but if you like this kind of music then that’s no barrier to enjoyment. The differentiation comes of course from the nicely heavy music and above all from the songs themselves. 

This is an enjoyable album with good songs and where the music doesn’t play second-fiddle to the, (admittedly impressive), vocals. Try them out and see if they can win you over.