Hivetower – Lunacy (Review)

HivetowerHivetower are a US metal band and this is their debut EP.

I like this, it has character. On the longer side for an EP, (31 minutes), Hivetower have produced the type of metal album that pilfers willingly from a few different scenes and styles, while still managing to have a personality of its own. Continue reading

Dead Ficus – Rise or Fall (Review)

Dead FicusDead Ficus are a Metal band from France and this is their debut album.

Dead Ficus play a form of melodic metal/rock that features harsh vocals and some nice keyboard accompaniment.

The singer has quite a nasty bark to him, which juxtaposes nicely against the music which is melodic and atmospheric. I was actually expecting clean vocals from this band, for some reason, so I like his voice all the more for Continue reading

Mantric – Sin (Review)

MantricMantric are a Norwegian Progressive Metal band. This is their second album.

Mantric play modern Progressive Metal that favours a combination of atmospheric sections and more aggressive technical parts. Sometimes these parts are separated and sometimes they merge into one another.

The vocals consist of soft cleans and harsher screams. The cleans have a wistful, tender feeling to them while the screams are more Hardcore in nature. The cleaner vocals tend to, (unsurprisingly), correspond to the more atmospheric parts and the harsher ones to the more aggressive parts.

Mantric’s Metal hides a lot of complexity behind the atmospheric veneer that it cloaks itself in. I can imagine that it will be a bit hit-and-miss for a lot of people due to the rather unusual style they play, which combines a rather ethereal feeling of atmosphere with a more rugged technicality that is a strange combination in some ways.

I like its unconventional charms though, and Sin does have the feel of a special record due to this. It’s certainly not perfect and does have a few unpolished moments, but overall the odd feelings it creates remind me of a strange amalgam of Poison the Well, Enslaved and Drowningman.

Works for me. Check them out.

Atoj – Atoj (Review)

AtojAtoj are from Italy. This is their latest EP and they play Hardcore.

Atoj’s music is a combination of abrasive Hardcore and 90’s Mathcore. It’s a gritty and dirty EP that showcases a band who have found a sound they’re comfortable with.

The songs are dynamic and interesting, never allowing the listener to slink into complacency, assuming that they know what the next bit will sound like.

This self-titled EP is well-recorded and even on the rare occasions when the band calm down there’s still a palpable intensity to the tracks.

They remind me of a compendium of the heavy parts of older Poison the Well, the aggressive, angular chaos of some of Zao’s work, the Hardcore know-how of Nora, a smidgen of some older bits of The Dillinger Escape Plan and the angry, non-singing parts of Letlive.

An enjoyable rage. Check them out.

Bettyœtker – Barricades (Review)

BettyœtkerBettyœtker are from Germany and play Hardcore.

I have to say I like the cover, so that’s a good start.

The music itself is well recorded with a sound that accentuates the emotive nature of the band.

Angular riffs and chuggy, expressive guitars chop and change their way through the playing time. This would have been at home in the late 90’s/early 00’s Metallic Hardcore scene which spawned the likes of Botch, Zao, Norma Jean, Poison the Well, Nora, etc.

The songs here are wonderfully constructed and boast lots of ideas and interesting riffs to keep the listener hooked.

The singer performs with great gusto and has a voice that’s somewhere between a shout and a scream. He complements and suits the songs well and provides a warmer human side to the band; the music is emotive in its own right of course, but it has a cold, harsh edge to it that the vocals compensate for. Taken together these tracks are dangerously addictive.

This is a class EP full of the kind of meaty Hardcore Metal that’s in much shorter supply these days than it once was.

They’ve made a fan of me and I can’t wait for a full album now. Bettyœtker are here to stay.