Album Review: Blood Blast // TARLD 

TARLD, which stands for The Amsterdam Red Light District, is a melodic hardcore band from France. Over the last few years, they’ve enjoyed a fairly meteoric rise, touring both Europe and Japan. They’ve even played at some o the biggest festivals in the rock scene, such as Groezrock and Hellfest. They return with a brand new album, which is called Blood Blast. The album comes out on the 20th May.

There’s a lot to enjoy on the album, which comes at you with some frenetic While She Sleeps energy, especially on opener ‘Threatened Generation.’ It hits you straight off the bat with some fast guitar riffs that will cause a bloodbath in the pits. The chorus has some serious singalong energy as well. It is a furious opener. Plus, the surprise of seeing Drew York from Stray From the Path in the second track, ‘Good Intentions’ was really cool as well. His vocal delivery on this song added a fresh dynamic, while I thoroughly enjoyed the chorus.

I think the uplifting nature of this album is very empowering. There are lots of influences ranging from punk rock to hardcore. The album doesn’t let up in pace, which is very ideal because here you have ten songs with equally mosh-worthy choruses and riffs. For example on ‘Not So Innocent.’  The overlapping lead riffs are very refreshing and add something new to the band’s palette of sound. They bring an element of fun to the album.

Blood Blast does exactly what you’d expect it to. The unclean angry vocals give loads of energy and a frenetic wild feel to the listening experience. Blast it loud and you’ll get a voracious assault. One major example of this is on ‘Fair-weather Friend’ because of its bouncy riff and giddy energy. It sums up the appeal of the record, and is absolutely ideal for a summer’s day. This album is very good, and a thoroughly enjoyable listen if you want your face ruined by some filthy upbeat hardcore.

EP Review: Sicksense – Kings Today

Sicksense are a nu metal band who carry a wealth of charisma. Led by the vocal powerhouse of Vicky Psarakis and Robby J Fonts, they have created a stunning EP called Kings Today. The EP is incredibly ferocious, with some stunning dual vocals and big guitars.

What really stands out for me after hearing the EP a bunch of times is the dual vocal interplay that’s going on. The vocals from Vicky add a melodic approach when combined with Rob’s screams. The lyrics are about rising up from the ashes. It’s stunning. I can hear these songs sounding huge in an arena.

There’s more stunning vocals in the chorus of “Forgotten Days” which totally carry the song. The slap bass reminds me of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I think that the vocals and chorus in “Make Believe” are super catchy, while the lyrics are very relevant in the pain that social media can sometimes cause. The breakdown is very infectious too, and the transition back to the chorus is huge. “Soul Snatcher” is the same. So much intensity in one song, especially in that pummeling main riff and the glitched out section.

What an effort by Sicksense. Bouncy nu metal that whets the appetite massively. A stunning blend of aggression and melody.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

 Track Review: Lord Jessiah – Sermon On the Mount 

This latest offering is produced by legendary beatmaker Bronze Nazareth. It features some hard drums which are huge in this song. This really boosts its appeal. It’s a summery beat with a gospel organ and big horns.

Lord Jessiah offers some sharp wordplay and an aggressive delivery to match. What a find this is. One of those songs that demands your attention.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Doctor // Leo

Leo (they/them) is a Naarm/Melbourne based artist. After playing solo for many years, Leo is expanding to a full band for live shows in 2022. Taking inspiration from the eeriness of Nick Cave, the delivery of Soccer Mommy, their genre is up for interpretation. Bringing a fraught and honest lyrical style that many people can relate to, Leo’s songs bring out plenty of vulnerability so the listener can feel the songs deeply.

This is true of Leo’s new single, ‘Doctor.’ It is a metaphor for anxiety. It takes you on a spiritual journey. The glitch sounds are very beautiful, while the guitars are reminiscent of Radiohead. I think the lyrics are heartfelt and capture the emotion and how anxiety affects some people on a daily basis, sometimes hourly. It can be a hard thing to deal with and Leo sums these feelings up with honesty and vulnerability.

I think that Leo is going to do big things in the future, and I look forward to what will come from them next.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

 Album Review: Delta 7 – The Lockdown Sessions

Delta 7 is a collective that identifies as being disabled. All of them have autism and Down’s Syndrome. But they are very successful because they have won many awards for their honest portrayal of living with these disabilities. As someone with autism myself, it felt appropriate to review this record.

Listening to it in 2022, songs about lockdown feel like a snapshot of a period where most people felt isolated. I’ll be honest, I can’t knock this album. It sounds like a group of people having fun. And, there’s some motivational lyrics that can suit any situation: “Look to the future and not what’s behind us.” There’s lyrics about a feeling of frustration and anger about wanting to break free from the chains. Even on ‘Eco Happy’ there’s some lyrics about global warming. They are singing about important issues that matter and for that I admire them.

There is some strong musicianship, with influences from psychedelia and prog rock. It is a very good album which I enjoyed very much.

Track Review: Falling in Love // Freya Alley

Free spirited London singer songwriter Freya Alley returns with a brand new song called ‘Falling in Love’ which is about the intense feelings of love and all that goes with it.

Listening to this song, I really like the electro synths and how they dominate the track. They capture how dark the song is and they repeat throughout. I think they work very well with the dark lyrics. Alley’s voice is wonderful as well as well, while the chorus is insanely catchy. This song demonstrates what a talent Freya Alley is and I hope that she is set for big things in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Help Me Anytime You Want // Paul Holden

Paul Holden has a fascinating backstory. As well as previously fronting The Talkabouts, he has played shows with The Bluetones, The Pretenders, and China Crisis. He covered ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon in front of 10,000 people at the M & S arena as part of The Number One Project for charity. There is an air of mystery around Paul’s journey because he suffers from a rare muscle condition called Nemaline Myopathy. But that hasn’t stopped him from releasing a new song, ‘Help Me Anytime You Want’, which is out now on all available streaming platforms.

Paul wears his influences on his sleeve. On ‘Help Me Anytime You Want’, he brings out a baggy bassy sound that recalls The Farm and Happy Mondays. The stomping drums give way to a Britpop-style guitar that makes the song uplifting. The swirling synth dominates the song, adding an air of psychedelia, and this compliments Paul’s beautiful dulcet tones.

‘Help Me Any Time You Want’ is a stunning track that is a perfect warm-up for his new EP Say It to the Sun, which comes out on 19th August.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track review: Lost // Azu Yeché

Azu Yeché is a rising talent with an incredible voice. What is also great about him is how much melody he puts in his songs as well. They remind you of summer, and have an easy going nature that a lot of people can relate to. He releases his brand new song ‘Lost’ on Friday 8th July, and it is another beautiful effort.

The track starts off with a chilled out drumbeat and them morphs into a relaxing summery banger. The piano and trumpet are beautiful because they bring a calm feeling to the listener. Listening to the song makes you think of the beach and putting your troubles behind you.

When Yeche sings: “I don’t wanna be lost”, it shows that there is anxiety that a lot of people face. This is very understandable because when you’ve been locked away for so long, the idea of facing a large group of people can be overwhelming in itself. So this lyric is very relevant in more ways than one. The songwriting is top notch and is an example of what Azu Yeché can achieve in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Educ’aid Africa organises live stream concerts to open their first music school

Educ’aid Africa is a community interest company that aims to develop music education and support schools in need in Benin. The charity was started by Isa Bell, a social entrepreneur and singer songwriter who wants to give every child in Benin access to musical education. She started the initiative before the pandemic, organising concerts consisting of artists performing. The concerts helped raise money to fund a new school canteen in a primary school in need.

During the pandemic, musicians were hit the hardest. Gigs and venues were closed, and many bands turned to live streaming. Educ’aid Africa are launching a series of live streaming shows and events to open the first music school in Benin.

One of their upcoming events is on Saturday 17th April featuring singer Mary Cross.  From smooth Jazz to Classic Soul & RNB her voice takes you on a journey. She will be performing with her band in support.

Music is not part of the education system in Benin like in most African countries so only a very small percentage of the children population can afford to go to the few private music schools the country has to offer. Educ’aid Africa believes that music education is a powerful tool for attaining children’s full intellectual, social and creative potential and is on their mission to offer this opportunity to Beninese youth.

For more information, visit this link:

https://www.aid-africa.org/

Check out all their upcoming events @EducaidAfrica

https://www.linkedin.com/company/educaidafrica

https://www.facebook.com/EducAidAfrica

https://www.instagram.com/educaidafrica/

To reserve your place for Mary Cross live stream, follow this link. This is a free event, donations are welcome.

https://www.creativexchange.io/live-stream/singing-for-educaid-africa-mary-cross164

To make a donation:

https://www.aid-africa.org/donate

Paypal.me/EducaidAfrica

Album Review: The Other Side of Nowhere // Middlemist Red

Middlemist Red are inspired by psych-rock and synth wave. Their new album, ‘The Other Side of Nowhere’ is inspired by the Wild West and has a soundtrack to match. It brings in Hungarian Folk sounds and tribal elements, which work very well to create a massive sound. The album was written during the pandemic and then recorded into Ableton.

It is clear to me that a lot of thought has gone into the album. ‘Grip of the Sun’ has an addictive guitar riff which takes the listener on a journey as they’re riding through the sun. ‘Don’t Let the Sunlight Catch You Cryin’ reminds me of Arcade Fire because the guitars create a beautiful wall of sound. ‘Blue Moon’ is the best song on the album because the passionate vocals and guitars in the background make the listener feel alive. I love the guitar solo because it adds character and energy.

‘Get Back’ is another very good song, with a psychedelic guitar solo working very nicely with the distorted bass. This works very well because it shows that even in dark times, the protagonist can still move forward. It sums up the positive vibes on this album.

I like this record because it reminds me of a film score. It makes the listener feel solidarity and resilience, ready to tackle any situation.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos