Album Review: We Move As One // Ironed Out

It’s been a while since I’ve heard an album that’s stacked in heaviness. It has to be an album I’ve enjoyed listening to, such as ‘Inhumane’ by Bearers, or the last Gideon record. But We Move As One, the second album from Ironed Out is absolutely disgusting. From the moment the vocals come in, you’re in for a treat.

I have noticed that a lot of bands are tapping into their angrier side, like Bring Me the Horizon and Don Broco. Their latest songs have been heavier than we’ve seen them in a while. But Ironed Out is straight out hardcore, with a load of snarling riffs that say “fuck you.” 

It opens with the grimey riff of ‘Pavement Strong.’ The rapping fits perfectly with the angry guitars, while the drumming is tight and focused. The lyrics are very territorial because they represent London, while the breakdown at the end is filthier than a slug sandwich.

‘Crazy Old World’ offers something different, with clean vocals in the chorus. They help to keep the record sounding fresh while the lyrics are about pushing through in the madness of life: “Time and time again, trying to make ourselves heard / standing around in this crazy old world.” I wish gigs were a thing, because the nasty breakdown at half speed at the end of the song would have me spinkicking and stagediving all over the place. There’s also a funky bassline in the middle. This shows their influences are varied, which is really awesome.

I’ve been listening to a lot of UK rap and grime lately, and I love it for its passion and honesty. Ironed Out combine rap and hardcore perfectly on We Move As One. I like how this album is filled with chunky riffs and there’s no letting up at all. I think the production is better in comparison to their first album, Us and Them because it’s polished, unleashing the power of their songs.

I think if you’re into The Ghost Inside, Hacktivist, or Madball you’ll love We Move As One.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: Escape // Future Palace

I think it is awesome that Future Palace have different influences. Their sound is mainly a melodic form of post-hardcore, but they also take inspiration from 80s synth pop like Depeche Mode. This is evident on their debut album, Escape.

I love that there is a lot of catchy hooks, especially on recent single ‘Maybe.’ The uplifting guitars blend with the soft synths because they take the track into a poppier dimension. But the theme is darker, n

On the other hand, this formula doesn’t always work. Post hardcore is a great genre but also oversaturated.  On ‘Parted Ways’, the band do not stand out from the pack, but thankfully these moments are only fleeting.

There’s some interesting production on ‘Anomaly.’ The distorted guitars create a strong energy, and work well with Maria’s strong vocals. ‘Break Free’ is also a strong way to end the album. It sounds like it’s been influenced by Holding Absence’s shoegaze but the power chords create a heavier dynamic.   When Maria sings “I keep fighting but I’m lost in my own world” it is powerful because it shows a determination to keep on going.

Aside from a few generic moments, ‘Escape’ is a solid debut album. It hows that Maria wears her heart on her sleeve, because her vocals are passionate, but also the guitars are powerful and pack a punch. It will be interesting to see what Future Palace will come up with in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Finding Kate // I Feel Bad

Finding Kate is the alias of Kate Pavli, a singer hailing from Australia and Cyprus, but based in London. Her style is characterized by a powerful vocal delivery, while she draws influences from Rock, Pop, and Alternative. She’s been honing her talents over the years, releasing new single ‘I Feel Bad.’ The track has received a wave of support from Kerrang Radio and Planet Rock, while she has played shows at  Icebreaker Festival in Portsmouth, and supported Hands Off Gretel.

‘I Feel Bad’ is a fiery rock song which brings Kate’s soaring vocals to the fore. They drive the track forward because they are captivating. One thing that impresses me about this song is the way the vocals mix with the synths because they add an extra layer to her already huge sound. It shows that she is willing to try new things. The chorus is the strongest bit of the song because the passionate delivery and heavy guitars are extremely melodic.

Listening to ‘I Feel Bad’, it is easy to see why Finding Kate’s reputation is increasing. With distinctive vocals and a haunting sound, she is a talent you should keep your eyes on in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

EP Review: Pharos // Ihsahn

Ihsahn draws rom so many influences that the beautiful thing about his sound is that you don’t know what he’s going to come out with. His EP ‘Telemark’ which was released earlier this year went back to his black metal roots and a take no shit attitude, and he is following it up with ‘Pharos’. It’s an EP full of twists and turns, with a few covers in the mix.

In comparison to ‘Telemark’, ‘Pharos’ is much lighter. Pharos is the Greek translation of lighthouse, and the EP itself captures some lovely soundscapes.

An example of this is ‘Spectre at the Feast’ which reminds me of Oasis’ more tender moments. The melodic vocals brightened my mood because the big production was a joy to listen to. The heavy guitars in ‘Losing Altitude’ cut deep like a razor, especially with the strings bending. They add to the dark mood of the song.

Ihsahn has also recorded two covers on the album: ‘Roads’ by Portishead, and ‘Manhattan Skyline’ by a-ha. The former captures the buzing tremolo guitar of the original. The fluid drums and the flanger effect work well because the listener feels relaxed. The instruments and vocals work well in the mix because they all blend together very nicely.  

 The cover of Manhattan Skyline captures the light synths in the beginning with some falsetto vocals in the intro. The guitar riff in the original is quite heavy, but Ihsahn amplifies this further. The chorus is huge, but the cover remains faithful to the original. It shows the diversity on this EP, and it’s well worth your time.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: 2045 // Thrillhouse

Thrillhouse never fail to amaze me with their summery songs providing a nostalgic backdrop. Every time I hear their synths, they make me feel warm inside and give off a strong nostalgic feeling.

They’ve been very prolific during lockdown by creating and consistently bringing out new music. Every one of these songs has been stunning. They’ve got another new song coming out, called ‘2045’, which judging by the title, sounds like it’ll be a futuristic banger.

The track is very futuristic, featuring a repetitive synth that will get stuck in your head. Thrillhouse are brilliant at this because they know how to create an earworm of a melody. ‘2045’ is a perfect example of this, and I think it’ll set them on their way to bigger things.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Key of Innocence // Enjoyable Listens

Enjoyable Listens are a band who only seem to write good songs. I’m obsessed with ‘Summer Hit and International Space Station’, their two previous songs because they capture innocence and vulnerability very well. Their lyrics and music are full of nostalgia, referencing Tony Hawks’ Pro Skater 4 and giving the listener a warm feeling. They’ve got a new song, ‘Key of Innocence’, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the track builds on the last two.

‘Key of Innocence’ brings a 90s Britpop influence. The reverberated vocals and guitars add a summery shimmer into the music, because they would sound perfect when sitting in the sun and drifting away.

I love ‘Key Of Innocence’ because it’s infectious and has a strong melody. They’re a band who are full of talent, and their relatable lyrics are meaningful to a lot of people.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: For the Sun // Melorman

Melorman is the alias of Greek producer Antonis Chaniotakis. He combines ambient electronica with glitch and experimental elements. On his new album  ‘For the Sun’, he creates a calm, emotional imagery.

Each track has fluffy melodies which ascend very quickly. On opener ‘Eliquis’, there is a calm build up with an ascending piano, and then it turns into a proper deep house tune. The glitch effects take the track in a different direction, showing his wide range of influences. ‘Love is Growing’ is even prettier because the euphoric synths create a beautiful atmosphere. As the track builds up to a crescendo, the listener is in a state of bliss.

Another thing that is great about this album is how it takes you to different places. ‘Night Falls’ is the type of song you’d listen to at 3am when you’re feeling introspective. The soft piano creates moments of euphoria and feels uplifting.

8am is a strong example of the album’s diversity. The 80s influenced bass synth reminds me of a long car journey, while one of the synths has a high level of attack on it. This creates an ascending sound that brings out a heavy atmosphere.

‘For the Sun’ is perfect if you are feeling anxious and need something to calm you down. The introspective sounds and warm synths make this album well worth listening to.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Katalepsy get ferocious on new album ‘Terra Mortuus Est’

Katalepsy have created brutal death metal for years. The band consists of Igor Filimontsev (vocals), Anton Garasiev (guitar), Dmitry Dedov (guitar), Anatoly Shishilov (bass), and Andrey Patsionov (drums). They started off as a slam band, but on their new album Terra Mortuus Est they’ve morphed into more traditional metal with a hardcore edge.

 It’s clear that the band have come a long way production-wise from the filthy ‘Rabid.’ The songs come at you with frenetic speed and power, for example ‘Night of Eden’ and ‘Those Who Rot the Souls.’ The guitar tones are so crisp and punchy they’ll melt your face.  But the band have crafted an album full of melodies as well because the black metal riffs in the title track are captivating and keep you guessing what’ll come next.

Filiontsev’s vocals are also very impressive. They pack a punch and benefit from being high in the mix. ‘Deep Down Madness’ is another highlight because you can feel every crashing cymbal and pounding snare. 

Terra Mortuus Est is ferocious and terrifying. It shows a band who have pushed themselves and gone from strength to strength. The production is strong because it shows how filthy and crushing Katalepsy can be, resulting in a welcome addition to their back catalogue.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

EP Review: Kellindo – Summertime (Remixes)

Kellindo, a multi instrumentalist from New York, released his new song ‘Summertime’ earlier this year. The hazy production combines well with the soulful vocals because it puts the listener in a relaxed state of mind.   He’s collaborated with a bunch of UK producers to put their own flavour on ‘Summertime.’ It’s really interesting to see the different styles on offer.

The Subtheory remix keeps the songs vocals but adds in synths and handclaps. Listening to this version, there is a laid back feel which is enhanced by the filtered guitars because it feels as if you’re sitting by the pool with a cocktail in hand.

Lee Christian’s ‘Fun Has Begun’ remix is exactly what the title says. It is more upbeat, with panned vocals and a prominent kickdrum. The disco flavour of the song is interesting because it adds even more colour. There is added prominence in the lyric: “fun has begun” as it is repeated for effect. It works well because it’s something you can dance to.

Oxford rapper Half Decent sounds as if he adds his own elements. The piano chord changes and what sounds like 808 drums make it a suitable beat for rappers to spit on. There is enough space in the mix for the instruments to breathe. It keeps the sumery feel of the song. The guitars at the end sound a bit clustered, but other than that it is a solid remix.

The JHawk remix takes advantage of the guitars because it mixes the with ambient synths. There is a rock influence in this version, which is refreshing because it offers something different. Finally, the JUICY RMX takes summer to a whole new level. It chops up the vocals and brings in drums with a lot of punch. It’s a remix you can dance to, ensuring that all the artists have added their own twist to put a smile on your face.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

James Qupid gets spiritual on ‘Holy Water’

James Qupid is a rising singer-songwriter from Florida. His incredibly smooth vocals come from a strong Gospel and R n’ B influence, while the production is fun and vibrant. This is evident on his new song, ‘Holy Water.’

‘Holy Water’ is a song that exudes spiritual enlightenment. With beefy bass sounds and summery vocals, there is versatility about his sound that helps him stand out. The song was written during quarantine, while the lyrics reflect his upbringing. It’s a ray of positivity that we need in these difficult times, and is a worthy inclusion for any summer playlist.

Listen to ‘Holy Water’ here.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos