Track Review: Tempest // CELAVI

I first heard Welsh band CELAVI when they sent me a song called “Stain” a few years back. I enjoyed how heavy it was, and they are back with a new song ‘Tempest’, which was released a few weeks ago. 

‘Tempest has a very eerie feel because of the reverb and delay on the vocals. It’s dark and heavy, with the synth adding an even bigger layer. The song has a really cool sound with crushing riffs, deserving repeat listens. It is a wonderful track that shows the versatility of their sound.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: Gabriel’s Dawn // Gabriel’s Dawn

Gabriel’s Dawn are a band from the Midlands who are influenced as much  by The Velvet Underground as they are by 80s indiepop. They’ve built up a bit of a reputation and released their anticipated debut album last month. It is a beautiful effort that evokes the spirit of summer. 

The opener ‘Loose Canyon’ has very dreamy guitars and vocals. The beautiful shoegazey harmonies remind me of summer, and they are more calming than a cup of chamomile tea. The solo is gorgeous too, with some stunning licks that are reminiscent of country music. “You, Your Favourite Subject” has got me thinking. I can’t put my finger on who the vocals remind me of, but they are very wholesome. I like how they interplay with the guitars, because they are very pretty. 

“I Don’t Believe (In the Summer Of Love)” could be about a failed relationship and conjures up a very summery atmosphere despite the downbeat lyrics. I think I’ve found the reference I was looking for vocals-wise. It reminds me of Velocette and is equally calming too. “We”, which was one of the band’s recent singles, really diversifies the sound. It is one of the faster-paced songs on the record. The drums give off loads of energy. 

“All My Life” needs a few listens to appreciate how great it is. To me, the vocals sound buried in the mix at first. The lyrics could be about a partner not understanding the feelings of the protagonist. The crashing sounds around the vocals give out a slightly heavier vibe. It is a standout song but works very well on the album. 

I really like “On Real Love” because it is so upbeat. There’s an organ on it which reminds me of indie pop bands from the 80s. Perfect song to sit in the sun. The beautiful guitars combine with the positive lyrics such as “real love won’t bring us down.” 

The melody of “24 Hours From Heaven” is stunning too. The drumming stands out because of its creativeness, while there are beautiful guitar licks all over the shop. 

This album reminds me of Indietracks, which to my mind means it is a very solid album. “Tell Me Which Way” has a classic feel to it but there is a synth solo that really freshens things up. “Loaded Gun” is a slower song with the guitars tinkling softly in the background. The reverb on the vocals makes them sound big and epic! 

I think this album is a must have indiepop record. It has hints of classic and modern sounds with tales of escapism. It shows that Gabriel’s Dawn are going places in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: Trapped // 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 of the biggest festivals in the rock scene, such as Groezrock and Hellfest. They return with a brand new album, which is called Trapped. 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

Trapped 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

Album Review: The Fundemental Slimes and Humours // Nekrogoblikon

Nekrogoblikon have been on my radar for a few years. I saw them at The Joiners in Southampton and I was amazed at how many people could fit on the tiny stage. Obviously the stand out was Jon Goblikon, their goblin hypeman, who added so much fun and humour to their show. I love Nekrogoblikon and I love their silliness. I’ve been listening to a lot of their music lately and am going to see them at Bloodstock. So I was very excited when this album was brought to my attention.

I have heard the singles off it and I think they are fantastic. “Golden Future” is great with the silly synths adding a big element to their sound. It comes at you at a frenetic pace and I can tell that this is going to sound massive live.  You can’t fail to grin at these songs. I also think that “Right Now” is a perfect choice as an album opener too. It chugs along at a reasonably fast pace, and has a very infectious chorus too. It’s fun, and it’s silly, and that is sometimes all you want from an opener, that sets the tone.

Personally, I like “Yin.” I like the death metal riff and feel that it would sound amazing in a live setting. Yes, the production is a bit muddy, but it has the potential to cause big pits with that filthy riff. However if I’m going to be slightly critical, I think the chorus on “Bones”  falls a bit flat because it feels a bit forced. They make up for this though on “Going to Die” which is a straight up banger A fun and bouncy riff dominates the song, then the plinky synth at the end brings a refreshing approach to the music.  Oh my god, there’s more. There’s pirate-style synths on “A Lesson in Hate” which sound absolutely bonkers. It is going to make people lose their minds when they listen to it, and I think this will add very nicely to their catalogue of awesome songs.

The Fundamental Slimes and Humours is an awesome album because it’s so silly, it has big, fun songs. It brings the exuberance, the party, and the goblins in the process.

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: Failure to Launch // Shanghai Treason

Everyone’s favourite flat cap banjo wielders Shanghai Treason are back with their brand new single ‘Failure to Launch.’ Since forming in 2019, they have gone from strength to strength because they have supported Buzzcocks, Ferocious Dogs, and Stiff Little Fingers. They have wowed audiences with their blend of hillbilly punk, and this is again evident on their new song.

What is great about this song is the mandolin. It dominates the track amidst a backdrop of guitars and vocals with snarling attitude. It is fantastic, and I can see why it is one of the band’s favourites that didn’t make the cut from their recent EP. It is the perfect song if you want a beer and will give you more energy than a jack in the box. It is superb. I look forward to hearing more songs like this in the future. It is refreshing and well worth your time.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Bazooka // MONOFLYY

MONOFLYY is a project featuring Da Flyy Hooligan, Montague One, and Oh No. They released a brand new song, ‘Bazooka’ a few months ago.

The first thing you notice is big, heavy production. Hard, electrifying drums. Aggressive violins. That alone amps you up for the unique flow of Da Flyy Hooligan which has plenty of raw power. It would be perfect in the gym. “Devouring instrumentals like a main course.” Incredible wordplay.

Up net comes the experienced Montague One with some exquisite flows, and the gun samples are a good effect. Finally, we see some cold flows and poetry from Oh No. This is a project that could work well because all the rappers suit the beat perfectly. A great song!

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos