Hi guys, welcome to songs of the week. This is where I let you in on what I’ve been listening to lately. My top 5 songs this week features a whole host of exciting new bands, including a local, Manchester based metal group who are making their mark; a prog rock band from Latvia; an inventive British band starting to get serious ahead of a first album; a track from one of the quintessential members of the Thrash Four; and a rarity for this blog in an artist that’s topped the UK charts!
Hozier – Jackie And Wilson
Hozier will be no stranger to most listeners, having reached number 2 in both UK and US charts in September with his track “Take Me To Church”. In spite of the other tracks that have been released from his debut album, Hozier, this is the one that I’ve enjoyed the most. It’s blues rock at its best, the whole is centred around one riff and it’s such a great groove! Songs constructed like this can often become tired very quickly and boring, but there’s a lot of variation around the riff, the various different endings provide enough of a refreshment to prevent it becoming tired. The repetitiveness of the riff also allows the listener to focus on the lyrics, which are very astutely written. The chorus of course is different and the vocal melody is so catchy, and is supported by the excellent arrangement of backing vocals and strings to really fill out the sound and make the contrast to the sparse verse even more effective. Very Enjoyable.
For Fans Of: The White Stripes, Queens Of The Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures
Zoax – Jekyll Meets Hyde
Jekyll Meets Hyde is taken from Zoax’s frist EP XIII, and really showcases the band’s cohesion and ability to switch between styles instantaneously. This is one of the first tracks the band, featuring Joe Copcutt (Rise To Remain) on bass, wrote together and it has a distinctly raw energy to it that definitely meets the band’s initial criteria to “create music that inspires themselves in a seemingly stale and incestuous gene-pool”. The track abruptly transitions from the clean and melodic to rifftastic and heavy in the drop of a hat, yet the impeccably well performed stops make the changes almost natural. The band’s sound has developed greatly since this track was released, but the sudden changes are still present in their more recent efforts and it’s a joy to hear.
For Fans of: Rise to remain, Thrice, Deftones
Lost In The Abyss – Lost Without Regrets
Lost Without Regrets is the first track on Lost In The Abyss’s EP of the same name which was released back in September. The 5 piece metal band have created something really great in this track as it begins with a single note piano melody before the band kicks in with all its might with the main riff that just sounds like a mosh-pit waiting to happen. The harmonised guitars in this section add a different dimension so that it’s not just a headbanger’s delight, but has the melodies to keep other audiences interested. Following this, the verse has a very sparse texture, losing a lot of the instruments that fill out the sound, and this allows the very angrily delivered vocals to take centre stage which is where they stay even when the piano line re-appears in the chorus. The production on this track could be better to allow all elements of the track to be heard more clearly, however this is only a minor drawback. The track is fuelled with hatred and betrayal which definitely comes across in the delivery, whilst managing to simultaneously showcase the band’s virtuosity. The guitar solo towards the end of the track is most impressive, if not a little out of place. Very good song, and I look forward to seeing them live at Manchester’s Rebellion next week.
For Fans Of: Architects, Parkway Drive, Bury Tomorrow
Anthrax – Evil Twin
This is Anthrax’s first release since Worship Music in 2011, and they’re back to doing what they do best. This thrashtastic track is full riff to mosh and headbang to: from the intro riff, to the verse riff and chorus, its full throttle from the start. The only respite comes just before the solo when they enter very groovy section. The solo itself marks the first time Jon Donais (Shadows Fall) has appeared on record with Anthrax and does an impeccable job of following in the footsteps of the metal giants that have gone before him. Joey Belladonna returns on vocals to provide catchy melodies to offset the fast paced, angry riffs. Ultimately, this track is nothing new for the thrash metal veterans, but as a long time fan, it’s still very enjoyable.
Crow Mother – White Devil
Latvia based Crow Mother released with this album back in 2013, and I can’t believe it’s taken this long to grab my attention. Their prog rock influences are on show right from the start, setting the scene with creative guitar effects on a cleverly written solo over a consistent groovy bass line. When the song kicks in, you get hit with a blast of groovy metal riffs complete with excellent pinch harmonics. The verse and pre-chorus sections off-set each other perfectly, providing an excellent textural contrast. Unfortunately the chorus doesn’t quite match the hype of the pre-chorus, but the well conceptualised lyrics partially atone for this. The middle section see another creative guitar solo come in before the final chorus is adorned with the additions of guitar lead lines to emphasise the chords. It’s definitely an improvement on previous appearances of the chorus’ and really grabs the attention.
For fans of: Wolfmother, Coheed and Cambria, Shinedown