Archive for May, 2012

For Today: Immortal

Posted in Album Reviews on May 28, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

“Everyone dies! But not everyone truly lives!”

Christian metalcore band For Today will be releasing their fourth studio record as a follow up to the very successful, Breaker record. This is also the first record the band have done with their new record label, Razor & Tie records. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, this album is one my top 5 most highly anticipated records of 2012. After the success of Breaker, I’m sure everybody is going to be expecting something just as strong if not better. After listening to this I have to say it’s really fucking good. I think I like it just as much as Breaker. I still have to get used to the new songs and once I see them performed live at Warped Tour, I’ll be able to see how well the new songs translate live.

First off, this is probably the heaviest and most metal record they’ve ever done, which is hard to imagine. Some of the riffs are just straight up metal riffs like what you would hear on a thrash metal record from the 80s. They are also bone-crushingly heavy. It’s amazing how immense this band sound on record and live. This is also Ryan’s best record by far. His riffs are better than ever and he’s singing a lot more now, making him more apparent in terms of the whole band and it makes the band sound a bit more metalcore (e.g. “Fearless” and “The Foundation”). Most of you will have already heard “Fearless” by now. If you liked that track, then you’ll love the album. “Fearless” is a huge track, “Stand Defiant” is a fucking stormer of  a song and “Immortal” is also a great anthemic, track made for the live arena. There is a video already out for “Fearless” so go check that out now because it’s awesome.

The album also features three new guest appearences. Drew York, Shane Raymond, and Jay Pepito were featured on the last album, and Immortal features Tommy Green of Sleeping Giant, Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red, and Sonny Sandoval from P.O.D. The one featuring Tommy Green is probably the best out of the three of them. In Breaker, there were a lot on interludes and spoken word tracks bridging the album together. Immortal has an opening track like that and a track in the middle, but otherwise it’s just relentless straight through.

What I really like about For Today is that even though they’re unashamedly christian, when you listen to their music, you forget all about that. I find that with a lot of christian bands, they’re so good that I forget that they’re christian and singing all about their religion. I also like how they don’t try and use their music as a tool for trying to force their religion upon everyone else. Rather, it’s more a vehicle for them to express themselves the way they want to and to tell the whole world that they love God and how important it is to them. I’m not very religious myself but whenever I listen to bands like For Today, I can’t help but feel a sense of spirituality.

Anywho, thats enough from me. I hope you enjoy this record as much as I have. Catch For Today on this year’s Warped Tour this summer. They really put on a show and it’ll be a great day.

Luke Helker

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Miles Before We Sleep

Posted in AHP/Local Bands on May 28, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

 

Miles Before We Sleep is a six-piece post hardcore/metalcore band from Dallas, Texas (I don’t know exactly why they call themselves a six piece because according to their facebook, they really are a five piece and a ‘merch guy’). With an already impressive track record, the band are looking to make more of a name for themselves and really dent the hardcore/metalcore community. Being one of the heavier type of acts that the Warped tour puts on, I could see them playing to a crowd like that and gain loads of exposure. They’ve already played with bands like Memphis May Fire, The Browning (one of my favorites), A Bullet for a Pretty Boy, and Harp & Lyre so they’ve got   a great start and a rapidly growing fan base for sure.

The band just released a four track debut self-titled EP. The songs are very strong without relying so much on the bells and whistles that these other meat and potatoes bands try to put on as much as they can to gain popularity. Actually, the songs are quite well written; everything is placed strategically and conservatively. The EP is also very well produced. I imagine they produced it themselves, but it sounds really tight and professional. I really like the vocals and the guitars are super heavy. They also include some electronics but not to the extent of bands like The Browning.

Here be some links for you to check out at your leisure:

http://reverbnation.com/milesbeforewesleep
http://www.milesbeforewesleep.bigcartel.com
http://www.twitter.com/milesb4wesleep
http://www.purevolume.com/MilesBeforeWeS…

They also have a facebook page as well so check that out. Until next time, keep on rocking.

Luke Helker

Six Stories Unknown

Posted in AHP/Local Bands on May 27, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Sweden’s very own pop-punk, easycore band Six Stories Underis a relatively new band and the members just turned 18, yet they’ve already shared the stage with a slew of well known bands in the Swedish scene and are already signed to an inde label based out  in Italy. Needless to say, they’ve got a good start and with some solid songs available and an album in production, I predict some big things for this band.

Im sure I’ve said this before about some of these new local bands, but Six Stories Unknown is a perfect Warped Tour type of band. They’ve got that explosive sound that’s great for blasting in your car with the windows down, melodic choruses to chant along to and some wicked breakdowns to bang your head to. They’re super tight for not having been together too long and perform like seasoned pros. I’d love the opportunity to see them, but I’ll just have to wait for now. Until then, you can check them out here using the link below:

http://www.facebook.com/sixstoriesunknown

Please check these guys out. It’s good stuff and everybody reading this will dig what they do. I guarantee it. Good luck guys. Keep up the good work. (P.S. I love all the artwork)

Luke Helker

The Batonist

Posted in AHP/Local Bands on May 27, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

“Sounds like a female Pinocchio hanging by a harpsichord string from a bridge over troubled water”

I really couldn’t have said it better myself. The Batonist is the stage name for Hannah Edington, a fellow music student who is behind this dark masterpiece. She recently released her first full-length album, Better Off, a collection of songs the she’s been working on for the past four years and has put all of her blood, sweat, and tears into making this record. After listening to it I though, ‘she needs to be Tim Burton’s music supervisor’. It’s very dark, yet pleasurable. The lyrical content and the mood of the whole album is very dark and creepy, but her voice is very warm and comforting. It almost sounds like you’re trapped in a nightmare, but it’s all okay because her voice makes you feel safe.

It’s also something I’ve never really heard before. I’m not the biggest goth fan so maybe I’m missing out on a lot here, but it doesn’t sound like anything I could properly compare it to, which is fine because this needs no comparison. It’s very original and very well crafted. The songs are diverse enough within the genre and they all demonstrate different musical qualities. Edington is able to create some interesting sounds to help set the mood too. The song “Victoria’s Weeds” features a piano that sounds like the chiming of a Grandfather clock. That’s just one example of the many clever tricks she puts into her music.

I really enjoyed this album. Even though it’s not a genre that I delve into personally, I found it all very enjoyable and atmospheric. Even though the audience for this type of music may be small, you can’t deny that her voice is really special and her music, while it might not be your cup of tea, is very well put together and deserves your attention. Please check out her stuff:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/TheBatonist/162849253737639

Luke Helker

Firewind: Few Against Many

Posted in Album Reviews on May 27, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

This is the album that Firewind needed to make. If you read my review on Days of Defiance, I said that I thought the band were just releasing the same album for a third time now with no real promising aspects to it. This album however, is a breath of fresh air for Firewind. It’s got the undeniable Firewind sound, but they do a lot of new and different things to make it more modern and something fresh.

After spending some time as Ozzy’s new guitarist, shredder Gus G returns to Firewind to deliver another spectacular performance. The riffs on this album are some of the best riffs he’s ever come up with and he shreds like a mother fucker on every song. His guitar plays well with what Apollo’s vocals are doing. Apollo’s vocals are very soulful and rich and I would argue that this is his best record lyrically and vocally. The band was looking for a much heavier sound all together for this new record and they certainly achieved that because this is easily their heaviest record to date.

Like I said before, the band pull out some new tricks on this album that haven’t been heard before. For starters. the vocals on the song, “Few Against Many” feature Apollo doing some death metal-like growls on some lyrics and the chorus is a huge melodic wall of vocals layered on top of one another with Apollo going in between and such. The song that will really get people talking is “Edge of a Dream”, which features Finnish Cello-metallers Apocalyptica. Apocalyptica kinda faded away for me because I didn’t like their follow-up to Worlds Collide, but they do a spectacular job on this track. It’s basically vocals, piano and Apocalyptica and it’s a very beautiful song that brings out this whole other side of Apollo as a singer and as a lyricist.

This album made me really love this band again. I got interested in this band when I saw the video for “Mercenary Man.” I fell in love with the band after that, bought The Premonition, and actually tried to learn how to play that on guitar (I can play it on drums, but the solo on guitar killed me needles to say). I started looking into their back catalog and by the time Days of Defiance came out, I was slightly disappointed. The album wasn’t bad and I understand was actually widely critically acclaimed. To me however, I felt it was just a weaker version of The Premonition and I thought the Premonition was a better version of the two albums the came previously (these were all the albums that featured Apollo on vocals. The band released two albums prior to Apollo joining the band). I thought the band was just releasing the same album over and over again and needed a change. Thankfully the change came with this new record. Filled with a batch of new, fresh, and entertaining tracks, this is the album the band needed to make and the pulled it off masterfully.

Luke Helker

Counselor: Rebuild

Posted in AHP/Local Bands, News on May 26, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

My buddies in the hardcore band, Counselor, have just released a new single called Rebuild. I highly recommend you check it out especially if I turned you onto the band in the first place when I originally reviewed them. If this is your first time hearing about them, they sound like/remind me of Defeater and Touche Amore, and I’m huge fans of both of those bands.

You can hear the track on their facebook or bandcamp page or right here because I put the video on. Please check it out. This is a great band that need to be heard.

Luke Helker

Nicholas Rowe & The Forgotten Sons of Steel River

Posted in AHP/Local Bands on May 26, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

 

“Making music for every season, the hard working American, the Truth”

Thats what Nicholas Rowe sets out to do with his grassroots/americana group. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but if I haven’t, I’m a total sucker for folk music. If it weren’t for metal music, I’d be listening to nothing but folk music. I can’t get enough of it and this group has such a rich, full sound that I want to see them perform at the Philadelphia Folk Festival so that they can be exposed to a much wider audience. Everyone should be listening to these guys. If you’re a fan of Mumford & Sons, Tom Waits or anything in between, you’ll definitely dig this band.

The most surprising thing I found about this band is that they’re from Ohio. I though nothing good ever came from Ohio, but I guess I was wrong, because these guys are the real deal. It’s very hard to pull off folk music and make it convincing if don’t actually immerse yourself in the lifestyle and the music because it’s so honest and pure. This band pulls it off really well and I highly recommend checking out their bandcamp page (forgottensons.bandcamp.com) for their EP. It’s a six song EP that Nicholas recorded and mixed himself (the EP is mixed very well too by the way) featuring a collection of stripped down, americana-at-its-finest songs about the Lord, Nature, Rivers, and all of those fun folky themes.

Do yourselves a favor and educate yourself on some real music. Not that Justin Beiber shit you people call music.

Luke Helker