Category Archives: Hardcore

For All I Am

nohome2No Home by For All I Am (InVogue Records)

For All I Am has been through a world of change since Skinwalker was unveiled at beginning of 2013, including the loss of key band members and a surprise parting with Equal Vision Records. And while Skinwalker was well received, For All I Am was flying under the radar of many – in spite of relentless touring with live performances that would shatter the senses. No Home is their second full length recording – and first with their new label InVogue Records. And instead of encountering that legendary sophomore slump that has plagued many a band, No Home is a devastating accomplishment that should garner the band a good deal of attention.

In an interview with Highwire Daze, front man Aria Yava stated that the title No Home, “depicts the thought of you not being comfortable in your own mind.” The 11 songs found within take the listener on the journey through a personal darkness, and the results found within are definitively captivation. Six Souls kicks the disc off on an overpowering note, with vocalist Aria Yava screaming “I’m fucking losing it” with a shattering sense of urgency. Tunnel Vision then explodes into your psyche with a fiery sense of liberation followed by the darkness which envelopes the soul with the hardened reprieves of Out Of Line. “How do you think you could ask me for more?” rings out as a blistering account of friendship and betrayal.

foralliam2014_2Young Grave is performed with a remarkable amount of clean vocals and a melodic soundscape, showing a different side to For All I Am which still retaining the album’s vibrant intensity. The soul ripping then goes back into hypersonic gear when Yava muses “Today I do not have a heart” at the commencement on the fiery Slip-Up. Bad Nature features blazing guitars and a kaleidoscopic keyboard underscore that sends this wildly potent song into the stratosphere with the “what else do we have to lose” verbal expulsions. “Do we truly feel content living this way?” is the question the track poses, with no easy answers in sight.

The ferocity rages in Black Sheep, a thrashing opus that is relentless in scope with its “Put yourself in check bitch” recriminations searing through the sonic devastation. The pulsating Caring Is The New Currency then commences, further leading the listener into an intriguing despair. A calming release with the morose entreaties of Inward follows, exploding into a torrential wall of desperation.

Wake Me Up shows the art of falling apart with deeply personal lyrics combined with gripping performances from each and every members of the band. And then closing out No Home is the powerhouse Swallowed Alive, where the uneasy sentiments of “all these thoughts are filled with pain” ring within your mind long after the disc spins to its foreboding conclusion.

As in life, there are no easy answers to the bitter problems and personal demons that consume us all. And in spite of its many bleak conclusions, No Home is a wondrously cathartic piece of artistry that many a music fan will be able to relate with.  Charismatic front man Aria Yava’s delivers the emotional lyrics with a ferocious amount of conviction that is near mesmerizing. Tom Crisp supplies a dynamic wall of atmospheric sound on guitar while drummer Aaron Martinez and bassist Mario Roche drive it all home with an all-out vengeance. No Home is a gripping auditory adventure through the turbulence of the heart and mind that is not to be missed.

(Review by Ken Morton)

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Crown The Empire

riserun1The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways by Crown The Empire (Rise Records)

In 2012, a little band by the name of Crown The Empire emerged from the depths of Texas. Releasing a widely successful debut album called The Fallout, they instantly toured the world supporting many large acts such as The Used, Motionless In White and Of Mice & Men as well as headlining the Ernie Ball Stage on Warped Tour 2013. Two years later they are back and stronger than ever with their sophomore release The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways.

cttewarpd1With thirteen tracks in length, this record will define what the 6-piece metalcore band is going to be in the future. From the sound of just the first two songs, it is obvious that The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways is going to take Crown The Empire directly to the top. As soon as the first song Call To Arms (Act I) starts you are instantly thrown into the intensity. Almost as if it picks up right where The Fallout leaves off. Track number 2 immediately dives into the extremely heavy, Initiation which features a style of vocals that is new to Crown The Empire and rest assured, it works very well for them. Initiation is also one of the two brand new songs they are playing at Warped Tour this summer. The second of the two is MNSTR, which is classic CTE to the very core. With heavy riffs and melodic choruses MNSTR will without a doubt be a hit.

Dual Vocalists Andy Leo and David Escamilla add uniqueness to the record that defines who they are in every way. These two together, portray the light and dark side of all thirteen songs with extreme success. The ripping guitar riffs and solos by Brandon Hoover and Bennett Vogelman bounce of one another in perfect unison. In the Rhythm section of the band on bass is Hayden Tree and Brent Taddie on Drums. Each of them bring up the low end of the band to form a sound that is heavy and rhythmic which makes them completely unstoppable.

Crown The Empire has been known to have a theatrical/end of the world feel to their music. In the first few songs you will feel entranced by the music and instantly connect to it. With the apocalyptic feel to it, the intensity almost never subsides. Also featured as the last song on the album is the third piece of the story of Johnny. Johnny’s Rebellion travels all the way back to the Limitless days and it will not disappoint. This band is truly something special and is much different than the norm. Split up into three acts, the album delivers something truly unique that will put Crown The Empire on the map for a long time.

(Review and Live Photo by Edward Brandon – Visit www.edwardbrandonphoto.zenfolio.com)

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Youth In Revolt

LoveIsA1Love Is A Liar’s Game by Youth In Revolt (Outerloop Records)

The recent collaboration of Fearless Records and Outerloop Management is resulting in some promising bands well worth seeking out. The creation known as Outerloop Records has now unleashed their next great discovery – a five piece collective known as Youth In Revolt from New Jersey. Love Is A Liar’s Game is Youth In Revolt’s debut for the label, a thunderously solid EP that should garner the band a good amount of notice. Fans of acts such as Sleeping With Sirens and Memphis May Fire are destined to encounter a new favorite when checking into what the inspiring Youth In Revolt has to offer.

youthinrevolt2Love Is A Liar’s Game kicks off with a fiery call of “let’s go” meshing into a powerful metalcore anthem entitled There For You. Instantly grabbing the listener by throat, one notices the soaring vocal performance of True Arahill as well as the truly dynamic musicianship. The title cut Love Is A Liar’s Game is spiraling in scope, complete with a thrilling chorus that will have audiences singing along when performed live.

Never Stay is a topnotch track, slamming at your senses in the beginning before colliding into a grand reverie of epic proportions. When It’s Over is dazzling with its sheer intensity mixed with some vibrantly melodic parts. And then closing out the EP is a heartfelt acoustic track entitled For The First Time, presenting a side to the Youth In Revolt experience that is genuinely exciting to hear. The EP ends way to soon, but the songs are so memorable that you’ll want to revisit them all time and again.

The exceptional Youth In Revolt lineup consists of True Arahill on vocals, Kenny Torres on vocals and bass, George Shrouder on guitar, Alex Ramos on guitar, and Devon Bosque on drums.  It will be exciting to see what the future has in store for the rising stars of Youth In Revolt – in the meantime snag a copy of Love Is A Liar’s Game and join a sonic revolution that is just beginning to commence.

(Review by Ken Morton)

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The Word Alive

realtwa_400x400Real. by The Word Alive (Fearless Records)

Those who may have thought The Word Alive hit the zenith of their career with their vibrant Life Cycles only need to give a listen to what their third magnum opus Real. has to offer. A thoroughly captivating effort is now upon us, showing a metalcore outfit soaring to greaters height above and beyond genre expectations, Real. is a richly rewarding collection of tunes destined to devastate the senses. Hard hitting and wondrously uplifting, Real. is destined to be the album of the summer for music fans all across the sonic spectrum.

twa2014_2_400x185Real. slams into the stratosphere with the highly effective Play The Victim, showing instantly the melding of profound lyrics, passionate vocals and spiraling melodies. Never Forget is dedicated to Mitch Lucker and all of those close to us who have passed away. An extremely poignant song that packs an emotional wallop.  Broken Circuit then explodes with its heavy duty blast-beats, otherworldly screams, and epic choruses.

Lighthouse is vast and inspiring, the kind of song that could change the world with its wonderful message of empowerment and survival. This one is destined to be a crowd favorite when performed live. The Fortune Teller continues the auditory adventure, another track showing just how much The Word Alive has progressed since their humble beginnings. Glass Castle then shatters through your reality with its manic guitar solos and intensive vocals reigning supreme.

94th Street shows The Word Alive wandering down the roads of a grungier age, presenting a memorable power ballad for the ages.  It’s a clever mixture of music styles to be sure.  Then it’s back to the heaviness at hand with Your Mirage, featuring some of the most aggressive singing and screaming to be found on the album. Terminal then radiates with a staggering amount of ferocity.

The Runaway is an absolute highlight, a glorious rock and roll anthem whose rousing lyrics will make you want to take on the entire world. To Struggle And Claw My Way is fearless and pummeling while closing track Collapsing demonstrates a gorgeously creative side to the band, providing a rapturous grand finale.

Telle Smith has certainly emerged as one of the most electrifying lead vocalists on the scene today – whether he’s singing or doing the uncleans, there is a persuasive amount of conviction and urgency that shines throughout the entire recording. Tony Pizzuti and Zack Hansen unleash the guitar work with a thunderous amount of imagination and intrigue. Daniel Shapiro supplies a pummeling low end with his fine bass work. And then there’s drummer extraordinaire Luke Holland, whose skilled precision brings it all home with an all-out vengeance. Real. is a definitive triumph for The Word Alive – the type of album that their fans will remember and cherish for the turbulent years ahead.

Be sure to catch The Word Alive this summer on each and every date of the Vans Warped Tour!

(Review by Ken Morton)

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Nightmares

SuspiriaSuspiria by Nightmares (Rise Records)

Based out of Atlanta, GA, Nightmares is a vibrant collective ready to break out on the national scene in a colossal way. The most exciting and imaginative release Rise Records has presented since Crown The Empire contemplated love at in the end of the world on The Fallout, Suspiria by Nightmares is a stunning debut that is not to be missed. With a lot of the songs named after legendary horror movies combined with hard hitting lyrics and spiraling melodies, Suspiria is a rocking post hardcore journey sure to dazzle the senses of even the most jaded of music critic.

Nightmares-Press-Photo-300x200_2Frontiers opens the quest with magnetic force – “it’s like a hurricane” the chorus urges with a powerhouse sense of force and conviction. Let The Right One In is a standout track that will be all-out anthem Nightmares is remembered for in the years ahead, complete with a thunderous “I don’t want to wait to live forever” lyric that grabs you by the throat. In The Mouth Of Madness is a cut of stratospheric proportions, featuring a guest appearance by none other than Tyler Carter of Issues.

The horror movie references really slam into high gear with the ferocious strains of Tourist Trap, followed by the down and dirty reprieves of the monstrous Cujo. Carnival Of Souls weaves its dark magic in your ears before exploding into a massive barrage of sonic intensity. “It’s hard to say what makes a person fade away to gray,” the lyrics concede ominously.

Enter The Void continues the trip into intriguing darkness, with impassioned screamed vocals and the dark grunge-like singing of “I saw the light” coming across as both tantalizing and foreboding. “Heart of gold, heart of gold,” urges the beginning of the truly menacing The Tommyknockers, once again showing just how thrilling and persuasive the music of Nightmares is.

You just want to crucify me,” opens the mighty Hands Of The Ripper, whose lyrics are destined to be sang along with fiendish glee by audiences all across the country. The title track Suspiria smashes through your system with a fierce relentlessness. And then closing out the album is Irreversible, where the scream of “Am I alive” rips through the soul – a staggering denouement to be sure!

The musicianship found within Nightmares possesses a good deal of vision and intrigue, featuring the participation of Carter Hardin on vocals, Mike Smith on guitar, Jimmy Griffin on guitar, Turner Wood on bass, and David Angle on drums. A true contender for many a Top Ten list when 2014 spins to an end, Suspiria by Nightmares is an auditory adventure that heavy music fans will want to relive time and again!

(Review by Ken Morton)

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Annisokay

annisokay3_400x_2The Lucid Dream[er] by Annisokay (SPV / Steamhammer Records)

Although SPV / Steamhammer Records may be best known for their expansive catalog of hard rock and heavy metal, the iconic label has recently launched in other styles of music. Their latest adventure is towards the now popular post hardcore / screamo genre, and they have unearthed a truly exciting discovery. Annisokay is the name of the collective, based out of Germany, and well on their way to taking the world by storm. With an already impressive fan following in Europe and Japan, it won’t be long before Annisokay conquers the United States – especially if their SPV debut The Lucid Dream[er] is indicative of greater glories ahead. The digital version is being released in the States featuring 14 thunderous tracks that will exhilarate the senses.

annis3_400Opening with the ultra-dynamic refrain refrains of The Final Round, Annisokay instantly hooks the listener in with a haunting intro-duction followed by a thrilling intensity that soars into the stratosphere. Sky then crashes through the ozone layer with its spiraling choruses. Anniversary features an intriguing heaviness that maintains your undivided attention. Firewalk both scorches and haunts the mind with its heated reverberations. Annisokay then scares up the topnotch Monstercrazy, an all-out anthem that should garner the band a colossal heap of worldwide praise.

Who Am I is a standout power ballad, exploding into a collage of emotion at its powerhouse conclusion. The pedal is then placed firmly back to the metal when The Believer slams into your speakers with a ferocious conviction. Insanity fills the atmosphere with a vibrant sense of passion and unease, followed by the wondrously infectious strains of Ghost In Me. By The Time dazzles with its “you want me to be in your life again” sentiments tearing into the heart of things.

Where Do I Start is surely designed to set slam pits across the world in flight with its rousing tempo and super intense vocalizations. Day To Day Tragedy is another massive highlight, showing Annisokay at the very height of their songwriting and performing prowess. Wasted & Useful teems with emotion and edginess, providing a staggering conclusion to the album that will linger frenetically within your mind. And then as an extra special bonus, The Final Round (HoppiTronic Remix) is included – a sweeping electronic remix that should induce mayhem and havoc on the dance floor.

The Annisokay lineup features a collection of talented and charismatic musicians, including Dave Grunewald on shouts, Christoph Wieczorek on clean vocals and guitar, Norbert Roseo on bass, Daniel Herrmann on drums, and Philipp Kretzschmar on guitar. A release one would expect from a label such as Fearless or Rise Records, The Lucid Dream[er] by Annisokay is sure to launch SPV firmly into the post hardcore arena. An epic debut from a band we’ll be hearing a lot more about in the days ahead.

(Review by Ken Morton)

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Fairweather

fairweather coverFairweather by Fairweather (Equal Vision)

It’s been eleven years since Washington DC’s Fairweather packed it up. Now the spring of 2014 and the boys show us a whole new bag full of hardcore, tight song structures, crazy guitar flourishes, powerful percussion, more forceful vocals and an overall focused and mature sound. And did I mention the grooving rhythms? Shit, their S/T comeback kicks your ass from the opening chords and hardcore tempo of Carte Blanche. Let the moshing begin. Yet the band tempers even this minute long song with a slower yet powerful second half and background vocal “oohs”.

Reset Position keeps the energy with buzzing guitars, a fast pace and Jay Littleton spitting his trebly vocals with grit. Ben Murphy’s bass and Shane Johnson’s drums set the groove for Ben Green and Peter Tsouras to lay their power chords and slashing solos within, and damned if your not banging your head and sweating already. Survival Is Not Enough sets a bigger groove, slowing the pace a bit, Littleton singing harmoniously, a hard rocking song with muscle and introspection. fairweather band photoMemoria opens with minor key guitar scratching and dramatic rhythms, Littleton singing about memories and secrets and drowning, inviting you to further interpret his lyrics as you close your eyes and nod your head to the beat.

Doubt the Doubtless is both tough and catchy, closer to their debut sound yet leaner and meaner. Johnson gives his skins and cymbals a beating on Kill the Silence, slowing down to build up tension then rocking out once again. Last Words brings out the beauty of a well-paced song, starting out slow and pretty then taking us on a roller-coaster ride up and down tempos and emotions. Still Waiting features some interesting percussive textures and searing guitar interplay between Tsouras and Green, Littleton’s vocals clean and unadorned, harmonizing with Green, creating emotional catharthis when the song slows down at the end only to rise up to a powerful crescendo of crashing cymbals and six-string flourishes. Fairweather wrap up their S/T album with No Flags To Fly. Beginining with a chugging verse the band build tension towards a thrilling and catchy chorus, the band surprise with a soulfullness in their instrumental interplay as well as a bare-it-all vocal performance by Littleton

(by Bret Miller)

LINKS:
facebook.com/fairweatherdc
twitter.com/fairweatherdc
fairweatherdc.com
merchnow.com/catalogs/fairweather
equalvision.com
facebook.com/equalvision
twitter.com/equalvision
blog.equalvision.com

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Hundredth

ResistXResist by Hundredth (Mediaskare Records)

Resist is the second chapter within a two-disc combination that commenced with last year’s mighty assault to the senses known as Revolt. And while Resist may be a bit more on the melodic side of the spectrum, the intensity is in full force, with spiraling melodies and impassioned vocals sending the entire project into the stratosphere. Resist presents Hundredth at their very height of their creative energies, and the result are nothing short of profound.

After a calm yet ominous introduction entitled Wake, the disc launches into the ferocious strains of Shelter. “Separation from everything” the opening lyrics scream with a mesmerizing degree of conviction. The darkness and desolation found within Shelter is sure to intrigue the listener to follow the path for the sonic confrontations ahead. The title cut Resist then follows, relentlessly tearing through the heart of the matter with its intoxicating reveries.

hundredth1No one can save me from my demons!” vocalist Chadwick Johnson screams like a man possessed on the startling Demons. Manifest then arrives, unfolding further stark introspection unto the world at large. The disc then closes with euphoric Wage, a spoken word reprieve about the human condition ending the album on a cautiously optimistic note.

Resist is a short yet thoroughly satisfying release with a ton of heart, unleashing an ultimate sense of hope and healing that is wondrous to behold. The resourceful Hundredth lineup includes the participation of Chadwick Johnson on vocals, Blake Hardman on guitar, Andrew Minervini on guitar, JP Gressman on bass, and Matt Koontz on drums. Recorded with noted producers Bill Stevenson (Rise Against, Black Flag) and Jason Livermore (Stick To Your Guns) at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, Colorado, Resist exhibits a thrilling 18-minute journey through the perilous consciousness and ultimate triumphs of the human spirit that is not to be missed.

(Review by Ken Morton)

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Words Once Spoken

envyep1Envy EP by Words Once Spoken (Self-released)

Hailing from various parts of Southern California, Words Once Spoken is an ambitious post hardcore collective more than ready to make a name for themselves on the national music scene. With influences such as Memphis May Fire and Crown The Empire, Words Once Spoken is still sharp enough to bring their own sense of vision and originality to the table. Envy EP is their first effort, a grand DIY undertaking possessing a great deal of promise.  This impressive collection of songs will surely garner Words Once Spoken a good amount of admiration from fans looking for passion infused with a massive jolt of sonic intensity. Keep this up, and Words Once Spoken may find themselves signing to a label in no time at all.

The EP kicks off with the powerhouse refrains of The Hopeless, where thrashing guitars merge into a gigantic chorus that is instantly memorable. This first song alone is enough to hook the listener in for the adventures ahead, and it clearly shows the band has a lot of convey with its wildly infectious lyrics and resourceful musicianship.

Alex Mendizabal of Words Once Spoken - Photo Credit: TeeJay Zeigler

Alex Mendizabal of Words Once Spoken – Photo Credit: TeeJay Zeigler

Our Calling then assaults the senses with empowering lyrics such as “Pick yourself up, you know this isn’t the end,” driving home the message with a massive amount of sincerity and conviction. Rise (A New Beginning is an ominous instrumental reprieve before the band launches into the reflective yet pummeling So They Say It Ends This Way. “You look so beautiful when you hate the fucking world,” the lyrics scream out at the song’s devastating finale – a catch phrase which could be associated with this band for the many months ahead.

Since the recording of the Envy EP, there have been a few membership changes within the ranks. One powerful aspect which remains are the expressive clean vocals of their charismatic front man Alex Mendizabal. Already on the verge of recording new material with a revamped lineup, Words Once Spoken has left an indelible impression with the Envy EP. It will be exciting to see what this band achieves in future days.

The current Words Once Spoken lineup is Alex Mendizabal on vocals, Alex Beaubien on drums, Rolando Munoz on guitar, and Johnny Igartua on guitar.

(Review by Ken Morton)

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Words Not Spoken at Warped Tour Battle of the Bands

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Burdened Hearts

lostinmyself1Lost In Myself by Burdened Hearts (Self-released EP)

Burdened Hearts unleashes a breathtaking brand of spirit-filled metalcore that fans of acts such as Fit For A King and Mouth of the South will surely enjoy. Their debut EP is entitled Lost In Myself, an ambitious collection of heavier-than-hell hymns that should ignite hearts and minds, as well as mosh pits all across the country.

A record label such as Solid State or Facedown could surely take notice of these talented Baltimore-based musicians, judging by the testament of faith heard on this five song EP.  Your time to discover this vibrant up-and-coming entity however, is now!

The EP launches into the stratosphere with the spiraling sounds of Make Your Mark, instantly leaving an indelible impression on the listener with its stark sense of urgency. Make Your Mark is destined to be a massive crowd favorite when performed live.

Release is thrilling and cathartic – a relentless cut that is sure to cast out even the most ferocious of demons. One By One then assaults the senses with its super-intensive breakdowns, magnetic guitars, and aggressive vocal performances.

burdenedhearts1Temptation shows Burdened Hearts at their most determined and imaginative, filling your speakers with a pulsating wall of sound. And then at the conclusion of Lost In Myself, one encounters the pummeling strains of Who We Are, the type of memorable anthem that really garners a band a good deal of admiration.

The musicianship is tremendously tight and intensive, featuring the participation of Nicholas Reardon on vocals, Caleb Rodriguez on guitar and clean vocals, Tyler Mazza on guitar, Mickey Basil on bass and backing vocals, and Casey King on drums. When spirituality and sonic devastation collide, Burdened Hearts will be there guiding the way with their wondrously exhilarating tunes! Be sure to check out Lost In Myself and prepare to be thoroughly enraptured by what this promising new collective has to offer.

(Review by Ken Morton – Photo by Travis Marshall)

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