HEIST AT FIVE – EP Review: “The Blacklist”

Heist at Five is an electro/hard rock band based in London, UK, but in a sense they’re also an international band, with roots in several countries. Band front man and lead vocalist Oskar Abrahamsson and production guru Kim Björnram are from Sweden, but moved to London to study music. Bassist Marco “Fuzz” Paone hails from Turin, Italy, and guitarist Jozef Veselsky is from Slovakia, leaving drummer Josh Needham as the only British-born band member. (Paone and Needham are also bassist and drummer for Oli Barton & the Movement, who I’ve featured on this blog a number of times.) Their aggressive, innovative sound borders on experimental rock, with complex melodies, intricate chord progressions and wicked electronic and guitar-heavy instrumentation.

Heist at Five

Heist at Five released their debut EP The Blacklist in February, and I’m here to tell my readers why they should listen to it. Kicking things off with a blast of fuzzy throbbing synths and a pounding drumbeat, “Intelligence” immediately whets our appetite for what’s to come. And what is that, you ask? It’s a fucking eargasm of furious riffs, psychedelic synths and thunderous percussion, that’s what. The instrumentation is amazing, with unexpected change-ups and all sorts of interesting sounds that make for an unsettling yet exciting listen. Oskar’s powerful vocals are marvelous as he goes from a menacing seductiveness one moment to savage screams the next. (I also love his Swedish accent that shines through.) It’s all a perfect match for the provocative lyrics about authoritarian thought-control: “So just close your eyes so you can see. And realize that I’m controlling from within. I guide you through love and pain. I’ll lead you through your life without leaving your brain. I’m defying the concept of what’s false and true. Especially made for you. / Who am I? I’m the intelligence.

Here’s a great live performance of “Intelligence” that really showcases the band’s energy and charisma:

The guys keep that energy flowing with the hard-driving “One Moment.” Opening with a rapid, hip hop synth beat, the track bursts open with roiling gritty guitars played by Huw Roberts (the previous lead guitarist who is no longer with the band), and Josh’s tumultuous drums, while Marco keeps it all grounded with a solid bass line. Once again, the band skillfully employs sharp melodic shifts and elaborate instrumentation, including flourishes of distorted guitar, quirky synths and Kim’s hauntingly beautiful keyboard riff, to create an outstanding track. And it goes without saying that Oskar kills it with his passionate vocals.

Three Steps Behind” is perhaps the catchiest track on the EP, with its arresting melody and galloping riffs. To my ears, the song has a bit of an Incubus vibe, and even Oskar’s vocal style on this track reminds me of Brandon Boyd. The band continues to amaze with “The Island,” serving up gorgeous keyboards and intricate, jaw-dropping guitar work. Oskar’s soaring emotionally-charged vocals bring goosebumps once again.

The guys save the best for last, with the magnificent tour-de-force “When Eternity is Here.” The track opens with a captivating bass-driven Tango-like melody, accompanied by an achingly beautiful synth riff and snare drum. Oskar fervently sings “All of us watch a never-ending road. We are pushed by the wind. No one allowed to stop. And the holes in the ground grows bigger every day.” His vocal passion rises along with the instrumentals in the chorus, where sounds of sirens lend an ominous sense of unease as he wails:  “Where are you my friend? I can see our world’s in danger. / Come to me, my dear, my darling. Our world’s disappearing. Everything will change for us when eternity is here.” The guitars and keyboards in the bridge are spine-tingling, and so is this phenomenal track.

Heist At Five have set the bar quite high with their impressive debut EP, but given their collective talents, I’m confident they’ll daze our ears with their next musical efforts.

Connect with Heist at Five:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  iTunes / Bandcamp

Band photos by Shotison Media

My Very First Blog Post Revisited #MYFIRSTPOSTREVISITED

my-first-post_revisited-bloghop.jpg

I’m honored to have been nominated by fellow blogger Lisa Amaya of Life of an El Paso Woman to participate in the ‘My Very First Post’ challenge.

I created my music blog in early August 2015 and honestly didn’t know what to post at first. But since I created it basically for the purpose of fulfilling my fantasy of being the DJ of my own radio station, I decided to post my Weekly Top 10 Song list. The post, which I published on August 6, 2015, was titled “Top 10 for Week of August 9-15.” It was admittedly a pretty dull post but, hey, I had to start somewhere! Back then, I had exactly zero followers lol.

Here are the rules for this challenge:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of crickets).
  • Cut and paste your first post into a new post or reblog it. (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

Please feel free to participate. Of course, there is no obligation! I nominate the following bloggers to participate:

Emma – Emmakwall (explains it all)

John- 2loud2oldmusic

Michelle – Symphony of Rock

Adam – Sounds Good

Buffalo Tom Peabody’s blog 2

Top 10 for Week of August 9-15

1. RENEGADES – X Ambassadors
2. DREAMS – Beck
3. EX’S AND OH’S – Elle King
4. CAN’T FEEL MY FACE – The Weeknd
5. TEAR IN MY HEART – twenty one pilots
6. THE WOLF – Mumford & Sons
7. FIRST – Cold War Kids
8. BLAME IT ON ME – George Ezra
9. MOANING LISA SMILE – Wolf Alice
10. CRYSTALS – Of Monsters and Men

Question for my followers

My blog is a music blog, and I’m basically a wannabe DJ. I love making music lists and sharing them in the hope others will enjoy reading them and, occasionally, agree with my music tastes. I also love supporting up and coming musicians and bands, so I write about them or review their songs and albums with the goal of exposing readers of my posts to these artists’ music and, hopefully, helping to build them a larger fan base.

Having said that, compared to many other bloggers I follow, my posts appear to seldom be read by any of my followers – both other bloggers and my “friends” who also follow my blog. Are my posts of little or no interest to you? Should I change my focus and try to write about stuff that’s more interesting or topical?

I welcome feedback.

Top 20 Songs for September 4-10, 2016

1. TROUBLE – Cage the Elephant (1)
2. HEATHENS – twenty øne piløts (2)
3. BURN THE WITCH – Radiohead (3)
4. ALL WE EVER KNEW – The Head and the Heart (5)
5. CHEAP THRILLS – Sia featuring Sean Paul (6)
6. SEND MY LOVE (To Your New Lover) – Adele (4)
7. GOOD GRIEF – Bastille (7)
8. BANG BANG – Green Day (10)
9. SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN – Young the Giant (11)
10. YOU DON’T GET ME HIGH ANYMORE – Phantogram (12)
11. HYMN FOR THE WEEKEND – Coldplay featuring Beyoncé (16)
12. WAKE UP CALL – Nothing But Thieves (15)
13. LIFE ITSELF – Glass Animals (17)
14. WAY DOWN WE GO – Kaleo (8)
15. BORED TO DEATH – blink-182 (9)
16. SAY MY NAME – (IAM)WARFACE (18)
17. RIVER – Bishop Briggs (20)
18. DARK NECESSITIES – Red Hot Chili Peppers (13)
19. WOW – Beck (14)
20. THE SOUND – The 1975 (N)

Top 20 Songs for July 24-30, 2016

1. BORED TO DEATH – blink-182 (2)
2. DARK NECESSITIES – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1)
3. WAY DOWN WE GO – Kaleo (3)
4. HEATHENS – twenty øne piløts (4)
5. TROUBLE – Cage the Elephant (6)
6. SOUNDCHECK – Catfish and the Bottlemen (8)
7. BURN THE WITCH – Radiohead (11)
8. ONE DANCE – Drake, Wiz Kid, Kyla (5)
9. FIRE – Barns Courtney (7)
10. JUST LIKE FIRE – P!nk (9)
11. SEND MY LOVE (To Your New Lover) – Adele (10)
12. ALL WE EVER KNEW – The Head and the Heart (15)
13. AIN’T NO MAN – The Avett Brothers (12)
14. CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! – Justin Timberlake (17)
15. CLOSE – Nick Jonas, Tove Lo – (16)
16. GOOD GRIEF – Bastille (19)
17. SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN – Young the Giant (20)
18. RIDE – twenty øne piløts (18)
19. OFF THE GROUND – The Record Company (13)
20. KISS THIS – The Struts (14)

MissMaze

MissMaze is an earnest young alternative/grunge rock band based in Guildford, England, and consists of Hungarian-born Csongor Debreczy (guitar/lead vocals), Aron Boateng (bass, backing vocals) and James Storey (drums, backing vocals). Their distinct music style is characterized by hard-driven guitar riffs, aggressive yet melodic vocals and compelling lyrics. The band’s sound is influenced by some of their favorite bands such as Nirvana, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and Led Zeppelin. According to their bio on Soundcloud, band frontman Debreczy began writing songs while performing in venues throughout Europe before arriving in England and connecting with the other two band members at The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford.  Each brought their individual music talents together to form MissMaze in late 2013, and released their first singles in 2015.

Here is a video introducing the band:

Their new single “Plastic Friend”