New Song of the Week – THESE WICKED RIVERS: “Floyd”

Three years ago, British rock band These Wicked Rivers blew me away with their phenomenal album II (you can read my review here). Since forming in 2014, the Derby, England-based four-piece have gained a huge following in the UK and beyond with their melodic and riff-heavy blues-infused style of rock’n’roll. Making the music are John Hartwell (lead vocals/guitar), Arran Day (guitar, vocals), Sam Williams (bass) and Dan Southall (drums, vocals). It’s been a while since they’ve put out new music, but thankfully, they returned to the studio to record their second album Eden, which is due for release on May 22nd. In February, they released “Shine On”, the first single from the forthcoming album, and now follow-up with their second single “Floyd“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week.

These Wicked Rivers get right down to business, as “Floyd” blasts open with a thunderous onslaught of gritty distorted guitars and smashing drumbeats. I love the contrast between the calmer verses, with their bluesy riffs, throbbing bass and softly pummeling drums all creating a menacing vibe that adds to the building sense of tension, and the explosive choruses where all hell breaks loose. It’s fucking amazing rock played the way it should be played! The guys are highly-skilled musicians who play as an impeccably tight unit and deliver the rock goods to perfection. Hartwell has a powerful and vibrant singing voice that’s well-suited to their hard-driving style of blues rock. The way he transitions back and forth from earnest croons to impassioned spine-tingling wails is impressive.

Floyd seems to be a metaphor for the conscience of the town – which appears to be sadly lacking these days. All sorts of bad behavior – drinking, drugs, gambling, stealing and sexual affairs – are shown occurring in the video under the watchful eyes of a mysterious bearded man named Floyd. The band told me that most cannot see Floyd, but those who do/can see him, know why. As soon as they see him he’s gone, yet haunts their conscience. The photos we see him throw onto the ground in the woods at the end are of some of the people he’s observed committing their transgressions.

Floyd sits still on the cold wet night
Shackled to the sins he’s indebted to find
the fake facade printed in their eyes
Is what he heeds of the people playing out their lives
But Floyd knows the truth
He knows the lies
He knows all of the evil that you lock down inside

Floyd don’t come around here no more
Been seen in town once or twice before
The people speak of his judging eyes
But Floyd don’t come around here no more, Floyd don’t come around here
No more

People see Floyd around the town
He moves from street to street blending in with the crowds
But those who stop and catch his marble eyes
Usually know the reason why
‘Cause Floyd knows the truth
He knows the lies
He’s the judge, jury, councillor of freedom and exile

“Floyd” is a wickedly good song, and one of the best yet from this talented band. Based on the high quality of it and “Shine On”, Eden looks to be another stellar album.

Follow These Wicked Rivers:  WebsiteFacebookTwitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / SoundcloudApple Music
Purchase:  iTunesGoogle Play

MALLAVORA – Single Review: “Ego:

Mallavora4
Photos by Aesha Nisar

Bristol, England-based Mallavora are a young hard rock band on the rise. Their exciting, hard-driving sound is strongly influenced by progressive rock, groove and doom metal elements. They’ve released two terrific singles, beginning with “Clockwork Drunk” in 2017 and followed by “Daylight” in 2019, and have been featured on Planet Rock and BBC Introducing. 2019 also brought changes in their lineup with the addition of a new female vocalist, as well as the recording of four new songs that will be featured on their forthcoming Paradise EP, due out later this year. They plan to release all of the songs as singles over the coming months, the first of which is “Ego“, which drops today, March 29.

Mallavora Ego artwork

Mallavora’s new lineup consists of Larry Sobieraj (guitar), Ellis James (bass/vocals), Jessica Ansell (vocals) and Jack Pedersen (drums). About the new single “Ego”, they state that it’s about “autophobia”, generally defined as a phobia of isolation, specifically a dread of being alone or isolated, but oddly also having a morbid fear of being egotistical. The lyrics are about “confronting a tortured soul consumed by fear of itself.”

The song opens strong with a thunderous explosion of gnarly riffs, driving bass and pummeling drumbeats. What’s unusual is that the first lyrics we hear are actually the chorus, passionately sung by the dramatic vocal harmonies of Jessica and Ellis that remind me a bit of Evanescence:

Holds me tight
Her grip’s all I can feel
Seeps through my dreams
I can’t tell what is real
Why can’t you just set me free
I’m begging
Take this voice from me

The music calms down to a melodic interlude in the verses, highlighted by Larry’s gorgeous chiming guitar and Jessica and Ellis’ stunning vocal harmonies. Their vibrant singing voices are somewhat similar in tone, and sound really incredible together.

She’s in my head again
Twisting words and sense she bends
Plunged into my soul
Washed away my pure with cold
Tore out my heart my love my empathy
Left me just with lust and insecurity

Crept away into my mind
Left no place for me to hide
Darkest truths untold
Dreaming of losing control
I can’t hold back what’s beneath the skin
She will break out and torture everything

The music ramps up to a feverish crescendo in the final chorus as the band unleash their arsenal of sonic weaponry. Larry shreds his guitar to the breaking point as he lays down intense reverb-soaked riffs of distortion, while Ellis and Jack nearly blow out the speakers with their punishing bass and smashing drums. And, of course, Jessica and Ellis’ vocal harmonies are spine-tingling.

You did it to yourself
Forgot your mental health 

“Ego” is a spectacular and beautifully-crafted song, and a big step forward for Mallavora. It’s great to see a band’s music and songwriting improve over time, and I’m confident they’ll have a bright and successful future.

Sadly, like so many other artists who’ve seen their tours canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Mallavora have had to postpone their April mini-tour as well. They hope to be able to go on tour later in the year. The artwork for “Ego”, as well as the EP and all upcoming singles was done by Caitlin Shephard.

Connect with Mallavora:  Facebook / Instagram
Stream their music: SpotifyApple Music
Purchase:  Google PlayAmazon

BRENNAN DYLAN – EP Review: “Walking Through Fire”

As a music blogger, I follow thousands of artists and bands on social media, and have written about several hundred of them on this blog. Many are extremely talented musicians, songwriters, composers and/or performers, and one of the guitarists who really stands out in the crowd is Brennan Dylan. Originally from Canada and now based in Nashville, he’s a beast on his six-string, and has been compared to Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Jeff Beck. Today I’m shining my spotlight on his 2016 EP Walking Through Fire, a fantastic work featuring six guitar-driven instrumental tracks.

Born in Vancouver, B.C., raised in Ottawa and then Toronto, Dylan has had a love and aptitude for music since early childhood. He began playing sax and composing music at the age of 10. He told me that, by playing sax, he learned how to play individual note melodies and to improvise. His parents encouraged him to think outside the box and explore music by writing his own creations. In his bio, he recalls: “When I was 14, I picked up a guitar for the first time; it was like I’d inherited freedom. My high school music teacher told me that guitar wasn’t an instrument. I ignored him and studied rock/metal guitar for the first year.

Brennan D as boy

In high school, he started writing rock and metal songs, and performed classical, jazz and swing in school stage bands. He also performed jazz, rock and blues improv guitar at a local club 2-3 times a week with local/touring acts. He studied classical guitar, delving into everything from Motorhead to Dick Dale to Bach. He was in a surf band one summer, then moved into electronic music, which he incorporated into hard rock and metal songs he wrote. He beautifully articulates his passion and inspiration for rock and metal:

“Pure rippin’ metal has been coursing through my veins since I first picked up a guitar. My adventures to incorporate every genre that has a beat into my metal compositions was very necessary and still is. I want to study it all but most of all I want to become a better guitar player and composer. By straying from the herd I think that I can accomplish that…no one has a monopoly on anything, even a flat tire kicks off a beat. I may not like all music genres but I’ve always been able to find great guitar players and/or composers in all I’ve studied.

He eventually relocated to Boston to study Performance Guitar at Berklee College of Music, then headed west to LA where he played the Sunset Strip as a solo artist, performing with some major acts, including Michael Angelo Batio, DeathRiders and Gorillaz at the Whisky a GoGo. In 2010, Dylan released his first self-produced CD Bullet Ride, followed two years later by Broken Glass, which received positive reviews and radio play, including a CBS Radio interview and press in Performer Magazine, NME & Guitar World. In 2013, he dropped his third CD Raining in Berlin. Still restless, he relocated to New York City that same year, where he formed his band Men Without Armies. They released a self-titled EP Men Without Armies in 2014, but then Dylan literally became a ‘man without an army’ after the band’s drummer and bassist/vocalist abruptly quit to follow other pursuits.

Men Without Armies Walking Through Fire

He had written a number of new songs and wanted to record some of them for a second EP, but with his drummer and bassist/vocalist gone, Dylan decided to release six of the songs as instrumental-only tracks. For the recording of what would become Walking Through Fire, he played all instruments, including guitar, bass, keyboards and synths, and hired a sound engineer to program the drums. He also produced all his own songs.

An imaginative and creative songwriter, Dylan told me he composes in his head, mentally hearing all the melodies, instruments and sounds, then laying them down in the studio. “I go into the studio with ideas only. I compose as Mozart composed. ‘Falling Through Skies’ is a perfect example. On my final day [of working on] Walking Through Fire, I created ‘Falling Through Skies’ on the way to the studio.”

Each of the six tracks are fairly similar, melodically speaking, starting with a foundation of sweeping synths, and highlighted by spectacular extended guitar solos that serve to showcase Dylan’s extraordinary guitar-playing skills. The first track “Drowning Tide” is a great example, with jaw-dropping shredded riffs of swirling and distorted guitars. As someone who cannot play a single instrument, watching Dylan play his guitar in the video is a religious experience for me. He literally owns his instrument, his fingers running up and down the fretboard like a true jedi master as he makes it wail and sing. No lyrics or vocals are necessary here, as the explosive riffs and melodic keyboard synths more than speak for themselves.

On “Conquer the Emperor” he delivers staccato machine-gun riffs that bring chills, backed by beautiful, haunting piano keys. “Breaking Away” opens with lovely melodic synths, then expands with a dramatic and intricate guitar solo, accompanied by a deep, buzzing bass line that continues throughout the track, finally calming back down to the synths we heard at the open. “Courage Before Glory” and “Resistance” are gorgeous extravaganzas of wailing guitars, staccato riffs and inspiring piano keys, all evoking a strong sense of courage as inferred by the song titles.

The final track “Falling Through Skies” is fantastic, with breathtaking guitar work that truly boggles my mind and ears! He coaxes sounds from his six-string that somehow manage to musically capture the adrenaline rush fighter pilots must feel as they zoom through the air at top speed, aiming their fire at opposing targets while trying to evade incoming fire. Holy shit, this man can play the guitar! He created the perfect video for the track using dramatic World War II film footage of fighter pilots conducting bombing raids and engaging in aerial battles.

Track listing:
1. Drowning Tide
2. Conquer the Emperor
3. Break Away
4. Courage Before Glory
5. Resistance
6. Falling Through Skies

Walking Through Fire is outstanding, and if you love intense, guitar-driven metal rock, you will enjoy this EP. Dylan will soon be heading back into the studio to record songs with Men Without Armies for an upcoming EP.

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Stream their music:  Soundcloud /  Reverbnation
Purchase:  Reverbnation

HOLLOW INTENT – Single Review: “Superhero”

Hollow Intent Superhero

Since forming in 2016, Wilmington, North Carolina-based hard rock band Hollow Intent have been perfecting their explosive, guitar-driven sound and building a growing base of loyal fans. Their hard work finally started to pay off in 2019, when in May they were nominated for the 2019 Carolina Music Award’s Best Rock Group, with front man Will Baker also nominated for Best Rock Male. Then in August, they released their outstanding debut EP Monster to widespread critical acclaim (including from yours truly, which you can read here).

In addition to Baker, who plays guitar and sings vocals, Hollow Intent includes Mark Davis on drums, Shane Noren on bass, and Wesley Seven on guitar. The fearsome foursome are now back with a hard-hitting new single “Superhero“, which dropped March 20. The band states that the song is “about anyone with a ‘disability’ or ‘ailment’ that has the courage to shine through anything! Your weakness is a strength!

The guys deliver another stellar track, maintaining their perfect score in terms of overall song quality. “Superhero” storms through the gates with an explosive barrage of raging guitars, pulse-pounding bass and smashing drumbeats set to a beautiful sweeping melody. The gnarly guitars are punctuated by pummeling jack-hammer riffs that together create a thunderous wall of sound for Baker’s ferocious vocals. As I pointed out in my review of Monster, he has a phenomenal vocal range that sounds beautiful and pleasing when singing clean, and positively feral when he launches into his metalcore screams and growls. His ability to transition from one vocal style to the other and back again is really impressive. It’s a gorgeous hard rock banger.

They also produced their very first video for one of their songs, which was directed by Jaiden Hord Frost, and filmed at The Warehouse Music Hall in Laurinburg, North Carolina. The video shows the band performing the song, interspersed with dramatic scenes of a young couple played by Will’s brother Nathan Baker and Annabelle Sanchez being held captive by a threatening-looking guy played by Tom Fuller. The unfolding drama seems to be a virtual imagining by the young man as he plays a kind of game on his laptop. The young man finally realizes that his eccentricities are nothing to be ashamed of, and summons his inner ‘superhero’ to overcome the bad guy and save their lives. The video ends with the words “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

Connect with Hollow Intent:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream “Monster” on Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / Google Play

THE MILLION REASONS – EP Review: “If Not for the Fire”

The Million Reasons If Not For the Fire

One of my favorite indie rock bands is Chicago-based The Million Reasons. I became a fan of theirs the instant I heard their magnificent song “Dizzy” in the summer of 2018 (I love it so much it ended up at #69 on my 100 Best Songs of the 2010s list). I’ve closely followed this talented group of guys ever since, and have featured them a number of times on this blog. (You can read my previous reviews by clicking on the links under “Related” at the bottom of this page.) Having five members, including two guitarists, their sound is dynamic, heavy and melodic, and consistently delivered with killer riffs, tight rhythms and powerful vocals. 

I was sad to learn their vocalist Scott Nadeau left the band last August but, fortunately, they quickly found a phenomenal replacement in Taylor Brennan, a close friend of band drummer Colin Dill. Brennan is also vocalist for Chicago alt-rock band Polarizer (they’re pretty terrific too, so do check out their music). In addition to Brennan and Dill, the other band members include guitarists Mike Nichols and Ken Ugel, and bassist Jason Cillo. Brennan brought not only his vocal talents, but also his great songwriting skills and years of experience, which have expanded The Million Reasons’ musical horizons quite nicely. Whereas their music has primarily been classic rock/rock’n’roll oriented, some of their new songs venture more into progressive rock territory. They’ve also employed additional instrumentation, including keyboards and cello, into some tracks, giving them a fuller and richer sound.

With that in mind, the band set to writing and composing a huge array of songs, four of which they’ve selected for their new EP If Not for the Fire, which dropped February 21st. The songs are rather dark, with brutally honest lyrics that the band describes as “a study of separation and self-discovery.” The EP was beautifully produced by band guitarist Ken Ugel, along with Nick Stetina and Noam Wallenberg, and flawlessly mixed and mastered by Stetina. The other band guitarist Mike Nichols designed the artwork.

They kick things off with the title track “If Not for the Fire”, a bombastic, high-energy rocker that clearly shows the band hasn’t lost their stride. The song opens with a brief flurry of fuzzy guitars and Dill’s power drums, then Cillo lays down a funky little bass solo before everything erupts into a barrage of thunderous musical mayhem, and we’re off to the races. The guys unleash their inner beasts, setting the airwaves aflame with fiery riffs, throbbing bass and explosive drumbeats. Brennan quickly dispels any doubts I may have held regarding the issue of a new vocalist, blowing me away with his incredible vocals. He literally raises goosebumps as he fervently wails the lyrics that speak of his need for an intense, almost obsessive kind of love that thrills and excites: “I came for the curse of / I came for the kiss of / A love divine that paralyzes / What did you come for / If not for the fire to light you up this way.”

The fantastic video, filmed and directed by Philip Goode, shows Brennan seated at a table, struggling to write (something I can identify with as a music blogger), juxtaposed with scenes of the band performing the song and working their magic with their respective instruments. Their energy and charisma are strongly evident.

“Pretty Ones” is a brilliant track, with a complex melodic structure and intricate, yet powerful  instrumentation that give it a monumental prog-rock feel. The dual guitars of Nichols and Ugel are really spectacular here. The lyrics explore the restlessness that exists in some of us – the internal struggle between putting down roots in one place or with one person vs. the desire for eternal freedom and believing the grass is greener somewhere else or with someone else, but also fearing that perhaps we’re just running away from ourselves: “Ever after chasing down the pretty ones / Right back to the place where I am running from / In motion, stuck in motion / I fear it’s just my nature.

The guys slow things down on “No North Star”, a gorgeous but melancholy ballad about a man at the end of his rope, ready to give up all vestiges of hope. The song starts off with a mournful cello and beautiful acoustic guitar, as Brennan forlornly laments about mistakes he’s made: “Four on the floor / As the shower head pours heat on me / Praying to the god of sorry / I’m sure she has questions for me.” Gradually, a lovely piano enters along with more guitar, drums and bass, all of which grow more expansive as the song progresses until reaching a dramatic crescendo at the end, at which point Brennan passionately implores: “Stare in the sunken-in eyes of a ghost of a shell of a half of a half of a man / Saying what good can I be if I couldn’t be better for you / I couldn’t lie when you asked me to lie / But I’ll die if you ask me tonight / I’m going to die anyway / I might as well do it for you.” Though I love all four tracks, “No North Star” is my favorite.

“All You Can Afford” is a dark and heavy kiss-off to a lover who’s pushed the relationship beyond the breaking point: “I’m taking the keys to my heart and your car / I’ll leave you behind / Hoping you’ll find all that you can’t afford / My love, anymore.” The guys deliver blistering riffs and a torrent of hard-driving grooves during the first two-thirds of the track while Brennan sings the lyrics. The music then transitions to an almost cinematic instrumental for the outro, finally ending with a harsh, increasingly loud static-like sound in the final 30 seconds that seems to symbolize a rather violent end – of the relationship perhaps?

If Not for the Fire is a wonderful little fireball of an EP (sorry for the bad pun, but hey, it perfectly describes the work) that packs quite a major punch in it’s 16-minute run time. I love The Million Reasons, and am thrilled to see them continue to grow and evolve through time and personnel changes, something not all bands are able to successfully navigate. Drummer Colin Dill told me they’ve written about 20 new songs, and I cannot wait to hear them!

Connect with The Million Reasons:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud / YouTube
Purchase:  Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

ALL TAKEN – Single Review: “Doubt”

I’ve been following Los Angeles rock band All Taken for about three years now, and have featured them on this blog as many times, most recently last November (2019) when I reviewed their terrific rocker “Monsters Anonymous”. In January they returned with their latest single “Doubt“, and it’s another explosive banger. Comprised of Daniel Daghlarian (guitar, lead vocals), Avo Karapetyan (drums, backing vocals), and David Eye (bass), the trio are skilled musicians with the power to deliver scorching riffs and hard-driving rhythms set to infectious melodies.

“Doubt” instantly blasts through the speakers with a furious onslaught of gnarly guitars, throbbing bass and smashing drumbeats. Daniel thrashes the airwaves with some aggressive shredding action as he fervently wails the lyrics that seem to be about someone breaking him down and filling him with doubt about their true intentions: “I thought I heard you in my head. You make me think I want to be your friend.” The stop-start breaks inject a nice bit of tension to the track, and I love the little guitar flourishes Daniel adds to the mix. David’s bass and Avo’s muscular drums are fantastic as well. Things slow in the bridge to a melodic interlude as he laments “What’s gonna go and break me down today? The pull, the push, the push, the pull…“, only to ramp back up for a frantic finish. All Taken have delivered another stellar tune, further cementing their status as a rock band on the rise.

They’ll be performing at El Cid in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 27.

Connect with All Taken:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on iTunes / Google Play

AFTER HOUR ANIMALS – Single Review: “Role Play”

After Hour Animals Role Play

After Hour Animals is a metalcore rock band from Miwaukee, Wisconsin, and they’ve just released their new single “Role Play“, featuring guest vocals by Bri Jackson of the band Dreamhouse. After Hour Animals originally formed in 2014, and released a single “Myself in My Head”, but split up two years later. To the delight of their fans, they recently got back together, and now consist of five full time members Nik Djurdjulov (vocals), Armon Salamati (vocals), Brandon Dent (bass), Jasen Johnson (guitar) and Jamie Peña (drums). Bao Vo, who’s also guitarist for Milwaukee metalcore band Under Aegis (who I’ve featured several times on this blog), is a sixth member for live shows.

“Role Play” storms through the gates with hard-driving riffs of gnarly guitars, accompanied by a deep, chugging bass line and a torrent of aggressive drums. Nik’s clean vocals enter first, conveying a heartfelt sense of pain and vulnerability as he sings:”I have reasons to run, take me away. Cause I’m in need of a place to escape.” Then Armon chimes in with fierce metalcore growls in a further expression of anguish: “So let me hike all day and find my place to escape. Cause I have my reasons to run away!” Their contrasting vocal styles play off one another to great effect. As the song progresses, Jasen delivers an awesome wailing guitar solo in the bridge, quickly followed by Bri’s impassioned soaring vocals, which add another layer of texture and excitement to the already dramatic vocal mix.

The extensive and compelling lyrics were written by Nik, and speak to finding an escape from troubles that haunt the mind and spirit in the arms of a lover, even if only for one night. Each of them play a role to provide and find solace in each other, though fleeting. Here’s a snippet of lyrics that drive home the song’s meaning:

In my life I’ve seen
Things that chill me straight down to the bone
Felt love I thought nobody else could know
I wore my heart out on my sleeve only to find out it was just a dream
To believe I could trust in someone else
(I have my reasons to run)
So just for tonight
(Take me away)
Hold me tight
(Cause I’m in need of a place to escape)
But just for tonight
So can you take me away

Wrap your arms around me
Pretend that you love me
Role play that I am something more tonight

The beautifully-filmed video nicely showcases the band’s high energy and strong charisma.

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Stream/purchase “Role Play”: SpotifyGoogle PlayApple Music

DIARY OF AN OUTLAW – Single Review: “BIGTIME”

Diary of an Outlaw

Diary of an Outlaw (DOA) is the music project of singer-songwriter, producer and director Angel Synn. He’s a kind and gracious guy too! Originally from Michigan, where he grew up both on a farm and in Detroit, Angel now calls Hollywood, California home. He was once frontman for the rock band Down In Hollywood, but took a long hiatus from music to care for his wife who eventually passed away from cancer. This past summer, he decided to get fully back in the game as Diary of an Outlaw, and started recording new songs. On December 4th, he released “BIGTIME“, a hard-driving banger of a tune that speaks to his passion for music and dreams of making it big. And after all the tough challenges and heartache he’s gone through, he’s now fearless in his quest, and nothing’s gonna deter him from doing everything possible to achieve his goal.

DOA gets right down to business, blasting through the airwaves with an explosive barrage of raging riffs and pummeling drumbeats. He’s a fine guitarist, shredding his guitar like a man hell-bent on destruction through much of the track, but then he lays down a tasty little solo in the bridge, accompanied by some scratching to create a nice, contrasting interlude before the onslaught returns in the final chorus. His raw, commanding vocals remind me a bit of Scott Stapp as he fervently sings “Can’t you feel the music rising like a cannonball straight from your veins? / See the party, feel the people giving energy. Kickin’ ass while I’m taking no names! I am headed for the bigtime!” Keep playing guitar like you do, and it’s guaranteed DOA!

Connect with Diary of an Outlaw:  FacebookTwitterInstagram
Stream his music:  SoundcloudReverbnation YouTube

DYING HABIT – Single Review: “Into Colour”

Dying Habit is an alternative rock band from northern Wales, whose electrifying, dynamic sound is influenced by such bands as Dead Letter Circus, Katatonia, Biffy Clyro, Therapy?, The Wildhearts and Karnivool. Hailing from Anglesey Island, they started off as a group of friends who bonded over a shared love of music and began jamming together around 2011. They finally became an official band in 2016 when they realized they had a special musical chemistry between them. Previously a four-piece, Dying Habit now consists of Nathan Jones (vocals), Alan Hart (guitar) and Mark Jones (drums).

In August 2018, they released their first official single “Unrealities”, a magnificent and powerful song that I featured on this blog, which you can read here. I liked it so much that it ended up on my Top 100 Songs of 2018. They followed up with a second single “Into Colour” this past July, which I’m now getting around to reviewing. It’s another hard-hitting banger, with a heavier, more modern rock vibe than “Unrealities”. It’s not quite as melodic, but still an impressive track, with a thunderous barrage of blistering riffs, pummeling bass and smashing drums. The guys play as a tight unit, their layered gnarly and distorted guitars nicely enhanced by powerful driving rhythms. Nathan isn’t the strongest vocalist, but he handles the more dramatic parts of the song quite well, and his wails at the end are spine-tingling.

About the song, the band states “It is when we are at our lowest point that we find an inner strength we never knew was possible.” The hopeful, poetic lyrics urge us to turn toward the light – ‘into colour’ – to find a reason and the strength to continue and fight for our survival in this difficult and challenging thing called life:

Float above the surface
Think about tomorrow
Digging up the past it’s becoming real
We are getting somewhere
No more living in shadows
You got to show your face just get it done
On the edge of a dotted line, about to end it all
Wandering why I’d leave it all behind

Sink below the bottom
There’s not much to uncover
Behind the walls we’re finding all the clues
I’m on the edge for a second time, about to end it all
Wandering why should I turn away
But I’m melting into you
Into colour we flow, Into colour we flow
Screaming the words at you, all because of you
Gripping onto the edge, about to end it all
Wandering why should I turn away

Connect with Dying Habit:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Purchase on Bandcamp

WE ROYALS – Single Review: “Ready For It”

We Royals is a new electro/psych rock duo from the mountains of Colorado, consisting of Andy Crosby on guitar and vocals, and Shelton Summerville on drums. Crosby is also the super-talented and wildly-creative brainchild behind electro/psych music project Vox Eagle, who I’ve previously featured on this blog a number of times. We Royals have just released their debut single “Ready For It” and it fucking rocks! The song is the first single from their forthcoming EP, due out soon.

We Royals

The song erupts like a rampaging T-Rex, laying waste to the airwaves as he slashes and smashes everything in his path. It’s as if Aerosmith and Nine Inch Nails combine forces to do battle with Godzilla for sonic supremacy. Crosby shreds and distorts his guitar to the breaking point, making it wail and scream over an intense humming bass line, while Summerville blows out the speakers with his relentless, explosive drumbeats. All of this is backed by harsh industrial synths, creating an incendiary soundscape for Crosby’s feral vocals. His raw, impassioned screams would do Steven Tyler proud.

The song has a raw, high-energy sound like one would hear in a live concert where a band really lets loose. Crosby told me that was essentially what he and Summerville were after: “It was such a super fast process of meeting and tracking and mixing the EP. We only had about 48 hours in studio to get it all done, and didn’t really get too much time to retrack anything so was a bit of a jammy rush. But for the first EP we were just kinda excited to quickly catch the energy and vibe from the rehearsal room the previous week, so it’s definitely more of a raw, live sounding record.”

“Ready For It” most definitely kicks major ass, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the EP.

Connect with WeRoyals: Twitter / Instagram

Stream/purchase “Ready For It” on Spotify / Google Play / Apple Music