EP Review: ALL TAKEN – “Accept This”

All Taken is a two-piece alternative rock band based in Los Angeles. Comprised of long-time friends Daniel Daghlarian and Avo Karapetyan, the duo formed in late 2015 and released a strong debut single “Burning Red” in 2016. The guys have now followed up with Accept This, a five-track EP which dropped on March 18, 2017.

All Taken meld electronic and hard rock components, along with a bit of 90s grunge, to create their infectious alt-rock sound. Daniel plays guitar and sings lead vocals, and Avo pounds the drums and sings backup. Listening to Accept This, the thing that stands out the most for me is their exceptional musicianship. Daniel lays down some fine, nimble guitar work, and Avo’s drums are right on point. Also, the guys have written melodies that are both compelling and overflowing with irresistible hooks.

All Taken

House of Wolves” kicks off the EP with some really terrific riffs, set to a catchy, start-and-stop beat put down by Avo’s hammering drums and a generous dose of crashing cymbals. The song seems to be about having a nightmare: “The house of wolves, they call your name. They’re baring their fangs at you.”  The great second track “Hollow” opens with a nice strummed guitar, then aggressive shredded guitars and strong percussion take over. The song’s melodic beat at times reminds me of “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age.  The song’s lyrics speak of someone who’s a shell of their former self: “Remember me for who I was. Not as I am – Hollow.

Rather Not” has a mellow, almost acoustic vibe (albeit done with gentle electric guitar) until, at the bridge, Daniel unleashes an awesome blistering guitar solo before the slow acoustic vibe returns to close out the song. The change-up creates tension that fits the lyrics: “Shadows in an empty room Why would you leave so soon? Do you feel uneasy? My vision is hazy.

Secret” is loaded with hooks and more awesome guitar work, and the guys harmonize especially well on this track. The song’s about not being able to escape the person you really are: “Running from your secrets, whisper words they are the sweetest. The words you confessed are now regrets. You can run, you can hide, but you can’t change what’s inside.” The final track “Restless Nights” has a bit of a psychedelic feel, courtesy of the slow, distorted guitar that’s overlain by shredded riffs, buzzing bass and muscular drums.

All Taken have produced a very good debut EP that showcases their solid songwriting and impressive music skills. Check it out here.

Connect with All Taken:   Facebook / Twitter /  Instagram

Purchase Accept This on iTunes and Bandcamp

EP Review: Disciples of Babylon – “Welcome to Babylon”

One of my favorite indie bands is Disciples of Babylon, a self-described “international rock band” based in Hollywood, California.  Formed in 2012, the band includes Eric Knight (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) Ramon Blanco (lead guitar), Gui Bodi (bass guitar) and Chris Toeller (drums).

DOB Photo

Three of the band members attended the Musician’s Institute College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood. Eric and Ramon, who is originally from Spain, had previously played music independently or with other musicians, but the two joined forces in 2012 and wrote their first song “Arrived” during their first meeting together. Later, Gui, who is Brazilian, was added as bassist and the band recorded “Arrived” and two other songs – “KARMA” and “The Great Pretend” – for their EP Welcome to Babylon.  Shortly after completion of the EP, the band added Ray Rojo as drummer, who has since been replaced by Chris Toeller.

The Disciples of Babylon’s music is influenced by some of their favorite rock bands, including Muse, The Foo Fighters, Queen, The Who, Stone Temple Pilots, U2 & Led Zeppelin. The band states that their songs “echo a progressive message that is meant to elevate and inspire the audience while still paying homage to classically definitive Rock nuances.” The band’s growing popularity is due not only to their great music and talent, but also to their strong sense of loyalty and commitment to their fans, which makes us want to return that loyalty and support for them.

The three songs on Welcome to Babylon sound like the best songs that Bon Jovi never recorded.  These guys are good! “KARMA,” a perfect kiss-off song, is hard rock candy.  The bombastic barrage of furious guitar, pulsing drums, and Eric’s aggressive vocals will immediately grab hold, leaving you wishing the song would go on for another 10 minutes. The video, which was filmed at the Salton Sea in the California desert south of the Coachella Valley, perfectly fits the track

“Arrived” is a beautiful, uplifting rock ballad about staying true to yourself and your dreams, and letting go of past mistakes that can keep you from moving forward. The poetic, compelling lyrics are matched by some really fine guitar and Eric’s heartfelt vocals.

“Don’t go straying, and the fight draw you in/Intoxicated, so abused.
Contemplating, for the choice I have to choose/Obligated, It’s so damn cruel.
Well I’m no fool. I have arrived, the challenge I face in this, I’ll survive. Conquered this time, swallowed my pride/My ignorance humbles this life, I’m alive.”

The third track, “The Great Pretend” is a rousing rock anthem of hope and forgiveness. The driving beat, awesome guitar riffs and Eric’s passionate soaring vocals make this an arena-worthy song.

“Release inside what you feel/Faith, will guide you and lead the way for you/Embrace the change let love heal/The angels surround you protect and take the shame from you”

To learn more about Disciples of Babylon, check out their website. Support these guys by liking them on facebook and following them on Twitter. Stream their music on Spotify or Soundcloud, and purchase it on itunes or Amazon.