Saturday, 16 March 2013

Review; KaiDekA - A Blissful Image Of A Dystopian Vision

Track Listing:

1. 25145400 (The Nameless)
2. Pre-requisite
3. Higs Bosun
4. The Vindicators Fa├žade
5. Shackles Of The Flesh
6. A Drinking Song For Drug Addicts
7. Obsessive
8. Dim Cave Droan
9. A Blissful Image Of A Dystopian Vision
10. Verb The Noun

Having only discovered KaiDekA late last year with their debut album False Idols And Pyrite Thrones, they've made a quick impact upon me and are among my favourite bands in the UK metal scene today. As such, when I heard that the second album would be released this year I felt that I'd caught on at just the right time. To be released on May 18th, I cannot wait to see how the band fares upon the album's drop.

The album opens with the sounds of war and riots on '25145400 (The Nameless) transitioning from a thought provoking spoken word passage into a heavy-as-sin chugging riff that is slower and steadier paced than expected. The groove is set as the Cornwall five-piece thrashes on, lyrics spitting and screaming over the inevitably circle-pit inducing verse. As opening gambits go, this is very strong, very powerful and a true statement of no-holds barred intent. The twists and turns of the guitar lines and rhythm section are highlighted in the manic vocal delivery, and lyrical hooks are just ripe for screaming along with.

Flowing into the 'Pre-requisite', there is plenty more impressive riffs and drum work. Intricacy is shown in the guitar playing, but without coming across as overly technical showing off. This is the sound of a band that is hungry and out for blood; lyrically demanding the listener's attention, and reflecting an attitude that is 100% metal, "I'm never gonna quit, even if I never win" strikes as a street level war cry.

There's no let up from each song to the next, guitars hammer on without relent, showing a penchant for variety in both rhythms and leads, with the former being quite jarring from time to time. Guitar players Lewis Allen and Curt Nash show great chops throughout. Huge doomy riffs are present as well as the speedy thrash-inspired work. Nu-Metal influences shine through here and there too, as 'Higs Bosun' crackles to a stop nicely.

Vocally the album comes across as very original. Those familiar with the debut album will be aware of band frontman Dax Partridge's high-speed vocal deliveries that bring an edge of the maniacal to the musical onslaught, and this style makes a welcome return on album number two, as do the rhythmic deliveries that accompany the music well. Screams and growls have stepped up a gear since the last album and the lyrical clarity is great, the production job on the album also sees that everything sounds even and prominent, with nothing lost in the mix.

 The band overall has a feel that comes across as a modern metal band that has amalgamated their influences well, rather than trying to imitate. There's thrash in there, there is a very well-executed sense of groove, and there are nods to the nu-metal scene weaved through nicely, but the band never falls into the trap of sounding like copycats, the influences may be clear, but the elements therein are mixed together on their own terms.

One album highlight are 'Obsessive' which boasts riffs a-plenty, great lyrical content, and an absolutely beastly guitar solo, all topped off with a tension building riff towards the end that will no doubt signal the start of great mosh pits.

Social and political subject matter are a theme through a lot of the album, and are covered without mercy; statements of empowerment for UK citizens and of the damning of the system of things sound sincere and venomous in equal measure.

The second that the title track hit my ears, I had to headbang! It boasts an absolutely massive riff with the kind of groove that any modern metal band should be utilizing. There is also a great use of guitar melodies, backed up by the brilliantly played bass and steady double-bass drum kicks, all played tighter than a nun's snatch. These guys can play their instruments and they want you to know it! Personal favourite song on the album.

This is all-killer, no-filler and the whole band has brought their A-Game. KaiDeKa are easily unique enough and good enough to stand with any of the UK's primary metal acts. This album deserves your attention and this band deserves your praises. 'A Blissful Image Of A Dystopian Vision' is catchy, heavy, it stands out in a metal scene that is full to the brim of two-bit trend following bands, and the musicianship and writing on display are top notch. Simply put; great metal music.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Review; Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal

Track Listing:

1. Can You Feel My Heart
2. The House Of Wolves
3. Empire (Let Them Sing)
4. Sleepwalking
5. Go To Hell, For Heavens Sake
6. Shadow Moses
7. And The Snakes Start To Sing
8. Seen It All Before
9. Anti-Vist
10. Crooked Young
11. Hospital For Souls

Bring Me The Horizon are the ultimate marmite band; you either worship the ground they stand on or you want to lob things at them when they support your favourite band on tour. I will say, I've never been their biggest fan, but when I heard a lot of talk about the new album being their best work and quite surprising, I thought I'd give it a listen and a review.

Opening track 'Can You Feel My Heart' instantly pulses with electronic elements at the forefront of the music, with a decent bass accompaniment underneath it. The first thing that strikes though is Oli Sykes' voice, which surprisingly is impressive. Oli's voice has always been something that put me off the band on record or live before, so this is a welcome surprise, and it's one that is assisted by good lyrics. The song does not scream "This is metal!" but it is catchy, it is very sing-along, and ultimately it is very good. This listener is definitely reminded of Korn's 'The Path Of Totality' album.

The heavy riff makes it's first appearance in the second song, which is where the BMTH that we all know rear their heads. On saying that, the band are clearly on to something with the electronica experimentation, which has been utilized to good effect, with little mid-song interludes. Other than that, all the BMTH elements are on show through the record; Hardcore-tinged riffs, huge breakdowns, scream-along gang vocals and big arena-sized choruses.

The major improvement in the band's sound, to this listener's ears, is that the band don't seem to be trying to pass off as Deathcore, a tag which they never seemed musically heavy enough to carry on past albums. Rather, this is a solid experimental electronica-infused Metalcore album. The band are clearly writing for their fans, not to sway the naysayers, and neither they should.

The obvious thing that must be pointed out is that there will be many who consider themselves 'True Metal Fans' or 'Kvlt' that will scream "That's not metal!" upon listening to this album, if they do listen to it. Although this is not Emperor, Cannibal Corpse, Slayer or Iron Maiden; this album, indeed this band are metal. There's scream vocals, there's heavy, distorted guitars, there's a fuck-you attitude, and they're doing it their own way. It might not be the kind of metal everyone likes, but it is metal. Fact.

On thing this album has going for it is that it's full to the brim of live-venue anthems, be it for those wanting to headbang, scream along or sing along, the fans will enjoy this live. From the opening song, to 'Go To Hell, For Heavens Sake' and 'Shadow Moses', the contents of this album will slay live, and that's coming from someone who has experienced them live twice and did not enjoy it at all!

The songwriting on this record is head-and-shoulders above anything in their back-catalogues, a claim they can make without having to break away from their style of the past, which rather than be abandoned, has been refined and improved. There are some great, catchy lyrics on this record, including "Signal the sirens, rally the troops, Ladies and Gentlemen; it's the moment of truth"

There are the odd niggles here and there, including the song 'And The Snakes Start To Sing', a ballad which does fall upon the ears as adolescent melancholy and melodrama. Oli's voice doesn't suit the song very much either. The song 'Seen It All Before' suffers from a similar fault, though it is a bit more upbeat in its chorus. However the record storms back into form in the very hardcore-influenced 'Anti-Vist', which, aside from being a good song, wins this listener over with the echo effect on the word 'cunt' as another one of the band's trademark breakdowns comes in.

Whether a fan or not, this album deserves a listen. Make what you will of it. Even on first listen, this album has my attention, and my approval. This may well be Bring Me The Horizon's year as far as mainstream metal goes, and it will fuck a lot of people off to see them reach the heights that this album demands. They may be a love-or-hate band, but they're on the rise as UK metal heavyweights. Look out, Bullet.