Mellowtoy: Lies
Written by Lauri Lindqvist    Tuesday, 05 May 2015 07:14    PDF Print E-mail

This is melodic metalcore with an Italian touch - produced by none other than Marco Coti Zelati, bassist and songwriter of Lacuna Coil, and the influence shows, from the haunting guitar of the intro, to the anguished-clean choruses of "Lies", to the otherworldly lead guitar underlaid with churning bass in “Destroy Yourself,” and so on. There are also notes of Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger in the gritty-clean choruses of "Visions" and during several other moments on the album where the intensity drops down to hard rock levels, and even some pop-punk whoa-whoa’s in “A Letter from the Past.” Mostly, however, the songs follow the standard melodic metalcore formula of alternating harsh and heavy with clean and melodic.

Notably, Mellowtoy doesn’t compromise on either of these fronts. The screamed vocals (done by Matt Massa) are laced with as much anger as any punk band, sometimes dropping into more of a deathcore roar. In the hardcore segments, simple but heavy riffs pummel the ears. The clean vocals (done by Emiliano Camellini) are emotive, but with a gruffness that keeps the angst in check. While most of the guitar melodies, even in the big choruses, are restrained and a bit spacy in the vein of Lacuna Coil, they still provide a contrast with the more aggressive hardcore parts, just a reflective rather than bombastic one.

Contrast is the name of the game on this album, what with the mix of varying - and unadulterated - styles. “Dead Colours” actually seems to feature clean vocals from both vocalists trading lines back and forth, as well as overlapping harsh and clean vocals (something that ends up happening on most of the songs). In “Faded Promises,” a catchy pop-like vocal and guitar hook alternates with hammering riffs and punkish screaming. Guest vocalist Cristian Machado of Ill Niño adds some extra brutality to the song “Chain Reaction” with demonic screams and low growls. The contribution of Paolo Colavolpe of Destrage to “Bright New World” is less obvious; I think he does some clean vocals in the chorus, but I can’t really tell.

As a fan of Lacuna Coil, I can’t help but be drawn in by the similar feel of the guitars and vocals in the more melodic parts of this album. But I also like that the band hasn't compromised the in-your-face nature of the hardcore parts. They’re punching some much needed life back into the genre of metalcore.

10 Years: From Birth to Burial
Written by Karie Okerstrom    Saturday, 25 April 2015 08:32    PDF Print E-mail

Prog-metal veterans 10 Years are back with a vengeance. Their latest release, From Birth to Burial, is the band's seventh and possibly most anticipated release to date following the success of their last record, Minus the Machine. Alternative metal and progressive metal fans around the world will be chomping at the bit to get a hold of this one as 10 Years crosses between genres throughout the record.

Stone Sour: Meanwhile In Burbank
Written by Ashley Wilcox    Thursday, 23 April 2015 06:06    PDF Print E-mail

Stone Sour needs no introduction. I would love to start this off with a great, thoughtful bio for the band and their accomplishments, but this is Corey Taylor. What could I possible tell you that you didn't already know?

I Prevail: Heart vs. Mind
Written by Sue Hodges Grant    Sunday, 19 April 2015 18:54    PDF Print E-mail

Motor City’s metalcore mavericks, I Prevail, pulled off a stunning hat trick at the close of 2014 with the bombastic and brutal cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” The pop princess’s tune was transformed into a melodic metalcore masterpiece and introduced the then-unknown quartet to post-hardcore fans. The accompanying video to the cover song went viral and has garnered over 8 million views on YouTube. Then came the band’s debut, seven-song release, Heart vs. Mind, and these newcomers shook the metalcore foundations.

Van Halen: Tokyo Dome Live In Concert
Written by Steve Wass    Tuesday, 14 April 2015 14:57    PDF Print E-mail

Recorded June 21, 2013, in Japan, Van Halen’s first official live recording with “Diamond” David Lee Roth on vocals is a bit of a vomit-inducing roller coaster ride. Perhaps you've heard ex-Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar’s recent comments about the “roughness” of Dave’s vocals on this release. Unfortunately, he’s not entirely wrong as we start the album off with Dave almost “Vince Neil”ing his way through the first two classics: “Unchained” and “Running With the Devil.” I say almost because he seems to actually say (more spoken word than singing here) all the words, unlike Vince. Dave’s performance gets a bit more consistent on the newer track “She’s the Woman,” and actually keeps up with the music for several songs thereafter.

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