Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Coshish - Firdous

Release Date: 2nd September 2013
Genre: Progressive, Rock.
Record Label: Universal Music
Number of Tracks: 10

Overall Rating: 7.9/10

Indian progressive fusion band Coshish, have worked incredibly hard to release such a thought provoking, ambient album which has hints of progressive melodies and classic soft rock whilst engrossing the listener to piece together the concept. 

Inspired by Tool and Nine Inch Nails, the hard working, diligent album takes you beyond the music as the music follows the story of a protagonist who embarks on a journey to reach enlightenment. The listener can piece together their own journey with the subtle clues left in the album artwork, as well as rearranging the track listing to flow with their version of the story. The album is worth understanding, just to see how much hard work has gone into this.

Musically, it perhaps lacks a little edge, perhaps lacks a defining moment. What it doesn't lack is consistency, and the construction is intricate with each bit leading into the next really well, as well as running along side the concept beautifully. At points, its classic rock and blues influences are obvious, to the point where it is really refined but not really unique. That doesn't mean to say that i've heard this before, its progressive edge, ambient atmosphere and the odd intriguing guitar melody makes it an album worth remembering, and is a good building block for anything Coshish decide to throw at us in the future. 

Track 3, Coshish is a highlight of the album, as the sole ambient intro leads us into some classic rock riffage. This is a very soft song and is definitely geared more towards the radio audience. Track 5 Woh Kho Gaye, shows some neat guitar work, as do most of the tracks whether it be from tight acoustic rhythm, blues solos and rhythm and progressive. Track 7 Maya and track 10 Mukti offers a hint of a change in pace, and adds some flavour to the album. 

Overall, it is a good album. With a few added bits of spice, this could be a great rock album. However, The concept and the mix of the variety of different styles mentioned in this review, make it an interesting, thought provoking and enjoyable album. It is really an album which you can discuss at the pub after a few pints, and any album that can make you do that, is memorable and worthy of recognition.

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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Immortal - Sacrament

Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Unsigned
Number of Tracks: 10 
Favourite Track: Wish You Were Here

Overall Rating: 7.5/10
It's time for another Review Tuesday! This time around we have Canadian metallers Immortal Sacrament. This will be something of an unorthodox review as they don't have a collective set of works in the traditional sense. Instead, I'll be reviewing the material they have on their ReverbNation page.

With that out of the way, onto the important part – the music. What it lacks in refinement (and it does lack refinement – more on this later) it more than makes up for in ability, energy and sheer balls. The material is crafted with the love and passion of a small band – There's no expectation here, no budgets, just a love for solid, expressive metal. On record they've managed to capture a live vibe that was undoubtedly born of necessity, but it comes across really rather well. Don't get me wrong, there are some drawbacks to the raw nature of the tracks but they aren't amateurish – merely unrefined.

Key tracks:

#1 – This Ones for You.
The opening effort of this collection goes a way to showcase the talent of the band. The Vocals and the Rhythm section stand out really well here, the former being both haunting and compelling, the latter being tight and present. It also features a drastic dynamic contrast, especially during the opening verse.

#3 – My Reflection
Slightly more up-tempo feel, this is possibly a bit rougher than the opening track. It opens into a really excellent riff and just runs from there. The vocals are a little bit rougher too, and it suffers a little bit for it. Still a great track all in all! Especially for that pacey, up-tempo vibe.

#4 – Path to Arise
Another ballsy riff, leads into a far more polished track. It gives a view as to what Immortal Sacrament can become as a band (and probably are, Live). It has a really catchy chorus and flows really nicely. If there's any criticism, it does end rather abruptly.

#5 – Media Bullshit
This song is a little reminiscent of Trivium in it's opening, but then it veers off into something that feels unique. It's another well-written song - I found myself singing the chorus throughout the day - and it's bristling with a more polished energy. Great track.

#7 – Wish You Were Here
This song was surprising. It's has a garage-y feel which really adds to the charm, and is probably one of the softer songs in the collection. It really works though and shows a slightly different side to the band with it's more Puddle of Mudd-esque feel. It highlights more of the passion and some versatility that Immoral Sacrament bring as a unit.

#8 – Battle of Gaia
After Wish you were Here, it injects needed tempo into the experience and some really nice guitar work complements the other parts of the band. It finishes really strongly, on an up-tempo note. Another solid track that highlights the band's pros.

As previously stated, Immortal Sacrament's music does lack refinement and it's time to talk about that for a moment. It has a cons and pros. On the pros side, it avoids the sterility of over-production quite nicely – you can really feel the energy of the band and it comes across beautifully. On the negative side – It doesn't quite sound as good as it could. Tracks 4 & 5 feel the most polished and it really shows. These two tracks stand out on a purely audio level and if the rest of the tracks were to the same standard, they would come across far better. The problem is there are moments where sections of the band are less prominent, and this is a stark inconsistency which does impact the effect of the songs somewhat. However, this is a result of the fact that a lot of the material is self-recorded and recorded live. If you can look past this, there's a real font of quality material and it's worth the perseverance. 

In conclusion, Immortal Sacrament are a real edgy, ballsy outfit with a talent for their own brand of metal! If you can look past the lack of refinement (and in my humble opinion, you should) then you will enjoy what they have to offer. If you live in their particular area then I'd say it's definitely worth going and checking out one of their shows.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Periphery - Clear

Release Date: 28th Jan 2014
Genre: Progressive metalcore
Record Label: Sumerian Records
Number of Tracks: 7

Overall Rating: 7.9/10

Periphery were formed in 2005 and have previously released 2 albums and an EP. Their latest 7 track EP is a follow up to their well received 2012 album This Time It's Personal and they are a band that get better and better with every release.

Combining each individual's outstanding ability with their instruments, and their unique and exceptional method of song construction, Periphery have created an album which showcases their fantastic songwriting skills. This mature record bleeds quality and style as progression and melodicity swell around the album. Each song on the album is written by a different member of the band, so gives us an insight as to how each member thinks. 

Opening track 'Overture' is the only track written by the entire band and it introduces the operatic theme demonstrated throughout. This is a fantastic opening tune, as it is a mix of brilliant piano playing both lead and rhythm, and progressive heaviness. A definite highlight of the album is the uniqueness of this song. 
2nd Track 'The Summer Jam' is very modern progressive. A groovy main riff and some catchy vocals carry you through the track. It's a good individual track, but the fact it doesn't follow on from 'Overture'  is a little disappointing. 'Feed the Ground' is up next and this track is written by Matt Halpern - Percussionist. That explains why it is very percussion heavy, thudding drums and some funky bass lines make this track move as quick as superman.  The odd lead riff and a fantastic vocal range, make this track a definite highlight. Track 4 'Zero'  is 1 of 2 instrumental tracks, and this is written by frontman Misha Mansoor. He really is the creative force behind the band, and he has written a typical Periphery track. A weakness to this track however is the tone of the guitar seems un-natural, as if its been made totally on a computer.

My favorite track on this album is track 5 'The Parade of Ashes'. The intro and pre chorus is a build up to a bouncy riff and pleasing drum line. The chorus is totally fantastic. The lyrics are worth noting here too: "Concealing the intent of fascists/ Resurrect / Humanity has fallen by the way side". And the solo ain't half bad either. The second of our instrumentals is track 6 "Extraneous" is a bit of a let down considering what it has to follow, however it is still a fantastic instrumental track which seems individual to the rest of the album. The track has a hint of early Keith Merrow to it. Final track 'Pale Aura' and is written by guitarist Mark Holcomb. The riff in this is very good, bordering on technical metal. It has a quaint ending to the track and is a suitable way of finishing the album.

It's very much an experimental album as none of the tracks seem to work together as an album should. Overall, Periphery have written a great set of 7 tracks that individually show what Periphery are about as well as each individual's talent as a songwriter. 

It is a great appetizer for what is to come in late 2014, when 'Juggernaut' finally makes its way to us.

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