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New tracks worth checking out: October 2017

Yes, I am aware of the fact that we are already halfway through November. University once again sabotaged my plans to post this on time. But it won’t stop me from sharing some of the best tracks released in October now. Better late than never!
It is safe to say that my attempt on making this a monthly series that goes online at the beginning of the month has failed. I am, however, determined to bring you my favorite new tracks at the end of every month from now on, mostly for the sake of diversion. There is such a thing as too many album reviews in my book!
October was quite full of new metalcore and modern metal releases – at least this is my impression. Ergo, you should definitely check out the bands and respective songs below if you are searching for new music from this category.
Without further ado, enjoy the following tracks.

Good Tiger – Blueshift
This is a very interesting track. Good Tiger in general are an interesting band I am willing to devote myself more to. “Bueshift” is a fairly new track off their upcoming second album “We Will All Be Gone” and clearly quite different from anything I have ever heard. Just listen for yourself.

Helloween – Pumpkins United
Helloween was one of the very first bands I started listening to as a teenager when I got into heavy music. I used to listen to Helloween every time I went for a run because their music really pushed me. Since then, a lot has changed: I haven’t been listening to Helloween a very much and I also gave up running. But now, as I am listening to this amazing new track, it feels as if I am beamed back in time. “Pumpkins United” is the perfect song to rise your energy levels, and I need a lot of that right now.

Attila – Three 6
Attila, one of the most successful metalcore bands at the moment, released a brand new song on Halloween 2017. There is no information on a new album yet, though. However, “Three 6” is a track that pleased many Atilla fans, and I do enjoy it a lot, as well. From time to time, everyone needs a little kick of energy, and that’s exactly what Attila are delivering with this track.

Polaris – Lucid
I have become a lot more open-minded when it comes to modern metal music. Polaris is a band I probably wouldn’t have checked out a couple of years ago, but little did I know that I would have missed out on some superb music! Polaris offer some of the angriest and simultaneously some of the most soothing vocals I’ve ever heard. The track “Lucid” combines everything I love in a metal song: Energetic, technical music, dynamic structure and powerful vocals, harsh or clean (in this case, we get both!).

Crystal Lake – Apollo
Another quite unique metalcore band – Crystal Lake are from Japan and I think that people outside the metalcore scene have never heard of this band before. On the same note as the aforementioned track “Lucid” by Polaris, “Apollo” feels like a fresh breeze of air. While being heavier, it still contains sprinklings of melody. Now who says modern metal is just bullshit! They clearly haven’t heard of Polaris or Crystal Lake.

Gems of last year: annisokay – “Devil May Care”

My first encounter with annisokay goes back a couple of years. When I got to know them, they were just about to release their second album “Enigmatic Smile” and nobody really knew about them except people who listen to this specific genre… and reviewers. At the time, I was working for powerofmetal.dk and was constantly in need for new music. Now, annisokay is Saxony-Anhalt’s most successful rock act, and rightfully so.

I remember liking annisokay more than I intended to. I kept listening, and last year, they released their third record “Devil May Care” and toured extensively to support it. I then went to see annisokay live twice this year, chatted with Christoph and Norbert, the founding members of the band, and discoverd a band I will probably love for a very long time. Unlike many bands I got to know as a reviewer, annisokay is one of the very few acts that still excite me to this day.
I really can’t explain my fascination for this band. They don’t play the most innovative, technically challenging music. Their lyrics aren’t very poetic. But what I can tell for sure is that these guys know what they are doing. They know how great songwriting works, and somehow, they know how to write highly addictive songs. I am constantly finding myself listening to their music on repeat – particularly tracks from their latest record “Devil May Care”. “Loud” and “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” are songs that really give me energy for the day ahead, and “Blind Lane” is a track that goes right into the heart, as well as “Smile” and “Hourglass”.
The fact that the vocals in annisokay really are the best aspect about this band is quite unusual for a metalcore band. This is something I noticed right away: Harsh vocalist Dave Grunewald does a more than decent job, but I do have a little soft spot for Christoph Wieczorek’s cristal clear, high vocals. He is a very powerful singer who carries loads of emotion in his vocals. Once again, I can’t actually explain why his performance fascinates me so much – you will probably have to listen for yourself.
Now, everybody who knows me a little better will say that it makes perfect sense that I like this band. Their music has about the right amount of cheesiness and heartache-curing properties for me to fall for it. However, let me tell you that my best friend – who wholeheartedly loves thrash metal, punk and hardcore – enjoys annisokay, too. This proves that they are able to write music that is addictive and enjoyable for people outside the melodic hardcore genre.

I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, and this site is proof for that. If I like something, I will tell everyone about it. And I am not afraid to say that “Devil May Care” – a melodic hardcore/metalcore record with electronic influences – is among my top favorite releases of 2016.


Review: In This Moment – “Ritual”

Release date: July 21, 2017
Rating: average (3)

Line-up:

Maria Brink – vocals
Chris Howorth – guitar
Randy Weitzel – guitar
Travis Johnson – bass
Tom Hane – drums

Maria Brink must be one of the most provocative artists in modern heavy music. While she is easily mistaken as someone who is all about shocking everyone with her looks, I truly acknowledge her genius: Few vocalists express their emotions as openly, very few don’t deter from addressing personal tragedies as directly as Maria Brink. I will always remember the lyrics and the video of the song “Sex Metal Barbie” – In This Moment turned all the hatred that the band ever received into one of their most powerful and equally disturbing songs. I am sure that many won’t agree with me, but I believe that Maria Brink is not technically a role model, but an important female figure in today’s music industry: She has many talents, does whatever she wants, isn’t afraid of criticism and has a hugely empowering impact on women who don’t fit into today’s society.

Alright, after my little sortie into feminism, let’s get into the music. People have very divided opinions on In This Moment, which is no surprise considering their style and their offensive lyrics. Ritual once again falls into that category: The music In This Moment are presenting on this record is very little different from what they usually offer, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. However, that’s not the case when the music isn’t the best in general. To me, it always seems as if In This Moment have a lot more potential than they actually deliver. The aforementioned single “Sex Metal Barbie” showcases exactly the kind of energy, emotion and musical genius this band is capable of. Luckily, there are some tracks on “Ritual” that go into the right direction, namely “Black Wedding” featuring nobody else than Rob Halford. This song makes you want to dance and sing along immediately and the lyrics and the melodies just go together so nicely. The rest isn’t bad. It really isn’t. On the one hand, I usually can’t get the main melody of “River Of Fire” out of my head for at least six hours after listening to that song. In This Moment have also succeeded with their cover of “In The Air Tonight” originally performed by Phil Collins, as it really is a great mix of the original and their own style. “Joan Of Arc” and “Witching Hour” give me serious American Horror Story vibes, the atmosphere on these tracks is just amazing. “Oh Lord”, the first single off the new record, on the other hand, is a little unspectacular, just like all the other tracks on Ritual.

The bottom line is that this album doesn’t feel like one hundred percent. In This Moment are somehow stuck at seventy-five percent. Ultimately, I believe that if you enjoy In This Moment, you will enjoy this record, period. But after listening more closely, I can only conclude that this record will never satisfy a music enthusiast’s need for creative, unique and sophisticated songwriting. I will continue to listen to those three to five songs by In This Moment that I like and that’s it.

Tracks:
01. Salvation
02. Lord
03. Black Wedding
04.  In The Air Tonight
05. Joan Of Arc
06. River Of Fire
07. Witching Hour
08. Twin Flames
09. Half God Half Devil
10. Me Importa
11. Roots
12. Lay Your Gun Down

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