Metalcore/post-hardcore band, Ice Nine Kills, based out of Boston, Massachusetts are set to release their upcoming live acoustic EP, Undead & Unplugged: Live From The Overlook Hotel. The record is based around a live acoustic set from a small crowded show in Colorado at The Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King loosely based the story in his famous novel, The Shining. The EP features five tracks from their previous album, The Silver Scream.
The first song off the EP is “Savages.” With that great catchy sing-a-long chorus, the clean acoustic guitar, it was very fitting to put on the EP. “Thank God It’s Friday” is the next song on this record and it sounded great listening to it. I was even rocking to it like the original version. They did a great rendition of the song. Up next is “A Grave Mistake” and “Love Bites,” with that very hard catchy chorus, and they sound great acoustically. The last song on this record is “Enjoy Your Slay.” This song is a great song to just enjoy and to kick back to. Overall this record is great if you enjoy acoustic songs and love Ice Nine Kills. I hope to hear more acoustic renditions of future Ice Nine Kills songs.
One of the newest bands on the scene set to rise through the ranks is the metalcore/post-hardcore band, GroundCulture who hail from Newcastle, England. The quintet have delivered their much anticipated ten track debut record, How Well Do You Know Yourself? The band’s music is meant for the black sheep, the underdogs, the outcasts. This album was created with the purpose of making the outsiders feel seen, heard, and as though they belong. Every single track on How Well Do You Really Know Yourself? was designed by the members of GroundCulture to approach a different angle of an individual’s self-discovery.
The opening track of How Well Do You Really Know Yourself? is the blistering song, “Life Won’t Wait.” As the track opens, vocalist Roy Watson yells the words, “How well do you really know yourself?” I feel this line frames this entire album and begins the thought provoking dive into the psyche of the human mind that takes place throughout the record. The song mostly covers the topic of how life doesn’t slow down and sometimes you just need a break from it all. “Self-destruction’s the face of a stranger / Life won’t wait / Set your pace and stretch yourself to the changes you’ll make.”
“REALEYES” is the albums lead single and opens with an alluring and haunting female voice singing the words, “Don’t wanna wake up,” an element that continues throughout the entire track. “REALEYES” tackles the subject of kicking your subconscious in the teeth and appreciating who you truly are underneath the surface. “You make me wanna find my strength / As I begin to realize I’d been giving up / Nothing matters when you close your eyes / Nothing matters when you realize time’s on your side.”
The album’s second single, “Trauma Can Teach,” continues with the band’s now known boisterous sound and showcases more of their influences in the likes of Architects and The Ghost Inside, in shaping what their sound is today. “Trauma Can Teach,” illuminates the fact that all of our painful experiences hold immense value and power when faced properly. “It’s not gospel / For I search in the darkest of corners for moments to feel alive / Find something to believe in / All this stress is my vector for suffer spent.”
GroundCulture leave their tempestuous energy behind them to close out How Well Do You Really Know Yourself? On the penultimate track, “Dream Like a Child,” the band bring the tone down for a post-hardcore track featuring, Philip Strand, the front man of the pop/rock band, Normandie. Ending off, How Well Do You Really Know Yourself? is the beautiful acoustic track, “1974.” Leaving you with the final message of loving your true self after having you ask yourself, “How Well Do You Really Know Yourself?” during the albums duration of thirty-seven minutes.
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Metalcore, Alternative Metal
Label: Fearless Records
Song Highlights: “BURNING YOUR WORLD DOWN”, “THANK YOU”, “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II)”, “MONOMANIA”
The Word Alive, a metalcore/post-hardcore band based out of Phoenix, Arizona has released their anticipated sixth studio record, MONOMANIA. The band continues to try and make something different with each record, which they have done since their 2014 record, Real and they kept that promise still with, MONOMANIA. A major factor for this record is they went with a different producer than Matt Good, who produced The Word Alive’s last two records, Dark Matter and Violent Noise. This time around they went with Erik Ron who has previously produced albums with Godsmack, Dance Gavin Dance, and nothing,nowhere, to name a few. This album still gives the metal vibe that you know from the band with Telle’s amazing vocal range, catchy guitar riffs, and hard drum beats.
The album starts with the title track, “MONOMANIA,” giving that new Word Alive feel to the music. With the catchy chorus, hard guitar riffs as well as Telle’s hard scream at the end, it was a beautiful first track to the album. “NO WAY OUT” starts with a different vocal range from Telle than you’re used to, if you’ve followed the band for quite some time you’ll notice it easier. It does catch you off guard for sure, but one thing that I believe should be approved upon is how much they went through the chorus in the song, as much as they did.
“SEARCHING FOR GLORY” did give the same vibe as, “NO WAY OUT,” but didn’t give that much of a repetitiveness. What I loved a lot about this track was the acoustic guitar and Telle’s vocals near the end of the track giving the track what it needed to be filled. “ANOTHER YEAR IN THE SHADOWS” is that song you hear on most records that is the ‘arena rock’ type song, but for myself, I always love those type of songs and Telle used his entire vocal range on this track. “GREATEST ALMOST” is a hard punch song with Telle’s vocal range and high tone guitar riffs, but if you’re a fan of, Dark Matter, you will love the tracks, “THANK YOU,” “K.F.” and “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II).”
“THANK YOU” has some guitar riffs that you hear from hit songs from the Dark Matter record, but what ties the song together is Telle’s vocal projection into his screams. As for “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II),” I was very skeptical for the track as I loved the song, “Misery,” a non-album single from 2017. Trying to make a sequel to a track can go great or terrible. I think The Word Alive made a great track as that intro to, “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II).” It gave me goosebumps with that hard-hitting chorus and very great guitar riffs within the track. I believe, “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II),” could’ve been its own track rather than a sequel to, “Misery.”
“K.F” is a very enjoyable track in my mind from the band. Amazing screams and more great guitar riffs. “BURNING YOUR WORLD DOWN” and the records title track, “MONOMANIA” tie this whole record together. With some of the harder guitar riffs on the record as well with Telle’s passion in his vocals, with another catchy chorus, it makes them great tracks. “COMFORT & CHAOS” is a very different song on the whole record for sure. That outro tied that song together in my mind with Telle’s clean vocals and that acoustic guitar. “I’M SORRY YOU’RE SORRY NOW” sounds like a b-side to something off, Violent Noise. I prefer something new or something with more “grab” than something that sounds like it was made for a previous release.
Finally, it all comes down to the final track, “DEATH IS ONLY THE END IF YOU ASSUME THE STORY IS ABOUT YOU.” A long song title for sure, but they played around with the soft tones of the band and with the fast hard type of song, along with a very punchy bass. “DEATH IS ONLY THE END IF YOU ASSUME THE STORY IS ABOUT YOU” goes full metal closer to the end of the track to deliver one final blow to end it off right.
The Word Alive put together another good piece of work with, MONOMANIA, for fans that thought that the, Violent Noise record wasn’t heavy enough, this record is for you. As this record was bouncing all over the place between metalcore, post-hardcore, and alternative metal. I think for the next record they have to pick one side of their sound, either go full on heavy, or show their lighter side.