SINGLE REVIEW: Control The Storm – Chaotic Mind

Think NIGHTWISH with a hint of UNLEASH THE ARCHERS, for fans of those particular bands that sounds fantastic. You can hear it right now in the form of CONTROL THE STORM‘s latest single ‘Chaotic Mind’. They only released this track hours ago it’s already received glowing reviews from fans. Having listened to the song for about the fifth/sixth time today, it’s easy to see why.

Ever since releasing their debut EP in 2010 CONTROL THE STORM‘s fanbase has grown significantly. They were awarded a slot on the New Blood Stage in 2012 at Bloodstock Festival and released their debut album ‘Beast Inside’ in 2015. The release of this particular album recieved high praise from metal fans and respected magazines alike. This new single is one off their upcoming album that is due for release in the new year.

The single itself sounds a little different to what they have previously released, there’s more power within the guitar work this time round and it works very well for this song. Their music has gained praised for its powerful content and ‘Chaotic Mind’ certainly contains that. The new vocal flavour from Firouzeh Razavi gives the song something refreshing to the palette and it’s safe to say she has fitted well with The Storm.

You have to be careful when mixing major and minor tones in a song, usually for it to work they have to be subtle. ‘Chaotic Mind’ proves otherwise as for the majority of the song, minor tones illustrate struggling with those inner demons that most of us fight on a daily basis. The major tones after the second chorus representing the fight against those demons, silencing them until they next attack.  The lyrical content to match these tones works perfectly well.

It should also be mentioned that there are some new talents from the newest members on this single; coming in the form vocalist Firouzeh Razavi (as mentioned before), drummer Michael Brush and bassist Paul O’Shea. 

This song contains empowerment, hope and fantastic musicianship that have come together to create this mighty single.

CONTROL THE STORM are back and they mean business.

ALBUM REVIEW: Orden Ogan – Gunmen

17855442_1658078987553359_3577627870255617669_oTheir name means ‘Order Fear’ and Power Metal outfit Orden Ogan have certainly proved this with their music to date. With strong releases such as To The End and Ravenhead there was a lot of anticipation around their latest release Gunmen. It was released just over a week ago and it has already received high praise from fans and press. From listening to the album, it’s easy to see why.

For those who are unfamiliar with these Power Metal giants, here’s some more information about the troupe. They formed in the year 1996 in Arnsburg, Germany and started off as a folk act. Over the past couple of decades they have released six studio albums, three demos and a number of singles. Gunmen is their sixth studio album and like the previous releases it brings a lot of power.

The start of the album opens with the track Gunman. This could be likened to the start of an epic film where you are immediately enticed from the first few seconds. Highlights of the album included Vampire In Ghost Town, Come With Me To The Other Side (feat. Liv Kristine) and Ashen Rain.

Vampire In Ghost Town has the strong melody and memorable chorus that you will be singing in your head for days on end. With its fantasy title and elements, it is also the song that allows you to escape the stresses of reality if you turn it up loud enough.

Come With Me To The Other Side features Metal Siren Liv Kristine, whose voice seems to fit any track that she sings on.  It was great how this track started off on a very tranquil note that leads the listener into a false sense of security before being treated to distortion and power that Orden Ogan are very well known for.

Ashen Rain’s dramatic intro reminds one of their almighty track F.E.V.E.R and this track proves its authority throughout after that. Everything from the powerful vocals to the thunderous musical arrangements reinforces this dominance and power that this troupe are very well known.

It ends on an extremely positive note with the track Finis Coronat Opus which is incredibly sweeping and majestic.

Overall verdict of this record is that they have not disappointed and that they exert authority and power once again with an almighty release.

8/10

Find Orden Ogan on Facebook, Twitter and their official website.

If Only It Stopped At The Name Calling…..: Murdered For Being Different Review

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If only it stopped at the name calling is the phrase that has been used to describe this tragedy, which comes across incredibly well in this one-off film from the BBC.

Murdered To Be Different depicts the true story on how young couple Sophie Lancaster and Robert Maltby were viciously attacked by a gang of teenagers in their local skate park, the main incentive behind this attack was because of the way they looked different. Maltby survived from his injuries, unfortunately Lancaster didn’t and died days later. Speaking as a member of an alternative subculture, particularly Goth, this is an extremely important story; one that has sparked an amazing legacy for the past decade.

One thing I noticed with reconstruction stories is that it starts off with the attack/event and then works from the beginning. It was very refreshing to see that Murdered For Being Different take a completely different turn; the flashbacks focus on the couple’s incredibly affectionate relationship from their first meeting. I admired they looked at the aftermath of the attack told from Maltby’s point of view and a witness who called the ambulance yet stood powerless as he watched the attack happen. From various interviews and accurate research this cleverly creates the re-construction of this tragic event.

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Given the story and the sheer brutality surrounding this attack of hatred, I knew from the start it wouldn’t be an easy watch given you know the conclusion. As predicted the attack was bloody, raw and you can feel the hateful vibe within the scene as the attack happens. Maltby’s time in the hospital up to the point where he says a heartfelt goodbye to his beloved is particularly heart wrenching; being part of a couple that are often seen as alternative, it hit home.

I enjoyed the way it was filmed; murder is a dark and uncomfortable topic for most. I suspect it’s difficult to film a reconstruction and have it come across in an emotional way without going over the top. The subtly in this film worked incredibly well; particularly relatable to those who love art, it covers the topics it set to cover in a beautiful way. The brutal scenes of the attack contrast greatly to the dreamlike sequence of Sophie and Rob’s relationship.

The cast acted out their roles extremely well; Abigail Lawrie gave a charming performance as Sophie Lancaster, from her fierce, determined when she’s persuading Maltby to venture outside again after being bullied outside a chip shop to her vulnerable side where she shows emotion and concern. She certainly stepped into her boots and portrayed her well.

I have always admired Nico Mirallegro’s acting skills, having watched him in Hollyoaks and My Mad Fat Diary, my expectations exceeded as he took on the role of Sophie’s boyfriend Robert Maltby.

Another notable performance comes from Reiss Jarvis, who portrays Michael Gorman. The first person to call an ambulance but terrified to come forward to the police at first. Eventhough his character was fictionalised but based around real life figures, his performance hiding his anxiety between going forward to the police and betraying his “friends” was fantastic.

So overall, this is worth a watch. Be prepared with tissues.

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EP: The Family – Welcome To The Family

Welcome_To_The_Family_ArtworkJust because you’re well known for showcasing one particular genre of music to the world, doesn’t mean you won’t don’t well in other directions. The latest example of this theory to come to play is Sheffield based Alternative Rock outfit THE FAMILY; some of them have raised from the ashes of former Hardcore act DEAD HARTS. Their upcoming EP will show you a completely different side musically but their rebellious, punk streak is alive, hungry and eager to get out.

As stated before, THE FAMILY are an Alternative Rock quartet that hail from Sheffield, UK. They formed from the ashes of the recently disbanded DEAD HARTS. This idea has orrignally come from vocalist Matthew Baxendale’s pursuit to create more melodic vibes, taking influences from QUEENS OF STONE AGE and NIRVANA.

The EP itself provides the listener a great taster of their sound; it is literal proof that great things come in small packages. The EP only contains four tracks but each one has a very different story to tell.

It opens with a bit of belter that gives us a very cool, upbeat intro that will lift the darkest of moods up to a very high level. The track in question is titled Ain’t Gonna Happen. It contains a straight to the point, no nonsense kind of sound and you get to hear the first tints of the QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE/FOO FIGHTERS influences.

My Kinda Scum could easily become the Rock anthem of the century. The sound is as raw as the message it portrays across. According to vocalist Bax, the song touches upon those sorts of people who seemingly have this presence on social media yet when you meet them in real life they aren’t who they claim to be. What’s particularly remarkable about this track is that it contains that punkish, rebellious vibe even with that groovy beat that anyone could dance to. The line My Kinda Scum alone has a great impact and one can imagine that this particular track will go down very well at live shows.

It might appear that Nightmares and Daydreams is going to take a slight turn towards the industrial side of the spectrum. The intro contains hard hitting riffs, ROB ZOMBIE-esque vocals and the chorus showcasing a similar musical structure to this Rock/Metal legend. Once the upbeat guitar riffs are heard, one can be sure that the original sounds of THE FAMLY are not far off.

The EP concludes gallantly in a very rebellious fashion with their single Radio Headphones. This was recently heard on the airwaves thanks to Radio 1’s Rock Show. This raw, dirty single touches upon the issue of hearing the same mass produced material over and over again, whether we like it or not. The song as a whole reminds one of the classic Hate To Say I Told You So by fellow alternative rockers THE HIVES.

So, even though the EP is small with not very many songs, it contains a huge sound that is sure to be admired by many fans of Rock and Metal alike. Highly recommended for fans of QUEENS OF STONE and NIRVANA, or just those wanting to expand their musical collection with something a little bit different.

8/10

“The song ‘Radio Headphones’ is about mass produced shit on the radio that most of us have to listen to but don’t really want to listen to.”

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With their EP being released today; I interviewed THE FAMILY’s frontman Matthew ‘Bax’ Baxendale for Distorted Sound Magazine. Here we speak of their EP, society’s fixation with social media and their recent rising from the ashes of former Hardcore act DEAD HARTS.

So Bax, how are you doing this evening?

Not bad thank you, it’s been a long day at work and a good weekend where we shot a new music video for our next single. It went really well.

Could you tell me more about this music video?

Yes of course, it’s for the second single we are putting out from our new EP and the first single we’re doing a video for. The track is called ‘My Kind Of Scum’. We filmed the video Saturday, we had a full day of shooting and it looks really cool. There is a lot of different concepts to the video and it’s really fun. I think everyone will dig it when it comes out.

‘My Kind Of Scum’ is the kind of song that will go down well at live shows, so I can imagine they will enjoy the video and single.

It’s definitely one of the more energetic songs and I think it’s the best song on the EP.

It’s my personal favourite on the EP as well, it has a punkish vibe with a groovy beat, would you agree?

Yes I definitely agree with that, it has the punkish aspects yet in the verses it has a more folkish/Queens Of The Stone Age vibe to it. That’s what we were going for.

I was actually trying to think who you sounded like on the EP and now you’ve said Queens Of Stone Age I can hear that now, at first I thought of Foo Fighters.

We take massive influences from the Queens; we’re trying to incorporate them into our sounds as much as possible. Giving what we’re trying to do with our sound.

You might have been asked this already but why the change in musical direction? You were originally fronting The Dead Harts who are more Hardcore and screamo, now you are a more melodic piece.

We’re into the heavy music and stuff. Personally I’d say this is the music I have always been into like Nirvana, Alice In Chains, things like that; growing up they were my favourite bands. Me and Dom, who used to be in Dead Harts, have always wanted to try something like that and it’s something we wanted to do. However whilst we were in The Dead Harts with loads of touring it was hard to try and start that up. When we realised Dead Harts were coming to an end, that’s when we decided to start it up and give it a go.

What point did you realise The Dead Harts were coming to an end?

I’d probably say December 2015 I think, we were touring with an American band called Strayed From The Path. We’d been touring for about 8 months of the year, so a lot of touring. We were all in different places in our lives so one of us wanting to start The Family and our drummer owns quite an established clothing company so he wanted to focus more on that. We just all wanted to do different things really.

How many of the original members of Dead Harts are now in The Family?

I started Dead Harts in 2009 but there is also Don who played guitar in Dead Harts. He now plays bass in this band. So me and him are in this band and the other two we’re really good friends with. One of them used to be a stand in for us.

Is that from session, live or both?

With Josh, the other guitarist, he’s just been a long-time friend of ours. We had a few problems with finding bass players so it was handy having Josh coming and standing in really.

So you are due to release your new EP this Friday, I would like to hear about the recording process behind this? You got some people who have worked with some big names to master and produce this record.

Yes, we had a producer called Pete Hutchinson. He’s a good friend of ours, we haven’t known him for too long but we worked alongside him in a London studio called Prego Records. A lot of pop artists worked at that studio such as All Saints and John Newman, things like that. So yeah we got to work with Pete which was amazing and we didn’t want to work with anyone else. I’m not usually keen on the recording side of things but Pete made such a great experience.

The second half of the record we moved the studio from London back to our home town and set up a pop up studio in there. We finished the EP off there. That was a great experience because it was much more homely environment and we had quite a lot of time to do it.

Out of curiosity, why did you choose to record in two different places?

We’ve actually nearly recorded a full length so the first four tracks we recorded in London. It was a great experience but due to the cost of housing everyone was a hit money wise. Since we got along with Pete so well he suggested about moving the studio to our home town and we house him. I don’t think we’d have done it any other way really.

I am keen to know what the themes and messages are within your music, reading your press release it mentions talking about being in a media capitalist society.

I do all the lyrics so I write about the stuff that is personal to me at the time. For example, the song ‘Radio Headphones’ is about mass produced shit on the radio that most of us have to listen to but don’t really want to listen to.

The songs also look into the media side of things, particularly the social media. Particularly how driven society is by social media and how the world would crumble if it wasn’t there. We try not to fall into that category as much, I don’t have any social media myself I never have. I can see the benefits to it but there are also a lot of bad parts to it as well.

So we wanted to keep the EP relevant to what’s happening now and it can be an EP that everyone can relate to.

I’m curious to know what the song ‘My Kind Of Scum’ entails.

This song is about those particular people who conform to these ideologies set by society and they’re trying to be people they’re not. They’re trying to live a life on the Internet but you go to meet them in real life and they’re not who you thought they were or they turn out to be really boring and no personality at all.

Whereas online they have this presence and seem like a great person but they hide behind their computer screens or any other means of media so they’re not our kind of scum if you get what I’m saying.

There are those who grew up with Social Media as part of their lives.

I grew up in the nineties where it would take half an hour to load up a page and things like that. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against social media. Whether you like it or not, it’s part of our lives now and it’s kind of how the world works now. I don’t like the idea that people live their lives by it now, they’re so sucked in by it all now. What happened to the days where you used to bring your friends around to hang around in the park or at the pub? Now we just talk to people on the Internet.

It’s like you go to Starbucks and see people at their laptops. Everyone has their point of view and I’m not saying mine’s the right one. I think there’s a lot of people who have a lot of angst towards that way of life now. So yes I guess that’s what it’s all about.

So you’ll be off on tour with the band While She Sleeps very soon.

Yes we are, one more date sold out last week so that’s two dates out of five that have sold out already.

Suppose this will be great exposure as this will happen after you’ve released the EP.

Yes it’s good, we’re very fortunate to be playing these calibre shows this early on when we’ve only just come out as a group. The guys from While She Sleeps have always been good friends of ours, we’re both from Sheffield and we can’t thank them enough for inviting us to come on tour with them.

Will this be the first time performing as The Family?

No, before we properly came out as a band we played about five or six shows. We performed under the name The Family but we didn’t have any social media so nobody knew who we were and didn’t know about those shows. We did play with some really cool bands. A couple of weeks ago we did a show with a band called Black Peaks, they’ve supported Deftones at Wembley. We supported Black Peaks who are also really good friends of ours.

To round up, are there any other plans for The Family?

We’ve got some more shows in the pipeline, including a nice little tour in September with a cool band that I can’t say too much about. We’ve also hopefully got a couple of festival appearances and we’re looking into finishing off the full length album by the end of the year. Hopefully this time next year the full length will be out. We’re just working hard as fuck really.

Find The Family on Facebook and their EP ‘Welcome To The Family’ is out now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Reasons Why

There’s been a lot of talk about this TV series that is exclusive to Netflix; the only thing I knew about it was the story was about finding out the truth behind a girl’s complex suicide. Knowing that it was likely to touch upon topics surrounding Mental Health issues and a lot of other subjects that are considered taboo by the mainstream media, it peaked my interest.

Before I continue this post, I will say now that this article will contain spoiler alerts and topics that may trigger unwanted memories and emotions.

I have just watched the last episode after spending the last few days watching this gripping series and I must say a few times the themes got to me; the insecurities I have were brought to the surface and the memories of thinking people would be better off without me came back to haunt my mind.

This show also gave me the feeling of thankfulness that I opened up and asked for much needed help when I did two years ago; if I kept it quiet, I don’t think I’d be here now, I wouldn’t be in the best place of my life and wouldn’t be looking towards a promising future.

Anyways about the show itself; it tells the story of the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s suicide that her friend Clay Jensen slowly finds out the truth behind it.

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This is a very well made series that was brilliantly filmed. There is footage of present moments of the aftermath of the suicide that tells Clay’s story into discovering the truth behind his friend’s suicide. These were mixed with flashbacks depicting Hannah’s downward spiral that included rape, anxiety, PTSD and eventually suicide.

The eventual scene with her suicide was extremely hard to watch; I had been preparing myself to watch what I knew what was going to be a graphic scene that would trigger a lot of memories and emotions, I was completely shaking when it was done.

It was shocking and intense; you feel the pain along with her as by this point as she feels alone, in pain, deflated, weak and a burden. Watching the documentary afterwards, psychologists and producers explain that it’s important to show that suicide isn’t a pretty or easy way out, the pain still remains for people around them such as parents, family, friends etc.

A couple of other issues it covers is bullying and sexual assault.

There is the character Bryce Walker; popular, outgoing and a high profile student of the school. He is captain of the football team. He heavily abuses his power and position as he sexually assaults Jessica Davis, a former friend of Hannah’s, whilst her boyfriend looks away and lets it happen. Bryce also rapes Hannah in his hot tub. The camera focuses on both of the girls as these rape scenes happen; to show the discomfort, pain and shame the girls are experiencing in this moment. That part that was completely angered me was the way Bryce normalises his actions and shows no remorse. As far as he’s concerned; Jessica, the girlfriend of Bryce’s best friend and fellow team mate Justin Foley,  is meant to be shared amongst his friends, and Hannah was asking for it. I don’t often feel dislike for a fictional character but in Bryce Walker I did, the awful thing is there are people like Bryce out there in the real world.

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Bullying I have been on the receiving end of and it can still affect you years later; after being made to feel you aren’t good enough in your younger years, all the pressure to look a certain way and be someone that seems impossibly hard to achieve.

Throughout the series Hannah is constantly bullied and put down by those peers she at first thinks are her friends. In this day and age, bullying doesn’t stop when the school bell rings; it carries on via the Internet, particularly on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. It never goes away and you feel trapped.

It is a great watch that does provide awareness on the taboo subjects of suicide and rape, also the huge impact that bullying amongst your peers can have.

If you are feeling alone or worried about anything, if you feel like you have nowhere to turn, please talk to someone you trust. Whether it’d be a family member, your significant other, a friend, a work colleague; give it a try, I was afraid my family wouldn’t listen to me when I first opened up but they surprised me, they took my concerns seriously and booked an appointment for me to see my GP.

Here’s some services that you can turn to if you need help opening up:

Samaritans

Mind

NHS (Mental Health Services)

Bullying UK

Rape Crisis

Don’t suffer in silence and let’s be kinder to each other.

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Album Review: Root – Kärgeräs – Return From Oblivion

a0879862781_10Ever felt so immersed with an experience that once you start doing it, you want to do it all over again and not want to do anything else? This is the feeling that is very well received when you take a deep plunge and listen to ROOT’s latest album “Kärgeräs – Return From Oblivion”. It is a portfolio of powerfully, hypnotic vocals, finger blistering guitar work and sweeping drums; once you start to listen to it, that’s it. Forget about what else you had planned for the day, the worries of being late to a meeting will be long gone and who cares if it’s time for bed. This album is that addictive.

For those who don’t know the band ROOT, here is some information. They formed in the year 1987 in the city of Brno, Czech Republic and over the past three decades they have released an impressive discography of full length albums, demos and even a boxed set.

You’ll be interested to know that ROOT were one of the original pre-second-wave Black Metal bands, following in the footsteps of legendary icons BATHORY and VENOM. They approached this genre in a very refined, less savage way then it’s predecessors. As the Metal Archives say, their style progressed towards a more epic, dark sound with clean vocals. It still recognised as Black Metal at the core due the unchanged ideology. With this impressive background, it’s no wonder they have a loyal following of fans and with this album gain a new generation of fans.

From the moment you press play on this record, you are rooted to the spot with the strong opening melodies “Life Of Demon” and “Osculum Infame”; these powerful songs contain dominant vocal work, exquisite guitar work and thunderous drums.  This high standard of quality music continues right until the very end; these songs come in all different forms and shapes which continue to keep the listener engaged and interested.

“Black Iris” sounds very eloquent and cultured with the rolled ‘Rs’ yet give us the brutal hell they are known for with excellent guitar solos and aggressive growls. “Moment Of Hope” is stripped completely of the darkness and distortion that creates a haunting melody that emphasises the impeccable vocal work. Then you have tracks that completely surprise you such as “The Key To The Empty Room” and “Do You Think Is It The End?” that have a Doom vibe to them. That’s just a few examples of why this album is mighty and glorious.

For those Metal heads wanting a gem in their record collection, this is the album for you. Highly recommended!

10/10

Find Root on Facebook and their official website.