South Of Salem: Demons Are Forever...

Single review by; Mike

 

To mark WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2020, South of Salem have released a video for their latest single, the dark and haunting ballad, ‘Demons Are Forever’ featuring Keyboardist and Samplist, The AvD (Red Method, The Defiled).

 

The video begins with a 'Trigger warning' and advises that the following contains subject matter that some viewers may find distressing... and as the issues relate to suicide, I can imagine how some of the audience may be grateful for the disclaimer...

 

For some, it's a taboo topic and something not to be mentioned... Whilst for others it is a clear and present danger, that is dealt with on a daily basis.

 

Lyrically the' Demons' in question are those of the human condition's susceptibility to mental illness, and how, if left unchecked, can lead one to the possibility of making the ultimate in irrevocable decisions once faced with the darkness, emptiness and loneliness that plagues us all, when the last offerings of hope and faith are erased.

 

We empathise with the protagonist at the heart of the song as they wrestle with their psychological and physical fears and can imagine how such thoughts can be induced, be it through addiction, loss, guilt, sorrow and or grievance, as we are firmly within the territory of the unescapable reality of inner turmoil.

 

Echoing this sentiment, the bands performance is interspersed with segments that cut to those whose lives that have been touched by the consequences of suicide.

 

In part, the segments are a memorial to those who we have loved and lost, but also pay tribute to those who were able to overcome and survive their darkest hours, to which the ultimate message of the track is that no matter how alone you may think you are and no matter how dismal and eternal the night maybe, there is always the possibility of some other option... You are not alone...

 

As art, the track and video are a bold, brave and courageous attempt to raise awareness and it reminds me of the passionate fortitude that Papa Roach injected into their track 'Last Resort' that also dealt with similar themes.

 

And as the video fades to black, the band sign off with a thanks to everyone that got involved and made this video so very, very special.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow SOUTH OF SALEM:

Website: http://www.southofsalem.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/southofsalemofficial

Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thecovensos 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/southofsalemofficial/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/southofsalem1

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/SouthOfSalem/videos

Hawxx  - Deadland

Single review by: DeeDee 

 

Four girls living in London, but originally from as far away as Bahrain and Greece, joined forces in 2018 to form Hawxx. Named after a bird of prey they added the XX as it’s the symbol of the female chromosome. The first single came out on 14th February 2019, called ‘Loves A Bitch’ it was anti Valentines Day all the way. So it’s pretty evident that  Hawxx have a feisty attitude and are not afraid to voice their beliefs and opinions. The band have already claimed a gong with the ‘Women Make Music PRS Award 2020’, which was achieved back in January. 

 

The latest single ‘Deadlands’ has been around for a month and has gained them more attention with the media. It starts with a deadweight riff that is the lowest and dirtiest I’ve heard for a while, really grabbing your attention from the beginning. The vocals are high and screamish to begin with, then seethingly wallow down between the guitar breaks, the riff intensifies further and is in full glory midway. The lyrics ‘I’ll take you to the Deadlands’ are repeated to reinforce the promise of dread and with a heavy, thrash metal approach, I have to approve of the way Hawxx have taken prisoners in their talons on this one.      

 

‘One step forward

Two stabs in my back

We’re gonna shut this down

There’s no turning back’

 

Well, if this single is anything to go by, I wait with bated breath for an album and to see them live. I love the contrast of arousing siren type vocals and the untarnished and heaviness with the guitars. All backed by the intense passion of the pair on rhythm, those drums are bashed  vigorously and the bass is unyielding.   

 

5/5  

 

Hawxx are; 

Anna Papadimitriou: Lead vocals/Guitar 

Hannah Staphnill: Guitar/Backing vocals

Iman Ahmed: Bass/Backing vocals

Jessica Dann: Drums

 

Website;  http://hawxx.co.uk

Instagram;  hawxxmusic

Facebook;  HAWXX

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Tokyo Motorfist: Youngblood

Single review by; Mike

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa1oSlCeL50

 

Tokyo Motorfist's Ted Poley (Danger, Danger) and guitarist Steve Brown (Trixter) return with the lead single from their forthcoming sophomore album 'Lions'...

 

If you thought you were listening to Def Leppard you'd be forgiven. Youngblood is homage to everything that you would hope from the melodic hard rock of the 1980's.

 

The production is phenomenal and the arrangement keeps you in a ball park that is pleasantly safe and familiar...

 

Steve Brown executes his guitar duties with aplomb... the opening tapping sequence is as strong and substantial as anything that Phil Collen could offer whilst Ted Poley's vocals deliver a rich and confident performance that would rival the abilities of a man half his age!

 

The track isn't pushing the boundaries, but that's not the point, and it’s perfect for what it accomplishes...

 

The video isn't going to win any awards, but the animated segments have merit... makes me think why didn't they just opt for a lyric video....

 

Can't wait to hear the album which drops 10th July 2020

 

 

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Michael Grant and the Assassins

Single review by; Mike

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGTWEArpKZA

 

Former LA Guns guitarist Michael Grant brings us 'Red Light Run' from his forthcoming debut album 'Always the Villain' (available for 10th July 2020)

 

The track sees Mike channelling his inner Enuff Z'Nuff...The lyrics of, “Broken Hearts and Cocaine eyes”; build for us a framework for the perils of a woman scorned and the resulting aftermath... heavy subject matter indeed!

 

Let’s just hope our female protagonist doesn't crash in this tale of revenge by way of sex, drugs and excess.

 

Mike is on duty for all instrumentation as evident from the tastefully shot b&w performance video which is interspersed with colour segments of a feisty female, pouting, posing and strutting her way around the streets of L.A.

 

The cinematography is spot on and shows that a small fortune doesn't have to be spent to achieve an effective promo... all you need are cigarettes, a leather jacket, a Zemaitis guitar and the aforementioned 'hot model'.... very rock!

 

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Bloody Heels 'Criminal Masterminds'...

Single review by; Mike

 

“Woah oh oh oh oh oh.... Woah Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh…” we're into catchy chorus territory with Bloody Heels, 'Criminal Masterminds' from the album, 'Ignite the Sky'...

 

Set within the confines of what appears to be a derelict church, Bloody Heels perform for the ‘whose who’ of the 'Criminal Mastermind' underworld.... it’s all black suits, black ties and white shirts with tipped fedoras... with the Kingpin or in this case ‘Queen-pin’ decked out in a white suit which is somewhat reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s outfit from Smooth Criminal!

 

The tracks a banger and has a somewhat harder edge to what one may expect from the band, but it picks you up and carries you off to such a extent that a repeat listen is not asked, but demanded! Furthermore there is 'simulated rainfall' and chandeliers! Lavish!

 

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SEMBLANT – "Dethrone the Gods, Control the Masters"

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC0vUDahT38&feature=youtu.be

 

Brazilian melodic death metaler’s Semblant herald the apocalypse with their track “Dethrone the Gods, Control the Masters (LEGACY OF BLOOD PART IV)” ... yes that is the full title, from the album 'Obscura'

 

 It’s a horror movie for your ears!

 

We've got chugging guitars, lead synths, double kick drums, a male growling vocal juxtaposed against the female voices operatic styling’s... you really have to be in the 'mood' to truly appreciate the intricacies and nuances of the production... as it might overwhelm the whimsy of a causal listener... as the lyrics relate a reality in which, “We spread disease, pain and disgrace, While mankind dies, we grow stronger...We can create a harvest of flesh, Our feed on men will last forever”.

 

Crikey!

 

The video is a mixed bag... In part its extremely ambitious... we have the fallen angel Azrael, tattooed and augmented with cyborg implants, looming over a Ouija board and various TV screens showing the bands 'studio performance'...

 

As fallen angels go... Azrael looks the business and the practical FX at work is top notch, so much so, it would rival any B-Movie Hollywood production, as he is bathed in candlelight and brooding shadows...

 

It’s just a shame that its interspersed with clips of the band in the aforementioned 'studio performance' as these 'cutaways' detract from what the key visuals are trying to accomplish, but having said that, maybe the limitations are due to 'lockdown / quarantine'...

 

 

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Edge Of Paradise "Hollow"

Single review by; Mike

Symphonic metaller’s, Edge of Paradise present us with 'Hollow' in support of their album 'Universe'…

 

As the press notes explain, the video is a behind-the-scenes look at Edge Of Paradise's 2019 European Tour with Sonata Arctica + Temple Balls.... And it looks like they had a jolly good time on the road... It’s the kind of video that makes you want to be in a band!

 

Oh…. The halcyon days before the pandemic!

 

‘Hollow’ wouldn’t be out of place if it featured on one of the soundtracks from the Underworld film series as the track melds together various aspects of electronica and industrial metal to create a sound that is somewhat reminiscent of Richard Patrick’s Filter...

 

Its heavy, it’s dense and it doesn’t disappoint as it cracks along at an up-tempo BPM, which kicks along with a solid groove... Good times!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKuYaT2wxG0

Lords Of Black - "Forevermore"

(Acoustic Version)

Single review by; Mike

 

With Ronnie Romero returning as lead vocalist, he joins fellow band mate Tony Hernando for a 'quarantined' acoustic version of 'Forevermore'...

 

If you like the studio recording, you'll enjoy this stripped back version, which gives it a more folksy, classic rock, 'Zep' vibe....

 

In some ways you may think the original version is over produced as it really lets Ronnie's vocal shine and allows for a subtle interplay with Tony's intricate guitar technique which unexpectedly has that undeniably 'Spanish flavour'.

 

All in though, it serves as a precursor to the fact that the band has 'reunited', stronger than ever and returned to the studio to record their next album "Alchemy Of Souls - Part 1"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ39NQgEbW0

Straight For The Sun - Walk  

Single review by: DeeDee

Released 15/5/20 

 

Straight For The Sun are a 5 man strong, post hardcore metal band, from the Birmingham area. They struck me as a little special last year when they released the EP ‘No Tomorrow’. A 5 track monster that put them ahead of others and when I first saw them live, my adoration was complete. Now, as I eagerly await new material, they have tantalised me with their new single ‘Walk’, which is due for general release on May 15th. I did wonder how the guys would follow such seductive work, like for instance, ‘Unbound’, which was a humdinger in 2019. How does ‘Walk’ compare with previous songs?  

 

As the opening bars gently hit your ears, you are slowly drawn in and then suddenly the shredding fires up in earnest. Callum Green utters war like roars as ‘Walk’ progresses into a fast ride with low riffs and grindingly heavy stubbornness from the guitar duo, Pauly Barter and Tom Haywood. The chords demolish the path behind you, as they lead into a chasm of unrelenting pressure. Massive bursts of energetic and melodic vocals, intertwine with the pounding drums of Jamie Human and the support of Oz Jackson’s bass, which is the backbone of this band. At 3.47 minutes it comes to a sharp ending, which is so classy and it’s the ultimate finish. 

 

Well, to answer my initial question, does ‘Walk’ satisfy the hunger and make the grade? Of course it does, it’s a fresh and ferocious attack on the soul, a spellbinding creation that compliments the existing discography. 

 

5/5 

 

Straight For The Sun are; 

Callum Green - Vocals

Pauly Barter - Guitar

Tom Haywood - Guitar

Oz Jackson - Bass

Jamie Human - Drums

 

Links to the band and more information can be found below;

https://www.straightforthesun.com/

https://www.facebook.com/straighforthesunofficial/

Blitz – We’re Alright
Single review by; Tuesday

 

Blitz are better than alright!

 

'We're Alright' is the new single from some of our fave Nottingham rockers. We've featured these ace guys a few times now.  They always give their tracks 100% and hailing from the UK's 'Rock city' we wouldn't expect anything else. 

 

This feel good belter couldn't be released at a better time.  It has everything to help lift your spirits - a brilliant guitar performance full of bends, wails and supersonic riffery. 

There's a wonderful pounding heartbeat created from the perfect relationship between the drums and bass and a fist in the air chanted vocal that will have you singing along to the repeated line with meaning - 'we're alright' - we are now boys!

 

https://blitzuk.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/blitzrockbanduk/

 

BlitZ are;
Kevin Simpson - Guitar and backing vocals
Mat Davis - Drums and backing vocals
Stuart Corden - Vocals and bass

Red Brick - Spiceland

Single review by; Tuesday

'Spiceland' by Hard rockers from Wrexham Red Brick is certainly an attention grabber!  They're very angry fellows, but it makes for a great sounding angst riddled romper!  Musically excellent, punk riffed, boot stomping, mouth on fire (lots of spice!) vocals.  Super catchy, musically faultless, a dangerous sounding song you can't help but be attracted to.   

 

5/5* for musicality and personality... although we'd have to study the written lyrics un-shouted to see if we agreed with the politics!  

https://soundcloud.com/user-795962768/spiceland

https://open.spotify.com/track/1s9RqBWQ6SnU5Mhdri4YWq?si=Koqkh6--QCapl5Q2ay1nUQ

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