Thursday, 19 July 2012


Breezy, effortless, flow, these are the kind of adjectives immediately thought of were Torche‘s music is concerned. The four-piece interchange through pop, progressive, and doom genres with a clear fluidity - it’s fascinating to hear the genres put side by side. It is unusual (perhaps less so nowadays) to have genres of music drenched in counter-culture work alongside a populist format.

“Harmonicraft” is a relatively pretty picture. The verses and choruses are often lead by a vocal harmony of sorts, steering close to pop rock, in the veins of Weezer and Blink 182. Outside of its pop traits, this is a far more artsy experience, with sounds panning across the mix, the guitars finding a lower string to rattle on, and the vocal fluttering into a dreamy synthesis of harmony.

7/10 Powerplay Issue #143

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:29 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

0 comments  

Industrial metal reflects a kind of mood, more so than a checklist for specific musical elements (Scandinavian metal ALWAYS contains vocal, drums, and guitar riffing around the minor pentatonic scale), and Nachtblut work in that somewhat drab, chrome-coloured Rammstein vibe. Apart from a more ‘Abbath Occulta’ (lead vocalist for Immortal) vocal performance, “Dogma” stays tight to Rammstein's industrial watermark. Nachtblut’s guitars chug like Rammstein, their vocal growls in German, and they have a slick production for the record to roll along in.

Obviously for these comparisons to have been drawn, “Dogma” is by far a detailed reflection on the Rammstein template. It’s accomplished with a degree of accuracy that’s convincing, while being able to hold onto an identity of its own.

7/10 Powerplay Issue #143

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:22 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

0 comments  

“MachinatioN” puts the black metal format on top of an electronic production. It’s an unusual sound, weighing heavily on the output from the computer, compared to the strings on the guitar, along with the raspy, angry vocal performance. Though the two aren’t ever uttered in the same breath (‘electro’ and ‘black metal’), the question of them both working together throughout the record is never in doubt. “MachinatioN” is more about a dark and industrial atmosphere, littered in a kind of hyper-production, perhaps even the nerdiest of us would have trouble giving the nod of approval toward. This is certainly not an accomplished effort by any stretch of the imagination – but that it moves so far out of a comfort zone repressed by an aging genre, is something very welcome indeed. A wise man once said, ‘it’s the journey not the destination’. That’s applicable here.

7/10 Powerplay Issue #143

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:19 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , , ,

0 comments  

There’s another viewpoint which I’ve never considered regarding the hardcore genre. It’s that it has been built as a kind of appeasement to the PR machine, of which includes critics. It’s been built to annoy the heck out of us. When you’re trying to find points of comparison, thoughts on how the music makes you feel, and a response to the underlying critical de facto, ‘is it worth your ears’, hardcore is an extremely tough genre to underline. In its purest form, should this style of rock be put together at the expense of entertainment? And if it isn’t entertaining, how does the critic respond fairly? Egos At The Door fall into my conundrum. There’s not much fun in their mania, and you can’t help feeling that annoyance is the very essence of what the quartet are trying to convey – an emotion, a feeling that’s perhaps better felt outside of your home stereo system, and explored throughout the spontaneity of a live gig, were you can punch strangers or your friends (incidentally they can thwack you too). Their indie inspired scream-fest makes for an intense experience, drawing on the likes of The Chariot and Shield Your Eyes.

6/10 Powerplay Issue #143

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:14 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , ,

0 comments  

There’s a mistake in matching Kreators guitar prowess but skimping on a weak vocal performance, something that greatly impacts ADFs “Tell Me What You See”. Their sound is rounded well, with a high standard of studio production - the guitars are crisp in the high frequencies and the drums are punchy for a tight percussive backdrop, but its centre-piece, the vocal, is thin and skinny, with patchy auto-tuning effects throughout.

You’re left in no doubt about their instrumental nous, and even the bands own artistic technicalities in the studio is admirable; but in contrast, alarm bells ring when the vocal populates the disc.

6/10 Powerplay Issue #143

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:10 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , , ,

0 comments  

Adramelch produce a kind of rock which is tame in its early Dream Theater inspired riffing. Yet they’re exploratory when grooving in their proggy, instrumental extensions. They stick tight to the classic formula, applying it with meticulousness, which makes “Lights Of Oblivion” a far too normal experience for it to punch through the masses underground.

6/10 Powerplay Issue #143

Posted by Posted by Andy at 2:05 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , ,

0 comments  

Monday, 2 July 2012


ReDiviDeR, a jazz quartet based in Dublin, have been assembled as a front for Matt Jacobson’s creative output. Jacobson has a rich background when it comes to the genre, with graduation in the field and a few raving reviews locally, hailed as a “bright spot” by the Irish Times.

It might come at a surprise how loose ‘Never Odd Or EveN’ is, despite its compositional identity. Perhaps less of a surprise is how rhythmic the arrangements appear to be – Jacobson is the man behind the drums after all.

This is an adventurous jazz on the whole, with technical melody and breezy timbre throughout – almost traditional in the way that Coltrane’s sound was always unassuming and cool. ReDiviDeR play with a fluidity despite the material having been stamped on a page.

Yet it wouldn’t be na├»ve to think that the Irish quartet become stagnant within their written environment. Just like ‘Lighthouse’, the latest album by jazz outfit Simcock, Garland, Sirkis is technically impressive, it’s also made stale by the written habitat that it rigidly lives in. ReDiviDeR never break a sweat, even when they’re improvising the final few bars of a tune at 150bpm, and there are few surprises as their progressions choose the option of building up, rather than exploration.

Nonetheless, there is respite in their ‘casual build up’. Few quartets are able to hold their own in keeping a familiar section feeling fresh, without going off the wall into free form improv. Where technical ability is concerned, ReDiviDeR isn’t concerned. Yes, their melody can become jumbled, but they're conscious of what tones are heard over how many notes they can play at once. 'Never Odd Or EveN' is full of pleasant and involving sketches, played by a band that wants its music to breathe.

Diatribe.ie (Diatribe Records) - ReDiviDeR, Never Odd or EveN


Posted by Posted by Andy at 4:18 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

0 comments  


Made from the frayed debris of a head-on collision between electronica and jazz, ‘ZoiD Vs The Jazz Musicians of Ireland’ is almost as it says to be – experimental electronica, in combination with the natural timbre of jazz.

ZoiD's sonic palette contains more beat-driven electronica than jazz, and Zoidan Jankalovich, the brains behind ‘ZoiD’, is invested in letting jazz melody live an organic and unprocessed life beside his electronic beeps.

Jankalovich’s presence is vital to ‘ZoiD’ working. Throughout each of the eight tracks, there’s a guest instrumentalist ‘versus ZoiD’, often playing on top of a variety of loops and intricate rhythm. What he’s really interested in is witty arrangements and explosive melody. The opener, ‘ZoiD Versus Tommy Halferty’, is literally Jankalovich and Halferty soloing on their guitars on top of a groove not far away from an Andrew Pekler production.

It must be emphasised how the instrumentation is handled with care. Jankalovich while veering into the strange and unfamiliar with his electronics, often leaves the jazzy timbre alone. This ingeniously brings the purity of improv to its fore when alongside the zealously produced electronica.

This is an album paced unevenly, fractured by its electronic rhythms and ambient experiments. It’s as much a forward-thinking record, as it is baffling and frustrating. You don’t listen to ‘ZoiD’ and his battle against the jazzers of Ireland, you wrestle with him – and them.

Diatribe.ie (Diatribe Records) - ZoiD Versus The Jazz Musicians of Ireland Vol 1


Posted by Posted by Andy at 3:39 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , ,

0 comments  

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Pigeon Toe are a five-piece prog-rock outfit, hailing from Germany. They’ve recently signed a deal with Lifeforce Records, giving their debut, The First Perception, worldwide distribution and a happy backer to help with promotion. The five members aren’t exactly new to the block either. They’ve all been involved with a couple of projects that have gained a fair amount of attention – Fear My Thoughts, Backslide, and Triptykon to name but a few.

“I’m sorry we didn’t come up with something more innovative,” says Martin Fischer, guitarist and vocalist of Pigeon Toe, when asked about their bizarre band name. “We used it as a working title when we started the band, and when it came to playing the first show, we didn’t have an alternative name”.

The name Pigeon Toe has been a stumbling block for critics to clamber over. One critic awarded Pigeon Toe “extra points because of their weird name”, while another critic was much more aggressive in tackling the band name before reviewing the debut, “Let’s get the issue of the bands name out of the way. It is awful. It just is. Everybody I’ve spoken to agrees with this, so let’s just leave it there.” Fischer devilishly smiles, “Well… our name might be helpful because people don’t know what to expect.”

Despite mixed feelings over the bands name Fischer insists that the press response to The First Perception has been positive. “It’s a good thing most critics are giving it [The First Perception] a second or third listen”. Detail is very much part of Pigeon Toe’s work. Their subtlety makes for an underwhelming experience first time around, but a colourful adventure on second playback.

The First Perception is a stripped down production. The guitars don’t have the sharp distortion found in metal. The drums are warm sounding and loosely compressed, and the vocal is sung rather than belched. There’s a space all around the stereo field, much like Devin Townsend’s Ki, or King Crimson’s live album Level Five. Their debut can sound blank in one section, but explosive in another.

During a previous interview Fischer mentioned that their debut was both conceptual and open to interpretation. How can an album be both? “I spent some time thinking about a story and characters and all that, but it never seemed necessary to make that work for everybody else, in or outside the band. Still, people should create their own picture when listening to the album.” Critics are divided in what The First Perception is meant to represent – if anything. Some have said, “Alice lost in Wonderland”, others “a potential wizardry”. You get the impression the band aren’t so sure themselves. “Well, all of us had all kinds of ideas in our heads”.
 

Living far apart in the digital age means very little to these prog rockers. The members of Pigeon Toe live miles away from one another, yet they’ve pursued a sound that’s most effective when they’re together in the same room, “Actually, the possibilities of digital recording are really impressive, and yeah, I’ve spent a lot of time in front of the computer”. The use of recording software is fast becoming a recurring theme in the mainstream. U2 are known to jam for hours on end, only for the resident engineer to cut and paste the ‘better’ bits together using software; technical giants Meshuggah are known to electronically program sections of their music before reaching the demo stage; the revered Radiohead are known to work around electronic sequencing first, before the other instruments are even considered at the writing stage.

Yet, listening to The First Perception, it doesn’t sound like it’s been made with a computer in mind, “I’ll take that as a compliment!” says Fischer, unsure if a compliment was actually meant. “Of course, there was a point when I realised that this [digital recording] doesn’t replace the feeling in a band, inside the rehearsal room.” “Still, we’d use it [recording software] to save some ideas and work on them at some other time… but when it comes to song writing or rehearsing we have this one place where we’ll all meet. Also, I think it’s really important for us to react spontaneously and inspire each other”.
 

Song writing and spontaneity can’t live without the other, and were progressive rock is concerned, spontaneity has been the genres corner-stone for decades. “It might get a little complicated when we’re writing, but it can be pretty refreshing having all kinds of unplanned combinations happening at once”.

The First Perception by Pigeon Toe is available worldwide via Lifeforce Records online store, iTunes & Amazon

 http://www.lifeforcerecords.com/main/artists/pigeon-toe/

Posted by Posted by Andy at 3:41 pm
Categories: Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

0 comments  

 
>