30/11/2023

Album Review: Plastic Barricades- We Stayed Indoors

An artistic impression of two gentlemen in a picture frame looking outside at pink clouds.


Words by Anselm Anderson


London-based Indie rock act Plastic Barricades is set to release their third studio effort We Stayed Indoors, today (Thursday, November 30th) via Plastic Tribe Records. The album provides a fascinating insight into the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown from a few years ago. "We Stayed Indoors" takes a complex and quirky approach to loneliness, hope, courage, living in the moment, regrets, hopes and perception. It was a telling time for many of us and this ten-track LP perfectly captures the moments in 45 minutes. The album title is inspired by the 2001 track "We Laugh Indoors" by the band's idols Death Cab For Cutie.

I reviewed a couple of singles earlier this year ( "Counting Fireworks", and "Lucid in the Fall") and was instantly taken by the blend of melodic vocals, imaginative lyrics and the overwhelming acoustics and electronics on display. So, I was excited to receive this via my Inbox. The band's brand of indie and folk is the perfect formula for a sensitive subject like this one. Plastic Barricades is London-based singer/songwriter Dan Kert and his revolving door of contributors. The follow-up to 2017's Mechanics of Life and 2020's Self-Theories was recorded with Sheffield-based drummer Chris Barber and German singer Aellie Coto. The album features guest performances by singer/songwriters John Sibley and Luke Joyce. The recording duties belong to Tom Hill and Andy "Hippie" Baldwin who spread their magic at Bookhouse Studio and Metropolis Studio.

That is the background of the band and album, so now it is time to review. Firstly, the album begins with the aforementioned "Counting Fireworks", a perfect song to begin any artist release. The enchanting vocals blend with perfectly strummed acoustics to encapture the isolation felt during the lockdown. It is certainly a song to lift anybody's mood. Next up is "For The Brave" with a background chorus by Eli Pasok and Christina Petushenko which provides ambience to Kert's soft and endearing vocals. The keyboard and acoustic guitar add a sense of togetherness to the track. I admit this is an album full of melodies and easy-listening songs designed to perk up anybody feeling the blues. It isn't a participant of the headbanger's ball, but sometimes these types of albums are needed.

The overall tone of "We Stayed Indoors" is gentle and serene with the addition of the contributing guests and evocative music underlying this. "Second-Hand Dreams" is another example of this with poetic lyrics about watching the world go by is a perfect anthem for those bored indoors. The dark electronics of "We're Not So Different" and "High Wire Balancing Act" provide some comfort, while "Lucid In the Fall"  and "Tallest Trees" showcase Kert's introspective lyrics and warm vocals, intertwined with some stout fingerpicking acoustic guitar and stirring electronics.

Finally, the melancholic folk song "Dust of Former Lives" is a good sing-along track to complete the album.

Overall, Plastic Barricades has written an anthem for a dark period in our lives with charm, warmth and humility. "We Stayed Indoors" is a perfect record for someone who wants to escape life's woes with a relaxing record.

Rating: 7.5/10

"We Stayed Indoors" is available via all major streaming platforms on November 30th


If you enjoyed this review, please click on the links below to read more about Plastic Barricades




27/11/2023

Single Review: The Bad Electric- Beans

a topless man crouches down and holds a giant Orange.


Words By Anselm Anderson


The Bad Electric are a Punk band that recently emerged from a burgeoning Welsh Music scene. The quintet are set to release their hotly-anticipated new EP "Happy Endings are Overrated" on 8th December. Beforehand, they will release two singles to precede the album. I shall review the first single "Beans", which came out on Friday 24th November.

The self-styled "DIY" band formed in Swansea, Wales three years ago. Since then, they have self-released, recorded, and mixed last year's debut EP "In His Blood". They refer to themselves as a punk band but blend in alternative rock, indie and electro to give those earlugs a wringing. The Bad Electric comprises lead vocalist Johnny Randall, Matt Williams (Guitar / Synth / Vocals), Zach Williams (Bass / Vocals) and Tom Young (Drums). They feature various members from the Swansea Music scene such as HWDU and Suns of Thunder to name a few.

"Beans" is an energetic punk track full of wit and charm, reminiscent of bands like The Ramones and Pixies. The song begins with a dirty, aggressive riff that is both urgent and addictive. Lead vocalist Johnny Randall's unique and hazy vocals remain defiant, as the groovy riff builds in tension to the bridge. The earworm chorus is memorable and will leave the listener singing along. The riff builds in intensity as the stirring synths and sudden breakdowns leave the song feeling there is more to come.

The Bad Electric have been making a name for themselves with their orange jackets and support slots for Nick Olivieri. However, there is more to come from the band musically with this enjoyable introduction to them.

"I Guess I'm Here Now" is the next single to be released on 1st December, preceded by the new EP "Happy Endings are Overrated" on 8th December.


Click on the player below to listen to "Beans"





If you enjoyed this review, You may like the review for HWDU below



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21/11/2023

EP Review: Lords of Ruin- Coda Revival

A Human hand reaches out beyond the grave.


Words by Anselm Anderson


The second EP review of the week is a look at the upcoming four-tracker, Coda Revival by rising British hard rock starlets Lords of Ruin set for release this Friday, November 24th. The band combines alternative metal with contemporary rock to satisfy the cravings of enthusiastic rock fans. Lords Of Ruin reminds me of a younger version of Avenged Sevenfold and a heavier alternative to Shinedown with their powerful and captivating lyrics, sharp riffs, and blistering drumming. The band explores a variety of styles on the four songs that are available here.

Lords of Ruin were conceived in Northern England seven years ago, but it wasn't until 2019 that they released their first single. The band consists of "Lords" with vocalist Lord Dox, Lord Stev-O on drums, bassist Lord Liam and guitarists Lords Kev and Stones. They first gained notoriety with an appearance at the Hard Rock Hell Festival before the turgid pandemic struck Britain, Thankfully. The Lords returned with last year's debut EP Ruin Within, which allowed them to perform at large festivals.



The Five Members of Lords of Ruin pose together.
Photo courtesy of Darren Birch


The band states that "Coda Revival" is a sequel to that release and marks the end of the beginning for them with high hopes for their future. Coda Revival is a short but sweet affair with the thick and thunderous riffs of "Decay" signalling a statement of intent for the band. Each kick of the drum resonates with grooves that encourage the listener to release their inhibitions. Lead singer Dox is a commendable presence with soft vocals that stretch over the raging riffs. "Bulldozer" features intricate phrasing and sharp riffs, with vocals leaning towards commercial appeal. 

As previously mentioned, Lords Of Ruin go from edgy alt-metal to a melodious mainstream rock style that is a testament to the lead vocalist's range.  I feel the band are best suited to writing metal tracks because of the intensity and smoothness of their songwriting and instrumentation. "Universal" is an example with a strong focus on strong vocal melodies and a catchy chorus juxtaposed with anguished harsh vocals underlining my point in case. It allows for big riffs and a sense the band can "breathe" and examine their true creative freedom. 

The basslines add a new dynamic to the metal stylings, while the addition of two guitarists creates a darker existence to their sound. This comes full circle on the song "Broken Dreams" by Lords Of Ruin is a great example of their style. It's a mixture of modern metal with emotional screams that give you a taste of what's coming next. In general, Lords Of Ruin create captivating tracks with a unique edge and consistency, which will certainly attract rock fans who are looking for something new and fresh.

Rating: 3.5/5



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Click below to listen to 'Broken Dreams' 



 


 Lords Of Ruin are


Lord Dox – Vocals;
 
Lord Steve-O – Drums; 

Lord Liam – Bass;

 Lord Stones – Guitar;

18/11/2023

EP Review: The Rattlebacks- Kink

Kink in large, red letters against the backdrop of black background.


Words by Anselm Anderson

The Energy of The Rattlebacks is a force to behold. The quintet combines the attitude of classic rock with the punch of grunge to create a unique sound only known to themselves as Rattlebacks sound!

They recently released their debut EP Kink via a GoFundMe Campaign,  to which their fanbase kindly donated over £5,000 towards being made. The four-track EP was produced and recorded by Dave Holmes at Lighthouse 95. The producer's impact can be heard over four stunning tracks of bally rock 'n' roll that is reminiscent of Guns 'n' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. Lead vocalist Josh Clarke's highly contagious soulful voice blends perfectly with lead guitarist Max Horn's groove-oriented riffs and the rhythmic guitar work of Cox, creating a strong dynamic with the powerful drumming of Seth Markes and the intoxicating basslines of Jack Holland.

Formed in 2021, the band hails from Brighton in the South of England. They have attracted fans from across the country with their staunch following and passionate shows. The band are ready to take the next level with this new release. I was immediately impressed by the mature sound that Holmes had created. The music is fresh and dynamic, with a focus on the vocals and riffs.

The band begins with the high-energy rock of "Rattleback," featuring a crisp, distorted riff and powerful drumming. The track resonates with listeners thanks to its addictive chorus and overall sound.


The five members of the band crouch down inside a disused playground.
Photo courtesy of Rob Blackham of Blackhamimages

Next up is the grunge-influenced "Amon" with lung-busting vocals and tantalising riffs to get those heads swinging. The Rattlebacks aims to keep the listener engaged with high-octane songs full of meaty riffs that continue to evolve throughout the EP. The feisty "Burn It Down" may be mistaken for something out of the sleaze rock directory with its slow, bluesy riffs and sneery vocals that build on the spirit of the music throughout.

And finally, "Favourite Son" is a nice slow burner to wrap up the release with its blues-influenced riff and towering, soulful vocals.

Overall, The Rattlebacks creates four enjoyable rock and roll tracks that serve as a taster for their first full-length album.


Rating: 3.5/5

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Social Media Links




Click below to watch the video for "Rattleback"















 



12/11/2023

Album Review: Svartanatt- Last Days On Earth

An animated picture of a middle aged Native American Man holding  an Orb

Review by Anselm Anderson

Swedish rock band Svartanatt may have a difficult name to pronounce but their 70s retro rock style is a nostalgic throwback to a bygone era. The five-piece has released their third studio effort, entitled Last Days on Earth via The Sign Records. The band's doom-and-gloom lyrics mask their upbeat sound of uplifting vocals, razor-sharp riffs and '70s-influenced hard rock and blues.

According to the band, the album covers pessimistic topics like the loss of faith in society and humanity, but don't let that put you off listening to the album because some of the tracks are infectious and will leave you stomping your foot.


 Formed in 2014, the band hails from Stockholm, Sweden and consists of lead vocalist Jani Lehtinen, guitarist Felix Gâaste, drummer Daniel Heaster, bassist Anton Fors and Martin Borgh on organ and percussion duties. Last Days on Earth is a follow-up to 2018's sophomore album Starry Eagled Eyes. Admittedly, the band are new to me, so I am always eager to try some new music. I was instantly impressed with how fresh and original the record was. Recorded in Svenska Grammofonstudion, The album was recorded by Martin Borgh.



So without further ado! Let's dive into the album release. The bluesy riff and Jani's husky voice in "Demons in The Night" offer a solid 70s vibe, backed up by a stirring rhythm section. 




a photo of Svartanatt posing for a promo picture.
Photo Credit: Olof Nyman

 "Mad Stranger" features soft melodies, which could be a radio favourite. The vibrant guitar interplay with a rhythm and blues section is reminiscent of a laid-back Led Zeppelin, making Svartanatt's music fresh and original. The music picks up the mood with the uplifting "The Crows" with an organ intro, stirring keyboards and thick basslines that supplement the mood of the track.


 I tend to make the argument retro bands try hard to replicate Led Zeppelin, but Svartanatt takes a different approach.  They expand their sound through fresh and creative ideas such as the rousing charms of "Child of A Devil", a surefire hit with an energetic riff, catchy chorus and stellar guitar interplay. It's juxtaposed with dazzling keyboards that sound like an obscure band from the '70s. The rhythm section and percussive beats add a progressive element to the music, while the vocals implement the neverending list of riffs produced by Svartanatt. That is not to say the album is full of stomping rhythms and rollicking riffs. The band take a softer approach towards the mid-section of the album with melodic ballads like "Children of The Sun" and "Keep on Movin".


The driven organ sound on "I'm Ready" is something taken from the playbook of the late, great John Lord of Deep Purple fame.  The instrument takes centre stage in "Texas Dance" and "What You Want" to wrap up an enjoyable listen. 


Overall, The album presents a new and unique take on the genre, backed by solid production values that bring out the best in Svartanatt. Although there are instances when the album may feel repetitive, the band's skilful combination of majestic music and strong songwriting is a delight for any classic rock fan.


Rating: 8/10


Follow this link here to keep updated with all the latest interviews, and reviews from Rambling Man


Click here to watch the YouTube video for the lead single "Demons In The Night"







Line up since 2019:


Jani Lehtinen – Vocals & Guitar
 
Felix Gåsste - Guitar
 
Anton Fors – Bass & Background Vocals
 
Martin Borgh – Organ & keyboards

Daniel Heaster – Drums & Percussion

Connect with Svartanatt:



04/11/2023

Album Review: Praim Faya- Abyss of a Light Planet

A blue, fluorescent ball set against a cave made of ice.

Words by Anselm Anderson

French Metalcore outfit Praím Faya are the latest in a long line of talented bands to emanate from Rouen, France. The five-piece was formed in 2018 and has gained a steady fan base with their mix of hardcore, deathcore and metalcore to create a unique sound.


Abyss Of A Light Planet is the second release from the band, following their debut EP Native in 2020. Although I have yet to listen to their first EP, I was excited about this new release. Being familiar with bands from Normandy, I was curious to find out if Praim Faya would live up to my expectations. The eleven tracks here measure in under fifty minutes, but the overall sound packs a punch. The band writes lyrics based on hope and suffering through harsh vocals, complex time signature and thunderous drumming that adds to these feelings.


The release begins with an emotional monologue titled "Aube" and leads into the aggressive track "Lethe". The latter growls over the pull and tension rhythms. Praim Faya is adept at writing powerful, emotional tracks that strike the stomach. The last few years have been uncertain, which is reflected in the stomping rhythms and dark harmonics of the album. However, the album also features well-structured tracks like "The Dirge" and the eight-minute "Rituals", which showcase a melodic side to the band's music, taking the listener on a journey full of twists and turns.



"Abyss" bursts into life with hollow cries, pulsating beats, and heavy breakdowns, which adds progressive elements to their death growls, making the music feel authentic. There are times when the album begins to sound similar, but the intensity continues to increase. The band try to rectify this on "Shapeless Deity" with guttural screams over machine gun-style riffs and drumming. The skull-crushing rhythms are the main takeaway from Abyss of a Line Planet, which relies on powerful music to appeal to the listener. Finally, the punishing "Renewal" wraps up this latest outing for the Frenchmen.


Overall, Praim Faya attempts to bring something new to a scene revived over the past few years with fresh ideas, contagious vocals and punishable riffs. Metal fans may be encouraged to give this a listen.


Rating: 7.5/10


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Social Links below



https://www.facebook.com/PraimFayaOff




https://www.instagram.com/praimfaya_off/



You can listen to the full album in the player below