Alive At Zero Review | Posted October-11-2021 What You Need To Know
Roselyn, a chaotic metalcore band from Denmark, are comprised of members from other bands. Their new lead singer Ebbe Ryberg is formerly with contemporary band Selah. Alive at Zero is their first full-length album.
What It Sounds Like
Roselyn's sound is a vintage style of metalcore, reminiscent of early 2000s bands like Living Sacrifice and Zao. The music has some melodic elements as well as plenty of groovy, chaotic sounds. Singing is minimal on this record, as Ebbe's vocals consist almost entirely of a variety of screams.
Alive At Zero is inspired by the 2015 refugee crisis in Europe. The band shares, "We dig into some of the pain and injustices in the hopes of finding a glimpse of light and hope that there is more for us and that we can do better as humans."
Despite the focus on an earthly struggle, Roselyn brings powerful proclamations of universal hope and salvation. "Grace and Fire" cries out "grace and fire/You saved me from myself." "Iron Sharpens Iron" claims, "Let His light through the curtains/Guilt and shame dispelled/By living light overwhelmed." "Calm The Storm" is prayerful and intimate.
One of the best songs on Alive at Zero is "For The War." This song captures, both musically and lyrically, the depth that Roselyn brings. The catchy riff is one of the best parts, working opposite of the melodic backing in the chorus. And lyrically, it addresses the core of what Alive at Zero focuses on.
Roselyn's debut full-length record, Alive at Zero, is essential for chaotic metalcore fans. The title track is overly repetitive and "Strings / Interlude" seems out of place. But, the impressive vocals, mature songwriting, and intense musicianship ought to bring the album the attention it deserves.
Relent's | Posted October-06-2021 What You Need To Know:
Heavy is Relent's second full-length studio album on Rockfest Records, following Heart Attack.
What It Sounds Like:
Heavy builds upon the foundation they laid down in Heart Attack. Their fusion of old-school nu-metal with modern hard rock is a standout in the aggressive music scene. Improvements are found in every area–vocals, lyrics, and music.
Relent addresses some heavy topics in this record, as expected from both the album title and artwork. Issues like hypocrisy, addiction, depression, and more are handled through mature, hope-filled songs.
The difficult topics can be summarized as lead singer Miggy Sanchez shared with RockOnPurpose: "God has always shown up in the midst... If He can do it for me, He can do it for you. Don't give up. I know it's hard, but you're going to be stronger from this."
The band's creativity shines on the title track "Heavy." They tap into the hip-hop style more–rapping verses, a near-spoken word bridge, and continually heavy choruses. Relent gets more ferocious in songs like "Danger" and "Ghost" which can't be missed.
If you feel low in your soul, Relent's new music is sure to bring you some inspiration. What Christian-based nu-metal lacks in quantity, you'll often find quality. Relent is no exception. Heavy is definitely a highlight of the year.
Rhema: Screaming the best of War of Ages | Posted September-16-2021 What You Need To Know
Rhema is War of Ages' first studio EP of their 16-year career. There are four songs of unashamed Christian metal from one of the champions of Facedown Records.
What It Sounds Like
What War of Ages will be remembered for is their consistency. They not only bring what you expect from an expert metal band but continually improve as well. All the goods are here: guitar solos, catchy riffs, soaring choruses with gritty verses, and faith-filled lyrics.
War of Ages is one of the most unashamed bands in Christian metal. Their music often calls for divine intervention in our lives but also calls out wickedness.
"Sleight of Hand" is based on Proverbs 6:16-19. "No Altars" reminds us that God is a jealous God who won't settle for any other altars in our lives. "Pyrite" is the heaviest song on the EP, featuring some of the most impressive vocals from singer Leroy Hamp --including some deep growls. The lyrical content matches the song title: condemning a fake faith (pyrite is fool's gold). "Unspoken" brings a more melodic side, musically. It fights for truth and encourages listeners to stand their ground through the fires of life.
Each song delivers quality metal music with compelling lyrics. However, "No Altars" stands out above the others--slightly. The ultimate call of the song is an undeniable command of "Fall to your knees/Bow down to the one true king." On top of that, the song could easily place in War of Ages' top five songs of all time. "No Altars" is a crushing song that must not be missed.
In Those Days & Also After: A Beautiful, Complex Hardcore Album | Posted September-04-2021 What You Need To Know
Meadows is a five-piece melodic hardcore band from Alabama. They signed to Facedown Records in 2021; this is their debut with the label. They previously released two EPs out of a three-part series - In Those Days & Also After Pt.1 and Pt.2 with Pt.3 being released both inside this full album and seperate. In Those Days & Also After includes both of those and the new, third EP compiled together.
What It Sounds Like
Meadows brings a fresh blend of classic hardcore with melodic rock to create a nostalgic, immersive sound. Their style of hardcore reminds me of earlier bands signed to hard rock labels Facedown Records or Tooth and Nail Records. The vigorous music matches the cutting words of each song well. There are atmospheric and melodic elements throughout, giving it a difference from traditional hardcore.
Meadows tells an intricate story full of emotion, relatability, and ultimately, hope. Some songs are more directed to God, personally and lyrically, while others are more focused on others or self struggles. Ultimately, the songwriting is superb and must be heard in its entirety for the big picture.
Meadows ends their conceptual album with an emotive finale (two songs, actually). "The Answer" and "The Beginning, The End" combine into a fitting ending to the record--full of closure and passion. The latter features vocalist Kevin Klein from the rock band Valleyheart. Both songs are also great examples of the types of sounds and music that can be heard throughout the record.
If hardcore music is not usually your favorite, I encourage you to check out Meadows anyway. There are different elements woven throughout this release; you're likely to find something meaningful and enjoyable. The three EPs (Pt.1, Pt.2, and Pt.3) have a different atmosphere to them; to some, the music would be better listened to in three parts. Overall, Meadows writes dramatic, narrative songs set to diverse, heavy music to send songs of life to us.
Earth Groans: The Body EP | Posted September-03-2021 What You Need To Know
Rock band Earth Groans continues to release only EPs, their fifth being, The Body. It reflects on the struggles of humankind during a difficult global situation. The band released "Drink" as a single.
What It Sounds Like:
Earth Groans has developed its metallic hardcore sound over the last couple of years. Its style of hardcore music is chaotic and the band wouldn't have it any other way. The vocals are rough and gritty and the music is chaotic and aggressive. And the lyrics are always well written.
With The Body, the band focuses on the need for community and the struggles we face without it. Lead singer Jeremy Schaeffer explains with news site RockOnPurpose that "missing movies and going out for dinner was a bummer but we were isolated from our family, friends, churches, social, and music communities. It's a fresh breath of air to return to our communities, our 'bodies.'" Earth Groans dives into these struggles and more through a biblical perspective and hope while remaining relatable.
The lead single, "Drink," stands out for good reason. The band added melodic elements as heard in the previous release, Prettiest of Things with the vocals, mixed aggressiveness from another previous release, Waste, and finally added southern influence to it. The result is captivating and it stands out in the heavy music scene.
Earth Groans has honed its craft well. Weaving poetic, impactful lyrics with relentless, heavy music, The Body is a fantastic hardcore EP. There are some cleaner vocals on "Drink" which may leave some listeners wanting more. So, we have two EPs in one year, but even if this is the only EP this year from Earth Groans, it'll do nicely.
The Fire Itself - A Bright Flame for Phinehas | Posted August-30-2021 What You Need To Know
The Fire Itself is Phinehas' fifth studio album, four years since the release of their previous record, Dark Flag. The metalcore band has signed to Solid State Records with the release of this new album.
What It Sounds Like
This is metalcore at its finest. The production and mixing hold together all their signature aspects of that thrashing sound. Phinehas boasts shredding guitar solos, plenty of riffs, intense vocals and lyricism, heavy breakdowns, and thundering drumming (from their new drummer Isaiah Perez). If you like metal, you'll love The Fire Itself.
Phinehas draws inspiration for this album straight from lead vocalist Sean McCulloch's life. He's a firm believer in Jesus, yet has faced difficult times that led to some questioning and some reaffirming. These songs are honest reflections of being refined through trials (Book of James), calling out for help, and affirming truths. There is no shortage of relatable lyrics nor spiritual truths.
A record like this has no strike-outs. Every song is memorable and impactful. The title track is notable, and "The Fire Itself" presents the band at its best. With "The Fire Itself," we see some of the best that Phinehas can do. But as usual, Phinehas includes one "ballad" of sorts - "The Storm In Me." This is a deeply emotional and sombering song that you can't miss. Unlike previous records, there is no instrumental track found.
The Fire Itself was well worth the long wait for the release. Phinehas has created a metal album that will be remembered for years to come. The impact of The Fire Itself is and will be huge for both fans needing to hear a message of hope and artists looking for inspiration.
Death Stare - Staring Down Defeat with Hope | Posted August-26-2021 What You Need To Know
Death Stare is rock band The Protest's second release with Rockfest Records and fifth musical release overall. It features the singles "Greater" and "Show Up For The Showdown."
What It Sounds Like
The Protest channels some old-school influences into anthemic, modern rock tunes. The rock band does a great job of interjecting guitar solos and breakdowns to empower the songs. Chants, anthems, and gang vocals build the EP's arena rock sound. Following their last record, Legacy, the gritty screaming is present, matching the aggressive lyrics. The singing has also improved--especially in the ballad, "Hell To Hold You."
Each song is encouraging, relatable, and honest. A few highlights: "Paper Tiger" is a song about overcoming fear in our lives. Joshua 1:9 comes to mind: 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.' "Greater" is a bold declaration of sending glory to Christ rather than self. "Voices" is about mental illness: the "voices in my head." It empowers the listener to stop wallowing and find help (musically, it sounds like Disciple).
"Greater" is both a powerful and humbling song. The chorus is quick to remind us where our goals should be in life: "I don't do it for the glory/I don't do it for the game/I do it all to make them see this is all for something greater than me." This is a must-hear song for any fan of Christian rock.
The Protest's Death Glare is full of arena rock that is sure to encourage you. The aggressiveness varies, such as the growl-filled track, "Paper Tiger" to the roaring of "The Mountain." Death Glare does not find the band experimenting much, rather, digging into what they know and love best. This is a cohesive rock EP that is a highlight for the rock scene.
The Letter Black - They're Born For This | Posted August-18-2021 What You Need To Know
The Letter Black'sself-titled offering, the first with the Rockfest Records label, is definitely a 2021 rock standout. It comes with two singles released ahead of time, "Rise" and "Born For This." The Letter Black is the band's fourth album, the first in four years.
What It Sounds Like
There are a few surprises to an otherwise straight forward rock album. Rapper Blake Whiteley brings some heat to a track and Trevor McNevan from Thousand Foot Krutch offers melody on another. The band added some electronic elements as well. Leaning more towards modern hard rock, there are some expected screaming vocals and lower-tuned guitars leaning toward heavier sounds, though more clean singing than their previous album, Pain.
The Letter Black is filled with songs that encourage the listener to overcome the struggles in their lives and to take charge of changing for the better. "Tomorrow's" sends a message of hope, declaring, "I will not go under (I will not go under)/Because the One who made me/Holds all of my tomorrows." "Let You Go" is a comforting reminder that we're not alone--whether with God or a friend. "Throwing Darts" seems out of place though with a more revenge-aimed message.
It's not often that the best song is one with a guest vocalist, but that is the case here. "Born For This," featuring Trevor McNevan, is high-energy and catchy. The Letter Black aims to balance aggression with melody and this is a great example of how to do that.
The Letter Black's fourth album takes parts of each previous album and then carves its own path. It does well in moving forward in its sound, but overall loses the edge that seemed to be developing. The band has become confident in their own rock sound, and they use it as a vessel to deliver empowering and encouraging messages in their lyrics.
Misery Season - Aggressively Spotlighting Abuse | Posted July-08-2021 What You Need To Know
Misery Season is a six-track EP from upcoming Christian-based deathcore band As Lions and Lambs. This is the eighth year of the band releasing music. Over 2020 and 2021, they have gathered over 150,000 streams on their two singles for this EP.
What It Sounds Like
The EP takes musical inspiration from the hardcore, deathcore, and beatdown music genres. It reaches brutal heights, both musically and vocally. Yet, there is a variation of extreme music sounds heard within it.
Misery Season is focused on domestic abuse and the dramatic effects it has in our lives, both externally and internally. As such, some songs and lyrics get quite dark–fitting for the genre. As Lion and Lambs does not shy away from their faith and hope. Songs like "F.F.F" and "Escape Artist" offer more optimism. Songs like "Hate Speech" and "No Return" are brutal in their depth of the topic tackled.
"Escape Artist" features everything Misery Season offers. The musicianship and vocals are intense and relentless. Breakdowns and layered guitars are in abundance in the EP and showcased in this song. The message highlights the struggles of abuse while being an outreach to God for healing and forgiveness. This is also a great closing song for Misery Season.
Misery Season achieves in just six tracks what many bands strive for in full albums. As Lions and Lambs can please every fan of the extreme music genre with this EP: vehement vocals, fierce music, and mature songwriting. The lyrics get pretty dark sometimes, which may be hard for some listeners. Misery Season is an outstanding metal EP that heavily handles abuse and offers hope and honesty.
Hopes Lives Here - Hope Filled Rock Music | Posted June-25-2021 What You Need To Know
Boiling Point's newest record, Hope Lives Here, is a rock project that's accompanied by a YouTube mini-series inspired primarily by a trip to Sierra Leone, Africa.
What It Sounds Like
Boiling Point utilizes modern rock as a vessel to communicate its message. Tight musicianship, evidently from years of live and studio experience, is found throughout the record. I like their guitar work, especially. The back-and-forth between captivating singing and soaring choruses helps build the momentum of the music.
Hope Lives Here explores what hope looks and feels like in our lives, even when it is tough to see hope in the hardest times of life. Through times of sacrifice, doubt, and legacy, Boiling Point sings about the significance of hope. The band's definition of hope for the record is, "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness."
"Hope Lives Here," the title track, is an excellent rock song. The verses explore situations in life that seem hopeless which is in contrast to the truthful and anthemic chorus: "Hope's not giving up on us/Embrace the journey and move on/you have one life to live now."
Boiling Point's Hope Lives Here is perhaps their most cohesive and passionate record yet. If you watch their YouTube series, you'll experience the message behind the music. Hope Lives Here strikes hard with rock songs and touches the heart softly with their melodies to inject hope into the listener's mind.