Yes, it’s true! The illusive fourth Pierce The Veil album, Misadventures, is finally coming out on May 13th, and you can check out the newest single from it right here.
My absolute favorite object is called a palimpsest. I had never heard that word until about two years ago when I was sitting in a modern poetry class, tuning in and out of an ongoing discussion. The word sounded strange so it caught my attention. A palimpsest, as it would soon be explained to me, is an object or a manuscript on which the old writing has gone or been erased in order to make room for new writing. However, little traces or ghosts of past markings remain so you can see pieces of the old text beneath the present one. Picture writing a note, and even after erasing a misspelled word, still being able to see the faded letters in the paper. When Fine Fine Titans vocalist Jennifer Bartlett begins telling me the story behind the song “A Fire Retraced (Fahrenheit Diaries II)” off their upcoming album, Renaissance, all I can think about is a palimpsest and what it means.
She sighs when I pry into the song and why it’s so dear to her. Her voice changes from the vibrant, energetic tone it carried when I first picked up the phone and becomes heavier, a little unsteady. “Back in 2008, I had an apartment fire,” she finally says, “and I lost everything except for a box of my journals. I’ve been journaling since I was maybe nine, and I had that box of journals except for one journal. And the one journal that I lost in the fire signified a really important part of my growing process. And so losing that journal, and losing the memories that were written in that journal…it felt like I lost a part of myself as well.”
The Michigan post-hardcore band had recorded a song entitled “Fahrenheit Diaries” for their previous EP, Omega, about the fire and Bartlett’s personal loss. “This revisited it in a way to get deeper into that subject,” she explains of Part II, “which I don’t expect anyone to understand or even pick up on that, but it was really therapeutic for me to write about that specific incident.” This new song is her palimpsest; proof that an old story can be re-examined, a new one written, but the etchings of the past will always color the paper—or in this case, an album. Even lost words from a lost journal can bring bits of history to the future.
The thing about fire, too, is it purifies at the same time that it destroys. Renaissance is about a similar kind of rebirth. Once on the verge of collapse due to a changing lineup and artistic focus, the band now feels as though they’ve risen from the ashes.
“Vulnerability is not weakness.”
“Really in the last few years of the band it’s been kind of a whirlwind,” she says. “A lot of change in members and direction and I think for this new album we felt like it was really a new birth for us. We actually almost fell apart a few years ago, and instead of letting it go we kind of picked ourselves up from the bootstraps and decided we were going to move forward no matter what. In order to do that we kind of had to reinvent ourselves and the music.”
I have to ask if the Renaissance is actually her favorite period in history. She laughs it off, a little caught off guard, and despite admitting to an admiration for the costuming of the 1500s, says, “I try to maybe focus on the future a bit more.” Not a bad idea for a band that is currently picking up steam. Fine Fine Titans recently had their music video for new single “Mistress” debut on Revolver, and their following single “I Just Saw A Ghost” feat. TJ Miller of Still Remains premiered just the other day over at AllMusic. However, the vocalist’s favorite tracks from Renaissance still have yet to be shared.
As you might expect, “A Fire Retraced (Fahrenheit Diaries II)” is one of them. “Molasses Tongue” is the other, and for good reason. The enticing guitar riff that introduces the track carries throughout the song, and the music itself takes defibrillators to the post-hardcore genre, but “Molasses Tongue” also seriously showcases Bartlett’s vocal chops. Her dark, husky melodies are alluring enough, but this chick has some aggressive screams. Ironically, she insists aggression isn’t where her emotion comes from.
“It’s like being scared and frightened and emotionally distraught [and it’s] like this is the only way I know how to get this out right now.”
Getting a little philosophical, she persists, “Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s a stronghold and it’s the start of all emotions. And I think that we kind of confuse that for weakness and when we do, we let it eat at us. And it’s easy for other people to stomp on us and our dreams and the good will we have.”
“Especially when it comes to the music industry and being a woman in the music industry,” she adds, coming to the inevitable question of gender in the entertainment business. “I feel like [with] rock specifically, women feel like they have to be strong in order to be heard. And maybe that is true, in some instances, but I think as long as you’re honest that’ll take you further than being aggressive.”
What is clear from my conversation with her, no matter where it comes from, is Jennifer Bartlett’s strength—strength of conviction, of voice, of self. And it’s something she wants anyone who listens to Fine Fine Titans to take to heart.
“Hopefully [the record] inspires someone else to follow their dream, whether it’s in the creative field or in a political way or anything at all. I hope it inspires someone to have the courage and strength [to] realize that vulnerability is an asset.”
Just in time for Halloween will be the release of Get Scared‘s new album Demons, out October 30th. This announcement also comes with the release of a new music video for opening track “Buried Alive.” (Sensing a theme here?) Accompanying the creepy titles is a hell of a lot of black and a slightly heavier sound for the always melodic Utah-born band. Check out the dark and enigmatic video for “Buried Alive” below, and visit the band’s website for preorder options!
1. Buried alive
4. Under My Skin
6. The Devil’s in the Details
7. What if I’m Right?
8. Take a Bow
9. Relax, Relapse
10. Second Guessing
“Expect the unexpected” is probably one of the worst, most clichéd pieces of advice. Still, despite having heard it far too much, we didn’t expect the least gory answer to the question “So how would you commit a murder?” to come from the guitarist of a band that literally has the word “murder” in its name.
From the moment our video interview with Andy Marsh of Thy Art Is Murder kicks off, it’s clear this guy does not take himself too seriously, and it’s pretty funny. Because how else do you sit through an interview? With a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, of course.
Check out the video interview below and give a listen to the band’s new record, Holy War.
Senses Fail‘s new album, Pull The Thorns From Your Heart, is out now via Pure Noise Records and is streaming in full on their YouTube channel. Accompanying the songs is additional commentary from frontman Buddy Nielson after each track. The new record follows the more straightforward hardcore sound that was begun with Senses Fail’s last album, Renacer, along with some more positive lyricism.
Pull The Thorns From Your Heart is available for purchase on iTunes. Check out the stream below and tell us your thoughts! We’ll let you know what we think soon enough…
Perk up metalheads, Bullet For My Valentine have just introduced the upcoming release of their fifth record, Venom, with the premiere of biting new single, “No Way Out.” The track harkens back to the glorious days of The Poison—the monumental 2005 record that pushed BFMV into modern metal stardom–with complex overlays of vocal harmonies, ripping guitars, and versatile drumming the likes of which we haven’t seen from the giants in their more recent records. Of the new record and the new song, vocalist/guitarist Matt Tuck says the following:
“To write this track I had to put myself into a very dark place, a place I hadn’t been to for a while mentally because of how my life is now, compared to what it was before the band exploded. It is one of, if not the heaviest tracks we’ve ever recorded musically and lyrically. I’ve lived with it for a while now but still every time I hear it, it gives me chills. Hold on tight it’s a hell of a ride.”
Upon first listen the truth of Tuck’s statement is immediately recognizable. Perhaps BFMV got a little too used to the spotlight for a couple years, but reaching back to those darker periods has given them a single that their very first fans will love in 2015. Will the rest of the album match up? Let us know what you think!
2. “No Way Out”
3. ”Army of Noise”
5. “You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)”
8. “Harder the Heart”
10. “Hell or High Water”
In 2013, From First to Last launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of crowdfunding a new EP. After surpassing their initial goal of $25,000 and raising over $30,000, the band decided to produce a full-length album instead. This album, released on April 23rd via Sumerian Records, is called Dead Trees. Following the release of Throne to the Wolves in 2010 and then a three-year hiatus, Dead Trees is the product of some rough patches and fresh perspective.
Dead Trees introduces vocalist Spencer Sotelo of Periphery to the lineup, whose vocal skills are definitely accentuated in the new sound, especially in the theatrical and appealing “I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up to No Good,” which is one of my personal favorites on the record. The title song of the album was the first single to be released back in November 2014, and for good reason. It has a catchy chorus and showcases Sotelo’s vocal abilities quite well, switching between sing-a-long moments and heavier riffs that make you want to get in a fight.
“Black and White” is one of if not the most epic song off the record, shifting between a powerful chorus, a melodic bridge including whispers that build up into a deeper version of the final chorus and tense, off-kilter guitar riffs to close the song with a haunting tone. Following “Black and White” is “Back to Hannalei,” which continues and emphasizes the unnerving and almost melancholy vibe of the record. The song is almost exclusively clean, slow, and soft. It may at first seem out of place, especially after being followed by vibrant, loud, and reckless “Never in Reverie,” but it is a nice surprise. Another surprise is the last, acoustic song, “I Don’t Wanna Live in the Real World.” This track pokes fun at mainstream media, and, although I’m sure was added for humor, doesn’t strike a chord with the rest of the record at all and feels too left-field.
The album also boasts a few pleasant curveballs in the form of bonus tracks, most notably, the re-recording of fan-favorite “Note to Self” in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of FFTL’s Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Body Count (2004). Other bonus tracks include “Ride the Wings of Pestilence” and “The Latest Plague.”
Dead Trees is, overall, a refreshing album. The vocal range of Sotelo is diverse, the lyrics are powerful and mesmerizing when combined with both the melodies of emo-rock anthems and the heavier bits that run into the hardcore genre. Dead Trees could arguably be called From First to Last’s comeback record, and, if that is the case, I couldn’t be more stoked for their next release.
Review by Kelly Fay
Curtain up. This is the end you’ve all been waiting for. After two previous installments–The Emptiness (2010), A Place Where The Sun Is Silent (2011)–The Annabel Trilogy comes to a close with Alesana‘s fifth studio record, Confessions. Shawn Milke (vocals, guitar, piano) himself described the new record as “a panic attack” in our recent interview, and while he certainly didn’t exaggerate, Confessions is far more enjoyable than that. True, the eleven song compilation pushes the boundaries of comfort at times with dissonance and complicated structures (“The Acolyte,” “Through The Eyes Of Uriel”), but those alienating moments are relieved by catchier, pop-ier, more easily digestible sequences (“The Goddess,” “Fatal Optimist”) that effectively complete the conceptual masterpiece.
Much like A Place Where The Sun Is Silent, if you go into Confessions with the mindset you’ll be listening to an album, you probably won’t have the best time. Most tracks have more in common with movements of a score than actual rock songs, just as their creators are more akin to composers than standard hardcore musicians. You may have to listen to it several times before a good deal of the record sinks in in a satisfying way, but each time you will discover new, exciting elements. From humorous lines like “Dearest love I hope this finds you well/ I am kidding, this is probably Hell” (“Paradox”), to nursery rhyme melodies (“Through The Eyes Of Uriel”), and even reincorporating the single “Fatima Rusalka” into the Annabel narrative (“Fatal Optimist”), Confessions is an emotionally exhausting and surprising journey front to back.
While the album opens on an incredibly strong, entrancing note with “It Was A Dark And Stormy Night,” we turn our greatest attention to the closer (“THIS IS THE FINAL ACT!”), “Catharsis.” Like The Emptiness‘s “Annabel,” the last piece of the puzzle is expectedly epic, reaching the height of drama in a symphony of menacing whispers, desperate screams, racing guitar lines, and building drums. Yet after one of the most well-developed climaxes in post-hardcore history, the ending (Spoiler Alert) comes as a shock difficult to grapple with. After the hours of complexity Alesana have given us over three volumes, it all comes to a finish in the throws of bitter irony and a vanishing act. Dennis Lee (vocals) screams the tragic, “Did man even notice as he was erased?” and with a poof, all is over. My first reaction: “WHAT?!” My reaction after listening to it about seven times: “That’s actually brilliant.”
Honestly, this review could take up dozens of pages to accurately represent all that Alesana have done here, but for the sake of being somewhat brief, what you need to know is this: Alesana have created a work. Over the years, they’ve strung together an entire universe thread by thread, and how many other bands can say that?