Anyone who fell in love with Dangerkids and their debut full-length Collapse has been waiting a long time for this. Finally, since the release of the Ohio band’s 2014 record three years ago, we have a sophomore album! The highly anticipated Blacklist brings Dangerkids back with renewed vigor and is certain to satisfy those who have been biting their fingers. Drummer Katie Cole is just as relieved that the record is finally out to the public and sheds some light on what the reason was for the delay.
Crystal Lake‘s new record True North instantly tops the must-have list for fans of all genres of heavy music. It’s got the instrumental complexity that metalheads love, hardcore heaviness (“Six Feet Under”), killer metalcore vocals, and even electronic and rap influences. OK, we know some of you instantly got scared at the mention of the “R-word”, but trust us, “Hatred” is one of the best songs on the album.
Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Crystal Lake have made a name for themselves internationally with their first couple of records, and True North is going to push them over the edge. No matter how heavy they get, they are equal parts melodic and artistic, as exemplified by the title track on the new record. This is an example of a band whose cover art does their sound complete justice. Their most beautiful musical moments sound like watercolor brought to life.
If you don’t buy this album, you’re making bad choices with your life. It is nothing short of sensational.
Treehouse by I See Stars is a curveball from the band. It’s the first album the band released since the departure of members Zach Johnson and Jimmy Gregerson, and all the members really stepped in to fill in the gaps. The band did a fantastic job of progressing their sound but still sound like I See Stars (most clearly shown in the single “Mobbin’ Out”), which is something a lot of bands have been failing at lately. They have perfectly showcased the sound they were reaching for in songs such as “Calm Snow” and “Everyone’s Safe In The Treehouse,” proving the band really went all out on this record. Fans of old I See Stars may be skeptical of Treehouse at first given that it’s less shredding and more pop, but if you give it a chance, you’ll realize I See Stars really has something special with this release.
by Trey Ruiz
Electronicore band The Browning have announced details for their new record Isolation, due out June 24th via Spinefarm Records. The band’s new track “Pure Evil” is already available for streaming (and is super dance-y) and the download for it comes with your pre-order of the record. Read more to view the album artwork, track listing, and upcoming tour dates!
A War Within‘s sophomore release, Believe, makes the job of writing a review very difficult. When you’re looking for genuinely enjoyable and solid metalcore tracks, songs like “Primrose Path” and “We Are Legion” are definitely right up your alley. But “A New Hope” and “Slave” are prime examples of why there is a hung jury in my head constantly in need of more Chinese takeout to try and come to an accurate conclusion.
So a bunch of covers of The Weeknd‘s smash single “The Hills” have been surfacing lately, but here’s one you may not have known about that seriously rocks. They key to a “great” cover and not a “good” cover is reinvention and reinterpretation. Something You Whisper definitely achieve both these goals by blending the original track with some suspenseful rock ‘n’ roll elements. Electronic backbeats and soft melodies meet new heaviness and even a devilish little guitar solo for some super satisfying tension. Check out the video below and compare it to the original and let us know what you think!
It is impossible to brand the new Crossfaith record Xeno with a simple label. An amalgamation of hard rock, metal, techno and house music, this album does not fit neatly into any one package. And that’s exactly what makes it so much fun.
“System X” begins the record with racing violins and raging electronic beats in an exciting cross between movie soundtrack and rave. And essentially, that is the tone of Xeno. As the album picks up hard rock and industrial cues with songs like the title track and the inspirational “Raise Your Voice,” a sense of drama and increasing tension unfolds between the technological elements and the more human ones. The two sides work synergistically with each other at the same time that they compete, and that’s what makes tracks like “Dystopia” and “Ghost In The Mirror” feat. Caleb Shomo (Beartooth) so intriguing.
Xeno does venture off into the realm of camp, however, with the likes of “Wildfire” feat. Benji Webbe (Skindred). The song feels more like a video game theme than anything. The record is also decently long at 15 tracks, which can get a little tiresome if you’re not living it up in a ne0n-lighted warehouse somewhere. But the melodic moments in songs like “Vanguard” and the more sentimental “Tears Fall” help keep things fresh, and overall Xeno ends up being an adventure worth taking.
The fourth full-length record from the Michigan group We Came As Romans hits almost all the right notes. The band’s self-titled touches on some of the major themes of life: identity crises, falling in and out of love, and the ever-changing nature of the world as a whole. Some pretty heavy stuff, but We Came As Romans have never shied from heavy topics.
Musically the album showcases a broad range of styles. There is, of course, the traditional hardcore screaming over thumping guitar riffs and pounding drum beats. But they also incorporate pop punk elements, repetitive choruses and a strong electronic tone that hums throughout the album. It’s a range that works well.
In “Flatline,” the opening verse gets crooned out with a whiny Tom Delonge-inspired voice, hitting a pop punk high note that carries throughout the album. The song “Who Will Pray” juxtaposes a deep life question (“If I fall too far, disappear in the dark/ Who will pray for me tomorrow?”) with some computer licks that could feel just as at home in an Imagine Dragons song. “Defiance” also starts with electronic strumming, seeming particularly influenced by early-2000s Linkin Park. But We Came As Romans’ use of metaphors sets them apart. In the second verse of “Defiance” they sing, “Ready to contend, ready to withstand/ Open up these walls built to keep you out/ Nothing you say can make me give up/ I’m persistent like a river cuts through a rock.”
While WCAR pepper the album with electronic beats and synthetic sounds, it never becomes too much. The self-titled’s electronic undertone helps keep a continuous theme as the songs jump from semi-ballads like “Memories” to full on hardcore affairs like “Regenerate.” It works as a unifying theme and helps make the album cohesive, even though they pull from all corners of the rock world for each song. It’s a solid album, and a great addition to We Came As Romans’ discography as a whole, but not the second coming of the rock gods.
by Maria Spiridigliozzi
Eskimo Callboy make a career out of defying all description. Probably the most accurate sketch would be to say that EC are the German unicorn of the metalcore world, and that comes with a warning attached: never let them around your girl or your guinea pig. Not following? How about NSYNC electronicore soundbites, animal suits, and foreskin ratios. Still no? Read the interview below with Kevin Ratajczak (vocals) and maybe become a little bit less (or more) confused about what makes Eskimo Callboy so ridiculously talented as well as just plain ridiculous, and make sure to check out their new record Crystals.
HXC: The jury seems to be out on how the hell to read you guys. Some people take your music seriously and others see it as a parody of the electronicore genre. Which is it?
Kevin Ratajczak: I guess it’s a bit of both. When we started EC in 2010 a lot of these electronicore bands were out there doing their thing. And in fact, it was very impressive for us since we didn’t want to go on doing the same ordinary metal music we did before EC. But we also didn’t want to become just a copy of these bands either. So we decided to do our own thing: pop choruses, hard breakdowns and lot of humor. And of course, humor includes making fun of ourselves, too. We’re not obsessively trying to be cool. We wanna have fun. And share it with the people on our shows. But that doesn’t mean that we’re just clowns on stage that are not worth being taken seriously. As always, it depends on the situation.
How did the idea of working NSYNC’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart” into your new album, Crystals, come about?
We’ve always been fans of boy group music, and although we did not intend to be, we now see ourselves as something like a boy group of the metal genre. Just imagine one of these party nights, it’s 4am already, everybody is fuckfaced and about to leave… and then the DJ smashes one of these ’90s boy group hits! So we had this song idea; it was just an instrumental, and we actually didn’t have a single idea when it came to the chorus. Everything was fine, only that damn chorus was missing. And then one of us spontaneously sang “Tearin’ Up My Heart“ over our instrumental. It was perfect!! The rest was bureau guys shit. In the end, we were allowed to use that song on the album! Perfect!
What do you listen to in your spare time?
It depends. When you’re really into music, and I mean really into music, not the typical “nah-I-listen-to-whatever-the-radio-plays” kinda guy, music is always connected to feelings… and so it depends on what mood we’re in. Sometimes, when we have sword fights in the green room we like In Flames, or similar metal stuff, or when [we] need to butcher some of our many kittens we usually bring on tour for food reasons, we loooove Thy Art Is Murder. Perfect for that. But we also like pop music or rap like Wiz Khalifa or Childish Gambino. Our taste in music is the reason why we have so many different influences in our own music.
I’ve got to ask—what’s with the animal suits?
You know, ever since we made music, it has been annoying to us that metal music was always connected to that bad boy image. Everyone seems grumpy, wearing black clothes…we wanted to change that a bit for us. We like hard rock music, but we also like wearing funny things on stage. When we started EC in 2010 we all wore ridiculous stage outfits to break down some borders… there’s no need to be cool when the band already looks like shit.
You’re pretty decked out in all of your music videos. What’s your favorite thing to wear?
I dont think you believe me if I’d say, “It has to be comfortable.” We always wanna look a bit special…the people come out for a show, not only for the music. They expect a complete package and that includes a good light show, a cool stage and some weird outfits. And for every new music video we wanna have some new outfits, too. What we wear on stage or in music videos is something like the artist version of what we would wear in our everyday life.
The music video for “Crystals” has some intense imagery. What was the idea behind it?
“Crystals” deals with an imaginary relationship of a person with a drug. This person is kind of a captive of this drug; it wouldn’t let that person go…the end is sad but like in real life, very common. After all our party videos we finally wanted to have a more serious video. We did all of that production on our own from the very beginning. We are very satisfied with the results!
If you had to pick one song off the new record to party to all night long, what would it be?
Its almost summer…we wanna hang out on the festival sites with our friends and families…drink[ing] beer, gettin’ naked. “My Own Summer” is a perfect song for that!
Do you see yourselves touring in the US anytime soon?
Yes, definitely. We are working on coming back to the US. We had one of our best tours over there! But it’s always hard for European bands like us to compete on the US market. So please US promoters…take us!! We not only know how to party, we also can even out the foreskin ratio on US stages.
Please explain the iconic EC song and video for “Muffin Purper-Gurk” to me.
There once was a girl who was crazy enough to take Sushi as her bf. And they had a guinea pig together. When they broke up Sushi left his guinea pig at that crazy witch’s place. It was never seen again. We fantasized about what could have happened to that little creature. In “Muffin Purpergurk” we work that topic up…I personally think the witch ate it.