MUSIC: Creature Comfort


Within the Ruins [Victory Records, 2009]

In honour of the upcoming release of WITHIN THE RUINS‘ fifth full-length in March, this is an unpublished article I did for my high school journalism class ahead of their debut album in 2009. The band was my first proper interview as I was just getting in journalism and I had the pleasure listening in on practice for new songs. Bar some minor phrasing changes — I mean what was a thinking back then — and some dressing up, in its entirety is my article, “Creature Comfort”.

WESTFIELD, M.A. — On a narrow street within earshot of Westfield Vocational Technical High School, the murmurs of students heading home is replaced up to three times a week by the low rumble of hometown metal band Within the Ruins hard at work.

The five-piece quickly become an up and coming name in the Western Massachusetts scene after their inception in 2003 and were rewarded with a contract by Victory Records, a Chicago based label, in mid-2008 following the successful releases of Driven By Fear (2006) and Empires (2008).

Victory Records had high hopes the band would usher in a new sound to its ever-growing roster that had the likes of A Day to Remember, Between the Buried and Me, The Autumn Offering, and other marquee names already on it.

Within the Ruins would not disappoint.

Their debut with label entitled Creature will continue to propel the band — who escaped the barrage of metalcore in favour of a unique style of fast paced tempos, technical guitar riffs, erratic breakdowns and unpredictability — on an upward trajectory.

According to guitarist Joe Cocchi, each new song must be better than the last.

Whether it is getting caught up in the skilled chaos of the drums or flurry of lead lines harmonised to perfection, Within the Ruins gives listeners a reason to bang their heads.

When asked what they thought attracted Victory Records, Kyle Marcoux leaned forward in his chair pondering the thought.

“I’ll be trying to figure that out until the day I die,” he said before concluding, “Do enough hard work and hopefully it pays off.”

The exciting and goofy band, which practices in a make-shift room full of studio equipment attached to Cocchi and Kevin McGuill’s house, has come a long way and ensured to catalogued all the stories.

And it’s the experience that makes it all worth the travel, of sleeping on floors and van troubles.

“I can’t wait to go the mall and be like [makes sigh noise],” Drummer (McGuill) says as he imagines seeing Creature in stores.

The accomplishment of Victory Records has left the band wanting more: bigger tours, farther destinations and new audiences.

“It doesn’t really stop,” said Cocchi, who is also Within the Ruins’ main songwriter. “You always gotta keep trying to get better and further.”

Within the Ruins sets out on tour in March in support of Creature, which is available in stores on February 17.


MUSIC: Aversions Crown invades Earth with Xenocide


Aversions Crown [2017, Nuclear Blast]

Otherworldly has become synonymous with AVERSIONS CROWN, and Xenocide is certainly ‘out of this world’ heavy as the deathcore outfit continues to progress with new vocalist Mike Poida.

Right from the offering, AVERSIONS CROWN seduces the listener with furious drumming – provided by the technically gifted Jayden Mason – and ominous guitar leads in “Prismatic Abyss”.

Poida, meanwhile, showcases the range of his voice, which has added a completely new depth to the band because of his versatility. One of his biggest highlights of the album comes during “Ophiophagy” and is an aggressive overtone against a hauntingly clean background.

“I fear not your name.”

– Aversions Crown, “Erebus” –

Despite not abandoning what has worked on previous releases, AVERSIONS CROWN has built upon a sound that perfectly makes use of time and space. Further, the band continues to give fans fresh releases and lifts their feet off the ground with destructive breakdowns.

Xenocide is a can’t miss album that carries its listener on a defiant adventure of chaos and leaves them wanting more.

MUSIC: Our Last Night delivers on Young Dreams

Younger Dreams (Epitaph Records, 2015)

Younger Dreams (Epitaph Records, 2015)

On the heels of a successful World Tour, American post-hardcore band OUR LAST NIGHT delivered a complete album with their latest full-length release Younger Dreams, transporting the listener into a field of memories in the process.

The 11-track album released on Epitaph Records is lyrically powerful, highlighting the maturity and growth of the band evident since We Will All Evolve (2008) and Age of Ignorance (2012), while building musically on songs heard on the 2013 EP Oak Island.

Ahead of its release, the band said in a statement:

Younger Dreams is the most diverse album we have written yet. We hope that these songs bring joy, tears, and inspiration to our fans. With middle fingers in the faces of our skeptics and arms wide open to embrace loved ones we hope to find happiness together in Younger Dreams.

And the four-piece from New Hampshire left no stone unturned in their quest to achieve their desired effect through such a simple concept as younger dreams instantly evokes certain feelings and memories.

The band debuted the album’s first single “Home” while on their 2015 World Tour with PALISADES and it was worthy preview of what listeners could expect from the full release.

Frontman Trevor and guitarist Matt Wentworth once again share singing duties, something fans of the band have become accustomed to over previous releases, and the duo are flawless throughout, most notably on songs like “White Tiger” and “Diamonds”.

And while Trevor’s unclean vocals have been reduced, they feature heavily in “Living Now”, an overall complete track, and “Imaginary Monster”, which sit atop a fierce breakdown.

Although Matt does not stray too far from the formula that produced tremendous results on Age of Ignorance and Oak Island, he still pumps out fresh songs with intricately layered and creative parts, further showcasing his talents as a composer.

Highlights include the final two tracks “Forgotten Souls” and “Barricades” as both are masterpieces with the former a piano driven song of emotion at its purist.

Catch OUR LAST NIGHT on Vans Warped Tour this summer starting June 19 in Pomona, California.

‘Take me back to younger dreams when times were easy and we believed.’

MUSIC: Lorna Shore stream debut ahead of official release

Psalms (Density Records 2015)

Psalms (Density Records, 2015)

LORNA SHORE‘s highly anticipated debut album Psalms is set for release on June 9 through Density Records but alongside Revolver Magazine, the pair have streamed the album in its entirety and it doesn’t disappoint.

Produced by FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY guitarist, Will Putney, Psalms engages with themes across the metal realm combining them into a uniquely LORNA SHORE sound.

All 10 songs showcase the band’s strengths as seen on Maleficium EP (2013) which peaked at number three on the iTunes metal chart and propelled them onto the Die Without Tour supporting CARNIFEX, I DECLARE WAR and HERE COMES THE KRAKEN.

“Grimoire”, the album’s single and opening song, is a teaser of what listeners can expect displaying both a technical ability and musicianship while not straying far from their signature airy breakdowns.

Vocalist Tom Barber continues his consistency and range heard on previous releases but he undoubtably adds that haunting layer overtop the dissonant and often chaotic guitar parts – a true compliment of sound.

The track “White Noise” contains an incredible opening riff and demonstrates how solid of guitarists Adam De Micco and newcomer Connor Deffley are while “From the Mist” – arguably the best song on the album – has a part beginning at 1:58 that is not to be overlooked.

Meanwhile, other notable songs include “Wretching in Torment” and “Eternally Oblivion”.

Catch Lorna Shore on tour this summer with DEICIDE:
05/06 The Pint, Spokane, WA
06/06 Studio Seven, Seattle, WA
07/06 Tonic Lounge, Portland, OR
08/06 Oakland Metro, Oakland, CA
09/06 The Regent Theater, Los Angeles, CA
11/06 LVCS, Las Vegas, NV
12/06 Club Red Theaters, Mesa, AZ
15/06 Empire Garage, Austin, TX
16/06 Gas Monkey Live!, Dallas, TX
18/06 Gramercy Theater, New York, NY
19/06 Ottobar, Baltimore, MD
20/06 Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte, NC

MUSIC: Aversions Crown releases “Parasites”

Australian metal band AVERSIONS CROWN released their first recorded song entitled “Parasites” with new vocalist Mark Poida, formerly of I, Valiance. 

Poida, who has been touring with the band since Colin Jeffs stepped down, offers a wide range of talent that already translates seamlessly to the live show and he continues the lyrical themes heard on previous releases.

Meanwhile, “Parasites” draws upon foundations started on Tyrant, although the six-piece band finds ways to further layer their compositions with both clean and distorted guitars.

A true highlight of the track comes at the 2:32 mark in the build up to the final breakdown.

“Into the night, where the darkness eats everything it hides.”

MUSIC: Our Last Night perfect in Manchester

CC BY-NC 2.0; Alex Tinder via Flickr.

CC BY-NC 2.0; Alex Tinder via Flickr.

Post-hardcore band OUR LAST NIGHT stormed into Manchester for an intimate show at Sound Control on New Wakefield Street as part of their 2015 World Tour.

The New Hampshire outfit were welcomed onto the stage to a thunderous roar despite there only being a half capacity crowd that registered a wee bit on the high-pitched side but several gentlemen also voiced their appreciation from start to finish.

After working their way through tracks from their latest EP Oak Island and most recent album Age of Ignorance, including the opening song “Same Old War”, the boys slipped in covers of Adele’s “Skyfall” and Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” which both had the rickety old floor begging for mercy.

Our Last Night ended the initial set with a “Sunrise” – the band’s personal song against bullying in partnership with the Bully Project – and the reception was immense with everyone singing loudly along, like that had done throughout, while also reaching for lead vocalist Trevor Wentworth who obliged by standing right at the barrier.

Overall, the performance was not flashy by any means, but it didn’t need to be. There was an understood connection between both the audience and musicians and the quartet consisting of Trevor and Matt Wentworth, Alex Woodrow and Tim Molloy were on point, playing every song with album precision. They were not afraid to

Although a nice touch that gave a storybook feel was the inclusion of quotes by Alan Watts, an inspirational figure for the band and several of their songs, as well as Ghandi and Howard Beale’s monologue from the 1976 film Network.

And while opening act EMPIRES FADE put on a tremendous performance with thumping bass lines booming underneath the crowd’s feet, PALISADES, although unique and energetic judging by the reaction, they are a testament to the fact people these days will listen to literally anything.

That said, the bright spot for Palisades was when bassist Brandon Sidney stepped up to the microphone and unleashed the voice of an angel. Somewhere Jack Black is going, “nice pipes”.

Along with debuting a new song entitled “Coming Home” which earnt the seal of approval, the group announced that it would be on their new album due out in the summer.

The song builds on the sound heard on Oak Island with an added maturity – it definitely heightened anticipation for the new release.

And much to the delight of the waiting fans, Our Last Night walked back out on stage for a lone encore of “I’ve Never Felt This Way Before”.

“From time to time there arise among human beings people who seem exude love as naturally as the sun gives out heat.”

MUSIC: Likewise waiting for the incredible marked down prices of gourmet chocolates the day after Valentine’s?

CC BY-NC 2.0; aleba.fotos via Flickr.

CC BY-NC 2.0; aleba.fotos via Flickr.

Whilst Jimbo A1 gives his missus the same Asda bear as Jimbo A2 gives his and Jimbo A3 picks the most cliche day to propose, it’s time for everyone else to spice up a card store’s favourite day with some riffing tunes.

Saw someone on Facebook book their girlfriend of less than a month a trip to Rome. Wild days ahead.

There are hundreds of thousands of possible selections so here are just five avoiding cliche songs with an extensive honourable mention at the end:

5. “For You” – Killswitch Engage 

As Daylight Days was riddled with lyrics about romance/friendship but “For You” has the most heartfelt bridge of any KSE song to date and that’s saying a lot considering they already have songs like “Rose of Sharyn”, “My Last Serenade” and “The End of Heartache” in their catalogue.

Not to mention that bridge guitar riff is genius.

4. “New England Conference” – The Midnight Renewal

If Shakespeare got up out of his grave for a shout out in a song it would be this one because it is such a tragic song lyrically, even the great Edgar Allan Poe would tip his hat in approval.

3. “My X” – Rae Sremmurd

Whether or not Valentine’s Day is being spent with a new someone or no one, Rae Sremmurd covers all monetary based gains one may have fallen into in this aggressive jam because you should’ve used your head… you could’ve had a cheque.

CC BY-NC 2.0; SaraPritchard via Flickr.

CC BY-NC 2.0; SaraPritchard via Flickr.

2. “Another Heart Calls” – The-All American Rejects

The entire AAR discography could have been listed but everything about this song is perfect, from Tyson Ritter to Nick Wheeler and Allison Pearce’s guest spot.

1. “Romance Is Dead” – Parkway Drive

2005 was a great year because Parkway Drive gave the downtrodden and hurt singles of the 21st century an anthem [of sorts], which perfectly captured their feelings – whatever those might have been for an angsty teenager.

Romance Is Dead also delivered one of the most memorable one-liners in a song that mums probably even know.

Honourable mention: Time To Break Up – Blink 182; Nightmare of You (album) – Nightmare of You; A Love Like War – All Time Low; Atreyu’s discography; Natalie Imbruglia – Torn; Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne; Here Goes Nothin’ – Never Shout Never; Check Yes Juliet – We The Kings; Across the Ocean (Acoustic) – Our Last Night; Deathmask Divine – The Black Dahlia Murder; Lie to My Face – Carnifex; Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s.