Unlucky Morpheus – Black Pentagram (EP, 2017)


                                               Black Pentagram (Official Video)

Stemming from the number of anime shows I have watched over the years (DBZ, Bleach, (both) Naruto series and a few of the Gundam series (It isn’t that obscure a list  and would be categorised as basic by most Otaku’s) you find some belting opening and closing themes e.g. Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood’s Again performed by Yui is a contagious wonder, or the whole soundtrack to Attack On Titan is a masterpiece and most recently for me the absurd but extremely fitting Glam Metal opening to One Punch Man – The Hero!! Set Fire to the Furious Fist.

It has lead to YouTube suggesting some more Japanese music and one such suggestion was Unlucky Morpheus a band that I did not realise is fronted by the singer Fuki. She is the singer for another band called Doll$boxx a combination of the band Gacharic Spin (who has the Coolest Drummer in the world in Hana <3) and Fuki who is also in Light Bringer. A big reason why I didn’t notice is due to the different look she has, going from a ‘cuter’ look with long blonde hair to a sharper, edgy brunette for fronting Unlucky Morpheus.

Black Pentagram was the suggested track as it is the lead and title of the three track release lasting 12:34 (whether or not you count that as an actual extended play is debatable). Musically it is a mixture of melodic, power, thrash and traditional metal with a slither of brutal screeching. Though that really is only a slither with the screaming only appearing in Black Pentagram to great effect and it is a shame for it not to be utilised more. What drew me in was Fuki’s voice being distinct and different from Doll$boxx’s output. With it being in a lower register it really stands out from the majority of metal I personally listen to.

Dead Leaves Rising is rather straight forward as a metal song with all the elements expected its solid. But it is the other bookend Violet (Live) that rivals the opener for which song is strongest. It leans more on the classical characteristics within the music supplied by the violin playing member as she has a pivotal role, plus the piano introduction. Believe it or not it adds even more drama to the theatrical sounding release.

Black Pentagram, Dead Leaves Rising and Violet are all extremely well executed in both their franticness and precision. Vocally outstanding, technically accurate and a joy to listen to, with this type of music the more grand it is the better luckily enough Unlucky Morpheus are extremely grand and spectacular this EP a wonderful surprise to add to the ever growing list of good music released in 2017.

Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: The Maccabees – Kamakura


The Macabees have been disbanded earlier this year playing their final gigs in July admittedly I was never an avid follower however the music did cross my ears via my twin brother playing them from his room.

So knowing that they had a good number of decent songs it was a nice reminder when they popped up on my Spotify suggestion playlist. This song from the final album Marks to Prove It (2015).

In short I have had this song on constantly there is just a wintry quality that is fitting with the changing seasons. The lyrics are sombre throughout but in particular of not ‘saying a word because it breaks her heart’ add to the melancholic feel to the track. Furthermore the stripped back verses are gripping and then loosen up into a more expansive chorus with a thin string like sound backing creating a shift that is very effective in moving you.

I guess it is one of those instances where you find a song that fits not only your mood but the weather and environment around you increasing your level of enjoyment.

Singles/Songs, Vinyl

Vinyl Vindication: Wye Oak – Spiral/Wave is Not the Water (7′ Special Adult Swim Singles)

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There are fewer things I have bought as quick as this very special 7 inch. Spiral is one of my favourite tracks so much so that when I heard them warming up with it at The Soup Kitchen back in 2014 I threw my arms aloft and made a instinctual gleeful noise of some kind.

Upon seeing the limited pressing it was a must have. Visually a striking red vinyl with a  tripy cover and a contrasting white border matches the music. Spiral is a wonderfully captivating spiraling track. From the effect layered vocals that echo and delay swirling around your head, the pulsing bass alongside the guitar add to the sense of surrealness.

Spiral ends by adding a beautiful glockenspiel, keyboard or synth(?) sound that joins the familiar instrumentation then after it has been playing for around a minute it is interrupted by static before coming to a close on a lone glockenspiel(?) or keyboard line.

Wave is Not the Water flows just like its title suggests there is a very natural feel that comes across from the totally man made electronics. Vocally it pulls from the same place as the A side but they are not delayed but just as serene.

Instantly this 7′ has become a prized possession of mine and a piece of music that I do and will cherish for as long as I am breathing.

Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence (Single)

                                                    The Sin and the Sentence (Official Video)

This is the best song they have released in the last 4 years plus it’s more memorable than everything on the whole of Silence In the Snow (2015).

It’s the lead track of the forthcoming album (out 20/10/2017) of the same name. Packing a hell of a punch with Heafy screaming again after not doing so for the last LP, because he put his voice out on tour and he was worried of the potential damage caused. But to many ‘fans’ the screaming is welcomed with open arms since it was a sore point for many when it was no longer present. Some complained about it and are still irritated that they have changed. As bands always should. Change is what Trivium do. Get over it ‘fans’ who don’t like how they sound now and go listen to Ascendancy! If that is your Trivium stop moaning and stick to that record it isn’t going anywhere (sorry that is something that really irks me).

The Sin and the Sentence has killer hooks that come in multiple forms, both the clean vocal melodies and harsher have their contagions. As ever the riffage is layered on super thick from the guitars, leads, rhythm rule (provided by Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu). New drummer Alex Bent really frees the band up as he can do everything. He and Paolo Gregoletto are a great duo instantly playing brilliantly as a rhythm section. Many of the passages will stick with you.

The Sin and the Sentence is a stupidly triumphant return that will please every Trivium fan no matter which Trivium they prefer.

Singles/Songs, Song of the Day

Song of the Day: Good Foxy – Easy Money (Single)

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                                                                        Easy Money Single

New single from the Clitheroe greats is as joyful and summery as they come. The vocals are a delight to the ears light over the clean crisp upbeat rhythm guitars, bass happily plays along with the drums are a perfect match as ever. The solos are as ever air guitarable reverbed and all more awesome for it.

The single is just as good a quality as all their 1970’s influenced psychedelic music is, which is music that is missing from a lot of peoples libraries and Good Foxy are there to fill that gap in. Even if you don’t know that there is a gap once you listen to this single you’ll know that there was.

Easy Money is easy listening.

Album Reviews

Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination (2017)


                                                          Nadine Shah’s BandCamp Page

I have been rather unmotivated recently not really being spurred on to write much other than Brand New and Everything Everything’s albums (the later review is on the way but has taken longer than it should) then I found this stupendous creation (I found it this past weekend and have bought it twice).

The production of this record is the best I have heard all year. It sounds like it was created in a post-apocalyptic studio where all the instruments are radiating, vibrating and sort of off ear twitching frequencies. It could not be any more perfect. It really enhances the music and sad real themes which very much incorporate what a sorry state the world is at the moment (just as Brand New’s Science Fiction and Everything Everything’s A Fever Dream do in their own ways).

The tone of the guitars throughout the record is twisted, fuzzy and spiky often backed by buzzing synths/other electronic sounding keys in 2016, Ordinary or Relief to point out a few instances. Relief also is blessed with amazing saxophone/horns another is The Way Out where they are steady then the way they are used for both endings are inventive. Due to the saxophones application The Way Out has a dystopian jazz feel that climaxes in the most satisfying of ways. A track about the movement of refugees around the globe ‘Where would you have them go, A generation searching for a home’. Reinforcing that Shah is commenting on/critiquing major political and social issues of 2016/17.

Further evidence of this is Yes Men is aimed at the ‘Fascist in the Whitehouse’ (a lyric from 2016) which is an over exaggeration but still there are people who think that the current President is a bit too far leaning to the right on the spectrum. Title track Holiday Destination says that the, ‘Bad guys are winning’ it is all rather pessimistic but not to the point that it is soul sapping of all enjoyment the album really works around the themes chosen.    

Shah’s voice is extraordinary based in the lower to mid ranges it echoes across the album bringing yet more power to the lyrics, enhancing the music also. The use of her voice on Relief with the line that follows the muted guitars is one of many ways in which it is deployed to great effect.

Holiday Destination is a poignant album from all angles there is thought in every one of Shah’s words, the artwork is of a building with massive holes in it and a child peering out of one, the music mirroring this also. Nadine Shah has released not only a truly special sonic experience but more importantly a record that highlights the struggles around the globe with a blunt and mature approach.

Album Reviews

Brand New – Science Fiction (2017)

                                                                              Official Site

It has been a long, sometimes frustrating wait for Brand New to release their fifth studio record (8 years). There were plans/roomers to have it be released last year but as it was the 10th anniversary of arguably one of the best albums of the 2000s The God and the Devil Are Raging Inside Me (2006) they celebrated its importance to their career with a tour playing it in its entirety. There were tours as well as a few early demo collections alongside two singles Mene (2015) and I Am a Nightmare (2016) to tide people over.

Straight from the off there is an aura that something extraordinary lies ahead. Eerie is an apt description for a couple of reasons one, it opens up with a recording of a woman recalling a dream to a psychiatrist (similar snippets and oddities appear again and again across Science Fiction). Then the delivery of Lit Me Up is somewhat isolated Lacey’s vocal and sole guitar is all you hear for a good chunk of the run time, even when the rhythm section join in it is very subtle but none the less great. It is one hell of an introduction or welcome (full) return.

Can’t Get it Out has a little more bite and one hell of a catchy whistle (plus the muted chucks are always a hit with me) here lyrically focusing on depression one of the multiple topics that are delved into linked to the complexities of humanity and fear of ourselves/our own minds. Could Never be Heaven is a sweet sentiment but again it has a darker Brand New twist.

137 is a philosophical account of the end of man due to the dropping of nuclear bombs, questions of why we would do such a thing, why can’t we just love one another. Here possibly being influenced by current tensions around the globe and the grim realisation that there is a chance that we,

‘all go play Nagasaki,
We can all get vaporised,
Hold my hand, let’s turn to ash,
I’ll see you on the other side’

Furthermore 137 is musically layered with acoustic guitars some wah-wah effected guitar, killer lead lines leading to one hell of an ending. Mixing these lyrics with this music genuinely creates one of the most hard hitting, chilling songs in recent memory what a masterful 5 minutes and 1 second.                   

Suitably titled Desert is simplistic instrumentally whilst Lacey embodies a man of strict faith who is disgusted at seeing two men kissing in the street, his unwillingness to give up his gun and other thoughts about how this character views society. 451 is damn groovy taking from the electric Chicago blues of the early 20th Century blended with more modern rock elements to create another memorable moment.

Album number 5 tips its hat respectfully to each LP that came before it which is fitting as it will probably be the last one. Science Fiction is everything that Brand New represent for many people, the flaws of being human, difficulties of relations either romantic or not and the struggles of life. It also draws attention to the massive hole left in Vincent Accardi, Jesse Lacey, Brian Lane and Garrett Tierney’s absence a connection to genuine emotion. If this is indeed the end for Brand New then it is a stupendous creation to close their career.