Pop-punk icons MEST have exploded back into the scene with Masquerade, notably with their 2005 lineup. This is bound to please old fans and even inspire new ones since the band has not had a full consecutive independent release since 2005’s Photographs. Coming back in typical MEST fashion, the band has always believed in keeping things very Do-It-Yourself and independent and this release was no exception. Back in March of last year Frontman Tony Levato posted the Kickstarter campaign that would reach great success where over 939 backers pledged $54,227 to help bring this project to life, resulting in the album we all wanted and craved after 13 years.
Maryland post-hardcore/metalcore outfit Savage Hands are back with their full-length LP, The Truth In Your Eyes that will be their first full-length release with SharpTone Records. We were delighted to be able to check out the record, and it doesn’t disappoint. Lead vocalist Mike Garrow has stated that this new album was a way to exploit any negativity and somehow convert into positivity. You can read the interview we did with the band here.
Novelists (FR) have been mainstays in the progressive metalcore genre for half a decade, rising to fame with previous albums Noir and Souvenirs. With complex guitar riffs and focused instrumentals overlaying thought-out lyrics, the band can be likened to similar giants like Northlane and Intervals.
C’est La Vie shows Novelists FR return to form with nine well-constructed, adequate tracks. The first three tracks are pretty standard for the band, with a nice touch being Matt Gelsomino rapping a bit to kick off “Lilly”. Things pick up with the brilliantly-heavy “Modern Slave”, a definite standout track on the album.
What Novelists does well is blending a bit of heavy with meaningful, meticulous verses/bridges. The title track does this, with a catchy hook accompanying some intrinsic vocabulary, plus some female vocals in the background. I’m not typically a fan of fade-outs, but “C’est La Vie” has a tasteful one to cement the soft tones of the track, juxtaposing the in-your-face sound of the previous song.
Prioritizing melody and maintaining a healthy mix of clean and unclean vocals works in Novelists FR favor, as heavy songs hit hard while softer songs are just as enjoyable. “Kings of Ignorance” brings strong verses backed up with a catchy chorus. “Rain” beings to close out the album with a somber tune, and “Human Condition” wraps things up; I prefer the final tracks of albums to have some closure, but this great song will suffice.
All in all, C’est La Vie is a fantastic listen, and is proof that Novelists FR hasn’t lost a beat in the 2 years since Noir. The band has been touring with names like Being As An Ocean, Make Them Suffer, and Like Moths to Flames. Here’s hoping they get their headliner in 2020, as it is well-deserved with their established discography to this point.
***A Review copy of C’est La Vie was provided by Arising Empire/Nuclear Blast records.***
The fusion of metal music and electronic music has been experimented with for decades now. While it is not always a smooth marriage of sounds, the genres have potential to complement each other very well. Some bands will add a synth here, a dubstep breakdown there; others go the extra mile and mesh the two genres as a cohesive unit gracefully.
Dance With the Dead have done just that, combining synthwave and metal for the better part of the 2010s. They rose to fame over the years, and have garnered millions upon millions of plays on Spotify with their unique blend. With an already-deep discography, they are starting 2020 strong with the three-track EP Blackout.
The EP fades in with the electric “Ravens in the Sky”. Throughout the verses, there is a good trade-off between guitar riffs and synth runs. Neither genre takes precedence over the other; this is a solid 50/50 split, so fans of either/both genres can be sated. This song should catch the ear of new listeners enough for them to enjoy the rest of the EP.
“Scar” kicks in next, hooking the listener in immediately with a catchy synth riff. This is where these two genres can work with each other magnificently; a guitar riff can be just as exciting as one on a synth. For DWTD’s benefit, they have both in spades. This particular riff is stuck in my head as I write this, it’s the highlight of the EP for me.
Last comes “The Dawn”, with the heaviest guitar riff yet accomapnying the verses. A bit heavier than the other tracks, this is optimal for the metal listeners. The guitar solo feels right at home, The snare hitting every beat in the opening proceedings pumped me up. The final outro keeps the listener enthused, as “The Dawn” wraps the bow on the gift of Blackout.
While not as lengthy as Dance With the Dead’s other releases, Blackout makes for more great material for the band’s eclectic live performances. DWTD has had the pleasure of playing significant venues all around the world, an impressive feat for an independent band. They’re due for Chicago in April, so I will likely make my way to see them; for now, I’ll be checking out the rest of their expansive discography, as Blackout was a fantastic entry point.
New Fury Media would like to thank Tony Kim of Dance With the Dead for sending us a copy of Blackout early!