REVIEW | Swallows – Haunted

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At the top of the year, it was the end of an era as Glasgow melodic hardcore outfit Swallows parted ways with long-running frontman Adam Craig after what was a monumental performance at Throne Fest, an event we were glad – in a bittersweet sense – to be witness to, with guitarist Danny Shannon soon following suit a few months down the line.

Fast forward about half a year later, the band bagged themselves new recruits in the form of vocalist Scott Forwell and guitarist Colin Sharp and headed back into the studio. The result is a new EP titled Haunted, a formidable product that perfectly represents the group to a tee.

From the offset, the band’s trademark intensity flourishes; at the forefront, Scott clamoring with such fury in an assortment of tunes featuring such blunt and explicit writing – in fact, some of the best in all the Scottish metal scene, in our opinion. The opener Reflections is a definitive example of this element, highlighted by a fiercely addictive hook.

The aforementioned intensity only continues to escalate over the progress of the record, with the vocals displaying further vigor in the likes of Letting Go and Low Tides, whilst being complimented by brute drums and dense riffs.

They take it lower with a deeper, more callous sound in Almost Always, where grungy bass chords make their presence felt, before flicking the dial back up and charging at a swift and powerful tempo once again with Weathered Hands.

Ultimately, they finish with the passionate A Tired Soul, bringing back Adam Craig for one last hurrah in a special guest appearance and capping off the EP on a strong note.

Haunted serves as the beginning of what is certain to be a hell of a second coming for one of the country’s most talented hardcore acts, and thus the Swallows Heartbreak Crew can rejoice once more.

 

REVIEW | Painting Rockets – From The Debris

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The general public really underestimate the many difficulties of being in a band, with one of those elements being the making of a record.

It takes a lot of money, time, blood, sweat, tears and, probably most important of all, the strength to persevere. Any group that is able to overcome all these factors through the most arduous of struggles deserve our utmost respect, especially given that the end result is never guaranteed to turn out a successful one.

This is where Painting Rockets from Edinburgh enter the frame, who for the past year and a half have fought tooth and nail in the production of their highly anticipated 2nd EP – From The Debris – and after suffering from so many issues and much uncertainty over the course of making it, it gives us much pleasure to say it was all worth it, because this EP is simply phenomenal.

The ears perk up at the instant I’ll Be Fine kicks off, a frenzied opener which captivates all the senses simultaneously with a throbbing snare beat, blistering chorus and fervent harmonies courtesy of Keli Thomson.

Insane drums then greet us to Crazy Little Heart Like Mine which takes a heavier direction with Stephen Christie’s imposing riffs and a hefty, breakneck rhythm. This leads nicely into the bombastic lead single Empathy, with heaps of passion and energy dripping from every note sung by Keli.

A dark and chilling interlude serves as the bridge into the record’s other single Method In The Madness, a fiercely catchy and sprightly track shining with some great lyrics, which continues into the equally flashy For You And I Are Past Our Dancing Days.

But in a snap, it all goes quiet as they move onto their last number The Chaos Is All So Beautiful. For the first half, Keli delivers a magnetic and sentimental performance that not only displays more of her vocal range, but has the listener hanging onto every word, and as the track approaches the end, it escalates to an exciting finale powered by more rip-roaring guitar work from Stephen.

The final outcome of these two’s pure dedication and efforts is one that exceeds expectations, with not a single dull moment from start to finish.

If Keli and Stephen continue to improve upon the potential they have shown and further build upon the foundations established, then we may have a new breakout rock act on the horizon.

 

 

REVIEW | The Belafonte – Warm Bones

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For the past two years, we have seen sparks of potential from The Belafonte of Ayrshire.

Their inaugural single Human Hands blew us away – becoming one of our favourite tracks of 2015, as a matter of fact – and it only got us more excited for what was to follow.

Well, the time has finally arrived. The trio have put out their debut EP, Warm Bones, and we could not be more satisfied with what was delivered.

Dogs Can Look Up starts off with a really cool intro that builds with an accompanying subdued drum beat, before unleashing into a bombastic second half. The next track Olive Branch opens in a similar manner, while being boasted by some great lyrics.

Strenuous riffs and slick bass lines shine in Calm, a swaying melody and – once again – brilliant writing are the defining elements of Low Born Blood, and the latter is showcased one last time in the brisk closing number Torn At The Seams.

Warm Bones is fantastic through and through, and with each respective listen we learn to only appreciate it all the more. As one of the best Scottish records of 2016, this is sure to garner the band more attention and establish them as Ayrshire’s next major prospect.

 

REVIEW | Black Nevada – Fragments

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If you want a solid example of a fun, straight to the point rock record done right, then feel free to look towards North East outfit Black Nevada and their latest EP – Fragments.

They waste no time as they cut to the chase with Not Your Enemy – an ambitious 5 minute opener – highlighted by a powerful chorus, and from there they show no signs of slowing down, as proven by the rhythmic Run This Town, which is relayed by a catchy and pulsating drum beat.

After a gradual countdown, they soon explode into the very forcible lead single Brokenand the energy escalates even further to a burning degree with the rapid Winner In The End, which delivers an off the wall combination of dynamic riffs and drumming.

The smashing guitar work continues into Behind The Walls, after which they wrap up with the pounding There’s No Time.

An unadulterated, purely entertaining record from one of England’s most promising young and aspiring acts.

 

REVIEW | Rosie Bans – Opia

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As far as Scottish singer-songwriters go, there are few that have the ability to grab our attention as well as Rosie Bans; in addition to being obviously talented and well-traveled, she is one of the most charming personalities we have ever come across in our time.

At the top of the year, the redheaded lass put out her Process EP, and quite frankly we fell in love with it, and to make things better she has been quick to treat us to yet another record – Opia.

The striking cover alone was enough to catch our eye, but does the content itself hold up? Fair to say, she brings out her self-proclaimed brand of “sophisti-pop” in full force here.

For starters, The Fall is a elegant number by reason of some lovely outstanding work on the piano as well as some engaging lyrics, and it only gets better with Walking In The Colda very fitting title indeed as it is defined by a sound that is so chilling, and the vocals are truly something of harmonious beauty. And last but not least, accompanied by a soft guitar, the tender On These Strings provides a gripping conclusion to the EP.

Opia proves to be the awe-inspiring product that we hoped for, one that is just begging to be played live in front of thousands at concert halls up and down the country.