Lower Than Atlantis – Safe In Sound
Lower Than Atlantis achieved incredible heights with their 2014 self-titled effort. ‘Safe In Sound’ picks up where they left off spearheaded by their trademark pop-rock sound. With four songs already in circulation it is already clear to see that the Watford quartet return in fine form. Singles ‘Had Enough’ and ‘Work For It’ are accolades to songwriting full of some of the catchiest vocal hooks you will here in 2017.
With ‘Safe In Sound’ already garnering major air time and rave reviews the sky is the limit. Don’t be surprised when this album becomes the catalyst that propels Lower Than Atlantis to the biggest stages imaginable, and with songs of this caliber materialising with seemingly little effort, ‘Safe In Sound’ goes to show what a bonafide hit machine this band have become. (JH)
‘Safe In Sound’ by Lower Than Atlantis is released on 3rd February on Easy Life Records / Red Essential.
Beach Slang – Here I Made This For You Mixtape Volume II
After last year’s fantastic sophomore full-length, ‘A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings’, melancholy surf punks Beach Slang are set to return with their second covers EP, aptly titled ‘Here, I Made This For You Mixtape (Vol. 2)’.
The first in the series showed Beach Slang’s ability to adapt to each artist’s style while still putting their own stamp on things, and this follow-up will hopefully follow in its footsteps, as well as highlighting the band’s musical development.
This should be interesting, considering the songs being covered range from proto-punk (The Modern Lovers) to shoegaze (The Jesus & Mary Chain) and new wave (Tommy Keene). All these artists have had a clear influence on Beach Slang, so watching them pay tribute (again) will be fun. (AC)
‘Here, I Made This For You Mixtape (Vol. 2)’ by Beach Slang is released on 10th February on Big Scary Monsters Records.
Brutus – Burst
Having been chosen as one of our 50 bands to watch in 2017, Belgian trio Brutus jumpstart the year with the release of ‘Burst’ later this month. With a musical cocktail consisting of Stefanie Mannaerts’ soaring vocals and domineering drums, Stijn Vanhoegaerden’s towering guitars and rumbling bass lines from Peter Mulders, Brutus look set to serve up a delightful debut.
Lead off single, ‘All Along’, bulldoze when it landed late last year. While the recently released ‘Drive’ puts you into a false sense of security with its drawn out, atmospheric intro before grabbing hold of you through Mannaerts’ pummelling drums and impassioned vocals and brash instrumentation.
The remainder of ‘Burst’ promises to be an intense, enthralling, and genre-hopping mix of punk, hardcore, math-rock, post-rock with the trio being firmly in control of what they are creating. Undoubtedly, Brutus look set to deliver a noteworthy debut in ‘Burst’. (SR)
‘Burst’ by Brutus is released on 24th February on Hassle Records.
Black Star Riders – Heavy Fire
Although made from the ashes of a Thin Lizzy reunion, Black Star Riders have carved their own path cementing themselves as one of the top dogs of rock ‘n’ roll, not only in the UK but on the world stage. With two critically acclaimed albums can third release ‘Heavy Fire’ match its predecessors successes?
Lead singles ‘Testify or Say Goodbye’ and ‘When The Night Comes In’ answer any doubts with their signature dual guitar riffs, thundering drums and Ricky Warwick’s powerful vocal talents. Some may still complain about the bands beginnings but no one will here them over the huge sound of one of the most exciting “classic” rock bands around today.
‘Heavy Fire’ is a natural next step for a band that are not only ahead of the curve but defining it. Black Star Riders are rock heritage and, from the initial singles and trailers, this album could quickly become a career topping triumph for all involved. (JH)
‘Heavy Fire’ by Black Star Riders is released 3rd February on Nuclear Blast Entertainment.
blanket – Our Brief Encounters
Like the aforementioned Brutus, North West quartet blanket appeared on our list of 50 bands to watch in 2017 last month. They are now set to release their debut effort in the form of ‘Our Brief Encounters’. The two tracks that have been made public so far, ‘Acacia’ and ‘Starlight Filled Our Minds’, hint at a blissful mini-album that has the tendency to leave you gently hooked. While singer/guitarist Bobby Pook subtly carries both tracks with fragileness.
With its members having spent time in more pop-punk/rock-centric bands, blanket looks set to offer an expansive, cinematic collection of achingly beautiful post-rock. As heard on ‘Acacia’ and ‘Starlight Filled Our Minds’, they’ve carefully crafted each song with precision to take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Be prepared for a mesmerising journey. (SR)
‘Our Brief Encounters’ by blanket is released on 10th February.
Zeal & Ardor – Devil is Fine
Zeal & Ardor is the twisted creation of Swiss-American songwriter/soundscaper Manuel Gagneux whose description of the project as ‘American slave and black metal’ has already turned a number of heads. It’s not without reason, as debut album ‘Devil is Fine’ sounds unlike anything extreme metal has offered us for as long as we remember.
Explained by Gagneux as an album that explores the concept of slaves in America rejecting Christianity and embracing Satanism instead, the album is a melting pot of different musical ideas and influences coalesced into a foreboding collage of sounds all in the name of the Dark Lord. Memphis blues melodies are sung on top of pounding melodic death metal breakdowns, while Afro-caribbean chants led by chain-gang choirs are paired with blastbeat-laden black metal speed-picking, and new sounds and ideas are explored at every corner of this album. Whether ‘Devil is Fine’ is to your taste or not, you won’t forget it’s twisted craft in a hurry. (AD)
‘Devil is Fine’ by Zeal & Ardor is released on 24th February on MVKA Music.
Words by Sêan Reid (SR), Jay Harrison (JH), Alan Cunningham (AC) and Andy Davidson (AD).