On ‘Synthesis’, Evanescence will make you wonder how you can feel so much at once

Posted by Beat Magazine

Evanescence have been experimenting with their sound since the release of their self-titled album in 2012, playing around with the arrangements of their songs by stripping back their distinctive guitar and drum beats and progressing to a more synthesised orchestral work of art that is melodramatic and brilliantly composed.

Their new album Synthesis is riveting with its haunting melodies and Amy Lee’s crystalline vocals that convey so much piercing emotion. Her vocals resonate with sorrow, angst and despair, yet they are beautifully refined and persistent as they needle their way into the hearts of listeners. The twists and turns in Synthesis are sharp and heart wrenching, creating a powerful album that’s driven to take the listener on a sensory journey that will both enlighten and unsettle them. ‘Never Go Back’ utilises Lee’s vocal range, painting a portrait of darkness and despair with its melancholy strings and the addition of electronic synth to spice things up.

The refined instrumentation in Synthesis is captivating and immersive; it’s intricately composed of intertwining sounds that inspire different reactions. Lee’s vocals are so powerful that they’re liberating; they prove to be a cathartic release of all our trapped emotions and hidden tensions. ‘Lacrymosa’has a riveting orchestral compilation that puts chills up and down your spine, and Lee’s vocals are awe-inspiring in how delicate yet strong they are.

Lithium’ incorporates chiming bells and sorrowful synth. There are haunting piano melodies, and epic breakdowns in the chorus, just to intensify the conflicting feelings that the listeners are already grappling with. As always, Evanescence has thrown their listeners onto an emotional rollercoaster, and effectively enhances their introspective frame of mind as they explore their own interpretations to the music.

Synthesis has that moody contemplative feel; it makes you reflect on your thoughts, your life, and the way your mind and body are responding to the music. It makes you contemplate how someone can convey their pain and anguish in such an artistically expressive way. The classics ‘Bring Me Back To Life’ and ‘My Immortal’ are also here, somewhat altered with the addition of synth and string combinations, but still resonating with the same feel since their original releases.

Synthesis as a whole is a brilliant album, filled with plenty of lurching sensations that make you wonder how a band can make you feel so many things at once. Evanescence have still got that raw skill and unparalleled talent that make them such a joy to listen to, and their music will forever impact on the hearts and souls of their listeners.

My rating: 9.5/10

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Dystopia on community and showcasing a different side of music

Posted by Beat Magazine

“A lot of these acts deserve to be gaining more traction in terms of the audiences they have and the followings they have.”

Dystopia will soon bring together Australia’s best gothic/industrial/dark electronic acts, including Shiv-r, Coffin Carousel, SNUFF, and Zen Robotic. Beat had a chat to event producer and Zen Robotic’s lead vocalist Thom O’Leary, who was eager to discuss Dystopia’s lineup and how the event thrives upon the growth of the goth community in Melbourne.

“I think whoever comes to Dystopia will love it.  Even a lot of people who wouldn’t expect to love it will love it,” says O’Leary. “There’s Shiv-r, who are a world-class act. They were originally from New South Wales but they relocated to the UK where they were based for a while, and they had toured over 20 countries before deciding to come back and live in Australia again, so they’re Melbourne based now. They have an international reputation within the industrial scene.”

O’Leary continues to enthusiastically discuss the other acts, such as Coffin Carousel. ‘They’ve recently signed to a U.S label and they’ve been based in Melbourne for six or seven years. They released an album in October so they definitely look like they’re about to take off.

“DJ Lobotomy will also be doing some DJing in between the sets of the live acts, so he’ll definitely keep the vibe of the night going while we’re doing changeovers and later on in the night too,’ O’Leary says. “He’s even been a really good mentor to me because he’s organised a lot of these events. He’s been a really good help in terms of having someone to talk to.

“I’ve seen all these acts before and I say there are no weak links in the lineup,” O’Leary says. ‘They create really great music and really great performances and I think a lot of these acts deserve to be gaining more traction in terms of the audiences they have and the followings they have.”

O’Leary also highlights other events in the goth community, such as Deviate which shut down a few years ago and then New Order was created which has been running for three years. There’s also club events like Fang and Haunt that play industrial music with gothic vibes.

“A lot of those gigs are pretty much DJs playing that music,” he says. ‘I suppose there’s a bit of spread in that community into metal and punk, so a lot of the same people will get into black metal and death metal on one side, and then there’s a whole movement of post-punk music. The main thing that we showcase is dark electronic industrial. We don’t quite fit into metal, punk, or straight up electronic.

“This started out being a dark electronic industrial gig, but a couple of acts like Coffin Carousel and Katherine Hymer don’t really fit into that category. It’s not about trying to fit everyone into that category. Even my own band Zen Robotic is quite diverse in the material we have, but sometimes it’s good to touch on different scenes and communities and build relationships with people.”

O’Leary has also made the observation that goth nightclubs today don’t draw as much interest from people in the mainstream as they used to in the ‘90s.

“I think one of the things about the ‘90s is that it was a real heyday for that type of music. You had Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and a lot more acts that were bigger in the mainstream scene,” he says. “It’s interesting because I found in recent times you don’t get many people at goth nightclubs like that.

“Part of people getting into scenes and communities is that often there’s something in the mainstream that will get them in. In the last five years there hasn’t been anything mainstream that’s got a lot of kids into this stuff. Our demographic does tend to be late 20s and 30s, and there’d be some people older than that.”

Nevertheless, O’Leary does acknowledge that Melbourne is a very diverse community that is accepting of all walks of life. Therefore, Dystopia will hopefully draw a range of different people. “We’ve all got our own acts and our own agendas,” O’Leary says. “The main thing is that we wanted to come together and put on an event that we hope is awesome.”

Dystopia will take over 24 Moons on Friday November 17, featuring Shiv-R, Coffin Carousel, Snuff, Zen Robotic, and more.

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Jarface : Now They See

Posted by Beat Magazine

Now They See is raw with fiery energy and drive. Opener ‘Rise’ kicks off with choppy riffs and drums, instantly radiating an alternative rock feel that is engaging to listen to. ‘Absolution’ is just as filled with heavy grunge goodness as ‘Sucker’, while ‘Burn The Effigy’ adds more fuel to the fire by throwing screaming vocals and hoarse chanting into the mix – revealing a more metal-inspired edge that creates variety amongst the rock‘n’roll and grunge that Jarface enjoy hammering out. ‘Kneel’is full of heavy guitar streaks and thundering drums, creating a dirty rock feel that resonates with the ‘90s grunge era.

‘All The Same’ features swirling riffs and drums that create a catchy rhythm for the listener to cruise to. ‘Child’ features slowly sung vocals that sound hypnotic, lulling the listener into a relaxed state before adopting a more raw edge in the chorus and adding heavy guitars and drums to suddenly yank their listeners out of their reveries. Closing track ‘Throw Me Away’ is full of gritty grunge and blazing guitars that create a firecracker ending to a great album.

My rating: 8/10

Hollywood Undead : Five

Posted by Beat Magazine

Hollywood Undead’s fifth album Five is fast-paced and blazing with energy. ‘California Dreaming’ kicks off with fiery riffs and pounding drums, painting a portrait of the murky darkness that pervades those who dream of fame in California. Whatever It Takes’ incorporates a playful rap flavoured with a suspenseful beat that’s addictive to listen to. ‘Bad Moon’ also incorporates a rhythmic rap that is creatively woven with taunting lyrics before urgent vocals become more pronounced in the chorus. ‘Ghost Beach’ begins with a hazy overtone before introducing a softer tempo that creates a smooth flowing melody.

Renegade’ is catchy, pumping up the adrenaline with hooky riffs in the chorus that you can’t help but headbang to. ‘Black Cadillac’ contrasts the other songs with the constant interchange between vocalists; B-Real’s presence cranks up the vibe and creates an interesting rap combination.

‘Cashed Out’ radiates hip hop with its smooth rhythm, but ‘We Own The Night’leans back into rock‘n’roll with enticing guitar riffs while still maintaining the rap pattern. Closing song ‘Your Roll’ ties in the band’s experimentation with the rock and rap genres, creating a distinctive album that is fun to listen to.

My rating: 8/10

The Used : The Canyon

Posted by Beat Magazine.

The Used have taken a different direction with their music, straying away from their distinctive emo sound and progressing to a combination of alt-rock and post-hardcore with their new album The Canyon. Released through Hopeless Records, The Canyon was recorded entirely without a backing track, which really emphasises its raw overtone. For You opens up with the vocalist Bert McCracken discussing the writing process of the loss of his son. His voice stricken with grief, he states: ‘All I want to say to you is that your love never leaves me alone, and now you’re right here, hold my hand every single song I ever sing is for you’, which he verifies to be the chorus of the song. A beautiful acoustic lullaby then strokes our ears, as McCracken injects his emotion into his sugary sweet vocals.

‘Cold War Telescreen‘ begins with a haunting howl, before the breakdown of searing guitars and intense drums begin to wreak havoc on the song. ‘Broken Windows’ has a catchy alt-rock rhythm that contradicts the angst presented in the first two songs, providing a lighter overtone. ‘Rise Up Lights’ has interesting sound effects meshed in with a few screams, and the vocals are raw, grating against your ears. ‘Pretty Picture’ begins with the sound of a man making a speech and children playfully squealing, before acoustics creep in and McCracken’s vocals are driven with suspense, as the heavy breakdown is then thrown in the chorus.

‘Upper Falls’ meanders with sweet vocals and gentle acoustics, gradually progressing to heavier riffs. ‘Selfies In Aleppo’ begins with an intriguing George Orwell quote before luring us into a dark journey that eventually unleashes some intense guitar work in the chorus. ‘Over and Over Again’ is a whimsical pop creation that playfully lightens up the dark throes that have captured this album.

‘Moon Dream’ begins with a child murmuring adorably before introducing a multifaceted orchestral rhythm that is brilliantly composed. Closing song ‘The Mouth Of The Canyon’ is cadenced with introspective vocals, as McCracken’s brooding state of mind takes the listener on a winding path that paints vivid images in their minds. The Canyon is intricately woven with powerful emotion and raw honesty that really resonates with its listeners.

My rating: 9/10

Marilyn Manson: Heaven Upside Down

Posted by Beat Magazine

My rating: 9/10

Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson never ceases to spark up the metal music industry, and his new release Heaven Upside Down is just as haunting and outrageous as its predecessors. Opening song ‘Revelation #12’ comprises his striking riffs and hoarse chanting vocals condemning those who play with matches but don’t admit what they really are.

Tattooed in Reverse has an enticing darkness that only becomes murkier with fuzzy guitars and Manson’s mocking vocals, and ‘We Know Where You Fucking Live’has a brooding overtone, with Manson’s vocals a menacing whisper until his aggression suddenly breaks out in growl.

‘Saturnalia’ spirals with repetitive riffs and reverberating percussion, not losing their touch for a moment across the track’s eight minutes. ‘Jesus Cri$i$’ may be the most outrageous song in the album, where Manson challenges his listeners and embraces the notorious image that he’s become so well-known for.

Heaven Upside Down’ is textured with engaging riffs and drums, and a searing guitar solo that is enhanced by Manson’s dark vocals. Closing song ‘Threats Of Romance’ makes a blazing statement and proves that Manson is still the defiant, flamboyant and brilliant artist that he was in the ‘90s.

Crossfaith: Freedom

Posted by Beat Magazine

Japan’s electro-metal legends Crossfaith have exploded onto the scene with their new three-track EP Freedom, which features Enter Shikari’s very own Rou Reynolds and Rize/The Bonez’ rapper Jesse. Crossfaith launches their listeners into a neo-futuristic journey where freedom is being compromised through the introduction of human/machine hybrids and an oppressive government.

The opening track Freedom opens with synth lines that radiate a wailing siren, before the drums make an appearance and Crossfaith unleash their heavy breakdowns. Amongst the metalcore, Crossfaith have been experimenting with other genres; this is made most evident in the middle of the song, where there’s an electro beat that is matched by some funky rapping.

The next song, Rockstar Steady, rallies you up with its mixture of metalcore and MC party vibes, and the odd hip-hop mash-up makes this song a fun listen. Jesse only hypes it up even more with his fiery vocals, creating a catchy presence.  The final song is Diavolos, the most intense song of the whole EP. Crossfaith crank up their metalcore with searing guitars and frontman Kenta Koie’s screaming vocals, bringing listeners back to the essence of the band’s sound. This EP is an intriguing listen, particularly due to Crossfaith’s experimentation with different genres, and their bold efforts are to be commended.

My rating: 7/10