Beyond Contempt : Calculated Divide

Posted by Beat Magazine on 10/5/17.

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Melbourne thrash outfit Beyond Contempt fire up their listeners’ ears with their latest EP Calculated Divide, which is charged with a maniacal energy that is both addictive and captivating. Opening songBreak unleashes some epic riffs that hook you straight in, as vocalist Pascal D’Bras powerful vocals charge you up with anticipation. Salt has a searing guitar and marching drum beat, which resonates with the metal vigor that Beyond Contempt inject into their music.

A Rope With A Purpose has an intro rife with suspense, before breaking out with a piercing scream. Catching Bullets kicks off with burly guitar work and D’Bras showcasing cleaner vocals this time around. Breathermeanders at a slower pace, with D’Bras again taking the melodic route, before the chorus explodes into absolute metal mayhem.

Last but not least, Salt (DevilMonkey RMX) is a playful, comedic remix, twisting into a funky rap that contradicts the rest of the Calculated Divide in an unexpected yet welcoming way. The final track reveals Beyond Contempt aren’t taking themselves too seriously, and aren’t afraid to experiment.

By Christine Tsimbis 

Destrends : Lousy Lover

Posted by Beat Magazine on 19/4/17.

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Destrends have created a distinctive reputation for themselves, infusing their music with a creative mixture of new wave sounds from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, along with a trace of gothic hysteria.

Opener Jack is layered with thrashing drums and streaking guitar blended with Matt Savage’s deep, dramatic vocals. The lyrics overlay the song with a comical tone as the bluesy sound enhances the lively vibe of Destrends, reminding listeners how contagious their theatrical performances are.

Papa whips out choppy guitar riffs and rhythmic drum beats that are addictive to listen to. Title track Lousy Lover starts off with brooding vocals. The melody has a softer, more mysterious feel than the others, as though it’s about to break out but wants to keep the listener in suspense.

Waste Division lurches listeners out of their reverie with a scratchy guitar and drum combo that screams punk, urging you to headbang along. Slack Jaw Jim begins with a steady, bluesy sound, layered with intense guitar and raw vocals. Closer Blackout showcases Destrends’ knack of infusing manic energy into their music. The EP is raw, dark and enticing to listen to over and over.

By Christine Tsimbis

Northlane : Mesmer

Posted by Beat Magazine on 5/4/17.

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Citizen kicks off with a bang, streaking guitars carry Bridge’s growls, send listeners into a frenzy. Colourwave begins with a gritty guitar, effectively paired with a swirling synth sound, but soon enough the heavy breakdown erupts and that’s when we know Northlane mean business. Bridge’s vocals in the chorus are infused with emotion, but this is only the beginning, because Savage comes afterwards to take us for a ride with its intense riffs and captivating lyricism.

Intuition has addictive riffs and relentless drumbeats that make you headbang, and Zero One begins with a whimsical electronic sound that hooks you straight in because it stands out from the usual rage that Northlane projects into their music, but soon enough they pummel a powerful breakdown, as Bridge’s angst filled vocals penetrate your ears.

Last but not least, Paragon kicks off with a suspenseful beginning, little buzzes and quick breaths that send a chill down your spine, because you know that breakdown is coming– and it completes Mesmer, especially since Paragon is a tribute to the band’s loss of their friend Tom Searle. This album is an emotional rollercoaster, and Northlane have injected their grief beautifully into their new work of art.

By Christine Tsimbis

Elm Street : Knock Em Out…With A Metal Fist

Posted by Beat Magazine on 13/7/16.

Following the success of their debut Barbed Wire Metal in 2011 and theHeart Racer EPin 2015, Elm Street are firing up the metal scene with their new album Knock Em Out…With A Metal Fist. It’s an adrenalin booster, with an explosion of twin guitar riffs and drums that instantly make you want to head bang.

The record starts off with Face The Reaper, which begins with acoustics that layer the song with a tender overtone, but the band then weaves some smashing guitar riffs and drums to break up the softness, instilling suspense in the listener. The vocalist Ben Batres then screams and you suddenly feel like you’re on a rollercoaster, as that fast paced hardcore bliss breaks out.

Next is Kiss The Canvas, which kicks off with soaring guitars and upbeat drums. Batres growls into the microphone ‘here comes the twist of the day, right after nine to five, eyes up chin down, time to settle the score,’ and the song continues to be an adrenaline booster just like its predecessor. There’s also Sabbath, which has a catchy drum beat that gallops throughout the song.

Heart Racer has some phenomenal guitar riffs, and when Batres snarls ‘back on the streets, on the run from the law, see us coming, she sent me back for more,’ it completes the rebellious rock’n’roll vibe of the track. The album concludes with Leave It All Behind, a melodic song that showcases the band’s softer side.

BY CHRISTINE TSIMBIS

Sister Jane – Frontier

Posted by Aphra Magazine on 28/9/15.

Rarely do we see a band coincide the announcement of their breakup with the release of a new album; Sydney’s Sister Jane may just be breaking new ground here. Having endured the tumultuous departure of frontman Dan Davey in 2014—the presser describing a ‘man on the brink who turned to jesus, found his path to salvation and gave up rock n’ roll’—the longtime five-piece give us their final record, Frontier, which closes the door on a 10-year career. The situation is made more compelling by the quality of this release, which goes from strength to strength with an eclectic mix of Americana folk, new wave and European synth cuts. And while it is a shame that this creative flame no longer flickers, there is no better way to go out than with a bang.

‘Road To Evil’ resonates with a somberness that is both dark and beautiful, and the vocals are soft and brooding. It literally feels as though you’re travelling down a dark road, although there’s a quirky melodic combo there as well that breaks up the gloominess. Then there’s ‘The Farmer’, which is a lot mellower and flows smoother than its dark predecessor. Here Dan Davey sings, ‘I came looking for an answer. The farmer knew the reason why. My son, don’t dwell upon your sorrow. The rain will fall into the crack.’

‘You Can Have Me’ begins with suspenseful guitar strokes, as Lauren Crew enters the frame with her smooth and seductive voice. The guitar sounds are rhythmic and effortless, as Crew croons, ‘I imagined clothes of silk and lace with silver buttons to my waist. I pictured skin so soft and white you’d see me blush in the darkest night’.

First single ‘Whole Wide World’ is distinguished by a fast and catchy beat, propelled by the rusty, rock n’ roll edginess of Davey’s voice, who is once again on vocals here. ‘Lost Hotel’ is also another funky song that is addictive to listen to and makes you want to get up and dance. ‘Shellac’ once again showcases Crew’s tremendous vocal range and the guitar is sassy and seductive to match. Crew is feisty in the chorus, as she sings, ‘Ooooh he got me, oooh he got me, oooh he got me, this man’s pushing me to the end of the world’. When she repeats the chorus later on, she tweaks it by speaking from the man’s perspective, ‘oooh she got me, oooh she got me, oohh she got me, this girl’s pushing me to the end of the world’.

‘Wicked Wind’ begins with slow and beautiful acoustics, and Crew sings, ‘Your daddy’s down deep in a well. Your daddy’s down deep in a well. Hey Joe don’t you follow your daddy down deep in that well’. With her soft and sweet as honey voice Crew breathes warmth into every note. The final track, ‘Indifferent Prey’ is another acoustic lullaby that Davey grapples by the throat.

Frontier is a beautiful exploration of different sounds and genres, heartfelt and purposeful in its delivery. One can’t help but feel that Sister Jane has more great material within them, but with this gem of an album they leave on a good note, one we won’t soon forget.

 

Sister Jane – Frontier is out now via Broken Stone Records / Remote Control.