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

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes : Modern Ruin

Posted by Beat Magazine on 8/2/17.

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 The soft Bluebelle opens the album, its piano melody layered by Frank Carter’s flowery vocals lull you into a peaceful state of mind. Just as you get comfortable Lullaby yanks you right out of that tranquil reverie, kicking off with a catchy guitar riff as Carter’s raw vocals mesmerise, reminding you how much of a powerful impact he truly has on British rock today.

Snake Eyes reinforces his ferocity, beginning with ‘Here I lay, my stomach burning, body in pain while the room keeps turning,’ and then in the chorus he becomes more aggressive. Vampires project a sassy vibe as Carter’s devil-may-care attitude is juxtaposed effectively with his soaring choruses, and it’s evident just how diverse the band’s sound is.

Acid Veins is delivered raw but flows smoothly before the chorus once again showcases the band’s signature rough, rock sound. Modern Ruinadds the cherry on top of a firecracker album with its chaotic guitar streaks and Carter’s gritty vocals. It’s clear why this is the title track– it is infused with a frenzy that makes you want to jump up and down and head bang, encapsulating the spirit of hard rock.

Palace Of The King Announce 2016 Melbourne Launch

Posted by Beat Magazine on 26/7/16.

Palace Of The King will be blasting their new album on a national tour.

Having just toured internationally with their 2015 debut album White Bird / Burn the Sky and soaring off their recent single Beyond The Valley, Palace of the King will soon release their new album Valles Marineris, which promises to burn with the same energy as their previous efforts.

Palace of the King will be lifting the roof off the Northcote Social Club on Saturday September 10. Tickets available via the venue’s website.

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

The Jezabels – Young Woman Rising

Posted by Aphra Magazine on 4/3/16.

The Jezabels have never been a band shy about challenging gender equality; just consider their name taken from the biblical character of Jezebel, a woman who has been unfairly represented in history.

Since forming in 2007, the alternative/pop-synth band from Sydney have found success with three EPs, two albums and multiple awards. Now the band that brought us hits like ‘Endless Summer’ and ‘Mace Spray’ are back, challenging gender politics, creating debate, and setting it to music, with their politically charged third album, Synthia. Aphra had a chat to Hayley Mary, lead vocalist of the Jezabels, about confronting her own femininity, the importance of female groupies and how Synthia will contribute to the conversation around gender politics.

In Synthia‘s opening track ‘Stand and Deliver’, Hayley sings: ‘And it’s something quite unfair, in this underlying scene, that she wants the same success, but she’s lacking in the breeding.’ This theme of gender inequality is one that runs throughout the album, creating a powerful statement. There’s nothing subtle about the lyrics of Synthia’s tracks as they challenge the everyday sexism that we so often accept. Hayley says this directness is new for the band.

‘We’re just more articulate this time and a little bit more direct.’ Says Hayley. ‘I think people are more interested in those issues now than they used to be as well, so it’s easier to be overt about gender politics today than it used to be.’

‘I did used to shroud myself in romanticism because there were…feelings of frustration or longing and I didn’t really know what they were for or what I was trying to articulate. I still don’t totally, but I feel much more conscious in the politics and assertiveness than I ever have before.’

Hayley says creating Synthia has provided her with the confidence to confront her feelings about being a woman. She explains how she needed to face her fears in order to expand beyond her horizons.

‘From the dawn of time, groupies have actually been what’s made rock n roll possible. If young girls didn’t listen to Beatles, there would be no Beatlemania and there would be no rock n roll.’

‘I was very scared to go out into the public again and write more, and be in the face of criticism and be in a man’s world, but then that’s why I felt it was all the more important to do it.’

‘Sometimes I think life doesn’t give choices; it’s like you can choose to allow your world to grow smaller and smaller and that’s what you do by succumbing to fear, but if you want to enlarge your world, you do things that you’re scared of.

Having explored her personal experience in depth, Hayley reflects on how femininity is portrayed in the wider context of the rock n roll world.

‘Well I think obviously the rock world’s a big world, and there’s a lot of ways it’s portrayed, but there are some clichés that you have to acknowledge. I think there’s a notion that the main stereotypical roles that women play is the role of the groupie, historically, and even still now, and a lot of the time not only is it considered a passive role, [but] its value is also underestimated…’

‘From the dawn of time, groupies have actually been what’s made rock n roll possible. If young girls didn’t listen to Beatles, there would be no Beatlemania and there would be no rock n roll.’

Hayley says feminist revisionism of rock n roll history has brought new evidence to light.

‘The groupies back in the 60s and 70s were actually influencing the styles of the rockstars themselves, and they were influencing the music, and they were friends and they were treated respectfully. All these kind of notions that they were actually more important than they were perceived to be are coming out now through a revisionism of those periods of rock n roll history.’

‘You’ve always got these double edged swords…because you’re either playing into what people think women should be or you’re consciously going against it.

She continues, ‘I think there’s this notion that the woman is less valuable and passive in rock n roll, but that’s being constantly challenged, and it’s even been suggested that that’s never actually been as true as we think.’ However, despite this revisionist train of thought, Hayley does find it difficult at times to challenge gender stereotypes in the musical world.

‘I find myself being vulnerable, or being scared, or expressing these kind of very stereotypically feminine qualities. And then I think, “Was that just playing into these clichés about what it is to be a female and is that what people want females to express because it’s feminine?” Then I go the other way and I try to be masculine and I go “well was that a kind of denial of the feminine.”’

‘You’ve always got these double edged swords…because you’re either playing into what people think women should be or you’re consciously going against it. You’re never neutral; it’s always gendered in some way, which I’m not entirely sure men are as conscious of.’

Synthia, Hayley says, plays on contradictions; she uses the example of often feeling simultaneously like a groupie and a rockstar. That idea of not belonging anywhere, or rather, ‘in-between worlds’, fascinates the singer.

‘We’ve got these ideas [or categories] that we …try and sort of fit into because we think that’s where everyone else is. But no one is actually there, no one’s in ‘the category’, and this applies to discussions about everything, like race, gender, religion, sexuality.’

‘Women are going to find themselves in between worlds all the time, because we’re trying to leave our limited [gender] roles and make new roles, not just fall into male roles. So that in-between space really interests me and I’d like Synthiato occupy that in people’s minds.’

Hayley believes embracing the in-between space is helping to deconstruct and reject old stigmas.

‘I think all of those categories are breaking down and fragmenting constantly; they have been for a long time, but it’s getting further and further to the point where one day I think we’ll just see each other as one. It’s a bit of a hippy thing, but we will accept each other’s differences and not try and put each other in boxes.’

The conversation returns solely to Synthia and Hayley says of all the songs on the new album, she feels most connected to ‘Pleasure Drive’ because it’s all about ‘celebrating life and living in the moment’.

‘I think too much and sometimes it disables me, and stops me from doing, and existing in the real world. ‘Pleasure Drive’ was a song… where it’s like, I’m going to actually follow my body a bit more, and follow my gut a bit more, and do, rather than think, and not worry so much,’

Finally Hayley says if she could describe Synthia in three words, she would use a phrase that she heard from a family she met recently, which is ‘Young Woman Rising’. ‘When I say ‘Young Woman Rising’, I don’t mean she has to be young, I mean that she’s rising, as in she’s growing and getting older, so she’s progressing.’