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Filter – The Algorithm

“Everyone has an algorithm. An algorithm is a problem that needs to be solved.”  — Richard Patrick

It’s been seven long years since the last studio album by platinum-selling Post-grunge, Industrial / Alt Rock pioneers, Filter.

A lot has happened in those seven years and my first thought is, how relevant can a band from the nineties that has been on hiatus for seven years, be at this point in time. My second thought is, perhaps they just need the cash, like we all do. It's jaded of me to think this way, and I'll be the first to admit that I was happily surprised and delighted by this album. It feels and sounds relevant and is obviously written by an artist who loves being creative for a living. As the saying goes, ‘do what you love and love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life’. Richard Patrick surely has taken this concept and run with it.  

Filter is primarily the project of American singer, songwriter, musician, producer, Richard Patrick. Formed in 1993 in Cleveland, Ohio, with guitarist / programmer Brian Liesegang after Patrick decided to leave his role as touring guitarist for Nine Inch Nails. Their debut and sophomore albums both  achieved platinum status. Current touring members include Jonathan Radtke, Bobby Miller and Elias Mallin.

The Algorithm is the eighth studio album for Filter.

Patrick stated recently in an interview that The Algorithm is essentially a concept album.  The premise being, that an astronaut comes back to earth to find it is almost completely destroyed, there are only a few people left living on the planet.  The Algorithm is the story of the astronaut trying to find out why this has happened. Song themes include addiction, war, misinformation and climate change. 

The Algorithm starts with a moody yet chaotic track titled The Drowning, with rumbling bass and metallic guitars it is a heavy introduction to the album and is a part of a triptych that plays alongside Up Against The Wall and first single from 2022, For The Beaten, whose heavy riff is almost jarring but is saved by an anthemic style melody and swelling chorus. This trio of songs carries all the angst that fans of singer/songwriter Richard Patrick and Filter, love and have come to expect. The angst meter is dialed up to 11 and I’m feeling the apocalyptic gloominess engulf me. 

Next up is Obliteration, a song about alcoholism. Patrick is quite open about how he realised that he needed to deal with his own alcohol addiction, saying it was his “algorithm” to solve. Celebrating 20 years of sobriety next month, Patrick sees this as his greatest achievement. In Obliteration, he expresses the chaos of addiction with heavy riffs, power chords and a soaring chorus. It’s only three and a half minutes long but I'm feeling emotionally exhausted.

Facedown starts with an electronica style groove and showcases Patrick’s falsetto. The chorus hits with chugging, crunchy guitars. There’s a lightness that juxtaposes the message of misinformation. Patrick says he wrote this “after being inundated with lies, deception and pure vitriol every day”

The next track is Threshing Floor. It has that industrial rock sound that is  synonymous with artists like Marilyn Manson, in fact, I can easily imagine MM performing this track. 

Be Careful What You Wish For is where I can clearly hear the Nine Inch Nails / Trent Reznor influence the strongest. There’s a groove to this track that makes me want to dance. As I’m shaking my tush, the repetitive mantra “be careful what you wish for” feels almost hypnotic by the end of the song.

Burn Out The Sun is a soft melodic guitar-driven track that meanders along gently, giving the listener a reprieve from the heavy moodiness of the previous tracks. Did we just time travel to the 1970s? Maybe, but we quickly return and the album is rounded off with the acoustic sounding, but lyrically bold, Command Z. It’s raw and in your face, but I feel more heard in these lyrics than I have in a very long time. 

“Sometimes the shit just piles up, I wash my hands and then what, Played by the rules and got fucked, Cross my heart swear to god but something died”….. “I gotta find my life on backup, Command Z undo my fuckups, Outside world is theirs and blown up, Fade to black, Open wide, movie screen live love and die”. 

This poetry is real life and I daresay we’ve all felt that way at some point over these past few years. 

Richard Patrick has spent three decades pushing musical and lyrical boundaries. A pioneer who has been applauded and awarded for giving a generation a soundtrack to their lives. At 55 he is still relevant and has plenty of relatable stories to share with us. As a peer, I was vaguely aware of Filter, back in the day, but to be honest, I was more a NIN / Reznor fan during Filter’s heyday but this album has me delving through the Filter back catalogue and wishing I had caught the train at the time. Better late than never, I guess. 

As a whole, the album feels fresh and interesting and I put this down to the fact that Patrick has co-written the songs with several different people, all of whom have injected something different into this sonic landscape.

The Algorithm at first appears to be gloomy, bleak and depressing. It feels dystopian and almost claustrophobic in its heaviness at times, giving me the distinct impression that Patrick struggles to communicate any other way than through his music, with layer upon layer upon layer of angst, but after further listens, I realise it is more a search for understanding and positivity in a rapidly changing world and society divided. 

If you’re a fan of Nineties-Naughties Industrial Rock and Metal such as NIN, Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Stabbing Westward, Blue Stahli, and Static X you might just like to add this to your playlist. 

The Algorithm was released on August 25th and is available on all streaming services and through Australian label, Golden Robot Records. 

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Caskets – Reflections

When creating a new album, you always want to have something to say with the songs you’ve written, and you also want to do better than the previous album. Caskets have come out with their sophomore album, Reflections, which I believe does both. Metalcore is on the rise once again, that’s right you purists, go hide away from the mainstream for a while, big sing along chorus’s, chunky breakdowns and synth backing tracks are coming back in full swing, but what makes Caskets stand out amongst the crowd?

First off, you’ve got to have a wicked hook or melody and the singles released for the album Believe, Better Way Out and More Than Misery were the best choices off this album in this aspect. Believe is bouncy as hell and I had it on repeat, there are killer hooks and melodies throughout this entire album but this one got me good. The artwork for the film clip really ran with the reflections idea, crystals and mirrors everywhere! More Than Misery comes in with a massive sing along chorus and that’s gonna come across well when they hit live scene.

Better Way Out is a brilliant track, because as well as being a well written track musically, lyrically, it deals with those dark thoughts and the film clip perfectly portrays a scenario of someone not coping with that situation. With the “You are not alone, there are people who care” at the end, it really cements what they are trying to get across to their fans and listeners.

The second album is probably more daunting than the first, with the first, you write the best that you know how, you record and engineer to the best you know how. Once that first album is released, you then have a bar to go above and beyond but how do you write better? How do you record better? Caskets released Lost Souls in 2021 and they already have the next one in the barrel ready to go. They have definitely stepped up the game here with Reflections, they are sounding massive, stronger and coming out better song writers. The album will have you bouncing and singing along every time.

Having a message with your music is also what can make you stand out amongst the other bands, and I do love a band with a message. This album deals with the themes of mental health, dealing with your inner demons, ranging from a breakup song (high overview) to struggling with finding the strength to deal with everyday life. Caskets are reminding their fans and listeners that these are real issues and there are appropriate ways to deal with them. Self-care is an important message and more people do need to recognise this as a constant battle.

These guys were recently here, just as I got to do the review for this. I wish I had the chance to see them play live to give another dynamic to the review, I did hear that they dropped a couple of new ones in live though and I’m interested to hear which ones. After giving this a listen I’m hoping they are coming back sometime soon.

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Ghost – Phantomime

Hot off the back of the long-awaited Australian tour announcement, Ghost are throwing us a bone with the latest release EP Phantomime. There is barely a conversation between music lovers of late that does not consist of the word Ghost. Their all-consuming sound and unique take on music is hot property, and we Australians cannot get enough!

The musical genius of Tobias Forge is once again on full display and Phantomime takes us on a journey of classic covers with a diverse collection of songs. Who would have thought that putting Tina Turner and Iron Maiden of the same album would work? Well, Tobias of course, and it works in spades, with refreshing new takes on somewhat unconventional partners.

Opening with Televisions’ See No Evil we are taken back to the seventies with a nostalgic twist on this decades old tune. While losing none of the original feel Ghost have wrangled See No Evil to give it a modern-day spin while still keeping close to its original counterpart. A brilliant way to kick of the album, instantly grabbing your attention, leaving you eager to see what comes next.

The Genesis hit, Jesus He Knows Me is next in line and was released to coincide with Easter Sunday. Which solves the mystery of the “Jesus Is Coming” reference in the Good Friday premiere of the webisode series Chapter 17, Nap Time.  It isn’t the first time we have seen Ghost challenging authority figures via music and this one is an absolute banger.  Their version of the Grammy award winning song is a blinding rendition and let’s just say the accompanying film clip will leave you with a strange awkwardness. Never one to shy from controversial subjects, Jesus He Knows Me is up there with the best and is one of my favourites on the EP.

The Stranglers have been in everyone’s ears for almost fifty years, so it was no surprise they made the cut on this album. The cover of Hanging Around has a fresh aspect that I really enjoyed. Tobias has a way of spinning songs to suit his distinguishable sound but still gives the song its own identity. Hanging Around is this and more and is worth of its spot on Phantomime.

They do not come more synonymous in the metal music scene than Iron Maiden. The Phantom of The Opera is a mammoth song and one that needs to hit the mark if you are going to replicate it.  Fortunately, the Ghost version knocks it out of the park with a punchy sound that resonates instantly in your mind with a song of such gargantuan proportions. It is magical to listen as Ghost intertwine with Iron Maiden in an almost cathartic experience, while this song is a long one you will not be disappointed, and it will have you swept up for the duration.

We Don’t Need Another Hero was made famous after featuring in our very own cult classic movie Mad Max Beyond – Thunderdome. While Tina Turner did an outstanding job with the original, Ghost certainly set the bar high with their own version. It is packed with feeling and sentimentality and is a fitting end to this exquisite EP.

The thought involved in putting together a group of cover versions that will resonate with the listener is a tough ask but as with this eclectic mix, it just works. Once again, this falls to the insightfulness and innovation of Tobias Forge and his extremely gifted ghouls that cement the sound and round out the perfection that is Phantomime.

Phatomime’ will be released on physical and across streaming services from May 18.

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Avenged Sevenfold – Life Is But A Dream

It has been 6 long years since Avenged Sevenfold released The Stage. Over the last 4 years they have given away precious little, saying only that they were working on their 8th studio album. As the release date approached, I found myself wondering: what direction would a band that has achieved it all, choose to take? Would they return to their roots to satisfy their fans’ sense of nostalgia or modernise their sound to appeal to a more contemporary audience? Well, I am pleasantly surprised to tell you my friends, that the answer to that is neither of those. So with a drumroll and a parting of the curtains, I invite you to take a journey with me into the highly anticipated opus from Avenged Sevenfold, Life is But a Dream.

Game Over opens the album with a beautiful classical guitar arrangement reminiscent of a Stephen Sondheim musical. Just as you settle in and lower your guard, the song thrusts you into a blistering Thrash metal segment that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Slayer record. Now I know how jarring the juxtaposition of musicals and metal might sound but trust me this actually works. Like the mad scientist who first combined ingredients to invent maple bacon ice-cream, this is one of those rare moments where two worlds collide and make something new and magical.

The next track is Mattel and the musical/crushing-metal theme continues. It blooms into a multi layered tapestry of impossibly tight and precise rhythms, creating a backdrop for vocals that traverse seamlessly between lush bathroom reverbs and filthy grinds.

Nobody was the first single released off this new album and the first time I heard it I was intrigued. Now, after multiple listens I can assure you that I have been converted. I have to take a second to pay my respects to Brooks Wackerman and Synyster Gates for the ridiculous level of musicianship that they have displayed on this track. Machine like precision yet still overflowing
with human emotion. In an age where there is much chatter about AI replacing us, I am put at ease by these musicians, that humans still have the edge in an unquantifiable, intangible way.

The second single released was We Love You. To my ears it continues the themes and variations that have already been established but fuses in little elements of Euro Trance into the mix. At 7:31 in length, Cosmic is a strong contender for my favourite track of the album. A painfully beautiful and grandiose epic, it has so much depth and is so considered in its arrangements as it invokes David Bowie influences.

Easier opens with a modulated vocal chorus line that reminds me of Imogen Heap. The creativity and experimentation continue as the song progresses and Johnny Christ showcases some really great bass lines on this track, perfectly complimenting the Hendrix-esque guitar lines. G takes us into Prog Rock territory with phrasing and grooves that one would usually expect to hear from a band like Liquid Tension Experiment. Despite me using many different bands and
artists to describe this album, it still retains a strong identity and originality of its own and maintains a coherence throughout.

(O)rdinary opens with a synth arpeggio pattern that is accompanied by funky clean guitars and modulated vocals. I get a strong Daft Punk influence from this track, specifically the Random Access Memories album.

(D)eath enters with more orchestral arrangements taking me back to the golden age of Hollywood. Imagine a crooning Frank Sinatra number that drifts off into a dark and ominous direction.

Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed that the first letter of the last 3 songs in the track listing come together to spell, GOD. An interesting Easter egg that might give us more clues into the concepts of this album. I’m always impressed when artists go the extra distance to pay attention to such little details.

The grand finale concludes with the instrumental, Life is But a Dream – an extended piano movement that is elegant and alluring while maintaining a sense of morose as it builds to a frenetic climax. Production on the album is excellent and kudos has to given to Joe Barresi and Andy Wallace for bringing this mammoth vision to life by capturing vast and varied nuances found across the record.

Lyrically, the album is inspired by the writings of French philosopher, Albert Camus. A moralist whose views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. Such a choice in subject matter shows the band maturing in not just their craft but also in how they think. Perhaps they are giving us a tiny peek into the inner sanctum of their minds or maybe even urging us to delve into ours?

Commercialism is the antithesis to art and Avenged Sevenfold have thrown caution to the wind as they dive deep into this exploratory endeavour to bring us a genuinely original creation. Doing what is brave and what is easy are seldom the same thing, and I for one am grateful for the courage and vision the band has displayed in the writing of this latest album. It may not please everyone but it has most certainly left me enamoured and more importantly, it has made a powerful statement and set an example that I hope will inspire more bands to keep the hunger and the drive to continuously push the boundaries of music and art. l'art pour l'art

Life Is But A Dream… is set for release on June 2nd via Warner Records. Pre-orders are available now and can be purchased here.

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DevilDriver – Dealing With Demons Vol. II

DevilDriver fans know exactly what they want from an album, headbanging riffs with killer grooves that you can’t help but move to from first to last, and that’s exactly what Dez Fafara and the heavy groove lords of DevilDriver deliver with Dealing with Demons Vol. II. This marks the band’s 10th album in about 20 years, and for those of you who got into Volume I, be prepared for a harder hitting set this time around.

Straight out of the gates this album gives you that DevilDriver hit, I Have No Pity comes in hard with the groove orientated riffage over syncopated kicks, they know that’s one of their strong points, it’s one of the main reasons I love this band, it just drives the nail into the coffin and makes for a heavier track. The only thing I’ve ever had to say negatively about some of DevilDrivers tracks is that they can be so compressed in sound, that some of the riffs just have no room to breathe. I know that’s their sound and I still enjoy what they do but a couple of the tracks on here just reminded me of the way the modern metal sound is recorded and produced and I guess what I’m personally into.

Steve Evetts, who produced Dealing with Demons Vol I. and the Outlaws Til the End Vol. 1 albums is once again at the helm of this one, I mean, why would you change the goalie if he’s on fire right? The album production is very much the same as those albums but as I said at the start, these songs are written heavier than the previous album, but the mood is captured perfectly with songs like Bloodbath and Mantra. There is an element of southern style to a few of the riffs and melodies and I swear slide guitar, whether that’s been a thing since the Outlaws album, I’m not 100% sure but its wicked! The dual guitar work by Mike and Alex is incredible as always with their rhythm and lead work. Through the Depths, the first single off this album was a great choice, that chorus is catchy as hell and they released a film clip for it, Dez looks mad with white hair. My favourite off the album was a track called Bloodbath though. The riffs are dark and memorable, I couldn’t help but have this song on repeat. One of the other singles released was If Blood Is Life, and this track has that killer bouncy verse riff and big open sing along chorus that will definitely make the live setlist.

I feel with Dealing With Demons Vol. II, you aren’t necessarily getting something new per se, its more of what that do well, which is just going to add to their live element really. If you are a fan of Dez and the gents, then you know why you’re here and what you expect from a DevilDriver album. There are a few tracks that may convert some fresh minds to the cause but if you are expecting them to break their mold, then sorry. These tracks will convert to the live stage incredibly well and I’m excited to see which ones they choose to bring out, I honestly hope that Bloodbath makes the cut!

Dealing With Demons Vol. II was released on May 12 via Napalm Records, though you can order your copy today.

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Cradle of Filth – Trouble and Their Double Lives

With the release of a Live album, you need to make sure that the production of each recording is top notch and that the songs were played spot on, unless there is a planned deviation from the original. Trouble and Their Double Lives, Cradle of Filth’s second Live album ever, since Live Bait for the Dead in 2002, is a compilation of live recordings spanning between 2014 – 2019, which brings you some of your favourite COF tracks live from across the globe.

The song choices for this album are a solid line up of classic Cradle of Filth, although it is missing some of my personal favourites, it’s still a great track list from start to finish. They have included Honey and Sulphur and Death of Love off Godspeed on the Devils Thunder, which I think has some amazing tracks that we never really get to hear live. Promise of Fever, off Damnation and a Day, a stand up heavy track on the Cradle spectrum makes the cut as well, another album I’d love to see more of live. The 11 minute track, Bathory Aria is placed about halfway through the album, such an incredible track and they do it well live.

Trouble and Their Double Lives starts off with one of the latest singles She Is A Fire, which is a new Cradle concoction bringing a great introduction to the next studio albums direction. For those of you who haven’t listened to it yet, it is along similar lines to the last couple of albums writing and production style. There is a cheeky second single halfway through the album Demon Prince Regent, there was a live footage video clip release alongside the album release. This track is incredibly melodic and heavy, another nice mix of a song to give further insight to the new direction. Cradle of Filth have been one of my favourite bands for the last 20 years, I have enjoyed the different approaches to each album, the concepts, the art, some of them have worked and some of them haven’t but it has always been them and I’m excited to hear what they come out with next.

Dani Filth is one of my all-time favourite front men, he wears the mantle well and in the last decade where I have seen them come out to Australia, I have seen him deal with hecklers, stage issues and poor crowd involvement and every time he has managed to turn it around. It’s good to hear some of the stage persona on this album as well as just his vocal work.

Listening to these live tracks brings back all the memories of the past shows I’ve seen. It’s great to reminisce on their shows, Nymphetamine will always make me think of watching a crowd slow dance, multiple couples, hand in hand, in the moment, dancing to gothic metal, I love being in this scene. There are tracks on here that cater to all Cradle of Filth fans, from all or most eras. Go out and get this Live album to tide you over until there is the release of a new studio album!

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Enter Shikari – A Kiss For The Whole World

Its been 3 years since we ventured out into the great unknown with Rou and the gents from Enter Shikari. The Great Unknown can be an incredibly fickle thing, it can bring you to your destination quickly or you can wander, get lost and eventually rediscover yourself, which seems to be the path that Enter Shikari took. There were some doubts as to how long it could have been in between albums but with the brand-new album, A Kiss For The Whole World, a bright light has been cast in this current world of turmoil and uncertainty for everyone to look to for a piece of positivity in sound format.

Enter Shikari are one of the very few bands that I will try and listen to the lyrics before the music, being a little bit of a muso myself, I tend to gravitate to everything else first before lyrics, but these guys have always had incredible and inspiring lyrics, Rou’s messages are always worth a listen. The topics of choice for this album pass over, identities and Self-esteem or Self-worth, this is a very introspective album. Which makes sense, the time it was written was a solitary time for a lot of people, where else could you look but in?

With this record, they brought back a sense of DIY and freedom to their writing and recording process. Rou directed and produced the single video clips for (pls) set me on fire, It Hurts and Bloodshot and they went out to a farmhouse, powered off solar power, to try and rebuild themselves from the ground up. A Kiss For The Whole World is incredibly accessible to new fans, the music is light on the electronic aspect, incredibly catchy sing along choruses and rockin’ guitar riffs from start to finish. The album is only just over 30mins long, songs are straight to the point and with no real filler tracks, there are only 2 tracks that are the typical hardcore electro bounce that will be amazing in the live set for Rou to jump around to and they are the little outro filler track things they put in.

I couldn’t stop singing along after only a couple of listens of this album, all the choruses are catchy and have wicked hooks, my favourite track was Giant Pacific Octopus (I don’t know you anymore). It has such a catchy guitar and keys riff that got me right from the start. Lyrically it had me as well, dealing with the question of identity, go and check this one out! The singles for this album were a solid choice, (pls) set me on fire, It Hurts and Bloodshot, they show all the elements of the album and what to expect. Although they are great tracks, they aren’t the best off the album in my opinion, so that means you will enjoy the other songs more if you already liked them! Which is what I always hope when bands choose singles, don’t give away the best track straight up.

The new tracks from A Kiss For The Whole World will add more messages to the live performance, the introspective aspect is just another positive message for Rou to bring to the world. I was lucky enough to catch their gig at The Forum in Melbourne last year and their music translates live incredibly well, as well as their messages. The energy these guys bring out in their shows is incredibly positive and you can’t help but get into it. Stop doing your normal everyday routine, sit down, go get some sun and have a listen to this album. It pays to stop and think about something bigger than yourself from time to time and you’ve now got a perfect album to do that to.

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Overkill – Scorched

Prepare thyself world for the post ‘shitdemic’ riff ridden savagery of Overkill at their very, very finest…EVER.  

The news of an Overkill album has always been most welcome in my world, but with the coming of the twentieth offering, one feels somewhat justified in expecting something special.  What was not reasonable to expect at this stage of their career and well-established signature sound, was a groundbreaking collection of metal magnificence that sets an entirely new standard for used of the term triumphant.

From the opening solo on the title track, and the sheer brilliance that follows, the hairs elevate on the back of the neck, goosebumps appear on the epidermis, your breath is held for a moment and your heart skips a beat as the excitement of Overkill at their very best becomes apparent.

Every single element of the incredible track is sensational and delivered with all the masterful command one would expect from a four decade partnership and twenty album catalogue, but with such a delightful twist.  A blending of genres and development of the Overkill staple sound that is made manifest in a kaleidoscope of absolute metal appeal.  Goin Home takes that appeal to the next level before the placement of first single The Surgeon in the sequence reveals the true magic of this incredible album.  A beacon of delight to the Overkill faithful and a killer track in its own right but the song takes on an entirely new ‘personality’ when slicing its way in sequence through this this killer collection.  I remarked in a recent interview to Bobby that the constant success and righteous reign of Overkill as kings of thrash is testament to his masterful approach to both music and the inherent nature of the business, but with a riff ridden Overkill archetypal track The Surgeon being released as the assurance to the faithful that Overkill are as, if not more, brilliant than ever was a stroke of genius.  I still think I understated the appeal of the song.

But the same can be said of Wicked Place as the second single released from the album. Magnificent in its own right, complete with huge groove and the tow and raw, massive musical appeal establishing that Overkill is not only creating killer signature offerings, but also exploring and adventuring with diversity and sound development.  This track is brilliantly placed following the malevolent magic or Twist of the Wick it again takes on new appeal in album sequence.

Then Won’t Be Coming Back takes you in a completely new direction but firmly within the ‘feel’ of this epic metal journey, before Fever takes you gently into the realm’s melodic harmony…right up until the one minute mark when Overkill demonstrate that there will be a ebb and flow to this track. Just when you think you are comfortable the song morphs into something different again. What a groove.

Harder They Fall presents exactly as the writhing and thrashing offering you would expect from Bobby and the gang with a track of that title. Relentless and unforgiving. Expect MNS (mosh neck syndrome) from this beauty.

Know Her Name is another reminder of the vast experience and mastery of Overkill staples Bobby Blitz and DD Verni, illustrating their tremendous success in molding every band member to their characteristic sound whilst investing in the skill of each craftsman as contributing to the development of the groups never ending and tremendous appeal.  

It’s about now that you consider that with Colin Richardson mixing Scorched, just as he did for From the Underground and Below, Necroshine, Bloodletting and Killbox 13 there was a special significance to the bond reignited between Colin and Overkill.

Bag O Bones completes the collection to perfection and has one reflecting that with all the bad times that came from COVID lockdowns, the sound of Overkill was certainly not a casualty.  With time to create and recreate, perfect, and sculpt their twentieth offering, Scorched launches triumphantly from the ashes of pandemic destruction and soars gloriously and a true masterpiece, well worth the wait. 

All considered and in reflection of Overkill being the true masters of thrash, this album carries all the hallmarks of what fans of the band hold near and dear, but with so much more that is undeniably magnificent and will appeal to a wider audience than ever before.

The Overkill journey from 1980 – 2023 had culminated into the creation of a true metal masterwork as their 20th offering and a collection that should be represented in every music collection in the world. Let the glorious riffage and thrashing brilliance of Overkill spread like wildfire and scorch all in its path. 

As a parting note on cover art, it must be said that Travis Smith has done this album absolute justice and hit it out of the park yet again.

Bravura all contributors. Scorched is a monumental triumph and a thoroughly rewarding experience in every conceivable way. Ever home should have one as testament that not even COVID could stop the mighty Overkill.

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P!nk – Trustfall

The musical landscape has been graced with many pop artists over the years, but few have the endurance and staying power of Alecia Beth Moore, more commonly known as P!nk. The powerhouse vocalist has proven time and time again that she can spend years on the road between albums and still manage to reinvent and reinsert herself into the musical conversation as though she never left. Just when you think she might not have more to say, she’ll quickly prove you wrong. TRUSTFALL, the singer’s ninth studio album, is a testament to this fact, and it showcases an artist who has matured while still having fun along the way.

TRUSTFALL is, in some ways, a tale of two varying paths. One path, is her ever-present pop road, which features the anthemic and uplifting songs that P!nk has become known for delivering album after album. The other path is a more folksy and ‘Americana’ a road in which P!nk has travelled more frequently in recent years. What is most impressive, however, is that she is able to navigate both worlds, finding success in each and presenting them in a way that feels interconnected.

The first track on the album, When I Get There, sets the tone for an emotional journey that explores themes of grief and love. P!nk, in a heartfelt tribute to her late father who passed away from prostate cancer in late 2021, pours her heart out in this sombre yet beautiful ballad. The piano-driven melody and P!nk’s vocals blend perfectly to create a sad yet uplifting tribute that lingers in the listener’s mind long after the track has ended.

The lyrics in the chorus are particularly touching as P!nk asks her father if there is a bar in heaven where he has a favorite chair, sitting with friends, and discussing the weather. The sentimentality of the words is apparent as P!nk longs for a sense of connection with her father, even in the afterlife.

Following the poignant opener, the album takes a sudden turn with the anthemic title track, Trustfall. The pace picks up, and the powerful energy is intense. Featuring a pulsing synth and heavy beat, this track is a stark contrast to the prior ballad. Nonetheless, it works well as it showcases the range of emotions that P!nk explores throughout the album, from grief to anger and everything in between. The contrast of these two tracks highlights the emotional waves of the album and sets the stage for a journey that promises to be both heart-wrenching and exhilarating.

A great example of this is the standout track, Turbulence.  It combines the elements of traditional rock and ambient pop, resulting in a strangely compelling sound encounter. P!nk’s passionate and inspirational vocals express a hint of sorrow in this mid-tempo ballad, as she emphasizes the idea that the difficulties of life are “just turbulence” and are only temporary.

Trustfall also features unique collaborations on the album, featuring three standout artists across different genres. One of these collaborations is with the beloved folk band, The Lumineers, on the soul-stirring track Long Way To Go. The slow and steady rhythm allows for the blending of Wesley Schultz and P!nk’s vocals which brings a depth of emotion that is sure to resonate with listeners.

The second notable collaboration on the album is with Swedish sisters First Aid Kit on the country-inspired track Kids In Love. Their harmonies are perfectly complemented by the acoustic guitar that underscores the song, giving it a rustic and nostalgic feel. The lyrics explore the longing for the simplicity and innocence of youth, and the haunting harmonies in which all three voices just melt together is truly moving.

The album’s final collaboration is with country superstar Chris Stapleton on the duet Just Say I’m Sorry. Despite its country roots, the track is surprisingly more of a ballad than a typical country song. P!nk and Stapleton’s vocals blend seamlessly, creating a sense of intimacy and raw emotion that is both powerful and heartbreaking.

In all three collaborations, P!nk shows her ability to work with different artists from various genres and create something truly unique and beautiful. Trustfall proves that she is not afraid to experiment with her sound and collaborate with others, resulting in an album that is diverse and captivating.

P!nk’s Never Gonna Not Dance Again is a shining example of her talent for crafting uplifting and anthemic pop music that motivates listeners to maintain a positive attitude in the face of difficult circumstances. The song’s lyrics, particularly the line One thing I’m never gonna do is throw away my dancing shoes, serve as a powerful call to action for any individual who may be struggling, inspiring them to keep dancing and persevering.

One of the highlights, and my personal favourite, of Trustfall is the catchy pop-punk tune Hate Me, which is a welcome surprise amidst the other tracks. With its snarling electric guitars and just-cheesy-enough lyrics, with its driving and defiant lyrics, it is infectious with a “shout-along-in-your-car” classic old school rock sound. Haters gonna hate!!!

Last Call, the acoustic-driven mid-tempo anthem, brings a refreshing shift by infusing a ’90s pop-rock vibe. The song continues the albums’ theme of positivity despite overwhelming challenges. P!nk’s lyrics, “Last call before the world ends/ Right before the avalanche/ Last call for us to make amends,” serve as a powerful reminder to seize the moment and reconcile before it’s too late. It’s as if this is the last chance to do so before everything comes crashing down.

Trustfall takes listeners on a fascinating exploration of love, grief, and personal growth. P!nk’s signature soulful vocals serving as the backbone of the album. As always, P!nk has expertly woven her personal experiences into the fabric of her music, resulting in a collection of tracks that are both relatable and inspiring.

One of the keys to P!nk’s longevity and success in the music industry is her ability to collaborate with some of the biggest names in music, giving her a versatile and contemporary sound that resonates with audiences across generations. This is evident in Trustfall, where P!nk effortlessly incorporates a range of genres and styles into her music, keeping her sound fresh and relevant.

It’s no surprise that P!nk has remained a fixture in the music industry for over two decades, thanks to her multiple hits and ever-evolving sound. With Trustfall, P!nk continues to prove that she is a force to be reckoned with, creating music that speaks to the heart of listeners everywhere

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