It’s not uncommon for bands these days to have a huge change in sound from their early days, and Sheffield metal-core turned synth-rockers Bring Me The Horizon have perhaps had the biggest change over the years. Their debut EP This Is What The Edge Of Your Seat Was Made For and first album Count Your Blessings is perhaps some of the heaviest metal/death-core out there. Yet, the band progressed to the point where they’ve donned the huge, arena rock sound we adore the band for today.
BMTH’s extensive discography and change of sound throughout their career make them the perfect alternative band to critique and list the ten best tracks from the band.
10. Chelsea Smile
A live favourite and arguably the band’s breakout track, this wee metal-core banger is recognisable by not only fans of the band, but any fan of heavy music. The opening screams of “I’ve got a secret” and subsequent lines pave the way for the tremendous breakdown that awaits listeners at the end.
The screams on this song when were frontman Oli Sykes was in his prime and it’s clear throughout. The way he utilises his voice box to effortlessly reach the high and low pitches is exceptional and any fan of the genre should appreciate the skill of Sykes.
9 – Doomed
The first song on the band’s latest album, That’s The Spirit, Doomed is an excellent example to show how the act’s music has matured since the early days. The beautifully produced track starts slow and builds up to that exceptional chorus that fans all over just love to shout along to.
The synth work by Jordan Fish really adds a different element to the track, with noises and lyrics fading in and out making Doomed a standout, utterly cinematic release. If you were to listen to this without knowing the band, you’d be baffled at the older material.
8 – Antivist
Antivist is just one of those songs that make you want to mosh and crowdsurf. Just listen to it; the built up anger on this track is apparent straight from the first line. The shouts of “Middle fingers up, if you don’t give a fuck” are lyrics to make anyone stop, listen and subsequently lose their shit. The rebellious nature along with the harsh vocals and guitar truly sum up what BMTH stood for at this moment in time.
7 – Oh No
The closing song on That’s the Spirit, Oh No is one of those tracks that stands out as being truly unique amongst the abundance of other BMTH songs out there; tamer compared to others, but nonetheless astounding. The chorus alone makes you want to have a slow dance, and there’s no sign of mosh pits to be seen during this.
Overall, the song is a masterpiece and uses every member’s strengths to their advantage. The perfect close to a tremendous album.
6 – Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake
Appearing on the album Sempiternal, the track is heavy yet has a softer side, no doubt due to the new additions on this record. The riff that opens the track is signature BMTH and the guitar and synth work go hand in hand, as does the drumming from Matt Nicholls which keeps the up the pace. It’s the final section of the song that makes it special – the repeated lyrics of the title with the performances behind driving it results in a sonic charged yet tense listen.
5 – Can You Feel My Heart
Another one from Sempiternal and perhaps the track that defines the modern BMTH sound, CYFMH is one of those songs that makes you go “wow”. The start with the huge synths, the distorted vocals, even the huge chorus and scream along moments, the song defines what this new age of BMTH was going to be like. Even live, the song is just as popular, with fans using it a cathartic method of letting loose.
4 – It Never Ends
The only song on this list to come from the bands’ third LP, It Never Ends is a glorious example of what the Sheffield rockers were going for on There Is A Hell. Blending the sounds of violins and cellos with metalcore seems unlikely to work, yet this song manages it. The massive bridge of Sykes screaming “every second every minute every hour every day” is enough to send shivers down your spine. Despite the track not being widely appreciated in terms of live performance, it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that it’s one of the best songs the band have ever produced
3 – Throne
This was the second single we heard from That’s the Spirit, and boy is it a cracker. Throughout the majority of the track, we’re graced with some glitchy yet lavish electronic noises, backed up by some monumental riffs and drumming. The song as a whole is huge and made for the biggest venue possible. While some may dismiss the band’s latest album as too poppy, Throne shows that Oli and co. are more than capable of going hard when needed be.
The biggest hit from their 2013 release, Sleepwalking is an outstanding example of when electronic and metal collide for the better. The huge rock chorus blended with the screams in the verses works brilliantly. This album was the first which used the ability of Fish and it’s easy to see why he was such an influence on the band. Sleepwalking is one of those songs that when you hear it, you couldn’t mistake it for anything other than a Bring Me The Horizon tune. Absolute belter.
1- True Friends
A controversial choice but this is arguably the pinnacle of BMTH’s attempt to balance their harsh origins, synthy rebirth and pop-friendly attitude. The isolated vocals, which are more in turn with the singing Sykes wanted to go with on this project, smack delightfully into a rip-roaring clash of chilling violins and guitars.
Live, this song is beautiful as it really does exemplify the versatility and talent of the band, something that can be seen on the faces of everyone in attendance as they, once again, cavort and kick off. True Friends is the manifestation of elements that any Bring Me The Horizon fan will adore, and it’s why it’s the top pick for this list.
Bring Me the Horizon may very well be one of, if not the biggest rock band the UK has to offer at the moment. The very definition of a big deal, the Sheffield band has become top tier festival performers. 2015 was undeniably the biggest year for Sheffield band Bring Me The Horizon, in no small part to their latest album That’s The Spirit which reached number two in the UK album charts after they ditched their old metalcore sound for a less aggressive rock approach. After a dramatic change to the band’s dynamic on 2013 album Sempiternal, this alteration to appeal to a wider group of music fans was inevitable and has ultimately paid off with arguably the best album of their career.
Not wanting to be an act that derails the hype train they’re currently running, Bring Me the Horizon announced a huge UK arena tour for 2016, including a show at none other than Glasgow’s very own SSE Hydro! The six-date stint that kicks off at Nottingham Capital FM Arena will reach the Scottish venue on the 9th of November as the band’s final performance for the tour. I caught up with their bassist Matt Kean to find out how they plan on dazzling the Glasgow crowd come next month and how they plan on tackling the transition from sweaty, small venue shows to a big arena performance.
You’ve got an upcoming date at the Hydro playing a sold out show in front of thousands of fans: have you, from your experience, found playing in Scotland much different than playing back down south?
It’s always been quite good for us up in Glasgow. We first played up there back around 11 years ago, a really long time ago, and we’ve gone up through all the venues, starting off at King Tuts and gigging at pretty much every other place there. The Scottish crowd is always crazy as well!
Now, you were up here last year, starring at the O2 Academy alongside Mallory Knox. You’ve upgraded to a bigger venue now (Hydro can hold 13,000 people which is more than 5 times the amount than O2 Academy can hold): how do you plan on dealing with that transition come November?
The shows are a little bit different obviously. I think that with the smaller shows, especially when they’re really busy and packed out, it’s much easier to make them intense but in the arenas you have to make sure that you’re connecting with everyone there, even the folk who are sitting down. Oli is really good at getting the crowd involved and getting them moving about, hyping them up: it’s definitely a lot more work but worth it nonetheless.
Your fan base is pretty diverse due to the different sounds the band has explored over your 12 year spanning career. There’ll be those in the crowd who have been there since the metal core days of old and your more rock focused efforts like with the recent LP: do you find this difficult and if so, how’d you plan on balancing the set-list accordingly?
On this tour we’re doing the longest set list we’ve ever done because we obviously want to give people their money’s worth and of course, you try to please everyone the best you can. We’re a little bit selfish when it comes to the setlists though so we’ll no doubt put in what we enjoy playing the most as you do. You’d think it would be a bit harsh to do that but if those are the songs you want to play then, of course, you’re gonna do that rather than trawl through a song you don’t really enjoy playing as much.
You’ve got Don Bronco supporting you on this tour: do you get on quite well and are you looking forward to travelling around the UK with one another?
Yeah yeah! They’re on the same management as us and before we even toured with them, we had met at other gigs and award shows and all sorts of stuff like that. When it came to picking support acts for the tour, we were kind of thinking of bands and that who are easy to tour with and who we get on well with: you don’t want anyone with you that’s gonna be a dickhead!
Lastly,2016’s been a pretty great year for music with David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Biffy Clyro and more all dropping albums: what records have been on repeat for you?
Ah *sigh* now that you mention it I’ve not really been listening to that much new stuff *laughs*. There’ve been two bands recently that I’ve been listening to a lot of, the first being Fjord. There a Canadian duo who I’ve had on quite a bit but they’ve only got an EP out at the moment: really chilled out, electronic music. The Japanese House have been on quite a bit as well, they’re on tour around the same time as us so unfortunately I’m gonna miss out on seeing them. Was really looking forward to seeing them.
You can catch Bring Me The Horizon at the Hydro come November 9th. The show is sold out so be on the lookout for second-hand tickets going around Facebook +Twitter: don’t feed the touts! It’ll be a gig you don’t want to miss.
2015 has been one of the most eventful years in recent history. A year just as full of tragedy as it was brimming with joyous occasions that put a smile on our faces.
An annual event since 2013 when I made my first compilation of best albums, here’s another Best Of from us here at blinkclyro.com. As always, we have another great cast of talented writers who have helped with this list of sorts with more contributors than ever. I’ll be giving my favourite of each respective category at the end of the month because my real aim in all of this isn’t to further inflate my already tiny ego: it’s to be a platform for opinions and that’s what will be on show today. Don’t agree with any of them? Then leave your rage induced comment down below.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.
If 2014 didn’t please you enough, 2015 had the return of not one but two gigantic series: Mad Max and Star Wars, both of which have been critically lauded. With this in mind, let’s see what entertained us most on the big screen.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
You may think this choice comes from either fanboyism or nostalgia, and while both of those things are true, after one showing I can say that the Force Awakens is better than all of the prequels combined.
The plot is very reminiscent and will feel familiar to fans of the original Star Wars, but with that said the power of this film to play on the hearts of fans cannot be underestimated. To be back in the universe that I love is such a great feeling. JJ has achieved what he set out to do, with use of practical effects and shooting on location, everything is real! From the sweat on Finn’s face on Jakku to the bitter cold of the Starkiller base. The Force has awakened. Have you felt it?
What can be said about Sicario that has not already been said? it’s a great exploration of both suspenseful filmmaking and unexpected character development that twists and turns at every chance it gets. Emily Blunt, an FBI agent is thrown into the deep end of the Cartel infested pool of Juarez Mexico. Alongside a CIA spook played brilliantly by the overbearing and charismatic Benecio Del Toro, Blunt finds the lines of morality blurred as a shooting at the Mexico/US border leaves her startled and losing a grip on her own sense of purpose and life. Film of the year so far, presented brilliantly by Denis Villenevue.
Mad Max: Fury Road
This summer’s blockbuster season was ‘mediocre’ in the words of Fury Road’s main antagonist, Immortan Joe. At least Mad Max redeems it somewhat. Fury Road is almost a documentary on how create a world with only a camera and practical effects. Through visionary George Miller’s keen eye for detail, what he creates is an adrenaline fuelled punch to the senses and then a hefty dose of nitrous oxide to our bodies. With real vehicles pushed to almost 200mph and a hell of a lot of stunt actors jumping across the chase vehicles rode by our main protagonists played by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, Fury Road is one hell of a motherf****** ride.
Straight Outta Compton
I don’t think anyone expected this. Not even me. Straight Outta Compton is the story behind some of the past centuries’ greatest hip-hop artists including: Dr.Dre, Ice Cube, Tupac and Eazy-E. The story of why these Niggas With Attitude became so famous is one that will definitely pull your heartstrings right out of your chest. Come to think of it now, I don’t think there has been another film this year that has moved me the way this film did. The struggle of a movement, powered through music and brutal words that speak of a reality known to many back in the 80’s, Straight Outta Compton is a must see for everyone. Emphasis on Must see.
From book to film, it’s another one of these adaptations. Only this one is superbly done, like really well done! Of course, one expects nothing less from Ridley Scott, even if he has been letting himself down lately (I won’t even go into his Prometheus shenanigans) The Martian throws Matt Damon onto our red neighbouring planet as a stranded astronaut who must survive for over 300 days on a planet that doesn’t support life. Now this sounds like another gritty Gravity type scenario, but it’s far from. While it’s visually just as beautiful, it takes the more light hearted route and gives us a feel good space film, distancing itself from both the past two years massive budget sci-fi films. The Martian is definitely a beautiful and just god damn fun film to watch. So go watch!
6 years is a powerful film from 2015, starring the likes of Taissa Farmiga, better known for her role in American Horror Story and Ben Rosenfield. The story follows a couple who hold a ‘perfect’ and idyllic relationship. Their love seems to hold no ends while they engage in ‘typical’ teenage life; parties, friendships and careers. Director, Hannah Fidell, really leaves you feeling like this is what you want in your own life.
Yet as the plot unravels we view their relationship to turn sour and, more importantly, violent. New sides of the characters are evident as their conflictions tear their relationship apart, until eventually they break up.
Ultimately, 6 years, leaves the viewer understanding that violence can be present in any relationship, at any point, while personally feeling the loss and pain that the characters suffered, as simultaneously their relationship and who they are unravelled.
Absolutely Anything was an easy choice for me, despite the bad reviews it received that made me neglect watching it until only weeks ago. It’s a typical film starring Simon Pegg – funny, touching (in a strange way), but it leaves you wanting more and wondering ‘what if that was me’. The plot follows a school teacher, whose life seems to be going not so well, until aliens provide him with powers to do anything.
We see he struggles to comprehend this initially, which portrays how differently his life is under this influence, including his romantic interests and work relationships. His now talking dog was a favourite of mine, bringing a whole new life to the wonder of what pets actually think.
Absolutely Anything is a feel good film that will definitely get you laughing.
Paper Towns was an eagerly awaited film of 2015 due to being based upon John Green’s book of the same title. John Green also wrote ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ which was also adapted into a film the previous year.
Director, Jake Schreier, creates a moving yet powerful film that explores the mysteries of people and life in general, as we follow the adventures that emerge when childhood friends, Quentin and Margo, are reunited. The inherently young adult nature of the film provokes a definite sense of growing up, (and ultimately moving on). Yet it shows you to make the most of what you have as we see Quentin’s character evolve with confidence and happiness. Ultimately, Paper Towns leaves you feeling nostalgic, and sad in a strange ‘did I do enough’ way, yet it is equally beautiful in the characters present and the way it appears upon screen.
In a year that saw the rise of grime, a barrage of AAA rock releases and a terrorist attack at a gig (the heart of the art), here’s the best albums 2015 had to offer.
5. Bring Me The Horizon – That’s the Spirit
I don’t know how this happened. BMTH are a band I thought i’d grown out of, but here they are in 2015, dragging me back. This record is an absolute slobberknocker. 11 songs of sheer melodic metal mastery. Frontman Oli Sykes and the boys have been noticeably improving with each album they’ve released since 2006’s ‘Count Your Blessings’, and this is the album where their talents are truly realised.
In my humble opinion, this is the years essential metal album. Cracking stuff.
4. The Cribs – For All My Sisters
Ah, The Cribs. Anyone who knows me knows that my love for the Jarman brothers and their musical output knows no bounds, and this album does not disappoint. Recorded with The Cars Ric Ocasek, this is by far The Cribs poppiest album, filled to the brim with fantastic melodies (see album opener Finally Free, what a bloody chorus). However, the guitar work on this album shines brightest for me. Some of the riffs on this thing are sublime (That’s not to say Gary and Ross aren’t exceptional, however.)
In short, for all my sisters is the Cribs at their best: heavy, poppy, brilliant.
3. Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
What a fucking album this is. For those out of the know, Sleaford Mods are a two piece, politically charged post-punk band from Nottingham, England. Members Jordan Williamson and Andrew Fearn are angry. Very angry. Attacking a variety of well deserving targets (Tories to people being cunts at their gigs), the boys desecrate their chosen victims with scathing aplomb. The most surprising thing about this album, for me, is just how funny it is. Williamson’s wit really shines on Key Markets (“You live in Carlton you twat, you’re not Snake fucking Plissken”).
But it’s not all fun and games with Sleaford Mods, and that’s maybe what I like about them. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but they’d never let you think that. Slaves who?
2. Foals – What Went Down
What Went Down is the result of a band realising their full potential. This is Foals magnum opus, an absolute joy of a record. One thing I’ve always admired about Foals is their ability to go from skullfuckingly heavy (What Went Down) to utterly, utterly gorgeous (London Thunder) on the same album. It sounds like two different bands at the same time as it sounds distinctly Foals.
They’re dancey, they’re powerful, they’re beautiful, they’re Foals. And, simply put, they’re one of the best bands on the planet.
1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
It couldn’t be anything else, could it? Leagues above anything else released this year, TPAB is quite simply one of the best albums of all time. There really isn’t much I can say about this album that hasn’t been said countless times by countless other journalists. There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe what Kendrick managed to create with this album.
Tackling his inner demons head on, the songs truly seem to serve as a release for Lamar, he bares his very soul on some tracks on here (particularly “U”, “The Blacker the Berry” and the ending speech from lead single “i”). To Pimp a Butterfly is as funny as it is politically minded. Lamar really has struck a perfect balance between #Banger and social consciousness.
If, for any reason you haven’t listened to this album. I heartily advise you do so. I can almost guarantee you’ll love it.
Wavves and Cloud Nothings- No Life for Me
I guess it’s technically an EP and not an album but I’ll include it anyway because I march to the beat of my own decisions, as they say. Wavves have always been one of those airy-fairy-here-we-go-touch-the-surf-man kind of bands for me but with the addition, and dare I say guidance, of Cloud Nothings something magical happens- like when someone actually touches the surf, man. The title track is a stand out with a ridiculous amount of drive and energy from the very start. It blends the two bands’ sounds like a lovely audio cake mix, ready to be put in the oven at gas mark fun.
The closing track “Nothing Hurts” takes a more sombre approach leaving behind the drum heavy sound of the rest of the EP in favour of jangly guitars and a warm layer of synth which is uncharacteristically evocative for a song that doesn’t even last 2 minutes (which is the amount of time it’s supposed to take you to brush your teeth but who does that? Am I right?).
Trust Fund- Seems Unfair
It’s quite hard to write about this one to be honest. Seems Unfair only came out at the end of October but I’ve already killed it for myself by having it on repeat for the last few weeks. I guess this is a testament to the album in a way- there was nothing else I wanted to listen to when I knew that I could be treating my ears to this gem. This is the second Trust Fund album of the year and the progression is pretty apparent: The drum sound is noticeably better, the songs are, at times, a little darker and the tone of the album as a whole is a bit more coherent. I know it’s a cliché but it sounds like the band has grown up a lot since February. I bloody love it.
(Side note- I missed Trust Fund supporting Speedy Ortiz earlier in the year but I caught Ellis after the gig and promised to bake them a loaf of bread for the next time they play in Glasgow. I’m a man of my word and now a man of yeast and flour).
Sufjan Stevens- Carrie and Lowell
Lots of people weren’t all that keen on Age of Adz (2010) because it was such a departure from Stevens’ usual laid back, haunting style. This album sees a return to the utterly-melancholic following the death of Sufjan’s mother some years back. This tragic stimulus inspired some of his most beautiful songs to date as the album veers from heart wrenching (Blue Bucket of Gold) to lilting/terrifying (Fourth of July) and back again with the grace of seven swans (see what I did there? I don’t know if it counts as a joke but it’s a reference at the very least). It’s definitely not one to listen to alone on your birthday in a dark room round the back of the butchers.
I promise this didn’t happen to me, but if it had happened my reviews would be written in shit on a wall because of the immense emotional vulnerability that I’d be overcome with. Once again, this didn’t happen to me. It didn’t. I’m fine. Just let it go.
Honourable mention: Built To Spill- Untethered Moon
THIS BAND IS STILL WRITING GREAT MUSIC HOW DO THEY DO IT.
1 – Motӧrhead – Bad Magic
Forty years. That’s how long Lemmy & friends have been plugging it in, turning it up, and playing it loud. Recent health scares have caused the big man to discard his trademark diet of whiskey and speed, but couldn’t water down the sonic force that is Motӧrhead. This year saw the release of Bad Magic, the 22nd studio offering from the band, but still as raw as the eponymous debut album in 1977. Before you’ve even sat down to experience another rock ‘n’ roll punch to the face, Lemmy’s scream of ‘Victory or Die’, followed by a shock & awe aural assault.
The most notable highlight of a solid a 22nd album that any band could offer is the slowed down, lighters up, tears in your eyes ‘Til the End’, the most emotional Motӧrhead track ever penned, and one of the diamonds on the album. There’s nothing more to be said for a band, and more specifically a man, that is a true blue rock and roll star. Not a stereotype, not a poser, just a man who plays it loud, blows your eardrums out, and steals your girlfriend. God bless Lemmy Kilmister.
2 – Enter Shikari – The Mindsweep
They just can’t make a bad album, can old Shikari. Their youthful aggression has been channelled into a sonic rebellion, and 2015’s The Mindsweep was no stranger to the danger we all face. If nothing else, Rou and the gang are hardwired into the dire state of affairs this world is in.
In a rallying cry to dispel hate & care for your fellow human, ‘The Appeal & The Mindsweep I’ starts off a frank & noisy tour through the current state of affairs, screaming at the idea of privatised healthcare in ‘Anaesthetist’, refusing to be beaten in ‘The Last Garrison’, talking about the emperor & the arctic fox, and more seriously, the perils of global in ‘Myopia’, the absolutely thrashing fistfight that is ‘There’s A Price on Your Head’, and the only track that’s made me cry repeatedly this year, ‘Dear Future Historians’, which is probably one of the best tracks Shikari have ever put out. Also tipping my fedora to the iTunes bonus track ‘Slipshod’ & the video for offering a bit of comedy on an album that could be a political manifesto for one of the good parties.
Referencing only a few tracks on this album hasn’t done the album justice, because the whole album is a finely-crafted masterpiece, so do yourself a favour and get mindswept.
(Honourable mention for the Hospitalised version of this record)
3 – Broken Hands – Turbulence
CURVEBALL TIME. This was literally a fatal four-way between Foals, BMTH, Muse & these guys for my final album of the year, but the scrappy underdog just powerbombed those behemoths through the canvas. If you’ve heard of Broken Hands, you’ll be smugly pursing your lips, nodding in agreeance that Broken Hands are probably the most exciting band you’ve never listened to. Below will be a brief overview of their album, but don’t worry about that, just grab a copy of Turbulence & crack on. Doing a concept album is brave. Doing a concept album as your debut album is exceedingly brave, but what’s fear to Broken Hands, they’ve supported the Rolling Stones! They’re influenced by Hawkwind! WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS? The album references flight & planes throughout, with the first track ‘Spectrum’ kicks off with ‘There’s a jet engine in my head’, and we’ve all felt like that in some way shape or form. We then journey into the bouncy little jam they call ‘Meteor’, a slowed down singalong for ‘Impact’, which I’d gladly slowdance at my wedding to, another moody tome in the form of ‘747’ where the sustaining voice of Dale Norton prays for doom, death and destruction to come soon and keeps erm, sustaining (honestly he can hold a note longer than Arsene Wenger can hold a job. Really nice guy too, had a chat with all of them and they’re a great bunch of lads, even if they were terrible musicians you’d want them to do well because they’re nice guys).
The fact that in my twisted worldview, their debut is enough to trump some of modern rock’s biggest heavyweights, take influence from some of the rock and roll gods including Hawkwind, Sabbath and Motӧrhead and turn it into an experience, and that says a lot about their future.
3. Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon
Typically lugubrious though Ultraviolence was, Del Rey truly bought her A-game back with her third album in three years. Where Ultraviolence fell down with its tendency for bland album tracks, Honeymoon was full of heart-wrenching and nostalgic tunes such as The Blackest Day, Salvatore and the Bond theme-esque 24.
It’s Elizabeth Grant doing what she does best: pining about drug lords and establishing her iron-clad aesthetic as the all-American girl stuck in the wrong era. Beautiful,elegiac and razor-edged.
2. Peace – Happy People
The Birmingham quartet have firmly established themselves as major players on the indie music scene. Happy People, their second album, sees them continue with their breezy, catchy brand of indie pop. Gems include the radio-friendly Lost on Me and Money, in which satire is made of the modern day careerist mindset: ‘You’re going to be happy, you’re going to be rich.’
The light-heartedness of Harrison Koisser and co. make them a refreshing change from some of the more glum faced present day rock bands, and this album shows their potential as a crowd-pleasing headliner.
1. Grimes – Art Angels
The second female artist on this list with a kooky alias, Grimes somehow managed to outdo Visions, the demonic album that your religious aunt would probably frown upon, and one that took her from underground to mainstream with its heavy beats and otherworldly music videos. The long awaited Art Angels is Visions with added sweetness and a pair of fangs: it is Claire Boucher, established and unafraid of mixing the feminine with the fierce.
Instead of deep voice distortions we have tinny electronic instrumentals and girlish Taiwanese rap, and it somehow all works perfectly.
Television was once seen as the inferior alternative when compared to movies: now TV gives the cinema experience a run for its money with some brilliantly made shows gracing our screens. Was 2015 any different? Let’s find out.
I’m a student; a university student, to be exact, and if there’s one thing that my £9,000 a year education (bloody Tories) has taught me so far, it’s that there’s a hell of a lot of TV waiting to be watched when I have essays that need doing. With that said, it’s time to dive in to my retrospective on the top five TV shows of 2015.
#5 Louie (Season 5)
Even in its fifth season, when the majority of sitcoms begin to run out of steam, Louie only gets better. More comedic than the fourth, the fifth season proves that there is still endless comic potential in a show about a sad, white father (it’s funny, trust me).
#4 Empire (Seasons 1 and 2)
The numbers don’t lie; Empire is the first series in at least 23 years to gain viewers each week for its first five episodes. A gritty, dramatic soap opera for the 2010s, it’s caught fire extremely quickly, and it’s easy to see why; Taraji P. Henson’s iconic turn as Cookie Lyon has cemented her position as one of the most talented actresses right now. 50 Cent might think there’s “too much gay stuff” (really, Fiddy?) but the rest of us can’t get enough.
#3 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 1)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fills the 30 Rock-sized hole in my heart, in a very good way; the dizzying, interlocking jokes have Tina Fey’s wonderful fingerprints all over them. It’s a blindingly funny tale of a girl finding her way in New York after spending the majority of her life in an underground Doomsday cult, but for my money, it’s the flawless Titus Andromedon that steals the show. Trust me, you’ll have Pinot Noir in your head for weeks, and you’ll soon be counting down the days until the next season is available for streaming (Spring 2016, folks)
#2 BoJack Horseman (Season 2)
The second season of BoJack Horseman, another golden dingleberry from the gloriously clean Netflix Original butthole, is dark, layered, and hilarious. It’s the type of show that rewards the viewer for watching; its fast, densely-packed dialogue reveals more and more upon each subsequent watch, and every episode guarantees you a startling cocktail of belly laughter and deeply emotional introspection. It’s odd to think that in 2015, the TV show that provides the most accurate portrayal of mental health issues is an animated sitcom about a talking horse played by Will Arnett, but that’s where we are right now, and I love it.
#1 Master of None (Season 1)
Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix sitcom has it all: pasta, relationships, pasta, informed feminist rhetoric, pasta, Eric Wareheim, and pasta. The dude loves pasta. He tackles important subjects such as interracial dating, sexual harassment, racism in the media, and most importantly, how to get the best tacos in New York City. Most of all, however, Master of None is fucking real; Aziz approaches problem subjects like racism and sexism and handles them with a refreshing openness and honesty that’s unlike anything on network television, while not straying into preachy territory. Aziz changed the god-damn game with this one.
It’s been over a year since the beginning of the television spin-off to the Coen brothers’ cult film Fargo and as its second season comes to an end, Lorne Malvo and Lester Nygaard are names of the past. Many were anxious that the second season in Noah Hawley’s darkly comical anthology would not live up to the first due to it’s new cast and storyline set almost thirty years before the first. However, those worries were put to rest within the first couple of episodes as Fargo season two has proven to be one of the best shows on television this winter.
This time the story follows a young Lou Salverson (Patrick Wilson) in 1979 as he is caught up in the struggle between the menacing Gerhardt clan and the Kansas City Mob. Wilson is not alone in this all star ensemble however as he is joined by the likes of Kirsten Dunst and Ted Danson who along with the rest of the cast, thoroughly display their talent throughout. Bruce Campbell also pops up to do his best Ronald Regan in the season’s fifth episode.
Once again writer Noah Hawley gives us an enticing and entertaining story from start to finish with his clever dialogue and colourful characters. From the paranoia between accidental murderers Peggy and Ed Blomquist (Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons respectively) to the insidious journey of the hired hand, Hanzee (Zahn McClarnon) there is plenty going on throughout, but it all comes together in the thrilling penultimate episode. There’s also a subplot involving UFO’s but let’s not get into that right now. The Coens themselves are only executive producers on the show but fear not Coen fans as there are multiple references to their films throughout (most notably through the choice of music used this season).
Along with the stellar acting and cleverly woven script the show is also visually appealing, once again filmed in the beautiful Calgary, Alberta. The snow-covered landscapes and coniferous forests contrast with the violent events that develop around them.
One worry many people (including myself) was that nobody could top Billy Bob Thornton’s performance as Lorne Malvo last season. While this is arguable, there are several characters who definitely come close, most notably the previously mentioned Hanzee and the silver-tongued Mike Milligan (Bokeem Woodbine). These two characters contrast each other, the former being silent and reserved while the other is talkative and extravagant, although they rarely ever interact they certainly make just as good villains as Malvo in the previous season. There are other memorable roles such as Campbell’s Ronald Regan and the always entertaining Nick Offerman as the paranoid Karl Weathers, a character reminiscent of Walter Sobchack from another Coen brother’s film, The Big Lebowski.
The final episode of this season may come across as underwhelming to some, most characters are essentially where they were at the beginning, but that’s most likely why it’s titled Pallindrome. It wraps up some things but also leaves a lot of loose ends that leave viewers thinking, maybe Hawley will give us some closure if a third season happens but as The Soprano’s once proved, sometimes less is more.
Definitely living up to it’s previous season and opening multiple doors for a third, the second season of Fargo has been one of the highlights of television in 2015. Noah Hawley once again creates a variety of colourful and contrasting characters that he uses to weave his darkly comical crime story against the snowy Minnesota backdrop. Those who loved season one will love this one just the same despite the absence of fan favourite Billy Bob Thornton, they may even love it more.
It has some minor issues such as certain characters and plots being underdeveloped but all in all, Fargo season two is a unique and entertaining experience which has been a pleasure to watch from start to finish.
List season. It’s odd how something with such a boring name could cause heated debate amongst many, though that’s nothing new for the internet. So as I’ve always done since 2013, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite albums of the past 12 months, ranging from heavy rock to pop to grime to rap, there’ll no doubt be something here for you. Disagree with me? Well you could always contribute to my Best of 2015 post which is coming next Thursday, just message me on Twitter or Facebook and you’ll be sorted!
I hope you enjoy this list which took far too much time to make than I’m proud to admit. So put the pitchforks down for now and let’s dive in.
25. At. Long. Last. ASAP – A$AP Rocky
Following up his 2013 debut Long Live ASAP, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky gets even more experimental on this sophomore album. While there’s significantly less chart gems present than his last outing, the same charm and production value can be felt on every track.
24. Purpose – Justin Bieber
Time for all those awfully spelt insults and memes we made about biebs to disappear. He is back and with a totally transformed sound as those who once slated him are now praising him as tracks like Sorry are pop perfection. While his vocals might be a bit lackluster and too safe, the influence Kanye, Skrillex and co. have had on the lad has paid off.
23. Back On Top – The Front Bottoms
While Talon Of The Hawk felt like a AAA version of The Front Bottoms’ self loathing lyric fueled sound, Back On Top feels like the beginning of a new chapter for the band. Historic Cemetery just screams Weezer and other tracks like Cough It Out are as catchy as a cold (albeit more enjoyable). A near flawless amalgamation of emo & pop-punk.
22. Every Open Eye – CHVRCHES
There’s no denying that CHVRCHES are one of the best new bands to come out in quite a while, breathing new life into the synth pop genre and yet again reiterating how vibrant the Glasgow music scene is. Every Open Eye is like the Empire Strikes Back for the band: more gritty, more epic but faithful to what made the band what they are.
21. For All My Sisters – The Cribs
West Yorkshire band The Cribs might have hit out with their best album yet, full of the indie punk greatness that put them on the radar in the first place. See Pink Snow for a chaotic crescendo closer that results in another classic album for the band’s discography.
20. Currents – Tame Impala
Despite constantly being compared to the likes of Radiohead for their album rock genius, Tame Impala somehow manage to merge frontman Kevin Parker’s uncontrollable love of pop and their trademark psychedelic sound to craft something truly special. A breakup album disguised as a feel good, funky gem, Currents is only as good as the sum of its parts and those parts are undeniably brilliant.
19. Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett has proved time and time again why she deserves to be put on a pedestal, despite what she might say on Pedestrian At Best. Sometimes I Sit.. has an unprecedented charm to it and is insanely listenable. Absolutely exceptional.
18. Art Angels – Grimes
As abnormally appealing as they come, Grimes returns with a record which is far more pop orientated than anything she’s ever made before yet it still retains all her trademark characteristics. California is a radio friendly hit that never verges into sell-out territory. She may have scrapped an entire album before this but when the replacement sounds this good, we’re not losing any sleep.
17. Cherry Bomb – Tyler The Creator
While the ever controversial Tyler may have had a bad 2015 (OFWGKTA is no more, fall out with best pal Earl Sweatshirt, banned from UK), he can end the year knowing his latest album is arguably his best yet. A Frankenstein’s monster of sorts, Cherry Bomb fuses Tyler’s influencers (N.E.R.D, Stevie Wonder) and his own own dubious rap style to make a distorted masterpiece.
16. Another One – Mac DeMarco
It really is testament to how talented Mac DeMarco is that a mini album manages to stand above full LPs. In his own words, Another One is about “different kinds of facets of being in love, being out of love, wanting love, not wanting love”. This concept never grows tiresome over the record’s eight track length and further refines his already sublime laid back sound.
15. Happy People – Peace
Peace know what they are: floppy haired indie royalty, just like Arctic Monkeys before them. They’re not ashamed of this in the slightest though as they embrace this wholeheartedly. Happy People has exactly what you’d expect from the guys who brought you bloodshake as well as some even heavier tracks like I’m A Girl, showing the band are still as capable as ever to fire out some more indie-rock gems.
14. What Went Down – Foals
It’s hard to recall an album this year that has managed to balance balls to the wall heavy rock and cordial little tracks all on the one LP. Foals have proven yet again that it’s not in their DNA to make a bad album.
13. Are You Satisfied – Slaves
The debut album is often a record which most bands would play it safe on to be more approachable by the public. This isn’t the case for Kent punk duo Slaves who showcase their silliness on Feed The Mantaray while also trying to get their message across of “doing something with your lives” to listeners. Regardless if they succeed in doing so, the boys manage to stand out from every two piece band around at the moment, no small feat at all.
12. The Mindsweep – Enter Shikari
2015 was undoubtedly one of the most important years for UK politics and no band knows and represents this better than Enter Shikari. From the feedback heavy track Anaesthetist dealing with the privatisation of the NHS to the unsubtly commentary on the corruption of bankers on Bank Of England, the band make their voice well and truly heard and it’s never sounded so good.
11. If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late – Drake
For a man who is worth millions, if not billions, Drake’s latest album is surprisingly minimalistic in comparison to other rapper’s records. However, this surprise release benefits from this, managing to hit out with the anthems you’d expect from Drizzy while managing to be retrospective. A man that can’t be stopped.
10. Too – FIDLAR
Los Angeles band FIDLAR love drugs (despite just getting out of rehab), drinking and self loathing. They lay all their cards out on the table so that they and the listeners can get down to business and have a good time. Wouldn’t you know it, they do exactly that. Heavily inspired by the 90’s teen angst bands like blink-182, Too is a 42 minute record that is all about having fun and provides just that. Simple yet amazing.
9. My Love Is Cool – Wolf Alice
Is it any surprise that Wolf Alice are the biggest new act of 2015? The band have built up a hype hurricane since their very first EP which hasn’t been helped by the likes of NME naming them a “band that will change your life” and being nominated for multiple awards. Thankfully this hasn’t derailed the band who deliver a record bursting with heart and grunge-lite sound. One of the greatest debuts of the past decade.
8. Life’s Not Out To Get You – Neck Deep
Pop punk has had its own sort of renaissance this year with Knuckle Puck mixing the emo sound of American Football with the appeal a genre like this brings. Neck Deep have filled the converse of blink-182 with an album that is full of the same polish and emotion as Enema Of The State. A band that are worth keeping your eye on.
7. Positive Songs For Negative People – Frank Turner
You’ll struggle to find a solo artist with the same raw passion as Frank Turner. After constructing a record about heartbreak that was enough to make the toughest person feel second hand remorse, PSFNP does exactly what it says on the tin. Any self professed cynic will find themselves drawn in by the snarling guitars and folk rock genius of certain tracks, showing that Frank is arguably the most talented Turner in the business.
6. The Powers That B – Death Grips
Sacramento experimental hip hop band Death Grips are…weird to say the least. This statement proves to be the most true when listening to Jenny Death, the second half of TPTB, which came out of fucking nowhere in traditional Death Grips fashion. It serves as a reminder to why many fell in love with the band: pure uncut anarchy with the staple MC Ride delivery. Although it isn’t as tremendous as The Money Store, it’s the perfect combination of rap and rock, especially on tracks like On GP.
5. Integrity > – JME
Just like pop punk, Grime witnessed a second wind this year, solidified by artists like Skepta breaking into the charts and a flamethrower extravaganza at the Brits when many artists from the genre joined Kanye on stage. While it may not have topped charts, JME’s latest record is the best record in the genre since Boy In Da Corner. Independently released, JME preaches about keyboard warriors, veganism and his disinterest in others opinions. Over the 16 tracks and countless video game references, it’s painfully clear that JME is loving what he’s doing, not having to answer to a boss and in the process he’s stumbled upon one of the most refreshing albums of the year.
4. Get To Heaven – Everything Everything
Bare with me here. Yes, if you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever enjoy an Everything Everything album I would probably have laughed you off. However, the Manchester act aren’t regarded as genre defying for nothing and their latest release is proof of that. Full to the brim with infectious pop and insanely danceable tracks, Get To Heaven is unlike anything to come out this year. It has political commentary so well hidden by its 60’s beats and weirdly catchy alarm clock samples that even if they were stripped away, the album as a whole would still stand on its own. Imaginative and unique, Get To Heaven can be three genres at once but still be described with one word: exhilarating.
3. That’s The Spirit – Bring Me The Horizon
After a brutal history with the drug Ketamine, Oli Sykes says he came out of Rehab feeling like he didn’t want to scream anymore, he wanted to “sing from the fucking rooftops”. Just as Sykes overcame his addiction, so to have Bring Me The Horizon overcame the troubles that most bands face when changing their sound. Although hardcore fans who have been there since their metalcore days may be disappointed about the transition, there is no denying the layered and evolved synths and atmosphere that come in hand with them are on an such a level of quality that it’s hard to think of a band that does it as well as them. Without a doubt, the best rock album of 2015.
2. In Colour – Jamie XX
It’s hard to fault Jamie Smith when it comes to his skills as a producer. Many felt like working with The XX was limiting his range, musically, and whilst members of the band make appearances throughout, In Colour not only stands on its own two legs, it stands out as an absolute juggernaut of a record. The brilliant thing about In Colour is how difficult it is to pigeon hole. It’s been described by some reviewers as a rave album and some tracks like the aforementioned Gosh could imply that it is such an album. However each track can be interpreted in so many and the term “electronic” is so vague that it’s almost insulting. Whether you think it’s a rave album, a techno one or even a semi reggae one for some reason, you’re both right and wrong. One thing is for sure though and that’s that you’ll definitely be in the latter if you decide to give this album a skip.
And the best album of the year is…
To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
What else was it going to be? Let’s all confess for a minute: we were all worried. How on earth could Kendrick Lamar top the move-esque masterpiece that was Good Kid m.A.A.d city? We were anxious as fuck but once To Pimp A Butterfly dropped out of nowhere, all those worries were laid to rest.
Criticise me if you wish but Lamar is the new king of rap as his scope reaches a ginormous scale you’d expect from a firearm. Showing the rage of Kanye (Blacker The Berry), romantic nature of Drake (Complexion) and the unpredictableness that only Lamar himself can provide, TPAB could have been a lame, safe follow up. Instead it tackles integrated racism in America, staying true to yourself by turning down stardom and…talking to Tupac. Seriously though, Kendrick is a man who knows where he stands in the music world. He knows he’s one of the biggest artists in the world and he uses this position for good, asking for gangs to reconcile, calling out rappers for being shams and telling the listener to love themselves.
There’s not much I can say about To Pimp A Butterfly that hasn’t been said already but what I can say is this: it’s not only the best album of 2015, it’s arguably the best album to come out this century.
2015 is undeniably the biggest year for Sheffield band Bring Me The Horizon, in no small part to their latest album That’s The Spirit which reached number two in the UK album charts after they ditched their old metalcore sound for a less aggressive rock approach. After a dramatic change to the band’s dynamic on 2013 album Sempiternal, this alteration to appeal to a wider group of music fans was inevitable and has ultimately paid off with arguably the best album of their career (you can read my thoughts about it here).
So what better way to celebrate a huge career by putting on some of the biggest shows of your career. Oli Sykes and Co. started off their UK tour in none other than Glasgow, more specifically the O2 Academy which somehow managed to accommodate the gigantic number of fans that filled up so much of the street that there had to be security to manage the flood of enthusiastic fans.
I suppose it was foreshadowing to have the security on show though as the night was full of death walls and mosh pitting that would have even a veteran bouncer quivering in his short sleeved shirt. Opening song on That’s The Spirit Doomed conveniently opened the set as an LED screen behind reacted in real time to what was happening, be it the heartfelt lyrics or the blaring synths that rocked the venue to its core.
The band didn’t left up as Happy Song had the night’s first incident of anarchy as fans bashed one another to one of the best breakdowns witnessed at a concert, only stopping to catch a breath near the last few seconds to chant the name of their latest album. There was also True Friends that appeared on the set list, showcasing an orchestra orientated backing track as the band jumped in unison throughout the song, no doubt down to the band’s daily workout routine that they revealed in last week’s NME.
Also revealed in that same interview was the band’s love of gaming that helps fill in the time between gigs. This love could also be felt when a barrage of old tracks were played, specifically Shadow Moses which references the location off the game Metal Gear Solid as well featuring a similar vocal arrangement to a track featured off the game’s soundtrack. The audience screaming “this is Sempiternal” was a spine chilling experience as you felt the second hand pain of the mosh pitting anarchy that ensued.
There was also Sleepwalking that featured a minimalistic yet haunting opening that carried throughout the performance, accomapnied by some glimpses of the band’s earlier sound which made older fans feel nostalgic, especially when Chelsea Smile made an appearance.
The performance itself was utterly flawless, showing that Bring Me The Horizon have managed to convince those who once criticised them as being generic while still staying true to their roots. The only gripe I have, which if you follow me on social media you’ll know already, is the fans themselves who had their phones oht throughout the entire gig, tainting what was an amazing performance by having to witness it through an iPhone 5 screen.
A few years back I would have called you stupid for saying Bring Me The Horizon were potential headliners but after Tuesday’s performance, they’ve proved that they’re in a league of their own. Don’t be surprised if you see them rocking the top of a festival line up sometime soon.
When I attempted, and failed, to make my series Blink (Clyro) And You’ll Miss It into a monthly thing, I kinda fucked it up. Despite being one of my most popular posts, there was something about it that just didn’t sit with me right, like the potential it had just wasn’t being used. Now after a few months of procrastination careful thinking, I’ve brought it back! *insert one person clapping*
Not only will BCAYMI (see, it just rolls off the tongue) cover music but it’ll also feature film, TV and gaming content that means you’ll constantly be in the loop. Think of it as a smaller, less indie NME except my head isn’t lodged up Arctic Monkey’s arse and people don’t write bitchy tweets about me. Well, as far as I know.
Featured Artist Of The Month
To quote the world renown author Me, Glasgow trio Codist’s sound is like “if you put Biffy Clyro’s gritty, stripped back tone from Blackened Sky in a blender with Weezer during their blue album era”, not a small compliment for someone with half of one of those band’s name in their website name. With Chris Curry now joining the band to raise the number of members to 4, it’s exciting to see how the band will shape their sound of their upcoming album in addition to their upcoming gig at Glasgow’s The Hug And Pint this December. Codist 2.0, here we go.
If their Sophomore album You’re Gonna Miss It All was about being in denial about your problems then Philadelphia based band Modern Baseball’s new track is about admitting these issues and trying to move on from them. Full of sombre, personal lyrics, Brendan Lukens’ trademark nasally vocal style has never sounded so good.
2. Weezer – Do You Wanna Get High
Returning from the critical acclaim of their 2014 release Everything Will Be Alright In The End with a sound more reminiscent of their Pinkerton days, Weezer bring the crunchy guitars and ridiculously good lyrics the band built their name on.
3. Aphex Twin – avril altdelay
With Avril 14th being one of British electronic musician Richard D James’ most famous tracks, it was only a matter of time until he revamped his iconic song which has only made it even more pleasant. It won’t be long until Kanye begs for the chance to sample this again.
4. Chance The Rapper – Angels
Since the release of his second mixtape Acid Rap, Chicago born rapper Chance The Rapper has collaborated with the likes of James Blake and Donald Glover. Now he’s got fans in a frenzy as he teases his third mixtape and Angels hasn’t dampened their spirits, full of references to Kanye West and gospel hooks, this track is not only a homage to Chicago but a testament to the potential Chance has.
5. Guy Garvey – Angela’s Eyes
Owning one of the finest voices music has ever witnessed, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey has released his first solo album to showcase his remarkable vocals and new found sound. While not unfamiliar, there’s enough changes to justify a release and Angela’s Eyes is an excellent example of this.
Album of the Month
Grimes – Art Angels
November is a huge month for female artists with the great return of pop powerhouse Adele returning with her third album 25 and the likes of Drake collaborator Tinashe and *shudder* Ellie Goulding, girl power is very much in the air. November is also huge in terms of the return of an electronic wizard: Grimes.
Her unusual yet pleasing style of vocals and synths are ones that just shouldn’t work yet every time they just seem to get better and better. Thankfully the same can be said about tracks off her upcoming follow up to 2012’s Visions as EDM influenced Realiti and the catchy Flesh without Blood are comforting proof that even with the lack of substance abuse on this release, the canadian artist can still deliver.
(P.S bonus points for that amazing japanese inspired artwork, which perfectly captures the atypical nature of Grimes.)
Bring Me The Horizon @ Edinburgh Corn Exchange – 25th November | Sold Out
Frank Turner @ Barrowlands – Friday 13th November | Sold Out
Justin Bieber – Purpose (13th November)
Adele – 25 (20th November)
Rustie – EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE (OUT NOW)
Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12 (November 6th)
Film + TV
Film of the Month
The Good Dinosaur Released: 27th November
Yes, I’ll look like a big waine for choosing this over Spectre but bare with me. Since Spectre was released last month and has been praised to no end (which it totally deserves) , I thought I’d go for a film that’s actually released this month and what better than Pixar’s next film. The Good Dinosaur is about an alternate timeline where the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs narrowly missed, meaning that the giant creatures still exist. What follows is the tale of Arlo as he suffers a major loss (not hard to guess what happens, it’s Pixar after all) and tries to find his way back home.
This film has a chance to fail as it seems like it’ll be cliched and it’s directed by someone who’s only ever been behind the camera one times: for a Pixar short. However, it also has the opportunity to surprise everyone and become what the incredibles was to superhero films. In addition to this, the film has already been praised for its photorealistic visuals, meaning regardless if the film’s a flop, it’ll be a beautiful one. Who knows what will happen but regardless if it’s bad or fantastic, I’ll be there to see it.
TV Show of The Month
Starts: 11th November
What else was it going to be? Ranking alongside The Inbetweeners for being one of the most quotable British comedies of all time, Peep Show has kept us waiting in anticipation for 3 years for what is now the show’s last season. To avoid giving anything away to those who have avoided all previews and interviews, the ninth season will consist of “Mark trying to sell a loan to a gullible idiot while Jeremy is living in a bath”. The premise alone sounds hilarious and it’ll be worth it alone to see Mark, Jeremy and Super Hans for the last time before they fade away into Channel 4 fame. With this and Catastrophe, Channel 4 can rightfully call itself the home of Comedy.
Will it be worth the wait? No idea. Will it be quoted relentlessly by hundreds of users on Twitter? You bet yer arse.
Game of the Month
Released: 10th November
In a month full of blockbuster game releases, Bethesda have their work cut out for them. Not only are they up against two juggernaut FPS going by the names Star Wars Battlefront & Call of Duty but there’s also the return of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Are they worried? Of course not.
Regardless if this game flops like a fish out of water, millions of gamers will still pick up Fallout 4 because, well, it’s Fallout. It’s an immersive post apocalyptic wasteland, full of radiation inflicted monsters and other humans just as desperate as yourself for supplies, safety and, most importantly, power. Its predecessor, unsurprisingly called Fallout 3, is one of my favourite games of all time and the sound of returning to the franchise with better graphics, more customisation and even greater gameplay, is too good to pass up. If you pick up one game this month, make it this.
Cheers for sticking all the way to the end and I hope you enjoyed what I hope to be a regular thing! Any feedback is more than welcome and if you have any suggestions, whether it be a new track you think deserves more attention or you’re part of an up and coming band who want an opportunity to get their name out there then email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past two months BLINKCLYRO has accumulated over 2,000 views and I couldn’t be more thankful for that! Here’s hoping I can keep you lot entertained for the rest of 2015 and beyond, perhaps even venture into different outlets *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink* . You can follow me on Twitter @blinkclyro and over on my facebook page here. What follows is a wee schedule of what you can expect from the site this month!
Life Is Strange review – Sunday 8th November
Bloc Party gig review – Tuesday 10th November
Frank Turner – Saturday 14th November
First week with Fallout 4 (sort of review) – Tuesday 17th November
Slaves gig review – Friday 20th November
Bring Me The Horizon gig review – Thursday 26th November
+ even more tbc!!!!
A few months back, functioning on a sugar high from too many cheap energy drinks, I reviewed Sheffield rock band Bring Me The Horizon’s new EP Throne which showcased the eponymous track as well as Happy Song. I was surprised to say the least, less about the fact it was a sweet but short release but that I was enjoying music by a band I previously detested. Maybe it was the vocals or the generic sound but listening to the band anytime before 2013 was more of a chore than a treat. Then Sempiternal came along, bringing with it an evolution of sorts. Ditching the guitars for synths, Oli Sykes and co. came out with an album that converted many who previously dismissed them as a petty screamo act.
All of these factors led to me being not only shocked but pleasantly surprised that their latest release That’s The Spirit, the band’s fifth album, is not only their best yet but the best rock album I’ve heard all year.
Now before Indie twitter polish their pitchforks and doc martens for the huge claim I made, give me a few paragraphs to explain. Although I was surprised by how great the album was, anyone who has paid attention to the band for the past year knew they were onto something great.
The first glimpse of this was when they released Drown in December of last year, a track which marked the band’s departure from their traditional sound to a more arena rock one. Just like Sempiternal did before it, Drown caught the attention of many who would previously not bat an eyelid at the act. Then came their Throne EP which was relieving news to the newly converted, showcasing the same kind of sound that was shown to them before (you can read my thoughts on it here). Finally came their performance at Reading and Leeds last month where they played before Metallica’s headline set, impressing the thousands that attended the main stage and amassing a huge amount of hype for their biggest album yet.
The same passion and agression BMTH showed at Reading and Leeds is what makes That’s The Spirit such a fresh and enjoyable listen. Opening track Doomed may not break any rock cliches (slow, soft intro followed by a anthemic chorus) but this doesn’t make the track any less enjoyable. It’ll be a challenge not to have the song stuck in your head hours after closing track Oh No’s dance infused sound fades out.
This is quickly followed by Happy Song which has no hesitation to show what the band are making on this: heavy as fuck tunes made for arenas. Sykes chants along with a choir of children that he really wishes “that I could help but my head is like a carousel” before the choir yells and the band go into full ambush mood, screaming the album’s title. Definitely one of the album’s finest moments.
This is quickly followed by Throne and its apocalyptic synths, then what seems like 5 seconds of recovery time before True Friends starts, starring frontman Sykes showing off his amazing vocals which he has used to sing rather than scream before an orchestrated detenation takes place.
What You Need is another stand out track, reminiscent of the sound Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic showed on their sophmore album Free. Fittingly enough Twin are another band who didn’t so much lean towards an arena rock sound, rather they jumped head first into it and have definitely benefited from it. However the comparisons stop there as the disturbed nature of Sykes leads to some dark lyrical content, lines such as “you make me want to kill myself just for the fucking thrill” coming across as either chilling or cheesy depending on how you percieve it.
After a brutal history with the drug Ketamine was revealed, Oli Sykes says he came out of Rehab feeling like he didn’t want to scream anymore, he wanted to “sing from the fucking rooftops”. Just as Sykes overcame his addiction, so to have Bring Me The Horizon overcame the troubles that most bands face when changing their sound. Although hardcore fans who have been there since their metalcore days may be disapointed about the transition, there is no denying the synths and atmosphere that come in hand with them are on an such a level of quality that it’s hard to think of a band that does it as well as them. If you haven’t listened to the album yet then stop delaying it and stick it on.
They’ll be selling out an arena near you in no time.
I need to put this out there before I start this review: I don’t like Bring Me The Horizon.
Well that’s not exactly true. I don’t like their early death core stuff, whether or not it was because the sound was just generic or I could only handle so much of singer Oli Sykes screaming before I had to turn it off. I gave the band a listen recently after one too many double vodkas and wouldn’t you know it, their latest album was actually not too bad, even now when I’m in a sober albeit sleep deprived state.
The trait off their 2013 album Sempiternal that I enjoyed, that being their new synth heavy sound, is thankfully present on Throne,the Sheffield band’s latest EP, which gives fans a taste of what they should expect from their upcoming album That’s The Spirit.
First track off Throne is, unsurprisingly, is the eponymously named track Throne. It’s fitting that the music video for the track features martial artists, flame torches and energetic performances from the band as the track shares all these characteristics. Although the synths that are prevalent throughout most of the song are nothing as enjoyable as the ones off Sleepwalking, they still manage to have some effect on you though I couldn’t help thinking I was listening to a Linkin Park B-side. The lyrics are also a bit tacky but I’ll admit I enjoyed a few lines so I would call it more of a guilty pleasure than anything.
The B-side to Throne is the oddly named Happy Song since as soon as you hear it, “joy” isn’t the first word I’d use to describe it. However it’s not a terrible song at all, featuring a catchy chorus as well as an eery group of children chanting in the background.
Sykes described their new album as being about where we stand as a generation and that message can be noticed if you listen to the lyrics. Our generation uses music as more than just entertainment as some depend on it as a sort of lifeline which can be heard from the chorus where Sykes belts out “if I sing along a little fucking louder to a happy song I’ll be alright” which follows the scarily short verse about suffering from depression. Already I can see this relating to a lot of those who listen to the band and even if the message were to go over anyone’s head there would still be enjoyment to be had.
Like I said at the beginning I’m not a fan of the band but what I’ve heard from them so far, Bring Me The Horizon could be onto something big. A track that they released last year Drown has been on repeat on my Spotify playlist and if this appeal can last the 12 tracks off their upcoming album then I’ll no doubt warm up to the band even more. That’s The Spirit comes out on September 11th, keep it on your radar.