BANSHEE – Bubble EP

When Banshee released their ‘Say My Name’ EP in 2016, the online press were incredibly enthusiastic. The then still-young band even found a champion in the legendary Joe Elliott, despite their music being half a world away from his own or that of his own Def Leppard or beloved Mott The Hoople. That EP set out the Scottish quartet’s musical interests very clearly – and its combination of alt-rock guitars, poppy hooks and enthusiastic vocals very much carried the spirit of bands like Tonight Alive and ‘Riot!’ era Paramore. Three years on, their ‘Bubble’ EP offers much more of the same, but if anything the guitars are slightly more subdued in places. To make up for that, though, its four songs have choruses that could really stick.

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HIGH PRIEST – Sanctum EP

Formed in 2016, Chicago’s High Priest mix doomy metal and heavy blues sounds in a way that’ll be guaranteed to please fans of ‘Americas Volume Dealer’ era Corrosion of Conformity as well as those who’ve made it all the way through the particularly lengthy 2CD edition of Jerry Cantrell’s ‘Degradation Trip Vols. 1 & 2’. Here is a band that not only loves a heavy riff but truly understands that heaviness is at its most effective when applied to a strong melody. As a result, ‘Sanctum’ is a must-hear.

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ROY SHAKKED – Know Nothing EP

Using the name Holmes, singer/songwriter/producer Roy Shakked released an unmissable covers album – the appropriately titled ‘Covers’ – back in 2011. The following years found him disappearing into a busy schedule of work: a full length album of originals appeared in 2012 and following his relocating to Israel, by 2015, he was became a member of a new band The Bright Wild. Roy’s music continued to be hidden in plain sight over the next couple of years with his compositions appearing on numerous TV shows and adverts in the US and his need to create new sounds eventually yielded a new solo EP in December 2017. Continue reading

THE GLORIOUS REBELLION – Scholars Of War EP

Five years into a career of pummelling audiences with riffs, Orlando’s Glorious Rebellion present a mini masterpiece with their 2019 EP ‘Scholars of War’. Its three tracks offer a world of glorious and sludgy wonderment that’s as quirky as it is genuinely heavy.

Lead track ‘Turn Around, Bright Eyes’ quickly raises a wry smile with a reference that instantly calls to mind an 80s evergreen hit from Bonnie Tyler and Jim Steinman, though any kind of musical pomposity or video clips of spinning ninjas really couldn’t be further from the band’s collective mind. Within seconds, they launch into something that sounds like the best thing you’ve heard from Helmet since the release of the ‘Betty’ album about a hundred years ago. The repetitive, sledgehammer riff not only feels like something derived from brilliant Helmet songs of yore, but guitarist Billy Myers also absolutely nails that Page Hamilton tone, giving everything a really distinctive sound; one that refuses to hide such a chief influence. Add to this a terrifically gruff vocal and a pounding rhythm section that’s a match for any within arty metal circles and things get off to an absolutely blazing start. The heaviness of the riffs actually takes so much priority, you might not find any instant lyrical hooks but, of course, the heaviness is the hook and by the time a near-perfect Helmet tribute descends into squalls of feedback with Myers repeatedly bellowing “I am the fucking problem” as a repeated refrain, there’s absolutely no doubt you’re in the presence of a band that truly means business.
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