UPON STONE – Dead Mother Moon

San Fernando’s Upon Stone broke onto the metal scene in 2021 with a well crafted EP, ‘Sky, Sword and Specter’. Its four tracks blended old school death metal with a pinch of hardcore, and when slowing down, the best material wasn’t shy in sharing a few (very welcome) trad metal traits. Assuming you could make it past a rather abrasive vocal, the music pulled from various sources to create an extreme metal release that actually felt really well balanced.

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THE MAGIC BUS – Σε Ά​γ​ν​ω​σ​τ​α Ν​ε​ρ​ά EP

This EP from The Magic Bus provides a brief but varied showcase for a talented band who aim to break down musical barriers. Blending traditional Greek melodies with elements of folk rock, stoner rock and trad metal, this EP’s four songs explore a vast musical landscape, but never feels in anyway disjointed. This is due, in no small way, to each of the melodies being linked by a strong vocal. Frontman Valentis Dafkos is in possession of one of those voices which is so big, it doesn’t matter where his music takes him; he’s there, with a very natural boom, sharing a volume that has as much confidence as the band’s biggest riffs.

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THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #37

Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore the various individual mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. With January at an end and with 2024 having now gained momentum, the submissions are rolling in very fast. This week, picking favourites was almost a thankless task. People have sent so much good stuff our way after returning to work following the Xmas break! This time out, we bring you a couple of singer songwriters, some brilliant light sounding and alternative pop, a strong guitar instrumental, a slab of retro space rock and more besides! We hope you find something to enjoy…

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HVALROSS – Running The Gauntlet EP

The debut album from Dutch rockers Hvalross introduced listeners to a band with a very distinctive sound. Released in 2020, ‘Cold Dark Rain’ wasn’t afraid to mix styles. Tunes like ‘Finally Repent’ and ‘I Shot My Best Friend’ blended old style melodic rock with light alternative rock tones and semi-bluesy sounds, and the band’s huge approach to backing vocals occasionally hinted at a love of ‘Dog Eat Dog’ era Warrant. ‘As I Am’ leant further towards a prog metal-post grunge hybrid with its contrasting muted riffs and huge blankets of sound, and ‘Death From Above’ showed how Hvalross could weave stoner-ish tones within their riffs and still convey a huge hard rock melody. They didn’t always get it right; the huge, wailing vocal cutting through the middle of ‘The Owl’ proved to be a massive distraction from some potentially enjoyable music, but few records are perfect.

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THE REAL GONE SINGLES BAR #36

Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore some of the individual mp3s that have appeared in our inbox over the past few weeks. With January 2024 now firmly underway, the submissions have really taken off, and we could have filled this column three times over. That, of course, just promises more great stuff for the coming weeks! This time around, we bring you a couple of great singer songwriters, some big rock with a commercial hook, some very light pop, and even a little country courtesy of an already familiar face. As always, we hope you find something to enjoy…

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