Heya folks, just to put it up front none of these albums or bands are actually real. They’re all designs I made for fun, and decided to take it a step further and write fake album reviews too. Because fiction writing is fun!
With that said, I hope you enjoy, and hey if anyone actually decides to use any of these names/titles, let me know! email@example.com.
Ashes of Angels — Self Titled (New Dawn Records)
First up on the docket, we have the self-titled debut from Ashes of Angels, a west-boast based post rock quartet. The album features just 8 tracks but you will feel you got your money’s worth! As we all know when there’s no vocals the music needs to be very compelling and AoA delivers with intricate yet not overwhelming instrumentation as well as melodies that are uplifting and at times tastefully haunting. This is the soundtrack for the moment of finally coming to peace and moving on from a difficult experience. Shades of Cloudkicker.
3/4 stars. Definitely interested to hear what they come up with next!
Deadmarsh — Hold Your Breath (Love Me Nautical Records)
Deadmarsh are back with their third studio album, and holding steady. This sludge metal quartet continues to build on their signature sound while also scratching the edges beyond what you’ve come to expect. The production is a hair cleaner than past efforts, and vocalist Cole Bane seems to take on a breathier delivery on some tracks. The title track is aptly named as the build and anticipation to the payoff is a ride that any metal fan would gladly strap in for.
3.25/4 stars. Fans of ISIS will want to hear this.
Disaster Unicorn — Untitled (VSM Records)
When one first hears this band’s name, they could probably make a number of guesses as to how the band might sound. And Disaster Unicorn pokes fun at that fact with making the album untitled. They even found an ironic label to distribute — Very Serious Music. Bands like this are rare, bands that deftly genre hop and do it well. This album might as well be 10 songs from different bands. Think Dog Fashion Disco or Fair to Midland. But hey, the kids are into it, and well, so am I.
My personal score on this unique gem is a 3.5/4 , but the average listener might not be so keen.
Double Negative — Mixed Singles (Boilerplate Records)
Double Negative have been kicking for a while, and apparently they get bored easily and like to shift their style. This time around they’ve waded into the industrial/electronic pool, and even brought in Justin Broadrick to guest on a track. But they’ve proven to be talented enough musicians that they can always seem to make it work. Not every track is a bona fide hit but none of it is filler either.
3/4 stars. Of note is the 10 minute closer, which pays strong homage to Nine Inch Nails a la The Downward Spiral.
Echo Chemical — The Dose Makes the Poison (Beeline Records)
Echo Chemical is back, and he isn’t messing around. A heavy mix of electronic styles — industrial, dubstep, trip hop, jungle. Tage Bronson (the man behind Echo Chemical) seems intent to make a name for himself and possibly edge some other big names off their pedestals. I’m not so sure Skrillex has too much to worry about, but fans will almost certainly appreciate the effort.
Flyover State — Until There Is No Sky Left To Scrape (Penthouse Records)
Flyover State started out as more of a run of the mill nu-metal/alt-hard-rock band, and not many were counting on them having staying power. The band had other plans. This Chicago based quintet has delivered an album that wouldn’t be out of place among Deftones, Sevendust, Chevelle, or Pulse Ultra. The songs are heavy with hooks and good melody, and lead singer Bryant Heves’s vocals carry it all, through the soft and the loud. He’s particularly compelling on the lead single “Hanging By A Thread” along with the pummeling tag team of guitar riffage and drums.
3.5/4. Many will be pleasantly surprised!
Pincushion Concussion — Haptic Feedback (Dialed Out Records)
Your favourite new emo/pop-punk band is back! Another band who has matured from their beginnings, and that fact makes this album another extra enjoyable listen. Vocalist Cody Hopkins has found a new level and the permanent addition of former touring keyboardist Sasha Strang solidifies what was already a competent and solid base. Pincushion Concussion have grown up, while not losing the essence of what made fans like them in the first place. The lyrical content has gone a bit darker here, but I wouldn’t expect that to be the band’s new normal.
The Junkyard Ghosts — Morning Is A State Of Mind (Eleventh Hour Records)
This one may be more of a toss up. As fans will know, the Ghosts started out as a darker industrial metal band, but went through a schism after the last album that saw half the band change. The replacements and remaining original members decided they wanted to focus more on the electronic side and less on the heavy side. So while aspects of the music will be familiar (singer/keys and bassist remained, guitar and percussion changed), this will also feel considerably new and different. Fans of the electronic side will probably still enjoy. It’s a competent record despite the sudden changes and new members not having fully developed chemistry yet, their next album should really cement what they are now.
The Montreal Screwjob — Staff Infection EP (independent)
Promising new upstart semi-pop punkers give us our first taste, and it’s certainly intriguing. You can feel the homage to bands like Blink 182, Billy Talent, etc, but yet they still manage to forge some unique sound and identity. Paramore singer Hayley Williams even guests on a track, which will certainly help raise their profile. It may only be five songs, but you’ll bop your head to every one of them.
Otherwise Muse — Time Is Undefeated (Ohm Distro)
For anyone sad that the progressive hard rock/alt metal space (a la Tool, Karnivool) is a bit light on players, never fear! Otherwise Muse are back with their new record, and strong comparisons have already been drawn. “Tool without the pretentiousness”. But OWM are determined to make a name for themselves and step out of that shadow. This 12 track effort is worthy. The percussion is a strong heartbeat throughout, with flavourful flourishes and fills, and every instrument seems to get its fair chance to shine. Often times in metal, the bass just serves to make it a little bit heavier, but OWM bassist Pete Sheffar is from the Cliff Burton and Ryan Martinie school of bass. He’s quickly becoming a guy that kids hear play and say “you know what, guitar is cool, but I wanna play like Pete!”. A solid effort from a band still forging its path and taking no prisoners.
Shade in Hades — Tourist Attraction (Nuclear Blast Records)
This is a case of an album that sounds very much like what you’d expect it to based solely on the cover. Intense, chaotic, hot enough to burn your ears. Shade in Hades mixes several metal styles including but not limited to: Thrash, Death, Djent, and Industrial. This could almost be a covers compilation of bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, Nevermore, Lamb of God, In Flames, or Slipknot. Fans already know what they’re getting, new listeners may need time to settle in. The album’s title seemingly alludes to the journey to hear the different sounds of different genre “monuments” that the band deems most important.
3/4 stars. Get it while it’s (still) hot!
Lacey Artemis is an artist, writer, designer, and Jill of many Trades who likes to design things, so she makes fake album covers for fun. You can find more of her work at www.artemiscreates.com.