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Sleep Talk – Everything In Colour

Adelaide’s own melodic hardcore/alternative act Sleep Talk are here with their debut album, Everything In Colour, and the album comes flying out of the gates.

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Adelaide’s own melodic hardcore/alternative act Sleep Talk are here with their debut album, Everything In Colour. One of the latest signings to UNFD, Sleep Talk have toured this album around Australia, and are no doubt hoping to capitalize on this momentum to make sure Everything In Colour comes flying out of the gates.

The album itself is a vast and well-structured collection of songs. They flow fluently through each other and maintain a consistent sound throughout. Opening with “Lauritzen”, the tone is set immediately. Moody melodic instrumentals contrast perfectly with the brutal scraping scream vocals, and as they are joined by the backing clean vocals they form an enormously emotionally gripping sound.

“The Sun” continues this sound but turns it down a bit. Softening the guitars to a mirage-like state, the flash of screaming vocals is made only more effective. The song builds and builds through melody, and releases itself all at once with a ginormous release of emotion and frustration made up of passionate screams and heavy instrumentals.

“What if the sun swallowed me whole, and I don’t get to grow old?”

“Slowfade” and “Everything In Colour” were the two lead singles from the album, and work nicely as they play through one after the other. “Slowfade” features all the melodies we are already growing to love, as well as showcasing that Sleep Talk can also bring the heavy. Headbanging and moshing through a hard-hitting breakdown, the song leads into “Everything In Colour” with a flowing ending of ringing guitars, clean vocals, and incredibly well-structured instrumentals. Taking a rockier and punkier approach now, “Everything In Colour” puts the clean vocals in the forefront predominately. The catchy chorus and instrumentals make you want to dance despite the harshness of the screams, and actually makes it come across as somewhat of a feel-good summer anthem despite the clear emotion behind it. It makes you want to jump and sing along, and I’m sure this will make “Everything In Colour” an incredibly fun time live for many years to come.

Moving onto “If I Die”, this song was my absolute favorite. It starts heavily and emotionally, yet anthemically so. The melancholic guitars and vocals mix so well and create an overwhelming and gripping sense of tension. You listen and just can’t turn it off as you’re just dying to hear what happens next. Lyrically speaking of death and darkness, the upsetting subject matter makes it only more effective. Soft clean verses offer a chance to step back and appreciate it more, but the chorus will relentlessly draw you back in. The atmosphere of it is phenomenal, and all of this builds to a titanic emotional release. Tearing screams, smashing cymbals, one belting guitar, and one screeching guitar line rolling through the background, makes for the biggest sense of pain and release I have felt in a song in a long time. The effectiveness of it makes for something incredibly special, and as it closes out with some perfectly constructed instrumental sections I am made to think, “this is how you write a song”.

“New Tradition” is a fun punky track filled with funky verses and a strong chorus. It came out roughly a year ago, so it’s nice to see it popping up on the debut album. This leads into one of the more unique songs, “Shadow”. Dark instrumental tones make you feel like you’re in a horror movie. An image of a dark hallway springs to mind and I’m immediately on edge. Deep monotonal vocals seep into the song and work with the instrumentals to form an intense feeling of suspense. “Shadow” rides this emotion for a while before working into a big rocky instrumental closing and makes for a special atmosphere.

“Allergic to the World” provides a hard and fast heavy track that clocks in at 1 minute and 49 seconds. With no messing around, they instill a powerful sense of aggression as the hard and fast track makes you want to move. This leads into the following song, “Sleep Talk”. Incredibly well written, it keeps you on your toes as it throws you all over the place tempo-wise. Melodic and slow sections will lull you into a false sense of security, while repeated outbursts of fury, screams, and heavy instrumentals make you want to move. I feel this as a feeling of fighting against one’s own demons, and as they get louder and louder it becomes tougher to fight back, eventually, they take over and overrun you. As the instrumentals get harder and faster to end the song, the demons have won, and the aggression and emotion take charge. “Sleep Talk” is another highlight track, so absolutely watch out for this one.

Coming towards the end of the album, “The New Year” is made up of strength and pain. Echoing guitars slide along with harsh vocals and create a melancholic feeling of grief. A penultimate display of talent, Sleep Talk have maintained consistent energy throughout the album, and have shown while they can maintain a sense of energy and emotion, they are able to do this while still mixing up their sound.

The cherry on top, “The Kill”, puts a spotlight on the scream vocals in the verses. Allowing an extra brutal look at them, you can feel the scraping gravelly tones as they fill your ears and make you audibly go “oh hello”. The mesmerizing clean vocals offer a sense of relief from this and work to create a very traditionally rocky instrumental atmosphere. Rolling fun guitar licks dwell in the background of powerful instrumental sections, and make for a satisfying and anthemic end to the album.

(UNFD)

Music

A Night with Northlane

Josh Hockey went to go see Northlane in Melbourne and took photographer Albert LaMontagne with him to capture the night.

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Northlane

Settling in to 170 Russell would have been nice, but as we stepped in at the allocated 6:30 door time we were greeted with the start of Void Of Vision’s set. Sprinting down the stairs and into the room, it was clear that moving the door time forward half an hour had definitely affected the crowd.

A decent audience had streamed in, but nowhere big enough considering the year Void Of Vision has had. Releasing their magnum opus album, Hyperdaze, they have been on an absolute tear, and it was clear during this set that they were going to keep going hard.

Opening up by bringing the heavy early, Void had the room shaking from the world go. An impressive light show and an almighty wall of sound filled the room with layers upon layers of adrenaline. Vocalist Jack Bergin led this assault, bringing as much energy as he possibly could, whilst utilising his seemingly endless amounts of stage presence.

New songs like “Babylon” and “Hole In Me” showcased their new sound, while “Kill All Your Friends” got the pit going like it always does. They finished strong with “Ghost In The Machine” and left their stamp on 170 Russell.

International act Silent Planet were up next. A pretty much completely new band to me, I was immediately impressed by the connection they appeared to have with their audience. From the word go, the pit was open, and everyone in the front few row was singing along with all the passion in the world.

Spoken word vocals mixed with harsh screams ensured that vocalist Garrett kept the audience on their toes. The instrumentals kept up this pace as well, with their hard hitting dark tones unrelentingly assaulting the ears of all listeners (in a good way).

Silent Planet sounded incredibly large all the way through, and definitely would have made themselves some new fans on the night. Their music appeared to be full of themes of mental illness, and political issues, which is absolutely super important in today’s societal climate.

Counterparts were up next. Definitely a well known band, the heavy Canadians immediately made clear the tone of the set announcing themselves with a call of, “Counterparts Schoolies Week Motherfucker.” They launched into their first song and it was immediately clear why they are as acclaimed as they are. Ridiculously tight and sounding stupidly massive, they had fans moving from the second they started playing.

The shit talking between sets would have been the highlight, but the songs themselves made it hard to top. Playing the old classics as well as the new heavy-hitters, there was as much two stepping as there was singing along. Also this was perhaps the first time in history I heard a pitcall of “schoolies 2019 motherfucker open it up,” which was an experience that I’m glad I had.

Dedicating a song to Australia’s very own Trophy Eyes, their massive sound continued unrelentingly. Coming towards the end, the set closed with a wave of crowdsurfers all diving and climbing towards the microphone, trying to get ahold of vocalist Brendan so they could scream his words right back at him. This set was great, and I’m quite sad I personally am not a Counterparts super fan so I couldn’t join in the fun. Next time boys. Next time.

Finally it was time for the big dogs, Northlane. The lights went down and hands went up, ready to go and awaiting the bands arrival impatiently, the audiences cravings would soon be met. Northlane charged onto stage and belted into “Talking Heads.” The movement was huge from the start, and the audience was off their feet and jumping non-stop all the way through.

“Details Matter” was a definite highlight of the set, with the ridiculously massive sound of one of the better songs of 2019 running rampant through 170 Russell. Headbangers were aplenty and moshers were in surplus. This continued even into one of their softer songs, “Rot.” The first song released by the band with vocalist Marcus Bridge, “Rot” went down an absolute treat as always.

Northlane are a ludicrously tight live band, and this became ever more clear as they smashed through “Citizen, “Obelisk”, and “4D.” New party song “Eclipse” had the room shaking as everyone refused to stop bouncing. The set began to come to a close as massive Alien single “Bloodline” was the definite highlight of the show. It has been one of my favourite songs of the year, and this rendition locked that in even more. Cannons and lights were ablaze and firing everywhere, and made this even more of a spectacle.

Leaving stage momentarily, Northlane returned as Marcus came back wearing a big sparkly coat. “Sleepless”, the closing track of the album was incredibly effective and touching live. And was a nice sombre end to the show, right before they launched into the timeless heavy classic, “Quantum Flux.” And goddamn was it massive.

Northlane are one of the best bands out there, and this show only locked that in.

Check out the images from the Northlane show:

All photos by Albert LaMontagne. Copyright 2019 Albert LaMontagne / Sound the Sirens Magazine. Please do not use or distribute these images without the permission of Albert LaMontagne. If you use these images without permission, you are a terrible person.

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Reviews

Crossed Keys – Saviors

Saviors shows the work of well-seasoned musicians finding new energy in old sounds

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Crossed Keys Saviors

Philadelphia’s Crossed Keys are an interesting intersection between melodic hardcore and punk, taking an earnest approach to the sound that made its way from the underground in the late 90s and early 2000s. This relatively new outfit is the result of Kid Dynamite and Samiam in a blender- in the best way possible. The Kid Dynamite influence may be a given since Crossed Eyes features KD’s drummer Dave Wagenschutz, but the band’s pedigree also includes members of bands like Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer and The Curse, all backing the melancholic vocal work of frontman Joshua Alvarez (Halo of Snakes). So while Crossed Keys are somewhat new, its members have been cutting their teeth within their respective circles for years, and their new EP Saviors shows the work of well-seasoned musicians finding new energy in old sounds.

Saviors is backboned by the furious urgency and energy that Kid Dynamite showed through their history, but while Jason Shevchuk’s vocals were beautifully abrasive, Alvarez takes a more restrained, wistful approach to singing. Songs like the opening “Times of Grace” are musically up-tempo percussions and razor-sharp guitars, but are buoyed by Alvarez’s more melodic vocals. His vocals rest at a good place between Samiam’s Jason Beebout and that NYHC tone exhibited by bands like Token Entry and Grey Area. In songs like “R.J.A” and the closing title track, Crossed Keys find more success with their brand of blistering speed meets harmony- slowing down only for the kind of melancholic punk that made Samiam a noted name. While much of Saviors is built on pace, it wasn’t always this way for the band. In fact, their 2017 EP, I’m Just Happy That You’re Here, leans closer to Samiam than it does to Kid Dynamite (the song “Jeff Pelly vs. The Empire” is particularly fantastic), so there’s been an uptick of urgency with Saviors.

For fans of any of the aforementioned bands here, there is plenty to like with Crossed Keys and plenty to like in Saviors. It’s succinct, to the point, but filled with ample reflection and exploration that gives the EP depth and resonance. Any band that has found influence from Kid Dynamite is most certainly OK by us (this site is named after a KD song after all), but Crossed Keys does more than just tip their cap. This one’s a really good one, and worth your time.

(Hellminded Records)

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