Monday, 31 December 2012


The inaugural theNOISE Music Awards have come to a close, as has 2012, so thank you to everybody for reading and Tweeting  - it all helps, and I'm very grateful! Now, sit back and enjoy my first attempt at a vlog! The video quality is pretty bollocks and  I need to do something about it, but here we go...

As a final note for 2012 then, here's a rundown of how shit went down...

FALLEN HERO OF 2012; Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence
A tribute over an award; RIP Mitch, you will be missed by the legions of SS fans everywhere.




BEST BAND; Enter Shikari


Happy New Year! x


It's arrived! The award I give the most importance to, because album reviews have been, are, and are to be, the backbone of theNOISE as it continues to exist. And the top spot was even harder to choose than Best Band; so much so that for the last couple of weeks since I began considering the top 10, the top 3 have changed around at least 8 times. And, even up to the point of writing this I changed the top 2 a fair few times. But I'm happy with my final choice. Well, obviously, as I've decided to take it to press finally. But anyway, please keep your arms inside the car at all times, the rollercoaster of excitement that is my album chart of 2012 is about to start...

10. The Gaslight Anthem; HANDWRITTEN
Beautifully written as ever, a sparkling album of gravelly rock and roll. 

9. Young Guns; BONES
 A band with an uncanny knack for producing anthemic songs, their 2nd effort ticks all the boxes on the boxes on the 'British Rock Gem' application form. 

8. Parkway Drive; ATLAS
 Brutal, moody and deeply thoughtful, this is metalcore's finest at the top of their game. 

7. Deftones; KOI NO YOKAN
 Like being hit by a tidal wave in slow-mo - powerful, destructive but simultaneously sombre and beautiful.

6. Rolo Tomassi; ASTRAEA
 A cracking album, full of carefully orchestrated chaos.

5. The Chariot; ONE WING
 Experimetal (see what I did there) at its absolute finest; ballistic and remarkably inventive, and above all brilliant.

4. While She Sleeps; THIS IS THE SIX
 A pure metal record, deep with heavy brutality, contrasting melody and raw emotion. Stonking debut.
3. Muse; THE 2ND LAW
 Diverse, over-the-top, clever and emotional; the height of modern prog.

Simply stunning. Intricately powerful throughout, a really special album. 

 The jewel in the Shikari crown; thought-provoking and well-crafted with such a wide range of sound that they deserve to be a genre in their own right. 

It was nip and tuck between Baroness and Shikari for yonks. But I settled for Shikari in the end because while I could not separate the albums by merit of how good they were - both near-perfect in their own ways - I in the end judged it by how purely addicted I had been to the albums. Put it this way; I still don't pay for Spotify because I'm a tight bastard, and when AFFOC came out on January 16th, I exhausted the play count by that Monday afternoon and bought a copy in the evening (I spent the day looking for my bank card...). It's a triumph of an album, blending genres like there's no tomorrow (should've written this on December 20th) from dubstep to metalcore to beautiful pseudo-ballad (Constellations). So that's why it's theNOISE's Album of 2012. 

While I'm at it, some honourable mentions to the bands that didn't make it into the Top 10/that I meant to give time to reviewing but never got round to, and that had I been more organised/better at running a blog, would have had a place in an expanded countdown:
  • Gojira; L'Enfant Sauvage
  • Gallows; Gallows
  • The Killers; Battle Born
  • Neurosis; Honor Found In Decay
  • Pulled Apart By Horses; Tough Love
  • Architects; Daybreaker
And many more, probably. Stay tuned for my first vlog, to bring things neatly to a close! Hopefully.

BAND OF 2012

Well well then. The end of awards season is almost upon us, with this, the penultimate award to be...awarded...

Some of these awards have been easier to choose than others, but this one may be the most difficult. There have been lots of bands that have all had memorable/awesome/all of the above years, but ultimately there can only be one. Rather than do a conventional countdown, I will introduce the candidates and explain why I picked them as candidates. On with the show...

  1. BARONESS; It's been a tumultuous year for the Atlanta, Georgia rockers. Touring since the start of last year, including a co-headline tour with Meshuggah and Decapitated (tbf never heard of them), appearances at festivals such as Roskilde, Sonisphere France and Orion and an extensive tour in support of recent album Yellow & Green, 2012 was shaping up nicely, considering that Y&G was a fantastic album. However, it all went south in very sudden fashion, when they were involved in a bus crash during the UK leg of their tour in August. Several broken bones, including some fractured vertebrae, and a lot of physical therapy later, and things are looking up for Baroness, as they look to get back on the horse. You wouldn't have blamed them for quitting after such a close near-death experience, but it's their passion for making music that is bringing them back, which is what's earned them this nomination.
  2. ENTER SHIKARI; Success upon success for ES this year. At the turn of the year, their 3rd album A Flash Flood Of Colour debuted in the mainstream charts at #4, an unprecedented achievement for a band very far removed from 'mainstream' music. Then followed a solid year of touring, playing across the world in support of the album in headline shows and festivals such as Australia's Soundwave, South Africa's Oppikoppi Festival, Reading & Leeds, Pukkelpop, Rock am Ring, T In The Park, among many others. Then, after 6 weeks stateside supporting (really though?) Falling In Reverse, it was back to the UK and Europe for the Flash Flood Of Christmas tour. A relentless and highly successful year for Shikari. Oh, and I met Rou the other day in Norwich before a show and he was a lovely guy, even if I came across as a weird twat with a mouthful of Hula Hoops and a shopping bag containing only bran flakes.
  3. MUSE; Not much explanation needed here; fantastic new album The 2nd Law and a huge European arena tour, as well as the announcement of 2013 summer stadium dates, it's been a busy few months for Muse.
  4. MARMOZETS; For such a fledgling band, 2012 has been a breakout year for these lot. With the release of 2nd EP Vexed back in February, which was received with critical acclaim from assorted rock press, and not least of all garnering the prestigious EP of the year from yours truly. Ahem. But being picked up to tour with some big names has also marked their rise, doing shows with the likes of Young Guns, We Are The In Crowd and Your Demise during a Vans Off The Wall tour in autumn, festival appearances including Download and Reading, and being announced as supports for Feed the Rhino and Funeral For A Friend next year, it's been a year of upward trajectory.
  5. ROLO TOMASSI; A year in which RT have had to adapt to a new lineup, with a replacement guitarist and bassist filling in where the original members left off to focus on university education; however, if new album Astraea is anything to go by, the adaptation process seems to have taken mere minutes. A major reshuffle that still produces the band's best album yet, and a successful UK/Europe tour - they've done well.
There are of course other bands that have had amazing years, but remember, theNOISE is but a tiny acorn in the forest of music press, so as it grows I will follow more and more bands, to produce at the end a wider selection of candidates. But, the one winner of Band Of The Year goes to...


It's been a top year for them, and they have established themselves as a big name in the UK's rock scene, and continue to make an ever-growing positive impression upon the world stage. Well done chaps, bring on 2013. And Rou, if you read this and happen to remember me, I'm not that weird. Well...


Just a quick one; following a court appearance over allegations of child sex offences, Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins has been remanded in custody for 3 months, until March 11.
Initial Story

Saturday, 29 December 2012


There will be many awesome things in 2013, the majority of which are yet to be announced, but here's a comprehensive* list of the things we do know are going to happen.

New albums from;
  • Paramore; Paramore (April 9th)
  • Killswitch Engage; ? (April)
  • Queens Of The Stone Age; ? (shrugs)
  • Biffy Clyro; Opposites (January 28th)
  • Bring Me The Horizon; Sempiternal (early 2013 but unknown)
  • Animals As Leaders; ? (shrugs)
  • Everything Everything; Arc (January 14th)
  • 30 Seconds To Mars; ? (unknown but expected by summer)
Download Festival

Muse's Summer Stadium tour

Fall Out Boy reunion**

Mastodon are set to enter the studio to record the follow-up to 2011's The Hunter, but don't expect anything soon - expect another year's tour before we see a new album.

I'll add things as I come across them, but these are the main things I'm looking forward to. Of course, there are/will be tours attached to all the above new album releases, so fingers crossed for UK dates from the foreign bands.

* I'm lying. Comment below if there are any glaring omissions and I will gladly un-omit them, which is to say, add them to the list.
** I'm lying again, although I had a strange dream where it happened but I was Pete Wentz.

Friday, 28 December 2012


Let there be no ado about this - a brief countdown of my top 10 songs from this year, more or less rated on how addicted to them I got. Set? Let's dive in.

The first we heard from The 2nd Law, containing (in my opinion) one of the best bits of music Muse have ever written (in the middle section), and all told a breathtaking live intro.

9. The Chariot; FIRST
The highlight of my 10/10 rated album from the mental metalcore pioneers. Metal x spaghetti western is all I'll say. Genius.
8. Rolo Tomassi; OLD MYSTICS
Full to the brim of shredtacular riffs and general brilliance.
 7. Parkway Drive; DARK DAYS
Brooding from the start, a killer riff, some brutal breakdowns and powerful vocals, it's PWD at their best.
6. Biffy Clyro; STINGIN' BELLE
A joyously triumphant song, and that's before the bagpipes come in. It's just awesome.
5. While She Sleeps; SEVEN HILLS
Everything that makes WSS good - heavy power with melody, emotion and an anthemic chorus.
4. Enter Shikari; GANDHI MATE, GANDHI
An absolute gem that continues to set ES apart. Dubsteppy beats, hardcore breakdowns and a classic Rou rant.
3. Marmozets; GOOD DAYS
I'd have settled for a song's worth of the opening sexalicious bass hook, but no, everything's awesome too. Way to keep getting better, guys.
2. Baroness; EULA
Lyrically clever, beautifully complex; an outstanding song.
A rousing, intentionally ridiculous but brilliant piece of Olympic bombasticness.
So, something Marmozets didn't win? I am still in possession of most of my marbles. Butt I just loved Survival so much, it was over-the-top, inspiring, but at the same time almost a pastiche of itself. The perfect Olympic theme, and a microcosm of why Muse are modern prog rock/the natural successors to the mighty Queen.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

TOP 5 EPs OF 2012

Getting into the meaty bit of my mighty awards season now, into EPs/mini-albums (but come on, they're just longer EPs, really). I've heard a good few this year, and though I didn't get many reviews out for them, I'm doing something anyway. So here goes...


5. Cold Summer; WAKE
ReviewWell-developed mix of post-hardcore and rock stylings.
4. Blitz Kids; NEVER DIE
Big, inspirational rock, though seems to lack a little of their earlier quirky flair.

3. Voragan; CHAOS DREAMS
Ambitious and well-formed first release from fledgling melodic death metal quartet.

Intelligent and complex twiddly goodness from visionary guitarist Javier Reyes, of Animals As Leaders/TRAM fame.

1. Marmozets; VEXED
Unpredictable, mental and downright genius from the future of the UK's punk/rock scene.
So, chalk up Marmozets' second theNOISE award, to go with their Best Live Band gong, prizes that are uber-valuable and worth their weight in Unobtanium. So I just made this, and will shortly be adding an appropriate one to the Live Band post (click on Best Live Band above to be zipped straight there); I hereby award Marmozets with theNOISE's 2012 Best EP/Mini-Album Trophy. Or a NOISY, if you prefer. It'll totally catch on, just you wait.


Members of 2 of my favourite bands celebrated birthdays in the last couple of days.

Yesterday, i.e. Boxing Day, was the 40th/41st (I'm not sure) birthday of Jared Leto, while today (27th December) is Hayley Williams' 24th.

Hurry up with these new albums already.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012


As I mentioned when I originally published my list of awards, the Best Live Band one is even more limited than most because it only takes in who I've been to see this year, which is probably not as many as I'd have liked. So this is a little arbitrary.

In fact, I've searched the history of reviews I've written this year, and there's 1 worth including here. The other 2 were Labrinth and Newton Faulkner, who, to their credit, were very good, but a bit out of place. I also saw the rather epic Muse in October, at Madrid's Palacio de Deportes, but I still haven't got round to writing the review, and I may never. It was an amazing show, but my Best Live Band of 2012 award goes to...


I saw them just the once, supporting Young Guns back in March at the Norwich Arts Centre. Young Guns were great, but special mention is reserved for the 'Zets, who played an awesome set despite being largely unknown by the crowd, had mental energy and capped it off by jumping in the crowd for their final song. Read the full review here.

So I wholeheartedly recommend seeing them when you can, you'll nae regret it.

So here's your trophy, the first theNOISE Best Live Band digi-trophy. Congrats.



Every year has its shit. This is not to revel in it all, and think that the past year has been so - far from it. But it is worth paying attention to.

Near tragedy struck Atlanta's Baroness, who were involved in a bus crash while on tour in the UK. However, as recently as this week Baroness' John Baizley released a statement of his and the band's intent to get back on the horse, after months of recovery and continuing physical therapy - I wish them the best in their ongoing improvement, and hope they're back soon.

The UK's, nay Europe's, festival scene took a blow in 2012 with the surprise and widespread cancellation of Sonisphere Festival, due to 'a weak economy and some bad luck'. A promising lineup with a classic rock flavour then never saw the light of day, with Kiss, Faith No More and a Queen reunion, with Adam Lambert on vocal duties, sadly biting the dust (sorry, had to). Fingers crossed that it gets back up on its feet soon, as it is often blessed with a killer bill (though were it actually running in '13 it would have much to do to surpass Download).  I would also love to go back to the place that took my festival virginity (lol) in 2011.

The rock world was shocked this last week when it surfaced that lead singer of Lostprophets, Ian Watkins, had been arrested on
allegations of child sex offences. Opinions on the band aside, we can only hope these are untrue claims - he will face the court on Wednesday 26th December.

We have also lost a few bands this past year, among them Japanese Voyeurs and Francesqa (others did but I've forgotten them - comment below if there are any more worth mentioning), while legends Alexisonfire also began their final tour, which will end in Hamilton, Ontario on December 30th. Farewell y'all, good luck, you'll be missed.

Lamb Of God's Randy Blythe has been
officially indicted on a charge of manslaughter by the Czech State Attorney's Office in Prague. This follows the death of a fan at a LoG show a couple of years back, in which said fan was reportedly knocked off the stage by Blythe having stormed the stage. It's such an unfortunate thing to have occurred, and I hope the case is resolved cleanly.

And finally, ending on a sombre note (for which I apologise), the biggest tragedy to hit the world of metal this past year, if you hadn't heard about it, was the tragic untimely passing of Suicide Silence vocalist and frontman Mitch Lucker. I've only ever listened to a small handful of their songs, so I can't count myself as a real fan, but I do believe that metal fans in general are a community and a family that I do count myself as part of. So I extend my deepest condolences to his wife, daughter and the rest of his family of bandmates, friends and fans - I know their music meant so much to so many and helped them through difficult times in their lives.

And so I dedicate a specific award to Mitch Lucker, the Fallen Hero of 2012, for fronting a band whose work helped countless people through difficult parts of their lives. May you rest in peace and may your inspiration forever live on.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


The Mayans have just completed the world's biggest and most ancient trolling, so epic that they didn't even exist when it happened. Well done guys, there were more than a handful of gullible sods out there. So now, let the mighty AxeWound begin the partay with a live version (at Radio 1's Maida Vale studio) of the oh-so appropriately titled Post Apocalyptic Party. Liam (Cormier, vocalist for Cancer Bats) absolutely nails the vocals here. Perfect.

Thursday, 20 December 2012


This certainly came as a shock. Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins was yesterday arrested on suspicion of "conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a female under 13 and possession/distribution of indecent images of children" according to the BBC report

While I have often been personally outspoken on matters regarding the band's music, I only hope these allegations aren't true, because it's a horrific thing to consider. Especially considering that Lostprophets are a band that some people love, this could be a horrible tarnish. He appears in court on Wednesday 26th, more as it happens.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012



Killswitch Engage have slated a release date for their as-yet-untitled 6th studio album, and it will land in April 2013. It'll also be the first album in a decade to feature new/old vocalist Jesse Leach, who recently replaced Howard Jones as mic-man after singing on KsE's first 2 albums.

Consider this; Jesse's last album, Alive Or Just Breathing, is widely accepted as a classic of the 21st century in metal. So;

“I came off tour I was filled with energy, ready to go, we knocked out a bunch of stuff. I had joined the band, the record was there, we’re on tour so I really didn’t have time to write. I took the past two months not only recording but writing so I’m there with an idea, being in the other room writing and going to Adam saying, ‘Here’s my idea I just wrote, what do you think?’ So there’s real spontaneity some of the songs that we just finished up. I had maybe five or six solid ideas when I came off tour and the rest had to be developed as we were recording it. It was exciting but at the same time tough because for me I’m digging deep down into my emotions and my psyche trying to come up with stuff that is honest and emotive and relevant, hopefully for the listener. It’s tiring but well worth, anything that’s worth achieving you got to suffer a little bit for it. I think mentally and spiritually and a little bit physically we were suffering but all of that made for an amazing record that I’m really proud of.” (Jesse Leach, speaking to Loudwire)

With those words behind this album, coupled with how good AoJB was...we could be in for a stunner.


Following the horrific bus crash involving Baroness and their crew in August, guitarist/vocalist John Baizley released a short statement through the band's official website late last night. While the severity of the injuries suffered by the band means that they won't be completely back in the very near future, as John writes,

"Simply put: it’s time to get back to it." 
So slowly, but we can hope surely, Baroness is far, far from over, and will be returning soon. The full post from John Baizley reads like this;

"Simply put: it’s time to get back to it. Since my belated and thankful return to the USA (after our painful test in motorcoach-aeronautics) i can definitively say i’ve exhausted my reserve of potential leisure activities (there’s not that many of them, after all). in recent weeks, i’ve come dreadfully close to boredom, and in those moments i can’t help but focus on my glaring physical infirmities. television offers little respite from this relative stasis; i’m sure by now i have sampled every biker-meth-dealer-zombie-low-talking-cop-crime-scene-serial-killer-real-housewife soap opera that is currently being broadcast (and there’s no small number of them). i’ve tried to fill my weekly routine with as much physical therapy as possible but the truth is, PT is not fun, and its benefits come with a great deal of mental/physical/spiritual pain and struggle. furthermore, i believe am getting a touch of Stockholm syndrome when it comes to my doctors and therapists (the highlight of my week should NOT involve a clinic). music might be the best therapy i have right now. perhaps it’s both the cause and the cure (the thought has crossed my mind); but i feel lost without it. Pete and i have just spent a long week surveying our musical wreckage and, surprisingly, we are quite well and intact. sure, there’s some substantial obstacles to overcome before we write, record or perform any time soon; but we still have everything we need to get “back in” that particular “saddle again”. Most of my peers are familiar with such high-school-gym-teacher poeticisms as “risk equals reward” and “no pain, no gain”; but did any of us every really believe there was any real wisdom in those adolescent platitudes? i didn’t. i am, however, starting to understand the essence of these and many of our other favorite cliches.
as odd as it might be for me to write these “updates” after 10 years of personal silence on the internet, i feel that i owe everyone who’s voiced or given their support to  Baroness a brief synopsis of our situation and more importantly a heartfelt thanks. honestly, it has made this ordeal much easier on me. what little publicity that surrounds our crash has given voice to so many people who have shared their own stories of injury, trauma and struggle with us, and has furthered my own faith in the communicative and universal strength of music. as every singer on every stage has nightly said, “we wouldn’t be where we are without you.” thanks everyone. we look forward to seeing you soon. here’s a short clip of a song we wrote.
j. "

And that clip accompanying this note is a wonderful acoustic rendition of Stretchmarker, taken from the Green Album, part of their recent double album Yellow & Green, my 5* (before I switched to the /10 system) review of which can be read here.

Monday, 17 December 2012


Incredibly, this third of Paramore is only 23.

23. Damnnnnnn.

So Taylor, happy birthday! Personally, I can't wait to hear what you guys have been brewing up in the studio - I was away from a computer when I heard the news about Paramore's new self-titled album, due out on April 9th 2013, so nothing about it until this post. But needless to say, I'm excited and intrigued to hear what's been going on in the Paramore camp. 

The first single to come from Paramore is to be called Now, but for now that's all we've got to go on. More as it happens.

WEEK IN REVIEW; 10/12/12 - 16/12/12

So, in case you missed any posts from this last week (there weren't many, to be fair), this is the first of what I hope to instate as weekly round-ups. So heeeeere we go!

  • theNOISE expanded into the realms of it's own social media accounts; I'm now on Twitter as @yesthisisnoise, and you can follow/Tweet posts using the above ^ buttons. Google Plus happened as well, but I don't get it so... Facebook and MySpace are to follow soon, and I have every intention to begin occasional vlogs, so a YouTube account may also see the light of day.
  • You can also get in touch with me via email, at
  • Review-wise, I put out my views on new albums by Rolo Tomassi and Parkway Drive (btdubs, they're both great albums. What does btdubs even refer to?). I even got retweets from Rolo and PWD's shouty man Winston, which was awesome in a nerdy, internet way.
  • And finally, because it was only a quiet week, the only news item I deigned to report was the addition of the mighty Mastodon to Download Festival 2013.
Ok, so that was a brief week in review! Stay tuned this coming week for reviews of Marmozets, Blitz Kids, Deftones, a long-overdue review of Muse live in Madrid, among others!

Only 8 days until Christmas now (like you didn't know), so to help you stay festive, here's Corey Taylor's X-M@$!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

ALBUM REVIEW; ATLAS by Parkway Drive

ATLAS by Parkway Drive
Serious stuff from Oz' finest metal export - deep, thoughtful, developed, and of course, brutal as f*ck.

You only have to look at the themes of PWD's releases over the years to see how they've matured as a band - from the early days of Killing With A Smile that hated things, through existence and monsters in Horizons and exploring the concept of feeling lost in Deep Blue, we arrive at the end of the world in Atlas. Yet through all this they've grown into and maintained a status as maybe the best metalcore act in the world, and this new release continues that upward trajectory - as a group, they have really pushed the boat (surfboard? They are beach bums at heart...) out and created something special.

A stand-out aspect of Atlas is the ambition, in terms of both content and musicality. The message of the album is clear; we've got a screwed-up planet that needs fixing; "there will be no future if we don't learn from our mistakes" (Dark Days). It's a big message, and this underlying theme stays strong throughout the 48 minutes of top-quality metal, but never overrides the music. But that music...

The voice is as much of an instrument as anything else, and vocalist Winston McCall has the most powerful voice I've ever heard in metalcore - watch live videos of PWD if you don't believe me - and it's a voice on form here, ripping out deep growls and strong highs without difficulty, but also exploring the more mellow semi-spoken side of vocals when the music takes that turn. McCall also delivers the lyrical content of Atlas with fantastic force - it's a dream combo of anthemic, memorable and overall memorable lyricism sung with emotion and belief in the content. 

As hinted at, we are treated to Parkway's more melodic side amongst the classic riff brutality that they're so good at. It is, in fact, one of the main ways that this album is so ambitious. The opening track to an album has to be killer and set the tone for the rest, and Sparks delivers with a quiet intro that builds into a grand, epic strings-fest that puts the whole album on a huge scale. Tracks such as The River and Atlas explore a more semi-acoustic vein, and darker, moodier riffs come to light on The Slow Surrender. But there is still the crushing heaviness that we know so well throughout, most evident on lead single Dark Days and album highlights Snake Oil & Holy Water and Blue & The Grey, the two tracks that see out the album, and these are as brutal as ever. 

In Atlas, Parkway Drive have produced a record that I would go as far as calling a metalcore classic. It has power in abundance, anthemic songs as far as the eye can see, some truly epic goosebump-inducing moody moments (intro to Dark Days. Trust me) and explores a more thought-provoking side without diluting what the band fundamentally are. A triumph.

Thursday, 13 December 2012


I'm jumping on the social media bandwagon, but only after it's just circumnavigated the globe with Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman. I'm slow to latch onto things.

BUT...the exciting* new thing what I done did was to create both a Twitter and Google +1 account for this here blog, and you can do up to all 3 of the following with such ease by clicking the various buttons, now at the top of each blog post;

  1. Follow the blog's Twitter @yesthisisnoise
  2. Tweet my posts
  3. +1 my posts. I'll be honest though, I haven't got the foggiest idea how Google + works. I may understand eventually. I'm treating it as a hipster Facebook. Can anyone offer an explanation on G+?
And now I must away! for there are albums that need listening to and subsequent reviews that need doing!

The irony of this post is of course that you may well read this from Twitter anyway. But please FOLLOW ME (WHOAHOHOHOOHHHHHHH)! Ten points to Gryffindor if you get that reference.

* excitement not guaranteed, although probable.


So in my eyes the lineup for Download Festival was already looking significantly badass, headlined by Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein and supported by, among others, Queens Of The Stone Age, Bullet For My Valentine, 30 Seconds To Mars, Motorhead, The Gaslight Anthem and Stone Sour. Then, these guys happened to the lineup.

 Being my absolute favourite band that isn't Muse (who will always hold the top spot), the addition of Mastodon to Download's bill is almost magnetically drawing £200 for a weekend ticket out of my bank account.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Rolo Tomassi; ASTRAEA
Sheffield math-nutters find their sound in ambitiously polished space epic.

There is no denying that Rolo Tomassi are not, nor will they ever be, to everyone's taste. The same can be said for any band, in all honesty, but RT more so than the majority of bands. For years they have been an (in this reviewer's opinion) an underrated gem of Britain's rock scene, with great potential that they have come so close to delivering with their earlier efforts. And finally, with Astraea, they have come of age with an album that appeals to a wider audience, while maintaining their classic, quirky-x1000 strangeness.

As a record, Astraea develops their sound from the often unmitigated chaos they've been occasionally prone to, into a thing of genius that is still fundamentally said chaos at heart. Imagine, if you will, a piece of stained glass smashed into pieces and rearranged into a gorgeous mosaic - there's beauty at it's core, anarchy in the process and an eventual finished artwork made of the results of this entropy. 

Musically there are a lot of influences to be heard - riffs with hints of prog metal and djent (Gloam, The Scales of Balance), near-classical moments (Prelude II: Echolalia), take-note-Trent-Reznor post rock (a beautiful draw into the opener Howl) and haunting/mental synth-work littered throughout. Much credit is due for the new members of RT, following their reshuffle; new guitarist Chris Cayford and bassist Nathan Fairweather's influence in the creative process is distinctive, as both guitar and bass are pushed hard into being bloody awesome (the bass in the middle of Illunis is one of my favourite parts of the record). 

Vocal-wise, frontwoman/adorable banshee Eva Spence's screams are stronger and more powerful than ever, ably supported by synthman brother James. Yet in Astraea a more concerted foray into clean singing is evident, with Eva's voice utilised far more in the albums quieter/moodier moments - a microcosm of all this comes in lead single Ex Luna Scientia.

Astraea is an excellent album, hands down. My only criticism comes from one singular moment, the transition between Prelude II: Echolalia and my favourite track Echopraxia - it's the abrupt shift in tempo that sets RT apart, but it's almost too abrupt and violent for me. That said, it's one small blip in an album that crests and subsides in power and beauty, from the post-rock intro to the sweeping grandeur of closer Illuminare

The quintet's best work yet - a well-developed record that brings refinement to their classically gorgeous chaos, without losing their individual edge.

Monday, 10 December 2012


I keep making grand statements about revamping the blog, getting going again, only for it not to happen. Partially, I blame my computer, for working then not working then (currently) working again, though I'm not optimistic. I also blame (not quite the right sentiment) everything I've been doing here in Spain - travelling, working - basically, a lifestyle change that's pushed this, my baby, out of the way. And I'm happy to let it do so. 

BUT! I'm used to my new lifestyle now, and I'm dialling in how to make the time to do everything that I want to do, which includes trying to get this above and beyond its' former 'glory'. Think of it as a pre-emptive New Year's Resolution if you will; 2013 will be the year I start actually doing things and not procrastinating. Not all the time anyway. 

My aims, as ever, are simple. Post more. Expand. I may start vlogging, might be a fun experiment. If I invest in a new laptop that could handle such demanding tasks as video filming/editing. Anyway, I have one final act for 2012, to round off the year- ironically one of the things that made me start a blog on Tumblr, 2 and a half years ago, the first incarnation of what you're now reading - it's the first theNOISE Music Awards!

Keeping it small-scale, so I don't swamp myself, I have a few categories:

  • Best Band of '12
  • Favourite Live Band (an admittedly narrow category of course, dependent on who I've seen)
  • Best Song...
  • Best New Band
  • Things To Watch in 2013
  • Best EPs/Mini-Albums of 2012
  • And the main event...Top 10 Albums of  2012
  • I also feel appropriate to add 2 extraneous categories created for the the recipient(s) alone.
  • Maybe a 'Things That Were In Some Way Sh*t In 2012'
So, I said there wouldn't be many...slight lie, but I've got most of them shortlisted, and I'm beginning work on them now. I'm thinking of putting them out just after Christmas, mainly to allow myself the time to add finishing touches to reviews, but I will chuck out a few band names now to give an idea of what's to come.

Up for my valuable awards are;
Gojira, Parkway Drive, Falling In Reverse, Blitz Kids, Muse, While She Sleeps, Biffy Clyro, Deftones, The Chariot, Enter Shikari, Neurosis, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Gaslight Anthem and Baroness, among many others. I still haven't decided Album of '12, for me the biggest, so it's going to be an arduous few weeks of listening to music. Oh life. x