HEKZ – Caerus
Cherry Red Records [Released 03.11.14]
This is the second album from up and coming UK based progressive metal band HeKz. They have been picked up by Cherry Red Records who will do a good job I am sure of getting this band more well known.
The band have a sound not unlike say Threshold and vocalist (and bassist!) Matt Young has a high searing vocal at times reminiscent of Damian Wilson. There are two excellent songs on here, the brooding menace of ‘Progress And Failure’ with plenty of biting guitar riffs. Then we have ‘Disconnect The World’, all about trying to disconnect yourself from the constant stream of information in the modern world.
They create some marvelous soundscapes and this album they have added keyboards/synths which always help make progressive metal have a bigger sound. This helps a lot on for example ‘Left Of Hand Of God’.
Well worth listening to if you enjoy well played and constructed progressive metal. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
‘Are you serious?’
Starset is a rock band from Columbus, Ohio formed by Dustin Bates the former lead singer of Downplay (nope, I’ve not heard of them either) after being invited by conspiracy theorists The Starset Society to promote the organisation.
The Society believe that scientific discovery is being controlled and manipulated by an elite few. Now I know that these are widespread (minority) beliefs so is this is a genuine attempt to brainwash a new recruits?
The reality, I suspect, is that it’s little more than a cunning ruse to make the band ‘stand out’, and the fact that the insignia on the CD bears a striking resemblance to the Captain Scarlet Spectrum logo does make you think someone is taking the proverbial …
But regardless of the marketing, Transmissions is a pretty decent debut into the field the band describe as ‘cinematic rock’. But is doesn’t break any new ground and is rooted in the genre made popular by the likes of Linkin Park and currently championed by the likes of Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil (minus female vocals).
So what you get is a pretty polished set of numbers that start low key with melodic vocals before exploding into a barrage of bombastic metal/symph riffs, and soaring choruses. If that’s your bag, then Transmissions give the more established acts in a genre a decent run for their money. But, to be honest, it’s a sound that’s already beginning to sound – to more seasoned ears – like it has perhaps run its course.
I’d like to say ‘only in America’ but with the right exposure Starset could easily find widespread favour in Europe as well. But whether they need the subterfuge of the The Starset Society is debateable. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
HANNE KOLSTO – Forever Maybe
[Release date 19.01.15]
Hanne Kolsto releases this, her fourth album and she has already had praise from the likes of Q magazine and the Sunday Times. She produces a lot of this with Morten Martens, who has worked with artists like Love:Fi in the past.
This is an album full of dreamy vocals with lashings of synths and electro beats. A song like ‘We Don’t See Ourselves’ has an 80′s Depeche Mode backing and the blissfully soothing vocals of Hanne on top of the music. This and ‘Nothing To Talk About’ are sure fire radio hits if given the chance.
Classy and enjoyable synth pop, with some real stand out tunes. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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