Album Reviews

The Offspring

Let The Bad Times Roll

The Offspring Let The Bad Times Roll Album Cover
The Offspring – ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’

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Was anybody craving a new album from The Offspring in 2021? Where would you set your expectations for such a release? ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ arrives some nine years since its predecessor ‘Days Go By’.

In fact the band have exercised a very sparse release schedule since their last Platinum record – 2000’s ‘Conspiracy of One’. With ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ just the fourth album in the last 21 years, how would this record size-up with their early material.

Listen to ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ on our Spotify Hot List!

The answer is teased from the outset with ‘This Is Not Utopia’, ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ and ‘Behind Your Walls’ capturing the energy of their biggest hits. Theories of a toned down The Offspring are quickly dispelled as the album shows little ease.

There is a maturity on this album that I’d liken to a Bad Religion model of teenage angst through the eyes of a wise old punk rocker. That brings a sense of relevance to the release that may have been missing had the band simply tried to mirror early successes.

The fact is that at this stage of their career The Offspring didn’t need to release an album. They have enough in their arsenal to coast through sell out shows and major festival slots. They could be forgiven for playing on nostalgia until they retire. They haven’t done that however. They have chosen to stick their necks out and release new music for the first time in a long time.

The Offspring – ‘Coming For You’

‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ is unlikely to reach the heights of ‘Conspiracy of One’, but somewhat surprisingly that isn’t down to its quality. This album will actually gain the band additional credibility and will sit very nicely with their back catalogue.

Was anybody craving a new album from The Offspring in 2021? Perhaps not, but actually in this messed up world we live in, maybe, just maybe, we needed it!

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Read our review of ‘The Bitter Truth’ from Evanescence

Album Reviews

Greta Van Fleet

The Battle at Garden’s Gate

Greta Van Fleet The Battle Of Garden's Gate Album Cover
Greta Van Fleet – ‘The Battle At Garden’s Gate’

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Greta Van Fleet erupted onto the scene in 2016 and their early releases solidified them as “ones to watch” and “the future of rock”. Their debut album harnessed this early promise and fulfilled exactly what was needed from it at the time.

Now as 2021 creeps into summer, the band return with their highly anticipated second album with many questions to be answered. Can they maintain the quality? Are they a one trick pony? Can they dispel the critics that they are Led Zeppelin copycats?

From their previous releases you know that the band aren’t afraid to be themselves, despite those comparisons to Plant and co. Whilst they have managed great commercial success they don’t appear to chase the mainstream as it were. Before even starting to listen to ‘The Battle At Garden’s Gate’, I clock the runtime of over an hour. I know that this will be a journey, but what will I find on the way?

Well, this is most definitely a Greta Van Fleet record! Their sound, unique or not, is distinctive and there is no escaping that here. This does however feel like an album whereby the group have made a conscious effort, perhaps not to escape comparisons, but to outgrow them.

Greta Van Fleet – ‘Heat Above’

‘Heat Above’, ‘My Way, Son’ and ‘Broken Bells’ welcome us on our journey through the evolution of Greta Van Fleet. These songs typifying what will follow, packed with delicious riffs and hauntingly powerful vocals.

The album flows well as it really needs to at this length. There is enough variation and distinction to retain your attention as the record progresses through the fantastic ‘Age of Machine’, ‘Stardust Chords’ and ‘The Barbarians’.

Listen to ‘Age of Machine’ on our Spotify Hot List!

For anybody that had any doubts about the natural talents of this group of musicians, they should now acknowledge a new force. This band are no longer the future of rock, they are now very much the present!

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Read our review of ‘Waiting For Good Luck’ from The Treatment

Album Reviews

Holding Absence

The Greatest Mistake Of My Life

Holding Absence The Greatest Mistake Of My Life Album Cover
Holding Absence – ‘The Greatest Mistake Of My Life’

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Holding Absence – The Greatest Mistake Of My Life – Album Review

Holding Absence have come of age on their second album. As soon as you press play, you are welcomed by a more mature sounding band. By the time you finish listening you feel that the band may have just created their masterpiece.

The Welsh group has seen a number of line-up changes since their formation in 2015, with the most recent being the loss of bassist James Joseph at the start of this year. Oddly that means that there are now no founding members remaining in the group. This may be a problem that often befalls older acts of yesteryear, but rarely a child age band.

This is however the same group of members that released their self-titled debut album in 2019. Now returning with their follow up album, this is the group that should take the band into the future. And with a release like ‘The Greatest Mistake Of My Life’ that future is set to be bright.

Holding Absence – ‘Celebration Song’

This is an uplifting, soaring effort from the band with ‘Celebration Song’ and ‘Curse Me With Your Kiss’ setting the tone early. That’s before the magnificent ‘Afterlife’ bursts out of the pack as the anthemic highlight of a very good bunch of songs.

Listen to ‘Afterlife’ on our Spotify Hot List!

There are moments of grandeur that harness the bands expansive sound spread throughout ‘The Greatest Mistake Of My Life’. These help to capture a moment in time when a band takes a step up to the next level.

Holding Absence have been a band with great promise, now they are a band that has delivered on that promise. The world is there for the taking and you couldn’t go far wrong by betting on this band to capture it!

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Read our review of ‘The Bitter Truth’ from Evanescence

Album Reviews

The Treatment

Waiting For Good Luck

The Treatment Waiting For Good Luck Album Cover
The Treatment – ‘Waiting For Good Luck’

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The Treatment – Waiting For Good Luck – Album Review

‘Waiting For Good Luck’ is an apt title for the fifth studio album from Cambridge rockers The Treatment. Since bursting onto the scene and being hailed as the next big thing, the band have suffered a somewhat Spinal Tapesque rotation of members.

Unlike that group, it’s not the drummer that’s the problem! Dhani Mansworth being one of only two original members left from their 2008 foundation. Together with guitarist Tagore Grey, Mansworth has seen a revolving door of members including latest addition, bassist Andy Milburn.

Listen to our Spotify Hot List!

This has included three singers, with current vocalist Tom Rampton joining in 2017. Completed by Tao Grey on guitar, the band will be hoping for some stability and good luck moving forward. They will hope that ‘Waiting For Good Luck’ is the start of that process.

From the beginning of opening number ‘Rat Race’ onwards, you grow a sense that they may be in luck after all. Whilst this album delivers exactly the sound that you would expect from The Treatment, it delivers it very well.

Watch ‘Rat Race’ on Youtube!

There are plenty of songs on this album that rate amongst the best that the band has produced. ‘Take It or Leave It’, ‘Lightning in a Bottle’, ‘Hold Fire’ and ‘Wrong Way’ lead the way but the rest of the album isn’t far behind.

You almost wait for a dip in quality that thankfully doesn’t come. From start to finish ‘Waiting For Good Luck’ delivers on the promise that has always surrounded The Treatment. The hope now has to be for that good luck to arrive and for the band to be able to push ahead as a group.

After all fans of Tuckman’s Theory of Group Development know that to perform you need to work through the forming, storming and norming stages. (I bet you didn’t expect to see Tuckman reference in a music review!).

With this fifth album you finally feel that The Treatment are ready to deliver their best performance!

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Read our review of ‘Smith/Kotzen’ from Smith/Kotzen

Album Reviews

The Snuts


The Snuts W.L. Album Cover
The Snuts – ‘W.L.’

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The Snuts – W.L. – Album Review

The release of The Snuts debut album really has been a long time coming. The band initially hoped to release the album once the pandemic was over. Of course that appears some way off, and having released the first single ‘All Your Friends’ back in May 2019, the time has come for ‘W.L.’.

The Snuts – ‘All Your Friends’

The Snuts have steadily built a solid fanbase and ‘W.L.’ will only continue the upwards trajectory of these young Scots. Whilst much of the album was already ‘out there’ due to the prolonged release, this is still a significant milestone for a band with great potential.

‘W.L.’ is a strong debut album that lays the foundations of what will likely be a long and successful career. The album is packed full of charm and idiosyncrasy which helps to distinguish it from being just another indie record.

The likes of ‘Juan Belmonte’, ‘Somebody Loves You’ and ‘Glasgow’ are destined to grace setlists for years to come. That said it’s hard to single out tracks for praise due to the overall quality of the album.

Listen to ‘Juan Belmonte’ on our Spotify Hot List!

The deluxe edition of the album features four additional unreleased tracks which help to ensure that ‘W.L.’ feels fresh.  In total across the seventeen tracks there is plenty to get your teeth around and savour.

This does feel like the start of a great journey for the band. Expect The Snuts to continue to grow when they are able to take this album on the road. Then, who knows, perhaps we won’t have to wait as long for album number two!

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Read our review of ‘Written & Directed’ from Black Honey

Album Reviews

The Fratellis

Half Drunk Under A Full Moon

The Fratellis Album Cover Half Drunk Under A Full Moon
The Fratellis – ‘Half Drunk Under A Full Moon’

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The Fratellis – Half Drunk Under A Full Moon – Album Review

Since returning from their three year hiatus in 2012 The Fratellis haven’t been shy about releasing new music. Whilst many bands of their generation are now happy to milk the nostalgia cow, The Fratellis have now released four albums in eight years.

The case of The Fratellis is an interesting one when you consider that upon their break in 2009 they were on the cusp of bigger things. They had worked towards the top of major festival bills and were playing larger and larger shows.

Their break coincided with the peak of the indie boom of the mid-2000’s, and the band returned when the world was declaring guitar music dead. It does make you wonder where the band would be without that break.

The Fratellis – ‘Half Drunk Under A Full Moon’

The quality of the bands releases since their reconvention has been high but, probably more as a sign of the times, they haven’t enjoyed the same mainstream success. Listening to their latest effort ‘Half Drunk Under A Full Moon’, it’s a different listening experience to that of their first two albums. That isn’t a bad thing however.

In reality it seems that the band are writing for themselves now. There are no megahits such as ‘Chelsea Dagger’ to be found and that feels as though it’s by design. The Fratellis aren’t a nostalgia band but they also aren’t a band striving for the bright lights. They appear comfortable in their own shoes and that allows them the freedom to create quality music without needing to be pigeonholed.

Listen to ‘Six Days In June’ on our Spotify Hot List!

‘Half Drunk Under A Full Moon’ is able to suck you in and hold your attention. You get lost in the pleasant and subtly upbeat tempo of the title track, ‘Strangers In The Street’ and ‘Living In The Dark’. These songs are perfect for a late afternoon festival slot, sat with a drink, tapping your foot. There isn’t anything to really get you up and bouncing, but let’s face it The Fratellis have those songs in abundance.

This album is a lovely addition to the catalogue of a band happy to be different. It may not break any doors down but it doesn’t need to. Where would The Fratellis be without that break? Probably not here, but here is where they seem comfortable and happy, which is actually a pretty good description of this album!

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Read our review of ‘Nature Always Wins’ from Maximo Park

Album Reviews



Smith/Kotzen Album Cover
Smith/Kotzen – ‘Smith/Kotzen’

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Smith/Kotzen – Smith/Kotzen – Album Review

It’s that age old question. What do you get when you put Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith and the much travelled Richie Kotzen in a studio together? Well, perhaps not; the answer however is magic!

Yes, all too often much heralded partnerships or so called supergroups are over hyped only to under deliver. That isn’t the case here as Smith and Kotzen combine for the creatively titled Smith/Kotzen. Together they have created an album of superb blues infused hard rock, equally creatively called ‘Smith/Kotzen’!

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Perhaps all their creativity was used up in recording this brilliant album and when it came to promotion they were all out of ideas! Seriously though, this is an impressive collection of songs that echoes the shere talent involved.

It feels as though the duo complement each other perfectly. They are able to stretch their legs without stepping on each other’s toes. Smith excels from the comfortable confines of house Maiden and Kotzen demonstrates his unrivalled talents.

Smith/Kotzen – ‘Taking My Chances’

From the openings of ‘Taking My Chances’ all the way to the closing moments of ‘Til Tomorrow’, there isn’t much let up in quality. Smith and Kotzen can be proud of what they have achieved on Smith/Kotzen; even if they can’t be proud of their naming abilities!

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Read our review of ‘Written & Directed’ by Black Honey

Album Reviews


The Bitter Truth

Evanescence The Bitter Truth Album Cover
Evanescence – ‘The Bitter Truth’

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Evanescence – The Bitter Truth – Album Review

Evanescence are an interesting entity. Officially a group for over 25 years but with only three all original studio albums if we don’t include 2017’s ‘Synthesis’. Amy Lee remains the only original member, and only member to survive from 2003’s breakthrough debut album ‘Fallen’.

It can’t be argued that the band are not absolutely huge despite this lack of new material. In fact, you are left to wonder what a more prolific band could have achieved. Now in 2021, the band are back with their first all new studio album since their self-titled 2011 release.

What should we expect from the band? Can they produce anything as good as their early albums? Well, it’s evident from very early on that this is a return to form for the band. There is plenty of what we have come to expect from Evanescence but there is also a good deal of experimentation. Certainly enough to keep the album interesting as it progresses.

Listen to ‘Better Without You’ on our Spotify Hot List!

‘Feeding The Dark’ and ‘Better Without You’ remind you how gloriously heavy yet anthemic the band can get. Meanwhile ‘Use My Voice’, ‘Take Cover’ and ‘Far From Heaven’ help to explore the versatility of the band.

Evanescence – ‘Use My Voice’

Having gone ten years since their last album you could be forgiven for questioning the bands drive. With a release like ‘The Bitter Truth’ however you must now question what could have been had the band managed a more regimented release schedule.

What ‘The Bitter Truth’ does is make you remember just how good Evanescence can be, and hope that it’s not another ten years before they follow it up!

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Read our review of ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ from Rob Zombie

Album Reviews

Black Honey

Written & Directed

Black Honey Written & Directed Album Cover
Black Honey – ‘Written & Directed’

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Black Honey – Written & Directed – Album Review

Black Honey arrived on the scene about five years ago full of swagger and energy, and their second album, ‘Written & Directed’ does exactly the same. The record bursts into action from the very start with ‘I Like The Way You Die’ and ‘Run For Cover’ packing a huge punch.

If their 2018 self-titled debut album was a statement of intent, then ‘Written & Directed’ is the band delivering on their promise. The band manages to maintain their unique throwback sound that has been their trademark since their 2014 inception, whilst ensuring that there is demonstrable progression.

That is achieved through adding a grandness to songs such as ‘Beeches’ and ‘Believer’. While much of the bands early work managed to sound huge in small venues, you sense on this album that many of these songs are born to engulf much larger spaces.

Listen to ‘Believer’ on our Spotify Hot List!

What is great to see here is a band that refuses to compromise. They are also a band that are hard to pigeonhole by any particular genre. They produce a distinctive sound that can only be classed as Black Honey. Thankfully that identity is embraced fully here as they navigate that sometimes troublesome second album.

‘Disinfect’ is fantastic example of a song that could have gone various routes. Instead it manages to merge these elements to great effect, creating a sonic blast to your ears!

Black Honey – ‘Disinfect’

Black Honey are a rare talent that have now reinforced their passion and ability to create great music for anybody who wants to listen but without concession on their vision. ‘Fire’ and ‘Gabrielle’ close ‘Written & Directed’ out perfectly and bookend this short but powerful release from a band growing in confidence.

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Read our review of ‘Fractured Party Music’ from Pet Needs


News Report

We roundup the best music news from the past week!

Every week we roundup the best music news from the past week in our News Report. To stay up to date with the biggest news be sure to follow us on our social channels:

Slam Dunk unveil line-up for rescheduled Festival

Slam Dunk Festival Poster

The trend of festivals selling out continues following the recent government roadmap announcement. We again start our News Report this week with the pick of the festival news.

Up first is Slam Dunk Festival. The organisers had already announced that the twin event would move to the 4th and 5th of September at Leeds Temple Newsam and Hatfield Park. Now they have unveiled a line-up that includes headliners Sum 41 and Don Broco!

Also on the festival bill is a collection of some of our favourites including Reel Big Fish, A, Dream State, Normandie and Wargasm. Pick up your tickets here.

Read our review of ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’ from Normandie

Bloodstock brings in Kreator

Bloodstock Festival Poster

Another event cementing their 2021 line-up this week is Bloodstock Festival. Having lost Mercyful Fate from the Saturday headline slot, the organisers have moved quickly to bring in Kreator to fill that spot.

They join the already announced Judas Priest, Skindred and Saxon. Pick up your ticket here.

Steelhouse Festival reveals their final three

Steelhouse Festival Poster

We also saw this week the final three acts announced for a fantastic looking Steelhouse Festival. The Wildhearts, Bernie Marsden and Wayward Sons join the likes of Anthrax, Europe, Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons, Therapy? and Those Damn Crows.

Rockers rejoice and grab your tickets here.

Read our review of ‘We’re The Bastards’ from Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons

Black Deer deliver strong line-up

Black Deer Poster News Report

Our final festival coverage this week goes to a stunning line-up from Black Deer Festival in Kent. The event is set to feature performances from Van Morrison, Saving Grace, Frank Turner, Imelda May and Emily Barker.

You can grab your tickets here.

Read our tribute to Frank Turner’s Independent Venue Love series

Enter Shikari reveal rescheduled tour with new dates added

Enter Shikari Poster News Report

It isn’t just festivals maneuvering in the wake of the governments roadmap. Tours have been also been adjusting to those plans. This week has seen more rescheduling from the likes of Biffy Clyro and Enter Shikari. The latter even adding in five additional dates!

Lincoln, Hull, Bristol, Liverpool and Leeds will now also get to witness the majesty of Enter Shikari with Dinosaur Pile-Up and Nova Twins in tow. Grab any remaining tickets here.

Fatherson plan huge UK tour

Fatherson poster News Report

Another tour announced this week will see the incredible Fatherson hit the road for a lengthy trek around the UK. This promises to be one not to miss and you can pick up your tickets here.

Read our review of ‘Fractured Party Music’ from Pet Needs

Korn announce massive livestream event

Korn has announced details of a massive global livestream event taking place on Saturday 24th April 2021. Announcing the event frontman Jonathan Davis said “We hope you take part in this experience with us. And though it is not the same as performing live with you here, we still want to bring you some great music and a fun show.”

The show promises “hits, rare and sought-after deep cuts and select tracks from their latest album”. The event will be shot in downtown LA on the set of Stranger Things! Interest piqued? Grab your tickets here.

Read our blog ‘Livestream: Good or Bad for the Music Industry’

Yonaka drop new single ‘Ordinary’

Yonaka – ‘Ordinary’

We move now into our new music section of our weekly news roundup. This week we were treated to the second single from the upcoming second album from Yonaka. ‘Ordinary’ is further evidence that the new album will be very special.

Listen to ‘Seize The Power’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Gary Numan unveils ‘I Am Screaming’

Gary Numan – ‘I Am Screaming’

Gary Numan has also released the second single from his upcoming album. ‘I Am Screaming’ will feature on ‘Intruder’ which is due for release on May 21st.

Pre-order your copy here.

Listen to ‘Intruder’ on our Spotify Hot List!

Danko Jones ready new album

Danko Jones – ‘I Want Out’

Finally this week, news from Danko Jones. The band will be releasing their tenth studio album, ‘Power Trio’, on August 27th. In announcing the album, the band also unveiled the first single ‘I Want Out’.

Pre-order your copy here.

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Read our review of ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ from Rob Zombie