Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Music Review : The Red Shore - Unconsecrated

The Red Shore Deliver A Promising Debut album

After the tragic crash which ended the life of vocalist Damien Morris and Merchandiser Andy Milner, Many expected The Red Shore to call it a day. But the Australian quintet have done more than just continue the band, they have managed to bounce back.


While The Red Shore secured the majority of their fan base with an EP that was negatively received by the metal community, “Unconsecrated” Is an impressive Death metal affair with technical flourishes. The Hardcore traces from the EP are almost completely absent on “Unconsecrated”. Although there are easily heard flickers of the current Deathcore fad. Make no mistake, although this album contains breakdowns, it is not a deathcore album.


On 'Unconsecrated', The Red Shore have created an album that combines the sounds of The Black Dahlia Murder, “Genesis” era Job for a Cowboy and fellow Australians Thy Art Is Murder. Instrumentally the album is well executed. Both guitarists provide riffs which rarely stray from the chugging, dissonant style which have been heard before by different bands. This is disappointing, as when they do experiment the result is much more interesting and could come straight out of a Psycroptic Or Beneath The Massacre album (Opening riff of “Slain By The Serpent” or 00:50 seconds on “The Architects Of Repulsion”).


The Bass guitar can be well heard throughout the album, which although refreshing, has no real impact on the album as bassist Jon Green doesn’t show any real creativity and relies heavily on the Guitarists for his parts.


Drummer Jake Green is an extremely talented drummer, but If you hear past the wall of double kicking and blast beats nothing is done which hasn’t been heard before (Admittedly it is hard to break new drumming ground in death metal) and similar to many other bands, his kit is more triggered than the U.S. Army. Although this Is necessary in a live setting every thing seems a bit artificial on record.


Many people contribute vocals to “Unconsecrated”. These include lead vocalist (Former Bassist) Jamie Hope on 6 tracks, and recently deceased Damien Morris on the other 4. One can only assume these were included as a tribute to him. Both vocalists have a similar style of delivery, although Damien Morris is slightly superior in both Low growls and High shrieks. Many guest vocalists appear on this album,(Vocalists of All Shall Perish, Bring Me The Horizon, Zao and Bleeding Through) most of which are barely discernable from the full time vocalist. The one exception however is Brandon Schieppati’s (Bleeding Through) contribution on “The Architects Of Repulsion” as his instantly recognizable scream can be heard amongst the distorted riffs.


While The Red Shore bring nothing new to the table, their fusion of Death Metal with a tinge of hardcore is thoroughly enjoyable over the 34 minutes. Although they have many flaws, they have proved to be ahead of the pack and exceeded my expectations with this album, and for that I give this a 7/10.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Music Review : The Faceless - Planetary Duality

Following their explosive debut "Akeldama" The Faceless are back with a more mature sound and songwriting sensibility.

Planetary Duality is a loose concept album, based around alien invasion. Knowing this, and viewing the amazing album artwork (Same artist as Spawn of Possession’s “Noctambulant”) gives off a very spacey feel. The album itself definitely follows this trend.

Planetary Duality introduces a more progressive side to the Faceless, incorporating a diverse range of influences to create an intense tech-death record. Clear influences from Cynic and Necrophagist are heard but they do not overpower The Faceless’ unique sound. Many will be also pleased to hear they have rid themselves of most "core" influences from “Akeldama” but they have done so without losing their trademark sound.

With tech-death instrumentation is always key, and in this department The Faceless do not disappoint. Both guitarists provide a variety of dissonant riffs, chugging and sweeps. Lead guitarist Michael Keene impresses with unique rhythmic style of soloing in nearly every song. Drum wise it is what you expect, a large amount of fast blasting and double kicking. Although not overly unique, the drummer does his job superbly. As with many albums these days the bass guitar is low in the mix, so bassist Brandon Griffin is usually just providing a bit of backing to the guitarists.

Vocally the album has what most other death metal bands do, but Derek "Demon Carcass" Rydquist Is definitely  above average and growling, shrieking and the occasional mid-range scream (See Sons Of Belial). Guitarist Michael Keene provides Cynic-esque Vocoder vocal parts, and although they break the monotony of the usual vocal style, they sound a bit, well nasally. In a pre-production demo of “The Ancient Covenant” They sounded less grinding. He also uses clean vocal parts (infrequently) which offer variation but sometimes feel out of place.

The album starts off with “Prison Born” which is one of the best introduction songs I have heard in a long time. In it’s short 2-minute run-time it crams in lots of shredding, a lot of blasting, a small breakdown and a very tasteful solo.

Another standout track for me is “XenoChrist” which starts in a similar fashion to “The Ancient Covenant” and “Coldly Calculated Design” But goes into a very black metal influenced section about 25 seconds in. A “shredding” solo starts at 1:45 and runs into a quieter, more ambient section, which provides a spacey feel. The song closes on a chugging riff with a subtle keyboard melody on top.

With every album, there are always flaws. The main one with this album is the run-time.  With a total of 7 songs and two short interludes, the album clocks in at a very short 31 minutes. For some, another flaw will be the presence of breakdowns. But as they are well executed and never feel forced, this isn’t a huge con. The lack of a full time keyboardist is also apparent, and although there are sections with keyboards, they are never as well executed as the parts on “Akeldama”.

Overall “Planetary Duality” is a very high quality tech-death album. Had there been another 2 songs, more keyboard and less irritating vocoder, I would be inclined to give it a ten. But I settle with a great 8/10 score. Hopefully The Faceless can overcome these problems and build on this album for their 3rd record.

1. Prison Born*

2. The Ancient Covenant

3. Shape Shifters

4. Coldly Calculated Design

5. Xenochrist*

6. Sons of Belial

7. Legions of the Serpent*

8. Planetary Duality I (Hideous Revelation)

9. Planetary Duality II (A Prophecies Fruition)

Recommended *




Monday, 24 November 2008

Music Review - Skindred - Roots, Rock, Riot

Many will not have heard of Skindred however i felt as if our first album review should set out our intentions which conincidentally are to promote obscure, relatively unknown music aswell as review popular albums. Therefore were better to start than a Welsh 'Ragga-metal' band? Roots Rock Riot is the follow up to Skindreds debut album Babylon. It features 12 songs and has so far spawned two singles (Ratrace and Trouble). The majority of people would instantly say that they didn't like 'Ragga-Metal' music and that is quite understandable seeing as how unpopular and unknown the genre is. However if you forget about pigeonholing the band and just listen to Skindreds music you may be pleasantly surprised and discover that they're music isn't as obscure as you would assume. Anyway, onto Roots Rock Riot...

The album has a very strong opening. The first three tracks would certainly be amongst the best Skindred have ever written and fortunately two out of these three have been released as singles. However it is after this we start to see Skindreds more alternative side. Songs such as 'State of Emergency' or 'Destroy the Dancefloor' are anything but mainstream and initially are not very likeable but they'll grow on you to the point were after a few listens you will see yourself trying to sing along to some of Benji Webbe's incomprehensible lyrics. After this the album admittedly goes a bit hit-and-miss. While they're experimental style does provide some enjoyable songs it also conjours up some unimpressive, out of sync songs like 'Spit Out The Poison' and 'Ease Up' which will leave a bitter taste in your mouth to an extent.

Overall i would say that that will be the general consensus of Roots Rock Riot. There are some moments of sheer brilliance and it is an improvement on 'Babylon' however the second half of the album leaves a lot to be desired and prevents it from being a masterpiece yet they're still not in a 'State of Emergency' (need at least one awful pun a review). It is hard to suggest a similar artist due to Skindreds individuality however check them out, you will be surprised by how enjoyable their music is.
Links to songs can be found at the bottom or type in Skindred - Ratrace to the new YouTube broswer application

  1. "Roots Rock Riot"
  2. "Trouble" *RECOMMENDED TRACK*
  3. "Rat Race"
  4. "State of Emergency"
  5. "Alright"
  6. "Destroy the Dancefloor"
  7. "Rude Boy for Life"
  8. "Killing Me"
  9. "Spit out the Poison"
  10. "Cause Ah Riot"
  11. "Ease Up"
  12. "Choices and Decisions"
James (dont forget to send the criticism.)

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Movie Review - High School Musical 3

Well i thought it would take away the monumentality of our first review by reviewing the teen favourite High School Musical 3. I guess the negativity of that first comment tells you about my experience with this film. I need to make it clear, it's not the plot, acting, directing or even the mind numbing cheesy smiles that occur throughout this film that bother me, it's the stereotypical characters and obvious twists which disappoint me the most. Maybe i should've expected them however either way its recurring theme in this movie and to my knowledge, the whole franchise.

The second i entered the cinema i knew i wasn't going to enjoy it. The fact that the majority of the cinema was filled with under 14 year olds needing booster seats to watch High School Musical 3 was my first clue. However from the beginning i was able to predict the next events of the film and to an extent some of the dialogue. I admit i found myself slightly engrossed with the film and it does do a good job keeping you interested throughout it however to an extent this is just confirming what you already expect to happen. Another positive note about the film is its terrific choreography and impressive singing sequences which are very well acted and sung but despite this the main acting in the movie is sub-par and it is these sort of performances which are casting (subtle humor) doubts on Zac Efrons potential future as a "serious" actor. Despite this im sure the majority of people who watch High School Musical 3 will enjoy it, aslong as they put aside any thoughts of a serious storyline or emotive performance.

Well to be honest that is the my general conclusion. However if you have to sacrifice a serious storyline or emotive performance to enjoy a film what does that really say about the film? Either way im sure the film will make a lot of money, win plenty of MTV Movie Awards and tempt the producers into making another one. The only difficult decision is what to rate this movie out of 10 and sickeningly enough il have to go with an above average 6 due to the barely enjoyable experience yet impressive dance sequences. There are better movies out there but you could watch worst than High School Musical 3.

James (send complaints to and some may just be uploaded)

Saturday, 22 November 2008


Well seeing as our description basically gives you the rough idea of what Minds At Play is trying to create we thought it would be a good idea to go into a little bit more detail about us on our first blog.

As the description said we are in the middle of building a website to post reviews on films, games, music and concerts. However this could take us up to 3-4 months to get the website running to a decent level and even then it will take us an extra couple of months to get videos and podcasts and various other things running smoothly. We plan to have many different things on the website such as interactive map (starting off very small though) telling you where concerts are on that night. Many other ideas are being worked on at the moment but we dont want to spoil any surprises ;).

The Minds At Play team consists of 3 guys from Belfast putting together ideas and working on them in their spare time however they're not very interesting so thats all you need to know about them.

Our reviews are out of 10 with some reviews being collaborations while some are done by two or one of us. Either way we will write at the bottom who did the review so you can ridicule them accordingly.

Well thats all we can think of for now, we hope to get our first couple of articles up within the next few days so stay tuned.