Album Review: That’s The Spirit – Bring Me The Horizon

Bring Me The Horizon

That’s The Spirit released on 11 September. 

Oliver Sykeslead vocals, programming, keyboards (2004–present)

Lee Malialead guitar, backing vocals (2004–present)

Matt Kean bass guitar (2004–present)

Matt Nichollsdrums, percussion (2004–present)

Jordan Fish − keyboards, vocals (2012–present)

Bring Me the Horizon are a British rock band from Sheffield, Yorkshire. Formed in 2003, consisting of lead vocalist Oliver Sykes, lead guitarist Lee Malia, bassist Matt Kean, drummer Matt Nicholls and keyboardist Jordan Fish.

Bring Me the Horizon’s latest album That’s the Spirit follows on from Sempiternal, released in 2013, which became their most significant commercial achievement to date.

That’s the Spirit however, is a much more mature album that will undoubtedly raise this ambitious group to the next level. It is guaranteed to swell their fanbase as it’s appeal extends beyond the ‘shouty heavy metal’ that we are so used to towards a sound that surprisingly hints of ‘pop’!

The distinct lack of Oli Sykes trademarks screams are due to the fact that his vocal chords can no longer sustain the immense strain put upon them and is a factor in the new direction of this album. With few traces of the bands recognisable aggression, this fresh direction may stem from Oli Sykes decision to check himself into rehab two years ago after coming clean about his addiction to the party drug ketamine, and this album reflects the emotional vulnerability and paranoia that inevitably came from this difficult period in his life.

The release of Drown in October 2014, originally as a stand-alone single, received such a positive reception from even their stalwart fans and this reaction spurred the band on to complete That’s the Spirit – an altogether smoother and sleeker offering than previous releases.

Doomed is a larger than life opening track, showcasing the strength and quality of Oli Sykes voice, whilst providing a leaning towards the previous album Sempiternal.

Happy Song, following this powerful opener, is an album highlight that neatly sums up the band’s transition to arena-ready rock.

Throne – with it’s unmistakable ‘Linkin Park’ sound is a powerful piece of pure rock, followed by True Friends which provides a heavier lift to the middle of the album.

Follow You sees Oli Sykes displaying a touching and emotional side of his personality; perhaps influenced by his recent marriage, the mellow vocals are backed up with poignant lyrics such as “promise me you’ll never leave my side” and “you can drag me through hell and I will follow you”.

What You Need is a track that not only highlights the impressive vocal range of Oli Sykes but also features a rarely heard but sublime guitar solo from Lee Malia .

Whilst Avalanche boasts memorable, driving singalong choruses, Run counteracts this with a mix of darker and deeper drum rhythms and synthetic sounds

Drown is huge – a classic arena track, a festival must that will reinforce Bring Me The Horizon’s entry into the rock scene.

Oh No is a track that will undoubtedly cement their position as rivals to the likes of You Me At Six and could set the band on track to achieve their ambition of headlining Reading and Leeds Festival next year!

This Sheffield band are ambitious and with That’s The Spirit have adapted their sound to help them achieve their dreams. The UK rock scene has a new band who appear determined to challenge for the top spot and will be bringing with them a host of new fans.

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It

Orlando Weeks – vocals.

Hugo White – guitars

Felix White – guitars, backing vocals

Rupert Jarvis – bass

Sam Doyle – drums

Will White – keyboards and samplers

The Maccabees exploded onto the UK indie scene almost a decade ago with an album extolling the charms of a South West London swimming pool and its wave machine called Latchmere.

Now, nine and a half years later the band are still seeking inspiration from their urban surroundings but have moved their focus a few miles east to the grittier surroundings of the Elephant and Castle.

Marks to Prove It, which has been 3 years in the making, is an altogether more mature and raw album that showcases the sounds of urban life with the underlying menace of violence never far from the surface!

With a total of 11 songs lasting over 41 minutes tell of a series of cautionary tales – a story that requires listening to in the carefully prescribed order.

Opening with title track and single Marks To Prove It, this is a clear statement of how far the band have come and exudes the energy and fun of their early days.

The gently opening Kamakura, which follows on nicely from the previous album Given to the Wild , succumbs to a cacophony of bass and atmospheric guitars, with an explosive chorus that depicts the experience of riding the 3am night-bus.

Ribbon Road too, has slow-building power , starting with an eerie silence that develops to showcase Orlando Weeks’ soaring and powerful voice.

Spit It Out is a stand out track. At five minutes long it opens with a combination of haunting vocals and keyboards that are soon overtaken by drums and guitars that shape of the song and reveal a heavier and angrier side to The Maccabees.

Marks To Prove It, Kamakura and Spit It Out form the A side of the album; the following second half of the album, comprised of softer-edged tracks backed by brass and saxophone, sadly have few defining moments with the tracks tending to blur into one

Silence – a semi acoustic rendition marks the change of mood and begins a more reflective and melancholy phase of the album.

River Song, spills over into the lamenting tones of the blues guitar led Slow Sun, followed by Dawn Chorus which features a mix of ardent brass set against delicate vocals

WWI Portraits is an exception to the torpor of the second half of the album – displaying a rousing guitar line and depicting a sense of urgency and a welcome return to a more upbeat delivery.

The Maccabees are now very much an album band and this latest album an accumulation of all the things that we enjoy from them. The Maccabees have condensed and simplified what they do best but refreshingly they are not afraid to be a bit raw and spiky – the result is a surprisingly solid, satisfying and beautifully crafted piece of work  but on the journey there are both moments of mesmerising brilliance and also some lulls.  

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: The Gospel Youth – Empires

The Gospel Youth:

Sam Little – Vocals/Bass

Julian Bowen – Guitar­­­

Kev Deverick – Guitar

Max Wingell  – Drums

The Gospel Youth, an up and coming band from Brighton are made up of members from two previous bands The Auteur and Fleeing From Finales.

Following on from the release of last year’s debut EP Kids, The Gospel Youth have been hard at work writing and recording the follow-up EP, Empires, set for release on 13th July. Bassist and vocalist Sam Little says that Empire depicts ‘The highs and lows, the love, the hate’ and ‘It has been, and is a trip that we’ve lost ourselves into and tried to pour into this record’.

The result is an accomplished and memorable follow up EP that should set this Brighton quartet on course to follow in the footsteps of other current, notable British bands. Their sound, can be likened to and draws on the strengths of both Deaf Havana and Mallory Knox, whilst successfully managing to maintain a uniqueness and individuality.

The EP is delightfully varied. Upbeat catchy tracks such as Homesick, Stay Positive and Empires highlight the very adept guitar playing of Julian Bowers and Kev Deverick – displaying delicate finger work and complex riffs, set against the accomplished, driving drum rhythms of Max Wingell.

In contrast, the mellow and beautifully written If She’s The Rope showcases the on-point vocals of Sam Little – a voice of surprising depth and strength, which successfully duets against the subtle yet deft strains of a single guitar.

Each member of this band provide a talented contribution, displaying vocals and accomplished musicianship that will take them far. The Gospel Youth are a band that deserve greater recognition – they are certainly a match for the bands currently at the top of they game on the UK rock pop scene.

Look out for this band; I am sure you will soon begin to hear a lot from them and deservedly so!

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: Young Guns – Ones and Zeros

released 8 June 2015, Virgin EMI

Gustav Wood – lead vocals

John Taylor – guitar 

Ben Jolliffe – drums, percussion, backing vocals 

Simon Mitchell – bass guitar 

Fraser Taylor – guitar

Young Guns the English alternative rock band from Buckinghamshire launched their third and long awaited album, Ones and Zeros, on June 8, 2015.

2012 saw the release of Young Gun’s critically acclaimed album ‘Bones’ and since then the next album has been eagerly awaited. However, Young Guns stood their ground and took their time – refusing to be rushed, resulting in an album featuring an new electronic vibe without having sacrificed their own style or recognisable raw talent.

Having performed at numerous festival, played alongside a plethora of well known bands and achieved considerable success in the US, Europe and the UK this album that will inevitably see them rise up to the next level. Whilst the core sound is very much the same there are noticeable differences appearing through their heavy alt rock vein. This album overflows with depth, catchy hooks, stirring choruses and solid rock songs of stadium quality.

The high-octane opener Rising Up, with distinctive pop and dance sounds, displays euphoric beats and choral chants set against a driving underlying energy that establishes it as one of the  album’s biggest tracks.

I Want Out follows – a deeper, intense but nevertheless catchy tune that, like Bones is a rock anthem, conveying the same soaring feeling but with slightly weightier riffs. Whilst the impressive drums form the solid backbone of this song it is a track where every band member seems to perform at the top of their game.

Infinity, a more mainstream track that will still appeal to the diehard Young Guns fans is effortlessly anthemic and perfectly showcases the timbre of Gustav Wood’s voice throughout

By contrast Lullaby is a surprisingly gentle, beautiful and distinctly more subdued track; Die On Time is in a similar vein but featuring darker, deeper qualities

Momento Mori is a moving but sanguine track, featuring full pulsing drum beat, strong bass and a grounded rock sound.

Gravity – a powerful melodious song  and with sublime guitar playing uncovers a rare delicacy to Gustav Wood’s impressively strong voice.

Daylight features a similar electronic feel to Rising Up, an incredibly upbeat, positive and powerful rendition set against driving percussion, tight lead guitars and an orchestral backdrop.

In contrast Speaking In Tongues features the heavy bass rhythms that capture the classic, raw side of Young Guns perfectly.

Ones and Zeros, the albums title track continues with the newer heavy electro feel but succeeds in combining the old and new sounds. There is a synth effect from the guitars resulting in a dance track with a definite heavy rock vibe and an intoxicating main riff that is instantly infectious.

This album has built on the  past releases of Young Guns allowing them to stay loyal to their raw musical roots but allowing them to  incorporate newer electronic effects within their sound. 

The lyrics are engaging and thought provoking throughout and Gustav Wood stated, in an interview with Kerrang that “It feels great to be back with the strongest material we’ve ever written.”

This album is well produced, and the tracks seems to flow seamlessly from beginning to end and has the feel of a band who are incredibly  happy and satisfied to just be making music. There is the sense that Young Guns want to prove that they are worthy of being labelled the rock heavyweights of the UK and this album could help set them on course to achieve this.

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Album Review: All Time Low – Future Hearts

All Time Low are currently hot property, having played all of the major arenas across the UK alongside You Me AT Six. The release of their latest and sixth album Future Hearts will therefore need to be strong enough to match this new found popularity.

The album kicks off well enough with an opening song titled Satellite lead by strong drum rhythms of Rian Dawson and a prominent bass from Zack Merrick. The tone is heavier and more subdued than the usual ATL delivery, resulting in a memorable opener. Whilst the Instrumentation is similar to their previous releases the combination of solid drum and bass is a strength running through the whole album.

The second track Kicking & Screaming is the classic All Time Low sound we expect– a characteristic solid gold pop-punk stand-out track that showcase Alex Gaskarth’s vocal to the full and which is guaranteed to be an instant hit with the fans.

Kids in the Dark and Runaway also follow the All Time Low tried and trusted formula; Kids in the Dark is a stand-out emo-rock track with a sing-a-long anthemic chorus. Runaway, although full of catchy hooks, is rather unremarkable and disappointingly flat, failing to deliver the same punch.

The standout songs of this album are Dancing With a Wolf and Missing You both showing how the band have grown up and are moving away from their teenage beginnings.

Dancing With a Wolf delivers a much darker but buoyant dance-rock track  than is usually associated with All Time Low. Amped up electric guitars and a driving bass produce a memorable and catchy performance.

Future Hearts highlights a departure from the classic pop-punk formula with the introduction of a number of slower songs of slower songs such as Missing You. This delivers a completely different sound – an acoustic track with guitar and ukulele and lyrics that are delivering a poignant message. The simple string accompaniment emphasises the strong vocals and again shows thatAll Time Low are growing up.

All Time Low invitation to a number of  guest vocalists unfortunately doesn’t quite live up to the expectations. Mark Hoppus (Blink 182) features on Tidal Waves during the second verse, but his vocals lack the impact that you would expect, although the chorus is memorable.

The second invited artist Joel Madden (Good Charlotte) makes an appearance in Bail Me Out This, unfortunately, comes across as a filler track and is disappointingly bland  despite Madden trading off verses and choruses throughout with Alex.

An attempt at an arena-style rock ballad with Edge of Tonight despite an attempt at a catchy chorus is surprisingly lacking and somewhat bland.

The closing track however Old Scars/Future Hearts is a return to All Time Low at their best –  full of energy throughout.

Overall  Future Hearts, produced by John Feldmann, provides a consistent sound – a mix of light ballads and bass-driven anthems, interspersed with some catchy tunes and provides a definite development from Dirty Work with its more grown up vibe that may take some getting used to.

It is not their best collection of songs but most are as good as what they have done before. Lyrically the songs do not stand out but the vocals of Alex Gaskarth are on point and the harmonies superb. The album is however fun – but more ambitious in scope and with a bit more studio polish than their previous releases.

Written By: Lindsy Stott

Slam Dunk 2015

SDF15-poster-3 (1)2015 is the year You Me At Six take over Slam Dunk festival, one of the most anticipated headline artists in years.

You Me At Six will be joined by a huge variety of artists including Taking Back Sunday, PRVIS, We Are The Ocean, Gallows, Don Broco, Neck Deep, Lower Than Atlantis, While She Sleeps and a whole heap more.

Festival dates and venues

* Saturday, May 23

Slam Dunk Festival North: Leeds University.

* Sunday, May 24

Slam Dunk Festival South: The Forum Hertfordshire, Hatfield.

* Monday, May 25

Slam Dunk Festival Midlands: Wolverhampton Civic.

Tickets are priced at £37, and £39 with after-show party across all sites.

For a full list of ticket outlets for all shows, visit the Slam Dunk website at

Written By: Samantha Stott

Album Review: James Bay – Chaos And The Calm


James Bay – the winner of this year’s Brits critics’ choice award and the BBC Sound Of 2015 title ahead of the release of his debut album; for many this was first time they had heard this name. His surprisingly quick rise to fame has been ruthlessly efficient, driven by a shrewd management team who have succeeded in casting this young 22 year old into such a prominent position that he is bound to receive some pretty sharp criticism that would dent many a confidence.

Bay possesses a rasping voice, that also draws comparison to both James Morrison and Paulo Nutini. His hit single from last year Hold Back the River received plenty of airplay and has also been covered in the Live Lounge – praise indeed – by Ella Henderson.

He is an accomplished guitarist, and the album Chaos And The Calm is full of solid guitar-led pop tunes. The opening track, Craving is a catchy number that belies the message within, the upbeat tempo clashing with the songs lyrics that depict a frustrated artist confined within the routines of his hometown.

Bay clearly knows how to write lyrics and tracks such as Scars, Move Together and Let It Go expose his vulnerability, youth and the woes of broken relationships.

When We Were On Fire introduces a pleasant funk vibe

Best Fake Smile shows a grittier edge and hints at a rock vibe that is perhaps being hidden.

James Bay has come along way since his busking days in Brighton – this experience undoubtedly provided the building bricks for honing his ability to connect with the public and he will undoubtedly have the festival scene well and truly in his hands this year.

Although critiqued as ‘ androgyne’ and ‘run of the mill’ this album will sell. His music may be seen to be middle of the road, but his delivery of soft rock belies tougher influences that are clearly lying just below the surface; the interest in this newcomer and the attention that he is generating may ignite his confidence to expose this deeper rockier side and challenge him to develop the talents that he clearly does possess.

This first album is catchy and heartwarming. Let’s not knock him back at the start of his career but see what develops as this could well be the start of something big!

Track Listing:


Hold back the river

Let It Go

If You Ever want to be in love

Best Fake Smile

When we were on Fire

Move Together



Get Out while you can

Need The Sun to break


Written By: Lindsy Stott

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