Asking Alexandria is Asking You to Stay, And It is Worth Staying For


Album review by Savanah Ruiz, images provided by Asking Alexandria

Asking Alexandria has marked the return of their beloved vocalist with their self-titled LP, Asking Alexandria. This album features a different side of Asking Alexandria, but still holds the roots that made them a force to be reckoned with when they started.

Asking Alexandria is the first record to feature original vocalist Danny Worsnop since their 2013 release, From Death to Destiny, and this album clearly shows that ties within the band are stronger than ever.

“Into the Fire”, the first single off the LP, showed major promise for the record with 13 million views and counting, 2 million of which were gained within the first two weeks of its release. This track is about accepting the dark parts of yourself, and really set the tone of this reflective album.

Through this album, Asking Alexandria is putting all their cards on the table, taking on themes of loneliness, fear, and raw anger. Asking Alexandria is full of emotion, and the sincerity of the lyrics meshed with the talented instrumentals make for an LP that shows Asking Alexandria’s true and unfiltered colors.

For this record, Asking Alexandria decided to work with their close friend, Matt Good, known for his band From First To Last, and this decision proves to be a successful one from the overall sound of the album.


This record also shows a clear evolution from their 2016 release, The Black, which was the only Asking Alexandria record to feature Ukrainian vocalist Denis Stoff. While The Black featured a new sound, it lacked a certain rawness to it that instead can be found on their new LP.

Asking Alexandria has always used an array of imagery in their lyrics, and this record is no different with songs like opening track “Alone in a Room” and “Where Did It Go?”, a “tongue-in-cheek” track, as Danny Worsnop puts it, which takes aim at people trying to take Asking Alexandria’s spot in the music scene.

“Empire” features a different sound with the introduction of Bingx on the track. This song as well as “Rise Up” are all about reclaiming the Asking Alexandria name and creating something that’s better than before.


Throughout this album, it is shown that Asking Alexandria is back, stronger, and ready to solidify their spot in the alternative music scene. Asking Alexandria was on tour with Black Veil Brides for the Resurrection tour until the beginning of March and have extended the tour by adding April and May dates. Also, Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce can be seen in Sumerian film’s recent release, American SatanAsking Alexandria is available from music retailers everywhere!


Life in Idle Is Anything But Idle With Album “She’s Out To Get Me”


Album review by Savanah Ruiz, pictures provided by Life in Idle

Life in Idle is bursting into the pop punk music scene with their debut album, She’s Out to Get MeA pop-punk band from Kettering Ohio that hopes to break barriers within the music industry, this release shows they are well on their way.

Throughout the album, you can hear the influences, such as Blink-182, but you can also tell that this band is discovering their own voice. She’s Out to Get Me has a unique sound to it, and it seems to be the perfect album if you want to get in the mood for the summer. Whether you’re chilling at the beach or listening from the comfort of your home, this release is great to jam out to.


Life in Idle has been writing music for five years, and while some may have given up, this band has persevered and shown that they want to be here and are ready to make a name for themselves.

“Wasted Breath” and “State of Mind” are two tracks that really stand out and show the true potential of Life in Idle. Listening to these songs, you can see the passion and creativity within this band is prominent, and there is a lot of room to grow in the near future.


After listening to She’s Out to Get Me, it is clear that there is “no where to go but up from here” for this group of young talented musicians. So, next time you’re headed to the beach or looking for some new pop punk bands, make sure to check this album out since this band is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Life in Idle plans to hit the road this Spring with the “You vs Yesterday Colourshow Spring Tour”! Make sure to check out their facebook ( as well as listen to She’s Out to Get Me on iTunes, bandcamp, Spotify, and Soundcloud.


Second Death’s Substance is a Second Birth for the Band


Album review by Savanah Ruiz, pictures provided by Second Death

Second Death have showcased their resurrection as a new band with their aggressive new release, SubstanceSubstance starts with the intro track “Release”, an instrumental song that starts off with an eerie sound and progressively gets heavier, setting the stage for this EP.

This EP is their second release since killing off their previous band name, Beware the Neverending, and re-emerging as Second Death. Their previous release, Casket introduced the band’s new life as Second Death, but Substance brings the band to a new level as they continue to evolve their heavy sound.


Through this reincarnation, Second Death provides listeners with an intense and heavy experience that moshers and headbangers can blast through their sound systems and really immerse themselves in the world that Second Death has created with Substance.

This EP dives into Second Death’s dark and gritty world view with songs such as “God Money” and “Surface”, as well as the title track “Substance”, which features Ben Revell. To quote the EP, this band is “filled with hate” and it shows through this truly angry and powerful set of songs.

Substance tackles a multitude of themes such as hell, demons, inner turmoil, and really encompasses the frustration and hostility of this band. Guttural harsh vocals mixed with a heavy instrumental allow for a truly immersive listening experience that sticks in your head and leaves you craving more.


This EP really includes views that any metal core fan can relate to suck as being outcasted and considered sick because of their feelings. Through this album, you can really channel your feelings of rage and angst. This Georgia band definitely proves that “death is only the beginning” for them as they continue to show the world that they are reborn and ready to take on the metal scene.


Second Death is currently on a full US tour in support of Substance with Widownaker, Obliterate, and Skyburial. You can find them on Facebook at and check out the Substance EP on Spotify, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

Walking Through the Fire with Knightmare Will Leave You Burning for More – Album Review


Review by William Dibble, photos provided by Knightmare or by William Dibble (credited)

The days of fast, blistering metal with gang vocals aren’t over. In a world full of death metal, metalcore, and other bands, it can sometimes be hard to find new music that sounds like the peak of 80’s heavy metal. Knightmare is certainly evidence that it’s not gone. They come tearing out of Raleigh, NC, singing about dragons and raging with solos. It’s as if the NWOBHM (new wave of british heavy metal) took a break… Then returned. Except Knightmare is American, not British. Knightmare explodes onto the music scene with their latest album, Walk Through the Fire.


The intro immediately calls to mind dramatic band introductions. Crashing thunder and slow, melodic guitar solo are combined with heavy, dramatic drums before fading away into a dual-guitar lead for the title track, “Walk Through the Fire”, two minutes in. The album immediately calls to mind bands like Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Iron Maiden, and Dio. The high-pitched vocals are reminiscent of Tim “The Ripper” Owens, and it would not be out of place to draw parallels to his run in legendary Judas Priest. Fast chords, skilled vocals, and paired gang vocals on the line, “Walk through the fire”, make this a high-energy earworm. The high production quality continues into “Banshee”, which is a bit lower-key while still being fast and high-energy. It also demonstrates that Knightmare and Walk Through the Fire are really a love letter to 80’s heavy metal. And that is meant in the best possible way. Anybody who missed out on DethCadence last year has this album to look forward to this year. It would not be out of place to completely miss that we’re well into the 2010’s now with this resurgence.

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Courtesy of William Dibble

Much like their inspirations in the 80’s, Knightmare includes a lot of fantasy themes within their music. “Supermoon” opens with descriptions of a vivid night sky before launching into a slower, galloping song. While “Supermoon” is no speeding powerhouse like the first two songs on the album, it is not of any lower songwriting quality. It also marks a good midpoint for the album, feeling more like a power ballad, right down to the mid-song guitar solo. And that’s something that bears a note in this album. The songs very much follow a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo pattern, but that is quite alright. It’s the formula that was prevalent in heavy metal then, and works now. Knightmare puts it through its paces with unique and fun guitar solos that will burn into your memory as if the frets themselves were on fire. “Spirits” pulls us back from the ballad and back into the speedy riffs of the rest of the album, determined to give one hell of a second half to Walk Through the Fire. While the overall song structure is very formulaic, each song sounds unique. There is no repetition of riffs or vocal themes here. Each song is a labor of love, with the members of Knightmare pouring their souls into this band and album.

“Lake of Rage” makes a small break from the rest of the album, featuring a bass intro with drums instead of the guitar. While it is a galloping song like “Supermoon”, it is very much a more traditional heavy metal song, invoking mental images of a band on a stage as lights and fire burst out around them. It is perhaps thematically appropriate that “Lake of Rage” is followed by the album’s last song, “War Song”. “War Song” is the album’s longest song if you don’t include the opening intro as part of the title track. It gives the album a lengthy power-ballad sendoff. With a slow, rhythmic beat and a long melodic solo, it is a fantastic sendoff. The song isn’t done with you, though. After the first solo, you get more verse and chorus. Then one long, final outro solo that gives the album a send-off salute.

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Courtesy of William Dibble

If you are into heavy metal at all, and liked the legends of yesterday, Knightmare brings back every bit of that sound and attitude in their album. Walk Through the Fire is an absolute blast to listen to, feeling like it walked right out of the 80’s. And the thing is, that could be a bad thing. But here, it’s not. The songs are masterfully written and performed, and the recording and production quality are spot-on. This is not an album to overlook. While Knightmare may not yet be selling out stadiums, they very much sound like they are on the road to do so. Buy their latest album today on Bandcamp, and be sure to read our interview with them, exclusively in our March print edition!

Senses Fail’s New Album Will Find You Wanting More

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Album by William Dibble, photos provided by Senses Fail

Senses Fail has been a band for over fifteen years now. Since they came onto the scene, the hardcore and post-hardcore scenes have evolved. Some bands have fallen by the wayside while others have truly hit their stride. There will always be the people who scream about bands selling out, but at the end of the day, the one who makes the music is the artist, and whether you agree with their direction or not is irrelevant. Senses Fail is around, they’re still making music, and they are still artists. Their new album, If There Is Light, It Will Find You, debuts tomorrow, 16th February.

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Right from the get-go, If There Is Light, It Will Find You opens on a powerful, practiced note. “Double Cross” is a fast, fun track. Combining deft guitar work with catchy vocals, “Double Cross” features a lot of the things that Senses Fail has become known for. Clearly screamed vocals, melodic clean vocals, and catchy hooks dot this song throughout, making sure that once you start listening, you will want to finish. The lead guitar hook to “Elevator to the Gallows” is fast, precise, and skilled. It gives way quickly to a section that is primarily vocals and drums. This gives those parts of the song time to shine, which they certainly do. Portions of this song sound like callbacks to the punk emo movement while blending in touches of hardcore. “New Jersey Makes, The World Takes” serves as another showcase of Buddy Nielsen’s singing skills. The chorus, “I’m not giving up today”, resonates particularly well given that the band is going to be turning twenty in just a few years.

The album’s first single, “Gold Jacket, Green Jacket”, is available on Youtube with a music video right now. It is a musically diverse song, borrowing elements from hardcore, punk, and even pop. Portions of it can almost be called soft, while the whole song is certainly true to Senses Fail’s heritage. They don’t shy away from messages about politics, either, with the line “Fuck the government, it’s an embarrassment, we’re all gonna die in debt.” If There Is Light, It Will Find You is both an artistic and political statement, and isn’t afraid to say, “we are Senses Fail and we stand for what we stand for.” The fifth track, “First Breath, Last Breath” has call-backs to softer vocal-centric punk tracks of the nineties and early thousands. After the fast pace of the first couple songs, it provides a pleasant mini-break. This break pervades through “Ancient Gods”. That isn’t’ to accuse either song of being ‘weak’. Both are excellent examples of how strong the songwriting skills in this album is, as they fit in perfectly with the rest of the album.


“Is It Gonna Be The Year” is a great follow-up. The song looks back and reflects on the choices made through life, asking what we will be remembered for. It asks the question, is this “gonna be the year that kills me, or will it be the world that saves me?” The overall message seems to focus on reflection and self improvement. Will we be remembered for our mistakes, or will we do better and be remembered for other things? “You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense” is a good follow-up in both theme and sound. The entire song, and album, has a nostalgic feel that brings to mind the era that Senses Fail hails from. “Orlando And A Miscarriage” is an excellent example of this. It isn’t the kind of nostalgia that makes you miss a bygone era so much as the kind that reminds you that just maybe, that era didn’t leave.


Another softer song, “Shaking Hands” takes on the feel of a ballad at points. It feels like a song about anxiety, being yourself, and putting yourself out there. It voices a feeling the entire album gives, that this is Senses Fail at their most honest, lyrically and musically. This theme feels like it is continued in “Stay What You Are”, a song that implores you to find what you are, and stay as what you are. It is, if anything, a love song to being yourself. The final song, “If There Is Light, It Will Find You”, is the namesake of the album. It consists of primarily clean vocals and guitars, and gives the entire album a soft, well-deserved sendoff. There are heavier, screamed parts, but they are expertly written and performed. It is also the album’s longest song, at over six minutes long.

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If There Is Light, It Will Find You is possibly one of Senses Fail’s strongest albums to date. It is honest, open, and uncompromising. This is not the kind of album that you listen to once and forget about. To quote Buddy, “I don’t think people are going to listen to music right now that isn’t serious. They’re taking a look at the shit around them and saying, ‘No, no, no. We need to have a real conversation.’ Now, whether that’s dealing with personal sadness, or it’s something political, it still takes things earnestly.” It is a serious entry into the world of post-hardcore and punk rock, and deserves your full attention. It releases on music stores everywhere tomorrow. We would be remiss to not mention that Senses Fail is about to launch on a tour that will span the United States. Grab tickets here, and be sure to see them live!

Album “Nearsighted” Speaks Low… And Speaks Love


Written by William Dibble, pictures and video courtesy of Speak Low If You Speak Love

Something can be said for music that is aggressive, visceral, and frenetic. Something can also be said for music that is reserved, soft-spoken, and gentle. Speak Low If You Speak Love is a beautiful combination of the musical themes of emo and electropop, combined into one soft, soothing band. Speak Low If You Speak Love is the solo project of Ryan Scott Graham of State Champs. Nearsighted is Speak Low’s second studio album. After weeks of writing, recording, and producing, Nearsighted is ready for your enjoyment.

Nearsighted starts with the soft track, “Have I Changed”. “Have I Changed” has rhythms and melodies reminiscent of both synth pop groups like early The Killers (Hot Fuss) and melodic emo groups like American Football. The emphasis on melody is apparent from the beginning. The rhythm is carried by the drums, while the instruments are soft, melodic, and almost ethereal. The real achievement, though, is that the vocals carry as much of the melody as the instruments. Removing them would change the the very texture of the song, as opposed to some groups where it simply results in a song without vocals. “Enough”, the album’s first single, was actually the last-written song. It is a bit heftier in sound than “Have I Changed”, but does not lose the focus on melody. Soft synths, combined with syncopated vocals and clean guitars and a prominent bass line, draw us along in a song asking if enough is good enough. In this case, “Enough” is more than good enough.

The acoustic intro to “Contrasting Colors” provides, pun fully intended, a contrast to the synth-heavy introductions of the first two songs. For the most part, this song remains a soft acoustic piece with equally relaxing choral arrangements. Synths and electric guitars do make an appearance, but they are subdued and gentle as Graham sings “we may never be lovers”. The song does increase in intensity, but only subtly, leading into the synthscapes of “Ever Yours” easily. Despite the lyric “It’s not like I have anything to say”, “Ever Yours” has plenty to say both lyrically and musically. Both of these songs call to mind Graham’s earlier acoustic works, but also show his growth in the last two years since Speak Low’s prior album, Everything But What You Need. The theme of electronica-combined-with-acoustic continues in “Your Love It Runs”. The song explores the question of if the singer’s actions were the reason for somebody’s love running away. Ultimately, the song feels like it is about recognizing one’s mistakes in a relationship, asking if you would do it differently, then deciding to do it all again anyway. Relationships tend to be a recurring theme in these songs, handled elegantly and in different fashions throughout Nearsighted.

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“Safety Net” is more piano- and synth-centric than the previous songs. It also feels a bit more somber in tone, which matches the theme of safety nets explored in the lyrics. There is an interesting effect going on in some of the background melody where some of the synths sound almost like a second set of vocals. The idea of not building a someone a safety net if they plan to fall into it seems to fit thematically with “Hatsuyume”. “Hatsuyume” features no repeated choruses (“Safety Net” repeats its chorus several times), but has repeating musical motifs throughout. For ference, Hatsuyume is a concept from Japanese culture where the first dream of the year can predict how the overall year will go for you. This is just a paraphrasing of a slightly more complex concept, though. And the song seems to be foretelling a year with trouble, as “she” kills herself in his dream, but there are also sirens in the real world. Appropriately, the song trails off with the synths, then acoustic guitar, ending only with Graham singing.

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Track eight of Nearsighted is more electronically inspired than some of the previous songs. “Circle Spinning” is reminiscent of electropop bands like some Freezepop songs. It’s the kind of light, moderate melody and tempo that has you wanting to sway along to the music with your eyes closed. “Cannot Have It All”, on the other hand, is acoustic again. This electronic-acoustic-electronic pattern played throughout the album is fantastic, as it helps you differentiate themes and songs. It feels like songs with certain themes and musical concepts are grouped together, but then separated slightly. The switching back-and-forth, as done between “Circle Spinning”, “Cannot Have It All”, and the electronica-inspired “Mystery’s Gone” serves to give the album a distinct texture and mood as it progresses. “Hold Me Now” begins to draw us back more towards the emo side of things. We mentioned American Football as a comparison point earlier. That becomes especially apt in this track, featuring soft repeated vocals singing alongside gentle horns with the repeated lyric “I drift asleep”. Nearsighted closes out with the distinctly acoustic-emo song “Swell”. If nothing else in this album reminds you of other bands in the emo genre, this one will. It brings to mind some of AF’s early work, as well as Youth League. It is a beautiful song to end the album all.

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Fans of electronic, indie, and emo music should rejoice. Nearsighted is a fantastic celebration of all three genres blended into one beautiful sound. Ryan Scott Graham has used Speak Low If You Speak Love to craft an album with distinct emotion, texture, and tone. It is the kind of beautiful music you can set to play, then lean back to relax to. No doubt the live performance of this album will be fantastic. Nearsighted released on 19th January, 2018, and is available from most music retailers as well as Speak Low If You Speak Love’s website.

41 Will Have You Feeling Reggie’s Full Effect


Review by William Dibble, photos courtesy of Reggie and the Full Effect

One of the core defining essences of punk rock is a desire to do your own thing. Certainly, people will try to tell other people what “is” and “is not” punk, but at the end of the day, it is a wide and diverse genre. Reggie and the Full Effect are no exception to this. Their 7th full-length album releases on 23rd February, 2018, and is titled 41. They have a pleasant sound that lands them firmly in the genre of ‘pop punk’ and your heart, simultaneously.

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41 opens with two tracks titled in Italian. “Il Sniffy Incontra” is a choral track, reminiscent of Gregorian chants. “Il Pesce Svedese” is the album’s first all-out punk song. If Google Translate is correct, they translate to “Sniffy Meet” and “Swedish Fish” respectively. It is more common to find album introductions like “il Sniffy Incontra” in the metal genre, where dramatic intro tracks are much more frequently seen. The second track, “il Pesce Svedese”, on the other hand is a fast and light punk piece that is listenable, energetic, and fast. The repeated lyric, “I wish I could have seen you coming” is catch, easy to pick up on, and fun. It wouldn’t be out of place to compare this track to older pieces by Against Me and Sum 41. “Alone Again” starts out a bit softer, with a pleasant and soothing keyboard intro. Reggie and the Full Effect’s vocals bring back memories of the 2000’s punk and emo movements. James Dewees’s twenty years in the industry show. This is the kind of song that would be at home in a soundtrack for a lighthearted movie. The lyrics are also catchy and fun, imploring you to not call him “oblivious, don’t call me at all.” The combined drum and clap beat is bouncy and, for lack of a better word, engaging.


The fourth track, “Broke Down”, is a change from the previous two high-energy punk pieces. “Broke Down” is a much softer song, focusing largely on vocals and lower-profile instrumentals. This track would work fantastically as an album single. It showcases James’s vocals, but also his ability to write catchy instrumental pieces. “Heartbreak” starts with a vibrating bassline that draws you in, adding drums and other instruments slowly. The vocals in this song are softer than prior songs, and remain that way throughout. While “Broke Down” is also a softer song, this one is much more keyboards centric, lacking the signature punk-rock style half-yells of the other song. The synth running behind it all gives it a very cheerful and inviting sound. This can leave the listener unprepared for the heavier, louder “Karate School”. “Karate School” has a very early 2000’s sound to it. It calls to mind All American Rejects and The Killers in places, while remaining distinctly Reggie. If anything, this album’s first six songs really give you the full effect.

“The Horrible Year” returns to the softer instruments of “Broke Down”. It is a decently fast song, but it is also fun, and features both softer and yelled vocals. In it, he implores you to tell him what is on your mind, what is really going on. It is catchy, fun, and pleasant. “New Years Day” is also really soft. It isn’t quite acoustic, but does feature extensive clean guitars. It marks a restful mid-point to a solid and pleasant album. Between the vocals and the subtle backing synths, it is a great composition. “Maggie” is a bit faster-tempo, but like the previous few songs, is very soft. This is not by any means a bad thing. As stated earlier, punk rock is a wide and diverse genre. These softer songs demonstrate that with finesse. “Channing Tatum Space Rollerblading Montage M…” opens with a galloping, sample- and synth-heavy track. It feels very… Eighties. In a Stranger Things kind of way. It is, despite being drastically different from any other songs, fun to listen to and feels very upbeat.


The last portion of the album begins with “You’ve Got Secrets”. It marks a return from the side journey that was “Channing Tatum” back to the pop punk heritage of the rest of the album. The repeated “You’ve got secrets” gets stuck in your head very quickly. 41 doesn’t spend a lot of time back in the pop-punk territory. It is difficult to say where, in the vast sea of musical genres, “Trap(ing) Music (feat. Common Denominator)” fits. It is a heavy song mixed with whimsical-feeling synths and raspy, throaty vocals. “And Next with Feeling”, like the eleventh track, returns to the rest of the album’s sound. The change is very jarring after the previous song, which shared a lot of qualities with the rap genre. 41 closes with the soft piano song, “Off Delaware”. It is a song where the sound of it will tug at your heartstrings. The slow send-off is an excellent end to a mostly excellent album.

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“Channing Tatum” and “Trap(ing) Music” are odd inclusions on 41. They don’t fit in very well with the flow of the album, and the transitions to and from the songs are difficult and jarring. Other than that, 41 is an excellent entry into Reggie‘s discography. Fans of pop punk should definitely pick it up when it debuts on the 23rd. It will be available from most music retailers!