31 March, 2014

Ferni - Blame

Ferni - Blame (song review) |Gradation Music, Afterburn EP, 2013| 5/5

"Blame" is a rock ballad written, performed, and recorded by Ferni Lopez - a singer and multi-instrumentalist from Houston, Texas. He’s a veteran of writing and playing music inspired by alternative, folk rock, and blues genres, as well as the founder of Brother Sol and Of Love And Justice bands. The song comes from his solo EP Afterburn, released in December 2013.

Rock ballads usually stick to the theme of "it could have been better" and lyrically refer to topics such as unsuccessful relationships, loss, loneliness, misunderstandings, unresolved problems, unrealistic desires etc., supported by melodious, nostalgic tunes. "Blame" firmly fits into that framework.

The track opening will immediately pull your attention into the mood thanks to deep, pensive bass tones with additional cymbals. A slow beat of a hand-held drum and a melancholic guitar come into play shortly afterwards. Highly expressive vocals are specifically what a song with a lullaby-like tempo definitely needs to make the contrasting sounds harmonious and well-matched. Indeed, Ferni’s slightly raspy voice fits in perfectly here. He can definitely sing and adjust his voice to across several ranges very well. The chorus sounds memorable and is exactly what a highly listenable radio or movie song requires.
The final part includes a careful and gentle, high-pitched guitar solo that melts into the whole track without stealing the focus, thanks to the harmoniously layered bass and drums tracks.

The arrangements and the composition have been put together skillfully. Needless to say, it’s quite surprising that one man can perform a song fit for an entire four-piece band, but Ferni's the living proof for this. His music bears inspiration from artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., The Who, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or Led Zeppelin. Therefore, if you like a nostalgic, guitar-driven vibe, you should enjoy "Blame".

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, March 31st, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)
This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=530

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

28 March, 2014

BROBST - Life Of Gypsies

BROBST - Life Of Gypsies (song review) |self-released, 2014| 4/5

This highly melodic track carries a lot of hit potential, since it’s instantly memorable. This is possible thanks to a balanced apportionment between inspiration drawn from both Depeche Mode as well as dark wave and electronic rock styles.

Probably, most of the people will first hear and then react to the rhythm. The dynamics in "Life Of Gypsies" are just accurate. The rhythm doesn't resemble a raging cannon, which would certainly kill the melody. Instead, subtle arrangements repeat and rock rhythm guitars along with a solo guitar spice them up with an edgy flavor. Guitars are played softly, without showing off and they embed well within the overall vibe. The string instruments also help the listener’s mind to drift a bit into a different direction than that created by the beat.

All electronic additions are of high quality and were placed in well chosen spots. Previously mentioned similarities to Depeche Mode's yearning tunes ring especially true. In addition, the melodies of verses and choruses support each other perfectly. As a result, the overall composition sounds harmonious.

BROBST may consider working a bit on his voice, however. The song seems to be written for confident, emotional vocals and it'd be really great to hear a slightly more vigorous performance. Some of the chorus parts require a prolonged, highly pitched voice, and here BROBST unquestionably delivers. In other moments, like during the opening verse where he sings with a lower voice, its melodic line comes across as a bit too wary and unstable. Other than that, the whispering does fit in these arrangements and the overall mood very well.

Finally, it should me mentioned that BROBST was the winner of the People's Choice Award (Atlantis Music Conference, Atlanta, Georgia) in 2007. Thanks to his success, he performed on stage the same night as Queens of the Stone Age.

"Life Of Gypsies" will be included on the tracklist of BROBST's full album, which is set to appear in July 2014. The release follows the Angel Dust EP (2013) which can be purchased in various on-line music stores.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, March 26th, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński



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04 March, 2014

The 88's - The 88's EP

The 88's - The 88's EP |self-released, 2013| 5/5

1. Get Me Through, 2. Addiction, 3. Time Was Right, 4. You Gotta Give A Damn, 5. For You, I'll Sing My Song, 6. Pride

The 88s trio which has been playing together since 2009 has an international line-up. The members make music in China, Portugal, France and the US. Joe Mahone brings the hard rock/metal drive through excellent drumming, Pheel Duarte feeds the songs with dynamic vocals, while Luis Coelho enriches The 88's music with Latin guitar influences.

The eponymous EP is their second release (the first one was out in 2011). The tracklist opens with a wavy guitar solo and gives you a foretaste of what to expect. "Get Me Through" has a melodic yet heavy mix, ensuring that you're listening to the work of experienced musicians who know how to skillfully borrow from a few different genres. They utilize Latin music, blues, hard rock and modern metal structures as well. They undoubtedly worked this one out and avoided predictable arrangements.

"Addiction" begins with a heavy and rhythmic mix written for the drums, guitar and vocals. However, this passionate track has also a surprising acoustic side, based on soft melodic arrangements. A professionally played guitar solo influenced by classic rock, as well as guitar parts draw inspiration from Latin music. As an interesting aside you should note that the song is bilingual (English & French).

The 88's seem to be inspired by music of Metallica, Foo Fighters, and System of A Down. "Time Was Right" is a goof proof of this. It’s a heavy track built upon balanced arrangements, neither leaving empty spaces, nor invading your ears with arrogant intensity. The structure is diversified enough to keep your mind engaged, but also repetitive enough to stick to your memory.

A swinging mix of guitars, drums and bass begins "You Gotta Give A Damn", an example of a popular alt-rock theme, which easily fits into prime time airplay. The song is short, melodic, dynamic and instantly memorable. It has spots filled with guitar solos and intensified drumming, with very suitable vocals.

If you like Soundgarden or Nirvana, or just enjoy the grungier vibes, "For You, I'll Sing My Song" is, precisely, for you. The track includes also an interesting part performed by Pier, a guest musician utilizing a Chinese instrument called Erhu. She appears midway through the song and brings more of a world music feel. When it comes to vocals for the track, Pheel Duarte proves clearly that he can adjust his voice to different styles of music.

Now, it's time for a decorative jewel. "Pride" is a huge finish, definitely enriching the whole EP with a big, nostalgic theme. You can clearly imagine the lone guitarist performing on a stage. When he's focused on the instrument, locked in an invisible bubble of the sound, the entire world seems to disappear. There are only three things that matter here: him, the guitar and the music these two make in the limelight. You've heard that same, never changing tune from Santana, Clapton, Led Zeppelin or Queen and you'll hear it again, this time performed by Luis Coelho and The 88's. It's also a great movie track.

All the songs on the tracklists have a definite flow connecting them - whether it’s their rhythm or mood, or the technical skill behind them. Thus, the end of "Pride" interlocks with "Get Me Through" very well and you can listen to the entire EP on repeat.

The album is worth having and the band deserves your support. Their official website and social profiles should give you more insight into The 88's next move.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, March 4th, 2014. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

This review on Fabryka Magazine: http://industrialrock.net/php-files_en/articles.php?article_id=526
 


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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine