Ben Walton picks out ten of his favourite albums of 2015
10. Metz - II
Toronto's Metz returned with their obviously titled second outing this year, offering up a relentless 30 minute blitzkrieg of feedback riddled guitars and pounding drums. They didn't make any huge changes to their usual formula, but II adds some impressive new tunes to the bands back catalogue, including the unhinged opener Acetate, the aggressive dirge of Spit You Out and the blistering I.O.U. Metz are an incredible force and are fast cementing themselves as, if not the best guitar band on the planet right now, then certainly the noisiest.
9. Ringo Deathstarr - Pure Mood
For a few years now, Ringo Deathstarr have plied their trade as a solid, if fairly unremarkable shoegaze act, but on Pure Mood - their third album in four years - their time spent touring with The Smashing Pumpkins has rubbed off, and the grunge dial has been turned all the way around to 10. There's big riffs aplenty splashed all over Heavy Metal Suicide and guitar histrionics in Guilt. This album is a huge step forward for Ringo Deathstarr.
Continue reading: Ben Walton's Top Albums Of 2015
Modern rock music often has the broadest - or narrowest - set of definitions. On the one hand, Leeds quartet Hawk Eyes are screamo curmudgeons, part of the city's (in)famous DIY scene which has been threatening to go over ground in its own terms for years. And yet, on the other, they've produced on this, their third album, the sort of take-no-prisoners, maverick noises that well-informed niches of the record-buying public demands; a mass of riffs, twitches and paranoia that froths and threatens to ignite and go off in your face at any given moment.
'Everything Is Fine' follows 2012's 'Ideas' both sequentially and in tone; largely self produced and sometimes bluntly uncomplicated, whilst at other times bordering on math-punk jigsaw, and both of those themes again are explored here - concessions to the unfamiliar not easily relinquished. As well as retaining their music's visceral heft, it also bears the same misanthropy: the Hawk Eyes world isn't one of sunshine and lollipops; a slipping feeling is underlined in the words. Take the establishment-hating opener 'The Trap': "I'm a man with a mind you can't buy any more/ You have taken our secrets/ And fed us war" or the agit prop of 'Terribly Quelled''s "Revolutions are won/ revolutions are lost/ but the victors always become tyrants".
Anger and resentment rocket-fuel much of 'Everything Is Fine', but Hawk Eyes still manage to taper their aggression into a set of songs which sound confrontational but polished. 'Die Trying' and 'More Than A Million' are not just smears of noisy tension, they're melodic and counter punching, a nod to a band who're happy to match your perceptions or stretch them to breaking point. The precision and the nerves of steel come, however, at the end during the seven minutes plus of closer 'TFF'; an epic sequence of tidal wave riffs and building phases, each one more elevated, more four lane highway than the last. As a parting gift to the listener, there will be few more dizzying and prosaic sounds delivered this year.
Continue reading: Hawk Eyes - Everything Is Fine Album Review
Hawk Eyes' new single Crack Another One is taken from their upcoming EP, Mindhammer, which will be released on December 12th through Brew Records. The band is wrapping up a UK tour with the James Cleaver Quintet and Turbowolf but will be on the road again in December 2011, supporting The Wildhearts frontman Ginger.
Hawk Eyes formed in late 2004, when they were previously known as Chickenhawk. The band comprises: Paul Michael Astick - (guitar/vocals); Ryan Thomas Clark - (bass/some vocals); Matthew Reid - (drums) and Robert James Stephens - (guitar). Their self titled debut album was released in 2007 after almost three years of touring and they were signed to Brew shortly afterwards, in 2009.
Their second album, Modern Bodies, was released in 2010 to positive reviews. The album was mixed with the help of Kevin Vanbergen (The Pixies) and was mastered by Dick Beetham (Black Sabbath). In that same year, the band played at thirteen different festivals up and down the country, including Sonisphere; Leeds Festival and Offset Festival. The band also toured with We Are The Ocean and Alexisonfire.
In March 2011, the band changed their name to Hawk Eyes. Mindhammer is their last release on Brew, before signing with new label Fierce Panda.
The video for 'Crack Another One' was directed by Tim Blackwell and Danny North.
The full list of Hawk Eyes' tour dates are as follows:
December UK Tour w/ Ginger (The Wildhearts):
07 DEC 2011 Manchester - Moho live
08 DEC 2011 Glasgow - Garage
09 DEC 2011 Newcastle - Academy 2
10 DEC 2011 Leeds - Cockpit
11 DEC 2011 Southampton - Talking Heads
13 DEC 2011 Bristol - The Fleece
14 DEC 2011 Buckley - Tivoli
15 DEC 2011 Wolverhampton - Wulfrun Hall
17 DEC 2011 London - Islington Academy