I can’t believe how late I am with this! Avenged Sevenfold released their new single, “Hail to the King,” July 15th, and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s been a rough ride for the band since The Rev’s death at the end of 2009. Their last album, Nightmare, was released in 2010 immediately after the tragic news. After touring, the band took some time off from music to spend time with their families and the people they loved, explained in this exclusive interview. When the time felt right, they came back together to write and record their upcoming album, Hail to the King.
We get a hint of what’s to be expected with the release of the first single of the same name. It definitely has a Metallica feel to it. M Shadows even said it’s somewhat of a mix between Metallica’s self-titled album and Megadeth’sCountdown to Extinction. Arin Ilejay, formerly of the band Confide, has been brought on as the official drummer. We don’t get to hear any impressive drumming in this song, but the focus seems to be on the vocals and the lyrics, which seem to be speaking about a tyrannical leader. It starts with a catchy guitar riff, the signature riff throughout the whole song, and transitions to pounding drums. I thought of “Angry Again” by Megadeth when listening to the instrumentals, specifically the bass guitar. Did anyone else feel that way?
The song is slower than most of what A7X is know for. I noticed that the guitar solo in the song has been simplified, which is very unlike their past work, known for highlighting Synyster Gate’s solos. With that said, the solo is still very nicely done. The whole song is so reminiscent of metal from the 80s and early 90s, and I’m happy with the direction they’re going in. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the album is going to sound like. Check out the song below.
The official release of the album will be August 27th, just a little less than a month away.
Oberhofer is a five-piece group that rose from the depths of the NYU music scene in 2008. The band’s alias comes from the last name of lead singer Brad Oberhofer, who writes and records the majority of the group’s music, employing the help of other group members only as needed.
Oberhofer sit comfortably beneath the widely-encompassing umbrella term, “alternative rock,” albeit with experimentation with a variety of genres, including noise pop, indie, and dance punk. Brad Oberhofer ventures in a variety of musical directions with his songwriting and often conveys personal emotions through his lyrics and their accompanying soundscapes. That said, nearly every Oberhofer track is unique and memorable.
In 2010, the young group began to gain traction with the release of their first single “o0Oo0O0o,” a youthful track that employs the group’s signature keyboard driven instrumentals and explores teen angst and romance. The track gained them the attention of established groups like Sleigh Bells and Neon Indian, both of which asked Oberhofer to tour with them.
After a round of concerts in 2011, Oberhofer landed a record deal with Glassnotes Records and began work on their first full-length album, Time Capsules II. Brad enlisted the help of renowned producer Steve Lillywhite, who has worked with successful groups like The Killers, Talking Heads, and 30 Seconds to Mars. He recorded most of the vocals and instrumental backings himself, recruiting help from other musicians only when absolutely necessary. Additionally, the group did a considerable amount of promotional work in advance of the record’s release, most importantly making a musical appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. By the time of its release on March 27, 2012, Stereogum had designated Time Capsules II the 39th most anticipated album of 2012.
Notable tracks from the debut include “Landline,” “Away FRM U,” and “I Could Go.” “Landline,” the album’s second track, features harmonic instrumentals and peppy drumming, while incorporating themes of loyalty and commitment. The following track, “Away FRM U”, which Oberhofer performed during their Letterman appearance, is a catchy song with a boyish, uncertain sound created by glockenspiel melodies and innovative percussion work. The album’s fourth track, “I Could Go,” is slower but retains its predecessor’s upbeat, juvenile feel. This song also includes the glockenspiel instrumentals that define the group’s unique sound and adds melodic guitar riffs and orchestral effects. All and all,Time Capsules II is a moving, cohesive album that earned the album critical and popular recognition as an up-and-coming artist in alternative music.
Watch the video for “Away FRM U” here:
Since the release of their first album, Oberhofer has toured relentlessly, stopping at venues across North America and making appearances at well-known music festivals like Lollapalooza and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
I saw them play in Pittsburgh earlier this summer and their performance was fantastic. The quintet’s unrivaled musicianship carries over to the live arena and Brad’s animated stage presences makes for a lively and entertaining show.
Despite their hectic touring schedule, Oberhofer has made time to produce a new EP, Nostalgia, which they unveiled on July, 15 2013. The EP reflects Brad Oberhofer’s musical growth and maturing songwriting skills, but still preserves the adolescent feel of the group’s debut album.
The EP’s first track, “You + Me (Still Together in the Future),” is a softer melodic track that illustrates Brad’s diverse musical skills and conveys emotional depth. I heard the song for the first time when I saw Oberhofer live, and the track remains one of my favorite Oberhofer songs to date.
The second song on the new release, “Got Your Letter,” is a synthy track with an optimistic feel, that continues the emotional complexity of the EP’s opening track.
A short instrumental interlude splits “Got Your Letter” and the next full track, “Earplugs,” a decidedly dissonant track that contains some of the band’s best harmonies.
The final track on the short but impressive EP is “Together/Never,” a “nostalgic” track, (pun intended), that includes titillating instrumental progressions and floating vocals.
All and all, the album has a soft feel that projects a sentimental, reflective aura. Even with its more serious nature, Oberhofer’s second effort carries on the sonic diversity and impressive musicianship of Time Capsules II. Oberhofer’s talent and drive ensures that the unique group will remain a fixture in the alternative/experimental genre.
For the remainder of the August, the band will continue to perform across the country and at various festivals, as they put the final touches on their second full-length studio album. I highly recommend checking Oberhofer out onSpotify, where you can find their entire discography to date, or seeing them live in the future if they make a stop in your area.
California rock band, AFI (A Fire Inside), recently released the track “I Hope You Suffer,” giving us the first taste of their new ninth album Burials which is due for release this October. Shortly after the song was available on iTunes, the band released a lyric video (below). Their last album, Crash Love, did not get the same mass attention as the two before it did, Decemberunderground and Sing The Sorrow which yielded hits like “Miss Murder,”“Girls Not Grey,”“Silver and Cold,” and “The Leaving Song, Pt. 2.” It is unclear if AFI will reappear in the mainstream spotlight, but after listening to “I Hope You Suffer,” it is very possible.
Like most of their music, it is very dark. The song has a terrific beat and the drumming is particularly strong. The song features some great dynamics too - it softens then hardens quite well and effectively to create emotion. Lead singer Davey Havok’s vocals are stellar and versatile. He performs his signature rockesque sing-screams along side soft, seductive singing. Although not quite as catchy as the poppier “Miss Murder,” “I Hope You Suffer” is definitely more artful and carefully crafted. The lyrics are filled with pain and anger towards an ex-lover. Havok sings “I faced destruction and you just killed me and walked away/I gave my heart to the cruel now it will not beat again/I hope you do/I hope you suffer/I hope you do/Just like I suffered.” They also have another new song from the album titled “17 Crimes” set to be released on August 6th.