Gandalf’s Fist announce 10th anniversary acoustic EP

Gandalfs Fist

Gandalf’s Fist have announced the release of a new EP to mark their 10th anniversary.

Live From A Post-Apocalyptic Power Cut will feature acoustic re-workings of selected songs from the band’s back catalogue.

Say Gandalf’s Fist in a statement revealing the news: “Recorded amidst the fallout of the next global zombie apocalypse, the EP serves as a soothing soundtrack to the end of civilisation and is sure to help lift the spirit amidst the oncoming tides of the undead.”

The track list is set to include “The Snows They Melt The Soonest”, “Emerald Eyes”, “The Circus In The Clearing”, “North Of The Wall”, “Orphans Of The Sky” and “Upon The Paths To Nowhere”.

A release date for the new EP has not yet been confirmed, but the band say they will make an announcement in the near future.

Gandalf’s Fist’s last release was their 2014 album A Forest Of Fey which received a 4/5 rating in review here at Skin Back Alley.

Check out the teaser trailer for Live From A Post-Apocalyptic Power Cut below:

Gandalfs Fist 2015 EP Cover

Album Reviews | Live Reviews | News | SBA Lists | The Playlist | Under The Skin | Without A Song

Album Review: Of Allies, ‘Fragments’ EP

FragmentsDigitalCoverFINALArtist: Of Allies
Album: Fragments EP
Our Verdict: 7/10
Release date: 11th May
Find it at: Of Allies webstore
Review by: Graeme Blackwell

“Towering and explosive from first note to last, Fragments packs one hell of a punch.”

Here in the UK it’s been a week of people having to eat their proverbials; be it hats, kilts or just whopping slices of humble pie. And now all those people who have ever suggested that nothing good has ever come out of Hull should be prepared to scoop up their words, slather them in Grey Poupon and a sprinkling of shit, and swallow them whole.

It’s been a stunning few years for the rock and metal scene in the Ridings of Yorkshire. Some of the county’s finest acts have dropped some of their most remarkable work over the past 24 months, and now you can add to that list Hull’s Of Allies and their new EP, Fragments.

Towering and explosive from first note to last, this five song collection can only help to cement the growing reputation of these Four Yorkshiremen of the Apocalypse. It’s a multi-layered, beautifully nuanced production that packs one hell of a punch.

The opening title track makes clear Of Allies’ intent, immediately delivering an aural assault that has an intensity that most bands could only hope to muster. But far from bursting out of the blocks at full tilt and then rapidly running out of steam, “Fragments” ebbs, flows and then builds again to a stunning breakdown that – if you have ears and a pulse – can only leave your jaw somewhere near the floor. Just listen to that eerie, sustained guitar in the verse that becomes a dynamic, rhythmic roar in the chorus. This is music to move both heart and mind.

“ONE19” doesn’t let up the pace, intensity or quality. It’s a barnstorming track that surges forward under the guidance of Danny Barrick’s ballistic drum work and the fluid interplay of Tom Hewson and Rich Nichols’ guitars. Nichols also shows incredible range and control in his vocal across the track’s 3 minute running time. If there’s one complaint it’s that the whole thing is over just too damn soon.

“Old Bones” shows that Of Allies know how to groove as hard as they rock and, if there’s any justice in the world, will soundtrack a million nights of slam-dancing at rock clubs throughout the land. “Tempers” powers through on a wave of squally guitar and chest-thumping emotion, and the EP is then rounded out by “Call It Home”, a song that begins more gently than most here, before developing in to a Foo Fighters-sized heartfelt, mind-blowing, melodic sonic rush.

A darker, more developed and intricately detailed work than their previous EP Tempers, Fragments marks out Of Allies as ones to truly watch. Highly reco-fuckin-mmended.

Check out Of Allies’ video for their track “ONE19” below and find out more at the band’s official Facebook page.

Album Reviews | Live Reviews | News | SBA Lists | The Playlist | Under The Skin | Without A Song

Listen as Stone Sour stream covers EP in full

Stone Sour 2015

Stone Sour are streaming their covers EP Meanwhile In Burbank in full.

The new set of songs was released on Monday 28th April via Roadrunner Records, but you can listen to it now for free via YouTube.

The five track set features covers of tunes by Metallica, Alice In Chains and Kiss amongst others. Stone Sour and Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor recently revealed that the ‘Sour are working on two more EPs of covers titled Straight Outta Burbank and No Sleep ’Til Burbank respectively.

The tracklist for Meanwhile In Burbank is:

01. “We Die Young” (Alice In Chains cover)
02. “Heading Out To The Highway” (Judas Priest cover)
03. “Love Gun” (Kiss cover)
04. “Creeping Death” (Metallica cover)
05. “Children Of The Grave” (Black Sabbath cover)

Check out the stream of the EP below:

As well as the two new Stone Sour EPs, Corey Taylor is set to appear on Greatest Hits Vol.1, the debut album from supergroup Teenage Time Killers. Made up of core members Reed Mullin (Corrosion of Conformity), Mick Murphy (My Ruin, The Birds of Satan) and producer John “Lou” Lousteau, the project features contributions from a host of punk, rock and metal royalty including Taylor, Matt Skiba, Randy Blythe, Jello Biafra and Nick Oliveri.

Greatest Hits Vol.1 is due out on the 31st of July via Rise Records.

Album Reviews | Live Reviews | News | SBA Lists | The Playlist | Under The Skin | Without A Song

Album Review: Stephen Chopek, ‘Things Moving’ EP

Stephen Chopek Things Moving coverArtist: Stephen Chopek
Album: Things Moving EP
Our Verdict: 7/10
Release date: Out now
Find it at: Bandcamp
Review by: Graeme Blackwell

“A skillfully crafted tapestry of punk, pop, folk and roots… that points to very bright things for Chopek’s future.”

Sometimes music takes a while to share its magic with you. Sometimes the reaction is more immediate. Stephen Chopek’s new EP, Things Moving, somehow manages to fall in to both camps at once.

In a similar fashion, the recording of the EP (along with its follow up EP On Their Own and album Things Moving On Their Own Together) came together over an extended period of five months, in stark contrast to the singer and songwriter’s debut album, See Through, recorded in a concentrated burst over just five days.

Hell, I guess art – and life – just wants what it wants.

The opening salvo in a planned triumvirate of releases in 2015 then, the Jersey City born Chopek’s first EP sets out the artist’s stall in fine style. Recorded in downtime between session gigs, tour dates and a relocation from Jersey to Memphis, Things Moving’s pleasures are many and varied.

At first listen, the songs here sound relatively simple. There is a punchy vitality that grabs the head hard and focuses it on a guitar lick here or a pulsing rhythm there. “Systematic Collapse” is a case in point, as a motorik groove intertwines with a stop-start staccato vocal line to build a hypnotic and engaging track that is the very definition of “more than the sum of its parts.” For all its apparent simplicity, it becomes clear that there is a musical depth being mined by Chopek that is soon revealed.

“Love Is A Negotiation” moves away from the punkish stylings of “…Collapse” and in to more rootsy, folk-inflected territory. The song has a warmth and weft that contrasts beautifully with some of the more angular material on offer, but listen closely and there is a dynamic complexity that rewards repeated listens.

Indeed, whilst some have expressed surprise that Things Moving was written and recorded by a musician trained as a drummer and percussionist, it seems very much to these ears that Chopek’s music has an inbuilt percussive quality, with rhythm, timbre and texture very much to the fore across the EP’s running time.

But that isn’t to say that Chopek doesn’t have an ear for melody. Some of the chord progressions across the likes of opening track “Hurry” or the sublime “Only Here” are both bracing and beautiful. Indeed, as Chopek himself says of the work: “I played all the instruments, so I had the freedom to explore ideas as soon as they presented themselves… I started to hear music from a non-drummer’s perspective, spending time listening to songs with no drums – lots of Billy Bragg and Nick Drake. I became interested in beautiful songs for what they were, not just for the parts that they were made of.”

Either way, Things Moving is very far indeed from the aforementioned systematic collapse. Rather it is a sure-footed rock n’ roll foundation that points to very bright things for Chopek’s future releases. A skillfully crafted tapestry of punk, pop, folk and roots, it’ll be a delight to see where the musician’s muse takes him next.

“Better to leave than be left with no clue, the rumor is true. Many are called, but the chosen are few,” sings Chopek on “Love Is A Negotation.” Well quite. From here it seems that Chopek has indeed been chosen. You could do very much worse than take a listen for yourself and find out why.

Find out more at Stephen Chopek’s Facebook page and watch the video for song “Systematic Collapse” below.

Album Reviews | Live Reviews | News | SBA Lists | The Playlist | Under The Skin | Without A Song

DIVIDES stream new EP Anywhere & Nowhere in full


In celebration of DIVIDES releasing their brand new EP Anywhere & Nowhere today the band are streaming it in full.

The Glaswegian’s EP debuted this morning via Kerrang! and you can listen to it via the Soundcloud player below. Be sure to pick up your copy via iTunes or DIVIDES’ own Bandcamp page.

The band will be playing a handful of live shows with Daydream Frenzy in late March and early April. Confirmed dates are as follows:

28th Mar: Aberdeen, Downstairs
29th Mar: Kilmarnock, Fanny By Gaslight
31st Mar: Edinburgh, Mash House
01st Apr: Glasgow, Stereo
02nd Apr: Dundee, Buskers
03rd Apr: Dunfermline, Montys
04th Apr: Inverness, Eagle Bar

You can also check out the evocative video for EP track “Falsehood” below:

Album Reviews | Live Reviews | News | SBA Lists | The Playlist | Under The Skin | Without A Song

80 days to ahhh