DEPARTURES: Teenage Haze: CD

On this sophomore album from Glasgow, Scotland’s DEPARTURES have recorded nine new songs of melodic hardcore with screamo added to it. This is the follow-up to their self-titled album from 2011 and it’s their debut release on No Sleep Records.

“Teenage Haze” is a very short, relaxed instrumental which was cool because lead singer/shouter/screamer James McKean gets a break and so do we. It’s not that I didn’t like his vocals; on the contrary, I just think that sometimes the vocals could be mellowed out a bit, and not screamed in every song. A bit more versatility on the vocals would improve the album a bit, but the band plays really well and McKean does bring a lot of passion to the vocals. The song “Small Steps” starts off slow and builds into a nice hard, fast paced song, then fades again, really well done. “21” is intense with strong vocals, tasty guitar riffs, and pounding drums, and “Where The Time Will Go” starts off slow and then accelerates to the speed of light taking you on its trip.

This band has a lot of potential and the album is really well done. This will surprise fans of hardcore, that you can have more relaxed, mellow songs and still come up with an album that shreds.

https://www.facebook.com/departuresuk   https://www.facebook.com/nosleeprecords   http://nosleeprecords.com/   http://nosleepsampler.com/

MAJOR LEAGUE: Hard Feelings: CD

Ten pop punk songs from this five piece band from Mantua, NJ. This new release from these Jersey guys that have been around since 2009 is a really good album.

They have some nice crunchy guitar work on here by both guitarists Brian Joyce, and Matt Chila, the drummer, Luke Smartnick is a lot better than most other drummers in pop punk with a lot of pounding and finesse, and bassist Kyle Bell does a great job on here as well. Really good and clean production and it really makes the band’s playing stand out. It’s truly a refreshing release because they sound nothing like BLINK 182 which so many pop punk bands nowadays seem to try to sound like. The lyrics are quite smart and are written with a lot of passion which really impressed me a lot. These guys have the chops to make me like pop punk again, at least if they are the ones playing pop punk that is. Stand out tracks are “Homewrecker”, “Walk Away”, “Landslide” and “Need I Remind You”.

They have made one of the better albums of this genre and I know that my wife who likes this kind of stuff will totally like this album and I’m glad that I like it too, this way we can play the hell out of it and neither of us will get sick of hearing it. I’m just pissed off that I missed them when they came by me on tour…maybe, no, definitely next time!

https://www.facebook.com/majorleaguerock   https://www.facebook.com/nosleeprecords  http://nosleeprecords.com/

THE CASKET LOTTERY: Real Fear: CD

Real Fear cover art

These guys have been together since 1998 and after a lengthy layoff; they’re back with eleven new songs. They haven’t had a release out since 2006 and this is a great return to the post hardcore scene.

I listened to this on headphones and could hear all the intricate sounds that they included in the songs that really surprised me. The song “The Moon And The Tide” has some great synthesizer on it, bringing out a cool bit of a new wave feel mixed into the harder parts of the song. The vocals across the album range from screaming to very melodic and come head to head in some songs and work well. The album has two super short songs on it, the first one “Blood On The Handle”, and the fifth song “Sarastro”. The first one is a nice hard and heavy way to kick off the album, while the fifth is a very cool mellow song with piano and synthesizer. The production is flawless, with all the small things that you might not normally hear from the bombast and power that this band has.

I was pleasantly surprised with this album and I hope they get the fans back from the old days and get even more with this release. I was unaware of THE CASKET LOTTERY, but this is a band that I will now keep my eyes and ears on in the future.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Casket-Lottery/193550150664833    https://www.facebook.com/nosleeprecords   http://www.nosleeprecords.com/   http://nosleepsampler.com/album/real-fear