Exclusive Artist Review: Anaphora – “Illusion” Album

Lithuanian rockers Anaphora have only been active since 2017, but are making big waves throughout the heavy metal spectrum. Since their formation, the band has put together a very versatile and nostalgic signature sound that is effective in its execution and energetic in its performance value – and is clearly demonstrated in their debut 10-track juggernaut ‘Illusion’.

Fans of the Nu-Metal era will definitely appreciate this band. Combining a diligent breakthrough sound that has the heaviness of Killswitch Engage and the melodic approach of bands like Chevelle, Shinedown and earlier Staind albums, Anaphora puts forth an insatiable dose of energy you’d expect from a metal/metalcore outfit, but enhances their calibre with earth shattering drum grooves and dynamically crafty drop-tuned guitar riffs. Anchor single and opening track “Similarity” is a strong opener with a solid rhythm section and guitar arrangement. This track sets the tone for the rest of the album and delivers up the key ingredients we hear throughout the duration of this record; showcasing rhythmic vocal melodies, transitional breakdowns and atmospheric textures that are structured together by each member’s equal contributions.

“Fade Away” is another anchor track with a clean guitar intro that is effective and viscerally ambient. This song especially brings Anaphora‘s more crucial elements to the forefront and dives a little deeper into the band’s individual and collective musicianship factors; making the listener even more invested into the record as it plays out. However, it’s the hauntingly ominous “Ghost in the Mirror” that comes out swinging with all the right punches. This far-more-aggressive banger heavily delves into the melodic metalcore structure that really turns up the groove elements. The breakdowns in this song are well placed, well paced and solidifies an anthemic edge that is authentic and effective. The acoustic-infused “Shadows” is an atmospheric effort that closes out the album with an aura of content. It’s a song that further proves that Anaphora is not only a talented unit, but a versatile one as well.

‘Illusion’ is a solid debut release that sustains consistency and a truly developed sound. If you are majorly fond of the heavier 90s and 2000s rock eras, then Anaphora will be your new cup of tea (spiked with your favorite liquor). You can get a copy of the album on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and several other digital music streaming platforms.


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Exclusive Artist Review: No Sky Can Blind Us – “This Is Not For You” Anthology Single

Written, performed and recorded in November 2020 for National Solo Album Month, “This Is Not For You” is a sprawling and ambitious debut affair from No Sky Can Blind Us, an experimental project by West of House singer Erick Bieger. The 34-minute song is broken down into nine movements and a coda, and is to be considered an album unto itself. Loosely inspired by the novel “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski, “This Is Not For You” seeks to capture the internal chaotic struggle of mental illness, specifically schizophrenia – a theme which runs through every note and lyric. It’s designed to be intentionally jarring, genre hopping from brutal extremes to droning ambient beauty, and taking the listener through their own journey of peace and chaos.

Bieger’s debut solo effort is a standout of its calibre. Starting off with a hyper EDM intro and merging into a multifaceted and multilayered metal signature sound, every sequence of this anthology track leads into something more progressive as the duration of the song plays out. The musicianship factors are heavily apparent in every measure and really showcases the versatility and creativity of the artistic merit. The performance and production value parallels each other perfectly and really encapsulates an atmospheric aura that gives this project the authenticity it truly conveys. Bieger brings forth a visceral take on several metal sub genres from symphonic metal to black metal and really diversifies the approach with cleverly executed production techniques and atmospheric textures that add the multi layers in all the right places. This anthology is doused with raw talent, unsurpassed originality and deserves undivided attention from start to finish.

The staying power is very real and this is also the type of project you can listen to uninterrupted. No skipping sequences necessary. Prepare to get your mind blown. “This Is Not For You” releases on April 3rd and will be available on several digital music streaming platforms. Keep your eyes (and ears) open.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Todd Underwood – “Upside Down” Album/LP

Very few artists have the veteran musicianship that Todd Underwood possesses. A man of many genres, many bands over the years, sports radio, music on Dog Whisperer and a long successful career for the past 38 years, the Prescott, Arizona-based artist hits the peak of his game with his 13-track juggernaut ‘Upside Down’.

An album about unimaginable hardships and losses, this futuristic and progressive record breathes new life into the early-mid 2000s Emo/Alt-Indie sensibilities and truly encapsulates a signature sound that is versatile and crafty. If you’re a fan of groups like Circa Survive, Story of the Year, The Used, Knuckle Puck and Taking Back Sunday’s earlier records, then this album will be a new refreshing favorite that is bound to be added to your playlists in no time. Opening title track “Upside Down” is hauntingly visceral and introduces a modern twist to the Emo genre that is diligently executed. From atmospheric dueling guitars to high range vocal harmonies, this song sets the tone for what’s to come throughout the record’s duration. Jumping into “It’s My Fault”, this track enters into a heavier territory and makes excellent use of three part vocal harmonies topped off with smooth bass lines and overall a very tight-knit rhythm section.

Anchor single “Tell Me It Will Be Okay” is a brilliantly progressive song with fascinating chord progressions and vocal melodies. This track in particular has a math-rock feel with Jimmy Eat World vibes that really stands on its own as a track that has great balance and composure when it comes to originality and familiarity. “Love Like That” has an insatiable groove with a southern guitar riff that jams and slams away with absolute precision in its calibre. However, it’s the song “Merry-Go-Round of Pain” that reaches the next level of heavy. With down tuned riffs, intricate bass measures and Todd‘s futuristic vocal harmony style, this song is definitely one of the many standouts on this record.

This album is jam packed with atmospheric guitar leads, visceral vocal harmonies, powerfully clever lyrics and a signature style that has originality at its forefront and top notch production value in its entirety. It has many modern textures that are effective and utilized in all the right places to make this the gem it really is. But it also has older Alt/Indie elements that truly compliment the overall sensibilities that Todd Underwood conjures up. If you molded into the early-mid 2000s Warped Tour and Drive-Thru Records scene, then this record will be one of your favorites.

This is definitely one of the best records you’ll run into for 2021 and will definitely entice you to delve into Todd Underwood‘s career and discography. ‘Upside Down’ is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. This is a must-hear on all counts.


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