Dakú Lights: “Illuminate” – a consistent palette of genre-melding pop offerings

London based alternative pop band, Dakú Lights, was formed in April 2016 by the three band members who are represented by their own distinct color to match their personality, with Bhavini being red, Haiiiro as pink-orange and Panda as purple. They have a unique blend of music which incorporates Pop, Kpop, EDM and Urban influences. Currently pursuing a record deal, the band is focused on producing high quality music and building their stage presence for international audiences. Dakú Lights recently released their 5-track EP, entitled “Illuminate”. The title takes a cue from the band’s name, as Dakú means ‘dark’ in

Henry Metal: “So It Hath Begun” will grab you by the balls with a cruel squirrel grip

Henry Metal might have a fine veil of satire embracing the project, but he makes just about the best tribute to the excess of the 80’s and 90’s hard rock and metal genres ever. He has just released his 9 track album, entitled “So It Hath Begun” which contains great songs, which are very easy to bang your head and sing along with. The tracks all have a grooving and slamming feel, plus cool shredding and solos. In fact Henry Metal sounds no different to any of those legendary rock and metal bands from the golden era. You either get

Aeronaut: “Skara” – excellent progressive buildups and rhythmic backflips

Aeronaut can be described as Progressive Rock, Post-Rock, Indie, or simply Alternative Rock, but that doesn’t really matter. All I know is that this project delivers very interesting, fresh, and well-rounded music. Aeronaut has a huge dynamic range, from extremely fast and heavy with smooth, powerful vocals to very relaxing and atmospheric. The music is very melodic, clear and well-produced, the song “Skara” flows and changes to new and exciting ideas. The guitars are very lush and full sounding, during both heavier and mellow parts, while the bass and drums thump and bang in all the right places. Aeronaut is

Eric Hausmann: “Soaked” manages to tap into a very specific emotional core

Eric Hausmann is a multi-instrumentalist and film composer. He has produced music for a number of Malaysian films, in addition to scoring for a variety of New York film productions. He performs live as a guitarist with Portland’s Tres Gone, and Malaysia’s Space Gambus Experiment. He is formerly a member of The Gone Orchestra and Brainwarmer. Hausmann recently released “Soaked” a seven track recording which is described as “A cross-section of Asian dub-fused rock n’ roll with deep India influences.” But it’s probably more than that, as I’m hearing post-rock, world fusion, and ambient rock influences injected into these tracks. Eric

MOOD: “The Wave” is in the right lane!

Hip-hop has changed – there’s no debating that – but change isn’t always indicative of something bad. That being said, it’s refreshing to hear more rapping, with the exception of one or two bridges, versus the continual rap/sing mix that’s permeated mainstream as of late. You’re allowed to appreciate more than one way of creating music and while a lot of rappers have the notion that they should be singing as well, there’s a place for it all, especially if you don’t have a decent singing voice. You obviously can’t disregard one lane of Hip-hop while claiming to be a

EsZ: “If You Didn’t Get This Message, Call Me” – an audacious creative effort

On his new album, “If You Didn’t Get This Message, Call Me”, EsZ aka Erron’s Attic comes out swinging from the first song, a great balance between classic Hip Hop and modern. As usual EsZ gets well thought out ideas through his songs in innovative ways; you definitely get the feeling he has the lyrical substance he wants to express. Although we’re in a dismal era of Rap currently, this could be one of those instant underground classics. EsZ catalog is filled with parables, fables, morals and lamentations, forms of storytelling that compress people and experiences into neat, digestible lessons.

Luna 13 – the solid foundation for gut-ripping synths

The award winning Los Angeles band Luna 13 is forging a new genre of music they call Black Metal/Bass Music. Their brutal yet groove based electro-metal incorporates elements of electronica, death metal, and industrial rock – all done with electronics, which means no string instruments. Music maker Dr. Luna, creates a metal sound with synthesizers and by wrapping heavy distortion around sub-bass. Luna 13 who has been performing live for a few years now, opening for death metal/industrial and electronica projects alike, came into its own when Lilith Bathory joined in 2015. Since, Lilith, the band’s front woman, has been booking modeling jobs

Dezzyano: “Hello World: The Renaissance” – a cohesive feel and tone throughout the album

Now I’ll be honest, before this album was released, I didn’t know much about Dezzyano, the rapper raised 5 mins from Atlanta on Six Flags Dr. I decided to give it a go. And I became a very unlikely Dezzyano fan. The 16 track album, “Hello World: The Renaissance” starts off strong with ‘Anita Baker’. It has an extremely catchy refrain built on a bass and horn driven soul soundscape. This sets the tone for the album, which sees Dezzyano finding different ways of telling his story with catchy hooks and intense verses. From a critical standpoint, this album has

Sick.Life: “Dreamers” – showcasing the diversity and talent of the roster

Sick.Life a collective of artists and an independent music label based in El Paso, Texas. A couple of months back they released their critically acclaimed album, entitled “Contagion”. Now off that album comes the single “Dreamers” produced by NZO, and featuring Josh Brown on the chorus and bridge, while the verses are handled in order of appearance, by Sonny Weston, Lavoe, C.Notes and E$ BFNE. For hip-hop fans growing up in the 21st century, the Sick.Life collective is simply a perfect match between raw lyrical muscle and dynamic production. I listened to the track last night with the intention of

Cassie Holt and The Lost Souls: “Curvy Girl” makes a strong statement

These days, it seems anyone can make an R&B record. However, recording a soul track takes that special intangible element that not all have. Cassie of Cassie Holt and The Lost Souls, offers cadences that move in an affable manner as she declares her sense of self-worth on her latest single release, “Curvy Girl” which tackles the theme of body positivity. She never rushes the pace. She intones in different ways to let the song build in complexity. Think of it as the aural equivalent of a Lego set. One can use the simple bricks in different styles and colors

Elmo Karjalainen: ‘Age Of Heroes’ is full of diversity

Elmo Karjalainen is a ‘guitarist’s guitarist’ who revels in a self-penned musical hybrid shot through with intensity and precision. His latest album ‘Age Of Heroes’ is a big sounding album with enough twists and turns to make Karjalainen’s solos sound both dynamic and interesting. This album represents a milestone, for Elmo, who is considered one of the best rock guitarists in his native Finland. On this album he realized his dream of playing alongside side some of his own ‘heroes’.

“This album saw me realize a dream. I have always wanted to have people I consider influences appear on an album of mine,” says Karjalainen, continuing, “I dreamt of playing with Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen, and on this album I saw that happen. I got Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen keyboard player who also toured with Billy Idol, Kiss and Alice Cooper) to play a killer solo on one of the tracks. The second artist to feature was none other than Viking guitar maestro Mattias IA Eklundh of Freak Kitchen. He’s a guy who has truly influenced my playing. In addition to those two I got the extremely talented Janne and Emil to feature on one song, where we did a three guitar battle. ”

Elmo Karjalainen

Elmo Karjalainen

There are plenty of incendiary guitar breaks and harmony guitar parts, shredding and the like, but Elmo Karjalainen also demonstrates a lightness of touch which is almost playful at times. This aspect is offset by several complex moments that explore rock, pop, metal, blues and even classical influences as he cleverly balances the obtuse with the accessible.

‘How Can Less Be More’ is full of diversity, a wide range of solos and an array of tone colors. He glues together all the elements on ‘The Colour of Greed’, which he tops with an incredible shred and then joins keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen) as they trade instrumental virtuosity before slipping into some beautiful slow-burning guitar ambience  on ‘Chikken Noodul’.

The lyrical duality of ‘A Fertile Discussion’ is exulted by the subtle dynamic tension between Mattias IA Eklundh’s exemplary playing and Karjalainen’s fusion ensemble sensibilities, laced with multiple harmonies. The restless live feel of ‘A Meeting of the Gods ( And This Guy)” is evidenced by the way Janne Nieminen and Emil Pohjalainen (winners of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Guitar Gods competition), together with Elmo Karjalainen trade electrifying riffs as if it  was an adrenaline pumping rollercoaster ride.

This is an intense high octane collaborative track. And it’s this constant search for that one lick to match the others that gives the tune such a captivating appeal which is exemplified by the booming ‘call and response’ riffs.

Karjalainen saves one of his biggest impacts for ‘Falling for Falafels’ on a collision of understated power, song craft and intense guitar playing. The big crescendo before the outro is effectively a musical sleight of hand, as it suggests a succinct resolution to a bulldozer of an album, but magnificently, ‘Age Of Heroes’ has even more depth than that.

It’s a frequently multi-layered and surprisingly diverse album full of magisterial guitar lines that constantly draws Elmo Karjalainen into new musical avenues.

He’s at his tasteful and poignant best on the meandering twist and turns of ‘Three Days of Peace’ and the bluesy ‘Limiting Rationality’, while the upbeat fusion groove of ‘The Grassy Gnoll’ is an example of an artist following his own musical path. ‘Age Of Heroes’ reveals new nuances with repeated plays.

Elmo Karjalainen’s musical knowledge, breathless guitar playing and imaginative musical arrangements shape the musical vision of a genius shredder with a penchant for real songs. Elmo personally feels that this is his best album to date, and on the evidence showcased across the 15 tracks here, it would be hard to disagree.

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