Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Update + EP/ Demo Reviews: Local Band Edition: Crash! Radio & Draken

Hey kiddies, I’ve got a bit of an update before I start the reviews. First off, I’m on 8tracks! I’ll be operating under the username DGuptz, and Hell if I know what I’ll end up putting on there. So you can totally follow me there and see all of the zero playlists that I’ll probably end up making! Yay! [EDIT: I'm not on 8tracks anymore. I'm not creative enough to make playlists.]

Secondly, I’ve reworked the scale I use for rating the albums I review. Before, I used a 1 – 10 scale with 7 being “average”, anything above being “good” to “awesome” and anything below being “meh” to “holy shit, please kill me now”. Now I’m going to be using a 0 – 5 scale with the following ratings:

5.0 – Perfect.
4.9 – Damn near perfect.
4.5 – Eargasm.
4.0 – Great.
3.5 – Good.
3.0 – Decent.
2.5 – Average/ Meh.
2.0 – Not so hot.
1.5 – Just plain bad.
1.0 – Dear God, how did you think that making this was good decision?
0.5 – I feel like I’ve been molested. In the ear.
0.0 – I’d rather go listen to a Burzum/ BrokenCYDE collaboration.

Yes, 4.9 will be a potential score. A 5.0 will only represent an album that I believe is truly perfect in every way. Anything else will land a 4.9 at the most. I think this will offer more consistency and structure to my reviews, so I’ll try it out and see how it goes!

This music review will be a little different. Today I’ll be featuring two bright young bands from my local (Halton Region) music scene: Crash! Radio and Draken. They both might belong to two different genres of music (Rock/ Pop and Metal respectively), but I think they both deserve the attention. So without further ado, let’s begin.

Crash! Radio – “Crash! Radio EP”

Crash! Radio (herein called C!R) are a Burlington, ON based Alt. Rock and Pop band. I think they were able to get access to a recording studio for this EP, and you can really tell. Production is great on C!R EP. Everything is crisp and clear, with no instrument overpowering any other one. If they didn’t have access to a recording studio, then a big bravo goes out to whichever one of them did the production work.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of the Alt. Rock and Pop genres, because I find a lot of it sounds very bland and very similar. C!R seem to break away from the boring old formula and deliver some pretty sweet tunes. They vary their sound just enough to give each track some character and definition, but not so much to make it an incoherent mess. 

Something that I really enjoy on C!R EP is the guitar (go figure). Thrown in on every song are some expertly phrased guitar leads underneath the main mix which took me past the first listen to catch. If there's one thing I have to credit C!R with, it's that whenever I listen to their songs, I hear something new each time.

If I have to criticize this release with something, it's that even though each song was really good, none of them blew my mind. It feels like the band is staying safely inside of their comfort zone across this entire EP. I can't really blame them though. They're great at what they do, so it only makes sense that they do it.   

Bomb-Ass Track

Sunrise on the East Side: I definitely hear some Dropkick Murphy's influence here, especially in the intro. That big group "GO!" throws you forwards into the rest of this killer track. Also, don't even get me started on the bridge. Infectiously catchy stuff.

Overall Score


An enjoyable first release from C!R. Again, I’m not a huge fan of the Pop/ Alt. Rock genre, but C!R definitively keep things fresh. I'll be keeping my eye on them. Check out their EP on Bandcamp here (free only for the next 24 or so hours), like them on Facebook here, and check ‘em out live here.

Draken – “Cyprium EP”

Draken are a band that hail from Mississauga/ Oakville, ON. To my knowledge this EP doesn’t have an official name, but it was released when they still sailed under the moniker of Cyprium, so I’m going to call it the Cyprium EP. Draken blend influences from Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal and Progressive Metal together. Would I call them Progressive Melodic Thrash Metal? No. Not at all. When all those genres are mixed by these dudes, Draken becomes more. It transcends any of those individual genres, and I don’t think I can call it anything else other than straight up fucking Metal.

The first thing that hit me on this EP was the guitar work. Razor-sharp and striking with precision, the guitarists bombard you with air-guitar worthy, fretboard-burning riffs. The solos are also face-meltingly fast, just the way I like ‘em. Another highlight of the EP are the guttural vocals. Spewing forth from your speakers come some ungodly growls and screams. For being completely unprocessed, it’s delightfully surprising how heavy those vocals sound.

On a complete 180 degree turn from C!R EP, this collection of demo songs definitely wasn’t recorded in a studio (which is completely understandable for a band’s first demo. No harm, no foul.). If you’re someone who can only listen to 100% polished and heavily produced music, this might turn you off. In my eyes, the unpolished production doesn’t take too much away from Cyprium EP. That being said, if these guys get the opportunity to record these songs in a professional studio or something, I’m sure with big beefy production the songs would hit even fucking harder.

There are only a couple gripes I have with this release. As wicked sweet as the drumming is (seriously, “Torrential Rain” thrashes pretty fucking hard), in some sections they feel a little fast or a little slow. The clean vocals on the EP aren’t my favorite either, as the singer struggles a little bit to hit some of his notes. Given that this is their first recording, those two things really aren’t major, and I expect they’ll practice and grow to become a truly fearsome Metal act in the GTA scene.

Bomb-Ass Track

In Sheep's Clothing: Gothenburg style riffing? Check. Brutal vocals? Check. Eerie as fuck bridge? Check. Smash-your-face-in-with-a-sledgehammer guitar solo? Check. One of the most badass outros I've heard in a long time? Mother. Fucking. Check.

 Overall Score


A solid first effort from Draken. I’m excited to see what they’ll churn out next. Check out their EP for free on ReverbNation here, like them on Facebook here, and go see them shred live here.

After like, the longest post ever, that’s all for now, folks. Support your local music scene.

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