Design and Review.


Sorry that I have been relatively quiet since creating this account!

A lot of personal issues have been going on in my personal life that have been stopping me from carrying out both reviewing and designing. But now I am currently back working hard and catching up on university work for the third year of my Graphic Design degree (I have loads to do) as I have basically missed just over a month due to these personal issues.

The good news is that the majority of these issues have been sorted and now I am just tying up a few loose ends.

I can’t wait to start sharing designs and more reviews again!


Review: The Departed - Steal The Crown (LP)

(The Departed - Steal The Crown)

The album opens with an extract from a lecture given by Richard Dawkins at the Eden Court Theater before smashing straight into one of the three singles for the album, Faithless.This song sums up the album easily and effortlessly; strong, energetic and with passion. From the moment you hear this song, you know that this album has serious balls!

Faithless is quickly followed by Overcome and a handful of other songs including All For Nothing and Memories Last to name a few that simply boast everything that makes a fantastic melodic hardcore album fantastic! Massive choruses! Hard riffs! Grooving bass! And strong beats! That all just come together and compliment each other perfectly!

The album also features guest vocal spots on Hopes & Expectations and Steal The Crown performed by Joe Kenny (Pay No Respect) and James Dexter (Demoraliser) respectively, that just add extra personality to both strong songs!

Basically, this album is a banger and these guys should quickly become one of your favorite bands!
Also, credit to Nathan Smith of Demoraliser for producing, mixing and mastering this! Top work!

The Departed hail from Grimsby and Middlesbrough in the UK and basically, if you don’t know who they are. You do now! And you should keep your eyes on these guys!

For fans of: Comeback Kid, Dead Swans, Up River
Find this at:

Review: Heart In Hand: Only Memories Tour MMXII @ Liberties In Town, Middlesbrough - Monday, 20th February 2012



  • Heart In Hand
  • Demoraliser
  • Against The Flood
  • Horizons
  • Foundations

First up on the stage were Foundations, who had just the night before released the new Deceived EP, which everyone was excited to hear live without a doubt!
They came to stage and opened up the gig with a really blistering set which included new songs such as ‘Deceived’ and ‘Revival’ which were just outstanding! Also performed was an older song, which was the first to feature current vocalist Josh, ‘The Light In Me’, which people just lost it to.
The set was performed with excellence and precision without question, and on top of that, both guitarists and bassist, now all using a wireless guitar system, joined Josh on the venue floor and got involved with the crowd which personally was a performance highlight of the night.
Foundations put on an excellent show, played phenomenally and are without a doubt, the best representation of the Hardcore music scene in Teesside!

Next up on the bill were Horizons, who personally I was unfamiliar with, and judging from the initial crowd reaction during the first song or two, were also unfamiliar with, but that didn’t stop frontman and vocalist, James Maxwell, from going wild, letting loose and pulling the crowd to him with a real, ‘if you don’t come to me, i’ll go to you’ attitude, which is something from the start of the set that I loved and is one of the things that metal and hardcore music are about.
Their set was performed brilliantly, each member has great musicianship and the vocals were top form, I couldn’t flaw their set at all, but I think my personal highlight was that one new song, ‘An Extract’, which was more of a ballad compared to the rest of their brutal hardcore-tinged metalcore set, which I thought was excellent as it added more diversity to the set and another highlight being the human pyramid which was great fun!

Third on the bill were Against The Flood, who seemed to be the odd band out on this tour, sounding more like a metal band rather than a hardcore band, but as far as I’m concerned, I loved that, as a tour with diversity, this being an example, is a more exciting tour rather than a tour with 4-5 bands that are just copy & paste.
They came to stage and started their set and everything was performed brilliantly and with great energy and they had a really good and exciting stage presence, but it wasn’t until about half way through the set that they had seemed to win over the Middlesbrough crowd and start to get involved, but despite this though, the entire band gave an excellent set and the song ‘Left With Us’ sounded unreal! I personally can’t wait to see this band again but on more of a playing field suited to them.

Headline openers, Demoraliser, took to the stage, and you could just see how the crowd gathered around the stage, that this was the band that people wanted to lose their shit to! They played a blistering set, the crowd went wild, there was stage-diving, mic grabbing and it was just insane, the energy levels by both the band and the crowd were just off the roof!
Songs, ‘Bitter Springs’ and ‘Checkmate’ sounded roof-breaking and the amount of people who dog-piled to attempt to grab the mic was excellent! Everyone had fun and went nuts. End of.

Headliners, Heart In Hand, take to the stage and again, people flurry to the stage ready to go insane, frontman Charlie Holmes, took to the mic and demanded that the noise levels go up and by hell they did! And again, this set was just furious, the energy levels were off the roof, stage-divers were on the job again and there was plenty of mic grabbing and ’Only Memories’ was phenomenal. Definitely a song of the night!
The entire set was performed with excellence, everyone had a blast and my wallet got sent flying across and around the room. Good fun!
Every member has great musicianship and an excellent, energetic live performance and every single person loved their set without question! It was amazing!

This gig, this night wasn’t just about the music and unreal lineup, it was about a celebration for being the last ever gig at Liberties In Town and by god, it was a good sendoff! Everyone came down, had fun and the atmosphere was excellent!
Despite there being a few minor technical problems, every single band and all of their members performed with pure excellence and put on a phenomenal show so thank you, Heart In Hand, Demoraliser, Against The Flood, Horizons and Foundations. It was a sick night!

And if you have never heard of any of these bands out, go check them, you will not be disappointed !


Review: Hey! Alaska w. Whalter @ Sumo, Middlesbrough - 17th February 2012


Last nights Sumo was pretty damn good!
Despite having borderline no money, I got quite a few free drinks poured down my neck, mainly from a few girls with whom I went to school with and haven’t properly chatted with in a while! Oh, and I got in VIP too! Yes!

First band on - Whalter
Whalter performed brilliantly, they were super tight as well which was awesome to see! Frontman Chris Edwards had great stagemanship and good crowd control, chatting and getting the audience (me included) to join in on the singing. On top of that, they brought a pretty well sized crowd too!
Songs like Control, Volume and So You Know sounded monumental with perfect execution on all aspects, on both a musical level and a charismatic level and their cover of Benni Bennasi’s, Satisfaction is always good fun too!
Cannot wait to see these guys again! And I cannot wait for these guys to dominate more venues!
Pop-punk at its best, it’s true what New Found Glory have been saying, “Pop-punk’s not dead”!

Second band on - Hey! Alaska
It’s good to see Hey! Alaska on a bigger stage and in a different environment, unlike the small staged venue, Liberties In Town where I previously saw them, but them playing at the Empire was great, they put on a super energetic show that was really fun, they performed really tight too!
I think that my highlight of their set was probably when the frontman, Luke, got into the crowd, his mic cord got ripped out and cut him off from vocal duty completely, which he made fun of and was an all round laugh.
Standout songs for me were 11.04 and Are You Afraid of The Dark?. They were sounding huge!
Again, like I said above! Everything was performed with excellence and great energy!
Pop-punk hardcore at it’s best!

From then on; the night was filled with bad dancing, singing, drinking, hugs and all that.
Spot-on night, phenomenal lives bands, great company and an overall lovely atmosphere!

10/10 for tonight!

Review: The Kerrang! Tour 2012 - Sunday 12th February 2012



  • While She Sleeps (openers)
  • letlive.
  • The Blackout
  • New Found Glory

This gig was actually better than I had ever expected it to be, considering both me and my company, Jordan, got both of our tickets last minute and pretty much, the only band we cared to see was While She Sleeps, the gig as a whole was sick!

While She Sleeps were the openers at 7:30pm-ish, so me and Jordan got to the venue early so that we could go crazy for them, which we did, despite not having much of a crowd, they pulled off an unreal and ferocious set with really good crowd control and interaction. Personally, they should have been higher on the bill. They were sick! The North Stands For Nothing, Be(Lie)ve and Crows were phenomenal and I for one am looking forward to there debut LP later this year!

Next up were letlive., who are a band that I had been wanting to see for quite a while, due to how much buzz they get about their live set, and I shit you not, I wasn’t disappointed! They were crazy, energetic and everything that punk and hardcore should be, impulsive and unexpected! Casino Columbus and Muther sounded huge and as a bonus, they threw a Black Flag cover into the set which was cool!

The Blackout follow letlive. on the bill. Personally, I think these guys have serious guts for offering to fill in for Sum 41, as they pulled out due to front man Deryck Whibley not being able to perform due to a serious back injury, serious kudos go The Blackout. Despite the amount of hate that people gave due to this, they brought a massive crowd and every song sounded huge! Great atmosphere, a house dropping cover of Sum 41’s hit, Fat Lip and when they played Higher & Higher, they had two fans come up on stage and perform backing vocals and the rap that on record, is performed by Hyro Da Hero. Excellent!

And then to close to the night, headliners, New Found Glory.
They hit the stage with phenomenal energy and were welcomed with a massive uproar from the crowd, and the energy levels were unreal, during this set I got lost among the crowd and bumped into Hey! Alaska bassist, Ritchard and his friend Andy, to which, we had Ritchard stand on our shoulders and dive into the crowd then later crowd surf. New Found Glory’s set was excellent with only one problem to me, 3 covers, the first being Kiss Me (Sixpence None the Richer), the second being Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones) and the third being Basket Case (Green Day). But My Friends Over You was unreal, simply unreal!

Great night, great company and most importantly, amazing music!

Review: Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (Game)


Me and my younger brother just bought ‘Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions’ for the XBOX 360 today.

First things first, me, my brother and my mam are Marvel nerds to be frank.
Every time a new Marvel film comes out, “remember to look out for the Stan Lee cameo”, someone will say that to whoever goes and watches the new movie. So yeah, we love Marvel, personally, the Spider-Man, Ghost Rider and Deadpool series’ stand out as my favourites, so getting to play the newest Spider-Man game after not playing many Marvel games recently and more-so, focussing on music and design, was a nice break really.

Onto the game.
In this game you play as 4 different Spider-Mans:

  • The Amazing Spider-Man (the original Spider-Man that has remained mainstream)
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (from the ‘Ultimate’ universe; a younger Spider-Man from an alternate present)
  • Noir Spider-Man (from an alternate reality where the current avents of The Amazing Spider-Man are set in the 1930s)
  • Spider-Man 2099 (the Spider-Man of a possible future)

Each Spider-Man has different gameplays, deriving from one singular gameplay, Amazing plays much like a newer generation Spider-Man game would, with lots of web-based attacks, Ultimate plays like a more violent variant with the black suit symbiote being the primary means of attacking, Noir plays the most interesting and different out the four, having characteristics of the Tom Clancy Spliter Cell and Metal Gear Solid series’ and 2099 plays again like a variant of the Amazing gameplay, but with added freefalling sequences and also plays a tad faster.

The plot for Marvel games haven’t always been exceptional but with this game I can say that I think it may be the best story wrote for a Marvel game to date, the script is also quirky, having all the small one liners and sarcastic comments that Spiderman has also given out, along with the classic, “I’m your Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman. Priceless!
The plot now, it all starts with the ‘Tablet of Order and Chaos’, which resides in a mueseum which Mysterio breaks into, and after a brief scuffle The Amazing Spider-Man, the tablet breaks into small fragments which are lost in four diffenent realities, Amazing, Ultimate, Noir and 2099 and now, called the by Madame Web (strange long time Marvel support character), the four different Spider-Mans, start to collect the fragments in their respective realities. Pretty damned good!

One thing that really gets me about this game, isn’t the gameplay, not the story, nor the script, but the details in the graphics really get me, just one of things of being a designer, appreciating the small things in graphics, the details.
With each different Spider-Man, there are different styles of graphic rendering, still, it can be very minimul, but yet, very noticable at the same time:

With Amazing, the colours are very in the style of Pop-Art, seen as the Amazing was and still is the original Spider-Man comic, launching soon after Spider-Mans debut in ‘Amazing Fantasy’ #15, August 1962 (wow, Spider-Man’s nearly fifty!), so having the Pop-Art style is true to the original
The style that Ultimate is rendered in sharp, bright and in a cell shaded style, which fits the newer revamped style that the Ultimate comics were illustrated in.
Now again, personally, the most interseting style of detail is in the Noir side of the gameplay, with a simple grain filter over the screen to portray it like old film footage from that real-time era, and also that the mojority of the gameplay is coloured in black & white, how the footage was filmed.
And 2099, this is the most expected, very clean, sharp and detailed, exactly how the 2099 should be portrayed, everything is super-slick, whereas this is far from a problem, it is no surprise to me and most likely, no suprise to anyone else either!

One nice little quirk that adds to the game are character bios, concept art etc. but what I love most about the extras are the ‘Alternate Costumes’, the ones i’m looking forward to the most are:

  • Mangaverse Spider-Man (alternate for Ultimate gameplay)
  • Scarlet Spider (alternate for Amazing gameplay)
  • Negative Zone (alternate for Noir gameplay)
  • Iron Spider (alternate for 2099 gameplay)

Looking forward to getting the Mangaverse Spider-Man the most, but all of them have the highest requirments… Complete all 180 challenges, so it’ll take a while haha…

Pretty much I love all aspects of the game and i’d recommend this game to most people, especially if you’re a fan of Marvel and/or Spider-Man and i’m really looking forward to the sequel, ‘Spider-Man: Edge of Time’, which will be released October 14th, 2011 for the UK.
Utterly spot on, if you can find it, grab it!

I give the game an 8/10!

Review: Trivium - In Waves (LP)


In Waves, the new studio album by Floridan metal band, Trivium.

Now being a massive fan of Trivium since they appeared on the music scene with ‘Ember To Inferno’, I have been excited to hear the new album, In Waves, since information started coming out that they were in the studio, demoing and practicing.

Also what made me more excited for the album was being the first to hear the tracks, ‘In Waves’, ‘Black’ and ‘Dusk Dismantled’ at the small album launch gig party at Birmingham’s Asylum venue, which was exclusive to 150 members of Triviums official fan club and 100 extra tickets to the public. Here at this gig, we were the first to hear ‘In Waves’ played live and first to hear ‘Black’ and ‘Dusk Dismantled’ full stop, which was phenomenal and the whole air and atmosphere of the gig was just amazing, everyone had come to see one band that everyone loves, it was kind of similar to Iron Maiden gig; like a family reunion of sorts, definitely my favorite gig of all time!
So this small gig at the Asylum in Birmingham just made me wee myself with excitement, just a little!
Also since hearing the song, ‘Shattering The Skies Above’ from the ‘God of War 3’ soundtrack, I’ve been looking forward to how they were going to progress with the songs on ‘In Waves’ and ‘Shattering’ gave a good view of the movement to having more direct songs, in a similar manner to how the songs are on ‘Ember To Inferno’ and ‘Ascendancy’ rather than that of the technical longer songs featured on ‘The Crusade’ and ‘Shogun’.

Now onto the album!

In Waves Special Edition track-list:

  1. Capsizing The Sea
  2. In Waves
  3. Inception Of The End
  4. Dusk Dismantled
  5. Watch The Whole World Burn
  6. Black
  7. A Skyline’s Severance
  8. Ensnare The Sun
  9. Built To fall
  10. Caustic Are The Ties That Bind
  11. Forsake Not The Dream
  12. Drowning In Slow Motion
  13. A Grey So Dark
  14. Chaos Reigns
  15. Of All These Yesterdays
  16. Leaving The World Behind
  17. Shattering The Skies Above (from the God Of War 3 soundtrack)
  18. Slave New World (Sepultura cover)

I won’t go into the tracks in detail, i’ll just mention highlights to me personally and the album as whole, let’s get cracking then!

The album opens with the ominous ‘Capsizing The Sea’, which immediately leads to ‘In Waves’ in a similar way that on:

  • Ember To Inferno - Has ’ Inception The Bleeding Skies’ leads onto ‘Pillars Of Serpents’
  • Ascendancy - Has ‘The End Of Everything’ lead onto ‘Rain’

And this feature of an opening track was absent on ‘The Crusade’ and ‘Shogun’, so it’s nice to see that returning and it is just simply amazing, I love how the album opens and progresses. Now onto the track ‘In Waves’, like the entire album, it screams, ‘this is Trivium’ and this track, along with the opening is just pure fist pumping metal with amazing hooks and a powerful ‘sing with me’ chorus and the music, just like the entire album, is flawless, super accurate and powerful.

‘Dusk Dismantled’, a pure heavy death metal esq track, is just pure aggression, to me it was a highlight of the album as the heaviest track and is one of my favorite tracks! And stands out as one of my favorite of all time really heavy tracks!

‘Watch The World Burn’, stands out to me as a really strong powerful track, Matt’s voice is just superb on this track, his clean vocals really shine on this song (they do anyway, but this is my personal favorite), and the harmonies of the clean and screaming vocals are simply superb, and the the music is just driving and everything complements each other.

‘Black’ has the real, dirty, hard-rock feel to it, by far a stand out track, with strong hooks, but still with a driving adrenaline of really heavy metal, yet sounding like an anthem rock song, I can definitely see this song this going great at a massive arena venue!

‘Ensnare The Sun’ is one of the bonus tracks to the special edition, a very different pace to place it, but it works as an intermission as sorts, but it fits so nicely in-between ’ A Skyline’s Severance’ and ‘Built To Fall’. Despite it also only being at one minute, twenty-two seconds, I feel that it is a powerful piece of slow music, that also has Arabic tone, hands down, this tracks just adds the powerful character that is, ‘In Waves’.

‘Built To Fall’ is a really strongly driven singing track in a similar way to ‘Watch The World Burn’ and ‘Black’ with powerful, memorable hooks and some really strong heavy music complementing it all as a whole!

‘A Grey So Dark’ is one of the bonus tracks for the special edition, but I love most about it, is the guitar riffs and they complement the vocals and vice versa, it’s a really strong powerful track. The intro riff juts gets me every single time, and it’s a very powerhouse short track, only at two minutes, forty-two seconds, very to to point, short and sweet. Superb!

‘Of All These Yesterdays’ stands out as one my favorite tracks of the album, hands down with question, the song is just packed with emotion and that the majority is an acoustic tracks marks it as a very different Trivium track, but gives it the uniqueness and power. It is just simply a beautiful track without question. ’Leaving This World Behind’ is the follow up end of the prior mentioned track and acts as the end of the album as whole, it leaves the album (minus ‘Shattering’ and ‘Slave New World’) on an amazing high!

What makes this album so special, isn’t just the music, it’s the artistic direction towards, the album, videos, appearance, everything! It discards the typical stereotype of a heavy metal band and they have done everything in a way that is unique and rightly, pure Trivium!
Go check out the video for ‘In Waves’ for example (the full edition) and check out this mammoth album!
Seriously, go grab this, go get the special edition so you can see the ‘Making of In Waves’ documentary which is just amazing, the full edition of the video for ‘In Waves’ and you also get an eight track live footage of the band performing a set at Chapman Studios. 
I give this a special 10/10!

Review: Gallows - Death Is Birth (EP)


Personally, I only started getting into Gallows recently and since hearing about Wade (ex-Alexisonfire) joining as vocalist after Frank (ex-Gallows vocalist) left, I’ve been really excited to hear the new material, as I love Wade’s voice.

This short EP at barely 8 minutes, is just pure, aggressive Hardcore Punk, with every song having a punch to it, a heavy punch!

  • Track 1 - Mondo Chaos (2:37)
  • Track 2 - True Colours (0:36)
  • Track 3 - Hate! Hate! Hate! (2:02)
  • Track 4 - Death Is Birth (2:24)

For a first outing with Wade, I personally think it’s near faultless, the actual tracks have a sharp edge and the best thing about Wade, is that he doesn’t sound like Frank. I for one am really excited for future releases!
The only thing I can criticize is that the EP is short, but it is an EP after all.
Roll on the next album lads! Well done!