The Punk Archive aims to be the only blog you'll ever need for reviews and news on the punk, ska, reggae and alternative music scenes. We will review music from the past, present, and future, looking at CD, vinyl, mp3 and hitting as many gigs as we can handle, as well as keeping you in the loop with the goings-on in our scene and interviewing as many bands as we can. Please enjoy the blog and feel free to send any comments or feedback to us via email to , or by visiting our Twitter at , or our Facebook at You can also find us on Instagram: just search for @thepunkarchive.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Live: Against Me!

Headliner: Against Me!
Support: Billy The Kid
Where: Electric Ballroom, Camden
When: 19th November 2014
Reviewed By: Dan Stoten

Standing in Camden's Electric Ballroom a little earlier this week, I already knew this was going to be a tricky review to write. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Billy The Kid (Billy Pettinger, acoustic punk singer-songwriter and support act to Against Me!) was, from my position mid-way back near the sound desk, essentially inaudible while speaking between tracks, and very quiet while playing... and consequently, thus, tricky to review.
  • I had thought I knew a large amount of Against Me!'s back catalogue. It transpired this was not the case, so despite knowing their three latest albums well, there was a lot played here which I didn't know well.
  • Finally, and probably the main reason for my relative writer's block on this show: I simply don't know what to make of it and how to present that in any sort of readable format.
I have a few salient points to make before getting into the review proper. Firstly, it was excellent to see Frank Turner join Billy The Kid on stage. From what I could hear of her (see first point above), Billy was excellent, with a strong voice and catchy, stripped back, folky-acoustic punk songs.

Secondly, despite having seen a huge amount of bands and consequently a huge amount of incredible drummers, I will quite happily say Atom Willard of Against Me! is easily one of, if not the best drummer I've ever seen live. The sheer speed, energy and what appears to be joyful vitriol with which he tears around his kit is an absolute art form and needs to be seen to be believed.

So, the gig. I don't want to talk too much about recent changes within the Against Me! camp; while equally, this was the first opportunity I have had to see the band since Laura's transition. Her stellar work in bringing the transgender agenda into the public forum has put her on the lips of many, her name almost becoming a household one with appearances on international television and in many widely-read publications. I had wondered, ahead of the gig, as to whether this would affect the musical element of her life.

I needn't have worried: the band were undoubtedly excellent as a whole, with Laura herself being equally strong. They sailed smoothly and almost serenely through an energetic set, one which had barely any pauses to catch breath for the first three-quarters of an hour. For me, I Was A Teenage Anarchist was a highlight, but there were many tracks which were excellent.

However, and I'm not quite sure why, but the gig just left me strangely cold. To be absolutely honest, I am attributing that to my poor knowledge of the band's back catalogue, and having not listened to the latest album Transgender Dysphoria Blues for some time; but it struck me that what I was enjoying most was watching Atom pound his drumkit into submission...

Hence: I'm not sure what to make of the gig and hence why I found this such a tricky review to write. To all intents and purposes, it was an excellent gig. I can't describe why, but it just left me feeling slightly disappointed. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

World Exclusive: Soldiers Of A Wrong War: Slow

We at The Punk Archive are delighted to have the world exclusive on this, the brand new video from Italian rockers Soldiers Of A Wrong War for lead track off their new EP, Slow...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Interview: ROAM

In the light of them signing to Hopeless Records, we caught up with Sam from UK pop-punk upstarts ROAM...

The Punk Archive: Hey Sam. So you're signed to Hopeless now. How do you feel?
Sam: It feels pretty great! Still don't think it's quite sunk in all that has happened yet. It's a pleasure to be on a label with such good bands that we all love listening to as well.

The Punk Archive: You worked with Seb and Drew on the EP, both of whom have worked with some incredible bands. How was that?
Sam: It was really good to work with both of them. Drew was an absolute pleasure to work with, he definitely worked us hard and brought out the best in us. He also had Trials HD which at one point came more important than recording the EP. Seb was great as well, he completely understood and nailed the vocal sound we were going for. Couldn't recommend Steel City Studios enough for bands looking to record. 

The Punk Archive: Are you pleased with the final EP? Did it turn out exactly as you wanted it and were there any issues along the recording and writing process?
Sam: I think we're all super happy with how it turned out both musically and production wise. I can't think of any major problems we had; of course, the songs changed a little once we got into the studio but apart from that and deciding whether I should track guitars or complete the next level of Trials it was all good! I think as band we all love the experience of recording. 

The Punk Archive: UK pop-punk is making a massive revival at the moment. Are you pleased to be leading that revival with bands such as Neck Deep and more?
Sam: It’s crazy that you guys think we are amongst the ones that are leading it but yeah the scene is definitely growing more and more which is great. There's so many good bands now like Light You Up, As It Is, Trash Boat, Boston Manor, Homebound, Six Time Champion and many others who are all doing great stuff at the moment.

The Punk Archive: How do you keep your sound distinctly ROAM, though, in the presence of other bands?
Sam: Hard question. I don't think we think of it like that as such; we don't necessarily write with the mindset of making it sound like ROAM, we just kind of write it! I guess in terms of what ROAM sounds like, it’s a more melodic and somewhat aggressive form of pop-punk.

The Punk Archive: Where do you get your main songwriting influences from? 
Sam: I think collectively we all grew up listening to bands like Sum41 and Blink, as well as more recent bands like Set Your Goals and Crucial Dudes. But we all completely have our own tastes be it hardcore, nu-metal, emo or whatever, even 80s pop and musicals (Charlie).

The Punk Archive: What does 2015 hold for ROAM?
Sam: I think 2015 for us going to a stupidly busy year with a load of touring in some new places and the release of our debut album. I can't wait for it.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Post Season: Hollowed Out Hearts

Artist: Post Season
Title: Hollowed Out Hearts
Format Reviewed: Stream
Format Released: 25th October 2014 (MP3)
Reviewed By: Adam DT

For a little while now it has felt like pop-punk has been taking itself too seriously. It has moved away from its foul-mouth, dick humour and DIY origins into being the younger, less cool brother of Alt-Rock and Metalcore. It has started to resemble an emotionally sensitive kid with a fringe, a book of bad poetry and a lip ring. It is synonymous with emo. It is Pete Wentz, basically.

But here is a fun fact: I had a fringe, I had a book of dreadful poetry and I still have a lip ring. I like my pop-punk and, with that in mind, I have to say that Hollowed Out Hearts by Post Season is a solid EP, despite the lack of dick jokes.

Frankly, it doesn't start all that strong. Opening number No Brains, No Headache feels like a B-side or forgettable album filler. It is fast paced pop-punk by numbers that is equal parts Hit The Lights and The Starting Line, but with none of the key selling points of either.

It is followed by the title track of the EP which, it is fair to say, steps things up a notch. It's a good example of the modern day, Kerrang! Radio friendly rock that hits its pace quickly and stays there, consistently throwing out catchy, bouncy melancholy. A classic palm muted breakdown bursts into a confident, faintly post-rock half time ending that left me wondering favourably about its live potential. It's not quite the song writing excellence of such genre classics as All Time Low's Dear Maria, Count Me In, but it isn't too far off.

The rest of the EP follows much the same route. My Bad is more of an interlude than a song, just one minute, six seconds of acoustic guitar and distant crashy drums that lead neatly into penultimate track Picture Frame Eyes. Again, this is a well shaped, angsty slice of anthemic rock-pop with subtle guitar lines and a rewardingly chunky chorus. The final track, It's All Part Of It, is another fast, gang-vocal-and-mosh kind of affair with puberty-induced reflective lyrics and, overall, it's hard not to enjoy (assuming you are into that kind of thing).

I can't pretend that I didn't have fun with this EP, and if you like The Starting Line, Hit The Lights and Fall Out Boy then it's fair to say that you will probably get something out of it too. I should say, however, that originality isn't something that Post Season can rightfully be accused of. There is unquestionably the spark of good songwriting here, they've hit the genre on the head and I know that I would have been into this when I was 16. But that was nearly ten years ago now and it might have been nice to see a little musical progression. That said, I suppose pop-punk works for a reason: and if this EP appeals to a new generation of fans that haven't heard it one too many times already, then fair enough I suppose.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Antoinette: Renaissance

Artist: Antoinette
Title: Renaissance
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 24th November 2014
Reviewed By: WatCo

Renaissance quite literally opens with a promise of "Monster Riffs" and "More hooks than a butcher's basement"... I'm not even kidding, it does! Then the four track unleashes and begins delivering on the promises within the first ten seconds. 

The EP opens with Machines, which features Justin Hill of SikTh who produced the record. The instant it kicked in I knew I was on board! By the second chorus I was singing along. If you're a fan of Killswitch Engage you'll love this. I actually shouted "yes!" when I heard the first pinch on the record. My excitement grew for the rest of the EP: but was I going to hear a dive bomb!? 

Every track is instantly likeable. I'd happily label each under anthems and/or bangers! Renaissance delivers on everything you want to hear from a post metal-core band. I was almost crying at the fact that this is only a four track as I found myself wanting more, they're a band I'll be keeping an eye on.

One of the greatest things for me about this record was how British it is. You can literally hear the South of England in Benji Jones' vocal. Great British Band plus great British producer equals excellent British record.

It's clear that they meshed well in the record's creation. It's actually quite shocking that more people aren't aware of Antionette. People may have heard their 2013 release Set In Sand. Clearly, this isn't just more of the same but a record showing growth and a near-perfect level of production. 

The only concern I had listening to the record was for the band's own safety because if I was nodding along this much there is no doubt they suffer from repeat bangovers! This is definitely one that should be marked on your calender for collection. I for one look forward to hearing more!

Soldiers Of A Wrong War: Slow

Artist: Soldiers Of A Wrong War
Title: Slow
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 15th December 2014
Reviewed By: Dan Stoten

It's always nice being surprised when you first settle down to listen to a band you've not heard before. It's even better if it's a positive surprise. That's what happened to me when I first spun Soldiers Of A Wrong War's forthcoming mini-album, Slow. 

Straddling the line between EP and full album perfectly, this latest six-track release from the Italian quartet combines a brilliantly melodic style with an eye for brilliant songwriting and a catchy nature which can't be escaped.

The mini-album opens with title track Slow. After a gentle intro, the guitars and drums crash through your eardrums like a tidal wave, before settling to a verse which sounds somewhere between Linkin Park, Young Guns and pre-controversy Lostprophets. It's a brooding track, with some excellent lyrical content and some very technical guitar, which contrasts brilliantly with the smooth nature of the chorus and verses. It ebbs and flows beautifully, with Difio's vocals melding perfectly with the gang vocal sitting behind in the chorus. It's a really strong start to the record.

The second track is Walls, which carries on in the same style as Slow. It's a really soaring record this: indeed, when listening it I could almost imagine being on the wings of an eagle, soaring above the scenery below. Again, it's a very smooth and melodic track, but punctured a little more by a more aggressive drum rhythm. The chorus grabs you immediately, with again the vocals and huge guitar hooks slamming home.

One thing that hits you about these first two tracks is their huge, anthemic nature. These are what you would call 'massive' rock songs, very all-encompassing and quite clearly suited to arena-sized settings. They tread the very fine balance between overtly commercial and heavier perfectly.

Inside My Bones comes next, a more choppy and aggressive song. The track is led well by a more up-tempo drumming rhythm in the verse, which is then spliced with a melodic and down-tempo chorus. It shows a bit of variety from the band, and is welcome on the record. The song grows as it progresses. By it's end at three and a half minutes, it's just as massive as the other tracks on Slow.

The fourth track, Believe This, has a bit of an early-noughties style rock opening. It then settles into a crashing, energetic and punk-tinged chorus. It's a dancing song, this one, the energy and enthusiasm the band delivering it with making that clear. Again it showcases that Soldiers Of A Wrong War are more than just a brooding melodic rock outfit.

Save Me comes next, opening with a backing-track and vocal over the top, before again adopting the tidal wave of melodic noise approach. It's actually one of my favourites on the record, reaching those truly melodic and harmonious heights spectacularly.

Although it's possible to argue Slow isn't the most innovative or revolutionary pieces of music, it has been a long time since a band has released this polished a melodic rock record. It's soaring, sounds big and has the catchiness and longevity to keep you coming back for more. They're certainly a band to look out for.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Alive Like Me: Only Forever

Artist: Alive Like Me
Title: Only Forever
Format Reviewed: MP3
Format Released: 7th October 2014
Reviewed By: WatCo

I've spent the past six months trying to relive the sounds of 2005 and every record I've put back in the CD player has been a disappointment. Then comes Only Forever, the début album from Alive Like Me, released though Rise Records. Within the first thirty seconds, I'm taken to what I think this 2005 sounded like through my rose-tinted ears. 

The album begins with title track Only Forever: this is how the five-piece introduce themselves to the world. On first listen this is what I think the débuts from The Audition and The Almost sounded like. It becomes clear within the first few tracks that Alive Like Me don't sound new to this. The tracks feel rushed, although I found myself nodding along quite frequently but was not blown away.  Jairus' vocal has a distinct tone, however,  which reminds me of Aaron Gillespie of Underoath fame. 

When I relisten to Our Time Down Here, the fourth track on the record,  I'm left wondering what happened during post-production, as this track shows the band's clear raw talent and I feel they lose a little in post-production. It's almost as if it was their first trip to the studio and they gave the producer a little too much control. 

Listening to the album from start to finish I really got the impression that they had found their sound and know who they are but are yet to nail the direction they want to go in. A track that stood out for me and had me checking back to see if I was still listening to the same record was Lost Without You, with it's sound almost like Architects. 

I also thought beatdowns had been done to death but was proven wrong! The guitar tone here  is quite frankly beautiful and if they manage to get a sound close to the album live I have no doubt that they are an amazing live act. 

The only concern I have for the band is that they've signed to a label with bands who sound very similar. If you like bands on Rise you'll probably be a fan of this.

The album is not a first play blinder but a grower.  On the negative side there is definitely filler in the record, as it gets a little samey. Alive Like Me may have been better holding back on the album and releasing an EP in the first instance. I hope that the next release will be more of their raw talent and less polish.