CD Review: Chasing Dragons - Checkmate

Note: If you have a own band or project that you think might fit in well here for a review or as a presentation / introduction please do drop me a line or two here in the comments section or please see my profile for my E-Mail adress. I do appreciate new suggestions very much!

Short introduction

The band formed back in 2011 and is based in Leeds. They released their debut EP “Take Flight For A Firefight” in Jan ’12, with production from Graeme Atkinson (Fightstar, Take The Seven) and Carl Bown (While She Sleeps, Trivium). Their single "Hindsight’s A Bitch" (Jan ’13) is also available to view on Youtube alongside acoustic track, "It’s Bravery, Honestly". The band has a sound that's compareable to bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Iron Maiden.

Their new record, ‘Checkmate’ is going to be released on 2nd June via Trash Unreal Management. The six track EP has been produced, mixed and mastered by Lee Batiuk (Deaf Havana).

The current line-up is:
Laurie 'Tank' Carnan (Vocals) / Mitch Sadler (Guitar/Vocals) / Katie Bullock (Drums) and Ant Varenne (Bass/Vocals).

Short Summary / Player / Purchase Link

The EP is very well worth checking out and moreover buying it. Everyone of the six songs is very versatile and shows another musical side of the band. The work on the music is both traditionell and modern. Most songs have a clear structure and are build ready to rock, but there are a lot of details that have been spent a lot of time on. Plus there are many surprises in the songs that keep them from becoming one of the many out there.

The lyrics are also very intelligent and I think reflect on a lot of things many people out there have gone through in their lifes. You can read the lyrics in the "Releases" Section of the official web headquarter of the band.

The EP is professionelly produced and comes with a fine artwork in a papercard like shell if you order the physical version of course. The mp3 version is sold for only five GBP and a physical copy on CD (Limited signed Edition) goes out for eight GBP plus shipping and handling. You can order both version in the shop that the band has on their website. Also keep a eye on the other goodies that can be found there.

To stay in touch with the band click over to Facebook or check out their excellent website for all the latest news and tourdates. I'll also recommend to sign up to their Street Team "The Hunters". It's well worth the few seconds that it takes to register...

For a fast first checking out I can offer two full tracks here on the page for listening, the fast riffing first single "Broken Jaws" as well as the bit more progressive "For the sake of murder". Enjoy. :-)
More snippets of all songs of the EP are available on the band's website.

Track by Track Review

Spoken words, strong unforgiving drums and some keyboards form a noise collection that builds up some tension. What is coming next, what will this EP bring us? The tension is rising a lot on this one. Then a sudden ending and silence - the wait is over. You finally arrived at the doors of the checkmate - come in!

Throw down your kings
One scream and the main riff kicks you in. Are you ready to have a good time? The song brings you softly into the mood - some laid back part in the middle of the track. Then another riff like  a sharp we jump in back into the headbanging mood. Lots of variations on this track showing that the band brings in a lot of own style. The end rushes in very compact. A great opener that makes you longing for more!

That's not love
A traditionell scream and riff opens up. Then a surprise - the tracks moves over to drums and vocals and slightly some riffing only. But finally a rush into a faster typical Chasing Dragons part again.  Very mixed emotions on this one - guess it's wanted to shake the listener a bit around. Sure love has a lot of faces, some great but also some darker times as well. Guess the music along with the lyrics wants to tell us something like that.

The last defence
A half ballad. We go deep into our feelings. Surely a mover for a lot of people. We all face those days when things throw you down the floor. This one put's it into a musical expression for me. Hold on! This seems to be the message. Fine keyboards and vocals/chors before some guitars come in and drums join,too. A lot of dedicated vocal work on this one. This must have taken some time to put together. Finally it goes over into a metal riffing. A long and extended solo towards the end letting some more feelings go before some fading keyboards lead towards the end. A great track! If you feel down this song should help you passing through. You're not alone with it....

For the sake of murder
Yeah the riff says it pretty much it all - we are going to hit things up again. But not a typicall beat everything track comes along but a very clever and worked out rythm joins in to it. The refrain won't leave your ears for a long time. The vocals once more touch us but the raw guitars give a lot of sharp energy in here. The band fights the hell out of it here. We WANT this so much the message is left behind. Hope a lot of people will listen. Surely one of my favorites of the band.

Broken Jaws
The final song of the EP but the first single and video. A classic riff-hacker and a fast run-down track. Very catchy, kicks in straight with the trademarks of the band. Bang that head that doesn't bang! A perfect scream along on the shows. I love how the band mixes up all the instruments with a intensive focus on extensive vocals work as well as rhythm and feeling to it. Both riffs are great and I hope this band has a good future coming. They really deserve it. Please keep it up!

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