Forgotten Gems 1

author PP date 30/11/09

Writing feature articles is a double edged sword. On one side, they are a platform for us to provide the reader some of the most interesting content on Rockfreaks.net, such as our extensive, hands-on coverage of festivals around Europe. But on the other side, writing high quality content is extremely time consuming and ensures that the author won't be available for his usual review tasks of the week, thus falling heavily behind in his schedule, not to even mention the labels grumbling over missing reviews of discs that have been with us for a month, or in worst cases, several months. See the problem? No one likes seeing the same article dominate the home page for a month in a row. Not us, nor you, dear reader. I've been pondering about a solution to the problem - offering interesting content that won't take up more than a couple of hours of creativity from the author - for quite a while now. We tried to solve it by allowing guest columns and the like, but not enough people were interested in ranting about some relevant topic (submissions are still welcome to xre@rockfreaks.net) for it to fix the core issue at hand. But then I realized that the solution to our problem has been right in front of our eyes all along, and that's why you're now reading the first issue of an article series called "Forgotten Gems".

But what is it?

Well, it's quite simple really. Our review database consists of, at the time of writing, almost 2400 album reviews. The vast majority of them will be records by bands that you haven't heard yet. But a large chunk of those albums are also crap, dead on mediocre, or just not very interesting on the long run. But a small minority of these are great, brilliant, few of them even genuine masterpieces that will transcend decades and live on with you until the end of your days, long after the band has stopped playing music. Having so much to choose from is like facing a discography of an older band that you've always wanted to check out, but whose back catalogue consists of ten full lengths and not all of them are good. Except this metaphorical band has released 2400 albums. How are you supposed to know where to start? This is where Forgotten Gems comes into play. The idea is that on a regular basis, the writers of RF.net, who have gone through hundreds of albums by tiny bands from every corner of the world, will choose three records from our massive review database for the purposes of this article. These will be albums that have been, in the opinion of the author, criminally underrated and not paid enough attention to, or even just albums that were genuinely great and/or amazing but have just been forgotten. Maybe the composing band broke up, maybe they released a bunch of average records afterward, maybe they were never big enough to cause a real buzz in the scene other than around the months of release. Whatever the reason, the idea is that we come up with great albums that we feel have been forgotten. And since all of these are albums that we think are incredible to say the least, and oftentimes surpass genre boundaries, it's your job to make sure these great releases will be unforgotten. See? Mouth-wateringly interesting content that's easy to write about. Simply genius *pats self on back*.

Who doesn't love the feeling of discovering a band you've never heard of and realizing that they might just become your favorite band of all time? Be sure not to miss these.....

Since By Man - Pictures From The Hotel Apocalypse

Since By Man (also known as Sincebyman) have the honor of being the first band to be...err...honored in Forgotten Gems thanks to their brilliant sophomore release "Pictures From The Hotel Apocalypse" that I definitely underrated by at least a full grade in my old review. But that was before we learned how to express ourselves properly, although some may argue we still can't write for shit. AP and EW aside. They used to play fiercely technical combination of dissonant metalcore / off-tune hardcore that prided itself on its raw melodies that more often than not resulted in hair-raising moments. Incidentally, their best album "Pictures From The Hotel Apocalypse", released in 2005, was also their last as the band called it quits back in 2008 after three years of quiet and canceled tours. They were metalcore before metalcore became ultra trendy. They're from the era when breakdowns and beatdowns simply didn't exist in metalcore, back when flow of the music was actually important. Back when it had a dose of emotional hardcore in it when the term really meant something. Tracks like "Emergency And Me" stand among the very best songs in the entire genre even today, and then you've got "Match On Action" which is a must-have on any list of nominees for the best metalcore track of this decade.

For the fans of: Norma Jean, The Fall Of Troy, These Arms Are Snakes, Beecher

Read the full review!

Tigers Jaw - Tigers Jaw

Granted, Tigers Jaw are still around, and they're such a new band that it's not impossible they'll become a cult band in the future. But for the time being, I'm not happy with how few people have heard Adam McIlwee's intensely emotional, saddened melodies. They sound so honest and heartfelt that they bury underneath a vast majority of bands who pass as 'emo' these days. This is an album of incredible warmth and incredible quality, and one that you'll struggle to put off your player. Not because it relies on ultra poppy delivery or other cheap tricks, but because the songs are some of the most genuine you'll ever hear. "Tigers Jaw" is where indie rock merges with original emo in a cocktail of pure unique: not a single band sounds like these guys, and that's rare in the modern music industry.

For the fans of: Balance And Composure, Saves The Day, Say Anything, Brand New

Read the full review!

Polar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just Disappear

While Polar Bear Club are beginning to ride a tidal wave to super stardom in the US despite a slightly disappointing follow up, their debut album "Sometimes Things Just Disappear" is one of the releases to take with you from this decade into the next. A hint of slower Rise Against songs, a pinch of Hot Water Music, and a great deal of originality and unique identity is what makes this album so extraordinary. Oh, and then there's their uncanny ability to write ridiculously catchy songs that, like Tigers Jaw above, are so full of emotion they're inches away from bursting. Frontman Jimmy Stadt also counts among the most genuine singers I've heard on record, and his ability to come up with otherworldly vocal melodies and lyrics while the rest of the band engage in angular post-hardcore is nothing short of, well, amazing. Deep, dark, and twisted release that takes an extensive amount of active listening sessions before it opens up to the listener, but once it does, you realize that you're dealing with one of the best albums ever recorded.

For the fans of: Hot Water Music, Bear Vs Shark, Rise Against

Read the full review!

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