MYCAMEO: A poorly maintained music blog… Mostly reviews, sometimes more.

So Emergenza sent me an invitation through a private message to my artist page. This is just me, it’s clearly not a band. But they don’t give a fuck. If your profile says “musician/band”, they’ll approach you. I made a post on my private Facebook profile about them and their money-grabbing, exploitative scam, and for the most part, my fellow musicians agree. But not everyone knows how shit it is, and I wrote out the following response, in answer to the question, “Emergenza is a scam?”

————-

Pretty much, it’s all about money. Early stages are purely about popularity, aka how many $$$ you can get through the door. They only weed out the shit bands later on, presumably to avoid embarrassment. When they’re charging $15-25/ticket and paying bands an unspecified “share” of the takings, you know they’re making a lot from this. Especially when they cram up to 8 badly matched bands into one show. And they’ve only recently rebranded the entry fee as a “refundable deposit” provided you turn up, but since you don’t know how much your “share” of the takings is, they can absorb that by just paying you a share minus the deposit amount. And lol, they give you 100 tickets, fucking ambitious! And you have to turn over all the money to them, not just their share. No transparency at all. They’re just using bands as a profit engine. And this is a world-wide thing, which is how they can afford to fly people over to the finals.

They’re also terrible shows for cross promotion because they take bands of any talent level and genre and put them all on the same gig. You can have “ambient indie” bands playing with post hardcore bands. These bands aren’t going to get new fans from each other. If you’re a metal band on with a bunch of soft bands, then you are definitely not making it to the next round regardless of how good you are unless you managed to bring a hoard that outnumbers all the softies. And you almost certainly don’t stand a chance at getting to the finals, given there tends to be more soft bands than metal.

It does look like they’ve improved, as it seems they’ve addressed the main “pay to play” complaints of the past, but it’s still a stinking pile of shit focused on profits rather than artist development. They don’t care about the bands who sign up, only the money they can bring. You can tell this when they approach any Facebook page that says “musician/band” regardless of whether or not they’re actually a band (and refer to their PM as an “email”, definitely a copy-paste job). They did no research into my DestroyerMariko page. Even if they figured out I was part of Rainbow Death Ray, we already told them we weren’t interested. Bitches just want our money. So much so they pay someone to spam everyone in this way. I wish more people would say no so that the fuckers would go out of business. This goes for every other bullshit band comp out there. If a promoter really thought your band had potential, they’d approach you directly and offer you a proper paid gig. Not ask you to pay a deposit to play a band comp.

Even the finals look shady as, the festival is legit, but they’re not gonna put you on between the big acts, they’re gonna shove you on at a time when hardly anyone will show up. And as it turns out, you’re on the smaller stage at the other end of the venue to the main stage, and hardly anyone gives a fuck about Emergenza, they came for the headliners on the other stage. As far as I can see, only the winner gets to play on the main stage with the big acts. If you’re unlucky enough to play early on the smaller stage, reports suggest you’re only playing to about 20 people.

It also does nothing for you:

“I regret that people are showing nearly no interest in the Emergenza contest. The bands which had to play at noon were playing in front of more or less 20 spectators. Even when Nervous Nellie played a second gig after the jury’s decision, there weren’t many people curious enough to check out the Emergenza winner 2003. Being an Emergenza winner is just good for your reputation and for nothing else. The last three winners (2000: Nada Brama, 2001: Willowtree, 2002: Mushy) didn’t make a breakthrough. The Emil Bulls (winner 1999) will never advance further than opening big festivals.”
http://www.disagreement.net/concerts/030808emergenza.html
This is an old report, so things may have changed, but if you look at Australia’s finalists from the last five years, where have they gone? Nowhere.
https://www.facebook.com/LoveCreamBand
https://www.facebook.com/Mercury-White-441749225370/
https://www.facebook.com/cuervotheband/
https://www.facebook.com/rhyscrimminmusic
https://www.facebook.com/LeBellemusic/
All have less than 2500 facebook likes. Sure that’s not necessarily a good indication of popularity, but it’s not looking good, despite the hype of Emergenza.

Emergenza has been exploiting artists across the globe for years.

US complaint 10 years ago:
http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/EMERGENZA-US-Entertainment/New-York-New-York-10103/EMERGENZA-US-Entertainment-Soliciting-Bands-and-Musical-Acts-In-Pay-For-play-Nationwide-Sc-164801

UK complaint 5 years ago:
http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Emergenza-UK-Ltd/LONDON-Select-StateProvince-N20-9LP/Emergenza-UK-Ltd-WALTER-COMBI-Pay-to-play-rip-off-day-light-robbery-Stealing-from-ar-810096

Other band comps are just as bad, often worse. Just don’t play them. It’s not worth it, and supporting them is supporting the exploitation of hard working, desperate musicians.

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“SOUNDS NOTHING LIKE EVANESCENCE! Yes we have a female singer but she’s got more balls then you!” – Temtris Facebook Page

They’ve got that right! Anyone who went to their Shallow Grave album launch last Friday (28/3/14) can attest to this. Vocalist Genevieve Rodda has a killer voice, arguably one of the strongest on the local scene, and she doesn’t even need to growl to blow your head off! But just in case you aren’t knocked to the floor by her power, guitarist Llew Smith provides those growls that commonly accompany female fronted metal bands, and together with Anthony Roberts, the two guitarists rip out some awesome riffs and epic solos over the driving beats of drummer Ben Hart. New to the group in his first performance is bassist Adam Wotherspoon “Spoon”. Apparently Mr Spoon had only played one rehearsal with the band before the album launch, but it was impossible to tell! The entire band rocked the Valve Underground at Sydney’s Agincourt Hotel, in a fitting celebration to start the Temtris Shallow Grave Tour.

Not only was their live performance awesome, but the album kicks serious arse too! It’s been a long time since Masquerade was released back in 2007, but the wait was worth it. From the moment you load up the CD, you realise this is a huge step up for the band, not just in terms of musicianship, but in the quality of the recording itself. Of particular note, the mixing on this album seriously outshines Masquerade. In Shallow Grave, the vocal balance is much improved, with Rodda’s vocals much more audible and better conveying the strength and energy she presents on stage. Her voice is much better balanced against the growls too, which were just a little too dominant in their previous album. Overall, every instrument has found its place within the mix, making this a much better sounding album than Masquerade. But enough of the nerdgasms, time for a track by track breakdown of this work of art!

1. Captured
What an appropriate opening! Driving and full of dark energy from the first hit, the song is a call to rise. Rodda plays off the growls of Smith in the verses with a call and response style, then takes flight in the choruses as she soars above his extended roars. The guitar solo in this song is relatively simple, but the choice of notes is so beautiful it’ll give you goosebumps! Reach out and take her hand already, who could resist that request!?

2. Slave to the System
This song enters with a catchy riff then ramps up the energy with some double-kick madness, but it’s when the chorus gets going that you realise this is going to be one of the most memorable songs of the album. If you like to drive to CDs, you’ll suddenly find yourself singing along by the third listen. Just make sure to keep one hand on the wheel while the other raises the devil horns!

3. Shallow Grave
Ah, the titular track! This is a song with a message, and indeed it is the wordiest on the album. Containing strong imagery from the beginning, it makes dark references to religion and innocence, and the almost inevitable decay of the self at the hands of society. The complexity of the song extends somewhat to the music itself as well, with a slightly less predictable song structure, and a guitar solo that begins simply enough but steadily picks up speed until a screeching high… fuck yeah!

4. The Entity
A dark and gritty song, Temtris has really captured a sense of fear in this track. The bass growls through the verses which speak of some terrifying, ominous spirit being, before Rodda really belts out in the chorus, full of defiance, putting the spectre in its place. This song makes especially good use of dynamics to create tension and release, and it’s good to hear the bass play a larger role in this track.

5. Silent Tears
Beginning with a haunting piano melody and French whispering, you don’t really understand what’s going on, but it sets a rather despairing mood, appropriate to the song once the band comes in. This is easily the moodiest track of Shallow Grave. Every instrument adds to the atmosphere, and Rodda showcases the softer, more emotional side of her vocal abilities. And yet, you can still sense that she has more balls than you! Try not to listen to this song if you’re feeling depressed, you’ll end up curled in a corner sobbing away, thanks to their masterful compositional crafting.

6. Forever Haunted
It’s when you get to this song that you realise that the album has taken a really depressing thematic twist. Continuing from the sadness of the previous track, this song turns to pleading for forgiveness, and if you’ve recently had a relationship fall to pieces, this is a song you’ll relate to. Fortunately, it’s not all despair! The breakdown in this is epic! The song is stripped right back to a single guitar, before the band returning and gradually raising the energy back until the wailing guitar solo. More goosebumps!

7. Darkness Lies
Continuing the theme of despair, this song rounds out the album with lyrics that describe a fading away. But despite the content of the lyrics, this is no fadeout! The energy is constant in this song, with bursts of double-kick action and fast guitar rhythms making this a perfect way to end with a bang!

8. Bonus track: Your Time Has Come
So glad they thought to include this song! If you haven’t seen it already, check out the music video! Full of attitude, this track is aggressive and hard-hitting. The song is a direct challenge, but who in their right mind would accept! Temtris will eat you alive.

So that’s a quick look at this awesome album. If you want to get your heavy metal hands on a copy, hit them up and they’ll send one out! Or if you’re from their hometown of Wollongong, snap one up at their gig this Saturday 5/4/14 at Dicey Riley’s. Free entry! How can you not go? It’s sure to be another epic performance! Rock the fuck on, Temtris! \m/

Check Temtris out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Temtris/78684275977

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Gig date: 27/7/13

Venue: Venom Club Sydney (Agincourt Hotel)

What a night! Perpetual End recently played at Venom, Sydney’s home of metal, amongst a massive line up of well-known names on the scene. Having launched their new album Blood Complex only the night before in their hometown of Canberra, these guys were totally energised, putting on one hell of a show!

One of the few metal bands currently including a keyboardist (TJ Truesdale) amongst their ranks, Perpetual End stands out from the rest both in their sound and their appearance. Easily stealing the spotlight are vocalist Dean McLaren and bassist Lindsay Mercovich, their eyes blazing with stunning fiery contact lenses. McLaren begins the set clad entirely in black, face and eyes obscured by hood, mask, and goggles, confronting the audience as a post-apocalyptic creature that barely seems human. At times even his voice is warped by inhuman effects as the sound of TJ’s synths blast around him. After the first songs, he finally reveals his face and still his eyes speak of alien worlds. But while their vocalist remains on stage amongst the rest of the band, it is the bassist who stands up front, getting in the faces of the audience. Mercovich attacks his instrument with precision, flashing his demonic eyes into the crowd where they can see up close and personal the full fire of his passion. That’s not to diminish the role of the other band members however. Guitarists Danny Falls and Leith Wilson alternate between driving the brutality of the band and pulling back the dynamics for the keyboardist to shine, in a perfect example of tension and release. Meanwhile drummer Nick Smith keeps tight time and reinforces the entire feel of the band’s epic sound. Every member is also appropriately attired for the post-apocalyptic world they create in their music, perfectly matching the dystopian future constructed in Blood Complex.

All up, this band knows how to put on an awesome show. They have all the details covered, sonically and aesthetically, to draw their audience into another world. Be sure to follow these guys! For now, Sydney will have to wait impatiently for their return, but when they do, the horns are sure to be raised high! \m/

Check out Perpetual End’s website: http://www.perpetualend.com/

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Foundry Road

Fresh from a drum editing session at Sydney’s The Brain Recording Studios, three of the four members of local metal band Foundry Road have assembled to talk about their upcoming EP. Perched on randomly assembled chairs, drummer Brad Thomas and guitarist Scott Daniels allow the mysterious front man eXplain to take the lead. Simon Vincent is absent, but they joke that all “the important people” are present. “He’s a bassist” they laugh good-naturedly. “You can put that in there, that’ll piss him off!” “Just so we can show him!” It’s clear from their sense of humour that despite their brutal and aggressive stage presence, this band is a real family of like-minded musicians working together for a common goal.

The current goal, as publicised on social media, is the recording and release of their new EP, three years after their album Flood of Isolation. But wait! Releasing an EP after an album? “Money,” eXplain states bluntly, although the band adds in that the number of songs they have ready to record is also a factor. Still, it’s clear that money is a major concern, given that this new work is receiving much of its funding from the fans, who are essentially prepaying for the EP and various other rewards ranging from creepy clown hugs all the way to Simon’s signed bass. A relatively new concept, crowdfunding has given Foundry Road a significant boost to covering their studio expenses. “That’s why we started the Indiegogo campaign. We couldn’t afford to finish recording.” eXplain mentions that he was sceptical of the concept at first. “Do we actually ask people for money now? Before we do it?” But after seeing so many other artists from all over the world turning to crowdfunding, it soon became clear to them that it was almost necessary, given the changing and competitive nature of the music industry. Having surpassed their target of $1500, the pleasantly surprised band has no regrets, with further pledges received now going towards mastering and CD production. “The amount of support we got, within … not even two weeks of having the campaign up, we’d almost reached our goal.” Of the most surprising contributions made was a $400 pledge from a new fan in Canberra who had only seen Foundry Road play once. This enthusiastic fan will soon receive his copy of the EP, tickets to the launch, and Foundry Road merchandise, along with the major prize: eXplain’s shirt and vest, signed by the band.

This brings us to another question – with the shirt and vest gone, what is eXplain going to wear now? Finally the band reveals that there’s more to the upcoming EP than simply releasing some new music. This project brings with it some exciting changes. “We’re definitely going for a theme,” eXplain begins. “We’ve got some ideas we’ve been playing with, especially with our appearance and that… It’s Steampunk…” and it seems this time the entire band may be getting in on the image. Suddenly it all makes sense, with song names such as “Derail” and “Mechanical Mind” currently in the recording process, the EP is definitely shaping up to be a well-planned work of heavy metal art, and the launch is bound to be quite a show. “I’m pretty much building my own outfit,” says eXplain. “It’ll save some money, and I don’t think anyone will get what’s in my head onto something without me standing over their shoulder, so I might as well do it myself.” And so, with this EP, the band is refreshing itself in the ongoing quest to entertain the heavy metal crowd. “We want to keep putting on a show and not just playing music, and throw something different out there.” eXplain also talks about the Steampunk scene in America and other countries, revealing some of the more ambitious plans for Foundry Road. They hope that the new image will catch the attention of metalheads overseas, thereby expanding the band’s potential fan base further afield.

But despite the current success and progress the band is experiencing, it hasn’t always been easy for Foundry Road. Perhaps one of the factors that slowed the band down after their album was eXplain’s struggle with vocal problems. Unusually for a screamer, this appears to have had little to do with technique. At first identified as a possible cancer, the huge growths swelling in his throat turned out to be an especially bad case of tonsillitis, the culmination of a lifetime of smaller cases of the illness. eXplain reveals that this ordeal actually began during the recording process, in which he refused to undergo surgery in order to finish the album. “You can actually tell the difference between my voice throughout the album,” he says, describing how the swelling only became worse with time. “After I finished recording, I went and got them taken out. Had a 36mm and a 45mm tumour from each side of my throat.” Thankfully they were benign, but eXplain was forced to take an extended break from the band in order to recover. When he first tried to scream again, everything had changed. “It was bad. It just didn’t sound right. And then after time it sort of got better.” He describes the end result as being neither worse nor better – just different – and from the enthusiasm of the crowds at Foundry Road gigs, it’s clear this challenge has done nothing to diminish the band’s strength in the local scene. In fact, eXplain’s recovery has been so strong that he’s been able to do more than just scream. “One thing I’ve been working on is my singing,” he says, in contradiction to the common perception that screamers will always damage their voices beyond repair. “One of our new songs, Pecuniary Idols… I’m singing the choruses and that. So, interested to see how that goes down.” Of course, fans will already be familiar with his sung chorus vocals on the track Away From You, the film clip for which has recently passed 2000 views on YouTube.

Clearly, there’s nothing that can stop this band. Even from a short meeting with the guys, it’s obvious how dedicated they are to their music, and how well they work together. With their success in crowdfunding the EP, the thoughtful artistry of their new image, and their ability to overcome just about every obstacle in their path, Foundry Road is sure to keep smashing their way through the local metal scene and beyond. It’s in their name after all – turns out the meaning behind “Foundry Road” is, as elucidated by Scott, “the journey of metal”. So, in the words of their song Derail, “This ain’t nothin’, let’s make this fucking train roll!” \m/

There’s still time to get in on the action! Foundry Road’s Indiegogo campaign remains active until August 17th. Check it out and show your support at www.indiegogo.com/projects/recording-of-foundry-road-s-new-ep

FREE DOWNLOAD  Joyride- Chivalrous EP

Sitting before an eager class of journalism students, Joyride would be seen by some as looking out of place. After all, hip hop and R&B are not the first things to come to mind when one thinks of the academic world. But despite all appearances, this up and coming musician has much to share and to teach, drawing from his own journey and experiences of the wider music world. From humble beginnings as a DJ through to his first EP release, this diverse artist has learned first-hand about the challenges of being a musician on the Australian scene.

From day one, Joyride began to discover the realities of music, with his first project 2 On A Joyride. He and a mate would make their music using keyboards, drum machines, and samplers, however he soon found that this was an underappreciated skill on the scene. “[You] get paid just as much by just showing up with CD’s and headphones…” so that’s exactly what he did. Scrapping all the excess gear, he began to play simply as a DJ three times per week, and eventually landed a gig to DJ for Spit Syndicate, while also playing in other bands. From here he went on to host his own radio show, his reputation spreading further with every new opportunity taken up. When asked about advice for musicians starting out, Joyride emphasised the importance of reputation building as a key point, from who you know to what music you put out. “This is something that I’ve realised through the radio show. Younger artists, they’ll finish a song and send it out, get it out there, put it online, all that, when it’s a bit undercooked.” Creating good first impressions and building contacts are key.

Now at the top of his game as a huge figure in Australian Hip Hop, it seems that Joyride has finally been able to go back to making his own music, which he had sacrificed at the start of his DJ career. Having survived the journey from obscurity to influence, writing has clearly become more viable than it ever was in the 2 On A Joyride days. It would also seem that his self-confidence in music making has been bolstered. Chivalrous, the first in a 3-part EP series, was actually recorded 4 years earlier, but hidden from the world all this time. Apparently, this release and the planned follow-up EP’s came out of a “kick in the butt” from his musician friends – another possible benefit of networking. When asked why this was a 3-part EP series, rather than combined as a full album, Joyride explained that he preferred each section to be a cohesive whole, while also a way of building momentum. “I couldn’t really put Chivalrous with the newer stuff because it’s really different.” A collaborative, full album with other musicians is a dream for another day.

Having enthralled the class for a full hour, Joyride receives an enthusiastic round of applause. It seems even outside the clubs and dance halls, he can draw a rapt audience. And yet he remains modest. In his own words, “ego in Australia will be shot down and beaten to death.” But with Joyride, his right to an ego has well and truly been earned.

1. Facing Zero
Check these guys out first. Go see them live. Entertaining to watch with great rocking music, their only flaw is their inability to market themselves, so give them a hand! You won’t regret it! These boys have some fucking potential!
https://www.facebook.com/FacingZero

http://www.reverbnation.com/facingzero

2. Swamp Harlot
Another up and coming band, with THREE guitars! Count them, that’s THREE guitars, and the sound is massive! Have a listen to their single “Rise” linked below and you’ll instantly hear that these guys are different to your average metal band on the scene. With a second single coming out in September, this is a band to watch, dance, and sing along to!
https://www.facebook.com/SwampHarlot

https://soundcloud.com/swampharlot/rise

3. Before Ciada
Rising out of the ashes of Deconstructivist and currently on tour in Germany, these boys are going places (literally, bahaha). Brutal in every way, grab a copy of their EP, then stalk the crap out of them when they get back to Sydney. Sing it out! “DEATH CAN’T FUCKING STOP ME!!”
https://www.facebook.com/BeforeCiada
http://beforeciada.com/

4. Wintergaunt
This is my band, so I’m obviously biased, but even I can tell that the music we make is something different. We’ve been described as “standing out” from other bands due to the variety of influences in our music – from the heaviest of metal right down to a fucked up jazz fusion. Female fronted, by an icy she-demon who sings, growls, screams and plays violin, you’ll definitely get a unique musical experience!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wintergaunt/107769239267438
http://www.reverbnation.com/wintergaunt

5. Acid Nymph
Fronted by the sensual, tortured soul of Lily Nightmare (Christie White), this circus of sleazy clowns is one of the few local bands to offer an integrated entertainment package, from the music to the stage image. With lyrics born of genuine suffering, ex-Simulacra vocalist Ms Nightmare brings us into her world of madness, betrayal and irresistible sexuality unique to the Sydney metal scene. Watch this girl!
https://www.facebook.com/acidnymph

http://www.reverbnation.com/acidnymph

6. Amodus
Already well known, if you haven’t been following this band, GET THE FUCK ON IT! In a complete role reversal to the norm, this is a female metal band fronted by a guy, making this band an instant standout. Their debut album “Smokescreen” is available on iTunes and totally worth it, so get your greedy metal hands on a copy. Then come rock out with Fucking ‘Modus live!
https://www.facebook.com/amodus
http://www.reverbnation.com/amodus

7. Foundry Road
Another veteran of the local scene, the mysterious eXplain of Foundry Road is sure to disturb and shock you! When I first saw this band, that crazy clown was screaming in the face of a small girl – who was loving every brutal second of it! Do I really need to say more? Releasing a crowd-funded EP in the near future, keep an eye on these boys. Go support their Indiegogo campaign too! The creepy clown will give you a hug…
https://www.facebook.com/foundryroad
http://www.foundryroad.com/

8. Mayfall
Chug chug chug! Get your headbanging on! With awesome breakdowns transitioning to soaring melodic guitar solos then back again, this band is just a bloody metal pleasure to listen to and rock out with! Keep an eye on them while your ears bleed, fuck yeah!
https://www.facebook.com/mayfallofficial
http://www.triplejunearthed.com.au/Artists/View.aspx?artistid=66078

9. Dawn Heist
Another huge talent already well established in Sydney… and beyond! Heavy us fuck, but pushing the boundaries, if you can’t find something to like in these guys, there’s something wrong with you! Go listen. Go mosh. DO IT!
https://www.facebook.com/dawnheistband
http://www.dawnheist.com/

10. Fenrir
Heavy metal flute. Read it again. HEAVY METAL FLUTE!!! Having recently supported folk metal legends Eluveitie, these Vikings are something else! This is the kind of music you could take onto the battlefield. And did I mention? HEAVY METAL FUCKING FLUTE!!!
https://www.facebook.com/FenrirAustralia
http://www.reverbnation.com/fenrirmetal

The Owls – Swamp Love

Released: 2012 (Green Media Distribution)  http://www.theowlsonline.com/

Band:
Joshua Bailey – Vocals/Rhythm
Lewis Gillespie – Lead/Vocals
Joseph Bourke – Bass
Matthew McDonough – Drums

Track List:
1) Better Off Deaf
2) Take Me Alive
3) Swamp Love
4) Memo
5) Space Invaders
6) Comprendé

Review:
Tempting as it is to begin with a “better off deaf” joke, this debut EP from The Owls would render such a comment almost completely unjustified. Featuring driving riffs and effective vocal harmonies, ‘Swamp Love’ draws the listener in from the first track.

Hailing from Newcastle, these “indie rock” boys are competent musicians with a clear vision of their desired sound. In fact, this vision is so clear that they scrapped their original EP from an unnamed “big studio”, and instead re-recorded in their own self-built “tin shed” and mixed in a bedroom setup – and it shows, but it’s much better than one might expect. While it can be hard to listen to on occasion, this DIY approach suits their genre rather well. The sacrificing of sound quality creates a rougher atmosphere that combines effectively with the heavy guitars and droning vocal style to create a suitably gloomy mood that matches the lyrical content.

From track to track, there is a good variation in the feel of the songs, which helps break up the potential for monotony. However, within songs there tends to be more repetition, so while “Memo”, for example, starts strong, it eventually becomes little more than tedious. On a closer listen, the songs do have more dynamic variation than it first seems, but the hypnotic nature of the music makes this harder to notice. One exception is the final track, “Comprendé”, which unexpectedly switches to a Latin feel, with quieter percussion instead of the drum kit, refreshing clean guitars, and interesting sound effects. While the track does suffer to some extent from the same repetitive nature, it is so different to the rest of the music that this becomes much less noticeable.

Overall, this is a surprisingly good debut EP from The Owls. It will not please everyone, however this strong start is sure to be the herald of better things to come.

Score: 7/10

Five Descriptive Words:
1) Moody
2) Hypnotic
3) Rough
4) Driving
5) Repetitive