Review: How Did We Get So Dark?

Today I’m extremely excited to review How Did We Get So Dark?, the second full length album by Brighton rock duo Royal Blood.  This band burst onto the scene in late 2014 with the release of their eponymous first album, and their latest record is its highly anticipated follow-up.  The band released its first single, Lights Out, back in April, and you can watch the brilliant music video here:

Now on to the record.  The album opens with the title track, a strong opener with undulating bass throughout the verses and grungy riffs adding depth to the chorus.  It features a great outro, with fantastic drum fills and staccato backing vocals repeating the album name over and over again, which adds a creepy vibe to the song.

Then follows the lead single, Lights Out, arguably one of Royal Blood’s best tracks yet, with a catchy chorus easy to sing – or shout – along to, and a fantastic bass solo.  Next is the album’s second single, I Only Lie When I Love You, a grungy track positively dripping with swagger and attitude.  The lyrics discuss relationships and break-ups, which are a consistent lyrical theme throughout the record.  But then, isn’t love and loss present regularly in everyone’s lives?  Vocalist Mike Kerr’s voice remains as strong as ever, switching between sounding soft and emotive and louder, on the verge of shouting, with ease.  Plus, the drumming throughout the record, provided by Ben Thatcher, is masterful.

Hook, Line & Sinker is this album’s Ten Tonne Skeleton: it’s hands down the best song on the record, with fantastic catchy lyrics and imaginative instrumentals unmatched by anything else the band have put out.  It was pretty difficult for me to list my highlights of this 10-song album, because the entire record is fantastic, but Hook, Line & Sinker is truly on another level.

To me, How Did We Get So Dark? is reminiscent of Biffy Clyro’s work: the drums layered with additional percussion and higher pitched backing vocals draw parallels to their Opposites and Ellipsis albums.  Plus, the bass towards the end of Lights Out has a distinct Black Chandelier vibe.

Recently Royal Blood explained to NME that they took inspiration from David Bowie to create this album, but to me it seems clear that their influences are many and varied.  This band have been compared to Queens Of The Stone Age and Muse amongst others, and their latest album sounds like they’re trying to live up to those massive comparisons.

Overall, this record is dark and moody, and a fantastic follow-up to their first album.  My only criticism is that, at 35 minutes long, there isn’t nearly enough of How Did We Get So Dark? to keep me occupied until Royal Blood release their next album.  This band are a fantastic example of home-grown UK talent, and I’ll be following their future success very closely.

Highlights: I Only Lie When I Love You, She’s Creeping, Look Like You Know, Hook, Line & Sinker

10 great bands to see live in winter 2017

If you’ve been following alternative music news as closely as I have, you’ll know that there are some awesome bands set to play UK tours towards the end of this year.  Today I thought I’d run through some of these upcoming live dates, whether I’m planning on attending one of the gigs or just wish I could.

New Found Glory – September/October 2017, dates here

Pop punk legends New Found Glory, who are celebrating the band’s 20th year, will be visiting our shores in September/October of this year.  Their latest record was released in April, so it will be exciting for fans to hear some of those newer tracks live alongside older classics.

Metallica – October 2017, dates here

Metal giants Metallica will be returning to UK shores this October, but alas, the general sale for all of their dates have already sold out.  Bad luck to everyone who missed out!

Enter Shikari – November 2017, dates here

I already covered the news of Enter Shikari’s upcoming UK tour last month, but I had to include them in this round-up because their line-up is absolutely fantastic.  Lower Than Atlantis put on a great show, and Astroid Boys are an innovative up-and-coming band, so I’m certain this tour will be one to remember.  I’ve already seen Enter Shikari live four times, and their performances are always incredible, so I’d love to make it five in November at the Nottingham Motorpoint Arena.

Royal Blood – November 2017, dates here

Royal Blood will be performing their first ever headline arena dates this year, and I can’t wait to see them fill the huge venues with their awesome sound.  The band recently announced At The Drive In and Black Honey as their support acts, so I’m certain these dates will not disappoint.

Alice Cooper – November 2017, dates here

Rock ‘n’ roll giant Alice Cooper will be bringing his incredible live performances and stage shows back to the UK in November of this year.  If you attend one of his gigs, it’s certain to be a night you won’t forget in a hurry.

PVRIS, November 2017, dates here

PVRIS are set to release their upcoming second album, All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell in August, and a few months later they’ll be celebrating its release with a short run of UK dates.

Good Charlotte – November/December 2017, dates here

Good Charlotte’s latest album, Youth Authority, got a decent write-up here on altrocklife, so it would be awesome to see the band perform some of their new tracks live.  Plus, let’s be real, this band are pop punk legends, and it would be a nostalgia-filled trip to the past to see Good Charlotte perform live.

The Kooks – November/December 2017, dates here

Pop rock legends The Kooks are doing a Best Of tour at the end of this year, and it would be awesome to see them live.  Most people I know grew up listening to The Kooks, so I’m sure it would be fantastic to see them perform their greatest hits.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – December 2017, dates here

Everyone who’s seen The Rattlesnakes live know that this group put on an incredible show, and I’m extremely lucky to have already bought my ticket to see them in Nottingham on December 6th.  It’ll be my first time seeing The Rattlesnakes, and long term readers of altrocklife will know how long I’ve been waiting to see this band.  If you’ve got the opportunity to see them live, you’ll regret it if you don’t take it.

Marilyn Manson – December 2017, dates here

Marilyn Manson is one of the most infamous musicians on the scene, with a solid fanbase built over the past 20+ years.  You’d have to be pretty lucky to catch him during this short string of UK dates.


Have you got tickets for any of these tours?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.

9 incredible tracks you need in your life – April 2017

Hi altrocklifers, and welcome to my first update on a Wednesday, thanks to my new schedule.  Now you’ll have even less time to wait in between updates: lucky you!  It’s nearly the end of the month, so you all know what that means – today I’ll be looking back through April and sharing the best new tracks released this month.

Tonight Alive – World Away

Tonight Alive’s previous record, Limitless, had a more pop-rock feel to their first two albums.  To me it sounds like World Away is a return to the band’s more punk-pop/alternative rock roots, and that’s definitely no bad thing.

Paramore – Hard Times

This track is probably the most pop-inspired track ever put out by Paramore, and the electronic influences and music video have a serious 80s vibe.  This is a very upbeat and summery track, and whilst some Paramore fans are against the new sound, I really like it!  I’m excited to hear the rest of their upcoming record, After Laughter.

Obey The Brave – On Our Own

Sometimes you just really need some new metalcore tracks in your life, and Obey The Brave’s latest offering really scratched that itch.

Royal Blood – Lights Out

For the past year or so, I’ve been wondering when Brighton duo Royal Blood would return with new music for their eager fans.  Thankfully the band returned earlier this month with the first single from their upcoming second album, How Did We Get So Dark?, and it’s a real banger.

Have Mercy – Good Christian Man

I reviewed Have Mercy’s latest record, Make The Best Of It, on Sunday, and this track was one of my highlights from the album.  You can read the full review here.

New Found Glory – Party On Apocalypse 

New Found Glory are one of those bands who have stuck to the same sound for years, and their consistency makes them one of the best pop-punk bands around.

Of Mice & Men – Unbreakable

Unbreakable is the first track released by Of Mice & Men since previous lead vocalist Austin Carlile had to leave the band due to ongoing health issues.  When it was announced that the band would be continuing as a four piece, fans were concerned as to whether vocalist and bass player Aaron Pauley would step up and sing both clean and harsh vocals on their new tracks.  This track answers that question with a definite yes: Pauley is more than capable of filling Carlile’s shoes, and I can’t wait to hear more from the group.

Papa Roach – American Dreams

This latest track from Papa Roach sounds like the band are harking back to their earlier days, especially throughout the verses.  I can always appreciate a band who takes elements of their old sound and bring them up to date, so I can’t wait to hear their upcoming record, Crooked Teeth.

Blondie – Long Time

My Mum is a massive fan of Blondie, so I’ve been listening to the classic voice of Debbie Harry since I was a kid.  Long Time proves that the band have still got what it takes to put out great sounding tracks.


What do you think of these tracks?  Are there any awesome singles I missed?  Let me know on my Facebook or Twitter page, or in the comment section below this post.