EP REVIEW ROUND-UP: ft. Black Veil Brides – Oversize – Sugar Horse – Bayside


Black Veil Brides – The Mourning (Sumerian)

There’s an underlying belief that interim releases are merely disappointing cash-ins comprised mostly of filler and cast-off material. A strong title track usually followed by cover versions, demo versions, live cuts or songs simply not worthy to make it onto a full length record. A theory to which Hollywood based five piece Black Veil Brides clearly do not subscribe.

With the success of last year’s The Phantom Tomorrow the band wished to continue their working relationship with producer Erik Ron and engineer Anthony Reeder, and four track EP The Mourning is the result. An all-too-brief collection of tracks which perfectly illustrate where the band stands at this moment in time.


Opener ‘Devil’ boasts an aggressive stomp and another of the band’s famously infectious woah-oh choruses while the follow up to ‘Saviour’ from 2011’s Set The World on Fire, ‘Saviour 2’ is a determined and uplifting power ballad backed with strings. A fine track even if it does sound uncomfortably like Disney song ‘Let it Go’ in certain places. Penultimate cut ‘The Revival’ is a strong mid-paced rocker and the piano keys and power chords of ‘Better Angels’ ensure a resolute and optimistic climax.

Frontman Andy Biersack makes the most of his powerful mid-range voice while guitarist Jake Pitts throws out some wicked little solos. Armed with four high-quality tracks which could easily have graced any of the band’s full length releases, The Mourning is a worthy addition to any fan’s collection.


8 / 10




Oversize – Into The Ceiling (Church Road)

There’s something to be said about the wretched Covid-19 pandemic and that’s the sheer amount of music that was recorded and released during it. It should also be noted that a hell of a lot of projects were forged as well and Bristol’s very own five piece Oversize were one of these, albeit slightly before in late 2019 just before it really kicked off and the you know what hit the fan.  

Oversize are part of Church Road Records‘ (who arose from the ashes of Holy Roar) ever expanding and impressive roster. Labelmates include Ohhms, Slowcrush, Heriot and Implore, so already you are promised a high degree of quality before the needle even touches the vinyl. The band, despite the aforementioned pandemic, have toured quite extensively with the likes of Puppy and Narrow Head and have been part of festivals such as Outbreak (who have featured hardcore legends such as Youth of Today, Madball and All Out War) and Burn It Down, the latter of which features comparatively less well known smaller bands. 


Prior to the Into The Ceiling EP, the band released both the In Balance EP and the ‘Drive’ single (that was taken from that release). The EP’s cover hints at classic shoegaze, ala My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride etc, what with its psychedelic, otherworldly vibes.  


‘Different Light’ from the off recalls Smashing Pumpkins, giving the track a definite nineties alt-rock flavour. Its certainly not as heavy as that band, but the vocals are far less divisive than Billy Corgan‘s, more plaintive and less ‘whiny’ in other words. It also reminds one of contemporary bands such as Narrow Head, especially their most recent album 12th House Rock and in particular the track ‘Stuttering Stanley’, all of which makes for a fantastic opening number with which to kick off proceedings. 


Were MTV to focus on music again as opposed to lame irrelevant reality TV drivel, I certainly could forsee ‘Taste’ (the first single from the EP) getting serious regular airplay. There are shades of new wave present that The Cure might have been jamming in the mid to late eighties, along with some heavier Dinosaur Jr moments, what with the whole quiet/loud contrast that give it a distinctly grungy flavour.


With ‘Wasted Soul’ think bands such as Failure and Hum, due to the massive space rock dynamics that both of these demonstrate. The former is in my opinion, one of the most criminally overlooked bands of our time who, despite being revered by both fans and critics alike, are unfortunately not commercially ‘appealing’ enough to play the kind of venues that say Greta Van Fleet are selling out with their frankly ridiculous and unoriginal sub Zeppelin nonsense. 


Yep, go figure, no justice in this world. 


‘Dissolve’ sees a far more muscular post-hardcore approach that evokes the finest Quicksand has to offer as well as Walter Schreifels‘ other outfit Rival Schools.  The heavy grinding riffing contrasts beautifully with the emotive vocal style making for an ideal way with which to conclude the EP.


One of the genres that has been ascribed to Oversize is that of shoegaze, and while there are hints of that present, for your average fan of the genre I wouldn’t go into thinking that Into the Ceiling is a simple remake of Loveless or Souvlaki. This is a far more streamlined, even muscular affair that will have you rocking like a mother (not like a hurricane, sorry Scorpions) and dreamily reflective during the colder autumn and winter months.


8 / 10




Sugar Horse – Waterloo Teeth (Small Pond)

Bristol UK, based Sugar Horse are a relatively prolific band when it comes to releasing new music, and have been bubbling away nicely in the UK’s underground metal scene for a few years now. In 2021 they released their debut full length album The Live Long After, which was an enjoyable blend of slow sludgy doom with intriguing elements of post-metal with moments of melodic respite. 


This year they released the digital single ‘Pictures Of Dogs Having Sex’ back in the summer, and are following up with this new collaborative EP. The band have also had a busy gigging schedule in 2022, having toured a co-headline run across the UK with The Hyena Kill earlier in the year, hitting various festivals over the summer, and are embarking on a sumptuous autumn tour with Conjurer and Tuskar, before playing a tasty support slot with Godflesh

So Waterloo Teeth features four new tracks and is an ambitious blend of styles developing the eclectic style shown on last years long player. Opening with ‘Disco Loadout’ which following a clanking intro of feedback, explodes into a short sharp blast of abrasiveness, managing to be both atmospheric and chaotic. This one features guest vocals from Heriot’s Deb Gough and Damien Sayell from St. Pierre Snake Invasion


Next up the title-track opens with a moment calm as a saxophone twists and turns its way across an atmospheric backdrop. Sugar Horse singer Ashley Tubb showcases his clean vocals as the track slow burns its way in a sound reminiscent of The Cure, before building to a climatic finale as distortion explodes into life with imposing screams, before reverting back to the doom laden sludge that was prominent on The Live Long After


‘Gutted’ is a collaboration with Conjurer, which is heavier from the outset opening in a minimalistic style with the vocals taking centre stage over an ominous pounding rhythm, with the guitars dropping in and out of the mix. Through a doomy instrumental interlude, the track then hits like a beast with piercing blackened-death growls before dropping into a dreamy atmospheric clarity with the elegant clean singing of Kate Davies, as the track shoegazes its way to the final catastrophic conclusion. 


The EP signs out with ‘Super Army Soldiers’ which features Adam Devonshire from Idles on bass, Mike Vennart on guitar and Connie Matthews on vocals, and is another slow burner with a clean guitar melody and an almost hymn-like quality to the singing on the verse. There is a cool guitar solo hidden within and as the song progresses the distortion pedal gets clicked into life providing a background drone of feedback. 


An interesting release from Sugar Horse and friends which has a raw sounding quality. It may not be quite as polished as last year’s debut album, but delivered with an unquestionable passion for providing music that is adventurously leftfield.


7 / 10




Bayside – The Red (Hopeless Records)

Now into their third decade, Queens’ own melodic rocking punk act Bayside are trying something a little different – recording sessions as they feel inspired to, and releasing them as EPs rather than waiting to run as a full-length. And, it’s certainly bringing out the best in them. 


Three songs, ten minutes, with hooks aplenty, The Red still manages to cover plenty of ground. ‘Strangest Faces’ is perfect Halloween fodder, with it’s AFI refrains and cool imagery, based around steady chunky guitars and distinctive vocalist Anthony Raneri telling the spooky story. 

‘Good Advice’ is a more traditional US punk rock track, guitars powering a big chorus that is waiting for a sweaty packed room to chant along, while ‘Just Like Home’ bounces from pogo-friendly riffing and strong chorus to a more reflective verse.


You don’t get to have the following and reputation of Bayside without having the moxie to back it up, and without having the strength in songwriting. And if the short-sharp-shock approach of write/record/release continues in this vein, then long may the shorter form of attack be their weapon of choice.


8 / 10