THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS
Alternative Metal • New Zealand

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Auckland-based group The Symphony of Screams describe their sound as ‘grungy metal’, and to quote that bible of heavy, Kerrang! magazine, sound like “NZ Napalm who hammer it home all the way.”

The power and energy that TSOS bring to the stage is amply demonstrated by the fact that they were sought out by Capital C Productions to be the main New Zealand support act at the 2008 Rock to Wellington, where fans of heavy numbering over 25,000 per night were treated to their brand of uncompromising rock assault.

Their debut album ‘Heed to the Voices’ was originally an NZ-only independent release, which went down so well with fans that it was re-released worldwide in late 2012 by AllGood Absolute Alternative Records, garnering positive reviews pretty much across the board. "As good as it gets" to paraphrase but one.

The Symphony of Screams derive much of their motivation (and sound) from a desire
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Thanks to kev rowland for the addition

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THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS Discography

THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.78 | 3 ratings
Heed to the Voices
Alternative Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 4.27 | 3 ratings
Radio Candy
Alternative Metal 2013

THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS EPs & splits

THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS live albums

.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Live & Unplugged
Alternative Metal 2014

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THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS Reviews

THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS Live & Unplugged

Live album · 2014 · Alternative Metal
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Kev Rowland
When Auckland-based group The Symphony of Screams released their second album ‘Radio Candy’ in 2013, they undertook a special acoustic show at Auckland’s Nathan club rooms, which was recorded for posterity. Towards the end of 2014, having just completed a successful co-headline tour with labelmates Seventy One Sunset, the band then took the opportunity to revisit the tapes from that night and shared them with some friends. The reaction was unequivocal, and everyone kept asking when they would be made available to fans, so here it is! In all there are eight songs, with just one from the debut, six from the second (it was the launch show after all) plus the newer song “Skyfall”, which has rapidly become a concert favourite (and was performed on the recent ‘Live At Galatos’ TV show).

I was one of those lucky enough to hear the recordings back when they were being discussed, so took the opportunity to ask Te Matera (guitar/vocals) what the rationale was behind performing the songs in this manner. He commented “It was a joy to present the songs in the way that many were originally written on acoustic instruments. The album is the gig in the raw with no studio overdubs: it is just us live and acoustic as we were that night. When we heard the mix we felt we really needed to put this out, it just sounds like us having a great time, and the crowd was really into it”.

The crowd certainly were into it, as well as they should be, as this is a compelling performance on so many levels. The band sound incredibly relaxed, with a real groove behind all they are doing. Karl’s basswork is exemplary, providing the emotion, and locking in perfectly with Mike’s drums. Both of them have a laid-back style, as if this is all just so easy, and it allows Te Matera and Russell to really get into the emotion. Both the guys provide lead vocals, and it is wonderful to hear the songs being stripped back yet still with angst and passion, while at the same time evoking the menace and smokiness of an outlaw pub in New Orleans. “Dirty Southern Slut” has acoustic guitar and harmonica on the studio version, but here there is no move into an electric grunge workout, but instead relying on the performance to give that edge and bite.

I am a little surprised not to see “Radio Candy” or “Amsterdam Place” in the track listing, but I am more than happy to have the closing song in their place, “Skyfall”. I have seen them perform this song in concert multiple times, and is easily my favourite, as it marks a significant shift for them in terms of their songwriting, and it is incredible to hear just how powerful this is even when played on acoustic guitars! The song still contains plenty of angst, courtesy of some great vocals from Te Matera, and the multiple sections allow the listener to be drawn into the story of a world we have ruined. Kiwi music lovers have quickly picked up on this song in particular, as it has already made it into the top of some local digital charts.

The Symphony of Screams have again shown that there is far more to their style of music than just turning it up loud and playing power chords. This release shows a mature act that knows just how to provide the goods, whether they are standing in front of a wall of Marshalls or with their trusty acoustics at hand. Eight songs, all little masterpieces, superb from start to end. www.aaarecords.com

THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS Radio Candy

Album · 2013 · Alternative Metal
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UMUR
"Radio Candy" is the 2nd full-length studio album by New Zealand, Auckland based alternative rock/metal act The Symphony of Screams. The album was released through Triple A Records in June 2013. The same label that reissued the band´s debut album "Heed to the Voices (2008)" in 2012. It´s been 5 years between the two releases, but the lineup who recorded "Heed to the Voices (2008)" is intact on "Radio Candy".

Stylistically The Symphony of Screams pretty much continue down the same alternative rock/metal path on "Radio Candy" as they did on "Heed to the Voices (2008)". At least when speaking of their core sound, which are influenced by artists like Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana. They´ve developed and diversified that sound a bit since "Heed to the Voices (2008)" was released through. Tracks like the opening title track and "Amsterdam Place" (which is an ode to getting high in Amsterdam) reveal a more humourous side to the band´s music.

It´s still Te Matera Smith´s strong and emotional vocal delivery that´s in focus, but there are several powerful and heavy riffs on the album, that should be counted among the album´s assets too. While "Heed to the Voices (2008)" was a dark and heavy rock/metal affair with occasional alternative rock excursions, I´d say the scale has tipped a bit on "Radio Candy", which features quite a few acoustic driven tracks, which don´t necessarily feature heavy riffs.

The album is well produced, well played/sung, and for the most part well written. Like the case was on the debut album I still think an hours playing time is a bit too much, and not all tracks are equally intriguing, but the quality of the material is generally pretty high though. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS Heed to the Voices

Album · 2008 · Alternative Metal
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UMUR
"Heed to the Voices" is the debut full-length studio album by New Zealand, Auckland based alternative rock/metal act The Symphony of Screams. The album was originally independently released in 2008 (only in New Zealand) but saw an international reissue through Triple A Records in 2012.

The music on "Heed to the Voices" is heavy alternative rock. When the band are darkest and most heavy they remind me slightly of Alice in Chains and when they are more rock oriented an act like Stone Temple Pilots (and maybe a little Pearl Jam too) comes to mind. The focus is predominantly on the strong vocals performed by Te Matera Smith, but especially some of the heavier riffs are pretty powerful too. The rhythm section gets the job done, but don´t play much out of the ordinary.

The material are generally well written and quite catchy, which means that the tracks are for the most part instantly memorable. Sometimes that also makes them a bit predictable though, but that´s not a major issue. "Heed to the Voices" features 13 tracks and a full playing time of 63:20 and although the standard is relatively high throughout, I still think the album as a whole could have prospered from a shorter running time.

The sound production is organic and at times features an almost "live in the studio" sound, and that suits the music well. This is basically heavy riff laden rock´n´roll and a more polished sound would probably take away some of the bite that is otherwise one of the album´s strengths. Upon conclusion "Heed to the Voices" is a pretty strong debut album by The Symphony of Screams and it should appeal to fans of some of the above mentioned acts. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS Radio Candy

Album · 2013 · Alternative Metal
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Kev Rowland
So, a mere six years on from their debut, and the same line-up was back with the second album. I don’t know how long it took for them to record this one, but it is almost as if they have gone back to the debut and said “what do we need to do to make this one harder, more jagged, with more ideas and use of dynamics?” While this is very much a continuation of the debut, it is as if a fine gauze has been removed that one wasn’t aware was there before, as this is incredibly vibrant and powerful in a way that I thought the debut was, but when compared to this it can be seen that it wasn’t quite the complete product that this quite definitely is. Everything about this just works, incredibly well. Whatever you want from this style of music is definitely there, and not just in spades but in the all the other suits as well!

Intense but moody, jagged but refined, hard but gentle and atmospheric, it is all here. In the last year I have been able to hear some incredible kiwi bands producing some incredible albums, which is a European setting would have them on the front pages of all the rock press, and this is no exception. If you enjoy grunge style metal, and want to hear one of the finest examples of that style you are ever likely to come across, then this is it. www.aaarecords.com/Symphony-of-Screams/

THE SYMPHONY OF SCREAMS Heed to the Voices

Album · 2008 · Alternative Metal
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Kev Rowland
Imagine if you will a primary school fete, where parents have been getting involved to raise as many funds for the school as possible. We have all attended many of these in our lives, but the one at Wainui school the other month was rather different. Here the suggestion had been made that they ought to have some bands playing, and charge for admission. One of the guys behind this was record label boss and producer Te Matera, who also plays guitar with TSOS. Given that many of the acts that afternoon are signed to Triple A, and that Te Matera was running the sound desk most of the day (having provided it and virtually everything else free of charge), it was only fitting that TSOS found themselves pounding out grunge in broad daylight. It was great to see the kids running around and having so much fun, but some of their parents weren’t quite sure what was going on!

The debut album by TSOS was originally released in 2007, with Te Matera on guitar and vocals (previously with Sundog in the UK), Russell Hansen guitar/vocals (ex-8 Ft Sativa, Hollow), Karl Moore bass/guitars (ex-Hollow) and Mike ‘Bones’ Coney on drums. Although their sound is based very much in grunge metal, there is actually a lot more going on and Te Matera likes to describe them as grunge prog – I wouldn’t quite go that far, but I can certainly understand where he is coming from, especially if you treat the term ‘progressive’ as a way of thinking and of bringing together different ideas and genres as opposed to sounding like another Genesis clone.

Both Te Matera and Russell provide lead vocals, sometimes singing as a hardened emotional duo, and at others letting the other take the spotlight, while in Karl they have a bassist who is actually a better guitarist than either of them so they let him shine as well (Karl really wanted to join the band, but they already had two guitarists and needed a bassist so he took the job – when they play live he mostly plays bass, but the other two also take turns so that he can show what he can do with six-strings as well). This is a very polished album, with small interludes here and there, and enough breaks and dynamics to allow them to really let loose when they want to with maximum effect. This album made such an impact when it was released that they were the top placed NZ band at Rock 2 Wellington in 2008, where they supported the likes of Alice Cooper, Kiss and Ozzy. I’m not a major fan of grunge, but I really like this. www.aaarecords.com/Symphony-of-Screams/

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