This is a review of "Counterstep" recorded by Middleman. The review was written by Sam Panasuik in 2014.
Middleman are a Leeds based band, who fuse rap with rock. The band started in 2006 and have been churning out some great songs ever since.
Ok, so the rap rock has been done a lot in the past, but Middleman are making it work for them! Counterstep is the band's latest album offering. It is a ten track album, with rocky guitar hits throughout and rap lyric bursting out all the way. Opening track Helpless, with electro beats, the rap lyrics, but a sing along bridge in as well, giving a great mixture of sound and helping its uniqueness come across for a new audience. Whereas Blindspot, which is a bouncy beat, and more talkative rapping and words that are certainly heartfelt. With lyrics such as "I can't feel hope wrapped around my throat." It is a very interesting turn, from the first upbeat song.
Copy and paste has a dance sound, which is an almost rave homage, with the words pointing at today's media. Number four on the album is a typical rock song, with the usual drums, guitar, but with talking lyrics, which are more hard hitting as this. A little bit Bloc Party, maybe, from Middleman. It is a great way to show the difference in their style. Lifeline is similar to its predecessor, slower than the dance tracks and has the hip hop beat in it from the talkative element again. Better Off is up next, which sounds like a duo of singers, has softer guitar melodies in and more of the electro sounds, but a more chilled out style.
When I Close My Eyes has the lyrics of front man Adam Craven-Griffiths competing in his tone, with the drum beat and back melody of crashing symbols. Giving another excellent depth to the album. Title track Counterstep, is filled with a strong drum hitting beat throughout, a Mike Skinner-esque lyric chant in the chorus, if not too much of an overused comparison, but I do give it as a compliment.
Tunnel Vision, which is a loud volume rampage of clashing music with shouting lyrics that hit out at every second of the song and my favourite on the Counterstep album! It has a sort of New Noise ring to it. Excellent use of electro beats and rap rock combination. Amazing.
The final song on the album is titled Deny It All, which is a more down tempo track, compared to the rest of the hard hitters, a sort of comedown. However, still a great song, and easily swayed along to and very enjoyable.
For my preference, I wouldn't ever go for this in the iTunes store, but I am glad I had the pleasure of listening to it. I love electro beats, and rock is my favourite genre. It was probably the rap box, which didn't tick for me, but upon listening to this gem, I will certainly be hitting one of the Leeds based groups gigs real soon! An excellent album from the Leeds based Middleman.