HONDO MACLEAN Press Pack Jan 2005 contact: email@example.com / 01635 868 385 ONLINE REVIEWS METALUK EP Review After the success of their debut EP „Plans For A Better Day‟, welsh quintet Hondo Maclean are back to take another bite at the cherry. With the threat of emo/ hardcore growing too big for the bathtub, they are fighting back. „Chasing Angels‟ is certainly not the stuff of dreams although this deceptively packaged parcel is very likely to blow up in your face. Opening track „Lola‟s Pictures‟ is a beautiful marriage of the mega melodic with the aggressive. The guitars rise and fall in intensity, each painting the picture to the screaming Ben Woosnam vocal masterpiece. ”Every time we catch one, you can guarantee she will fall. Into our hands, into our laps”. Fallen angels or not, Hondo Maclean are certainly dancing with the devil. This track is just a series of roller coaster rides, the heavy strum twisting and turning in place of the soft melodic caresses. Accompanied by, “why are you hiding when you could be dancing”, soft then screamed with the emo-core signature that is now fast becoming Hondo Maclean. More chest pumping bass is the domain of „Don‟t Forget To Feed The Fish‟, whose sultry melodic intro will spread its bitter sweetness into the nearest eardrum, only to bang away till shattering point. With super rapid fire snare drumming and riffs from the strum and stop school of music. The infected rhythms rage throughout the track until it is totally destroyed, you with it. If you can handle the back and forth relay of lyrical and vocal play, then „Chasing Angels‟ will score brownie points galore. „Chasing Angels‟ is on a mission to disobey, disagree and degenerate. Its downward spiral becomes more apparent with the ultra brutal and intense „Wave (Wave Back They Will)‟ and „By The Power Of GreySkull‟. Like the scathing anger of a parent Hondo Maclean turn the tables with their maturity. Knowing exactly when to execute their super brutal guttural vocals and death growls they will appease the hardcore appetite to bursting point. Whilst throwing little emo teaser scraps under the table. Incremental tempo changes delicately season the Hondo Maclean meal, but you have been warned it WILL repeat on you. 8.5/10 SKRATCH THE SURFACE EP Review A storming effort from this young band from the south of England, „504…‟ fizzes and overflows with both potential for the future and more than enough quality for the here and now. Opening cut „b-move explosion‟ expertly moulds some quick-fire fret board work to a vocal line that shifts from melodic to a frantic scat-vibe and thus the tone is set. Having been impressed with this band a couple of months ago supporting Beecher it‟s with great glee I discover that they more than cut it on record too. Mixing elements of hardcore, metal and punk into a noisy and interesting brew that recalls anyone from SikTh to Deftones to Cave-In at various points this EP is a short, sharp aural shock to the system that makes its mark brilliantly and ends in the best way possible, leaving the listener wanting more. There are quite a few rising guitar based bands in the UK scene right now, but through creating a vibe and sound of their own and adding some jazzier more left-field influences Aconite Thrill show on this EP that they have the ability to potentially leave the pack miles behind and not just compete with them. Judging by the quality of tunes like „Quit Words‟ – a wondrous mix of hooky, flowing guitar lines and anthemic vocals, wrapped up with a brutal edge – Aconite Thrill could easily find themselves on the same level as some of its members previous band SikTh come this time in 2004. ROCK REVIEW EP Review When I first heard Welsh-based Hondo Maclean's debut EP, 'Plans For A Better Day' a few months ago - to be quite honest with you - I didn‟t think much of the band and Rockreview's rating, 4/10 (reviewed by Bort) reflected this. A few months later however and having seen the band twice in the live arena (once supporting Sikth the other opening for Funeral For A Friend) I have the pleasure of reviewing their second EP, 'Chasing Angels' and I am pleased to say it is a huge improvement. The band have refined their sound from what was a jumble of noise to a more organised, streamlined Hardcore meets Metal with a few tinges of Emo. Whilst the genre of Metallic-Hardcore doesn't sound that original anymore, I'll grant you, Hondo Maclean are able to pull it off with all the originality and zeal of a band only just starting to come to terms with their potential. First track, "Lola's Pictures" is an excellent example of how metal and hardcore can be combined yet still sound fresh, think early Funeral For A Friend (before they met the nice people at Warner) on acid. Searing drum beats, huge crunchy guitar riffs mixed with melodic jerks and vocals that sing and scream and roar (heavily favoured towards the latter) through the EP's four tracks. Hondo Maclean have all the potential to go far, a huge improvement on their edgy first EP. Roll on the album... Rock Review Rating: 9/10 MUSICOMH EP Review The skill of fusing a wide range of influences to form a new sound is the foundational concrete beneath the success of bands like The Deftones and Linkin Park. However there is a thin line between creative genius and tripe. „Tis a line that Hondo Maclean are treading precariously. Within Lola‟s Pictures, they career from the most militant of metal riffs into the mellowest of post punk chorus and a then deliver a purely distressing bout of guttural roaring. Don‟t Forget To Feed The Fish takes in elements of bands like Feeder, Shadows Fall and Jimmy Eats World, with a simply smashing groove and disturbingly schizophrenic vocals. On record their mix of emo, death metal and hardcore provides an intriguing, tight, and refreshingly brilliant mix. Live however, sadly the same is far from true. If they can perfect this shortfall, Hondo should go far. ALTERNATIVE LINKS EP Review Welsh based post-hardcore mob Hondon Maclean are set to release their latest EP titled „Chasing Angels‟. With a good collection of support acts under their belt Hondo Maclean could be the next brightest spark to come out of Wales since the rise of Funeral for a Friend. The band likes to cut a fine line between cutting Hardcore vocals and a great vocal melody. The most prominent track is the genre medaling „Lola‟s Pictures‟. 3/5 FIGURE OF EIGHT EP Review After their promising 'Plans For A Better Day' EP everyones favourite shouting Welshmen have returned. Picking up directly where their last effort left off, Hondo Maclean's brutal hardcore sounds better than ever. There's no huge change in the band's overall sound from one EP to the other, however Hondo have now refined their sound into something they can call their own. Ben Woosnam sounds as pissed off as ever and the guitars remain crunchy to say the least, but now the tracks have a much more structured feel, flowing from start to finish as songs rather than the occasional mass of noise. Opener 'Lola's Pictures' follows the usual Hondo blueprint but still feels fresh and exciting while 'Don't Forget To Feed The Fish' is possibly the band's strongest track to date. The use of quieter dynamics alongside the brutal backdrop of noise adds an atmospheric edge while frontman Woosnam's voice veers from delicate melody to back of the throat screams and bottom of the stomach growls. It's his vocal variety and lyrical style, which adds the X-factor that so many bands lack. The ability to sound like two singers in one can only be a good thing. Below the surface the band are also working harder than ever. Constantly trading riffs the dual guitar attack is on top form once again while the thundering basslines and pummelling drums sound huge. Musically tighter and more experienced the band have come on leaps and bounds since their debut and confirms their status as a force to be reckoned with. 2003 has laid the foundations, 2004 could see Hondo Maclean break out from the underground and into the hardcore elite. Watch this space. 9/10 ROCK MIDGITS Live Review – Manchester, Academy 2 Hondo Maclean‟s lead singer is rather bemused. To the right of the barrier, there are three screaming girls who appear to have the lung capacity of an African Elephant between them. And they just won‟t shut up. Not that they‟re in anyway intimidated, you understand. After surviving the slings, arrows and eggs of audiences on the Jackass tour, they‟ve gained a rep as one of the hardest bands in rock. So what are they doing with three screaming girlies down there? Hondo combine the ferocity of hardcore with earworm melody, with just a hint of nostalgia and frenzied emotion. A pit resulting from that could really cause damage Warning, Mums and Dads: lock up your daughters – Hondo Maclean are back… THE COMMUNION EP Review Hondo Maclean return with their second ep, the follow up to the great „Plans for a better day‟ release. Straight off the bat it must be said that this lacks the impact, urgency and vicious nature of that first ep. Bu this is not a bad cd, just different to what i was expecting from the band.Possessing more of an ear for melody and „the chorus‟ now, Hondo Maclean do sound a bit more palatable to the post-hardcore kids at the moment, falling more squarely into the genre than the „Plans…‟ ep. However when they write songs as good as a couple of the numbers on this ep then I think we can forgive them. Just. Sounding like a mixture of latter-day Drowningman, Hopesfall and classic metal riffs all wrapped up in a British post- hardcore gloss, what you get here are songs such as the alternately anthemic and brutal „Lola‟s pictures‟ and the incredible „Don‟t forge to feed the fish‟, which is perhaps the best song the band have written yet. What I feel this band need to do now is to find a balance between the sound they established for themselves on their first ep and the colossal, epic melodicism displayed on this ep‟s standout track „Don‟t forget….‟. A nice, but not awe- inspiring release that makes this bands next move both crucial and intriguing. 6.5/10 TELETEXT Album Review HONDO MACLEAN - Chasing Angels (Mighty Atom) Quite why metal has finally decided to take itself seriously is a mystery, but as long as bands like Hondo Maclean keep joining the fray, let's keep our faces stern. Complex doesn't even come close. Emphatically structured, ingeniously crafted, and exquisitely delivered, Hondo Maclean's appeal is in their reluctance to duck a challenge. At times terrifying, yet equally as enchanting, they're captivating. Expect their stock to head skyward. 4 / 5 (release of the week) ROCK MIDGITS Live Review (Manchester, supp. Sikth) Next up are Hondo Maclean, the latest hotly tipped band to emerge from the south Wales woodwork. Before they take to the stage the crowd is buzzing in anticipation, chanting their name and when they finally arrive all the pent up energy of the crowd is release in to a violent circle pit. Again, there is nothing particularly groundbreaking on offer here but Hondo Maclean are a lot more instantly accessible than Cry For Silence displaying Poison The Well like discordant melodies and subtleties. It‟s clear they have already developed quite a stage presence and shine through the poor sound quality that blights all tonight‟s bands. 4/5 IF EZINE EP Review The second installment in the life of hardcore-metal crossover nutters Hondo Maclean is now upon us. While it doesn't see the band make too much ground in the originality stakes, it does remind you that they're very good at what they do; the loud bits are very loud and the melodic bits are very melodic. They've already proved to be very popular with Scuzz viewers and this will no doubt spread further with the release of this EP. And for all you He-Man fans out there, there's a track called By The Power Of Greyskull.. 3/5 LIVE4METAL EP Review It seems like only a short time ago that Hondo Maclean released their last EP, Plans For A Better Day. This caught our attention due to the fact that it had Asia Argento all over the cover. Now the band are back for another one and they are still very obviously Chasing Angels. Perhaps with a couple of more tracks written they could have had an album out by now. Personally I don‟t think there is much of a market out there for EP releases except as cheap tasters at live shows but there you go. This little bugger (despite being far removed from my normal listening mode) has actually really grown on me. These Welsh boys can sing it from the valleys with a certain amount of style that‟s for sure. Opener Lola‟s Pictures starts off as a Johnny Truant/Beecher laden shoutfest and the yappy vocal stance kind of grates for a while. The clean tinged snatches however are much better and there is a real indie vibe (but thankfully not emo) that flows neatly along. Just to reinforce this with the opening guitar jangle of Don‟t Forget To Feed The Fish I am taken back to the likes of The Wedding Present and The Mighty Lemon Drops. They back this all up with a heaviosity and to my ears the marriage of styles keeps them a step ahead from the likes of the horrible Funeral For A Friend. With the vocal duality on Wave I was one second reminded of Medulla Nocte and the next Billy Bragg, which is certainly a bizarre mixture. I certainly would give Hondo Maclean the time of day if I caught them live but as they are just about to embark on a tour with Sikth I very much doubt our paths will cross. Now record an album boyos. I WILL BE HEARD EP Review Hot on the heals of their debut “Plans For A Better Day” EP, Welsh metal maestros Hondo Maclean hit us with four new songs, again released on Mighty Atom Records but this time benefiting hugely with stunning production by Joe Gibb. With a sound that‟s somewhere between label-mates Funeral For A Friend and the inspirational and furiously heavy Johnny Truant, they take the now popular emocore concept so much further than any of their compatriots. It‟s all about balance and that is where this band excels so well - managing the perfect mix of heavy versus melody (with capital HEAVY and lowercase melody), as well as including an amazing amount of detail and character giving tremendous depth - they simply strike an excellent balance. Melody has proven to be an important key to attaining wider acceptability and they have crowd pleasing amounts of this quality but manage to attain it without coming anywhere close to the banal pop-rock arena that many lunge for. Indeed they have incredible quantities of heaviness, aggression and intensity that blow almost the entire current crop of more straight forward metal/hardcore bands into the dust. And there is more - those sweet twin lead guitars that sometimes remind you of Thin Lizzy and at others times of Iron Maiden - the harmonies sound beautiful and creates a sound to die for. Then the vocals range from the immaculately sung melodies, through intense screamo and to the most evil, demonic, death style growls. Each is used to great effect at times where they complement the music perfectly, adding to the aggression, the respite melody or the atmosphere as required. All four songs reek of class and it is somewhat unfair to highlight one above another, but marginally “Don't Forget To Feed The Fish” comes out as a personal favourite. It‟s an awesome song that takes the entire range of sounds, from the delicate gentle moments to the colossally heavy with great chugging riffs and lovely timing changes instrumented by a tempo that is anything but straight forward. This is an awesome EP that follows on admirably from their debut, showing a natural progression and maturity that belies their experience. Hondo Maclean take you on a ride of hair singeing intensity but drive with exemplary skills and show you some beautiful sites - it‟s only afterwards they tell you there were no brakes! It‟s an irresistible combination and you just can‟t wait for another blast. 9/10 DRIPFED EP Review Another day, another Welsh wonder to hit our eardrums. Hondo Maclean have a similar edge to Funeral For A Friend, which is no doubt due to sharing the same producer, Joe Gibb. However, what they don‟t share with FFAF is their undeniable sludge of rage which pounds from the start of „Lola‟s Pictures‟. They clean up the sharp edges with softer melodies towards the end making this a catchy little number. Stripping back the metallic sheen this is something to make you sit up and listen. At times it almost sounds like A Static Lullaby and maybe a dash of Shadows Fall which is no bad thing. Ultimately, they‟ve got their own space and this EP fills it admirably with equal doses of unleashed wrath courtesy of Ben Woosnam (vocals) and tight-as-a-rubber-ball backing from the rest of the band. Cracking stuff. 8/10 TWANG EZINE Live Review - Manchester Academy 3 (supp. Sikth) As regular readers will know, Hondo Maclean gigs have always proved elusive affairs to TWANG!?!, which is why it's doubly disappointing to find that they're little better than what has gone before. Their constant touring has undoubtedly refined the melée in their sound, but quite frankly, they don't seem arsed, with even the frantic 'Animated Antics' barely being a a patch on its recorded counterpart. Ho de hum, boyo. 2.5/5 IAYM EP Review In the wave of the international success currently being enjoyed by Welsh upstarts Funeral For A Friend, Wales's Hondo Maclean are undoubtedly going to be compared to this act, particularly as they emerge from the same independent label, Mighty Atom Records. The sound on "Chasing Angels", their second EP release, is a particularly harmless form of emotional hardcore, the likes of which has been gaining popularity in all corners of the globe with acts such as Thursday, Thrice and even Poison The Well spearheading it's cause. Hondo Maclean have already achieved some exposure in the UK when touring with the last of those acts, and this 5-piece are certainly adept at song-writing, knowing just when to insert the screams, and just when to sing melodically. A highly placed lead guitar offers somewhat random twists and turns, above a shuddering bass, with little emphasis on percussion overall. One problem with these songs is that they occasionally tend to lose their direction, particularly in the middle two cuts on this EP, which both last over five minutes with little necessity to be that long. Undoubtedly the best track on the release is the closer, 'By The Power Of Greyskull', an energetic and comparitively darker effort which displays vocalist Ben Woosnam's screaming ability in a full on showcase of blistering guitar lines. Ultimately of course, this genre is just becoming ridiculously over-saturated, and if Hondo Maclean are unable to differentiate themselves further from the rest of the pack, then their chances for success appear relatively slim. By all means if you're crying out for another Thursday effort already, then pick this one up -- but don't expect anything new. 2.5/5 DROWNED IN SOUND EP Review Sometimes when the black hole „scene‟ opens, chaos descends and the streets become paved with plural personalities riding the same note at a slightly deflated pace. Note obligatory reference: Funeral For A Friend (lesser extent = playboy munching turntable gonks Lostprophets) But Hondo Maclean aren‟t snorting the same party powders and certainly aren‟t waiting for their names to be put down on the list. HM have the urge to noise; Real metal riffs rubbed along the lines of Phil Anselmo‟s rusty ranch. The melody may be unavoidable and of underlying importance but a heritage of Slayer longplayers is still evident. Slacker brothers rarely get a chance to outshine their ivy league siblings, and that‟s not necessary as long as the kids who sold their skateboards to the Deftones are aware „Chasing Angels‟ is their chance to tattoo metal back against their ankles. STATE OF EMERGENCY Live Review – Cavern (Exeter) – 26/10/03 It‟s the morning after the night before. My head is thumping and my ears are ringing with strange sound of sickness that was belted out by one of the craziest bands I‟ve had the privilege to see. SikTh, back in Exeter for the second time, played a monstrous set that left many standing speechless after the gig. The night was an assortment of the highs and lows that everyone should make an effort to witness. There were only two bands scheduled for the gig and so the DJ warmed the club up with some brutal metal before Hondo MaClean took to the stage at around 9.30pm. Instantly soaring the temperature of the crowd with their fierce hardcore metal sound, Hondo MaClean really went to town with their set. These Welsh rockers have recently had a short stint touring with Funeral For A Friend and played much tighter as a unit at this show then their previous effort at the Exeter Lemon Grove only a few weeks ago. Their sound was cleaner and the vocals ripped the Cavern walls apart with gruelling choruses of vocal-chord-shredding lyrics and heavy sounds that sparked life into the pulsing crowd. A great stage presence and unhealthy obsession for lesbians made Hondo MaClean bond with the mass of bodies they were entertaining, as their noise reverberated around the club. Hondo MaClean are worth seeing if you really like your metal and want a new band to idolise, but they did seem to drag on for longer then some were prepared to take and lost interest towards the end. But overall a much improved set from the last time I saw them and well worth checking out. CD SERVICES EP Review Four brand new tracks from the UK's best up and coming rage-metal acts. Opening with the nuclear heat of 'Lola's Pictures' you'll find yourself drowning in a sea of intensity one minute, only to come up for air the next, before being pushed back under just as you think it's safe - a steaming mix of raging guitars, searing vocals and thunderous rhythms stand next to a coda of incredible delicacy and as an exercise in dynamics, this track is nothing short of rock perfection, great ideas well executed. The band have clearly got a handle on writing and arranging rock that has a new-found sense of adventure, unafraid to put melody next to their muscle. Elsewhere the music crunches and pounds, double guitar riffing standing next to dual-vocalising so intense it knocks Linkin Park off the planet. Four quite stunning tracks that are a fantastic mix of rage and arranging, heaven and hell, and one potent brew that you need to take at least once a day. FURY EP Review The return of the five cartoon loving zealots brings about a new chapter in the book that is the Welsh music scene. After the nationwide success and legions of fans that their debut EP Plans For A Better Day brought them, their next release was always going to make or break the band. Fortunately, Chasing Angels has proved that Hondo have made it, and have the musical integrity to stay popular without sacrificing any veracity. The musicianship and general sound of the band has become a lot more intelligent in both the playing and recording. Joe Gibb has really done his duty as producer and aggrandized the overall tone, making it much louder and heavier. The contrast between the mellow and aggressive parts is a lot more obvious than in previous recordings and each instrument can be distinguished separately, rather than just being a large immensity of noise. It‟s extremely difficult to pigeonhole the actual sound of the band: they vary from finely picked, slow guitar riffs to towering thuds and immense chugs in a matter of seconds, then round it all off with the almost Hundred Reasons-esque pop-rock sing along finale of Wave (Wave Back They Will). Even though this may not have the instantaneous appeal that Plans For A Better Day does, it is definitely a much more intelligent and intricate set of songs. There is something new and different to hear on every listen of the record and you‟ll soon find yourself learning the words, whether you want to or not – especially on opener Lola‟s Pictures. Each song has something within it that makes it amazing, which means there really aren‟t any tracks that stand alone as being the best on the CD. If you‟ve ever seen Hondo Maclean live then you‟ll more than likely recognise all of the songs from their live set and you if you do, you‟ll definitely love them. There really isn‟t anything about this EP that can be criticised: it is undeniably one of the best releases of 2003. Get your hands on a copy now and prepare to be enthralled, particularly by the barbed chugs of the bizarrely named Don‟t Forget To Feed The Fish. 5/5 STATE OF EMERGENCY Live Review – Exeter, Lemon Grove (supp FFAF) Slanted hats, black t-shirts and black nails filled the Lemon Grove up as hardcore emo from Wales descended to the Southwest. After just touring America and continually building their reputation, Funeral for a Friend entertained the Exeter crowd of 700 strong on this, their third leg of an extensive tour. The venue was cramped as everyone struggled for a spot to see the opening act (also from Wales), Hondo Maclean. This band opened the show with a blinding pace. Crowd surfing and hordes of bouncing kids in the pit seemed a great reaction to this band that are touring on the opening half of FFAF‟s tour before supporting other major acts like Sikth later on in the year. Named after an 80‟s cartoon character, Hondo MaClean blasted the crowd with pure post hardcore fury and thumping melodies that wetted the crowd‟s appetite for what was to come. The quintet used their short set well; playing lively and hard songs that embodied the sound of the evening and left people remembering the bands name. 6/10 COPOUT EP Review The link between Hondo and Funeral should guarantee a stir of interest sufficient for this little lot to be noticed. Same stable unfortunately though, does not guarantee either the same success rate, (ask Number One Son, who followed in the footsteps as Lostprophets at Visible Noise) nor does it guarantee the same rate of quality. Hondo Maclean, mean well, and if your a huge fan of the genre, you will not be disappointed at all, it's classy enough to hit all the right spots, particularly title track "Chasing Angels", but somehow by the time you get to track four, the sense of having heard it all before and better is a little overwhelming. 3/5 ROCK REVIEW Live Review – Exeter, Lemon Grove (supp FFAF) The appeal of a band such as Funeral For A Friend is their ability to traverse between both age groups and musical tastes. For this reason, the people queuing outside the medium-capacity, yet more importantly, sold-out Lemon Grove in Exeter ranged from young kids; many of them at their first gig, to the ageing Metal fan in support of their fading Metallica t-shirts. Similarly the genres of music represented ranged from that of Punks, Metal head and of course the obligatory 'Emo Kids'. Openers Hondo Maclean were surprisingly good, their welsh brand of screaming hardcore infused with metal went down well with the crowd and proved to be a good opener for the evening. Whilst most opening bands fail to even get the crowd nod their heads, these guys got them moshing in full flow. THE COMMUNION Live Review – Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall (supp FFAF) It is actually quite bizarre when you first-handedly witness the explosion of a band; a few mere months ago playing the Little Civic, now facing the crowds at the Wulfrun and being named the hottest band on the planet by Kerrang. Love them or loathe them (as it seems to have become the trendy thing to do), you have to give it to Funeral For A Friend, they've made it.And the fact that they're bring over fellow welsh nutters Hondo Maclean is pretty cool, despite the disappointment felt by all when The Movielife had to pull out. Hondo do more than an adequate job of warming up the crowd, some might even say they stole the show. Post hardcore with VERY heavy bits, mainstream metalcore, whatever you want to call it, it fucking rocks. With a generally awesome stage presence and infectious tunes such as 'You're addicted to disco, baby', the old school metal riffs crossed with roaring vocals and a general party-style up- beat tempo work brilliantly. The fear that perhaps their sound could become too 2-dimensional or shallow is dispelled with the new material which shows melodies without sacrificing balls, a la Hopesfall. 6.5/10 MUSIC EXTREME EP Review Take bands like Pantera, Fear Factory and Sepultura...put them together with other bands that have a more groove heavy sound like Crowbar or Pro-Pain and mix them, add some death metal and some calm moments and you have a sound that is closer to the one of Hondo Maclean. Here we have an ultra heavy band with devastating guitar riffs and a remarkable good sound that blast ears from the first second to the last. One remarkable thing too is the combination of Richard and Ben´s voices that give a big contrast of ultra despaired screaming vocals with more melodic ones adding variations to the vocal lines. Plus we have some parts with clean guitars that are like a calm before the storm and sound more alternative-like. But the main thing here are the crushing devastating riffs full of power. I will label this style of metal as brain melting metal !! NOISE ONLINE EP Review Screaming post-hardcore aggressors from Wales, Hondo MacLean are also adept at including something that some bands of this ilk forget: tunes. So, between sheets of brutal, metallic guitar and growled, guttural vocals,there are lighter melodic moments that carry each of the four tracks featured on their Plans For a Better Day EP forward. Sure, it's all been done before but Hondo MacLean seem particularly adept at it and any band that name checks Dario Argento's foxy daughter, Asia (on, erm, Asia Argento), is okay at NOISE! HQ. BIG&CLEVER EZINE EP Review blasting from the same cookie cutter as the already-influential funeral for a friend, this welsh quintet (yes, the similarities don't end there either) are a little bit special. dynamic and full in sound, the soaring vocals and technical guitar lines give way to what many will be quick to see as barely a plagiarism of their countrymen and contemporaries in FFAF. dig a little deeper, however, and you'll be rewarded with the much more structured and eclectic songs of a band evidently taking time to think about what it is they're playing, rather than just turning everything up to 11 and hitting all their instruments as hard as possible. hondo maclean are so ridiculously proving their superiority over so many of their contemporaries one begins to question just whether they're the influential rather than the influenced. like a sequel being better than its predecessor, hondo maclean have tunes that poison the well would stick sushi up their arses for, and metal breakdowns that make slayer and even (dare i say it) funeral for a friend look like also-rans. if wales had a football team to match the current crop of bands they're spewing out, well... thank fuck they don't. for that would be sick and wrong. rating: 88.92348759827% BRING ME AN APE TO SLAP EZINE EP Review Nu Metal is dying. The bands that once headed the scene have either moved on to bigger and (sometimes) better things; have been condemned by the critics and fans that once appraised them or have been swallowed up by the corporate cash-in Nu Metal has now become. It seems all that is left from what once felt like a fresh idea is a bitter aftertaste, tainted by suited record executives in search of a quick buck. Thank God for hardcore. There seem to be more hardcore/post-hardcore/emo/screamo bands coming out this year than anything else, particularly from the UK, headed by Welsh screamo masters Funeral For A Friend who you know are going to be huge and deservedly so. Another Welsh export emerging this year is this band Hondo Maclean. This year they earned a support slot for the mighty Poison The Well‟s only UK headline show at the Underworld in Camden and it‟s pretty easy to see why. Combining a sometimes almost Slayer-esque guitar style and vicious vocals that echo that of From Autumn To Ashes and Eighteen Visions, this band are the musical equivalent of a nipple piercing – hard and brutal but ultimately very satisfying. Some of their work on this very fine EP echoes parts of their aforementioned Welsh counterparts Funeral For A Friend but not excessively and definitely to their credit; there is just enough sweetness in this mix to make it palatable for those more fond of the melodic side of hardcore whilst still keeping it heavy. The stand out tracks on this EP are definitely the last two – „Asia Argento‟ and „Mortal Kombat‟. They‟re well written, well produced, have a fantastic vocal range and changing tempos and riffs that would make Converge blush. This is definitely a band to keep an eye on in the coming months. 8/10 ATOMTAN EZINE EP Review What really needs to be said about the band who can take over a support slot with Jackass madman Steve-O after the Kennedy Soundtrack pussy out, or the band who can get xXx (err, the film, not porno!) star Asia Argento to appear on the art for their EP by naming a song after her? Well, this is a good start: they're fucking awesome. Take a pinch of Poison The Well, add a soupcon of Hatebreed, pop in some Finch to taste and lightly season with some Dillinger Escape Plan, and you've got Hondo Maclean in a rather wide-ranging nutshell. For a better description, pop this in your CD player, and listen to it. Opening track "Animated Antics" sets the scene nicely, with some almost Funeral For A Friend vocals adding a hook to the chorus, while "You're Addicted To Disco Baby" shows the band's heavier, more hardcore side. The now famous "Asia Argento" is a superb track, bringing the screamo part of the band's repertoire to the forefront... in fact, the only mildly disappointing part of the EP is final track "Mortal Kombat", due to the almost unbearably cheesy quotes from the computer game thrown in for good measure. However, apart from that, this EP is fecking superb. Buy buy buy. 5/5 A SHORT ZINE ABOUT ROCKING EP Review Caught this lot supporting the mighty Poison The Well and this debut EP shows they‟ve got the ability to match the brutality of their live show. Opener „Animated Antics‟ kicks in with an almost F4AF-esque melodic bit but then whips up the volume and goes for the jugular with full-on metallic hardcore lunacy. It‟s more of the same quality on the other 3 tracks as Hondo mix up Slayer-esque riffing and H/C beatdowns with snatches of melody that make the bludgeon all the more impressive. Kinda like fellow-Welshmen Shaped By Fate, Hondo mix up sheer metallic heaviness with patches of light to mighty impressive effect. As a statement of intent, „Plans For A Better Day‟ stamps it‟s authority on the scene. Bonus points for Asia Argento pics on the artwork and the title of track 2 – „You‟re Addicted To Disco Baby‟. Top stuff. PLANETLOUD EP Review Recognise the foxy lady adorning the back of this band's CD ? Well, you bloody should as it is none other than Asia Argento (of XXX fame) who fell in love with the band after hearing the track they'd named after her. It's no surprise though that she fell for the charms of this Welsh quintet because they are quite simply stunning. A vicious hybrid of jarring hardcore riffs and silky melodies, the Welsh quintet sound like Poison The Well would if they listened to old school thrash albums. You see, Hondo Maclean have that rare ability that most bands lack. They have the ability to mix out 'n' out brutality with the sort of dreamy, attention catching melody that you'll be humming to yourself for weeks. Not many bands pull it off but wrap your ears around the likes of Your Addicted To Disco Baby and you'll see what I mean. In recent months the band have headed out on the road with big name artists like Poison The Well, Anthrax and..err.. Steve-O of Jackass fame so, even this early in their career it's been an interesting ride. Make sure you hop on now though because it's only going to get better. I WILL BE HEARD EP Review Another top quality Welsh band - what are they feeding them on over there? Hondo Maclean play a well balanced mix of heavy melodics and extreme hardcore. In the melodic moments they sound reminiscent of 'Funeral For A Friend' with those tuneful harmonies that still sound so heavy and they also intersperse powerful and nasty sections of screamo-metal, however these guys go much, much further (both aspects aptly demonstrated in “Asia Argento”). There are some brutal moments of crushing heaviness that would make the likes of 'Johnny Truant' proud, but the songs are always pulled back from the brink using melody like guide ropes to steer in the direction of accessibility. The vocals vary wildly from tune, to screams, to deep, death grunts and growls - quite fantastic. This art of balance can be heard throughout personal favourite “Animated Antics” where the light and shade are mixed very creatively and builds into a song which conducts visits to both heaven and hell, seated on a cushioned chair in a fluffy chariot… driven by Satan! It sounds mad but it works extremely well. “You're Addicted To Disco Baby” begins with incredible intensity - almost 'Sikth' like in sound and construction - and then the switch to an almost angelic chorus and butter wouldn‟t melt, that is until the song breaks once again and it explodes into murderous screamocore. These songs are rarely simplistic and straight forward, for instance “Mortal Kombat” contains twist and turns, changes of pace, structure and style, as well as plenty of intricate detail in the guitar work. This is simply an excellent EP, that‟s made even more special by the fact it‟s their debut. It contains enough brutal power to tear the balls off a rhino, more ingenuity and imagination than a book of patents and yet still has the passion and soul to satisfy Barry White on heat. With their command of melody most likely manoeuvring them away from becoming too niche or extreme, theirs will be a very interesting journey to watch. We wish them well and hope to hear a lot more. IF EZINE EP Review Welsh, post-hardcore superkids Hondo Maclean have just proved themselves to be just as hard as they sound, having supported Jackass man Steve O on his UK tour in February. Finding themselves greeted nightly with spit and abuse they stuck it out for the entire tour, much longer than the band they replaced, The Kennedy Soundtrack, who only lasted one night (although they did apparently get shit thrown at them!). Being chosen to open for a man who has swum in raw sewage in the name of entertainment really says all I think needs to be said about Hondo Maclean. They're loud, they're mean and they blow the socks of most of the other melodic hardcore acts I can think of at the moment. 3/5 TWANG EZINE EP Review After supporting Jackass's Steve-O and getting the thumbs up from famed Italian schlock queen, Asia Argento (also of xXx fame), Hondo Maclean were never „not‟ going to sound mental. And so it proves as the Welsh noisemongers absolutely pummel their twisted little way through a quartet of eclectic chunks of musical asbestos. The ferocity of Dillinger Escape Plan is coupled with stark melodies which challenge former labelmates Funeral for A Friend in toe- tapability. The production is a little wide of the mark, but I'm looking forward to having my ears melted next time they're round these parts. 3.5/5 BRUTALISM (Holland) EP Review From Welsh this quintet plays a modern style of hardcore. Intense and with passion the four songs are nailed into your head. The vocals are aggressive but can turn into sweet and clear. Melody enough in the tracks to keep your attention with nice guitarriffing. I think that these guys on stage are more intense than on CD. Interesting for those who like hardcore but have an open mind. UNDERGROUND SOCIETY (France) EP Review A première vue Hondo Maclean apprécie Asia Argento !!! Le tatouage est celui qu'elle porte !!!... Seulement 4 titres pour nous faire découvrir un groupe pas très populaire chez nous et voilà que je découvre un superbe groupe de hardcore furieux, qui sait marrier parfaitement des éléments enprunté à droite à gauche. les vocaux les plus criards de Poisson The Well, les lignes mélodiques de Burton de Fear Factory, des riffs puissant et coupe gorge sur "You're Addicted To Disco Baby" et "Asia Argento"... Une production monstrueuse finissent par nous achevé sur le sort de ce MCd 4 titres. Si vous devez faire un achat de disque hardcore, il est indéniable de vous procurer ce "Plans For A Better Day"... LIVE4METAL EP Review After surpassing The Kennedy Soundtrack and rising above the rain of abuse, spit, and missiles while supporting Jackass‟s Steve-O during his February tour, not to mention roping in none other than Asia Argento to adorn their EP sleeve, Hondo Maclean it seems, certainly know how to attract attention. But, as we have seen time and time again, gimmicks will only get you so far, and as such I was slightly dreading a limp wristed, flimsy punky type thing. How wrong I was. The Welsh five-piece couldn‟t be farther from such an approach, with their Poison the Well, cum Drowningman, emo-noisecore crossover barrage, sitting smugly above many of the UK‟s pretenders. Deriving their name from an 80‟s cartoon character, and using the already-mentioned Asia, along with Mortal Kombat for lyric material, the band‟s humour apparently accounts for as much of the overall package of this four-track, debut EP as the music. Kicking in with a slightly bizarre stop-start opening, matters soon progress nicely with opener „You‟re Addicted To Disco Baby‟, as the band iterate their detailed, off-kilter post-hardcore, melodic groove, before heading off into a heavier, kung-fu kicking beatdown section. The production is clear and powerful, if a little low budget. While the boys can definitely handle themselves in the playing department, backed up by the now-predicable screamy/clear alternation from the vocalist. About two minutes through a change of direction and tempo ensues, throwing the listener off the track, which soon becomes the trademark for much of the release. As always, I have a slightly ambiguous attitude to such arrangements, as despite their intrinsic advantage over the predictable verse-chorus approach, they more often than not fail to provide any sense of unity, or cohesion to the songs, but Hondo Maclean just about manage to pull it off. „Mortal Kombat‟ follows, with a memorable if slightly derivative opening riff, which then moves into an almost sludge like, pounding attack, before blasting through several other bridges to end up in a very typical Drowningman sing along, melodic section, which teeters off into an acoustic breakdown. Through more beat downs, double bass drum blitzes, and linking packages, these ideas all then make a return, some with further embellishments, providing a more stable song structure than the opener. „Asia Argento‟ follows similar routes, with its high pitched melodic guitar melodies flowing into quasi Dillinger moments, slightly let down by the lackadaisical sloppy drum parts, while fourth track and closer, „Animated Antics‟ pursues a more mid paced, chuggy direction, before returning to a hooky, chilled, acoustic led section and yet another beatdown outro. So, plenty to rave about from these Welshboys, and following their recent Poison the Well support stint across the UK, lets just hope the rest of those Yanks across the pond sit up and take notice. THE POINT EP Review Flitting between F4AF melodies and emo to Slayer style Intensity this is a band who have the right idea of what they want to achieve. But unfortunately this is a band that don‟t achieve tracks that fit together as good as they should. Each track has some great bits where you know your going to love the whole track but unfortunately you don‟t, as changing from melodic emo to intense slayer doesn‟t fit together! This is an EP Some may love but I‟m afraid most wont and agree that they should have stuck to the one style not both fused together!! 6 / 10 VIEW FROM THE PIT EP Review Like so many of the bands coming out of the British underground scene in recent years, Hondo Maclean seem to be shying away from the easily accessible style, instead maneuvering through strange time changes and odd guitar effects. Although not as far out as some (the likes of Sikth could be taken as a good example) a similar sound is still there. It has been toned down a lot though, almost tamed to suit the extra melody that Hondo Maclean has added into the music. Whilst this type of music can sound incredibly brutal, the unfortunate reality of the situation is that more often than not the strange time changes serve to break the music up, taking flow and continuity away and leaving what can only be described as a juddery sound and this is what happens to Hondo Maclean. Where they could either tap sheer brutality or soar through melody they land somewhere in-between with too many time changes to really allow either, making more challenging listen, not one that everyone will enjoy. 6/10 HONK EP Review These bridgend hardcore maximalists‟ debut EP is, in and of itself, very impressive. The clattering octopus drums pushing „You‟re Addicted To Disco Baby‟ are a great touch; the band‟s approach to dynamics impress too, especially compared to the snoozesome widdly metal / drivetime MOR / widdly metal drivel served up by, say, The Used or BoySetsFire. These chaps clearly have an affinity with Iron Maiden and the footsoldiers of eighties thrash (mind you, everyone seems to these days), as a dash through opener „Animated Antics‟ will show you. Poison The Well and Converge are on board as well, and there‟s little to pick holes in here, although if I hear a more awkward metaphor than those in the lyrics of „Mortal Kombat‟ I‟ll probably have to go to church! ALTERNATIVE LINKS EP Review Welsh Hardcore Quintet Hondo Maclean are set to release their debut EP „Plans For A Better Day‟ on Mighty Atom Records. The EP sets off with „You‟re addicted to disco baby‟ and „Animated Antics‟ which not only introduces us to the bands hardcore routes but also their ability to form a more soothing backdrop to their sound frenzying sound. However to many comparisons can be made to label mates Funeral For a Friend and any form of originality or credibility seems to be lost by „Mortal Kombat‟. 3/5 LOGO MAGAZINE EP Review Live, Hondo Maclean are just what the UK rock scene needs right now - young, talented guys taking the rock to the kids, and not giving a fuck who comes along or who actually likes them - a work ethic emphasised by their recent jaunt supporting Jackass‟ Steve-O, where they took torrents of shit night after night, and just went about their business of rocking. On their debut EP though, they play things ridiculously safe. Take your pick of any US/UK hardcore/emocore act doing the rounds; Hondo Maclean‟s opener „Animated Antics‟ is certain to sound like a carbon copy. Think Poison The Well, Silverstein, and, at their most melodic, the UK‟s own Funeral For A Friend. „Asia Argento‟ begins like a more sinister Spy Versus Spy, but soon descends, disappointingly, into a traditional scream- centric hardcore number. Decent enough then for a debut, but Hondo Maclean are going to have to take a lot more risks with their next effort and build upon the scattered glimpses of potential noticeable on „Plans For A Better Day‟ if they‟re going to rival their US counterparts for both column inches and critical and commercial success. They‟re too small a fish to swim in the big pond just yet. DECOY ONLINE EP Review There are a lot of hardcore bands right now that have such a similar sound. It feels great to finally come across a band that hits me with something different. I can‟t really put my finger on what it is that makes this EP special, but Hondo Maclean definitely displays a redefined balance of skill and all out ass-kicking energy. This five-piece is made up of Ben Woosnam (Vocals), Gavin Burrough (guitar), Gavin Phillips (guitar), Richard Boucher (bass/vocals) and Ryan Richards (drums/vocals). There are only three words that seem fitting to describe Hondo Maclean: These guys rip! The amount of raw power on this EP is relentless. There are only four songs on Plans For A Better Day, but for the duration of these four songs, you‟re bombarded with intense, melodic guitar riffs, massive, tight drum lines and loud vocals that that reach both ends of the spectrum; from a high pitched scream, to a low growl. However there is the common cool down emo-ish part towards the middle or end of the song present on this EP that might turn some listeners off, but I think it just further displays the true talent of this band. At times it has a nice Glassjaw feel and at other times you think “is this From Autumn to Ashes?” Hondo Maclean is really solid and they mix things up. They are different in their approach to hardcore and I really admire this EP. I look forward to seeing what else these guys have up their sleeves. 8/10 ANEMIC EZINE (Australia) EP Review The Welsh crop of bands continues to establish as a well worked scene over the past couple of years. One of those bands Hondo Maclean is emerging out of Wales as one of the front bands to lead the way in the quest for greatness. Having supported the likes of Anthrax, Poison The Well and Sikth just to name a few their ability to play along side bands of all different genres and not look left out really shows the growing strength of this collective and the debut Ep "Plans For A Better Day" also established the diverse nature of this band. Mixing things up is one of this bands trademarks, as hardcore with melodic slurs are the bands main focus. Track 2 'You're Addicted To Disco Baby' witnesses this offering in it's lime light as brutal hardcore lyrics are evenly possessed with melodic vocal stints from front man Ben Woosnam. Throughout this offering Woosnam shows signs of being one wild little fucker that doesn't let back on the screaming and this is probably one of the reasons why this band is well respected in the underground live arena. Track 3 'Asia Argento' is about a porn star that the guys fancied on the big screen. One of the modern hardcore traits has been fulfilled in the way that strange track titles and out there lyrical content is at the reckoning. Bands such as Funeral For A Friend and Poison The Well emerged as bands that tend to do this and it seems as though these guys are following the same trend. HM have not failed to take a backward step with their debut effort as a young pissed off sound establishes this Ep pretty evidently. Many similarities continue to grow throughout this bands sound and general ways of going about things compared with PTW and FFAF, which might pose the question of an "originality" issue. None the less it isn't a bad effort. 3/5 COLLATERAL DAMAGE EP Review Hero PR seem quite fond of testing my limits and patience by sending everything from excellent power metal mayhem ('Area 54') to pure shitty nu metal and pop punk rubbish ('GF93' etc) but every so often they send something that is as unexpected as it is refreshing and a pleasure to hear coming from the UK. Hondo Maclean are a new school hardcore/ metalcore/ emo band that remind me of the like of Waking Kills the Dream and Thursday crossed with the chaos of Converge (though no where near AS chaotic). Opening this 4 track EP is 'Animated Antics' that starts with an ungodly barrage of drums and guitar and soon reels into melodic tinged hardcore. The fact that this is really well done as well as the way its able to show even the older members of this scene how things can be done is really cool, especially mixing the clean vocals and screamed segments with Dillinger Escape Plan elements of chaos and the odd metalcore riff here and there. The other three tracks on this continue in a similar structured chaos way, mixing the excellent screaming hardcore segments with the melodic vocalled emo parts, and doing it with a good level of proficiency. However, when it comes down to it they‟re still not gonna challenge the big guns in the scene, but on the strength of this EP they are well on their way to doing so a release or two down the line! For fans of Waking Kills the Dream, Blueprint, Thursday and the like. SKRATCH THE SURFACE EP Review Another fine addition to the quality Mighty Atom roster Hondo Maclean are the OTHER welsh quintet sounding out a metal edged, melodic punk cocktail. Comparisons beyond mere geography can be made with label mates Funeral For A Friend, although the Maclean lads weigh in with a meatier style of attack and push the extreme edge of their music to a greater extent (witness, Slayer style beat downs and leads and some vocal shrieks being taken to the nth degree) than a lot of bands that they initially sound like. Indeed, third track Asia Argento (named after the movie starlet who graces this EP‟s sleeve after she heard about the track and called the band) features some truly pounding drum work and regulation barked vocals, but that transcend being boring due to the sheer mania of the delivery. The timing of this debut is slightly unfortunate, given that this sound is currently so en vogue it hurts, and in total honesty, there are bands doing this with a stronger song writing class – the afore mentioned Funeral For A Friend – or with a lot more charisma albeit it mainstream orientated – The Used – but there‟s no denying Hondo Maclean are a strong act. The performance throughout this EP is tight and slick, and they sound like they‟d be an enthralling and riotous act in the live arena. Also on the grooving and guttural closing track Mortal Kombat with its half-inched from the game battle cry of “FINISH HIIIIIIM” they‟ve not only created a fine song, but also the coolest cult reference on the UK underground since Lost Prophets transformers t-shirts! A more than worthwhile, if not hugely individual, debut. DROWNED IN SOUND EP Review Such a perfect plan… They always start off like that. Don‟t they. But don‟t they also go really wrong soon after? You watch a film and start creaming over the leading lady. You‟re already in a band so you think it won‟t hurt to write a song about her. You start trying to get in contact with her. Eyebrows are raised and people start to talk. These guys are stalkers. Right? But then she feels strangely enamoured towards these quaint young men and decided to pose for the cover of their record. That is Hondo Maclean history now. You‟re addicted to disco… And so you sing along and you dance. When they sound like this? Unreserved shrieks flailing through carefully deformed riffs sauntering wildly, over and over, through a refrain untouched by the thrills of disco; throbbingly thunderous rhythms caress the melodiously infrequent releases of soaring vocal. I don‟t think so. This is disco as you‟ll never see it elsewhere. Alternatively, this is brazenly intelligent hardcore. Alternatively this is craftily warped metal. Switch. Between the two. Taking providence from Slayer‟s grinding brutality and Poison the Well‟s trademark irregularity, they fit in with the ease of a fat man to the £5 buffet. It would be expected for this EP to become tiresome and dull as the predictability of a début oft dictates, yet new aspects of the music are revealed with every listen. You‟d better believe it‟s not average. Finish him… You‟ve been looking for something that bit heavier, recently. But you need your tunes: the killa hooks and the poundin‟ riffs; something even, to sing along to in the safety of your bedroom. A comedy nu-metal band still seems to be the record in your collection that upsets your mother the most. It troubles you. Look no further. Hondo Maclean are here. Dance. 4.5/5 Q-MUSIC (Denmark) EP Review (Single of the Month) These guys are a bunch of lucky bastards. They wrote a song about the super-sexy actress, Asia Argento (“xXx”), and as it turned out she fell for their charm. So now they have her gracing the cover, but she‟s especially sexy on the reverse of the CD, where she‟s wearing, well, not a whole lot actually. Anyway, these guys don‟t have to have someone like Asia helping them to promote their music, as this is quite easily one of the best post-hardcore EP‟s that has seen the light of day this year. Hondo Maclean, named after a 80‟s cartoon character, combine their post- hardcore aggressions with metallic guitar-riffs, occasional melodic vocal-lines and screaming so evil that no one would even realize it if Ben Woosnam was kidnapped from Hondo Maclean and placed behind the microphone in a Norwegian black metal band. These guys will blow things up shortly, and Asia Argento and me are fans. How cool is that? 5/6 UK BASE EP Review Hondo Maclean hail from Wales and are named after a cartoon character so I was expecting some pop punk thing, though them being on Mighty Atom Records who have on their roster the likes of Funeral For A Friend & Goatboy, should have dragged away from that thought. Hondo Maclean actually combine moments of madness in the style of Poison The Well, Botch etc, with moments of what I guess is known now a days as Nu Emo… you know like their label mates Funeral For A Friend or another Welsh band that I'm going to be reviewing shortly Dopamine. Hondo Maclean kick arse when it comes to the heavier stuff, there is no doubting their great riffage all round and angry vocals, but on the whole when it falls down to the lighter style their extremely proficient, but it just doesn't do anything for, it just isn't that memorable, and I feel they don't carry it off very well. Though saying that this is still worth checking out for the onslaught when it comes!! Summary : Welsh blend of Metallic Chaotic emo and Nu Emo. QUINTESSENCE EZINE (US) EP Review Some really good bands still coming out of the U.K. at a frantic pace. This one has a brash of styles from Papa Roach to Death Metal to Slayer to Poison The Well (the latter 2 mentioned by the press sheet but I kind of disagree on the Slayer thing). The music is harsh to aggressive with alot of melody; sort of like Life Of Agony, Ninedenine or Pist-On type structuring. Only a 4-track EP here but packs a wallop--it even drew the attention of XXX pornstar Asia Argento in which there is a song about her with the same name. This is to be released on June 2nd, 2003; definitely worth checking these guys out. RAW NERVE EP Review There seems to be a lot of press recently about the Agia Argento obsessive Welsh band Hondo Maclean and this is the first I have actually heard them. Even within the first 20 seconds of "Animated Antics" they are quite impressive, a good drum pattern, big sounding guitars, solid vocals, mixing up singy and screamy, and then after 40 seconds, the pure metal kicks in, similar to fellow Welsh stars Johnny Mental (is this the Welsh sound coming through? If so, I like it), the riffing combines Slayer, Poison the Well, Arkangel, and has similarities as well to Earthtone9 and Boysetsfire in the overall feel. A good combination there, which shows the liveliness of the band and the fact that they haven't forgotten the mosh! There are some nice chug/twiddly guitar combinations, and some good open noted stabs and danceable beats. The vocals are very good, a throaty sung voice, high screams and even the occasional more deathly growl. This opener is a quality song, and certainly keeps us on our toes throughout. The very stompy and intense "You're addicted to disco baby" pushes things further, and again has some nice across- the-board influence, with big discordant guitars mixed up with nice twee, songful chords not unlike Get up Kids. There is also a lot of Drowningman influence in there as well, especially in the feel and how they mix things up as well, and the more singy vocal is very similar to their singer. A theme that is kept up for all the songs on this excellent EP. Certainly not sounding how I pictured them to, and am very impressed indeed with this release. Well worth the hype. RANCID NEWS EP Review Alot of people are getting really into Hondo Maclean, listening to this EP it‟s quite clear why. Hondo Maclean has the currently popular post-hardcore/ emo stylings with the „metallic‟ riffs, which aren‟t really terribly metallic, and the deep and poignant lyrics, which aren‟t really either! Having said all that though there is nothing especially wrong with this record, there‟s just alot of bands about right now that sound just like this! 3.5/5 ROCKSOUND EP Review Brutal hardcore and subtle melodies in the same song? It can only be Welsh newcomers Hondo Maclean whose debut EP is an uncompromising heavy rock journey through the light and the dark. „You have the talent for survival‟ screams Ben Woosnam on „Animated Antics‟ – these boys certainly do! 7/10 THE COMMUNION EP Review These guys are the shit. This is post-hardcore how it should be done. This can be as brutal as killswitch engage one moment and then fly off on another tangent into far more melodic territory, all the while using inventive structures and progressions. 'Animated antics' kicks things off superbly, sounding like killswitch engage and johnny truant giving funeral for a friend (without their cheese) a good kicking in a seedy back alley. Its great. 'You're addicted to disco baby' (what a title!) continues things with much the same intensity and uncontrived emotion. At this point it hits you that whilst this band are musically proficient/tight/cool as fuck, its the vocals that really make this band such a mouth watering proposition. They go from a nice take on screamo, to death-metal style bellows to uplifting melodies, each style just as strong as the other. Whilst these first two songs are the better of the four, this is still a stunning first release from this welsh quintet with all four songs showing that this band are going to be a one song wonder. Also, if naming one of your songs after a very hot layyyyydeeee (asia argento in this case) menas you get a phone call from the woman in question offering to send you pictures of herself for the artwork then im off to write laods of songs named after famous girls i fancy! 8.5/10 WHITENOISEONLINE EP Review „Plans For a Better Day‟ is Hondo Maclean‟s debut release – described as „a stunning example of post- hardcore fury‟ they have a lot to live up to. And from the moment first track „Animated Antics‟ booms into life they do not disappoint. Furious screams, coupled with more gentle vocal harmonies, over jangling, dangerously vicious guitars – this IS a stunning example of post-hardcore fury, but without ever sounding boring and generic. Intense and progressive, with fantastsic variation throughout the track, going from full throttle shouts and growls to soothing croons at the end – this is some way to open an EP – the welsh quintet will have to pull off something special with the rest of the EP to keep the standards this high… „You‟re Addicted to Disco‟ certainly does this, even more head splittingly forceful one moment, and then soothingly gentle the next – these guys know how to take their songs nearly to unlistenable then turn it on it‟s head and spin it around and calm things down just enough before leaping back into a full on assault. „Asia Argento‟ (named after the actress of „XXX‟ fame, who having heard the track actually appears on the EP cover) again maximises on this ability, perfect post-hardcore „quiet‟ bits before the more thrilling „loud‟ bits – there is never a boring moment, and the lyrics are equally as well written as the songs – there are even some gloriously soaring „Thursday‟esque moments, „under streetlight your face turn to gold/caught the scent of reconcile/loud restraint could draw that curtain closed‟. Final track „Mortal Combat‟ rumbles into life, heavy, threatening, foreboding and challenging, showing a completely different side to the band than „Asia Argento‟ and there‟s something deeply ironic about the line „wrapped in shivering silence‟ – there is absolutely nothing remotely silent about Hondo Maclean and this is definitely not a bad thing. Loud, obnoxious, and crushing at times mirrored and a perfect balance of softer moments. This is not going to be the last we hear of Hondo Maclean – and I for one, cannot wait for more. 4/5 LOGO MAGAZINE Live Review – London, Underworld – 27/4/03 Hmmm, Wales. Not meaning to get all Anne Robinson on yaw ass, but our Welsh friends have hardly been responsible for much in the way of quality rock action. The Manics? Get away; their day was so long ago I still wore Velcro shoes and Speedos (not at the same time I hasten to add). The Super Furry Animals? Sure, great they are, but they‟re hardly rocking. Lost Prophets? Fuck off. So, how can this void be filled? Hmm, a mix of napalm and feathers might suffice, but in the absence of such an absurd concoction, Hondo Maclean will do just fine. The Welsh quintet take East Coast-style-new meets-old-school hardcore (think Snapcase without the technologically-enhanced breakdowns, or Drowningman without the often needless pomposity) and give it an injection of British humour and showmanship. It‟s a combination that‟s almost as potent as my original suggestion, only a little gentler on the skin. Sure, the band are blighted by sound problems, but it doesn‟t prove too much of a downer throughout an otherwise explosive set. Their request for some circle pit action goes unheard, but there‟s enough rucking at the front during tracks like „Mortal Kombat‟, from forthcoming EP „Plans For A Better Day‟, to suggest that if Hondo Maclean can win over the hardest of hardcore fans (they‟re supporting US hardcore titans Poison The Well tonight), then they can do just about anything they want. Since they recently supported Jackass‟ Steve O on his UK tour, who knows what that anything might be? FTANG EZINE EP Review Whilst only issuing their debut EP, Hondo Maclean are already surfing the high life. Having named the band after an 80's cartoon character the band went on to name a track after a porn actress (Asia Argento), who fell for the Welshmen's charm and offered her services - she not adorns the from & back sleeve of the album. Musically, think an up to date Slayer, and you're pretty much there (and we're not talking Slappy the Vampire Buffer kinda slayer either!). Right from track one this album throws parallels to 'Reign in Blood' both in quality and mastery. It's easy to see why the "shit throwers" who saw off 'The Kennedy Soundtrack' came round to Hondo Maclean's way of thinking. It's always nice to see metal taken to the next level (and then some), which is why I've taken this album to another level, and welded it into my car CD player! It really is just that damn good. FURY EZINE EP Review Named after a 1980s cartoon character, Hondo Maclean are another UK based „noisecore‟ on the block for us all to enjoy. Hailing from Wales, the band have already toured with the likes of Anthrax, Poison The Well, Sikth and even „Steve-O‟ of MTV‟s Jackass, so they are in good stead to make a bit of an impact in a short space of time. „Plans For Better Day‟ is their debut EP release and it‟s certainly a worthwhile effort. Kicking off with „Animated Antics‟, Hondo Maclean come across somewhere between the intensity and aggression of metal titans Slayer and the inventiveness and passion of Poison The Well - a cracking opener with incendiary riffs and beautiful melodies. The rest of the EP continues in much the same vein as the opening track but never tires. Every song twists and turns between delicately poised pinch harmonics and brutal beatdown riffing. Vocalist Ben Woosnam throws every possible muscle into his screams but also has the talent to hold together an excellent singing voice. This really thrives on the closing track „Mortal Kombat‟, which really ends this EP on a high point, showing how intense and brutal Hondo Maclean really can be. Definitely one to watch. 4/5 VIEW FROM THE PIT Live Review – King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, 29/4/03 Opening tonight are the Welsh Quintet „Hondo Maclean‟, with a noisecore sound similar to that of Converge and tonight‟s headliners PTW, they seem a fitting opening act despite being a bit goofy. With relatively rocking riffs and almost laughable backing vocals they pull it off, just, be it a little less original and in a piss take manner. 6/10 DO SOMETHING PRETTY EZINE Live Review – London, Underworld (supp. Poison The Well), 27/4/03 Man, if I were Nelly my clothes would be all over the place, 'cause it is HOT in HERE! I've never felt heat quite like when Poison The Well take to the stage and the sold-out crowd goes absolutely nutso. Seriously, the pit starts up before a cymbal has been brushed or a note whispered, and it's violent, every man for himself style pit action - none of your weedy bouncy emo nonsense here mate, oh no. This is hardcore, and it hurts. But before Poison The Well run up a mighty bill for reconstructive facial surgery (and a new air conditioning unit), we're treated to two other bands considered 'hardcore', but who couldn't be more different. Hondo Maclean are Welsh, but you'd swear the quintet were straight from the raging east coast, such is their ferocity and clear love of contemporary 'core. They're mad, and it's a shame that for most of their set they're made to play to a static crowd. But songs like 'Mortal Kombat' put pay to that by the end of their stint. Too screamy by far to ever eclipse the commercial success of countrymen Lost Prophets, or even current emo-darlings Funeral For A Friend, Hondo Maclean will need to build upon performances like this to ensure a healthy following for the next few years, as they could prove to be something very special. Open Hand hail from Los Angeles, and are occasionally reminiscent of a crisper Time In Malta (who are also west coast based). They're completely competent, and are rapturously received by the few in the know, but to me they're just another melodic hardcore band. Poison The Well meanwhile are just mental. Last LP 'Tear From The Red' had it's moments of extremity, but nothing could prepare anyone for the intensity of the band's all too brief set. From start to finish folk are bouncing off the walls, the ceiling, and most of all each other, all in unified appreciation for one of the best hardcore acts around right now. It doesn't feel like a gig; it's fucking war in there - arms flailing and bodies crumpling under the weight of both the noise and the windmill dancers happily fucking everyone's face in for them. I can't stand slam dancers, but who am I to begrudge them their occasional bit of 'fun'. Music this punishing deserves a physical presence, so fuck it, let the blood flow. And it does. Brutal. AUDIOGOIK Live Review – London, Underworld (supp. Poison The Well) – 27/4/03 Hondo Maclean, are first up, on a bill where most of the audience, can't wait for the support acts to be over, Hondo Maclean, are the kinda band, to stick two fingers up that mentality, and say, listen - to - us. And by the look of it, most of the venue does just that, with lots of head-nodding, nodding in approval lets say. Hondo who blend hardcore and noisecore instrumental, with searing and melodic vocals, perfectly. Highlights of the set for me, are "Animated Antics" and "You're Addicted To Disco Baby!" from the bands up-coming 4 Track debut EP "Plans For A Better Day" due out next month on Mighty Atom Records. With a performance like this, it won't be long until the Underworld is this packed for one of Hondo's own gigs... remember the name - Hondo Maclean. AUDIOGOIK EP Review Think porn star, think talent, think awesome riffs, think pounding tight drums, think powerful bass, think ear splitting vocals..... Now pick up this EP, and put it in, and see all of those things stirred together. This young band from Wales, sound very pissed off on the surface, but sit down and listen to the EP whilst following the lyrics, and the EP breathes a whole new different meaning, every time you listen to it, the songs just make more sense, and sound bigger, surely a good sign! The standout track for me on this album is "You're Addicted To Disco Baby", simply because the song is all over the shop, yet still contains structure, not sure if that'll make sense to you... ?! To think this is just Hondo's first offering, is scary, a few more releases down the line, and the album's may just well be in Woolworths! 9/10 DROWNED IN SOUND Live Review – London, Underworld (supporting Poison The Well), 27/4/03 Hondo Maclean have come to fuck shit up and they know how to do that pretty well, even if British audiences still need to get to know them. They‟ve toured with Steve-O from Jackass alright?! So no wonder their performances are pretty mental. We‟ll get to the music later, half the immensity of Hondo Maclean lies in their lunatic crazed onstage mosh rocking. Is it a Welsh thing? The Welsh pits are renowned for being heavy as fuck so maybe in Wales you have to rock like this – ON STAGE – to get any kind of point across. Or they might just be on drugs. Who cares? Thank God these guitarists are not the common shy retiring indie types you‟ve seen so many times before. It's just plain metal energy – its an octopus with five arms (a pentopuss?) all doing killer signs of the beast – all carrying a different instrument and shaking it manically whilst still playing scorching metal riffs, screeching roaring vocals and constantly changing drum patterns looping in and out of about 8 different time signatures at once. That is Hondo Maclean. Unfazed by problems like dud microphones or roaring hecklers HM are incredibly tight as a band little more than a few months old. They are not Lost Prophets and neither are they a creature of the sea, though they do have similar studded belts – to the Lost Prophets that is, octopuses don‟t wear them. 4/5 DROWNED IN SOUND Live Review – Manchester, Academy 2 (supp. Anthrax), 13/3/03 Boyband. Hondo Maclean come out onstage to those pointed fingers. They‟re Welsh. Like the LostProphets – the ultimate rock boyband? Oh my god. What lazy comparisons again: a Welsh band likened to LostProphets. Stop reading now. Probably. I do it every time. Don‟t I? Oh well, more about them later, perhaps. Anthrax came onstage to an altogether different rapture. A rapture of silence, broken only by the cries of hundreds of dedicated followers. It was a tribal atmosphere, but it was an atmosphere independent of the hosts. Anthrax‟s pet rabbits could‟ve been playing up there and nobody would have given a shit either way. As long as it looked and sounded about right. The anti-war speeches came out as they knew they had to and disclaimers were made, polite insults were thrown and from then on it was all about Anthrax for everyone there, but that‟s not the point… Welsh Bands – they must just all dress that way up in Ponty. No fucking innovation. No fucking style. They all just copy each other. They‟re just a bunch of fucking wasters. They should all just give up and fuck off. Ha. No. They clearly follow the „Clothing Template of Cool‟ TM so that they can save their indubitable talent for their music. Hondo Maclean are here to play some metal. Oh my god. They must be just another super-lame nu-metal band. Nope. Sorry. This is real metal. R-E-A-L M-E-T-A-L. Metal played with the recondite riffs, the despondent hollers and the obtuse overtones missed so dearly and so damn often. They don‟t help win the crowd over with their agitated breed of stage movement, akin to choreography. I assure you it‟s all off the cuff tomfoolery, in the way only bands not yet jaded by the fatigue of months of near-constant touring can do. Screamo overloads coursing through brutal riffs and other intricate axe tinkerings are pretty good ways of redeeming yourselves, however. They shat all over Anthrax who, incidentally, were wearing matching shirts. But anyway…4/5 CLOSE YOUR EYES ZINE Live Review – supporting Poison The Well – 27/4/03 Poison the well are one of the most hyped band in hardcore at the moment so they certainly had a lot to prove at this show. New welsh outfit Hondo MacLean started the proceedings. Coming off as drowingman but tonnes more melodic and dare I say catchy, the welsh kids really impress me with their fast technical riffs, impressive stage presence and clear sounding vocals. The quiet parts sound great, the fast mosh parts sound even better. defiantly a band to watch out for. A big ball of energy onstage and some great sounding songs. Cant wait to hear their CD! Open hand, unfortunately weren't so good. bad bad bad band. i cant begin to describe how sterile and boring this band is. imagine thursday minus all passion and aggression and you'll have something nearly as bland as this band. Poison the well seem to be the band wanting to see tonight. Smart haircuts and older songs but no stage presence. All the songs you expect them to play are aired such as the amazing 'slice paper wrists' and '14-21-98' or whatever it's called. I hate to say this cos I was a real big fan of their 'Opposite of December' album but they really, really bored me to be honest. They weren't bad, some parts of the set such as the aforementioned slice paper wrists' and 'nerdy' really hit the spot but the new material is stagnant and boring sounding. Perhaps it was just an off day...? Whatever. 5 slick Americans were shown up by some skinny welsh kids. WHITENOISEONLINE Live Review - The West End Centre, Aldershot 20/09/03, The Monarch, London 23/09/03 Aldershot is, for those in the know, the home of all things rock, well, the West End Centre is a more like a little peice of relief in a horrible town. There we were, sat outside the most unlikely looking venue for the assault our ears were about to recieve. Studded belts, obscure band tees and crazy hardcore dancing, as well as ringing ear drums explains the evening perfectly. First support, were terrible, 'Supressed' avoid at all costs, especially the scary guy who tries to force his (terrible) CD on you. 3 nights later, the famous little Monarch, Camden Barfly, expecting much the same, although kids noticeably trying to seem less 'scene', however, first support could not be more different. Jerry-Built. Crazy keyboard(ist), energy, enthusiasm, beauty and an insane makes you want to dance attitude. Can't help smiling. Can't help moving. Can't help thinking how much greater they are than Aldershot support. Aldershot. Hondo Maclean. Expecting post-hardcore noise with manic screams, and wholly unethusiastic crowd - band delivered, plus absolutly stunning live show, couldn't help but grin, crowd throw in surprise and actually move... a lot. Great show, could have been headlining. 'Animated Antics' goes down a treat, 'Don't Forget to Feed the Fish' is new and even better. Passionate, loud, devestating, moments of calm, intrinsic beauty, much madness. Joined on stage by Olly Truant. Silly Banter. London, band just as good. Crowd suck in comparison. Johnny Truant, expect more noise, more madness, insanity, more crazy dancing, innovative, incredible band. Deliver perfection.
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