So after a year of writing about music on my blog, I’ve learned one important thing: nobody really cares about music reviews. It’s just a sad fact, man…if somebody wants to know if a record is good, they’ll pull it up on Spotify or iTunes and listen for themselves, they don’t need a ten paragraph review describing the essence of the album for em. With that being said, the real challenge is finding new music that’s even worth listening to on the internet. Therefore, I’ve revamped my monthly reviews column to just spotlight the best records released each month. All but two of these albums (Holy Grail and Gruesome Stuff Relish) are located on Spotify, and all albums are completely worth your time if you like heavy music.
Voivod – Target Earth
Next to Metallica, Voivod is one of the first thrash bands I ever fell in love with. Target Earth is their first album ever without original guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, as well as their first in over twenty years to feature original bassist Blacky. Despite having a new guitarist, the sound on this album is exactly what you’d expect to hear in a Voivod record. It’s got the sci-fi thrash elements from Killing Technology, as well as the groovier elements of albums like Dimension Hatross, in fact, you could really just say that it’s a perfect mixture of the many different styles of Voivod. This was definitely my most anticipated album of the year and it did not disappoint at all.
Cult Of Luna – Vertikal
I got into Cult Of Luna right around 2006 when their album Somewhere Along The Highway came out and they completely blew my mind. Here we are six or seven years later and they still have me scratching my head, shocked at how genuinely awesome they are. Vertikal continues to tread down the post metal path they helped create with Isis and Neurosis, but it also goes a lot deeper than just the standard Cult Of Neurisis riffs. The album actually has a strange, almost robotic feel to it at times. In fact, check out the eighteen minute track “Vicarious Redemption” which features a pretty massive dubstepesque breakdown in the middle that just disintegrates the mind. I fully intended on just reviewing this album after listening to it on Spotify a few times, but after hearing all the nuances in it and how deep and dark it is, I really had no choice but to buy the record and let it do with me what it wilt.
Hatebreed – The Divinity Of Purpose
If you’ve heard of Hatebreed, you obviously don’t need to read this review to find out what this record sounds like. Like almost every other Hatebreed album, Divinity Of Purpose features a punishing mixture of hardcore and thrash, but what separates it a little from past albums in their discography is the addition of catchier hooks, as well as more hardcore influence than past records. The album also features incredibly uplifting, positive lyrics that will brighten up the day of even the hardest of hardcore kids in Terror shorts.
Phil Anselmo/Warbeast – War Of The Gargantuas Split EP
I was initially psyched about hearing this split, because it features the debut of Phil Anselmo’s solo material. In hindsight, it’s kind of a bummer now because it’s gotten me even more psyched for Phil’s actual full length, but it won’t be out for a few more months. Musically, these songs seem to be very similar to what Pantera would sound like if they were able to record an album in 2013. Phil’s two songs “Conflict” and “Family, Friends are loaded with a lot of groove, but plenty of thrash as well, not to mention Phil’s signature vocal style, which is similar to his vocals on the new Down EP. If these songs are any indication of what Phil has in store for the future, the future is bright…and angry. As far as the Warbeast songs go, they are two throwaway songs featuring an old lineup, so they aren’t exactly standout tracks, but they don’t ruin the album by any means.
Blockheads – This World Is Dead
It seems that if there’s one genre in which the folks at Relapse Records never release a dud, it would be grindcore. This is Blockheads’ first album for Relapse, but these French speed-demons are veterans of the genre and they are completely deadly. If you like your grind to be angry, politically-charged and incredibly reminiscent of Nasum, this album is right up your alley.
Rotten Sound – Species At War
Most of what I said about Blockheads is also true for Rotten Sound. They are another example of the incredibly violent, technically proficient grindcore Relapse has been known to crank out over the years. Though this album only contains six songs, none of which are over two minutes, it is still heavy as hell with a nice death metal guitar tone and it absolutely crushes.
Holy Grail – Ride The Void
It seems that any band who plays heavy metal these days always gets thrown into their own little sub-genre. Holy Grail is a band who doesn’t really fall under any category but “heavy metal”. Their sound consists of straight forward, fast-paced riffs with power metalesque vocals and insanely catchy hooks. In fact, in my opinion, “Bestia Triumphans” reminds me of what Avenged Sevenfold would have ended up sounding like if they had never given up on making real heavy metal.
Newsted – Metal EP
This is the new solo project from the former bassist of such thrash icons as Metallica, Voivod and Flotsam and Jetsam, Mr. Jason Newsted. I didn’t know what to expect from an album featuring Jason doing most of the songwriting, but as it turns out, this record is pretty cool. I mean, it’s not really extreme metal or anything, but it’s got elements of thrash as well as straight up hard rock mixed that give it a very Motorheadian vibe. Though this album isn’t exactly perfect, it shows that Newsted is definitely in a good place creatively and I anticipate that the material on his forthcoming solo full length will be as good as most of these songs, if not better.
Denouncement Pyre – Almighty Arcanum
It seems that in the internet age of 2013, everyone and their mother has a black metal project. The problem is, most of those bands are kind of pretentious and lose the point of the genre. Denouncement Pyre are a band who obviously understands what the genre stands for, however, they also clearly understand that black metal is a genre that sounds best when its razor-sharp, insanely evil riffs collide head first with the brutal tone, groove and aesthetic of death metal. I’ve honestly gotten tired of quite a bit of the black metal coming out these days, but this album is one that I haven’t once had the urge to turn off before it’s over and it never actually gets boring.
Gruesome Stuff Relish – Sempiternal Death Grind
First off, I know what you’re thinking and I feel I am asking the same question…”what the hell is a Gruesome Stuff Relish?!”. Though I’m not sure what their name means, or even what the word “Sempiternal” means, I do know that these guys are a straight-up monstrous Spanish goregrind band. Their lyrics are all based on horror movies and their music is very similar to their Spanish goregrind neighbors in Haemorrhage. These guys obviously know their way around a Carcass riff or two, but they don’t really rip them off so much ass they make them incredibly brutal. This is definitely not the kind of band you put on for serious moments of reflection, it’s just wild, crazy, brutla goregrind.
There aren’t many bands that I like so much, that I celebrate their entire discographies. One of those bands, however, is Deftones. They are a band I’ve loved since high school, and every one of their albums is special to me for one reason or another. There is one person I know who enjoys them more than me, however, he is my friend Brandon Griffin. He is also the singer of a local Deftones cover band called White Pony, who will hopefully be having shows again soon. Please enjoy his review of the new Deftones record, and if you want to submit reviews for my site, please contact me on Facebook.
Deftones “Koi No Yokan”
By Brandon Griffin
Deftones return after the release of 2010′s Diamond Eyes with their seventh studio album, entitled Koi No Yokan. An entry into their catalog that is a departure from their previous efforts, yet somehow familiar; redefining the band itself and the genre. It is quite evident now that this band has no intentions of stopping or looking back; only evolving and moving forward. It’s the band’s second album with fill-in bassist Sergio Vega. The album’s Japanese title is unlike the sense of “love at first sight”; rather Koi No Yokan refers to “the sense of meeting someone for the first time, and knowing that the two of you will fall in love eventually.”
That being said, right out the gate Koi kicks off with the bouncy “Swerve City” as Chino croons “She breaks her horses, with distant voices.. that travel through the air!” As Stephen hammers away with a rolling riff that has your head nodding immediately. This track is the best opener the band has presented us with since “Feiticeira” from White Pony. In the haunting track “Romantic Dreams”; we hear the band experiment with unique song structure, deep layers, and odd-time signatures. Moving all throughout the album, the band demonstrates their heavy nature with tracks such as “Poltergeist”, “Gauze”, & “Goon Squad” which are all relentlessly aggressive, and down right raw & dirty. Then songs such as “Entombed”, “Tempest”, & “Rosemary” are simply gorgeous, murky, warm, and full of emotion. These songs show the Deftones in a new light and that they are very versatile in their song writing.
Koi No Yokan is simply an evolutionary step in their ever growing sound. Sonically this album is brilliant. Frank Delgado’s synth creeps through while Stephen’s 8-string pounds away, and Chino’s vocals sound better than ever before. It’s hard to compare one Deftones album to another, they’re all unique in their own way; yet they are still Deftones. Does that make sense? This is a band that has some how, in their 24 year career, managed to stay relatively away from the mainstream; but yet consistently crank out great solid albums and keep a massively dedicated fan-base. This one is to no exception.
Dare I say Koi No Yokan may be the band’s most cohesive piece of work to date. It is lush, haunting, beautiful, angry, melodic, and heavy in all of the right places. Koi No Yokan flows gracefully from one track to the next, unrelentingly; until it all comes full circle with the soothing closer “What Happened to You?”. A beautiful tune that really smooths everything out, like a peaceful shoreline. This is Deftones’ atmospheric magnum opus. There’s definitely something for everyone on this album. I feel that Koi No Yokan will pull you in; whether you’re a new fan, old, or first time listener.
With all of the great albums that have come out this year, it really appears that October definitely wins the award of best month for metal. With this review column, I wanted to touch on a few of my favorite albums of the month, in fact, I can guarantee you that all of these will be on my favorite albums of the year list. Also, keep in mind, this is the 99th post I’ve made on this blog, which means the next will be number 100, something I’m very excited about. Stay tuned to find out what post number 100 has in store.
Neurosis is a band that continues to reinvent themselves more and more with each album. Honor Found In Decay is their tenth studio album, yet it sounds like no album before it. To prove this theory, I listened to their entire discography including Honor; the closest it came to any previous album were on parts of Times Of Grace, and a few tracks on Eye of Every Storm. The album features plenty of their signatures, particularly crushing riffs combined with beautiful interludes, as well as the devastating vocal duo of Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till trading apocalyptic roars. One element on the album that I think has been lacking on the past few Neurosis records, however, is a cohesiveness that keeps the album from getting boring. On past Neurosis albums, specifically on Eye Of Every Storm and Given To The Rising, there were moments where the songs wander off and get a tad boring. On Honor, however, the songs are catchier, and they have more of those signature moments that make Through Silver In Blood and Times Of Grace so legendary. Needless to say, though it sounds quite different from past records, Honor Found In Decay sounds like a Neurosis album without question and it works perfectly in the grand scheme of what they’re trying to achieve. It’s also one of the best albums you’ll hear all year.
Obviously, there of plenty of bands who keep getting better and better with age, but in my opinion, there are two bands in the metal community that are the most glowing examples of this. One of those bands is Napalm Death, but the other, in my opinion is Converge. Their 2001 masterpiece Jane Doe has been heralded as one of the best ever; however, it appears that with each new album, they improve more on its blueprint. With All We Love We Leave Behind, Converge have returned once again, and showcased just how good they really are at their craft. This album has everything you look for in a Converge album, specifically the fast, punishing rhythms courtesy of Nate Newton and Kurt Ballou, as well as the rapid fire drum cadences of Ben Koller, but in my opinion, however, it’s much angrier than their past few albums and reminds me a lot of You Fail Me. Converge are a band I’ve always admired for their D.I.Y. approach, and revered for their bonecrushing, angry, intensely heavy songs, and All We Love We Leave Behind is another awesome record for fans to add to their collection between Coliseum and Coroner.
After the release of 2007’s mind-number opus Phantom Limb, it seems that Pig Destroyer’s Book Burner has been everyone’s most anticipated metal album each year since 2007. The album has finally come out and it definitely doesn’t disappoint, in fact, it may be better than Phantom Limb. Pig Destroyer’s main strength is their ability to write incredibly catchy grindcore songs, yet still make them go 120 mph. Other than Scott Hull’s never-ending supply of awesome riffs, the real aspect of this album that I enjoy is the drumming by Adam Jarvis of Misery Index. His excellence behind the kit is most on display on tracks like “Iron Drunk” and “Baltimore Strangler” which feature drum fills just as dizzying as anything heard on a Misery Index album. Other than writing a lot of fast grindcore riffs that have catchy hooks, the album also features plenty of riffs that are designed just for moshing, specifically on “Valley Of The Guysers” and “The Diplomat”. In my opinion, this really is one of the most important metal releases of the year thanks to it’s blistering speed and Scott Hull’s incredibly creative riffs that stay with you all day long and pound away at your sanity.
The Sword is a band that can only be described as vintage. Everything about their style is a throwback to a previous era; whether it be their sci-fi riff rock, or their Lovecraftian album covers, these guys showcase a love of those that came before. Apocryphon is their first album for Razor & Tie and though it demonstrates their love of all things ZZ Top, it also hints slightly at the songwriting from their first older material. This album features a lot of bad ass southern rock riffs and is perfect to listen to while drinking, or doing lines off of a loose woman while going 120 down a desert road. Many fans criticized their last album Warp Riders for being more commercial than previous material, but it appears that on Apocryphon they took the elements that made Warp Riders good, and tweaked it just a bit. One of the highlights of the album for me is the incredible synth on the song “Apocryphon” as well as its incredible chugging main riff. If you like your metal full of solos, soaked in bong water, and reminiscent of Thin Lizzy’s heyday, The Sword are definitely your new favorite band.
Enslaved – RIITIIR
Enslaved are certainly one of the more interesting black metal bands you’ll ever hear, mostly because they are a band who’s constantly changing and improving their sound. RIITIIR is their twelfth album, yet it sounds like nothing in their discography. Sure, the scathing, demonical growls from Ruun and Vertebrae are present, however, the beautiful, clean vocals that made Axioma Ethica Odini so incredible are also back. The most important aspect of this album, and any album with horrifyingly nasty growls and beautiful clean vocals, is allowing them to play perfectly off of each other. On RIITIIR, vocalist Grutle Kjellson puts on the vocal performance of his life, particularly on the track “Roots Of The Mountain”. Musically, the album has some black metal elements, but the real magic at work here is their prog influence. Though they sound like newer Opeth at times, they continue to forge a sound that’s incredibly unique in the way it meshes the violent heavy parts, and the expansive prog parts that would make the perfect soundtrack to a mountain climb. If you’re a fan of incredibly expansive black metal, or an Enslaved fan in general, I think there’s no chance this album will leave you disappointed
There are very few things in life that I regret, however, there is one thing that I regret tremendously. I had tickets to the inaugural “Sounds Of The Underground” fest in 2005 featuring bands like High On Fire, Opeth, and Strapping Young Lad, but unfortunately, I arrived late and missed the opening band. That band happened to be A Life Once Lost. Since the release of their 2005 album “Hunter”, I’ve been very interested in this band, and though I was disappointed with their 2007 album Iron Gag, I feel that with Ecstatic Trance, they are back on target. The one thing that describes A Life Once Lost’s sound is groove. They have more groove than a 1,000,000 square foot record store featuring only albums by Meshuggah and Prong. On Ecstatic Trance, that groove takes the stage in the form of some very Meshuggah-esque riffing, but every time they work on the same groovy riff for a while, it’s accompanied by some incredible soloing courtesy of one of the bands two found members, Snake Sustaine. This album has its metalcore moments, but mostly it’s solid grooves accompanied by guitar solos, and though it’s not as good as Hunter, it’s definitely a good push back in the right direction.
I’ve been quite busy lately, thus it’s been hard to find the time for reviews. I know it’s a little late to be posting about my other favorite albums from September, but there’s some great stuff here that’s worthy of your time. The cool thing is…as great as September was, October is going to be better!
Down consists of four of the greatest musicians to call the south home. Aside from their legendary members, they are also famous for making fans wait at least five years between new material. This EP is the first of four, and it’s the first with Pat Bruders of Crowbar on bass. As far as the actual songs go, there are only six on the album, but each one of them is thickly coated in their signature sludge. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that a lot of these songs remind me of material from Nola. Specifically the tracks “Levitation” and “Witchtripper” remind me a lot of Down’s early material. The neat thing about this album is a heavy infusion of the doom that these guys grew up on. You can tell they listened to a lot of Saint Vitus before recording this record, and it shows big time in the form of tracks like “This Work Is Timeless” and “Misfortune Teller”. Overall, I think this album is a great return to form for the boys. If you’re a fan of Down or sludgy, pounding riffs with booty-shaking groove, this record is definitely worth your time.
When word spread that Steve Harris, bassist of the legendary Iron Maiden, was putting out a solo album, Maiden fans rejoiced. The thing about this album is, though it’s got Steve Harris’s name on it, it’s far from metal. When the album’s opening track “This Is My God” hits, you wonder if you’re listening to the right album. As the album progresses though, you really begin to hear the influence of bands like Rush, Boston, UFO, and Thin Lizzy come roaring through. The best example of the classic rock influence I mentioned is on tracks like “Karma Killer”, “The Chosen Ones”, and “Eyes Of The Young”. Realistically, this album is much more enjoyable if you ignore what you think it’s supposed to sound like. It’s not metal, and it was never meant to be at all. What it is, however, is classic rock done with a very modern feel, and one of the greatest bassists in the universe. Granted, the production could be better, and the vocals are a bit lackluster, but for a first solo project, you have to give the man credit. If you listen to this album with an open mind, and only ask for incredible bass lines and catchy rock n’ roll, you’ll get your money’s worth and then some.
Car Bomb are a band I was first introduced to back in 2006, when they first signed to Relapse. After the release of their Relapse debut Centralia, the band seemed to fall off of the planet. I stopped hearing anything about them until a few months ago, when it was announced they were self-releasing their second album w^w^^w^w. I have no idea what w^w^^w^w means, but when you hear the insane pace of their music, it makes quite a bit of sense, really. When listening to this album, the following bands came to mind: Sikth, Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Meshuggah and Gojira. That should give you a good idea of what they sound like, because genre-wise it would sound stupid to call them “chaotic, technical, spazzy, progressive, math metal”. This album actually caught me by surprise when I first heard it. I was most surprised by the Meshuggah-esque bounce, mixed with the frenetic pace and technicality of Dillinger. Though Car Bomb don’t really fit in one particular genre, this album is technical and incredibly fun to headbang along to, and exactly what the extreme metal scene needs. One fun fact about the album is that it features a guest appearance from Joe Duplantier of Gojira which is quite fitting, also, the album art spins everytime I look at it through my periphery, which rules.
When I got the promo of this album, one thing caught my eye ABSOLUTELY immediately, it was this statement “thrash-infused doom”. The minute I read that they attempt to convey both thrash metal and doom metal, I knew these guys were worth checking out. After giving their Prosthetic debut Blacklands a few listens, I was hooked. I wouldn’t say that they channel doom or thrash directly, as much as they combine the two with an old school rock n’ roll sound. As far as the doom portion of their sound goes, you can hear that influence primarily in the lyrics and guitar tone; their thrashier side takes over in their riffs at time, particularly with the rhythms and solos. Think if The Devils Blood decided to emulate early Metallica, but did so through Electric Wizard’s amps and that gets you in the ballpark of how epic this band really is. I’m genuinely shocked at how good this album is, and I definitely think it’s top albums of the year material for sure.
When Gallows released their debut Orchestra Of Wolves in 2006, they were easily the most talked about band in the punk/hardcore scene for their refreshing blend of hardcore, punk, and genuine rock n’ roll. This self titled debut for Bridge Nine is their first without vocalist Frank Carter, but it still contains all of the filth and fury that built the hype machine around them six years ago. In an age where punk music has become watered down, Gallows prove that its spirit is definitely not dead, thanks to their incredibly angry, politically driven lyrics, as well the ridiculously solid groove that kicks you in the teeth from the minute it starts, and refuses to let up until blood is everywhere. Thanks to its driving punk riffs, seething hardcore aesthetic, and bruising production, this is the perfect album to jam on a long road trip, but good luck keeping the speedometer under 150.
As I stated in the previous post, I’m trying to get coverage on the site for great albums that I wouldn’t normally cover. This post comes from my friend Duane Berry and covers two of the most surprising albums of the year. Enjoy!
The Energizer Bunny is back and nothing is as it seems. Bob Dylan, 71 years old has just released his 59th recording and somehow, he seems just like a kid in a musical candy store. Just like a Halloween Haunted House, nothing is as it seems 50 years after his debut release. Not many can say that. We get the raspy sound that comes with so many years of experience, a sound that not many stick around long enough to get. In fact, Dylan stands alone on that front, with the exception of Johnny Cash before he passed, we’ll see about Jagger on the upcoming Stones tour however. And nobody saw it coming. Not the guy at the record store with the funny haircut, not the cop on the corner and not the girl that says ” Oh I Love Him ” when I skip eating food at lunch to drive around and do my Dylan singalong. This is the vocal perfection of blue eyed blues, a gutteral, soulful sound that couldn’t sound pop with a mouthful of firecrackers. And yet, this Dylan is an acquired taste, just as it always has been. Either you get it, or you don’t. And that’s just the vocal styling.
On my site, from time to time, I like to ask friends of mine for their own reviews of stuff that I wouldn’t normally cover. This guest post is from my friend, and fellow Spazzine contributor, Holt Brasher. Enjoy!
TOAST – EP
So, here we have the first release from TOAST, an instrumental band from our very own Monroe, LA. The band consists of folks who have had their ties in everything from metal to experimental rock to even church bands, to my knowledge, and this mish-mash of play styles and musical influences definitely comes through on this EP. Also, the artwork is absolutely wonderful, who doesn’t love a psychedelic photo of Alex’s face? Just beautiful. Now, onto the music.
We start the album with the introduction, which is a slow drone of an effects driven guitar and some pitter patter of the drums, after a brief moment of vocals the drums kick in and you are introduced to the album’s first track. Now, before I move on to the music might I praise the production and the quality on this EP. This is one of the few local albums I’ve heard where every instrument has been recorded perfectly and it shows. The sounds are clean as a baby’s asshole and the tones are spot on. The guitars are absolutely stunning and winding, the bass is a perfect anchor and features the perfect tone for the EP, and the drums are on point, some of the most skillful I’ve heard from this region. The levels are all perfect, and the intricate meshing of these instruments is so well done, I had to gush a little. I can gush right? Well I just gushed.
Now, I know not everyone honestly gives two shits about what I think (Especially Dax Riggs fans), but let me first say, instrumental music is not for everyone. I personally love instrumental music, you can create you’re own images and story to it and become personally invested in it. Instrumentals can inspire and help you to be inspired and also create a mood and an atmosphere not found in music where other’s words create the imagery and story for you. Look to Thelonious Monk or J Dilla or Pelican, all these artists create fantastic realms and feelings through their music. So in this review, I’ve decided it’s damn near impossible for me to convey it to you in a normal review fashion. This is music that conjures emotions and feelings, and those are a personal investment. So I will give it to you in the best way possible, but in the end, hear it for yourself, take your mind on a journey. Don’t just listen, invest in it. That’s art babe.
This EP is instrumental, it’s math-rock, it’s alternative, it’s frantic, it’s instruments weaving in and out of each other at breakneck speeds, it’s instruments dropping to a slower pace and letting you ride a wave of emotion, feelings, and effects. I could go on and on like this, there’s just too damn many ways to describe it. There’s no one way to settle down and describe such a successful mish-mash folks, and I don’t want to try to, it would be an insult to this EP. Here’s what I will say. This album holds wonderful musical influences from what I hear, which may be wildly different from what others hear. From Minus The Bear to Fall Of Troy, to 90′s alt rock, and I’m sure math-rock even I’ve never heard of, but stylings of Hella and such are always there, and this was a welcoming moment of influence. The effects are well placed and always ethereal and never over done. The album is completely frantic at times and fast paced, it’s also sometimes solemn and droning, and of course all melodically proficient and well done. This being said, no one style overpowers and overcomes the others, this band knows when to switch up and change and when to bring you back into the fray and let you soak in everything, and it’s wonderfully accomplished. The songs are never too long for you to get bored, and in fact my only complaint is my favorite track, Easy E, is just too damned short for me. I find myself consistently wanting more. This is a wonderful EP and has only made me happy to hear more from these guys.
So as a final note, I’ll try and sum it up. The album is as perfect as you can get math-rock and instrumental music, which is a hard genre to pull off if you’re not invested and well-versed in your instruments and get too caught up in being too technical and not making enjoyable music with emotion and thought. These guys did all of that and did it well. The tone is clean and magnificent on each instrument, each instrument is perfectly played, the moods and feelings generated from these songs are perfect to listen to, multiple styles are present at any time, and the fact this album is free and available to anyone and so well done is the icing on the proverbial fucking cake.
That being said, I know I rambled about this EP, but shit give me a fucking break, it deserves that, it’s unusual and deserves an unusual review. This is music, but it can be so much more, open your mind, let it enter, and see what happens. Let it create emotion, a story, a thought, anything. If you’re like me and feel happiness when Easy E comes on, or you hear Fellatio and get a bit frantic and then calm yourself, that’s the wonders of it. You’re not just hearing it, you’re feeling it. Investment and inspiration, that’s what I received from this album. Now, I might just be talking out of my big black ass, but I thoroughly enjoyed this release. I suggest, since it’s free and you don’t buy CDs anyways, to go get this and patiently await a show and a full-length. I’m sure these fellas have big plans, and I know this is one of the few local bands I would want to see fulfill anything they set out to do. Quit pirating shitty John Mayer albums and grab a CD with real emotion and perfect musicianship.
Check out: “Easy E”, and then buy it, for free.
Title Fight – Floral Green
Title Fight burst into my ears last year with their self-titled LP and since then, I’ve been a huge fan. “Shed” was an insanely amazing single and the album was a perfect slice of 90s emo (Think Sunny Day Real Estate) mixed with punk musicianship (The howling vocals). I was blown away. Well, this year Title Fight returns with Floral Green. This album has everything that made the first perfect, with added extras.
First of all, this album continues on with the 90s revival feel. The band has produced music videos in VHS format, the songs still have 90′s emo feel which returns us to the stylings of Sunny Day Real Estate and also even early Hot Water Music. The influences can even be traced back to early Failure and Hum in my opinion. The vocals still continue with the trademark yelling that is unmatched in emotion. The true surprises were songs like “Head In The Ceiling Fan”, where the band has slowed down. They’ve taken the 90′s emo to the source in these songs where the guitars compliment each other through bends and constant droning riffs with a slow thundering bass and pounding drums. These songs took me off guard and I consistently found myself getting lost in these tracks. They were a welcome addition and actually add a wonderful resting point in the chaos of the other songs.
Not to down talk the other songs, these masterpieces are fucking amazing. The vocals are yelled with such emotion that you feel it, every single time. The guitars are buzzsaws and on some tracks, like “Leaf”, bend and rip with the absolute best tones and melodies I’ve ever heard, ever. The bass is absolutely thundering and distorted to create a perfect background to the guitars, and the drums absolutely hold it all together perfectly. The lyrics deal with emotions usually found on a more emotional record, ranging from liars to depression, and in this album it doesn’t seem trite or whiny. This is actual feeling being dealt with on a record and it’s fantastic. So throw out the whiny bullshit you bought in high school when you had “problems” (Yes, I see that From First To Last CD you dildo,) and get some emotional music that doesn’t pander.
That being said this album is probably the album I’ve felt to be album of the year so far. I haven’t had a cd stay on repeat this long in ages, and it’s absolutely perfect to play at any moment. It digs into your head and stays there. The lyrics are relatable, the music is melodic and moody, the vocals are powerful and everything comes together in the end to create one of, if not, the best album of 2012. I highly suggest this one folks.
Check out: “Leaf”, and “Head In The Ceiling Fan”.
Lightning Bolt – Oblivion Hunter
Two EPS featuring bands that are only known for their music? What the fuck am I doing to myself? I’m bleeding reviews for the people, because I know everyone’s missed my voice right? Hey…just buy me free pizza. I’ll understand.
Anyways, Lightning Bolt, one of the best and most progressive noise-rock bands on the planet. From crazed artwork to frantic and insane drumming, to the loudest and best distorted bass playing, to the fact the drummer sings through a mic in his custom gimp mask, this band is pure bred insanity. They’re also a favorite. This isn’t to say I can listen to all their tunes, sometimes a track might seem stale and other times it might just never actually progress and drone itself into boredom. This hasn’t happened alot lately, and Lightning Bolt continues to kick ass and mature into fields of sonic combustion that noise-rock enthusiasts should love.
This EP is perfect for those who want to hear the Bolt get loose. The tracks are completely lo-fi and sound like the two locked themselves in their practice room and banged out these tracks, consistently creating high-level racket and trying to outdo the insanity in whatever way the could. Tracks like “Baron Wasteland” see them fucking with effects and droning the shit out of Brian’s drums and voice. The constant blasts of distortion are quite fantastic and show the album has a point where the insanity has a place to drop back to. Though the psychic freakouts are still there, and they go ape shit at the perfect moments (The track begins to have what would be considered a Beefheart-esque voice, sax, bass, drum, freak out at the end that is dense). That’s not to say The Bolt didn’t have some fun. “Oblivion Balloon” sounds as close to a surf rock song these two have ever put out and it’s obviously overjoying. This is one of those songs they kick out that is a safe haven for your mind after being collectively fucked by the psych freakouts of former tracks, and it’s fantastically done. “Fly Fucker Fly” is honestly the best barrage of what sounds like moments influenced by actual songs, video game tracks, and late 80s rock. It is the closest I’ve heard them get to an actual “mainstream”-ish song in a good bit. And it rocks.
The album begins to wind down with the interlude of “The Soft Spoken Spectre” which supports the fact the two were just fucking off and enjoying creating music. The last two songs kick ass and bring it loud. Damn if “World Wobbly Wide” isn’t some of the most complex and loud material Lightning Bolt has put out in ages. This shit is made to blow speakers and challenge you. As much as this can sound like a jam session at times, the perfect placement of noodling and effects just brings it into the world and births it just right. This is noise-rock done right.
I like Lightning Bolt, well, alot. It’s insanity placed in the hands of drums and bass. I haven’t heard a rhythm section kick such ass ever and it’s fantastic. The duo consistently push the boundaries of their instruments and in doing so create some of the finest noise-rock available and, albeit, blow your ass away with hidden melodies that are so perfect you can’t help but rock your head. This EP is not for everyone, especially weak-willed music listeners who want to hear the two singles from 2Chainz and drink some Michelob’s, but if you enjoy complex and dense music this is for you. Wade through the thick and let the bass and drums sink in.
Check out: “Oblivion Balloon”, and “World Wobbly Wide”.
Bob Mould – Silver Age
Bob Mould. What can be said about him? Well first of all, he was in the legendary band Husker Du and created some of the loudest and melodic guitar riffs ever heard and some of the best songs ever, just listen to New Day Rising. Then he created Sugar, which was some of the best rock music ever created, once again jam Copper Blue. Mould went solo soon after and released a ton of music that has had it’s ups (Black Sheets of Rain) and it’s downs (The electronic album Body of Song). Now Mould is back with Silver Age, a return to the rocking, and ass kicking, form of his earlier music. This is a severe change as most of his solo material has focused on slower rock and/or acoustic songs. This was a huge excitement to fans of Moulds work and we were all eager to see what he created.
Boy did he blow it out of the fucking water.
The whole album barely ever slows down. Yes, it’s amazing. The only two songs on the album that really slow down (“Steam of Hercules” and “First Time Joy”) are the usual middle and end songs that offer a moment to relax and rest. The rest of the album completely kicks ass. The guitar is loud and effective, though not overtly loud like Husker Du or low tinged like Sugar. This is the medium and it sounds damn good. The bass is top notch and the drums pound along. Mould and bandmates kick ass and the back up vocals compliment Bob’s voice perfectly. There’s nothing really bad to say about the production or the instrumentation at al. Mould continues his streak of having a perfectly produced album.
The songs are fantastic and enjoyable, with “Star Machine” being a perfect opener. I found the lyrics on my favorite songs often dealing with material that I’m sure is as personal as usual. “Star Machine” focuses on a person being chewed up and spit out by becoming a star and changing. “Briefest Moment” focuses on growing up and becoming more than what you were. “The Descent” seems to be about hitting a rut and trying to get out of it. The songs are fantastic in lyrical matter and rarely will you hit a song that you can’t enjoy.
That being said the second half does suffer a little. The album begins to run into itself at the end, and though the songs are all different, most stay at the same speed and the same level and it can be easy to get through the last part and forgetting a few tracks. Honestly, it warrants repeated listens to counteract this, but the first half is indeed so much more stronger than the second. Also, this album showcases some of Mould’s influence on other bands (I swear if you don’t think one song could have Dave Grohl singing on it, you’re crazy). Not to down Mould at all, who wouldn’t be influenced by this man?
This album is a fantastic return to form, and while not completely perfect, it warrants repeated listens. Honestly, we can only hope Bob keeps churning out some ass kickers like this one, as fans have been salivating for a loud rock album from Mould again. Enjoy it, especially if you’re a Mould fan, and if not enjoy it for personal lyrics, kick ass instrumentation, and being an amazing rock record. If that sounds bad to you, Pink put out a new album. This one is definitely suggested.
Check out: “The Descent”, and “Star Machine”.
John Frusciante – PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone
So, let me be the first to say I fucking hate it when someone likes music just because no one else likes it, or listens to albums that they deem “deep” and it sounds like musical garbage. It annoys me to no end. Yes there is dense and complex music that’s hard to even bear at first listen, but in the end you learn from it and you begin to enjoy it. There is also musical garbage that is equated to recording shitty riffs on garageband and chopping it up and throwing off beat blips and beeps over it and singing off key. There is a difference to me, you may disagree, but I’m writing and you’re reading. So I get to ramble. Hahaha, the power of words.
John Frusciante walks a fine line with me on these two. This album at first listen sounded like a meshing of nonsense and rambling and mumbling and I was completely disappointed. This is because I wasn’t looking at it like Frusciante did. Frusciante is completely on the other side of the musical spectrum. It’s like taking an Omar Rodriguez-Lopez album and asking where’s the Skynyrd riffs. I make mistakes. Anyways, it walked that line and I gave it some listens. This is probably my millionth run through, so let’s tackle the zone.
Also, before we begin, a little history. Frusciante broke from the RHCPs and started working on his solo music again. This didn’t bother me as Frusciante’s solo work far outshines alot of RHCPs material (Seriously). Also, RHCP began to suffer terribly from not having John’s creativity in the band. Ah well, call in Dave Navarro we need some rocking music while John’s fucking with his Moog. Anyways John didn’t even go to their Hall Of Fame induction, or whatever it was, not important. Then Omar of Mars Volta fame said John is on another level musically. Which having Omar say that about anyone is just enough to think he’s beating his guitar with dead babies and then running it through a wood chipper, end recording, move on. So Frusciante released the EP Letur-Lefr which included rappers such as RZA and a few others and some of the oddest time switches and musical moments, and also one of the best songs of late (In Your Eyes). Then we awaited the LP.
And now, the review! For Frusciante, probably working in a home studio, he does perfectly at all the synths, samples, and guitar work. The levels are always perfect, and you know the man knows what he wants. If he wants a sample to be hardly audible and the guitar to be overpowering, he wants that, and it’s for a perfect reason, whether it be a time switch or musical switch coming. And that’s also a perfect part of Frusciante, he knows when he wants to switch how the song is going and when he wants it to be a song that stays rhythmically the same all the way through, in other terms a song that stays to the traditional format. And he mostly succeeds on this in many ways.
The intro begins with synths that honestly remind me of something off an Omar album or a Volta album and with samples and guitars also reminiscent of an Omar album. You can tell Frusciante works closely with Lopez in this influence. “Hear Say” is one of the tracks that falls flat for me. The synths are meant to take top stage, he wants the vocals to be an instrument, and I can understand that, but the melodies are not enjoyable for me, myself. The constant throbbing, bounce and the overall minimal synth work and instruments leaves for a song that sounds like it was half-assed for me. Bike is John working in breakbeats with his usual guitars and his vocals that comes off sounding like a track from a fast paced video game, eventually running into vocals reminiscent of 90′s grunge and ending on a pounding of samples and synths. Not a bad track but not fantastic. There are parts that shine in these aforementioned songs but they never rise to a level to amaze me.
From here the music picks up, Ratiug sounds more as if it’s at home on Frusciante’s other solo albums and it honestly makes the album better for that. It’s a nice settling spot and it honestly makes the other songs sound like musical masturbation for how well done it is. John sounds fantastic when experimenting but keeping it simple. Then we have a guest from rapper Kinetic 9 from the Wu Tang Killarmy. Fantastic track. Guitar is what it is, guitar and synths that sounds like John fucked with recordings and just left it on there. I wasn’t impressed. Then we have Mistakes which is by far my favorite track. The happy synths and John’s ethereal voice make this track shine and sounds like a rare Cure b-side at moments in the music. The samples and musical freak outs do come but Frusciante anchors it with emotional singing and wonderful guitar. This track ruins it. It does. Why you ask? Because it’s so good at balancing his experimentation with his usual work and it makes the rest of the album suffer for being overtly experimental and not enough to enjoy. Anyways, Uprane continues the formula of Mistakes, just not as well, the music isn’t as enjoyable but once again it begins as a usual Frusciante track and goes into sample and synth zone and ends on a frantic measure of vocals and breakbeats going nuts. Same is another sample ridden track with breakbeats and Frusciante singing over them. The ending isn’t that bad, but it sounds like John just started singing over Dj Shadow’s old efforts. Which that probably would be infinitely better. Sum is the last official track (Unless you get the Japanese version) and it’s the same old, synth and samples and John vocals, and yet this one ends with enjoyable synths. It’s sad in a sense as it shows John can make enjoyable synths to listen to, but most of the time it was chaotic and annoying.
Now, that the music part is over, here I’ll let you vent your anger with me…..
You good? Cool. Alright. Now let’s look at this. Once again, yes I understand music cannot stay the same, evolution of music is inevitable. I see Frusciante as wanting to finally try and get more into the electronic world. No problem there, I think it’s fantastic as the world gets more into what sounds come out of electronics. Here’s the thing though, you can love an artist, and they can put out an album that’s experimental, and you absolutely despise it. That’s perfectly fine. I don’t despise PBX but I think it’s lackluster. The Letur-Lefr EP was more enjoyable than this. I think it was the short format personally and each song was different. PBX has grand songs, and then it has full tracks that are samples and synths mixed with time changes and such and it is a take on experimental electronic music. I didn’t enjoy it. The strong tracks are so strong they overshadow the LP and make you wonder why Frusciante didn’t do more of this or that on the other tracks (Such as enjoyable synths, or music that meshes, or better vocals), and it makes you dislike the other tracks. The tracks aren’t awful, they are just good. The amazing tracks make these sound less than good. Then again, the album sounds like an experiment in a field Frusciante is just getting into, and you’re along for the ride. The ride is of course a bit bumpy, but some moments are good.
I’d suggest this if you’re a fan of Frusciante’s solo efforts, or other odd guitarist solo work like Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s albums. Otherwise it’s a far off shot for anyone that isn’t into experimental rock to get into this album. I’d suggest grabbing Shadows Collide With People or The Empyrean or even Letur-Lefr and working towards this album. In the end, it’s not as bad as that RHCP album was, but it’s not anywhere near the heights John can get to, kind of like a blowjob with teeth. You’re getting it, you’re trying to enjoy it, but it’s just not working out except for a few moments.
Check out: “Mistakes”, and “Ratiug”.
Lately I’ve been hard at work compiling reviews for Hails & Horns magazine, so I’ve come across a ton of awesome, new music. Because there has been so much stuff coming out this month, and still more great stuff to come next week, I’ve decided to split my September reviews column in half. I’ll post more reviews next week. In the meantime, if you want awesome music to bang your head to slow or fast, check out these albums.
Any time a legendary band, particularly in metal, undergoes any sort of cosmetic change to their sound, the internet typically explodes with hatred. Such is the case with Cryptopsy and their 2008 album The Unspoken King, thanks to it’s clean singing, breakdowns, and keyboard parts. People actually referred to that album as death metal’s version of St. Anger. After four years, and the return of guitar wizard and main songwriter Jon Levasseur, it appears that Cryptopsy have returned to their old tricks. The appeal to Cryptopsy has always been the manic drumming of Flo Mounier combined with incredibly technical, preposterous time changes, and on this album all of those elements are back and heavier than ever. Though Cryptopsy is not as violent as Blasphemy Made Flesh or None So Vile, thanks to the return of Levasseur, they seem to have their sense of direction is back which is awesome, because it’s about time these tech-death kings reclaimed their throne.
Admittedly, I’m a huge doom metal fan, so when I saw that a band was forming featuring all three members of New York’s Unearthly Trance, plus Tim Bagshaw of Electric Wizard and Ramesses, I became very intrigued. The result of that unholy matrimony is Serpentine Path. If you couldn’t guess by the members, they are a doom metal band, a very heavy one, in fact. The thing is, this album is much heavier than I anticipated. It’s got your typical brooding, slow-burning doom riffs mixed with violent, almost death metal type vocals, but it’s not really a death/doom album, so much as it’s just an obscenely heavy doom metal album that paints an atmosphere very similar to the one on the album cover. Though the style on this album isn’t the most original thing you’ll hear all year, it’s definitely worth checking out, if only to hear a legend in the doom scene join three other legends in the doom scene, to create a monolithic, depressive, monster of a record.
I’ve always been a fan of two great things paired together. Whether it be peanut butter and jelly, or beer and pizza, combos are always fun, particularly in heavy metal, and ESPECIALLY when it’s two monstrous genres like death metal and doom metal that you’re combining. Hooded Menace do just that on their Relapse debut Effigies Of Evil, and the twomake a pretty devastating duo. If you’re a fan of Asphyx, then you’ll definitely enjoy the way they weave swampy, doomy riffs with an incredibly raw, death metal stomp, and vocals that remind you of a demon gurgling rotten entrails. Aside from the bad ass use of death and doom and demonic vocals that feels weighed down by 1,000 lb weights, the other cool thing about this album is the horror imagery thoughout, whether it be in the lyrics, the album cover, the samples, or even the band’s name which was derived from Tombs Of The Blind Dead. All in all, this album mixes two genre’s perfectly, but instead of ripping off the pioneers of the death/doom genre, they filter it through a horror movie blender, and the results are just bloody terrifying.
Norska are a four-piece doom/sludge band from Portland, Oregon. This album is their debut and it was actually released last year, but it’s just now getting a proper release from Brutal Panda Records. Upon first listen, you can tell they sound very similar to Yob, and the reason is because their bassist is Aaron Reiseberg who is also in Yob. Aside from sharing a member and a similar sound with Yob, their mix of psychedelia, sludge, doom, and even a little blues is also reminiscent of Neurosis and Isis, but with their own unique little touch. For a perfect example of how well they mix up multiple genres to create their own unique style, check out the song “They Mostly Come At Night”, which starts out very slow and atmospheric and treads a very “cult of neurisis” path, only to give way to some incredibly triumphant riffing unheard on most doom albums. Thanks to a unique mixture of styles, this album never gets boring, and it stands out as a MUST HEAR doom album of the year.
New Orleans, La is a city famous for bands like Eyehategod, Soilent Green, Acid Bath, and Goatwhore, however, haarp are currently the most talked about band to come from the city in a while, thanks to Phil Anselmo and his Housecore Records label. Husks is their second album for the label, and though it only has three songs and clocks in at right around 38 minutes, they will be the most painful 38 minutes you’ll ever experience. The minute this album starts, it begins with a slow, thunderous, swirling group of riffs that slowly simmer, and proceed to beat you relentlessly for the entire album. The term sludgy gets thrown around a lot describing bands of this ilk, but when you experience the unrelenting, depressive doom riffs, coupled with the occasional flourishes of groove, you’ll see the true definition of sludge. These guys do doom and sludge metal the right way, meaning that if you listen to this album and don’t want to drink a case of PBR and punch a loved one…you’re doing it wrong.
Barghest are a black metal band from Baton Rouge, La and False are a black metal band from Minneapolis, Mn. Both bands are from completely different climates, yet when they come together for this split, it sounds like they have both spent years locked in Fenriz’s basement. On the Barghest side of the split, they present two songs of vicious, lo-fi black metal insanity. The thing about Barghest is, they aren’t just about blast beats and grinding riffs, their songs actually contain as much groove as they do throat-slashing blackness. Once you’ve had your face torn off by Barghest and you flip the record over, False takes care of the rest of you. False’s contribution to this split is called “Heavy As A Church Tower”, a 17 minute, 35 second slab of doom, gloom, and the same type of groovy, blackened, buzzsaw riffs Barghest presents. Though the production on this split is very lo-fi, both of these bands absolutely kill and this is definitely worth checking out if you want to hear the best the us black metal scene has to offer.
This year has been a pretty decent one for metal so far quality-wise, quantity-wise there haven’t been as many major stand out records so far, however, if the release schedule for September and October are any indication, things are about to get alot more interesting. This months record reviews column features my favorite albums to come out in August. Check them out because if you like metal, they are all certainly worth your time.
The Faceless are a band that I’ve seen go from relatively unheard of in 2006 when their debut “Akeldama” was released, to one of the more popular American technical death metal bands in the scene 6 years later. From the very get-go they’ve always done things a little different than their contemporaries and on their third album “Autotheism” they’ve undergone a major overhaul in both band members and style and they may have very well created their greatest album yet.
When you listen to their last album “Planetary Duality”, you are greeted by the immense brutality of the vocals courtesy of Derek Rydquist as well as a pretty standard-yet-unique approach to technical death metal, but very little melody. On their third album, The Faceless now have a new bassist in Evan Brewer of Animosity/Reflux as well as a new guitarist, Wes Hauch, and a new vocalist, Geoff Ficco, and the addition of these new members has added quite a few new elements to their sound.The album starts out with a three part trilogy called “Autotheist Movement” and from the very beginning with the string arrangement and the following intro guitar riff you can tell things are much different this time around, especially when Geoff Ficco’s clean singing comes in and is eventually greeted with incredibly brutal growled vocals that give the track an intesne, Opethian vibe. After you get path the trilogy, the album begins to sound more like past Faceless albums, but when you hear songs like “Eidolon Reality” which features quite a bit of clean singing from Ficco again matched with Opethian death growls, you can tell this is definitely not the same band that recorded “Akeldama”, however, I feel like Ficco’s vocals, particularly in the chorus of “Eidolon” really adds a cool, catchy element to the whole album that carries through to the fantastic finisher “In Solitude”.
Fans of The Faceless come to expect a certain level of quality from Michael Keene and on this third album, despite dealing with constant lineup changes over the years, as well as immense pressure to come up with a solid follow-up to “Planetary Duality”, I’d say he has come through yet again. Overall, this record is still a vicious slab of incredibly technical death metal, but there is a ton of melody added to this album thanks to their new vocalist, and I feel that it definitely added to the quality of the album and makes it much more enjoyable than previous efforts.
Grave are a legendary Swedish death metal band that I’m very fond of, so when I heard they were putting out a new album this year I got excited and it shot to the top of my most anticipated albums of the year list. Though Grave are one of the more underrated death metal bands of all time, they are still legendary in their own right, in fact, “Into The Grave” was even named as one of my 13 favorite death metal albums of all time, so with the release of their tenth studio album, they have shown that they are still as violent as ever, if not more so.
When listening to this album, one thing that should stand out immediately is their old school approach to death metal. Most death metal bands these days use triggers and autotune to make themselves sound as “brutal” as possible, but Grave are certainly not one of those bands, you can hear every single noted pounded out on drums and it’s got a very human feel to it which is comforting, but it’s also got an incredibly heavy production to it that gives that brutal Swedish guitar tone a little more ballsy feel to it. Though the album is uncompromisingly heavy the entire time, the album does have a few stand out tracks, particularly the albums incredibly violent opener “Amongst Marble and the Dread”, but the heaviest song on the album has to be “Winds Of Chains”, particularly because of the old school riffing, but also because of how fast the drummer Ronnie Bergerståhl is able to move without using blast beats.
This album is an absolute monster start to finish and though though Ola Lindgren is the only remaining member of the “Into The Grave” era of the band, they have maintained an incredibly uncompromising approach to death metal and I certainly have to applaud them for continuing to wave the flag. If you are a fan of Grave, or if you want to get your face kicked in by awesome, fast, violent death metal, “EPOS” is definitely worth purchasing for sure.
As far as metal bands go, Katatonia are certainly not your average metal band, they have super catchy alt-rock riffs, their singer Jonas Renkse sings almost exclusively clean vocals, and at times they remind me alot of Chevelle. With that said, Katatonia are definitely one of the most important doom metal bands ever because of their incredibly catchy riffs and Jonas Renkse’s beautifully sung vocals. “Dead End Kings” is their ninth full length album and it is proof that they are still incredibly relevant in 2012.
When I first began listening to this album, I didn’t really expect much from it because I assumed that it would be kind of boring, but from the minute “The Parting” opened with Jonas Renkse’s beautiful voice accompanied by incredibly heavy riffs, I was hooked in. Something about the way they mix super heavy riffs with incredibly melodic passages and the way Renkse’s voice sounds perfect over both just really blows my mind and it speaks volumes for the chemistry he and Anders Nystrom still have after forming the band 21 years ago. It’s hard to really call this album doom, despite the fact that it has some bummer moments for sure, but it’s also hard to all it alternative metal despite the fact that some of their riffs, particularly on the track “Dead Letters” which features an opening riff that sounds JUST like something Tool or Chevelle would do. The entire album is filled with moments of incredibly heavy riffs that eventually give way to beautiful melodic riffs that rollercoaster about very similarly to Opeth, in fact, given the choice between 2012 Opeth and 2012 Katatonia…I’d pick Renkse and Nystrom over the boring shell of a band Opeth has become any day.
I have been listening to this album alot lately because it’s incredibly catchy and fun and merits multiple listens thanks to the wonderful duo of Nystrom and Renkse who are also joined by Per “Sodomizer” Eriksson on guitar which is ironic because those three are also the main members of the current lineup of Bloodbath. If you are a fan of Opeth, Tool, Porcupine Tree, or incredibly catchy metal with easily accessible vocals, this album is right up your alley, but I also recommend their second album “Brave Murder Day” an absolute doom metal masterpiece which coincidentally features Mikael Akerfeldt’s screaming vocals.
Murder Construct are a band that many would consider a death/grind supergroup. In their ranks they feature high profile members like Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation on vocals, Leon Del Muerte of Exhumed/Phobia/Intronaut/Impaled on guitar/vocals, Danny Walker of Exhumed/Phobia/Intronaut/Uphill Battle/Jesu on drums. “Results” is their first full length album despite the fact that the band formed in 2001. Usually super groups don’t necessarily work out, but when their only mission is to peel your skin off one blast beat at a time, Success is imminent.
The album starts out with the track “Red All Over” which features a slowly building intro for about 30 seconds and from there all hell breaks loose. One of the things you notice automatically is how unabashedly heavy the riffs are, but the other thing that stands out alot on this album is the incredibly intense drumming of Danny Walker, the dude is a legend in the grind community and this album is a 30 minute showcase of how fast and ridiculously talented the dude is. Another cool thing on this album is the unique vocal trade-off between Leon Del Muerte and Travis Ryan, in fact, Travis Ryan even uses his signature “rotten corpse howling through a megaphone” singing style a few times which adds an extra creepy environment to an album already impossibly brutal.
This album is literally a one-stop-shop for people who like their music fast, massively heavy, and almost impossible to headbang along to with any kind of rhythm. If you have incredibly annoying neighbors and you want to give them a soundtrack to punch themselves in the face to, crank up “Results” and leave your house for a bit and let Leon and the boys handle your dirty work for you.
Ya know, it’s kind of funny that I named this site Johnny Ringo’s Reviews, and started it just so I could review albums I listen to alot and really enjoy, yet it seems I am only able to do one new release post a month due to release schedules not being consistently good as well as the other posts I’ve been putting up on the site. With July now being over, I chose my favorite albums I heard that were released and I hope you’ll check them out. Thanks so much for reading and check out my Facebook page to keep up to date with my posts.
Even if you’ve never heard Nile before, you could probably tell from the name and their artwork that founding guitarist Karl Sanders is a huge nerd for Egyptian folklore. They are one of the more unique death metal bands you’ll ever hear due to their incredibly complex/unique Egyptian theme.
Though I haven’t enjoyed an album of theirs front-to-back since 2005′s “Annihilation Of The Wicked”, I was pleasantly surprised by this album. It seems that their last two albums, particularly “Those Whom The Gods Detest” got kind of boring after awhile, but “Sethu” manages to keep me intrigued throughout the entire affair. Though the album is incredibly heavy and technical, it does feature a few strange tracks that aren’t really metal, particularly the song “Slaves of Xul” which sounds like something from an Indiana Jones movie. The songs on the album that stood out in particular to me are the album closer “The Chaining of the Iniquitous” and “The Inevitable Degradation of Flesh” because both of them feature some incredibly catchy guitar work with a very unique tone. I also love the song “Tribunal of the Dead”which features headbangable riff upon headbangable riff.
Though this album still sounds a lot like the majority of Nile’s discography, I enjoy it quite a bit because the riffs are heavy and incredibly catchy, plus the album gets better and better with repeated listens. The album is especially worth listening to if you’re a fan of the band or their drummer George Kollias.
Bonded By Blood are a thrash revivalist band from Pomona, Ca and “The Aftermath” is their third album put out by Earache Records. Though I’m not normally a fan of newer thrash bands -especially ones who directly rip off their name from a classic thrash album- I actually love this band.
Before hearing 2010′s “Exiled To Earth”, their last with founding vocalist Jose Barrales, I wrote them off as another boring thrash band, but after reading about that album’s amazing sci-fi concept, I gave them a chance and fell in love. One interesting note about “The Aftermath” is that the album features vocalist Mauro Gonzalez who joined the band right after “Exiled” was released, but this is his first album with them. Musically speaking, if you know what thrash metal sounds like, you can fairly predict how the album sounds genre-wise but I feel they do have a strong amount of musicianship and considering they only feature one guitarist now, I have to say I’m still pretty impressed with how this record turned out. As far as standout tracks go, check out the songs “Shepherds Of Rot” and “Show No Fear” as they are perfect for beer-drinkin and hellraisin.
When you compare Bonded By Blood to some of the other standout thrash revival bands nowadays like Vektor, Municipal Waste, and Havok, they definitely hold their own, and they definitely make you want to bang your head as if up from the dead, particularly because intense metal is all that you need.
Primate is a band from Atlanta, Ga formed by Kevin Sharp of Brutal Truth and Bill Kelliher of Mastodon. According to Kevin Sharp, the band was formed simply because he wanted to be a part of a band with all members located in Atlanta, but if you didn’t know that you would assume they were formed out of necessity one night after drinking a few too many beers and listening to too much Discharge and breaking things together.
The album actually came out a year or two ago, but it was released in a limited run by the band themselves and it’s just now getting a proper release by Relapse Records this year. Musically speaking, the album is full of scathing punk rock/d-beat fury, and it features the trademark vocal style of Kevin Sharp which is now legendary in my opinion; I’m also incredibly impressed at Bill Kelliher’s riffs and solos which are much more extreme than anything he’d do on a Mastodon album nowadays. As far as the attitude of the album goes, when you listen to songs like “Draw Back A Stump”, “Drinking And Driving”, “Wasted Youth” and “Get The Fuck Off My Lawn”, you can tell that this band’s only goal really is having fun and unleashing a pure, unadulterated, furious punk rock energy, and if you like angry, fast music that’s played well, this is the record for you.
One thing I’d like to mention is that this review is not going to be very long because when it was released I did an extensive review of it for my friends at Sojourners Indecisive, which you can view HERE.
If you’re reading this and you’re a fan of heavy music, you’ve probably already, if not heard this record, you’ve at least read a ton of reviews of it. Just in case you haven’t heard it, all you need to know is that it’s the best album to be released this year without question. The thing that makes it so good to me is the fact that they are able to seamlessly mix their signature style of huge, epic guitar riffs with an incredibly unique, previously unexplored style that’s incredibly hard to label as anything other than beautiful rock music.
In my review for Sojourners Indecisive, I said the album is like a rollercoaster and I firmly believe that’s the best way to describe it honestly thanks to sounds like “Take My Bones Away” and “Sea Lungs” which both feature amazing upbeat rock n’ roll riffs only to have the vibe change completely with songs like “Little Things” and “Eula” which have more of an indie/psychedelic vibe to them. This album features two discs and like the songs on each that vary in style and delivery, both discs also have a different sound with Yellow being more upbeat and Green more indie influenced. The bottom line on this album is that it’s a HUGE step in a new direction for the band and I feel it’s one that’s going to change their career path from underground heroes to rock n’ roll legends, a transformation not unlike their friends and fellow Georgia natives Mastodon and Kylesa have undergone and they definitely deserve every accolade they are going to receive.
One cool thing about this blog is that I’m occasionally sent music to review that completely blows my mind and leaves me no choice but to write about it. This album from Black Cowgirl is definitely one of those albums. Black Cowgirl are a rock n’ roll band from Lancaster, Pa who feature a sound very similar to Clutch and as well as their instrumental side project The Company Band. This debut full length of theirs is actually two old E.P.s combined to create one full album of incredibly solid, groovy, monstrous riff after monstrous riff.
When the albums opener “Talk Of Wolves” begins, one thing becomes incredibly evident, guitarist/vocalist Ben Mcguire’s voice sounds eerily similar to Chris Cornell-not the whiny douche Cornell has morphed into today, mind you, it’s more like the Cornell of the debut Audioslave album and Soundgarden’s heyday. Once I got past the grungy vocals on the album, the other thing that struck me is the super bluesy, southern-fried, almost funky guitar riffs courtesy of Mcguire and fellow guitarist Nate Rosenzweig. In fact, if you were listening to this album without knowing anything about the band, you might assume they are from Arkansas, Alabama, or Georgia, not Pennsylvania. Another fact worth noting is that their drummer is Mark Hanna, previously of the awesome band Backwoods Payback.
The first song I heard from these guys, and undoubtedly the one that got me hooked, is “Weigh Of Oblivion” which features an awesome, guitar heroey intro that reminds me alot of bands I heavily adore like Kyuss and Fu Manchu, but you can tell that their main influence is Clutch as far as guitar tone and tone and whatnot is concerned. Aside from the obvious influences, another band they remind me of with their grungy vocals laid over a furious rock n’ roll sound, is a band called Kings Destroy who, like Clutch and Black Cowgirl, are from the north yet they proudly sport a decidedly southern sound. If you are looking for bad ass rock music with a bluesy swing, these guys are definitely worth a listen. You can check them out on Facebook HERE and you can purchase their music on itunes or listen to it HERE.
I still remember the exact moment I became a fan of this band. It was at a show in Monroe, La with a band called Thumbscrew. I specifically remember being blown away by how technically proficient they were, but the thing I really remember was when their vocalist Casey Hansen said “hello Louisiana, we are Gaza from Salt Lake City, Utah and I hope you guys aren’t pissed we stole your basketball team”, the best part of that story is that I was literally the only person in the crowd who even had an idea what he was talking about.
As far as the music on the album goes, these guys started out as a chaotic “mathcore” band and have progressed mightily since their infantile stages, in fact I’d say they have added quite a bit of doom to their repertoiree because there are some riffs on this album that are absolutely preposterously heavy. If I had to pigeon-hole Gaza into a particular genre I would call them doomy mathcore sludge grind…confusing right? That’s the thing, though the album is incredibly heavy, the speed and style with which each song and riff is delivered varies quite a bit on the album, always managing to keep you on your toes wondering what they’re going to do next.
One thing about Gaza that I’ve never understood is how underrated they are, these guys are like the John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek of the metal community and hopefully with the release of their third super solid album in a row these guys will finally get some well-earned recognition.
Man, I’ve been waiting quite a while to hear this album and I must say, it was totally worth the wait. This is Nachtmystium’s sixth full length studio album and their third for Century Media. Their last two albums for Century Media were part of a series called “Black Meddle” in which the band, who are traditionally black metal, added a heavy psychedelic Pink Floyd vibe to their music that created a deliciously unique sound. For the new record, however, the band went back to their straightforward black metal ways, however, there are certainly some awesome twists and turns.
One thing I’ve noticed about the sound of Nachtmystium aside from a heavy black metal influence, is the fact that they have many different influences and a few of them, particularly their love for post-rock and classic rock came out on this album. Though they didn’t use “Black Meddle” in the title of the album, when you listen to songs like “Decimation, Annihilation” and “Silencing Machine” you can definitely hear some weird noises courtesy of keyboardist/producer extraordinaire Sanford Parker that give you the sensation of tripping on ecstasy in a dungeon trying to avoid being tortured at all cost.
Overall, I feel like Blake Judd and company came out and produced an incredibly solid record that mixes awesome, furious black metal with some very cool sounds and styles to create one of the more unique black metal albums you’ll hear all year, and honestly, I think that just because it doesn’t have Meddle int he name, doesn’t mean it’s not super creative.
So far 2012 seems to be the year of thrash, man. So far we’ve gotten killer releases from Overkill, Kreator and Municipal Waste, as well as Bonded By Blood so with the release of Testament’s tenth album “Dark Roots Of Earth”, it appears the winning streak will continue.
Testament are one of my favorite thrash bands of all time and definitely deserve to be recognized alongside the other huge names of the genre as one of the greatest. Their newest album “Dark Roots Of Earth” is the follow up to 2008′s masterpiece “The Formation Of Damnation”. The album features all of the band’s signature elements like Chuck Billy’s legendary voice as well as the guitar work of Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson- a duo that I consider to be one of the greatest of all time-the album also features Mean Gene Hoglan on drums for the first time in 15 years. As far as the actual songs on the album go, I wasn’t big on the song “Native Blood” when I first heard it, but after listening in the context of the album it’s an absolute monster. I also really like the song “Dark Roots Of Earth” for it’s old school “New Order” vibe, in fact, it’s not the only song on the album with an old school vibe, the song “A Day In The Death” starts out with a great bassline from original bassist Greg Christian and then proceeds to unleash an epic old school thrash attack. Aside from awesome old school thrash songs, the album features an incredible cover of Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” where Chuck Billy puts his own touch on the vocals and creates absolute magic.
Honestly, if I had never heard of Testament and were walking through a record store and saw this album cover, I would buy it immediately based on the cover and title alone. I really shouldn’t have to convince you to buy a Testament album because it features their original lineup of Skolnick, Billy, Christian, and Peterson playing super awesome thrash with Gene Hoglan on drums and there’s not much else to say.
I’ve been trying to expand my site and it’s reach by including some new writers. I’ve already gotten guest posts by members of local band Black Market Ministry, as well as favorite albums of the year so far lists by a few different local bands. So far there has been very little indie music represented on my site, today that all changes with five reviews by Ali Hijazi of Flea Circus and Gatorbait of his favorite(and not so favorite) albums of the last couple of years. If you would also like to contribute a list, show review, or interview to my site, please feel free to contact me at my Facebook page. Thanks so much for reading.
What an apt title for this album! It’s like Stephen Merritt understood that what he was doing with this endeavor was taking our collective love for the Magnetic Fields, putting that love on a huge boat, and driving it straight into a fucking iceberg. Maybe James Cameron will make a shitty movie about this shipwreck in 100 years.
The Magnetic Fields are one of my favorite bands, they really are; but when I put this album on for the first time in my car, I almost drove head first into another vehicle, just to avoid listening to this abortion. I’m not even going to go into specifics about tracks on this album. They’re all equally horrific.
I was pretty stoked when “Distortion” came out a couple of years ago, and it was pretty good. Then Merritt released “Realism,” which was listenable and had a few good tracks. But I honestly haven’t listened to “Love at the Bottom of the Sea” more than twice. I can’t. It makes me sad.
If you just have to go out and buy something by The Magnetic Fields, don’t buy this unfortunate record, pick up the reissue of “The Wayward Bus / Distant Plastic Trees.” At least that will serve a purpose other than Frisbee.
Back in 2010 (I think) I was playing some kind of synthy keyboard with this semi-local band called Gashcat. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros came through Shreveport, LA and we got to open for them. I’d heard them a little bit, I wasn’t a huge fan but a lot of their stuff was really catchy. And it’s always nice to be able to play with a relatively popular band.
So we get to the venue, and everything was pretty normal at first. We got to have some free food and drinks, and just kind of hang out until the show. But then the weirdest things started happening. The tour bus didn’t just pull up; it floated in from the sky like some sort of P-Funk album cover. There was smoke and lights and everything. It was insane.
Then all of the members of the band rode off of the bus on hoverbikes and rode to the side of the venue. My friend looked at me and said, “Dude, I didn’t realize they were time-travelling hippies.” Just then a robot leprechaun leapt out of the bus, pulled a switchblade on my friend, and said, “Say it one more time mother fucker.” Needless to say, he did not, in fact say it one more time.
The magic kind of settled down at that point and we loaded in our equipment. As soon as we were done playing, we moved our gear off stage and took it back to our cars. When we walked back in, All of the Zeros equipment was already on stage. It was like they teleported it there. I assumed that it was actually the robot Leprechauns though; because, well, that just makes more sense.
They played a pretty good show with the exception of convincing everyone to sit on the disgusting floor where I was watching cockroaches fuck. I guess they used some kind of hippie mind power to convince everyone to do this. Obviously, I was unaffected.
When they left, the guy and girl that sing hopped on the bus, stuck their arms out of each side of the bus, and began flapping them. The bus rose into the air, and vanished in a flash of white light. We all sat around and had another soda, then drove back to Monroe. “Here” is pretty good if you like hippie indie rock.
When I was in elementary school, I had this classmate named Ryan. He grew his bangs out super long and he’d slick them to the back of his head. I’m not certain what his current occupation is, but it is most definitely not writing and recording exceptional alt-country music.
The new Ryan Adams album, Ashes and Fire, is great. It’s everything you’d expect from him. There aren’t a great deal of standout tracks on it like his “Heartbreaker” album, but still very good, nonetheless.
Once, in elementary school, Ryan jump kicked the door open and got detention on the first day of 6th grade. That seems like as good a note as any to end this record review.
The first time my friend played Jens Lekman’s “Night Falls Over Kortedala” for me, I promptly punched him in the dick. Primarily for not playing it for me sooner, but also because I realized that nothing was ever going to sound that good to me ever again. He essentially ruined music for me. My wife and I had just split up, and the songs on that record made me realize that there was a whole world outside of punk rock and heavy metal. Black Flag can only be so comforting. I quickly acquired everything else Jens Lekman had to offer.
Now there’s a new E.P. And it’s very good. All of the tracks. Every one. Perhaps I’m a little biased, but who gives a fuck? That’s why you’re reading this. For a biased opinion. Most people I play Jens Lekman for look at me questioningly and ask me what the fuck is wrong with me. But some people love him. If you love him, this album is for you. If not, grow up. My suggestion for getting the optimum experience out of listening to this record is to slowly alienate your wife for a period of no less than 3 months, then when she leaves you, put this record on your turntable. Don’t worry, Jens will make it better.
I was listening to the new Andrew Bird record the other day when it occurred to me: If 29-year-old Ali walked up to 19-year-old Ali with a picture of Andrew Bird and one of his records, 19-year-old Ali would call me a pussy. He would look at me with his sneer, leather jacket, and spiked mohawk, and ask me just what the fuck happened. I’d try to explain that sometimes we just grow up, and the Exploited’s “Sex and Violence” just doesn’t have the same luster that it once did. I’d try to explain that, though I’ll still put on a Dead Kennedys record, I’ll more likely put on “The Queen is Dead.”
19-year-old Ali would probably get angry. He might even threaten me because he’d be scared of what he’d become. If he took a swing at me, I’d probably block it and then beat the shit out of him. I’d remind him that, though he is younger than me, I have more experience hurting stupid punk rockers. I might even put a scar on his head and then be left with some sort of Timecop situation, where a scar generates on my 29-year-old body. But I digress.
Below is a flow chart about whether or not you’ll like this record.
In my quest to get caught up on my reviews, i’ve decided to review my favorite releases from the month of May. I didn’t realize this until now, but there weren’t alot of big releases in the month of May at all, however, the albums that were released that i’m spotlighting today are all incredible and worth your time. Check them out, also, don’t forget to check out my Facebook page.
This album is Cattle Decap’s seventh studio album, and their fifth released by Metal Blade Records. Usually deathgrind bands get horribly stale after two or three albums and they never make it near as long as Cattle Decap has. After listening to this album, I can tell you that not only are these guys not stale, they are actually at the peak of their career and this is the best album they’ve ever released. The album contains plenty of songs full of your standard grind with brutal death metal vocals, particularly tracks like “Forced Gender Reassignment”, and “Gristle Licker”, but the area where this album really earns it’s keep are Travis Ryan’s newfound “melodic” vocals. To understand what I mean by melodic, I mean disturbing and completely horrifying. You really have to hear these songs for yourself to get what I mean, the ones that stand out the most are “A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat”, and “Your Disposal”, and “Dead Set On Suicide”, when you couple the “melodic” parts with the creative, non-generic riffing, you have an album that, in my opinion, is a serious contender for metal album of the year. How Travis Ryan and the boys managed to release such a devastating album this late in their career is both refreshing, and a little baffling.
Horseback are a band from North Carolina, led by a genius named Jenks Miller, they are signed to Relapse Records so naturally you’d think they would be a death metal band of some sort, however, they are the farthest thing from metal you can get. When you listen to Horseback’s first new album for Relapse, you can’t help but notice that this is one of the more unique albums you’ll hear all year. The record has seven tracks, 3 of them, “Mithras”, “Ahriman”, and “Arjuna”, have an upbeat 70′s psychedelic rock vibe to them, however, the vocals are more growled in a black metal type tone, kind of like The Moody Blues fronted by Varg Vikernes. The other 4 songs on the album are more just instrumental weirdness, particularly on the track “Inheritance (The Changeling)” which features a wide array of droning noises and various instruments and sounds. The last 3 songs on the album are all part of a trilogy called “Hallucigenia”, they are all instrumental and when listened to together could work as the soundtrack to a nature documentary about a lizard being born, and then being eaten by it’s mother hours after being hatched. To say this album is weird is an understatement, but thanks to a few hints of black metal with some noise and old school psychadelic rock vibes thrown in for flavor, this album just gets better with each listen.
When the third album by Tenacious D, the acoustic rock band formed by Jack Black and Kyle Gass, it starts with the lyrics “When the pick of destiny was released, it was a bomb and all the critics said that The D was done”. Though I personally LOVE “The Pick Of Destiny”, pretty much everyone that reviewed it hated it, therefore with their third album, The D set out to rebuild their reputation as the greatest rock n roll band in the world. Though there are a few songs on this album that are specifically meant to show that The D aren’t dead, there are also plenty of songs on this album that continue their legacy of goofy, snarky, vulgar rock n’ roll anthems. Some of the themes covered on the album are easy women/food (Low Hangin Fruit), the environment/living in a Death Star in space (Deth Starr), the life of a roadie (Roadie), and the death of rock n’ roll (Rock Is Dead). Though every song and skit on this album are pretty epic/humorous, there are two songs on this album that stick out the most to me, particularly the incredibly epic “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage” which tells a humorous tale about the band, the other is “39″ which is easily the most humorous thing Jack Black has done in years. Simply put, if you like The D but aren’t sure if this album is good, just know that “the fiery heart of a champion cannot be quelched”.
Mutilation Rites are a fairly new band to the us black metal scene, releasing their first demo around 2010. I listened to this album based on all the hype surrounding these guys after quite a few demo’s released last year, but one thing I can say for sure is that, though their style is frequently imitated, these guys aren’t just a johnny-come-lately black metal band, you can feel a genuine sense of anger in these songs. The minute this album starts it’s full of vile, crusty, euro black metal and it very rarely stops to breathe, and when it does, even those breaths are vile and full of toxic fumes. As someone who likes to write about music, i’ve always found black metal a little more difficult to write about than most genre’s because it all, for the most part, sounds the same and this album is no different. I will say, however, that you can tell a difference between european black metal and american black metal, and most of the time it is found in the production value which is pretty raw and crusty, but solid enough to bring out every nuance of every instrument. This album is incredibly angry, not very catchy, and you can tell these guys listen to plenty of Black Flag and Cro-Mags along with their Darkthrone and Bathory records. I would say that this is one of the more enjoyable black metal albums i’ve heard all year and certainly worth giving a listen to.
First of all, i’m going to just let you know one thing about this album in advance, it is most certainly one of the best albums to be released in 2012. Royal Thunder are another band from Savannah, Ga, a town which has singlehandedly given birth to some of the biggest names in the hard rock/metal scene currently. This is their first full length album for Relapse and it, alongside Christian Mistress, and Horseback, is going to be marketed to heavy metal fans, but it’s much much much more than just a metal record. The foundation of this album is laid firmly on classic sounding hard rock, but it also features a heavy dose of the blues, psychedelia, and the kind of grooves that make you wanna fire up a doobie, crank up your camaro, and cruise 90-to-nothing through the desert. The album has a few songs which are slower and more psychedelic in nature like “Blue” and “Drown”, but the songs where you really get your money’s worth are tracks like the foot-stomping banger “Whispering World”. The other songs on this album that will make you want to drink some whiskey and make bad decisions are the bluesy “Shake And Shift”, and the slow-building “South Of Somewhere”. This album is, in my opinion, the quintessential rock n roll album of 2012 and should be getting heavy play on rock radio across the country, but they’ll have to settle for being on pretty much every best of 2012 list you can find at the end of the year instead.
Listen, man, chances are if you’re reading this review, you already know that this album rules, or you at least know what Saint Vitus sounds like and know that they’re awesome, therefore, instead of wasting your time trying to convince you to check this album out, i’m going to celebrate how awesome it is. Finally Saint Vitus have returned with their long awaited eighth studio album, which is kind of funny because they’ve been around for over 30 years, even more amazing is the fact that this is their first album with Wino on vocals in 22 years. The album only features 7 songs, and one of the tracks (Vertigo) is an acoustic interlude while another (Withdrawal), is just a feedback-laden guitar solo of sorts, however, the five actual songs on this album are serious slabs of traditional doom aided by the powerful drumming of new recruit Henry Vazquez, as well as Wino’s epic vocals and Dave Chandler’s revolutionary guitar playing. When you break this album down track by track, you’ll realize when you come across songs like “Let Them Fall” and “Blessed Night” that these are some of the best songs this band has ever recorded. In fact, when you listen to the riff that kicks in at the 4:20 mark of “The Bleeding Ground”, you realize that not only are Saint Vitus back with an incredibly solid return album, but they are actually still one of the best doom bands going today and this album further cements that legacy. Do yourself a favor and listen to this album super loud under the influence and headbang like it’s 1986.
I know you’re wondering why i’m reviewing albums from the last two weeks of April in mid June, but the thing is, I got incredibly behind and am just now beginning to catch up on my reviews in time to do a “best of 2012 so far” list next week, so this post is what I consider the first step towards progress. Be sure and check out these albums if you haven’t already, and stay tuned for reviews from the entire month of May later this week.
Chances are, if you aren’t a fan of Dragonforce’s music, you have at least played their song “Through the Fire and Flames” on Guitar Hero III and had a moderate amount of fun. With the release of “The Power Within”, Dragonforce are back to make every person who’s ever picked up a guitar feel hopeless again, and whether or not you’re a fan, you have to admit that these guys shred. When I first put this album on, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but when I heard songs like “Die By The Sword”, “Fallen World”, and “Cry Thunder”, I knew that not only had Dragonforce released a solid record, but it’s actually one of the best albums in their discography. Gone are former vocalist Zp Theart’s overly dramatic vocals, and in their place, new singer Marc Hudson actually sounds like a real power metal vocalist and gives the album a ton of credibility. I’m very glad to see that Dragonforce were able to regroup after Theart’s departure and put together a solid album. The rhythms and solo’s on this album are just as fast as ever, but there is alot more substance to these songs, and if you are a fan of Dragonforce, or power metal in general, this album is most certainly worth your time.
If you aren’t familiar with the band 16, all you really need to know is that these guys are what it would sound like if you mixed the musicianship and anger of bands like Unsane and Helmet, combined them with what it would sound like to overdose on meth, and add on ten pounds of toxic sludge. The first thing you’ll notice that all the songs on this album have in common is that the riffs are all very catchy and incredibly heavy, and their lyrics are incredibly deperessing. You can tell all of the songs on this album are taken from personal experiences, specifically drug overdoses and possibly domestic violence due to song titles like “Theme From ‘Pilpopper’”, “Her Little “Accident”", and “Ants In My Bloodstream”. This album definitely isn’t a feel good hit of the summer, but if you’re looking for something super heavy and incredibly entertaining, “Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds” is definitely worth a shot.
Bereft are a supergroup of sorts featuring Sacha Dunable of Intronaut/Graviton, Charles Elliott of Abysmal Dawn, Derek Rydquist of The Faceless/The Taste Of Blood, and Derek Donley of National Sunday Law/Graviton. When I first heard about this band, I was very excited, but unsure what genre they were going to gravitate towards…as it turns out, they turned towards the heaviest, sludgiest, most depressing style possible. This album is very short, however, it is certainly full of some of the heaviest riffs you’ll hear all year, specifically on songs like “The Coldest Orchestra” and “Withered Efflorescence”. There are many qualities about this album that make it a fantastic listen, but I would say one of it’s strongest weapons are the death metal-twinged vocals of Charles Elliott bellowed over riffs that are just as heavy and crushing as his vocals. If you are a fan of doom metal, this album is ESSENTIAL listening and will be widely considered one of the best albums of the year when it’s all said and done.
Paradise Lost are a legendary gothic/doom metal band and though they’ve been more gothic than doom lately, with the release of their 13th studio album “Tragic Idol”, they have revisited some old tricks and shown they are just as relevant as ever. The thing about this album that I noticed immediately is that the sound is much doomier than they’ve sounded in quite a while. You can tell that Gregor Mackintosh’s time with Vallenfyre helped ignite his fire for playing super heavy riffs because they are all over this album. Thanks to songs like “Fear Of Impending Hell”, “Honesty In Death” and “In This We Dwell”, Paradise Lost have managed to craft an incredibly heavy, yet super catchy slab of doom that works perfectly along the other albums in their discography. Also, if you’ve never heard Paradise Lost before, this album is definitely worth checking out for it’s huge, doomy riffs, and it’s creative songwriting, but you’d still be better off listening to “Gothic” first.
Prong are one of the few bands who managed to be relevant in both the thrash metal scene of the 80′s as well as the grunge rock scene of the 90′s. Thanks to the excellent guitar playing of Tommy victor, Prong has always had a very unique sound that has heavily featured bonecrushing groove and transceneded both genres, and managed to perfectly mix them together. With the release of “Carved Into Stone”, Prong have unleashed a bloodthirsty slab of thrashy, groove-oriented songs, in fact, songs like “Eternal Heat”, and “Revenge Best Served Cold” are two of the best songs of the bands career, particularly “Revenge” which is the catchiest song i’ve heard all year and would fit perfectly on “Cleansing” right after “Whose Fist Is This Anyway?”. This album is very cool and it’s not one that you merely put on one time and then never listen to again because it’s incredibly heavy like a good hard rock album should be, but it’s also completely infectious, and impossible to stop listening to with songs that stay stuck in your head for days.
Torche are one of those bands that come along every once in a while who are able to constantly change styles and evolve with each new album, yet never ever issue a letdown. With the release of “Harmonicraft”, their first album for Volcom, Torche have once again approached their craft from a new angle and managed to knock it out of the park again. Like their last full length album, “Meanderthal”, this album is full of incredibly fuzzy guitars and a style that has been called “thunder pop” for it’s fast-paced speed and incredibly fuzzed out guitar sound, specifically on the song “Kicking”. One cool thing about this album is that it’s also incredibly adventurous and daring, specifically on tracks with pop punk swagger like “Walk It Off” and “Letting Go”, as well as the southern rock boogie of “Reverse Inverted” and whatever the hell genre you’d consider “Snakes Are Charmed” to fall under. One of the band’s real secret weapons is their new lead guitarist Andrew Elstner whose influence really shines on songs like “Snakes Are Charmed”, “Sky Trials”, and “Harmonicraft”, all of which feature breathtaking guitar acrobatics. I really think “Harmonicraft” is one of the best albums to be released this year, and honestly, it sets a great example for other bands that you can branch out from your comfort zone without selling out and making awful music.
Man, this album is the winner for eeriest album of the year, seriously. With the release of the 5th Woods Of Ypres album, founding member David Gold managed to craft an epic monster of an album that leans less on black metal and more on genre’s like viking and doom metal as well as a bit of progressive metal thrown in for good measure. The album also features many songs with lyrics that focus on death, specifically tracks like “Keeper Of The Ledger”, and “Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)”. The thing that makes this album so eerie is the fact that David Gold died in a car wreck in Canada four or five months before the release of this album. Though it’s incredibly sad that David Gold died right before releasing his best album, I feel that he left behind a wonderful musical legacy, and the lyrical theme of this album makes it hit home much harder than many other albums that deal with the same topics. If you’re at all interested in hearing someone who’s passed away singing about death over incredibly heavy, doomy riffs, this album is definitely worth checking out and it’s very unique to say the least.
This week i’ve been very busy and haven’t had time to work on any new release reviews, however, my good friend Duane Berry was able to come up with a couple of reviews of great albums that are certainly worth checking out.
Prepare for the onslaught. The publicity onslaught that is. The release of the solo Jack White recording is going to generate a ton of press, and deservedly so. This record is good. Way good. It’s not a put all the albums/cds/tapes you own in a pile and napalm them cause you won’t be needing them anymore kind of good, but it is very, very good. And electric. It’s good enough that it should land in anybody’s top 5 list of best releases of the year. Feast your ears on this and you will find yourself ready to elect Jack White President, Dictator and King of the new groove.
Some recordings have to grow on you, maybe after 3 or 4 listens you have bought into them. Not this one. First listens are like first impressions, they mean a lot. And this one delivers a great first impression. Without being encumbered by Ex Wife Meg, who could never keep up with him on the drums, or Alison Mosshart of Dead Weather trying to steal the spotlight, Jack White comes into clear view as the most imaginative rock star to come along in quite a while.
The discipline that gets you to such lofty status shows in massive chunks here. This is actually closer to ” Get Behind Me satan ” White Stripes, than anything he has released since. It is full of electric rock, country, blues, some honkytonk and even some Beatles-y moments of psychedelic distortion that has become a staple in the new experimental Nashville rock sound pioneered by White. The White Stripes had a certain atmosphere that was way out in the stratosphere of cool. That is not here. What is here is a driven sound that comes from great songs that are sometimes out of place in this slickly produced iphone world. This alone propels White to a new level of cool.
” Sixteen Saltines ” will be a track that gets a lot of attention. ” She doesn’t know but when she’s gone, I’m gonna sit and drink a few. I know she’s drinking too but I’m wondering for what and who”. The song ends with ” Who’s jealous, who’s jealous, who’s jealous, who’s jealous of who ?”. On ” Love Interruption ” It opens with the lines ” I want love to roll me over slowly, stick a knife inside me and twist it all around “. Then closes with ” I want love to change my friends to enemies, change my friends to enemies and show me how it’s all my fault “. Some real deep seeded painful thoughts that most people are too ashamed or scared to express. Not Jack White. It is motivation like that from deep within that keeps him moving way ahead of the pack, and music fans coming back for more.
His music is the embodiment of the bayou. Dr.John, real name Malcolm John Michael Creaux ” Mac ” Rebennack. Ok, Dr.John for short. His career was formed in LA by LA musicians. Funny thing is, it was in 1965 in Los Angeles and not in his home state, Louisiana.What he is best known for is that New Orleans drawl, funky rhythms, catchy piano melodies and gumbo ya ya lyrics, but those are not his strong suit. Srsly.
He is the energizer bunny of music. I saw him at Jazzfest jammin with the Neville Brothers and banners of 3 other locations he would be playing at that same week. The fact that I saw him come onstage with Widespread Panic and leave to as much noise as Panic fans could muster, and that’s a lot, says something about his mass appeal and longevity. Face it, the man is 71 years old, and getting better. How is that possible, is it some sort of mysterious reverse voodoo thing or what ??. More like he keeps reinventing himself like he has done on his latest release.
Going down this path with him is one of the best production, songwriting talents in music today. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. And this time, recorded in Nashville, not New Orleans. Such shifts are a guarantee of better things to come. Especially with the new rock groove happening in studios all over the Music City these days. This recording has a modern, earthy sound that in no way reminds you of the influences of Professor Longhair or Fats Domino or other Big Easy legends. This is the sound of tricknology children. Coming up behind you, fading no more. And tricknology is HEAVY.
The creative structure of Auerbach spared no creative avenues to bring forth the sound on this disc. The interesting thing is, no Patrick Carney, Keys drummer. What they did do was bring in some fresh sounds from Max Weissenfeldt, Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Brian Olive and the McCrary Sisters. All are accomplished in their own right, but not overdone burnt out studio professionals that are heard on every other record coming down the pike. There goes that fresh energetic thing again.
There are some epic instrumental breakdowns on this disc. The sax on ” Big Shot ” is like being hit with a big burst of joy. ” Ain’t never was, never gonna be, Another Big Shot like me, I’m the Big Shot, layin in the cut for you to see “. That’s the tricknology re-invented Doctors swag. And it’s personal.
On the title cut, it opens with ” Lived reckless for so long, justice system bust me wrong. Future stretched out like a rubber check. Dealin from the bottom of the deck, might make it home to the projects “. We hear the good side on My Children, My Angels. “Love ya’ll, aint nothin you can do about that. One is too many, billions ain’t never enough. Don’t take the easy road, there’s no shortcuts”.
And finally on God’s Sure Good, ” He showed me how to live and let live, And I’m so thankful, the breath of life He gives me, A better way, a better day. God knows I’m OK, God’s sure good. “
Maybe there is something to this tricknology thing, I sure hope to find out more as Auerbach and the good Doctor lead us down this path
This week was super busy for new metal releases, but most of them were mediocre mainstream bands like Demon Hunter, Job For A Cowboy, and Emmure. I decided to spotlight the main three new releases of the week that are actually worth your time. Also, don’t forget that you can stay updated with new release reviews and posts by checking out my Facebook page.
Municipal Waste are a band that I believe to be a rare breed, due to them being a fairly young thrash/crossover band that doesn’t reek at all of the boring thrash revival bands that are huge these days. Their new album “The Fatal Feast” is their sixth lp and first for Nuclear Blast records, but instead of landing on a major label like Nuclear Blast and releasing a medicore album like alot of bands, they have released one of their best albums, and one that will certainly rank high in their discography.
The cool thing about this album is that, though the album cover and sub-title “Waste In Space” hint that there is an outer space theme to the record, it is more of a collection of sixteen songs and one intro that really tell their own story. The album begins with the intro “Waste In Space” which features a brilliant sci-fi soundscape crafted by Zombi mastermind Steve Moore. After the otherwordly intro, the album kicks out song after song of crossover thrash madness with themes like political corruption, zombies, drinking too much, and a guy with a vomit problem. The album eventually kicks back into the space theme with it’s finest track “The Fatal Feast”. The song begins with more sci-fi weirdness from Steve Moore that’s similar to the intro, and then bassist Phil Hall comes in with a menacing bassline that leads into a story about traveling through space and cannibalism in a very unique manner by lead singer and comedic genius Tony Foresta, the song also features guest vocals by Nuclear Assault vocalist John Connelly which rules. The thing about “The Fatal Feast” an awesome album is the fact that the album has a very raw, punk rock production to it, which means it isn’t very heavy, but there’s just something about a thrash album with Dave witte on drums that bangs the heat that doesn’t bang, and when you add on the creative riffs of guitarist Ryan Waste, and the genius story-telling of Tony Foresta, they combine to create absolute magic.
“Fatal Feast” is the waste’s first album in a few years, and I have to say, it’s worth the wait for sure and will rank next to the new Overkill as one of the best thrash albums of the year. When you put on a Municipal Waste album, you kind of already know what you are getting yourself into, and though this album won’t gain the band a gaggle of new followers, it’s definitely going to put a smile on the faces of their diehard fans for sure. “The Fatal Feast” is the perfect album to listen to on road trips, or when you’re slamming back brews with your friends, contemplating how you’ll survive the zombie apocalypse.
Since signing with Southern Lord Records in 2009 and putting out an ep and full length, Pelican have been relatively quiet in the last few years. Fortunately, the intrumental giants are back with a new ep and it sees the band virtually at the height of their creativity.
Upon turning on the new Pelican ep, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I am pleasantly surprised with the this album. One of the main curveballs on this album is the opener “Ataraxia” which has an overt sci-fi theme and actually reminds me a bit of Zombi, but with acoustic guitars mixed in. After the intro, however, the album begins to pick up with a more brisk pace thanks to the energetic song, and my favorite on the album, “Lathe Biosas” which features a guitar-style i’ve never really heard from Pelican before, which has a cool guitar-driven indie rock sound a la Built To Spill, but clearly has the signature Pelican stamp on it. The third song on the album “Parasite Colony” features more of the traditional Pelican post-metal sound and reminds me alot of their earlier material on albums like “The Fire In Our Throat Will Beckon The Thaw” and “City Of Echoes”. The final song on the album “Taraxis” begins with a soft, upbeat acoustic riff and continues with that pace for quite awhile before they unleash more heaviness. I know it’s lame to breakdown each track of this album, but the thing is, these guys have worked very hard to craft a sound that’s difficult to pin down to one specific genre, and this album is a perfect example of that as it mixes together quite a few styles that give it both a familar sound to longtime fans of the band, but it also seems to be a welcome mat to people who have never heard them before.
Overall, this album is definitely one of the better instrumental albums you’ll hear all year, in fact, my only complaint about it is, like the Inverloch album above, it’s entirely too short. Also like the Inverloch album, i’m really hoping that the release of this ep will give way to a proper full length from these guys, because I think an entire album of this mixture of styles they have put forth on “Ataraxia” would certainly be album of the year material.
Inverloch are a band formed from the ashes of legendary funeral doom band dISEMBOWELMENT. Dusk…Subside is their debut album from Relapse Records, and though it’s only three songs long and lasts about 23 minutes, this album is as devastating a mixture of doom and death as you’ll find all year.
If you’ve never heard dISEMBOWELMENT, then this review may not mean anything to you, but if you have heard them, then you’ll understand why this album is so awesome. There aren’t many bands out there that go from playing atmospheric, sludgy, doom to blistering, brutal death metal so effortlessly. The album opener “Within Frozen Beauty” starts out very slowly with a two minute build up, and then goes completely apeshit for about 2 minutes before a pause, then launches into a style of death metal more atmospheric and reminiscent of Ulcerate. From the time the crazy death metal riffs stop on “Frozen Beauty”, the album takes on a much slower, atmospheric, doomy pace that lasts all through track number two “The Menin Road”. When track three “Shadows Of The Flame” begins slowly, you kind of wonder if the death metal portion was only reserved for the first track, when all of a sudden it appears again like a wild zubat, from there the album goes back into a slower, doomier sound that will definitely wreck your neck.
It’s not very often I review albums that are so short that I can go over every track’s nuances without going on for five paragraphs. Though the record is incredibly short, don’t let it fool you; it’s full of mindnumbingly technical death metal riffs coupled with huge, towering doom riffs, with a little bit of atmosphere thrown in for flavor. I’m really into this album and I hope that they release a full length album soon, preferably this year, because the brutal mixture of death and doom on this album hearken back to their dISEMBOWELMENT days and it has definitely whetted my appetite for more.
As you are probably aware, today is Easter, which is a very important holiday to me, and I wanted to pay tribute in my own way by randomly reviewing an album by a band who is arguably one of the greatest christian metal bands of all time. I love thrash, death, doom, and black metal as much as the next metal head, but I also grew up on bands like Living Sacrifice, Believer, Zao, and Extol and they have impacted me just as much, if not moreso than bands like Megadeth and Metallica, so allow me if you will, to gush about an album that fits the theme of Easter perfectly.
Living Sacrifice are a band from Little Rock, Arkansas, one of my favorite towns in the world that has a seemingly endless array of awesome bands. These guys have undergone many different changes in both sound and lineup over the years, in fact, when they first started, they were more thrash metal oriented and sounded alot like Slayer and Believer. Their first three albums were even produced by Kurt Bachman of Believer which also contributed alot to their sound. As the band grew, they became more death metal oriented and started to sound more like Obituary than Slayer, and with the release of 2000′s “The Hammering Process” they had taken on a completely new sound that leaned more towards Meshuggah.
I couldn’t tell you when or how I first discovered Living Sacrifice, but I do remember the day my dad took me to a christian book store to pick up this album. I will also never forget the way it felt the first time I heard this album. Unlike their past few albums that relied more on speed, “The Hammering Process” is an album crafted with an absolutely ridiculous amount of groove. Every song has a certain amount of technicality to it thanks to the newly-minted duo of Bruce Fitzhugh and Rocky Gray, but when you listen to songs like “Bloodwork”, you have to appreciate just how heavy and catchy the riffs on this album are. One song that really reminds me alot of early Meshuggah, and features a perfect mix of technical riffs with the groove of a bulldozer is the song “Local Vengeance Killing”. Aside from the groove this album has by the boatload, it also features an actual percussionist in “Matt Putman”, who alongside long-time drummer Lance Garvin create an almost tribal atmosphere at times which make it very easy to headbang to.
Naturally I was drawn to this album because of the intensely heavy riffs that still sound heavy and relevant even as I listen to them today, but the most important aspect of this album are the lyrics of vocalist Bruce Fitzhugh. The lyrics on this album deal with some heavy themes and when I was in high school and hated everybody, they were very poignant and became very meaningful to me. Words really can’t describe how important this band is to me as far as just being a man goes due to it’s uplifting lyrics and the confidence they instilled in me. The cool thing about Living Sacrifice is, they prove that it doesn’t matter what your spiritual beliefs are, when you encounter an album as heavy as “The Hammering Process” you almost have no choice but to bang your head approvingly.
There weren’t many albums that came out this week, however, the two in particular I chose to review today are both devastatingly crushing. Also, on a side note, the Conan album came out on April 2nd. Please check out both of these albums because they rule.
High On Fire are easily one of the most important bands to heavy music these days. They mix elements of thrash, punk, sludge, and stoner rock into a blender with vocals similar to Lemmy and out comes one of the heaviest records you’ll hear all year. This is their sixth album, and it’s their first to be produced by legendary Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, which means it’s got the heaviest tone this band has ever seen.
The first and only thing you really need to know about this album is that it is heavier than a woman who’s eaten nothing but cheesy potatoes for thirty years, and meaner than said woman when you call her a fatty and take her cheesy potatoes away. With that said, the album also features a few different elements that only started creeping their way into the HOF sound on 2010′s “Snakes For The Divine”, particularly on songs like “Samsara”, which is a bass-heavy instrumental track, as well as the super sludgy, title track “De Vermis Mysteriis”, also, the final track “Warhorn” which features a huge sludgy riff and one of Matt Pike’s best vocals performances ever. My personal favorite song on the album is “King Of Days” in which Pike absolutely lays down the law and shows why he’s one of the best guitarists in metal today. “De Vermis Mysteriis” also features your standard throwback Matt Pike riff-fests like “Serums Of Liao”, “Blood Knuckle”, “De Vermis Mysteriis”, and “Fertile Green” which begins with a very hypnotic tribal drum pattern courtesy of Des Kensel. All the tracks I just mentioned were thrown in to show you how divided the sounds on the album are, but the most important song is, for sure, the track “Madness Of An Architect”. This song is the first time i’ve heard a High On Fire album, where it’s evident Matt Pike toked up, and decided he wanted to crank out a riff that would make Sleep fans choke on their bong-water thanks to it’s huge, brooding, droney intro that leads up to one of Pike’s heaviest riffs ever, in fact, I want to go see them live just to see how they are able to recreate that preposterously violent riff that comes crashing in at the 1:51 mark…seriously…it’s absolutely deadly.
I have to be honest for a moment, the first few times I heard this album it just didn’t register with me for some reason, and didn’t hit quite the way the last few did upon first impact. But, like one of those paintings you have to stare at for an hour to see the hidden image in it, I finally started to get it, especially the song “Madness Of An Architect”, did I mention how heavy the riffs are on that song? If you’re a fan of High On Fire, or if you enjoy firing up a doobie and smashing your head into things, this album would be a perfect addition to your collection.
So I found out about this band by complete accident while reading a review of their album because it had a cool cover, and upon listening, I was instantly brought back to the days when I could discover bands and immediately fall wrecklessly in love with them. I’m not even going to act like I know anything about this band other than the band members’ names and what record label they are on, also, I believe they are from the UK, but I know this…upon first listen, this became one of my five favorite albums of the year…not even joking.
When I hear a band described as “crushing stoner/doom/drone”, I usually envision Electric Wizard soundalike tunes played by dudes with freshly purchased Neurosis and Isis shirts. The thing that separates this album from the usual Crowbar and Electric Wizard worship bands is that their music is played with a tone ten times heavier than those bands, and a groove unlike anything i’ve ever heard before. I know it sounds like i’m gushing about this album, and I totally am, because it totally kicks a ton of ass. The riffs on this album have a huge weight to them unlike anything i’ve ever heard before, and most bands with tone this heavy usually play at one speed, but the thing that makes this album cool is that it goes from slow and plodding, to a rumbling tank full of nuclear weapons, particularly on the song “Battle In The Swamp”, which also features a sweet southern boogie. The whole album really is full of these huge, devastating, tone-heavy riffs that bounce along perfectly with the spectacular drumming of Paul O’neil(not the yankees outfielder). Also, on the track “Headless Hunter” they show off their ability to craft a huge doom sound and, unlike the previous tracks on the album, it doesn’t bounce, it just kind of slowly simmers before erupting lava everywhere, it also features vocals that are much like a gregorian chant of destruction. Also, in the middle of the album, they feature the track “Golden Axe”, which has a riff that reminds me alot of Pelican, that moves slowly and would make the perfect soundtrack to a movie where someone is wandering alone in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
This really is one of those albums that you have to hear, to believe how incredibly good it is. There aren’t very many bands i’ve heard that remind me simultaneously of Down, Crowbar, Electric Wizard, Goatsnake, Yob, and Floor/Torche all in one band that doesn’t manage to rip any of them off blatantly. “Monnos” is a one-stop-shop for incredible doom riffs and it’s an absolute MUST HAVE if you listen to any type of heavy music. It doesn’t appear that the album will be released in the US until July 31st via Gravedancer records, but thanks to it’s release in the UK you can listen to it HERE.
I’ve been incredibly busy lately and it’s been hard to keep up a steady writing pace, but i’m really excited about this weeks crop of albums because all four of them are absolutely fantastic. Hopefully soon things will get back to normal and I will be able to finish my thrash bracket this weekend. Stay tuned, and please check out these awesome albums mentioned in this post.
Meshuggah are a band who doesn’t leave room for alot of grey area, it seems. People either absolutely adore them, completely despise them, or (like everyone i’ve played them for) just don’t get it. With the release of their seventh album “Koloss”, they are faced with their biggest challenge to date; their last album “obZen” came out in 2008 and completely spawned it’s own genre, and I don’t need to tell you that when you release an album that creates an entirely new genre, it’s difficult to follow that up.
Musically, Koloss is just as technical and complicated as previous Meshuggah albums, but the thing that sets it apart the most for me, is it’s incredibly simplistic approach. I’m not saying that they toned down the robotic technical prowess they displayed on previous albums like “obZen”, and “Nothing”, and even “Chaosphere”, but I can definitely tell they have gone with a less robotic approach to their music. There are no songs on this album like “Bleed” that just pound through with the same riff being played over and over for sure. The album features a few different approaches, specifically when you hear a song like “Behind The Sun” which features a super heavy riff played at a much slower pace than these titanic swedes are used to, then they launch into a song like “The Hurt That Finds You First” which is one of the faster songs they’ve written in years. There are a couple of songs on the album that have the same type of vibe as “obZen” however, namely “Swarm” and “The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance” which features an intro that reminds me of “Bleed” a little, but the album also throws back to “Chaosphere” a bit with songs like “The Hurt That Finds You First” which is insanely fast, but it also features a rogue snare drum which seems to chase you down a dark alley with a long machete in hand. In my opinion, the stand out track on this album is definitely “Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion, which got it’s name from a poem about revenge. There are no words for me to describe the main riff of this song except maybe that it sounds like having your head smashed repeatedly by an aluminum trash can, but honestly, you have to listen to it with headphones on to even understand what I mean by that.
Overall, I have to applaud Meshuggah for looking back on their previous accomplishments and instead of resting on their laurels, deciding to move forward with one of their most forward-thinking albums yet. Admittedly, i’m a HUGE fan of Meshuggah, so i’m kind of biased with my review, but if you are somebody who can listen to Meshuggah and enjoy them and what they do, this album is definitely worth your time.
Here’s the deal, man, as much as I want to write a super long, descriptive review of the new Overkill album, it doesn’t really need to have that much said about it. Simply put, this album is an absolute beast of a thrash album.
There’s been a huge thrash resurgence in the last few years, but not just with the big four; bands like Exodus, Testament, Mortal Sin, and Forbidden have all put out great releases in recent years, yet somehow Overkill has managed to keep up with all of them, especially the latest album by Anthrax which kind of blew, and lacked many important elements of their classic sound. Though “Electric Age” is Overkill’s sixteenth album, it contains every single bit of fury they’ve had on the fifteen albums before it, if not moreso, in fact, they seem to be on a huge winning streak lately, because their last album “Ironbound” was also fantastic. As far as standout tracks on this album go, there’s not one particular song on here that’s better than the others, but my favorites are definitely “Old Wounds,New Scars”, “Black Daze”, and “Electric Rattlesnake”. Each song on the album stands up nicely in the Overkill discography because they all feature Bobby Blitz’s legendary barking vocal style and D.D. Verni’s signature style of thrash with alot of groove and a bonecrushing pace, but, like Megadeth, they are able to keep a razor sharp edge thanks to their lineup, which is rounded out by the hotshot guitar duo of Dave Linsk, and Derek Tailer on guitar, and Ron Lipnicki on drums
I didn’t know what to expect from this album because I figured Overkill had kind of reached their peak and couldn’t outdo themselves anymore…boy was I wrong. It’s always nice to hear a legendary thrash band able to put out legit, relevant music these days, and Overkill have done just that with their new album, in fact, I can guarantee you this album will be on my top albums of the year list because it’s a bonecrusher from beginning to end and I just can’t get enough of it.
Black Breath are a band that’s been active in the underground metal scene for a few years now and they made a pretty big name for themselves with the release of their 2010 debut album “Heavy Breathing” on Southern Lord Records. Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with “Heavy Breathing”, but I decided to give their new album “Sentenced To Life” a chance despite it’s cheesy album cover, and i’m incredibly glad I did.
The thing about this album is that Black Breath play a very heavy style of hardcore/punk in the vein of Converge, but they play with the same type of pedal made famous by bands like Entombed and Dismember, so what would normally sound like a rip off of Converge, or The Hope Conspiracy ends up sounding like Dismember if they had an album produced by Kurt Ballou. The attack on this album is very straight forward, and the album isn’t very long, but something about that Entombed guitar sound just really gives me a huge boner for this album. The best song on this album, and the main reason I love it, is the track “Sentenced To Life” which has that Entombed guitar sound, but it’s got a fury you might find on a hardcore album and the “chorus” makes me pump my fist every time. My other favorite track on this album is “Home Of The Grave” which is more of a death metal oriented song, but it’s still got that Converge/Trap Them type fury and that killer guitar tone.
Overall this album has a million awesome riffs on it, and each one of them would normally not impress me, but the tone that their guitars have is really the difference between it being meh and completely amazing. I know it sounds weird to only love an album because of the guitar tone, specifically when it’s a direct ripoff of other bands, but the way they creatively used that tone to play violent, angry, hardcore music really makes this album one of my favorites of the year.
When word got out that Angel Witch was going to have Bill Steer of Napalm Death and Carcass joining Kevin Heybourne on guitar, I got incredibly excited that a new album would be coming out. Two years later, thanks to Metal Blade Records, Angel Witch’s fourth studio album “As Above, So Below” has arrived and it is an absolute marvel considering this band should have been dead 30 years ago.
If you’ve ever heard Angel Witch’s 1980 self titled album, or if you at least played the game “Brutal Legend”, then you should be singing “you’re an angel witch, YOURRREEE AN ANGEL WITCH!” right now, because it’s one of the catchiest songs ever written. Though Angel Witch are a legendary NWOBHM band, one thing that’s ever present on this album that’s different from their contemporaries is the fact that the music absolutely rules, in fact, it’s 100% relevant which is something Raven and Saxon can’t say for themselves these days. The album has alot of familiar elements of Angel Witch’s classic 1980′s sound, but it has been updated thanks to technology, and it’s taken on kind of a strange doomy sounding guitar tone despite the upbeat boogie of the riffs on the album. One of the best tracks on this album is the upbeat “Gebura” which reminds me alot of “Atlantis”, other stand out tracks on the album are the doomy “Dead Sea Scrolls” and “Into The Dark” which features some incredibly groovy guitar work and very infectious vocal melodies. Despite adding the legendary Bill Steer to the lineup for this record, all of the praise for this album has to go to the band’s founder, and only original member Kevin Heybourne, whose determination to make Angel Witch relevant again has paid major dividends, and his epic vocal style and fantastic guitar playing make this album an absolute monster.
There were quite a few albums that came out this week, but i’ve been busy and only got to write about two in particular, but they are both doozies for sure. I didn’t want to leave out the other releases this week so i included bite-sized reviews of them below. If the release schedules continue like I think they will, it’s going to get rather busy soon and I can’t wait!
Cannibal Corpse are one of those bands whose name and reputation are so iconic, that even people who wouldn’t know Obituary from Nickelback have heard of them. They are infamous for their incredibly violent song titles, manical lyrics, and some of the most technically proficient death metal ever crafted. You’d think that after having released 11 albums and sold millions of records, that these guys would just rest on their laurels, but instead they managed to release one of the best sounding metal albums of 2012 so far.
Torture is Cannibal Corpse’s twelfth full length, but it seems that they have been on an incredible hot streak ever since 2006′s “Kill”. Before 2006, Cannibal Corpse were looked at merely as a legendary death metal band whose name was used in jest by people who know nothing about metal, but it seems that once Rob Barrett joined the band again and they began recording with Erik Rutan of Hate Eternal/Morbid Angel at his studio in Florida, they evolved into an incredibly relevant,
devastatingly sharp, machine of death. The overall tone of this album is incredibly sick; I know that word is used alot to describe heavy music nowadays, but that’s the best way for me to describe their incredibly heavy, yet violently raw guitar sound that is heavier than 99% of the bands these days that call themselves death metal. Musically, the album features plenty of songs that fit perfectly in the Corpse discography like “Scourge Of Iron” which features a brutal groove, and plenty of fast parts that give it the classic CC sound. The album also has songs like “As Deep As The Knife Will Go” which a more standard headbanger, but it’s also got that signature groove. The thing that really seperates Cannibal Corpse from other death metal bands, in my opinion, is the fact that, even though they are incredibly fast and pummeling, you can tell that they are also incredibly proficient at their instruments, especially drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz whose frantic drumming gives each song an atmosphere that feels like you’re being chased down a dark alley by a butcher knife-wielding maniac with no pants on.
Simply put, the new Cannibal Corpse album sounds very similar to “Kill” and “Evisceration Plague”, but the tone and songwriting on this record are absolutely fantastic and help separate them from their competition once again. I think alot of the credit for the album’s sound will be going to Erik Rutan, but they also spent some time at Sonic Ranch Studios in Texas which has recorded artists such as: Hanson, Mudvayne, At The Drive-In, Tesla, and Explosions In The Sky…that would certainly explain the little extra “mmmbop” their sound has on this album. “Torture”, like their last album “Evisceration Plague”, has managed to bite, scratch, claw, and stab it’s way into major album of the year consideration and is certainly worth your time if you like death metal, and if you don’t like death metal, it’s still fun to play to aggravate your neighbors when they are loudly getting their freak on
Spawn Of Possession are a Swedish technical death metal monolith, and “Incurso” is their first album released by Relapse records, and their third in nine years. I’ve always had a soft spot for technical death metal bands like SoP, in fact, when I first heard their 2003 album “Cabinet” I was completely awestruck. Through the years they’ve gone though numerous member changes and, in fact, this is their first album in six years, but this album will finally gain them the attention they deserve.
Technical death metal is a genre that’s immensely over-populated by guitar geeks with too much time on their hands, but every once in a while a band comes along and washes the wannabes away in a tide of blood. With the release of their Relapse debut, Spawn Of Possession have a newly beefed up lineup, which includes Erlend Caspersen of Blood Red Throne, and Deeds Of Flesh on bass, and Christian Muenzner of Defeated Sanity, Necrophagist, and Obscura on lead guitar. The inclusion of these two technical monsters has solidified the lineup and this album is easily their strongest to date, featuring blisteringly fast, and incredibly proficient drumming from Henrik Schönstrom and a dizzying and neverending array of riffs from Muenzner, Caspersen, and founding member Jonas Bryssling on guitars. The thing that separates this album from their last album, apart from the incredible veteran musicians they acquired is the return of Dennis Rondum to vocals, his incredibly deep vocals are a lot more interesting than those of previous vocalist Jonas Renvaktar. The main reason I like this album so much is it’s ever-changing pace and atmosphere, which goes from blistering death metal riffs, to jazzy soloing, to a very creepy piano which comes in occasionally to give the album an unsettling “serial killer in the fog” kind of vibe. The album is full of break-neck riffing and incredibly shreddy solo’s but the songs that exemplify this the best are “Bodiless Sleeper”, and the very creepy-yet-brutal album closer “Apparition”.
It’s very hard for me to listen to technical death metal albums more than once, but something about this record just grabs me and forces itself to be heard numerous times, and the best part is you’ll always hear something new you hadn’t heard before. Alot of it’s standout moments are thanks to the incredibly vertiginous guitar work of Christian Muenzner and Jonas Bryssling and their ability to never ride a particular riff or rhythm for too long, and the overall teamwork of the band creates some genuinely creative, and enjoyable songs. If you are a fan of bands like Gorguts, Obscura, or Necrophagist, or if you just want just a generally brutal death metal record, this album is certainly worth your time.
This album is a fantastic mixture of stoner doom/sludge mixed with math rock. They remind me alot of Big Business, but they also mix in an influence that slightly reminds me of bands like Don Caballero. There is also a decidedly heavy Melvins influence on this album. This record is a very weird amalgamation of genre’s but it’s definitely worth checking out.
Okay, so i’m a big fan of black metal, and i’ve enjoyed Sigh’s music in the past, but i’m going to admit…I don’t really get this album. I mean, it’s got some interesting songs like “Transfiguration Of Fear” which have a very epic, semi-power metal vibe to them, but alot of the songs on here are more classical music than black metal. The vocals on this album are also very strange and the sound quality is horrid. I wouldn’t call this album horrible, or even bad, it’s just very weird and i don’t really get it.
I kind of anticipated this album to be a little more atmospheric, and actually have some unique things going on, but it kind of let me down. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s got some cool stuff on it, but for the most part it’s just a subpar black metal album. At times it reminds me of Agalloch’s “Marrow Of The Spirit”, only it’s riffs aren’t near as catchy and the production isn’t as good. My favorite part about this album, honestly, is the fact that the bass drum at times sounds like his pedals are hitting raw meat instead of a drum…it’s the most distracting drum sound i’ve ever heard.
The first week of March, like the last two months, has been incredibly slow for new releases, in fact, this weeks review of the new Every Time I Die album Ex Lives, is the only major heavy album to come out this week. Since ETID are one of my favorite bands, this review was incredibly fun to come up with, next week will be busy, however, with at least 4 big metal albums dropping. Also, if you’d like to submit any of your favorite ETID lyrics that I may have missed, please post them in a comment. D0n’t forget to check out my page on Facebook also.
Every Time I Die is a band i’ve always had a soft spot for. When I was in high school, a friend burned me two ETID albums “Hot Damn!” and “Last Night In Town” and my jaw dropped because i’d never heard music like it before at that point. Those two albums completely changed my attitude of what heavy music could sound like with their riffs that are a mixture of metalcore/hardcore/punk/southern rock, and Keith Buckley’s unmistakable howl and fantastically preposterous lyrics. Every year ETID has released an album since then has been reason to celebrate, granted, some of their recent output has been better than others, however, with the release of Ex Lives, their sixth studio album, and second for Epitaph, they have proved they are still the reigning champions of whatever genre you classify them under.
Honestly, you don’t need me to tell you how this record sounds if you’re an actual fan of the band; it has all the trappings of a great ETID album like clever song titles such as “Underwater Bimbo’s From Outer Space” and “Drag King”, it also features a heavy dose of their signature style of riffs played with a punk rock fury, and a southern guitar tone, and of course, there are also also a heavy dose of breakdowns once found so often on “Last Night” and “Hot Damn!”. Though the sound is familiar, Ex Lives isn’t without it’s unique elements like the intro to “Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow” which features duelling banjos/guitars and vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a Damned Things song, Keith’s time in The Damned Things also rears it’s head on “Revival Mode”, which also features a strange, bluesy riff and a unique atmosphere they’ve never explored before. All in all however, this album is very heavy, and it’s also very short, which gives it the feel of a more mature version of “Hot Damn!”.
Even though Ex Lives exhibits a more mature songwriting style than their last few albums, there is one element of their songwriting that’s been around since the beginning…Keith Buckley’s absurd lyrical style. Keith Buckley has uttered many gems in his career as frontman for ETID, and this album is no exception, specifically on “I Suck (Blood)” where he utters such phrases as: “i would rather be a jealous man, than an off-duty cop”, and “i’ll take what i can get, even if it’s restraining orders”. Those phrases, and his many other random quips on the album got me thinking about my favorite ETID quotes, so if you’ll allow me to go off the path for a minute, here are my ten favorite Keith Buckley quotes from the ETID discography.
1. hey there! girls! i’m a cunt!(Bored Stiff)
2. if you don’t…wake up…i’ll have to stop…kissing you! (Jimmy Tango’s Method)
3. this is a rock and roll takeover!(Ebolarama)
4. the greatest lovers were murderers first! (She’s My Rushmore)
5. The warrior with the deadliest weapon is the one without an instruction manual for his gun. (Hit Of The Search Party)
6. I know the strippers’ real name!(Kill The Music)
7. Here’s to cheap sex and codeine in a hospital bed. (Romeo A Go-Go)
8. fuck yeah, we’re gonna party tonight!(Guitared and Feathered)
9. you don’t live til you’re ready to die (We’rewolf)
10. just because you’re afraid of the dark, doesn’t mean it’s afraid of you (Organ Grinder)
Every Time I Die are still one of the funnest bands on the planet, and, as I said earlier, if you’re a fan of the band, you’ll love this record. Ex Lives is definitely not going to gain the band a whole lot of new fans, however, it does hearken back towards older albums like “Hot Damn!” more than the last few records. Even though there’s no songs as quotable as “Ebolarama”, they have clearly taken their older sound and given it a beard and a few shots of whiskey and turned it into a man.
I have been looking forward to this week ALL year! At least four albums that came out today will be in my top albums of the year list, and every one of them (except Death) was on my most anticipated albums of the year. Check out these albums if you get a chance, because they are all awesome, and worth a listen.
The founding fathers of grind are back with their fifteenth studio album, and are just as pissed as ever. Napalm Death have always been one of my favorite metal bands and it seems like every album they’ve put out since 2000′s “Enemy Of The Music Business” has been A: basically flawless, and B: better than the one before it.
There are alot of things that help make this album absolutely fantastic. You’ve got Danny Herrera’s blistering drums, Barney Greenway’s incredibly violent, angry howl, and pissed off lyrics, and of course, the trademark riffs of bassist Shane Embury, and guitarist Mitch Harris. Even though there are all of the signature Napalm tricks on this album, there are also some elements you don’t hear on a normal Napalm Death album. The best example of them shaking things up, and going for a more unique sound are the ever increasing use of Mitch Harris’s angry punk rock howling, which appears most notably on the song “The Wolf I Feed” which features him screaming like a maniac and complimenting Barney one minute, to singing like Burton C Bell of Fear Factory the next. Mitch’s backup vocals appear throughout the album and really add an awesome punk rock element to the songs and make them even more enjoyable.
You’d think that after creating the grindcore genre, and putting out fourteen albums, that Napalm Death would be out of unique ideas. After listening to “Utilitarian”, I actually think Napalm Death have created their best album in twelve years. If you are a fan of Napalm Death, bad ass grind, or good music in general, do yourself a huge favor and buy this album.
I first read about Christian Mistress in a magazine who had their last album “Agony & Opium” on their top albums of the year list. After giving that album a few listens, I became obsessed with this band. When I saw they signed to Relapse and planned to put out a new album this year, this became my most anticipated album of the year. The thing I love about this band is their old school approach, which is as heavily influenced by bands like Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple, as it is Slayer and Darkthrone.
Christian Mistress seem to be a 70′s rock band caught in the body of a NWOBHM band. On their debut album for Relapse, Christian Mistress are now able to introduce the mainstream to their unique brand of old school heavy metal played through a classic rock filter with fast, almost punk rock like rhythms, mixed with incredible solo’s and Christine Davis’s whiskey-soaked, Marlboro-drenched vocals. Every song on this album features incredibly catchy guitar solo’s/riffs and vocals, but the title track “Possession” has the finest of them all, with a chorus that’ll stay in your head for days, it’s also eerily reminiscent to a line in the Thin Lizzy song “S&M”. The other stand out track on this album is “Black To Gold”, which features excellent basslines, an incredible chorus, and some fantastic guitar work.
I can’t say enough to stress how awesome this album really is, man. It’s got traditional classic rock riffs that you’d hear on a Deep Purple album, mixed with the NWOBHM attitude that you’d hear on an early Motorhead album and they make for a deadly combo. This album is a perfect drinking album, but it’s also good for listening to while driving, and of course it’d make a hell of a soundtrack, should you choose to mix the two.
The new self titled album by Corrosion Of Conformity is definitely a milestone for the band. It’s their first album since 2005′s “In The Arms Of God”, and it’s the first album with Reed Mullin on drums since 2000′s “America’s Volume Dealer”. More importantly, however, is the fact that this album marks the first time Woody Weatherman, Reed Mullin, and Mike Dean have been a three piece since 1985′s crossover hall of fame album “Animosity”. Granted, this album sounds nothing like their old hardcore punk/thrash days, but it is still a great mixture of the two era’s of the band.
One unique thing about COC is the fact that they have, over the years, developed two distinctly different sounds, but both era’s have fans who only like a few particular albums. Some people are only drawn to the more doomy, southern rock albums like “Deliverance”, “Wiseblood”, and “In The Arms Of God”; others are only drawn to their more hardcore punk albums like “Animosity” and “Technocracy”. The neat thing about their self titled, eighth studio album is that it mixes both era’s perfectly. There really is something for fans of both styles on this album. Songs like “The Doom”, and “Psychic Vampire” have mixtures of the Black Sabbath style tone with some more punk rock sounding drums. Then there are other songs like “Leeches”, and “Your Tomorrow” that have a more consistent, fast paced punk vibe throughout, and songs like “River Of Stone”, and “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here” which would have fit in perfectly on “Arms Of God”. At one point on the track “Come Not Here”, they sound like what Black Label Society would sound like if they got rid of Zakk Wylde’s horrible vocals, and over-squealy guitar style.
The most important thing about this album isn’t the two different styles being demonstrated, it’s how perfectly they are able to pull them off. The best example of this is the one-two punch of “Your Tomorrow”‘s more punk vibe, leading into “The Doom” which has a fantastic mixture of Black Sabbath and older COC. I’m very impressed that these guys were able to come together as a three piece for the first time since I was one or two years old, and put out an absolutely solid record. It doesn’t matter what era you prefer more, if you’re a fan of Corrosion Of Conformity, this album is most certainly worth checking out.
Asphyx have always been one of the more intriguing stories in death metal. Few bands are able to succcessfuly mix brutal, up-tempo death metal with slow, down-tempo doom metal quite like these guys, the fact that they have legendary vocalist Martin Van Drunen, makes them even more interesting. Their last album “Death…The Brutal Way” caught quite a few people by surprise due to it being their first new material in almost 10 years, and the fact that it blew away their last decades worth of albums. Strangely, they have managed to blow that album completely away with their ninth studio album “Deathhammer”.
The first thing you should know about this album is, as Martin Van Drunen states at the beginning of the title track, “this is real death metal, you bastards!”. The second thing to note about this record is, it’s heavy as hell. The riffs on this album are seriously ridiculous, there are songs like the title track “Deathammer” which features incrediby brutal riffs that put most modern bands to shame; then there are songs like the doomier “Minefield” which moves at a slower pace and doesn’t lose an ounce of heaviness. But the real gold on this record are the songs that mix both the brutal death metal riffs, and the slower paced riffs that sound like a tank driving over a field of dead bodies, specifically on tracks like “Der Landser”, and “We Doom You To Death”. The other obvious stand out on this album is Martin Van Drunen’s vocals which, at times, sound like a demonic werewolf, hungry for blood and vengeance, howling at the top of his lungs.
This album is definitely one of the best death metal albums you’ll hear all year. The riffs on “Deathhammer” are very similar to what you’d hear from later Bolt Thrower, except with a doomier influence that decimate the competition completely. I absolutely love this album and think it’s perfect for anybody wanting something to listen to while they smash their enemies skull with a sledgehammer, or just somebody who wants some brutal jams.
Last year, Autopsy released “Macabre Eternal”, which was their first studio album in 16 years, and they proved they were back with a vengeance. Hot on the heels of a hellacious comeback album, they have now released “All Tomorrows Funerals”, which is a re-working of all of their previous Ep’s, which is a genius way to keep building momentum.
If you’ve ever heard Autopsy, then you have a pretty good idea what this album sounds like, especially if you’ve heard any of these Ep’s before. The thing that makes this collection so cool is because there are, not only four incredibly violent new songs, but because all of the songs on here have the same violent, murderous production and feel that made “Macabre Eternal” so awesome.
I think this album is a great way to keep the Autopsy name in the spotlight while they work on a new record, which will be out next year. This album is certainly worth checking out if you’re a fan of Autospy, or if you enjoy hearing death metal done right because, as Chris Reifert stated so elegantly “There will be no compromise and no holding back. If you want 100% pure death metal brutality, you will certainly get it.”.
Death is one of the most influential bands in all of heavy metal, in fact, the genre was basically named after them. Vivus! is a package of the now-defunct death metal legends’ last two live albums “Live In Eindhoven”, and “Live In La”, and it’s a perfect reminder of just how good these guys really were.
Due to Chuck Schuldiner’s untimely passing in 2001, there are plenty of people like myself who never got to see these guys live. This album gives you a perfect glimpse at what it would have been like to see the band at their peak. Even though the sound isn’t perfect, it’s nice to hear classics like “Flesh And the Power It Holds”, “Sound Of Perseverance”, “Lack Of Comprehension”, and “Zombie Ritual” played by one of the strongest lineups the band ever had.
The only downside to this collection is that neither of these recordings are newly released, and contain several duplicate songs, but any chance you get to hear Chuck shred is a good thing. I think the Relapse reissues of the Death discography is a wonderful thing, and this definitely fits perfectly along side the others in your collection. I’m just hoping they’ll finally release the 2nd Control Denied album this year.