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.
There are many great local bands in the North Louisiana area and with these interviews I try to spotlight my favorites. The band i’m interviewing today is The Navigator, a very interesting/funky rock band who has been in the scene for quite a few years now. The Navigator are playing at both Delta Fest and Tsunami this weekend, you can check them out here.
How long have you been playing music? If you had to choose a hobby other than being a musician, what would it be?
Vance Box (bass): I’ve been playing bass for 15+ years and guitar for 3 or so. I can’t really think of much in the way of hobbies, music has always taken precedence over things like that. I do, however, love gardening. you know, plants and stuff.
Tony Valdez (drums): Ive been playing drums for about 11 years and if I didnt play music I would probably a pornstar or hunt or fish all the time. I love shooting hoops also!
Vinnie Fletcher (guitar): Oh about 17 years playing around with guitars and basses.
Fletch (guitar/vocals): Been playing for about 13-ish years. I would have killed to have been a comic book artist as a child, and have recently started thinking about writing children’s books. Silly, right?
What would you say is the main goal you are trying to achieve with your music?
Vance: As with any other form of art, I think the main goal is to express yourself. To have that outlet is important. None of us are getting any younger and the great thing about music is that it will always change with you.
Tony: My goal with our music is to look out in the crowd of thousands that are dancing and singing to our music.
Vinnie: To have fun and enjoy my favorite creative outlet.
Fletch: My main goal as a musician is what I’d figure any musician’s is: Be heard. Be enjoyed. Make people feel something in a way that’s relative to the sound and tone of the music, as well as creating an emotional connection between the listener and myself. Listeners can always connect with your music, but I think a truly successful musician will find a way to connect back with them.
The Navigator’s sound is incredibly diverse and not limited to any particular sub-genre’s of rock n’ roll. What bands or musicians would you say have had the biggest influence on your sound?
Vance: I’ve never been a big listener when it came to national/international bands and albums. Thats not to say that I don’t, I love bands like Crowbar, Down, High On Fire, Mastodon, Mr Bungle, and King Crimson. I’ve always been more into little bands that pass through town. I have several albums in my collection from those type of bands that I would consider the best in my collection.
Tony: Ive been a metal drummer for so long that my influences were Tony Laureno, Hellhammer, and Gene Hoglan but, now that ive slowed my roll with navigator ive been more influenced by Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age and The Polie.
Vinnie: Thanks, I think we are pretty diverse too. I come from a background of ’90′s rock…Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, etc… I went through a jazzy fusion stage liking groups like Mahavishnu, Bitches brew, Chick Corea, etc… I’m a big lover of groove oriented rock that’s not limited by anything. whatever sounds good, do it.
Fletch: This is a tough one. I think first and foremost, we as a band must draw inspiration from each other. And I think since we all have different musical backgrounds, it creates that diversity that we’ve aqquired. Now, as far as me… I am probably as finnicky as they come when talking about musical tastes, so I ask not to be judged when I share these. I am a huge fan of Clutch, which I think is heard in our sound, as unintentional as it may be. I’ve recently become somewhat of a mo-town fanatic. Also, I sometimes wish I was the son of Tom Jones, only so he could share some of that sweet vocal genius with me through genetics. And though some of these artists can’t be heard in our sound, I tend to draw influence from the way a certain songs makes me feel.
Most people you talk to in any city in the world will say that their music scene sucks; being a band that comes from a small scene, you too have seen your share of the perils of a small music scene. If you could change one thing about your local music scene, what would it be and why?
Vance: I truly believe that everyone in NELA is thankful for what we have. If anything, I wish there were more bands and a few bigger clubs that will accept a local show. it’s very rare that a local band plays at a large club.
Tony: If I could change anything about our music scene I would open the Blue Monkey back up because it gave people another place to play music, plus it seemed bands made more money there. We need more music venues. Different crowds. new exposure! I am greatful that we have Tsunami because if it werent for them guys we wouldnt have ANYWHERE to play… KUDOS GUYS!!!
Vinnie: Add casinos, not because I like to gamble, but because it would really pick up the people traffic in the downtown area of our city.
Fletch: I would love to see more venues. Venues that aren’t biased against original bands. I don’t think it’s fair for bands like us and many others to work so hard to write songs, approach places like 6th street bar, and be denied a show because we don’t play Tom Petty. But maybe I’m just jealous because I don’t know any Tom Petty songs. Who knows? I’d also like to see more festivals and events like DeltaFest put on by the city that support local bands.
You guys have been playing shows in and around the Monroe area for the last 5 years or so, in fact, you’re playing Delta Fest tomorrow which has featured bands like Jars Of Clay and The Fray. If you could choose one active band to play a show with, who would it be and why?
Vance: Drain STH….because they’re really hot.
Tony: If I had a choice who I could have a live show with it would probably be Faith No More.
Vinnie: Hmm that’s a tough one… I would have to say Pearl Jam.
Fletch: Not sure how to answer this one. Too many variables flying around. Afraid to offend the spirits of unchosen bands. Can’t think straight. DOES. NOT. COMPUTE. ERROR. ERROR. INITIATING. SELF. DESTRUCT. MODE. ERROR. ERRORRRRRRRR-BEEEEYOOOOOooooooop….. …Who brings the biggest crowd? I’ll play with them.
If you were to go on a huge arena tour, what items would you request backstage on your tour rider?
Vance: Riders are for pussies. give us some water, a toilet and a sandwich.
Tony: If i was on tour on a tour bus, my special after-show request would be midget pornstars and lots of chocolate!!! BOOSH!!!
Vinnie: A private toilet.
Fletch: I would bring Neil Degrasse Tyson. He could tell me how the universe works while I lay nestled in a pallet. He could explain to me how the world won’t end in 2012 while I transcribe them into our next number one hit song. Him and a PS Vita too.
If you could go back in a time machine to any point in music history (ie the woodstock era, 80′s thrash metal, 90′s grunge etc) and be in a band, what era would you choose?
Vance: I would go to the early and later parts of any era of music because that is where the most experimentation would most likely occur.
Tony: If i had a music time machine I would hit up the 80s thrash metal man!!!
Vinnie: To be 19 years old in 1992 in the Seattle area with the musical understanding I have now.
Fletch: I would actually love to visit all eras of music. But if I had to choose one, it would probably be the Woodstock era.
What are your future plans for The Navigator? Are you planning on touring in the future?
Vance: I think we are all in agreement that a solid album is the only real landmark we’re shooting for. we’ve always been so busy writing and dealing with having a life that it’s something we’ve never put much time into. we have a great catalog of original music. the “stinky van, no food, no money” touring is something we’ve never been interested in. we all have homes and families here and those always come first.
Tony: Hopefully things will continue to progress with the navigator and we will bring you guys some funky chocolate beats!!! Touring??? Hopefully someday!!!
Vinnie: Not sure. We are planning on doing an album and doing weekend trips to places like Austin, Dallas, New Orleans, Florida, etc.
Fletch: I think the correct question should be “What are YOUR future plans for The Navigator?” By you, I mean the fans. We will be around as long the fans will have us. They are the reason we do this. They are the anchor that keeps us from going astray on this ship named “The Navigator”. Without them we’d be lost at sea.
After Delta Fest, we are going to start recording. Then, when we gather enough funds, plans for a tour will be set in motion. We will be playing Delta Fest Saturday, at 9pm on The Heritage Stage, then we’re gonna pack up, head straight over to Tsunami and play another set. We look forward to to seeing a lot of heads at both shows, and can’t wait to share our newer material as well.
Thanks so much for your time, Ringo. To quote our song Mars Agent, “See ya later, Navigator”
Today is 4/20, and as you know, it’s a pretty big deal for stoners everywhere, so I decided to do a mixtape of my 20 favorite stoner metal/rock songs. Even though i’m making this list rather late in the day, this blog is a celebration of my love of music, so I figure it’s better late than never. I’m a huge fan of stoner rock and stoner doom and thought that this list was very appropriate, and very awesome. The thing to remember about this list is that not all of these are considered stoner rock or metal, but they are still awesome songs. Below, you’ll find a hyperlink to each song on youtube so you can rock out. What are your favorite stoner songs/bands/albums? Leave a comment.
16. Neurosis – Burn
I’ve been working on doing more interviews lately, and today i’m posting an interview I did with The Heritage, a southern hardcore band from Northeast Louisiana. I’ve known these guys for many years now, dating back to their days as “The Heritage, The Heartache”, in fact, they once opened a show I booked for The Showdown in Monroe, La and absolutely brought the house down with an insane live show. The Heritage are now on the warpath of booking tours, recording an album, and trying to get signed, and I wanted to ask them a few questions about where they are now and where they are headed. You can check out The Heritage here, and if they happen to be playing in a town near you, do yourself a favor and check them out.
First and foremost, you guys refer to your live show as doing things “Heritage Style”, what exactly does “Heritage Style” mean?
Mitch(guitar/vox): Heritage style started as a joke between the band after watching an episode of 30 rock, calling everything “cajun style”. So we took it a step further and said we will do everything Heritage style; lets break stuff, upset the establishment, and cause an uproar before we leave, so that everyone remembers us.
Heath(vox): Heritage style means doing things in a way that is fun and not taking yourself too seriously, or getting wrapped up in your own ego.
Rus(Bass): Everyone has their roots, we just embrace them and let it all come out. NO MATTER HOW CRAZY IT GETS!
Chris(drums): Heritage style refers to the raw power and excitment of the classic southern rock bands, modernized.
If you were given the choice between being on a major record label and making tons of money, but your band sounded like Nickelback, or being on a small label and touring 300 days out of the year for small guarantees every night in The Heritage, which would you choose?
Mitch: Labels are awesome and they make the music world keep going, but you have to stay true to your roots and convictions. Nickelback are one of the worst bands in the world, and we want nothing to do with that sound. I would much rather never leave the garage, than sound like that.
Heath: I love making money, but I have to stay true to my roots, and my roots are hardcore and old school country, and I would much rather do that then compromise my convictions.
Rus: Creed wasn’t in the equation.
Chris: No question or competition, The Heritage all the way.
If you were in a huge touring band playing arenas, what would be on your tour rider?
Mitch: Bacon cheeseburgers, dvds of all my favorite tv shows, true crime books, and a bottle of Whiskey.
Heath: Fat Cherry Laffy Taffy, wine, & all the crawfish I could eat.
Rus: Icy hot, A coffee pot, moist towelettes, and a websters dictionary.
Chris: Power C vitamin waters, practice pads, drumsticks, mp3 player w/ headphones, & bass drum practice pad with pedals.
If The Heritage could tour with any band currently active, who would you want to tour with?
Mitch: Every Time I Die, The Chariot, Zao, or Clutch.
Heath: Every Time I Die, The Chariot, Lady Gaga, or Gallows.
Chris: Every Time I Die, Our Last Night, Maylene & the Sons of Disaster, and It Lies Within.
When someone watches you live or listens to your record, what would you like for them to take away from that experience?
Mitch: I want them to relate to the southern, hard working aspect of the band. I want people to picture themselves riding a four wheeler through the mud at a barbecue, having a great time.
Heath: Southern insanity.
Rus: This is what happens when Dragonball Z is involved.
Chris: The Audience should be able to look at their attire, close their eyes, open them, and see athletic shorts, cut off sleeveless shirt, and work boots.
What bands would you say have influenced The Heritage’s sound the most?
Chris: Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, Maylene & the Sons of Disaster.
Rus: ETID hands down.
Mitch, in your previous band 1 Method, the lyrics were very religious in nature. What has been the inspiration in The Heritage’s lyrics?
Mitch: The lyrics of The Heritage are very different from 1 Method. 1 Method was about serving God, and the ministry of things. The Heritage’s lyrics are very personal to our vocalist Heath. They have religious overtones, but they are more about Heath’s personal walk. That includes the failures,the doubt,the constant struggle with dying daily and trying to keep your walk upright.
Heath: The lyrics are about my spirtual journey through life.
Was there a particular album or artist that inspired you to begin playing music? At what point in life did you realize that you were destined to be a musician?
Mitch: I knew I wanted to be a musician the day I watched my dad jamming out in the garage with my cousin Jamey Kieth. Living Sacrifice’s The Hammering Process and Zao’s Save Yourself from Hell were the two albums that changed my life, and made me want to start playing metal, and learn how to scream.
Heath: Living Sacrifice’s the Hammering Process. Mitch and I listened to that album every day for months growing up. It changed the game for us completely. We were jamming Korn & Limp Bizkit at the time and Living Sacrifice changed everything for us.
Rus: Korn – Life is Peachy. When i broke my arm racing dirt bikes and had to rehabilitate myself. I still love racing.
Chris: As Cities Burn. Their early demos, before they were signed.
If you could have written any song ever, what would it be and why?
Mitch: Smells Like Teen Spirit or any song off of Weezer’s Blue Album.
Heath: Born this way by Lady Gaga.
Rus: The Happy Birthday song. That way micheal jackson wouldnt have the rights to it.
Chris: Rush’s “YYZ”. Cause it is so tasteful and brilliant.
What current plans do you guys have for the band for 2012 and where do you see the band going in a year or two?
Mitch: We’re recording a new EP in March and we’ve got a tour planned with The Sights Set North Booking for this summer. I’d like to see a full length done by the end of the year, and as much touring as we can possibly handle. In 2 years I want The Heritage to be a full time touring band.
Heath: The same that Mitch said, but I want The Heritage’s music to be on everyone’s ipod, even if they have to steal it.
Rus: We’re finishing recording, we have some tour dates coming up, its moving up up UP, its just gonna keep getting better and better.