Saturday, July 21, 2012

Update- The Lollipop Fort Of Death featured on's HOMEPAGE

Well, alot of my other "schtuff" was featured as well in my backyard tour in the show "Mystery Of Men"- an online program which debuted on's homepage last week. The video, reportedly, has seen over ONE MILLION views now....crazy.....

 Needless, to say, the L.F.O.D (Lollipop Fort Of Death) isn't quite done yet, although they showed it many times on the show. It will be one of the upcoming tours/videos for Make Magazine- perhaps in music video form, if we have the time.....

 It'll also be about one of FIVE structures you'll see at our "Tiny House Building Workshop #3"- Nov 2-3, right in my backyard. If interested in signing up- kidcedar at gmail dot com. MANY guests, and a collective building project are to be announced. 

Many, ask, what's the back side look like? Well, here you go, again, not yet completed roofing paper on it yet, and shingles either...

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Good North Interview- From the Archives 2/05

The Good North is:
     Luke O’Neil: vocals
     Alex Jorge: lead guitar
     Leo Crowley: guitar
     Dave Riley: bass
     Mike Morrissey: drums

As mentioned above, due to the MASSIVE amount of cds coming in for review, from EVERYWHERE(!), as of recently, we're just now getting caught up with posting interviews that I had wished to get up on the site MONTH's ago (so, naturally, some of the yappin' within will be outdated), but hey, better late than never- and THE GOOD NORTH, if you've yet to hear of them, are a ridiculously good band, so please read on! - Deek

LB:  First, tell me about the band name.
Luke:  Well, obviously choosing a band name is a difficult process. Since we were just starting out, and were influenced by a lot of bands, it seemed natural to us to look to a band that we really liked for our name. We were all big fans of the band Idlewild, and "Take me to the north, the good north" is a lyric from one of their songs. We used to joke that it would be one day our theme song. For some reason, even before we heard that song, the frontrunners among the names we were thinking of all had "north" in them.
Leo:  Idlewild is kind of an obscure band over here, and that song is especially so. Also, it's a lyric from a song they didn't even play all that much, and it's not the title or anything. It's homage that probably only 500 people in this country get.
Alex:  Plus, the first order of business when forming a band is to rip off every band you admire. At least the stuff that works.
Leo:  And the last order of business? Keep rippin' off every band you admire!
Luke:  After two and a half years, we've managed to sound like… ourselves. It takes awhile to get there, but bands really improve over time. You know how it is – you can see a band and think they suck, but a year later, you'll be impressed.
LB:  Even six months later.
Luke:  Definitely.
Alex:  That's a virtue of playing together all the time, and constantly being in each other's company. It makes you tighter friends, and that translates into a tighter band and better music.
Leo:  We'll jam out at practice, but we'll consciously avoid playing whatever's hot at the moment. We try to keep going with what we're building toward.
Luke:  I think what we're really trying to do now is not write songs that sound like us.
Leo:  No disco beats! There are a thousand bands in New York that have them.
Luke:  It's true. Sometimes they work their way in, and we have to stop ourselves. But it's hard to stop, because they're so much fun!
Alex:  Well, we can have as many as we want… but when no one else is listening.
LB:  So you spend a lot of time in each other's company?
Dave:  In each other's face… in each other's space….
Leo:  Luke and I live together, and we all go out about 4 nights a week, whether we're playing or not. I think we just gravitate towards each other's sense of humor.
Luke:  Yeah, we can go to a packed bar and just end up talking to each other.
Alex:  Nobody else can tolerate us!
Luke:  When we went to New York the other day, we were in this sweet club. The place was packed, there were girls dancing, and we ended up just talking to each other anyway.
Leo:  I think that's originally why this line-up came together. All of us are around each other anyway, so it made sense and seemed like a natural extension of things.
Luke:  There have been a couple of changes to the line-up since we first started, but this is the one we're most comfortable with. You wouldn't want to be in a band with someone that you don't want to spend a lot of time with. I think that's how a lot of bands end up hating each other.
LB:  Touring, for example?
Luke:  Right. At this point, we're only doing 2 or 3 gigs in a row, usually a NY-NJ-CT thing, and I think we have our fair share of hating each other. Fortunately, we can all make each other laugh, too.
Alex:  Laughter is key.
Leo:  Also, the good thing about being so tight is that you can hate somebody else in the band, and know that it’ll pass. Then next week, the guy you hate will be your favorite person in the band.
Luke:  I keep a list of "who hates who" each week. The new one comes out tonight.
LB:  Nice. Where have you been gigging up to now?
Luke:  We've stuck to the Northeast so far: NY, NJ, PA, RI, and all over MA, but we don't want to keep it like that for much longer. We're about ready to go on a long stint.
Alex:  This town is ready for us to go on a long tour, I think.
Luke:  Plus the EP is getting out all over the country, so I think it's a good time for us to get out there. Last we heard, 85 or 95 radio stations have picked it up and played it. The best time to get out there is when you have a new thing to push, and that’s our ambition. We don't want to just stay around here. We love Boston and we love New York, but it's fun to get away from here, too. Plus, we often get better responses in those little, out-of-the-way places.
LB:  Because you're exotic?
Luke:  I guess so. I mean, people from Boston and New York have seen it all, but in those other places, people get much more excited.
Leo:  Also, I think we're at the point where real fans come to our shows rather than just people hanging out on the scene. We’re in the process of building a following, and it's tough, but whether we play to 20, 50 or 100 people, most people who see us become fans.
Luke:  We've been going at this for awhile, and I think we always thought we were good, but lately we've been playing Boston shows that are just packed! We're looking around going, "Who are these people?" Which is what you want. The weird part is that now, people at shows don't talk to us much because we're "cool guys in a band" or something. And we're like, "Uh, don't you know that..."
Dave:  "…it's just us?"
Luke:  … and we're kinda nervous too.
Alex:  That's why we're at the back of the club, talking to each other.
Leo:  It is a good sign, though. We've spent time trying to focus, and getting to know what our style is. While the band has existed for 2 ½ years, we have a slightly different line-up. I came on in August, and Alex joined in November.
LB:  You've also been going pretty heavy at the promotional end of things, too.
Alex:  Yup. We've been fortunate enough to play with some really great local bands at highly promoted shows. For example, we played the Boston Rising show in April, which was put together by our friends in The Model Sons. Those guys worked their asses off to put together a great program. It was designed to exhibit sort of an eclectic mix of Boston music, and it definitely did just that.
Leo:  It sold out The Middle East Downstairs with all local bands on a Saturday night, and with national acts playing right down the street. We've also been really fortunate to have national acts pick us up as their opener. Deek's also been great to us, and so have Paul Driscoll and Chris Rucker at FNX.
Luke:  The support of the radio folks really helps us reach people who aren't necessarily connected to the local scene. That's who we're trying to reach now: regular kids.
Leo:  The people who go to shows every week know who we are and they have for awhile, so it's cool to get some radio play. That's how you get fans in the suburbs.
Alex:  Obviously, on the Boston scene it's strictly an 18+ crowd. The radio is one way to reach the younger tier.
Leo:  Right now is a really special time for Boston, because so many people on the scene are trying to build something. There's no back-biting or sniping. We're not New York or L.A., but the caliber of bands here is just as good.
Dave:  It's more fun that way too, you know? Hangin' out with bands you like, that are your friends as well. It's much better than playing a show and leaving right afterward.
Alex:  It's a fantastic rush to call musicians that you admire your friends.
Leo:  The difference between Boston and other scenes is that when we play a show with other bands, they can expect to see us in the front row, listening to their sets, before and after we go on. In New York, guys will sit in the back room, drinking beer until it's their turn. It's really special here.
Luke:  That does mean a lot. Fortunately, all our friends are in bands that we really like. Maybe that's why we're friends with them.
LB:  And have you played many all-ages shows?
Luke:  We haven't played enough, to be honest with you. Every time we play Providence, we play an all-ages show and we love it. They are awesome shows, but they're hard to come by. They're so much better too, because the kids come right up to the stage!
Dave:  The excitement hasn't been sucked out of them yet.
Leo:  At the all-ages shows, nobody's afraid to ruin their "cool factor" by actually liking the band, dancing, and being right up front. Other shows, people stand there with their arms folded because they've seen it all before, they're jaded, and they're worried about…"
LB:  Their mortgage?
Leo:  Exactly. But young kids aren't like that. Unfortunately, there aren't very many venues in Boston for those all-ages shows… or if there are, we don't know about them! If anybody knows where they are, let us know!
Dave:  Well, you can't really make any money from them if you're a bar, because you can't sell much booze. Some bars I've noticed will charge the 18+ kids a bit more to see local bands, which I guess works. What they should do is lower the drinking age to 16, and everything will be fine!
Leo:  You can print that!
LB:  Any other political views?
Alex:  Lower the drinking age to 16. That'll do.
Luke:  Take off the smoking ban!
LB:  I don't know. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me, so….
Dave:  I know! How good is it that your clothes don't stink the next day anymore!
Alex:  I don't mind going outside. I think I prefer it.
LB:  Plus, you get to see a little bit of street life.
Alex:  True.
Leo:  It's not so bad in the summer. Talk to me again in January.
Alex:  My only problem is that you can see, about halfway through your set, people walking outside to smoke and then wandering back in. That's not so fun.
LB:  Tell me about the new CD?
Alex:  It's called Life Outside Our Walls. It's an EP, has 5 tracks, and they're all hits. Not a brick in the bunch.
Leo:  We all have different opinions on which one is our favorite, and that opinion changes too.
Luke:  I think they all represent different aspects of the band.
Dave:  It's cool to just let the DJ decide which one he wants to play.
Leo:  Our fans seem to favor different tracks, too. It's interesting that there's no real consensus, and that's what's cool about having different genres on the same EP. I think that the mark of a good recording is that I'm not bored of playing these songs, even after recording them in the studio, where you play them every day. If you're still excited to play them afterward, there's something special going on there.
Alex:  The difference between this EP and the first record is that the first record has a few songs that we don’t revisit. When we recorded this one, we played the hell out of these songs, so they're representative of how we wanted them to be.
Leo:  We were also lucky to hook up with Bob Logan at Small Church. His opinion became valued and trusted. He took a real interest in the EP and that shines through.
Luke:  We took our time too, which makes a big difference. When we did our album, we banged out 12 songs in 7 days, but we took our time with this one -- about 2 months.
LB:  And how do the songs get written?
Luke:  It's pretty democratic. We hammer 'em out in here. When a riff sounds good, we'll play it again, and keep playing it until eventually, it becomes a song.
Leo:  That's one of the ways that our tight friendship translates to the writing process. If we come in here to write a song, and something's not working, we aren't afraid to scrap it, or change it. We don't beat around the bush, and nobody gets offended.
Luke:  It's good and bad because it means you write fewer songs, but the ones that you do write are more worthwhile. It guarantees that none of them suck because they've been edited so many times. Sometimes we get lucky and they come fast. Like tonight, we're working on one we wrote just the other night. Other times we'll struggle to get stuff out. But when it comes, you can tell that it's going to be a good song.
Leo:  When you're not inhibited by the other people in the room, you're not afraid to rip yourself apart. I think that's why the songs are so tight. By the time we put them out in public, we’ve already torn everything in them down in here first.
Alex:  We've definitely had arguments over minute details of the songs….
Luke:  Which is a pain in the ass at the time, but it's worth it!
Alex:  …but that is the process and it's working.
Luke:  It's better than a lot of bands where one person writes all the songs and tells everyone else what to play. I guess that can be good, but all our songs are written by The Good North. Everyone was involved.
Alex:  It's important that every member of the band have ownership of the material.
Leo:  I think we're five people who would be creating, no matter what. So we all need to have input into what we create together. It makes it tougher, but I think we turn out a superior product.
Alex:  I maintain that song-writing is a painful process, whether you do it on your own, or in a group. Sometimes it's incredibly painful.
Dave:  That's true with any artistic process.
Alex:  Yeah, but at least with this group of people, when we drill something and we cut out all the extraneous bullshit, all five of us mean everything that we're doing and we want to earn one another's respect. I certainly want to impress everybody in this room.
Leo:  I think we all trust each other, and have each others' backs, so when we come to this room, we want to live up to each other. It pushes us hard.
Luke:  I feel fortunate to have these guys. On many different occasions, I've said that one or another of these guys is the best I ever knew. I feel lucky to have them.
Dave:  That is the truth.
LB:  What is the toughest part of being a band?
Leo:  Being a band!
Luke:  Being a booking agent.
Dave:  Sometimes the road can be difficult.
Leo:  It's like being in a relationship -- sometimes things get rocky and you can't remember why you’re there. The next minute, you're like "Oh yeah. That's why!"
Alex:  For me, the hardest part is balancing the rest of my life. I feel like I live two different realities. The band is one reality, and the other is work, girlfriends and whatever else.
Luke:  Ideally, we won’t have to do that for too long, but it is a lot of hard work. Practice, promotion and all that stuff. It's a pain in the ass, but it's necessary work that we have to do. It must be nice to be U2 or the Strokes, and not have to do it, but we're not there yet. A lot of bands do all that work and then give up before it pays off.
Leo:  The other tough thing is that, as much as we appreciate our accomplishments, they fade fast, and we start thinking about the next thing, the next level. Asking, "Now what?"
LB:  And what's the best?
Dave:  Playing a sweet show, where the crowd's lovin' it!
Leo:  As much as I love playing shows and being on a stage, I think playing with these guys is the best thing for me. It has been the best therapy during some tough times. I can have a great time playing whether there's a crowd there or not.
LB:  Luke, how has being a music editor for the Weekly Dig affected things with this band? Does it affect your approach at all?
[Interview paused here, as Uncle Tony, the jam-space manager, stops by for a chat.]
Luke:  What did you ask me, again? Oh right. It definitely helps all around. I think it makes me a better writer, to be a person who talks to writers.
Leo:  I think the fact that Luke's been so involved in new developments in music, from his early days as a DJ, and now as a music editor.
Luke:  Yeah, it's also helped me make some connections. It's closed some doors, and opened others.
Leo:  I think it's also helpful to have a music critic inside the band. It keeps us focused.
Alex:  Shit doesn’t fly with Luke.
Luke:  Well, I would never want to put a CD out that I would hate, or that I would give a bad review, because I know what would be said. I also know that writers read lyrics, so I pay close attention to our lyrics. Plus, it's had an effect on me as a music critic. I know how hard it is to be a band starting out, so I try not to be really negative about new bands.
LB:  Tell me about the CD release party you have planned.
Leo:  It's at T.T. the Bear's with the Bon Savants, Bravery, our really good friends The Information, and we're headlining.
Dave:  We're trying to make it more of a "night" rather than just "band-on, band-off."
Alex:  I'm very excited about it!
Luke:  It's the type of thing we would all probably go to anyway.
Leo:  Actually, our friend Carl Lavin who runs "The Pill" and "The Plan," is so dedicated to building a scene that he cancelled "The Pill" this Friday night to bring their crowd over to T.T.'s. He has single-handedly turned Great Scott's over in Allston into a great place to see bands. He's got follow-through, good taste, commitment, and a lot of ambition.
LB:  And do you have distribution?
Luke:  Actually, we just got picked up by CTD in Chicago. Our CD is already in Tower Records, Newbury Comics, and HMV in New York. The CTD thing has a lot to do with our label, Primary Voltage, and Evan Koch, who works tirelessly to build really good, stable bands. Our label just signed The Information and Babystrange.
Leo:  Evan is really a self-made man. He spearheaded that label and we depend on him for a lot. We call him "Coach."
LB:  What do you depend on him for?
Luke:  We can’t handle money! It’ll go straight to beer. He's also been working towards getting us distribution in the UK, which is a big deal for us.
LB:  What would be your ideal venue, and ideal bill?
Leo:  On the moon! With Radiohead, Oasis, and of course, we're headlining.
Dave:  In a moon dome? Or rockin' out in space suits?
Leo:  ON - THE - MOON!
Dave:  As for influences, I’m a metal-head from way back… but I think my ideal venue would be T.T. the Bear’s with Bon Savants, Bravery and The Information. What can I say? I'm a dreamer.
LB:  You may get your wish.
Luke:  Well, basically that's what we did for CD launch, is we put together one of our ideal bills, for the level we're at. It should be a great time for me. If we blow up, my answer would probably be Glastonbury with Oasis.
Leo:  If we blow up, I want to play with Nelly. Imagine a Britpop night with Nelly and his entourage! He’s so poignant! Think about it. "Why do I live this way?"
Dave:  If we blow up, I'm going to run around putting really fancy restaurants along the highway. No more fast food.
Leo:  By the way, a big shout-out to the Dakota Steakhouse in CT at… whatever exit that was. Sharla is the best waitress in the world. She treated us like rock stars. I don’t know what was weirder: the fact she asked us for a business card, or that we had some to give her! Thanks Coach!


Between The Buried and Me Interview (Archives- August, 2004)

     Alright, time here to introduce two new acquisitions to the ever-growing realm, one being The Montreal Goon (aka, simply "The Goon") who will be doing some interviews and cd work from here on out, and the other being, this friggin' interview, where we somehow managed to land some time with one of THE best bands on the Victory Records roster right now- hell, one of the best melodic-death acts out there hands down- BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME! Nine outta' ten facial-reconstruction surgeons agree that "BTBAM" will most likely leave you with quite a lofty hospital bill, so check out this interview and find out what this North Carolina band is all about.
- Deek
THE GOON:  Hey, welcome to the electronic halls of
BTBAM:  What's up bro...I'm Tommy. I handle the vocals and keys for Between The Buried and Me.
THE GOON:  Let me first start out by saying that I drove an hour into Worcester, MA not so long ago to check you guys out at the final show of your MADE Clothing tour with Stretch Armstrong and Terror. I knew I was pushing my luck when I got through the doors a bit late due to the fact I had things to do before the earlier "all ages" start of the show (like "punchin' the midget under the bigtop", and practicing the Star Trek theme on trumpet) unfortunately rolled in when you guys were clearing the stage. Anyway, your thoughts on how you're gonna make it up to me at at your next area show? I would suggest you guys dress up in circus attire (i.e. clown get-ups, human cannonball tights and cape, etc.) while droppin' selections from your "silent circus" album. Or are you against stage antics and straight up for the music? Seriously though, can't wait to see you guys!
BTBAM:  Hmmmm, I guess we'll just play naked for you. I think that will do the trick- maybe blow fire out of our asses...anything goes. Seriously though, we're all about the music, fuck image. We're musicians not actors.
THE GOON:  Ass-fire? Very nice. Hey, staying with that show, how would you compare it to your other tour stops? Terror went off on how this crowd had the best energy they had seen in a long time, and being, in my opinion, and even more solid act, how was your crowd reaction there? (Kick-ass shirts by the way, I picked up the chainsaw one to help out).
BTBAM:  Dude Worcester, MA is so, so amazing. We've played there probably 4 or 5 times and we've never had a disspointing set. The energy is amazing there- love it!
THE GOON:  Yeah, rub it in, rub it in- 5 amazing shows and I've blown it in every case. Anyway, I am familiar with the fact that your band name can be found in some Counting Crow lyrics, and I am also aware of the fact that a few of you guys are into that band, so could you let me in on any other bands you aren't afraid in admitting that you like, that are polar opposites of what you guys do. For instance, I am a huge Right Said Fred fan myself. I am still pissed to this day that his second attempt at a hit, "Don't Talk, Just Kiss", didn't blow up- and why didn't Eddie Murphy stay with music? So there, I've shared- too much perhaps...
BTBAM:  Dude we listen to everything, and I'm not ashamed of anything. I don't know... I love Rufus Wainwright more than anything. Right now I'm actually listening to Elton John, and earlier I jammed to Rotten Sound, and then some Earth, Wind, and Fire.
THE GOON:  Wow- thats more revelation that I anticipated! Your love for Elton John makes my Right Said Fred admitance meek by comparison! Kidding. Getting back to the Silent Circus theme though, and the fact that again, you use a logo of a much thinner Gunnar Hansen holding a chainsaw on one of your t-shirts...are you into horror movies or what? There is a thin line between the circus and horror. Any suggestions on what to watch if so? If not, aside from movies, what are some of the things you pass time with while on the road?
BTBAM:  Horror movies rule! I'm not a super fan like a lot of people, but I find them interesting... Dead Alive is the jam... best gore movie ever! Aside from that, while we're not on the road we are either sitting around or eating. We're not home much, so we just try to relax. I try to catch up on current music and find time to write some music as well.
THE GOON:  Now, you guys are also known to bring your act up to Canada alot. I was living in Montreal for the past 5 years and definitely appreciated the metal scene there. Your thoughts on how those crazy upper mexicans take to your music? Any band from there that you're friends with, or appreciate?
BTBAM:  Canada rules. Everyone there is super nice to us, and the crowds are amazing. We've actually become great friends with The End, Silverstein, and Alexisonfire, to name a few. All in all, some great bands are coming from there- watch out America!
THE GOON:  And here is where you can go off on how you feel about your experience with Victory Records. Some people may be interested in the more professional side of your music. If you don't want to talk about it, no worries, but I'm curious, since Victory has been the distributing force behind most of my hardcore favorites back in the day and currently...
BTBAM:  Victory has been great- no complaints. I respect what they do. They try to have a diverse label for every music lover to enjoy.
THE GOON:  I honestly do like how they've become more eclectic even though they do get crap for that by some older fans. Umm... Let's talk about North Carolina and that rap song about twising your shirt over your head like a helicopter. Have you done that at your hometown shows? Also... what happened with the band Peaceful Non-Existence...they were North Cackalackians right? What else is worthy of listening to/purchasing from the area too?
BTBAM:  Damn, Peaceful Non-existence- no one has heard of that shit! Nice! NC rules too! Shows are great, people are great, and everyone knows each other and every show is like a party. Lots of great bands there as well- to name a few: Codeseven, Glass Casket, Hopesfall, Beloved, and so many more. Its a growing scene.
THE GOON:  Okay, lastly, give me some reasons why you feel I, or others, should upgrade from being a vegetarian to vegan? And could you quickly tell me about your thoughts on anthropocentric views. Are you pissed off on how the world works? If so, what do you feel can be done?
BTBAM:  The world does suck, but I just try to focus on things that make me personally happy...fuck everything thats going on...I have great friends and I love music, so no matter what happens in life I have that to fall back on. As far as vegetarianism goes...I'm not a might as well eat meat. Dairy is murder as well and veal calves can tell you this in a second. GO VEGAN! Keep in mind not every member of BTBAM agree with this though...
THE GOON:  (putting down his glass of milk in shame) Thanks so much, once again, for doing this, pretty much the whole staff is infatuated with your newest release- so keep up the good work too! We look forward to seeing you back in New England!
BTBAM:  Thanks so much, and see you soon. Glad you enjoy the record. Peace.

For more info on the band, check out:

Shootyz Groove interview with Dose (From The Archives- 2005)

INTRO: Unfortunately its a now semi-typical rock scenario: Band comes out of nowhere with a hugely tight, original, and fresh approach in genre-mixing perfection; Band is nabbed by a major label, is soon after screwed, and YEARS later, less talented carbon-copies of "said act" spring up and sell out arenas. But, unlike most bands, its been NYC's Shootyz Groove who have come back from the underground all-out swingin', droppin' the jaws of those who should have practiced more, and never hesitating to set the record straight. The one thing that has more than amazed me too, is that throughout their trials and tribulations, Shootyz Groove have ALWAYS kept it positive, and they are without a doubt among THE MOST down to earth and friendly guys you'll ever see gracing, and filling, a venue.
     Regardless, all intro-yap aside, its with f'n huge enthusiasm, that we re-kick-start PRF's small hiatus from interviews with this Q n' A session I had with Dose, drummer of this highly influential band.
-Deek McD

DEEK:  Dose, for starters, as word's now quickly spreadin', Shootyz Groove HAVE emerged from their NYC caves and are now back in action. What spurred this decision to hop back into what, I understand in your case, was a heartbreaking game at times all in all?
DOSE:  The Fans. Period. When we split up in 2000, we kinda went our separate ways. During that time a fan out of California put up a website. Funny thing is that during the entire time SG was active, we were never able to get a decent website going, even when we had Major Label resources behind us. Go figure. Anyway, The reaction to his website started spreading worldwide and one day I finally see this website and I was blown away. The response from the fans was truly inspirational. There were many Faithful there that have been down since day 1, as well as new fans that were just getting turned on to us. Part of the webmasters intentions with the site, was to try and get us to re-form. Well, sometimes miracles do happen...The rest of the fellas were as inspired as I was upon seeing this outpour of love. We started talking to each other and invariably, the subject of music came up. We decided to get together and Jam a little and then we decided to book a reunion show. That happened late November 2003. We've been going since. We started writing some new tunes and Now we're gearing up to release our first album in 7 years. 7 fuckin years man. Only Pink Floyd does shit like
DEEK:  Who do the hell you think you are, Metallica!? lol. I didn't realize it had been seven years! Anyway, label-wise, not only did you guys have a deal with Roadrunner at one point in time, but later even succeeded in climbing the ladder to a signing with bigwigs Warner Brothers- so what's the current situation distro-wise? Will shootyz Groove be going it alone as many bands are capable of now doing these days? For those seeking record deals- any words or warning, or encouragement?
DOSE:  Well, we've had 3 separate record deals through the years. First with Mercury/Polygram then Roadrunner, which was a nightmare. Then we ended up with Reprise/Warner. which turned out to be a great situation for us. As far as the new album goes, it's completely tracked and we've begun negotiating with a couple of labels overseas for licensing. Here in the states we're still weighing our options. But we're really leaning towards putting our own label situation together. The days of signing with a label is over for us. We're just not interested. We'd rather have the freedom to make and produce records the way we want, then to buy a lottery ticket, which is what you'd get by signing with a label these days. Best thing to do as a fan is to stay connected with us through our website and if we do a show in your town, come out and support us. Buy a ticket, a CD, or a T-shirt. This is what keeps an independent band going. We have completely financed this record on our own and with help from our fans. That's the way it should be. As far as words of encouragement go... Look, if you're in a new band trying to make shit happen, keep your shit tight. Play anywhere, everywhere for anybody. Print shirts, Make a 3-4 song demo, buy a shit load of cd-r's, burn them fuckers and sell them for a couple of bux. If you can't get booked in your friendly neighborhood club for a show, organize your own at a local hall, or a friends basement, anywhere. Get together with a few other bands in your area and support each other and start a scene. Just do anything you can to keep things moving and don't depend on anyone to do it for you. And most importantly, MAKE GOOD MUSIC! Don't bite your favorite band. Find your own style, be original for Christ's sake. I believe people are still interested in good new music. And I believe that they will still buy music if it's good. I still do.
DEEK:  I hear ya man, I just went out to the store to support Celine Dion....ahem....Did I just say that out loud? Moving on, I Understand you guys recently did a couple of dates with 311 out in the midwest, since you and them have been down since way back when. Tour and show-wise, since a good deal of people haven't seen you live in quite some time, or are in need of initiation, what's on the horizon, or in the works, for Shootyz? New album?
DOSE:  It was 2 shows in Pennsylvania. 311 and Shootyz has had a history dating back to 94. I can't say enough good things about them. They're stellar individuals and run a class A organization. We've played tons of shows together here in the States as well as in Europe. It was great meeting up with them and sharing the stage again after all those years. I'm very proud of what they have achieved as a band and I wish them nothing but luck with their new album. I think we may get a chance to do some more touring with them later this year. All I can say is, if you've never seen an SG / 311 show, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It's non stop madness and good times. As far as our new album goes, We're done tracking and we've decided to have someone very special mix the album. I can't say who it is quite yet but, when we announce it you'll all be blown away for sure. Just keep your eyes and ears open and bookmark
DEEK:  I also hear word that you and Donny Rock (guitar) have another side project that you mess with here and there? True? Is it a serious endeavor, or merely a f'around and get wasted/fun scenario?
DOSE:  Dead Fly Syndrome is very real and you will see and hear the proof. We take DFS very seriously, in fact we plan on getting back to finishing off our E.P. at the end of February.DFS sounds nothing like SG, it's very different. But it's quality music just the same.
DEEK:  Understand there might be some other Shootyz side work on the horizon too- what's this I hear about "Mondo Gomez"?
DOSE:  MONDO GOMEZ...LOL That's what Sense should have called it! It's Primo Gomez. Primo Gomez is what Sense is calling his solo project. As a matter of fact D-rock and I Just finished Producing the album for him. We co-wrote and performed on this record as well. If you guys don't know by now, Donny Rock and I have a production company called Lab Atomix and we've been producing and recording bands for a couple of years now. We're putting the finishing touches on the Primo Album as we speak and that should see the light of day some time in 06. I can tell you with no ego, that it's some of the best work that we've done period. SG fans will be pleasantly surprised with this other side of Sense. He really shines on his own and the songs are amazing. You must cop that shit when it drops. For real!
DEEK:  Yeah, tell Sense Deek says it shoulda' been "Mondo". Lol. Anyway, to give the often overlooked drummer his nod, I'm wondering what your style has been built, inspired, and based on over the years? Any particular performers that have guided your approach on the kit?
DOSE:  As far as drums go, I have my influences and inspirations just like anyone else. My top 5 drum influences are, in no particular order. John Bonham, Neil Peart, Fish (fishbone), Bill Bruford and Art Blakey. That's just the basics though.
DEEK:  Thanks for your time Dose, we'll see you in Boston on May 13th at TT The Bears. It should be beyond unreal! With The Nillaz too! (
DOSE:  Thanx Deek. Stay fresh and updated at our website, myspace. Our new album will be released late spring/ early summer. Come show your love when we play a show in your town. You won't regret it. Stay Faithful!


Like the man said-

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


ALL of these are formerly from which I ran from 1999-2010- and am now shutting down.
These are in no real order, but so as not to delete these all and lose these to oblivion. I'm taking the time to do this because if I was in one of these smaller bands, it'd be cool to look back online and actually find/see that some old reviews of my/your material were still in existence.

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen of

THEORY OF A DEADMAN- Gasoline- Roadrunner Records

     Taken under the wing of similar-sounding Nickelback, T.O.A.D., I gotta admit, strike me as a little more genuine in approach than their other Canadian (and more successful) counterparts. The singles "No Surprise" and "Hello Lonely" are amongst the albums best (naturally), but overall, save for the last two cuts, there aren't many lulls in the delivery. Most of you are damn familiar with this band already, but for those who aren't- they're like Default, but with a little more grit n' edge. Its better than their last release- which wasn't half bad in its own right either. File Under: Grovely-voiced rockers gunnin' for chicks. Rating: 7.1 outta' 10. -Deek

TODD- Purity Pledge- Southern Records

     Ok, here's the imagery to paint the sound: A noise-punk cage match atop pungee sticks between Fudge Tunnel (the Teeth EP years), early Tree, and Bleach-area Nirvana. This one's got raw charm on its side (like tossin' a rusty circular saw blade in your disc changer- in a good unconventional way) as well as some decent sludgey grooves, for those who can patiently feel out/dig this kinda thing, but the album slowly deteriorates into a rust-heap of ambient junk as the album peters out. Its got occasional promising moments, but no dice overall for this UK band. Rating: 5.1 outta' 10. -Deek

DRAWN IN THE SKY- Demo- Self Released

     Indie/Punk that, save for a DIRE need of a better recording, could float as an opening act for a band like Braid, Saves The Day, or Something Corporate. Certainly a capable and likeable band here, but again the quality of the recording can be likened to the appeal most hold towards hot goat vomit- Ok, maybe not THAT bad, but these guys will be MUCH more enjoyable once they have more of a budget to work with. All things considered, these guys have some promise. Rating: 6.2 outta' 10. -Deek

DOG FACED GODS- Stoned Council- Voodoo Records

     Nope, this band has nothing to do with Testament in sound or name reference. Anyway, I actually read a few other reviews on these guys before I went ahead and hit the ole keyboard, and after hearing so many damn reviewers drooling over this band, and their "phenomenal" Skynyrd cover (which ISN'T bad, but I'm far from bowing), I found myself getting bored, at times, with a band that seems to have an identity crisis in a big way. They're talented, no doubt, but one song they're almost Monster Magnet sounding, the next its Infectious Grooves, and BAM, all the sudden they're doing the sappy Nickelback/Dafault ballad thing. Oh yeah, are those bagpipes in the first cut- WTF? Not a bad band, but their approach is sometime so varied, and almost disjointed at times, that I had to double check to make sure I wasn't listening to a compilation disc by accident. These guys hail from the San Miguel Indian Reservation in California by the way- Wow- very random/cool. Rating: 5.7 outta' 10. -Deek

DON McCLOSKY- Bombs Over Bristol- Self Released

     Don McC, aka "ENORMOUS D", plain n' simple, is the heir apparent to the G. Love "slack-hop" throne- with a twist of Dylan n' Zappa also tossed in for good measure mind you. A pure party album if I've ever heard one, so PLEASE, toss out yer Tag Team and Baja Men vinyl before you bring further embarrassment upon yourself, and pick this one up NOW. "Live From The Other Side" is the album highlight, but none of the tracks suck. File Under: Fun til' daddy takes the clam-baked T-Bird away. Rating: 7.6 outta' 10. -Deek

SINAI BEACH- Immersed- Victory Records

     Some pretty impressive stuff from a band who seem to have a Fear Factory (but slower paced) and Soulfly vibe (granted, this band is a hell of alot more aggresive, structured (in a good way) and talented than Soulfly- as for Sepultura- they're untouchable). "Immersed" is loaded, I mean, f'n loaded with huge half-time breaks, and the megaphone-distorted "twangier" vocals that counteract the Max Cavalera approach, only serve to strengthen the appeal of this rock solid, cave-metal, act. Song differentiation does become a problem as the album winds down, but there are some MASSIVE guitar and drum mosh grooves on this disc! I enjoyed this one thoroughly. Evil! Rating: 7.4 outta' 10. -Deek

Vic Mizzy- Songs For The Jogging Crowd- Vicster Records

     What more needs to be said about a man few know in name, but ALL know through his work over a great man years- The Addams Family theme, The Green Acres tune? Ya' just might've heard of 'em. Vic's way off the beaten path of what is normally submitted here, but hell, why not a quick write-up on the man. All in all, kids will love this album because of the knack for the upbeat that Vic has always been known for, but since the album is not ALL tv jingles, I'm gathering that "Songs For The Jogging Crowd" is more-so aimed at nostalic adults from the baby-boomed era. Surprisingly, although I don't fit the demo, Vic's non-tv arrangements are rather enjoyable. This release coincides with the Complete 2nd season dvd release of Green Acres too- also sent- which, I gotta admit, only watched about half of it so far- but its entertaining enough if you're into campy throwback tv sitcoms. Rating: 5.2 outta' 10. -Deek

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU- Six Reasons To Drop Out- Martyr

     "Six Reasons To Drop Out"? Shit, I'm thinkin' these dudes shoulda stayed in school. I got no hate for With Or Without You, as almost all the work on this cd is capable- but its just that, merely capable. Keep in mind, I can be a fickle S.O.B., but to me, while this band is reportedly INSANE live, I just don't feel half the tracks. All in all, I wouldn't be pissed if I bought this cd, but it wouldn't be seeing many spins after the first. Martyr's usually without fail in their taste of which bands they choose to back (see the new review for the band Sledgehammer- they rule!), but this one's a little/lot questionable. Rating: 4.2 outta' 10. -Deek

Balboa- Manifeste Canibale- Forge Again Records

     Another slightly above average release here from the hardcore camp, in this case, Philadelphia. Balboa, in all fairness, have improved leaps and bounds from the last release I received, but Manifeste Canibale is filled with far too many sleeper tracks overall, that far outweight the bad-ass. Keep in mind that this is a RIDICULOUSLY short cd too! Save your money, but don't write off this band yet- we'll see what they can bring when they finally accumulate enought new material for a full length. This one just barely made the "keep it" pile. Given the progress this band has made though, relatively, its a job somewhat well done. Winner of best band name this month (too bad Clubber Lang's already been taken!). Rating: 4.7 outta' 10. -Deek

UNTIL THE END- The Blind Leading The Lost- Eulogy Recordings

     File under: TRUE ANGER. Until The End are a band who sound like they definitely mean the lyrical venom that they spit forth, and a bill consisting of them alongside Hatebreed, Terror, and 100 Demons would most likely result in increased sales for bodybag manufacturers. THIS is one of the best, boldest, and most intense hardcore albums I've heard in quite some time. Not a bad (nor passive) track on here. GET IT! Rating: 8.2 outta' 10 -Deek

VAEDA – THE RED QUEEN- Self Released

     This four piece establishment out of NYC is a listening pleasure fo’ shizzle. The cover art on their debut cd, THE RED QUEEN, was a bit misleading.. I thought I would be listening to some easy listening elevator rock, fortunately, this band gets toward the heavier side of things, especially with track #4 - “Money”. This song has a catchy running guitar riff with a breakdown in the middle that gets as much notice as a turd in a punch bowl. Great vocals with lots of range and styles too. If you like Incubus or Finger Eleven (more specifically their earlier stuff from the “Tip” album) you should give VAEDA a listen. Rating: 7.0 outta' 10. -The Goon


     THE ROSENBERGS’ third album, DEPARTMENT STORE GIRL, is filled with catchy hooks and inescapable chorus lines that won’t leave your head like a migraine. I was singing along with the first listen and clapping my hands to the straight-up pop beats as my friends were yelling at me to watch the road as I was driving. No shame. This is a “fun” album to say the least... The first two tracks are a bit too bubblegum and cute for my tastes, but the cd steps it up and delivers more mature tracks deeper in the line up. I can’t fail to mention that these lucky bastards have been invited back to the Playboy Mansion to play at the post-launch party for Playboy's first video game, "Playboy: The Mansion". My favorite tracks include “Birds of a Feather”, “Weekend”, and “Pushing up Daises”. Simplicity is the key here... so all you Dream Theater fans beware, these guys don’t change up time signatures. This cd is for all of you that can appreciate catchy pop rock in the likes of Deathray, Green Day, Jet, Beatles, and Ben folds five. That pretty much emphasizes the fact that each song is pretty dissimilar to the next, especially vocally. Much praise for these blokes. Rating: 7.7 outta' 10. -The Goon

CONSTANTS – Nostalgia for the Future- Radar Recordings

     Pink Floyd has been a huge influence on this three piece act out of Boston and it shows. NOSTALGIA FOR THE FUTURE is Constants’ debut “space rock” album. If you like catchy hooks... this band would be sacrilege for your tastes. This album is filled with screaming psychedelic guitar sounds with echoing reverb covering the “too distant” vocals. The oscillating sound level is as inconsistent as a whale mating call, but adds to the strangeness trying to be achieved. The songs are enjoyable for the moment, but very forgettable. I’m expecting a much better production in a second album with more standout tracks. These guys are definitely talented and work outside of elementary time signatures, which may appeal to those who truly “know” music. For fans of Pink Floyd, Tool, and Dismemberment Plan. -The Goon


     The pissed off sound of Montreal, Quebec!!! These guys sound as pissed off as a Quebec separatist being asked directions in English. I just moved from five years in MontrĂ©al filled with tons of drinking and other moments I don’t care to share with you... but the one thing I regret the most is not seeing this band live. Hopefully that will all be changed soon. UNBROKEN is APM’s Victory debut album and is old school hardcore at its finest. Tight beats and tighter guitar riffs that are simple, but ridiculously fast. I have to wear a bib each time I listen to this album because the multiple breakdowns in each song cause severe and uncontrollable drooling. Not lyrically incredible, but these guys are outside of their native tongue so cut them some slack. I would put money down that all these songs were written during the MontrĂ©al winter... that’s how pissed off they sound! The track “No Truce” features guest vocals from Karl Buechner, formerly of Earth Crisis. For fans of Hatebreed, Pantera, or anything else that is fast and angry with an old school hardcore tone. Rating: 7.8 outta' 10.
     -The Goon


     Don’t let the stupid band name fool you. These guys are receiving great reviews and support with the Boston scene, and deservingly so. Melodic rock at its finest with a pinch of pop thrown into the mix. Not my usual taste in music.. but I can’t stop listening to this cd. Every track is damn good, but my fav is “Images of Me.” For fans of Coldplay, U2, Peter Gabriel…etc. In other words, these guys gots they shi* togetha’ yo! Very instrumental and great vocals to boot. Rating: 6.9 outta' 10. -The Goon

Overkill- ReliXIV- Eagle Rock/Spitfire Records

     I'll be honest, I feel like I'm comin' off like a pussy when I scan through this month's reviews and see so many positive comments about this round's submissions, but honestly, I've been lucky as hell to deal with a number of labels who know what they're doing, as is the case with Spitfire for wisely backing another genre vet- NJ's Overkill- who hold a certain spot in my metal-worshippin' heart as they were one of the first concerts I ever saw. Anyway, onto the album, ReliXIV, the FOURTEENTH(!) studio album from this band, does have its ups and downs, and while I feel this band will NEVER outdo their "Horrorscope" years, a few tracks (especially the last, "Old School" which combines the chorus-punk style of bands like the Dropkick Murphys with metal!) do serve to remind you that Overkill is never a band to turn your back on. Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth still screeches with the best of 'em, and the drum-pummeling is incessant, solid, and incredibly driving- without being flashy or unneccesary. Overkill's a band that really needs no description, as they've been doing their thing for about 20 years now, but for fans of the band's past material, ReliXIV certainly ranks amongst the top half of the band's catalog. For fans of: Duh, Overkill...Testament, old (good) Metallica, and Death Angel. Rating: 7.8 outta' 10. -Deek

KREATOR- Enemy Of God- SPV Records

     Without a doubt (even though an occasional release from this German thrash powerhouse has proven slightly disappointing (specifically that lame album with the Praying Mantis on the cover!)) Kreator are still on top of their game, and STILL bestin' and out-thrashin' bands half their age on an everyday basis. Fans of this band's vertibrae-ruining masterpiece "Coma Of Souls" should "get the lead out", and pick this one up ASAP. Right up the alley of any Slayer fan too, but without sounding TOO much like Tom Araya and crew. Rating: 8 out of 10. -Deek

Chixdiggit! Pink Razors- Fat Wreck Chords

     Can't go wrong with this one if "idiot-fun-punk" is your thing- and this Canadian-based act have not disappointed (even when delving into punk with a new wave twist on the last track- one of the album's best!), although their catalog does have superior work (the self titled album!). I listened to this one three times straight through just today, which should tell you a little something. For fans of: Nerf Herder, Sugarcult, The Queers, The Parasites. You'll be singin' along to "You're Pretty Good" in no time. Rating: 7.5 outta' 10. -Deek

INTO THE MOAT- The Design- Metalblade Records

     Another pick of the month here, simply by means of appreciation for the time signature insanity in which this band experiments. Most of you familiar with the "Math-metal" genre know damn well that by track three or four, you're drained and can't take much more, but even for that short ride, this band is a start-stop metal monster that could take on the best of 'em. Dillinger Escape Plan watch out! F'n Mind Boggling! Rating: 6.7 outta' 10. -Deek

Fate's Warning- X- Metalblade Records

     Even though I usually don't go too ape for the prog. metal genre, and having not really heard much from this band in the past, I do have to admit, we're dealin' with some bad-ass musicians who certainly know the ins and outs of solid songwriting of the melodic-metal sort. Queensryche and Dream Theater fans should eat this one up, and as judging by the F.W. fans I've talked to since I received this, few longtime devotees should be letdown. One of this months winners for best cover art too! Rating: 6.6 outta' 10. -Deek


     Lemme start by saying I'll most likely continue to buy everything and anything from least for awhile...unless, that is, they continue this slow downward trend in quality. Motorhead has never been a band to display much in the way of complex songwriting, but "Inferno" takes the band to a new, especially percussive, low. To be fair, its certainly not the worst album Motorhead has spit forth from their catalog (of 786 albums), and the tracks "In The Name Of Tragedy", and "In The Year Of The Wolf", are actually solid as hell through creative, primitive riff-work alone, but the band, this time around, just sounds uninspired. On the otherhand, from listen one, to two, the cd did begin to grow on me ever so slightly.
     All in all, if you're lookin for "newer" Motorhead, stick with "Sacrifice" or "1912", and while I wasn't too thrilled with "Inferno", lets be honest here, you Motorhead diehards, skeptical review aside, still owe it to this beyond crushing band to pick up this one. Again too, their overall track record is so good, I'll most likely STILL pick up the next album. Rating: 6.2 outta' 10. -Deek

TRISTANIA- Ashes- Steamhammer/SPV

     Holy Shitcakes, I love this damn band! Lacuna Coil step aside! Actually, Norway's Tristania sound more-so like a trippier, female fronted version of Coroner, in leagues with an amped up Evanescence (a comparison this FAR MORE AGGRESSIVE bands most likely gets day-in, day-out). From the get-go, brace yourself for a crunch-metal-opera, that is at times beautiful and serene, while fearsome at others. Rating: 8.1 outta' 10. -Deek

THE DIRTY AMERICANS- Strange Generation- Liquor And Poker

     TDA have dropped a fairly successful and consistent LP, in "Strange Generation", on us all. Shit, talk about backwards grammar!? You get the point though. Soundwise: A down n' dirty version of Silvertide might suffice as a valid enough comparison, but I prefer to go the older Monster Magnet-meets-Alice Cooper n' Fireball Ministry, but with slightly less drug use, route. Whatever the case, while I wasn't overwhelmingly floored by TDA, I was NEVER EVER bored- and this band sure as hell seem to know what they want, what they're doing, and how to do it, with barely a real letdown within the album's running time. Job well done guys. Rating: 6.3 outta' 10. -Deek

Gizmachi- Imbuing- Big Orange Clown Records

     Some may say that Slipknot has fallen off, but whatever the case, I guess Gizmachi (who have the curse of one of the lousiest names in the game- it sounds like some kinda sushi offering/sexual practice) are proof that Shawn Crahan (Yes, The Clown) knows what the hell he's doin' by backing this act. Plain n' simple, Gizmachi are DAMN impressive if Mathcore's your thing. Think: Candiria without the jazzy moments, or better yet, these guys sound a hell of alot like (yet different enough) A Life Once Lost. 7/4 time signatures are the norm here- and Gizmachi make 'em work. A VERY tight act. Definitely recommend 'em. Rating 7.5 outta' 10. -Deek

Backyard Babies- Tinitus- Liquor And Poker

     Not so much a fan. The Backyard Babies have the Foo-Fighters-gone-punk hooks down pact, but there's just something missing. Don't get me wrong, these guys aren't awful, they just sound like too many other bands to me. Hey, check 'em out for yourself though, what the hell do I know. They don't suck/but I ain't been exactly rocked. For fans of: The New York Dolls, Velvet Revolver, Foo Fighters, early Billy Idol? Rating: 5.9 outta' 10. -Deek

SLEDGEHAMMER- Your Arsonist- Martyr Records

     Oh its Dwid from Integirty alright....but with a backing band HEAVIER than before, and one thats far more insistent on the double-bass drum work...and yup, angrier than all hell too! My only complaint, as I like this cd a hell of alot....only 5 tracks! Sheeesh! File Under: You best wear a cup sucka! -Deek

AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE- The Feeding- Drt Records

     LEAGUES better than their last release (helmed by Rick Rubin too!) "The War Of Art", AHC's "The Feeding" blends all the RIGHT elements of Marilyn Manson, "older" Disturbed, Stereomudd, T.F.U., and Opiate For The Masses (who I just discovered- a killer aggro act!) to give you a listen that really doesn't fail on any front. Much more musical and melodic than the AHC of the past, yet losing none of the aggression, few can go wrong with this one. Creepy-ass cover art too, in a John Wayne Gacy way. File Under: "Music to strangle-by". Rating: 7.9 out of 10. -Deek

SUMMER'S END- Self Titled- Hand Of Hope Records

     Think: Screamier metal in the fashion of Beyond The Embrace, in leagues with the rhythmic backing of Caliban. Ain't no denyin' it in my book, Summer's End's self titled release is a neck-snappin', all-out drum-assault epic! Seriously, we're talking drumming so insanely fast, we'll ALL go back in time, even WITHOUT the advent of the flux capacitor! Cheesy "Back To The Future" references aside, toss in some gallopin', yet melodic, Iron Maiden-style riffs here and there, add a more than capable frontman, and there's no way a band like this shouldn't be huge in the genre- and I'm talking "OPRAH" huge- literally, AND figuratively.
     As for singling out cuts, the disc highlight is the cut "Headwound", which ropes in ex-Misfits frontman Michael Graves for what proves to be a perfect meshing of two musical approaches. The man's vocal sound is so signature, that I was simply going to call the singing "Misfits-esque", before I finally read that credit is given to an actual Misfit afterall! A very welcome and tasteful addition to this already bad-ass cd. I've now listened to this one track about 16 times, and as judging by the wall-thumping I can barely hear in the background as I type out this review, the elderly neighbors ain't too appreciative and will soon be coronary-bound. Good.
     Overall, This album is f'n stellar(!) and will likely be residing in my player for weeks to come. Lets put it this way: Prepare to thoroughly soil thyself from the sheer weight of this band's sound! Sorry for the gross mental picture... File Under: Godzilla-sized, inhuman, ass=crushing, fender-denting, catching-bullets-with-its-teeth Metal! Unga, me like! Grade: 8.7 outta' 10. -Deek

PAINT IT BLACK- Paradise- Jade Tree

     Damn this band's got some history (members and ex-members of Good Riddance, Lifetime, and Kid Dynamite), and an interesting as hell backstory of determination too (Singer/Guitarist Dan Yemin had a stroke(!) at age 34). Within "Paradise", one can hear evidence of the lingering styles and approaches of these members' past projects, and by no means is this a bad thing. This is especially so in the case of Yemen's/PIB's Lifestyle-esque higher-fret guitar moments, which serve to set this band somewhat apart from the 32,008 other punk bands that are gunnin' for your purchasing dollar. Black Flag are always cited as an influence and I would agree. Rating: A 6.5 outta 10. -Deek

COMEBACK KID- Wake The Dead- Victory Records

     Recently selected onto The Alternative Press "100 Bands To Know" List, and deserving the nod, CBK has quickly won my respect and attention with not only their musicianship (not overdone, as is the mistake with some bands of this genre), but with their lyrically positive approach. All in all, they come across as a band with a true understanding of the hardcore genre, yet a band who at the same time are not afraid to narrowcast their writing approach. Hardcore nuts, this one's for you. It might not have a record number of predictable breakdowns for the mosh enthusiast (then again most breaks are predictable), but Winnepeg, Canada's CBK are FAR from a wimpy pushover act at the same time. CBK are another band that haven't reinvented any take on the scene and its sound, but they pull off what they are quite well. You shouldn't be pissed if you drop any coin on this one. They tour with Bane soon too- a perfect fit! Rating: 7.3 outta 10. -Deek

SELFMADESOUL- "I Am What I Believe" Sling Slang

     A pretty outstanding act, although not usually what I would seek out genre-wise, SELFMADESOUL are a combination of Gravity Kills, God Lives Underwater, and a healthy, and well-appreciated dose (it works VERY well for them) of Depeche Mode. Picture: A lighter and more passionate side of a musical score (with vox) for a movie of The Matrix flavor. Track #6 ("Castle Builders"), which I really dig, has a Hoobastank/Incubus-meets-Faith No More vibe. The album's lead-off cuts ain't too shabby either. Very talented band- a two-man Connecticut project from what I understand too. A keeper for the collection. Rating: 7 outta' 10. -Deek

LED DEVIL- Self Titled?- Ziptone Records

     From Wassau, WI (WTF?- Man, they sound ANGRY out there!) comes "LED DEVIL"- underproduced, and in need of some tightening, but a monster-metal, corpse-producing, behemoth of a band nevertheless. Any one who digs TRAINING FOR UTOPIA, AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE, and especially older MUDVAYNE, should give these guys a listen. Not too bad, and again, angry as all F-ck! Love the band name too! Rating: 5.3 outta' 10. -Deek

Vertigod- MCCCXXXVI- Self Released Demo

     Despite the ultra-cruddy and generic metal art, a la Metallica's "...And Justice For All", this band is surprisingly decent, given a chance, in very much so a lo-fi/homegrown Six Feet Under and Obituary kinda way. We're only dealing with a 3 track demo here, and likin' what I've heard, I can't really make solid judgement, but would certainly like to hear more- a compliment, yes- at least I ain't running away from your cd. Decent sounding recording too. Rating: 5.9 outta' 10. -Deek

WRETCHED ASYLUM- Prognosis- Self Released

     Here's another one- TERRIBLE band name (sorry guys) and like alot of releases we see, demo art's so lousy that most would hesitate to even give this cd a chance, but Wretched Asylum is fairly bad-ass in an old-school programmed Nine Inch Nails, Godflesh, Killing Joke, and Ministry (the more "metal" years) way. In fact upon further listens, I actually like this band alot, and the D.I.Y. and unslick vibe that prevails, almost brings charm to this very evil, mind you, release. Very nice work guys. Rating: 7.1 outta' 10. -Deek

BABY BOY H- The Later- Radar Recordings

     My first thoughts upon hearin' BBH: It sounds a little like Annie Lennox fronting a spacier and jazzier version of Incubus, with a taste of The Kidney Thieves (a HUGELY overlooked band!) and Muse. Take that as you will, as this band is not for all, but I found myself liking BBH more and more as this one played on. Leave it to Radar again to give support to unconventional, more-artsy rock- that doesn't suck. Rating: 6.4 outta' 10. -Deek


     Fronted by a guy, Dave Hause, who cultivated inspiration through tours working merch for Kid Dynamite, and later stage managing for bands from Sick Of It All, to Jersey's Bouncing Souls, The Loved Ones, present us with a raw dose of rock that is of punk origin, while at the same time at harmony with bands like Jimmy Eat World, and Hot Water Music. Think The Promise Ring on 'roids, with a touch of the Foo Fighters. The Good: This trio can pen a solid 3 minute rock cut. The Bad: They're not hugely original, and this is a short-as-hell EP (meaning, I like the band enough where I would have loved to hear a full cd to see what they can do). Its about a 7.3 outta' ten. -Deek

LAGWAGON- Live In A Dive- Fat Wreck Chords

     Reviewing this band is always easy (with the exception of their "Lets Talk About Feelings" cd which I didn't dig at all) since I'd definitely still consider myself a Lagwagon fan, even long after this overall genre has been played out and become predictable in many cases. As for this cd at hand, you guessed-it, a fine offering from a band that excels in the live setting. They're funny, tight, and showcase a good many of my favorites from the "Hoss" disc as well, so no complaints here. May Lagwagon keep churnin' out cds! Overall Rating: 8.4 outta' 10, all things considered. -Deek

STRIKE ANYWHERE- "To Live In Discontent"- Jade Tree

     With this release, the "ANYWHERE" refers to yer big ole forehead, as this punk/h.c. outfit dish it out like the best of 'em in their Good Riddance meets Fastbreak n' Ensign approach. Overall, S.A. shine more-so with their material in the middle of this cd, but for any big Strike Anywhere fan, considering this cd's got some re-released material that was previously hard as hell to find, I'd say drop the dough on this one. I don't use a grading system anymore (maybe I should though), but all things considered this one's about a 7 outta' 10. Real decent band, backed by a label that seems to really appreciate this aquisition. Rating 6.8 outta' 10. -Deek

DESPISTADO- The People And Their Verses- Jade Tree

     Here's another case of there being TOO many bad-ass bands in the world, and too little time as I've JUST NOW discovered this band, ONLY when they've decided to call it quits, naturally. SONOFABITCH! Despistado, are/were clearly the heirs to Chisel, or perhaps a modern besting of Ikara Colt, and its the simple, quirky, and manic approach of this unbelievably fun band that forced me to hang through THREE straight listens right off the bat. REAL good band- REAL fun- without being dumb or campy. There must be something mind-altering in that Canadian water! Rating: 7.9 outta' 10. -Deek

TESTAMENT- Seen Between The Lines- DVD release- Escapi

     Testament’s DVD entitled “Seen Between The Lines” is a mixed bag and because I am a Testament fan, I wish the live performances shown would have had better audio, but what’s to be expected of live performances from the early 90’s? The disc does include the original and remastered audio but not much to help the live stuff. That said, there is some video of the usual backstage antics and a few short clips of interviews with the band members, which offer some insight into one of the best thrash metal bands ever to destroy our ears. Also contained here are music videos of Souls Of Black, Practice What You Preach, The Legacy and a cover of Aerosmith’s Nobody’s Fault, all stereotypical 90’s thrash videos but all killer tracks. Some of the extras include a biography, discography, image gallery with some cool promo and live shots, dinner with the band and a short of the boys in Tokyo. Also, a small poster of the Souls Of Black CD cover included in the case. That’s going up on the studio wall! Thanks guys! For me, it’s just cool to see Testament in their heyday with Chuck Billy and Alex Skolnick in the mix. -Bo Nose

ACROSS FIVE APRILS- Living In The Moment- Indianola

     The “Living In The Moment” EP can be compared to the likes of Hawthorne Heights or Hopesfall, a sound that is not unfamiliar. Yet, it can’t be denied that Across Five Aprils’ execution of it is quite good. At first, nothing in particular jumped out but with successive listens it grew more and more appealing. Ultimately, I found this recording to be extremely listenable. The musicianship and songwriting is solid and really rocks, with some nice contrasts between the glossy emo parts and the pounding hardcore breakdowns. Ultimately, listeners will want to keep this in their collection for those times when they say “I feel like listening to Across Five Aprils.” Certainly, nobody can find fault with that as I include myself in that group. Chalk another one up for Indianola Records. -Bo Nose

BLOODBATH- Nightmares Made Flesh- Century Media

     In spite of vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt’s departure to pursue the overwhelming duties of Opeth, Bloodbath’s newest is a noticeable growth in the band’s sound, and Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy fame more than aptly fills the vocal spot. The album has been said to combine the best of Swedish and U.S. death metal to show the band’s melodic prowess. Even this description does not do the recording justice. The songs delve much deeper into the sounds of each genre, at points blazing with grinding speed picking and blast beats and other times crushing with heavy death metal breakdowns, often layered with the attractive guitar harmonies made familiar by Swedish death metal’s best. Compared to their 2002 effort, Resurrection Through Carnage, Bloodbath’s new material seems to be less predictable and one dimensional. Considering that “Resurrection…” was still such a solid release, I would be surprised if the band isn’t taken more seriously after this latest display of death metal mastery. -Bo Nose


     There is a congruous blend of hardcore/metelcore/emocore on this demo from Hand Of Hope and Eulogy Records that makes the disc easy to listen to. With the exception of a few tracks, I would say most of the bands have something to offer, and some of the standouts include Summer’s End from Hand Of Hope Records, metalcore with plenty of dual guitar harmonies and shredding leads. These guys rip it up with some gritty, kick-ass metal and are obviously accomplished instrumentalists. Another interesting inclusion on the disc is Nevea Tears signed to Eulogy Records, an eclectic blend of unexpected styles including hardcore, emo and even electronica that offers up something atypical. Worth a listen for finding some solid, new acts out there that deserve some attention. -Bo Nose

IMPALED- Death After Life- Century Media

     The latest from Pacific coast gore/grind death metalers Impaled is a concept album centered on medical malpractice, and malpractice it is. Right out of the gate and strewn about the album are absurd, over-the-top narratives and skits of surgeons joyfully butchering patients. Musically, there is nothing fabulous. The sound being a combination of grinding death and Testament-style thrash, and me being a Testament fan, the CD is not without some really formidable riffing, but the production quality is lacking. Normally, poor production would not preclude me from enjoying a CD when the writing is solid and well executed, but when compared to death metal contemporaries with cleaner delivery and production, I can’t say I prefer this. Carcass fans will likely enjoy this album as Impaled is often said to carry the torch for the genre forebears. It’s clear these guys have the chops to get it done but they’ll need to decide between the operating room or the studio control room. -Bo Nose

MERCENARY- 11 Dreams- Century Media

     My car stereo did not do this recording justice, so it took a second listen in a better stereo to fully appreciate what Mercenary is doing here, which is no small feat considering that the record is thirteen tracks with many of them clocking in between five and eight minutes. At this point, that would be my only gripe because it’s not hard to notice the talent in this band. With an interesting blend of European death metal tuned down to shake the bowls of Beelzebub and a power metal sound of the more appealing darker variety (awesome guitar solos and vocal harmonies included), it’s clear that if this release gets to the ears of metalheads it will no doubt turn those heads (while they’re still headbanging, of course). Mercenary have been compared to the likes of In Flames and Soilwork and one can certainly see the parallels. While this may be a bold statement it’s a small matter because the band has their own thing going on, something that is well strong enough to stand on its own and shouldn’t be diminished by comparisons. -Bo Nose

ODD PROJECT- The Second Hand Stopped- Indianola

     I’ve been impressed by the crop of music acts coming from Indianola Records lately, first with the stellar CT hardcore of Life In Your Way and now with the extremely solid melodic metalcore of Odd Project. Although they are billed as melodic metalcore, an often used term in underground metal, this band breaks the mold by upping the ante a substantial amount. Sure, the obligatory hardcore breakdowns are still present and rock like hell, which intertwined with some really nice melodies, but the band throws in plenty of refreshing vocal harmonies that are part Alice In Chains, part Atreyu, and part Into Eternity. It’s catchy and it sounds great, not to mention the definite progressive tinge to the metal rhythms and harmonious guitar passages, making this band stand out in the sea of melodic metalcore acts. There is definitely something more going on here and you’ll want to listen to it again to be sure you didn’t miss anything. -Bo Nose

SONATA ARCTICA- Reckoning Night- Nuclear Blast

     Sonata Arctica has what one would expect from a power metal act. The musicianship is superb, there are plenty of majestic vocal harmonies, the vocalist himself is able to belt it out like an air raid siren, the guitar solos are “power metalicious” and the production is impeccable. It’s fast, hard and has that glitzy sound in the style of European power metal, similar to a band like Helloween or Primal Fear. The sound is not groundbreaking and I find it blends in with much of the European power metal of its type. The songs where the band isn’t coming out all guns blazing seem to be the more interesting tracks, having more character and depth. The rest were standard power metal for the style it is but obviously brimming with the technical ability to pull this kind of music off. Nothing new here, but it would certainly be a welcome edition to any power metal fan’s archive. -Bo Nose

JACOB'S DREAM- Drama Of The Ages- Metalblade Records

     Never was a Queensryche fan myself, but to my ears, if Geoff Tate and crew "float yer boat", and you're one of those geek-collectors who own EVERY vinyl, cassette, amd cd version of anything that the 'Ryche has EVER put out (in triplicate!), then Jacob's Dream just could be the band to turn to if you're hungry for something new, yet in the same vein of complexity and "melodicism". An enjoyable listen, and a stellar presentation of musicianship- they're just not for me. Rating: 6.6 outta' 10. -Deek

MOLLY HATCHET- Warriors Of The Rainbow Bridge- SPV

     I'm sorry, I just never got the appeal with this band, and still don't. In addition to a semi-lousy recording, to me, this effort has touches of Jackyl, Creed, and The Almighty, all over it- more bands I never dug. The presentation and song writing just feels tired and lazy. But what do I know...this band HAS kept a fan base for a LONG time now and has certainly carved a nitch for themselves in the southern-metal genre. Rating: 4.5 outta' 10. -Deek

MANNTIS- Sleep In Your Grave- Century Media

     In terms of hooks, energy, guitar work (the solos! wow!) and delivery, Manntis stand a head above the rest of a good deal of this round's metal offerings. This is a well-paced release that NEVER gets dull, we're given some damn-mean change-ups, grade-A thrash deliverance, and all in all, a metal taste in the style of older Sepultura, Screams Of Erida (a Boston act that are definitely worth your time), and especially the band Himsa! Rating: 7.8 outta' 10. -Deek

FALCONER- Grime Vs. Grandeur- Metalblade Records

     Its got MANOWAR, with a dash of 'Maiden, and Hammerfall, written all over it- but is that a bad thing? Epic-medieval-metal. The vocals/lyrics are a little weak at times, a good deal of the chorus shouts are cheesy, and the album title, and cover art are just plain lame, but c'mon, its 80s style, dragon-slaying, metal- and these guys DO toss it your way in top-notch form. Rating: 6.9 outta' 10. -Deek

HANK JONES- Saturdays Of Thunder- Undecided Records

     Mediocre brat-punks, who must harbor a large vinyl collection of anything from Gorilla Biscuits, to Youth Of Today, and Burn. This is an "up and down" listen, that is far from intollerable, but Hank Jones drop a sound and approach you can find ten times over in any cutout bin. I DO like their "Pizza Party" track (and video) a hell of alot though- pretty fun. This band does have its moments, but in the longrun, half the tracks are just plain average, and bordering on a waste of one's time. Rating: 5.1 outta' 10. -Deek

SLIK HELVETIKA- Self Titled- Screaming Mimi Records

     Cheesy, real cheesy, but really fun in an 80s Motley Crue sort of way. Actually, I feel that Slik's material is far better than the new reunion Crue material that's now out, and poisoning, the airwaves. If you can look beyond THE WORST album cover, and the AWFUL band/stage name, this Philadelphia band is pretty damn solid in a nostalgic way, and I'm hazarding a guess that they do DAMN well with the ladies. Rating: 6.8 outta' 10. -Deek

STARS ARE FALLING/SKYLINES- Blood and Ink Split Series Vol. 1- Blood and Ink Records

     I'm really a fan of split releases, and if done properly, the listener will be left desiring more from each act involved, and while I can be a jaded old bastard, I must say, BOTH bands on here know the trade and successfully serve up a split that (in both cases) brings shades of ALL THAT REMAINS (with more of a melodic element) to mind- definitely a compliment 'round these parts. Be sure to check out the almost operatic arrangement that SKYLINES drop later in the album- impressive. Rating: 7.2 outta' 10. -Deek

GWAR- Live From Mt. Fuji- DRT Entertainment

     Ya' know, aside from the gimmicky get-ups, and the blood, slime, and fake semen they blast on their fans, Gwar ain't a bad band either- as this live disc (which is unbelievably entertaining, shocking, and comical) will attest. The onstage Lacy Peterson banter DOES push the envelope a little too far though- even for my tastes. Really good (shock!- its a LIVE album) package overall here, and any Gwar fan doesn't need my recommendation- as they probably bought this on day one. Rating: 7.8 outta' 10. -Deek

AGENTS OF MAN- Count Your Blessings- Century Media

     Religious Metal? Not sure- and who freakin' cares, as this band knows what the HELL (oops, I've blasphemed!) they're doing. Here's another case of poor album song-placement and pacing from the band's end, as this album (for those who will give it the time) actually gets progressively more aggressive, and interesting, as we hit the deeper end of the cd. All in all, its melodic metal that utilizes the scream/sing approach (who doesn't?), and despite the limited vocal range of frontman "George M.", this band DOES get the job done, and won't leave many bored, nor disappointed. Again, try giving this one a FEW listens before you pass final judgement, as in the endrun, I decided to keep this one for the permanent collection (as opposed to my "circular metal file"). Rating: 6.9 outta' 10. -Deek

THE RED CHORD- Clients- Metalblade

     Super-sporadic-chao-metal that'll have fans of A LIFE ONCE LOST and GORE ROTTED, blastin' in their jeans! Track one, "Fixation On Plastics" unfortunately kicks off the album in a cohesively poor fashion, but its all bullet-to-the-brain-metal from there on out. This band's got me for a few tracks, but like most in the genre, while their endurance and mastery of time is unbelievable, their range and ability to variate is very limited. Check out the sleeve art on this one- BAD ASS! File Under: Calling all Converge fans! Rating: 7.0 outta' 10. -Deek

Greyscale- Discord For The Dead Kid- Battle Born Records

     Hints of Disturbed, Grey Cell Green, Breaking Benjamin, and something altogether more punk, energetic, and sinister, float throughout this one, and as I find myself at a loss for descriptive words for these guys, lets just say that fans of Story Of The Year, as well as The Guano Apes, Recognizer, and even The Ernies should REALLY dig this band. I'm impressed, but here's another band that might need a FEW listens before you get/feel what they're trying to do. Rating: 8.1 outta' 10. -Deek

SWARM OF THE LOTUS- The Sirens Of Silence- Abacus Recordings

     I was initially turned on to these guys by the band A Different Self (who REIGN!), and I gotta' say, I haven't been let down. Granted, this band needs some work in the vocal range department in OCCASIONAL passages, but all in all, its a minimal complaint, as some of this albums breakdowns (track 4- "Yan Hou") are Jaba-The-Hut LARGE! Think: 'Maiden meets Earth Crisis, Beyond The Embrace, and Killswitch Engage. Baltimore should be proud of both this band, and again, A Different Self. Rating: 7.2 outta' 10. -Deek

Electric Eel Shock- Go USA- Gearhead Records

     With a band name like EES, and an album title like "Go USA!", AND song titles like "Do The Metal" and "Japanese Meets Chinese in USA", how can you lose? And yes, you guessed it, this three-piece o' rock hails from Japan. All in all, EES are the Orient's answer (albeit FAR more entertaining and talented) to The White Stripes, and if DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 is your thing, this band should more than satisfy. Big, dumb, fun-as-hell, rock! For fans of: The Hiss. Rating: 7.9 outta' 10. -Deek

EMBRACE THE END- Counting Hallways To The Left- Abacus Recordings

     A giant cauldron-like amalgamation of The Acacia Strain, the blistering-fast metal of Caliban, and Heaven Shall Burn- but, with an Obituary-style growl-delivery. Their bio claims that this band has been "Wiping the floor with the competition"- and I'm sure they have. These ex-members of FIRST BLOOD and KILLING THE DREAM are MORE than on top of their game with this one. Get it. Now. Rating: 8.2 outta' 10. -Deek

To Kill- Watching You Fall- Catalyst Records

     Drum-heavy (a la the last A PERFECT MURDER cd), old-meets-new-school hardcore, which is either low on comprehension of the English language, as evidenced by the lyrics, or big on to-the-point, simple delivery. TO KILL are one mean-as-hell act, straight outta' ROME, too! Fans of Shattered Realm, Terror, 100 Demons, and again, A Perfect Murder should appreciate this one, but honestly, if billed together, these guys currently sit at the "opening act" level. Solid band though- decent recording too. Rating: 6.9 outta' 10. -Deek

The Cobra Movement- Wichita- Self Released

     Far from actual reptilian stool, this Wichita-based act seemingly hail from the ethereal, LSD-lovin' "other realm" in which Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers) has long resided as Sheriff. While my opinion varies greatly from one track to the other, from intrigue in a car-crash interest way, to occassional outright disinterest, with T.C.M. there is no denying that these guys draw from obscure and heavily experimental sources, and sound like NOTHING else you're bound to find- for that, I have HUGE respect for this band. Definitely worth checking out in terms of the weirdness factor these guys serve up. File Under: Godflesh goes narrative-pop, kicks it with Ho-ag, and out pops a baby bastard-boy! Pretty cool overall. Rating: 5.6 outta' 10. -Deek

GUNMETAL GREY- Solitude- Indianola Records

     Holy mutha'f-ckin' crisp, n' ass-blistering, metal! Right from track one, Gunmetal Grey grabs you by the groin with a spiked glove, and doesn't let go for the entire duration of "Solitude" (winner of "best album cover-art of the month" too!). Listen, this one's pretty straightforward, and although I think few could go wrong with checking out this band, Gunmetal Grey are a real smooth (yet evil) mix of Beyond The Embrace, Diecast, and Killswitch Engage, that fans of those bands should particularly enjoy. Rating: 8 outta' 10. -Deek

LOSA- The Perfect Moment- Metalblade Records

     I dig Losa. I don't completely love 'em, as the musicianship gets sluggish in parts of this release, but yes, I wouldn't mind seeing them live, and yes, I'm a big Kreator fan- a band that Losa seem to get compared to fairly frequently. Think: Scream-metal, backed by a slightly tanked Unearth (which in some passages, actually makes for an appealing/cool-lo-fi presentation!). This release wears thin as time goes on, but for a few tracks at a time, they'll take the paint off any wall (in a good way!). More proof to NEVER mess with Texas here. Rating: 6.4 outta' 10. -Deek

BURY YOUR DEAD- You Had Me At Hello- Eulogy Recordings

     You think with a "Jerry Maguire" inspired album title, these guys might be soft, or gimmicky, but don't be fooled for a second, as the breakdowns and beat delivery that BTD puts forth EASILY equal the same caliber of work that you'll see in likeminded acts like Terror, Shattered Realm, and Sunday Bloody Sunday- all great bands- as is this act. VERY impressed, and pissed that it took me this long to really discover this band. GREAT DIY drum sound, and just plain and simple, its a heavier-than-John Goodman album- so definitely pump up the volume sucka! I'm off to buy one of this bands other albums... Rating: 7.9 outta' 10. -Deek