Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A MASSIVE amount of METAL/ROCK/PUNK cd review- PART ONE

ALL of these are formerly from PUREROCKFURY.com- 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 http://www.relaxshacks.com/

CD REVIEWS....
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
     www.theoryofadeadman.com

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
     www.southern.com

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
     www.drawnintheskyrock.cjb.net

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
     www.dogfacedgods.com

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
     www.enormousd.com

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
     www.sinaibeach.net

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
     www.vicmizzy.com

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
     www.martyrrecords.com

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
     www.balboacore.com

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
     www.xuntiltheendx.com

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
     www.vaeda.com

THE ROSENBERGS – DEPARTMENT STORE GIRL- Force MP

     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
     www.TheRosenbergsBand.com

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
     www.radarrecordings.com

A PERFECT MURDER –UNBROKEN- Victory Records

     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 www.victoryrecords.com

VIOLET NINE – LIVE FROM THE CUTTING ROOM- Self Released

     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
     www.violetnine.com

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
     www.wreckingcrew.com

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
     www.kreator-terrorzone.de

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
     www.chixdiggit.com

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
     www.metalbladerecords.com

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
     www.fateswarning.com

MOTORHEAD- INFERNO- Sanctuary

     Lemme start by saying I'll most likely continue to buy everything and anything from Motorhead...at 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
     www.motorhead.com

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
     www.tristania.com

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
     www.liquorandpokermusic.com

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
     www.Gizmachi.net

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
     www.liquorandpokermusic.com

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
     www.martyrrecords.com

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
     www.americanheadcharge.com

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
     www.handofhoperecords.com

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
     www.paintitblack.org

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
     www.comebackkid.com

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
     www.selfmadesoul.net

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
     -www.leddevil.com

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
     www.vertigod.com

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
     www.wretchedasylum.com

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
     www.babyboyh.com

THE LOVED ONES- S.T. EP- Jade Tree

     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
     www.jadetree.com

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
     www.lagwagon.com

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
     www.strikeanywhere.org

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
     www.despistadomusic.com

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
     www.Indianolarecords.com

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
     www.centurymedia.com

HAND OF HOPE SAMPLER/COMP- Hand Of Hope Records

     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
     www.handofhoperecords.com

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
     www.centurymedia.com

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
     www.centurymedia.com

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
     www.indianolarecords.com

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
     www.nuclearblastusa.com

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
     www.metalblade.com

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
     www.mollyhatchet.com

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
     www.manntis.com

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
     www.metalblade.com

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
     www.hankjonesrules.com

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
     www.slikhelvetika.com

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
     www.bloodandinkrecords.com

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
     www.gwar.net

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
     www.agentsofman.com

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
     www.theredchord.com

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
     www.greyscale.tv

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
     www.abacusrecordings.com

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
     www.electriceelshock.com

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
     www.embracetheendoftheworld.com

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
     www.moshtokill.com

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
     www.thecobramovement.com

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
     www.indianolarecords.com

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
     www.losa.nu

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
     www.eulogyrecordings.com 

No comments:

Post a Comment