Thursday, January 29, 2015

Uncle Sam-Heaven or Hollywood (Re-Release)



Minotauro Records
2014

Well folks now we're talking. Talk about a golden oldie! Leave it to our friends at Minotauro Records to dust off this classic LP and give it a proper re-release. It's been a long time coming if you ask me! Now, I'm sorry to disappoint folks, but I'm going to try to keep things PG 13 here with the cover. If you are older like I am and are in any way, shape or form a collector of all things hard rock and heavy metal then I am going to guess that you've heard of this band before. Or you are at least familiar with the cover artwork of this 1987 LP. This is one of the less risky versions although the bikini cover one is probably the safest bet. Otherwise I am sure that you can guess what's under that sticker! Yes, it's pretty scandalous all around. The thing is what of the actual music? By the name and album title you'd likely be guessing that this one is sleaze and or glam metal. Am I right? I know that was my guess way back in the day when I first came across an MP3 of "Heaven or Hollywood". And yet this one is all about rock. Underground/garage rock if you will with the result being one album that is closer to the New York Dolls or solo Johnny Thunders than it is the likes of  Poison, Ratt or Mötley Crüe. And man alive if it isn't just one of the most beautiful things out there! To be fair there is more then enough raw metal and punk on an album like this one to have universal appeal. There are shades of Motörhead, Kiss and even (early) Mötley Crüe. But in it's heart of hearts this band was all about rock. Imagine heading to a seedy bar in the worst part of town and hearing a band that pulled from the better parts of not only the New York Dolls and solo Johnny Thunders, but Iggy& the Stooges, Alice Cooper ( a HUGE influence on this four-piece!), the Cramps,  the Ramones and even the Godz. Imagine finding out over the course of the evening that this band knew as much about the Sex Pistols and the Dead Boys as they did AC/DC and Aerosmith. And to top it all off the blended all of that knowledge and all of these different influences into a glorious rock and roll racket! That is what we are talking about with Uncle Sam and their album "Heaven or Hollywood". As vocalist Scott Cesna took to the mic like a disillusioned rocker of old his bandmates trashed the joint with the kind of finesse usually reserved for the likes of the Stooges, MC5 or the Dead Boys. Theirs' was a take no prisoners, love 'em and leave 'em take on over the top garage rock and roll and Uncle Sam had to have known that they were living for the moment with the D.I.Y. "Heaven or Hollywood" a means to an end. As good as they are on this record they were reported every bit as good live and whether they were tearing the walls down with their own material or covering the likes of "Steppin' Stone" or "Train Kept A' Rollin" (both choice covers tacked on here as bonus numbers with Uncle Sam's take on "Train..." coming across like a cross between The Godz version and Motörheads!) Uncle Sam was always spot on! And thanks to this very cool (enhanced) re-release here you can relive all of that conflict and glory, the good times and bad times if you will, in the comfort of your own home! Served up as a mini-LP with gatefold Japanese style papersleeve packaging, custom OBI and a sweet poster this re-release offers a great look at this Rochester, New York-based band that was just too cool for the times. Having sadly released only one more album (1990's "Letters From London") the band Uncle Sam came and went before they could be fully appreciated for what they had to offer. That's a shame as Uncle Sam's take on sleazy garage rock was sweet on the taste buds and ahead of the times.


http://www.minotaurorecords.com/

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blizzard Hunter-"Heavy Metal to the Vein" Single

Pure Underground Records
2015

It was back in August of 2014 when I was first turned on to Peru heavy/speed metal band Blizzard Hunter. Thanks to my friend/fellow blogger (and all-around heavy metal enthusiast!) Strappado (https://www.facebook.com/RareMetal ) I found out about Blizzard Hunter's killer 2014 debut EP, "Conqueror of Destiny" (see link below), and the rest is as they say history! I was instantly hooked!! Active since 2006 (and previously know only as Blizzard) this Peruvian band draws it's inspiration from the 80's metal scene, the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement and groups as diverse as Helloween and Motörhead! Despite all of that Blizzard Hunter's sound and style is distinctly their own and from the onset this heavy/speed metal band has prided itself on issuing nothing but stellar material! There are few bands who can claim that sort of pedigree, but for Blizzard Hunter the proof lies in the material and that is in spite of the (all too familiar as unfortunately even the best of bands is not immune from it) line-up changes that this group has gone through since first being formed by Lucho Sanchez (ex-Disinter, ex-Necropsya, ex-Bleed of Hate) some nine years ago! Now signed to the German label Pure Underground Records (to which I say good for you lads!) and with their first full-length album due for release this year (hell to the fuck yeah!!!) Blizzard Hunter has just released the first single off of what might just end up being one of 2015's best heavy metal LPs! Especially if this particular steady (speed metal)  rocker has anything to say about it! Lead by the youthful energy of mic madman Sebastian "Dragon" Palma (a 20 year old vocalist who channels the spirits of many a great heavy metal singer before him!) and featuring a pair of fucking fantastic co-lead guitarists in Lucho Sanchez & Toño "Wild Rocker" Rojas De la Cuba (lovin' the old-school licks guys!) Blizzard Hunter proves that it's possible to top perfection as "Heavy Metal to the Vein" takes what was laid out on the excellent "Conqueror of Destiny" and then full-out maxes it the fuck out of here! They knock the ball out of the park on this one friends as it's one of those damn perfect combinations where cool lead vocals, slick as all get out guitar solos(!) and some killer bass playing* all converge at the same spot in time and space in order to lay down some pure heavy metal love! This single is just what heavy metal purists having been clamoring for and given the young age of most of the band members here this Peruvian act should have a very long and very fruitful career ahead of them! Including this hells to the bells (metal {throw the horns in the air ladies and gents as this is as good as it gets}maniac style!!!) anthem here Blizzard Hunter's upcoming debut album is set to featuring the following tracks:
01. Conqueror of Destiny 
02. I'm on my way 
03. Heavy Metal to the Vein 
04. Heart of Fire (Vampire Hunter's song) 
05. Nemesis (Feel my strength) 
06. Ghost Rider 
07. The Murder 
08. My Revenge 
09. The Joke 
10. The final Judgment

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Quarter Note Estudio by Paul Pinto la Torre, "Heavy Metal to the Vein" (the album) will begin it's pre-order stage at some point in February so be sure to follow the band on their Facebook page below so that you can be kept up to date on all the action! Said page can be accessed here:
https://www.facebook.com/BlizzardHunter

*The steady-rockin' bass you hear on the aptly-titled "Heavy Metal to the Vein" is courtesy of Lalo "Indú" Salas!


Review of the highly-recommend "Conqueror of Destiny"
http://metalmark.blogspot.com/2014/08/blizzard-hunter-conqueror-of-destiny.html 

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Free Metal Monday: Olathia-Olathia Demo

Self-Release/Independent
2014


This is the second of two Free Metal Monday offerings that I have posted today. That in and of itself is a rarity I realize, but it get's even crazier my friends. For you see this is also the second free digital download offering of the day to feature a band from my home state of Ohio!! Honestly I cannot for the life of me remember the last time that something like that has happened here at HMTM. That's if it has ever happened. I do have to wonder. But anyway, the first one was of course Ohio's Intervoid. But, while Intervoid specializes in technical/industrial death metal (all the while doing it quite well thank you very much!) this particular band rocks walks a different path. For Olathia, who incidentally hail from the Hometown of Rock and Roll (Cleveland baby! Oh yeah!!) and feature in their ranks the very lovely and very talented Chris E. (ex-Cellbound, ex-From The Ashes) on lead vocals, it's all about the metal! As in straight-up heavy metal with at least one song ("Open your Eyes (RadioEdit)") offering the five-piece band rock radio potential. And they make their debut on the scene with this hard-driving/hard hitting (name-your-own-price) three-track EP (https://olathia.bandcamp.com/album/olathia-demo). Cleverly-titled "Olathia Demo"(!) and opening with the absolute slammer "Hellhound" this EP can also be picked up on CD for a measly three dollars which is an absolute steal if you ask me! In addition to the great voice of Chris E. the band Olathia (https://www.facebook.com/olathiametal) is made up of top-tier musicians with ties to quite a few good Ohio bands. On guitars you have Jake Nicholson (ex-Black Valor, ex-Festinate) and Steve Albenze (Idleblack) while bassist Sully (Crown Royal) and drummer Jeff Morrow (Dose, Hemi Devils, Slave to Nothing) fill out the rhythm section. All four musicians bring skill and class to Olathia with both "Hellhound" and "Open Your Eyes" offering different and yet equaling satisfying sides to what is a very cool new band. As this is only the first studio release from this Cleveland band and it is this strong and good already one can't help but hope for much more material out of Olathia in the near future. For a band that seemingly appeared from out of nowhere Olathia provides further proof that Ohio is the place to be when it comes to new and exciting rock, hard rock and heavy metal bands and artists!

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Free Metal Monday: Intervoid-Weaponized

Self-Release/Independent
2014

"Weaponized" is the full-length debut album from Ohio's Intervoid (https://www.facebook.com/Intervoid)
 Digitally released this past December, with the nearly 60 minute long (!) album available for download at the link below as a name-your-own-price deal, this extreme piece of studio savageness has now been released as a must-buy CD! Featuring the current line-up of vocalist/lyricist Ricky Lewis, lead and rhythm guitarist Sam Vang, bassist Jacob Marxen and drummer Johnny Zazo this (inexplicably!!!) unsigned band has been in existence since 2012 with their pulverizing sound reaching new heights as far as madness and terror are concerned on the buzz-worthy "Weaponized"! A mind-blowing mash-up of technical/progressive death metal, groove-infused industrial metal and blackened death thrash this Ohio four-piece are every bit as good live as they are on this twisted beast of a recording! Now, back in August of 2013  I covered the band's excellent debut EP, "Xenolith", but (blame it on getting older or there just being too much metal in the world to sort through and not enough time!) somehow I missed out on the Oct. 2014 Halloween split EP that Intervoid did with Despondent and Cunt Cuntly entitled "Jesus Christ How Horrifying". That being the case and all it isn't too late to hear that particular release or the group's debut offering by simply following links on Intervoid's bandcamp page right here: https://intervoid.bandcamp.com/album/weaponized As a final note if you live in Ohio and you have the chance then I would HIGHLY recommend catching this band live! Loud, heavy and full-tilt extreme doesn't even begin to describe this underrated Ohio act on the live stage and for those labels/PR folks who are listening in Intervoid are yet another killer Buckeye band who are primed and ready for the big time! Our scene continues to grow and it never fails to amaze me how much Ohio has to offer the heavy metal scene at large when it comes to the high-quality end of the spectrum! Maybe that's an article in and of itself that is better suited to another day, but Intervoid and "Weaponized", their first full-length release and a great pick-up for lovers of all things technical death metal and industrial death metal, are just two things from this great state of mine that are in need of a wider audience so it has to start somewhere....    
 
Coverage of "Xenolith" EP
http://metalmark.blogspot.com/2013/08/intervoid-xenolith.html

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Singles: Mötley Crüe-"All Bad Things"

Released: Jan 20, 2015 
℗ 2015 Masters 2008, LLC. Under exclusive license to Eleven Seven Music from Masters 2008, LLC.

All bad things must end. Whether it's awful T.V. shows, a politician's corrupt career, a horrific first/last date or even a rotten marriage there are just moments when it's time to pull the plug and walk away. And as far as bands go there are quite a few bands that have seemingly overstayed their welcome. Is Mötley Crüe such a band? I'm not so sure. I'd actually put Metallica up towards the top of that list before I'd put Mötley Crüe there. That's just me though. Honestly though when it comes to this Saturday's single choice it's more like we have a random song title as opposed to a general statement about Mötley Crüe's worth. Especially if we are going to judge the L.A. rockers on the strength of "All Bad Things" alone. While this single might not be prime Mötley Crüe it's still good enough to put you in a happy mood and if the band were able to surround a number like "All Bad Things" with equal or better songs then we would likely be talking about one of hard rock's better comeback albums! Of course that would be a big "if", but for a band that obviously still has some fuel left in the tank and a strong following it does seem odd that one last single is all that die hard fans get. Either way, Mötley Crüe is calling it a day and that means one last tour and one last song before they ride off into the sunset. Or rather a "reported" final tour and song as we all know how these things usually end up going! But, if this really is the end for every one's favorite (sleazy does it) hard rock/glam metal bands then at least they are going out with a bit of a bang and before they turn into an absolute joke!

You can check out the "clean" video version of "All Bad Things" here:

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jovian Litany-Heroes Leave

Self-Release/Independent
2015

E-mail submissions are the best as you never know exactly what you are in for. Site-founder/main man Metal Mark received this particular submission and promptly sent it my way. I have to admit that the e-mail's title alone peaked my interest. "A Doctor with a Metal Album.... Whaaaat?" found me filled with curiosity so I quickly sprung into action! And as that title goes it is a doozy! Or rather it's background information. For you see Jovian Litany is a one man recording project founded in 2008 by Charlotte, NC's Jeffrey Py and Mr. Py is of all things a Doctor of Audiology! Crazy weirdness all around with that one! But anyway, Jeffrey, who was raised on a strict diet of fried scrapple (Hell yeah! Yum!) and disappointment (Sadly I know the feeling all too well...), has produced a total of four albums under the Jovian Litany name with this particular nine- track album serving as the "band's" latest & great work! Devoted to the concept of loss, "Heroes Leave" is not so much a concept album as it is a themed one. Or so says the main man himself so who are we to argue? And if you are going to tackle the subject of loss then you just know that the music at hand has to help convey the heartache and absolute sorrow associated with a concept right? For Jeffrey Py and Jovian Litany that translates into something quite different (Or flat odd weird if you will!!!) but nonetheless completely satisfying! And that would be extreme metal mixed up with New Age with some Techno tossed in for good measure! Jeffrey Py's e-mail to Heavy Metal Time Machine suggested a release that was a "mish mosh of musical styles, alternating songwriting between a heavy album and an ambient album" and damn right if he didn't make good on that promise! The latest release from one-man band/solo project Jovian Litany offers listeners extreme material that borders on full-fledged death metal, ambient New Age passages and music that combines the two star-crossed lovers into one glorious slab of electronic metal mayhem! And all the while the mood is as dark and depressing as death rock making "Heroes Leave" one of those perfect releases for when all you want to do in life is turn the lights down low, tune out to the world and just get lost in the loneliness that is this bizarre ride we call existence! By moving back and forth between artificial studio creations and harsh/sick guitar work that at times recalls the best of the Floridian death metal scene(!) an album like "Heroes Leave" allows you the opportunity to slip out of this world for awhile. In other words,  "Heroes Leave" should be enjoyed with your headphones on so that there are no distractions other than the sound of your own beating heart and your personal thoughts so that when you slip out of time and space it's a clean and pure trip! As the music of Jovian Litany is as effective clean and focused as it is dirty and chaotic it is a smooth and seamless journey listening experience when it boils right down to it. And with each new spin of this album you're very likely find something new to appreciate. All told this nine-track album is very cool indeed and for the guitarist/vocalist responsible for "Heroes Leave" I say good on you my friend! Take pride in the creation of "Heroes Leave" Jeffrey as this mad cap metallic adventure is nothing short of fantastic! It's a shame that the music of Jovian Litany isn't more well-known, but hopefully this review and of course word of mouth can help change that. Let's hope so as this album is just too good to be kept under wraps! You can pick up a digital copy of "Heroes Leave"over here at CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jovianlitany3 Meanwhile you can find out more about the man, the myth and the legend either here: http://www.jovianlitany.com/ or here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jovian-Litany/144316111801

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Wake Up Lucid-Gone With The Night

WUL Records
2015

Due to drop in late March, "Gone With The Night" is the forth overall release from L.A. heavy/gutter rock trio Wake Up Lucid. Produced once more by Icarus Line’s Joe Cardamone at his studio, Valley Recording Co. in Burbank, California, "Gone With The Night" is said to be more "focused and realized" than previous Wake Up Lucid recordings although I'll just have to take their word on that one! Especially seeing as band-members/cousins Ryan, Ian, and Jamie offer some reckless, unrelenting and down-right LOUD rock and roll on their latest work! If this is the band having evolved then I would reckon to say that their past work must be really crazy! That said, I say good on these cousins as "Gone With The Night" is nothing if not fun and for my money this slab of unrestrained/anything goes gutter rock is a rather good time all around! The trio behind such gems as "Let It Roll", "I Want" and "Get Fucked" let's it all hang loose all while showing off their new found skills as songwriters/performers. There are so many nooks and crannies crammed into each individual song that you are likely to pick up on something new with each listen. And you'' want to listen to this one a couple of times (at the very least!) as there isn't a dub to be found on "Gone With The Night". With a new LP reportedly in the works L.A.'s Wake Up Lucid sounds as if they will be repeating the benefits of their partner in crime Joe Cardamone so be sure to keep a close eye on this trio in 2015!    http://www.wakeuplucid.com/

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Zero Down-No Limit to the Evil

Minotauro Records
2014

Released a little over a month ago, "No Limit to the Evil" is the latest release from Seattle, Washington's own Zero Down. At a little under forty minutes in length it is Zero Down's forth overall full-length release and it serves as the long-overdue follow-up to late 2011's "Looking to Start a Riot". Falling somewhere in that grey area between traditional heavy metal and N.W.O.B.H.M. (think Judas Priest/Iron Maiden territory) this Seattle band if further complimented (and I mean drop-dead seriously COMPLIMENTED!) by the punk backgrounds of the various members (gang vocals do a good job of bridging the band's punk rock roots with their more modern approach to thrash rockin' the joint down!) and a full-tilt admiration for all things Motörhead! The vocals of Mark "Hawk" Hawkinson (formerly of crossover/punk band DUMT) are shredded raw and man if that doesn't just give this five-piece an extra air of attitude then I don't know what will! Rounded out by what might just be one of metal's most underrated set of guitarists in Lenny Burnett (ex-No Direction) & Matt Fox (ex-DUMT) and featuring a pretty steady rhythm section in Ronnie Banner and drummer Chris Gohde (bass and drums respectively) Zero Down opens strong on the riff-heavy, Metal Church meets Thin Lizzy on a road trip to HELL(!) "Return of the Godz" before the title track pulls back the curtains further showcasing the strength of this band's (well-developed since first forming back in 2002!) distinct take of traditional heavy metal. While the sounds of the seventies rock hard on a number like "Cold Winter’s Night" and "Leche di Tigre" cruises towards Sabbath territory it's the slammer "Phantom Host" that really proves that a band like Zero Down can push the speedometer all the way to the floor! Even if a cut like "Suicide Girls" falls flat there is the memorable "Steve McQueen" to put everything back into perspective. "Devils Thorn" recalls classic Accept even as it's a raw and ravaged slab of garage metal! The Motörhead love thrashes heavy on "Two Ton Hammer" and by the time we close with the excellent "Black Rhino' we've taken an interesting walk through the hallways of heavy metal where bands from A (Accept and early Anthrax) to Z (fellow Seattle natives Zeke and  Znöwhite) are paid homage to. And that right there is what makes a band like Zero Down so fantastically fun to listen to! Zero Down are heavy metal for the sake of heavy metal and they make no bones about it! They are not afraid to shuffle the deck style-wise and given the band's obvious taste for not only metal (Raven, Judas Priest, Metallica and Motörhead being just a few choices being highlighted), but hard rock (AC/DC) and classic rock (Thin Lizzy) there is so much here to digest that you might want to take a second helping! At the end of the day this one proves to be the perfect addition to any self-respecting metalhead's personal collection!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zero-Down-Fan-Page/262964899318?ref=ts&fref=ts

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