Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Silent Wake-Damnatio Memoriae


House of Ashes Productions
2015

Produced, engineered and mastered by Greg Chandler (Esoteric) at Priory Recording Studios in West Midlands, UK, is the latest & possibly greatest release from British death/doom band My Silent Wake. It features some of My Silent Wake's strongest material to date and this long player serves as the proper follow-up to 2014's well-received "Eye of the Needle". Opening by way of the aptly-titled "Of Fury",  "Damnatio Memoriae" features eight (Stone Cold Forever) tracks in all for a total run-time of 54:55. As per usual group founder/visionary mastermind Ian Arkley (Century Sleeper, Seventh Angel, ex-Ashen Mortality, ex-Paramæcium, ex-The Other Window) is the driving force behind My Silent Wake (MSW) and here on the band's latest release this multi-talented front-man/songwriter not only exceeds all expectations as a vocalist, but proves himself (once again!) praise-worthy as both a guitarist and keyboardist! Of course long-time fans of MSW won't find that little piece of information all that surprising. Since forming the band back in 2005, with a self-titled, 2-track EP released that very same year, Ian Arkley has released one spectacular recording after another with this new one moving the grand total of full-length albums up to eight! They've all been dangerously good in their own right so why should "Damnatio Memoriae" be an exception? Other than seeing another change in the band's line-up (which is something that has become common place for MSW over the years!) the only real difference between "Eye of the Needle" and "Damnatio Memoriae" takes place in the style department. They are both wonderfully atmospheric and (in regards to the individual song arrangements) technically-amazing, but whereas five out of seven numbers on the band's 2014 album are drawn-out and experiential in nature (the "Eye of the Needle" number "Three Furies" has a run-time of over 21 minutes after all!) much of "Damnatio Memoriae" is short and to the point. Other than "The Empty Unknown" (with a run-time of almost 14 minutes!) My Silent Wake's new album ends up being more direct in it's approach and (in general) things feel a bit more streamlined and focused. Speaking of which, MSW does feature a new cast of characters for album number eight here. Now trimmed to a (power) trio, My Silent Wake (MSW) is rounded out on this album by bassist Adam Westlake (Leppe, Striga, ex-Husk) and drummer Gareth Arlett (Amputated, ex-Awake by Design, ex-Control the Storm) and with that streamlined line-up we get a streamlined sound. Please note that the term "streamlined" should not be seen in a negative light. For example it does not mean that less thought and care went into the recording of this album. It does not mean that album number eight isn't as well-crafted, imagined or (frankly-speaking!) clever as previous MSW releases. And it most certainly does not mean that this album is any less praise-worthy or recommend! Instead of all of that noise, "Damnatio Memoriae" is streamlined in order to put more of an emphasis on traditional doom and Gothic doom. And to that point, "Damnatio Memoriae" is classic Gothic/doom metal the way it used to be. Try on the likes "The Innocent" and "Chaos Enfolds Me" and you just might find yourself blissfully whisked away in time and space to the early nineties. The sweet sounds coming from your speakers might feel vaguely familiar (what with the great "Now it Destroys" sounding as if it could have originally been released anywhere between 1990 and 1993!) and chances are you might have a slight case of déjà vu. That's especially true if you find yourself on the other side of 40 of all places! Only here on this eight-track album you get to enjoy timeless doom/Gothic doom with the benefit of a much-improved production job! One example would half to be "Highwire". Back some twenty or so years ago (when this kind of gloriously extreme Gothic doom was in it's prime!) a lackluster production would have tragically muffled the rich bass playing of Adam Westlake. Seeing as Greg Chandler's skills are so exemplary (his stellar work-history speaks for itself) not even once is that a problem on "Damnatio Memoriae". Every key piece falls smoothly into place for MSW and this album sounds crisp and distinctly clear. Despite it's clean appearance and overall smooth finish there is still something dirty about "Damnatio Memoriae". One can't help but feel as if My Silent Wake's new album is (sublimely) raw and rough. What's more, "Damnatio Memoriae" might very well be the HEAVIEST MSW album to date! And I do not take that statement likely! Even slowed down the material here is HEAVY and it's almost as if Ian Arkley went into this album with this ideal in mind. Well, that and the great idea about making this punchy album feel as natural as humanly possibly. It very much feels like a guitar, bass and drums kind of album. While I wouldn't compare the actual music of "Damnatio Memoriae" to the following band, early Black Sabbath comes to mind as structure-wise and performance-wise this aggressive LP strikes the perfect balance between man and the traditional instruments that are usually associated with classic metal. This suggested correlation goes hand in hand with the great news that My Silent Wake is currently in the process of raising funds in the hopes that "Damnatio Memoriae" might receive the royal vinyl treatment! Over at the linked website MSW explains why a vinyl release is necessary and I could agree more band when they say "We’re doing this campaign because as doomsters through and through, we feel our music can be best appreciated on glorious plastic! Unfortunately the goal is only at 39% perfect, but with 53 days left* we're all hoping they make it! If you're a fan of the band and/or a collector of heavy metal vinyl be sure to head to the group's pledgemusic page as ANY and ALL donations will be appreciated! Of course there are some real goodies to be found on the page so PLEASE do your part if you can! Otherwise, "Damnatio Memoriae" will be released on CD even if a official release date has yet to be announced. Whether you are new to this band or a long-time fan I highly-recommend "Damnatio Memoriae". And the end of the day this is Gothic doom metal/classic doom metal of the highest quality. It's also a album that has been made possibly thanks to one of the genre's true unsung heroes, Ian Arkely. 


*As of this posting.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

We Butter The Bread With Butter-Wieder Geil!

AFM Records
2015

My kids had a real hard time believing that a band like this existed. Maybe you will too. And yet it's all too true. Yes, Virginia, this is a real band.  And yes, Virginia, that really is the band's name. The way I see it things would only be crazier if their name was We Butter Our Butter With Butter. Otherwise this is about as odd as it gets when it comes to (metal) band monikers. Then again this is a odd band. Or better yet, this is a odd band with a odd take on synthesized metal. Founded in 2007 by songwriter, guitarist and producer Marcel Neumann, We Butter The Bread With Butter is a German four-piece whose mission in life seems to be striking the perfect balance between synthetic sounds and samples and real instruments. Need a description? How does industrial metalcore strike you? Maybe electronic modern metal would be better tag? Or perhaps digital deathcore? Whatever the case might be, "Wieder Geil!" is the latest release from We Butter The Bread With Butter (WBTBWB) and two things are certain. And that would be A) "Wieder Geil!" has been digitally enhanced by tools of the trade in order to give it synthetic vibe and B) "Wieder Geil!" is over-the-top LOUD METAL that is closer to heavy thrash/death than hard rock. I guess you could add one other point to this album. "Wieder Geil!" might be crazy, but it's a good kind of crazy. And it's not just the actual music either as the same thing can be said of lead singer Paul Bartzsch! His crazy antics and huge vocal range help top things off all of which makes "Wieder Geil!" one of those albums where you feeling like screaming "What a rush!" at the top of your lungs! Especially when you're out and about just cruising your life away and this album is cranked up as far as it will go! Just be sure to keep one eye out for the cops while you're doing it because "Wieder Geil!" will  make you want to slam it down and SPEED! So, even if this band's weird name gave me reason to pause their metal-minded music never once did. Therefore I'm giving  "Wieder Geil!" my stamp of approval and until we meet again, spin this one right round baby right round!

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Death Magic-Too Hot to Roll

Shadow Kingdom Records
2015

"Too Hot to Roll" is the debut EP from Italian heavy/speed metal band Death Magic. It was originally released back in September of 2013 as a independent recording and preceded in life by the single "Street Killer". Earlier this year Shadow Kingdom Records re-issued "Too Hot to Roll" on cassette tape and made this 30 minute EP available as a digital download . What's more, Shadow Kingdom Records has this official Death Magic t-shirt in their store and if you ask me it is every-bit as wicked as this EP is!

Practically-speaking , "Too Hot to Roll" is one part eighties metal to one part N.W.O.B.H.M. That's the formula in a nutshell. With the exception of guitarist/vocalist Mattia Scifo's Italian accent the band Death Magic sounds more British than their native country would lead you to believe. None of which is a bad thing although it will be interesting to hear new Death Magic material now that Mattia Scifo has been replaced by  Beppe Brugnano (ex-Veil, ex-Walpurgis Night). Otherwise I like what this band has to offer. If you are a fan of classic/eighties metal (Accept, Black Death, Cutty Sark, Exciter, King Diamond, Judas Priest, Liege Lord, Savage Grace, etc.) and/or the more "traditional" sounds of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene (stuff like Iron Maiden, Jaguar and even Raven) then chances are you'll like it to! In addition to the aforementioned "Street Killer", the EP's title track and a brief instrumental opener called "Rod to Neverland", "Too Hot to Roll" features the epic "Neverland" with a run-time of nine minutes and twenty three seconds and the very cool "Thunder and Fire". When you combine all of these slick cuts you end up with a grand example of the way heavy metal used to be. With it's fast guitars and thunder-struck rhythm section the short and sweet "Too Hot to Roll" is ever bit as good as those classic recordings of yesteryear. I hear what you're saying though. "What makes this Italian band stand out from all of the countless other retro-loving bands?" you're asking. The major difference between Death Magic and other similarly-themed heavy metal bands of this day and age is authenticity. While other bands sound as if they are going through the motions Death Magic sounds as if they have been plucked right out of the eighties and then deposited right into your lap! "Too Hot to roll" not only sounds like 1980 something all over again, but it passes the taste test to boot! You can just about reach out and touch those high-flying days of old and relive a time when heavy metal was making the jump from underground clubs and basement gigs to huge arenas vie the mainstream! It's like the tape-trading days all over again and all I can say to those in charge of releasing albums like this is "Please sir, may I have another HUGE slice of Metal F**Kin' fury!!!!!". Yeah....




For more information on this up-and-coming heavy/speed metal band be sure to check out their Facebook page here





















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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Witchskull-Promo CD

Self-Release/Independent
2015



Based in Cambria, Australia, Witchskull is a heavy stoner/doom metal band that was formed in 2014 by vocalist/guitarist Marcus De Pasquale (Looking Glass) and drummer Joel Green (Wardom, ex-Armoured Angel, ex-Under Oath). The very definition of a power trio, Witch Skull was put together with the sole purpose of creating a blues-based doom outfit. To that end, Marcus De Pasquale and Joel Green recruited  bass guitarist Tony McMahon before hitting the studio with Jason Fuller in order to record their full-length debut. In addition to the album's solid title track, "The Vast Electronic Dark", this limited-edition promo CD features a rough doom slammer called "Temple of Ly's" and the epic track "Harvest the Druid". With a run-time of over six minutes, "Harvest the Druid" alone is easily worth the price of admission and that has everything to do with it's sick mash-up of Black Sabbath-like seventies doom and what sounds like N.W.O.B.H.M.-influenced proto-metal! That being said, "Temple of Ly's" ends up coming in at a close second thanks to it's perfect one-one combination of Motörhead and bands like Black Sabbath, Trouble, Witchfinder General and Pentagram. Now, seeing as I like to give credit where credit it due I have a confession to make. I actually have Paul Rote to thank for this highly-recommend 3-track teaser CD as Witchskull is another one of his wicked cool recommendations! Paul was spot-on when he had this to say about Witchskull, "Sounds like the eighties band Piledriver mixed with a touch of Witchfinder General", and that sentence was all it took for me to want to hear this trio for myself! I ended up buying the Witchskull promo CD & patch combo from this link and man was I ever happy that I did! My next purchase will be a t-shirt as I want to be able to represent this band all the way over here in the U.S.! To see what all the fuss is about just head here. But first a word of warning. Let's not mince words here. Witchskull's music is very addicting. You should know that ahead of time. Even though this trio's sound is blues-based and rock-ready there's something else going on with Witchskull's metal side that makes it almost impossible to put down! I wanted to hear more from this Australia band, but now I'm forced to sweat it out while I wait! Seeing as this sampler is really nothing more than a naughty tease to get your heart pumping chances are you'll end up feeling the same way! So just a head's up friends...

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Kezia-The Dirty Affair

Logic(Il)Logic Records/Andromeda Dischi
2015

Kezia is an Italian five-piece that was formed in September of 2013 by long-time friends/seasoned musicians Pierlorenzo Molinari (vocals), Antonio Manenti (guitars) and Alberto Armanini (keyboards). The band's current line-up is rounded out by the pair of Fabio Bellini and Michele Longhena (bass and drums respectively) with the 8-track "The Dirty Affair" serving as the group's official debut. This extended EP was recorded, mixed & mastered by Riccardi Frigoni at Studio 57 in Brescia, Italy and it should be noted that the bass parts on the "The Dirty Affair" were performed by Andrea Piovani while the drums were played by Matteo Viganiand. It's also worth noting how quirky Kezia is, but what else would you expect from a band that self-describes it's style as prop-metal? "What exactly is prop-metal?" I hear you asking. Apparently it's whatever this Italian band wants it to be! And that would be (up to and including) a odd combination of "rock, progressive, swing, electro and pop". Or as Kezia puts it "The structure is prog, expanding its melodic variations with pop freshness". Got that? I hope so. Especially seeing as there is going to be a quiz later! In all seriousness, "The Dirty Affair" is more in line with avant-garde rock and the EP likely reflects the distinct tastes and styles of it's band-founders. With Pierlorenzo, Antonio, and Alberto all coming from different (musical) backgrounds the sound of Kezia is every bit as all-encompassing as the various projects and bands that these three were previously involved with! Most of the time this collaboration works out just fine. The fluid chemistry of Pierlorenzo, Antonio, and Alberto is as undeniable as the metallic undercurrent of this 8-track album is. When this trio is in-sync there's a damn nice spark of fire. But when they're not? On those rare occasion it all becomes too much. It's kind of like having the perfect stew and then going out of your way to add in all these exotic ingredients. You may think that these additions will spice up your meal, but in reality you've just ruined a perfectly fine dish. Thankfully the trio behind Kezia know when to pull in the reins and when it let go. In the case of Kezia's debut release there are more good times than bad times which goes a long ways towards making "The Dirty Affair" a recommend pick-up. For more information on this interesting band be sure to check out Kezia's Facebook page or their official website. 

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Interview with Psychedelic Witchcraft's Virginia Monti


Psychedelic Witchcraft is a amazing up-and-coming Italian occult rock/doom metal act that is lead by vocalist/guitarist Virginia Monti. Originally conceived of as a one-woman band, with the project's fantastic EP "Black Magic Man" receiving universal praise from critics and fans(!), Psychedelic Witchcraft is already on the cusp of greatness with world-wide acclaim (and then complete domination!) merely a matter of time! Thanks to Virginia's hauntingly beautiful (and frankly-speaking soul captivating!!!) voice and a vast array of influences that range from Jefferson Airplane to Trouble (!!) this Italian band has a sound comparable to none. At the end of the day "Black Magic Man" is one of those rare metallic recordings where style, sound and substance somehow manage to merge with charisma and charm on a sub atomic level! To quote the one and only Bruce Campbell, "Groovy!" For more information on "Black Magic Man" be sure to read my review here. Without further ado it is my extreme pleasure to share this interview that I recently conducted with band-founder/vocalist Virginia Monti. I want to thank her for taking the time to talk with Heavy Metal Time Machine about Psychedelic Witchcraft and the exceptional "Black Magic Man". If you haven't heard the EP for yourself then be sure to check it out after you are done here.
 

Andy-Could you tell us the origins of Psychedelic Witchcraft?

Virginia-I don't want to sound too presumptuous, but the origins of this project starts really from me. I was dreaming since I was a kid of having a rock band (Editor's note: I shared that same dream...only without the ability to sing, play an instrument or for that matter have any musical talent whatsoever!) I've been always singing and writing by my own, I did play in some cover bands here in Italy. But finally this year I felt it was the right time to start my thing, and to finally mix together all the stuff that I love in one little project. So I take courage started writing new songs and post just one online ("Angela") and then the journey begun. It was amazing, especially the reaction of people really I am so thankful to everyone. Because they let me do what I love and they make it real to have a real band that talks a little bit about the occult and witchcraft and all this creepy stuff that I love but at the same time without taking it too seriously and always enjoying the fact that is rock music ...and you know ...we all want to have fun with it.

Andy-What's in a name?

Virginia-Well I had in mind for like months to do a band that could mix together all the things that I love. And when I actually started to think about it seriously I thought that mixing psychedelic elements with witchcraft for me would be the best choice. So why psychedelic? Because I literally am in love with lots of psychedelic music from the 70' like 13th floor elevators , Pink Floyd , Jefferson Airplane and many others and at the same time my love for the 70' it's also for the colors of that era, those wonderful clothes and the free way of living in general, so I wanted to express all this stuff together and also I didn't want to sound too doom, because it is not in my character. I do have a "doom" part of me but also there is a part of me which is very positive and free ...I definitely feel like I am a wild spirit in search of adventures. Then my witchcraft? It's a other big old story. Since I was a kid I have fallen in love with the occult. I have a huge collection of occult readings and also movies. And tarots for example. I am so in love with the cards and all of their meanings, in fact one of my songs "Slave of Grief" talks about the tarots. It is sort of a musical lecture of tarots and feelings. So yeah I choose the name Psychedelic Witchcraft because it was the best name to express all this stuff mixed together.

Andy-Thanks for filling us in on the driving force behind your band. Now, Psychedelic Witchcraft has been descried as many things. Some call it seventies rock while others say it's stoner rock and even doom. Meanwhile most fans and critics agree that Psychedelic Witchcraft is occult rock. What would you call your project Virginia?

Virginia-I  wrote that it was occult rock for me. Because yes, I love 70' music but I didn't want to copy anyone especially from the 70' because I am not that good (Editor's note: I disagree as you are great!). So yes, 70' music it's a huge inspiration but I guess I take...we try to take that inspiration and make it more modern without being too modern. When I write I want to stay true to what I like and even when I recorded the EP I didn't want to sound fake. I wanted to be close I as I could to what is real. So we did just two takes for each instrument and that was it! Even if there are mistakes in it I decided it was good like this. I didn't want to be perfect at all. Then about doom and stoner ..I love doom and stoner music. Especially doom. But I don't think I am doom or stoner at all because Psychedelic Witchcraft is not that heavy. But, I am looking forward to write heavier songs ...so who knows. It's just that I don't know in what genres I am more comfortable in because most of the time it happens that I just write what I feel and I am not able to be just in a line ...I really like to explore sounds and be myself and stay true.

Andy- Fair enough. Let's talk about those sounds for a minute. "Angela" is a great single in it's own right, but then you turned around and add three equally stellar songs to the equation. Were these songs that you already had fleshed out or were any of them created out of studio chemistry?

Virginia-When I posted online "Angela" it was the only song that I wrote for the EP. Because I mean I didn't expect such a good reaction. Then I thought wow, if people like "Angela"  I should try to write more songs and try to do a real EP just to see how it goes and to push myself towards a thing that I have never done before. So I wrote the other 3 songs of the EP I think in 1 week. I stayed alone in my house concentrate on myself and wrote the song. Then I went to Lorenzo and I said "We have to record these songs. Can you learn it for me?" We sat and he learned it in one day and then a week or two after that we were in the studio.


Psychedelic Witchcraft's "Angela":



Andy-That's a crazy short turn around time there! Now speaking of Lorenzo Bianchi, "Black Magic Man" has him listed as a guest guitarist. Otherwise was it just you?

Virginia-Oh Lorenzo I met him the other day at the supermarket of my town LOL! He is an incredible guitar player and a old friend of mine. But he didn't want to be in this project full time. It was a shame because I think he was perfect for it ...but maybe that's the way it should be? But anyway, Lorenzo played the lead guitar and all the solos because I wasn't able to do it the way that I wanted. Also he did play the general bass line. So thanks god for him !!!! Then I played the main guitar and I wrote all the songs. All the riffs and lyrics, etc. I also directed everything when we were recording. Lorenzo was great because if you tell him "Hey play this song" in one minute he understands and he does what you asked him to do. So, it was magic! Then another friend of mine played the drums. Again he didn't wanted to be in the band and he didn't want his name on the EP so I am not going to tell. So after two days of recordings they left me and it was a shame as I told you...

Andy-Do you mean to tell me "Black Magic Man" was recorded over the course of two days? That's all it took? It sounds so professional!

Virginia-Uh wow, thanks. Yeah it took 2 days because I knew what I wanted from this EP. By the time that we got to the studio I had already decided everything. So it was very easy. We worked day and night very hard. We did only 2 takes for instrument and that was it. It was magical like I said and it was also very fun to do because for all of us this was the first time in a real studio.

Andy-That's incredible Virginia and I agree it's all so magical! You've said that all of this was just for fun and yet it sounds as if the response has been overwhelming! Are you amazed by the response or did you get a sense of how good the EP was when you finished it?

Virginia-I was in shock and I am still in shock honestly. When I was recording and I listened to the songs (even if they were not mixed yet) I thought that they were nice songs that I wanted to listen to. Because it was for fun I wanted to do songs that I would like to listen to. That was the main goal, just for myself. Then I saw the reaction of people ...and wow ...no I am still in shock definitely!!!

Andy-I know I speak for a lot of people here when I say that I am glad you decided to share your music with everyone! Honestly, "Black Magic Man" is fantastic and now it looks as if it will see a vinyl release!  Beyond that do you have any immediate plans for your project? Have you considered adding a full band to the mix in order to do live shows?

Virginia-Yeah, the EP is going to be out this summer on Taxi Driver Records. And YES, I have a band. We are working on the songs off of the EP and I have already wrote the full album so we are working. Don't worry. And I can't wait to go out there and do live shows ...I really need to be on stage and share for real my music to see even if this thing is working for real. So yeah can't wait ..

Andy-That's good news about the band and the full album. It makes me wish though that i could be right there to witness your live show. Let me ask you Virginia how can fans support your project?

Virginia-They already did a great and amazing job! I am so grateful ..but what can they do more? Just buy the vinyl. Ahhahaha yeah!

Andy-Will do! So, where can people go to find out more about you and your band?

Virginia-They can follow the Facebook Page by searching for Psychedelic Witchcraft or go to the bandcamp for music and youtube channel for videos. I usually wrote everything on the Facebook Page so you can also write to us and to me there. And I also have instagram. You just have to search again for psychedelicwitchcraft and you'll find me there :)

Andy- I've got to say Virginia that I consider myself a good man. I'm a single father of two teenagers and an all-around responsible guy. Yet here I am ready to abandon everything in order to follow you and Psychedelic Witchcraft all over Italy! What is the power source behind that kind of magic? How does your music have that kind of pull?

Virginia-Uh Wow!!! I don't know. Maybe a pact with Lucifer? Ahahha really I don't know. I felt blessed everyday just for having the chance to be out there with my music and to meet cool and great musicians along the way. It's a dream for me...a small dream for a small project. So I just have to say thank you to the people...I always said this..you make it real for me.

Andy-Well, thank you for the music and for taking the time to chat with us. I always let artists have the last word. Is there anything we didn't touch upon that you would like to address?

Virginia-Uh well I think I have answered a lot of questions in general during this day and interview. I don't know. I am a simple girl that by accident is in this incredible adventure with music. I just hope that people can feel this and they can relate to me and to my songs in this way. That's all I have to say. I like to stay humble and be a genuine person...and I like to stay true to myself. That's all that matters.

Andy-I completely agree...


Be sure to keep an eye out this summer for the vinyl release of "Black Magic Man" and if you wish to follow this great new band (and why wouldn't you?) be sure to click "like" on the group's Facebook page.
Yes, I am haunted by those eyes and I'm not ashamed to admit it!

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Hey Clown-Elevator Rock



Self-Release/Independent
2015

Released on April 27th, "Elevator Rock" is the latest release from Ontario's Hey Clown. If this five-piece band's name sounds familiar there's a very good reason for that. A little over a year ago I covered Hey Clown's self-titled EP and then I followed that review up with a band interview. At the time I described Hey Clown's sound as a "blend hard rock, heavy metal and hardcore" and in a way not much has changed for this Dunnville/Hamilton-based five-piece. Wait, let me rephrase that last part. It should read "in a good way not much has changed" seeing as "Elevator Rock" is more of the same only better. Or to put it another way, "Elevator Rock" is like a mutated mad dog that has been tampered with genetically in order to make it as ferocious and blood-crazed as it can conceivably be! So no, "Elevator Rock" is not for the weak of heart of for that matter the week willed! But we'll get back to that in a minute. For the five guys in  Hey Clown this new EP represents the end of a long journey. All of the hard work has finally paid off with the Nick Ginn-produced "Elevator Rock" showcasing the full-potential of this emotionally-charged/ramped-up punk metal outfit! While rage-induced front-man Andrew Shaw spits forth foam-inducing poison with his venomous voice the jagged-sharp guitar strings of Toui Manikhouth & Andrew Rous neatly slice and dice what little is left of the listener until there is nothing to be found except for half-melted studio walls splashed red by gallons of blood! The aggressive nature of 2014's "Hey Clown" EP cannot hold a candle to "Elevator Rock" as everything about this hardcore-tinged hard rock band has been amplified to the point of full-tilt hack and slash destruction! With the rhythm section of David Pettigrew and Cody Morris (bass & vocals and drums respectively) all pissed off and ready to fight it's way out by any means necessary, Hey Clown has emerged from it's brief slumber all the more volatile and dare I say frightening? Weirdly enough Hey Clown's latest release reminds me of a old seventies movie I saw when I was 11 or maybe 12. For the life of me I can't remember whether it was a "real" movie or just a TV one, but what's really important is the films one scary scene. Apparently a demon or a some sort of evil spirit had been trapped in a mason jar of all things and after the jar was accidentally opened all hell broke loose! That one scene messed with my mind for years to come and I still remember how unnerving the whole thing felt. Playing "Elevator Rock" a few times over (back to back as it were to get a good feeling for this knife-stab of a EP!) gave me the same odd feeling of uneasiness. Only this time around I also found my innards all tangled up in excitement with a sample slice of invigoration tagging along for the ride! That might be a hard concept for some to wrap their heads around, but one thing's for sure when it comes to Hey Clown. This Ontario act makes aggressive music for aggressive people. Everything about "Elevator Rock" suggests that ideal and from the rumbling sounds of Hey Clown's newest EP it sure sounds as if that isn't going to change anytime soon. But then again, why would anyone want it to? Shouldn't we have explosive outlets like this? God knows I think we should.     




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Free Metal Monday: Dogzilla-Demo


Self-Release/Independent
2015

Observant readers will no doubt recall how I previously covered Dogzilla's song "Winnetou" as part of another Free Metal Monday feature. Now this hard & heavy/sludge trio from Tarnów, Poland returns with a full-fledged demo that tacks on "#3" and "Massive Impact of Lethal Force". While the buzz-saw aggression of gritty opening number "Winnetou" is nearly-impossible to top these two additional cuts further showcase Dogzilla's ability to craft fuzzy hard rock with plenty of heavy riff rock appeal. For band-members Karol Wałaszek (guitar, vocals), Jakub Sroka (bass) and Nikodem Zawirski (drums) these three songs are more than enough to get fan's drooling in anticipation of a full-fledged album! I sure as hell count myself in that category!! To my fellow promoters and PR friends I have to say the following. Someone needs to scoop in and sign this trio up while there's still time! These guys are too good to be toiling away at cutting demos no matter how good these particular demos just might be! Speaking of which, this demo is free for the taking and you will want to add it to your collection especially if you are a fan of fuzzed-over, hard & heavy metal that is guitar-driven and drenched in sludge for your listening pleasure!

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Free Metal Monday: The Buzzkills-"Leftover Pot" Single

Self-Release/Independent
2014

More Free Metal Monday love from Texas? Why not? First we had Dallas-Ft Worth blackened crust rockers Wildspeaker and now we have Fort Worth punk rockers The Buzzkills."Leftover Pot" is the band's latest single and you can download it and the band's full-length album, "Shoot Your Radio" for free by clicking on the band's highlighted name! Even more old-school in it's approach than this band's long list of influences would seem to suggest, "Leftover Pot" reminds me of stripped to the bare minimum Social Distortion as envisioned by a road-tested Less than Jake! And that's a good thing friends....
 

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Free Metal Monday: Wildspeaker-Sylvan Demo


Self-Release/Independent
2015

Done up DIY-style, "Sylvan Demo" is a 2-song sampler of sorts featuring the cuts "Power Lines" and "Survey The Wreckage". Both numbers are due to appear on Wildspeaker's upcoming full length album and said album will serve as the follow-up to 2014's "Revenge Of The Hunted" EP.  Based in DFW, Texas, Wildspeaker is fronted by Natalie and rounded out by guitarists Nelson & Zak, bassist Michael and drummer Robert. Featuring the kind of blackened crust/hardcore doom that dreams are made of, "Sylvan Demo" can be download for free by heading here. Meanwhile you can find out more about this band by checking out their Facebook page. Enjoy!

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Singles: The Rods (featuring Veronica Freeman)-"Smoke On The Horizon"

David Feinstein / Nire
2015

Welcome to a special edition of Sunday Singles. Today we will be talking about the hard & heavy rock-fest that is "Smoke On The Horizon". This recently-released single finds Veronica Freeman and The Rods collaborating on a four plus minute barn burner with this (so far at least) one and done recording all but written with rock radio in mind! This joint venture could best be viewed as heavy metal's past and hard rock's present colliding mid-air for some red hot destruction with the two distinct styles actually complimenting each other. On "Smoke On The Horizon" the Benedictum front-woman manhandles the microphone with Veronica "The V" Freeman's humongous voice shattering glass and destroying more than a few building foundations along the way! You'll be surprised to find The Rods actually taking a back seat to this powerhouse of a lead singer with the U.S. power metal trio mere putty for this fiery front-lady to mold! Even so, "Smoke On The Horizon" find The Rods doing what they do best and their timeless take on American metal is as blistering as it gets! As a first collaboration between these four veteran musicians this rocking number has a nice bit or bite to go along with it's loud bark and it points towards the possibility of this becoming a legitimate, full-time project if everything else were to fall apart for the parties involved. You can find "Smoke On The Horizon" at the usual places including iTunes and CD Baby.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Saturday Singles: D.O.A.-"The Cops Shot a Kid (Gonna Be A Riot)"

Sudden Death Records
2015

Serving as the first single from D.O.A.'s upcoming studio album, "Hard Rain Falling", "The Cops Shot a Kid (Gonna Be A Riot)" is yet another explosive slab of political hardcore from this legendary punk band! It's every bit as powerful and distinct as this Canadian band is and unless you've been living under a rock for the past year or so it's title should be self-explanatory! Especially if you live here in the U.S.!! Written by D.O.A. guitarist/vocalist Joe "Shithead" Keithley in reaction to the recent deaths of African Americans at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland and New York City, "The Cops Shot a Kid (Gonna Be A Riot)" is two and a half minutes of stand your ground/united as one punk/hardcore fury and it's a message that everyone needs to hear! By this point in the "party" there's no reason whatsoever that the police here in the U.S. should not be wearing body cams while on duty. Why it is even a argument is beyond me. Not only would it help assure that everything is on the up and up with our police force, but it could also be used to help apprehend anyone who might try to harm a cop! I'd call that a win-win situation there with everyone having their backs and butts covered. Hell, I can't find a single person in my wide range of friends and family that doesn't support the idea of body cams! And we're talking liberals and conservatives and the young and the old here friends!  So, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard let's "Make it so!" and we can do that by standing up together and demanding that our police force be required to wear body cams while on duty!


PS. D.O.A. is reportedly working on the 12-track "Hard Rain Falling" as we speak! From the sound of things it has been funded by Kickstarter and it promises to be a return to D.O.A.'s early sound. Or to be more precise recordings like "Hardcore 81" and the "Disco Sucks" EP . That sounds good to me! While it does look as if the album has successful funded you can still help the band out and get some nifty rewards in the process! As of this writing D.O.A.'s  Kickstarter Campaign has 14 days to go so why not head over there after you are done with the review?

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Saturday Singles: Lucifer-"Anubis" Single

Rise Above Records
2015

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Candy Bomber Studio in Berlin, Germany, "Anubis" is the first release from the female-fronted stoner/doom metal band Lucifer. This single was laid to tape back in November of 2014 and it is backed by the number "Morning Star". Despite the fact that it was released back on January 27th (with a limited edition 7" appearing a month or so after the digital version), "Anubis" only recently came to my attention after a friend suggested I check out this German band featuring Johanna Sadonis. Before we got any further though or get too deep into today's Saturday Singles feature I think it would suit us well to play the time honored game, "Good Bands with Bad Names!". If you really need to ask why Lucifer is a terrible choice for a new band then be sure to take a sneak peek over at the Metal Archives. As you can see this name has been used before and there are a couple of active bands still using the moniker. So yeah, Lucifer is a terrible name for this stoner/doom metal band and I really wish someone would have stood up and said as much before the ball got rolling. OK, now that I have that little rant out of my system let's get back to  Johanna Sadonis and the band in question. If her name doesn't immediately ring any bells don't feel too bad. At first it didn't for me. It took me a minute or two to clear the cobwebs out of my head before I placed the name and even then that was only after a clue or two......or three! Lucifer's front-lady was formerly with the The Oath and that short-lived band proved to be a one and done deal. Hopefully that doesn't prove to be the case with Lucifer. Especially seeing as Johanna has surrounded herself with admirable company including Andrew Prestidge and Gary Jennings! Andrew Prestidge was the former (live) drummer for The Oath and his resume includes two N.W.O.B.H.M. bands in Angel Witch and Tytan! Meanwhile guitarist Gary Jennings (here known as The Wizards) also plays with the band Death Penalty and his terrific style of playing has been on display in Cathedral, Septic Tank, and Acid Reign! On bass we find front-lady Johanna Sadonis (also formerly of  Cryogenic, Dies Ater, Ferox, Informer, and Sweden's Vinterkrig) recruiting a possible newcomer in Dino Gollnick and I say "possible newcomer" due to the fact that even if the Metal Archives doesn't have him listed in any other bands his skills on the four-string are undeniable! Collectively Lucifer sounds nearly unstoppable so it will be interesting to hear what this band has in store as far as new music is concerned. Fans won't have to wait long for that though as the group's next single, "Izrael", is due for release this week and the band's full-length debut, "Lucifer I", is scheduled for May 25th in the UK and Europe and June 16th here in the U.S.! For more information on Lucifer be sure to check out the band's Facebook page and you can pick up a vinyl copy of this great single by heading here.





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Lunar Electric-Lunar Electric

Electric Maiden Recordings
2015

Originally known as Resin Gypsy, with guitarist/vocalist Dre DiMura and drummer Kaleen Reading serving as the connecting factor between both projects, Lunar Electric is a L.A.-based rock and roll power trio whose sound could best be described as equal parts classic rock and alternative rock. On the group's debut release, "Lunar Electric", we find DiMura and Reading paired up with bassist Geena Spigarelli and this self-titled EP features three songs from Resin Gypsy's old catalog along with the brand new number and lead single, "Crossfire Child". A video for "Crossfire Child" can be found below and of the four tracks featured on the group's first release it is arguably the strongest cut of the lot! This 17-minute EP opens with a radio-edit of "Bread & Circuses" and while it's a fine enough number in it's own right things get better on "Moonlight". Featuring a interesting mix of Cream and (early) Soundgarden, "Moonlight" is as sassy as it is swaggered with the number slowing building in intensity and intrigue. From there we have "Sleepwalker" and as the last number left-over from the band's Resin Gypsy days it is every bit as bluesy and gritty as "Moonlight" is. The EP "Lunar Electric" actually ends where we began this short review. Naturally I'm talking about the feisty "Crossfire Child" which is arguably this EP's heaviest and most well-rounded number. If there's a default defect to be found on "Lunar Electric" it's this EP's most glaring red flag. And that would be the lack of distinction between tracks one through three. Given time to properly evolve a power trio like Lunar Electric should  shake loose it's ties to the past and move on to the greener pastures of full-fledged originality and creativity. As it stands now this L.A. band shows promise. Maybe with a bit more time under their wings and a clearer objective we'll find that Lunar Electric are the real deal. Dre DiMura and company have the potential and the skill-set is there so I can see this happening eventually. The key word being eventually. For now "Lunar Electric" should be enjoyed for what it is. It's heavy rock and roll with a alternative mindset for those who are into that kind of thing. And now as promised here is the official video for "Crossfire Child". Enjoy!

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