Monday, July 06, 2015

Free Metal Monday: Ripple Music - 5 Year Anniversary Compilation

Ripple Music

Here's another fantastic digital compilation to start your work week off on the right foot! This 24-track sampler(!) features artists from Ripple Music's impressive roster of artists and it serves as a celebration of "the great music that has helped fuel the label's energies and creative juices". That is their words, but I'll gladly second that notion and add that if you are into cool stoner and/or heavy rock then you'll want to add this compilation asap! Available as a name-your-own-price download by heading here, Ripple Music's 5th Anniversary sampler shows just how vital smaller labels and PR firms can be and why the heavy metal community should do all they can to support such ventures.

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Free Metal Monday: "Hello Tokyo...OMP...Re-Armed And Ready...Volume II" Compilation

Today's Free Metal Monday offering comes from Online Metal Promo and the Japanese webzine Breath Fresher. "Hello Tokyo...OMP...Re-Armed And Ready...Volume II" is a 30 track(!) compilation featuring a mix of current, unreleased, and demo original songs from established and up and coming bands from the United States, Belgium, Canada, Germany and Singapore. It can be downloaded for free by heading here and the bands that are featured on the expansive compilation include:
1. The Rods
2. Broken Teeth
3. Ostrogoth
4. Canedy
5. Maxxxwell Carlisle
6. Corners of Sanctuary
7. Zephaniah
8. Vanlade
9. Diamond Lane
10. Gundriver
11. Kara and the Dam Band
12. Lords of the Trident
13. Witchcross
14. DH Project
15. Ravensthorn
16. Azraels Bane
17. Immortal Guardian
18. Chamber Sixx
19. Blood of VanGogh
20. Salem’s Lott
21. Swirl
22. Desecrate
 23. Strangelet
24. Decypher
25. Delta Rose
26. Hasta La Muerte
27. Hessler
28. Sorizon
29. Omnislash
30. The Black Monolith

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Friday, July 03, 2015

Crazy Fenton-"Cool Ella" Single


The brainchild of Norfolk-based artist/veteran musician Clive Aliker, Crazy Fenton is a upbeat psychedelic/garage rock project whose (highly-infectious) sound takes it's cue from sixties rock, seventies punk and eighties new wave. "Cool Ella" is a new single from Crazy Fenton's upcoming album, "Turn Off The Silence", and for those of us who still love (fuzzy & distorted) jingle-jangle garage rock it's a absolute godsend! If the rest of Crazy Fenton's new album is anywhere near as much fun as this single is then we could be looking at a real (golden-oldie) gem in the making! You can watch the new video for "Cool Ella' by heading here and be sure to check back here often as I will try to secure the whole album for review.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

My Hollow-On Borrowed Time


Due to drop on July 31st (and more than a little likely to explode on contact when it does!), "On Borrowed Time" is the latest release from Toronto, Ontario's My Hollow and as suggested by it's sweet art-work it has all the subtlety of two-ton anvil slamming down on a set of pearly whites! It follows the same set of blue-prints that this (highly-regarded) band laid out on their 2012 debut EP, "Cold Dark Days", and that of course means more heavy & harsh metal from a group that is all at once progressive and groovy as F**K! You can actually hear the wicked raw title track at the bandcamp link posted above, but perhaps a word of caution is in order before you head that way. As it's over five minutes long this album's aggressive opening title track is a stone-cold beast and a blood-crazed one at that! And just like you would do when faced with any wild animal you don't want to turn your back on it! Because if you do make that mistake with the ferocious title track "On Borrowed Time" it will tear you to shreds! And to think that is just ONE of the album's fierce new numbers! Yep, you are going to want to pre-order this one so why not just stop what you're doing and take care of that business now? Personally I can't think of any good reason why you wouldn't want to pull that trigger.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Misantropus-The Gnomes

Minotauro Records

Formed by brothers Alessio (guitar) and Vincenzo (bass) Sanniti in Latina (Lazio, Italy) in early 1998, Misantropus is an environmentally-conscious doom metal band whose latest release, "The Gnomes" is dedicated to the four natural elements and to the entities that represent them. As this veteran green metal band all but specializes in classic Italian-style doom (with the legendary Paul Chain a longstanding source of inspiration) they are suitably enough now signed to Minotauro Records. And in standing with much of the group's back catalog, "The Gnomes" is a instrumental release. A HEAVY and DARK instrumental release, but a instrumental release all the same. Just so you know what you're getting into. On "The Gnomes" drum duties fell to Alessio Sanniti with guest Mario "The Black" Di Donato helping out as a second guitarist. Otherwise what you see is what you get. As for my favorite moment? That would be the last of the four numbers here, Elfs ( Raphael). It falls somewhere between Paul Chain, a stream-lined Saint Vitus and one of my all-time favorite soundtrack bands, Goblin. Without a doubt it's super effective and it had me hitting the replay button a few times over! Recommend for fans of Paul Chain, Saint Vitus and Manilla Road, "The Gnomes" is another great addition to any doom collection and another reason why I look forward to each new Minotauro Records' release! 

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Regicide-Fall of an Empire


Formed in 2006 in Las Cruces, Regicide is a traditional heavy metal/thrash metal band and the recently-released  "Fall of an Empire" is their debut album. The band is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Issac Trujillo, lead guitarist Dominic "Dimemond" Flores, bass guitarist Andrew "The Android" Silluron, and drummer Brandon "Brack" Gallegos and their influences range from the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Motörhead to bands like Testament, Anthrax, Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth, and Slayer. With a run-time of just over thirty minutes there is obviously not that much to this eight-track recording and in all honesty that's probably a good thing as New Mexico's Regicide has a long way to go before they can hope to compete with their elders. While the band's take on heavy/thrash metal isn't exactly bad it isn't great either. If anything it's just so-so and a lot of that has to do with the album's overall generic sound. There's nothing here we haven't heard a thousand times over and what is here is colorless and flavorless. As much as I would like to support these underground metalheads I find myself uninspired and unmoved by their debut album here. Hopefully that will change over time, but seeing as this band is already some nine years old it doesn't look promising in that department. This one is only for die-hard collectors who must have anything and everything thrash related.     

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Free Metal Monday: Seagrave-Dead Demo


I'm sorry to say this, but today's Free Metal Monday offering is a bit of a mystery. Not musically mind you (as this is old-school metal with a little bit of stoner rock & doom metal tossed in for good measure!), but in the sense that no one seems to know if this Philly-based band is technically still together or not. There's also no line-up info given on the group's bandcamp page so there's no way to tell verify who played what on "Dead Demo". Whatever the case, "Dead Demo" is free for the taking and it's a nice way to start your Monday! It has four quality tracks of garage-worthy heavy metal that will stick to your ribs and since it packs just the right amount of attitude to make it stand up tall it ends up being rather inspiring in a quickly kind of way. If anyone knows more about this U.S. metal band please drop a line in the comments.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

On Top-Topless

Toil Records

It's no secret that I've been a fan of Philadelphia's On Top since first hearing their 2012 debut, "Top Heavy". A drop-dead serious heavy rock/heavy metal gem, "Top Heavy" left me with high hopes as to the the future of this fantastic power trio. It took some time, but the band did (eventually) make their return with a worthy follow-up in the form of 2014's  "Top to Bottom". Between that (highly-recommend!) EP and the band's (must own!) full-length debut, "Top Heavy", this hard rock/traditional heavy metal band was on easy street. Now On Top return's with their third release (and second overall 4-track EP in as many years) "Topless". Digitally at least, "Topless" is due out on July 9th and if this band was on easy street already thanks to their two previous releases then this new EP should make them the supreme rulers of the surrounding city, state, and country! For band-members Jaron Gulino (lead vocal/bass), Brian Davis (guitar/vocals), and Danny Piselli (drums/vocals) this is as good as it gets and then some! Recorded at Tribe Sound Studios in West Chester, Pennsylvania, engineered by Brian Davis, and mix/mastered by Chris "The Wizard" Collier (KXM, Lynch Mob), "Topless" features the same kind of (sleazy does it) hard & heavy rock that we've come to associate with On Top and once you hit play on this EP's aggressive opener, "Lie to Me", it's all but over friends! Forget about Looks That Kill as this Philly-based trio has Hooks That Kill! These four tracks make you want to get up and get down(!) with the razor rock guitar solos of Brian Davis simply being too good for words! Between those riff-rocking leads and Jaron Gulino's gritty/gruff voice* it's all solid-gold for On Top, but make no mistake as to this band's ultimate strength. For On Top it's always been about that perfect balance between the melodies and the muscle and that's never been more clear than on this catchy EP! On Top's rhythm section helps that along nicely with each individual number on "Topless" showcasing it's own unique charm. Rounded out by the cool songs "Crazy", "282", and "Got Me Runnin'​" (with that last one a real a beauty!) this EP is just what On Top fans need. For the time being this is only a digital release, but sometime down the road there's talk of "Topless" getting a proper CD release. Let's all hope that happens sooner than later and let us also hope that On Top doesn't make us wait that long for their next full-length   release!

* Last time around I described Jaron Gulino's voice as sounding like "Rage Against The Machine's Zack de la Rocha (if Zack had been influenced more by the likes of Bon Scott, Lemmy, Ozzy, etc.) going through a sleazy street metal phase". I'll stand by that statement and no, it's not a problem at all for this band! His voice works well with On Top's guitar-driven, rough and ready stab at heavy metal/hard rock and by this point in the game I simply cannot picture any other singer fronting this trio!

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Interview with Mellevon's April Hutchins

For those who might not know, Mellevon is a Canadian metal band whose latest album, "Solace", I just covered last week. Now it is my pleasure to share a recent interview that I had with the multi-talented April Hutchins. In addition to being the band's sole guitarist (and a damn amazing one at that!), April wrote most of the music and lyrics for "Solace" and took care of the production duties! I want to thank April for taking the time to chat with us and I would encourage all of our readers to check out this band's latest release.

Andy-Could you please introduce yourself for our readers and tell us how Mellevon came together?

April-My name is April Hutchins and I play guitar in Mellevon. We’re a metal band from Montreal, Canada. I originally started the band as a solo project in late 2009, but I got bored of doing music on my own pretty quickly. I started jamming with friends when I started college, and our first full lineup came together in mid-2011.

Andy-How did you decide on the band's name?

April-I came up with the name "Mellevon" when I was fifteen. I originally used it as the name of a monster in a story I was writing. It doesn’t mean anything; I just thought it sounded cool.

Andy-For those who have never heard Mellevon how would you describe the band's sound?

April-Admittedly, we’re pretty strange. We don’t sound like any one thing; we mix things up a lot. I’ve never been able to successfully describe our sound to someone without them coming back to me later and saying "What the hell? You sound nothing like that". I guess the best I could do is say we sound like a metal version of the soundtrack to a Nintendo 64 action-adventure game, with lots of poppy keyboards and added breakdowns.

Andy-I like that! Somehow it's very fitting. Now, it looks as if your band has had more than it's fair share of line-up changes over the years and yet Mellevon has persevered. What's the secret to keeping it all together despite the rough storms?

April-We’re not just a band; we’re also all really good friends. We came together to share ideas and play music together, but we’ve stuck together because our personalities gel and we get along. I think that’s really important. If you’re going to travel across town to get sweaty in a garage and bump into each other for two hours every week, you want to make sure it’s with people you actually like to be around. That’s actually the first thing we (Chel, Stefan and myself) looked at when we started bringing in the new guys (Red and Colin). We knew they could scream and drum, but we wanted to make sure we could be friends first and foremost. To be honest, I think we spend more time hanging out and getting drunk together nowadays than we do actually playing music!

Andy-There's nothing wrong with that LOL! Speaking of Red and Colin how did you find them April?

April-I’d seen Red around in college a few times but never spoke with him. I ended up actually having a conversation with him for the first time when we ran into each other at a party. He was really cool. He told me he’d been trying out for different local bands for a while, but to no avail; the vibe was never right. He checked out our first record after I told him I played in a band, and he’s since admitted to me that he couldn’t get into it for the first few listens. But something kept pulling him back, and eventually, it grew on him, and caught his interest. When we started looking for a replacement for Gabriel, he volunteered to come over and try out, and both his vocals and personality blew us all away. The rest is history.

Colin just sort of fell into place. He plays drums in the Montreal band The Wild Hunt, who Mellevon has done a number of shows with in the past, and he went to the same college as the rest of us. We’d hung out with him on quite a few occasions in the past, and he’d even come over to jam a few times. When Jermeel left, he offered to fill in on drums for a few shows, and eventually started coming to our jam sessions regularly. After a while, we realized he was spending just as much time playing with us as his other band, and we all agreed to make his membership official.

Andy-Switching gears some, could you tell us about the new album and how it all came together?

April-Recording Solace was a long process. We started jamming and tracking material for the record just a few weeks after we released Chaos Reigns, in February 2013, and we continued to make adjustments and changes until just a few days before the release in late 2014. Some of the songs on the record were written during that period, some were written even before.

Unfortunately, we underwent some lineup changes over the course of working on Solace, but it ended up working wonderfully. Colin and Red brought a lot of great performances and ideas to the record. It wouldn’t have sounded nearly as good as it does without their help. Red even wrote one of the songs, "Deathwish", which I’d argue is the best song on the album.

Unlike with our last record, which we recorded with Glen Robinson, we put Solace together completely on our own. Almost everything was recorded and mixed in my garage. It was an experimental process for sure, but it meant that we had a lot of time to work on the record and make it sound as good as possible.

Thematically, I’d say the record is all about struggling (and sometimes failing) to cope with difficult circumstances. Some of the lyrics draw inspiration from literature and film, but most of them are completely based on personal experiences. All in all, I’d say it’s a more honest record than our last.

Andy-I guess in a way you could call "Solace" a D.I.Y. project right?

April-That would definitely be appropriate!

Andy-How has the response been from long-time fans and friends of the group?

April-It’s been very positive. Everyone I’ve spoken to, at least, prefers this album over our last in all respects and thinks we’ve improved greatly as a band.

Andy-And critics?

April-Very mixed. We’ve always drawn mixed reactions. Some critics have complimented the uniqueness of our sound and the catchiness of our grooves and melodies. Others just really don’t like our style. We’ve gotten a lot of flak for how we mix different sounds together. Some people really hate that we do things like inserting a nu-metal groove or a rap section into a melodic death metal song. Solace has been called "inconsistent", "predictable crap", and my personal favorite, "an embarrassing attempt at making pseudo-progressive music". I just like that people react strongly to us, for better or for worse. We must be doing something right.

Andy-I guess so! You mentioned the honesty behind "Solace". Could you touch on that a little more April?

April-Most of the lyrics on our first album, Chaos Reigns, were strongly inspired by movies and literature, particularly the 2009 Lars von Trier film Antichrist. "Chaos Reigns" is actually a line from that film. In Solace, there’s a little of that outside influence, but it’s based mostly on experiences we’ve personally had to deal with and feelings we’ve felt. It’s definitely a more lyrically honest record. I also think that our musical vision came through more clearly since we took so much time putting the record together, and were able to shape the record’s sound on our own, without any third party input.

Andy-That's always a positive thing. I'm curious about something April. This is kind of out of left field I realize, but what are your day jobs if you don't mind me asking?

April-I work at a grocery store. I do cash, cleaning, bagging, cart-pushing, sometimes shelf-stocking and inventory. I’ve been there for three years. Red currently works as a security guard at a warehouse. Chel is an assistant machinist at a metalworking joint. Stefan’s currently looking for a new job - he just quit his old one recently. Colin’s looking as well, but he’s got a good bit of cash to hold him over for the time being.

Andy-Who are some of your influences as a guitarist, April?

April-If I were to name three, I’d say Niklas Sundin from Dark Tranquillity, Jason Mendonça formerly of Akercocke, and Steve Holt from 36 Crazyfists.

Andy-And as a songwriter?

April-There are so many bands and songwriters who I’ve taken a page from over time, but I guess my big three would have to be Rammstein, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Probot, etc.), and Grant Kirkhope, who composed the soundtracks to Donkey Kong 64, Banjo Kazooie and tons of other great games that I was obsessed with as a kid.

Andy-I can relate to Donkey Kong 64 and I was also obsessed with video games as a kid. How things have changed! Now I'm a parent of two teenagers and I find myself on the outside looking in at all of their obsessions! It's rather surreal somethings! But anyway, how is your local scene April? Are there any other good bands that you would suggest our readers check out?

April-Montreal’s got a great music scene. I’d say most of the metal bands that come out of here play technical death metal and metalcore, and we have some great alternative rock bands too. Out of the bands that we’ve played with, I’d recommend Skeleris, Join the Conspiracy and Cirrhose et cendrier. They’re all great guys, and they crank out some pretty ripping tunes.

Andy-I'll have to check them out. What is a live show like for your band, April?

April-Always very exciting, fun, and just a little nerve-wracking. We’ve been told we have a lot of energy and stage presence, and that’s mostly due to Red and Stefan. Stefan’s a big guy, always headbanging and moving around, and Red likes to get up in people’s faces and try to start shit. He’ll almost always dive right into the pit at some point during our set, and he’s jumped off of tables and chairs and broken equipment before.

Andy-Sounds fun! So, is the band working on new material?

April-Always! I’m not sure if we have anything definite yet, but we have dozens and dozens of song ideas floating around. You can definitely expect many more records out of us in the future.

Andy-Sweet! How can fans find our more about the band?

April-Follow us on Facebook.We post everything that we’re up to there.

Andy-I like to give artists the last word. Is there anything that we didn't touch upon that you would like to discuss? Would you like to give a shout out to anyone? Do you have a story to share? The mic is all yours April and yours alone.

April-We are a bit of a strange band, and we sometimes like to do things with our music that may seem a little out of left field simply for the fun of it. I would encourage anyone patient enough to check us out to proceed with an open mind. Try to take our music simply for what it is instead of getting too analytical. Enjoy! Oh yes, and thank you so much for the lovely interview!

Andy-You're more than welcome April. And thank you for taking the time to talk with us.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Video Beast-Gooch


Produced, recorded and mastered by Mike Gevaza at Continental Recording Studio in Long Island City, New York, "Gooch" is the latest release from the mythological cryptid known as Video Beast. The album follows in the footsteps of a 2014 demo, "Seasons Greetings From Video Bitch EP", and it finds this unknown oddity grooving it's way through ten tracks of golden delicious post-punk! For a sample taste you can check out the video for the album's lead single, "Chimp Strength", right below this brief review. But as good as "Chimp Strength" is (it's oh so gooey!) you really should experience it in it's natural environment. In other words, "Gooch" should be consumed whole! So, why not slap on a bib, grab your favorite cocktail and head on over to Video Beast's bandcamp page right now? You've got nothing to lose (other than time) and much to gain! You can thank me later. 

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Interview with New Tenants

New Tenants is a German band that is comprised of Marcus "Jimmy' Nelson (vocals), Marcel Mandl (drums), Pirmin Schall (bass), and Alex Huber (guitar). I recently reviewed their "Unity By Collision " album and now it is my pleasure to share a recent interview that I conducted with the band. Enjoy!

Andy-Thanks for doing this interview with us today. Would you please introduce yourselves and tell us what New Tenants is all about? 

Marcus-New Tenants is a Crossover/Rapcore Band which was founded in Bavaria in the end of 2013. We wanted to show people that the style along the lines of  "Rage Against the Machine" is not gone by a long shot.

Andy-"Unity By Collision" would seem to be the perfect title for your debut album. How did you decide on that? 

Marcus-Metal and HipHop collide in our music-style. And it‘s this collision that brings different groups of people, who usually might not have very much or anything in common, together to have a good time. Therefore = "Unity by Collision"

Andy-I can dig that. Speaking of your debut album (and I guess your overall sound) can I just say it's awesome! It's obviously that you four have a lot of chemistry! Has it been like that since day one? 

All-Well first off...Thank you very much! :) 

Marcus-Pirmin, Alex and Marcel have known each other since pre-school. And when I joined the band in 2013 it instantly clicked and we knew that we were on to something big. So I guess you could say that from the first band practice together there was instant chemistry. 

Andy-Coolness. So how has the reception been for the new album? 

All-The feedback for our first album was overwhelming. We also really enjoy hearing that everybody has their own different favorite song on the album. So it makes us happy that there is something for everybody.

Andy-I would agree with that. What are some of your influences? Both individually and as a group? 

Marcus-Well...trials and tribulations, struggles, overcoming obstacles. You know... Life!!

Marcel-Then there‘s the challenge of combining our favorite sounds and styles (Metal, HipHop, Oldskool,Hardcore) to something that's new.

Andy-I definitely think it's new so I think you nailed that part! What is your local scene like guys? Are there other hip-hop/rap metal bands around or did you set a precedent? 

Marcus-To a certain extent we may have laid the foundation here in Bavaria. We don‘t know of any other groups from around here that make a similar sound or style of music. Which is why we mostly play at Metal and Hardcore-shows.

Andy-On that end who are some of the bands and artist that you've played with and if you had your way what would be the perfect line-up? 

All-One of the best shows we've had till now was our support-show for Dog Eat Dog on their "25th Anniversary Tour". But we also always enjoyed several shows with other bands like the talented Hardcore/Punk Band Coma who are also from Bavaria. The perfect show for us would be the possibility to play as the support band for Limp Bizkit :) We would also love to play on the Vans Warped Tour through North America.

Andy-That would be awesome guys! I mean seeing you here in the states and all!! So, where can fans find out more about you and pick up a copy of "Unity By Collision" for themselves? 

All-Our album is available on every current online music-portal and can also be purchased in our online shop ( But we of course prefer people coming to our shows and grabbing some of our merchandise there personally, giving us the chance to interact with some of the fans. 

Andy-Well, I would certainly recommended that our readers over in Germany do just that! I know I'd be there in a heartbeat if I lived over there!!! Now, I always let artists have the last say so is there anything you'd like to share? Anything we missed?

All-You guys are doing a great job. We really appreciate that you promote and support small and independent bands like us to help get our names out there. Thank you! Keep in mind: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SCENE!

Andy-I second that! Thanks again guys!!

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