Sunday, May 29, 2016

Currant Playlist

It's Sunday my friends. that means I am super late with my current playlist. That's not good. It's not good at all. But then neither is the fact that I got hardly any work done this week. I kind of knew that the end of the school year would be busy for me, but I didn't expect it to take up this much time! Thankfully school will be out for my daughter after Tuesday so I won't be playing chauffeur as much. Having one child get out in may and the other in June does make things a wee bit difficult, but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches when one is going to a normal high-school and the other one's going to a vocational school! Being a single dad doesn't make it any easier, but I wouldn't change it for the world! OK, enough with the rambling on and on. Here's my list for the week and as always please feel free to share yours! 

Listening to:

Judas Priest-Painkiller

New York City Rock N Roll compilation

Hash Palace-Grit And Bare It

The Metal Box (3CD set of various hard rock and heavy metal groups and artists)

Anthrax-Return of the Killers A's

Glass Harp-S/T

Areosmith-Get Your Wings

Watching:

Arrested Development Season 1

The Do-Over

Chuck Season 4

The Taking of Deborah Logan







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Constraint-Enlightened By Darkness

Self-Release/Independent
2016

Formed back in March of 2011 (while many of it's members were still in their teens!), Constraint is a up-and-coming symphonic metal group that hails from Italy and began life as a cover band. This young group, which is now signed to Atomic Stuff Promotion(!), is lead by vocalist (and would be opera singer!) Beatrice Bini* and rounded out by guitarist Alessio Molinari, bassist Federico Paglia, keyboardist Simone Ferraresi, and drummer Alessandro Lodesani. Released on February 12th of this year, "Enlightened By Darkness" is Constraint's full-length debut album and this CD displays the natural evolution of one five-piece band that went from playing Nightwish, Epica and Evanesence covers to crafting it's own distinct material. Preceded by a 2012 demo entitled "Illusion Of A Dream", Constraint's "Enlightened By Darkness" is admittedly at it's best when it pursues a more metallic narrative. When she is backed by the smoldering leads of guitarist Alessio Molinari (and in full-tilt opera mode!) Beatrice Bini is something to behold! There's a distinct feeling of power & energy and it feels almost magical when the proverbial peddle** is smashed to the floor!! That's all great and it makes me want to hear more from that version of Constraint. Unfortunately when things slow down (and lead singer Beatrice goes from full-tilt opera mode to normal singing) this disc simply doesn't work. It's not simply a case of the album losing some of it's momentum, but it's overall appeal. Truth be told  it's a tale of two cities when it comes to "Enlightened By Darkness". On one hand there is top-notch symphonic metal that is enthusiastic& hard driving. On the other hand there is something that is more akin to mediocre melodic metal. Obviously the one side of this band works and is great while the other side feels blah. If Constraint can become more consistent across the board then this female-fronted band could be the real deal. And yes, I could see that happening. Especially as there is more to like*** about this album then there is to dislike....


*No insult meant there as Beatrice Bini could be a opera singer if she so desired.

**Pedal to the metal as they say! 

 ***In addition to Bini's opera-like vocals (or rather that side of her voice) top points should be awarded to all of the musicians involved with this album. There's was strong musicianship all over this disc. No matter if the album was fast or slow that aspect of Constraint never changed. Add in some solid songwriting and a overall good production job and you've got one disc that despite it's few flaws is still recommend. 

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Interview with Snakewine members Ronny Konietzko And Sebastian Welsch

Snakewine is a FANTASTIC German hard & heavy band whose rock n' roll-infused debut album, "Serpent Kings", completely blew me away! Earlier this month I not only covered that must-have release, but one of the group's latest songs, "Brood Of Vipers". Both the album and the new single ROCK THE FUCK out of life itself and have made me a new believer in the full-tilt power that is Snakewine! You can read my coverage of these two cool releases by clicking on this link. For now though it is my extreme privilege to present an interview that I recently conducted with Snakewine members Ronny Konietzko (vox) and Sebastian Welsch (bass). I want to thank these two fine gentlemen for taking time out of their busy schedules to chat with us and I would like to encourage all of our readers to find out for themselves why I consider "Serpent Kings" to be the answer to my rock n' roll prayers! Enjoy!!

Andy-Up-front guys I would just like to say how much I love the sound of your band! It's like the perfect mixture of heavy rock, classic hard rock and dirty metal!!

Sebastian- Andy, thank you for the kind words. It means a lot to us! 

Andy-Was that you're goal all along or has your band evolved over time? I mean in regards to your stone cold killer and all!

Sebastion-On the subject of Snakewine as a band, our sound doesn’t follow any goals. And unlike everything else we do as a band, this sound kind of ‚happens‘. It is hard to find out the reasons behind, but to me, it’s because we are all die-hard musicians. It’s as simple as that. We live for every of those moments in the rehearsal room, for every mile on the road to a gig and for every scratch on a guitar and broken stick on stage. We don’t play a role when we write our songs and we don’t picture ourselves as ‚fans‘ of other great bands in rock history, but as a part of their community, their demise. It all comes back together that we are very close to have a pure and genuine development process within our songs and every note that’s played is there because it’s…meant to be. I think that our listeners feel this attitude towards our own music and value this the most. Most modern bands can’t grab their crowd on this level, the bands from the 80ies could. Why? Because they didn’t go out to sound like anyone else, but to be heard.

Andy-I couldn't agree more! So, with Snakewine how did it all come together?

Ronny-I got a quite simple answer for that: a big desperation about the today's music scene combined with a deep rooted "make it or break it" attitude. In a small region like ours it was just a matter of time that we had to cross the path of each other. The first incarnation (band) didn't work well because there was only Sebastian and me that fits together. Second incarnation fits a lot better, here you had Frank and me. And in the third and best of all you have Sebastian, Frank, Buddha & me. We all were our missing piece to complete that thing what you now know as Snakewine.

Andy-Well, I for one am glad to now know Snakewine! I mean "Serpent Kings" really blew me away!! The only thing is I can't help but feel as if I'm late to the party. How has the reaction been from fans and critics alike?

Sebastian: You aren’t. To be honest with you, ‚Serpent Kings’ is our very first step to where the spotlight is. We are right now blink behind the curtain, ready to go out. The intro is already running and the people are putting their drinks back on the table and heading to the stage, willing to listen, standing their expectantly. But it’s quite a few steps to take to get on stage, with the lights on us. When Frank will hit the first chords, you’ll get your party, I promise. But until this moment, we will have to work really, really hard, and most of this work won’t be related to the music itself. We will kick asses, but at first we have to kick our owns out of the dark.

Andy-That's a great response! I'm just going by your energetic new single here, but it sure does seem as if Snakewine is more revved-up than ever! What's the secret to your success? I mean how do you guys keep getting better and better when you were already perfect to begin with?

Sebastian-Your enthusiasm really blows me away!! The secret…eh, that's a tough one. Maybe it is a matter of self-respect. We are cocky. I always see people fail because of their mindsets. For us, there are no such questions like ‚Will we be able to do this?‘ or ‚Can we achieve it?‘ We don’t waste our time asking stupid questions so we don’t receive stupid answers that take our focus. The plan is simple: make the most of everything you do. You come out with an debut album? Make it count, don’t come up with first-try excuses. You are at a venue and there are only 2 people? Cool, they deserve it to be served the best way possible. Your sound guy fucks it up and you can’t hear yourself? Play the shit of that guitar and when it sounds off, it at least will look cool. That’s how you grow.

Andy-Nice. And since we're on the subject of new material anyway I might as well ask. Do you plan to release any other singles in the near future or is the next step something more...expanded?

Sebastian-On our road-map is our first video to ‚Mean Machine‘, which we currently focus on. In the second half of 2016 we will play a few gigs throughout Germany and begin writing (actually already did) new songs for a big release following in 2017. There is a chance you’ll see another EP released later this year, but we are not sure if it’s the right thing to do.

Andy-I hope you do! I mean release a new EP. But, let's keep moving on guys. On tape your music is simply kick ass so I would have to assume that you guys kick up a little bit of dirt when playing live. Is there such thing as a typical Snakewine show or is every gig a new excuse to cause as much mischief and mayhem as humanly possible?

Sebastian: Hahaha! Boy, we need space! In smaller locations we always put our big equipment box about 5 ft. in front of the stage to give us a little more room to play and jump around. We love to be within the crowd and go crazy with the people there, it sometimes reminds me of underground hardcore shows. Ronny screams from the top of his lungs, being on the ground, Frank jumps in the crowd and slides on his knees when the solo part of ‚Serpent Kings‘ begins and I throw this bass guitar into the drum-set when the encore fades out. This, my friend, is our approach to live music. Deeply connected with the fans, since rock’n’roll is nothing to only look at.

Andy-Fucking amen to that! Do you guys ever pull out the odd cover song or two when playing out?

Sebastian: No more. We fucked it up every time. The last cover song we played almost a year ago, called ‚Die Die my darling‘, a simple punk song but we just couldn’t rock it. Remember what I told you about we are not playing a role? We are not even able to!

Andy-I understand where your coming from with that. Has there been a favorite gig so far?

Sebastian-We once played a show on a small death metal festival. The people booed at us since the very first moment we got on stage to soundcheck, because they expected some volbeatish-rock’n’roll-thing and didn’t come to terms with this. As soon as the intro was over, we had a shitload of new fans. And I was like ‚yeah, suck it!!‘ Best moment for me on stage so far.

Andy-Awesome! New recruits are always a damn good thing! So, how about the near future? Will the band be playing a lot of upcoming shows or are you headed back to the studio?

Sebastian-More gigs, bigger gigs, better gigs. The video will hopefully open the doors of more exclusive venues and we get some more well-known bands interested in touring with us.

Andy-I really hope it works out for you guys. You guys deserve it! As we wrap things up where can our readers find out more about your group?

Sebastian: Facebook is our #1 channel. We are currently implementing a merch shop on our Facebook-page, go check it out!

Andy-Sweet! I've provide the link below. Now, I always let bands have the last word. That means the mic is all yours! Is there anything we missed that you might want to mention? Have a favorite story to tell about the band? Whatever it is now is your chance!

Sebastian-We are thinking about booking a US Tour in 2017 on our own. If there is anyone of your readers interested in working with us, we really appreciate that!

Ronny-Cheers  ;-)

Andy-That would be INSANE! Man alive, Snakewine here in the U.S.?  There is no way I would miss that!! And I would hope that our readers would jump at the chance as well. If there is any chance that you (our reader) could help the band out in that regard then by all means PLEASE drop Snakewine a line! Speaking of which, Snakewine can be found online by either heading to their Facebook page or by checking out their official website. If you haven't heard "Serpent Kings" for yourself then be sure to head here. And to the band thank you again for talking with us and for the music! Snakewine is REAL rock n' roll heavy metal for real everyday people and frankly it does not get any better than this!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nuke-Nuke

Hells Headbangers
2016

Due for release on July 22nd, "Nuke" is the self-titled debut from the lean and mean Detroit speed-tinged metal punk band of the same name. It serves as the follow-up to Nuke's twice sold-out demo, "Delta City", and finds this "supergroup" of sorts pouring gasoline on the rotting corpses of eighties metal, speed metal, street metal, raw thrash, N.W.O.B.H.M, and crossover and then slam dancing the night away of the smoldering remains! Comprised of members of Shitfucker, Reaper, Borrowed Time, Perversion, and Anguish this Detroit metal machine has a rough and raw sound unlike anyone else out there and it should come as little surprise to learn that they more than live up to their name!  With Ritchie Riot from Shitfucker on lead vocals(!), Nuke unleashes all kinds of chaos and blood-soaked carnage on their first full-length release and it makes for grand fucking good time to say the least! Whether this is a one and down deal or a long term project is anyone's guess, but let's all hope that this is just the first of many nuclear assaults that will reign down on us from these Detroit maniacs!




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Monday, May 23, 2016

Free Metal Monday: Metal Up Your Axe, Vol. 2

For today's Free Metal Monday feature we have the cleverly-titled "Metal Up Your Axe Vol. 2". This impressive 41 track (!) compilation includes current and unreleased original songs from both up and coming bands and already established acts. There are rock & metal bands from the United States, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain and Bulgaria and it all comes courtesy of the great folks over at Online Metal Promo and the UK radio show, The Autopsy Report! You can download the free songs, compilation artwork and track listing by clicking on this link. Meanwhile here is the list of all of the bands that are included on this wicked compilation:

1. Alsatia
2. Angerhead
3. Azrael’s Bane
4. Blasted To Static
5. Broken Teeth
6. Canedy
7. Chris Violence
8. Corners of Sanctuary
9. Diamond Lane
10. Dire Peril
11. Dreadnaught
12. Empires of Eden
13. Enceladus
14. Eternal Voyager
15. Flames of Fury
16. HailMary
17. Helion Prime
18. Ignitor
19. Jessikill
20. Knightmare
21. Lords of the Trident
22. Love & War
23. Malice
24. Maxxxwell Carlisle
25. Outlaws & Moonshine
26. Phallax
27. Rabid Assassin
28. RebelHot
29. Seventh Calling
30. Shallow Ground
31. Sorizon
32. St. James
33. Stop Stop
34. Strikeforce
35. The Rods
36. TwentyDarkSeven
37. Unbound
38. Vanlade
39. Viron
40. Zar
41. Zephaniah

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Singles: Lilith and The Knight-Wake Up

Red Vixen Records
2016


Calling London home, Lilith and The Knight is a up-and-coming heavy rock/hard & heavy band with one truly inspired single to it's name thanks to the recently-released "Wake Up". Formed by guitarist Stephen and lead vocalist Lilith a little over a year ago, Lilith and The Knight draws it's inspiration from a wide-range of sources that are both new and old. From classic rock to modern metal you'll find a little bit of everything has  made it's way into the heart of this band's fresh sound and with guitarist Adam, bassist Tom, and drummer Francesco rounding matters out it sure seems as if NOTHING can stand in the way of this group's ultimate success! Fans of female-fronted rock and heavy metal would do well to invest in the magnificence that is "Wake Up" especially as this in one new single that is sweet as F**K!!!!

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Current Playlist

Wow, another week has flown by in flash! Where did it go and why do I feel as if I have whiplash from the whole affair? Even though I was sick for a couple of days there in the middle it still seems as if it was just last week when I was posting one of these. It's just crazy....

Listening to:

Striker-Stand In The Fire (For possible review)
Imperative Music Volume XI
Nuke-Nuke (Review coming...)
Sacred Reich-Ignorance
Diamond Head-Diamond Head (Review coming...)
Scarblade-The Cosmic Wrath (Possible review...)

Watching:

Goosebumps
The X-Files Season 1

Playing:

Fallout 4-Far Harbor


As always I welcome I your playlists as well as your suggestions for reviews. Let me know what your listening to, watching, reading, and yes, even playing! And as always have a great week and remember to keep it LOUD and PROUD!

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Killer Khan-Global Killer



Self-Release/Independent
2016

Killer Khan is one band that should need no introduction. That is if you consider yourself to be any kind true metalhead! I mean after all this is the same incredible group that gave us the album "Kill Devil Hills"!! Our longtime readers might recall that I first covered this classic metal release in a Forgotten Gems feature back in 2012. Originally independently-released way back in 1999, "Kill Devil Hills" proved itself worthy of high praise and worship thanks to it's slick combination of eighties metal, hard rock and doom. With the Ozzy-like vocals of lead singer/guitarist Killian Khan merely serving as the sweet and delicious icing on top of one hell of a flavorful cake(!), "Kill Devil Hills" became a hidden gem for everyone who came across it and naturally that includes me. "Kill Devil Hills" has become a mainstay in my home and to this day I still enjoy it for what it represents. And that is real heavy metal for real heavy metal fans! When it comes to this criminally-underrated band from Mooresville, North Carolina we're talking about everything that there is to love about tried and true heavy metal wrapped up into one neat and tidy package. It's all there from superb performances to catchy material and whether you recognized it or not this four-piece has always been right there in the front genre since first coming together as Holy Moses back in 1994! Eventually that band evolved into Killer Khan and then Killer Khan gave us "Kill Devil Hills". And because of how solid that album actually was it would only be a matter of time before some label would come along and see fit to properly re-issue it. Put out in mid-April of of 2015 by Heaven and Hell Records, "Kill Devil Hills" went from being a hidden gem to an album that was finally in the spotlight (and rightfully so as this was a place where it had always belonged!). Thanks to it's remastered sound and the inclusion of two additional bonus tracks in "Abomination" and "Iceman (Part II)" the re-issue of Killer Khan's debut album hit the scene like a ton of bricks. Along the way it also managed to pull off the impossible. Somehow the Heaven and Hell Records version of "Kill Devil Hills" improved upon perfection! The new and improved album was everything that longtime fans of Killer Khan could have hoped!! Not only did it sound great, but it looked great too! As far as Killer Khan fans were concerned everything was right with the world and just how it should be. Killer Khan was finally getting the proper recognition that it deserved and everyone would see this group's back catalog for. And that is an amazing collection of material that is simply not to be missed! But then came the news that Killer Khan was back and working on a new album. And suddenly I found myself laying there in bed with a burning question all but eating me up inside. "How in the world can anyone expect Killer Khan to top that great re-issue?" I asked myself. "Had they painted themselves into a corner?" I wondered. These questions and so many more keep creeping up on it. Would "Global Killer" prove to be a comeback album for this North Carolina four-piece or was the magic all used up by now? To be honest I thought the worse. Even after "Global Killer" dropped I wasn't ready to try it out. Honestly I waited a good while until I check out. Thankfully all it took was one listen to opener to "Prowess of the Night" and I had my answer. Killer Khan was back! And not only were they back, but they were back with a fiery vengeance!! On the fittingly-named "Global Killer" the guys in Killer Khan meant business!! There would be hell to pay for all those who had forgotten their name. For band-mates Killian Khan (vocals, guitar), Ron Dalton (guitar), Brice Sandahl (bass), and Jody Rumple (drums) this new disc would prove to be a lightening bolt straight into the faces of the unbelievers! What "Global Killer" represents is simple enough even if you can't put it in exact terms that are easy to understand. This album is another great mixture of all the things that make Killer Khan the unreal act that they are. It's eighties metal. It's hard rock/heavy metal. And it's doom. "Global Killer" is Killer Khan doing what they do best and that wonderful concept keeps everything flowing along nicely until the very end of "Playful Dead". On their third full-length Killer Khan cranks out highly memorable metal that is once more perfectly-flavored by those great vocals of Killian Khan. I once wrote how much Killian Khan reminded me of Ozzy (or at the very least his illegitimate offspring!) and while I still stand by that concept there is a brief side note to add. Here on "Global Killer" Killian Khan sounds more mature. Like many of us he has added a few more miles on his voice with the passage of time. Obviously he isn't the same front-man as he was on "Kill Devil Hills", but trust me here when I say that's good. The maturity in his voice actually works towards the overall appeal of this new album as it gives everything a more natural and real vibe. It's as if the front-man isn't afraid to admit that not only has he grown as a musician, but as a person. And while he might be older he has way more experience under his belt. In the end it just gives the material on "Global Killer" a more realistic feeling. In that regard credit must also be given to the album's overall production. Thankfully Killer Khan's new album isn't over-produced. "Global Killer" feels like a metal disc should. It's tuneful in just the right places while it is also open enough so that raw appeal of heavy metal is able to come through nice and loud. Each and every part of this new album works. In a day and age when heavy metals albums can sound way too glossy I cannot even begin to tell you how nice that is! Not once does "Global Killer" shy away from the fact that it is there to deliver an ass kicking. It doesn't let up on sonic assault or pull away from the raw metallic energy that fuels it. Instead "Global Killer" is as rebellious and destructive as it wants to be. Whether you are a fan of this great group or not that is something to celebrate. Needless to say I love this album and highly-recommend it.....

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