Monday, October 20, 2014

Dead Federation-Dead Federation

Red Hour Records

With Halloween less then two weeks away right isn't it about time that we pull out all the party favors? And no, we're not just talking about hard cider and hot wings here (even if those two particular items are a must-have for all my horror-related excursions!). Or for that matter all the lovely ghouls that one can dig up for the evening's festivities! Rather we are talking about how no party would be complete without some maddening tunes for all the creatures of the night to get on up and get down to. Especially if all you want to do on October 31st is to shake a leg and wake the dead! That's where punk metal misfits of science like Dead Federation come in handy. This Akron-area group has been lurking around these parts since at least 2010 and even if some of the band's original freaks have succumbed to the environment (corpses actually do not last long in the hot sun friends!) there's always grave robbing as an option right? Right! With the current line-up featuring lead singer Tom Dark, guitarists X46 ( Jeff Hardy ) & Mike " Shoobs " Schubert, bassist Caitie O' Shea and drummer Tommy Rocker Jr Dead Federation now has a lively bunch of misfits on hand for what is merely the latest slab of horror-related punk metal madness from this Ohio lot. While the band self-describes their sound as being like "a werewolf howling at the moon on a rocking Halloween night" a closer examination of the crime scene reviles the DNA of a dark metal band with some old-school goth/horror-punk leanings. That might sound an awful lot like Danzig/Misfits worship (and even some Samhain love), but for Dead Federation this eight-track album rocks a different beat entirely with the cast of characters involved here reinforcing the notion that Ohio's punk, hard rock and heavy metal scenes sound unlike any other. One has to imagine that Dead Federation is an absolute hoot live, but no imagination is needed when it comes to this self-titled studio piece as you can hear it here: 

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nuckin' Futs-Slavery

Fair Warning

Active since 2012, Nuckin' Futs is a Barcelona, Catalonia-based act with an additional EP (2013's "Evilution") to it's name. Now, The Metal Archives tells me that this Spanish five-piece took it's name from a scene from in the 2003 comedy film "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star". I wouldn't have a clue as to whether or that is the case. What I do know is this band features a couple of members with ties to fellow Barcelona' band Bastards. Oh, and they play thrash. As in thrash influenced be the likes of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Overkill, Exodus, Testament, Municipal Waste, Pantera and Anthrax. Their bandcamp page tells me as much although so does their music. And in this case it's all good. Even the Metallica part! This band is not so much retro though as they are a late 2000 band influenced by some greats of old (I'd toss in some Possessed, Forbidden and maybe even Lääz Rockit). The key difference being "Slavery" pays it's due respects to the old-school but it knows it's a modern metal band and acts accordingly. This Spanish band seems to realize that you can't always depend on the past to get you through. New blood is needed otherwise you're just dragging around an old corpse and it's going to smell after awhile!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Concert Review: Doro with The Mighty Swine October 14 @ The Agora, Cleveland, Ohio

This past Tuesday I had the good fortune to catch the Doro show at the Agora in Cleveland, Ohio. Up front I want to thank The Mighty Swine for providing me with a ticket and my pre-planned/post-show ride accommodations who provided me safe passage on my journey home (thanks Dad!). Having thoroughly enjoyed myself by way of one Angry Orchard after another I can honestly say that it was great not having to drive the 45 minutes back home! Like I always say kids, if you are going to rage away the night then do it responsible! As for the show? More honestly here, but I came to see The Mighty Swine and the evenings opening act, Julia Roberts Global Warning. But, here's the kicker friends. I stayed for Doro. And man was I ever glad I did! While I'll never claim to be a diehard fan of hers (or even really a casual fan as I don't have any of her music believe it or not!) she blew me away with her stage presence and more so her power! Wow! More on that in bit though as the evening's festivities actually started once I made my way through the front door and found the members of The Mighty Swine. Having pre-arranged an interview with Mike Skimmerhorn and his crew we briefly chatted by the club's back bar where discussions soon turned toward the importance of eighties metal of all things! You could blame that one on me although lead guitarist/world's other greatest Dad (as I would soon enough discover!) Stacey Donahue certainly helped me alone with that bit thanks to a shared love of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and eighties heavy metal in general! As the main area of the club proved ill-suited to our needs we all made our way back-stage where thoughts quickly turned to past shows. When was the last time I was at the Agora I thought to myself as we worked our way down the stairs to the club's dressing rooms. Was it King's X? Slayer? Or how about Motörhead? None of that mattered as this evening would prove to be the most enjoyable one ever spent at the Agora and I have the band to thank for that! I've been around bands now for the better part of my life and it never ceases to amaze me how the metal ones are by far the nicest! And let me just say that The Mighty Swine are at the top of that list! Bassist/vocalist Mike Skimmerhorn, guitarist Stacey Donahue and guitarist Jeff Tong welcome me in and I was reminded of the brotherhood that is heavy metal. Here I was talking with Chastain's long-time bassist, but it is hard to be start-struck when everyone is so laid back, kind and sincere! That went for the band and crew as I had the pleasure of meeting Stacey's son Nick who is serving time as a roadie for The Mighty Swine. From father to son there was a lot of love packed with the group's tiny dressing room and as we all talked about the band and how great Doro had been with this Cincinnati group we occasional drifted off towards the subject of fatherhood. As far as chemistry goes this band has it and it really starts with the homegrown nature of this act. Even the band's new drummer Ric Martelino (a Cincinnati native) has familiar ties to The Mighty Swine. Originally considered for the group's latest release, Ric Martelino has stepped right into the fold. With the hint of special things to come we wrapped up the interview as the band was finally getting ready to the stage. After allowing me the extreme pleasure of introducing them to a crowd hungry for more metal the band tore through a powerful set featuring not only the fantastic title cut of their latest album ("Last Man Standing"), but a blistering cover of "Hell Bent For Leather" by Judas Priest! From where I was standing the band sounded great and considering the fact that new drummer Ric Martelino had only been with the band a short time he brought his absolute best out and was like a beast on the drums! Mike Skimmerhorn's voice is as strong live as it is in the studio and while this exception bassist might just always be associated with Chastain there is little doubt the The Mighty Swine is his top priority! As the band members themselves say they are not out looking to reinvent the wheel, but instead they want to make their band and their music be the best possible! To that end they are heading there the right way and with a solid line-up now in place and the kind of dedication that leaves little doubt as to this band's potential and drive they are getting there fast! OK, what about the bands on this bill and the evening in general? Without a doubt this proved to be one of the best shows that I've been to in a long time! The Mighty Swine helped see to that, but they were hardly alone in sounding good!  Let's break down the rest of the evening's entertainment!

Having long heard good things about opening act Julia Roberts Global Warning I was anxious to see them live. And let me just say that they did not disappoint! How is this traditional/power metal band not signed? Julia Roberts is one of Cleveland's best kept secrets and as a vocalist and guitarist her skills simply cannot be beat! Instantly winning over all who see her live, Julia Roberts sent the audience away craving more and I know full well that I wasn't the only one there that evening who wished for a longer set and some merch to take back home! Extremely underrated by the community at large (or at least those who have never witnessed how wicked a power trio like this one can be when given a chance to tear shit up!) , Julia Roberts Global Warning should have been snatched up a long time ago as they rank right up there with the best that traditional heavy metal has to offer! I plan to keep in touch with this band and  I urge all of you to do the same! Find out more here:

Next up to bat was Westlake, Ohio's Blackjack Symphony ( and while the band's own blend of hard rock and heavy metal didn't do a whole lot for me at first by the second half of their set I found it a bit more inviting. Not bad for what and who they are, but they proved to be outgunned by Vulgar Devils!

And speaking of Vulgar Devils (and wicked power trios!) where did these guys come from? This heavy rock and roll/ hard & heavy three-piece plowed through the audience with a balls-out set and while they might come from the same school district that spawned Motörhead, Valient Thorr, Against The Grain and Lucky Bastardz the guys in Vulgar Devils prefer taking their own bus to the big game. With a release planned for the near future I'll be keeping an ear out for this band's rattle and roll! You can find them here: 

Next we had The Mighty Swine and while I've touched on this band already let me just add that seeing them from the side of the stage as I did was a blast! These guys are going somewhere! "Last Man Standing" is such a good heavy metal album and with everyone now on the same page this could prove to be just the start of this band's ascent to the top of the heap. I sure hope so as The Mighty Swine deserve it!

So, what of Doro? In a word "wow"! I did not expect such a huge voice to come out of such a small frame! Seriously, Doro is not at all that tall and yet her stage presence is larger then life. The crowd loved her and she in turn returned the love with a set that made each and everyone in attendance raise their first to sky in appreciation. Doro has earned a reputation as one of heavy metal's finest vocalists and here in Cleveland she proved that she still has it and isn't planning on going anywhere anytime soon. If I wasn't a fan going in I most certainly left with a new appreciation for her and her backing band and it proved to be the perfect way to end my Tuesday evening out on the town! If I can part with any words it's got to be this. Heavy metal (real, God-given heavy metal) is an amazing thing. And whether it's local talent like Julia Roberts Global Warning, U.S. metal like The Mighty Swine or a national act like Doro it all comes from the same source and that voice inside all of us that wants to break out and be free! Believe in your local bands. Support the scene whenever and however you can. And finally go out and see your favorite bands live! Along the way you might just make new friends or discover new music that you previously never gave a chance to. Remember that the metal community is a brotherhood where everyone is invited in and welcomed. At the show I saw young, twenty something year old kids standing net to metalheads in their sixties! I personally witnessed a young fan in a wheelchair being treated to kindness from long haired biker types covered in tattoos! In-between sets I chatted with a gentleman old enough to be my father and some fans who could have been my kids! Everyone there was equal-young and old, black and white alike. If we can do that then maybe just maybe it can carry over to the rest of this world? That would be nice right? In the meantime though remember what I always say. Live life loud and proud friends. Loud and proud!  

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Death On Two Wheels-Death On Two Wheels

The Ghost Umbrella

Self-produced and serving as the follow-up to "Separation Of Church And Fate", "Death On Two Wheels" is the sophomore release from the Atlanta rock and roll roadsters of the same same. Made up of members Trae Vedder (Vocals, Guitar) Jacob Bubacz (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Stuart Roane (Bass, Vocals), Greg Neel (Drums, Vocals) and Alec Stanley (Organ, Rhodes, Vocals) this Georgia-based act first appeared on my doorsteps by way of a free sampler. Exclusive to NoiseTrade and available by providing your e-mail address at the link below said sampler included the likes of "Look At The Sound", "Hey Amariah", "Blamed Your Friends", "Death Wolf" and "Giving It All Away". That proved to be more than enough of a tasty sampling as soon I found my way here ( to download the whole affair! Originally recommended for fans of band's like Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Queens Of The Stone Age and J. Roddy Walston & The Business (seeing as this band is indebted to 70's hard rock as much as they are the whole post-grunge and modern day garage rock scene) the actually truth of the matter is this Atlanta rock and roll band is less a copy of any of the above and more a complete original notion with "Death On Two Wheels" becoming one of those rare albums where the kids (ie: my two teens) and I wholeheartedly agreed that yeah, this one flat-out rocks! But hey, considering the fact that you can download half of this album for yourself for free and essentially stream the other half at the group's bandcamp page why not just check it out for yourself? 

You can download the free sampler be heading here: 

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nick Oliveri's Uncontrollable-Leave Me Alone

Schnitzel Records

Before we even start with "Leave Me Alone" let's go ahead and establish a quick point of reference just so that we can get it out all of the way. Bassist/guitarist/vocalist Nick Oliveri is primarily known for having spent time with Kyuss (and subsequently Kyuss Lives!), Mondo Generator and of course Queens of the Stone Age. He has also played with the Dwarves and Moistboyz. What's more it is making the rounds that Oliveri is collaborating with the likes of Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Gary Holt (Exodus) and Casey Chaos (Amen) on the soundtrack for the movie documentary "House Of Shock"! So, even if Nick Oliverri is mostly recognized for his contributions to the stoner rock scene this bassist/guitarist/vocalist has seen and done it all. Or at least musically-speaking. But, here's the thing about "Leave Me Alone". Cue the dramatic music because this is not the Nick Oliveri we've heard before and for those looking for past points of reference an album like this one shatters those expectations (along with rock and roll fundamentals!) into a million tiny pieces. In other words if you are expecting something along the lines of Queens of the Stone Age or Kyuss you are going to be disappointed. "Leave Me Alone" abandons those kind of principles. There is just no other way to put it then that. And other than a couple of guests (one of which is Motörhead's Phil Campbell!) "Leave Me Alone" finds Nick Oliveri working solo in order that he alone can take credit for the new direction he takes on his first solo release. It's true that he oft-times discomforting nature of  "Leave Me Alone" is unexpected as it definitely finds Nick Oliveri throwing all caution to the wind! By deconstructing (raw, striped-down and dive bar-worthy to begin with!) rock and hard rock and purging punk rock of what little purity it had left Nick Oliveri has certainly given fans and critics alike something new to talk about with this new release! At it's best "Leave Me Alone" is ramped-up post-rock/punk-rock cleverly disguised as noisy trash metal. And that works! At it's worse though it's an exercise in tolerance and patience where noise is just that-noise. Often times "Leave Me Alone" balances perilously close to that edge (a uneasy tipping point if you will) where one minute it's pure heavy rock/punk rock ecstasy and the next it's merely a bad acid trip waiting to happen. More so "Leave Me Alone" kind of carries itself as if it is a live album misdiagnosed as a studio recording. What happens to work great live (bare naked riffs, grungy bass lines and clunky drums) is a different animal all together behind the paddle walls of a recording studio. I suspect the bulk of what's been laid out on Nick's first solo album (the unedited moments where this vocalist/string-man just goes with the flow and improves punk rock and roll) would go over gangbusters in a live setting. Otherwise it is suspect to interpretation (ie: is this true, unfiltered and unspoiled post-rock art or is it much ado about nothing more then unrestrained noise?) more so then a statement one way or the another of whether or not is is good. Honestly I fall more of the side of "Leave Me Alone" as a good album with quite a lot to say, but there is a case to made that the "Uncontrollable" part of this project's title might be more than mere words....

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Highway Dream-Wonderful Race

Street Symphonies Records

It's a overused phrase, but all the same I've just got to throw it out there folks. Don't judge this one by it's cover. Frankly-speaking (and I'll be Frankie if you'll be Annette!*),"Wonderful Race" is a hundred thousand times better than it's artwork suggest. As is the Italian four-piece responsible for it's creation. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Oscar Burato at Atomic Stuff Studios (Isorella, Brescia, Italy), the recently-released "Wonderful Race" is the first full-length album from this six year old band from Cremona, Italy. It's also a cracker jack find for fans of female-fronted hard rock! Lead vocals come courtesy of Isabella "Isa" Gorni (a firecracker of a singer whose suggestive voice meshes well with Roberto "Roby" Zoppi sleazy guitar playing!) and as a follow-up to the band's 2009 EP, "Born To Bee...", this 10-track album shines a bright spotlight on this band's raw ability! Musically-speaking it's all about the eighties and early nineties for this Italian band and as they play dress up with the likes of Kiss, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, AC/DC, Skid Row, Europe, Warrant and White Lion and despite how iffy that might sound on paper it ends up being a game that everyone will want to be a part of! Once the aptly-titled and instantly accessible "Unbelievable" opens the floodgate it's on for Highway Dream and simply going by how well these four are able to re-work and re-imagine all the best parts of (80s/early 90s) rock, hard rock and heavy metal scene this Italian band could be in it to win it long-term! Even if the music in question sounds vaguely American rest assured that this is Italian hard rock through and through. And thanks to the vastness that is Highway Dreams' inspirational sources (listen in and hear influences that range from L.A. Guns to Loverboy and even Montrose to Mötley Crüe!) this band has what it takes to be a long-distance runner! Here's hoping "Wonderful Race" is just the start of a long and happy voyage for Highway Dream and that they get the chance to show fans what they are fully capable of in the long run!

* I cannot be 100% positive, but I'm fairly certain that this is the first time that I've worked a Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello reference into a review!

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Let's face it. We all love traditional heavy metal. It's classic and even timeless (if it's been cooked to absolute  perfection-see works by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Riot and UFO to name just a few!) and for many of us it was our first taste of the "forbidden fruit". But sometimes you find yourself craving something more. Something heavier, faster and all around more menacing. We've all had that itch and that's where  a band like Dissorted comes into play. This German band's first EP, "I", scratches that thrash metal itch with a sound that is old-fashioned in all the right ways! First formed in 2004 and having seen their fair share of line-up changes early on, Dissorted came into their own in 2006 at which point a stable line-up had finally become reality. Having already shared the stage with bands such as Awakening Sun, Cyrence, Dust Bolt, Intöxicated, James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath, Nator, Scavanger, Secutor, Speedbreaker, Stormhammer and Toxic Waltz (thus building up a loyal fan-base for their particularly deadly take on old-school melodic thrash!), Dissorted kills it on their first piece of studio recording! Fronted by onetime Odeon guitarist' Mirco Ebersold (aka Mirco), with the pair of Sebastian Stulz (ex-South Of Heaven) and Florian "Flo" Schadhauser complimenting Mirco's effective voice by way of fast & frenzied guitar solos that are nothing short of toxic(!), Dissorted seems as if it was costumed-built for those who simply love the classic thrash and the Bay Area scene of old! If you haven't gone into a full-out rage in awhile then  "I" will have you thrashing like a maniac like it was 1980 something all over again! And thank God for that! But, what exactly does it taste like I hear you asking? Well, this deadly-potent (it's got a high alcohol count after all!) home-brew brings to a boil the likes of Overkill, Testament, Exodus, Megadeth, "Kill 'EM All"-era Metallica, Death Angel, Whiplash, Forbidden, Rigor Mortis and Vio-lence before bottling it all up and letting it age to perfection! Just before it's ready to be consumed/thoroughly enjoyed it's uncorked and poured through a filter out of necessity so that all the unnecessary additives can be carefully removed. Said filter features some nice Iced Earth textures and modern day touches with the final (highly addictive) beverage best served pipping hot! That in a nutshell is what you end up with on "I" and yes my friends it is as deliciously drinkable as it all sounds! From one thrash metal fanatic to another this one's an absolute beast on an EP and if Dissorted's potent brand of metallic verwunderung doesn't leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside then friends I sure as hell don't know what will!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jess and the Ancient Ones-Castaneda

Svart Records

Due out November 14th, "Castaneda"  is the latest release from Finland's Jess and the Ancient Ones. Available as a digital download and on 10" vinyl only, "Castaneda" features two exclusive songs in the form of the title track and "As to be With Him". Combined these two tracks run just over 11 minutes long and for this female-fronted occult rock band it's once more all about the psychedelic scene of the sixties and early seventies! Having covered both their 2012 debut ( and last year's EP, "Astral Sabbat" (, "Castaneda" is by far the strongest material of the lot. More consistent and original than previous recordings, "Castaneda" finds a unified Jess and the Ancient Ones growing as musicians and songwriters while playing up to their own strengths and natural abilities. And frankly-speaking that is nothing short of marvelous!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Free Metal Monday: SHVS-"Always Forget" Single and "Feel 4U" EP

And now for something different. May I present to you Columbus, Ohio trio SHVS. A "surf punk band with prog-rock and metal tendencies" (per the band's Facebook bio) SHVS is way too much fun to keep to myself so for this Free Metal Monday feature I've linked the single "Always Forget" and the group's 2013 EP, "Feel 4U". Both are Name Your Own Price downloads, but if you can toss a few coins into this band's fountain. And since the group's previously mentioned Facebook bio is just too righteous for words here it is in it's entirety!(and yes, I totally love the "Freaky Freak-boy music" description!)

SHVS is a surf punk band with prog-rock and metal tendencies.

In the fall of 2013, a 7-year-old punk rocker from Pittsburgh named Abby confidently described the band as "Freaky Freak-boy music."
Basically, if Black Sabbath and the Beach Boys had a teenage daughter who wore a ripped-up (presale) Dead Kennedys shirt while listening to only Yes all the time, SHVS would be that daughter.

Now that is how you do a bio! LOL!

Incidentally, "Always Forget" is the third track from the group's upcoming LP, "My, My" 

"Feel 4U" EP: 

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Palace-The 7th Steel

Massacre Records

"The 7th Steel" is the latest release from Germany's Palace. Active since 1990, with 1996's "Toy of Rage" serving as the band's first full-length outing, Palace features a couple of musicians with ties to the cult eighties heavy metal band Saints Anger* (vocalist/guitarist Harald "HP" Piller and drummer Harald Reiter). On their seventh full-length album "The 7th Steel" this four piece** plays it close to the chest with a sound that could best be described as (rough and raw) traditional heavy metal. And with some 20 plus years under their belt now Palace knows how to make true heavy metal stand out and shine. There's nothing remotely fancy about their style and yet Palace knows how to keep things fresh and interesting with the riff-heavy "The 7th Steel"  
working quite well whether you are a long-time fan or new to this German metal band. As straight-ahead, no BS heavy metal this one pleases the eardrums and should make many a headbanger smile with appreciation. 

*Saints Anger's 1985 album,"Danger Metal", is a fun slab of German heavy metal and worth tracking down.

**Bass player Tom Mayer (Awry Axle) and guitarist/vocalist Jason Mathias round things out nicely.

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