Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Killin’ Kind-Dying Earth

Underground Symphony.
2016

Four-piece heavy/power metal band Killin' Kind comes from Novara, Piedmont (Italy) and they are lead by singer and guitarist Tito. Despite forming all the way back in 1996, "Dying Earth" is (for some strange reason) only the second album that this talented Italian band has ever put out. It was released on November 30th of 2016 and with a run-time of over fifty minutes(!) the album serves as the long-overdue follow-up to Killin' Kind's 2008 debut, "Metal Rage". The well-written and skillfully-performed "Dying Earth" is a solid affair that recalls German metal bands like Rage and Grave Digger. It has ten tracks* on it and, grade-wise, it easily falls somewhere in-between a B+ and a A-. For more information on this band and their newest album be sure to head over to the group's official Facebook page.


*The promo version includes a cover of Mike Oldfield's "Moonlight Shadow".

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Gravebreaker-Sacrifice

Gates of Hell Records
2016

Active since 2011 and fronted by a lead vocalist named Nightmare, Gravebreaker is a three-piece band from Gothenburg that (lyrically & musically) seems to live and die by the sword of eighties heavy metal*.  The full-length "Sacrifice" is the debut album for this Swedish band and it finds Nightmare backed by two solid musicians in their own right, guitarist/bassist Fury and drummer Devastation. There are also keyboards and synthesizers on this (old school metal worthy!) 10-track album, but it's not exactly advertised and there are no guest musicians listed in the credits. Those synths come in real handy when Gravebreaker is (essentially) paying homage to the early years of solo-Ozzy ("At the Gates of Hell"), but have no fear as this slick disc covers a lot of ground by the time it's all said and done! Along with some of the more obvious/well-known names like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, (eighties-era) Black Sabbath, Saxon, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Witchfinder General, Satan, Omen, and (pre-1987) Running Wild** this is a three-piece band whose influences run wild and free! On the highly-recommended "Sacrifice" there are also hints of Heavy Load, Gotham City, Cloven Hoof, Stormwitch, and Oz. In a strange way this up-and-coming act also reminds of the cult Swedish band Witch, but it's entirely possibility that it has more to do with this album's underground/slightly-sinister vibe than the actual music itself. As for the album's previously-mentioned lyrics? They are every-bit as slick as the band's musical style! With a somewhat rough (if not completely appropriate) production job that proves beneficial to this album's success, "Sacrifice" features subject matter and imagery that has been snatched right out of history! While we could go track by track on this album that could easily pass for a long lost classic(!), "Road War 2000" is a good number to point out. This Mad Max-influenced ripper has some cool sound effects and it instantly transports you back to the days of video stores and arcades. It's just one of this album's ever so sick moments. As in one out of ten of the awesome tracks you'll find on "Sacrifice"! Speaking of which, "Sacrifice" can be heard by heading over to Gravebreaker's bandcamp page. And really folks this is one of those gems that has to be heard to be appreciated. If you're a fan of classic heavy metal, N.W.O.B.H.M., and/or eighties metal then that is what you need to do. You need to stop what ever it is that you are doing and go over to this band's bandcamp. Hit play, turn it up loud and proud and then settle in for the ride as "Sacrifice" works it's magic....  



*As countless bands like Angel Sword, Satan's Fall, Rotör, Seven Sisters , Tower, Axe Crazy, and Demon Bitch have shown us there is nothing wrong with the decision.


**Given how much Nightmare sounds like Rolf Kasparek (Running Wild) it is hard not to think of this German band's first two albums! 


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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Press Gang-Medusa 5

Wiener Dog Records
2016

Formed by lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Colin McCulloch, The Press Gang is a eleven year old band from Calgary, Alberta that has four full-length albums and one 7-track EP to it's name. The group's latest recording is the 10-track "Medusa 5" and it was released back in late October of 2016. With Chad Laing (lead guitar), Lindsay Arnold (bass), and Derek Lindzon (drums) rounding out the line-up for this energetic  four-piece band, "Medusa 5" proves to be one hell of a lively event where (dive bar-worthy) hard & heavy riff-rock gets nice and toasted with snotty seventies punk and garage metal! With influences that range from The Ramones and the Sex Pistols to Motörhead & (Paul Di'Anno-era) Iron Maiden (to name just a few), The Press Gang is certainly onto something with it's crazy cool sound and it is absolutely mind boggling that they are not more well-known!! Given how much fun the group's new album is maybe that will change...

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Windshades-Crucified Dreams


Atomic Stuff Productions
2016


Active since mid-2015, Italy's Windshades just released it's first official recording, "Crucified Dreams", this past November. It is a (digital only) three-track EP that combines the opera-like voice of lead singer Chiara Manzoli with elements of hard rock, melodic metal, and guitar-driven traditional heavy metal. In addition to the craftily-assembled title track (which is arguably the best song of the lot!), "Crucified Dreams" features the numbers "Metafora" and "Resurrection". With guitarist and composer Matteo Usberti, guitarist Riccardo Soresina, bassist Andrea Bissolati, and drummer Carlo Bergamaschi rounding things out for this new band, "Crucified Dreams" is a solid B+ recording that points towards better things to come.


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Monday, January 09, 2017

Free Metal Monday: Hellthrasher Productions-2016 Digital Sampler

Hellthrasher Productions
2016

Poland's Hellthrasher Productions has released a free digital sampler. It is available as a name-your-price download by clicking here and it features the following songs:


1. Gjendød - Evig Svart Røyk
2. Serpents Lair - Circumambulating the Stillborn
3. Paroxsihzem - Isolation
4. Ljosazabojstwa - Kamunija Ahniom
5. Desolate Shrine - Crushing Darkness
6. Desecresy - Ritual Ruins
7. Chaos Moon - Amissum
8. Endalok - Englaryk
9. Gespenst - Min Sjael Raadner
10. Decaying - One To Conquer

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Saturday, January 07, 2017

Saturday Singles: Rockstar Frame-"Dark Necessities" (Red Hot Chili Peppers cover)


Rockstar Frame is a hard & heavy rock band from Italy that is fronted by lead singer Faith Blurry. I had high praise for the band's debut album "Rock 'N' Roll Mafia" and I expect more of the same when this group releases it's sophomore album, "Bullet For Birthday", in March. This hot new single is a choice cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' song "Dark Necessities" and it is all set to appear Rockstar Frame's forthcoming release. So far it is only available to view on YouTube*.


*Warning! The above video features quick flashing videos!!

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Saturday Singles: The Aftershow-"Kilmister"

Afterlife Music Publishing
2016

The Aftershow is a (killer) new heavy rock/hard rock project from Roxy & Maxine Petrucci. Their debut single, "Kilmister", just came out on December 28th and it finds Roxy (drums) and Maxine (guitar) joined by vocalist Mark Slaughter (Slaughter) and bassist Michael Pisculli. This highly-recommend track (which is available for download on iTunes and Amazon) pays tribute to Motörhead's Lemmy and it is everything that one could hope for given the key players! Hopefully this is more than a one and done deal. 

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Friday, January 06, 2017

Inconvenience Store-Kallisti (or Goodbye To The One You Knew Before I Found Him and Had To Let Him Go​.​)

Self-Release/Independent
2016

Needham, Massachusetts' experimental band Inconvenience Store has been around in one form or another since late 2011. It doesn't happen very often, but interestingly enough this was a band that I had Interviewed before ever hearing any of it's music. That all changed in early June of 2013 when I covered the group's first studio offering, "Our Ambivalent Everything". That particular EP was dubbed "experimental rock/alternative rock by way of post-punk rock and progressive hardcore" by yours truly and while the experimental part of this young outfit hasn't changed all that much in the years that followed the rest of that description needs to be updated. Crafted by the line-up of Kcutnief Rehsa Hanoj (lead vox, noise electronics, guitar), Mica "On HP" Phones  (guitar, vox), Darren Strange (bass), and Funnels... (drums), "Kallisti (or Goodbye To The One You Knew Before I Found Him and Had To Let Him Go)" is a five-track EP that ends up falling somewhere between (raw) punk/hardcore, post-alternative rock, and flat-out noise rock! Recorded, mixed, mastered by Zach Weeks, Inconvenience Store's latest studio output is fairly abrasive and should get plenty of love from fans of The Jesus Lizard, Big Black, and the Butthole Surfers!! As a fan of all three of those acts (especially Gibby Haynes' outfit!) I make that declaration with a huge smile on my face and hope in my heart that is ultimately the direction that this one-time high school band will go in. When correctly assembled (see the aforementioned trio) punk-fueled noise rock can be a thing of beauty. While they are not quite ready to fill in for any of those three named outfits, Inconvenience Store is headed that way and something deep inside tells me they are not that far off. If your mind's eye is open to it then by all means give this EP a shot. 

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

R.I.P.-In the Wind

Self-Released/Independent
2016

Originally released back on March 14th, 2016 on vinyl courtesy of Totem Cat Records, "In the Wind" is the full-length debut from Portland, Oregon's R.I.P. It looks as if it was just released on digital last month (which is where I came across it) and if you think that cover is something...well, you should hear the actual music! Available for download by heading here, "In the Wind" is like the bastard offspring of Black Sabbath and a fuzzed-over Motörhead all grown up and playing in a smoked-out, down and dirty 70's hard rock/stoner rock biker band!! Sure enough it isn't a pretty thing to look at, but man oh man do those doom-laden grooves every feel good.......