Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best of 2012

Last year I decided that instead of posting a typical "Best Off" list (since you could spend all of New Year's Day reading lists that had a lot of the same albums listed over and over again) that I would make my yearly list based solely on my own album reviews. Whether that was looked at as being egotistically in nature or not never really dawned on me (not that I would have cared) as I simply wished to present something different. The same thing applies with this year's list. These are album's I personally reviewed for Heavy Metal Time Machine. If there is some fantastic album missing then chances are good that I didn't personally review it or that I didn't think it was so fantastic myself. As with last year these are in no particular order and it's also very likely that, with all of the grey hairs that I got this past year, I simply forgot some great albums I reviewed myself. Either way I'd love to read your best of lists for 2012 so make your voices heard!

PS-Some may have notes while others do not. It's just a random thing....

1) Graveyard-"Lights Out"
 I have not checked out any best of lists myself, but chances are this album has to have made a few. Graveyard's "Lights Out" is simply a wicked mixture of retro-rock, hard rock and doom metal. I bought this album myself just so I could review it!

2) Killing Joke-"MMXII"
A)It's Killing Joke and B)It's awesome
Seriously though, this is another album that I'm going to wager made more then a few lists this year as it's insanely good. How it is these guys can still put out music this good after over 30 years together is a mystery to me.

3) Afterlife-"In The Shadows"
Afterlife is a band made up of two former Razorblade members in bassist Fredrik Gunnarsson and guitarist Jompa Gustafsson. Razorblade were a cult heavy metal band that released "Run For Your Life/Ready To Fight" in 1985. A little over 27 years after that release Fredrik Gunnarsson and Jompa Gustafsson came together and with a little help from drummer Pether Svedjewik released "In The Shadows". Afterlife actually cover "Run For Your Life" on the album as as well as the classic Demon track "Don't Break the Circle". NWOBHM fans would do ell to check into this album if they haven't already as this is one band that deserves more attention then they got!

4) Mongrel-"Reclamation"
Punk metal with female lead vocals!

5) Danger Zone-"Undying"
Yes, the same band that released the excellent EP, "Victim of Time" back in 1984 would release a new album in 2012 and yes, it was a great LP.

6) Dr. Living Dead-"Radioactive Intervention"
Crossover? Punk thrash?

7) Adrenechrome-"Hideous Appetites"
Again, is this crossover? Is it punk thrash? Not quite sure, but like Dr. Living Dead its fast, furious and fun!

8) Ouijbeard-"Die And Let Live"
This one actually features Dr. Living Dead's guitarist Dr. Toxic. Is it crossover? No. What is it? Well, it's B.O.C., Iron Maiden, Merciful Fate, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Black Sabbath and The Doors. It's all of those together and yet it's none of those specifically. It's simply an album that needs to be heard to be appreciated.

9) Tygers Of Pan Tang-"Ambush"
Another band that still sounds good after all these years. I wish the same could be said of Demon.

10) Vanderbuyst-"The Flying Dutchmean"

11) Uhrijuhla-"Uhrijuhla"
This s/t release from Uhrijuhla has very little in the way of "heavy metal". Instead its progressive rock meets 70's pop. Absolutely blissful...

12) Diagonal-"The Second Mechanism"

13) Accept- "Stalingrad"
Proving there is life after Udo!

14) Red Hot Rebellion- "Red Hot Rebellion"
Ohio act Red Hot Rebellion are a little Social Distortion, a little Motorhead, a little AC/DC and a lot of fun!

This technically might be a 2011 demo/album that was just 'touched up" by High Roller Records. Even so this French act is another young band to keep an eye on.

16) Arkham Witch-"Legions Of The Deep"

17) Mammoth Mammoth-"Vol. III Hell´s Likely"
Man alive this group rocks. They flat out ROCK!

18) Reverence- "When Darkness Calls"

19) Heavy Cross-"Street Wolf" (7" EP)
In case you have not noticed that there are more then a few traditional heavy metal/NWOBHM bands on my yearly list the reason why is simple-I love all things traditional heavy metal/NWOBHM/eighties metal. Heavy Cross offered up two tracks of heavy metal that sounded like a long lost gem and it was a wonderful listen!

20) A Sound Of Thunder-"Out Of The Darkness"
Very cool female fronted traditional heavy metal/power metal act!

OK, so there you have it. I am now certain that I missed one or two really great albums, but still these are some great releases from both well-known acts and not so-well known acts. As I went over the releases I noticed that there were also tons of great re-releases so sometime, if time ever allows, I might do the same thing ("Best Of" reviews) only with re-released or re-issued albums. Again, please share some of what you consider to be the best of 2012 and let's hope that 2013 is as good a year as this past one was for heavy metal!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tellus Requiem-Invictus (The 11th Hour)

Nightmare Records

Tellus Requiem (which means "The earths death mass." Tellus being Latin for The Earth, Requiem being the last composition a composer writes before they died) are a Norwegian band that was formed in 2007 by guitarist Stig Nergård. "Invictus (The 11th Hour)", which is due out on January 22nd, is the follow-up to the band's 2010 self-titled debut album digitally. It is also a album that shouldn't be called just progressive metal as the reality is this sophomore release from Tellus Requiem is almost impossible to properly describe. After listening to this one all the way through it's telling that the band is influenced by film scores and classical contemporary music. The music is technical at times (diverse bands such as Dream Theater, ELO, Cynic and Atheist all come to mind) and then it's also heavy like Opeth (only with clean vocals of the European power metal variety courtesy of Ben Rodgers). It has these weird electronic elements and flashy synthesizers from keyboardist Anders Sundb. That is in addition to his epic keyboard moments that add all these different layers to the music in question. Meanwhile Stig Nergård seems to have graduated with honors from the Megadeth school of technical guitar playing. Then again his playing is also on par with some of the better technical aspects of later day Death. Other bands that creep into the overall music here include Pain Of Salvation and Symphony X. And the rest of the band? I shouldn't forget to mention Vidar Lehmann (drums) and Ivar Hagen Be (bass) as they are both spectacular in their playing and add the perfect backdrop against which the the rest of this young and talented Norwegian act can paint the many colors of  "Invictus (The 11th Hour)". So, as you can see just calling the band's 10-track album merely "progressive metal" doesn't seem fair. It's so much more....

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wartorn-Iconic Nightmare

Southern Lord

Wartorn (a band that features members of Dresden, Remission and Words That Burn) are a group for those of you who thought that Discharge was just not crusty enough. Over the course of twenty-five minutes (9 tracks) these guys unleash crustpunk that is fueled by metallic hardcore and, if I didn't know any better, would swear was recorded in a basement club back in the eighties. Needless to say the production is extremely raw which, in this case, only adds to the overall effectiveness of "Iconic Nightmare". Recommended for fans of Wolfbrigade, Discharge, Crass, From Ashes Rise and Tragedy.

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Frontiers Records

Usually I would start off a review by running down the who, what and where. In a way this review won't be too different then as I'm just going to throw out the line-up first and foremost:
Micky Moody - guitar, slide guitar, vocals
Neil Murray - bass
Laurie Wisefield - guitar, vocals
Harry James - drums, vocals
Adam Wakeman - keyboards, vocals
Chris Ousey - lead vocals

The band (which came together in 2011) is very much a super-group. Those first two names might ring a bell for some as they both played with Whitesnake. Meanwhile guitarist Laurie Wisefield was in Home and Wishbone Ash as well as playing with Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Roger Chapman. He was also part of the cast of We Will Rock You. Drummer Harry James played with Magnum and Thunder. Keyboardist Adam Wakeman (the son of Yes' keyboardist Rick Wakeman) has worked with quite a few artists ranging from Atomic Kitten to Black Sabbath! And finally, in addition to a solid solo career, Chris Ousey spent time with Virginia Wolf and Heartland. So, there is a TON of talent behind this project. For once all that talent actually amounts to something! I know, crazy right? This self-penned/self-recorded project only gets better as it goes along and better with each new listen. It's a swirling blend of blues rock, melodic rock and classic rock. Musically it all comes together in a way in which this record sounds like a well-loved LP of old. Almost as if it were something your parents would have pulled out and played when you were younger (or at least younger and having grown up in the seventies/early eighties). If you can't picture the beauty of this old-school charmer then fear not. For a point of reference it's a mixture of early Whitesnake, early Foreigner (in a good way!), Bad Company, Led Zeppelin and Gary Moore. It's timeless as well as modern and it's a real home-run for both Snakecharmer and Frontiers Records. This one is going to get plenty of listens in my household.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Current Playlist

Of course Christmas was this week so it would be reasonable for you might think there might be some festive music to be found on my play list. You'd be wrong. About as festive as I got this past week was watching A Christmas Story and one of the million-plus adaptions of a Christmas Carrol. Otherwise it was a rather ho-hum Christmas for me. This was the first Christmas I spent without my kids (my ex was in town so they stayed with her and her husband for a few days) so maybe that had something to do with the lack of holiday cheer? No matter as this year is almost ready to come to an end. It will be weird writing 2013 on EVERYTHING that's for sure. Anyway, as always here is my weekly list...

Listening to:
Melissa Auf der Maur-Out Of Our Minds
Agent Orange-Living In Darkness
Marty Casey & The Lovehammers-S/T
Big Hozz And The Animals-On The Edge of Life/Lucifer's Friend Test Press 7"
Mpire-Hell To The Holy
The Prostitutes-25 Hits of Punk Rock Fury!!
Money-First Investment (Bonus Track Version)
Union 13-Why Are We Destroying Ourselves?
Union 13-Youth, Betrayal And The Awakening
Crisis-Armed To The Teeth

Lincoln (for once a movie is worth all the praise and hype!)
Chernobyl Diaries

Lasers, monster and barbarians oh, my! (Metal Mark's new blog is a must-read!)

So, what have you been listening to, watching and reading?


Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Casual- The New Los Angeles II: Less Violence, More Violins

Stoked Records

Hardcore punk band It's casual are one of those bands that should be in every one's personal collection (especially if your personal collection includes loud, fast and raw hardcore punk with metal riff-age!) and yet no one in my personal circle seems to have heard of them. Of course even I had not heard of them until the beginning of December so I'm not one to throw around criticism really. Now that we are talking about the band though it's all rather interesting. This 2-piece band was formed in 2001 by music industry professional, musician, and show promoter Eddie Solis (he plays guitar and handles vocals while it seems as if a series of drummers has come in and out of It's Casual). It's Casual (who take their name from a line in Cameron Crowe’s obscure follow-up to "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", called "The Wild Life") has shared the stage with quite a variety such as Story of the Year to Mastodon, High on Fire, Prong, Zeke, Nails, Fireball Ministry and Fu Manchu. You might be thinking that so far all of that is interesting enough if certainly not anything to stop the presses over. Fair enough so how about this then-It's Casual's music addresses transit issues. Since Eddie Solis has been taking public transportation all around Los Angeles County for the last decade or so and, in the process, has seen enough frustration and anger over the messed up state of our freeways that he was inspired to form a band to act as a rallying cry for change. Of course that rallying cry is all the more loud and urgent sounding when the music behind it is born of the meeting place between Black Flag, Motorhead, Discharge, The Melvins and early C.O.C. and a sound that wouldn't be out of place on Southern Lord Records. Eddie Solis himself calls the music "L.A. hardcore" and "L.A. skate rock", but all you need to know is that It's Casual offer intense music for an intense world. 

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

21st Century Goliath-Radio Destroyer


Lately I've had several people ask not only where all of these promos come from, but how it is that we manage to cover so much ground (punk to black metal) and offer such a "unique" variety of music (or as one person put it "Man, you cover some weird shit Andy"). I'll let you in on a little secret. Not only do I get promo material from the usual sources (record labels, industry contacts, sending requests to bands themselves, etc), but I also subscribe to about every online music site you can think of. I'm always on the lookout for new music to cover (especially from underground, indie or unsigned acts) and welcome any/all suggestions. Now, as I like to give credit where credit is due I must say that this review:  turned me onto 21st Century Goliath. In fact, after I read this review I went to iTunes to download the album for myself! Up front I'll tell you that CD copies are all sold out so if your interest is peaked by either the above review by "Skid" or my review then you'll want to head over to either cdbaby or iTunes for your own copy. So, you might be asking why you should check out this 5-piece? Well, the answer is simple enough. If you like real (as in GENUINE), dive-bar playing/cheap-beer drinking, hard rock/metal music then 21st Century Goliath is a band you need to familiarize yourself with. The band's reverbnation page lists AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Motley Crue and Iron Maiden as influences, but that last one (Iron Maiden) takes the night of on "Radio Destroyer". In Iron Maiden's place (and in addition to AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Motley Crue) you've got some riffs born out of a life spent listening to Motorhead, Circus Of Power and Zodiac Mindwarp LPs. Mention should be made of the fact that the Metallica influence seems to be more of a reference to Tony Leone's voice then anything else. There is a hell of a lot of James Hetfield in his voice although he also sounds a bit like Michael Poulsen (Volbeat) at times. You could argue that the music these  North Carolina boys are unleashing is similar in nature to "Load"/"Reload" Metallica, but I'd have to slap you for making such an argument and tell you never to bring up those albums again! With only 9 songs (and given that this album is only 35 minutes or so in length) it's a bit too short for my taste. Otherwise it's everything that's great about your local hard rock/metal band, but with the added benefit of a good producer and catchy song-writing. This is definitely a young band to keep an eye on!

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Aeon Zen-Enigma


As I tackle my first post-Christmas promo I am enjoying my afternoon coffee and the return of my children (they spent the holidays with my ex-wife). What I am not enjoying is the first few inches of the 6-10 inches of snow that we are expected to get dumped on us over the next day or two. Thankfully, the past few days have seen plenty of new albums come my way both physical and digital. As I type this album I'm well aware that I keep looking over at the list of albums I hope to review over the next couple of days. Something tells me I'm not going to get to all of them so I'll just do the best I can. The first album on my list was Aeon Zen. This progressive metal band formed in 2008 and have released three albums now. The first album by Aeon Zen was 2009's "A Mind’s Portrait" followed by their second album, "The Face of the Unknown", in 2010. "Enigma" makes album number three for the band and features guests such as Nate Loosemore (Lost In Thought), Atle Pettersen (Above Symmetry) and Jonny Tatum (Eumeria). Produced by the band's own Rich Hinks (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) it's also the first Aeon Zen album which I had ever had the pleasure of hearing. Being a progressive metal band some of the influences should sound familiar. Dream Theater, Symphony X and Genesis were all listed in the promo, but some Rush could be added on too. If that sounds a bit on the lighter end of things that was my first thought before I first went to listen to "Enigma". Had I paid a bit more attention before hand I might have noticed the other influences listed such as Opeth and Megadeth. I'm glad I didn't as it allowed me to be surprised. More often then not I will only briefly look at any promo material. When listening to promos (especially from bands I'm unfamiliar with) it's more interesting to go in blind with very little knowledge so you can form your own opinion. Too often then not (when I first started off) I would read over any promo material and then I'd listen to the album. The more you expect to hear any/all bands listed as either influences or reference points the more often you'll find yourself let down in this business. It's better to just hit play and let the dice fall where they may. Aeon Zen are one of those bands when you can hear the old (Genesis, Symphony X) mixing in with the new (the band's recent influences are said to be bands such as Between The Buried And Me, Cynic, Periphery, Jørn Lande and Scar Symmetry). While some of those secondary/new influences might not be new it's kind of obvious that the band's take on it is. Since this is a band that is trying to branch out and try new ideas most of the music worked really well while other times you could sort of tell this was a band trying to find a firm footing on some of new influences. Had those influences been spelled out to me ahead of time I would have been justly let down. While Aeon Zen's pulls in some of those influences effectively their sound is still more progressive rock/progressive metal then   anything else. Even so, Aeon Zeus still have their own unique sound and, for the most part, as they go off in pursuit of  a new identity they seem as if their heading in the right direction. 

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Mery Christmas from Heavy Metal Time Machine!

From all of us (well, the two of us!) here at Heavy Metal time Machine to all of you-may your holidays be merry and here's hoping Santa brings you everything your heart desires! Make sure though that you leave something tasty for Santa to snack on. We will be taking time off to spend with our loves ones so we suggest you all do the same. Not to worry though as we will be back and in a metal mood before you know it! Look for "Best Of 2012" lists to appear shortly and, as always, thank you for making our blog what it is today!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Fucking Elephant-Seven Inches 7

Nefarious Industries

 With a name like A Fucking Elephant you really have to wonder. Formed in 2007, the New Jersey-based twosome (guitarist Matt Keys and drummer Greg Meisenberg), actually are not as off the wall as you would expect (given their name and all). Even with a song titled "I'm Addicted to Drugs & Sex and I Want You to Chok" (sic) I'm sure no one will blame me when I admit that I half expected this to be some sort of (fingernails on a chalkboard) noise/grind atrocity. Instead it's simply two tracks of instrumental garage rock that, while it might wallow in weirdness, is nothing that shocking. The material in question is the first new music from A Fucking Elephant in two years. The band's last release was a split full-length with El Drugstore. Incidentally, Nefarious Industries is the indie label formed by members from both bands and collectors would do well to note that, in addition to a digital release, there will be 250 copies released on black vinyl and 250 copies released on yellow vinyl. With a cover like that (courtesy of  Eric Nyffeler/Doe-Eyed Design.) you just know people are not just going to buy this for the groovy music, but they are going to want to display the artwork as well for all to see!

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Fall City Fall-Victus

Victory Records

What are the odds that I'd randomly pick a promo and it turns out to be another Canadian band? This is quite weird as it seems like every other band I've covered recently has been from up north. Fall City Fall
hail from Calgary, but the sound they pump out is more inner city anywhere U.S.A then could be reasonably expected. While the promo calls this five-piece a metalcore act it's thankfully not so predictable as I'll discuss in a few short seconds.  The band began life back in 2008 with their first EP, "1692", being released two years later. Another EP appeared along the way ("Dead Saints EP") with "Victus" being the band's debut full length album. If you are wondering if these five lads (duel-vocalists-Nathan Zorn and Keenan Pylychaty, guitarist Jordon Storey, drummer Nathan Pope and bassist Andre Urquidi) have found the perfect home with Victory Records the answer is yes. Fall City Fall are perfect for Victory Records and vice versa. If you are not familiar with Victory Records then all me to explain their mindset. The bulk of their artists are hardcore + "something" (metal, thrash, etc.) with a few exceptions (Sister Sin,
Ill Niño) just to keep things interesting for the label. Fall City Fall are the perfect addition then as their craft is earnest hardcore, but with a lot of complimenting genres tacked on to spice things up! Technically there is some metalcore, but there is also progressive hardcore, mathcore, alternative metal and even some deathcore to be found. Having these two talented vocalists who do nothing but sing is nothing if not unique. Usually you have one lead singer who handles clean vocals and then another musician (bassist or guitarist usually) adds tacked on harsh vocals. Here you have two lead singers who have worked to fine tune their craft and that is appealing. Musically as well there is talent to be found within Fall City Fall. The band is seemingly more then willing to pull in these different aspects as long as the bottom line is loud and heavy, hard-hitting hardcore. Not only is the music no-nonsense, but so are the lyrics which are full of the type of pent up rage and frustration seen by those on the bottom looking up. I'll give that to Fall City Fall. These guys mean business and have a take no prisoners approach to their music. That's as appealing as it is unnerving.

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Kissin' Time-Canada's Tribute To Kiss

Keep It Live Records

I'm never one to shy away from good music for a good cause. "Kissin' Time" is one such project. 13 of Canada's best indie acts (from metal to singer/songwriters) cover 13 classic Kiss songs with all proceeds from the sale of the CD (after expenses) being donated to the SICKKIDS Foundation (Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital). Right away I just have to say how can you go wrong? Maybe a brief explanation/rundown of this CD is in order will help make the choice a little easier. There are some really choice covers here done up with loving care. In fact, the bulk of this CD is really good. West Memphis Suicide offers up a solid take on "War Machine"  while Spiro Papadatos implores us all to "Rock And Roll All Night". While not the best cover of the Kiss classic (for me that will always be the live cover by the Approach and the Execution!) it at lease keeps to the spirit of the song. Bobnoxious, who play a great mix of dirty rock and roll and Motorhead like metal, rip their way through "C'mon And Love Me" and Grimskunk (a cool name for a band!) tear things up with "100,000 Years". If you've ever wanted to know what "I Was Made For Loving You" would sound like if it was covered by members of White Zombie (later day) and Marylin Manson then A)You're in luck! and B) I have no idea what is wrong with you, but you might want to consider getting medicated! Probably my favorite Kiss cover on this disc is "Hard Luck Woman". With only a guitar and her voice (which proves to be more then enough) Sarah Smith delivers a tear-inducing cover of this classic. Her voice is simply perfect for this cover and she presents "Hard Luck Woman" with such soulful passion and hurt that it's hard not to get a lump in your throat as she sings. Sure, there are a few numbers that defy logic (The Salads give us what has to be the worst version of "Lick It Up" ever played in the history of mankind!) and some that shouldn't be ("I Was Made For Loving You" by R.E.D.), but the majority of these groups do well with the Kiss songs chosen. Really though it's for a really good cause and at $14.99 CAD it won't break your budget!

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mors Principium Est.-...and Death said live

AFM Records

It was back in 2007 when Finland's Mors Principium Est. (that's a mouthful!) released their last album "Liberation = Termination". Since then the band, who formed in 1999 and whose name (according to the Metal Archives) is Latin for "Death is the beginning" or "the basis" or "the ruler" (take your pick), managed to pick up a new pair of guitarists in Andy Gillion (Shadow Law) and Andhe Chandler (ex-In Dread Response, ex- The Mark Of Man) and (seemingly) a renewed appreciation for their craft. While that craft fell along the lines of At The Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity and Children Of Bodom (all of them influences on the band's early sound) it's fair to say that since forming, and despite the numerous line-up changes, the band has forged it's own identity. The new album, which is ten tracks plus the intro number "The Awakening", finds the band, who is filled out by Ville Viljanen (vocals), Mikko Sipola (bass) and Teemu Heinola (drums), laying down some simply sinister metal. With each new release this Finnish band has been making huge strides in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. This new album achieves that goal with equal amounts of technical skill (there are some great time changes) and utter brutality. With production taking place at Swedish Panic Room Studios (Solution .45, Scar Symmetry and many more), and the album featuring guest appearances from Jona Weinhofen (Bring Me The Horizon) and Ryan Knight (The Black Dahlia Murder), "And Death Said Live" is a release that should please fans of old while also serving as an enticement to new listeners.

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Svart Records

Is it to early to be talking about "Best Of" lists for the year 2013? It probably is as I haven't even posted this year's list yet. Even so, please people, someone needs to remind about the exquisite nature of this self-titled release next December. This captivating album is a thing of beauty. While Sammal's eponymous debut album will be issued on both CD and LP this release begs to be experienced on a turn table. This is the kind of album where you want to turn the lights off, light some candles and just sink down low into a state of spiritual relaxation. Sammal's debut album might be sung entirely in Finnish, but the bands smooth blend of classic rock, southern rock and progressive rock is a universal language. Especially when you have a vocalist who sings in such an authentic fashion. Sammal are another band that not only looked to the past for inspiration, as retro-rock is all the rage these days just as retro-metal is, but found a way to bring the past into a modern setting. It's amazing how such simple elements (classic rock riff-age, prog keyboards and a little southern twang) can translate into this beautiful and complex sound. It looks as if I'll be adding another LP to my collection soon enough!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Chariots of The Gods-Tides of War

Self Release

Is it Christmas already? It sure seems like it when gifts like this start showing up in my Inbox! Santa must have thought I was an extra nice little boy this year to have dropped this great death/thrash album right into my stocking! Chariots of The Gods are a talented Ottawa, On-based band who have been on the road since 2008. During that time they have shared the stage/thrashed about like maniacs with the likes of Voivod, Misfits, Despised Icon, Kataklysm, Blind Witness, Anti-Flag, Misery Index, Slaves On Dope, Martyr, Fuck the Facts, Blackguard, Neuraxis, The Agonist, Reanimator and Insurrection. This new album follows on the heals of the band's 2010 debut EP, "Reverence", and features 14 tracks of unapologetic death/thrash with an emphasis squarly placed on thrashing out. "Tides of War" finds the band (Renaud Jobin-vocals, Mathieu St-Amour-guitar, Dimitri Gervais, Payam Doryani-bass and Rich O' Neil-drums) in a violent mood as they unleash fast & furious "punch you in the face" metal that has just enough of a melodic coating to keep things interesting. Without getting too emotional for this gift that Santa gave me (How does he know me so well? How did he know that what I really wanted for Christmas was face-ripping metal?) I've just got to say thank he heavens (And jolly, old Saint Nick) that not all death/thrash bands turn melodic moments into soft mush. "Tides of War" features some fantastic melodies and technical riffs that are to die for. They ended up reminding me a bit of Annihilator in that sense. While we are on the subject of similar sounding bands (Only use this as a point of reference though as Chariots of The Gods have a very unique and since sound going for them) this Ottawa act also seems to have been influenced by the likes of Arch Enemy, Megadeth, In Flames, Trivium, Unearth and As I Lay Dying. All those influences mix about inside the machine that is Chariots of The Gods and what remains left over in the end is mosh-inducing molten metal! Produced by Glen Robinson (Queensryche, The Ramones, AC/DC, Gwar, Annihilator and Voivod), "Tides of War" is a 14-song battle cry and a must-have for melodic death/technical thrash fans.


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hidden Intent-Demo 2012 (Mastered Version)


Never mind vomit-inducting line "You had me at hello" as these 3 guys had me at "influenced by Slayer, Megadeth, Coroner, etc." Anytime you've got a band that lists those bands (as well as Annihilator and Sacred Reich) as their influences then you know their heart is in the right place! Formed in early 2011 by bassist/vocalist Chris McEwen (Abyzmal, Troops of Doom, Obsidian Aspect, Beyond Mortal Dreams) and guitarist Phil Bennett (Desert Eagle, Metallica Black Album Tribute, Iron Maiden Tribute), Hidden Intent set out to craft a "old school thrash sound mixed with elements of groove and darkness". Soon enough the pair were able to enlist another fellow-minded thrash enthusiast (drummer Jay Rahaley of Blood Mason & Treachery) and, after tossing about a variety of band names, Hidden Intent were soon thrashing their way happily down the road. What this Adelaide, South Australia-based band might lack in originality (quite honestly they sound a lot like a more thrash oriented version of Scared Reich)  they more then make up in youthful enthusiasm. Hidden Intent play a form of thrash metal that isn't so much retro in it's approach. Instead this band sounds as if it was plucked right out of the late eighties/early nineties and deposited in 2012. If someone were to have given me this album and then told me it was a uncovered/dusted off demo from WAY BACK WHEN I  most likely would have believed them. I guess it really could be called retro in that sense. Even if the demo is a "Mastered Version" it sounds as if it was recorded with yesterday's studio equipment. Personally that is a big part of the appeal for me. I often say how much I miss the old days and thrash metal's once glorious scene so Hidden Intent are a really nice treat for someone like me. I mean they have a song called "Good Friday Thrash" so how can you not appreciate that? Since thrash is back in (in a retro kind of way) it is possible that, with a little bit of luck and some hard work, Hidden Intent could get caught up in the movement and find themselves staring at a record contract. Truthfully, they do need a bit of work as the edges are a bit dull and the overall product needs to be tightened up some. But, the foundation is there as is the talent. Hopefully they'll stick to their guns, work on being a tad bit more original and keep on keeping on as they do show a lot of promise and they do play with heavy metal passion.

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Burnt Books-Burnt Books

At A Loss Recordings

 I wasn't quite awake this morning when I sat down to listen to this 9-track release from Columbia, South Carolina-based Burnt Books. Even with 2 cups of coffee flowing through my veins I was still wiping the sleep out of my eyes when I hit "play". All of that changed when album opener "Selfish Friend" kicked in and, literally, kicked me in the teeth. It's always good to see that real punk isn't dead (even if in this case it is like a science experiment gone horribly wrong!). Formed in mid-2011, and made up of musicians who played/still play in other local acts, this self-titled album is the band's "official" greeting (following a four-song demo that appeared early last year) and, as far as debut-albums go, it's a real punch in the gut. It's also a very interesting take on experimental punk. I might still be a little in zombie mode this morning, despite the wall of punk rock noise that came my way from this album, but there can't be that many punk bands out there that utilize the banjo right? That only made this release all the more unique. The banjo, as well as lead vocals, came courteous of Zoe Lollis and joining in on the fun are guitarists Matt Thompson and Chuck Sligh, bassist Joey Parker and drummer Troy Thames. Heaven help me because the only apt description for this release really is experimental punk  While it does feature it's fair share of heavy riffs (of both the punk and hardcore variety) and a mean & nasty rhythm it's a bit too deconstructed to fit into any one particular genre. Thankfully vocalist Zoe Lollis and the rest of the gang keep things interesting along the way so you don't mind as much when they assault your eardrums and burn down your house. Had I been fully awake when I listened to this album I'm fairly certain the result would have been the same. Either way I look forward to seeing what else Burnt Books has up their sleeves in the future.

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Current Playlist

It's hard to believe that Christmas is next week! When exactly did that happen? How did this year creep past us so quickly? Hopefully everyone else is in a jolly mood and has found the Christmas spirit because it seems to have disappeared from sight in my little part of the universe. Anyway, I am posting the play list today because, for all we know, the world could end tomorrow! Of course I wouldn't put money on that myself...

Listening to:

Gary Clark Jr.-Blak And Blu
Black Hole-Land Of Mystery
Judas Priest-Screaming For Vengeance (Special 30th Anniversary Edition)
East Coast Presents...Union 13
Guano Apes-Bel Air
Fast Forward-Living In Fiction
For Today-Immortal
Deathmask-Sitting In the Dark

Red Lights
Super 8
The Last Exorcism
Despicable Me Presents Minion Madness

Unknown Soldier Comics

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Giant X-I

Steamhammer / SPV

Giant X is a new side-project/musical collaboration featuring the pair of "Rock´n`Rolf" Rolf Kasparek (vocalist/guitarist of Running Wild) and Peter J. Jordan (guitarist of Running Wild). While Peter J. Jordan might just be known as the guitarist of Running Wild (he signed on with the Running Wild crew in 2005) there is much more to him then most could possibly know. Not only has he worked as a studio-guitarist/live musician (his own band Peek-a-Boo having supported artists like Joe Cocker and David Bowie), but he's also worked as a songwriter, composer, arranger and producer. He has worked with a variety of artists such as Tim Bendzko, Patti Russo (Meat Loaf), Francis Buchholz (ex- Scorpions), Thorsten Wingenfelder (Fury In The Slaughterhouse), Christina Stürmer, Klaus-Peter Matziol (Eloy) and Fair Warning. Now, if your wondering what all of that information has to do with the album at hand well, we'll get to that soon enough. shortly. In the meantime it is worth mentioning that this is not the first time these two musicians have stepped outside of Running Wild to create a different sound. The pair of Kasparek/Jordan first came together on EMI Production Music’s "Rock/Metal" album with the cut well-received cut "Burning Wheels". In fact it was after receiving heaps of praise for the song "Burning Wheels" (most of which was worthy) that the pair decided to put together Giant X. With a 12-track album album already in hand (with the intro "The Rise Of The Giant X (Intro)" it is 13 tracks, but who counts intros anyway?), which incidentally only mentions the two of them in regards to musicians who played on the release, the pair went label shopping before settling with Steamhammer/SPV. The fact that the label had previously released the latest Running Wild album obviously helped that decision along and the rest is history. Right up front the pair is letting everyone know that Giant X is not Running Wild and that much is clearly obvious after hearing the project. Whatever you choose to call the latest version of Running Wild (power metal? thrash?) the fact is Giant X is more hard rock then anything. And since the pair needed some legroom in which to explore other musical ideas it's a wise move to go with a different name. All of that brings us back to guitarist Peter J. Jordan and his many talents from songwriter to producer. Judging by the wide variety of music offered on this album it would be logical to assume that all of Peter's past experiences have really helped out when it came to this project. "On A Blind Flight" might open the album in a fairly straight-forward fashion (it's traditional heavy metal meets light weight European power metal), but then you have a cut like "Don`t Quit Till Tomorrow" that sounds more like British hard rock then could reasonably be expected from someone like Rolf Kasparek. Then you have a number like "Badland Blues" which comes off as a loving nod towards blues-based hard rock bands like Cinderella. There is a ballad ("Nameless Heroes"), a Kiss-like rocker ("The Count") and even a bit of Thin Lizzy love in "Soul Survivors". Listening to this album it's hard to fathom that here you have two guys from Running Wild playing music that is more born out of an equal appreciation for the likes of Kiss, Queen, Billy Talent, Thin Lizzy and Van Halen then Running Wild's unusual brand of pirate metal. That's not to say it's a bad thing. Far from it actually. In a song like "Rough Ride" those other influences (seventies rock in this case) really work together to create a unique listening experience. There is some heavy metal to be found ("Go 4 It" features some nice heavy metal riffs), but on the whole this is more of a straight-forward rock/hard rock album. As long as people know what to expect then there shouldn't be any issues. Running Wild fanatics won't be able to hear that familiar brand of pirate metal, but I'd still say to give this one a chance. In the end this is some stellar rock/hard rock. With a healthy dose of real talent and enthusiasm behind the music it's a LP that is easy to listen to and enjoy.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Forgotten Gems: Black Hole-Land Of Mystery

City Records

It's been slightly over a month since my last Forgotten Gem post so, as a way of saying sorry (and hopefully making up for any laziness on my part), today's entry will be something quite "different". Of course in this case different is a very good thing. So, with that said let's all get into Mr. Peabody's WABAC machine because this one takes place a long time ago. Come to think about it, "Land Of Mystery" also sounds as if it takes place in a galaxy far, far away so maybe a quick trip in the TARDIS is in order? Either one of those two options would make sense in a way as this LP is "out there". In all seriousness, Black Hole was/is a real walk on the weirder side of life. Given the band mate's "names" that greet you as you open this album ("the present", "the mysterious future" and "the past") it's obvious that these three (the "real" names being: Luther Gordon-drums, Robert Measles-vocals, bass, synth, organ, pedals and Nicholas Murray-guitar, pedals) were slightly off kilter. Formed in Italy, in 1981, Black Hole would release a pair of demos before issuing this treat in 1985. If 1985 sounds like a long time ago to you then your not alone. It sure does seem as if it has been an eternity since the mid-eighties to me and when I listen to an album like this it seems as if it was a different world to. If you were to do a quick search for Black Hole (or were to ask around) more then likely you'd walk away with the tag "Italian heavy/doom". Technically that would be a correct assessment. The thing is that description only tells part of the story. The real truth behind the album is much more "colorful". "Land Of Mystery" is so much more then just heavy metal/doom metal. While the doom aspect is true this isn't so much a Black Sabbath love-in. It's more of an overall feeling of dread and despair that happens to unfold in a manor similar to doom. Perhaps you could say there is some Candlemass/Witchfinder General to be found but then again how do you describe the elements that sound like they should be straight out of a "horror movie sound-effects" LP? With that as a thought it should be pointed out as well that there are moments when this album cuts close to the NWOBHM scene (the band Pagan Alter comes to mind as does Legend and to a tiny degree the band Hell) and then there are times when the synthesizers and organ parts kick in and things get really interesting! Comparisons have been made to the cult band Death SS (it's easy enough to see that considering the way in which Black Hole comes off) and that is fair enough I guess. Really, Black Hole are just one of those bands that has to be heard to be fully and truly appreciated. While the group did release another album from all accounts it is just this little slab of original metal that is worth tracking down. My personal copy is from Shadow Kingdom Records so it has some lovely demo tracks added to the mix. There hasn't been a day that went by that I don't thank the heaven's that I took a chance and rolled the dice on this Forgotten Gem. I bought it just from the album art and let me just say that the art fits the music perfect! If weird doom metal with NWOBHM styling, horror elements and even some "let's all take acid" progressive rock moments sounds like something you have been waiting your whole life for then you are in luck! It is all that and more....

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Relentless-Demo 2013


Despite the title of this 3-track ("Demo 2013") it does seem if it just came out this month. Beyond that I've got nothing to go on with this band. How so? Well, it showed up in my inbox from a friend/fellow tape trader and other then the line "I think you'll like these guys Andy" there was nothing else. I don't know if he expected me to be able to dig up more on Relentless (As there is a band from Minnesota with the same name, but whether they are this Relentless or another is anybody's guess) or if he was just bored and came across this demo? Since I'm not going to turn down random and strange requests (What fun would life be if I did?) I'll just throw this one out as is. Relentless offers 3 tracks of hardcore metal/thrash. Really it's more hardcore then anything (A more primitive Hatebreed meets Biohazard?) and, other then a slightly fuzzy mix, it's not half bad. There's even a tip of the hat towards Slayer on "Marked for Death" to keep things (somewhat) interesting. Since I have enough to go through as is promo-wise I just don't have the time to investigate. Therefore, if anyone knows more about this particular Relentless (Are they the same straight-edge Relentless that has several other releases under their belt?) and would like to share then feel free to post it! In the meantime see the link below.

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A Private July-Frown

Pinhead Records

If your wondering what a pop-punk band like A Private July (Whose name I must assume has something to do with my birthday being in July and thus paying tribute to that fact) are doing on a site called "Heavy Metal Time Machine" I'll tell you why:

A) This New York band plays blissfully sloppy EARLY pop-punk  (not the trendy radio pop-punk crap)
B) Just because "heavy metal" is in the title doesn't mean we can't cover other genres of music. We're not  Maximumrocknroll here kids. We don't just cover heavy metal bands. We cover just about EVERYTHING!

With four new songs and two covers ("Girls With Boyfriends" by The Sheckies  and "Just like Kurt" by Weston) this is a fun EP that brings to mind everyone from The Queers to Sloppy Seconds. With that "I'm going to kill you in your sleep" clown cover how can you possibly go wrong?

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Megachurch: Megachurch 2: Judgement Day

Stressed Sumo Records

With the end of the world now (thankfully) less then a week away why not confess you misdeeds at the Megachurch? This 3-piece Cleveland act seems as if it does not take themselves, or this world all that matters, all that seriously, but one listen to their seriously insane sound is likely to make you a believer anyway! In place of a lead vocalist (who needs 'em anyway right?) we're treated to found-sound samples of politicians, televangelists and Tea Party fanatics. Not only that, but the band takes a stand against traditional power trios by going bass, bass and drums instead of bass, guitar and drums. If you guessed that the combination of samples, bass and drums results in a unholy amount of racket and noise then give yourself a pat on the back and shout "Hallelujah!". The group’s sound is mean and ugly. It's also very effective. Looking for the ultimate listening experience for your "End Of the World" party? Look no further my friends. While it technically does not come out until after the world is due to expire it is streaming at the link below so at least you have that to go by right? All you need to do is combine "Megachurch 2: Judgement Day" with cheap beer, some good friends and maybe some tacos (why tacos? why not!) and you are all set to ride out the end times in style.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Attic-The Invocation

Ván Records

For a band that was formed back in 2010 (over a shared interest in such things as sinister music, spiritualism. occultism, horror movies and literature) Germany's traditional heavy metal act, Attic, sure has managed to get a lot done a lot in just this past year alone. As if having issued a self-released/self-titled EP and a split 7” with Walpurgis Night already in 2012 wasn't enough now the band is looking to add credit to their name with this full-length LP. Obviously the group has had a busy 2012, and no doubt they spent the first two years of existence honing their skills, but how does the band's full length album ,"The Invocation", really hold up to inspection? Well, there is such a thing as paying homage to your inspirations in the music you play verses being a all out a carbon copy. Attic find themselves walking the line between those two descriptions and I can't help but wonder if  "The Imitation" wouldn't have been a better title? Merciful Fate and Judas Priest fans would do well to listen up to this next part as those are the two main targets of Attic's affection. While lead vocalist Meister Cagliostro comes off as more Rob Halford then King Diamond the music is clearing a combination of those two classic bands. While Helstar and Pentagram are also mentioned in the promo as possible front runners to Attic's sound this is the result of Merciful Fate and Judas Priest coming together for a collaboration. That about sums up Attic. If your a fan of either or both of those acts then "The Invocation" should be on your Christmas wish list. Even if the band sounds a little too much like their heroes for my tastes I will say though that everything from the song-writing to the performances is spot-on. The band is no doubt a talented bunch of guys who know how to write darkly-tinted classic metal. The production is just about perfect as well and you can't help but appreciate the old school cover artwork by Markus Vesper (Manilla Road, A Tortured Soul, Poison Oath, Headless Beast). But, it's not the most original idea in the book when it comes to traditional heavy metal bands out there so it comes down to what your looking for metal-wise. If you can look past the minor flaw in their music then by all means go for it!

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The Axis Of The Underground Vol.2 Compilation Album

Axes Of Metal

Now, I love compilation albums in general, but I especially love ones that offer the listener a little bit of everything. With "Axis Of The Underground Vol.2", from the fine folks at Axis Of Metal, you are treated to a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Featuring emerging artists, that play everything from traditional heavy metal to progressive metal to doom metal, the latest compilation from Axis Of Metal is a very cool thing. What's even cooler then the huge variety on display here is the fact that Axis Of Metal is offering this compilation for free! No matter what kind of metal you are into there is something for you. With 27 tracks in all, this free download is packed full of variety and features some real gems. Don't just take my word for it though. Be sure to check it out for yourself at the link below.

Axis Of The Underground Vol.2 Tracklisting:
1. Obduracy – Virtue And Vice
2. Razorwyre – Knights of Fire
3. Wings Denied – Clockwork
4. Desultor – Black Monday
5. Monsterworks – Freewill
6. Rusted Brain – Caught In The Fire
7. Scythia – Sailor’s Accolade
8. Symptom – Into the Scalding Spring
9. Eryn Non Dae – Hidden Lotus
10. Lich King – In The End, Devastation
11. Cultfinder – Archangel Burial
12. Derelict – Shackles Of Indoctrination
13. Infiltrator – Crush The False
14. Mares Of Thrace – The Gallwasp
15. Cryptopsy – Damned Draft Dodgers
16. Entropy – Encryption
17. Auroch – From Forgotten Worlds
18. Fatality – Thrash Fuck Eat Sleep
19. Gypsy Chief Goliath – St. Covens Tavern
20. Adrenechrome – Titans Fall
21. Invective – Systemic
22. Dire Omen – Deserving Of Ash
23. Mortor – Under the Flag
24. Bushwhacker – Forest Lord
25. Abstract Violence – S.N.M.
26. Seprevation – Sea of Thoughts
27. Luna Azure – Meadows Of Spring

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As I am trying to clean out my inbox some, as there are yet again promos piling up, I thought I'd toss out some of the free downloads I routinely get. The first one for today is from Canada's XUL. Blackened metal is the name of the game on "Malignance" so if you're a fan of bands like Behemoth, Dissection and Immortal then this should be right up your alley. This 8-track album was released earlier this year and the band is reportedly working on a new EP as we speak.

FREE DOWNLOAD at the following link here. (

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Truth Behold-Maieutic


Truth Behold are a young, Montreal-based, progressive deathcore band. And when I say young I mean that the band is REALLY young. Formed in March of 2010, Truth Behold is a 5-piece band whose members were born between 1993 and 1994. That makes me feel really old of course as I graduated from high school in 1992! Despite their young age (I wonder if they can even play in some clubs since they are under 21?) the band has not only manged to write and compose their own music, which is complex in nature, but they also produced their full-length debut album as well! That requires truckloads of talent and dedication to your craft. It's highly unlikely that the average listener would be able to guess that these five musicians were still teenagers (or that this 10-track debut-album was self-produced) just by listening to the album.That really says something about the band's overall technical ability. Of course this album does have all the landmarks associated with progressive deathcore. It's all here from the familiar death growls to the brutal breakdowns. The music is chuck full of complex death metal riffs and bone-crushingly heavy metalcore. From start to finish this is the sound of crushing metal and exactly what fans of the genre have come to expect and appreciate.Even so Truth Behold offer something more then the countless other independant/underground progressive deathcore bands. Whether you call it youthful energy or the effect that their DIY mentality had on the overall project there is just something here that stands out. While you can't put your finger on it there is no uncertainty that it exists. As the album works itself  through all 10-tracks (from "Legion" to "Sandstorm") the band delivers a professionally produced, high-end take on progressive deathcore. With a sound that is as technical as such a professional production job would dictate (which really only adds to the album's overall effect), Truth Behold have delivered a truly remarkable debut-album. With time on their side there is no telling what the future might hold for this young band, but with such a good start one can only imagine a future wide-open for Truth Behold.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Said The Whale-West Coast Christmas EP Collection


Canada's Said The Whale, who were formed in 2007, are not the type of band we'd feature here at Heavy Metal Time Machine. As a indie pop-rock band they probably don't have all that much to offer our faithful followers, but I will say that this 10-track compilation features a nice collection of seasonal songs that the whole family can enjoy during this year's various holiday celebrations. The band has actually released a Christmas EP every December since forming and this "Pay what you want" download collects the various EPs together in one place. Assembled in chronological order, this 10-track album is a nice change of pace from the various heavy metal holiday promos that yearly flood my inbox. Find out more about this collection and the band at the link below.

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Neurosis-Honor Found In Decay

Neurot Recordings

Yes, I'm quite aware of the fact that this album has already been out for sometime now. More then likely if your reading this review then your more of a casual fan of the group verses hardcore follower. The bulk of Neurosis fans would have already scooped this one up and have no doubt already presented good arguments for or against the band's new album. I've made mention before of how "Souls at Zero", the band's 1992 album, had an impact on my teenage years. As such a powerful album it transcended mere description and helped Neurosis become much more then a cult-metal act out of Oakland, California. A lot of time has passed since the band released that one album which was a testament to how you could stretch the boundaries of what was considered hardcore or metal into something completely new and yet still vaguely familiar. With album number 10 now a few months old, and the product of repeated spins by me, I'm still left with a sense of confusion. I've tossed and turned this review over in mind and in my heart and the results are always the same-is this album a sign of a band that can do no wrong and still create something worth heaps of praise for it's epic sense of awe-inspiring post-metal creativity or is this album a mad mess of ill-conceived ideas and a sign that the band has run out of good ideas? If those sound like opposite ends of the spectrum they are. It's well-known though that art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. And music is an art-form. As I look at and listen to this new release it's art that I have on my mind. If your a fair share older like I am then you'll perhaps remember the controversy of "Piss Christ". If not you can read up on it online easy enough. While some considered it to be art in it's most pure form (it won one or more competitions I believe) most people saw it as pure trash. It proved that one man's treasure can be another man's junk and that what some might consider to be praise worthy others would see as just a gimmick aimed at shock and moral outrage. Obviously Neurosis are a different beast all together. They not going about trying to create shock and moral outrage. Their music has always been presented in a "as is" fashion. There has never seemed to be anything more to the music then the fact that they are looking to create fresh and original material. As such I've always gave them their props for doing their own thing regardless of whether the mainstream would be able to accept it. Of course that doesn't make this review any easier on me. I have listened to "Honor Found In Decay" over and over again and still can't come to a definitive answer. I've simply found myself unsure if this is the sound of a band being brilliant or a sound that defies reason. Obviously that is of little to no hope to anyone who is still looking at whether or not to pull the trigger and buy "Honor Found In Decay". The best advice I can offer is to listen to it yourself before buying it. By now I'd like to think that most of this album has already been posted on YouTube so that is where I'd start. I wish I had more of a yes or no answer to the album, but I'm quite stuck on it and honesty is the best policy here as in life.

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