Monday, September 30, 2013

Beasto Blanco-Live Fast Die Loud

Rat Pak Records

What's that you say? You're not familiar with the band Beasto Blanco? Don't worry my friends as soon enough you will be. In fact, if the god's of rock and roll continue to do their thing, which means that not only do they keep on smiling down on these hard rockers and showing them good fortune, but also that they kick down any doors and remove any and all roadblocks in their path, then soon enough this new group could very well be on every one's mind! It's only a matter of time I figure. You see, it's one thing when you have the likes of Alice Cooper, Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Mikey Dee (Motörhead), John Corabi (Mötley Crüe) and even producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Hanoi Rocks, etc.) singing your praises right? I mean that itself is pretty impressive as we're talking about some well-respected artists in Cooper, McBrain and Dee, but getting respect from fellow musicians is not that unusual you could argue. But, when you have celebrities raving about you then that really says something! Did I just say celebrities? Yes, I did. What's more, we're not just talking about any old B-grade talent here, but rather a huge celebrity endorsement from a guy who most certainly knows his way around good music. That fan is none other then Johnny Depp! That's right, the guys in Beasto Blanco have found a new fan in actor/musician Johnny Depp. Remember that at one point in time Depp, who I'll admit to having a man-crush on, played guitar in a band with Butthole Surfers front-man Gibby Haynes called "P". So, Johnny does have a pretty solid grasp on underground, up-and-coming acts. Besides, having Depp as a fan can't hurt this band's chances any. Before you go off thinking that this is anything but blue collar, street-wise music though be assured that this group my friends, and I'm talking to all my fellow rock and metal fanatics who are all about their music being loud and proud (mainstream or not), most certainly comes across as a local "band down the road". The music jam-packed within this album walks the walk of street-ready, leather jackets and switchblades metal. And it should go without saying that it rocks the shit out a set of stereo speakers! Beasto Blanco is the kind of group that bleeds integrity and plays like they've got a chip on their shoulder the size of a boulder! Formed in 2012, and every bit as punk and as sleazy as they wanna be, the band is the brainchild of Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garric (who handles bass and lead vocals here) and guitarist Chris Latham (of Paper Back Hero fame). Energetic as hell, the music here is raw, real and honest. But then again that was the whole point of this band from the very get-go. Fans themselves of bands like White Zombie and Motörhead, the two musicians (Garric and Latham) initially set out on a journey to create something that this world could use a lot more of-real, no-frills, throw your horns high in the sky, rock like it's the end of the century, heavy music with attitude and just the right kind of self-assurance that makes your act stand out above the pack without making you look like a major douche! There's a difference of course and in Chuck Garric's hands this band stands tall and proud and yes, it's an addictive formula. To that end they enlisted a few guests (Calico Cooper, Glen Sobel, Jonathan Mover and more) to help out in the studio and share their vision of creating the perfect rock n' metal album. When it was all wrapped up and finished, and the dust that all these folks had kicked up finally went and settled down, the group ended up with this 11-track, full-length debut album that is the stuff that could only come by way of blood, sweat and lots of cold beers. Right off the top of my head tracks like "Breakdown" will no doubt appeal to all the Rob Zombie fans out there and a cut like "Beg To Differ" is definitely for those who love their Motörhead, and yes, that includes me! It doesn't just stop and end with Rob Zombie and Lemmy though. "Live Fast Die Loud" , which is both a cool album title and a cool album cut, is forged from the same pits of hell that spit-forth Lucky Bastardz and bands as diverse as Metallica and the Ramones. Even the likes of AC/DC, Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction, Megadeth, Soundgarden, (later day and much more metallic) Black Sabbath, Anthrax, W.A.S.P., early Mötley Crüe, Kiss and Skid Row could be viewed as influences so there's no way anyone could walk away from this one without feeling like your insides have been turned inside out and that your body had been force-feed to a metal grinder! If that sounds like just the poison that you've been searching for then don't just walk when this one drops at the tail end of October but run, and I mean run fast, for this is one release that you do not want to miss out on! You can pre-order this bad mo-fo at the link below and as always remember to live your life loud and proud!

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Jackal-Cry Of The Jackal

Pure Underground Records

It was back in1989 when Dutch band Jackal, which shouldn't be confused with Denmark's Jackal (or for that matter  "The Lumberjack" one which I actually saw live about a billion something  years ago), released this (initially) 6-track album. Unfortunately back then (in the late eighties/early nineties) anyone that dared to play "heavy metal" faced an uphill battle.While this Dutch band was quite popular in the home-country, and even managed to pick up cult followers outside of their native country,  they ran into the same roadblock that far too many other bands of the era did. As the glam metal obsession gave way to the grunge obsession it was bands like this that got squeezed out. Falling somewhere between Iron Maiden/Judas Priest-like true heavy metal and the early power metal appeal of  bands like Queensrÿche and Scanner, Jackal released a few demos and this EP before folding up shop in 1992. It looks as if the last time anyone heard from this bunch (That is before the band was re-formed in 2007 by original members guitarist John Bouman and drummer Rick Waalewijn) was the 1991 demo, "The Secret Inside". Three of the five tracks from that demo are actually attached to this limited-edition, remastered, re-release as are the two tracks from the group's 1987 demo, "Demo 2". As only 500 copies are being released, which is the same amount of copies that were released when this album was first self-released on CD, this is one of those re-releases that I can easily see selling out. It was bands like Jackal, Vault, Emerald and Black Knight, along with both Picture and Ear Danger (two bands I totally love), that made the Dutch metal scene so freaking cool in the first place. Now thanks to this re-mastered, limited-edition re-release a new generation of heavy metal fans just might get a chance to experience this album. With original lead singer Erwin Siereveld now back in the band as well it does look as if new material is on the horizon. That should make fans of old and new quite happy! In the meantime though (especially if you've never had the chance to hear this album for yourself) why not experience "Cry Of The Jackal" all over again (and with improved sound to boot!) so you can hear how this band started out and why so many of us considered this to be a cult album! 

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Moment of Collapse Records

As of late, and on my own dime, I've been on a bit of a quest to explore new bands (new to me) and boldly go where no man has gone before ( Sorry, but I've also been watching way too much Star Trek as of late as well!!!!). Therefore, with an iTunes gift card in hand, which was actually discovered while I was cleaning out my work desk over the weekend (When I bought it  and how it ended up stuffed way in the back of my desk remains a mystery?), I decided to check out the new rock and metal releases. Moscow's Reka, which was strangely listed under "rock" first with a "Death Metal/Black Metal" tag following the "rock" label, peaked my interest so I decided to download "I" and see what's what. For the sake of clarity it appears as if this 5-track EP was actually self-released back in April of 2010. I'd only find that out later when I went looking for information to post with this review. But, that's no biggie I figured. The group, which was formed in summer of 2007, is made up of musicians who spent time in the screamo bands Optimus Prime and Forutnae Verbera. Who plays what though on this EP isn't exactly clear. The group's Facebook page does list numerous musicians, but whether that is the line-up here or not is not exactly clear. I've provided a link for the group's Facebook page below though for the curious. If anyone does know the actually line-up here then please drop me a line. Otherwise we'll just say that Reka is made up of screamo musicians. That of course does bring up another important piece of information that should be clarified. Moscow's Reka are not exactly a "Screamo" band nor are they a "Death Metal/Black Metal" band. At first the samples I heard of iTunes made me think that Reka might be a black and roll type band, but they were not exactly that either. When I finally got a chance to listen to the whole EP after it was done downloading I discovered something way more interesting then even black and roll (and I find black and roll really interesting!). The best way to describe this Russian band's sound would be "atmospheric post-metal/post-rock". That said, there are a few flash-back moments when it's clear that the band members of Reka do come from other screamo acts and there are also tiny fragments of dark metal and sludge as well. For the most part though this is easily- accessible post-rock/post-metal with really subtle passages of (cool) rock. The EP swings from peaceful to intense of course, but the way in which the songs are arranged is suggests a band that knows their way around the virtues of traditional rock. If this is at all indicative of the group's other recordings (as other recordings did follow this EP) then I just might have to download more music from this Moscow act!

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Forgotten Gems: Profondo Rosso-To Live, And Die, In The UK

Neat Records

True to my word here I am covering this UK act's debut recording. Sure enough I covered their farewell LP first, but that was just a case of dumb blind luck. The line-up on this 11-track release remains the same, but this time around (or really how this 3-piece started off rocking and rolling) the song does not remain the same. Green Day, Nirvana and even Bush (yeah, I was stunned too!) all play a part on this release in addition to (as experienced on their second release) the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Elsewhere there's trips taken to far aways lands where the likes of The Buzzcocks and S.N.F.U. roam free and you can also hear how bands like Jane's Addiction served as early influences. Overall the band's debut-album does feel a bit more "raw" and "free", but it's a very accessible collection of tunes nonetheless. This was an album that I played with my teens around and it everyone seemed to dig it. Now that I have these two albums I plan to hunt down the group's other recordings (one EP for sure).

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Lord Fist-Wordless Wisdom of Lord Fist


Finland's Lord First were formed in the autumn of 2011 and have both a 4-track, 2012 demo ("Spark for the Night") to their name as well as this upcoming 4-track EP. Two four-track recordings from a four-piece band? Seems a tad odd, but never mind that as there are more important matters at hand here. Even though this group features two former members of the (on-hold) black metal band Faustian Pact (bassist Pekka Lampinen and drummer Eetu Orbinski ) this band embraces heavy metal in it's most pure and primitive form.
Then again, it does seem as if more and more we are hearing about these rock n' roll/heavy metal side-projects from black metal musicians so maybe it's some new trend or maybe it's just that these musicians, and everyone else for that matter, understands real power that rock and heavy metal holds? Either way it is you and I who end up as the real winners here as anytime we get new bands like Lord First, who are said to be
here to "usher in the New Wave of Great Heavy Metal with their debut EP, "Wordless Wisdom of Lord Fist",  it's all good! You can pretty much just call their brand of heavy metal "retro" if you want as these 4-cuts are straight out of the eighties.
With Perttu Koivunen on lead vocals and guitar, the group's retro sound is just about evenly matched with the band's retro production job. It's not rough or anything, it's just kind of "rustic". It's a bit of a toss up though if the band's raw style is good or bad, exciting and fresh or terribly stale. There's a real underground sensation to this EP for sure and it does feel like a long-lost piece of vinyl that someone found while cleaning out the backroom of record store. Niko Kolehmainen, who handles addition guitar duties, and Perttu Koivunen are both fine at what they do as is the rhythm section of Pekka and Eetu. So, that's no complaint. But, in a way this EP reminds me of the period in time (maybe 25 years or so ago?) when the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene got a well-deserved second glance. Suddenly everyone one and their mother was snapping up anything and everything that was even remotely tied to the movement. During that time record collectors were dealt some unfair hands as scrupulous dealers starting slapping the N.W.O.B.H.M. tag on anything they could find to justify high prices. While a band like Lord First would be regarded as more faithful to the movement and worthy of being called a N.W.O.B.H.M. band that doesn't mean that you'd want to throw hundreds of dollars at the rare recording this just might be. Instead, this would be an EP worth tracking down if it could be had at a fair price. In fairness these four are defiantly above average in their concept and delivery of true heavy metal, but it's more like one of those albums where it's good but not great. Still, I did enjoy this EP and played it a few times through. And more so I can't help but feel that Lord Fist could easily jump from decent to down right essential with just a little bit of polish and a fell tweaks here and there. 

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Interview with Stellar Master Elite

A few weeks back I covered Stellar Master Elite's excellent album "II: Destructive Interference Generator" which you can check out below. Somehow this killer doom/death group was new to me, but after covering their epic album I immediately wanted to know about his group and what made them tick. Now I am pleased to post the interview that I recently had with this very cool German band. I want to thank them for talking with me and sharing more about how they are and how they roll. Enjoy!

Andy-First things first. For those who are not familiar with your band could you give us a brief run-down on how Stellar Master Elite came about?

Marco-Well, we both had our own projects in the past. Then we decided to start a project and here we are. We have a similar musical interest and the same vision on how SME will go on. That´s comfortable, especially for the workflow.

A-I used the term "commercialized blackened doom" to describe your sound. How would you describe it though?

M-"Commercialized blackened doom" isn´t the kind of term I would use. Why commercialized? Because we sell records? I would describe it as black/doom/ambient/synth just to list the main elements. Actually I don´t like descriptions like that though, we do what we want to do. The music which results out of our rehearsals and ideas is what is inside of us. It´s us.

Dave-"Commercialized" would mean we earn money. I would ask why I pay so much to keep this project running rather than getting money for it. "Blackened Doom" sounds good to me but i don´t give too much in phrases like this. (Editor's note-Perhaps "Accessible Blackened Doom" would have worked better as their music isn't mass-produced, but rather it's easy to get into even as it packs a nice and twisted underground vibe!)

A-Even by black metal standards your sound is outside of the norm. Was that a conscious decision?

M-No, it wasn't a conscious decision. It just happened. We listen to a lot of obscure stuff at home, maybe this has some influence on us and the sound. But i´m kind of happy about the fact that we don´t sound like the norm because norm means to be adjusted to something and we are not adjusted to a musical genre or to people that think they know how a specific genre has to sound like. So if we want to add hand claps or synth sounds to our songs we do it. Purist "Black Metal"- people may hate us for that but we don´t give a fuck.

A-Where do you see yourself fitting in when it comes to the black metal scene?

M-We are not part of a scene.

A-Fair enough. Now, you took your name from a Thorns song. Were you big fans of the band?

M-Thorns is one of our favorite bands and their self-titled album is a masterpiece of "modern" black metal. We don´t want to be, we are not and we will never be a "Thorns Tribute Band" though. We chose the name because it fits perfectly to our lyrical and musical concept.

D-The lyrical and musical concept was the main reason for choosing this name. We would never claim to be a coequal to Thorns. It isn't possible. But this band still had a huge impact to me that still resonates.

A-Who are some of your other favorite acts whether "metal" or not?

M-Pink Floyd, Virus, Sonic Reign, Dodheimsgard, Aura Noir, Sunn O))), Sleep, Pentagram, Celtic Frost, Obelyskkh, Darkthrone, Black Shape of Nexus, Voivod, Hexvessel, Beastmilk, Deathspell Omega, The Ruins of Beverast, Blut aus Nord, Absu, High on Fire, Myrkskog, Zyklon, Code. Just to name a few.

D-Just too much to tell . At the moment I mainly listen so sci-fi scores and experimental stuff.

Q) There are quite a few surprises when it comes to your new album. I pointed out songs like "Pattern of Perception" and "Empty Shells of Being" as just two examples of how S.M.E. pushes the envelope sound-wise. Any "experimental" tracks in particular that you were pleased with the end result?


D-I don´t understand that question, sorry.

A-Alright, sorry that was kind of a vague question. Let me put it another way. Are there any favorite songs on your new album?

M-I can´t tell you specific songs because I see it as a whole. I think every song needs each other to create the whole album in the end. For me, it´s like a circle.

D-"Beyond Light" and "Destructive Interference Generator" are my personal favorites, but I´m really satisfied with the album in general.

A-Does S.M.E. play out live? If so who are some of the acts you've played with?

M-No, we are two band-members. To play live we would need session members but we A) can´t find the right people in our area and B) prefer it to create new music and being creative in our rehearsal room. We will start recording and pre-producing our 3rd album soon.

D-Besides music we are full time workers. As there is not much time to work with more musicians on a concept to bring the same quality to stage. A two man band is much easier to handle than a full band. It would take a lot of time to fit more than 2 egos together. If you have such a limited amount of time, you have to set priorities.

A-Where can people find out more about the band and order your new album?

M-From our label (, from us directly ( and from various distributors worldwide

A-I'll give you the last word. Is there anything you'd like to add?

M-Thank you for the interview and the great review as well as your interest in our band! Watch out for our new album "II: Destructive Interference Generator" to be released on October 4, 2013 through Exciter Records.

D-Thank you so much! We really appreciate it.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

AC Angry-Black Denim

Dust On The Tracks Records
Promo-wise this is one album that I have been patiently waiting for. No, let's make that impatiently waiting for. One teaser e-mail after another had been dropped into my email and, having heard only tiny tidbits of AC Angry's road warrior-like classic rock/heavy metal previous to getting the digital download, I kept wondering just when exactly I'd get a chance to hear the whole package? Teaser e-mail's suck eggs big time so I had just about given up when I was finally able to download this album yesterday mid-morning. This is one album that was well-worth the wait! I have a soft spot for rock n' roll/heavy metal anyway, but the four guys in AC Angry sure know how to keep you glued to your stereo as you wait for the next track to drop! And this is one album that should be experienced on a stereo (or even better as an LP on a record player!) as their sound is tightly wrapped-up in the spirit of the 80's! Before we get to that point though let's do a quick-run down on the who, what and when of this German band. AC Angry's roots can be traced back in time to a band known as Taletellers Soulsellers. This local band was already well-known as they were always playing out and they had also won their fair share of battle of the bands' competitions. In 2005 or so that band would drop the Soulsellers part of their name and evolve into the shortened Taletellers. Vocalist/guitarist Alan Costa would be the sole survivor of that shake-up and he ended up drafting guitarist Stefan Kuhn, bassist Pascal Louis and former band manager turned drummer Holger Zenner for the newly named Taletellers. After releasing an EP ("The Missles Of Mercy") and two full-length albums ("Detonator" and "Radicalizer") the band decided it was time for a change and thus AC Angry was born! Along the way there have been shake-ups of course with only Costa and Kuhn remaining from the Taletellers' days. With bassist Dennis Kirsch and drummer Sascha filling out AC Angry's line-up we now turn our attention back to "Black Denim", the band's full-length debut album. Produced by Phil Hillen (Powerwolf, Parachutes, The Vision Bleak, Vendetta, etc) at SU2 StudioWaack, "Black Denim" shows a band that has forged their sound in the bottomless pits of hellfire rock and roll. Heck, the band even has a track called "Hellrock Anthem"! Drawing from bands both really old (Motörhead, AC/DC, Railway, Zodiac Mindwarp And The Love Reaction, Turbonegro, Mad Max, Accept and D.A.D.) and older, but still sort-of/kind-of new (Danko Jones, The Hellacopters and Gluecifer), AC Angry comes out swinging with a punk-like attitude while still retaining a barroom style of humble, cold beer and hot women, rock n' metal! With song-titles like "Booze Horse", "It‘s Good To Be Bad",  "You Got The Thirst-I Got The Booze" and "Rock 'n' Roller Roller Rolla!" (which, incidentally, borders on near speed metal!) you just know that when it comes to the guys in AC Angry their hearts are in the right place even as they rock out hard! Part of the time their heavy rock while other times they tear through hard rock, heavy metal and even power metal. But, it's all one and the same and it all sounds distinctly like AC Angry! Even with the list of influences mentioned above, theirs is a sound that's much more originally in real life then on paper. "Black Denim" is perfectly suited for rock and rollers and the same group of punks and metalheads that universally embraced Motörhead when they first hit the scene. Due for release at the end of October this is one album you shouldn't pass over!

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Lord of the Lost-Die Tomorrow (Bonus Track Version)

Out of Line Music

I caught wind of this album while searching my way through some new (or newer if you will) releases. For some reason this release was mixed in with the batch even though it was released back in late August of 2012. Instead of just buying it then and there (or at least as a digital download) I decided it would be best to research the matter a bit more before I just jumped in head-first. Especially as the lone track I heard, which I can't seem to recall now, just didn't sound as if it was telling the whole story. As I looked for more info on the band one source listed this release as metal while another one used the blanket term "alternative". Still others mentioned how this was some sort of "electronic" dark rock. The best one though, as I'd come to acknowledge  later on, was home this band was like a cross between Rammstein and HIM. That seems to be quite correct although in reality, or rather in a really good way, this German group is much different then mere tags could or would suggest. The version I ultimately choose to purchase includes two live cuts as bonus numbers. That is really nice as it helps to show the two different sides of this group from studio band to live band. Lead by vocalist/guitarist/cellist Chris Harms, whose vocals are admittedly just so-so, this is a band that knows how to craft catchy tunes that pull you in and make you want to hear more. The Rammstein and HIM vibes are easy enough to spot as Lord of the Lost does pull in industrial metal and goth rock. Otherwise this is the sound of heavy rock that can drain you emotionally at one point before lifting you back up with their strange and mesmerizing electronic style. As the group does move around quite a bit, splicing together different genres at their own pace and for their own personal enjoyment. pin-pointing a definitive description is damn near impossible. But it's that exact sense of oddity that is so appealing and makes "Die Tomorrow" such a powerfully addictive album. While it's not something that I would have thought I would have enjoyed this much , as I'm not so much about electronic rock and heavy metal, it's albums exactly like this that make for fun discoveries. Often it's these kind of albums that no one would have expected you to embrace, and most certainly you would have never thought that it would suite your style,  that come in and become new obsessions. Such is the case with "Die Tomorrow", an album that I never saw coming and now can't seem to put down!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013



Montreal, Quebec sure seems as if it's hiding a treasure trove of excellent metal bands. The latest one to emerge is instrumental act Unbeing. This one time self-release was originally issued back in 2011 and now it's seeing a vinyl re-release courteous of  BLK COQ Music. "Progressive" is one way to look at this metal act and it is sold as such. The thing is what's being served here on this self-titled release is more then merely "instrumental progressive metal". For one thing there are numerous tracks here that border on the heaviness of  power metal while other times Unbeing present passages that are overflowing with beautifully strange and intriguing avantgarde rock! So, putting these guys in a tiny box seems utterly unfair. There's much here to enjoy on this 40 minute plus LP and with each new listen you'll pick up things that you can't believe you missed out on. Sometimes dark and sorrowful and other times hopeful and optimistic this is a release which will allow your imagination to run wild all while keeping you grounded with it's hypnotic essence. If all of that wasn't enough it does get even better! These guys are awarded extra points as they pay tribute to the main man himself on the track "Chuck Norris" (oh yeah!). It's a small gesture of appreciation for one of Hollywood's coolest guys and it has helped the band's (so far) only album  earn an extra dose of publicity. While fan's are likely clamoring for new material (this album is two year's old after all) at least this LP re-release should help Unbeing get more word-of-mouth publicity which, in turn, should lead to new material sooner then later. And if and when that happens I'll be on the lookout as this LP, all 40 minutes or so of it, showcases a one of a kind band with loads of potential! 

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Relinquished-Onward Anguishes

Noisehead Records
With two full-length albums now attached to their name, as well as a demo EP called "Rehearsal Doom", it does seem as if Austria's Relinquished should be more well-known by now. The band, having been started in 2004 by (at the time) bassist Sebastian Bramböck (who now sings for the band) and guitarist Anton Keuschnick, certainly have the chops and all jazz so what gives? If I had to make the call it would seem as if we're just looking at too much of a good thing. Here it is where we have a really good band, right now we're looking at an overabundance in this band's particular field of choice. That field is melodic death metal and even the best of the best is finding it hard to get a proper foot-hold. Yes, I've used this argument before but hear me out. Remember how, once upon a time, thrash was still king and there were so many bands coming up the pipeline that everything just got scrunched up together. Do you remember that? Are you old enough to? Well, if your answer is yes then with Relinquished it sure seems as if there is just one too many good melodic death metal bands tearing up the scene and good ones like this, well, they just don't get a proper chance. Maybe this review will help the band out though. Maybe. I hope so as, even if there are far too many new melodic death metal bands to keep track of (which is also kind of a good thing right?), a band like Relinquished has plenty to offer listeners. Let's start up-front with our lead vocalist Sebastian Bramböck. While he does go full-out "death metal growl" on most of this release, which is cool and all, he also manages to make the lyrics somewhat understandable. Even so, the band does employ clean vocals by way of guitarist Simon Dettendorfer. The interplay between clean and harsh is actually well-done here and the two vocalists really do compliment each other. Next up, as far as what I enjoyed about this group and this album, is the the drumming of Florian Vonach. In most cases drummers get pushed to the back of death metal bands. It's somewhat different here as Florian's playing incorporates everything from near rock-like drumming to jazz drumming and the album is mixed in such a way as to let his playing stand out just as much as everything else on this album from lead vocals to guitars and bass. Speaking of which, Dominik Steffan (who was a former schoolmate of  Sebastian Bramböck) handles bass on this album as he adds nice and heavy lines to the mix that make this Austria-based band sound near progressive at times. Of course it should come as no surprise, but the two guitarists involved here really empower the technical aspect of Relinquished while simultaneously rolling out leads that draw from the finer moments of heavy thrash. Without over-hyping the pair, they do deserve mention as (far too often for my tastes) it's sad how terribly dull some death metal guitarists can become. The fact that the two guitarists here provide heavy as hell riffs while also indulging in melodic solos isn't so much the amazing thing. That's supposed to be a given with this kind of death metal right? No, as stated above, it has more to do with how these guys (sort of) thrash out and employ fine as wine rock-based rhythms! This bunch cut's it's way through all the clutter that is "one and the same" generic melodic death metal. Need an example? Check out "Another Lightsource Going Out" and you'll hear the difference between this bunch and the (overabundance of) lame melodic death metal bands out there. Anyway, this album and band is pretty sweet even if it does have an uphill battle on it's hands when it comes to sticking out.It should go without saying then that this one is most definitely recommended! 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gypsy Chief Goliath-New Machines of the Night

Pitch Black Records
Faithful readers (all dozen or so of you) might recall that I just covered these guys back in August of this year. Their "Black Samurai" single grabbed hold of my inner groove thing and shook it about like a hungry dog attacking a juicy steak! That sweet soul sister of a single might have been a tad old, which you can read all about at the link below (should you desire), but it sounded fresh and amazing to my ears. It caused me to look for further material that I might have missed and I stumbled upon another one of their tracks on the compilation "Axis Of The Underground Vol.2 Compilation Album". The song on that comp. was "St. Covens Tavern" and it's included on this, the band's second studio album. Of course you can also find that single on Youtube and the compilation might very well still be floating around online as a digital download. But, why mess with all of that when you could just get the song with the new album? And yes, it is another cool slab of stone cold grooves from this Canadian bunch! How so? Well, the band is lead by vocalist/guitarist Al the Yeti Bones (The Mighty Nimbus, Georgian Skull and Mister Bones) and features not only a three guitar attack, but also rustic harmonica playing courtesy of Brodie Stevenson! Brodie gives the band a different, more blues-based, vibe then the bulk of stoner rock bands who can be seen and heard traveling up and down the dusty back-roads of America. Want more information though about what these guys roll out? Imagine this one folks: On a small dirt road somewhere in the middle of anywhere/nowhere U.S.A. classic rock and classic heavy metal converge at a three way stop with Black Sabbath. After exchanging some pleasantries and sharing a pint or two at the only bar for miles and miles the three set off  some mysterious destination. At the end of their strange and bewildering trip they are confronted by the ghost of Phil Lynott who tells them, or rather commands them!, to morph their talents into the gnarliest rock band ever! Before leaving though Phil posses each and every member of this new super trooper act so that no groove will be left uncovered at the next part of their journey. That my friends and fiends is what Gypsy Chief Goliath (GCG) cooks up on their new album! And what's a main dish like that without some tasty side dishes? One of those tasty side dishes is the previously mention three guitars aspect of GCG. As these guys rock hard it helps matters that they are blessed with the skills of guitarists Dave Ljubanovich and Sean Hamilton. Three guitars makes for three times the fun. But, what happens when you also add Sean De Faria and Adam Saitti (bass and drums respectively) into the equation? The answer is simple folks. You end up with a must-own (and most certainly must-blast) collection of blues-based, rocking good times, stoner tunes that take everything you thought you knew about real, cold sweat and colder beer, rock and roll and gives it a much needed face lift! Rarely has stoner rock and roll ever sounded so alive and ready for the world as it does on "New Machines of the Night"!

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When The Deadbolt Breaks-Drifting Towards The Edge Of The Earth

EarOne Productions

What exactly does happen when the deadbolt breaks? If we're talking about this Connecticut-based band, and more specifically their upcoming, forth full-length release, the answer is sludge-filled doom. Lots and lots of sludge-filled doom. Like a out of control and slowly approaching landslide it eventually breaks down the door and wrecks utter and complete havoc. That's about what it's like to listen to this (strangely) appealing band that has been going about such business since 2005. On their aptly titled new album the band seems to pride itself on unloading drips of doom-drenched despair onto everyone and everything in any way that they can get away with. Such an uncaring approach is the stuff of melancholy dreams for the gloomy Sunday crowd no doubt. While the three musicians involved here do seem as if they could easy laugh at the thought of such unflinching and darkly-coated metallic slime rolling over and destroying the unsuspecting  it's not all doom and despair. Or at least not all the time. Ex-Cable guitarist/vocalist Aaron Lewis and company (bassist/vocalist Mike Parkyn and drummer Rich Kalinowski) do inject a bit of "normality" into the mix by way of classic rock riffs and the unexpected melodic moment or two. It chances the dynamics a fair bit, but even so this one is not for the squeamish! When The Deadbolt Breaks are more about encasing the listener in a solid block of mysterious black goop then taking it easy on anyone who purposely or not stumbles upon their existence! Sure, fans of Sleep and the like might find reason to celebrate a band like this, but what will it do for everyone else?  It's sink or swim friends. Sink or swim. If you dare then track it done. But realize this friends-When The Deadbolt Breaks lives by their name. They are formed from nightmares and are likely the very thing your mother also warned you about. If, and only if, you understand that notion would I suggest plugging into this one.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

As Gods-"The Chase" Single

Sometimes words can do more damage to a young band's career aspects then their actually could. Case in point: This new single by UK's As Gods which came with this description attached (in regards to the band's take on rock) "Somewhere between the heavier side of Incubus and early Pearl Jam". As far as sale pitches go this one didn't exactly grab me hook, line and sinker. Especially as I've made my feelings about Pearl Jam rather clear ( and they aren't good feelings) and when it comes to Incubus the only Incubus that I actively engage in the N.W.O.B.H.M. one (look it up kids). Thankfully I trust the individual who sent me this promo and I know that his tastes in music are really pretty solid. So I entered at my own risk, but did so willing to give this single/band a chance. I'll admit when I'm wrong and in this case I was BIG TIME wrong! First of all the description is actually just about spot on. But, it's more like this young UK band takes the BETTER side of both Incubus and Pearl Jam and conforms them both into something new and refreshing. And that brings me to my second point about As Gods. I loved this single and I love their sound! Their sound is that of hunger. These guys are hungry and it shows in their heavy rock delivery.  Partly progressive and partly modern, this is rock that's strong-willed, relevant and, dare I say, sexy? Yes, there's the raw sex appeal of a bunch of Brits with way more years ahead of them then behind them. With only one other EP to their name, 2012's "Crystalline", this young band, which was formed in 2008, has tons of tread left on their tires (musically speaking) and if this single is any indication at all then the EP that it will come with will be massive! As Gods is a band with all the dynamics of modern rock and all the muscle of modern metal. The only difference being that, while modern rock and modern metal can be too self-absorbed for it's own good, As Gods doesn't have to sell their own hype as their music, which functions as both underground rock and mainstream rock, speaks volumes as to their more then natural ability. If there were more bands like this, playing with passion and purity, it wouldn't be such a hard job of finding real rock with heavy metal potential. Here's hoping these guys just keep on doing what their as the world and rock radio needs more honest music like this!

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Ministry-From Beer To Eternity

AFM Records

Plain and simple folks the back-story to this one sucks. It big time sucks. In case you don't know Mike Scaccia, who also played guitar with his other band Rigor Mortis, died three days after the rough tracks for this album were finished. It's understandable that Al Jourgensen both decided to still release the album and that he plans for this to be the last Ministry release. That doesn't make it any easier to listen to this release, but it does put an album like "From Beer To Eternity" into perspective. And while I would normally not take stock in too much of what Al has to say, as he jumped the shark years back when he became overly obsessed with anything/everything George Bush Jr. did and said (it's not as if there were/still are literally hundreds of other politicians from both sides of the isle who deserve such special "attention"), I will agree with him that these recordings are something special. That's not to say that lyrically and sample-wise he doesn't still come off as a one-trick pony. As talented as Al is, he handles vocals, guitars and programing with ease, it would be nice if at some point in time he (like millions of  his fellow countrymen) would actually wake up and see the lies all around him that start from the very top and work there way down. Our freedom is being pulled out from under our feet like a rug and yet those that we depend on, specially artists like this and any number of punk acts, are walking around buying the party line! If half of what is happening now would have happened while a rhino was in charge it would be all that Al and his friends would talk about! That said it's neither here nor there so these people will have to live with their hypocrisy and will sadly have a rude awakening all their own when any kind of political disagreement will be considered a crime. Back to this album we will go as there really is a lot musically to appreciate. Along with guitarist Sin Quirin, bassist Tony Campos and drummer Aaron Rossi the pair of Al and Mikey really put a lot into this release, effort-wise, as is obvious from start to finish. Here Ministry walks the line between industrial metal and thrash metal as if they are one in the same. Credit should go as much to his backing band as it does to Al as (all-together as a band) Ministry has served notice that album number 13 is every bit as soul crushing as all the rest. Only difference here seems to be the fact that Al leaned on Mike and his fellow band-mates as much as possible in an effort to make these 11 tracks pop-out and rip-out the listeners eardrums! If this is truly to be the last Ministry album then Al and company has gone out at the top of their game and they've done it in a way that serves as a fitting tribute to Mike Scaccia's skills.

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Taketh-Ignorance Is Strength


Swedish act Taketh, which features three former members of Pergamon (which released a demo and EP in their time together), offer up their second full-length release with "Ignorance Is Strength". Reportedly it took only 15 days to record the follow-up to their 2005 debut album, "Freakshow", but you'd never be able to tell from the sounds on this one. Taketh features David Dahl on lead vocals, Dahl's brother Johan on drums, guitarists Johan Ejnarsson and Atahan Tolunay and bass player Mikael Lindquist. It was the Dahl brothers and Mikael Lindquist who previously played in Pergamon and, if descriptions of Pergamon are to be believed, it was only the name change that separated these two acts. Melodic death metal is a bit of a blanket statement when it comes to both bands although it's close enough in a sort of horseshoes and hand-grenades kind of way. If anything Taketh offers a hair or two of an electric sound on this album as well as clean/harsh vocals which gives "Ignorance Is Strength" an obvious metalcore vibe. Given the 15 day recording process this one is rather impressive although those searching for something new and/or groundbreaking in the field of melodic death metal would most likely be disappointed by this release.Still, David Dahl's vocals are perfectly suited for this kind of deathly chaos and the rest of the band (especially the two guitarists) put in everything they've got to make the album enjoyable if nothing else. You can find out more about the band and pick up a copy of their new album at the link below. While it might sound as if I'm being a bit harsh when it comes to this bunch that's not really the case. Truth is I liked to this album and would be inclined to listen to it again. It's only that honesty is always the best policy and while this is a fine album all around it's not something I would suggest breaking your piggy bank for. If you're a fan of Swedish death metal then you might consider checking this one out, but there are much better options out there if you're looking to build up your personal collection. 

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Joe Stump-Revenge of the Shredlord

Lion Music Finland

With the full-knowledge that shred guitar fans will be doing a facepalm, and perhaps a well-deserved one at that, I have to admit that up until this album landed in my inbox I had no idea who Joe Stump was. Feel free to mock me to your hearts content, but even if I am starting to enjoy shred guitar more and more I'm just not that familiar with all the names in the game. While that could be looked at as a gross oversight on my part I will say that, as it was my very first time ever hearing the man play, I went into this one with no preconceived  notions that could have tainted my review. Sure, I do feel kind of stupid about it as this is his tenth solo release! Where have I been hiding out then? Here's the thing though. In addition to being a well-known and highly-respected solo guitarist ( Joe was named one of the 10 fastest shredders of all time by Guitar One as well as one of the 50 fastest players of all time by Guitar World magazine and one of the top 20 shredders of all time by Guitarist magazine!) he has played in The Reign Of Terror, Obsession, HolyHell, Raven Lord, Shooting Hemlock and way more bands/projects then could reasonably be mentioned here! So yes, there is no way that I shouldn't have heard of Joe Stump and his epic style of guitar playing. And yet here we are. Of course that does beg the question then as to what I thought about solo-album number ten from Joe. I've been on record in the past as saying that I didn't grow up loving shred guitarists and the neo-classical sort. In my high school days I found them terribly tiring. Yngwie fans will moan and groan, but I found him the worst kind of all. Before I go off into a tangent about Yngwie though (and trust me I could as the guy is beyond dull to these ears) let's talk about what I love about "Revenge of the Shredlord". In a very real way Joe plays music with meaning. It's not just a showcase for Joe's amazing skills as a guitarist, which is not in doubt at all, but rather "Revenge of the Shredlord" comes across as real heavy metal as played by a real band. In other words it's not just Joe standing online doing his thing and his thing only. Rather this album, despite being a "solo" release, sounds more like a band project from a really cool outfit. Musically this release is said to be heavier and more intense then his previous recordings. As it's my first time hearing Joe and his band-mates I'll just have to take their word on that one. I will however vouch for the fact that this release is heavy and intense! It's also a bit dark (which again is something the promo says is new) around the edges, but it's not one of those doom and gloom affairs. If anything you could simply look at this album as if it is a heavy rocker from an instrumental speed/U.S. power metal band. And speaking of band, on album number ten Joe is aided by bass player Jay Rigney (HolyHell and more), keyboardist Rock Jetstream (I'm assuming that's his Christian name!) and drummer Héctor "Blaster" Jaramillo (Kaala). Additionally Francisco Palomo (HolyHell) helps out on keyboards and together all of these musicians have created a album that sounds fantastic! Joe Stump's guitar solos are obviously insane, but there's real emotion behind the music and if you were to add a lead vocalist to this mix you'd be hard pressed to consider this simply "shred guitar"! Given that I had a blast listening to Joe Stump's "Revenge of the Shredlord" as it focuses on the overall picture not just crazy guitar solos that sacrifice substance for supposed "skill". I'm highly recommending this one to all metal fanatics whether you love shred guitar or not!

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Death Hawks-Death Hawks

Cargo Records

Never heard of Death Hawks? Well, depending on how you feel about all or nothing rock (meaning anything goes), which comes locked and loaded with a distinct 70's vibe, then you are either missing out or not. If that sounds like your cup of tea (or in this occasional pipe of choice) then it's better late then never. First assembled in 2010, with 2012's "Death & Decay" serving as their first full-length release, the band features in their ranks Teemu Markkula (vocals, guitar) of  Seremonia fame. Well, he at least plays with Seremonia live. Anyway, if you're a regular follower of this blog then you'll have no doubt noticed that it wasn't that far back that I actually covered Seremonia and their excellent album, "Ihminen". Both bands seem as if they are cut from the same fabric, but while Seremonia has some doom going for them, as well as a cool front-lady, this band is much more mellow in a 60's/70's psychedelic rock kind of way. With Tenho Mattila (keyboards, sax),  Riku Pirttiniemi (bass, vocals) and Miikka Heikkinen (drums, percussion) filling out the ranks of Death Hawks this self-titled album also throws in krautrock to keep things "interesting". The whole affair has a very laid-back feeling going for it while the band, who can move from psychedelic keyboard passages to garage rock guitars in the blink of an eye, rolls out the red carpet for those into free-form rock. Even though it seems as if this one would mostly appeal to the "Puff the Magic Dragon" crowd, which is all the more evident by the near hippie-like look and "We could have been at Woodstock" delivery of these talented musicians, you don't need to be high as a kite to enjoy the mellow vibes that these guys embrace. Instead, album number two from the guys in Death Hawks stands up just fine by itself. This cool collection of psychedelic rock is just as enjoyable straight-laced and is one of those albums that offers comfort for those tired of the jagged edges of this modern world.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Forgotten Gems: Profondo Rosso -Next Stop Neurosis

Neat Records

On more occasions then I'd like to admit or even care to remember, which is to say quite a few times, I've been suckered into buying heavy metal lots or, like in this case, a "NWOBHM" lot. Back before I really knew my way around the Internet (and there was still dinosaurs and dial-up connections) it happened a lot as I would just take sellers at their word. These days I know better and am better prepared to do research before I hit either the "bid now" or "buy it now" button. With this 3-piece act I knew that I was not getting a N.W.O.B.H.M. band. Just because they were signed by Neat Records does not mean that they were some sort of British metal act. About the only thing they have in common with other Neat artists is the fact that they hailed from England! As I got it along with Sweet Savage's "Rune", Wraith's "Schizophrenia" and Slander's "Careless Talk Costs Live" (which I already had in it's re-released version) I didn't much care about technicalities. It's merely that I found it kind of funny how much (and how often) people will try to stretch the movement to cover bands like this. I mean at least Slander gets points for their love and devotion of all things N.W.O.B.H.M.! Anyway, the CD's description did mention how, upon signing with Neat Records, they were (supposedly) assigned ex-Tygers of Pan Tang front-man Jess Cox as a manager. That's interesting stuff if it's true and all.  Formed in 1992, and having a sound that owed way more favors to punk rock then it did heavy metal, the band named themselves after Dario Argento's classic 1975 Italian giallo (which is more commonly know these days as "Deep Red" I suspect). What's funny though is how the name choice doesn't really match up with the music on hand. It's possible that the band, which was lead by vocalist/guitarist John Savage, started out a bit more "edgy", but they are nowhere near as dark as their name might imply! After all we are talking about naming your band after a Italian slash-fest! The name choice aside, we're looking at a band/album that reminded me of everyone from (early) Goo Goo Dolls to the Sex Pistols. With bassist Duncan James Garvey (cool name) and drummer Karl Rouleau (also a cool name) on board we find a really steady power trio that rolls out track after track of punk rock and roll cheesiness! As they shuffle about their business on "Next Stop Neurosis" it's easy to pin-point the many bands that these three emulated.
This Sunderland, N.E. England-based band most assuredly loved the likes of The Clash as much as they did The Who. It's said that the group also owed part of their original sound to other influences like  Swervedriver, Jane’s Addiction, Manic Street Preachers and even Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, but that's less obvious (especially on this disc) then bands like The Clash, Goo Goo Dolls and The Sex Pistols. If I walked away with anything (in regards to the album) it was a desire to hear more from the group. So in a way they did get their claws hooked in me. With their only other full-length album, "To Live, And Die, In The UK", on it's way to me as I type this I guess we shall see if musical consistency was a trait that this band flourished in or not.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pearl Jam- "Mind Your Manners" and "Sirens" Singles

Monkey Wrench Records

I feel as if I should start off my review of these two new Pearl Jame singles by stating up-front in full-disclosure mode that I'm never been a fan of this post-Mother Love Bone band. Honestly when the band's debut album "Ten" dropped in 1991 I didn't care and when it finally broke into the mainstream in 1992 I cared even less. To me there was this great band (Mother Love Bone) and then there was Pearl Jam. Part of the problem I had with this bunch was when it came to Eddie Vedder, well, he was no Andrew Wood. His vocals annoyed me for the longest time. Beyond that I just found Pearl Jam's actual music to be only so-so. I never understood what all the hype was back then in the early 90's and, for the most part, even now. So, why then would I purposely go out of my way to cover any Pearl Jam material? If  I'm admittedly not into them why even listen to the new stuff? Call it a challenge I guess. A friend told me that these singles showed a different Pearl Jam. Maybe he's right or maybe he's wrong. As I haven't paid any attention to these guys I don't know if this is the natural progression for this group or if this is indeed some radical change. Either way read on as I tackle the first two singles from the band's forthcoming album, "Lightning Bolt".
 First up was "Mind Your Manners". Having never been a fan of Pearl Jam anyway (in case you were not aware of that as many times as I've mentioned it LOL!) I approached this one with skepticism. On album number ten, or at least this first single from it, I see that the band is pushing the punk rock aspect of their sound to the very front of the show. Wait, Pearl Jam has a punk side? I didn't know they had it either! Reportedly it was Pearl Jam's lead guitarist Mike McCready who actually set the tone for this track. He wanted to create a "really hard edge-type Dead Kennedys-sounding song". OK. I could see where he was going with this one, but what he strove for and what they ended up were two different things. In reality "Mind Your Manners" comes across more like a stripped-down garage rocker with a loose punk rock mentality then a heavy hardcore crusher. In other words it's not exactly the hardcore of  Jello Biafra's band. However, and I can't believe I'm going to admit to this one folks, it's not a bad little rocker at all. It's not something to stop the presses over, but it's a well-designed number that showcases the band in a looser state of mind.

Meanwhile single number two, "Sirens",  sounds as though it wants to make a case for a more folksy Pearl Jam. Stacked next to "Mind Your Manners" it's comes off as a simple cut in every sense of the word. It's not just that it's vanilla. Instead it just feels like a tired number from a tired band. Trying to find some form of life in this cut proved to be a near impossible task. It was like playing a game of trying where's Waldo in a pitch black cave with the added difficulty that Waldo would be dressed all in black from head to toe! If this was the first single off of this album then I couldn't see how anyone would be excited to hear all of "Lighting Bolt". The only good part of the track (besides when it ended!) was the fact that it at least shows that Pearl Jam offers variety these days. Other then that it's a real downer of a song that's (at best) "fair", but that's just being kind. So yeah, I loathed "Sirens".

So, after all these years it looks as if my opinion of Pearl Jam hasn't changed much. These two songs show how so-so their music still is. But, at least I tried and that has to count for something right?

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Anacondas-Sub Contra Blues

Prosthetic Records

As the artwork for Anacondas' first full-length album brings about feelings of sorrow and loss in me it's only fitting that the music found within  "Sub Contra Blues" is dark and cold. "Progressive post-metal grunge sludge" is one way to look at it, but considering the wide range of influences present here (everything from the likes of Cave-In and Meshuggah to Seattle bands like Green River, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains) even that tag might not be enough to cover everything for this young, Brighton-based band and their slowly creeping album of doom, darkness, despair and dread. Still, it's a close enough description as to what awaits the listener come October 10th when this album is set to be released. But, while the band itself  might be new to the scene, having only formed back in 2010, the musicians involved here are most certainly not. It would be the demise of  the English band Johnny Truant that would lead to the fittingly-named Anacondas (as their music feels at times as if it is slowly wrapping itself around you with the intent to kill and then devour you) and the birth of "Sub Contra Blues". Both Stuart Hunter (guitars) and his brother James Hunter (bass) played in Johnny Truant, but while Johnny Truant was all about metalcore, and decent-enough metalcore at that, the brother's new act is more about slowly crushing the listener with doom-covered post-metal then killing them quickly with the fury of metallic hardcore. Joining the brothers in Anacondas is their friend Tim Newman who, in addition to playing drums, shares vocal duties with the Hunter boys. This three-pronged vocal attack really adds to the album's delightfully dizzying delivery (try to say that a couple of times fast!). And while the album does approach things in down-turned/down-tuned fashion there are still times on this release where you pick up on the groove that these three try to hide away. So yes, this power-trio might be filled with more then their fair-share of angst and yes, this album might be about as cheerful as a rain-soaked funeral, but it still knows how to spring to life when the source material calls for it. Or at least they "spring to life" sort of like the dead in any of Romero's zombie flicks! Oh, lest I forget, it's worth mentioning that the material on hand here likely came from self-recordings, as that's definitely the picture that this album's promo material paints, but that in no way seems to effect the overall feel of  "Sub Contra Blues". Part of that has to do with the fact that the band was able to get famed British producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death) to come in and master the sessions. His hands helped shape the sound of Anacondas and with this being only album number one for this power trio it's a damn fine start to what will hopefully be (if there's any justice to be found in the the heavy metal universe) a long career for this bunch.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Tyrants Blood-Into the Kingdom of Graves

Tridroid Records

This is the third full-length release for Vancouver, British Columbia's extreme metal band Tyrants Blood. It's also the first vinyl release for Tridroid Records. Talk about a perfect union! The band's "Into the Kingdom of Graves", which is a hot as hell collection of blackened speed metal at it's finest, makes for an obvious addition to the Tridroid family. This cool as f**k album was initially a self-released affair, but (should anyone wonder) it's production is fairly appropriate for freaky fast metal like this. With their last full-length studio album, "Crushing Onward into Oblivion", having been released at the beginning of 2010 (to pretty good reviews I might add) it's been a long wait for fans of this Canadian band. From the sound of this unholy hybrid of death metal, black metal, speed metal and thrash, which (when combined) truly makes for some vicious shit, I'd say that the LONG wait was worth it friends!  Album number three for the band, which (incidentally) was formed back in 2005 by former Blasphemy guitarist Marco Banco (also ex-The Chargers, ex-Thor and ex-Witches Hammer), is nothing short of insane! If you've ever been on the lookout for the text-book definition of "extreme metal" then search no more my friends! Tyrants Blood are extreme metal. In fact their probably one of the more EXTREME acts in the extreme metal scene. In it's present form you have a band that has nearly mastered the fine art of controlled chaos, metal-style! In addition to the mad skills of guitarist Marco Banco, whose playing is fast and furious and yet technically precise you could argue, Tyrants Blood features the services of the lead vocalist Brian "Messiah" Langley (Infernäl Mäjesty, Cradle To Grave, ex-Mecha Messiah), bassist/vocalist Vinnie Borden (ex-Omega Crom) and drummer Matt Blood (Ex-Abuse, ex-Crackwhore, ex-Splatter, etc.). All told these are four well-traveled, seasoned musicians who make Tyrants Blood a monster of a band. Whether you like your extreme metal on CD or vinyl (which is my preference) this is one sick & twisted, mean mofo of an album that needs to be heard loud and in living color in order to truly appreciate the insane magic that lies waiting for you in the dark. Even if the metal on display here comes across as a total freak-out moment, which makes sense when you hear for yourself the insane version of speed metal that has been slathered on top of  the band's already extreme style, the album never feels as if it will lose complete control or burn up. Instead Marco Banco and company present a level of professionalism seldom heard or seen in the field of extreme metal. And while you might look at the album art and re-read the various words used to describe this band (black metal for example) this collection of extreme metal tracks doesn't feel cold or distant. Rather, the material here is filled with life and energy even if it does take the form of excessive extremism. Most definitely I recommend picking up this one (preferably on vinyl as it will likely give it even more of an underground vibe) for fans of extreme metal.

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Thunder Tribe-War Chant

Nightmare / Sony / R.E.D.

Am I the only one who just loves that album art? How could I even try to resist "War Chant" with a cover like that! It more or less has a 80's heavy metal air to it so when I saw it I had to know if the music tucked away inside would compliment that choice cover. For the most part it actually does. When it comes to the five piece act Thunder Tribe, who are said to hail from Metalville USA! (otherwise known as Kentucky), here we find a band that isn't content to just knock out the same old same old heavy metal. This group has a lot to offer on "War Chant" which may or may not be their debut album. It's hard to tell when it comes to this 11 track release as they don't spell it out as such (being their debut album), but then again they don't list any other albums online. While I can't be sure of what album this is I can at least be confident in the knowledge that Thunder Tribe has a different take on rock/heavy metal that really works. Their Facebook page mentions how Thunder Tribe has covered everyone from Boston to Pantera live (crazy cool!) and their influences seem to run from Black Sabbath to The Beatles. Classic rock by way of melodic heavy metal and progressive/power metal is the best way to describe this bunch that features the near operatic vocals of Michael Duncan. Of course vocals like that give way to a sound not at all unlike bands like Savatage, Queensrÿche and Crimson Glory, but when you have guitarists like Ronnie Duncan and Rick Sargent on hand anything can happen! Listen closely and you'll pick up on so many other bands/influences in Thunder Tribe's sound like Alice In Chains Kiss, Triumph, Sweet, Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Genesis, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Tesla, Dokken, Extreme, Journey, B.O.C., Jimi Hendrix, Dio, Black Sabbath and even Kansas! Sure it sounds crazy and that's because it is! A band like this shouldn't work out. It should be a royal mess right? And yet it isn't. The group, which also features Tom Dawson (bass) and Chad Osborne (drums), has essentially perfected a new take on modern rock and modern metal. They've done this by burying their heads deep into the history books of rock and metal and applying everything they learned on these 11 tracks! Guitar rock solos hang around while melodic metal dances in the moonlight! You get near Metallica like riffs doing the tango with 70's prog rock! The heavy appeal of early grunge meets up with 60's pop and they share a cold pitcher of beer! It's all of that and more and you know what? It's moments like this that make me appreciate this gig of mine all the more. For someone like me, who loves all things rock (incl. pop rock) and heavy metal (incl. pop metal), this is just epic awesomeness. An album like this really picks me up and pulls me through those moments when everything and everyone (music-wise) just starts to blur together. While it might not be a brilliant piece of work, "War Chant" is still one album that I'd like to add to my personal CD collection as it's just such a fun and classy release!

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