Friday, October 31, 2014

Last Day's Pay-Pink Slip


Punk rock, cheap beer and sniffing panties. It's the small things in life that count and help ensure that rad rockers like Last Day's Pay are able to keep on keeping on. Now, thanks in no small part to the band's James Couts-produced 14-track album and the fact that it's every little boy and ghoul's favorite spooky holiday of the year(!), each and everyone one of us can partake in the sugary sweet treat that this Ohio four-piece has to offer! For the unlighted amongst you, Last Day's Pay are a Canton-based punk rock/alternative rock band that was formed in the summer of 2013 (hence the group's love of cheap beer and pantie sniffing as those two things are staple items when you are talking about Ohio's few sunny months!) and is made up of vocalist/guitarist Randy, guitarist/vocalist Chris, bassist/vocalist Joe and drummer Jake. "Pink Slips" is this (no last names please) band's first stab at the big time and given the wide range of influences that show up to party here (it's not just punk rock and alternative rock, but classic rock, hair metal, grunge, blues and so much more!) this is one debut album that really keeps you on your toes! Opener "Away" is all about 90's alternative rock and catchy pop punk as is the angrier "Identity". And angry just about sums up the Blink 182 meets old-school punk number "Home Is Where The Heartache Is"!  Then there is "Pubcrawlers Anthem" where these Ohio natives converge in Dropkick Murphys/Flogging Molly. That's just the first four tracks mind you so "Pink Slip" is anything but dull! Officially-speaking and all Last Day's Pay  run down the likes of Rancid, Ramones, Sex Pistols, NOFX, Alkaline Trio and Billy Idol (as well as 80's hair metal, heavy metal and the blues) as influences but if that's not enough of a hint as to what is in store when it comes to an album like this one then I'll toss out a couple of  other names as reference points. Like Sum 41, Green Day, The Cure, The Misfits and Mucky Pup? You say that's just more punk? How about Jimi Hendrix then? Yes, that is the kind of extremes we are talking about with "Pink Slip" and that goes from opener "Away" to this album's rock-steady closer, "With Our Past". Hell, with a few twists of the old nob and the spit-shined overinflated sense of self-worth that comes from being a radio rock artist a number like "With Our Past" could be a real hit for someone like Staind! Thankfully Last Day's Pay offer integrity as opposed to a made up image which makes a record like "Pay Day" pass the smell test and live up to it's title! You can check this one out for yourself friends right here:

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Good Guy Dies-"Hit Me Back" Single


Good Guy Dies are a up and coming new act whose fashionably fresh and absolutely fierce sound has all but rocked the UK music scene! Made up of vocalist Cherry Makej and guitarist Joe Hodgson, with the one and only George De Angelis (Seal, Rod Stewart, LeAnn Rimes) sitting in the producer's chair when it comes to the duo's first album, Good Guy Dies are a tasty cocktail comprised of classic rock, punk-pop and electronica. While the duo's upbeat and urgent music will no don't quench the thirst of rockers and hipsters alike it's actually the powerful message behind "Hit Me Back" that should be taken to heart. The band's new single (which is more like a battle cry!) deals with the subject of domestic violence as it encourages women worldwide to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Vocalist Cherry Makej wanted to highlight this message in part because of an old Russia saying which is "If he hits me, he loves me". "Hit Me Back" is music with a sincere message and it's a message that all women should hear! Really it's a message that EVERYONE should hear as physical abuse is never OK whether the perpetrator is a  man or women! And neither is emotional abuse for that matter. Love and violence simply do not mix folks so here's the deal folks. While you lose yourself in these beats please stop and consider the message of "Hit Me Back" don't be afraid to stand up for yourself or friends and family that you suspect might be the victims of abuse. It's never too late to do the right thing!

 "Hit Me Back" can be heard here (Video to follow soon!):  


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Win a Mausoleum Gate t-shirt from Cruz Del Sur Music and Heavy Metal Time Machine!

Cruz Del Sur Music and Heavy Metal Time Machine are teaming up to give one lucky reader this exceptional Mausoleum Gate T-shirt! For those who don't know the name, Finland's Mausoleum Gate are a amazing new band whose N.W.O.B.H.M.-inspired take on 70's hard rock and traditional heavy metal is by far one of the sweetest sounds to hit the heavy metal scene in a very l-o-n-g time! This XL shirt features the same demon head character that appears on the group's self-titled LP (review link posted below along with a recent interview with the band) and all you have to do for a chance to win it is to send your name and address to: The contest will remain open until 11/2/14 and on 11/3/14 I will randomly draw the one entry and announce the lucky winner right here at Heavy Metal Time Machine. In the meantime be sure to check out the band here:
and you can find all kinds of other fantastic Mausoleum Gate merchandise here:

Review of  Mausoleum Gate's self-titled debut album:

Interview with Mausoleum Gate:

Be sure to get your entries in as there are only a few days left!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014


Artist Station- eOne

Thomsen is a German heavy/power metal band that is named after guitarist, composer and bandleader René Thomsen. Formed in 2006, with the band's debut album, "Let´s Get Ruthless", appearing in 2009, Thomsen is essentially René Thomsen and an assembled cast of heavy metal veterans. That's how it was with "Let's Get Ruthless" and that's how it is here on "Unbroken". This time around guests include the likes of Udo Dirkschneider, Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven & Hell), Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Fates Warning, Sebastian Bach, Riot), David Vincent (Morbid Angel), Mathias Don Dieth (U.D.O.), Andre Hilgers (Rage, Sinner) and Helge Engelke (Fair Warning, Dreamtide). On top of all that heavy metal goodness guitarist René Thomsen has enlisted a studio band featuring Iron Fate's Denis "Iron Ivan" Brosowski and Robert Soeterboek (Van EE, Wicked Sensation, ex-Erik Norlander, ex-Highway Chile, ex-Star One (live), ex-Tempter, ex-Vulture) on vocals, guitarist Michael Pesin (Magistarium), bassist Ingo Lühring and drummer Max Dietzmann. That is a lot of star power/potential egos gathered together in one place and to René Thomsen credit he is able to get everyone of the same page when it comes to the overall feel of "Unbroken". And "Unbroken" feels like a solid heavy power metal album with some of the band's past N.W.O.B.H.M. influences (Saxon, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden just to name a few) still present and accounted for, but less apparent than they were on "Let´s Get Ruthless". While the Udo Dirkschneider number "We Made It" unsurprisingly sounds like U.D.O and later day Accept the rest of  "Unbroken" is fairly consistent with René Thomsen's vision of creating flawless power metal closer than ever before! Thomsen's latest album is just like the title suggests-unbroken. It's competitive power metal for a scene which has quite obviously exploded in the past 20 or so years. "Unbroken" is René Thomsen and guests offering their answer to the question of whether or not power metal as a whole can still offer something moving and worthwhile. If you're a fan of  the U.S. power metal scene with it's meatier riffs and more straight-forward/guitar-friendly approach to creating moody metal (ie: killing it without the use of keyboards!) then  this one is definitely going to be a keeper!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Giggitys-Songs In the Key Of Awesome

Loserheart Records

For as far-back as anyone can recall (we're talking about the swinging-seventies at the very least kids) Cleveland and Akron have been involved in a ménage à trois with punk rock. As a matter of fact my home-state the of Ohio as a whole can lay claim to such legendary artists as Devo, The Dead Boys, The Cramps, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Rocket From The Tombs, Pere Ubu and electric eels. And that's just to touch upon a  few of the more recognized names to come riff rocking out of our ever-expanding scene! If you really want to see how deep down Ohio's punk rock roots go you should over to the following link (, but that's after we get done talking about punk rock's new darlings The Giggitys! Formed out of the blood and guts of legendary Akron, Ohio punk band The Nimrods, with Ric Nimrod himself handling vocals and guitars(!), this cleverly-titled band takes it's name from Family Guy character Glenn Quagmire's catch-phrase while their sound is old-school punk rock 101! Prior to this fun full-length album the band released a demo version of the pop-punk instant classic "Balls Deep In Love With You", but it's actually the Ramones-tinged "Not With You (Winter Moon)" that gleefully opens The Giggitys debut offering! But it's not just The Ramones that The Giggitys pay homage to on this ten-track album. Everyone from All to Zero Boys gets a subtle shout-out with "Songs In The Key Of Awesome" carrying on much of the same joyous racket as these top-tier punk bands once did! Fuzzed-out craziness is on full display with "Goodbye Cruel Girl" as is classic, mid-eighties melodic punk while "15 minutes" is the uglier side of yesteryear's crusty punk scene! Through-out the album the band effectively utilities background chants as easily as buzz-saw guitars with "Talk To The Hand" finding that sweet common ground between The Ramones and Sloppy Seconds! "Don't Think" is gnarly L.A. punk while "Take Control" has New York City written all over it! Craving punk that's a little snotty? How about taking "She's Gone" for a ride? This short and sweet number channels The Misfits just as easier as a few other songs here on "Songs In the Key Of Awesome" echo the likes of 7 Seconds and Fear! And speaking of snotty numbers do you remember that pop-punk instant classic "Balls Deep In Love With You" we were just chatting about? Yeah? Well here it is in it's glorious LP version and it's a total kick in the ass my friends! "Balls Deep In Love With You" (along with "Not With You (Winter Moon)" and this album's rabble-rousser closing number!) have all the hallmarks of classic scene of old all but transforming The Giggitys into tomorrows newest punk rock hero squad! What's more we find The Giggitys taking on the failed promises of yesterday as "Total D" is actually where a lot of us wish a certain "Dookie" band would have gone next (here's a hint, it's got grit and integrity unlike the modern day spank fest that is Green Day!). All of which brings us to this album's real deal of a closer and my new favorite love song, "It's Not Me, It's You". I can think of a few "special" ladies from my past who could benefit from this song's timeless message, but that's another story for another night friends! With it's splendid mixture of all things classic punk and modern day pop punk "Songs In the Key Of Awesome" is as good as it gets kids! Hear it right here ladies and gents:

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Clouds Taste Satanic-To Sleep Beyond The Earth


Well, I feel like a dick. I realize that's not much of a way to open a review, but seeing as this was released back in July and I just stumbled upon it in my email this past weekend its a reasonable enough response on my part. Better late than never I suppose. Although it's got to be said that when it comes to this New York instrumental band the cooler months of October, November and December do seem to offer up more suitable environments when listening to a modern day doom metal band with a "post rock" past like Clouds Taste Satanic. And while I can't be entirely sure about the name of this Brooklyn band (seeing as I've never had the experience of tasting clouds for myself!) I will say that the title of this band's first full-length LP is all the more fitting given the fact that Clouds Taste Satanic wears it's influences on it's sleeves! "To Sleep Beyond The Earth" is a debut album where the love of Earth and Sleep is but the first step taken in this band's personal journey towards self-discovery with some Sunn O))) and those "post rock" roots acting as stimulants for these passionate performers! Said performers include Steve Scavuzzo and David Weintraub on guitars with Sean Bay (bass) & Christy Davis (drums) rounding out this party. Music-wise you can expect to find yourself  transfixed by the cold stare of Clouds Taste Satanic with the album "To Sleep Beyond The Earth" methodically creeping and crawling towards the listener with outstretched skeletal hands of doom. All told it's 45 minutes of stretched-out soul crushing material, but as they often say slow and steady wins the race. Made up of "To Sleep Beyond the Earth (Parts I & II)" and "To Sleep Beyond The Earth (Parts III & IV)" this is one of the ultra rare instrumental albums that actually seems to work better without vocals muddying up the mix. Available as a digital download at the link below, with Kinda Like Music handling the  vinyl and CD versions of the excellent "To Sleep Beyond The Earth", the debut full-length from Clouds Taste Satanic is sinister sexy and should be viewed as a must-have for fans of Earth and Sleep!

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Part hard rock and part alternative rock, with 90's grunge making a much-appreciated appearance here on "Witchingseason" in order to serve as the well-traveled bridge which connects those two long-lived and long-loved genres together, London trio Witchingseason will finally satisfy the cravings of their fans once this self-titled release hits the scene on or around November 10th. Preceded by the singles "Spiders" (a number that I previously covered here: and "Codeine" ( this four-track EP finds Witchingseason once again tearing down heavy rock's highway with the likes of Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Doors,  The Stooges, Queens of the Stoneage, Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr. loudly blaring from the speakers! With guitarist/vocalist Tom Reynolds sounding all the more like Chris Cornell's illegitimate child and the pair of  James R Willans and Wayne Summers (bass and drums respectively) soaking up the sunshine and radiation that is everything hard and heavy from a post-Black Sabbath/post-Nuke 'Em And Let God Sort 'Em Out wasteland this London trio knocks it out the ballpark with the new song "False Light". Meanwhile "Mechanical Failure" is anything but a failure thanks to it's wide-open structure and the overall crafty way that Reynolds, Willans and Summers combine the mid-late eighties alternative rock scene, heavy  garage rock and the likes of Mother Love Bone and King's X into one clever cut! Even "God's Waiting Room" with it's  Bush-like vibe has plenty going for it making "Witchingseason" a gold mine for fans of grunge, nineties hard and heavy rock and the darker side of the alternative rock scene! For more information on this up and coming London rock band be sure to check out any of the links posted below.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Steel Inferno-Arcade Warrior 7"


Steel Inferno are a 80's-inspired heavy metal/speed metal band that my friend and fellow blogger Emil Öhman indirectly turned me onto thanks to the fact that I follow his music feed on bandcamp. Formed in 2012, with this 7" serving as the band's second overall release, Steel Inferno is based in Copenhagen even if the various members of this female-fronted band originate from Greece, France, Poland and Denmark. Lead vocals are capably handled by Karen (aka Karen Collatz Christensen) with this female-fronted heavy metal/speed metal act rounded out by speed-worthy guitarists Lars (Lars Lyndorff Krelskov ) & Patrick (Patrick Thomsen Mantzouridis ), bass player Thierry and drummer Krzysztof. Musically-speaking Steel Inferno offer up the likes of Accept, Slayer, Savage Grace, Agent Steel, Iron Maiden, Omen and ADX as influences, but here on the tasty "Arcade Warrior" it's all dished out pipping hot with a fresh slice of originality serving as the mouthwatering side dish! With only two numbers though this 7" from Denmark's Steel Inferno will likely leave you longing for more so it's a damn fine deal that earlier this year the band also released a recommended demo* right? Online you can find these speed-tinged metal maniacs at this link ( while you can sample "Arcade Warrior" by heading here:

And as for the band's other release? The one that turned me onto Steel Inferno in the first place? Well, that particular piece of classic hard & heavy speed entitled  "Demo 2014" can be downloaded for free by heading here: All in all you can never get enough killer female-fronted metal if you ask me so band's like Steel Inferno will always be welcome here at HMTM. Especially when they are just as capable of rocking out as they thrashing out like this five-piece is! What? I didn't mention this band's capacity to "rock out"? Where are my manors today? I must apologize as sure enough  the members of Steel Inferno have hard rock additives running through their veins. And when you take hard rock's sensibilities and you tangled it up with heavy metal-infused speed you get a band that is all the more capable of hitting you from all these different directions at once! The scene needs more band's like
Steel Inferno. The type of bands which are not afraid to get their hands dirty by digging up a little of everything spice-wise in order to make their brand of metal all the more flavorable! Needless to say I'm slapping my seal of approval on "Arcade Warrior" as well as "Demo 2014"! Two great releases from one female-fronted metal act in the same year? I can't think of the last time I've seen that happen!

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Interview with Julia Roberts

Recently I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing local musician Julia Roberts. As the founder/chief songwriter/guitarist and vocalist of  traditional heavy metal/power metal band Global Warning (a ready for the prime time cult Ohio band who bizarrely haven't been snatched up yet even as they are a sure thing!) this phenomenal guitarist/front-woman has thus far remained one of Ohio's best kept secrets. With all of that bound to change before you know it (!) I was grateful to have the opportunity of talking with this remarkably-talented and super-approachable artist! I want to thank Julia for taking the time to talk with Heavy Metal Time Machine and I would like to encourage all of our readers to check out Global Warning and their stone cold-killer take on heavy/power metal! 

Andy (A)-Would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your current band?

Julia (J)-Julia S. Roberts, guitarist first, lead vocalist and songwriter, and founder of my current band (Julia Roberts') Global Warning.  At this point, I have "fill in" band members for touring/shows, and they are Tim Frederick (Wretch, Eternal Legacy, Vindicator) on Bass, and Tim Seale (Bound by Fate) on Drums.  I will be on the look out for more permanent bandmates going forward.

A-How did you get started in the music business Julia?

J-I made my debut with my first original band Driven Steel back in 1989 in Southern California.  I was the Guitarist and main songwriter, and later became the lead vocalist as well in 1992. Our first gig was at Goodies in Fullerton, CA in 1989, not sure of the month!  Myself and Kelley Heckart (Bass, Co-Songwriter) founded the band, and through several lineup changes (except the two of us), we kept the band going until 1995.  So, even though I'm from Cleveland, Ohio, I really got my start in music in Southern California.

A-How old were you when you first starting playing guitar and when did you first realize that this is what you wanted to do with your life?

J-I get foggy on exactly when I started, but I believe I was about 10 or 12 years old.  It was right around when Van Halen's first album came out in 1978.  Eddie Van Halen blew me away, as he did everyone at that time, and he became my main guitar hero.  My dad had a homemade Sears Harmony amplifier and guitar that I used to play here and there, and he ended up giving them to me.  He also bought me an Ibanez Tube Screamer distortion pedal shortly thereafter.  I realized that I wanted to be in a band, when I used to go to rock concerts as my friend (who lived down the street from me) had a mother who belonged to Belkin Productions ticket club where she would get floor seats all the time.  One of the first concerts I saw up close (3rd row) was Def Leppard and Billy Squier, back in 1983 at Richfield Coliseum in Ohio.  I thought to myself, "man it looks like a LOT of fun up there, I can do that!"  Seeing those bands up close and personal like that really made me want to be onstage and perform.

A-Ah yes, the Richfield Coliseum. What a cool place that was! I went to my fair share of great shows there and to this day I miss the place. It's always fun to meet other people with fond memories the Richfield Coliseum. Well, that covers live shows so how about actual albums? Could you tell us about your early influences and do you remember what the first heavy metal album you ever bought was?

J-I would say my earliest guitar influence was probably Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, as my mom and dad would get these compilation albums such as "Superstars of the 70s" and I remember hearing "Whole Lotta Love" and thought that was such a cool heavy guitar riff!  What a great sound!  And then when Van Halen's first album (self titled) came out in 1978, that was definitely a game changer.  My other 2 biggest influences on guitar would be Randy Rhoads (Ozzy) and Yngwie Malmsteen.  I'm pretty sure "Van Halen" was one of the first albums I bought.  I can't remember exactly which one was first.  I know "Flight of Icarus" by Maiden was one of the 45s (single) that I couldn't stop playing too.

A-That's some excellent stuff right there Julia! I know my first hard rock album was AC/DC's "Who Made Who" while my metal one was "Kill 'Em All". All of which brings up a good question. Let's say a kid walks up to you and asks "What's heavy metal all about?". What would you tell the kid and as a follow-up question what album would you hand him and why?

J-I would tell the kid that heavy metal is all about getting your aggression out in a constructive way by escaping into the world of great music, with heavy bass and drums that knock you into tomorrow, with usually intricate guitar work, screaming leads and vocals that send your mind into a frenzy!  It's not about being safe, but facing reality head on, even though it provides an escape from the mundane, it hits a chord (literally) with people in a way that is totally relatable.  There are many facets of heavy metal, you can have a "feel good party song" and then a brutal "WTF" moment, it's the beauty and ugliness of all metal.  And it feels damn good.  It's like beauty and the beast.  I would say an album for me that really defines heavy metal is "Master of Puppets" by Metallica.  It's all in there.

A-I wholeheartedly agree with you there! It doesn't get much better then "Master Of Puppets"! So tell me Julia If you could play with any band for one show only who would it be?

J-There are so many bands I would want to play with.  But I think because they used to be my all-time favorite band, and that they are back with David Lee Roth, it would be Van Halen.  Eddie is my all-time guitar hero.  But I would say it would be better with Mike Anthony back in it.

A-Let's talk about your current band shall we? What's Global Warning all about?

J-Global Warning is something I came up with when I started the band, and it's a play on "global warming" because it's such a hot topic right now.  Not everyone believes it's happening, and it's a big controversy.  I like controversy.  I thought it sounded menacing and big at the same time, very metal but not stupid or weird.  It's like "Warning! Will Robinson, Warning!" from "Lost in Space".  Think of the robot.  We are here to warn the world that my brand of female-fronted metal is big and menacing, and it will take over the world!!! 

A-If that's the case I couldn't ask for a better ending or a better world conquer! LOL! But seriously, what made you decide to finally form your own band after all these years?

J-I quit for a long time because metal really took a nose dive back in the mid 90s, especially in Southern California.  I felt what Metallica must have been feeling in the early 80s when they moved to San Fransisco because they hated the fickle L.A. scene.  Me and co-founder Kelley Heckart (former bassist, songwriter of Driven Steel) were really sick of auditioning drummers, and the music business period.  It wore me down, unfortunately.  Stripped my dreams away (temporarily).  So, for a while I just thought I wasn't meant to do this.  But then it was weird, inspiration just came back to me in 2008.  I started getting to know people in the Cleveland scene, metal seemed to be making a comeback.  That Metal Show was getting more airtime on VH-1, and I just kept hearing more bands on the radio, and with metal channels on XM and Sirius satellite radio, more festivals, it inspired me to pick up the guitar again.  I started meeting the right people, made a 2-song demo, got airplay on college radio, and my former singer actually found me.  I was listening to my old Driven Steel demos and thought, "I'm not going to die with my music still in me.  This is too important."  So, my mission was to find great local musicians, and get my music out there finally.  No holds barred.

 A-No holds barred is appropriately enough the way in which I would describe the live show I saw you put on! If I'm not mistaken that was your first show in sometime correct?
J-Yes, it has been several months since my last show because I had some unexpected band changes earlier this year, and I had to go back into the recording studio to re-record the vocals and re-mix everything to finish the album.  Now, all that needs to be done is mastering, and it's ready to go.  I also had to find some musicians to fill in for upcoming shows, and rehearse.  It's a process!  It takes determination and preparation to get things done right.
A-Do you have more shows lined up? I know fans are glamoring for more live dates from Global Warning!
J-Since the other musicians have other bands, I am working around everyone's schedule.  We are in the process of setting up some shows that make sense in the next few months, looking to bring our show to other cities such as Akron.  We should have some shows firmed up in the next few weeks.

A-That's awesome to hear! I've just got to say that your dedication to your craft is as obvious live as it is on tape! What fuels that passion and your drive Julia?
J-Thank you Andy!  I really love making music, performing and recording it, as well as creating it.  My music personally means a lot to me, and I know it touches others as well, so my passion and drive are fueled by the need to get the music out to the masses in the best way possible.  That's why I need backing, the right label who can give me the support needed for getting this album finished and released, tour support, proper promotion/PR, and then on to the next one to I can keep the momentum.  I just don't have the means to do this by myself.  Plus, I feel females in metal are now getting more of the spotlight, and overall the quality isn't there - it's still about the image, more than the musicianship.  So, I want to change that and gain real respect out there.  Be more of an inspiration to other females, as well as males!

A-Without going into specifics you've come to having your music released before. What are you looking for in a label or representation now?
J-As I said before, I need a record label with the real means to take this to the next level and get it out to the masses, so people actually know about it and can get excited.  So, I can get on some great music festivals as well as tour with the right bands, because I'm really ready to make this happen and dedicate myself to this life.  And get the right musicians to back me up and commit.  The label will need to really believe in the music and what I'm about - not try to change me into a cookie cutter "female fronted" sexy little number that the guys can jack off to.  Fuck that shit.  It's about the music to me and really putting on a performance of real musicianship and dedication to the craft.  Not tits and ass.  Although I'm not opposed to being a little sexy.  I mean, I do like guys you know.  LOL

A-As a father of a teenage girl who is into drama and choir I can really appreciate where you are coming from when you say that you want to be taken at face-value as a person and not an "image". And really your brand of metal speaks just fine by itself and if there is one thing Global Warning does not need it is a makeover! And speaking of Global Warning, where can our readers find you online Julia and what can fans do to help support you and your band?
J-We're in the process of getting some dedicated websites put together, as well as new photo shoots and the like.  But for now, they can find us on Reverbnation and Facebook.  I'm also updating Fandalism and Soundcloud websites.

A-I always like to give artists the last word. Is there anything you would like to address that we did not cover? Is there anything you would like to say to your fans or even detractors? The mic is all yours Julia!
J-I'm very excited and grateful that I now have a second chance to be part of the music world as I had always dreamed.  I feel that everyone has a purpose in life.  Truly, I feel that my purpose is to make music and perform it around the world, be a part of something bigger, a worthy cause.  To further the dreams of girls everywhere who have the desire to make meaningful metal music and not be afraid to show that aggressive, angry, and strong side of them that I know exists in so many but don't have support.  Women are more than just sexual objects.  It took me a while to realize that I'm meant for this, and I had to do quite a bit of soul searching, but better late than never!  Age is just a number, and I'm in a position in my life to really make this happen.  I still believe in dreams coming true.  Looking forward to people joining me on this heavy metal journey, and I won't let you down!  To quote a lyric in my song "Soul Satisfaction," Insane and crazy is how it all seems, but how can you judge what a person perceives?  No one believes me, not a word that I say, but I have the vision, so get out of my way!"

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Nubian Rose-Metal Revolution

Limewire/Cargo Records

It's a well-known secret that I harbor a deep love of female-fronted rock, hard rock and heavy metal. That much should be said before I submit to you, the regular readers of my numerous rants and ramblings (otherwise known as reviews!) my coverage of  Nubian Rose's "Metal Revolution". But least you think that statement gives any band with a female vocalist an easy pass you would be mistaken. Like their male counterparts, female vocalists can range from great to ghastly. They can reach new heights of excellent or establish new lows for the genre. And obviously they can fall anywhere in-between those extremes. Women can do anything on the mic that men can and we are well past the point of that idea even being a subject that should be discussed. All of that brings me around to the struggle I had with this album. Or if you will the coverage of this album. Some wonderful people that I highly respect have brought up the point as to whether or not there should be "female-fronted" metal and "regular metal as opposed to simply "metal"? Should we as fans and critics alike really be making the distinction or is there still something to be gained by way of the classification "female fronted"? This is in no way a cop out on my part, but I can see the benefits and flaws of both arguments. For example take Stockholm's Nubian Rose. By dubbing the band "female-fronted" we are all at once painting them into a corner while also highlighting what makes them so special to begin with and that would be Sofia Lilja's amazing voice! It's a catch 22 as you don't want to take anything away from the fact that Sofia Lilja is absolutely brilliant on the mic (thus making "Metal Revolution" a hell of a radio-friendly melodic hard rock masterpiece!), but you also don't want to bypass the solid-rock standing that is Nubian Rose as a group. And make no mistaken about it friends. When it comes to the music on "Metal Revolution" this Swedish rock band is smoking hot! Guitarist Christer Åkerlund leads a smoldering line-up of talented musicians including Thomas LIndgren (guitar), Henrik Uhrbom (bass), David Algesten (drums) and Fredrik Åkerlund (keyboards) and with 80's bands such as Whitesnake, Dio, Scorpions and Michael Schenker (their listed influences) mixing it up with the likes of Van Halen, Kiss, Def Leppard and Guns 'N Roses (other influences not mentioned, but nonetheless there) the one feeling that you take away from an album like "Metal Revolution" is joy! Collectively Nubian Rose is a fresh, young and upcoming band that is chock full of yesterday's hard rock and heavy metal's attitude. But then again, Nubian Rose is remarkably a band that isn't afraid to let melody and the fundamental elements of rock and roll flow unrestricted through the course of their music. Taking all of that into account then does it really matter how we label acts like this? In the end isn't it more important how a band actually sounds then whether we call them "female-fronted" or not? Or is it all an argument better saved for another day? I'm leaning towards the latter as it simply doesn't get any better then a band like Nubian Rose and that goes for Sofia Lilja's enchanting voice and the first-rate Swedish musician's who surround her! For more information on Nubian Rose and their can't miss sophomore album "Metal Revolution" be sure to check out the band's official website here:  Meanwhile the band's Facebook page can be found here:

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Amulet-The First

Century Media Records

Active since 2010, London's Amulet made their debut with the 2011 demo, "Cut the Crap". Independently released on cassette with a limited run of 222 copies (22 yellow, 25 red and 175 white) that recording would eventually see a limited release of 100 copies as part of a CD/DVD package before it was released as a 7" by Mordgrimm Records (100 white, 400 black-now sold old!). Somewhere in-between all of that chaos the four-track demo in question was magically transformed into a digital download and that would proved to be my first exposure to this spellbinding British heavy metal band. Like many before me I was hooked with "Cut the Crap" all but turning me into an obsessed Amulet fan! And now we are gathered together to behold the glory that is "The First". Released this past September, "The First" is exactly how I imagined it would be. Without mincing words, "The First" by Amulet is partly A) A tribute to the likes of  Diamond Head, Blitzkrieg, Tygers Of Pan Tang and Tokyo Blade (with a few sparkling glimpses of Budgie) as evident by the first half or so of this 14-track album and  B) Ozzy/Ronnie Black Sabbath appreciation day as heard the clearest on "Talisman"/"The Sacrifice" and expressed lyrically with this album's theme of black magic, mysticism and warning's about "preachers and fools" ("Wicked 'n Cruel")! Along the way you might pick out some highly appreciated affection for Italy's one and only Goblin (the instrumental "The Flight" is spectacular!), but musically this dark and spooky LP is all about the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene and occult doom metal. The CD version at least contains a cover of Coven's "Wicked Woman" all but furthering that particular agenda and if there's any fault to be had with "The First" I certainly haven't found it yet! Jamie Elton's vocals elevate the mood and if his bewitching voice (all but snatched from the windpipes of many a great lead vocalist with Ozzy and Dio merely heading that pack!) isn't enough Elton's backing band features a guitar great in the making by way of 'Nip' Blackford! Who knows where this guy has been hiding, but one simply rule out the involvement of the black arts as 'Nip' comes across as another time traveler plucked from Britain's truly glorious heavy metal past and deposited in London's post-N.W.O.B.H.M. landscape! And that is simply two of the five members who were involved with making this memorable debut album! As the title suggests this is just the beginning for Amulet and if "The First" is this desirable one can only imagine what these Londoners might have up their sleeves for a sophomore outing!

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Free Metal Monday: Here's The Metal-October 2014

"Here's The Metal" is a free digital sampler featuring the likes of Exodus, Sister Sin, Fit For A King, In Flames, Decapitated and more. With 13 tracks in all this release from Google Play and Here's the Metal is bound to bring a smile to those suffering the terrible side effects that come courtesy of another Monday morning! Enjoy!

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kreyskull-Tower Witch

Inverse Records

Kreyskull is four-piece band from the south-east parts of Finland that is made up of ex-members of Demonic Death Judge, Kaihoro and Total Devastation. "Tower Witch" is the band's sophomore album and it serves as the follow-up to 2012's "Year of the Octopus". With a line-up that features Kari A. Killgast on lead vocals, Saku Hakuli on guitars, Timo "Ringo" Karvonen on bass and Timo Karvonen on drums this "heavy doom rock" band from the Kymi-Poitsila area defies easy explanation. On one end influences for this 70's-influesed hard rock/heavy metal band range from Black Sabbath/Trouble to Rush with even the sounds of ZZ Top getting in on the act! On the other end of the spectrum you've got flashes of psychedelic rock and jazz seeping into the mix with some groove and stoner rock riffs applied here and there as finishing touch-ups. Brawny and robust lead vocals and great, riff-happy and garage rock-worthy guitar solos add the requisite cherry to the top of this delicious treat and while it all might sound incredibly odd on paper (and lord oh mighty does it ever!) it's an entirely different matter all together when you hear the enthralling music of Kreyskull in the flesh! More fun and explosive than a barrel full of dynamite-wielding monkeys, "Tower Witch" is a righteously fun time with this very cool & slick Finnish four-piece offering up a sparkling fresh/buzz-worthy take on seventies-era hard rock & rock and roll! "Tower Witch" is easily one of 2014's most engaging LPs and it's one of those albums that I recommend with giddy schoolboy enthusiasm! For more information on Kreyskull be sure to head either here: or here:


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Metal Machine-Free Nation

Dream Records

For the uniformed, Metal Machine was a traditional heavy metal band that was fronted by seasoned vocalist Csaba Zvekan (Exorcism, Zvekan, Raven Lord, ex-Emergency, ex-Sardonyx, ex-Killing Machine, ex-Calling Toy, ex-Rough Angel, ex-Warpdrive ). The (short-lived?) group managed to secure support slots for the likes of AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Soulfly and even Alice Cooper(!) and for these live appearances Metal Machine was rounded out by guitarist Peter Scheithauer (Killing Machine, Stream, Temple Of Brutality, ex-Belladonna), bassist Jari Kainulainen (Masterplan, ex-Stratovarius, ex-Evergrey) and drummer Jon Dette (Iced Earth, ex-Slayer, ex-Testament). By all account audiences were receptive Metal Machine and there was even demo material recorded. For those recordings Csaba Zvekan was joined by his live band-mate Peter Scheithauer. With Csaba providing A SHIT LOAD of Rob Halford-like vocals (through much of this album he comes across like a hyperactive clone of the "Hell Bent For Leather" master himself!) it was up to Peter to take care of the guitar parts and drum programing. "Free Nation", which was mastered by TMS Studios, collects those recordings with the final track-listing looking something like this: 

1. Skull And Bones 
2. Nailed To The Cross 
3. Detox 
4. Morning Star 
5. World Of Temptation 
6. Hellraiser 
7. Lord of War 
8. Black Sun 
9. Free Nation 

So, what does it all sound like? Well, how about if we go back to that track listing once more and we'll jot down a few notes and pass out some grades. Sound good? OK....

1. Skull And Bones-Judas Priest anyone? How about "Painkiller"-era Judas Priest? How about just "Painkiller" rewritten? While it is a good opener it's a straight-up rip-off. If you can overlook that you'll dig it. Even with it's muddy mix (which BTW runs through the whole album!) A for the intensity, but this one gets a D for barely trying to cover up how much it rips off a superior track!

2. Nailed To The Cross-Decent enough traditional heavy metal with some modern touches. More Judas Priest love. B-

3. Detox-Pantera meets Iron Maiden? Craziness I say! Not bad though for what it is....B

4. Morning Star-Falling somewhere between Slayer and Mercyful Fate with Judas Priest as the connecting source of energy. Good stuff. If only the mix was better. B+

5. World Of Temptation-Here's a long lost Alice In Chains track apparently!  B-

6. Hellraiser-Dio-ear Black Sabbath as interpreted by Judas Priest. B-  

7. Lord of War-Sludgy Judas Priest C-

8. Black Sun-A 90's heavy metal ballad? Huh? C

9. Free Nation-God awful drum beats and speed metal guitars are not a good combination. And then it turns into a 90's hard rock number where the Judas Priest love continues. Odd doesn't even start to cover it! C+

And there you have it. Final verdict? Well, there are some choice cuts here on "Free Nation" but the awful mix nearly ruins everything. No lie folks it is rough. As in demo quality rough. If you can move past that painfully obvious trait  and/or you are a die hard Csaba Zvekan fan then go for it. For everyone else though I'd take a pass on this one.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne-I Line My Days Along Your Weight

Important Records

"I Line My Days Along Your Weight" is the debut offering from Brooklyn husband and wife duo Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne. Recorded live to analog tape over the course of a few cold days this past January (with Mark handling most of this album's instrumentation and Mary working as a vocalist, acoustic guitarist and pianist) this tranquil release is just now seeing the light of day. The fact that it is some nine months later is likely not lost on the pair responsible for this confident collection and it most certainly should not be lost on those wise enough to invest in this invaluable folk album. With "I Line My Days Along Your Weight" there proved to be no birthing pains though even as the delivery process of this folk release proved to be as natural and intimate as it's initial creation! Given the undeniable chemistry of the pair and warm and cozy sense of comfort that this album conveys it's not too surprising to learn that Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne stood some mere inches apart as they recorded this humble and humane release. From the onset Mark Rogers (a former member of indie-folk band The Loom whose fingers of gold have been heaven-blessed!) and his partner Mary Byrne (a onetime lead-singer, songwriter and guitarist for Atlantic trio Hot Young Priest whose peaceful vocal delivery unsuccessfully masks the true strength and confidence of this masterful singer!) went out of there way to make "I Line My Days Along Your Weight" sound as delicate and true to life as possible. Even the "minimal touches of lap steel, piano, and electric guitar" that were later folded into the mix as a bit of afterthought add little to what is essentially a bare-naked and (very much so!) intimate take on folk. And with such intimacy on display the differing shades that exists between sorrow and joy on an album such as this all but wash away. In the end as subtle as "I Line My Days Along Your Weight" proclaims to be it is as bold and bright a statement as one can make. And it's a statement that is more than deserving of a receptive audience.  

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blind Race-Come And Get It EP


Blind Race is a Toronto, Ontario hard rock/alternative metal band that was co-founded by brother's
Costas and Stelio Kentros (guitars & drums/percussion respectively). Officially this band came into being in 2007 although prior to that (2005 to be exact) there was already demo material recorded. In fact there was enough music recorded for two EPs which is how this Canadian act evolved from a studio-only project into a full-pledged band that has already shared the stage with the likes of Breached, West Memphis Suicide, Left Turn City, Rise For Order, All But Over, Down In Ashes, Last Bullet, Polarity, Affinity, Kodessa, Revmatic, The Standstills, Rebel Hero, On The Verge, Sumo Cyco, Raised Emotionally Dead, Burning The Day, The Joy Arson, The Rabid Whole, Asleep Behind The Flame, Fallen Heirs and The Unchained! And that's just to name some of the group's that Blind Race has performed with since stepping out of the studio and onto the stage! The upcoming "Come And Get It" is actually the group's second overall EP and Blind Race's third release since first appearing on the scene with the 2008 LP "Seeing Red". Initially starting out as a four-piece, "Come And Get It" is the first recording to feature Blind Race's expanded line-up. Besides Costas and Stelio Kentros the new EP "Come And Get It", which incidentally is due out November 18th and can be pre-ordered at the bandcamp link below, features lead vocalist Tommy Geraldes, bass guitarist Mike Ferraro and keyboardist Joannie Cotten. If I had to take a stab in the dark I would say that Joannie Cotten is the latest musician to join Blind Race. But, seeing as this is my first sampling of this Canadian band such information is really neither here nor there when it comes to the 5-track EP on hand. If you are curious though here's what this bunch looks like:

 OK, now the we have that out of the way let's tackle this 16 + minute release. Produced by Mike Langford (Evans Blue, Parabelle, Charlie Hope, Rains, Hawksley Workman, Sloan, Ian Thornley, Jeff Martin, Crash Karma, Art Of Dying, Shiloh, Dane Hartsell, Rex Goudie, and Tupelo Honey) and mastered by Chris Crerar at Toronto's Metalwork Studios, "Come And Get It" isn't exactly what it appears to be at first. Very much in tone with the kind of great movies where a twist comes from out of nowhere to wrap everything up perfectly this EP starts out one way before going BANG! and turning the tables on you. Without giving away too many "spoilers" here opening track "Hypocrite" and then it's follow-up, "Come And Get It" are straight out of the playbooks of bands like Godsmack, Pantera, Slipknot, Disturbed and Five Finger Death Punch. So much so in fact that I swore I had this album pegged for what it was and that the track "Hopeless" would live up to it's name! But then "Hopeless" actually started and it showed a completely different side of Blind Race. The thing is "Hopeless" has a real Pearl Jam vibe going for it and while that would normally be a bad thing for me (as I honestly loathe Pearl Jam and all!) here on this EP it is amazing! "Truth Or Dare" is next where the band tackles "Black"-era Metallica by way of Stone Sour and while lead vocalist Tommy Geraldes shows off his versatility on the mic Costas Kentros shows off his solid skills as a guitarist. The pair even goes acoustic on the short, but sweet "Gone"! And here I was thinking that I could easily pigeonhole this band! Silly me! In closing this is one "new" band worth checking out and you can do that by heading either here: or over here: And if I haven't already said it then I must do it now. Collectively the members of Blind Race do a bang up job of complementing each other on their latest release and if they can continue to grow as a band and mature as songwriters then who knows just how far they could get! It's going to be interesting seeing what comes next for Blind Race, but in the meantime you can pre-view and pre-order this EP at this location:

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Mortician-Shout for Heavy Metal

Pure Underground Records

Vorarlberg, Austria-based four-piece Mortician (who are not to be confused with the horror-obsessed U.S. death metal/grindcore band of the same name!) are a N.W.O.B.H.M-infused classic heavy metal act whose roots can be traced back to 1983. Early on the band's influences were said to be the likes of Kiss, AC/DC and Judas Priest and in 1987 the group released a demo entitled "Street Warrior" and a EP known as "No War". An additional demo followed in 1989 by the name of "Break The Rules" before the band call it quits in 1990. After taking a "few" years off (19 to be exact!) Mortician was reformed in 2009 with guitarist Thomas "Tommy Lee" Metzler (ex-Art of Fear, ex-Tyran Virgin, ex-Psycho Holiday) and bass player Patrick Lerchertook serving as the sole original members of the band. Since then the group has released a compilation album entitled "No War & More", a 2011 self-titled full-length release and now this (fittingly-titled) recording, "Shout for Heavy Metal". Rounding out Mortician these days we have lead vocalist Daniel Khan (formerly of power metal band Art of Fear) with a drummer by the name of Alex credited in the promo material's notes. It's actually the title track that opens this album and drummer Alex slips right into the fold with "Shout for Heavy Metal" finding this Austria act merging N.W.O.B.H.M. greats such as Saxon, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with the likes of Accept! With the throaty vocal delivery of Daniel Khan giving Mortician a gritty exterior the band takes a number like "Eagle Spy" to soaring heights (no pun intended!) and it's rather cool to hear how everyone from Saxon to Guns N' Roses (and even the one and only Motörhead!) is worked into the program! While Mortician's early career might have been influenced by Kiss, AC/DC and Judas Priest here we find a reshuffled heavy metal band where Judas Priest is just the beginning with the end of the adventure (ie: "The Devil You Know", "Black Eyes" and "Inner Self") pointing towards the likes of Slayer, Exodus and Megadeth! The "string" section here makes those sort of links work with "Shout for Heavy Metal" certainly living up to it's title in more ways then one! Then again so do songs like "Rock Power" (where this well-rounded band had me envisioning a mash-up of Accept and Manowar!) and the album's darkest moment, the slow descent in madness that is "Hate". Meanwhile the Judas Priest/Megadeth vehicle "Wrong Way" is the perfect way to wrap this LP up as it ends things on a high note! With a run-time over 40 minutes Mortician's latest effort is a wet dream come true for fans of pure metal and one that I hope to add to my physical music collection in the very near future!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Dead Federation-Dead Federation

Red Hour Records

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

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nuckin' Futs-Slavery

Fair Warning

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

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Friday, October 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Death On Two Wheels-Death On Two Wheels

The Ghost Umbrella

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

You can download the free sampler be heading here: 

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nick Oliveri's Uncontrollable-Leave Me Alone

Schnitzel Records

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

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Highway Dream-Wonderful Race

Street Symphonies Records

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

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

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