Monday, November 30, 2015

Free Metal Monday: "Metal of Oz" compilation

Here's a nice compilation that is worth sharing with all of our readers. As it's Monday (and still way too early) I've just copied the promo material that came with it:

ONLINE METAL PROMO, FOCUS ON METAL podcast (USA) and MARIC MEDIA (Australia) have partnered to offer "Metal of Oz", a free digital download music compilation featuring a mix of 40 past, current and unreleased original songs from established and up and coming bands from the United States, Canada and Australia.

Legendary Australia rock / metal industry publicist Chris Maric has checked in with the following statement:

Australia’s impact on the global scene is at an all time high and in the last few years the quality of musicianship coming out of our country has been world class. The bands represented on this compilation cover so many of metals intricate genres that Im sure there is something there for everyone. Enjoy!!

Bands featured on the compilation include:
1. Arcane Saints
2. Azrael’s Bane
3. Blackened Angel
4. Blasted to Static
5. Broken Teeth
6. Canedy
7. Corners of Sanctuary
8. Daemon Pyre
9. Diamond Lane
10. Envenomed
11. Eternal Voyager
12. Flames of Fury
13. Gods of Eden
14. Gundriver
15. Hasta La Muerte
16. Hazmat
17. Heaven The Axe
18. Jimmy Lardner Brown
19. Kara and the Dam Band
20. Killen
21. Killrazer
22. Lillye
23. Lord
24. Lords of the Trident
25. Love N War
26. Maxxxwell Carlisle
27. Melody Black
28. One Kingdom
29. Orpheus Omega
30. Our Last Enemy
31. Outlaws & Moonshine
32. Platinum Brunette
33. Rabid Assassin
34. Segression
35. Shallow Ground
36. Silent Knight
37. The Arbitrary Method
38. Vanlade
39. Whoretopsy
40. Witchcross

Download the free songs, compilation artwork and track listing at the following location:

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Free Metal Monday: Acid Western-Rampage


Acid Western is a desert-rock/stoner-rock trio from Paris, France. This three-track (name-your-own-price) digital download is Acid Western's 2nd EP and it can be found here.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Deathless Creation-Thrash 'N' Roll

Timezone Records

Formed on New Year's Day, 2012, Deathless Creation is a German metal band whose current line-up features vocalist/guitarist Benne Rommel, guitarist Vlad Nikolov (Slartibartfass, ex-The Witches Sabbath, ex-Daargesin, ex-Encryption, ex-Total Hate), bassist Eric Arikan, and drummer Stefan Schaubele. The aptly-titled "Thrash 'N' Roll" is the full-length debut album from Deathless Creation and it was preceded in life by the independently-released "Endless Source of Power". Prior to that (worthwhile) 4-cut EP this Günzburg, Bavaria-based quartet released a 2012 demo by the name of "Insanity". You can find both the "Endless Source of Power" EP and the 12-track "Thrash 'N' Roll" over on this group's bandcamp page. Up front my personal advice would be to snag both up on CD, but that recommendation would probably make a hell of a lot more sense to you once I've actually covered this well-sculpted slab of rock! And "rock" it does! It also thrashes along merrily, but with this disc's title and all what more would you expect out of it? How about some eighties metal and N.W.O.B.H.M. love? That sounds good right? Well, I'll tell you want. It sounds even better "live" than it does on paper! With their mash-up of thrash, traditional heavy metal, eighties metal, N.W.O.B.H.M., and heavy rock a band like Deathless Creation has a lot going for it right out of the gate. After all we are talking about a lot of my favorite things here and chances are (taste-wise) the same can be said of a lot of our readers. Really all that is missing is some old-school punk and this would be the perfect cocktail! Could you even imagine that greatness? Wow! Regardless, "Thrash 'N' Roll" is fun ride with plenty of interesting twists and turns along the route. To be fair this four-piece is a tad raw around the edges. For me it's all part of the charm, but it's still best to point it out so that no one complains about this being more garage metal than grand metal. Especially because you know someone would! 

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Mad Hornet-Would You Like Something Fresh?


"Would You Like Something Fresh?" is a self-produced album from the four-piece hard rock/hair metal band known as Mad Hornet. It serves as the band's latest album and Mad Hornet's first collaboration with Atomic Stuff Promotion. Formed in 2006 in Maruggio, Italy (with a self-released demo entitled "Shout From The South" issued later that same year), Mad Hornet initially started out life as a melodic hard rock band (complete with keyboards and the like!) before slowly morphing into the hair metal-inspired band that stands before us now. Currently comprised of vocalist Mic Martini (Mimmo Maiorano), guitarist Ken Lance (Salvatore Destratis), bassist El Piamba (Alessandro Saracino), and drummer Beats Frank (Francesco Duggento), Mad Hornet initially had me thinking that this was Italy's answer to Van Halen. Or at the very least it was a more exotic take take on the "Hot For Teacher" boys! As the album unfolds though it becomes apparent that this more 1985 or 1986-infused hair metal group than a "1984"-inspired one. Although let's be clear about that comment. Mad Hornet is more modern in it's approach. From the album's production to the actual performances of all involved this disc is eighties hard rock and hair metal for the 2015 market. "Would You Like Something Fresh?" does have some straight-out rock moments, but more or less this one is still hair metal. It's good hair metal, but fans should know what to expect nonetheless.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lucid Dreams-Build And Destroy

Red Ball Productions

What's this we have here? A new album from Oslo metal band Lucid Dreams? Well thank you God above for this metallic blessing! With Thanksgiving only a few days away it looks as if I will have plenty to be thankful for this year! Oops, wait just a minute. Does anyone out there besides me remember this classy (and yet criminally underrated) Norwegian band? Yes? No? I'm hoping it's the former, but just in case let's set the stage for "Build And Destroy". It was back in late November of 2013 that I reviewed the self-titled debut album from this fucking skilled hard & heavy/melodic metal group. As you can see here I flat out loved that album! I still do!! That release, which eventually made it's way onto my 55 best albums of 2013 list (and for good reason as it took it's cue from everyone from Bon Jovi and Whitesnake to Dio & Iron Maiden!), made me a instant fan of Lucid Dreams and it eventually lead me to interviewing the group. That memorable album also made me appreciate melodic metal all the more and over the past two or so years I've honestly been wondering when we would hear from this lot again again. A few weeks back I got my answer. First it was in the form of some cool mp3s and then one day out of the blue a signed CD showed up. I'd feel like a creep if I didn't thank the band for both versions of their sophomore album, but rest assured as neither one had any bearing whatsoever as to how I feel about "Build And Destroy". As to why it's taken me so long to get this review? The short answer is life. My life has become far too complicated and busy and it's become more of a challenge to carve out time for this blog. With that said, "Build And Destroy" is too good to to be kept all to myself so I all but have to share the news of this album with all of you. Especially as it is so well-written and every bit as damn good as "Lucid Dreams" is! If only all sophomore albums were this great! I mean how many times have you found yourself loving a group's debut album only for their second release to be pure garbage? Black Tide anyone? How about Stranger? Perhaps even Praying Mantis? All three of the bands issued follow-up albums that were nothing compared to their debuts. Talk about sad second albums! But I digress. Let's talk about the album's technical aspects and then we can get on to the overall sound of "Build And Destroy". This eight song release (which was actually unveiled at the beginning of last October) was produced by one of the band's two guitarists, Rune Gutuen (with Henrik Antonsson serving as the group's other guitarist), and mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman in Sweden. Compared to the band's self-titled debut this release is about 10 minutes shorter, but at around 37 minutes in length it's still a solid enough amount of material to digest. From a production standpoint Lucid Dream's second album sounds impressively smooth even as it retains a familiar & well loved metal edge. Of the eight numbers on "Build And Destroy" (of which there are no duds!) the shortest one would be "Fear No Evil" (a memorable cut that forges 80's melodic metal with catchy hard rock!) at 3:43 while the longest song is the Queensrÿche-infused "Absence Of Innocence" with it's run-time of 6:36. Incidentally these two numbers are tracks 3 and 4 respectively with the melodic metal masterpiece "Wings Of the Night" serving as the disc's opener and "Eye Of The Storm" (a melodic metal take on Iron Maiden!) closing things out. With a two year gap in-between albums it's of little wonder how tight each of the individual tracks are. From both a performance stand-point and actual song construction that is. Just like on their 2013 debut the musicianship and the songwriting on Lucid Dreams' latest release is second to none. The same goes for the vocal work of Fredrik Sindsen (aka Freddy Vain). Once again Fredrik Sindsen (formerly of heavy metal/hard rock band Trendkiller) moves effortlessly between killer hard rock cuts ("Hellbound" anyone?) and the heavier stuff ("High Heeled Devil" and "Shanghai Cyanide") and he helps add a grandiose vibe to what is already a fantastic metal release! "Build And Destroy" is not only a memorable and downright catchy album, but it's energetic and driven by the same kind of sensational solos that used to be so prevalent back in the heyday of hard rock and melodic metal. Keyboard arrangements come courtesy of  Thorleif Østmoe and he is spot on yet again. For once we find a band that is capable of enhancing the music with such things without ruining the overall metal aspect that really helps drives albums like this. And here's the thing. Lucid Dreams new album "Build And Destroy" is as metal as it gets! In fact Lucid Dreams second album might even be heavier than their first one! Sure enough these Norwegian hard & heavy rockers still pull a part of their sound and style from lighter acts such as Whitesnake and there is the same kind of (early) Queensrÿche/Dream Theatre progressive metal here that I enjoyed on their first disc. But here's the real kicker folks. In addition to the hard rock, melodic metal and progressive metal there is some riff-dropping heavy metal goodness to be found on "Build And Destroy"! Usually it takes the form of Iron Maiden-like metal and I still hear some Dio and 80's-era Judas Priest sneaking in. Thankfully though Lucid Dreams part 2 (aka this eight-track must own CD!) works in homages to early Def Leppard, Dokken, and even Europe's undervalued self-titled album! Lucid Dreams are still kings at taking hard rock, melodic metal and the like and jamming in sharp guitar solos and sweeping arrangements! In other words "Build And Destroy" is just like it's predecessor in that it's all things hard rock. melodic metal, progressive metal, and heavy metal as envisioned by a exceptionally talented band! One has to think that sooner or later the world is going to catch on to just how good this band is. With albums like this how could they not?   

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Stormlurker-A Dark Formation


Released this past October, "A Dark Formation" is is the debut offering of the slickly-named Stormlurker. "But, who or what exactly is a Stormlurker?" I hear you asking. Well now, that's where introductions are in order. Talking at least a part of it's name from the (naturally) stormy-state of his home state of Florida (with that lurker part of the moniker quite possibly & unintentionally a subconscious nod toward the late great H.P. Lovecraft!), Stormlurker is the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Deryck Heignum. And that would of course be the same Deryck Heignum of Norselaw fame! Having teamed up with drummer Austin Lane and bassist Stan Martell (the main man who actually produced this smooth as fuck album, but more of that later!), Deryck Heignum actually turns his attention away from the N.W.O.B.H.M.-inspired punk metal that is Norselaw and (with relative ease) conquerors the field of heavy metal-tinged thrash! Fans of the Ohio band Norselaw should already be familiar with Deryck's talent as both a guitarist and vocalist, but for everyone else here's the deal. Stormlurker's front man is one part fine-tuned metal maniac and one part straight-out MANIAC! He's a wiz on the guitar (Shred Shack compared Deryck's playing to "No Rest For the Wicked"-era Zakk Wylde and frankly-speaking here folks that's not too far off from things!) and as a vocalist he's got a nice otherwordly range. Deathly-growls give way to the same kind of wicked vocals that you might just find on some of your favorite late-80's/early-90's thrash albums! What it boils down to is this: this cat has extra sharp claws and he can growl! When it comes his guitar playing on "A Dark Formation" it's as classic as they come while there's also plenty of modern-day mech metal riffs and a doomish over-glow! You know the old saying though right? No man is an island. Not even Deryck Heignum.....or at least not here!! That's where bassist/producer Stan Martell and skinsman Austin Lane come into play. The first lays down fantastic
riffs that are gritty and robust. Stan's style is a perfect fit for the band and in standing by Deryck he offers more straight-line metal material that sharply cuts through the air like a mad mans blade cutting through soft flesh! Meanwhile the drumming on this is stone-cold killer! Not only does Stormlurker's drummer keep the beat, but he mixes in a slew of different styles along the way! On "A Dark Formation" you're just as likely to be reminded of Judas Priest as you are Slayer (drum-wise) and all of that makes for a trio that impossible to ignore! Before we get into the overall sound of this power trio I feel as if we must give a special shout-out to Stan Martell's production on "A Dark Formation". When I first heard this release two things popped into my mind. The first thing was "Holy shit that's hot!" and the second one was (and yeah, this one is weirdly out there!) "This is like something that I would hear on Liquid Metal*!" Obviously Stan not only excels in the filed of bass playing, but as a producer to! All of which brings us to the album's actual music. The best way to describe Stormlurker's particular style would be thrash metal that is influenced by classic/traditional metal. That in and of itself would be wicked right? Even so there's more to it than that. Peppered with doom, power metal and even some death metal elements this proves to be an exceptional release that sounds completely unique and original. Much like his other band Norselaw, Deryck Heignum's Stormlurker sounds like nobody else! When was the last time you heard any band coming across like that? Never right? Well, this band is the real deal as is this self-produced/self-released recording. In a world of imitators here's another band that is far too good to remain unsigned! All that's needed is for the right set of ears to hear this one and it's game on! Here's to hoping that happens friends..... 

Want to know more about Stormlurker? Well then you're in luck! You can find this band online here
and you can read an interview with the band by going this way.

*Back when I had Sirius Radio I used to LOVE their station Liquid Metal. They always seemed to have class act bands on there with crystal clear production that was nothing short of flawless. That same kind of feeling I had for those albums I feel for "A Dark Formation". To put it bluntly, "A Dark Formation" features a stellar, Grade A  production job!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Galy Records

Scissortooth is a Vancouver, British Columbia-based metal outfit that was formed in 2003 by two former members of the band Mantra, Derek Lundblad (vocals/guitar) and Shawn Hoskins (drums). Bass guitarist Ken Firomski (Cradle to Grave, ex-Iron Gypsy, ex-Empyria) fills out the current line-up of Scissortooth with the self-produced "Novagomorrah" serving as the group's full-length debut. The CD, which has 11 tracks and clocks in at close to sixty minutes(!), was sent my way by Carly Ashbey of Asher Media Relations and I feel as if I owe her a huge debt of gratitude! With Scissortooth it's as if someone raided my (often times odd) personal music collection and (after pulling out a handful of some of my favorites albums*) pounded everything together with a HUGE hammer that was forged from the fiery remains of Type O Negative, Black Sabbath, Pantera, Disturbed, and Lamb of God! After you have a moment to check out those far-ranging  albums that I posted below you'll (hopefully) understand what all this band is packing when it comes to this dope CD! Yes, I actually just used the word dope to describe a promo that I got in the mail, but this really is one of those rare occasions where all of the stars outside align and the metal gods above and below us let out a huge scream that says "Let there be METAL!"  My only question as far as this groove-heavy & thrashomatic CD trio goes (what with it's hooks that kill and too wild to tame tempos!)  is "Where have you fine gentlemen been hiding all this time?". I really could have used your album here to vanquish the souls of my enemy you know! Because this album is MIGHTY and worth it's wait in riff-laden gold I'll let it slide this time! You've done me (and in general the scene at large) a solid by rocking it all out and then some so I've just got one more thing to add to this piece. For all of our readers you're going to want to run (That's right ladies and gents. Don't walk but RUN! And RUN as fast as you possibly can RUN!) out and grab this disc! Well, that is if you're a fan of innovative hard & heavy thrash metal that's genuine and as free of pretentious "Look at me I'm in a metal band so worship me as your new god!" nonsense as they come!  Need more info? You can find this band online here and then you can order the CD by going here.

*Among many others these albums would be "Kill 'Em All" (Metallica), "South of Heaven" (Slayer), "Music For Insect Minds" (Halo of Flies), "Damaged" (Black Flag), "Fistful of Metal" (Anthrax), "Louder Than Love" (Soundgarden), "Facelift" (Alice In Chains), "The Land of Rape and Honey" (Ministry), "Animosity" (C.O.C.), "The Best of Motörhead"** (Motörhead), "Spirit of Suicide" (God Is LSD), "Houdini" (Melvins), "Blood Farmers" (Blood Farmers), and "Slaughter in the Vatican" (Exhorder).

**I know I'm cheating by simply listing this 2CD set, but it is what it is folks.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Doll Skin-In Your Face EP

EMP Label Group/Cargo Records

Here's some free advice for all of you young people out there. Be sure to test the waters before you fully commit to that midnight swim. Case in point Doll Skin. I actually got this promo in my inbox a few days after I blindly downloaded it off of iTunes. I believed the hype surrounding it* and (like the idiot I am) hit "buy" without hearing a note. Had I actually listened to some sample cuts first I could have spared myself the trouble of filling up my music collection with more material that I will never listen to again. Further more had I simply waited a few days I could have saved myself some cash. It's not that band is terrible. It's just terribly over-hyped. This is merely a modern day take on punk rock that is supposed to be dangerous and rebellious. Instead it sounds like Avril Lavigne being told that she needs to sound more "metal". Simply put it's uninspiring and it makes me sad. Why sad? Well, take a minute or two to think of all of the really good punk and metal bands that you know who are unsigned. Now consider the fact that a band like this get's instantly scooped up. You see what I'm saying? I don't blame these young ladies obviously (especially seeing as what band wouldn't jump at the chance to have their EP produced by one of metal's true greats?), but I do blame an industry that couldn't see actual talent if it was standing a mere inches from it's face! Because frankly speaking folks the world needs another radio-friendly "punk" band like it needs another life destroying space meteorite!  

*Here's the short version of the story. This teenage four-piece band was "discovered" by Megadeth's David Ellefson. You would have thought by the way that he raved about them that they were the next big thing in quirky, fun-loving punk rock. In fact Dave was such a fan of Doll Skin that he even went so far as to produce this EP here. All of which goes to show that there is no accounting for taste. 

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La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore-La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore


Listen up class. Before we begin today's lesson on the delectable mystery that is La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore (which F.Y.I is more than a mouthful!) a quick word of thanks is in order.  I've got my friend Glenn from Minotauro Records to thank for this independently-released album. So yeah, thank you Glenn! This one is most certainly "interesting" my friend! But I'll get to that part in a second. As our faithful readers (yes, I'm talking to you there!) you may or may not recall that I interviewed this band's founder back in late October. Here's the link to that piece. Obviously I had hoped to review this self-titled release shortly thereafter, but honestly I'm TERRIBLE about making deadlines. I could give you all kinds of logical legitimate reasons why this is, but let's just skip to the chase and talk about this band and this album.
First things first then. The band is the brainchild of Alfredo Martinelli and (per my notes) the phrase La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore translates into "Steam-Powered Workshop of Time". If you check out the previously-posted interview you can get a better feel as to the history of this group and the story-line behind this album. Here's the think though. On first listen I thought this was some kind of Spanish rock band! Apparently I wasn't the only person to think that so I don't feel as stupid as I normally would! The truth is this is an Italian band with lyrics that are native to the group's home-country. The reason I thought this might be a Spanish band (as my friend Glenn sent me this with no notes or anything! You rock Glenn!!) was that it has a bit of a Spanish groove going for it in places. Especially with the classical guitar. Otherwise here are some of my notes for this album (which I had actually jotted down after first hearing the CD and before I had set up the interview with the group's founder!). You'll notice how far ranging they are as I just wrote down the first things that came to mind. And really that is exactly why I'm sharing all of it with you. Sometimes spontaneous responses offer the best overview of such unique releases as this one. Simply put this Italian metal band cannot be pigeonholed!

"Symphonic occult metal?" 

"The Italian band Goblin meets a Spanish rock version of Rush!"

"There seems to be a lot of tribal percussion going on with this song and those are some very sick bass riffs. That's a win-win situation!"

 "This kind of reminds me of European progressive metal meets gutsy garage rock!"  

"This band uses a lot of classical guitar. Even so it gets slightly heavier as it goes on with this track...slightly being the key word. And is that sax I hear?"

"What's this? Now this number has all kinds of wicked magic going on! It's deep and thick, but with killer guitar work and sick key/synth work! Righteous!!"
"Piano passages and heavy guitar rock are one thing, but dig that bass again! If it had legs it would walk all over you!"
"Why don't more progressive metal band's utilize rock guitar like this?'.

"All at once this album has an atmospheric vibe going for it while it easily maintains it's metallic hold on the listener. It's rich and textured and yet it's built with steel!"

As stated those were my initial notes as I listen to the album for the first time. More or less when it comes to the band La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore we are talking about a progressive rock/metal outfit that is even more adventurous than usual when it comes to song arrangements! That's kind of the foundation (adventurous progressive metal) upon which this Italian band starts everything. From there things get slightly "twisted". While I could try to go track by track with this one (therefore pulling in all of the little whimsical elements that make up each and every distinct cut) it would prove to be a huge undertaking! Let's just say that this band is eclectic and leave it at that! Mind you it's not in a Mr. Bungle or Primus kind of way. At it's core this is still a very much a (progressive) metal album. As such progressive metal fans in general should appreciate the flight pattern that this band charts. La Bottega del Tempo a Vapore simply shakes things up a bit as it lays down well thought out prog metal. And that's cool in my book. I'll admit that it isn't easy to describe this band. Far from it. That kind of comes with the territory though when you try to talk about the really creative metal bands out there.  As such you can probably get a better feel for what I'm talking about by visiting the group's YouTube page. There you'll find a teaser video for this release which I highly recommend.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

John Dallas– Wild Life

Street Symphonies Records

"Wild Life" (which just came out last month and sport's a fantastic title-track!) is the full-length debut album from Italian hard rock singer/musician John Dallas* (aka Luca Stanzani). This 9-track recording also serves as the first solo offering for this veteran vocalist and it was laid to tape at Boat Studio's in Luca's birthplace of Bologna, Italy. Having teamed up with some anonymous studio musicians (and with Danger Zone's one and only guitarist Roberto Priori eventually mastering the whole affair!) this Italian vocalist actually self-recorded  "Wild Life" before he even had a record label to release it! Eventually Street Symphonies Records came knocking and it's really no wonder given the strength of the material at hand. With "Wild Life" Luca has crafted a worthwhile release that pays homage to it's creator's influences (Guns N' Roses, Van Halen, Def Leppard, Queensrÿche, Hardcore Superstar, and H.E.A.T. to name just a few) while stepping out onto it's own path of self-discovery and awareness! While it's technically not as heavy as some of those influences might suggest, "Wild Life" is nonetheless a heavy-rocking album that is somewhat modern in it's approach without losing the classic charm of old-fashioned hard rock. The album opens decently enough with the glam rock crunchy "Under Control"**. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but it gets the job done while it points towards the full potential of Luca's voice. Perhaps a better choice of opener would have been cut number two? That would be the rock-solid "Heaven Is". While I will admit to some level of frustration as far as coming up with an appropriate enough description of this terrifically awesome (gritty) metal number (early Guns N' Roses meets later day Avenged Sevenfold?) it does little to take away from the notion that it would have made a better opening moment. But, that's just an observation so let's move on to track number three. That would be "Falling". Even though "Falling" didn't exactly explode out the gate or anything it does get better as it rolls on. From there we move on to the sweet title track and then two tracks that proved to be favorites of mine, "Dreamin' On" and "Electric". Here's the thing though. Even if there are some songs that are clearly better than others there is seldom a dull moment on "Wild Life". The truth of the matter is all nine of the songs on "Wild Life" fall within the range of being  A+. Credit that to the songwriting as well as the apparent chemistry of all involved in the making of Luca's first solo outing. Quite obviously if I was pressed to name a few favorites it would be no chore at all. That would be tracks like the title cut, "Heaven Is", "Dreamin' On", "Electric", and "Love's Fake". But like I said even the "decent" cuts are good. Both "Psycho Game" and "Freedom" (a Bon Jovi meets Tesla kind of thing) have things to offer and they help make up the overall vibe of this LP. Admittedly things do get a little weird on the closing cut "Love's Fake". It has a Guns N' Roses meets Alice Cooper (by way of a more rock oriented N.I.N.!) feel going for it, but even it fits in with the overall theme of this album. And in the end I really liked this album. Seeing as this one is a heck of a debut release it will be interesting to see what John Dallas has in store when it comes time to record a follow-up. For now though be sure to catch this act live if you can. Something just tells me that John Dallas is not to be missed.

*A long-time member of the Bologna, Italy music scene (and a hell of a hard rock vocalist!) Luca Stanzani created the moniker John Dallas by combining Jon Bon Jovi first name and the eighties TV series, Dallas. 

**"Under Control" might not be as good as the some of the other tracks on "Wild Life", but even the so-so songs on this recording are well-written and cleverly-arranged! What that means is even the decent tracks on this one are really good! 

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Free Metal Monday: MetalMessage Promotion Sampler “VI”

Today's Free Metal Monday moment comes courtesy of Germany's MetalMessage Promotion. Arguably one of the better metal promotions from not only Germany, but Europe in general, MetalMessage has helped out a lot of bands over the years including several that I've had the pleasure of reviewing and interviewing! Earlier this month the PR firm posted their sixth overall sampler and, needless to say, it's pretty solid! It features material from the likes of  Halo Creation, Running Death, Warfield, Toxic Waltz, and Vengeful Ghoul and it's free as can be! There's fifteen tracks in all on "VI" and you can find it by heading here.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rage Against the Machine-Live At Finsbury Park DVD

Eagle Rock Entertainment

When it comes to L.A.'s Rage Against the Machine there is no need for introductions. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past twenty something years* that name should ring a few bells. As one of the most famous rap metal bands out there (arguably only second to Faith No More!) Rage Against the Machine broke new ground while they broke down social barricades and crusaded for a revolution by the people and for the people. Lead singer Zack de la Rocha Released was the voice of this revolution while Tom Morello's guitar provided the necessary ammunition. Ground support came from Tim Commerford (bass, backing vocals) and Brad Wilk (drums, percussion) with the group's self-titled debut album appearing in 1992. That album changed everything and before long Rage Against the Machine was seemingly EVERYWHERE! Not to cut the history lesson short or anything, but chances are you should know the rest of the story. Just in case you don't you can head over to the Wikipedia page on them or visit the group's official website. All of which brings us to "Live At Finsbury Park". Released on October 16th on both Blu Ray and DVD, "Live At Finsbury Park" is a concert performance from Rage Against the Machine that took place on June 6th, 2010. The backstory to this concert goes a little something like this. In late 2009 a couple by the name of Jon and Tracya Morter started a campaign with the idea of there being an alternative to the usual X-Factor winner's Christmas "hit single" in the UK. With the band members themselves backing the campaign (and all proceeds of the song going to charity) the couple nominated the Rage Against the Machine track "Killing In The Name". In the end the band promised to perform a free concert in the UK if the song made it to number one. It did just that and true to their word Rage Against the Machine worked out the plans for a free concert. The event took place on June 6th, 2010 in London's Finsbury Park and this film documents that special moment in time (and in high definition at that!). While there is little in the way of bonus features, "Live At Finsbury Park" captures Rage Against the Machine at their absolute best and there's no denying that even after all these years this four-piece band can ROCK! Fueled by the the energy of audience at hand Rage Against the Machine tears through a furious set list that naturally culminates with the nominated song in question, "Killing In The Name"! Songs like "Bombtrack", "People Of The Sun" , "Bulls On Parade", "Bullet In The Head", "Guerrilla Radio", "Sleep Now In The Fire", and "Freedom" lead up to that explosive moment (the closing fury that is "Killing In The Name"!) and for Rage Against the Machine' fans this live concert would prove to be too good to be missed! Along with their own original material (which is bombastic in a live setting!) the heavy-hitting  L.A. band rolls out a solid cover of  "White Riot" and as a fan of The Clash it was great seeing Rage Against the Machine pay homage be such a legendary act! As "Live At Finsbury Park" is packed with some of Rage Against the Machine's best numbers this live DVD seems like a no-brainer for fans both young and old alike. It looks and sounds exceptional and it shows exactly why the music of Rage Against the Machine spoke on a personal level to so many people. I can't help but think that this would be a great addition to any Rage Against the Machine's collections that people have and seeing as both the DVD and Blu Ray are reasonable priced there's no reason that can't happen!  While fans might have to wait a long time for Rage Against the Machine to get around to releasing new music this live concert should help ease that pain. And it should also remind people that the struggle is still real and alive in all of us value freedom!

*If you have been hiding yourself away under a big rock somewhere for the past 20 years then you might want to take a deep breath and sit down because everything in this world has been turned upside down and inside out!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Zex-Fear No Man


Is there anyone out there that remembers Zex? They were the Ottawa, Ontario four-piece that gave us  the fun "Fight For Yourself" back in 2014. If it helps to refresh your memory any then here's what I had to say about that particular 10-track album:  ""Fight for Yourself"  combines old-school punk (specifically the British and New York scene), 70's rock/hard rock, glam and N.W.O.B.H.M. into one f**king fantastic collection!". The two-track "Fear No Men" is more of the same from band members Gretchen Steel (vocals), Gab Hole (bass), Cody D (drums), and  Jo Capitalicide (guitar) only it's LOUDER! Of course around these parts we always say preach the louder the better so there's nothing left to say other than to buy this on a.s.a.p.!

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Monday, November 09, 2015

Free Metal Monday: Relapse Records Sampler

Relapse Records

Relapse Records is offering a incredible sampler for free over on their bandcamp webpage. There are 30+ tracks on this sucker including songs by the likes of Christian Mistress, Primitive Man, Skinless, Pig Destroyer, Torche, Royal Thunder, Sacrilege, and Exhumed! Musically it covers A LOT
of ground there there really is something for everyone here! Enjoy!

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Saturday, November 07, 2015

Saturday Singles: Japanese Fighting Fish – “U Ain’t Gonna Win This”

Vandal Records

Born in Leeds, but now based in London, Japanese Fighting Fish is a four-piece band that self-dubs it's sound & style as "Odd & Theatrical Space Funk Rock". Also described as "an eclectic semi-genius, semi-ludicrous mix of metal, dance, pop, Latin/Cuban beats and more stuff that probably shouldn’t ever go together." (which is perhaps a more fitting starting point when and/or if you are going to be talking to your friends and family about this eclectic English alternative rock/metal band!), Japanese Fighting Fish (or the Fish!) is as quirky as they come and that same courtesy is extended to the band's latest single here. For band members Karlost (guitar/vocals), Gareth (guitar), Al (drums), and Matt (bass) the song "U Ain’t Gonna Win This" marks the first time that the Fish have written a track collectively. Maybe that is why this single goes off in so many directions at the same time? Whatever the case might be when it comes to this single there's two things to keep in mind. The first thing is this particular song comes from the group's forthcoming album of the same name. That album is due out on 13th November and (fingers crossed here) I'm hoping to have a chance to cover it. It's got to be all kinds of crazy given this song's weird punk/funk space rock vibe*! The second thing is this song's official video (posted below) is as odd and unsettling as the single itself! And you know what? I really appreciate that small detail! If you like your rock and metal to be fun, quirky, weird, strange or whatever(!), then be sure to check this video out for yourself! I've also provided all of the appropriate links for Japanese Fighting Fish. Enjoy the show!


* The promo material that came with this hard rocking single mentioned how much appreciation "U Ain’t Gonna Win This" owed to the likes of Q.O.T.S.A. and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Who am I to disagree? All I ask is that I be allowed to toss some Red Hot Chili Peppers into that delicious dish. Sure, my Flaming Lips might need cooled down after that, but that's where my friend Frank Zappa comes in! He's always on hand with a tall cool glass of milk and a piece of Cake or two Yum! It's all good!! Right? Sure, things can and do happen. Especially when you stop and consider how we all live and play in a dangerous Soundgarden !!! Even so I absolutely swear that this time around I will not lose myself in a System of a Down. Not again! And as far as my spiritual life is concerned? It's still there. Until Death** as they say. At the end of the day you're never going to hear me scream to the heavens how I've got  Faith No More! So my friends and fellow music lovers just keep on rocking and rolling and as always keep it loud and proud! And whatever you do please try to do something awful like list a band's influences (whether obvious or not) in the form of a short nonsensical story! You'd have to have Bad Brains to think that's clever!!

** The punk rock band...

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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Instigator-Bad Future

Gates of Hell Records

Instigator is a raw and unrepentant heavy/speed metal band that hails from Italy and is fronted by some crazy lunatic by the name of Hiroshima*. In addition to the sick and twisted demon that this five-piece band keeps chained to the mic (who is really quite good and definitely helps set the mood for this group's post-apocalyptic outlook and vibe) Instigator features within it's ranks guitarist D. Slaughter** (Trap, ex-Disaffection, ex-Devil Lee Rot, ex-Portrait, ex-Autopsy Torment, ex-Cross Bow). Otherwise we have band members with monikers like Persecutioner (bass), Transgressor (drums), and D. Retaliator (guitars). That should give you a little idea of where this lot is coming from. If it doesn't then by all means please be patient. We'll get back to mindset of this speedy five-piece soon enough. For now it's all about the jams. As is wasteland-approved jams! Because really that's what you're getting with this particular product! As for the details? Well, here we go! The 14 minute plus "Bad Future" is a four-track 7" that will be released on December 11 on Gates of Hell Records (a Cruz Del Sur Music sub-label). It serves as the follow-up to the band's 2010 tape "Future Shock" which featured (among others) such golden gems as "Submit to Satan" and "Fuck Me (When I'm Dead)". While these few songs are nowhere near as shocking as the material on the group's debut tape, "Future Shock", Instigator still delivers solid metal that hits just the right notes. This is metal pure and simple. Otherwise what more is there to talk about? Well, we could talk about the spoken-word passages/possible samples that pop up occasionally on this 7". No spoilers or anything, but they form a nice narrative for "Bad Future". Unfortunately there's no reference sources to go along with said interludes. Not that it matters. After all we're here to talk about the music right? As mentioned it's solid metal in the form of heavy/speed metal. OK, it's actually heavy/speed metal that occasionally lapses into thrash as much as it does crossover. There's even a wee bit of street metal going on here. Still, 9 time out of 10 this is heavy/speed metal. In no way is that a bad thing. It just is what it is and in that regard it gets the job done. It's like no fuss/no extra additives needed heavy metal for those who like their heavy metal uncomplicated and straight to the point. At the end of the day the five members of Instigator do the old "in & out" as well as anyone going. Seeing as this is likely a part-time gig what more could you ask for?


*I'm not sure how well this will come off on paper, but anyway Hiroshima sort of reminds me of Blaine Cook (former lead singer of  The Accused). The only thing is Instigator's lead singer is way more wicked and he sounds as if he is as much a fan of King Diamond as he is C.O.C.'s Mike Dean. But then again it could all be a product of my vivid imagination so it would be best to hear this one for yourself.

**Otherwise known as David Stranderud.

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Monday, November 02, 2015

Free Metal Monday: Dixie Goat-Black Sun Child


I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow it's Monday again friends. It's like I blink and there goes the weak. What's more it's now November! Where did the past month go? Like the old Steve Miller Band song goes "Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' Into the future". It's weirdness I tell you. Pure weirdness. Anyway, let's talk about Dixie Goat here. "Black Sun Child" is their latest release (and possibly only one?) and it is HOT off the presses! How hot? How about October 31st HOT! Yeah, that's HOT alright! As for the who, where and what of this freshly unearthed treasure? Well, the who (besides the excellent band name) would be:

J.P: Drums
K.F: Bass
Nikk: Guitar & Vocals

As for the where? Try Santiago, Chile. That just leaves us with the what. Does anyone want to take a stab in the dark here? If you looked at that cover and said "It's got to be doom in one shape or another" then you are correct! Not only is this doom, but it's GREAT doom!! Or at least that's the outer shell of this Halloween treat. Just like a certain candy coated chocolate delight (which I LOVE!) there's more to the story than meets the eye  Once you get past the tasty candy coating art that is doom (as in doom glorious doom!) you'll find yourself lost in a world of imagination where (seventies) hard rock, stoner rock, hard & heavy and even snarky punk do a little dance, make a little love and get down tonight! Yes my friends that's right! I'm talking about damn catchy doom metal that brings the joint to it's knees with riff-tastic rock! And the best part is it's FREE! Sure, it would be a good thing to throw a few coins in the jar for these Santiago movers and shakers, but I certain can and do understand that it's tough all over. We've all got to do what we can to make it. And that right there is part of the reason I try to dig up free music for our readers. So, whether you buy this hard working trio a drink or two or not this well-laid out album is right here waiting for you....with open arms. And the band? Well, you can find out more about Dixie Goat over at their Facebook page.

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