Wednesday, January 31, 2018

N.W.O.B.H.M. Wednesday: Salem-Attrition

Dissonance Productions

Formed back in 1980 and initially only active until 1983, Salem is a N.W.O.B.H.M./hard rock band that is lead by Simon Saxby (ex-Deep Fix). The forthcoming "Attrition" is Salem's third full-length album since reforming in 2010. Opening by way of the incredible title track (a real rock and roll gem that is as modern as it is vintage!), "Attrition" is the highly-anticipated follow-up to "Dark Days". Including the aforementioned title track, there are eleven tracks in all on Salem's new release. Having first covered this majestic metal/rock band back in late November of 2011, Salem has had some awesome material to be sure. Honestly all it took was one listen to the group's 2010 compilation, "In the Beginning...", for me to fall in love with this group's sound. With that long history in mind, "Attrition" is the best thing that I have ever heard from this veteran band! Thanks to the contributions of all of Salem's band-members, "Attrition" also holds the distinction of the being the most care-free and versatile release to date from Simon Saxby and company!! Speaking of which, Salem is rounded out by Paul Macnamara (guitars), Mark Allison (guitars), Ade Jenkinson (bass), and Paul Mendham (drums). While it is true that everyone has helped out in the past, Salem's new album shows a older band that is not afraid of growth. Wisdom comes with age and Salem seems to understand this more than any other band their age. Now more than ever Salem has evolved to fit the times. Overflowing with catchy hard rock numbers and mature AOR/melodic rock tunes, Salem has taken up a sound and style that could rule modern day rock radio. For some that might sound like a sell-out, but they would be greatly mistaken about Salem's new approach. There is nothing artificial about this album and Salem are not claiming to be anyone but themselves. When it comes to the hard rock smashers, heavy rockers and beautiful ballads on this album it is all Salem and all good! Times might be changing around them, but that hasn't stopped Salem from stepping up to the plate and knocking things out of the ballpark!! Amazingly enough Salem does all of this while still maintaining that core essence that first made people take notice of this talented act. As great as their new studio album is, Salem should be on every top ten list from Europe to here in the U.S. That might seem like a long ways off, but I simply cannot see a whole lot of heavy & heard rock albums being as golden as this release is. With a due date of February 23rd, "Attrition" is a must-have for fans of Salem and anybody that loves hard rock/melodic rock. The album runs over fifty minutes, but with one great track after another it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Between this perfect album and Robespierre's latest release, 2018 is going to be one hell of a year for N.W.O.B.H.M. fanatics!

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N.W.O.B.H.M. Wednesday: Robespierre-Garden of Hell

Shadow Kingdom Records

Robespierre is a N.W.O.B.H.M band that is comprised of David Cooke (guitars, vocals) and Gordon Logan (drums). Initially formed way back in 1983, this heavy metal/doom metal didn't have as much success the first time around as they should have. Fast forward some to 2011 and the compilation "Die You Heathen, Die!" is released on vinyl by Buried by Time and Dust Records. Slowly but surely the buzz starts to rise about this long-lost English metal band with a shit ton of talent and enthusiasm. By the time the compilation is released on CD by Skol Records (and in a killer package FYI!) just about everyone is hip to what Robespierre has to offer. That was in 2013. That summer I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview vocalist/guitarist David Cooke (link). Here it is early 2018 and we are just now getting a taste of what modern-day Robespierre has to offer. Let's not mince words then. For any Robespierre fans out there (and yes folks, that does include me!), "Garden of Hell" is solid proof that some things get better with age! Starting off strong with the killer track "Punish Oppressors", "Garden of Hell" is the long-overdue debut album from Robespierre and dammit man(!), it has been worth the wait! There are ten tracks in all on this British metal release and there isn't a dud to be found! This is 100% killer/no-filler N.W.O.B.H.M. that demands multiple spins and more than a few devil horns in the air salutes! Numbers like "Mare of Steel". "Feed the Fire", "The Black Mirror", and "Men of Violence" make this album stick out with grandness. By combining their familiar sound (thunderous heavy metal with grit and style!) with shades of doom metal and traditional/power metal, Robespierre has development a hard & heavy sound that is as gloomy as it dangerous! No matter whether it is "Dagon Rises", "Fear", "Welcome to the Cult" or "I am a Flower (In the Garden of Evil)", Robespierre has demonstrated the positive effects of evolving your sound and style. For a band that traces it's roots back to the early eighties, band members Gordon Logan and David Cooke still sound young and refreshed on this new album. It's obviously that both musicians still have the fire burning deep down inside. That is reflected in the dynamic performances and the way in which this album has been presented. On a scale of 1 to 10, "Garden of Hell" is a sandwiched somewhere in-between a 8.5 and 9. In my eye that makes "Garden of Hell" a new metal classic!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Oblivious-När Isarna Sjunger


Oblivious is a hard & heavy rock/proto-metal band from Linköping, Sweden that has a handful of recordings to it’s name. Due for release in early February, "När Isarna Sjunger" is the band’s latest release. With eight smashing cuts in all, "När Isarna Sjunger" is the group's forth full-length album as well as my first taste of these (groove-heavy!) riff-rocking rebels! And what a fine introduction it is!! On one hand some of the inspirations come from the underground rock and hard rock scenes of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Sung in their native tongue, Oblivious' new album also owes a debt or two to the better aspects of southern rock and the (very) early years of  heavy metal. Mix that all together with sincere love and admiration for not only their their idols, but all of the hardworking rock and roll bands that came before them and you get one band that might have a wild and crazy spirit, but they also have a hell of a lot of heart and soul. Even at it's heaviest moments this album has a charming warmth to it that is all it's own. From the music to the vintage-vibe this Swedish heavy rock band has a real winner on it's hands with their new album. It would be a real shame if people got all hung up on the foreign language bit before giving this one a chance.

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Necrosexual-Grim 1


Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and sporting an image that is half King Diamond and half 90's garage rocker, Necrosexual is a up-and-coming heavy metal artist/entertainer. The full-length "Grim 1" serves as the studio debut for Necrosexual and it features eight original compositions and a cover of "Pain It Black" (The Rolling Stones). In addition to the main man himself (a solid enough bassist/guitarist/vocalist that also works as a video correspondent for Metal Injection and Metal Sucks), "Grim 1" includes the services of guitarist Anthony Vigo Gabriele and two drummers: Mike "The Machine" Churry (Basilysk) and Rob Pallotta (Tragedy: All Metal Tribute To The Bee Gees And Beyond.). Other than some of the high-pitched vocals of Necrosexual himself, "Grim 1" gets a eight out of 10 in terms of overall performances.

Necrosexual live and in blazing color!

In all honestly it took me a couple of spins to get to that grading point. As I type this review up I am on round number four of "Grim 1". While I'm still trying to wrap my head around this artist/band there are several points that I would like to make. As far as the group's sound goes, "Grim 1" falls somewhere between 80's thrash metal and (King Diamond-inspired) black metal. Influenced by the likes of Slayer, Venom, Grim Reaper, Celtic Frost, Gwar, and (early) Sodom, Necrosexual kills it on the thrash metal end. Meanwhile the black metal influences (both old and new) do shine through, but it seems secondary at best. Make no mistake about it though. That part of Necrosexual does work. Blackened thrash can be a really sick thing if done right. It works on "Grim 1". Well, it works so long as the lead singer stays within his range. When Necrosexual tries for those high-pitched wails it is often painful. They nearly ruin what is otherwise a cool metal number. If Necrosexual could lay off of the banshee shrieks next time around he could really be on the run to the top. The only other complaint about this album is minor. As much as I love The Rolling Stones, "Paint It Black" is a terrible cover choice for this group. It feels so out of place on this album that it isn't even funny! Maybe in better hands it might have made for an alright metal tune. Here on "Grim 1" it simply comes across as stupid and unnecessary. Otherwise, "Grim 1" is a interesting debut from a unique metal band. I'm actually curious to see where things go for this entertainer.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Free Metal Monday: Slave To The Metal

Divebomb Records

Initially released last month, "Slave To The Metal" is a free digital sampler from the good folks over at Divebomb Records. All thirteen of the bands present on this fine sampler are signed to Divebomb Records. You have Old Wolf, Gross Reality, Ironflame, Bewitcher, Witching Altar, Lovell's Blade, and Warlock (to name just a few). All told this is a really good sampler to start your work week.You can download it for free by clicking on this link .

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Elephants In Paradise-Wake Up

Edelstahl Records

Elephants in Paradise is a four-piece heavy metal/rock band from Vienna, Austria that was formed in 2015 by veteran bassist Christoph Scheffel. The forthcoming "Wake Up" is the exciting full-length debut for this up-and-coming outfit that features two members of Jacobs Moor within it's ranks: guitarist Rupert Träxler and drummer Rainer Lidauer. Exceptional lead vocals come courtesy of Cara Cole and so far two singles have been released from this highly-recommended album, "Breaking Bad" and "Feeding A Lie". While these two numbers are remarkable in their own right, "Wake Up" has more in common with the grand long players of yesterday. Full of elegant and engaging numbers from an exceptionally talented and bright quartet, "Wake Up" is one of those rare modern day rock/metal albums that is better played in all it's entirety! It holds your attention from start to finish and that has everything to do with the performances of everyone involved. Lead Singer Cara Cole is a haunting presence on the microphone while her band-mates play with precision, power and passion. "Wake Up" is as much a heavy rock and roll release as it is a red hot melodic metal/power metal one. As far as debut albums go, "Wake Up" is a perfect example of how things should be done. Strong material and top-notch performances matter more than ever in a scene where heavy metal/rock bands are a dime a dozen. Based solely on the material of "Wake Up" the band Elephants in Paradise should experience lots of critical acclaim and plenty of fanfare. Unlike a lot of the terrible music that seems to be flooding modern rock radio these days, "Wake Up" is deserving of all the praise it gets!

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Dracena-Cursed to the Night

Infernö Records

Formed in 1994 by vocalist/bassist/guitarist Mia Larsson (ex-Necrohell, ex-Pagan Rites, ex-Deathwitch), Dracena is a blackened heavy metal/thrash metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden that has two LPs, one EP, and a couple of demos to it's name. Released this past October and clocking in at just over just over 38 minutes in length, the eight-song "Cursed to the Night" is Dracena's sophomore LP as well as my first introduction to this longstanding & absolutely-legit band. The album comes three years after the release of the EP "Ravenous Bloodlust" and is the first Dracena recording to feature new drummer Jocke. In addition to exceptionally-skilled talents of Mia Larsson (she's perfectly wicked as a front-woman, bassist, and rhythm guitarist!), "Cursed to the Night" features two notable guests. The first (and certainly most important!) one is veteran guitarist Fredrik Folkare (Dead Kosmonaut, Firecracker, Firespawn, Unleashed, ex-Incardine, ex-Scudiero, ex-Necrophobic, ex-Siebenbürgen, ex-Fireborn). With a style that leans heavier on old school and classic heavy metal, Fredrik provides all of the lead guitar work on "Cursed to the Night" and man alive(!), he does a fucking fantastic job of it! The lead guitar work on this album is simply stunning and it is perfectly suited to Mia's black metal vocals. Meanwhile, Ola Malmström (vocalist of Swedish death metal band Sorcery) offers his voice on the track "The Shadow of What Once Once". It is a nice gesture that adds a little something extra to what is already a pretty solid number. And speaking of solid, "Cursed to the Night" is exactly that! More or less traditional/classic heavy metal mixed with a (much better than expected!) female black metal vocalist with style & substance, Dracena is a group that at first I didn't think that I would care for, but somehow fell hard for! One could argue that it was the old fashioned heavy metal moments that won me over. Others might say that as a longtime fan of all things female-fronted rock and heavy metal, "Cursed to the Night" was destined to show up in my play list. Whatever the case might be, "Cursed to the Night" ultimately proved to me that black metal and true heavy metal can not only co-exist, but feed off of each other's strengths. This beast might have roped me in with it's heavy metal leanings, but I ended up sticking around because of Mia Larrson. Now that this Swedish act has got my attention I cannot wait to see what comes next!

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Buck Tow Truck-Death Wields A Six String


Formed by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dona, Buck Tow Truck is a one-man metal band from Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. The self-produced "Death Wields A Six String" appears to be the full-length debut for this one-man project, but that is only a guess on my part. There is little to no information available on Buck Tow Truck...I mean other than the origin of the name (see below) and a brief list of influences: "Van Halen," "Dokken" (more specifically George Lynch) and "Bathory.". With that said, "Death Wields A Six String" is a nine-track album that has it's fair share of good and bad points. First, here is what works. From a music standpoint, Buck Tow Truck's latest recording is tight and solid. There are some good ideas here and is pretty obvious that Andrew has a lot of skill and talent as a musician. With a better production job, "Death Wields A Six String" might have been a cool metal album to jam out to. Or at least it could be as an instrumental metal album. Since there is really no good way to put this how about if we just skip the pleasantries and call it like it is? Andrew Dona is a terrible singer. I'm not sure who told Andrew that he could sing, but that person should have their ears examined!! What could have been a decent heavy metal album is all but ruined by Andrew's bizarre vocal delivery. If this was an instrumental album and/or had another singer, "Death Wields A Six String" could have been graded a B- or maybe even a B. As it stands now, Buck Tow Truck's debut, which incidentally you can snag for free by heading here, is a C- release. If I'm being honest, C- might even be too high for a recording like this one. Whatever the case, Buck Tow Truck does have some promise. If only Andrew could get a new singer and a better budget...

According to the promo material: "The name for the band was conceived by combining a typical 80's tough guy name "Buck" with what George Carlin considered to be a man's word. To him, man words have 2 syllables such as shotgun or tow-truck. While saying these words be sure to pump one's fist forward and back in a horizontal line as if cocking a shotgun, as George did."

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Piss River-Piss River

The Sign Records

Let's face the facts: Piss River is quite a moniker for a band. It is definitely one of those names that will make people stand up and take notice. It's not a question of will they look your way (and subsequently tune in to what you have to offer), but rather it is a question of what will you do now that you have their undivided attention? For this (N.W.O.B.H.M.-influenced & punk rock-infused) Swedish hard & heavy/heavy rock quartet the answer seems obvious enough. Ladies and gents, boys and ghouls, the 12-track "Piss River" is here to rock your head off and steal your heart! Lead by an intoxicating front-woman named Sofia Nilsson and comprised of members Auktion, Skitkids and Warchild, the four members of Piss River toss out all the rules of rock and roll with their (damn fantastic!) self-titled debut. Influenced as much by bands like Girlschool & Motörhead as they are L7 and The Gits, Piss River plays up to their (some-what provocative) name while simultaneously making sure that the music is incredibly-addictive and highly-memorable! To go along with the smashing riffs and cool as can be choruses, "Piss River" is chock full of attitude and grit. Thanks to the effort of singer Sofia Nisson, "Piss River" is also punchy and downright fun! In fact there isn't a dull moment to be found on "Piss River". In addition to their own original material (all of which I thoroughly enjoyed!), Piss River (vocalist Sofia Nisson, guitarist Björn Bergström, bassist Viktor Boström, and drummer Albin Bilar) perform a cover "Police Car" by Larry Wallis (ex-Motörhead). Originally released in the seventies, "Police Car" is given a great makeover by Piss River. The track feels right at home on this lyrically-charged release. Now, as far as the band's original compositions are concerned? Like I said earlier, "Piss River" is devoid of filler material. Starting off with the punk rock meets Girlschool foot stomper "Desolation", "Piss River" is one cool cut after another. If you add lots of beer and some tasty snack food, "Piss River" is like the best party you have ever been to! This is a rock and roll album for punks and metalheads, party animals and all-out maniacs!! By the time you get to album's closer ("Bad Reputation") you are left with nothing but a smile and the overwhelming desire to do it all again. Sure, "Piss River" isn't due out until the end of April, but it is never too early to start hyping the next great thing in all of rock!

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

DSease-Rotten Dreams

Sneakout Records

DSease is a young and promising heavy metal/rock band from Rimini, Italy that features skilled-guitarist Fabio Balducci (Synful Ira, ex-Ancient Bards) within it's ranks. Released back in mid-November of 2017, "Rotten Dreams" is the first studio album from this (multi) genre-splicing outfit that is lead by vocalist/bassist Alberto Niccoli. Now in it's third year together, DSease actually began life as a Rammstein tribute band, but has developed into something truly special. Dark, ambient, and cleverly-experimental, the eight-song "Rotten Dreams" is a great start for this up-and-coming metal band that is sure to catch on with both fans and critics! Blessed with an unreal amount of talent and creativity, "Rotten Dreams" is the end result of an inspiring band that combines elements of alternative rock, grunge, electronic rock, hard rock, post-rock, and modern metal. Although they have since departed the band, musicians Massimiliano Pretolesi (synths) and Gabriele Lasi (drums) helped create this enjoyable album that comes highly-recommended. You can find "Rotten Dreams" on sites like iTunes, Amazon, and cdbaby.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Kings Will Fall Interview

Kings Will Fall is a thrash n' death metal from Italy. Earlier this month I covered the band's new album, "Thrash Force.One". It is now my pleasure to present this short interview that I did with the group.

Andy-Could you please introduce yourselves and tell our listeners how the band came about?

Fabian-Kings Will Fall is Luk on the drums, Rene on the guitar, Vance on the bass and me, Fabian on the the very beginning Luk and Vance jammed together. Soon enough Rene joined in.  I was the last member to join. I got in touch with the guys by responding to a Facebook announcement.

Andy-How did you decide on your band name?

Fabian-There were many thoughts as far as choosing the band name. We decided to take this one because it sounded right and it fits really well with our style.

Andy-I completely agree. It's a fitting name for a band like yours."Thrash Force. One" is a dynamite debut album. What was it like recording it? Did you expect it to turn out as well as it did?

Fabian-First of all thank you for the term. We did not have a clue how it would turn out at all. There were just some common guys that wanted to record an album for the love of music.. we took our time, step by step. The sound engineer did a fantastic job. It was a great experience.

Andy-Yes, the end result speaks for itself. Your style of thrash n' death is fresh and exciting. Does the sound come from everyone's personal influences?

Fabian- I think we're all bound by the love of oldschool thrash metal. That is what unites us. The individual tastes of everyone is different. Surely we all add a personal note to the music.

Andy-You included a Motörhead cover on your album. Do you play any other cover songs live?

Fabian-No we don't. This one is unique. It is driven by the love of this musical hero. From the beginning it was clear to us, if Lemmy passes away (we never believed), we have to do a cover in honor to this great personality.

Andy-He truly was great. There will never be another Lemmy. As an outsider looking in, Italy seems to have a growing heavy metal/thrash scene. Everyday it seems as if another one just pops up from out of nowhere. Does that make it easier or harder for your band as far as the competition goes?

Fabian-It's just a good sign if there are so many bands in the metal genre. It shows that the love of real music is not dead yet. In the local scene we are just one of a very few thrash bands. But competition would be good for business.

Andy-As a follow-up to that question, are there a lot of clubs and/or venues available to play at in your neck of the woods?

Fabian-There are a few. It's hard for live music clubs nowadays, but hopefully they will rise again...

Andy-What has been the reaction to your new disc?

Fabian-The reactions are great. There are a lot of good reviews that we have got from all over the world.

Andy-Do you have a lot of shows booked for 2018? If so would you like to promote any of them here?

Fabian-Some are already fixed. One is a special one, on the 3rd of February. The Inquisition Metalfest is a indoor festival which is organized by our band. This will be 4th time in a row.

Daniel (bass)-There are plans to make a mini European tour in November. Northern Italy, South France and Spain are the countries we plan to visit.

Andy-Cool. I wish you guys all the best for the tour. How can fans pick up a copy of your new album?

Daniel-They can contact us personally on Facebook or anywhere else. Or simply visit our bandcamp site (here) to get a physical or digital copy. You can also pick up other with merchandise there. Otherwise you can find it digitally on all the common sites like amazon, iTunes, spotify and so on.

Andy-Excellent! Now, I like to close interviews by letting the artists have the last say. Is there anything that we didn't touch up that you would like to mention?

Daniel-I would like to thank everyone who is reading this. Thanks to all of you for your support. Visit our social media channels, leave some likes, comments and listen to Thrash Metal, as it will never die.
Thrash on \m/

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Free Metal Monday: Decay Within-Demo 2018

Who's Mic? Recordings

Decay Within is a one-man death metal/grindcore band from Oxford, Michigan. Formed by ex-Writhing member Mike Nastasy (vocals, guitars, bass, and drum programming), the solo project is about six years old now. The self-produced "Demo 2018" looks as if it is the studio debut studio for this gnarly one-man band and it can be downloaded for free by clicking on the highlighted link above. While it is primarily a (old-school) death metal meets underground grindcore kind of release, the six-track "Demo 2018" does use a little bit of raw thrash to tease it's listeners. As a solid first attempt, Mike Nastasy's solo project shows off a world of promise and I for one cannot wait to see what's next. You can follow Decay Within by way of Facebook and if you are into uncompromising death/thrash/grind then make you you snag "Demo 2018".

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Shadow Kingdom-The Reflection


Shadow Kingdom is a up-and-coming/buzz-worthy heavy metal band from Milford, Connecticut that is lead by vocalist Robert Slater (Fear Apparent). The five-track EP, "The Reflection", is the debut offering for this five-piece metal band that features two highly-skilled guitarists in Anthony Quintiliano (M.S.W.) & Greg Alfonso (ex-Sick from Hate, ex-Sounds from Hell, ex-Necromansy). Nino Zazzarino (bass) and Carlos Zazzarino (drums) round things out for this killer Connecticut metal band that splits the difference between really heavy metal EP and U.S. power metal. With strong song writing skills and a cool metal sound that is both modern and vintage, Shadow Kingdom is a hot metal outfit that should do great things! So far this is only a digital release. As such you can find "The Reflection" on iTunes.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Boogie Hammer-First Blood (Demo Tape)

Fuck The Mainstream - We Are The Mainstream Records

Boogie Hammer is a wildly reckless & fun as fuck rock and roll band from from Vienna, Austria. This six-song EP serves as the group's proper introduction to the world at large, but damn it man, is this piece of shit planet of ours deserving of such an honor? The answer of course is no. Seeing as that is the case, Boogie Hammer* is gracious as fuck for gifting us this freaky little jam fest! Starting off with the aptly-titled "Chainsaw", "First Blood" cracks the sky wide-open with it supersonic rock and roll sound and yes, it is orgasmic! Self-dubbed "Speed Boogie", the four members of Boogie Hammer perform a great public service as they give us five original compositions and a cover of the Scorpions song, "Speedy's Coming". That might seem like a weird cover choice for a crazy band like this, but it actually works rather well given the circumstances. Not quite punk rock or garage heavy metal, Boogie Hammer exists in their own world where both the Stray Cats and Motörhead are considered prime examples of grade A classic rock! With a full-length album reportedly in the works for later on in 2018, Boogie Hammer is fuzzed-over & feedback-drenched fun for the whole family to enjoy!! You can download this cool demo for free by heading here.
As for psychical copies of this instant classic? Try heading to this page to buy your own copy. That's the good news. What is the bad news? Well, the cassette release of this demo is limited to a mere 50 copies. For a smashing gem like this that is absolutely criminal! This is a classic case of getting the goods while they are hot and fresh. You snooze on this one and you are going to lose out BIG TIME! As one rock fan to another, Boogie Hammer is the real deal. In all the best ways possible(!), "First Blood" is real, down n' dirty, sleeves rolled up & work shirt unbuttoned riff-rock and roll for the under-payed and under-appreciated working class. Grab yourself a beer and kick off your work boots. This EP is for you.

*According to Facebook the group's line-up is as follows: D. "Süpürgesi" Vacuum (guitar, vocals), Luke Remington (guitar), Ricky Switchblade (bass), and Dave Dagger (drums).

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dam-Age "Thirteen Bullets in My Head"


Dam-Age is a thrash metal band from Ukraine, Kharkov whose line-up is unknown. The recently-released "Thirteen Bullets in My Head" seems to be the group's debut, but that is only a guess on my part. Seeing as there is little information to go by when it comes to these underground thrashers, Dam-Age could be a brand new act or one that has been around for awhile. Who really knows? Certainly not Facebook or the Metal Archives. They were no help when it came to the who, what, when, and where of this (wreck-inducing) merchants of metal. And I didn't have any luck with the time honored tradition of doing a "google search". So yeah, Dam-Age are a bit of a mystery. At any rate, one dollar is all that it costs to purchase this 4-track EP. In my eyes that it a steal. Here's why. With "Thirteen Bullets in My Head" you get this underground take on (early) Megadeth and it's all from a band that is (slightly) rough & raw around the edges. It's almost as if you were to take a really solid garage metal band and then you mixed in elements of  gripping thrash and vintage Megadeth. Whoever they are, the members of Dam-Age know what they are doing as far as songwriting and overall musicianship goes. The production is perfectly suited to this type of metal and there are no real complaints as far as the mix is concerned. Topped off by some sick lead vocals and great guitar solos, Dam-Age's new EP is a fun listen that lives up to it's wicked album art! To quote a line from 1987's Robocop, "I'd buy that for a dollar!".

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018



Based in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, Legendarium is Laurence Kerbov (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, writing and production) and Stefano Vaccari (drums). This six-track EP is the group's debut release. It was suggested to me by a friend who lives and breaths all things punk metal. I am going to be extremely honest when I say that I'm not exactly sure where to begin when it comes to this band's self-titled release. Yes, it does mix together elements of punk rock and traditional heavy metal. Along with the punk metal, "Legendarium" toys with horror punk, goth rock, garage metal, power metal, and (oddly-enough) "Master of Puppets"-era Metallica! While that in and off itself might not sound too strange, "Legendarium" leans heavily on the keyboards and it features some of the weirdest vocals out there! Laurence Kerbov's vocal style is never going to suite all tastes. Especially when you consider that he sounds an awful lot like the Richmond character from the the British TV series, IT Crowd! For those of you who are not familiar with the character here is a short clip of him talking about Cradle of Filth.

Now, take that voice and add it to a punk metal band and you have got Legendarium! This is either a good thing or a bad thing (depending upon your view of life and whether or not you like to march to the beat of your own mad drummer!). To these ears it is just "odd". With a better vocalist, Legendarium could be onto something unique and refreshing. As it stands now, Laurence Kerbov's voice is likely to turn a lot of people away. Either way I highly suggest that you give this EP a listen. The EP isn't that long and with it's odd construction and exotic ingredients, "Legendarium" will keep your interest!

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Monday, January 15, 2018

hell bent-EP


Formed in 2015 and comprised of current & former members of Dropdead, Ulcer, Paindriver, Straight to Hell, Neon Bitches, and Hard Drug, hell bent is a thrash metal/(hardcore-tinged) crossover band from Providence, Rhode Island. The self-explanatory "EP" is the latest release from this (d-beat-infused) fierce as fuck outfit. It is a six-song EP that clocks in at just under thirteen minutes. Other than perhaps the EP's length*, hell bent's new recording is fault free from start to finish! With it's old school-street metal & (hardcore-tinged) crossover meets underground thrash metal, "EP" is a great introduction to this tough as nails group. In addition to being a digital release, "EP" is available to purchase on cassette tape. That's rather fitting and all seeing as this EP has the feel of a underground gem from the heyday of tape-trading! If gritty and raw street-legit thrash metal/crossover/hardcore is your bread and butter, hell bent is bound to be your jam!

*As good as these guys are, hell bent's debut should have been a full-length LP!

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Damn Youth-Breathing Insanity

Cospe Fogo Produções

Damn Youth is a raw thrash/crossover band from Caucaia, Ceará, Brazil that has been in existence since 2013. Fronted by Elton Luiz, Damn Youth made it's debut in 2015 with the 3-track demo "Skate in Hell". In 2016 the band released a split with Lei do Cão and the 3-track EP, "No Mercy to Nazi Sympathy". Both the split and the EP came out on cassette tape. In addition they both featured cover songs. The split saw the group cover a track by Vio-Lence while "No Mercy to Nazi Sympathy" features a cover of "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" (Dead Kennedys). In a very real way both of those bands (Vio-Lence and The Dead Kennedys) show up to play on Damn Youth's latest recording. Released on January 9th, "Breathing Insanity" might not feature any cover tunes, but the influence of vintage thrash and old school punk/hardcore runs wild on this full-length album! Available as a (name your price) digital download by clicking here, "Breathing Insanity" is what you get when you take the crazier side of the thrash metal movement (Vio-Lence, Forbidden, Exodus, Toxic Holocaust, Slayer, etc.) and mix it with crossover (D.R.I., C.O.C., Suicidal Tendencies, Cro-Mags), punk/hardcore (the aforementioned Dead Kennedys, The Exploited, Discharge, etc.), street metal (Zoetrope), and rough & real garage metal. With 13 wickedly fun tracks in all, "Breathing Insanity" has a great underground vibe going for it (even if one cannot ignore the exceptional skills of these mad musicians!). At the end of the day it is an absolute steal as a name your own price download. That said, Damn Youth might be onto something by offering it for next to nothing. If it helps spread the word about this Brazilian band then it will all be worth it. For now, why not jump aboard this bandwagon while it's still within sight?

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dinosaur Eyelids-Left Turn on Red


New Jersey's Dinosaur Eyelids issued their 5th studio album back in late November of 2017. With it's tongue-in-cheek title of "Left Turn on Red", I had this CD arrive unexpectedly at my door. With 11 tracks in all, "Left Turn on Red" is the long-anticipated  follow-up to 2014's "Bypass To Nowhere". From what I have read, "Bypass To Nowhere" was well-received by both the fans and the critics. While I cannot vouch for their last album, "Left Turn on Red" is an absolute winner in my book and the exact kind of rock album that I would stop the presses for! Opening with four straight rock and roll gems in a row, "Left Turn on Red" is the gripping story of a five-piece garage band that works through it's personal struggles by plugging in & kicking out the jam. Influences seem to range from Ween, The Stooges, Dinosaur Jr., The Replacements, and Sonic Youth all the way up through Nirvana, Soundgarden, Black Sabbath, and Kyuss. On this excellent album you are just as likely to witness the influence of Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and The Who as you are Blind Melon and Saigon Kick! As an example of the wide array of influences let's check out two song. First we have "L.A. Lady". This semi-ballad is rock and roll all the way though, but it also has a bit of a late eighties/early nineteens hair metal vibe to it. Dinosaur Eyelids perfectly executes this cool number which could have easily been a hit for any number of L.A. glam metal bands. On the other end of the spectrum we have "Making Up Memories". On an album where (heavy) rock and roll rules the day, "Making Up Memories" sounds like a hard rock take on Jane's Addiction (without all the drama naturally). It is a great song, but then again, "Left Turn on Red" is nothing but one great track after another. As part of the alternative rock scene, Dinosaur Eyelids might have a hard time breaking through all of the preconceived barriers that come from closed minds. Whatever you do, do not fall for such a trap! At it's core this is a rock and roll album that demands to be played "Loud & Proud"! An album like "Left Turn on Red" is just as likely to appeal to the alternative/indie rock crowd as it is those of us in the hard & heavy scene. You can and most-certainly should check out this heavy rockin' release by by heading here. Be forewarned though. These NJ alt-rockers are a loud bunch! As such this album is all kinds of LOUD. You can try turning it down, but ultimately it needs to be played at maximum volume. That's what you do for any great rock recording and this gem is no different!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018



"Loud, Fast, and Rude". Not only is that the way in which I want to live my life, but it is also the motto of Australian' blackened speed metal project Viölence. Lead by Dylan Potter (all instruments), with "MotörDemon" serving as the debut EP from this one man wrecking crew from the wastelands of hell(!), Viölence seems to have shown up from out of nowhere! It was like one day there was nothing and then the next things I know is that this 5-track recording was showing up everywhere I looked. There's a damn good reason for that happening. While it's only an EP, "MotörDemon" is more than enough proof that Dylan Potter knows how to rock the dead back to life! Without missing a beat, Viölence throws you wave after wave of sinister riffs that one minute sound like classic Venom and the next (early) Sodom! In addition to the godfathers of blackened speed metal, Viölence seems to pay homage to the underground side of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene and quite obviously then, Lemmy. Fact is, "MotörDemon" is too good not to share. So, strap in tight and put your helmet on. This EP is going to be on hell of a ride!

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Monday, January 08, 2018

Kings Will Fall-Thrash Force.One


Kings Will Fall is a up-and-coming thrash n' death metal band from Italy that is fronted by Fabian Jung. Formed in 2013 by drummer Lukas Gross and bassist Daniel Vanzo, Kings Will Fall made it's debut in 2015 with the extended-EP, "Death Comes Easy". With eight original compositions plus a choice cover of Motörhead's "We Are Motörhead", the aptly-titled "Thrash Force. One" is the full-length debut for this uncompromising metal group that hails from Sarntal in South Tyrol. Guitarist Rene Thaler rounds things out for this (old school thrash metal-worshiping) four-piece band. In addition to eighties and (early) nineties thrash metal (see list below), "Thrash Force. One" showcases a gritty, street metal-legit, band that isn't afraid to lean on Motörhead & Tank for support. Toss in some punk-inspired vocals from Kings Will Fall's great lead singer (you are the man Fabian Jung!) and you have a sweet as hell album that knows how to rock out hard in the middle of one righteous pit! I just know that this (kicking!) thrash n' death album will be getting plenty of spins from me in the future!!

Kings Will Fall's influences:
Sodom, Slayer, Kreator, Testament, Overkill, Exodus, Destruction, Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica(in the 80's), Insanity Alert, Pantera, Flotsam & Jetsam, Nuclear Assault, Toxic Holocaust, and Sepultura (in the 80's and early 90's)

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Sunday, January 07, 2018

My Silent Wake-There Was Death

Minotauro Records

Formed in 2005 from the remains of Ashen Mortality, My Silent Wake is one of the UK's best death/doom bands. Since the very beginning the group has been lead by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Ian Arkley (Seventh Angel, Century Sleeper). Although the background members have come and gone, Ian's vision has kept My Silent Wake not only alive, but consistently evolving and thus improving. Now in it's thirteenth year of existence, My Silent Wake Over has a huge back catalog to it's name. Not only are there multiple full-length recordings, but there are numerous EPs and singles, several compilations, a promo DVD, and two splits! Recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered by Greg Chandler (Esoteric) at Priory studios, "There Was Death" is the tenth full-length album by My Silent Wake. It is the follow-up to 2017's "Invitation to Imperfection". While I choose not to cover that particular album for a variety of reasons (one of which was because it is largely a instrumental release) I did review 2015's "Damnatio Memoriae". At the time I called it "My Silent Wake's strongest release to date".With a release date of February 16th, 2018, "There Was Death" is every bit as good as "Damnatio Memoriae" was. What's more, "There Was Death" is packed with some of My Silent Wake's heaviest material to date! At this point in the game My Silent Wake has developed a unmistakable sound. Anyone that has been following this incredible band for awhile has no doubt picked up on that fact. With "There Was Death" that distinct, somewhat (slowed down) doom rock meets (sorrowful) goth rock sound is still present. As cool as it is that side of the band serves as the album's foundation. With producer Greg Chandler providing keys and some extreme vocals (well, it's more like he is growling into the mic and/or screaming, but it is still epic!) and Ian (vocals/guitars) looking to push the boundaries as far as they will go(!), the one hour long "There Was Death" finds My Silent Wake armed to the teeth for what will be very primitive, hand to hand, combat. The conflict isn't physical though. Like numerous other albums, "There Was Death" deals with spiritual issues (lyrically) while the actually music smothers you under it's mighty weight. At their heaviest/most savage and with some of the best material to date at their disposal, the members of My Silent Wake have gifted the metal community some impeccable music. Longtime fans of My Silent Wake should love this well-crafted disc of  formidable death/doom. For anyone new to the group, My Silent Wake is simply doing what they do best: improving upon perfection. As always this is stellar death/doom from a musical mastermind that is known as Ian Arkley. It's a complex and sometimes challenging band that has taken England by storm along with much of the U.S. With albums like "There Was Death" the world should be won over, but only time will time as far as that wish of mine goes.

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Friday, January 05, 2018

Starsoup-Castles of Sand

Metalism Records

Starsoup is a progressive heavy rock/metal studio project from Moscow, Russian. Formed in 2011 by vocalist/guitarist (and sole full-time member) Alexey Markov (Distant Sun, ex-Citadel, ex-Shadow Host), Starsoup made it's debut with the 2011 single, "Angel". The full-length "Bazaar of Wonders" followed in 2013 with two additional singles, "The Wait" (2015) and "Your World Is Dead" (2017), serving as the bridge between album number one and this full-length feature. Released in late November of 2017, "Castles of Sand" is the long-anticipated sophomore LP from this extremely- versatile act. Like it's predecessor, "Castles of Sand" finds Alexey Markov backed-up by not only guest musicians, but other vocalists. Obviously with so many different players at work, Starsoup is going to sound different from album to album. Not only that, but each song is going to have it's own flavor. To that end here is the album's track list. Please note that tracks number 10 and 12 only appear on the CD versions of "Castles of Sand". You can find information on how to order a CD copy of this incredible album by heading here. That link takes you to the group's bandcamp page.

"Castles of Sand" track list:

1.The Catcher in the Lie
2. Into the Woods
3. Brother's Plea
4. Your World Is Dead
5. Rumors of Better Love
6. Escapist
7. Winter in Shire
8. Castle
9. The World That Has Moved On
10. Light Up the Stars (CD bonus)
11. Moon on the Shore
12. Road to Sunset (CD bonus)

Starting off with the four-minute "The Catcher in the Lie", Starsoup's latest recording is a charmingly diverse release where you are likely to pick up on something new and exciting with each new spin! On "Castles of Sand" you'll find everything from traditional heavy metal to classical music. You have progressive AOR and folk-leanings, modern metal and thrash. There is melodic hard rock and there are power metal moments that will make your head spin. Pretty much anything that you can imagine shows up on Starsoup's new album. On paper that might sound messy and chaotic. In actuality this is a well-constructed album that is intelligent and enjoyable. It is geared towards progressive rock fans and anyone that likes their music to be thought-provoking. I'd also recommend it to anyone that likes to march to the beat of their own drummer. Kudos to Alex Markov and company for this excellent album. Hopefully this is just  the first of many great releases from this Russian project.

In addition to Alexey Markov (guitars,vocals, and effects), "Castles of Sand" features:

Mike Sorokin Drums (1, 4, 6)
Ivan Izotov Bass (1, 3, 4, 7), Keyboards (3, 4, 7), Orchestration (1)
Dmitriy Ignatyev Guitars (lead) (1, 4)
Kirill Babiev Vocals (1)
Sergey Serebrennikov Drums (2, 3, 7)
Oleg Mishin Flute (3, 4)
Vladimir Shevyakov Guitars (6), Guitars (lead) (8, 10)
Evgeniy Nesterov Bass (6)
Rustam Akhmatgaraev Keyboards (1, 6), Piano (9, 11, 12)
Artem Molodtsov Bass (8, 10), Guitars (8)
Anton Yalovchuk Drums (8)
Vladimir Shulepin Keyboards (8, 10)
Daria Naumenko Vocals (9)
Alex Dyachenko Drums (10)

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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Corrosion of conformity-No cross no crown

Nuclear Blast

 This is the bands first album with vocalist Pepper Keenan since 2005's In the Arms of God and the first to feature this band lineup in nearly 18 years. Right away it's like they are right back where they were during the decade plus that Keenan was singing for the band. There's plenty of distorted riffs flowing while rhythms pound along behind them. Frequently they aren't afraid to reach back and pull 70's inspired hooks to propel the songs forward. The production stays just dull and fuzzy enough to really help the sound retain the sound that they are obviously aiming for. I have to admit that I got into this band in their crossover days in the 80's and loved them then. I have certainly embraced everything they have done since changing their musical style which started with 1991's Blind. However this albums was better than most from their stoner/doom days. I think that helped it the most is that there is a great variety of pace and styles on these tracks than on a number of their other albums. Fans of the band will likely be into this one for sure.

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Dark Hound-Dawning


Dark Hound is a heavy/power metal band from Nashville, TN. The group has been around since 2009 and (as of this writing) it is comprised of vocalist/bassist ET Brown, guitarist Evan Hensley, guitarist Preston Walls, and drummer Josh Brown. Along with Megadeth, Testament, and some (pre-Black album) Metallica, Dark Hound is every bit as influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M. sounds of Iron Maiden & Judas Priest as it is Pantera and Dream Theater. In 2014 I did a write up on the group's self-titled debut (link). I really liked "Dark Hound" so I had high hopes for this album. In now way, shape, or form did this release let me down! With a release date of January 19th, 2018, "Dawning" is the second full-length album from this progressive and melodic quartet that also has a 2015 EP to it's name ("Oceans"). It is a step forward in terms of growth and musical-evolution. The songs are more inspired and so do the individual performances of everything involved with this energetic release. With eleven tracks in all, "Dawning" is a fun listen and one hell of a enjoyable experience! Ultimately it is a must-have for fans of real metal!! If "Dawning" is any indication of what awaits us, 2018 is going to a great year for heavy metal fans and the scene as a whole.

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