Friday, November 30, 2012


Svart Records

The band Uhrijuhla, "Sacrificial Feast" in English (although the name is inspired by the cult classic movie The Wicker Man, which is called Uhrijuhla in Finland), is one of those instances when the whole is something else then the sum of it's parts. Most of the time when one hears the term "supergroup" the end result is something far less then imagined. Here we find vocalist Janitor Muurinen (best known from the death metal act Xysma), guitarist Markus Myllykangas (of the post-metal band Callisto) and successful solo vocalist Olga combining their talents into something quite enchanting. The bulk of the music, and all of the lyrics, was written by Kauko Röyhkä. While unknown in this part of the world, which is surprising given his 30-year career, he is a respected Finnish singer-songwriters with a few dozen albums to his credit. A few years in the making, Uhrijuhla ultimate cause was to play "a new kind of progressive rock - partially homage to the grand masters from the seventies but also influenced by modern progressive pop such as Portishead and Massive Attack". On paper that sounds adventurous enough, but often times reality does not mirror lofty ambitions. In this case though, and credit must be given to Kauko Röyhkä, the assembled group has released a charming album that, while not within the realm of "metal" as we have come to know it, is steeped in traditional pop and progressive rock. The sound is more vintage then modern, but it's produced in such a way that it doesn't sound tired or overly dated. At times, as I am growing long in my years, it stirred memories of a simpler time when, in childhood, the music of AM radio was comfortable and calming. It's softer music than one might expect given the participation of vocalist Janitor Muurinen and guitarist Markus Myllykangas, but it's an album that finds it's footing, and subsequently it's appeal, in subtle ways. With lush arrangements and adventurous style-shifts this is more then just a pleasant listening experience. While it might not sound like it from the description, calling it psychedelic, progressive pop (by way of guitar-driven vintage rock) wouldn't be too far out there, this self-titled release might just appeal to a wider audience then could rightly be expected by this review. As the promo justifiably points out, in a rare case where the album's notes are not just "blowing smoke" as it were, there is not only 70's-infused pop to enjoy here, but "Hawkwind-style guitar" to be discovered within making this a highly recommended listen. Uhrijuhla is a wonderful example of what can be achieved by not only thinking outside the box, in and of itself hardly a new concept with all of the "experimental" supergroups out there these day, but actually concentrating on the finished presentation. Hopefully this is only the beginning for this adventurous act. 

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Heavenward- Within These Dreams


 All the way from Duisburg/Krefeld, Germany comes Heavenward, another "forgotten" heavy metal act, courtesy of our friends at Pure Underground Records. Formed in 1986, Heavenward would release a pair of demos, "Into The Night" and "At First Nature" (1988 and 1989 respectfully), before issuing this album, their 1991 full-length debut, on Rough Trade. The band would issue one more release in 1992's "A Future Worth Talking About?" (Inline Music) before seemingly opting to call it a day. Apparently the group is once more active given the fact that this re-release, which incidentally has been completely remastered, features one brand-new track called "System is Going Down". As an special bonus Pure Underground Records has added on the band's 1989 4-track demo, "At First Nature", to give this new CD a solid run-time of  67:47. Interesting enough this re-release opens with the new song and closes with the 4-track demo. As for the new that new track, "System is Going Down", it is supposed to show a heavier side of the band (or as the promo puts it "the thrashy side of Heavenward"), but in reality it is only slightly more intense then what the band put out on "Within These Dreams". Speaking of Heavenward's debut album (which was new to me) the name of the game is power metal. Not modern "power metal" mind you. No, this is 90's power metal we are talking about and, frankly speaking, a genre that is sorely missed. A good starting point for Heavenward would be Metal Church. What is all the more interesting is how Pure Underground Records labels this release as one that "Fans of old HELLOWEEN, CHROMING ROSE, early BLIND GUARDIAN and HEAVENS GATE will certainly like this band, which plays melodic power-metal combined with razor-sharp speed." One would wager that those looking for another Helloween would be sorely disappointed. Early Blind Guardian is a fair enough comparison, but Heavenward, more then anything, offer a lighter alternative to early Metal Church. Mind you they are still power metal, and good power metal at that, but there is not as much "speed" as "crunch". The Metal Church vibe is all the more noticeable thanks to singer Stefan Kesse. If that sounds as if it is knock on the band nothing could be further from the truth! Heavenward are a treat to rediscover if early power metal, of the American kind, is something you just can't get enough of. The work of guitarist Achim Schneider is spot on, which makes one wonder why he never appeared in another band after this, and the rhythm section of bassist Oliver Müller and drummer Thomas Kelleners (of Blind Guardian fame) holds everything in place. If there is any fault to be found it lays within the fact that a few of the tracks do tend to blur together. While they may have sounded similar to Metal Church they were not quite on the same level as Metal Church. As previously stated, the re-release version of this album ends with the inclusion of the bands second demo. It is interesting to note that the band's biography section of the promo mentions how the media at the time compared the demo material to acts like Fates Warning, Liege Lord, Jag Panzer, Crimson Glory, Helloween and Blind Guardian. Listening to the demo certainly makes that picture a little more clear, especially on the 1989 version of "Remember / At First Nature", as the band comes off as being a bit more aggressive. "Hell on Earth" is most certainly raw, but it has a certain charm all it's own as does the demo version of "Holding The Key". Overall this is a gem of a power metal release and most certainly fitting of this re-release.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Varg-Guten Tag

NoiseArt Records

It's Thursday, or as my friend Jeremy (former lead singer of The Approach and The Execution) likes to say "It's Thor'sday!", so what better way to celebrate the fact that the weekend is almost upon us then with some viking metal! Varg, which means "wolf" in both Swedish and Norwegian, is a German pagan metal band that was formed back in 2005. This is the band's forth full-length studio album and, as the lyrics are not in English, I'll just have to assume that this is all about vikings, sword fighting,drinking plenty of strong ale, etc. That being the case (having no clue whatsoever what these guys are talking about here!) let's just focus on the music. That is easy enough to do as this some fairly "interesting" metal and, even more so, a unique take on the pagan metal genre. Where to start with these sword wielding maniacs? Well, from the start this is Viking metal at it's roots, but it's also a little punk, a little thrash, a little black metal, a little traditional heavy metal and a whole lot of attitude. Starting with the punk rock, as good a place to start as any, and one need only listen to Varg for a few minutes to hear the sounds of bands like the Dropkick Murphys and/or Flogging Molly. As with most folk/pagan/viking bands there is always that strong sense that very little separates the two genres (pagan/folk verses folk/punk) other then the volume level. With Varg though it seems as if the desire was to create a folk edge without the traditional folk instruments so it does give them a bit more of a traditional metal edge. Onward and we get to enjoy parts that point toward thrash and black metal. When they want Varg offer pagan metal that sounds all the world like severely hard and heavy blackened thrash with old school metal riffs. I'm not going to say that this is first place a thrash geared album though. These guys obviously have their swords pointed high up to their Norse gods. There is always some folk rocking out in the background and, even in German, you can tell that Varg want to pillage and plunder. If you tweaked these gents though you could almost get off with calling them power metal though so, even if it is not even 9am yet, I can't help but want to raise a pint in their honor for giving the world of metal a album that is certainly heavy and worthy of a few devil horns!

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Current Playlist

What a week it has been! On Tuesday I finally got my cast/wrap off of my left wrist (still some pain and soreness, but at least I can sort-of type with two hands again!) which was a long time coming (three weeks to be exact). Wednesday I found out my daughter (who is 14) got asked to her first dance by a boy. I am not quite ready to have "dating" children (especially as I am raising them solo!). So far today has run smoothly, but, overarching my entire week, has been the realizing that I am all too human and especially flawed. Thankfully this blog is an escape, and/or much needed therapy, so with that all said here is my various lists:

Listening to:
Flashlight Brown-My Degeneration (Quirky punk rock from Canada)
Heard It On The Radio Vol. 7 (Forgotten hits...)
Exciter-Violence & Force (It's early Exciter so enough said!)
Bad Religion-New Maps To Hell (Solid album from this older band)
Loud, Fast, Ramones-Their Toughest Hits (I find whenever I feel like crap about myself the Ramones help)
Filter-Short Bus (What can I say, I was feeling nostalgic for awhile this week)
Rageheart-Rageheart (Excellent metal from my friends over at Metal On Metal Records)
Fates Warning-Spectre Within (This was on Metal Mark's list I believe last week so I checked it out-killer)
Acid-Maniac (Cool 80's metal)
Witchfinder General-Fiends Of Hell (NWOBHM doom-glorious!)

Shocker (A classic horror film!)
21 Jump Street (Not a classic!)
Commando (A favorite of mine from when I was a teen. Still as fun as I remembered it to be!)
The Amityville Horror (Remake was on TV last night...frankly, a turd of a movie)
Legend (The movie was saved by Tim Curry!)

The Greatest Sci-Fi Films Of All Time

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Ten-Heresy and Creed

Frontiers Records

  I see here that “Heresy And Creed” is Ten's 'tenth' full-length studio album. I also see that this is only the second album I've heard out of Gary Hughes and company. Looking back over my notes from 2011 (link below) it does not look as if I was overly impressed with this Frontiers Records' band. Well, after listening to "Heresy and Creed" maybe I was wrong and maybe I was right. Lately I've been more wrong then right so let's stick with that little nugget of truth for the time being. Album number ten is a better overall release to these ears. It sounds fuller and features a better production (or rather pretty solid production) from Dennis Ward and Gary Hughes this time around. It also seems as if more individual attention was giving to each tracks as things roll along more smoothly and concisely. Ten are still one of the best when it comes to this kind of melodic rock/AOR. That said I was right about Ten the last time around when I alluded to the fact that the band always sounds more promising on paper then they do on an actual album. Nothing against Gary Hughes or the musicians he has gathered as it all sounds fine and, again, there are chops to be found and some hard rock credibility. In the end though I just can't seem to get overly excited about Ten though. And while any good writer knows that, in regards to writing reviews, one should avoid referring to how  "I liked this" or "I liked that" (in other words making the reviews less about yourself and more about the band and the product at hand) I've always felt that music was ultimately about what transpires between the band/act and the listener first and foremost. In other words how does one person respond to the music/product presented when alone in a controlled situation. That is how I've always tried to approach new albums and new material. It's just me and the music. No distractions and no excuses. So, while a band like Ten might indeed read like something I should love (melodic rock/hard rock/AOR with top-notch musicians and lots of credibility) in "action",as it is, I left feeling like this was enjoyable enough if not something I would ultimately want to listen to all the time.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dehumanized-Controlled Elite

Comatose Music

New York's Dehumanized was formed in 1995, split-up in 2000, got back together in 2004 and then split-up again in 2007. In between all of that mess the band released two demos and a full-length album, "Prophecies Foretold" (not necessarily in that order). With this new album Dehumanized is looking to reclaim their past glory and make a case that they deserve to have a spot in the "Best New York Death Metal" category and/or the "Best Death Metal" list. As it's been a good 14 years since the band's last album a lot has changed in the scene. From the sounds of album number two for Dehumanized they just don't recognize that fact or they just don't care. Either way thank God for small miracles as this is old-school death metal that still carries that old familiar NYC style. I'm old enough to remember hearing the band's last album as I now have a 14 year old as proof. Listening again to Dehumanized brings a lot of memories floating back, but chief among them is how much they remind me of Suffocation. Given the fact that Frank Mullen (Suffocation) does a guest spot on this album it's clear enough to see why I get that vibe.With a guest guitar solo by Terrance Hobbs (Suffocation) as well one can't help but see the correlation. My other impression was the way in which this album, or rather the band, would have fit perfectly on either the legendary "Grindcrusher" compilation or the "Death Is Just The Beginning" compilation. With it's solid production courtesy of Joe Cincotta (Full Force Studios) "Controlled Elite" is old school death for fans of Suffication, Deicide or other similar 90's death metal groups. It might not have the same magic as their debut album, as that was some crushing, breakdown-style death, but as a sophomore recording it's fairly solid. Given that it took 14 years to get to this sophomore release I'd say it was worth the wait.

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Looking at these pictures would probably lead a person to think that this Welsh band was a sleaze rock/glam metal band. So, how exactly does this odd looking band, with an ever odder name, fit into the NWOBHM movement? Well, despite the ill-fitting and hair metal make up job, Rankelson is a name that should be on any respected NWOBHM fan's to check out list. Formed in 1984, the band managed to release two solid, if admittedly middle-of- the-road, rock/metal albums before folding four years later. According to the ultimate guide on all things NWOBHM, "The N.W.O.B.H.M. Encyclopedia" the band was formed initially by ex-Neon Spirit bassist Kim Hooker (Kim later went on to greater fame as the front-man of glam band Tigertailz) under the name Ran-Kelson. Due to numerous omissions of the hyphen the band dropped it and settled for plain old Rankelson. A four track demo appeared in the band's early days which lead to better live opportunities rather then an immediate record deal. It took some doing, but a deal was eventually struck with the classic Ebony Records. The result was 1986's "Hungry For Blood". With a keyboard player in the line-up the material released proved to be more on the hard rock/ melodic metal side of things. The overall impression is material similar in nature to bands such as Demon, Blade Runner, Tytan or Seducer. Album number two, "The Bastards Of Rock 'n' Roll", might have had a mean-looking cover and sinister- sounding title, but the music proved to be more commercial in nature (bands like Chinawhite and Persian Risk come to mind) even if it did retain some of it's hard rock appeal. Two albums proved to be all Rankleson could muster before folding and truthfully, as I do strive to be above all honest, neither album is a "masterpiece". Added together on one of those 2 on 1 CDs though (which I just ordered not that long ago, but you can easily make your own at home thanks to sites like  this: ) and you get a very enjoyable mix of melodic NWOBHM metal/hard rock and keyboard-driven rock/metal. For those times when you want to listen to solid heavy metal (not thrash or speed metal, not power metal or hardcore metal) this is the right type of band. As stated though the band is mostly known for it's association with Tigertailz who, in and of themselves, proved to be far much more successful then Rankelson. Still, I like a good change-of- pace album for when I'm in the mood for NWOBHM, but not really heavy or fast metal. I will leave with this one last thought/observation though. Any day of the week I will gladly (and I mean GLADLY) take a band like Rankelson over what passes for hard rock/heavy metal these days. With these guys the emotions were real as was the energy and charisma. Bands like this, even if they were looking to sell a more commercialized product, were putting out fun records that were not 100% pissed-off rage like today's young crop. Don't get me wrong as we need the rage to stay in metal (and I say that as someone who has groups like Slayer, Napalm Death, Hatebreed and Pantera in their personal CD collection), but sometimes you want your rock to just rock and your heavy metal to just flat-out make you want to let loose without smashing furniture in the process!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Psychostick-The Flesh Eating Rollerskate Holiday Joyride

 Rock Ridge Music

It's that time again when, in a post-Thanksgiving hangover, we all pull out the decorations, hang the lights and watch as the Christmas-themed metal albums come rolling in. It's like any other holiday tradition really. With Arizona's own "humorcore" act Psychostick, who (per Wikipedia) once existed under the name "Asinine", are already a band on the fringe so does it count as being extra silly for them to tackle this festive holiday? Well, for starts (and for the actual record) their page points out this little treat "A Psychostick concept in the works for a few years, "The Flesh Eating Rollerskate Holiday Joyride" was released in 2007 as a "Cynical Jab to the Overly Commercialized Holiday Season." As a short follow up to "We Couldn't Think of a Title," Psychostick's plan was to push this as a Holiday EP, thus making it a seasonal record, and they succeeded." So, this one looks as if it has been sitting in Santa's bag for awhile there (possibly fermenting for all the holiday "spirits"?) and sounds ready to be unleashed on all the good little boys and girls.Or is it for all the little naughty children? Good question. Anyway, for a band that is already known for their silly image and warped sense of humor in their songs and lyrics this latest release comes off as less of a novelty then the bulk of Christmas metal albums. Their style is already rooted in punk and hardcore (with all the metal trimmings) which is collectively known as "humorcore" so this release is less of a stretch then normal projects. Sure, they do score extra points for mentioning how they wanted a Boba Fett figure for Christmas (didn't we all?), but when it comes right down to it the music is nice and nasty with tracks like "Holiday Hate" and "Jingle Bell Metal" being a fun listen. Certainly this 8-track release is as rare as tickle-me-Elmo once was at Christmas time as far as being a novelty AND being a tolerated listen. Whether you love or loathe the holidays this is still a nice little slab of top-notch "humorcore"!

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The Afterimage-Formless

Ghost Music
(Physical EP/Merch from Famined Records)

Barrie, Ontario, Canada brings us The Afterimage. Formed in December of 2011 (Almost hitting the terrible twos there guys!) the band features Kyle Anderson, from progressive metal band Centuries Apart, on lead vocals. Backing him on this short length EP are:
Alex Lappano / Guitar
Mike Ticar / Guitar
Dallas Bricker / Bass
Nick McCaslin / Drums

If you guessed that this was also progressive music then give yourself a pat on the back. Sure enough this short EP is full of progressive rock. Only key fact is that The Afterimage are not the ugly step children of Rush. No, this is angry and volatile deathcore with progressive elements. Did I mention it was angry? I did? Well, how about loud, chaotic and likely to scare the piss out of the Hot Topic kids angry? That it is and a lot more. How about we talk about how insanely technical the whole EP is? These guys are all over the place and yet everything can change in a split second. Playing lights out deathcore like this takes serious talents. The Afterimage quite obviously have talent to spare as this EP comes out fists flying and, before you can catch your breath, it's all over. Why I'm reminded of the of Blitzkrieg's trademark song I can only dare to guess. It might have something to do with the way this EP feels like a blitzkrieg. It's simply crazy, but crazy good....

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The Intake Of Glass-Voice Of Reason


Given the shape of this world, and my own private universe as of late, "Voice Of Reason" seems to be a spot on title! The Intake Of Glass proved to be another band that was hiding out in my inbox waiting to see the light of day. With a late August release date things could be worse. Now, I am quite aware that I am on record stating my objection to metalcore core in this day and age. The Intake Of Glass prove to be an exception to that rule. This five-piece band was formed in 2008 and call Cambridge, Ontario home. The band released their first EP,  "Victims Of Circumstance", in 2010 and now have unleashed a album that is equally beautiful and straight out brutal. These guys are not just your run of the mill metalcore outfit. No, The Intake Of Glass are a older progressive rock band trapped in the body of a younger hardcore/heavy metal band. When  I say younger I truly mean it as these guys barely look like they are old enough to drink let alone have these insanely sick breakdowns! With some time to truly hone their skills these lads should be able to take a bite, a sizable chunk in fact, out of metalcores weak scene!

Support / Like "The Intake Of Glass" On Facebook Here !!!

Buy "Voice Of Reason" Here !!!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Sorrow-Misery Escape

Napalm Records Handels GmbH

There are more metal promos stacked up and waiting for review then I've even seen. It's funny that all of these slipped past unnoticed like a thief in the night. Man, take a week or two off for surgery and suddenly your facing mountains of requests! It might just end up that some reviews will be shorter then others. That said, some of these groups are easy enough to digest and, subsequently, do quick write-ups about.
"Misery Escape" is actually the fourth full-length album by Austria's The Sorrow. Formed in 2005 by Mathias Schlegl and Andreas Mäser (both from the band Disconnected) and Dominik Immler and Tobias Schädler (both from the group Distance) the band issue their debut album, "Blessings from a Blackened Sky", in 2007. Notice that date. In 2007 The Sorrow might have been onto something, but in 2012 they come off a bit dated. Sure, that wasn't that long ago, but when you are all about metalcore it might as well be 20 or more years ago! While not taking anything away from these guys (they seem to be more then competent musicians) the whole metalcore scene is getting old. Even with a healthy dose of melody and solid harsh verses clean vocals this release just sounds dated and irreverent. If you are still into melodic metalcore then more power to you. As for some of the rest of us (hopefully I can speak for the bulk of heavy metal fans) it is just time to draw the curtains and say our goodbyes.

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Diagonal-The Second Mechanism

Metal Blade Records / Rise Above Records

There is so much to love about this Brighton/UK-based band that it is hard to know where to begin. Diagonal turned a lot of head's completely around thanks to their 2008 debut album. The band worshiped 1970's progressive rock and it showed.Since then founding members Alex Crispin (Vocals/Keyboards) and Dan Pomlett (Bass) left the group, but the band seems no worse for wear. Original guitarist Nicholas Richards switched over to bass and the band carried on. Now a 5-piece band, Diagonal might have had to "slightly stripped down their sound" (As the promo says), but the end result still makes for a spectacular listen. Tagging along with Richards for the journey is Luke Foster (Drums, Percussion, Piano, Backing Vocals), Ross Hossack (Synthesizers, Harmonium, Backing Vocals), Nicholas Whitaker (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Lead and Backing Vocals) and Dave Wileman (Electric Guitar, Backing Vocals). And really this comes off as more of a journey then anything else. With each passing moment you move along through this landscape filled with rich colors and exotic new discoveries. The band is still firmly rooted in 70's prog music, but this album comes loaded with enough different "add-on" moments that this should appeal to more then just your progressive rock fan. With jazz, metal, psych and Krautrock added to the mix this is one highly-recommended release that keeps you on your toes as you anticipate what is coming up next. 

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Avenue Of Allies

As followups go, "II" is a very solid release (even if it is not one of those albums that excites me on a Monday morning) that moves between AOR and melodic rock fairly predictably. Lionville is lead by songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Stefano Lionetti and "II" is obviously the group's sophomore release.
Armed with a small army of vocalists and musicians, Stefano makes "II" one of those release where the appeal lies in the overuse of flashy keyboard moments, snazzy guitar solos and light rock-style vocals. The album's recording took place in various studios in Italy, Sweden and the USA and it shows as different variations of rock (West-coast, European, melodic rock and AOR) all swirl together to create a classy, if slightly stuffy, album. On the plus side the gathered musicians are all quite good and the production is spot on. "II" will appeal to melodic rock and AOR fans of course so, even if it does little for me, it will be a hot item just like Lionville's 2011 release was. 

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Sunday, November 25, 2012


Southern Lord

 This seems like an odd fit for Southern Lord, but what do I know? This Portland outfit was formed in 1998, out of the ashes of the indie band Jessamine, by guitarist Rex Ritter and keyboardist Andy Brown. After the band releases the album "Style Drift" the band took a slight break in the action. Well, 10 years is a tad longer than a "slight break"! Regardless of that guitarist Rex Ritter kept himself busy by playing with sunn 0))). Did that time spent with sunn 0))) pay off? Well, for this current release Rex Ritter & Andy Brown are joined by Mat Morgan, Borg Norm, Brian Foote and Paul Dickow with guest contributions from Gentry Densley (Eagle Twin), Steve Moore (Earth, sunn 0))), Hans Teuber, Eric Walton (Skerik), Jef Brown (Jackie-O MF) and Dave Carter. The result being what then you might find yourself asking? Before we get into this mix of different influences let's just say that sound-wise and production-wise this release is washed heavily in all things 70s. Through-out this forty-three minute LP this gathered group of musicians indulges in improvisation mayhem. Things sound to be encased in laid-back, free-form style as acid jazz, funk, rock, fusion (and anything else these musicians found fit to toss into the mix) is fuzzed out in such a way you'd swear the walls were melting all over again into one big & beautiful, colorful  mess! Obviously there isn't a lot to get excited out here if your strictly a meat and potatoes metal fan. If your taste buds run a bit more "adventurous" though this is a great album to indulge your senses and mellow out to.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Current playlist

Computer is working again.

Medieval Steel-demo -Wish I had heard this one years ago.
Warlock-Hellbound -My favorite by them.
The Yardbirds-Happenings ten years time ago -Checked it out from the library.
A pefect day-s/t -New release from Frontiers records, hope to review it soon.
Aces Wild-Deal us in -This deserves to be a forgotten gem. I bought it 6-7 years ago and thought it was okay. Listened to it this week and it was like a different album.
Fates Warning-The spectre within -They pull in elements of Maiden and Mercyful Fate which are two of my all time favorites. For some reason I always thought Fates Warning were more than a little overrated. Exxplorer-demo -Great demo from 1985.
Fullforce-Next Level -Power metal isn't usually my thing, but this is pretty good.
Population Reduction-Each birth a new disaster -Solid hardcore/metal album from a few years ago.
City Girl's Boys-s/t -Burned this one from a glam site that normally has crap, but this EP was very cool. Kind of like if Queenie Blast Pop had been around in the mid-80's

Hulk graphic novels
The part-time Vegan Redshirts
Dragontree-League of the Dragontree (actually need to start this and it written by a co-worker of mine)

Watched a bunch of Thanksgiving episodes of shows this past week including Cheers, the Munsters, Third rock from the sun, the Bob Newhart show and Home Improvement.
Arthur Christmas
Should watch some Karloff movies to celebrate his b-day being the other day.

Playing- Lego Indiana Jones Dig Dug

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Kuolemanlaakso-Uljas uusi maailma

Svart Records

 Kuolemanlaakso , which is Finnish for "Death Valley", originally started out as a one-man project of guitarist/keybaordest Markus Laakso (of Chaosweaver fame). Looking to craft "an utterly dark and heavy album, full of catchy hooks and originality: a tragically beautiful world all its own" Laakso looked toward the music of Tom G. Warrior's goth/doom metal band Triptykon as a influence (especially their album "Eparistera Diaimones"). After the positive response of an unreleased four-song demo recording Laakso decided to make Kuolemanlaak a full-fledged band. To that end he recruited members of Swallow The Sun, Chaosweaver, Elenium, and Cult of Endtime to help him craft his vision. Choosing to release a album that is also sung entirely in Finnish (which incidentally makes for a unique listening experience) could be looked at as a gamble as far too many heavy metal fans prefer their metal sung in English. As I've always tried to stress though it's the music that matters most especially as heavy metal, in and of itself, is a universal language meant to convey both freedom and non-conformity. That being said it does mean the lyrics (which were inspired by Eino Leino poetry collection, "Helkavirsia" as well as "the mystique of the Finnish forests, and the morbidity of the modern world".) will only come into play if you speak Finnish. As I do not know a single word of Finnish, as I took German in high school (although it's not like they offered Finnish at the time) ,all there is to go by is the music which is fine. The beauty of this album is that one does not need to understand the Finnish language in order to appreciate the music. While these eight tracks prove to be easy enough to digest, in this case being "easy" also means the music is good, but not great. Much like Triptykon (who are a fairly cool band as well even if they are nowhere near the force of Celtic Frost) this new band relies as much on atmospheric metal as it does traditional doom metal. Of course one big difference between the two acts is that Kuolemanlaakso relies on the addition of black metal instead of goth. Of course, since V. Santura (of Triptykon fame as well as Dark Fortress fame) not only co-produced, mixed, mastered and engineered the band's debut album, (which by the way means”Brave New World”), but also played guitars on five of the album's eight tracks (obviously he liked what he was hearing) one could very easily see people wanting to compare this to Triptykon. In the end though this is really just a collection of various genres (atmospheric metal, doom metal, black metal and feedback-laced traditional metal) all squeezed together in an attempt to create something meaningful. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder some will find this to be a work of art no doubt while others, and I count myself in this boat I suppose, will see this as an interesting group if nothing overly exciting.

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Current Playlist

With Metal Mark experiencing technical difficulties this week (computer-wise) I have tried to step up to the plate a little more then usual. So, with Mark trying to fix things on his end I present my current playlist.

Listening to:
Jeff The Brotherhood-Hypnotic Nights
Sword-Sweet Dreams
Noisehunter-Spell Of Noise/Too Young To Die
The Struggle-In Protest Of An Empty Future
Satan-Suspended Sentence/Into The Future
The Joy Formidable-Cholla (Single)
Side Effects-Saturday Night Suicide
Jane's Addiction-Nothing Shocking

Abraham Lincoln-Vampire Hunter
Fright Night (original)
Jason X
The Walking Dead Season 1

NWOBHM Encyclopedia

What are you listening to, watching and/or reading this week?

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The Devil-The Devil

Candlelight Records

When you name your band/project "The Devil" then right off the bat one has to assume a dark and sinister edge is in order. That most certainly does seem to be the case with this album. At least in a way it is and, bizarrely, not the way one might expect. Following in the footsteps of pair on singles this 13-track album (The Devil's full-length debut-release) was recorded at six different recording studios. Is there a significance in that exact number-6? Are we to read more into it then is there? The answer it seems is not so easy to come by. The band, as it is, is made up of six members and their roots (at least judging by this album) lie in traditional/classic heavy meta. In keeping with the overall theme of their name and album cover the group that the same path that was laid out by Ghost. The six "anonymous masked and cloaked musicians" present their music with "select historical, political and conspiracy-laden oracles" in order to create "a cinematic sound-scape that is sure to strike the fancy of the curious." You can take that however you want it, but it is true that the end product is dark and sinister in it's own way. Listening to The Devil is like listening to the soundtrack of some sick documentary on death and damnation. It's little wonder then that The Devil has been looked upon fondly as choice material for movie soundtracks. Two of the band's "songs" are slated to appear in the realm of cinema so there should be little doubt left as to the direction this band is heading. The promo let's us know that the excellent number “Extinction Level Event” is being licensed to the upcoming film E.S.P. (expected late 2012) and that the other worthy number, "Divinorum", is "due for inclusion in the upcoming film The Fury. The Fury is being directed by James Colmer (Superman Returns, House of Wax, See No Evil) will feature Erica Leerhsen (The Blair Witch Project, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and is expected early 2013." What makes The Devil work really, in not only that setting but as a casual listening experience, is the way in which the band easily merges the "select historical, political and conspiracy-laden oracles" with classic heavy metal. The connection is smooth even if the end result is music that attempts to send shivers down your spine with it's a dark and eerie nature. This is certainly an interesting "heavy metal" release and one that fans of dark metal would do well to track down

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Burning Love-Rotten Thing To Say

Southern Lord

This being a Southern Lord band and all you just know it's going to be as far away from radio-friendly rock as possible. Of course that is a good thing. With that being the case and all Ontario's Burning Love are truly one of those bands that defy easy categorization. For their second LP the band managed to secure the services of Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou when it came time for recording this little beast. Stepping foot in Godcity Studio with Kurt resulted in a album that is.....well, how do you even hope to give this the proper "tag"? It's born of hardcore/punk so that is easy enough. But, the band also "rocks" as in garage rock and roll. And the weird thing is what exactly? I mean rock and roll meets punk/hardcore isn't exactly a new thing. While names escape me (it's been a long day already) this isn't my first rodeo when it comes to this sort of rock. The thing is though, here we have a band like Burning Love who don't come off as some sort of novelty act or sound as if they are trying to fill a niche. Instead this is the almost natural progression of punk rock with more rock elements. Of course few "current" punk outfits are this heavy on the hardcore or this sincere. These guys sounds as if they mean business even if they are laying down some sick rock in the process! Formed by several members of the band Our Father the line-up also includes vocalist Chris Colohan (Cursed, Left For Dead, the Swarm). The band's intent was to play filthy rock/hardcore and they succeeded at that. This one should appeal to not only punks, but some metal heads as well as "Rotten Thing To Say" has a nice hard rock backside.

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Friday, November 23, 2012


Divebomb Records

It was one year ago (give or take a few days) that I covered Dead On's 1989 self-titled debut.
In ever way possible this New Jersey-based heavy metal band was a "Forgotten Gem". The band was know for playing a potent brand of power/thrash and, had fate been a little more kind to them, they very easily could have been more then a cult act if the pieces would have fallen in place. Until now the group's LP fetched huge dollars on the secondary market. Thankfully the metal gods not only heard my prayers for a reissue, but did it up right. This 2-disc set features not only the band's self-titled album, but their 1991 "All For You" EP, a 4-track demo from 1987 ("The Limit") and, to top it all off, the band's previously unreleased cover of "Turning Japanese"! All of that would have been enough (especially as their 4-track "All Four You" EP was impossible to find!), but we are also treated to three music videos and a CD booklet that features pictures, lyrics and a interview with Dead On guitarists Michael Caronia and Tony Frazzitta. Not too shabby at all! This deluxe edition is nothing short of amazing and words alone would fail to convey how excited I was to receive this one in the mail! While I reviewed the band's full-length debut once already (see link below) I will say that it still remains a favorite album of mine. The 1991 EP saw Dead On trying for a more traditional heavy metal style (not to worry as it still shreds!) and the result is fairly solid. These 4-tracks come off as a bit more "adventurous" with interesting time changes and heavy riffs. Overall you just can't go wrong with this new 2 CD set if you are a fan of Dead On already or if you are just looking for a new power metal/thrash act. The album can be found on Ebay for under $20 and is a killer tribute to this cult act.

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Khaøs-Khaøs Rising EP

MarkRossi Records

Khaøs is a new project featuring vocalist Chandler Mogel (Outloud), guitarist Mark Rossi (Tribal), bassist Nic Angileri (Jorn) and drummer Trevor Franklin (Elis). This EP is the band's debut release and is conceived as a warm-up for a full-length release. The promo makes mention of the fact that this is a project that bridges the gap between America and Europe. A fair enough statement and a good starting point if you were to look to describe the style of Khaøs. Produced by Rolf Munkes at his Empire Studios in Germany, this 5-track release is a mixture of American hard rock and European melodic rock. It's a fairly well crafted, if not overly exciting, EP that offers little you haven't heard before, but it's strong enough material that one could overlook that fact. The songs are strong enough to stand on their own, but it's simply a case of not standing out that much. Maybe a full-length release will prove to be more adventurous and unique.

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How about some black metal to go along with Black Friday? Well, this isn't entirely black metal per say, but that would be getting ahead of myself so let's just look at some facts here first. Germ is the solo project of Austere member Tim Yatras (also of Ilium, Nazxul, Woods Of Desolation and Grey Waters). And by solo project that means that since 2003 (when Germ came into being) Tim handles it all-vocals, instruments, etc. Conceived off as a way for Tim to combine all of his loves  (not just black metal, but pop, classical music and electronic music) Germ is a hard act to get a feel for. Really, despite being called black metal the only truly blacked parts as the vocals at times. Well, that and perhaps the overall vibe that, amazingly, comes off as sinister even as it flirts with overtly pop music. If all of the above genres seem like an ill-conceived fit you'd be partly right. At times this mini-album threatens to run itself right off the rails. Sometimes more is not better. Still, it's groups like Germ that make me appreciate the effort of some to move beyond the limited confines of traditional black metal. And, quite honestly, it's not all bad. It's just rather different in a way that trying to wrap your head around it all is a challenge. Since the run time is under 40 minutes it's over with before you know what happened so it isn't as if Tim takes Germ into unwanted territory time-wise. Perhaps with a few more spins this might settle in more for me. For now though it's an album that aims high enough but ultimately where it lands is another guess for another time. 


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Thursday, November 22, 2012



Ill Niño in a New Jersey act that was founded in 1998. In all that time I'm not sure I have never heard more then one or two of their songs all the way through. Other then samplers, which are threatening to take over my CD collection, I don't have any of their other material on hand in which to judge the band's newest album against. That isn't for lack of trying though as I have their "Greatest Hits" CD heading my way thanks to "Swap A CD". Anyway, how and what now I wasn't sure what to expect out of these guys. For my money they were always some sort of nu metal or alternative metal outfit. As such I never associated Ill Niño with "real" heavy metal or thrash. Was my opinion changed at all with "Epidemia"? Well, by my count this is album number six for what it is worth. It took all of my ambition to even click on this promo and, truthfully, the only reason I did was that I figured Metal Mark wouldn't. Take one for the team I said. Fortunately, when all was said and done, I escaped rather unfazed. That isn't to say that I'll be running out and buying the group's catalog, but that album that is (hopefully) headed my way ("The Best Of Ill Niño") will be headed toward the top of the weekly list of  "Listening to:" If only out of curiosity mind you. Back to the album at hand and, too much turkey and wine notwithstanding, this one rolls along fairly nicely. Thrash it isn't sadly, but that isn't to say it's all a waste. Rather, what we have here is a mix/mash-up off nu metal (hold on, it gets better folks), alternative metal, metalcore and heavy metal/thrash. More then anything you could say this is metalcore meets "nu thrash". Clean and harsh vocals mix it up with mellow, melodically inclined moments and all out hardcore/thrash. Only thing that sets this one apart is the lack of efficient solos. Instead you get those sudden "drops" that nu metal was famous for as well as the occasional "breakdown" moment that has been played to death. In the end I can't get too excited about this one as it swerves far too into alternative/nu metal territory, but at least it pretends as if it is influenced by heavy thrash so a few style points must be awarded. Fans of the band will love this release, but it's highly doubtful that it will suddenly hook new followers.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our loyal followers and fellow music fans in general! As a rule of thumb my family usually goes around the table and we take turns talking about what we are most thankful for. I've shared quite a bit already on my Facebook page, but I thought I would share some here. As always I am very thankful for the opportunity Metal Mark gave me to talk about music here at Heavy Metal Time Machine. My passion has always been music with heavy metal being a long standing favorite topic of mine. I love writing in general, but when you can do it about something you are very passionate about it makes it all the more meaningful! So, thank you Metal Mark and thank you, all of our readers, for joining us for this wild ride!. I am as always thankful for my two kids, Haley and Matt. As a single father (my ex is not in the picture) it can be a challenge raising a 14 and 12 year old, but I wouldn't change it for anything! I love my children and they are a true blessing! I am thankful for dear friends and of course my family. And finally I am thankful that I had the chance to rekindle an old romance and, even better, reconnect with a friend. One never knows where the journey is going to take you, but when you have even a fleeting moment with a beautiful woman you take it and thank the heavens above. What are some of things that you are thankful for on, not only this day, but everyday?

Sicadis-Blood of a Thousand Hearts


Up front the selling point for this album was that track number 8 , "Through These Eyes",  featured guest vocals from Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch. Oh boy. Nope, not exactly a fan of that particular "mall metal" band so I was dearly hoping that tracks 1-7 didn't fall into that same sort of "style". The good news of the day folks is that, even though this is Thanksgiving Day, this self-released debut-album is no turkey. Lame jokes aside, Kansas City's Sicadis (Si-Kay-Diss) play what folks like to call "modern metal" these days. You know the drill: some thrash, death metal and metalcore. Only difference is that it isn't really "metalcore" (more like hardcore-leaning metal moments) and, unlike let's say the bulk of "modern metal" bands, these guys don't suck royally! Having shared the stages with some rather well-established acts such as Testament, Unearth, A Life Once Lost, The Agony Scene, Suicide Silence, Exodus, Despised Icon, Napalm Death, Strapping Young Lad and, yes, Five Finger Death Punch it certainly sounds as if these guys are a direct product of their surroundings. That being said this is one of those cases where you can't really pin-point a reference (band-wise) as they lay down some unique riffs. Of course that is a good thing and chances are we'll be seeing some label scoop these guys up in the near future.Oh, for the record, track number 8 did little to change my mind about Five Finger Death Punch as vocalist Brett Carter is much better then Ivan Moody to these ears. You can find out more about the band at their Facebook page below.

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The Very End-Turn Off The World

Steamhammer / SPV

Not one to pass up an album just because of album art (can't say I was always like this as album art used to be a make it or break deal when it came to throwing down my hard-earned cash for a LP) I decided to dive head-first into this album. No sneak peaks at style or anything...just hit play and let it all go from there. If I would have had to guess about these guys by the name and artwork I would have said hard rock/traditional metal or AOR. In this case I was glad to be wrong. Formed in 2004, The Very End are very much a thrash act with equal style points added on for moments of death (Entombed’s LG Petrov joins in on the fun for "The Black Fix") and groove metal. Most of the time though this LP (album number 3 for the band) falls rather perfectly into thrash/technical thrash territory. Looking online it's interesting to see that these guys hail from Germany (Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia to be exact) as this is nothing like what you might expect from that general area. No, not much Sodom or Kreator going on here as this is American metal without actually being from the U.S. Testament meets Pantera perhaps? It's true that this is heavy-handed metal and, as such, it would fairly easily fit in to your collection next to Kreator or Sodom. The riffs, when not indulging in melodic moments, are thick and sinister like German thrash. No denying that. At around 46 minutes this LP comes in, knocks stuff around, lights your house on fire and then does the old exit stage left routine. It doesn't overstay it's welcome (even if it does leave quite a mess behind) and, since it shakes things up between (or even within) songs it's one of those albums that holds your interest while thrashing about your innards.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Troubled Horse-Step Inside


Metal Blade/Rise Above

In case you were asking yourself "does Metal Mark read a band's bio before listening to an album? "Well, the answer is almost always no, I don't. I listen to an album first and then check the bio and background information before or while I'm writing the review. I do it in this order to avoid getting any pre-conceived notions. Enough dull background rant, anyways last night I brought up this album to listen to without knowing who they were or even the style although knowing that Rise Above was involved let me know it was likely doom or stoner rock of some sort. Probably about a minute into the opener I was thinking that these guys sound a lot Witchcraft if they listened to more MC5 and say some late 60's influences as well instead of just the early70's proto metal acts. As the album progressed that thought was just re-enforced. So after listening to the album I checked the attached bio and sure enough this band from Orebro, Sweden does contain within it's ranks three members of the original Witchcraft line-up and bassist Ola Henriksson is still a member. Even if there wasn't the link, the similarities in the music were immediately obvious. The timing, the tones and the pacing were so similar to Witchcraft that comparisons were inevitable. The love of acts like Pentagram, Band and Dust is still present here in much of the music here and they transfer their love of those bands in stellar fashion. What separates this band and early Witchcraft is that the mood on this offering isn't necessarily more upbeat, but it's not as dark. Perhaps they let their grooves show a bit more and moving forward seems to be more of a focusthan just being heavy. Now don't let those observations bother you. If you like early 70's proto-metal pioneers you should like this album and if you liked Witchcraft's first two albums you should really like this album as well. Troubled Horse did a fine of conveying the vibe of music that has influenced them, but they have enough talent and ideas to begin to put some of their stamp onto their creations. This album pleased me greatly and I know that I'll be giving it some regular spins in the upcoming weeks.

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Spaced Out Music

 The exact history of NWOBHM act Demon is filled with line-up changes, periods of inactivity and multiple changes in their musical approach. If your interested in a brief overview of Demon you can look at an older article that covers more ground then this review will. Just follow the link below. At this point in the game (this is Demon's 12th studio album) the band is pretty much just vocalist Dave Hill and whoever he chooses to surround himself with when he enters the studio. While many die hard Demon fans live in fear that each new album will be the band's last outing (as Dave Hill is getting up there in age honestly) there will always be the band's older catalog to fall back on. Which brings me to this new album. How does one draw the line between then (classic NWOBHM) and now? It's been an "interesting" journey so far for Demon. But, is Demon really Demon at this point or would it just be better if Dave Hill dropped the name and released this material as a solo project? While he has every right to use the Demon moniker (especially as the name is still huge overseas) one can't help but listen to this album and wonder if this is still the same great band that gave us some killer material in the eighties or if the party is finally over in much the same way as it is for Metallica. Is the party over then and should Dave just turn off the lights already? Are we to forgive Demon for what might otherwise be looked upon as lightweight/lighthearted rock? Sadly, "Unbroken" is the sound of Dave Hill fronting a fairly typical English hard rock/power metal band only someone forgot the memo about Demon being a "metal" band. In a lot of ways, as I've already listened to this album several times through, I'm reminded of Def Leppard's ridiculous statement about how they were never a "metal band". Yeah...listen folks history is being rewritten before our very eyes (which is why the printed word remains more important then ever as nations look to scrub digital data), but just try to remember this: when it's been laid to tape it is very well there for the foreseeable future for all to hear. Demon (much like Joe Elliot and company) were once "guilty" of playing real heavy metal. "Night Of the Demon" remains a classic. While you can't go back, otherwise Lord knows I would gladly go back and tell that one person I loved them when I had the chance (and no, most certainly not my ex-wife), you can at least attempt to pretend you were once "a couple of wild and crazy guys" right? If it sounds like a bit of a rant it is. With bands like Angel Witch, Saxon and Tygers Of Pan Tang still going strong why can't Demon prove the naysayers wrong and really melt the **** out of today's lazy metal outlook? Instead, "Unbroken" remains an album with one (possibly two) strong "hard rock/heavy metal" moments and a Thanksgiving-size helping of "radio friendly rock".

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I was asked to review this album from Ireland's Rites. When they mentioned they were a doom band they went to the top of my list to give a spin. This EP begins with an introduction called well "Intro". Not the most creative name, but that thought was wiped out or stomped on as a barrage of drums pours out followed by some swirling riffs. It runs a little under two minutes, but this instrumental manages to begin to set the tone for the rest of the album. "Vessel" lumbers on next slowly rolling out with the notes trickling down. Everything about this song is heavy because it just crushes the senses. The vocals cut ahead with plenty of volume and venom. "Plastic lung" follows a similar style by pushing forward in tiny steps as the music very carefully moves forward with each step being a very calculated attack that has your attention the whole way through. Again the vocals compliment the music as well. "Forging" goes by a more direct route than the previous tracks with the vocals coming in sooner. The song still comes around to relying on deep, thick tones that forge the way through most of the running time. This song really comes into it's own in the final third as the band brings on different passages showing some diversity in their ideas. Closer "Iron Shrimp" is a bit more basic at first, but quickly transforms into into a surging spiral of sound. Maybe the tighest grooves on the album pop up in this song. Overall this album got even better as it went along and it me wanting to hear what they could on a full length album.

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Trillion Red-Metaphere

badGod Music

It was a bit of a surprise to see that this one had managed to slip by me unnoticed. Yet there it was with about a month's worth of dust and clutter on top. Why the fuss? If that name doesn't ring any bells shake then a quick glance at my review of the band's "Two Tongues" EP is in order. You'll find that below. What I said then (June 9th of 2011) still rings out loud and true today. Only difference is that here Trillion Red has a whole album's worth of experimental material. For the uninformed this is "Dark Progressive Avant-Garde metal" a tag which, though not entirely clear, does at least begin to describe the incredibly interesting sound that is Trillion Red. It isn't expressly stated, but on Trillion Red's debut full-length album one would assume, whether fairly or not is open to debate, that this is a two-man project with Patrick Brown clearly in charge. Is it at all accessible for your everyday heavy metal listener? That is a very good question. It's metal without boundaries which makes it likely to appeal to those inclined to live life more on the edge and in the shadows. Musically it might not easily be defined (not that that is a bad thing as each listen leaves room for another interpretation) however it is noted that the album deals with "the struggle between darkness and light" which is something that we, as fellow humans sharing one tiny world, are faced with daily. "Metaphere" is a different album then what would normally pass for "top notch metal" and it's highly likely that most traditional heavy metal/hard rock fans would be put off by the occasional slow pace. Given time to indulge this album though (best achieved in an alone setting) I'd wager that more then a few "true blue heavy metal fanatics" would be pleasantly surprised at the unique beauty of this journey. 


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wheels Of Fire-Up For Anything

Avenue Of Allies

Avenue Of Allies is quite a bit like Frontiers Records in the fact that up front you know what your in for. It's likely to be either melodic rock or AOR. In the case of Wheels Of Fire (Who I do have to wonder about-did they name themselves after the Cream 1968 double album?) the answer falls somewhere in between of the two genres. Sure, this Italian band (Who are fronted by Davide "Dave Rox" Barbiere and feature the skills of guitar player Stefano Zen) do play around some with 80's hard rock, but mostly this is melodic rock with a surprisingly effective self-production job (It probably helped that the band brought in Roberto Priori to mix and master the LP. Roberto worked with one of my favorite bands, Danger Zone, so he gets high marks already!) that comes off sounding slick and polished. As the band already got high marks with the melodic rock crowd (Thanks to their debut-album "Hollywood Rocks") this release should be a easy slam dunk. With Andrea Vergori's classy keyboards & piano bringing a bit of elegance to the party (The band is rounded out by Marcello Suzzani on bass and Fabrizio Uccellini on drums) "Up For Anything"  brings about the ghosts of 80's rock and, dare one say, the lighter end of the hair metal scene. Thankfully Wheels Of Fire stay far away from the hairspray and instead offer up choice moments of harder edge guitar solos at just the right moments. Not that anyone would ever confuse this Italian band for a heavy metal outfit as this is contemporary rock meant for late night memories with that "special lady". Even so, the softer side of me took over while listening to "Up For Anything" and, despite finding myself walking the single path once more in life, the 12-track album hit just the right spots to make me want to give it one more spin.

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Bloodbound-In the Name O f Metal

AFM Records

It's hard to tell if this is meant to be a loving parody of a band like Steel Panther or if Bloodbound is dead serious here. The band was formed back in 2004 and, from the looks of it, has managed to shuffle up not only their line-up (it sure looks as if almost every album has had a different singer!), but their musical style as well with each new album. Judging by the album art (or judging by that alone) it would seem as if this was going to be some tongue-in-cheek retro-thrash outfit. If you were to think that you wouldn't be far off actually. This is more power metal then anything, but it sure slices like cheesy thrash. It is hard to take this one seriously when they lay down power metal that is more over-the-top then Powerwolf (a band that I'm not to found of to begin with admittedly) and offer up lyrics that border on parody like your trying to be like Spinal Tap. Needless to say I can't really recommend this one when the album has so little substance to it.

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Ultimatum / Join The Dead-Promotional Sampler

Roxx Records

As Metal Mark said yesterday " The promo links are piling up.". With that being said (and with the express understanding that I am still only typing with one hand so any/all reviews from me will be short and sweet) I am also going to try to knock a few more out of the way over the next several days. This particular promo sampler features two solid Christian thrash outfits. Ultimatum are a band I'm rather familiar with. Lead by
Scott Waters (of No Life 'til Metal blog site fame) the band plays old-school thrash that is heavy and hard-hitting. I've always thought they sounded like a cross between Exodus and Metallica. In both cases I'm talking the earlier (and better) of both of those bands. All around good thrash that will make you want to turn your living room into a mosh pit. Excuse a bit of the old "cut and paste" here, but (per the promo):

Tracks 1 through 5 were taken from the brand new Ultimatum Album titled 'Heart of Metal - 20 Years of Ultimatum'

1. Heart of Metal [Remix 2012]
2. Blood on a Thousand Hills [2012]
3. Scattered (Body Parts) [2012]
4. Hook, Line & Sinker [2012]
5. Rip 'n' Tear [2012]

Meanwhile, tracks 6 through 9 were taken from the debut self titled album by Join the Dead  which I am fairly certain is the same EP I covered once already:

Anyway, they tack on four very cool thrash tracks:
6. Mask of Fear [2012]
7. Out of Breath [2012]
8. Self Inflicted Pain [2012]
9. Idol Faith [2012]

And finally, track 10 is an "Exclusive Bonus Track made available only to 'You' and only here on this promotional sampler.". OK, I  can dig that. Said "exclusive bonus track" is a cover of the the Deliverance number " What A Joke?" and features Michael Phillips of Join the Dead and Scott Waters of Ultimatum. Is it any good? Well, it's a cover track so let's just leave it at that. Incidentally I actually caught Deliverance live when they played in the basement (yes, the basement!) of the local library "down the road". This was back when I was still in high school. They played with fellow Christian band Sacrament and made me realize that Christian thrash wasn't as bad as I had been lead to believe. Of course these days "White Metal" isn't as much of an issue anymore as the fine line between Christian and secular has been thoroughly blurred. It's easy enough to enjoy bands like this even if you are not a Christian as the music is, at it's core, just good old-fashioned thrash.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving reviewathon coming soon


The promo links are piling up. This would be partially do the fact that I have not been reviewing them. There are some good albums ready to be listened to and reviewed. So to catch up I am going to attempt to review 12 albums in five days between this Wednesday and Sunday. Right now the plan is to review albums by these artists- Mos Generator C.F.A. Volume Marty Friedman (2 discs) Rites Asia A perfect day Fight Amp Deceased Troubled Horse Kylesa I hold the right to substitute any albums that come in between now and the start of the reviewathon for the album albums should a new more interest promo pop up in the next couple of days. Actually I already made some substitutions while making this list. As I realized there doom, stoner and experimental metal albums availible I quickly put those in and tossed out some power and prog metal stuff.

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Thanksgiving Heavy Metal songs?

Now there are metal and hard rock Christmas songs, like it or not. Plenty of metal songs can be related to Halloween as well. Heck, not so great hair band Keel did a song called 4th of July back in (not surprisingly) the 1980's. What about Thanksgiving? Has there ever been a Thanksgiving metal or hard rock song? If so go ahead and share, inform us. If not then is it because Thanksgiving and metal would seem to go together like a pickle and strawberry jelly sandwich? Or does the holiday just not lend itself to metal? Or maybe you can write up a metal Thanksgiving song right now and share with us so we have one for the holiday. No, I did not spend much time at all thinking up or writing this topic yet people will come and read it and either shake their heads and this nonsense or contribute a comment and help spread the madness.

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Forgotten Gems: Hash Palace-Grit and Bear It


Last night I had dinner with my friend Suzanne. As we talked about the music of our youth
(as we are both close in age) we touched briefly on the nineties 
and I was reminded that I owed you, our faithful readers, 
a respectable write-up of Hash Palace.Despite the negativity that 
often times is associated with nineties rock (and rightly so)
there were more then a few really solid groups/ 
albums that emerged from that time period. Of course we all
know that in addition to 90's rock (which had it's own sound
just like 80's and 7o's rock did)the era was all about grunge.
While I have run into my fair share of people who hold a long-
standing grudge against the movement (all because one simple song,
"Smells Like Teen Spirit", killed off hair metal)I would gladly take
Nirvana, Soundgarden or Alice In Chains over some of what passed for
"metal" back in the day. While it might not be completely fair to
associate Hash Palace with the movement (sound-wise they not 
only owed a debt to 80's punk and hardcore, but 70's hard rock 
as well)as this album came out before the big explosion that 
"Nevermind" started they do admittedly have more in common with 
the post-Black Sabbath rock scene then any other scene of the time.  
There is not much to go by when it comes to the band (which I
found both weird and frustrating as the Internet seems to have 
information about even the most trivial/unimportant subjects)
as far as their history goes there is no doubt that Hash Palace
deserved a better fate. With a heavy sound that combines elements 
of not only grunge (more Tad-style grunge then Nirvana at that), 
but hardcore/punk (Misfits, The Butthole Surfers) and dirty 
garage rock (you can almost close your eyes and picture these guys
playing in some old bingo hall) Hash Palace seems as if they
should have easily been able to hold their own.I suspect that if 
you were to also label this psychedelic pseudo-heavy metal you 
probably wouldn't encounter much of an argument. With a vocalist 
that often-times sounds all the world like a (more) crazed version
of Glenn Danzig this is certainly an interesting album. At times
I imagine that this is what The Doors would have sounded like
if A)they had more then their fair share of acid to go around
and B)they had been served a healthy dose of Black Sabbath in
their formative years. Other times it comes off as Nirvana 
meets any number of defunct 80's punk bands. That is the 
sound of a band playing simply for themselves and not some
industry suit.It's hard for me not to appreciate to a band that 
is all the above while still have other moments where they employee 
this classic punk meets Jane's Addiction sound! Thankfully this
isn't one of those albums that you have to search high and low for.
I found this on the excellent site "I Hate The 90s" (link below)
before picking up a copy off of Amazon for under $5.00 (incl.
shipping!). I've provided a link for that as well for those of you
that prefer hard copies of albums. With bands like Hash Palace the
90s were not all bad. 

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Tiamat-The Scarred People

Napalm Records Handels GmbH

For those of you not familiar with Tiamat the band was formed in Täby, Sweden in 1988. More or less the driving force of the band is Johan Edlund. What started out as death metal eventually underwent multiple changes until you have what could best be called goth metal. This is all the more interesting if you consider the fact that Tiamat formed out of the ashes of the black metal outfit Treblinka. Regardless of that, on their new album, "The Scarred People", the band opts for goth metal with atmospheric rock overtones. The whole affair is one of those albums where it's more about the feeling/vibe then the actual music. The album is rich in admiration for Pink Floyd as well as old school/80's goth/alternative rock. While it is still somewhat of a culture shock to hear Tiamat playing this type of metal/rock (as I remember hearing this band back in high school playing blackened death metal) one has to admit the skill involved with pulling off an album like this.As such it is one of those albums where credit must be given and any accolades are more then warranted.

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