Music Reviews: MARCH 2012

Laurie Biagini,"A Go-Go Girl In A Modern World" (Self-released)
Just last week I pulled out my old Bangles albums to give them a listen, thinking to myself how I really miss that whole girl group sound of the '80s (which itself was a nod to the '60s). Well, I just discovered a "new" album that PERFECTLY recaptures that Sunshine Pop feeling: Laurie Biagini's "A Go-Go Girl In A Modern World"! Sure, Laurie sings about classic topics such as: California, beach, sand, and summertime - but she also gives Sunshine Pop treatment to SUV's ("My Little SUV") and commuter trains ("A Ride On The Train"). "The Invisible Guy" is the theme to a James Bond movie that never was, but should have been!
In the immortal words of Mr. White ("That Thing You Do"), Laurie's music has something peppy, something happy, something up-tempo, and something snappy. Laurie flawlessly captures the Sunshine Pop essence in her songs - Damn, I wish I owned a convertable because this is THE perfect car album for summer!
www.lauriebiagini.com
Rating:

Review by Ronnie


Guided By Voices,"Let’s Go Eat The Factory" (Guided By Voices Inc.)
First new record from GBV in over 5 years. This is the mid-90’s line-up, reassembled by Uncle Bob himself. Its 21 songs that flow smoothly from front to back. I’m sensing a food motif here this time around. “Doughnut for a Snowman” and “Chocolate Boy” are 2 song titles here-maybe the catering truck didn’t show up for the recording sessions? “Hang Kite” and “Old Bones” are my favorite songs on this record. It’s a strong return to form; hopefully there will be more touring coming up. Long live the Monument Club!
www.robertpollard.net
Rating:

Review by Sean Koepenick


New Order,"Live at The London Troxy" (EMI Records)
Long running British pioneers return after a hiatus. Gillian Gilbert has returned to the band after a decade. But founding bassist Peter Hook is no longer involved. So some may balk and say this is not really the complete band, but it doesn’t sound like it from this recording. Sonically everything is in place. All the old favorites are here, even up to the last record-(“Krafty”-anyone?) So look for a possible US tour from this band, as Peter Hook still tours playing Joy Division albums. I think the world is big enough for both outfits. You be the judge.
www.newordernow.net
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by Sean Koepenick


David Lowery,"The Palace Guards" (429 Records)
Although I had fallen off the Cracker wagon the past few years, I recently went to check them out again with CVB live. It was a great show so I decided to pick up this disc. More country influenced than most Cracker records, it’s still injected with great songwriting and inventive arrangements. “Deep Oblivion” is a mellow track that reminds me bit of “Big Dipper”, just in the overall atmosphere. Best song title is “I Sold The Arabs The Moon.” Hopefully I have sold you on buying this record.
www.429records.com
Rating:

Review by Sean Koepenick


Duff McKagan’s Loaded,"The Taking" (Armoury Records)
2nd full length from Duff and the gang turning up the noise and rocking with abandon. Expertly produced by Terry Date (Fishbone, Helmet) the band is firing on all cylinders here. “Executioner’s Song” finally appears in a studio form and is well worth the wait. “She’s An Anchor” and “Indian Summer” are my favorites here and should be blasting out of car radios across the nation. I urge you to pick this up with haste. Now where is that US tour with Izzy?
www.duff-loaded.com
Rating:

Review by Sean Koepenick


Dark Forest,"Dawn Of Infinity" (Cruz Del Sur)
Dark Forest presents a kind of power metal mystique that a name such as theirs could suggest on this troupe’s 10-track excursion DAWN OF INFINITY. Chock full of Iron Maiden-esque guitar gallop (“Light Years On”), lead vocal histrionics reminiscent of Helloween (“The Stars My Destination”), and rhythmic thunder, Dark Forest covers the traditional metal checklist with certainty and cohesion to make a formulaic yet rousing offering that should appeal to fans of Iced Earth, Hammerfall, and Manowar.
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Flourishing,"The Sum Of All Fossils" (The Path Less Traveled)
Falling somewhere between industrial noise rock and avant-garde extreme metal, Flourishing meld a multitude of influences from the underground into their eight-track endeavor THE SUM OF ALL FOSSILS. Displaying a penchant for developing discordant sounds laden in the darker edge of the musical spectrum, this Big Apple squad combines technical death metal dexterity and left of center hardcore heaviness with blasts of bleak industrial metal clamor to create a pointed attack brimming over with a thrilling sense of intensity. Despite the unsettling noise continuously doled out, Flourishing leaves room in their malaise-filled compositions for spots of melody to occasionally peek through and in some cases, close the austere aggressiveness out (“As if Bathed in Excellence”). Flourishing has crafted a mix of Godflesh, Candiria, and Tombs custom-made for those who choose to descend lower than the surface of the underground allows.
www.thepathlesstraveledrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Alekhine's Gun,"Meditations In Wrath" (Self-released)
NYC quartet Alekhine’s Gun presents an in your face four-track debut entitled MEDITATIONS IN WRATH. Melding old school death metal ferocity with a smattering of melodic heaviness led by the authoritative and confrontational vocals of Jessica Pimentel (“Vengeance”), this squad comprised of Big Apple scene vets unleashes a barrage of headbanging riffs (“Gutwrench”) and sick percussive fills that mercilessly mesh the metallic fury of Slayer, Sepultura, and Obituary to form a captivating and crushing EP.
www.facebook.com/AlekhinesGun
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Glyder,"Backroads To Byzantium" (SPV)
Glyder returns with a blue collar hard rock sound on the group’s latest 10-track excursion BACKROADS TO BYZANTIUM. Liberally taking from Thin Lizzy’s distinguished twin-guitar melodic thrust (“Don’t Make Their Mistake”, “Long Gone”) with touches of Skynyrd’s southern charm (“End of the Line”), this fellow Irish band ‘s contrived lyrical approach (“Down and Out”) and single-minded devotion to the 70’s arena rock era (“Even if I Don’t Know Where I’m Going”) is performed with gusto and peppered with good intent but ultimately comes off as all too familiar and distinctly unoriginal sans the multi-vocal and acoustic Clapton-esque arrangement of “Motions of Time”.
www.glydermusic.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Supreme Pain,"Divine Incarnation" (Massacre)
10 tracks of punishing death metal comes courtesy of Supreme Pain and their latest affair DIVINE INCARNATION. Drawing influences from the likes of Vader, Suffocation, and Deicide, this band employs a wealth of death metal devices from expedient double bass drumming to blistering guitar solos to demonic vocal growls from their arsenal with a hint of black metal misanthropy (“Treasonous Disease”) to properly recreate sounds of terror and dread (“Towards Hell”). While Supreme Pain do very little to differentiate themselves from the rest of the death metal sect, their combination of majestic malevolence and undeniably metallic musical chops faithfully follows the blueprint of brutality set by the pioneers of the genre (“The Fallen Kingdom”) to comprise a solid listening experience for fans of the extreme side of metal.
www.massacre-records.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Illdisposed,"There Is Light (But It's Not For Me)" (Massacre)
Illdisposed does a solid job at merging modern metal styles on their 11-track offering THERE IS LIGHT (BUT IT’S NOT FOR ME). A prevalent presence of keyboards allows this Danish band to seamlessly fuse tough guy metalcore (“Sunday Black”) and melodic Euro metal (“Step Into My Winter”) with predictable yet satisfying sets of choruses and riffs that take cues from Kataklysm, Bury Your Dead, and In Flames (“We”). Illdisposed throw samples (“Revenge”) and interesting intros (“Reality to Fall”) and outros (“Alone”) into their mix, displaying a dramatic side that adds a fresh layer of depth to their formulaic metallic potpourri.
www.massacre-records.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Wolves Like Us,"Late Love" (Prosthetic)
Hailing from Norway, Wolves Likes Us present their post-hardcore disposition with hints of Am-Rep band worship on the 10-track affair LATE LOVE. A busy percussive force provides a durable backbone for the band’s angular riffs (“To Whore With Foreign Gods”) and driving rhythms (“Shiver in the Heat”) to shine while the sinewy lead guitar exhibits a fleet-fingered finesse chock full of soul (“Secret Handshakes”, “We Speak in Tongues”). Vocals are strong yet pushed back in the mix, allowing the music’s hearty bottom end to effectively rip through the speakers (“Old Dirty Paranoia”).
www.prostheticrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Massacre,"Of Wariwulfs And Blutovarwes" (Massacre)
Wizard projects power metal splendor on their 11-track album OF WARIWULFS. Crammed with a bounty of snarling riffs (“Hagr”, “Sign of the Cross”) and super-melodic hooks aplenty (“Wariwulf”), Wizard maintains a consistent attack of traditional heaviness (“Bletzer”) smattered with progressive metal influence (“Fair Maiden Mine”) and a strong sense of histrionics. Striking a middle ground between Iced Earth and Primal Fear, this release embodies what a power metal release should sound like.
www.massacre-records.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Revocation,"Chaos Of Forms" (Relapse)
Revocation revives the fledgling thrash metal resurgence with a stirring 12-track offering entitled CHAOS OF FORMS. This Beantown unit adds a unique metallic stamp to their interpretation of the Golden Age of Thrash Metal playbook to create a next-level style unhinged by convention. Chock full of old school techniques and nuances that cross Megadeth, Testament, and Exodus (“Cradle Robber”) with random melodic instrumental breaks in between the aggressive mayhem (“Chaos of Forms”), Revocation exhibit a rash of jawdropping chops and a comprehension of song structure that confidently explore new realms (“Conjuring the Cataclysm”) without losing sight of the thrash ‘til death mission at hand (“Harlot”).
www.relapse.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Black Cobra,"Invernal" (Southern Lord)
Black Cobra comes prepared for battle on their latest eight-track affair INVERNAL. Stocked with jackhammer riffs and jarring rhythms (“Obliteration”, “Avalanche”) that morph into sinewy stoner rock atmospheres (“Corossion Fields”), Black Cobra whip up a flurry of furious gallops (“Erebus Dawn”) and hardcore heft (“The Crimson Blade”) to add texture to their invasive low-end assault (“Beyond”). Boasting some of the squad’s strongest songwriting to date (“Abyss”), INVERNAL is as dazzling as it is dizzying, providing a bevy of bouncy heaviness with a penchant to get lost into hazy jams.
www.southernlord.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Susan Surftone,"Shore" (Acme Brothers)
Susan Surftone explores garage rock at the beach house on her 12-track endeavor SHORE. Subtle layers of organ assist Surftone’s crystal clear guitar tone to drop sunshine (“Checker”) on vintage rock rhythms that swing with the swagger of an after dark rock ‘n roll soiree (“Chance”). Harkening back to the 50’s and 60’s for influence, Surftone keeps the tiki bar sound at the forefront with bluesy licks and a surf rock backbone (“Subduction”) providing the foundation for her amalgamation of musical inspiration.
www.susansurftone.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Throne Of Katarsis,"Ved Graven" (Candlelight)
The unsettling sounds from the catacombs of underground metal come to life thanks to Throne of Katarsis and their seven-track album VED GRAVEN. Capturing caustic shifts of black metal malaise (“Helvete Kaller”) into crushing doom metal with vintage raw production value, songs like “The Ultimate Shrine” exhibit the band’s versatile volatility via the constant barrage of stylistic shakeups while the ominous (and omnipresent) organ that starts “Apne Alle Sar” slowly morphs from funeral dirge into a dramatic drone piece made for the cosmos. Unorthodox and adventurous, Throne of Katarsis explores divergent sets of dynamics and injects intriguing elements in their music, creating a misanthropic cauldron of drama and despair for those who embrace the darker side.
www.candlelightrecordsusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Archgoat,"Heavenly Vulva" (Christ's Last Rites)
Pounding out with primal aggression, HEAVENLY VULVA is a six-track sojourn into depraved realms of the world below as guided by Lucifer’s disciples Archgoat. This unit’s guttural growls and manic percussive presence are key characteristics of the overall overbearing feeling of gloom and dread conveyed by “Day of Clouds” while “Penetrator of the Second Temple” employs some interesting samples (is that a goat? You be the judge) right before attacking with the black metallic brute force of early leaders such as Hellhammer. Chaotic and diabolic, Archgoat deliver a raw and unadulterated black metal assault built to bludgeon skulls in the name of evil.
www.archgoat.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Ptahil,"For His Satanic Majesty's Glory" (Wraith Productions)
Ptahil make no bones about their affiliation to the dark lord as the title of their nine-track album FOR HIS SATANIC MAJESTY’S GLORY plainly suggests. Nor do the backwards message samples or song titles such as “The Gate to the Kliphotic Anti-World” have any problem declaring this squad’s allegiance to Satan. Eerie intros (“Regards Foreman Exu”) and war-inspiring beats (“For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory”) accentuate the music’s demonic spirit to envelope both creepy crawling rhythms (“The Black Fire”) and mid-tempo maulings (“Deathwish”) all in the name of this Indiana duo’s belief in the netherworld.
www.wraithproductions.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Landmine Marathon,"Gallows" (Prosthetic)
Grace Perry and crew return with a precision-driven sharp and grinding eight-track metal assault entitled GALLOWS. Landmine Marathon doles out an abrasive and seething set of vocals and feature a gallery of corrosive riffs (“Liver and Lungs”) with alternating D-beat and grindcore tempos setting the breakneck pace (“Cloaked in Red”). The band also maintains intensity the few instances where the tempo slows to a crawl (“Knife From My Sleeve”), exhibiting another side to the crash and burn extreme metal frenzy this Arizona unit has built their memorable hook-making reputation on (“Cutting Flesh and Bone”).
www.prostheticrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Skeletonwitch,"Forever Abomination" (Prosthetic)
Ripping through 11 tracks of blackened thrash mayhem, Skeletonwitch presents their latest album FOREVER ABOMINATION. Showcasing a stream of razor sharp twin guitar crunch and blood curdled shredding vocals leading to rousing choruses and dastardly solos (“Reduced to the Failure of Prayer”), Skeletonwitch keep their metallic influences close at hand yet show their know-how when blending blistering black metal into a Swedish death metal jam (“Cleaver of Souls”, “Rejoice in Misery”) or putting a folksy spin on classic metal (“The Infernal Resurrection”), at the endless expense of drawing inspiration from Mercyful Fate’s refined catalog (“Of Ash and Torment”).
www.prostheticrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Tiger Flowers,"Tiger Flowers" (Self-released)
Tiger Flowers offer an eclectic mix of complex post-hardcore on their eponymous four-track EP. This NYC troupe implement spurts of spastic noise with an alarming use of disjointed riffs (“Cuts”), slurring staccato beats, and heavily effected heaviness to create a devastating mix of metallic destruction that takes the time to strip the lowest common denominator down without leaving a trace behind (“Drag”). Understanding the power of the breakdown as well as the effects of its aftermath (“The Weight”), Tiger Flowers shakes foundations with jarring switches making their spiraling out of control sound.
www.tigerflowersnyc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Rotted,"Ad Nauseum" (Candlelight)
Hailing from the UK, The Rotted combine Entombed’s caustic tones and Dismember’s decimating use of the D-beat as a template for their 11-track excursion AD NAUSEUM. Laden with lightning fast rhythms and downtuned guitar chug aplenty (“Rex Oblivione”, “Entering the Arena of the Unwell”), this band provides sizzling short sharp shocks (“Apathy in the UK”) as well as a few longer pieces with discernibly doomier atmospheres (“Put Me Out of Your Misery”). The Rotted are far from original, yet they do a fine job of recreating the buzzing beginnings of the death metal era with a winning balance of speed and aggression.
www.candlelightrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Bastard Priest,"Ghouls Of The Endless Night" (Pulverised)
The prolific Bastard Priest returns with eight-tracks of over the top blackened thrash metal on GHOULS OF THE ENDLESS NIGHT. This unit shamelessly derives their vintage death metal sound directly from the early works of the elite, complete with a plethora of primal rhythms and superfluous guitar solos that can be traced back to the pioneers of the music. Nonetheless, Bastard Priest’s undeniable spirit in presenting the darker end of the spectrum is brazen with an enchanting sense of evil in every hair-raising scream, grimy groove, and eerie prelude (“Enormous Thunder of the End”).
www.pulverisedrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Last Vegas,"The Other Side" (Electric City)
The Last Vegas drop three tracks of sleaze rock straight from the Sunset Strip vaults on their EP THE OTHER SIDE. Featuring a bevy of down home rhythms and bluesy booze driven licks that give a nod to early Aerosmith (“The Other Side”) as well as delivering the best song Skid Row never wrote (“Evil Eyes”), this unit whips up a homage devoid of cliché and dripping with attitude.
www.thelastvegas.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Glorior Belli,"The Great Southern Darkness" (Metal Blade)
Glorior Belli undergo unexpected transformations throughout the course of their latest 11-track album THE GREAT SOUTHERN DARKNESS. While a bold and brash black metal attack is still a key component of the band’s music, this release finds the squad experimenting with freewheeling stoner metal savvy and southern rock dirge (“They Call Me Black Devil”) amongst other left of center inspiration. Armed with a cavalcade of strong transitions that cut through the chaos (“The Foolhardy Venturer”), Glorior Belli redefines their sound and restructures their boundaries of heaviness with this adventurous offering.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Ritual,"Beyond The Fragile Horizon" (Bakerteam)
The Ritual is an Italian troupe that straddles the line between power metal and metalcore on their nine-track endeavor BEYOND THE FRAGILE HORIZON. Featuring bouts of rousing clean singing with a rash of thrash riffs and pounding percussion, this quartet’s style emulates a cross between Avenged Sevenfold and All That Remains (“Hysteria and Madness”) with a keen focus on melody from both on the vocal and guitar thrusting songs like “Nothing is the Same” and the ballad “Without” directly into power metal histrionics. While The Ritual is far from reinventing the wheel, their debut release displays a solid skill-set with a strong comprehension of modern melodic metal.
www.bakerteamrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Loincloth,"Iron Balls Of Steel" (Southern Lord)
With a name like Loincloth, you can only imagine what kind of sword-wielding, mead-drinking, castle-raiding metallic goodness this trio would be able muster. Only problem is, this seasoned triage of musicians (scaled down from a quartet after the departure of riffmaster general and ex-Breadwinner six-string slinger Pen Rollings and featuring 2/3’s of lauded thrash act Confessor) offer way more mathematical metal movements than Manowar-esque mannerisms, resulting in a dizzying array of top shelf multi-faceted metal sans vocals or out of touch self-indulgence most instrumental groups have the tendency to mire in. Brimming over with short, swift strikes of technically sound and crushingly heavy tunes with tongue in cheek titles like “Underwear Bomb” and “The Moistener”, this squad’s debut offering comes over a decade after their initial introduction yet contains a barrage of material more than worth the wait for the most brazen of metal fan to thoroughly enjoy.
www.southernlord.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Autumn,"Cold Comfort" (Metal Blade)
On fifth album COLD COMFORT, Dutch sextet Autumn relies on a bottomless supply of melancholy to produce an oblique and refined multi-layered heaviness. Led by the tantalizing vocal presence of Marjan Welman, this troupe adroitly weaves sorrow-laden Goth rock straightforwardness (“Retrospect”) and downtrodden doom metal despair (“Alloy”) with an unstrained undercurrent of melody (“Black Stars in a Blue Sky”) to discover the middle ground between the majesty of Opeth and the accessibility of Lacuna Coil. Even though their dabbling with progressive elements (“Naeon”) reveals the band’s softer side more than ever before (“The Venamoured”), Autumn’s latest nine-track affair retains an overall heaviness thanks to strong team-effort songwriting featuring simple and effective twin guitars with subtle keyboards (“Cold Comfort”) rendering an atmospheric approach.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Redeemer,"First Degree" (Rite Of Passage)
Phoenix, Arizona Christian hardcore troupe Redeemer lay down a five-track quick jab of overly emotional modern hardcore with FIRST DEGREE. This outfit churns out heart on their sleeve hardcore equipped with a smattering of slow-paced interludes in between bursts of frantic fury, keeping the mood tense even during the more predictable moments. While the screeching lead vocals may be a gamechanger for some, Redeemer’s basic yet well executed modern hardcore approach is far from original yet the conceptual story told through the lyrics help to keep interest piqued even when the music drags.
www.riteofpassagerecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Cadaveria,"Horror Metal" (Bakerteam)
Cadaveria meld Gothic, black, and symphonic metal together to comprise the loftily titled 11-track offering HORROR METAL. While the Italian-based band’s recently shift in style is still enduring a stretch of growing pains, their bastardized blend of heaviness supplies a derivative yet well-balanced array of chaos and mayhem for all who tread the path less chosen. Sounding like a cross between Otep and Arch Enemy with traces of Cradle of Filth, this female-fronted outfit doesn’t stray too far from a middle of the road mauling pace, ultimately making everything sound alike while losing dynamics.
www.myspace.com/cadaveriaband
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Zebulon Pike,"Space Is The Corpse Of Time" (Self-released)
Acclaimed Minnesota instrumental outfit Zebulon Pike implement a slew of unorthodox elements into their equally unorthodox amalgamation of cosmos spanning prog rock and shapeshifting doom metal, creating a captivating five-track, 50-minute affair entitled SPACE IS THE CORPSE OF TIME. This quartet’s expansive eccentricities reference the likes of King Crimson, Don Caballero, and Rush with both marvelous displays of technical prowess and virulently skillful songwriting while keeping the mood foreboding with hearty shots of rhythmic gloom and despair rivaling the likes of Yob or Isis. Prepare to take a journey past the outer recesses of heavy music’s boundaries courtesy of the galactic complexity doled out by this band named after one of the unsung explorers of American history.
www.zebulonpike.com
Rating:
Review by Mike SOS


King Giant,"Dismal Hollow" (Graveyard Hill)
King Giant is a Virginia-based quintet with a predilection for administering a slow cooked selection of sludgy southern-tinged stoner metal as audible on their eight-track excursion DISMAL HOLLOW. Armed with a vocal snarl reminiscent of Danzig (“Pistols and Penance”) and a twin guitar attack stacked with colossal riffs (“6 O’Clock Swill”) that downshifts from COC to Down, to Rwake without batting an eye, King Giant’s monolithic attack is accentuated with nuances like cello and female background voices to flesh out their down and dirty descent through the backwoods swamps of the Mid-Atlantic. Mature and muscular, King Giant’s sophomore effort avoids the dreaded slump and cranks out an album dripping in despondency.
www.kinggiant.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Lvcifyre,"The Calling Depths" (Pulverised)
UK death metal squad Lvcifyre are so troo, they don’t employ a bassist in their ranks or feel the need for vowels judging by the spelling of their band name. What this unit does believe in however is churning out a maddening amount of mid-90’s death metal mayhem, almost as if Immolation and Morbid Angel were to join forces and obliterate everything in their path (“The Great Fall”). Featuring a barrage of blistering percussive runs and wailing guitar solos with a flurry of unearthly vocal growls, THE CALLING DEPTHS supplies eight hybrid tracks of depraved black/death metal produced with the strict tenets of the underground in mind (“LCF”).
www.pulverised.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Lisa Bianco,"Momentum" (Self-released)
The latest release by NYC’s Lisa Bianco displays this seasoned artist’s durable rock foundation with elements of modern pop to give her seven-track disc a gloss digestible for mainstream consumption (“Big City Lights”). But don’t be fooled; Bianco is a rock ‘n roll girl at heart with riffs whose punch eschews usual singer-songwriter output (“No Doubt About It”, “Erase You”). Exhibiting an edgy vibe that rivals Cyndi Lauper and Aimee Mann (“Low”) with a strong pop-rock songwriting sensibility that exudes high energy (“Charmed”), Lisa Bianco demonstrates how to successfully mix genres without alienating audiences, resulting in this well-produced and well-balanced effort.
www.lisabianco.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Psycho Enhancer,"Broke As Fuck" (Self-released)
Long Island’s purveyors of the party Psycho Enhancer blends death metal vocals, deathcore breakdowns, and a party ‘til you puke mantra into their five-track offering BROKE AS FUCK. These storied road dogs keep things heavy throughout, messing with tempos for maximum destruction while busting out metalcore riffs and gang vocal parts galore with menacing vibes meant for bad intent (“I Want to Chill”). The message of Psycho Enhancer is simple; these guys are down for a drunken good time chock full of hardcore music and encourage you to join them in their quest to leave a messy dance floor and a staggering bar tab.
www.facebook.com/PSYCHOENHANCER
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Ogressa,"Warts And All" (Dali's Llama)
Desert rock musicians banding together for a project isn’t exactly a groundbreaking concept, yet the material left behind always seems to expose another layer or explore an overlooked path to further enlightens listeners. Such is the case with Ogressa and their 10-track affair WARTS AND ALL, a stoner rock smorgasbord of a release featuring musicians known both from the frontlines and behind the scenes such as Scott Reeder, Zach Huskey, and Trent Ramseyer. Ranging from sludgy and swampy with southern metal accents (“Mange”, “Cuts on My Scars”) to bounce-driven grooves (“The Boss”) to penchant acoustic dirges (“Sonoran Debris”), Ogressa captures every shade of the desert rock experience while shedding their own smoke-ridden and doom-laden aura over the proceedings, culminating in snarling and sinewy jams (“Animal Mask”) custom-made for the blacklight set to sink their claws into.
www.dalisllamrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Skum City,"Don't Forget My Balls" (XM)
NYC punk hardcore quartet Skum City projects the angst and aggression of living in the Big Apple on their eight-track endeavor DON’T FORGET MY BALLS. Armed with a rabid male/female vocal assault and explosive tension-driven rhythms, these guys and gal let loose rapid-fire riffs, raise your fist and yell choruses (“Skum City”), and true punk rock grit scraped from the streets of Gotham City (“NYC Asshole”) to comprise a batch of tell it like it is anthems for the anarchist in us all (“BJDFMB”).
www.facebook.com/skumcity
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Turrigenous,"The Dream And The Resonance Live" (Self-released)
Long Island progressive metal unit Turrigenous showcases a set of commendable chops on the squad’s most recent excursion, a 12-track live version of their album THE DREAM AND THE RESONANCE. Captured at the band’s local haunt DJ Rider’s Rhythm and Brews before it closed down for good, the high quality of the recording immediately stands out, as does the intricate interplay the musicians share between each other, pulling off shifting influences from Fates Warning to Iron Maiden to Megadeth to Opeth without a stumble (“Bloodsick”). If not for the crowd’s cheering and clapping the rare times on this album when the band takes a break, this offering’s awe-inspiring technical work could pass for a proper studio effort, a testament to the exemplary musical ability of this troupe who fans of traditional metal with a progressive edge should definitely get to know.
www.facebook.com/turrigenous
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Infernal Overdrive,"Last Rays Of The Dying Sun" (Small Stone)
The pedigree of rock music that comes from the state of New Jersey is unquestionable, as the Garden State has brought us some of the most recognizable and talented musicians of all time. Infernal Overdrive does an admirable job of keeping the raucous rock ‘n roll portion of the state’s contribution alive and kicking on this quartet’s debut eight-track affair LAST RAYS OF THE DYING SUN. Chock full of grooving guitar licks, hard-hitting bass and drums, and an air of danger fueling their rollicking ride through the bluesy and boozy catalogs of the greats from the 1970’s, Infernal Overdrive lay down a sweet dose of retro rawk done right (“The Edge”) that strikes the middle ground of the best parts of Kiss, AC/DC, and Skynyrd with a no-nonsense approach that lets the music do the talking (“Deported to Jersey”)
www.smallstone.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Heels,"Undisputed" (Self-released)
The Heels dole out nuggets of rapid-fire hardcore punk bliss as documented on the Philadelphia quintet’s 16-track endeavor UNDISPUTED. Fleet footed punk rock with a smattering of slugging hardcore is this unit’s specialty, served up with a slew of contagious melodies and an attitude obtained solely from feeling the elations and frustrations of the hardcore punk scene firsthand. Boasting a broad scope and an intense attack that never loses its sharpness, The Heels strike a middle ground between Ignite, H20 and Warzone for the bold and brash to thoroughly enjoy.
www.facebook.com/groups/THEHEELSFanclub
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Carnifex,"Until I Feel Nothing" (Victory)
Carnifex come back with their fourth installment of aural brutality, the 10-track release UNTIL I FEEL NOTHING. Peddling the much maligned deathcore style they’ve championed since their 2005 debut, this album finds the San Diego quintet unleashing their formulaic ferocity with a refreshing sense of brevity and a pronounced increase of death metal in the mix, assisting the blistering guitars to sting with more force while giving the newly acquired vocal output of high-pitched shrieks and rasps a discernibly blackened hue. But don’t expect a complete metallic overhaul here, as Carnifex continues to carefully follows the blueprint of dizzying technical parts/savage bass drop breakdown/ repeat to a fault, despite the slight tweaks in their delivery to create another love it or hate it polarizing effort.
www.victoryrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Astral Doors,"Jerusalem" (Metalville)
Swedish quintet Astral Doors deliver a heartfelt blast of traditional metal on the veteran troupe’s latest album JERUSALEM. This 11-track release features an endless supply of thunderous rhythms and cascading riffs complimenting lead singer Nils Patrik Johansson’s powerful vocal style reminiscent of the late Ronnie James Dio (“With a Stranger’s Eye”) while the act’s commendable songwriting prowess plays to their strengths and merges post-Ozzy Black Sabbath and Deep Purple with hints of power metal majesty to form a winning blend of melody and crunch (“Child of Rock ‘n Roll”, “Pearl Harbor”). JERUSALEM offers little in the way of surprises yet yields a vintage metal attack solidified by a stirring vocal performance and durable compositions.
www.metalville.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Admiron,"K2€" (Bakerteam)
10 tracks of modern metal malaise is what Italian troupe Admiron serves up on their third full-length endeavor entitled K2. This 10-track excursion finds the quartet celebrating their decade plus in the metal realm by dabbling in the atmospheric musings of Opeth (“Passenger”) as well as tinkering with the off-kilter polyrhythmic pummeling of Meshuggah (“Oriens”) to create their left of center sound while a versatile vocalist leads the proceedings with just the right mix of harsh screams and clean sung passages to guide through the treacherous musical landscapes traveled (“Where Nothing Changes”). Decisively dark and brooding with a pronounced bass guitar presence making an impact, Adimiron’s blend of advanced thrash metal with murky melodic overtones fits in nicely amongst the Machine Head and Soilwork albums in your collection.
www.bakerteamrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Old Gods,"Old Gods" (Self-released)
Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Jeff Tuttle steps away from his axe to pick up a microphone and front the quartet Old Gods. This Detroit-based unit shares Tuttle’s main outfit’s love of jagged music yet takes a turn towards the seedier side of hardcore on cuts like the caustic “Snakeoil Painting 2” to come off like a cross between Black Flag at their boiling point and the noise-addled post hardcore mayhem of acts like Jesus Lizard. Administering a relentless six-track clamor (“F For Fake”) direct from the former murder capital of the world, Old Gods unleash a nefarious and noisy debut chock full of the scalding screams and jackhammer rhythms (“Shock Corridor”) suitable for destroying everything in the general vicinity.
www.oldgods.bandcamp.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Pangea,"Hollow Hearts" (Hotfoot)
New Hampshire quintet Pangea let loose with a seething 10-track salvo entitled HOLLOW HEARTS. Chock full of heavy handed riffs and painstaking vocal screams, this squad provides a hearty helping of hardcore hostility guaranteed to keep the pit active (“A Burning Branch”) while showcasing the capability to veer into more brooding material (“Thesis”) without losing of the mauling intensity they lovingly decorate their arrangements with (“Brainwashed”). Successfully recreating the tenacity and fury of an album recorded by Kurt Ballou at his famed Godcity Studios, Pangea produces a nasty slab of loud and uncompromising aural nihilism for fans of Converge, Snapcase, and The Hope Conspiracy to destroy things to.
www.hotfootrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Brutal Truth,"End Time" (Relapse)
Grindcore godfathers Brutal Truth return in fine fashion with END TIME, a tumultuous 23-track tour de force of chaos. Intertwining their ever-dependable dollop of face-ripping ferocity with an ample supply of experimentation (especially noticeable with the guitar sound), this trailblazing unit fosters a high level of extreme metal excellence with just the right touches of blistering adventure and unorthodox intrigue. Filled to the brim with relevant lyrical social commentary and an incessant barrage of top notch metallic musicianship thanks to another savage rhythm section showing courtesy of Dan Lilker and Rich Hoak, Brutal Truth provides another solid offering that stands proud amongst selections from their stellar catalog while furthering the squad’s undeniable underground credibility.
www.relapse.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


This Is Hell,"Black Mass" (Rise)
By increasing the levels of tried and true old school thrash metal into their metallic hardcore foundation, Long Island road warriors This is Hell return with an overhauled heaviness that adds a bruising new dimension to the band’s overall output. Juxtaposing the contagious crunch of Leeway, the in your face imminence of DRI and the majestic heft of Testament, this unit and their newfound affection for the Bay Area thrash metal scene convincingly hits the mark on their 10-track release BLACK MASS thanks to both the plethora of tasty guitar licks courtesy of band founder Rick Jiminez and the rhythm section’s rounds of rumbling ferocity. Providing a solid amalgamation of Madball, Trivium and Throwdown while retaining the rough and ready hardcore attitude necessary to keep crowds moving (“Black Mass”, “Acid Rain”), This is Hell successfully follow the template on how to create an aggressive crossover album chock full of vintage flair and modern mayhem.
www.riserecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Toxic Holocaust,"Conjure And Command" (Relapse)
Joel Grind has taken Toxic Holocaust from being a misanthropically metallic one-man band into a hulking seething trio as heard on the 10-track CONJURE AND COMMAND. Summoning the higher powers of the darker end of the metallic spectrum such as Venom, Mayhem, Slayer, and Kreator with a discernibly stripped down hybrid of thrash, black and punk metal spurring the assault (“The Liars are Burning”), Toxic Holocaust waste little time to deliver punchy melodies laden in raw heaviness while boasting a brevity where songs barely goes beyond the three minute mark yet obliterate everything in their path (“In the Depths (Of Your Mind)”). Toxic Holocaust may not be overly original or flashy, yet those who enjoy a knock down, drag out presentation of caustic chaos will heartily appreciate this album’s no frills nefarious nature.
www.relapse.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


White Arms Of Athena,"Astrodrama" (Prosthetic)
While the admiration for fellow prog metallers Between the Buried and Me is very much apparent, Mesquite, TX quintet White Arms of Athena’s 10-track offering ASTRODRAMA exhibits a fly off the handle virulence with an ambitious artistic flair that absolves them of being labeled as a mere clone, even if at times it is virtually impossible to tell the two apart. With a daring twin guitar tandem commanding attention through a flurry of furious and soulful expressions (“Crown Chakra”), this troupe slices its way through multiple metal genres with punishing precision and displays a bevy of bold and brutal chops that effortlessly runs the spectrum from intricate technicality to destructively bludgeoning. Boasting jawdropping musicianship and a firm grasp on the modern metal playbook, White Arms of Athena are amongst the new bands in the prog metal realm to keep an eye on.
www.prostheticrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Sep7ember,"Strange Ways Of Going Home" (SPV)
German quintet Sep7ember concoct an amalgamation of heart-wrenching ‘90s alternative rock with present-day pop rock sensibilities as heard on the group’s debut record STRANGE WAYS OF GOING HOME. Cascading guitars, rumbling rhythms and emotive vocals are fused together by this crafty squad, spawning a batch of jagged and rousing melodies with a cynically centered lyrical slant (“I Hate NY”) that accentuates the music’s darker hues. Taking musical cues from the likes of early Radiohead, Our Lady Peace, and Live with quite a bit of Placebo and Kings of Leon strewn in (“Run”), Sep7ember’s attack is both heavy handed and heavy hearted, providing listeners a plethora of guitar-driven emotional plateaus to explore ranging from reflective to cathartic.
www.spv-de.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Dead In The Dirt,"Fear" (Southern Lord)
Atlanta, GA trio Dead in the Dirt unleash a filth-laden 10-track, 12-minute crust-metal celebration entitled FEAR. Fortified with a barrage of brutality-levied brevity, this blink and you miss it release channels the unbridled raw metal sound from the darkest recesses of a Swedish dungeon with rabid vocal barks, grindcore blasting rhythms, and a profound sense of hardcore hostility fueling the entire affair (“Bastards of the Bleak”). While a not so new and painfully obvious laundry list of influences can be name dropped to describe this unit’s chaotic character, the inherited seething anger Dead in the Dirt projects (“Skin Graft”) effectively serves as a catalyst for their aggression-oriented assault’s to efficiently deliver catastrophic rounds of utter destruction.
www.southernlord.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Nine Covens,"On The Coming Of Darkness" (Candlelight)
Comprised of UK musicians who opt to stay anonymous, the quartet known as Nine Covens venture into the murky underworld of black metal malaise as heard on the nine-track ON THE COMING OF DARKNESS. Breaking the album up into four parts while sticking to a primitive style with sprinklings of thrash and death metal peppered in, this secretive squad who chooses to stay unknown to allow their music to do the talking showcases a direct and visceral approach cloaked in vintage production values and compositional structures from the seminal days of the black metal movement. Creating a musical realm where raspy vocal shrieks, surprisingly warm guitar tones, and oodles of tremolo picking and blast beats are staples, Nine Covens does an ample job of replicating callous emotions and cold-hearted melodies from the early works of the pioneers of the genre.
www.candlelightrecordsusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Vise Massacre,"Expendable Humans" (Gorilla The Horse)
Noise-mongering Brooklyn, NY trio Vise Massacre champion a sound as painful as their name suggests, cramming 14 tracks of hostile hardcore and callous crust metal into a little over 30 minutes on their latest excursion EXPENDABLE HUMANS. Supplying a supercharged selection of breakneck-paced, adrenaline fueled anthems led by a razor-wired vocal performance sounding like a cross between Nuclear Assault, Slayer, and Unsane, this troupe wastes no time in presenting a blunt barrage of thunderous percussion, devastating bass, and scalding guitars all set to destroy by any means necessary. Raw and ruthless, Vise Massacre leave little time to recoup senses as they continue to beat your skull in with their incessant assault merging thrash, punk, powerviolence, and underground metal at its most stripped down and pissed off.
www.visemassacre.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Rising,"To Solemn Ash" (Exile On Mainstream)
Danish trio Rising channels a classic doom metal aura through a modern sludge-addled metallic mindset as heard on their 10-track affair TO SOLEMN ASH. Sharing a nimble fingered yet utterly gruff disposition with the likes of bands such as Baroness and Mastodon (“Heir to Flames”) with an underlying occult feel borrowed from bands like Ghost and Witchery (“Seven Riders”), this act leans on the wares of those they emulate a bit too much to be considered groundbreaking yet manages to dole out a colossal cache of heaviness that gets the job done nonetheless (“Passage”). Even though the strained vocal harmonies and sludge metal savagery combination this squad administers seemingly arrives direct from John Baizley’s cutting room outtakes, Rising boasts the incredible chops and songwriting savvy to serve up a powerful rendition that comes very close to achieving the glorious and provocative craftiness of their closest influences.
www.exileonmainstream.de
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Afternoon Gentlemen,"Pissedography" (Give Praise)
PISSEDOGRAPHY culls a solid smattering British grindcore maniacs The Afternoon Gentlemen work from the unit’s vast array of 7”’s and EP’s, giving enthusiasts of the genre a broad composite of how the squad operates while displaying the band’s devotion of creating aural devastation. This 38-track, 45-minute endeavor exhibits all of the multifaceted mayhem this troupe whips up from spastic to caustic, complete with clever samples and a devil may care attitude that radiates a good time vibe, even if the barrage of strangled screams and ominous instrumentation suggest otherwise. Perfect to throw on when you want to have yourself a grind old time, PISSEDOGRAPHY does grindcore fans proud by making a collection that is both versatile and vicious.
www.givepraiserecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Counterparts,"The Current Will Carry Us" (Victory)
Canadian unit Counterparts does an admirable job of maintaining the right balance of modern touches and standard nuances in their brand of spirited hardcore on THE CURRENT WILL CARRY US. While comparisons to fellow Canucks Comeback Kid wouldn’t be too far off-base, this quintet’s 11-track offering reveals a wide array of stylistic switch-ups throughout this crew’s jagged journey, led by a prevalent lead guitar liveliness (“Pedestal”) to include moments of mega-melodic brooding fragility (“Reflection”) within the stream of slash and burn hardcore (“MMVII”), making Counterpart’s music easily familiar but hard to pin down to solely one influence. Intense and infectious, Counterparts mixes their predominant batch of speedy rhythms, chugging guitars and scratchy vocal screams with surprising emotional depth and a handful of mature musical approaches to give this album an edge over many of their contemporaries.
www.victoryrecords.com
Rating:
Review by Mike SOS


Cyco Miko,"The Mad mad Muir Musical Tour" (Suicidal)
Undoubtedly a legendary figure in the metal realm, Suicidal Tendencies main man Mike Muir adds another release to the resume with the aptly titled effort THE MAD MAD MUIR MUSICAL TOUR, this time under the Cyco Miko banner. This 14-track compilation offers a potpourri of material spanning from the leftovers and extra tracks from both Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves sessions through the years, though the underlying sense of funk found in a bulk of the tracks denotes that most of the songs are most likely taken from Infectious Grooves sessions. Celebrating Muir’s predilection to be the metal George Clinton, this album provides a jarring overall listening experience that despite Muir’s inimitable vocal presence suffers from a disjointed sense of cohesion with a slew of stylistic mismatches that should have been left in the vault. Nonetheless, Muir cleans out the cupboards and lets it all hang out on this release, beating to his own drum as usual and sounding as invigorated as ever, even if most of the music behind the man comes off as ill-fitted and undercooked.
www.suicidalrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Nails/Skin Like Iron,"Split EP" (Self-release)
Two of California’s most revered hardcore acts team up for a four-track split EP exhibiting the broad range of The Golden State’s scene. First up is the melodically inclined Skin Like Iron, whose two-track contribution comprises a hardcore authenticity yielding the sing-along moments of the affair. Up next is Nails, whose crust-laden metallic explosiveness resets the levels of both devastation and brevity with their frenzied assault. Quite possibly the most destructive 10 minutes you’ll experience all year, this endeavor is a must have for modern hardcore followers.
www.unsilentdeath.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Freedom Hawk,"Holding On" (Small Stone)
Virginia quartet Freedom Hawk put their best foot forward to present a revival straight from the hard rock vaults of the 70’s on the 13-track excursion HOLDING ON. Featuring a slew of high-octane riff-heavy rock ‘n roll tunes harkening back to the days when rock was king with a vocal style reminiscent of Ozzy in his prime, this band’s stoneriffic attack is laden with driving rhythms and durable songwriting from top to bottom. From moody jams (“Standing in Line”) to majestically-tinged sense of dramatics (“Indian Summer”) to down and dirty bouncy sunshine grooves (“Flat Tire”), Freedom Hawk takes the listener on a raucous trip through the stoner rock spectrum with bits of psychedelic, arena rock, and boogie strewn in for good measure.
www.smallstone.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Slam,"Hit It!" (Scarlet)
Canadian rock troupe The Slam provide a timeless no-frills 10-track hard rock experience on HIT IT! While their classic rock by way of the Sunset Strip formula is far from original, this quartet serves it up with a smattering of blues-rock boogie and a knack for creating the kind of hooks that you’ll have a hard time getting out of your head (“Tears in the Rain”). Boasting a guest spot from legendary rocker Glenn Hughes (“Little Angel”) and some of the best sleaze rock anthems since the early ‘90s (“Kisser”), The Slam portray the necessary rock ‘n roll attitude convincingly while exuding the energy required to make a dent in the hard rock realm.
www.scarletrecords.it
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Renaissance Of Fools,"Fear, Hope And Frustration" (Metalville)
Swedish quartet Renaissance of Fools mesh dark alternative modern metal with hints of technically advanced and super melodic progressive rock on their 10-track debut FEAR, HOPE AND FRUSTRATION. Lined with an underlying sense of doom metal melancholy (“Intervention”) that keeps the mood swaddled in a somber and brooding blanket with flashes of Katatonia-esque guitar heroics (“Ordinary Man’s Diary”), Staind-esque bottom end (“Claws of Norms”) and Queensryche-like vocal melodies (“Sleep”) throughout, Renaissance of Fools channel the sadness from the various walks of life on the rock and metal continuum to create their own batch of complex heavy compositions soaked in sorrow.
www.metalville.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


I, Apparatus,"Ebola And The Botanist" (Hotfoot)
North Dakota quartet I, Apparatus liberally borrow from the likes of Norma Jean, Zao and The Chariot to comprise their angst-ridden angularity on the 11-track affair EBOLA AND THE BOTANIST. Employing a frantic mathcore mentality to a rousing modern hardcore foundation (“Mices”), this troupe’s musical output shares a multitude of characteristics of their influences, at times so much so that their own identity becomes undistinguishable. Regardless, I, Apparatus have a firm grasp on how to concoct a raging slab of chaotic hardcore with clever dynamic shifts (“Mesopotamia”), seething vocals that guide the rolllercoaster ride (“Tagus”), and a well-balanced blend of aggression and melody to hold their own amongst the throngs of like-minded and similarly-equipped bands.
www.hotfootrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Dixie Witch,"Let it Roll" (Small Stone)
Austin, TX trio Dixie Witch return with their fourth full length offering, the short and sweet 36-minute, 10-track album LET IT ROLL. Throwing down a heavy rock ‘n roll experience with dollops of heartfelt soul and endless streams of doom-laden boogie (“Red Song”), Dixie Witch’s blend of no-nonsense 70’s bluesy rock stomp and buoyant stoner metal is brazen with both charming southern rock gusto and simple and effective arena rock enormity (“Anthem”). Add in new axeman JT Smith’s wah-happy, fiery six-string command (“Saving Grace”) to the mix with the group’s amplified emphasis on producing soaring melodies (“Second Chance”) for the strongest effort from this Texas triage to date.
www.smallstone.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Super Bob,"Super Bob" (Self-released)
Virginia based quartet Superbob projects a hybrid hard rock and hip-hop style on their slickly produced eponymous 11-track endeavor. Sounding like a cross between Kid Rock, Hollywood Undead, and Saliva, Super Bob implements a slew of electronic elements from modern music into their melodic hard rock foundation to create a mashed-up sound chock full of rebellious energy (“Chris Brown”). Packed with a gratuitous array of expletives and pop culture references galore (“Popstar”, “Role Model”), this troupe displays a relentless attitude with a dangerous edge bound to speak to the Hot Topic sect yet seems guided by current trends a bit too stringently to be able to provide the depth to be able stand out amongst the crop of bands who also employ similar tactics.
www.superbobmusic.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Hellpie,"Infernal Slice" (Self-released)
Maryland trio Hellpie patch the thunder of metal, the brazen attitude of punk, and the sinewy grooves of sludge together to comprise their latest offering INFERNAL SLICE. This 11-track excursion finds the band doing their part keeping the spirit of rock ‘n roll alive and well with both a bluesy swagger and a plethora of pedal to the metal hard rock nuances in their arsenal showcasing their broad comprehension of all things rock. Throw in a barrage of primal screams (“Foolish Mortals”) and a dash of psychedelic effects that meld the quirk of Melvins (“Lost for Words”) and the freewheeling nature of CKY and Every Time I Die (“One Good Feeling”) with the fury of hardcore punk (“$elfish”) and the slow crawl of doom (“OK, So Who Wants to Die”) to round out Hellpie’s hard rocking mission statement.
www.reverbnation.com/hellpie
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


So Is The Tongue,"A Child Of Divorce" (Nefarious Industries)
Experimental New Jersey trio So Is The Tongue works in a self-imposed hard to nail down style, as this troupe’s diverse musical output runs from hypnotic tribal rhythms to glistening jazz passages to chaotic post-metal explosions, usually within the course of the same song. On the unit’s sophomore effort A CHILD OF DIVORCE, moods erratically shift from fragile to furious while gigantic buildups abruptly halt on stop on a dime changes, creating an unpredictable seven-track listening experience that issues a wealth of beauty with a hint of dread underneath. Produced by lauded underground metal musician/producer Colin Marston and featuring guest vocals from East of the Wall’s Chris Alfano, So is the Tongue handpicked two top notch collaborators to create s blend of atmospheric aggressiveness geared for the most adventurous of heavy music loving ears to delve into.
www.nefariousindustries.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Sadgiqacea/Grass,"Split" (Anthropic)
A mind-altering double bill of downtuned psychedelic sludge is delivered courtesy of a split effort by two of Philladelphia’s finest, Sadgiqacea and Grass. Up first is the duo Sadgiqacea (who have thoughtfully listed the phonetic breakdown of their name as SAD-JUH-KAY-SHA on their Bandcamp page) with two tracks of Isis meets Baroness by way of Minsk Hessian heft, complete with rollicking percussion, trippy interludes and scalding screams dripping with sludgy swagger (“Avianizer”). The quartet Grass comes next, doling out two tracks of similarly structured caustic chaos with a greater emphasis on creating atmospheric Neurosis-esque passages than their release-mates (“Future Ruins”) while implementing a host of influences from the aforementioned artists to round out their downtrodden sound and make this four-song, near 40-minute excursion worthy of the attention for fans of viscous viciousness.
www.anthropicrecordsphiladelphia.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Rue,"Thorns" (Shifty)
Ohio quartet Rue administers an amalgamation of stoner doom metal with sludgy and twisted predilections as documented on the unit’s 13-track endeavor THORNS. Downtuned and depraved, this act excavates the dastardly heaviness from the likes of confrontational units such as Sixty Watt Shamen, Raging Speedhorn, Buzzoven and Iron Monkey to create an impenetrable metallic foundation before liberally slathering the hellacious harshness of a cross between Down and High on Fire into their caustic mix to create a balance between melodic molasses and vaporized headbanging (“High Iron Blues”). Equipped with an ironclad rock ‘n roll spirit that hits the mark when steering clear of being plodding (“Storm and Sea”) while retaining a proper feel of dread and despair throughout (“Pressures”), Rue offers a mixed bag for fans of underground heavy music to appreciate but haven’t totally perfected the art of a unique execution well enough to break away from the pack far enough to stand out. Nonetheless, if you enjoy multifaceted sludge metal, Rue is worthy of attention.
www.shiftyrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


East Of The Wall,"The Apologist" (Translation Loss)
Prepare for a deluge of musical excess courtesy of New Jersey based quintet East of the Wall and their latest 12-track album THE APOLOGIST. This unit’s advanced take on the progressive metal mindset is not suitable for the novice, as the dizzying signature changes, glorious floating melodies, and massive instrumental interludes employed on these tracks consistently pull inspiration from avant-garde metal’s upper echelon acts while the band throws in their own set of musical curveballs and cliffhangers to create an amalgamated salvo of stellar musicianship. Armed with equal parts The Mars Volta and The Dillinger Escape Plan with a smorgasbord of post-metal, jazz fusion, and badass shredding making an impression, despite cleverly creative juices undeniably pumping throughout, a shot of self-editing would assuredly smooth the multitude of meandering moments over as well as round out the overall presentation to assist East of the Wall to stand strong alongside their peers.
www.translationlossrecordings.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


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