Music Reviews: APRIL 2012

UFO,"Seven Deadly" (Steamhammer Records)
New record from these hard rock legends shows that that they have no reason to slow down. Each song here rocks; it’s hard to pick out a smoker from the pack. “Wonderland” features singer Phil Moog singing about a monkey and it works. Vinnie Moore’s guitars impress throughout, especially on “Mojo Town” with its laid back groove. Andy Parker throws down a cool back beat on “The Last Stone Rider.” Paul Raymond’s additional textures on rhythm guitar and keyboards are felt throughout this disc. But they are put to great effect on songs like “Burn Your House Down” and “Waving Good Bye.” A solid record that proves that UFO can still take you to another planet every time.
www.ufo-music.info
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by Sean Koepenick


The Del Fuegos,"Silver Star" (February Records)
8 song EP from this Boston band, who returned to the stage in 2011 for the first time in quite awhile. Guitarist Warren Zanes actually wrote 3 songs here, with the rest going to Dan Zanes. The guitars bite, the bass of Tom Lloyd rumbles, and the drums of Woody Giessmann keep it all lively. The vocals shine and sing about life and its everyday hurdles. I hope you got them on their recent whirlwind tour of the US in 2012. There may not be another show for awhile. If not, cry yourself to sleep while listening to this record. You’ll feel better-honest.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Del-Fuegos/236550229750212
Rating:

Review by Sean Koepenick


Ian McNabb,"Little Episodes" (Fairfield Records)
Fantastic new record from this incredibly gifted singer/songwriter/guitarist. McNabb states in the liner notes that the songs were all written in one burst of creativity. Take one listen to this album and I’m sure you will be impressed. This is a mostly acoustic outing, with a spotlight on the lyrics. The title track actually appears here in 2 versions. I have my favorites here, but you need to listen to this a few times and it will all sink in. McNabb’s secret weapon on this recording is Danielle Laura Perkins. She sings backing vocals on 8 out of the 12 songs. Just listen to her on the first song alone-“Ancient Energy” and you will wonder how she hits those notes! I couldn’t find out too much information about her online, other than she likes “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “24.” But I’m sure she will be getting some other offers once word gets out. Another stellar record from “Boots”!
www.ianmcnabb.com
Rating:
and 1/2>
Review by Sean Koepenick


Wool,"Lunar Momento-Lost Rancho Session 1" (Dine Alone Records)
From the ashes of Scream, Wool reared its sweaty head in the 1990’s. Featuring Franz and Pete Stahl of that band, along with Al Bloch (ex-Concrete Blonde) on bass and Chris Bratton (ex-Inside Out) on drums. I was lucky enough to catch this band once opening for L7. They blew the doors off the hinges and easily upstaged the headliner. Here we have some archive recordings available for the first time. This is a vinyl only release, with Vol. 2 a digital only release. But get these recordings any way you can! They totally rock. While your friends were listening to Smashmouth and Sugar Ray in the 90’s, this is what they should have been jamming out the car window! “My Girlfriend is a Rock” and “Snakecharmer” are some of the best songs on here, but this is full tilt from start to finish. Scream is active again, and Franz is also playing with DYS too. Crank this and think back to a time when 90’s music did not blow big ape chunks.
www.dinealonerecords.com
Rating:

Review by Sean Koepenick


Retisonic,"Robots Fucking" (Arctic Rodeo Recordings)
etisonic formed in 2002, however this is only their 2nd full length. There have been a couple EP’s within the timeline, but now they return after a lengthy absence. Jason Farrell heads up the charge on guitar and vocals. The lyrics here still demand your full attention, maybe even causing moments of reflection from the listener. Joe Gorelick pounds on the trap with flair and refinement. Bassist Jim Kimball holds all the proceedings together on bass like Gorilla Glue. What you get are great songs, filled with twists and turns and intricate melodies. “Wait…Lookout” and “Don’t Let It Complicate Your Mind” are repeat players for me, but they all pretty much rock. The band has 2 new videos up from this record online. Check them out before the world domination tour fires up again this year. Oh yeah, buy this disc as soon as possible!
www.retisonic.com
Rating:

Review by Sean Koepenick


The Successful Failures,"Here I Am" (FDR Label)
Hard to classify this band, but I know that pretty much everything here is right up my alley. I’m hearing Guided By Voices, Soul Asylum, and of course some Replacements peppered into the stew. But songwriting seems to be the key emphasis here, with great results. “How People Start Sentences” and “It’s The Turnpike” are ones that I will keep returning to in the rotation. With the famous comic book hero on the cover, I’m wondering when one of their songs will appear in the next Superman movie? It could happen.
www.thesuccessfulfailures.com
Rating:

Review by Sean Koepenick


Blue Cheer,"Vincebus Eruptum" (Sundazed Records)
“They play so heavy they make cottage cheese out of the air!”-Allen “Gut” Turk, Blue Cheer’s manager. That’s probably one of my favorite rock and roll quotes of all time. On this re-issue, you too can hear the truth Gut was preaching. Presented here in glorious mono, this is really were the roots of metal were planted. Loud, blistering and in your face. “Summertime Blues” kicks off the facemelting, but the riffs are flying from start to finish. Essential listening for any hard rock fan. We miss you Dickie.
www.sundazed.com
Rating:

Review by Sean Koepenick


John Doe & Exene Cervenka,"Singing and Playing" (Moonlight Graham Records)
For those of you who missed the acoustic tour the songwriters of X did a few years back, here is a great CD that paints a great snapshot of the pairing. The vocal interplay sounds fantastic, as they tackle songs from both of their previous outputs. Non Billy Zoom X material is represented by “See How We Are.” For those of you who have not been to an X show recently, no songs that were made after Zoom left are played in a full band setting. One minor quibble, I would have liked a version of “4th of July” (I mean, was any other X song used by The Sopranos show? I don’t think so) rather than 2 versions of “See How We Are.” I know this is splitting hairs, this is still a great release and you need it.
www.moonlightgrahamrecords.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by Sean Koepenick


Tommy Stinson,"One Man Mutiny" (Done To Death Music)
New solo record finds the Guns and Roses bassist sharpening his songwriting skills with excellent results. Some of the Gunners help out on the title track, but most of the playing is handled by Stinson himself. His better half-Emily Roberts offers up harmony vocals on quite a few songs here and it adds a nice texture to the sound. “Zero To Stupid” and “Match Made In Hell” are the standouts for me. Tommy still brings it live, so pick this up even if he doesn’t hit your town anytime soon.
www.tommystinson.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by Sean Koepenick


Crypticus / Scaremaker,"Split" (Selfmadegod)
review goes here...
www.selfmadegodrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Ram,"Death" (Metal Blade)
Swedish metal troupe Ram returns with their third studio album DEATH, a 10-track traditional metal offering that celebrates the bombastic wares from the early days of heavy metal. Complete with high registered screams, galloping riffs, and thunderous rhythms, this unit pays proper homage to Mercyful Fate (“…Comes From the Mouth Beyond”), Iced Earth (“Defiant”), and Savatage (“Hypnos”) with a well-rounded take on the classic sounds of 30 years ago (“Release Me”). Retro without sounding overtly dated or out of touch. Ram delivers a solid heavy metal album full of the histrionics and drama that old school enthusiasts should have little problem enjoying.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Christian Mistress,"Possession" (Relapse)
Returning with nine tracks of vintage metal excellence, Washington’s Christian Mistress bring the world POSSESSION. This female-fronted, twin guitar unit’s latest offering channels the dark undercurrent of their Pacific Northwestern residence with an occult metal slant chock full of NWOBHM intonations and ‘70s heavy metal bravado. Showcasing the ability to break into Mercyful Fate-esque fretwork (“Pentagram and Crucifix”) as quick as they can ride out a sinewy groove (“Haunted Hunted”), this group executes with the swagger of Zeppelin and the brawn of Sabbath in their back pocket. Naturally smoky and slightly mysterious with a meticulous attention to detail, Christian Mistress are a band whose admiration for their craft and love for the sounds of classic metal shapes a top notch record whose top flight musicianship trumps the rest of the retread set in spades.
www.relapse.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Terra Stigma,"Terra Stigma" (Ryze)
Long Island quartet Terra Stigma resurrects the depressive sounds and feral fury of the grunge era on their eponymous five-track endeavor. Big hooks and rousing vocal melodies are a huge part of this squad’s presentation (“Final”), channeling Bush, Taproot, and Silverchair to deliver punchy and potent moments with a darkened atmosphere turned out by the Staind-esque guitar and a beefy bass and drum backbeat (“Surface”). Pleasantly predictable with all the right elements in place, Terra Stigma serves up a commendable recreation of shadowy alternative rock from the ‘90s.
www.terrastigma.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Element,"Soundtrack To The End Of The World" (Self-released)
Gritty NYC trio Element demonstrate what a well-oiled rock ‘n roll machine should sound like as audible on the group’s four-track sojourn SOUNDTRACK TO THE END OF THE WORLD. Meshing a freewheeling hard rock bravado with a potpourri of pop-rock sensibilities, Element’s winning songwriting showcases an aptitude for creating grandiose atmospheres that never lose a pounding backbeat (“Tin Man”) as well as wealth of left of center heaviness straight out of Dave Grohl’s playbook (“Beautiful”). Bolstered by a rash of massive hooks with luxurious harmonies akin to King’s X meeting Muse, Element’s attentive musicianship and versatile rock chops allow their songs to span the rock continuum with an exhilarating sense of swagger where hitting the repeat button constantly is encouraged.
www.reverbnation.com/ElementNYC
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Doomsday Mourning,"Culture Of Corruption" (Self-released)
The grimy din developed by Queens, NY quintet Doomsday Mourning blends samples from cult films with soul crushing mechanized blasts of modern metal as heard on their five-track endeavor CULTURE OF CORRUPTION. Bolstered by a bevy of beatdown breakdowns underneath haunting guitars (“11370”), this Big Apple squad serves up a damaging and destructive array of NYHC aggression via growling vocals with an ample supply of death metal riffs and the type of polyrhythmic punishment befit for the likes of The Acacia Strain and Meshuggah. Comprising a thick wall of chaos and catastrophe with intricate percussion and an indomitable NYC spirit, Doomsday Mourning displays an oppressively heavy sound custom made to pound listeners into submission.
doomsdaymourning.tumblr.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Corrosion Of Conformity,"Corrosion Of Conformity" (Candlelight)
Since frontman and guitarist Pepper Keenan has been sequestered to play in NOLA supergroup Down for an inordinate amount of time, the remaining three members of seminal heavy group Corrosion of Conformity decided to continue and record as the original three piece lineup of Mike Dean, Woody Weatherman and the hard hitting Reid Mullin returning behind the kit for their latest studio effort. This eponymous endeavor is a remarkably balanced 11-track tour de force spanning the trio’s rich history of both underground hardcore punk crossover and recognizable bluesy sludge metal, channeling all eras of the three-decade old act while demonstrating a rabid reverence for past glories (“River of Stone”) and affirmative nods to their sound from back in the day (“Leeches”). While those who only know the band’s music from their most popular period may yearn for Keenan’s warm and soulful croon, Dean (no stranger to the singer slot in COC) and Weatherman step up and pick the slack up admirably, adding an element of unpredictability along the way keeping listeners intrigued and engaged (“Your Tomorrow”, “What We Become”). Celebrating a triumphant resetting of their unique style, Corrosion of Conformity’s latest album exudes with an invigorated heaviness where boundaries are cast aside and raw rock ‘n roll reigns supreme.
www.candlelightrecordsusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Dwellers,"Good Marking Harakiri" (Small Stone)
Dwellers is a Salt Lake City, UT trio whose lumbering riffs, molten lava grooves and trippy meanderings compound stoner rock, doom metal, and psychedelic grunge on their six-track debut GOOD MORNING HARAKIRI. Familiarly fuzzy yet distinctly original (“Old Honey”), this unit showcases a strong command of both pacing and dynamics throughout, seemingly cramming the wares of early Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, and Melvins into their arsenal of hazy wah pedal induced jams (“Lightning Ritual”). Radiating cosmic rock dripping with down home blues sentiments (“Black Bird”), Dwellers have made an album that deserves repeated listens in order to fully appreciate the slow cooked nature and sinewy spaceship traveled songwriting this troupe conveys.
www.smallstone.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Abject,"Try Again" (Jobbers Union)
Abject unleashes a heartfelt hardcore assault that brings it back to basics on their 10-track debut TRY AGAIN. Comprised of seasoned players from both the NYC and DC scene, this Big Apple quintet meshes the freewheeling nature of Murphy’s Law (“S.U.V. Tard”) and the rough and tumble attitude of Warzone (“Popped Collar, Broken Nose”) with the punk explosiveness of H20 (“Try Again”) to create a no frills brand of in your face music that pulls no punches and offers no apologies (“Change”) while channeling the seminal days of the NYHC scene.
www.jobbersunion.org
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Exumer,"Fire And Damnation" (Metal Blade)
Exumer returns after a 25-year hiatus with the 10-track offering FIRE AND DAMNATION. This German-based thrash metal squad makes up for its two decades plus absence from releasing a studio album with a straightforward and unrelenting thrash metal presentation laden with snarling vocals, galloping guitars galore, and a colossal bass and drum crunch (“The Weakest Limb”). No surprises here, just a supply of sturdy songwriting and a steady stream of speedy licks and rhythms that assist Exumer to come back from inactivity with a mighty roar (“Fire and Damnation”) that skillfully blends elements of fellow countrymen Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction with Bay Area notables Exodus (“Devil Chaser”) and Testament.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


I Exist,"II: The Broken Passage" (Prosthetic)
I Exist is a Australian unit whose firm grip on both D-beat hardcore and sludge metal makes for an intriguing headbanging journey as heard on their 13-track endeavor II: THE BROKEN PASSAGE. This seven-piece squad boasts four guitarists in their ranks creating the tumultuous din heard on tracks like “Acid Strain” while the bass and drums blast through Napalm Death meets Discharge beats (“Blades Ruin”) before slowing down the tempo to an Iron Monkey by way of Raging Speedhorn slow crawl (“Wretched Earth”). I Exist even added an acoustic piece that sounds like a Down B-side (“The Riders Ode”) so the listener can catch a break before getting tossed back into the melee. Versatile yet consistently vicious, I Exist have inhabited a landscape where stoner metal and hardcore intertwine and collide, rearing a cosmically chaotic sound.
www.prostheticrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Gorty Blister,"Earth-Sick" (Bakerteam)
Italian metal veterans Gory Blister are back with 10 tracks of technically crafted death metal mayhem with EARTH-SICK. This long running group is making the most of its second go round on the extreme metal circuit, busting down the doors with unbridled aggression and a bounty of left of center tactics twisting song structures to reveal elastic musicianship (“H.I.V.”) and unorthodox melodies (“Dominant Genethics”). Heavily influenced by the likes of Pestilence, Death, and Cannibal Corpse, Gory Blister dexterously delivers a bludgeoning and brutal assault that doesn’t skimp when it comes to unloading a hearty helping of dazzling complexities (“Decanted Embryos”).
www.bakerteamrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Riotgod,"Invisible Empire" (Metalville)
Comprised of two members of New Jersey stoner rock giants Monster Magnet, Riotgod definitely implements a fair share of the galactic rock and roll championed by Dave Wyndorf into its mix on the act’s sophomore effort INVISIBLE EMPIRE. But like their auspicious debut record, this band offers more than mere repeated blastoffs into the stratosphere, as grounding Page and Plant by way of Alice in Chains inspired acoustic numbers boldly display (“Gas Station Roses”). Fortified with a whole lot of grungy overtones via the likes of Soundgarden and divine desert rock heft (“Firebrand”) with a coat of hard rock bravado straight from the ‘70s (“Crossfade”), this quartet delivers an organically derived punch of pure rock ‘n roll bliss (“Tomorrow’s Today”) conveying the ineffable mystique from the greats of the hard rock realm (“Saving it Up”).
www.metalvillerecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Otto Kinzel,"We Are All Doomed" (Blutface)
Otto Kinzel is a New Hampshire-based artist with strong ties to the industrial and metal scenes of the Northeast whose debut solo offering WE ARE ALL DOOMED is based around the notorious Zodiac Killer murders that occurred in Northern California in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Integrating real sound bites from news reports and factual information into the lyrical content of the 10-track affair, Kinzel does an admirable job of replicating the aura of suspense and thrills the case stirs up with his cinematically plotted blend of mysterious and meaty metal (“The Trophy”). Drawing up a harsher Voivod-esque tilt by way of Today is The Day’s unhinged delivery (“Two Dead on LH Road”), Prong’s thrash metal explorations and White Zombie’s masterful use of samples and dialogue (“Lake Berryessa”), Kinzel’s ambitious release recalls a chilling time in modern American history with the right amount of off-center heaviness guiding the album’s still unsolved mystery.
www.ottokinzel.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Zeroking,"Kings Of Self Destruction" (Self-released)
Zeroking is a West Virginia-based quartet armed with an enormous sound ready for commercial rock radio domination as heard on their 13-track album KINGS OF SELF DESTRUCTION. Bridging the gap between the Sunset Strip heyday and modern rock’s current landscape, this troupe displays a penchant for delivering driving guitars (“Girls of California”) and soaring vocal melodies (“She Said”, “Forget Vegas”) in addition to doling out some down home dirty blues (“Southern Lady Ex-Godiva”) and tender ballads straight from the hair metal archives (“Love is Dead”). Offering something for every hard rock fan from punchy to pensive, Zeroking takes the best of Pop Evil, Shinedown, and bands from back in the day like Electric Angels to create a hard rock experience full of passionate and powerful grooves.
www.facebook.com/zerokingfans
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Devil's Blood,"The Thousandfold Epicentre" (Metal Blade)
Dutch retro metal troupe The Devil’s Blood employ a bevy of psychedelic elements to bolster the meticulously crafted and hauntingly harmonious female-fronted occult jams that comprise the 11-track THE THOUSANDFOLD EPICENTRE. Displaying a demonic pageantry similar to acts such as Ghost, The Devil’s Blood rely on layers upon layers of sound from both the heavy and cosmic end of the spectrum and an enchanting female voice simultaneously channeling King Diamond and Stevie Nicks to hammer their mesmerizing aura home (“On The Wings of Gloria”). Bursting with hazy guitars (“The Madness of Serpents”), trip-laden rhythmic patterns, and an authentic feel for scoring music custom made for dark fantasies involving sacred chants and ritualistic actions in the name of the unholy, The Devil’s Blood has built a progressive and psychedelic cult metal classic with their evil sense of elegance spearheading the entire 74-minute affair.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


No Trigger,"Tycooon" (No Sleep)
Veteran Massachusetts-based quintet No Trigger radiates genuine punk rock energy on TYCOON. This 11-track album is brimming over with velocity-driven melodies (“Check Mate”, “Windmill and Watertower”) with sincere snarling vocals and stomping rhythms (“Dried Piss”) that evoke some of Southern California’s finest acts (“Mountaineer”). Hard-hitting harmonies and punchy percussion collide throughout the duration of this affair, bridging the gap between the styles of Anti-Flag, Set Your Goals, fellow statesmen A Wilhelm Scream, and Pennywise to create this band’s blend of well-composed catchiness. This troupe’s sophomore effort took six years to make but proves to be well worth the wait for fans of the type of exuberant outpouring No Trigger delivers.
www.facebook.com/notrigger
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Goatwhore,"Blood For The Master" (Metal Blade)
New Orleans darkest export Goatwhore have come back for your soul on their latest 10-track endeavor BLOOD OF THE MASTER. These swamp metal mainstays churns out a hefty hodgepodge of blackened thrash and punky death metal with a discernibly pissed off attitude assisting the apathy on cuts like the venomously vocalized “Judgement of the Bleeding Crown”, the double barrel thrash metal assault of “An End to Nothing” and the speed picked fury of “Beyond the Spell of Discontent”. In your face and intense from top to bottom, Goatwhore makes very little deviation from their template of terror on their fifth studio release, fine tuning their ferocious attack for the metal world to enjoy.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Acephalix,"Deathless Master" (Southern Lord)
Crawling out from the catacombs of the Northern Californian metal scene, Acephalix administer a crust-laden and chaotic eight-track bludgeoning entitled DEATHLESS MASTER. Blending depraved old school death metal with a smattering of D-beat brutality (“Tomb of Our Fathers”), this unit strikes with the tried and true Swedish metal mentality of yesteryear (“Blood of Desire”) and a wet vocal gurgle whose elastic endurance and crushing ferocity truly stands out as a unique and powerful entity (“In Arms of Nothing”). While the basic approach Acephalix delivers may be a tad too primal for some, this band exudes an unquestionable savagery that fans of extreme metal should have little fault with.
www.southernlord.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Def-Con-One,"Warface" (Scarlet)
Def-Con-One doles out a versatile collection of groove-laden metal as documented on the UK quartet’s 12-track endeavor WARFACE. Stocked with an undisputed heaviness equitable to the pairing of Machine Head and Pantera (“Give Me Strength”), this group showcases an unbridled aggressiveness that goes for the jugular at every opportunity (“Warface”). Channeling the seething nature of VOD and Slipknot with razor sharp riffs, relentless rhythmic battering (“Stepped in Pain”), and vengeance-seeking vocals (“Bullets’), Def-Con-One follow the 90’ metal template with the right touches of atmosphere in each track and an extra helping of hostility overall.
www.scarletrecords.it
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Beak,"Eyrie" (Some Odd Pilot)
Beak is a Chicago-based experimental metal project whose stirring five-track conceptual EP EYRIE finds a middle ground between the progressive leanings of Gojira and the experimental meanderings of Neurosis. Constantly fluctuating between complex and atmospheric heaviness, this quartet creates a compelling wall of sound while the lyrics spins an allegorical tale of the eyrie (the nest of a bird of prey built in a high, inaccessible place) to, in their own words, symbolize the crumbling of empires and the passage of time. Conveying their message of despair with a jagged sense of imminence rounded out with scalded screams (“The Weight and Time”) leading bouts of devastatingly off-kilter heaviness (“Angry Mother of Bones”), this release is well worth the time for listeners with a penchant for adventurous modern metal like Mastodon, Baroness, and Isis.
www.beakmusic.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Sun Gods In Exile,"Thanks For The Silver" (Small Stone)
On their sophomore effort, Portland, Maine quartet Sun Gods in Exile made a smart move by adding a new member to the fold with the versatility to play a multitude of instruments from Hammond organ to slide guitar as shown on the 10-track THANKS FOR THE SILVER. Adding a perfectly fit new dimension to the feel good bloozy sound they deliver, the influence of the keyboards particularly bolster the band’s guitar drenched Southern rock snakebite to make songs like “Smoke and Fire” memorable and “Since I’ve Been Home” a bonafide rock ‘n roll anthem. Imagine AC/DC with a little bit of B3 or Black Crowes tangled up with Dixie Witch for a hint as to where this unit’s genuine bluesy aura and soaring set of classic rock chops takes the listener through, complete with a soulful singer and guitar heroics galore leading the charge (“Broken Bones”).
www.smallstone.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Red Eyed Devil,"Demo 2" (Self Released)
You can feel the fury Queens, NY hardcore heavyweights Red Eyed Devil’s unleash in every headstomping note they churn out on their latest four-track endeavor simply titled DEMO 2. Seething with volatile venom from end to end, this quartet delivers a bevy of crushing riffs (“Warp Spasm”) and drop on a dime rhythmic blasts with a contagious undercurrent of hardcore melody where gang vocals and breakdowns reign supreme (“Human Train Wreck”). Creating carnage at every turn with their menacing blend of NYHC and modern extreme metal, Red Eyed Devil provides a proper soundtrack for annihilation.
www.facebook.com/pages/RED-EYED-DEVIL/52415999645
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Stone Axe,"Stone Axe II" (Ripple)
Does anyone remember the days when bands put the music before everything else and poured their heart and soul into their album to make every song an epic experience? The gentlemen who comprise Washington’s Stone Axe work their ass off to keep those old school rock ‘n roll home fires burning on their latest offering entitled STONE AXE II. Don’t let the lack of creativity from the title fool you, as this unit’s rich musical scope falls smack dab into the blues-driven British rock of the 1970’s category (“The Devil’s Hand”), referencing such luminaries as Bad Company, Cream (whose track “SWLABR” is lovingly recreated by the group here) Whitesnake, and Deep Purple with their warm retro vibes and gargantuan chops (“Metal Damage”) leading the charge (“King of Everything”). This 25-track release combines choice studio cuts, leftovers from their first album, and a few live tracks for maximum listening pleasure, issuing a welcome reprieve from the usual malaise-filled malarkey the music industry dumps on the hapless audience.
www.ripple-music.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Frames,"In Via" (SPV)
German instrumental quartet Frames present 10 tracks of progressively minded vocal-less tracks entitled IN VIA. This unit’s savvy sense of shifting dynamics and ability to compose luxurious arrangements teeters the line between serenity and soaring (“Reflections”), led by piano when dialing the mood down (“Coda”) and by guitar when building momentum (“Stir”). Exhibiting a knack for developing a dream-like atmosphere that still finds the druthers to shake a few feathers in the down comforter around with some moments of stinging six-string shoegaze (“Encounter”), Frames demonstrate their take on post rock with cinematically-minded structures and dramatic songwriting at the forefront of their attack (“Encounter”).
www.spv-de.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


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