Music Reviews: October 2010

Dragontears,"Turn On Tune In Fuck Off!!" (Bad Afro Records)
This is the final album in the Dragontears trilogy. A side project for members of Baby Woodrose and On Trial. The first album in the trilogy was 2007’s “2000 Micrograms From Home”, second came 2008’s “Tambourine Freak Machine” and now we have “Turn On Tune In Fuck Off!!” Wikipedia says that psychedelic is a style of music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. If that’s true then this doomsday trilogy is not a joy ride on a giggly trip. It’s the brown acid that Wavy Gravy warned you about. Doomsday cometh and we’re tripping on a bad batch but it comes with one hell of a soundtrack. This album sounds amazing.
www.myspace.com/dragontears2000
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Zac and Janna,"Speech Therapy And Other Ways To Make Friends" (Self-Released)
A good looking couple of kids that together create a folk, jazz, country, bluegrass, funk mash-up that makes for a very listenable batch of songs. Their musical abilities are well above average. Wow, where the hell did that come from. I sound like I’m filling out their report card. I am getting old. Anyway, the laid back feel of this album is very calming and relaxing. It’s great to listen to at work. “Speech Therapy And Other Ways To Make Friends” is a very charming debut album and definitely something to be proud of. Way to go guys, you passed!
www.zacandjanna.bandcamp.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Bangtower,"Casting Shadows" (Declassified Records)
Zappa meets Van Halen in a dark alley on the wrong side of town. Zappa seems to have the upper hand in this head cutting duel though. Technically-challenging guitar solos, bass solos and odd metered, syncopated drumming extremely influenced by jazz fusion. Don’t let that scare you off. This is cool stuff. Only eight tracks but they clock in at over forty minutes of music. The funky “BBA”, the bluesy “Sex Me Up”, the bottom end groove on “Hair Of The Dog”… It’s all good.
www.bangtower.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Chambers,"Old Love" (Self-released)
New Jersey quintet Chambers kick out the jams with a spirited old school rock ‘n roll swagger and a fierce hardcore sensibility on their raw 11-track affair OLD LOVE. Striking down with bountiful arrays of pit stomping rhythms and razor sharp riffs while displaying an infectious sing a long quality that lies somewhere between Sick of it All, American Nightmare, AC/DC, and The Bronx (“Old Love”, “Take My Juice”), Chambers proudly maintains the unremorseful and honest approach of yesteryear’s hardcore punk while opting to abrasively apply a slash and burn attitude to a batch of seething compositions with an inescapably vitriolic vocal delivery unfettered by excess. Chambers is far from innovative yet they stay cranked to the max without fail, exhibiting a relentless sheer sonic force that gets the job done.
www.myspace.com/chambersrock
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Kozeljnik,"Deeper The Fall" (Paragon)
Serbian black metal unit Kozeljnik projects a consistent stream of mid tempo bleakness on DEEPER THE FALL, the latest six-track effort by the recently paired down duo. Exerting disdain with vengeful wrath via a set of meandering old school tinged black metal compositions, Kozeljnik sticks a bit too close to the blackened playbook for the more demanding yet reveal the propensity to explode with a flurry of fury when needed, dynamically dispersing rage with rapid fire drums and discontenting downtuned guitar runs. Applying influence from the likes of Mayhem, Celtic Frost, and Immortal to develop a reliably glacial blend of black metal, Kozeljnik meshes in lush string arrangements and modern atmospheric elements for pizzazz yet the squad’s drawn-out song structures require modest amounts of patience in order to get to the points of interest, derailing the meat and potatoes music’s intended maliciousness.
www.paragonrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Delain,"Lucidity" (Sensory)
Re-releasing their first album with extra tracks, Dutch female-fronted symphonic power metal act Delain present LUCIDITY to those who missed this formulaic yet fierce unit’s amalgamation of soaring Gothic rock and metal while offering longtime fans bonus material to savor featuring acoustic renditions of tracks from the album, with “See Me in Shadow” standing out in particular. Bolstered with sufficient dollops of melancholic piano and heartstring tugging falsetto vocals, the reintroduction of Delain’s debut disc offers a graceful and grandiose metallic experience catering especially to followers of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Leave’s Eyes.
www.lasersedge.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Votum,"Metafiction" (Armoury)
It is plain to notice within the first few minutes of near 10-minute opener “Falling Dream” that Polish progressive metal troupe Votum leaned on the obvious suspects for inspiration while crafting the atmospheric sounds heard on their latest seven-track affair METAFICTION. Nonetheless, possessing the adroit ability to retain intensity without fully shifting into overdrive is a trait not so easy to pull off, and this sextet comfortably nestles in where boundary lines between Opeth, Porcupine Tree, and Karnivool intersect, fusing soaring guitar lines and haunting synths with hypnotic tribal rhythms bathed in melancholy to emanate a morose yet majestic feel. Chock full of breathy vocals with a sense of danger lurking underneath bursts of knotty musicianship, Votum’s softer stance assuredly showcases the band’s elegant style yet rambles through waves of psychedelic rock too often for anyone who would enjoy Votum’s music to make sense of the multifaceted direction.
www.eagelrockent.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Brought Low,"Third Record" (Small Stone)
Renowned NYC power trio The Brought Low have returned after a five-year studio hiatus to unleash a bare bones rock ‘n roll record with the fittingly no frills title of THIRD RECORD. Infusing jolting surges of Southern rock hospitality into gritty blues-rock paradigms peppered with twang of country is what this band specializes in and truly delivers in spades here (“Slow Your Roll”, “Old Century”), yet songs like the acoustic stomp “A Thousand Miles Away” and the somber shuffle “Last Man Alive” strips the usually thick and meaty band’s sound down considerably but still manages to come off as cranked to 11. Fusing a Black Crowes-esque smoothness, a stoner rock swagger and a majestic ‘70s hard rock rumble, this nine-track record is lean, mean, and bad to the bone and rocks with refreshing efficiency and a rolled-up sleeves sense of organic intensity that screams retro in all the right ways.
www.smallstone.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza,"Danza III, The Series of Unfortunate Events" (Black Market Activities)
Tennessee’s favorite grinding math metal mavens The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza return after a major lineup overhaul with a 12-track face melting affair entitled DANZA III: THE SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. Melding punishing rhythmic blasts with skronky shrills, nasty shards of dissonance and brutal palm muted riffs galore courtesy of a shining guitar performance (“Hour of the Time”), this disc displays an unrelenting modern metal aggressiveness yielding no shortage of pit moving tunes for the kids to go insane to (“W.A.L.L.S.”, “The Lost and Damned”) while alternatively offering technical metal followers a bevy of abrasive off-kilter arrangements to swoon over (“Suicide’s Best Friend”). This pulverizing album allows TTDTDE to usurp the deathcore circle and turn it upside down with their dauntingly daring and dastardly songwriting, gaggles of gargantuan grooves, and devastating low-end bitterness spearheading this unsung squad’s callous aural assault.
www.blackmarketactivities.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Mr. Haynes,"Up After Dark" (Self-released)
This debut album doesn’t waste time nor space with dead air between tracks. It’s like 80’s techno-pop radio without the annoying commercials. The ten songs featured here are “Wasted Mouth”, “Waiting Here”, “Life Looking At Screens”, “Brazil, 1970”, “Please Be Happy”, “White Shirt, Pencil Skirt”, “Someday”, “If All Else Fails Tonight”, “The City That I Know” and “Wake-up Call”. Out of which the standout tracks are “White Shirt, Pencil Skirt” and “Someday” which was written when he was 16. Recorded at night over a year and a half period and clocking in at 43 minutes it is a pretty impressive first offering. Haynes is proud of the fact that he plays 28 instruments on the album, besting Prince’s debut album by one instrument. Learn more about the mysterious Mr. Haynes from his website/blog.
mrhaynes.wordpress.com
Rating:

Review by J.R. Oliver


Woody Russell,"Up Against It" (Cuts Music Group)
Blues artist Woody Russell does a great job of melding the old and new to create something that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. His voice is definitely old soul and full of soul. His guitar playing flows from traditional Texas blues to searing, E.V.H. bursts of fret prowl ness to 60’s Stax/Volt soul with lots of funk rhythms and riffs sprinkled throughout. Russell opens “Up Against It” with the red hot blues number “Make It Tough on Me” and winds it all down with a little heartfelt soul ditty entitled “Between Nowhere and Goodbye”. Everything in between is like the butter and honey in the biscuit. Good stuff.
www.woodyrussell.com
Rating:
and 1/2
Review by J.R. Oliver


Armagedda,"I Am" (Nordvis)
Defunct Swedish black metal duo Armagedda raided the vaults and unearthed four malice-laden tracks in the process, entitling the discovery I AM. This seething affair displays a welcomed minimal production value (it was made between 2000 and 2001 after all) with a bevy of fierce compositions created to be performed by a band with the unadulterated raw black metal spirit that this tandem expounds. Harsh and haunting at times, Armagedda’s excavation yields a fruitful experience for those who tread the darker end of the metal spectrum with a penchant for a primal blast of black metal evisceration.
www.nordvisproducktion.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Karma Never Forgives,"Corrupt State" (Self-released)
New Jersey troupe Karma Never Forgives is a grizzled quintet featuring members from such bands as Bulldoze and Agents of Man whose multi-faceted hardcore assault employs a number of styles as shown on the three-song sampler CORRUPT STATE. Discernible tough guy influences wrestles with a progressive Snapcase-esque edge throughout while catchy choruses display dance floor potential with threads of modern melodic metalcore, developing a sound that falls somewhere in the middle of Freya and Madball. Karma Never Forgives embraces broadening their musical approach while incorporating a decisively metallic influence but retaining a hardcore songwriting style, resulting in a jarring and compact shot of infectious aggression.
www.myspace.com/karmaneverforgets
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Bonded By Blood,"Exiled To Earth" (Earache)
Thrash revivalists Bonded by Blood return with a conceptual sophomore album entitled EXILED TO EARTH. This California quintet once again makes no bones about their influences, as ‘80s thrash is the order of the day for these metal mavens, referencing everyone from Testament and Kreator to Vio-lence and Overkill throughout this blatantly brazen 11-track retread while an alien versus human sci-fi storyline is set to the band’s borrowed backdrop of frenzied guitars, thunderous drums, and high pitched vocal sneers. Showcasing a particular affinity for early Exodus (from whom the band derives its name from), songs like “Sector 87” and “Prison Planet” could be mistaken for cleaned-up outtakes of Baloff-era material with its tantalizing twin guitar work while tracks like the title cut melds Megadeth with Forbidden and “Genetic Encryption” gives props to modern day Slayer with its dastardly riffing and mighty percussion work. While their rapid-fire interpretations are far from original, Bonded by Blood does a fine job in shaking up their thrash metal concoction to produce a palatable offering that produces a solid listen for those concerned with nothing besides banging their head.
www.earache.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Blood Of Kingu,"Sun in the House of the Scorpion" (Candlelight)
Misanthropic Ukranian unit Blood of Kingu unleash a belligerent yet atmospheric black metal onslaught with discernible similarities towards the pioneers of the genre on the seven-track SUN IN THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION. Meshing elements of exploratory doom and drone with harsh screams and cavernous riffs sounding as if captured from underneath the core of the earth, this troupe also implements ample rounds of velocity and seething levels of scorn into its songs to recreate the threatening sense of dread usually reserved for its Norwegian forefathers while bleak buzzsaw guitars, glacial tempo shifts, and lush instrumentation intertwine to conjure a creepy yet chaotic feel that lingers throughout the duration of the album.
www.candlelightrecordsusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


King Giant,"Southern Darkness" (Self-released)
Washington DC/Virginia based bruisers King Giant deploy dollops of down and dirty southern stoner rock on the quintet’s aptly titled 10-track album SOUTHERN DARKNESS. Despite this band drawing inspiration from a more than obvious set of influences spanning everyone from Godsmack and Volbeat to Black Sabbath and Danzig, their ornery adaptations of standard sludge and doom metal melodies reveal the band to be much more than a mere offshoot of the many faces of Wino combined with some COC and Clutch thrown in for good measure. King Giant finds a fair share of back alleys and shortcuts to venture in within a bevy of wah-wah solos and downtrodden rhythms which assist them in gliding through a gritty mix of grunge, sludge, and space rock drenched in whiskey with threatening dark clouds constantly hovering overhead.
www.kinggiant.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


What Remains,"Lost Wonderland" (Self-released)
Female fronted modern rock quintet What Remains exhibit a cut above mix of vocal-driven melodic hard rock on their five-track EP LOST WONDERLAND. Taking cues from the likes of Evanescence, Flyleaf, and Lacuna Coil on how to deliver poignant rock with potent vocal power, this NYC squad employs thick walls of guitars with tasty fills and skilled rhythmic strikes that keeps the pace brisk while adroitly balancing moods between heavy and fragile (“Unwanted”). Veering into familiar territories while hitting with a supercharged modern rock attack assisted by punchy songwriting techniques, What Remains displays a panache for creating engaging music laden with hooks with its fair share of bite.
www.whatremainsnyc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Proghma-C,"Bar-Do Travel" (Armoury)
The output from Polish quartet Proghma-C emits a complex style of heaviness that intertwines divergent influences and off-kilter sounds to form the eclectic 10-track offering labeled BAR-DO TRAVEL. Demonstrating the versatility to disperse both paint peeling polyrhythmic blasts and airy ambient soundscapes (usually entrenched within the same song) while proudly showcasing the Tool and Meshuggah brandings making it all possible in plain sight, this act’s ambitious endeavor runs on fumes at times and leans a bit too much on the side of the aforementioned to be considered wholly original yet backs its claim of substantial idol worship with enough downtempo elements a la Katatonia and a rash of forward-thinking synth-induced twists and turns to alter the overall mood, ultimately setting this band aside from being castoff as just another retread in the endless line of bands emulating metal’s most daring artists.
www.eaglerockent.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Heathen Foray,"The Passage" (Black Bards)
Austrian metal unit Heathen Foray (not to be confused with the British band of the same name) unleashes an aggressive assault suitable for any wayfaring minstrel or nomadic warrior to rock out to on their debut 10-track disc THE PASSAGE. Straddling the line between melodic death and folk metal, this clan does an sufficient job of hammering home the undeniable gallop necessary to conquer lands by (“Winterking”, “Dragon's Eyes”) while exhibiting the propensity to rip out soaring solos over dastardly death growls (“Chants”), yet fall a bit short by sounding a bit too formulaic to get past the point of cohesiveness and break through the mold, though a few tasty guitar riffs found here do instill some hope (“Fortress of Faith”).
www.black-bards.de
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Boris / Ian Astbury,"BXI" (Southern Lord)
The teaming of Japanese experimental doom metal merchants Boris and The Cult’s lead singer Ian Astbury seems like a very disparate pairing any way you slice it, yet a four-song EP entitled BXI demonstrates an organic shot of mystical rock as only this colossal collaboration can deliver, but take heed fans Boris fans; this release bears little from their exploratory side. In fact, it’s almost as if Boris stepped into custom made leather pants from the SONIC TEMPLE era for this one, as this unit renowned for their unpredictability obliges to this notoriously cavernous crooner’s strengths and readily kowtows to basic tempos and direct structures sans a round of breathy vocals by Boris guitarist Wata on the trippy cover of The Cult’s “Rain”. Adapting Astbury’s murky hip shaking rock ‘n roll swagger into their gameplan to produce sweeping rock anthems with scattered traces of the ambience you’d expect, this disc displays Astbury at his most wistful in a long time and Boris at their most restrained by choice and still light years ahead of most.
www.southernlord.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Moth Eater,"The Thunder God of Monster Island" (Giddy Up)
NYC doom-laden sludge metal quartet Moth Eater have cut their teeth in acts such as Dirty Rig and Scar Culture, yet their newly-formed unit takes a decisively darker tone and employs a foreboding pace as heard on THE THUNDER GOD OF MONSTER ISLAND. Merging the down tempo fury of Eyehategod with the quirky metallic firepower of early Clutch, this foursome churns out deliberate dollops of snarling vocals, rumbling bass, and nimble fretwork without losing the intent to obliterate everything in its path, creating an ominous sound drenched in metallic lava spewed from the core of the volcano. Showcasing three original tunes and a delectable downtuned cover of “Rockin’ in Ma Business” by unsung rock troupe The Four Horsemen, Moth Eater produce a volatile entity geared to melt faces and break spirits. .
www.motheaternyc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Accept,"Blood of the Nations" (Nuclear Blast)
German metal masters Accept return with BLOOD OF THE NATIONS, a 12-track album that displays this Teutonic unit’s classic loud and fast dynamic with some discernible twists. This disc (the band’s first studio offering in 14 years), brings on some major changes in the lineup for starters, as former TT Quick singer Mark Tornillo replaces the mighty Udo behind the microphone while Herman Frank returns to the fold to reform one of metal’s most underrated twin guitar tandems alongside the blistering six-string blitzkrieg of Wolf Hoffman (“No Shelter”, “Rollin’ Thunder”). Despite these massive shakeups and the decade-plus long studio layoff, Accept sounds as determined and rejuvenated as ever, retaining their vintage musical bite while exhibiting a hard rock snarl that finds Tornillo formidably projecting an Udo-like presence while interjecting slices of his vocal personality into Accept’s tried and true slabs of concrete hard rock seasoned with the contagious songwriting that puts this troupe squarely in the annals of metal history. This disc truly has everything a fan would want in a comeback album and more, as the changes the band endured allows them a greater range for the music to develop and organically venture into unseen territory while never getting in the way of the band’s patented classic gang vocal choruses (“New World Comin’”), stomping style (“Beat the Bastards”) or underlying mission to deliver the most heartfelt and hard rocking traditional metal excursion possible with a potent and polished metallic punch giving this band a solid second wind.
www.nuclearblastusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Warfear,"4 Left Dead" (Contagium)
Underground NY grindcore quartet Warfear showcase the capacity to whip up chaos at the drop of a dime on latest six-track offering 4 LEFT DEAD, an album chock full of splattercore splendor and crust metal cacophony drizzled with d-beat delights. This sordid affair is noisy, abrasive, offensive, and downright nasty from the phlegm-riddled screams plaguing the entire disc to this outfit’s punishing blend of face-ripping quickness and suffocating heaviness consistently jabbing into your cranium until you have no choice but to submit. While their modern hardcore nuances come off a bit undercooked and a tad cliché, Warfear’s overall presentation exhibits a know how of what violent music should sound like, yielding a fast and furious joyride straight to hell.
www.myspace.com/warfear
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Solace,"Ad" (Small Stone)
New Jersey stoner doom metal quintet Solace have experienced an inordinate share of hardships during their decade-plus career, going through drummers quicker than Spinal Tap while enduring unexpected hiatuses, serious medical situations, and lineup rearranging, yet this unit’s unsurpassed perseverance with a shred of good fortune has rewarded this hexed crew with a sensational sinewy nine-track offering entitled AD. From the persistent streams of blistering twin guitar to the ominous Black Sabbath shadow cast over the entire collection of tracks (especially vocally), this disc willfully wallows in sludgy recesses of the hard rock continuum with a Monster Magnet-esque warble, a hardcore backbone, streams of grizzled melodies, and a thick and plodding bottom end keeping the atmosphere brooding while leading their sojourn through the haze. Seven years between albums is an eternity especially in today’s rapid-pace world, yet Solace took their time, assembled the proper band, and created a mammoth multi-faceted stoner metal tour de force full of the molten riffs and dynamic compositions that demand attention and deserve respect in the process.
www.smallstone.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Hell Within,"God Grant Me Vengeance" (Thorp)
Massachusetts-based quintet Hell Within tenaciously tows the metalcore line on their latest 11-track endeavor GOD GRANT ME VENGEANCE. Armed with a well executed assault that deviates from genre expectations and a paint by numbers formula just enough to warrant repeated listens for subtle guitar changes and undeniably catchy Swedish metal jumpoffs (“Lament for the Fallen”), this seasoned troupe’s metallic mixed bag takes equal parts from fellow statesmen Shadows Fall, Unearth (“Assembly of the Locusts”), Diecast (“Remnants of a Failed Creation”) and Killswitch Engage to concoct a durable yet predictable outpouring of emotional heaviness chock full of a much maligned yet utterly resilient sweet chorus and knuckle-dragging breakdown one two punch.
www.thorprecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Master,"The Human Machine" (Pulverised)
Veteran trio Master maximize their two-decade long experience to craft a nefarious and downright nasty slab of extreme metal on their tenth studio offering THE HUMAN MACHINE. This unit’s brazen 10-track affair champions the technical side of brutal music much like Death with a crusty D-beat demeanor and tons of thrash metal nuances peppered into a relentless and deliberate old school death metal assault. Throw in a distinct vocal style whose venomous demonic rasp bolsters the music’s overall impact and never sounds less than crushing, and this Midwest meets Eastern European squad strikes a balance that never wears its welcome out or merely rehashes prior glories without any decisive progression, resulting in a multifaceted face-melting rampage that fans of classic bands like Obituary and Celtic Frost as well as folks that dig the likes of High on Fire and Lair of the Minotaur will have little problem getting into.
www.pulverisedrecords.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Sarah Jezebel Deva,"A Sign of the Sublime" (Candlelight)
Sarah Jezebel Deva steps out of the background for her debut solo effort entitled A SIGN OF THE SUBLIME, providing a moderate departure from Deva’s lauded Goth metal repertoire. Best known for her work with Cradle of Filth, the bombast associated with this singer’s usual work is still very much a part of the program here (“The Devil’s Opera”), yet songs like “Daddy’s Not Coming Home” and an authentic cover of the very non-metal Meredith Brooks song “Bitch” allow Deva to spread her wings and display other influences with her commanding vocal sweetness in full effect (“They Called Her Lady Tyranny”). Exhibiting an eclectic array of styles built around a convincing Goth rock foundation thanks to a solid collection of musicians behind her that skillfully succeed in finding the comfort zones to nestle between Deva’s past projects, fans of Lacuna Coil and Nightwish should embrace this disc wholeheartedly.
www.candlelightrecordsusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Funeral Pyre,"Vultures At Dawn" (Prosthetic)
American black metal mavens The Funeral Pyre have created a malicious yet misguided eight-track collection entitled VULTURES AT DAWN. Drawing from both traditional genre philosophies and darkened modern progressive thought for inspiration while opting for a raw and ruthless sound drowned in drone and dipped in depravity (“To Watch the Earth Rot”), The Funeral Pyre’s shifting stylistic stance seems to be lacking something between their glacially sprawling atmospherics and blistering black metal battering to properly link the entities together and make the most of their monstrous presence. Yet when the evil outfit fires at full capacity and settles into a singular destructive vision, a shot heart-pounding creepiness with unadulterated metallic mayhem much like a blast of Nordic disdain ensues as the dread-laden end result (“Blistered Hands”).
www.prostheticrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Trigger the Bloodshed,"Degenerate" (Candlelight)
UK quintet Trigger the Bloodshed effectively employs a simpler streamlined approach to their strand of technical death metal on the eight-track effort DEGENERATE. Chock full of a malevolent mix of belligerent growls with a massive sonic musical crush, songs like “Dead Vein” comes off as a well designed merciless beast while “The Soulful Dead” condenses punchy riffs with face-ripping percussion to create a wallop mired in sheer brutality sans the typical trappings most bands in their realm fall towards. Solid guitar runs and an attention to song arrangements also assist this album’s overall intensity while raising the bar on the unit’s bludgeoning aggressive tendencies (“A Sterile Existence”), in turn making a focused and ferocious modern death metal album worth seeking out.
www.candelightrecordsusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Hawkwind,"Blood of the Earth" (Eastworld)
UK psychedelic rock pioneers Hawkwind epitomize the never say die spirit of rock ‘n roll, as this legendary troupe continues to boldly go where no man has gone before in their musical travels after 40 years as documented on this outfit’s latest journey through sound BLOOD OF THE EARTH. Leader Dave Brock may be pushing 70, yet this resilient artist and associates still push musical boundaries by doing what this act has been doing since 1969, building alternate universes with a blend of synths, guitars, and studio wizardry to create galactic soundscapes that radiate an unmistakable cosmic glow with an impenetrable rock ‘n roll soul at the core of it all. Even though this disc lags at times and demonstrates a lack of an earthbound focus even by this lauded unit’s standards, plenty of moments where the listener can tune in, turn up, and embrace their inner space cadet can be found on Hawkwind’s latest exploratory offering to appease the rabid follower as well as serve as an ample introduction to this prolific band’s work.
www.hawkwind.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Acacia Strain,"Wormwood" (Prosthetic)
The Acacia Strain demonstrates a blunt and belligerent melding of modern brutality and metallic melody on the polarizing quartet’s latest endeavor WORMWOOD. Earning their ominous deathcore stripes once again with a bevy of volatile nuances exploding like neutron bombs throughout the duration of the disc yet not entirely entrenched within the redundancy of it all to lean completely toward a full-on deathcore assault, Vincent Bennett and company provide minor shakeups within their sonically crushing rage-filled rants, throwing in some Meshuggah-esque odd time signatures and a hint of Crowbar-like nihilism to illicit response from beyond the normal demographic but still make enough room for their patented bombastic breakdowns and punishing low-end wallop to keep the misanthropic Hot Topic folks satisfied.
www.prostheticrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Quest of Aidance,"Dark Are the Skies at Hand" (Pulverized)
Swedish metal mavens Quest of Aidance have produced a six-song near 15-minute EP inspired by the PREDATOR movie series entitled DARK ARE THE SKIES AT HAND. Armed with a punishing death metal sensibility with a grindcore-esque sense of brevity, the first three songs of the affair are pure Swedish meets British extreme metal savage indications that this band means business despite their odd choice of subject matter. The band then takes an ill-advised left turn into Hollywood sound effects and movie soundtrack land that disappointingly eats up a majority of the album’s running time before redeeming themselves with a crushingly blunt closing tune that puts things back on track. A focus on less frills and more kills would have made this a must-have, but given the limited scope Quest of Aidance chose to work with, this disc provides a short subtle shock to the system.
www.pulverizedrecords.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Sped,"Sped" (Self-released)
Sped is a band of NYC punks whose raucous delivery, sardonic attitude, and bratty vocal style embodies the spirit that once commandeered the Lower East Side before gentrification. Despite demonstrating their wares via a two-song sampler, this unit’s brash and bold presentation boasts an authentic albeit brief punk rock bite with a buoyant bounce that fans of NOFX, All, and Dead Kennedys will have no problem getting their pogo on to.
www.myspace.com/spednyc
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS



Mighty High/ Stone Axe,"Split 7"" [Split 7"] (Ripple)
Immersed in yesteryear’s rock ‘n roll regalia, this two-song split CD offers a glimpse of retro rock done right courtesy of Brooklyn, NY stoner rock troupe Mighty High and NWOBHM by way of Oregon outfit Stone Axe. Up first is “Don’t Panic, It’s Organic” by the NYC crew that gives Fu Manchu and Cheech and Chong an equal run for their money, thanks to the gas-huffed riff chug over a swinging wrecking ball rhythm tearing down the walls. Next comes “Metal Damage”, a track bursting with old school flavor from the opening simple yet stomping bass line to the histrionic hard rock vocals and rough and tumble Priest-esque guitarwork. If you like to rock, this might be the best 7:24 investment you’ve ever made.
www.ripple-music.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Engrained,"Anger, Roots & Rock 'N Roll" (SPV)
Long running German unit Engrained drop a five-track offering bursting with a Motorhead meets Agnostic Front stance on ANGER, ROOTS & ROCK ‘N ROLL. From their relentless stomping rhythms to a set of strained vocals that sound a bit too stolen from Roger Miret, this crew keeps the premises basic while wearing their easy to pick apart batch of influences prominently. Nonetheless, Engrained manage to string together an effective strand of punk-tinged rock ‘n roll soaked in hardcore whose raucous spirit and flashy fretwork makes amends for the act’s severe case of unoriginality.
www.spv.de
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire,"Songs Of Ill Hope and Desperation" (Prosthetic)
Shapelessly shifting from blazing grindcore to nefarious noise rock to slow-churned doom (usually within the same song), Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire unleash a ruthlessly arranged cavalcade of vicious dynamic manipulations on their latest endeavor SONGS OF ILL HOPE AND DESPERATION. Imagine a musical tug of war between Pig Destroyer and Eyehategod with Napalm Death presiding over the proceedings to get an inkling of the chaotic cacophony this abrasive squad delivers complete with unsettling fits of dissonance and grotesque song titles like “Shat Out My Bones” and “They Smeared Shit on Their Skin so They Could Blend in at Night”. Not for the easily offended, faint of heart, or unadventurous, this Denver, CO quartet injects modern metallic abnormalities into a classic grindcore template while fully encompassing a true sense of desperation and devastation.
www.prostheticrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Lightning Swords of Death,"The Extra Dimensional Wound" (Metal Blade)
Authentic black metal hailing from Los Angeles just doesn’t sound right, yet the City of Angels has a dangerous entity on their hands that gives the Nordic countries a run for their money in the form of the depraved squad known as Lightning Swords of Death. This diabolical unit’s eight-track excursion to the depths of the abyss via the second wave of black metal yields a nefarious listen laden in the dark end of the metal spectrum. Scraping the bottom of the barrel with a tenacious temerity, this blasphemous crew has risen from the ranks of the underground without losing an ounce of wickedness despite employing the noticeable beefed-up production value necessary for the band to both blast (“The Extra Dimensional Wound”) and crawl (“Venter of the Black Beast”) with equal efficiency. Add in a barbaric sense of malevolence summoned by a crushing low-end bass assault and a vile vocal performance whose shrieks and growls evoke true evil (“Damnation Pentastrike “) and THE EXTRA DIMENSIONAL WOUND becomes a monstrous affair that extreme metal followers need to experience.
www.metalblade.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Digamy,"A Shape Named Sayten" (Self-released)
Straddling the lines between stinging indie rock, funky punk and driving grunge, the Astoria, NY trio named Digamy share their eclectic exploratory musical fancies with everyone on the five-track endeavor entitled A SHAPE NAMED SAYTEN. Mashing styles together with a slew of slanted melodies, memorable vocal lines, and a rash of off-kilter arrangements, songs like “Feed Me” sound like a cross between Dead Kennedys and Nirvana, while “Miracle Worker” melds touches of psychedelic rock with a Red Hot Chili Pepper-like thread running throughout. Provocative enough to keep ears racing while simple enough for the masses to get their rock out with, Digamy’s punchy potpourri of confrontational rock ‘n roll skillfully showcases their unique identity taken from an amalgamation of rock’s cornerstone artists from Pearl Jam to The Velvet Underground.
www.myspace.com/digamy2
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Masterplan,"Time To Be King" (AFM)
Making his return to the fold after some time apart, Jorn Lande brings his impeccable vocal talents back to Masterplan on the German squad’s latest 10-track offering TIME TO BE KING. Championing streams of melodic metal, this group emanates a decisively darker vibe this time (“The Sun is in Your Hands”) with a rash of sweeping keyboards and crunchy guitars at the forefront of their rhythmically rousing attack (“The Black One”). Boasting a heartfelt histrionic performance by Lande over a slew of strongly written songs whose formulaic soaring chorus and blistering guitarwork combo comprise a power metal album of epic proportions (“The Dark Road”), this disc is bound excite longtime fans as well as garner new ears with its spot-on tried and true power metal presentation.
www.afm-records.de
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Leviathan,"Nasty" (Self-released)
Recently reformed NYC quartet Leviathan combines their no frills garage rock aesthetic with metallic overtones on the band’s latest five-track affair NASTY. This grizzled unit’s blend of dark-edged rock exudes the organically induced freewheeling spirit found in early hard rock a la Deep Purple while the band’s devil may care attitude (“Nasty”) and slanted musical stance evokes comparisons to a hybrid of Danzig and Rollins Band (“Made to Be Broken”). Unpolished yet hardly undercooked, Leviathan secures a sound firmly steeped in the underground full of big guitars, thunderous drums, and an undeniable rock ‘n roll swagger propelling the entire machine.
www.leviathan-nyc.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Chris Laney,"Only Come Out At Night" (Metal Heaven)
Chris Laney’s sophomore effort ONLY COME OUT AT NIGHT skillfully follows a meticulous hair metal template without sounding stale. From a rash of over the top guitar solos to rounds of sugary vocal harmonies reminiscent of Def Leppard and Slaughter adorning this 11-track endeavor, this Swedish guitarist/singer also known for his studio work with modern glam rockers such as Crashdiet and side work with veterans in Shotgun Messiah steps on the other side of the board to deliver potent and punchy melodies and crunchy rock anthems suitable for playing loud and letting loose (“Crush”, “Love So Bad”). Effortlessly intertwining grit and glamour, Chris Laney’s latest release contains all the bells and whistles necessary to feed the need for fist pumping hard rock.
www.metalheaven.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Canvan Solaris,"Irradiance" (Sensory)
Instrumental progressive metal quintet Canvas Solaris unleash a nine-track album chock full of intricate arrangements and technical performance with IRRADIANCE. This seasoned squad’s dizzying time signature switches and swirls of precision-driven fretwork make for a challenging yet ultimately satisfying listen for those familiar with the outer reaches of the metal spectrum. Who needs vocals when you boast two shredding guitarists, a bassist, a keyboardist whose synth work accentuates without going overboard, and a drummer that keeps the whole mix of heavy dissonance in check? Not these cats, as this Georgia-based crew finds a happy medium between their death metal roots and their exploratory endeavors here with dashes of world instrumentation and daring compositions spearheading the charge.
www.lasersedgegroup.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Soilwork,"The Panic Broadcast" (Nuclear Blast)
Rejoice metalheads! Swedish modern melodic death metal merchants Soilwork have reunited with founding guitarist/producer Peter Wichers for their latest 11-track release THE PANIC BROADCAST, yielding a scorching return to business as usual while building off of the band’s past consistencies. From the intense opening strands of “Late for the Kill, Early for the Slaughter” to the somber acoustic intro “King of the Threshold” that morphs into the ballad-esque “Let This River Flow”, Soilwork considerably steps up their game from their last few efforts with elements of old school thrash and superlative production values reigning supreme while revisiting past glories with fresher perspectives (“The Thrill”, “The Akuma Afteglow”). Those who wrote the band off after FIGURE NUMBER FIVE shouldn’t get their hopes completely up, as the unit’s metalcore tendencies are still very much a part of their framework, but for those who felt cheated by the last few releases should feel vindicated with this new collection.
www.nuclearblastusa.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


JPT Scare Band,"Acid Blues is the White Man's Burden" (Ripple)
Unearthed from obscurity, Kansas City psychedelic proto-metal group JPT Scare Band have been around since the early 70’s but have only been releasing albums since the mid 90’s. The band’s latest batch of tunes stemming from a multitude of basement and studios sessions comprises the collection ACID BLUES IS THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN, a fuzz-laden seven track time machine trip through the formative years of hard rock via a bevy of organically organized hazy blues jams that wouldn’t sound of place between Hendrix, Cream and Zeppelin on classic rock radio. Throw in some garage rock charm, a dash of Blue Cheer rhythmic rattle, explosive fretwork fireworks melding Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimmy Page and an unadulterated rock ‘n roll spirit and you’ve got the makings of a band long overdue to collect the praise and adoration they richly deserve.
www.ripple-music.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


A Body,"All the Waters of the Earth Turn To Blood" (At A Loss)
The hauntingly sludgy Rhode Island duo that calls themselves A Body have embarked on a sophomore effort chock full of experimental lamentations. ALL THE WATERS OF THE EARTH TURN TO BLOOD is a slow cooked seven-track thriller that tinkers with bouts of Neurosis-esque atmosphere while embracing the macabre dissonance of Sunn 0))). Managing to implement a slew of avant-garde elements into their challenging musical offering such as an opening track consisting of only female chants for ten minutes, A Body is the type of band that defies convention and relishes in producing artistically-driven disturbing atmospheres bursting with jagged dissonance in lieu of melody or linear composition. Add in an unsettling array of samples and an occasional shrieking vocal that emerges from the depths of the murky guitar and drum doom metal undulations and A Body’s mission of creeping the hell out of listeners can be considered a rousing success.
www.atalossrecordings.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


An Evening With,"Cruel Intentions" (Self-released)
Long Island quintet An Evening With earnestly follows the footsteps of the likes of All American Rejects, Story of the Year and fellow LI band Taking Back Sunday with their stab at high-energy pop-punk entitled CRUEL INTENTIONS. This 12-track endeavor produced by one of the dudes from Hidden in Plainview unloads dollops of cavity inducing sugar-coated melodies over the kind of slickly produced guitar-driven Warped Tour rock that mainstream radio drools over with inescapable bouts of slightly anguished vocals cascading over the super glossy songwriting. Perfectly crafted for the PG-13 sect, An Evening With does an adequate job of whining their way into teenage hearts, tugging at heartstrings with big hooks while conquering one mall at a time with their swoopy hair-dos and punchy emo rock posturing.
www.aneveningwithband.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Aeon,"Path of Fire" (Metal Blade)
Boiling over with venomous intensity, Swedish squad Aeon hurl pulverizing and technical strands of hatred for both God and religion on the group’s latest 11-track offering PATH OF FIRE. While this quintet’s Deicide meets Hate Eternal persona is far from groundbreaking, the sheer brutality audible on cuts like “Abomination to God” bears a blasphemous force that is impossible to ignore. Doling out vicious shots of velocity, belligerent growls with powerful phrasings (“I Will Burn”), solid guitar solos (“Of Fire”) and relentless rounds of pounding drums in the name of Satan is pretty stock in the death metal genre, yet Aeon’s incessant jackhammer delivery and genuine disdain for humanity adds firepower to the unit’s explosive malevolence, assisting the unit from being cast aside as merely a clone of the bands they draw much of their influence from.
www.metalblade.net
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Istapp,"Blekinge" (Metal Blade)
Istapp is a Swedish black metal troupe whose debut album BLEKINGE displays a surprising amount of upbeat time signatures and catchy choruses for a band of their darkened nature. This 10-track affair demonstrates the unit’s need for speed with a confident swagger (“Snö”) while interjecting a bevy of stripped down speed-picked guitar melodies that compound contagious melodic death metal qualities with strong Pagan ties (“I Väntan På Den Absoluta Nollpunkten”). Sung completely in Swedish to maintain a fierce sense of authenticity, the trio of warlords that comprise Istapp gallop through the countryside armed with the mission to destroy all in their path with a pristinely produced slab of simple yet effective folksy black metal (“Bortgång Af Alvrödul, Ljusets Förfall”) .
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Kingdom Of Sorrow,"Behind the Blackest Tears" (Metal Blade)
The colossal collaboration between Crowbar/Down’s Kirk Windstein and Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta continues on the sophomore effort from Kingdom of Sorrow. BEHIND THE BLACKEST TEARS finds two of the busiest men in metal clamping down and getting nasty with burly Southern metal grooves (“Along the Path to Ruin”), metalcore brevity (“Sleeping Beast”) and stellar vocal tradeoffs aplenty (“God’s Law in the Devil’s Land”). Showcasing stepped-up songwriting cohesiveness with a decisively more “band” aura than from their debut (thanks to the rest of the band pitching in on ideas and structures), Windstein’s signature sludgy guitarwork and anguished vocal abrasions and Jasta’s trademark hardcore howl are equally off the charts here, as the presence of these elements has been significantly increased from before, resulting in a less disjointed batch of soul crushing songs that aren’t as easy to decipher who the main influence behind the scenes is. Boasting 12 tracks that run compact like a Hatebreed song yet are bolstered with the headbanging zeal of a Crowbar tune, this disc finds the tandem meeting smack dab in the middle of their comfort zones and letting loose with an organically charged impetus fusing each man’s distinct strengths together to make a hellacious hybrid of metal goodness.
www.relapse.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Early Man,"Death Potion" (The End)
After a five-year studio hiatus, hardline traditional metal outfit Early Man return with DEATH POTION, a snarling beast brimming over with the familiar nuances from classic metal luminaries such as Diamondhead, Randy Rhoads-era Ozzy Osbourne, and Mercyful Fate. This Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn, NY quartet exude the old school bullet belt spirit with a raw guitar tone and a sneering yet startlingly clean lead vocal in tow not unlike fellow revivalists Three Inches of Blood and Valiant Thor (“Brainwash at Birth”), allowing tracks like “Kildrone” to bridge the gap between Voivod and Anthrax, “Someone Else’s Nightmare” to come close to copping the cadence of Metallica under a different production eye, and “Fight” to rip out a Judas Priest by way of Megadeth twin guitar melody that guides the entire song. Championing the organic deviance of the NWOBHM with hearty dollops of classic metal elements for good measure, Early Man’s 12-track time traveled excursion transports you back to the glory days of denim and leather.
www.theendrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Whitechapel,"A New Era of Corruption" (Metal Blade)
Knoxville, TN deathcore quintet Whitechapel have built a loyal following by steamrolling audiences with their three-pronged downtuned guitar attack, and their latest offering A NEW ERA OF CORRUPTION continues this squad’s mission statement with a bounty of their trademarked brutality at the forefront of the charge. Featuring 11 tracks whose relentless slug and chug guitars pound eardrums while a tandem of pulverizing riffs and ruthless percussive strikes blast listeners into submission, Whitechapel showcases the proclivity to go past the boundaries of deathcore with a pronounced death metal vibe, strong vocal phrasings that equally borrow from The Black Dahlia Murder and Oceano and flashes of melody in their guitar solos to counteract the chaos of their crash and smash deathcore. Despite the disc feeling dragged down with a touch too much crush to separate songs from each other, Whitechapel presents a well-chiseled and condensed collection of tunes ready for moshpit detonation.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Pete Sanchez,"Raccoon Maisy" (Self-released)
Left of center Long Island quartet Pete Sanchez brews an intriguing batch of tunes on the unit’s latest disc RACCOON MAISY. This band comprised of two sets of brothers meshes dark interludes and dissonant pseudo psych metal riffs (“WSE II”) with a ready for radio alternative rock slant and a flashy unabashed rock ‘n roll swagger. This troupe’s 10-track affair does just as the refrain from “Delay”, a cut that could pass for the alt rock brother of Type O Negative’s “Black Number One” asks, moving forward with swirls of hip shaking rhythms and bombastic hard rock histrionics meticulously translated and tweaked to capture the attention of those that expect more than the norm (“Stoned”). Boasting a Jello Biafra-esque vocal warble that fits snugly between the band’s System of A Down by way of Our Lady Peace musical approach, Pete Sanchez’s sinewy stylistic switches are well-played, not too complex, and warrant many listens in order to fully comprehend and digest the band’s sea-sick sonic power.
www.petesanchez.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS

Allegaeon,"Fragments of Form and Function" (Metal Blade)
Providing a veritable smorgasbord of Swedish death metal goodness as interpreted by five dudes from Denver, CO, the debut offering by Allegaeon entitled FRAGMENTS OF FORM AND FUNCTION is a very impressive introduction to the metal world. This disc boasts machine gun twin guitar blowouts aplenty a la Lamb of God meets Soilwork with touches of Dark Tranquility strewn in, complete with tasty solos and clever dynamic shifts keeping the mood sharp and swift while burgeoning strands of melody (usually emanating from the venomous vocal rasp) rise up from the chaos to assist this versatile squad’s massively heavy assault to reach maximum impact. Demonstrating capability to shred people’s faces off and still manage to write a memorable hook is no easy task, yet this quintet consistently succeeds in maintaining a resourceful balance between technical, brutal and catchy, resulting in an eclectic extreme metal experience chock full of evil explosiveness that intriguingly changes up the elements from their influences to form a crushing extreme metal perspective all their own.
www.metalblade.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Mose Giganticus,"Gift Horse" (Relapse)
Mose Giganticus doesn’t hide its influences one bit, as their thinly veiled homage to the sound championed by the likes of Baroness, Mastodon and Melvins borders on highway robbery from the opening strands of the first cut “Last Resort”. Utterly unoriginal yet played with purposeful virulence, this Philadelphia-based troupe masterminded by a virtual one man band named Matt Garfield also throws in a hearty smattering of synths and some jarring musical juxtapositions like dropping the chorus of “Tonight Tonight Tonight” by Genesis as played by Isis into “The Seventh Seal”, complimenting the waves of sludge metal aped from the Georgia sky employed throughout. While this seven-track affair will undoubtedly get over better with those without a frame of reference, Garfield’s daring songwriting and the sheer sonic goodness displayed yields an enjoyably monolithic listen even though the sounds used are not theirs completely.
www.relapse.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Waking the Cadaver,"Beyond Cops Beyond God" (Siege Of Amida)
New Jersey’s deathcore heroes Waking the Cadaver brutalize with a belligerent blend of slamming riffs, neck snapping rhythms, and gruff growls better than most of their peers, scraping the bottom of the barrel of extreme metal to drum up a viscous consistency of chaos on their nine-track offering BEYOND COPS BEYOND GOD. Taking cues from a kaleidoscopic array of extreme metal from the likes of Hate Eternal and Napalm Death to Dying Fetus (“Terminate with Extreme Prejudice”), this quintet slash and burn through a ruthless stream of chromatic low end crunch with enough burly breakdowns to keep the floor a constant sea of human limbs without an ounce of compromise. If you’re a slam metal fan or a guilty pleasure seeker, this disc delivers with dastardly dissonance.
www.seigeofamida.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Various Artists,"This Comp Kills Fascists" (Relapse)
Round two of THIS COMP KILLS FASCISTS has been brought to life thanks to the underground savvy and sensibilities of Pig Destroyer/Agoraphobic Nosebleed juggernaut Scott Hull, yielding an exhilarating yet exhaustive 74-track album featuring 19 bands specializing in various incarnations and hybrids of grindcore, noise rock, powerviolence, and hardcore punk. Notable acts include Drugs of Faith, Crom and Lack of Interest, yet all of the acts prove themselves as worthy of their spot, despite disparate sound quality effecting some band’s selections more than others. Clocking in at over an hour, there’s nary a chance to catch your breath here sans a few funny samples sprinkled in (Marion Barry’s “Nuclear Bio-Chimp Assault” is a standout), as this disc’s broad scope and relentless pace renders an accurate account of what under the radar heaviness is all about while bestowing the listener with a shot of some good old bang for the buck.
www.relapse.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Octaves,"Greener Pastures" (Hotfoot)
Octaves is a Maryland-based quintet that builds their dissonant blend of screamo, mathcore, and modern metal sound from the likes of The Bled, Norma Jean, and Every Time I Die on the squad’s eight-track GREENER PASTURES. Intertwining a cosmic array of jarring guitar riffs and frantic bass guitar with unsettling rhythmic patterns and a monstrously lung-ripping vocal performance, this unit’s songwriting veers into experimental territory rather often during the course of this album, applying a like-minded rash of nuances and effects similar to their peers while retaining a steadfast stream of hardcore aggressiveness (“Be Angry at the Sun for Setting on a Set of Sons”) to consistently keep the music abrasive throughout (“I Am He Who is Called I Am”). Charged with an explosive sense of dynamics, Octaves have created a progressive and powerful debut album for folks that enjoy fielding a barrage of musically concrete curveballs.
www.hotfootrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Age Of End,"The Rhythm of the Slaughter" (Self-released)
Massachusetts-based quartet Age of End dusts off the nu metal machine and takes it for a spin on their harsh seven-track sojourn entitled THE RHYTHM OF THE SLAUGHTER. Employing a sound chock full of pummeling distortion with off kilter melodies aplenty (“12 Days Later”), this troupe combines the technical prowess of Mudvayne and the bare knuckle rage of 40 Below Summer (“The Awakening”) with a lackluster love it or leave it sing/scream vocal showing whose Staind-esque sentiment with hip-hop sprinkles seems a bit out of step and a tad out of key throughout the entire disc. Comprising a dated type of heaviness steeped in metal and hard rock tones from the early 00’s, Age of End’s debut disc yields relentless rounds of unabashed aggression and disjointed tempos perfect for folks into Korn, Flaw, Nothingface and Dry Kill Logic.
www.ageofend.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


The Fucking Wrath,"Terra Firma" (Tee Pee)
Producing a stopgap EP for their new label home in between relentless rounds of touring, perennial California roaddogs The Fucking Wrath blast out a five-track crusty hardcore stopgap entitled TERRA FIRMA on new home Tee Pee Records. While this trio’s Sabbath meets Black Flag blend of thunderous rhythms, metallic riffs, and burnout breakdowns is far from groundbreaking, this rollicking outfit’s output can undoubtedly be described as groundshaking, leveling listeners with a barrage of bone crushing fuzz laden whiskey swilling down and dirty ditties guaranteed to get the blood boiling and the limbs flailing. Consisting of four new barnburning cuts and a sweet cover of Pentagram’s “Hurricane”, The Fucking Wrath makes an auspicious debut for their new digs while stomping a hole in your chest in the process.
www.teepeerecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Resolution 15,"Satyagraha" (Self-released)
What’s odder than having one violinist in a guitar-less metal band? Try having two violinists shredding like maniacs a la visionary NYC troupe Resolution 15, who pull off the daunting task in bruising fashion on their sophomore seven-track release SATYAGRAHA. The album’s title, taken from Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent resistance, displays both this unique band’s mindset and their progressively minded slab of metal meshing the abrasiveness of Lamb of God, the technical prowess of Nevermore and the forward-thinking nature of Meshuggah (“Malus Olympia”). Drawing a potent twin guitar sound from two electric violins is no easy feat, yet Resolution 15 triumphantly translates all of the aspects seething metal guitar requires and implements them into their bevy of punishing rhythms with various levels of venomous vocal anguish that falls somewhere between Jon Oliva and early Ozzy Osbourne (“The Good Life”). Decisively different than the rest of the pack without sacrificing the firepower necessary for proper rounds of heaviness, Resolution 15 is one of the few bands that truly provide an alternative to the metal norm.
www.resolution15.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Morbid Carnage,"Night Assassins" (Pulverised)
Staying almost too true to their obvious influences, Hungarian thrash mongers Morbid Carnage unleash a whiplash fury of speed and aggression on their seven-track offering NIGHT ASSASSINS. Sticking closely to the Kreator/early Exodus paradigm of extreme metal, this group pounds out with bludgeoning riffs and vicious velocity (“Funeral Pyre”) while championing the sounds of thrash metal’s gilded era with jugular-grasping efficiency. Despite the tendency of each track melding into one another without any sense of individuality, Morbid Carnage does an admirable job of replicating the hostile environment and breakneck pace necessary for a winning blend of thrash metal with an unrequited fire fueling their unoriginal yet spirited assault (“Castle in Pain”).
www.pulverisedrecords.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


S.M.U.T,"There's Gonna Be Blood" (Self-released)
NYC rocking oi punksters S.M.U.T. have concocted a stomping and scorching six-track sojourn entitled THERE’S GONNA BE BLOOD. Crammed with simple yet effective melodies, infectious gang choruses, and a bevy of mayhem inducing compositions smeared with punk rock mischief, this affair wastes little time in demonstrating this quartet’s no-frills street punk leanings or a devil may care stance strengthened by the sneering female lead vocals of Cutie Calamity leading the raise your fist and yell charge. Radiating with a feistiness that maintains a bouncy fun vibe with a significant bite throughout, S.M.U.T. cleverly combines their influences to make a raucous punk rock joyride.
www.myspace.com/NYCSMUT
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Empyreon,"Beyond Perception" (Self-released)
NYC metal quintet Empyreon thrust an impressively translated blend of Nordic and Scandinavian influence to the limits on the outfit’s 11-track endeavor BEYOND PERCEPTION. Bolstered by a predominant keyboard presence laying down haunting lead lines (“Behind the Clouds”) while weaving in and out of the viscous guitars, black metal vocalizations and expediently trigger-happy drum blasts (“Burning Angel”), this troupe produces a dramatic and dynamic blend of Euro metal on par with the likes of Children of Bodom, In Flames, Soilwork, and Dark Tranquility. Empyreon brings their A-game to the table, complete with soaring choruses, all around solid musicianship, and blistering rounds of darkened and symphonic speed assault drawn from a scalding smorgasbord of the Swedish and Norwegian metallic models (“Infinity”), making a strong showing in the process for the headbanger torn between power, black, speed, and traditional metal.
www.myspace.com/empyreon
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Nice New Outfit,"Captura" (Lapdance Academy)
Reconvening after a 12-month hiatus to record seven tracks live without a net, Danbury, CT’s Nice New Outfit have made a boisterous post-hardcore release in their backyard in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd no less. Entitled CAPTURA, this collection of tunes ties together the scattered shards left behind from the likes of At the Drive In, Faith No More, Quicksand, and Glassjaw (the latter two who NNO covers with spirited zeal here) and exhibits this band’s super-smooth blend of heavy and gazing that fuels their full-frontal attack. Smashing rollicking rhythms, angular guitars, and authoritative vocals together, this squad named after a Fugazi song does their lineage proud while supplying a hearty helping of left of center aggression.
www.lapdanceacademy.com
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


Schleusolz,"10 Movies" (Self-released)
German studio wizardry with a twist of kitsch comes courtesy of the duo named Schleusolz on their latest 12-track effort 10 MOVIES. This disc is comprised of songs from movies according to the tandem that only run in their mind, yielding a perplexing yet intriguing array of soundscapes whose majestic instrumentation and grandiose nuances could very well fit into soundtracks from major motion pictures. Employing an eclectic juxtaposition of atmospheric synths, classical music influence, dramatic compositions, lounge tones that range from dark to cosmic, this act pushes the imagination into overdrive while attempting to attain a cinematic scope suitable for the creativity of the listener to run unencumbered. If you’re looking for an unorthodox experience rooted in a trippy mix of retro and electronica, Schleusolz have everything you need to get your fix.
www.myspace.com/schleusolz
Rating:

Review by Mike SOS


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