Search Results for "Album Review"

Downfall Of Gaia.

I WAS UNFAMILIAR WITH DOWNFALL OF GAIA BEFORE OPENING THIS ALBUM, SO MY FIRST LOOKS ON THIS ALBUM WERE TOTALLY BLIND. I HAD NO EXPECTATIONS OTHER THAN A READTHROUGH OF THEIR ARTIST PAGE ON METAL BLADE. AND THOUGH THE WIKIPEDIA PAGE SAYS THIS STARTED OFF AS A CRUST PUNK BAND, THIS ALBUM IS DECIDEDLY NOT THAT. PUT DOWN THE MODELO.

ETHIC OF RADICAL FINITUDE WASTES LITTLE TIME IDENTIFYING ITSELF STYLISTICALLY AND WITH TEXTBOOK EXECUTION. IT OPENS WITH A  BRIEF YET SLIGHTLY TOO QUIET INTRO TRACK, BEFORE DROPPING INTO LIKE A DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF DS POSTBLACK BLACKGAZE FOR “THE GROTESQUE ILLUSION OF BEING”. THIS BAND SITS FIRMLY NEXT TO OTHER ACTS LIKE MGLA AND GHOST BATH AND WOULD BE WELL HOMED ON THAT ATMOSPHERIC BLACK METAL ALBUMS YOUTUBE CHANNEL THEY KEEP TAKING DOWN FOR WHATEVER REASON.

ETHIC FEATURES HEAVY SERVINGS OF THE LONG ANGUISHED TREM SECTIONS BENEATH HOWLED THROUGH TEN REVERBS VOCALS WE EXPECT AND MAKES FREQUENT USE OF THE INCREASINGLY POPULAR MELANCHOLY BLAST FREE INSTRUMENTAL SECTIONS WITH FOLK INSTRUMENTS TO BREAK THINGS UP. THEY DO HOWEVER DECIDE TO BENCH THE FEMME CLEAN VOCALS UNTIL TRACK FOUR.

THIS ALBUM IS NICE AND SHORT. WHICH IS A THING I LIKE. IT’S SAD, IT’S SPOOKY, AND IT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS RECORDED FROM FAR AWAY IN A CAVE WITH A FULL STUDIO BY A REALLY GOOD SOUND ENGINEER. IT’S THE SOUNDRTRACK TO DYING ALONE UNDER THE SWELTERING DESERT HEAT WHILE LOOKING AGONIZINGLY INTO THE DISTANCE IN A WIDE ANGLE. IT  WAS A COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE ALBUM TO LISTEN TO, THOUGH I DON’T THINK THEY TOOK A LOT OF RISKS.

IF I WAS TO ASK FOR THIS AT A RESTAURANT I WOULD ORDER A SIDE OF BULLET BELTS. BUT I DIDN’T TAKE OFF ANY POINTS FOR TASTE.

3.5 OUTTA 5 STARS.

 

Acrania – “Tyrannical Hierarchy, Vol. 1”

Posted by longhairedpoet on Monday, December 17, 2018 at 11:43 PM (PST)

British death metallers Acrania returned last month with Tyrannical Hierarchy, Vol. 1, the band’s first release since 2014’s Totalitarian Dystopia. The band had this to say about the release of their EP and what they’ve been up to the past few years:

“Back in 2015 we were burnt out from touring, set backs & constant member changes so we decided to call it quits. We had no intention of releasing new music at the time and despite remaining close friends, we each quickly moved on to new projects. After a couple of years, whilst hanging out we naturally started to finish off these unfinished tracks… Working to prefect them whilst drawing on the experience each of us had gained through working on our new projects. Through doing this, we inevitably re-ignited the passion we had when we first started the band, ultimately leading to the completion and release of this EP.”

I may be almost a month late, but once I realized this album was out, I knew I had to write about it. It goes hard as fuck.

Check out my full review of Tyrannical Hierarchy, Vol. 1 here.

Dust Bolt – “Trapped In Chaos”

Posted by longhairedpoet on Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 5:25 PM (PST)

German thrashers Dust Bolt are preparing to return with their fourth full-length album Trapped In Chaos on January 18 via Napalm RecordsTrapped In Chaos is the follow-up to 2016’s Mass Confusion.

The band bring together an enjoyable mixture of a wide range of thrash variances. While you won’t find any Venom-esque darker, heavier types of thrash on this offering, for example, you also won’t find Dust Bolt playing the same blistering guitar for speeds sake for eleven tracks straight.

Check out my full review of Trapped In Chaos here.

Jinjer – “Micro (EP)”

Posted by longhairedpoet on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 5:24 PM (PST)

Ukranian metallers Jinjer return with their follow up to 2016’s full-length King of Everything next month. The five-song EP Micro is due out January 11 via Napalm Records.

Check out my review of the Micro EP here.

Legion of the Damned – “Slaves of the Shadow Realm”

Posted by longhairedpoet on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 1:08 PM (PST)

Thrashy death metallers Legion of the Damned return next month with the follow up to 2014’s Ravenous PlagueSlaves of the Shadow Realm, due out January 4 via Napalm Records, not only should serve as the soundtrack for your next session of Yu-Gi-Oh, but is a testament to band determined to make blistering extreme metal music. Slaves of the Shadow Realm will be the band’s eighth album since changing their name from Occult to Legion of the Damned thirteen years ago. It will be the band’s thirteenth album overall.

Check out my full review of Slaves of the Shadow Realm here.

Hate Eternal – “Upon Desolate Sands”

Posted by longhairedpoet on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 11:50 AM (PST)

It’s been two decades since Hate Eternal came barreling out of Florida’s gulf coast. Through six previous studio albums and a number of line-up changes throughout the years, Hate Eternal has kept its vision in tact via frontman Erik Rutan. Through it all, Hate Eternal is as brutal as ever. Upon Desolate Sands is a testament to the commitment of a hate, eternal.

Check out my full review of Upon Desolate Sands here.

Venom – “Storm the Gates”

Posted by longhairedpoet on Monday, December 10, 2018 at 1:37 PM (PST)

I’m one of those anomalous fans who likes Venom’s music, and Black Metal in particular, but doesn’t like the genre it allegedly spawned. Even only finding tenuous entry points into thrash and speed metal as a whole (give me Evile and Iron Reagan, please), Black Metal was a revolution in depravity when I listened to it in high school.

Now the band is out with their fifteenth studio Storm the Gates, and Cronos, joined by Rage and Dante, bring ’round the classic Venom sound – I suppose what might be called in today’s language – blackened thrash metal.

Storm the Gates will be available on December 14.

Check out my full review of Storm the Gates here.

Beyond Creation – “Algorythm”

Posted by longhairedpoet on Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 3:24 PM (PST)

I wrote a few days ago about Crippled Black Phoenix’s Great Escape, as an album I’d previously missed this year. Another album I missed this year was Beyond Creation‘s Algorythm. This slab of technical death metal is just what the doctor ordered, as I’ve spent the last few days in cloudy, rainy hell. Beyond Creation, who have been on the Decibel Magazine Tour and the Summer Slaughter Tour and are signed to Season of Mist Records, are further grounding themselves into the scene with this, their third studio album.

Check out my full review here.

Crippled Black Phoenix – “Great Escape”

Posted by longhairedpoet on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 11:02 AM (PST)

No matter how dedicated to the noise one is, they are bound to miss some great releases. One of those releases that I missed this year was Crippled Black Phoenix‘s Great Escape. The band’s sound defies genre categorization (and this is coming from me, the queen of genres). CBP’s dragging sound and melodic vocals are preceded by the first track on Great Escape, “You Brought It Upon Yourselves,” which is an aggravating collection of samples which eventually overlap and bump into each other, stacked over beautiful instrumentation. While the shortest song on Great Escape clocks in at 2:50 (“Uncivil War (pt 1)”), this album is not for folks who don’t like long, meandering tracks (the album has two songs over ten minutes long).

Check out my full review of Great Escape here.

Album Review: Clutch – “Book Of Bad Decisions”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 1:20 PM (PST)

Not liking Clutch is kind of like not liking chocolate or beer. I mean, the second is fine if you are straight edge or in recovery or whatever but otherwise you pretty much just played yourself. To be fair, I firmly have never met a Clutch song whether angry or goofy that I did not love. They are incredibly consistent even when settling into the veteran stage of their hard won (in the truest, road dog sense) career. They have made an investment in their fans and given us gold time and time again. While you can critique any artist, when it comes to Clutch their is always very little to nothing to complain about. I mean, I don’t know them on a personal level but as a fan they are they most rewarding band I have ever followed for decades. What I am trying to say is, they may have had a lot of jager here and there but they certainly haven’t made that many bad decisions career wise.

Book Of Bad Decisions continues the band’s long winning streak. Some people thought it was a little more tame or a bit too long but to me that is kind of like having extra helpings of a good meal. You binge at first and then settle in for a slow extra course and a big grin digestion stupor. Whether slow or fast, aggro or jam focused, Clutch are only adding to their still super potent live range. “H.B. Is In Control” is probably their most knowing wink thrill ride Neil Fallon as madcap ringmaster tune since the underrated From Beale Street To Oblivion record. Hollered vocals, amazing blues and stoner influenced riffs and the impeccable distinctive drumming we know and love are all present.

“Gimme The Keys” is already a newfangled anthem with the band hitting hard. It is also rad to hear some Hammond on this record as well as brass. Some people think the Vance Powell production was a bit too big and clean but I didn’t hear that. It sounded great on big speakers and the band are too tasteful to ever have shitty tones or sub par material. It might not be worn into your fibers like the S/T classic songs but, like Black Sabbath, that doesn’t mean later day songs on 13 or Bad Decisions were somehow super terrible inherently. Any band that can hit the 12 album stretch and still write stuff as freedom loving and witty as “Weird Times” and awesome or sly as “How To Shake Hands” is probably made up of a group of miracle workers. It is incredible these guys have been at it so long and still are in such control of their sound and not pushed around by labels, still cranking out killer albums like Psychic Warfare or this new baby and still reminding us that rock n roll can rebirth us on a Quantum level.

 

Greta Van Fleet‘s anticipated debut opens with a number that reminds me of Jethro Tull meets Muse, a dramatic blend of classixc rock and proggy influences before the more patented blues rock side of the band’s sound carries “Age of Man” forward. While the record could have charged forth with reckless abandon it makes sense in a way that the group, often compared to Led Zep, wanted to drop you notice that you are in for the long haul and this is an album lovers album. The mid paced majestic march of the song is very well done and shows the band’s hype is now bearing more tangible long term fruit. Still, for all the albums merits I can’t help but wonder how a new band doing more of an original sound would fare if they had the same financial support and marketing push as these guys.

Anthem Of The Peaceful Army indeed has a GREAT mix and the group manage to capture their soulful and youthful energy to a terrific degree. It sounds amazing even on my shitty cheap computer speakers, like you are hearing something IMPORTANT. Everyone did a great job and fans of the band are going to be thrilled. It sucks that a friend of mine wasn’t able to see them recently because bots purchased all the tickets in seconds and marked them up for Stub Hub, but the potential of having a live experience is different than what we are talking about today…the album itself. The Plant and Page mimicry finally comes on thick in second track “The Cold Wind” and if you are gonna hang with this band you are just gonna have to decide if you can deal with it or not. Cuz yeah, they don’t only capture youthful energy but tend to try to “clone the dinosaurs”, so to speak. And I love Zep and dinosaurs, so that is not meant as an insult. Even the Zep guys would admit they are aging rock royalty (and we love them, of course). That said, they made a video for my least favorite song “When The Curtain Falls”. Just felt too distracting even for my open mind on that one, though I still am torn because God knows how many bands copied, say, Green Day or The RAMONES.

Like new Alice In Chains, for some people it seems a little too much like trying to recreate something classic, but for many others (in GVF and new AIC cases) it is thrilling. The difference is that some of the real Alice are still IN Alice and I am afraid that makes a big fucking difference. I am not so crazy about direct “Ooh yeah” Plant style vocal lifts, but the rest of the time it doesn’t bother me sooo much that the GVF band are obviously doing an homage to their influences rather than pretending they personally invented the wheel themselves, but other times I change my mind and get distracted and cringe here and there. I still know an even split between “wow, rad” reactions and “fuck this sacrilege shit” responses (much like the DIO hologram) when people discover GVF amongst my peer group. Well, there are more harmful things in life, like the big rap releases of this week Wayne and Con-Perrier-Ye both having XXXTentacion post death cameos like it is no big deal he gay bashed a guy and brutalized a woman with nary any real convincing show of tangible remorse (despite what “he was gonna change” apologists keep saying and despite death still being tragic). At least these guys seem to be real chill dudes and I loved interviewing them awhile ago and wish them the best. I am certain they will get better and better.

Anyway, back to GVF…”Watching Over” is a cool, crawling song that mentions “water rising” (heard that somewhere before, haha), but again it is somehow intriguing rather than so derivative you feel like they are pouring it on too thick. I mean, the songs are just so damn good that it feels like either a young Zep somehow started with ZOSO or that somewhere in rock history we overlooked some classic rock gems and then the vocals were remixed with a little modern polish. “Mountain of the Sun” is a little more Houses Of The Holy, twangy guitar and summery vocals aiming to kiss the sun. All in all the band remain very much a topic of conversation and semi-controversy. You can’t deny their talent and songwriting, but it would be nice on the next one to see them move a bit more into their own territory rather than reshaping the clay of the past.

Add to My Radar   Add to My Radar

Album Review: Smash Fashion – ‘Rompus Pompous’

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 3:23 PM (PST)

Los Angeles, CA ‘s Smash Fashion have that real rock n’ roll fever you can’t fake. The band’s latest Rompus Pompous  is a dazzling win for glam infused rock n roll, perhaps even winning the kind of cliché accolade that it might just be their ‘best yet’. In this instance, band leader Roger Deering and his compatriots of cool may have achieved just that.

The band’s best production yet by member Lloyd Stuart Casson finds the band armed and paired with brighter guitars, bigger hooks, extremely well executed smooth back up oohs and ahhs to please fans of everything from Queen to the Zombies paired with the strut and get out of a rut of T. Rex and Slade? What’s not to love?!

“Wolves Of Wonderland” is an obvious single, a driving and catchy number, with “Teenage Demon” a close second. The record is full of tight percussion, a sense of purpose between band members, killer guitar solos that accentuate rather than widdly widdlying spaghetti noodles all over the song and fun stories woven into the fabric of this winner. You can hear the appreciation for rock history and it makes you yearn for the glory days of KISS, New York Dolls or even a little Dead Boys at times, though way less “punk” and more rock n roll. “Proper Way To Eat A Muffin” has enough serious boogie to find Marc Bolan parting the veil to peek back Earthward to have a gander, while Mike Garson even makes a piano appearance on closer “Smiles And Daggers”.

This is catchy and real enough to kickstart your day in a new direction and remind you that rock n roll can get you out of a slump and still be innovative when played passionately and with enthusiasm, even if there are nods to the  playbook many of the greats already wrote. Def suggest you check this out!

Album Review: Sulaco – “The Prize”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 3:16 PM (PST)

Rochester’s Sulaco have always kind of been underdogs, weathering the underground storms but never quite breaking huge yet always mattering and doing cool shit. Since the early 00’s the group has kept up blazing a trail with their unique blend of extreme metal sub genres, melding hardcore, grind and weird ass rhythmic shifts that Gorguts fans could enjoy into a fresh and kind of minimal style with maximum punch. Plus, my best friend and I smoked weed with them years ago at a Woodstock Tat Fest behind a Harley place and always thought they were cool after that, haha. The band also have ties to Nuclear Assault and Brutal Truth, among others. They just keep it real and stay relevant after most bands give it up, and that deserves lifer points.

The Prize will be released on August 17, 2018 with Translation Loss Records on compact disc, digital download, and two vinyl variants (white and the limited edition “Clear with Heavy Black and White Splatter” which is limited to 100 copies). The trippy cover art by J.R. Schulmerich is worth the purchase alone.

There is a lot of blurring drum roll madness (10/10 performance from Chris Golding, fuck dude), whirlwind guitar chug and tortured vocal styles on here, particularly powerful on “The Road”. The song marches forward then explodes into drama as much as any Cormac McCarthy post-apoc book, though I don’t know if they are related. There are some moments on here of borderline proggy-tech death as well and the band just sound incredibly precise and deadly. They are one of those bands who, like Gigan or Today Is The Day, have somehow managed to capture their vibrant and over the top live essence on a lot of their recordings. I am thrilled they are still at it. Mixed by Neil Kernon (Judas Priest, Nile, Cannibal Corpse), the new record has a furious and raw but tempered feel. It is not a polished turd, that is for sure. You feel every scream in your center like a branding iron.

When Matt Tuck from Bullet For My Valentine said metal has gotten ‘a bit stale’ recently, he prob hadn’t heard this beast.

Erik Burke and company should be proud. They have nothing to prove and if this makes a lot of money or otherwise the “prize” includes a well deserved place upon the wall of glory in the halls of respected extreme metal acts on Valhalla. Go fucking check out the anxiety inducing first intense song “Disguise” here and for God’s sakes pre order this shit for a measly $6.99 and don’t be a stick in the mud!

Album Review: Sierra – “The Mirror”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, March 30, 2018 at 3:29 PM (PST)

In a time when there is a lot of sad news to report from the tragic death of underground rock bassist hero Caleb from Cave In in an auto wreck to the break up of Seven Sisters of Sleep over horrifying things (best of luck to the other guys who must be in awful shock), I am glad I can put out some positive words today that hopefully will cheer some of you up a tiny bit. The new Sierra record is really, really good. I know it is just music and not serious like the other things I mentioned above, but good art underscores the beauty and cool parts of life and music is literally the soundtrack to our lives. With that in mind, it is awesome that in 2018 when temptation could lead the creative type to make any kind of sounds they want to, that some dudes from Ontario still care enough about rock n roll to make a near perfect hard rock album. When anyone says ,”No new rock is as good as the great old stuff” I will go so far as to say you could play them The Mirror and they will at least look a little sheepish and admit it was pretty god damned awesome even if not made in the late 1970s.

I am a huge Kylesa fan so checked out and enjoyed most of the bands Phillip Cope has given his thumbs up to over the years. Phil and Laura always have recommended awesome crust, psych and retro rockin stonery stuff to others in the scene and Sierra was one of the coolest newer bands I learned about because of them. On The Mirror (which Cope produced), the band have made their strongest statement to date. If a feel good but emotionally nuanced blend of alternative hard rock, 70s influences and even a little prog and thrash somehow melted into one seamless cohesive sound works for you, you need to check this out.

From start of the mellow acoustic and synth intro song (which doesn’t sound like it but for some reason reminded me of Mr. Crowley, if only because I know Sierra love the Ozzman and have done a rippin’ “War Pigs” cover with effin’ Wino, no less) you will want to hear where this goes. The track name “Falling” suits the cover art -which would be a great companion piece to The Jesus Lizard’s DOWN album if the Sierra guy falling ever wants a falling pet dog for company. The song itself sounds huge, big and dominant with melodic undertones like the large sound of the recent Bask Ramble Beyond stuff- for example. The guitar playing and songwriting are mature and fun and while the vocals aren’t show boaty they always fit the tunes.

My favorite lyric is probably on the anthemic “Rainbow’s End”, which exclaims relatably that ,”If you don’t fit into this world, it’s because you’re supposed to change it.” What a positive update to Saint Vitus’ “Born Too Late” message of not fitting in, haha. Just kidding. But for real, it is motivating and the song makes you feel optimistic and want to do good for the people you value or a little old lady, while rocking out hard. “The Last Time” is kinda thrashy and the solos on the record rip. The instruments sound massive and clear but not overdoing it. “The Mirror” even has slow drums that come in with the dominance of Killswitch Engage’s “The End Of Heartache” but in a different metal sub genre. All in all this is just a truly solid and enjoyable time and you will likely play it again all the way through often.

I am really into it. What else can I say? Can’t find a single damn thing wrong with it so I am giving it 5 stars.

Album Review: L.A. Guns – “Made In Milan”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 4:45 PM (PST)

I did not expect to be reviewing an L.A. Guns record today as I had a lot going on, but hearing the scorching performance captured on Made In Milan, one of the most red hot live records I have heard in a damn minute, made me have to get hoppin’ on letting you all know this baby is bad news! I dare any rock fan worth their salt to pretend “Over The Edge” on here doesn’t knock you across the room and send your socks flying.

After more than a decade apart, Tracii Guns and Phil Lewis reunited under the L.A. Guns’ banner and have been kicking butt. The chemistry is on full display here and the recording has an lot of body and vibe to the sound. The performances absolutely smoke. You will feel like you are in the room with the guys. “Killing Machine” and “Sex Action” positively get your leg stomping with revved up delivery and throwback glam grit. The band sound like they are having a blast and in no way is this set dialed in. “Malaria” is another standout, guitar heroics aplenty that just remind you how people used to be able to really play and not just need deathcore smoosh riffs with two notes in every song. This is real hard rock, baby. The bass thump, the snarled yet sung vocals and the searing guitar ballsy blues influenced riffs paired with killer harmonies…it’s a real treat.

Of course you also get “The Ballad Of Jayne” for a great slower moment to break up the set and make you wish people held up lighters still instead of cell phones. Tracii is positively a maniac on this, giving one of the best performances of the dude’s career. If you are a fan of his work you will not want to miss this. Alessandro Del Vecchio captured the band on a very special hot streak and th solos and energy are fuckin’ glorious. This record is WELL worth your time and is out March 23rd on CD/DVD (yes, there is live concert footage of the night!), Blu-Ray, vinyl and MP3. Pick it up!