Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Album Review: "The American Dream Died" by Agnostic Front

The American Dream Died
Time for some real talk about yours truly.

Whereas I've checked out a punk record or two and even a punk concert or two, I'm not what I'd consider to be a fan of punk rock.

I also really don't have a handle on what Hardcore is. I do have a pretty good grasp on Crossover....I think....

So, besides all of that, there's 16 year old me at the Metal Edge in July of 1992.

My cousins' friends, Crucible, are playing there opening for a band I'd  never heard of...Agnostic Front.

Hell, at the time I didn't even know what agnostic meant, but days were fuzzier back then.

It's only kind of fitting, since I've reviewed and interviewed a man I saw in concert that same week, that'd I'd be doing that again with another band I saw in concert back then.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Interview: Bloodrocuted's Bob Briessinck Gives Me The Lowdown

A couple weeks ago, I published my review on Bloodrocuted's sophomore effort, Disaster Strikes Back.

Aside from its quality, I could not get away from how young the members of this band are, but not in a Hanson sort of way, but in a comparison.

When I think of bands that came before them Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, etc.

It's amazing to see how far ahead of the game these young men are in comparison. Listen to the seminal classic Kill'Em All and you'll hear a band playing very simple riffs trying to find their way. 

Yes Lightning is a better comparison, but consider that Metallica were 3 years older than Bloodrocuted are now when Metallica recorded Kill'Em All. Just take the debut records of any of the Big Four and see if they compare....

Friday, March 27, 2015

Album Review: "Prime Incursion" by Apophys

Prime Incursion
The Netherlands appear to be very, very metal and very, very fertile in growing new metal bands.

If I had to wear an orange shirt for every Dutch band that's crossed my desk in the past 5 months, I think I'd be doing laundry..well no I'd  have to go buy some, because I don't own an orange shirt and the only National Team Shirt I have is Mexico...

Aside from being from the very metal country of The Netherlands, Apophys is also a brand new band.

It's always one of my greatest pleasures to pass along a new band to you.

The members here have also been in God Dethroned, Prostitute Disfigurement, Detonation, and Toxocara. Well, our new friends here formed Apohyps in 2012 and we're now ready to dig into their debut album.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Album Review: "Other Side of Darkness" by Deathblow

Other Side of Darkness
I remember a time when Thrash Metal was dead.

It was dead after I'd gotten into it, for the most part. I got into the genre late. I was only like 8 when it was brand new after the bands in the Big Four took the NWOBHM and morphed it into something new.

In the early 90's, it was in its death throes, pun intended.

At that time only Slayer out of the Big Four was anything remotely like they'd been at the genesis, well, at least after they'd found their voice.

In the 90's, it was all death metal and such. In that time, Slayer was often referred to as death metal even... Long story short, it's great to see that there's a new generation of thrash metal or are we on the second gen of the thrash revival?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Interview: Monsterworks Is Staying Metal

Over the past 18 months, I have been lucky enough to be privy to, in my opinion, one of progressive metal's shining lights;


Too few people have heard of this band. If the Dave Mustaine quote "I wish we were as popular as we are talented" was real, Monsterworks would be literally walking on water or lakes made of gold.

Their music is mountainous, voluminous, ethereal, and wrenching.

Yes, I am gushing a bit, but I'm always in a current state of waiting for their next record. So few bands can put together an album like they can.

Vocalist, guitarist, and principle songwriter of Monsteworks, Jon, was quite kind enough to answer more of my silly questions and give us some perspective....

Monday, March 23, 2015

Split Review: "Beyond Forgotten Shores" by Dormant Inferno & Dionysus

Beyond Forgotten Shores
As a person and a reviewer, I like stories that make me take notice.

Anyone who's paid any attention to the world over the past many years knows that there is a lot of angst, animosity, and violence among many countries for a great many reasons.

Two such nations that have been having difficulties are Pakistan and India.

These neighbor countries have had their share of skirmishes and more and that's where these two bands come from. Dormant Inferno is from Mumbai, India and Dionysus is from Pakistan.

Both of these bands probably aren't household names in these United States, but who knows what the internet will bring. Some crazy person in St. Louis might get a copy of this album and find it interesting....

Friday, March 20, 2015

Album Review: "Disaster Strikes Back" by Bloodrocuted

Disaster Strikes Back
Remember your young and carefree days?

I surely do...ish.

Picture your life at age 13. I was a in junior high school and talked about buying a guitar and being in a band. I did listen to a lot of music back then.

We played sports and whatever else...I mean nothing else.

But imagine you were 13 years old and you started a band. Then two years later, you finally flesh it out to a full group.

Then after that, at age 16 you record and release a debut album and begin playing with scores of great bands in your genre.

I suppose as an encore you could release a killer sophomore album and go on tour right?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Album Review: "Daemonic: The Art of Dantalian" by Veld

Daemonic: The Art of Dantalian
More and more I come to find that the old adage about music being a universal language is extraordinarily true.

Today's review subject, Veld, is my first stab at a band from the Republic of Belarus, a former Soviet Republic.

Boy have the maps changed in Europe since I was a young boy learning geography.

It's very strange to think of this kind of music coming out of Belarus. Just because death metal is so very, very western and something that greatly personifies American Culture....anything that's worth doing....

Is worth way overdoing, and bam you have death metal. I've yet to visit Eastern Europe, though it's on my bucket list, but I see those countries as far more spartan than what we are used to here in the USA, and that's just what I see in my mind, but let's move on to the music...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Interview with Frogbelly and Symphony

Frogbelly and Symphony
Recently I was contacted about reviewing an album by a band that had three genres listed as their main focus.

Honestly, I very nearly chose not to review it. I can be put off when bands are listed into such strange genres that don't even make sense...

And the fact that their music was listed in the noise genre.

But in the end, I said I'd give it a listen, and obviously I really enjoyed the record. It's poppy, noisy, folksy, and just out and out crazy. It was like a musical stream of consciousness that never seemed to end, repeat, or bore.

I was lucky enough to get them to answer some questions about who they are, what they do, and the like.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Album Review: "Fluff" by Andy Gabbard

I'll admit that things have been a little nutty around here lately.

To this author, that's a very good thing, but as someone who's trying to spread the gospel that music is still great, still awesome, and that no one generation has any claim to the best era of music ever, let's get back to something a bit more palatable for the wider world.

I'm considering the first solo album from Andy Gabbard of the Buffalo Killers.

I can't tell you how  many times the Buffalo Killers have appeared in my Amazon.com recommendations. I think that's because I've purchased at least 15 albums from their label, Alive-Natural Sound. James Leg, Left Lane Cruiser, Radio Moscow, Black Joe & The Honey Bears, The Black Keys, and more.

It's a label dedicated to blues, garage rock, punk, and just about anything else. The only real thing that all these artists have in common is that they're all quality.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Album Review: "The Fridge and the Power It Holds" by Killer Refrigerator

The Fridge and the Power It Holds
One of my favorite things about music is its ability to convey many different emotions and moods.

Music can be dark, happy, gloomy, ominous, uplifting, depressing, and pretty much any other different thing you can think of.

Albums, like music, come in many different varieties as well. There are concept albums, operas, collections of singles, and things that frankly do not make any sense.

Today we're considering Cody Coon of UnKured's solo project. UnKured is a thrash grind band that focuses on science fiction, and I think we can all get behind that...but Killer Refrigerator is another animal entirely.

Imagine you were completely insane and you wanted to tell a story of the war between the appliances in your house....ok got it?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Album Review: "Bloodsuckers" by Vamps

Otaku Mode Engaged. 

Like Canada, Japan has always held a lot of intrigue for me. I grew up watching many anime (often times without knowing it), samurai movies, ninja movies, etc. 

In 4th grade we had a Japanese Springboard teacher. In the St. Louis City Public School District, they were people who lived in other cultures and came to teach us about them.

It was the first time I'd learned about Obon.

Today, we have a Japanese rock band that's currently based out of New York City.

Vamps have come together from the bands L'Arc~en~Ciel and Oblivion Dust. Bloodsuckers their first album under the brand new moniker. I think most of my readers are aware that I tend to shy way from albums with provocative covers, but I just couldn't help myself on this one.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Interview: Kevin Lawry of Crowned In Earth Tells Me About Things...

Crowned In Earth is a progressive rock outfit based out of the  United Kingdom.

Kevin Lawry is the leader, principle songwriter, and the one who effected their change. See, before they were a Floydian prog rock band, they had a previous life.

Crowned In Earth began life as a doom metal band. So it seems to be quite a jarring change to go from doom riffs to progressive rock, but is the change really all that drastic?

Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, the creator of doom metal riffing was the master of the guitar riff. Consider any great Sabbath tune and those songs were very progressive, well the majority of them.

Dio joked about asking Dio for a riff and getting back 15. "We just need one, Tone."

So, how in the world does he get inspired? Where do these very long and airy songs come from?

What about this or that? Let's find out.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Album Review: "Heretical Anatomy" by Abyss

Heretical Anatomy
Ahh, Canada. The Great White North.

It's one of my favorite countries and I've been lucky enough to visit it three times.

I will admit to having been a bit let down by the vaunted Canadian dish, poutine, but I suppose I can let that go and just accept that we all have our dishes that don't always measure up to those unaccustomed to them.

I love the climate, the hockey, the beer, and their attitudes up there. I'd love to live in the Greater Toronto Area, and speaking of which...

Today let's take a look at a brand new band who've just signed their first record contract: Abyss. 20 Buck Spin is going to be releasing their debut LP this spring and we gave it a listen here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Album Review: "Illusions in Infinite Void" by Sacral Rage

Illusions in Infinite Void
Today's review is by a band from Athens, Greece.

This becomes a bit funnier later on in the review to be perfectly honest.

I'm assuming no one in this band is related to any of our favorites from the peak of Mount Olympus. With all of the years I spent reading those old stories and seeing Athens come up time and time again, yes Theseus and the Minotaur has popped up into my head...of course now if you say Tribute, people would think Hunger Games, but...good lord..sorry.

Today we're listening to the full length debut of Sacral Rage of Athens, Greece. In the past they've released a demo and an EP, but not in that order....

Sacral Rage are one of those bands who take their all of their influences and basically make them into a musical hotdog. Read on, please!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Album Review: "Blue Bright Ow Sleep" by Frogbelly and Symphony

Blue Bright Ow Sleep gatefold artwork.
Years ago I had a good friend who always told me that he loved music to be off the beaten path.

The stranger the better he always said.

Many of the bands he enjoyed...I couldn't enjoy at all, not because they were too strange, but because they didn't feel like music. Many bands who try to stray away from the well worn methods sound more like a musical abstract than a song.

I find it very hard to get behind that sort of thing. FORESHADOWING.

Today, we're looking at a band, collective, artist hive, colony, something. I don't know what they are besides Frogbelly and Symphony.

Some of them are from Brooklyn, NY and some of them are from Sheffield, UK. Blue Bright Ow Sleep is their debut album.

They also seem a little on the insane side.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Interview: The Battery Electric

The Battery Electric is a band out of Asbury, New Jersey.

They've been together nearly three years now and they're bashing out their own brand of rock'n'roll.

It's always interesting to see new bands that are out there touring, working, and making new music. We're in an age where it's become harder and harder to make it as a musician.

Of course it was never easy. How many great bands have we seen have to go back to working 9 to 5 because they just couldn't make ends meet. That's a part of why I do what I do here, I want to get some sort of a spotlight on artists that don't have the PR Machine of Lady Gaga.

On the eve of their third release, The Heart and The Thrill, the took some time to answer my questions about the new record and what they do.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Album Review: "Remnants of Immortality" by Eternal Solstice

Remnants of Immortality
Today we journey all the way to Holland in The Netherlands.

I love that it's The Netherlands. It makes it seem much more epic, kind like how we're The United States.

When Americans think of Holland, we picture wooden shoes and windmills, but somehow when I listen to this album, I'm not thinking about that picture.

Eternal Solstice is an underground death metal band who have lain low for about 15 years before releasing some new music on split EPs in 2011 and 2013.

In 2015, they have finally returned with their first full length LP since 1997's Demonic Fertilizer. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say welcome back to the wider world.