Thursday, December 31, 2015

Album Review: "Alma" by Löbo

Many people will tell you about how they love music.

That they only listen to good music or that they don't care about genre.

What makes a genre of music? What makes something music?

How can we define three simple chords to be a song, or millions of songs for that matter. G-C-D...that's an easy on isn't it?

There comes a time when people seriously are willing to kick off the shackles of genre and mainstream music, well not many people I suppose.

Löbo is a band from Libson, Portugal. Alma is their upcoming release. Exactly who and what Löbo are is something beyond my understanding.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Album Review: "Critical Hits" by Gygax

Critical Hits
Are you aware that I am  not cool?

Your friend and humble narrator has always been a nerd. Gifted, creative, and painfully awkward, even today.

To this day, I still while away the nights with online role playing games, Dungeons & Dragons on my Japanese Series II (white) Sega Saturn, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit on blu-ray.

There's always a book on my nightstand next to my phone. I can tell you far more about Star Trek (through Deep Space 9) than most people will ever want to hear.

My nerd level is pretty epic. Hell, I still dress about the same as I did in high school, jeans, black t-shirt, and sneakers. (I did switch to Chucks not long after high school.) Being a nerd is pretty awesome if you ask me. Like Hwill Hweaton said, it's about loving something so much, you just can't help it. Well, I love a lot of things....

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Interview: Sharp Weapons, If You're Ever In KC and Want To Hear Some Good Music....

Sharp Weapons
I couldn't help but make the reference.

Really it has absolutely nothing to do with Kansas City's own, Sharp Weapons, but there are only so many different times you can make a reference to the seminal classic, Spinal Tap.

(Like at a maximum of 47/day.)

But hopefully my readers know this is the part of the article where I'm a bit irreverent and making someone smile...or groan.

But anyway...

Sharp Weapons is in fact, from the Kansas City metro area a short three hundred mile trip west down Interstate 70 from me.

They're also preparing the release of their debut, eponymous, album and I felt like I  needed to get to know a little bit more about them and here's what we learned!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Album Review: "Ride Forth" by Exmortus

Ride Forth
The worst part about growing older is watching your sacred cows die.

Nothing lasts forever.

There was a Tom Cruise and Tim Curry vehicle in the early 80's called Legend. I cannot tell you how many times I watched that movie.

Unicorns, demons, dwarves, magic, mystery, and more. I wasn't old enough to know that Tom Cruise was terrible at this.

About 15 years ago, I chose to watch this movie again while my car was being worked on. Oh my. I could not believe how terrible this movie had become to me. It still looked pretty good, but it didn't hold my attention at all and I was ready to shoot myself by the time we got to the climax of the devil being shot with an arrow.

The cover art  here...It really reminds me of the dwarves from that flick.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Album Review: "Blackened Visions" by The Lumberjack Feedback

Blackened Visions
There was a time when you could walk into a record store and see a logo and know if you'd have any interest in that band by just what label put it out.

For me...Elektra Records was a big one. Two of my favorite bands were on that label: Metallica and The Doors.

They were both there from a bygone age though. That was when there was an owner of Elektra, Jac Holzman. If memory serves, he personally signed The Doors.

Nowadays though, it's harder and harder to do that in a record store. Especially since the big labels are all about Adelle, Katy Perry, etc.

Recently, in the big store in my city, I looked for stuff I was interested in on vinyl from my favorite labels, and I didn't find a single record by any of those labels. That's why I buy them through their online stores I suppose....

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Album Review: "Sins Remain" by Blackhour

Sins Remain
I love a story, an angle, an anything to get me the least bit interested in anything.

There are at a minimum of 478,753 different things of every single thing that you like.

What about a band draws you in away from the other 478,752? For me, it can be anything.

Today's subjects are from Pakistan.

In the past I've done music from Algeria, Pakistan, India, and even Iran. The aspect of a band playing western music, especially metal, from somewhere that we wouldn't expect makes me all the more interested.

Not as a forbidden fruit aspect, but how do they envision this music? How do they make it?

Well, Blackhour is from Pakistan. There's very little I can tell you about this country besides that the capital is Islamabad. I know they're a Middle Eastern country and often involved in a border dispute with India...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Album Review: "Black Blood" by Black Blood

Black Blood
How many wolves have you killed?

What about the Mountain Trolls?

Is Mount Doom near Turku?

This is my imagining of Finland. This is wholly ignorant and inappropriate I know. Sweden is a wonderfully modern, urban, civilized, and sophisticated society...

It's fun to think about all of the bands that have come out of Scandinavia and Sweden especially, but what I picture in my head is what my friend posted from his trip to watch the Blues open the season against the Detroit Red Wings there because those teams had about forty seven Swedes between them....

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Interview: Let's Get To Know Gomorrah's Bowen Matheson

You know that death metal has been around for over 30 years now?

I think the most accepted as the first death metal record was Seven Churches by Possessed, featuring Larry LaLonde, later of Primus of all people.

It's funny though, the acts that were big back in the old school death metal days are still playing the same clubs they were then.

The new school death metal bands are also playing the same clubs as the big bands too.

Extreme metal is something hard for most of the uninitiated to really want to appreciate. The drums are overbearing. The vocals lack any sense of melody. The guitars are abrasive and sharp.

It's just such an awesome sound, I can't figure out why it's not catching on in the wider world! Today, a band that straddles the line between new school and old school death metal took some time out of their schedule to give me some background information.

Please meet Bowen Matheson of Gomorrah.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Album Review: "Kemerov" by Kemerov

You know what?

I missed my calling.

No, I don't mean I should have come of age in the Seventies and worked on Rolling Stone when it was cool (shots fired!), but I should have been born in the pre-dark ages.

Being a smart guy that understands things sometimes go together when everyone says they don't, like red miso and pot roast for example, I would have been the best damned alchemist in Europe.

I tell you now, I would have turned lead into gold, unlike the long, long line of failures that didn't see how far they had to go in order to get it done.

It seems like all those alchemists now are all into heavy metal and about every genre of music out there. Heavy metal is always the start though. Kemerov, from Serres, Greece, is no different.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Album Review: "NOMTOMBOT" by Dildo of God

Hip-hop, rap, all that stuff.

Frankly, it's criminally underrated on this blog.

I've been listening to the blues's nephew for as long as I can remember. I was a fan of the Fat Boys, Run DMC, The Beasties, Grand Master Flash, Eazy-E, and more back in the early, middle, and late 80's, much less the 90's.

In the 90's, I learned about nerd rap and it just went off. MC Chris, MC Lars, Adam WarRock, Richie Branson, Megaran.

Here though, I probably only review rap once or twice a lifetime. I'm not sure why I don't get any sent to me. I try, but no one submits it. Today, we've got a band called Dildo of God.

They're a space rap super group of sorts that are on the cusp of releasing their debut record, NOMTOMBOT.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Album Review: "Peace Killers" by Peace Killers

Peace Killers
Probably the most oft used phrase I see in my email nowadays is "related if you like," typically abbreviated to RIYL.

Why do we need this?

I'd say partially because as music fans, consumers, and writers, we want in immediate picture of what we're going to hear when it comes out of the speakers.

I can dig that, but what if you forgot what you'd read when you wrote down to review an album and what came out was one of the most off the wall records of 2016? (Well I guess 2016 really.)

Peace Killers are a brand new band made up of veterans of the West Coast scene. There's a collective experience of forty years between the four members.

RIYL: D.R.I., Rory Gallagher, Metallica, Death, and Black Flag.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Album Review: "The Haruspex" by Gomorrah

The Haruspex
Well, I already used my cyborg story this week.

So, let's do an old fashioned meet and greet.

Gomorrah is from the not so very metal Canadian province of British Columbia, Kelowna to be exact.

I wonder if they are Kelowna Rockets fans?

Originally started this modern death metal duo of Jeff Bryan and Bowen Matheson began life as a black metal duo. I think that my personal tastes regarding black metal are well documented, so this will just be mentally noted as a good change.

The Haruspex is Gomorrah's fourth released, but only their second full length. They've certainly been around the block and played with some big bands and some nice festivals, but let's see what their new work is all about....

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Interview: There Is No Mountain

There Is No Mountain
Recently we checked out the latest album from a young married couple who feel like that the best thing they could do is be in a band together.

I don't know what to say about that.

I play music, when I do anyway, in order to have a little me time, but here we have two kids that felt otherwise.

How many times have we heard on Behind The Music that being in a band is like being married to three other people?

Well, at least we're not talking about a bigamous marriage here, because the married duo is also the entirety of the band.

So, there won't be any crossing of the streams.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Album Review: "Jet Plane and Oxbow" by Shearwater

Jet Plane and Oxbow
I have been into watching Science Fiction for as long as I can remember I suppose.

The first movie I can say for certain that I saw in the theater was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. I also recall seeing E.T. in the cinema thrice.

Space travel, alien beings, robots, and the like. These things greatly appealed to me.

I suppose we're always looking forward and wondering what lies ahead.

One concept that always really stuck with me though was the cyborg. Kryten in Back To Reality, Arnold in The Terminator, and countless others in film and comic books. This idea thrilled me to no end.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Album Review: "Sharp Weapons" by Sharp Weapons

Sharp Weapons
What's in a name?

Is being called Metallica what made them so metal?

What about Pink Floyd? None of them were named Floyd and they were a pasty lot weren't they?

I don't think Slayer actually goes put and slays things. Led Zeppelin was neither made of lead nor a zepplin, and their music certainly went over far better than a lead balloon didn't it?

Slaughter sounds like the name of a metal band full of ferocity, angst, and ripping guitar solos, but we're left wanting on all of those aren't we?

Sharp's subject is from the faraway land of Kansas City. I honestly don't know if we're talking about KCK or KCMO, so we're just going to leave it at Kansas City.

Let's get on with it.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Album Review: "Oak" by Oak

Sometimes I get emails.

When I was younger, I used to have a song for when I got an email. It was a short song, very short.

(Please keep in mind that I began emailing in I wasn't getting a whole lot of them at that time.)

Recently, I got an email from London. Apparently, there's a stoner/desert rock band in London named Oak.

I frankly couldn't tell you much about them, even now when I'm writing this post. The final strains of their eponymous EP debut Oak is finishing up and ringing in my ears.

But I don't have much else to say about them. So instead I'm going to ask the question, where in the world did the moniker desert rock come from? As a follow up, I'm going to further posit, did we really need another term besides acid rock?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Album Review: "Heaven's Gate" by Eternal of Sweden

Heaven's Gate
Growing up, Scandinavia was this place very far away.

Taking Social Studies as a young lad, I remember hearing about the midnight sun and the northern lights.

I still desire to see the Aurora Borealis.

As I've gotten older, our friends of the fjords have grown more and more interesting. Their exportation of hockey players comes to mind.

Think of the first Euro NHL player, he's from Finland or Sweden isn't he? Russians don't count. They're Russian players.

Sweden, Finland, Norway, and maybe that little bit of Russia, are very, very metal. From black metal to power metal to thrash metal to the Gothenburg scene, they have given us many more great metal bands than great hockey players.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Interview: New Orleans's Own, Miss Mec

Miss Mec
I can't ever really tell you how music arrives to me, at least not for everything.

I received an email asking if I would be interested in checking out the debut EP of Miss Mec, from New Orleans, LA.

Well, I was interested and I found an artist who collaborated with a few other musicians in order to create an EP that was both highly original and very classic sounding.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how the sounds sounded, and I'm not talking about the quality of songwriting or the liquidness of the fingers of the guitarist, but the songs just popped off of the CD.

It's very rare to get that warm and organic sound out of a piece of digital music.

It does make me wonder if hearing their songs in iTunes would have the same effect, but who knows right? The EP was long enough for us to meet her and short enough to leave us wanting more.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Album Review: "Purified Through Devastation" by Against The Plagues

Purified Through Devastation
Do you ever think of lost art forms?

Besides artisanal toast, how often do we think about artisans?

I was reading an article on trains and the original steam engines were ornate and beautiful instead of the spartan designs that came later.

In this day and age, if a new industry suddenly emerged, I can pretty much guarantee that it would not be counting any artisans among the new folks in said crazy industry.

So don't expect our transporter tubes to look cool I guess.

Today's artist (artisan?) is Against The Plagues. They are an internationally peopled band based out of the midwesteren city of Chicago. That's only 280 miles north of St. case they need a map for their next tour.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Album Review: "Luna" by There Is No Mountain

I still don't see it.

I can't help it and I refuse to try, because the name of this band reminds me of a (classic?) Monty  Python sketch wherein Eric Idle cannot see the mountain the rest of the group sees.

I suppose Philip J. Fry did something similar in Futurama when they were headed to the Great Stone Face of Mars.

So, this band's name really does bring me some good memories, but let's get some housekeeping out of the way instead of my waxing nostalgic about canceled TV shows.

Portland, Oregon's own There Is No Mountain is a duo, who get this, is married! So all those times you hear about a band being like a marriage, do you think they thought their marriage was like a then they said what the hell?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Album Review: "Anxiety Never Descending" by Kult Mogil

Anxiety Never Descending
When I was very young, I was watching an episode of Solid Gold or Star Search, and the host was talking about a talented young artist up next.

I was confused.

To me, artists drew pictures, painted, sculpted, etc and then I saw it was a singer. So, I rightly, assumed they painted on the side.

I didn't know then that music is an art form. It's kind of funny, music is the only art where saying it's artistic is a compliment.

Kind of like how in American Football it's the only place were calling an athlete athletic is a compliment!

I suppose it has something to do with how many more people make a living off of music, or at least used to. Music, like all art forms, is a method of expression and Poland's Kult Mogil has a lot to express.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Album Review: "Triumvir Foul LP" by Triumvir Foul

Triumvir Foul LP
Metal is one of those things that never ceases bubbling up from the slime and the muck.

It's been over 45 years since Master Tony Iommi first played the Devil's Tritone on Black Sabbath.

It continues to grow, and in some cases just fester. Metal is the blues of the blues of the blues, if it were all based on anger.

It's the scab that won't go away which is part of what makes it pretty damned cool, but Rob Zombie was quite wrong about metal being an unchanging dinosaur. It's never stopped changing.

Today we have in our claws, the debut album from Triumvir Foul that's appropriately titled the Triumvir Foul LP. It has a split release date. The CD and digital release happens on 12/11 and the vinyl release is on 2/16.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Interview: Adrenechrome

Last week, I published my review on a newer band from The Fabled Canadas, Adrenechrome.

From the moment the CD started, it was clear that this band was different, unique, and on fire.

There is so much I would love to know about this band, but for the record they are from Orillia, Ontario and Tales From Adrenechrome (order here) was released this past week on November 27th.

It's their third release.

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to get one of the folks in the band to take some time out of their busy schedule to answer the goofy questions I was able to pen.