Friday, April 29, 2016

Album Review: "Skeleton Wolf" by Skeleton Wolf

Skeleton Wolf
At some point every conceivable chord progression will have passed from a guitarist's hands, through an amplifier, and into the ears of the world.  

Thankfully, this day has not yet come, but we are a multitude of glorious riffs closer with the release of the eponymous Skeleton Wolf album. Following in the footsteps of other modern epic thrash metalers such as Amon Amarth, Exmortus and Machine Head, and reminiscent of one of the 80s most underrated thrash metal band’s Hallow’s Eve, 

Skeleton Wolf carries on the genre’s proud tradition of bombastic riffs, breakneck drums and thundering bass lines. 

Technology allows musicians to seamlessly track individual instruments one at a time, avoiding the necessity of having all band members present at the time of recording, or as in the case of this album a band’s roster need not even be entirely filled. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Concert Photos: Goo Goo Dolls at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles July 22, 2014 -photos by Danny Nichols

John Rzeznik and Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls play the famous Greek Theatre in LA.

Album Review: "ROT" by Prisoner of War

Lately there has been a series of debates on the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame and whether or not certain acts should be in.

Personally, my belief is that the RNRHOF is improperly named and should be named the Pop Music Hall of Fame as the genre known as "rock'n'roll" has come and gone.

But it's interesting to consider the roots of music and how we have arrived to the places we are now.

Jimi Hendrix was one of the most amazing musicians of all time and in his very short time in the spotlight amassed a large catalog of work.

What made The Jimi Hendrix Experience so special, in my opinion, is that it wasn't a rock band, a rock'n'roll band, a blues band, or an R&B band, but an amalgamation of all of those genres all at once. The roots ran very deep.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Album Review: "Titanomachy" by Imperium

Considering how long the word has been in our vocabulary, it's hard to believe that "multitasking" was not one of the original words in the English language.

It's also quite possible that my memory is getting hazy.

Between the Blues playoff series win versus the Blackhawks and my neck spams, concentration and rational thought are at an all time low.

It doesn't feel like there are too many bands that are able to multitask well on their songs. Of course we've heard bands that are able to switch between styles, but that's not what I mean.

Singing and playing guitar is a great example of being able to do two separate things at the same time. Why doesn't anybody do this with music?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Album Review: "Pineapples and Ashtrays" by Beninghoves Hangmen

Pineapples and Ashtrays
Life goes in strange circles.

In reading a historical tome on The City of New Orleans, jazz came up many times.

The story of that city is largely told through the music itself. It's interesting how hearing about something enough can make a person become interested in something that doesn't normally turn their crank.

Jazz is certainly not among my favorite musical genres and to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in my personal collection that could be described in any way as jazzy.

Although, this weekend past, my wife did grab a record that included The St. Louis Blues at an estate sale, but she may have been inspired by the NHL Playoffs...LET'S GO BLUES!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Album Review: "Crippling Lack Vol. 2" by David Thomas Broughton

Crippling Lack Vol 2
NOTE: Due to this triple album being release in three parts, on three labels, on three continents, each volume is being reviewed as a separate entity.

It was a very rainy day in St. Louis and I was driving home from the real world and back into my own world.

In reality, I'm as much of a writer as many of my good friends are musicians, we do it because of the love of it and not because we're being paid oodles of money. Incidentally, I make more money playing music than writing...which is really wrong.

But during that overlong rush hour commute from the outer suburbs back to my urban home, I looked around at what surrounded me.

Far from being the only driver on the highways that day, my car was the coffin that Patrick Swayze's Bodhi talked about in Point Break. My whole self at that moment was simply focused on getting home and fighting the traffic. How is that living? Thankfully....

Friday, April 22, 2016

Album Review: "Cowards Empire" by Node

Cowards Empire
Falling asleep is about the hardest thing in the world for me to do unless I've been awake for longer than 22 hours.

This is a problem that's plagued me since I was a very small child. For years people told me that to get more sleep, just to bed earlier, but they had no idea.

When my eyes are closed, the lights in my head are on and they are on full blast. Nothing stops until such point that my brain finally shuts down due to sheer exhaustion.

A book on Samurai sword philosophy is actually helping me learn how to switch off. "Too many mind" as was famously said to Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai.

Many people would find this to be a serious problem, but to me, it's just a part of the make up of who I am. There's certainly no curse in my brain being able to function quickly.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Concert Photos: Ne Obliviscaris at Fubar in St. Louis February 8, 2016 -photos by Danny Nichols

Vocalist Xenoyr

Album Review: "Everything Is Dead" by Coffin Dust

Everything Is Dead
Upon my graduation from High School, I promptly moved back to St. Louis. From that time forward until the advent of social media, the number of times spent with high school friends could be counted on one hand.

During the infancy of social media, think days, at the First Annual Repeal of Prohibition Beer Festival at the Schlafly Bottleworks, and old friend ran into me.

From that point it was nearly like we had never lost anything. It was wonderful being able to pick up our friendship from where we left off and move forward into new adventures.

Sometimes bands you love do the same thing. Remember when the Beastie Boys took seven years off before coming back with To The 5 Boroughs? It wasn't like when they took a few years off between albums after that because there was just nothing at all from them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Album Review: "Death Blues vs The Dirty Spliff" by Left Lane Cruiser and 20 Watt Tombstone

Death Blues vs. The Dirty Spliff
The connectivity of the internet is probably one of my favorite things about This Modern World in which we live.

The rabbit holes created have done wonderful things.

Case in point, this weekend past, my family and I were watching videos on YouTube through the magic of our Roku Box and before long, Informer by Snow was playing.

My wife then picked up her phone and started reading off the lyrics to this song, and said "Oh, it's an anti-snitching song!"

The best way to find new music is just by being on Twitter. Mention a band name, and you might find yourself being followed by a bunch of bands that are new to you. 20 Watt Tombstone is one of those bands for me. They found me and now I have their upcoming split with one of my favorite Psychobilly Blues bands, Left Lane Cruiser.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Album Review: "Altars & Offerings” by De Los Muertos

Altars & Offerings
St. Louis, Missouri has always had a unique place in music history, especially when it comes to the blues, beginning with the genre’s local pioneers and innovators of the 1920s, through a confluence of talent descending on the St. Louis area during the 1930s and 40s and culminating in the merging with and transition to rock-n-roll, best exemplified by the revolutionary styles of Chuck Berry and Ike and Tina Turner in the 1950s.  

This fine tradition is not dead, and it is still proudly displayed by local acts such as De Los Muertos.  Although, geared further towards the rock end of the rhythm and blues genre, and containing elements which are more modern than what was available to the 1950s ear, the influence of the St. Louis blues rings true throughout their six song album “Altars & Offerings”.  

This blues influence, mixed with elements of rock, alternative country, Americana and soul produces a unique sound the Gateway City can be proud to claim. 

Although it may be somewhat of a disservice to the band, the temptation to compare new acts to ...

Interview: Engraved Darkness Tells of Tales

Engraved Darkness
Too many times we hear politicians, great moralizers, and the uninitiated talking about how extreme metal is glorifying evil in the world.

Frankly, this concept does not make sense.

When was the last time someone said that Law & Order: SVU was glorifying crime in New York City?

No one has ever said that or that Stephen King's IT was glorifying demonic clowns that turn into giant spiders and eat children every 30 years.

Granted, that would be a bit specific.

Bands who find themselves writing about the dark side of the world interest me. Do they hate the world all the time? Are they truly evil? Are they different from you and me? Let's find out with Engraved Darkness.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Album Review: "Black Heart" by Doomsday Ceremony

Black Heart
The worst thing about Standard Issue Death Metal is the fact that it's rather monotonous.

This is nothing new. Certainly no one feels right now that I have thrown shade on the genre and Pete "Commando" Sandoval is probably not reading this to know that comment is in direct relation to his drumming on the seminal, Covenant.

Even with the oft used line up of metal, there is a wider range of colors that are not used. This can create some bland sounding music, but that certainly does go for all genres of music.

The field is crowded and being heard is the key. Many an album crosses my desk that's good for a bit but grows weary before the beginning of side two. This goes double for the bands that confuse heavy and brutal for songwriting and melody. Yes, death metal can be melodic, beautiful, and varied.

What about the bass player?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Album Review: "II" by Tombstoned

A number of years ago, in what's become a former life.

My friends would love to go slogging through the woods in combats boots. Naturally they insisted that I come along, and certainly that happened.

We were certainly a mystical bunch and we were out looking for the Gates to Hell, the meaning of Light My Fire, or a place to indulge in private.

Regardless of the activity pursued, there was a common theme: being lost. Never once did we precisely know where we were or what was actually around us.

Being confident in ourselves, our lack of direction wasn't worrisome, but emboldening. Of course in 2016 this is much harder to do as we all have every map of the world on our phone, but those days in the woods, along the back alleys, and everywhere else....still resonate and we're all still looking for that feeling of being lost.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Concert Photos: Gwar with Butcher Babies, Battlecross and ThorHammer in Sauget, IL September 11, 2015 -photos by Danny Nichols

Balzac The Jaws of Death and Beefcake the Mighty of Gwar

Album Review: "Dimensions Obscure 12" MLP" by Cadeveric Fumes

Dimensions Obscure 12" MLP
Music is the most ubiquitous art form in the world today.

When we clean the kitchen, our phones are playing. When car manufacturers and dealers want to sell us our next automobile, they play a song in order to catch our attention.

Is it even possible to conceive of a baseball game or a hockey game without some sort of music blaring during the stoppages, either via organ or canned tracks?

There is a genre of music called Ambient Black Metal. As pretty much a non-fan of black metal, this kind of music really gets to me....because it's beautiful.

What if there was another kind of ambient metal based on say, death metal? It would certainly have to be very different from standard death metal though wouldn't it? Surely there is no band that could bridge the gap in today's music scene.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Album Review: "As The Crow Flies" by A Rebel Few

As The Crow Flies
The past is something hard to fathom.

My entire life I have been obsessed with the idea and concept of time. Frankly, it's caused some serious issues for my enjoyment of the present.

Have you ever sat there during an event that you were waiting seemingly eons to attend? During my youth, there were times spent picturing myself looking down at the baseball diamond at Busch Stadium in anticipation of watching the Cardinals take the field.

We went to a game each year so it was a given that this would happen. That's how I contented myself during the waits, but then while sitting in those horrible red seats, the idea that this baseball game was only a three hour diversion crept in, possibly ruining my enjoyment, but who knows.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Album Review: "Desire's Magic Theater" by Purson

Desire's Magic Theater

It is regrettable the evolution of music usually tends to bury its forbearing styles in the past.  

If 50s rock was great in the 50s, why can’t a band play that same sound now and attract the ears of the world. Sure there are some bands trading in on this style, but they don’t seem to get much traction.  Similarly, Steel Panther has acquired a significant fan base by mirroring 80s glam metal, but I am not quite sure if they are in tribute to this glorious era or mocking it. 

I think there is room in the musical landscape for reinventions of many sounds left in the wake of progress.  The music of the late 60s and early 70s has never spent too much time in my cd player, still I would prefer the sounds of this era not be left to die on dusty record shelves.  

Perhaps there has never been a band to more perfectly retroactively capture an era and a style than Purson has with their modern take on late 60s psychedelic rock.  And they have seemingly done this with enough flare and edge to win over even metal fans such as myself.

Interview: Allfather Flips the Script and Interviews Glacially Musical

It started off as a normal Friday evening here in the UK at Allfather HQ. 

Some suitable music was playing on the the stereo, some none too bad booze was being drunk and some Twitter action was going on between me (Tom - vocals in Allfather), Curtis from DewarPR (our PR guy) and Nik from Glacially Musical.

Twenty minutes later, following a chat about hustling bands, a-non existent interview request and some sweet talking by Curtis, we were arranging me to interview Nik rather than the normal, traditional approach of music writer questioning bands.

Make sense? Thought's the result: 

Tom of Allfather: What came first: loving music or wanting to write?

Nik Cameron of Glacially Musical: I have loved music longer than I have been able to read, write, or form a coherent sentence. My earliest memory is wearing a diaper, baseball themed socks that I "borrowed" from my stepsister, and attempting to play a harmonica. Even 38 years later, I've still not mastered it, and that kind of haunts me.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Album Review: "Perennial Void Traverse" by Reptilian

Perennial Void Traverse
There was a time in the not too distant past when Metal was considered too nerdy for some folks, like Kim Thayil, to relate to.

Personally, as a nerd the Dungeons & Dragons imagery really spoke to me, because that's basically where Black Sabbath started anyway.

After that was considered hokey, metal refocused and became very, very angry. Kirk Hammett's done interviews where he discussed whether or not he was still angry as he's gotten older.

But  more and more metal is finding new inspiration and the howls of anguish, which are ever so prevalent, are now even beginning to give way to the screams of the insane.

If nothing else, this seems a pretty rational progression if you ask me. In 1975, metal guys were all nerds. In 1980 we got angry for not being accepted. Later on, we became sad because we still didn't rule the world. Now, we've been driven insane.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Album Review: "Bless The Earth With Fire" by Allfather

Bless the Earth With Fire
Guitar players in this day and age are buying instruments with fake aging. Many of them are even fake aging, or relicing, the instruments themselves.

This is done because everybody knows that a guitar that's been through hell and back is a world class instrument both in feel and sound.

Why else would Rory Gallagher, Stevie Ray Vaughn, or Ace Frehley play a guitar that's missing half its original paint job or more?

The same is true fos us civilians and our day to day items. For your regular joes, like myself, a t-shirt, a pair of Levis, or the Chuck Taylor All Stars that I just can't seem to throw out are the same as Steve Ray's #1, Gallagher's Fender Strat, and Frehley's Budokan Les Paul. It's something in our lives that we use everyday.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Concert Photos: Veruca Salt at the Ready Room in St. Louis July 22, 2015 -photos by Danny Nichols

Veruca Salt plays the Ready Room July 22, 2015

Interview: Cetacean's Brain Tells The Tales

Breach | Submerge
Years ago, I remember Lars Ulrich discussing the black album and how it was time for Metallica to move away from the mini-epics they had been doing for years and focus on a new path.

In my 17 year old mine, eight and nine minute songs were epics!

It had been years since Pink Floyd released anything progressive. King Crimson wasn't in my lexicon.

And Cetacean weren't even conceived yet.

Their latest offering, Breach | Submerge is a three track opus. The shortest of the three being around nine minutes.

Long songs have always been a favorite of mine, but overly long songs, well, it took Pink Floyd to really open me up to that, but I'm not the only on here who's in love with The Floyd.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Album Review: "Wormz" by Death Lullaby

Currently before falling asleep, I'm reading a book about the Gay 90's and Turn of the Century New Orleans. It was a Christmas Present, and it's one of the most fascinating tomes I have ever read.

Every night, it's just one more chapter and I'll go to sleep. Sadly, this book is going to end soon and then it's off to another place and time. It's just not long enough.

A big part of the story is a cast of characters, the creation of "Storyville," and jazz. There have been a great many pages dedicated to the story of jazz and Buddy Bolden's rise and fall.

One of the things this book is teaching me is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Jazz was considered to be evil and an affront to social mores, the patriarchy, and white supremacy. Respectable people would try to shelter their children from the's interesting because it seems like we have heard this in the recent past.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Album Review: "Zamboni" by Zamboni

Although Zamboni describes themselves as “the worst band ever to attempt any form of music” I actually found their eponymous debut album very good.  If nothing else this long awaited and oft delayed amalgamation of metal and hardcore punk album is a ton of fun in the exact sort of spirit one would expect from such a combined genre. 

  Nine short ferocious songs, which make you want to run around the room, jump on furniture and break things. 

One thing that stood out to me was the production on the drums, which sounded clear and crisp in stark contrast to the buzzsaw guitars cutting through each track with unrelenting energy.  

Since I listened to the album and drafted this review before reading the band’s biography, I did not realize this was partially due to band dismissing their drummer during the recording process and replacing him with recorded drums on four of the nine tracks.  Even live Zamboni has opted to move forward as a two piece plus a drum machine.  

Album Review: "Forced Back To Life" by Live Burial

Forced Back To LIfe
The most metal thing about me is the my appreciation of the routine.

Most aspects in my life are strictly based on routine. The unexpected is often looked at with disdain. Plans changing is something that can cause some strange trauma, especially if it's a big change.

That's what's nice about genres of music.

There are rules. There are boxes to check. Time tested conventions are used. Even considering all of this, surprises are nice.

When someone reaches outside of the well worn cliches, it's lauded, well as long as it works of course. This is a time in my life when surprises are more than welcome, they are old friends.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Album Review: "Sentient" by Nucleus

During the last gasps of the Cold War, well the last decade or so, the United States and the USSR weren't doing anything to show the other that their way of life was better than the other one.

Both the USA and the USSR struggled mightily to arm themselves more heavily than the other. Saved By The Bell addressed this when Kelly couldn't go to the prom because world peace broke out.

So her father no longer had a job building weapons. St. Louis lost a major source of employment when McDonnell Douglas no longer was building fighter jets by the score.

The rivalry of the two nations was the stuff of legend. It has really shaped quite a bit of our culture here in the States. Just thinking of pop culture alone, how many places were there in 1985 when without the Soviets popping up. In the end, it was simply might makes right.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Album Review: "Biological Enslavement" by Hemotoxin

Biological Enslavement
In the before time, there were all sorts of these things called commercials that were on the TV during these things they called shows.

So many of them spoke about what we kids were going to do with our lives after we grew up.

Many times they attempted to convince me that going into the army and getting the GI Bill was the way to go. Suffice it to say, it didn't work as the military and I would never get along.

Even commercials that had nothing to do with finding our place in life tried to tap into this youthful indecision. McDonalds had all sorts of commercials with groups of kids having Macs, presumably, after school. This is the time where apparently the teenagers of my generation hung out to plan out their lives. Of course this was well before Facebook and Twitter. They were trying to sell us things under the guise of helping us cross the precipice between who we were and whom we wished to be....with a side order of fries of course.