Wednesday, August 31, 2016

EP Review: "Atonement" by A Province of Thay


Life is best lived when there are many competing forces. Underneath it all, my nature is fiercely rebellious. You should have heard the things I said to my mother when she was displeased with my dyed hair, eyebrow ring, etc.

But at heart, I'm also a rule follower.

These two sides of my personality have long been at odds with one another.

It's something makes me uniquely me. It also explains my taste in music as well. Show tunes sit next to death metal which sits next to psychedelic rock which sits next to avant garde craziness. Life is best lived on a continuing adventure. Alchemy is about far more than the search for gold.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

LP Review: "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" by Chicken Diamond

The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
My apologies for my absence as of late. Life has a way of throwing you curve balls when you're looking for the heater.

It's easy to think about childhood. It's a care free time that many of us look back to as we inevitably age.

Personally, my life has been an interesting series of twists and turns that has led me to something that was simply unfathomable in my twenties and early thirties.

Keep on, keeping on and we can all improve our stations in life.

But all daily affirmations aside, during my halcyon days, the thing that really turned my crank for music was the quality of musicianship. Things like garage rock, punk rock, and even blues never were really on my radar, which is funny considering the company I keep in 2016...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Album Review: "The Others" by Northern Crown

Doom metal is as old as heavy metal itself, as Black Sabbath created both the genre and subgenre concurrently with the release of their debut album.  Not only is doom the first subgenre of metal, but the one which has survived the longest undiminished.


The later invention of power metal added a bombastic flare to metal which spawned great bands such as Iron Maiden, Dio, Halloween and Hammerfall. So when Northern Crown releases an album of Epic Doom Metal, which is essentially shorthand for the merging of these two genres, the expectations are lofty.

The first two tracks off this album The Others deliver in fine fashion. "With Malicious Eye" and "Surreality (The Tell-Tale Mind)" are compositions of crushing riffs and powerful, haunting vocals. The sound and the tempo reminded me of Candlemass with a hint of Iced Earth.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

LP Review: "Brothers In Farms" by Steve'n'Seagulls

Brothers in Farms
Remember that time your wore your KISS tie to Christmas dinner with your entire extended family?

Man, your family was looking at you, thinking, damn Nik, you're 20 years old and can't even dress properly for this occasion.

The only support you're getting is from your stoner cousins who think it's awesome that you're letting your freak flag fly isn't really helping your situation.

Your mother always complained about you not dressing up for these things, so you decided to wear a tie, the only tie you owned and look what happened.

Geez. You just can't do any thing right. Well, that was me, and let me say that I miss the family members from that day who no longer walk among us. Our family was big, strange, and varied. My mother and I were the Town Mouse contingent.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

LP Review: "Covenant of Teeth" by Morrow

Covenant of Teeth
There are times when things are not best left to the imagination.

In those times, we need to know what makes a hero worthy of an epic poem, series, etc.

Odysseus, Gilgamesh, and Musashi transcended history into myth and lesson. (NOTE: Ulysses was the Roman name and we are committed to only using the Greek names here.)

Epics are more than just a long story. Were that the case, Harry Potter would be an epic hero many times over and even Stuttering Bill from IT would be saddled with the title.

Of course that's just not true.

The same works for music. Ina Gadda Da Vida is over seventeen minutes long, but it cannot rightly be called an epic. There is no story and frankly the song doesn't go anywhere. Even Jimi Hendrix's, aka God Himself" Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) Live, though it typically clocks in over ten minutes long isn't an epic.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Album Review: "Present Day Plague" by S.N.A.F.U.

In the early 1970s there was an R&B and funk rock band of very minor renown called Snafu.  This is not your father’s Snafu.  The present day S.N.A.F.U. and their latest release Present Day Plague are a violent trip through a post-apocalyptic landscape of human decadence.

I am not sure there has ever been a band to so seamlessly merge the hardcore punk sounds of Napalm Death with the thrash mastery of Slayer as S.N.A.F.U has done here.  The comparison to Napalm Death is obvious. The songs are each a short, explosive bludgeoning of charged anger.  Yet the lead breaks and vocal cadence called to mind Reign In Blood era Slayer.   

There are moments when Present Day Plague settles into methodic crunchy riffs of doom, but they are short lived before inevitably searing into rapid fire thrash riffs reminiscent of Metallica's Kill ‘Em All played at double time. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Interview: Slomatics's David Gets Phased In

Once or maybe twice in a lifetime, a band comes along that has such an amazingly different world perspective where they can think Never Say Die by Black Sabbath is greater than the eponymous debut.

Just let that sink in for a little bit.

There's got to be pubs where those are fighting words.

Well, David from Slomatics thinks just that, but based on what I heard of his music, it seemed pretty obvious that he really meant Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the greatest Black Sabbath album, presumably, also fighting words in Birmingham, England. In Birmingham, AL, they probably don't care.

If I'm wrong, let me hear ya B'ham!

Friday, August 19, 2016

LP Review: "Necronomidonkeykongimicon" by Goblin Cock

So rules pretty much suck don't they?

Normally, bands with expletives in their name, titles, or let's say, colorful cover art, get passed over by me every single time.

However, enter Goblin Cock.

Well, it wasn't spelled out to me precisely enough, but it's far more likely that it's what you think it is rather than a specific Goblin style rooster.

Frankly, what drew me in was the title of the album. Necronomidonkeykongimicon. That's a really cool title.

Then let's really interpret the cover. There's a masked man, holding a BC Rich Warlock whilst casting spells out of the Necronomicon. Granted, we all know what that book really is, but in a fantasy mindset, it's very cool. Just based on the title of this record alone, I needed to hear it.

And the lyrics are printed in Ancient here we go.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Album Review: "Astra Symmetry" by Monkey3

The psychedelic slow groove music of Monkey3, isn’t going to generate any mosh pits, yet is still a heavy listen in its own right.  It is exactly the sort of music one would expect from a jam band sonically creating a map of the cosmos. 

Astra Symmetry, the fifth album from the Swiss quartet, is a concept album which attempts to serve as a trippy soundtrack to the zodiac.  Although they have toured Europe extensively and earned the respect of their native continent, this may be the album to finally expand the boundaries of their empire.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

LP Review: "Give It To The Mountain" by Season of Arrows

Give It To The Mountain
The right music at the right time is a mantra to live by.

Today shook me up a bit and it's going to take some time to come back from that ledge. I will not elaborate, but I'll explain that myself, my loved ones, and our lives are not in any danger of any kind.

So, when choosing what to spin for a review, something new was needed. Something we've not all heard before.

But more than that, it had to match my mood. Trying to listen to old school Death/Grind was not what was going to get the job done today.

Then we could easily talk about the me too-ness of brutal death metal, which also didn't work. In laymen's terms, today I just needed some cold gin. Give It To The Mountain was just what the Doctor (Love) ordered today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

To Hell and Back: A Trip to the World's Most Diabolical Record Store -by Danny Nichols

The Gates of Hell- Neseblod Record Store
There may not be a location in the world which is as singularly important to a genre of music as Helvete Records in Oslo, Norway was to black metal.  Maybe not so much to the sound itself, but definitely to the establishment of the cult following it achieved in the early 90s, and which persists until this day.  Black metal is the most extreme form of music, with guitar riffs so fast they morph into an ambient noise, blast beats on drums so intense they sound like a Gatling gun and vocals comprised of demonic grows, screams and yelps.  The black metal aesthetic, at least in the early days, included musicians in corpse paint, stages decorated with  pentagrams and an overt fascination with the occult.
Heavy Metal Everywhere 
If you are reading this, you probably already know what black metal is and how it became an musical phenomena based out of Norway in the early 90s.  Although black metal did not originate in Norway, its creed, sound and direction were largely codified there, with much credit due to a man named Euronymous and his band Mayhem.  The movement garnered worldwide attention when members of Mayhem and their followers began the nefarious practice of burning down churches throughout Norway.  Partially to create a headquarters for the proliferation of this cult,  Euronymous opened a record store on Schweigaards Gate in east Oslo.  He named this store “Helvete”, the Norwegian word for “Hell”.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Interview: Christian from Dark Forest Sheds Some Light

Dark Forest
Metal is a wonderfully splintered thing.

From the very early days until now it has grown, changed, and incorporated new ideas and instruments.

From the founding of Metal by Black Sabbath to today, it's often hard to even see the similarities if you haven't followed the path from the very beginning.

Back in high school, there were many conversations about where metal was going to go. The idea that Tampa Bay Death Metal was going to be surpassed in heaviness was unfathomable. Well, it has, and since then metal has also grown more metal and diverse. Back then, Black Metal was barely an idea.

Then came in the keyboards and the monotone growls. Then Pagan Metal, Stoner Metal, Folk Metal, et al. It's been a long strange trip to say the least.

Today Christian, of Folk Influenced Dark Forest, tells us some more about what he and his cohorts are doing.

Friday, August 12, 2016

LP Review: "Future Echo Returns" by Slomatics

Future Echo Returns
Picture this if you well.

On Monday evening, inside a casino bar, two friends are drinking beers, talking, and not gambling.

They had just eaten Ramen Burgers.

One of them looks up and says, "Dude, I'm totally on a doom metal kick these days."

The other, slightly older and decidedly not metal, just shakes his head and then talks about how they need to be making a podcast of just talking.

This is a true story. My friend and I ate ramen burgers, drank beer, and just talked because it had been awhile, and let me tell you, boy, Tiger Beer is still awesome. It's always Tiger Time for me!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Concert Review and Photos: Airbourne at the USF Verftet in Bergen, Norway August 4, 2016 -by Danny Nichols

Airbourne rocks the USF Verftet in Bergen
Admittedly, I did not know much about Airbourne before buying tickets to see them play at the USF Verftet in Bergen, Norway, but there was no way I was leaving Scandanavia without seeing a metal show.

Based upon the power of the band, the energy of the audience and the quality of the songs it turned out to be one of the best shows I have ever seen.  Many of the songs I heard for the first time that night and yet a week later I am actively adding Airbourne's complete discography to my collection.  It was clearly a mistake to have left them undiscovered for so long.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

LP Review: "Blood On The Keys" by James Leg

Blood On The Keys
My favorite guitarist in the world is Ace Frehley.

He serves as an inspiration to me. His ear for melody is far greater than that of mortal man. It greatly surpasses his drive to create music.

Aside from a few little jaunts into expressive and synths, his playing has been the same for the past four decades plus, and yes I have all his records.

But not everybody can get that sort of deal. It has to be an artist that was popular when you were a kid I think.

James Leg...

This is his sixth studio album and aside from Painkillers, it's largely been him, his electric piano, and a drummer. It would seem that musical growth would be at a premium and stagnation would be abundant.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

EP Review: "The Apothic Gloom" by Skeletonwitch

The Apothic Gloom
Would it bother you terribly if I waxed nostalgic just a little bit and tell an anecdote?

In October of 2014, nearly two years ago, my introduction to Skeletonwitch was finally made. Their name was familiar as was their aesthetic, but not their music.

As months until the show became weeks which became days, something happened. It was announced that vocalist, Chance Garnette, would not be appearing with the band for the remainder of the tour.

So, St. Louis was only to get 80% of Skeletonwitch.

No one in the band could sing or sing and play it would seem. This was the first time I had ever seen a band do this. Their riffy, shreddy, and thundery music played well as an instrumental quartet, even though something was clearly missing.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Double LP Review: "Beyond The Veil" by Dark Forest

Beyond The Veil
This year, there has been much travelling in my life. Chicago, Joliet, Buffalo, San Francisco, Honolulu, Birmingham, and more I'm sure.

What all of this consistently reminds me of is how small I am in comparison to the rest of the world.

Not even the world, but just the United States of America.

When people emigrate here, they're typically astounded by the size. The great expanse of our country is something to truly behold.

But take that one step further.

In terms of geographic size, we are a small part of the planet earth and we only have five percent of the world's population. There is a giant universe that we have not even scratched. The immensity of creation can be something terrifying if looked at in the wrong context.

Friday, August 5, 2016

LP Review: "Conductor of Storms" by Medevil

Conductor of Storms
Do you remember when the world was young?

There was a time in my life when Heavy Metal was just looked at as a fad, a passing thing, and that it would soon die.

In those days, we had such monster bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath fronted by Dio, embryonic Metallica, and Mercyful Fate all in their primes.

In 2016, the cool kids call this type of music Traditional Heavy Metal....there's no reason to add traditional to that, but whatevers, man.

What was a fad, or a passing thing was that specific kind of heavy metal. The seeds were already sewn in that list, Metallica came along and the world changed. The modern era still sees a fair few releases of NWOTHMTDUDBD (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal That Doesn't Use Double Bass Drums), but it is not the vibrant scene it once was.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Interview: Alexei of The Company Corvette Touching Chickens Is Fun

The Company Corvette
Back in the good old days, kids who didn't want to have real jobs would form a band.

Often times they would come up with some ridiculous name, start playing covers, then move on into original tunes, and then before you knew it, they were snapped up and their interesting name was then replaced by something far more palatable.

What if in 2016, a band chose to keep their own name?

What if said band loved chickens, fast cars, and the wah wah pedal?

Most likely, we'd be talking about The Company Corvette, whose debut album drops on 8/5/16 on The Company Records. Alexei was good enough to hear me out and even answer my silly questions about chickens and names....

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

LP Review: "Predatory Light" by Predatory Light

Predatory Light
The other night, we were assembling a shoe rack for our house.

This is the true tales of a music writer.

There are too many shoes in our house, so we got (another) new shoe rack to clear up some of the clutter. Though it only took us twenty minutes to put the entire rack together (not IKEA), it was certainly a chore.

Counting the pieces, making sure it's not wobbling, and bashing the whole thing together with the flat of my hand.

Though our project could have certainly been worse, it serves as a great example.

Because it hurts to create things. Watch as our children grow. My daughter experiences serious growing pains during her spurts. Let's not even talk about losing teeth, because we haven't reached that stage yet and I'm not prepared to think about it.

Monday, August 1, 2016

LP Review: "Chained To Oblivion" by Spirit Adrift

Chained To Oblivion
How often do you think about your education?

There are many things that we receive from our formative years spend in institutions of learning, and some of us in our later years in institutions of higher learning.

Speaking only for myself, my education helped me find my voice. It's very easy to have ideas, morals, and hopes, but being able to speak to them is a very different concept.

Being as my education was comprised of many writing courses, literature courses, and other such liberal studies, what really helped me was the essay test.

Essay tests are when students really show what they have learned and how they can apply their knowledge. They're typically best when application of the material is covered over the course of a few questions.