Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rob "the metal guy" Rants About Metal #3

    Ghost is back...Oh wait, I have to call them Ghost B.C. since they were forced to change their name in America due to legal reasons. Anyway, they are going to be releasing their third album later this summer with the exact date being August 21. Titled, “Meliora,” the album is the follow-up to 2013’s, "Infestissumam." I personally thought “Infestissumam" was a flat out disappointment, especially compared to the band’s first album. I remember constantly talking about the first album and getting excited for the follow up to that release. Unfortunately, Ghost just did not deliver a strong recording with that second album. I thought the album was extremely over produced and the band added too many keyboard arrangements. Compared to the spooky melodic classic rock sounding first album, the band turned into a techno pop rock group who relied heavily upon their gimmicky. Also, when the band decided to expand their merchandizing by putting out butt plugs and dildos, I thought I was dealing with another Kiss. Hopefully with this third album Ghost returns to the more classic rock driven sound and relies less on keyboards. Also, I would like to see them stop making sex toys...Leave the outrageous merchandizing to Gene Simmons.
    Slayer drama alert! Slayer drama alert! Blabbermouth reports that Kerry King felt ‘insulted’ by the record contract that was offered to the band by longtime producer and label boss Rick Rubin. Slayer has worked with Rubin and American Recordings for a longtime and recently King addressed the reason for the split. I guess an agreement could not be made for this new album, so the band is using Nuclear Blast to put out their eleventh album, “Repentless.” I could care less who puts out the new Slayer album, but I think the whole situation is humorous given that Kerry King has come to be viewed as the major jerk of the metal world. Maybe Rubin should have offered to take Kerry King to Burger King in the contract? I can’t wait to see more hilarious stories involving current or former members of Slayer. Don’t forget, the new album does not come out until 9/11, so I think we will be hearing more from metal’s most dramatic band who used to be metal’s most feared and well respected bands.
    Last topic...I am leaving it up to you people! Tell me something below in the comments section that is going on in the metal world that you would like to express an opinion about. Don’t be afraid to say what you feel and even come up with a clever joke. 
    Hope you enjoyed this weeks rant and I will be back with another! \m/

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Feign "Into the Void"

    Atmospheric Black Metal is a style of music that can offer listeners endless wonder and allow the musician to incorporate extreme moments of powerful inner human expression. This is a type of metal that if composed right, can allow people to escape the reality in which they live. Each note, each growl and each layer of sound needs to be truly special.
    One man band, Feign, offers a three song demo that demonstrates some of those qualities that I was talking about. Coming from the state of Maine, the musician Jacob Lizotte is responsible for every instrument played on this demo titled, “Into the Void.” Surprisingly, there are many one man black metal bands, but I have heard few that sound as solid as Feign.
    The first song, “Deathwisher,” comes across as a cosmic black metal extreme dream with a heavy main rhythm that is accompanied by rapid attacking drums. As the guitar notes bleed out over the thunderous percussion, the music seems to slowly expand. I really liked the layering of the instruments and believe the vocal style used fits the sound. Jacob does not try to force the vocal style into the music, but instead allows the lyrics to follow with overall composition.
    After the first track ends the second one quickly begins and transitions into an accelerated black metal instrumental composition. Titled, “Soulcrusher,” the feel of this song is definitely more emotionally charged compared to, “Deathwisher.” This track comes across with a more sinister tone, yet the touches of subtle melodic compositions give the track a unique and dynamic sound. I wish Jacob would have extended the song to be longer than the six minute time range. If he did maybe ten minutes, I think the track could have offered more creative compositions to the already fascinating piece.   
    The last song on this demo is called, “Stargazer.” With this track he fades the demo out with a solemn guitar arrangement. I have heard this often on albums where the band decides to end with a guitar piece. I would have liked something a bit more epic or bombastic sounding that then fades out. Though I do believe the space like tone of the guitar compliments the demo’s overall theme quite well.
    For only three songs I do believe that Feign has great potential. Once a full-length album is released we shall be able to see what Jacob’s musical minds has to offer. The possibilities are endless and hopefully he does not limit himself to the extreme pleasant tools available that make this music so special. If you are a fan of atmospheric black metal and progressive extreme music, you need to listen to this demo and keep a look out for this one man band.

Feign Facebook Page

Friday, May 29, 2015

Track Review: “Prometheus” by Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody

    Luca Turilli offers another new cinematic power metal track that will be featured on his upcoming release, “Prometheus: Symphonia Ignis Divinus.” The album is out June 30th in North America and will be released a couple days earlier in Europe.
    This album is supposed to be a blockbuster. There is talk of a fancy orchestra and choral singers to add that epic feel to the album. To sum it up in DJ Rob “the metal guy” terms, this album is going to be like Rhapsody of Fire on steroids! I am a huge fan of the Rhapsody of Fire, especially the Emerald Sword Saga.
Now, this new track by Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody is called, “Prometheus,” and seems to give listeners more incite into the album’s lyrical content. So, I guess Luca Turilli is distancing himself from Lord of the Rings type fantasy and entering the world of Ridley Scott science fiction.
    I don’t mind the lyrical shift and welcome the idea of a more science fiction based story. However, I do not understand why Luca Turilli has diminished his amazing guitar shredding abilities. I felt like the orchestra was overwhelming and the heavy metal foundation of bass, drums and guitar was being drowned out. The singer featured on the track did a decent job and has that strong high pitched vocal range that suits the symphonic power metal sound well. Still, I just was not digging the bombastic sounding orchestra. Luca Turilli used to use his brilliant soloing abilities to offer excitement, and now has the volume turned down so I can here the violins.
    Maybe I am being too critical since I tend to be extremely picky with my power metal. Thrash metal I am less picky (don’t know why)...In the end I would have to say that this track was better than the previous single called, “Rosenkreuz (The Rose And The Cross).” I shall wait until the entire album comes out and make a final opinion. I really hope Luca Turilli rips through more scales and shows off his signature guitar style. Needs to stop trying to be Beethoven and start shredding!

Click on this link to hear the song!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Humangled "Prodromes of a Flatline"

The horror, the brutal, and the unforgiving death metal nature! That is one way to simply describe Italy's Humangled. Their second full-length album, “Prodromes of a Flatline,” is a solid extreme cut of music.
    When the album begins, you listen! This is some brutal technical death metal that has an old school death metal vibe. I hear some Carcass and Suffocation influence throughout the album. For a sound that I have probably heard over a millions times now(okay, not a million but a lot of damn times!), this album had an energy that got the adrenaline pumping and the head banging. Humangled sounds tight which is a very important quality for a band to have. The musicianship is technical and displays strong extreme metal dynamics.
    When I first started listening to the album, I actually thought that the band was not a death metal band, but a symphonic power metal group such as Rhapsody! There was this wash of keyboards that had a cinematic feel. However, a few seconds later the intense technical death metal rhythm started to instantly take form and the singer scared away any thoughts of this band being power metal. The first track, “Liberté, Egalité, Brutality,” is a brutal cut of death metal. As the band pounds away on a monster riff the music moves in this brutal yet catchy direction.
    There are moments on this album where I felt the band overwhelmed the songs with too many notes. During some of the guitar solos I felt dizzy with all the notes being played in such a rapid fire manner. I preferred the slower heavy riff sections like on the song, “Foretasted in Flesh.” The machine guitar riff mixed with the slow crushing break down part was the perfect contrast to come up with and gave the song that extra kick of aggression.
    Songs like “Intimacy Curse,” and “Unstable Fear,” are vicious grooving death metal tracks that break the sound barrier. The singer in this band has a vocal style that reminds me of how Jeff Walker from Carcass sounds. Humangled also seems to go for that surgical death metal style with songs referring to medical terms, along with talking about human body parts. Lyrical content that a normal death metal fan like myself will find enjoyable and fun to recite when at the dinner table. 
    Towards the end of the album the band maintains their heavy old school technical death metal style and continued to offer challenging pieces of extreme music. One exception to my last statement is their cover of Therion’s, “To Mega Therion.” This song is very over the top orchestral meets death metal. The song features these haunting choir singers that add a really unique element to the song. Overall, I thought the track was a bit gimmicky and it did not fit well with the album.
    For the most part, Humangled presented a blistering technical death metal release. The music was not just another generic attempt at being a bad ass death metal band. A solid sounding recording for all fans of extreme death metal that has mostly strong moments, but a few questionable parts. Choir singers in death metal might be appealing to some fans...However, I am not one of those fans.
Humangled Facebook Page

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Nile Album Officially Announced

    There is a new Nile album coming our way very soon. I don’t know if I should run around in excitement or hide under my table fearing that the end is near?
    Anyway, the band has officially announced that the new album will be released August 28th, 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records. Titled, “What Should not be Unearthed,” the album is set to be the group’s 8th official album. I am already interested in just the title of the album alone. However, I must be wary since the band’s last album, “At the Gate of Sethu,” was a slight disappointment. Although the album was the band’s highest charting album coming in at number 131 on the U.S. Billboard Charts, the album received strong criticism from the metal community. Still, I do not think the album was a total bust as I have heard certain album reviewers make it out to be. With this new Nile album I will go in with an open ear and pray to the Egyptian Gods that Nile unleashes a killer technical death metal release similar to past albums like, “Annihilation of the Wicked,” and “Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka.”
    So for all you technical death metal fans, mark your calendars for August 28th and read up of your ancient Egyptian history. Also, leave a comment below if you have an opinion that you would like to share about, “At the Gate of Sethu.” Did you like the album or were you one of the many critics who pissed on it like R. Kelly pissed on that girl and got away with it...Let me know?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Schammasch - "Sic Lvceat Lvx"

    From the cold mountainous lands of Switzerland, comes fierce sounding black metal. This is music to send chills down your spin and make you sleep under the blankets with a flashlight.
    Alright, the music is not that scary and Schammasch is no more sinister sounding than the first Black Sabbath album. Though I will say their style of black metal can be haunting at times. The band experiments with a variety of tempo changes while creating an ominous distorted world of wonder. This is not straight forward endless blast beat black metal, but a mix of black metal with death metal that can make way for the occasional slow crushing riff section. The music seems to have a certain aggressive groove to it which makes this album move in a consistent musical direction.
    “He Whose Face is Made of Entrails,” is a creative and enjoyable song that instantly jumps into the band’s chaotic bone crushing sound. Surprisingly good recording allows the instruments to vividly standout and offer a massive punch to the song’s overall lyrical content. The vocalist sounds like a tortured soul screaming over a land of thunderous riffs and bombastic drum beats. Schammasch definitely goes for an overall unholy sound that I hear quite often from black metal bands. I get tired of it at times, but I will say that this band presents a unique set of songs that all have their own special identity. I was really impressed with the song, “Chaos Reigns.” The song is engaging and the band’s talented musicianship is reflected through how the piece is composed. I am swept away into this dark world of extreme wonder and think the music transcends most people’s beliefs about how black metal should be played.
    The two songs “No Light From the Fires” and “Black But Shinning,” are longer tracks compared to the previous ones. I felt the band really tried to express their sinister concepts with these two songs and provide listeners a slower build up to the extreme climatic black metal onslaught. There are times where the riff seems to just carry on with no end in sight, but I think sometimes the extended heavy parts give the music a brilliant sounding doom like atmosphere. Just another area where the band separates themselves from the usual black metal groups.
    The last song on this album, “The Venom of the Gods,” is a true epic of terror. This track is around ten minutes in length and goes through various musical changes. However, even with all the different instrumental parts, this band maintains an unforgiving venomous sound. I felt the lyrics were penned with great passion and express an unforgiving force of unapologetic rage. A perfect finishing touch to this album.
    Overall I was impressed by this album and thought Schammasch delivered a solid sounding release. Compared to your Venom rip offs, Schammasch found ways to incorporate multiple metal styles into their music. I highly recommend this album for fans of black metal that also mixes doom and death metal into the musical landscape. I think the unholy sounding style can be slightly over the top at times, but at least this band does not sound like they record their music on a broken seventies tape recorder. We have too many bands already who sound like that to where I can’t tell the difference...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rob "the metal guy" Rants About Metal #2

    After last week’s rant about various topics in hard rock and heavy metal...I’m back! Just like the Terminator will be back this Summer with Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the unstoppable robotic killing force that would one day become Governor of California (I really can’t wait to watch the new film and then make fun of it).
    Well, looks like there is an official date for the new Slayer album. After seeing numerous photos of the band in studio and after hearing Kerry King always talk about how the new music is going to be kick ass like the donut he had that morning, there is an actual date for the album’s release. Titled “Repentless,” the new album is going to be released September 11 worldwide. Wow Slayer...putting out an album on September 11. I am not surprised and almost feel like Slayer is doing this to feel as though they are young and controversial. The only controversy that comes out of Slayer these days is the Blabbermouth drama between Dave Lombardo and Kerry King. Can’t wait to see the article where Dave Lombardo criticizes the new album’s title, or says that he will maybe rejoin the band if they ask him/pay him more. Musically, I will have to wait to form an opinion and shall approach the album with an open ear. However, the first two singles “Implode” and “When The Stillness Comes,” are far from reassuring that this new album will be a return to the glory days of Slayer as King has pimped the album out to be. I guess we will all find out if Slayer still has the ability to make great thrash metal music September 11.  
    Okay, time to talk about the future of hard rock and heavy metal. The band right now who I believe has the potential to take the metal world by storm is Night Demon. Unfortunately the government of Canada has denied them access into the country. Night Demon is currently touring across North America and this is a major inconvenience. I swear, this is not the first time a metal band has had a problem getting into Canada. The visa process sounds extremely tough, costly and bands have a hard time getting through customs. Wouldn’t Canada want American bands to come to their country to help their economy? Then again, it sounds like Night Demon is getting crap from their own country. According to the Night Demon Facebook page, the band was held by U.S. Customs and had their van searched for drugs. We will do a full blown search of a metal band’s vehicle for drugs, but probably let Taylor Swift or Katy Perry come back over the border with no problem. I am going to throw this out there, but I believe heavy metal bands are being discriminated against here. Where is the ACLU? Where is Obama? Where is the Justice League? An American band having a hard time trying to get back in their own country...This is outrageous!
    Final topic unless I find out that there is a new developing controversy in the hair metal world that I can shit on for another paragraph. So, I came across this advertisement for TesseracT’s new live album and DVD “Scala/Odyssey.” The album is available either in the form of CD/DVD, or vinyl/DVD. “Odyssey” was recorded during various stops during the bands European tour and “Scala” is a live video recording during a performance in Scala, London, UK. Personally, I enjoy TesseracT and think they are a brilliant band. They get labeled Djent, but I always thought that they were a band that blended progressive rock structures with certain heavy metal like qualities, thus I so cleverly call them a progressive metal band. Anyway, I really liked how the band is giving people a chance to check out the entire performance via youtube. So, before you buy the live album/DVD, you can preview the entire Scala performance. I left a link below for all you lazy people who can’t spend a couple minutes searching for it on youtube. Overall, I think this is a smart business decision that more bands should follow. Also, the live performance sounds amazing! The energy from this performance is perfectly captured and each instrument is heard building up the band’s unbelievable almost cinematic sound. Definitely an album I am looking to possibly purchase!
    That is it for this week! Next week I shall return with more topics and truthful opinions about the metal world!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rob "the metal guy" Rants About Metal #1

Yeah, the title should give you an idea about what this article is all about. Me ranting about the current topics going on in the world of hard rock and heavy metal. Okay, shall we begin?
    First off, Metallica needs to just hang up their act and go to the senior citizens home for old musicians who annoy the crap out of me. Recently Lars made a statement during an interview with ALT 98.7 KYSR at Rock In Rio USA, for fans to not hold their breath or skip going to the bathroom if they are waiting for the new Metallica album. Though, he says it will be coming out eventually. Eventually means when he needs to buy his new super model wife another Ferrari. Also, Kirk Hammett losing his phone that supposedly contains all his riff ideas is probably the most pathetic thing I have heard a rock star do since Ozzy couldn’t make a cup of noodles without almost burning down his house. Really Kirk? You can’t remember your own riffs, or you can’t upload them to your computer for backup? James Hetfield must be going crazy right now. No wonder his hair is turning completely white. In the end why wait for the new Metallica album when we have so many albums to look forward to from bands who don’t lose their phones and who don’t have drummers with inflated egos.
    Alright, moving from Metallica onto Megadeth. At least Megadeth can consistently put out new releases compared to Metallica. However, the last Megadeth album was a disappointment in my opinion should have not been called “Super Collider,” but “Super Musical Constipation.” Now, I don’t know how this new album is going to turn out, but I am not really expecting “Peace Sells” number two. With Chris Adler on drums and Kiko Loureiro on guitar, this new Megadeth album will be interesting to say the least. There were talks of Dave bringing back the “Rust in Peace” line-up, but I think Marty and Nick didn’t want to deal with the headache that is called Mustaine. I believe Dave Mustaine should also check himself into that senior citizens home for old musicians who annoy the crap out of me.
    Last topic for all you crazy headbangers and internet metal trolls...Helloween has a new album out in June! All you Power Metal haters can go screw yourselves because I am excited! I really enjoyed their last album, “Straight Out of Hell.” They are a band that knows how to maintain a solid sound while also going back to their old school speed/power metal roots. The first single “Battle’s Won,” was okay and seemed like a b-side from “Straight Out of Hell. Though the second single, “Lost in America,” really got my attention with its catchy lead riffs and high powered vocals. Helloween “My God-Give Right,” drops in June so mark your calendars!
    That is it for this rant. By the next rant there won’t be a new Metallica album and I would not be surprised if Dave Mustaine does something squirrelly and needs to find more replacement members.
-Rob “the metal guy” Stevens

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cinderella “Long Cold Winter” Recommendation

    Most people in the metal community tend to give Hair Metal bands a lot of shit. Yes, these bands wore outrageous outfits, overdid it with the hairspray can, and wrote cheesy love songs about messing around with females who would later become queens of the trailer parks.
    However, there were some great bands that unfortunately do not get the credit they deserve, because they were lumped in with that scene. One of those bands is Cinderella, and I am going to make the case why you should all check out their second album, “Long Cold Winter.”
    Cinderella may have looked like a typical glam band, but they could play their instruments well and created some solid hard rocking bluesy like songs. “Long Cold Winter,” is just full of ripping seventies style hard rock tracks and of course some ballads. However, these ballads are not your usual glam pop metal softy songs. Tom Keifer’s voice definitely gives the songs a unique edge and his vocal tone sounds similar to that of Brain Johnson from AC/DC. Guitar wise Cinderella seems to offer up countless catchy hard rocking riffs with wicked sounding blues pentatonic leads. Jeff LaBar and Tom Keifer work great together trading guitar parts and making the music consistently exciting. Bassist Eric Brittingham and drummer Fred Coury create a solid rhythm section that is consistent and keeps the sound grounded for Tom and Jeff to explore with their leads.
    The songs on this album all seem to have their own special sound and are written with great consideration for quality. Track number one, “Bad Seamstress Blues,” is a bluesy beast of a track. The heavy distorted guitar tone matched with that classic rock rhythm gets the foot tapping instantly. Following the opening track is in my opinion the best song on the entire album, “Gypsy Road.” This song is a perfect reflection of the rock and roll life style and has a killer main guitar riff. The guitar solo is nothing too fancy, which I think fits the song nicely. Cinderella definitely goes for that AC/DC mentality where the music is simple yet hard rock’n to the bone.
    Track three, “Don’t Know What You Got,” is probably the band’s most well know song. One reason for this is that the song was constantly played on MTV since the track is a ballad. In the eighties ballads seemed to define hair metal bands, but compared to the other eighties glam ballads I have heard, I think this one is by far the best. Tom Keifer sings with sincerity and his piano playing adds so much emotion to the song. Also, I really like the guitar solo that seems to transcend over the music and grab the listener’s attention with its vibrant tone. Another ballad type track on this album, “Coming Home,” is also very different from those other cheesy glam ballads. Cinderella may slow the tempo down, but the rock and roll spirit is always there and composition sounds good.
    Another track I want to mention is the title track. This slow blues jam sounds like something straight out of the days of Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King. Jeff and Tom really throw out some wicked sounding guitar fills. The last track on this album, “Take Me Back,” is another one of my favorites from this album, because the overall sound is pure rock and roll. Play this song in a club or play this song in an arena, the rock and roll vibe and sound does not change.
    Out of all the eighties glam bands, I think Cinderella definitely stands out from the usual excessive hairspray can groups. They make look the part, but this band is just a great hard rock band. Highly recommend this album if you have not heard it before. Do not let the band’s name or image deter you, they know how to rock!

1. Bad Seamstress Blues
2. Gypsy Road
3. Don't Know What You Got
4. The Last Mile
5. Second Wind
6. Long Cold Winter
7. If You Don't Like It
8. Coming Home
9. Fire and Ice
10. Take Me Back