Friday, July 31, 2015

Lynch Mob "Rebel"

    Lynch Mob continues to dish out that classic hard rock sound and their new album is no exception. Titled, “Rebel,” the band’s 8th full-length album is full of tasty distorted riffs and slamming rock jams.

    George Lynch is probably one the most hard working guitar players and has been involved in plenty of different projects over the years. Ever since he left Dokken he seems to put out albums under the Lynch Mob banner on a consistent basis. Now, some of those releases were not exactly winners, but the recent albums are getting good reviews from fans. I think having Oni Logan back in the band helps since he sang on that first Lynch Mob album and he also has a strong bluesy hard rock type voice to compliment George’s guitar playing.

    “Rebel,” features eleven tracks of hard rock bruisers. I personally felt the album was very basic sounding in certain areas and did not do much to separate itself from the last Lynch Mob album. The band seems to fall into that category of musicians from the eighties who used to play arenas and now play in bars or casinos. Still, the band’s sound on this album is pretty solid since these dudes have paid their dues on the road and are accomplished rock musicians.

    The opening track, “Automatic Fix,” has an edgy sound and features a hard rock’n main riff. Oni sounds good while he narrates the vocals, but I felt the song was a bit bland in certain sections. Once George started throwing in a few leads and the heavy riffs began to come out, I think the song was able to become strong again. The lead guitar playing does add a little boost of excitement, especially when George messes around with different effects. Songs like “Between the Truth and a Lie,” and “Testify,” start to get a little more interesting. The band puts together some creative rock compositions with catchy melodies and dynamic riffs.

    Songs such as “Pine Tree Avenue” and “Jelly Roll” tend to be more cliché. I personally thought the lyrics were generic and sounded like something a bar band would write. Luckily the final tracks on this album seemed to pick up the slack and finished the album with a few winners. “Kingdom of Slaves,” was a crushing song and Lynch’s riffs had a Sabbath sounding quality to them. The final song, “War,” also seemed to have a heavier tone compared to some of the beginning tracks.

    For a band that is full of musicians have been involved in numerous other projects and are getting up in age, Lynch Mob’s “Rebel,” was an overall decent release. The band is able to write some classic sounding rock tracks with a modern kick. However, if not for George’s playing, I do not think I would have enjoyed the album as much. For anyone who likes hard rock and George Lynch’s guitar work, this album is worth checking out. The band will probably go on tour soon with the release of the album, so check your local rock bars!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Behold! The Monolith "Architects of the Void"

    Standing upon a plateau looking over riff filled valley of massive distortion you turn behind to see the black monolith emitting sounds of doom and sludge. Los Angeles based doom dealers, Behold! The Monolith, do not hesitate to blow listener’s eardrums away with their new album, “Architects of the Void.”
    For this album, the band worked with legendary producer Billy Anderson who has work with bands like Leviathan, OM, Weedeater, High on Fire and Neurosis to name a few. You definitely hear that abrasive and bombastic doom sound with Behold! The Monolith. There are some mellow moments, but for the most part, listeners are given thunderous sounding riffs and crushing Sabbath like jams. There is this fierce guitar tone throughout the album that creates some unbelievably dark musical landscapes.
    Behold! The Monolith kickstarts this album off with the song, “Umbral Vale.” Right away there is an explosion of heavy sludge style guitar and the drums slowly build the piece up in a ceremonial fashion. The track takes on this atmospheric doom quality with emphasis on the full guitar chords. Vocally, the band uses this echoing growl that came across as more of a background noise instead of being used to narrate the lyrics. Track two, “Philosopher’s Blade,” starts to bring in the traditional doom metal style songwriting structure. You get those minor chords and tritone riffs going and it just makes the song sound completely sinister. 
    Track three, “The Mithriditist,” is a longer song full of slamming doom riffs and a very progressive musical development. The following song, “Lord of Bones,” held true to the band’s wicked sounding riff presentation. Behold! The Monolith does have a repetitive formula going most of the time, but their use of different tempo changes and crafting of heavy atmospheric sounds, definitely throws listeners a wide variety of doom and sludge sounds.
    For song number five, “Black Days Of,” the band composed this drone and noise driven track to really incorporate a break from the usual heavy riff based songs. “Between Oder and the Vistula” and “Architects of the Void,” finish the album with long and dynamic compositions. I felt the lyrics were sometimes covered up by the riffs, especially during the faster paced parts. I will say that the slow traditional doom breaks offered great lyrical expression when the singer used a more clean style of singing.
    Behold! The Monolith was very fortunate enough to find a producer who was album to capture this group’s raw musical style and really construct a solid sounding release. Compared to other bands who play this style that I have reviewed in the past, Behold! The Monolith at times did not offer anything new to the table. However, there were moments where I was extremely impressed by their instrumental compositions. If you are fan of sludge and doom that has a subtle progressive rock implementation, I recommend Behold! The Monolith’s, “Architects of the Void.” I do not know if these guys are really architects of the void, but they are clever doom and sludge architects.


Behold! The Monolith Facebook Page

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Phoenix Theater Concert Review: Sepulchre, Phaneron, 5 Days Dirty, Death’n Taxes and Thought Vomit

    The local metal and punk fans were out this Saturday at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, Ca for a rip roaring show. Now, there may have not been the same amount of people there as at the Rush concert I attended a few days earlier... but there was a passion for the music being played at the Phoenix.

    The five bands billed were Sepulchre, Phaneron, 5 Days Dirty, Death’n Taxes and Thought Vomit. First off, when there is people skate boarding in a venue before the show you can tell the place is a casual and welcoming environment. You do not see that at Sonoma State's Green Music Center!    

    To begin the show, Santa Rosa’s Sepulchre went on about eight o’clock and did not let the small turnout from being the first opening band affect them. The band even handled themselves very professionally, especially when there was a drunk couple who were being extremely obnoxious. The band’s guitarist/singer had a very creative and dynamic approach to extreme metal guitar playing. He played some impressive leads that explored a variety of technical scales. The band’s drummer and bass player sounded very tight and added an extra explosiveness to the slower and more aggressive sections. In Sepulchre’s sound I definitely hear some Death influence mixed with the more progressive technical death metal elements from bands like Atheist. I think they have a lot going for them and can hopefully bring something exciting to the death metal world.

    Taking the stage next was Phaneron from Lake County. This band was a mix of metal and hardcore which if we do the math is metalcore. To be extremely truthful I find metalcore to be very repetitive and the lyrical phrasing can be simply uncreative. I could tell Phaneron’s singer had passion for the music and was getting into his performance. I commend him for that, but the songs were just not there. When the guitarist pulled off a blazing lead part, only then did I start to take more notice, but for the most part I just felt this band had nothing new to offer that I had not heard before.

    The third act 5 Days Dirty from the East Bay played a style of pop punk and slight hardcore. If anything they played pop punk that would sporadically change to metalcore. When a fan next to me with a DRI and Exodus patch kept shouting for them to play some hardcore style punk, I knew he was not going to get his wish. I am sure there are people who enjoy pop punk that might find 5 Days Dirty to their liking. However, I was lost in a cosmic sea of confusion and not really digging the songs. Also, their stage banter was juvenile to say the least.

    Coming in as the fourth act was Death’n Taxes. This group from Clearlake seemed to be the night’s wildcard and completely took me by surprise. All he musicians sounded very accomplished and the songwriting was unbelievably solid. Their sound was this unique blend of psychedelic garage rock and punk with a little drop of funk at times. Probably a band who I could see attracting a wide range of music fans. Their songs flowed with catchy riffs and jamming drum beats.

    The final act of the night was the local punk/metal band Thought Vomit who were able to take a small crowd and turn the place upside down. They just did not let anything bother them and played a confident and wild set. I think, respect, is the right word for what I have for the band after I left the Phoenix Theater. Any singer who will jump in the mosh pit and run around with the crowd, is very passionate about the music and determined to put on a killer show for the audience. Everyone seemed to be having a great time during Thought Vomits' set. There was even a dog running around during the band’s set!

    Wrapping up this review I want to say, please go out and try to support your local punk and metal scenes. These local acts can offer exciting entertainment at an affordable price. Also, places like the Phoenix Theater need to keep going strong. This world needs more venues that can put on awesome all ages shows for fans of extreme music. Again, keep supporting your local scenes!

Rush R40 Concert Review

    After 40 some years of making music without conforming to label demands and being one of the most respected hard rock bands around, Rush celebrated their long successful career by putting on a spectacular show in San Jose, CA this past Thursday night (July 23, 2015).
    The show at San Jose’s SAP Center would be my second time seeing Rush. Compared to the first time I saw them live, this would be a slightly different concert experience. When I saw Rush for the Clockwork Angels Tour back in 2011, I attended the show in an amphitheater. SAP is an indoor arena, so I was expecting a difference in sound quality. I was a bit worried about how they would sound since when I saw Metallica at the SAP Center, the audio quality that night did not sound great. With Rush I hoped that maybe the band’s crew would be more aware of how to get the most optimal sound out of the building. Sure enough, that night was probably one of the best sounding concerts I have attended.
    Right when you stepped into the SAP Center their was this positive energy flowing throughout the place. All the fans were excited and everyone had on their Rush shirts. The merchandise lines were extremely long with fans hoping to snag some of those new R40 Tour concert shirts. Sitting down in my seat, I was surprised to get a really good view of the stage. Whoever set up the stage did a great job along with the placement of the video monitors for people who might not be able to get a direct clear view of the stage. As it got closer to showtime the fans became restless and when the lights finally went down everyone completely went crazy. A loud crack of distortion came from Alex’s amp and the band took to the stage.
    For the first few songs, the band played material from their last album, Clockwork Angels. There were some fans who did not feverishly rock out to these songs since they are not part of the Rush classic repertoire. However, the die hard fans knew every word, guitar riff, bass line and drum beat. When “Headlong Flight” started up I thought that I was going to melt from the power of Alex and Geddy’s monstrous sounding riffs. Neil even did a brief drum solo too inject some more power into the piece. After the Clockwork Angels material the band went back to Snakes and Arrows.
    Eventually, if you had not already read the set list online, you would notice that Rush was going backwards into their discography with each song. Right after “The Main Monkey Business,” the band played “One Little Victory” and then after they played one of their heaviest songs, “Animate.” Rush’s last two songs of their first set were, “Distant Early Warning” and “Subdivisions.” I really enjoyed “Distant Early Warning” since the song is not played live often, yet they did a phenomenal job. Once the band finished set number one they took a well deserved break and the fans went to go get either merchandise or something to drink.
    Set two came as a pleasant surprise and added more to the already brilliant performance. Rush started with a humorous video clip and then began “Tom Sawyer” after the classic South Park clip was played. “YYZ” followed up and Geddy played some unbelievable bass fills during the song. Of course, Alex’s solo was down right amazing and Neil never missed a beat. The band played three songs from Permanent Waves which were “The Spirit of Radio,” “Natural Science,” and “Jacob’s Ladder.” Once the band started up “Jacob’s Ladder,” the lighting crew perfectly synced the music up with these different colored lights. Rush continue to pull out classics from their catalog with “Cygnus X-1,” “Xanadu,” and a “2112” medley. During “Cygnus X-1,” Neil broke into an epic drum solo that only goes to prove why he is one of the most brilliant drumming minds in rock and roll.
    Towards the end, I was really happy to hear the band play “Lakeside Park” and “Anthem” which are two songs featured on two of my favorite albums. Also, when they played “Lakeside Park,” there was a cardboard cut out of Kiss on stage to poke fun at how they opened up for Kiss back in the seventies. The final two songs were off the band’s self-titled first album with the last one being “Working Man.” There was an image of a High Scchool gym behind them to reference how when the band first started out, they used to play at High School dances. Even after two sets Rush never slowed down and kept playing with passion until the very last note.
    Now, there is talk that this could be the band’s last major tour. I want to assure people that if the band decides to maybe play less shows in the future, it is not because they cannot play their instruments anymore. Rush is one of the most professional and amazing sounding bands I have seen live in my life. If you ever have the opportunity to go and see not hesitate and just get your ass down to the venue! Once they play that song that makes you come alive and start uncontrollably rocking out... you will be extremely glad you went!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Morbid Slaughter "A Filthy Orgy of Horror and Death"

    From the shadows of Lima, Peru comes an extreme musical offering of black metal. This sinister sound is conjured by no other than Morbid Slaughter.
    The band’s debut album, “A Filthy Orgy of Horror and Death,” is an homage to early black metal bands like Venom, Hellhammer and Bathory. I hear that mix of speed metal meets punk while throwing in an extra touch of blasphemy. The way that this band recorded the album definitely reminds me of the traditional first wave of black metal approach. Morbid Slaughter’s horrific lyrics matched with the harsh distorted riffs open up a gateway into dark abysses on each of the seven tracks.
    The band’s singer has that eerie raspy black metal vocal style. He sounds like he recorded his vocals while he was battling a throat cold! As I noted before the band blends speed metal with punk, thus you get that classic first wave of black metal sound. Their rhythm section was very tight and laid down plenty of skull crushing grooves. I felt the guitar playing was very percussive sounding which helped strengthen the musical backbone to each song. Instead of going for a blitzkrieg of vicious noise all the time, Morbid Slaughter hammered out more haunting mid-tempo riffs that can be used to lead an army of the undead to go and feast upon the living.
    To begin this unholy musical orgy of horror and death, the band offered the song, “Cannibal Butcher.” The title of the song sounded as if it were taken from a seventies grindhouse horror film. Overall, the riff had a blackened thrash sound and seemed to accomplish this band’s goal of creating aggressive bone chilling music. “Zombie Splatter Axe,” and “Chainsaw Blade,” kept hacking away with more lyrical gore and wicked instrumental presentation.
    Adding some variation to the album was the song, “Fuck Off (We Murder).” This track had a really strong punk vibe which I totally enjoyed. The main riff and chorus section was extremely catchy and very unapologetic.
    “Death Cold Blood,” seemed to be where Morbid Slaughter wanted to go for a slower doom like atmosphere. I could imagine corpses rising out of their graves as the guitarist slammed away at evil sounding chord progressions. “Torture Without Anesthesia” and “Slay with Steel,” wrapped up the terrifying black metal attack while maintaining that solid sound you heard on the beginning tracks.
    I have reviewed bands who play this style of metal numerous times before. Still, I think Morbid Slaughter separated themselves by crafting a unique and very distinct sound. Musically they are not pushing technical boundaries, but the album’s sound and theme was definitely interesting.
    There is no denying that Morbid Slaughter can create some frightening black metal music. I think the band’s musicianship helped me not simply write them off as another generic black metal band. “A Filthy Orgy of Horror and Death,” has a sinister theme and features seven well put together songs. Highly worth checking out if you enjoy that old school black metal sound that might have been recorded in a cemetery late at night.

Click Here To Visit the Band's Facebook Page

Rob “the metal guy” Rants About Metal #11

    This week’s rant is going to be more focused on the business side of the metal industry, so if you were looking for me to poke fun at hair bands and analyze rockstar’ll have to wait until next week.
    After reading comments Kerry King from Slayer made about why the Mayhem Festival wasn’t as successful this time around, I wanted try to figure out where the problem might be. I do know after Kerry King voiced his opinions about the Festival’s turnout, the co-founder of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival also voiced his thoughts about the issue. There seems to be this consensus that the bill wasn’t that strong and how the two stage set up did not really offer fans a great variety of bands.
    When I looked at the Mayhem 2015 tour package I was impressed by the first two acts, Slayer and King Diamond. After those bands I did not find any other really compelling reason to attend. No offense, HELLYEAH is not a band that you would have so high up on a festival bill. Personally, I do not think they are a horrible sounding band, but I felt a more established and well recognized band should have been in the third slot. That might have added an extra boost of potential ticket buyers.
    From what people associated with the festival seem to be saying, tickets were just not selling as expected. Supposedly, Slayer was able to sell out a venue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when they played with Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus, but with the Mayhem Fest they did not sell out the same venue. This continues to lead me to question why this festival failed to meet their target expectations?
    I do have some possible theories that I will put forward here. First off, Slayer cannot save a festival alone. As the main headliner I do not believe Slayer was able to draw out all their fan base with this tour. I think some Slayer fans could have been dissatisfied with the billing and they know Slayer will tour around some other time with a smaller and more exciting tour package. Having King Diamond right behind Slayer was not a bad idea in the least bit, except for the fact that a good majority of the bands at the bottom part of the bill lacked major draw potential. King Diamond alone might have influenced me to attend the show nearest to where I live, however, I already saw King Diamond last October. Also, I did not have to sit through four or five bands I am not really into to finally see the King. 
    Now, the co-founder from Mayhem defended the smaller billing and fewer bookings of superstar metal acts by stating a current issue plaguing the music industry...lack of funds. Well, certain major labels are not exactly hurting and those pop stars are able to brainwash millions of their flock to come out to a show and hear a digitally fixed up performance. The metal industry, especially in America, just seems to be searching for a fair business model that can put together a strong festival to influence the common day metal fan to buy a ticket and feel like they are getting their money's worth.
    So, does the Mayhem Festival’s failure to hit a finical home run mean the metal world is falling apart? No! I think local scenes are doing decent and most tours from your midlevel metal acts tend to bring out plenty a those headbanging fanatics. Right now I do not believe that the European style metal festival structure can be brought to America, but if a carefully crafted business strategy is put forth I think one day there might be a stronger possibility.
    Alright folks, there is what I think about the whole metal festival business related topic. What is the correct answer to fixing this problem? Is there one? Let me know by leaving your comments below.
    Cheers! Rob “the metal guy” \m/

Monday, July 20, 2015

Adversarial "Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism"

    Enter...the brutal and desolate sounding world of Adversarial! This Canadian extreme outfit pulls listeners into a hellish land full of unforgiving death metal.
    Their full-length album, “Death, Endless Nothing and the Black Knife of Nihilism,” is a never ending abyss of venomous noise. After being described as nihilistic cult death metal in their bio, I am worried that if I write a not so favorable review the band might put a curse on me. There are some moments on this album where I feel like I am listening to the unholy apocalypse. Hold on one minute, the entire album is a chaotic sound of mass destruction and might as well be used to score a doomed vision of how our world is to end.
    Although the dark extreme atmosphere is interesting, I will admit that I have reviewed bands who have written music in a similar manner. These days pessimistic sounding songs are quite popular amongst the death metal and black metal bands. I will say that Adversarial is a talent group of musicians who know how to play their instruments. The way that they compose their music is impressive and the band maintains an intense drive throughout the album. 
    I think this band’s vicious relentless musical attitude really caught my attention. These guys write some wicked pieces of music. Once the song “Dissenting the Walking Shell” began I was drawn to the destructive death metal approach. The amount of complex beats that this drummer hammers out is amazing. Adversarial's drum arrangements definitely strengthened the album's overall sound.
    Tracks like, “Eonik Spiritual Warfare,” and “Cursed Blades Cast Upon the Slavescum of Christ,” come across as bold lyrical and musical statements. Then again, with so much blistering extreme noise I can barely make out any of the words that the vocalist has to offer. Adversarial really clutters up the musical landscape with massive amounts of distortion and haunting arrangements. “Old Ruins Slumber in a Crushing Hatred of Man,” is one of my favorite tracks off the album because I preferred the layering of the instruments on this song compared to most of the others. Also, there were some tempo alterations that created brief moments of bone chilling doom.
    After the drummer ceased to annihilate his kit and the instrumental chaos faded away, I took a moments to reflect upon the extreme release I had just heard. If you enjoy this style of music or not, one must give credit to Adversarial for never stopping the harsh death metal onslaught. I think this album is definitely going to fall into my category of albums to listen to when I am in a certain mood. Those who desire a more intense and apocalyptic themed style of death metal shall be highly taken by this album. Lastly, if you are part of the nihilistic death metal cult, do not put a curse on your curses for mainstream pop artists and annoying rap musicians.
Band's Facebook Page:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Recommendation: Negative Approach "Tied Down"

    For all my hardcore punk people out there... I have a recommendation for you! If you are not familiar with Negative Approach then you need to tie yourselves down and read this recommendation.
    I discovered this band through no other than Mr. Tankcrimes himself, Scotty Heath. Actually, the first time I heard music from Negative Approach was live at the Tankcrimes Brainsqueeze 2. They played the second day of the festival and were one of my favorites bands who played that night. After that performance I listened to the band's first EP and their LP Tied Down. Recently I bought a copy of Tied Down, so I thought maybe I can influence more people to check out Negative Approach.
    Considered one of the iconic old school hardcore punk bands and highly regarded amongst some in the metal community, Negative Approach is a fierce musical outfit from Detroit. Their unforgiving style of hardcore is fast, aggressive and full of vicious attitude. Compared to other hardcore punk bands there is this bold nonsense approach that the band demonstrates. At times on Tied Down I hear some moments where the music takes on this Grindcore vibe. Their singer John Brannon is in my opinion the embodiment of a brilliant hardcore punk frontman. His attitude and lyrical presentation is raw, so raw that you hope to never piss off John Brannon if you happen to meet him face to face.
    The album begins with the snarling title track, “Tied Down.” Negative Approach offers speed and aggression with this opening song. The guitar and bass playing is equally as extreme as the lyrics. Track number two, “Hypocrite,” bursts through the speakers with a crushing riff. Following it up is the song, "Evacuate.” Here Negative Approach slows down the tempo and creates this really gritty slow piece of music.
    “Said and Done” and “Nothing,” continue the vicious assault. “Nothing,” is probably my favorite song from the Negative Approach catalog. The lyrics demonstrate a quality of honest musical expression and seem to be a reflection of what these guys were feeling at the time. Growing up in Detroit might have been tough, especially during the eighties, so the words and instruments represent that feeling of possible disillusionment.
    Side B of the album for those who buy the LP version, is just as intense and raw compared to that on side A. “Your Mistake,” begins with a rapid drum attack and is quickly followed by the adrenaline pumping chorus that is shouted out over the blasting guitar distortion. The song, “Live Your Life,” is one of those uplifting punk anthems for anyone who is feeling down in the gutter.
    “Friend or Foe,” buzzes with rage and features some catchy guitar playing. Right after the song finishes, “Dead Stop,” begins with a strong main verse along with a very classic hardcore sound. Closing out the album is, “I’ll Survive.” Negative Approach’s hardcore punk mentality always stayed consistent and the final song was a great finishing touch to such a powerful release.
    Out of all the hardcore punk bands I have listened to over the years, Negative Approach was one that took me by surprise and gained my respect. Maybe because I am more of a metal guy than a punk guy, I tend to gravitate towards them since their vicious sound reminds me of early thrash and grindcore. Overall, these guys are a great band who I highly recommend checking out. So untie yourselves from your computers and start running around while blasting to some Negative Approach!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rob "the metal guy" Rants About Metal #10

    When there is no place left on the casino circuit for them...the washed up eighties hair bands get together to put on a washed up eighties hair metal jam fest. Who would go and see that you might ask? Well, Tom Keifer from Cinderella will be part of it, so I am not going to completely knock the show. However, Sebastian Bach will be there and I would not be surprised if he throws one of his famous Bach tantrums.
    Actually, this show at the Irvine Meadows in Irvine, Ca looks somewhat interesting. I would not mind seeing Faster Pussycat and Tom Keifer. Though I am a tad confused why they booked both Tracii Guns and L.A. Guns. Tracii used to be in L.A. Guns and he said some harsh words about the band’s current drummer. There might be a hair metal brawl on stage! Unfortunately, these bands have had their glory days and need to move on. Their cheesy videos and catchy rock songs about messing around with women will always be a guilty pleasure of mine, but I would not pay to see them now (Cinderella is an amazing rock band and Tom Keifer is a brilliant songwriter, thus he is excluded from that last statement).
    So, Ghost or Ghost BC released another new song that will be on their upcoming third album. The song, “From the Pinnacle to the Pit,” is a slight return to their early material with a heavier riff section being more noticeable. I think the band actually listened to some of the criticism they received from fans over their last album being too keyboard saturated. I definitely hear a difference from their last release, but I still think that the first album, “Opus Eponymous,” shall forever be the album that defines Ghost for me. The two new tracks I have heard are by no means utter pieces of flaming horse crap, though the musical astonishment I have for this band is not the same compared to when I first heard their debut release. In the end, I cannot complain because at least this is an improvement from the second album, “Infestissumam.” That album was a disappointment just like the San Jose Sharks hockey team failing to win in the playoffs every year and then not even making it last year...
    Last topic to bring up is that if you ever want to avoid upsetting Glenn Danzig, just don’t go up to him and shove a camera in his face. Danzig has been known to get confrontational when a reporter or music fan starts filming him. This past week Navid Farsi who I guess has trolled rock musicians and other celebrities before, decided to go after Danzig and get a reaction by filming the singer. Not only did Navid film Danzig during the concert, he was bold enough to go up to Danzig after the show in the parking lot. Sure enough the dude was put in a headlock by Danzig and the video is now getting plenty of views on youtube. I think Danzig needs to watch his temper, but this Navid guy is an internet attention wanting douche. Unfortunately, Navid got what he wanted because now all the metal media websites are talking about this. In the end I ask one thing: Leave Danzig alone and he will leave you alone. Just imagine Danzig is a wild animal that should be left alone in his natural habitat.
    Alright that is it for this week’s rant. Who thought I would make it to ten...well, the metal world keeps offering me good topics to evaluate. Some topics are more ridiculous than others of course...

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Project Pain "Thrashed to Kill "

    Get ready for some old school style thrashing! The dudes from Project Pain return with their sophomore album titled, “Thrashed to Kill.”
    This is not the first time I have heard music from this bunch of Netherlands based thrash metal loving musicians. When I first started out doing album reviews, I reviewed Project Pain’s debut release, “I Have Sinned.” If you are a fan of Exodus, Overkill, Toxik, Slayer, Exumer or any other eighties thrash band, you will quickly gravitate to Project Pain’s sound. These guys are not creating a new style of metal by any means, but their true appreciation for the thrash metal sub-genre makes for a solid list of songs.
    “Thrashed to Kill,” I think features the band playing at a more intense level than they did before with their debut album. The songs have some really slamming compositions. Also, I noticed the production on this album comes across more bold sounding than the previous album. The riffs are simply brutal! As a guitar player I always enjoy hearing well recorded riffs. Compared to some bands I have reviewed in the past, Project Pain’s riffs are not overly generic sounding and were mixed by someone who has a pretty good understanding of how to record metal music.
    Some of my favorites songs on this album are “Piss On Your Grave,” “Sent Off to Die,” “Fear the Reaper” and “Taken by Force.” I honestly believe there are no weak songs on this album, but there are some tracks that tend to sound slightly repetitive. Of course I cannot fault Project Pain for creating songs that are not progressive and overly technically challenging. Thrash metal is all about writing fierce unapologetic songs full of intense galloping palm muted guitars and machine gun sounding drums beats.
    Songs like “Zero Tolerance” are perfect for when you are pissed off at the world, or when life is getting you down. The unapologetic mentality of Project Pain’s sound can definitely be channeled into a positive escape for those listeners wanting to release some pent-up aggression. “At Dawn We Ride,” is a rebellious piece of thrash music that features a blistering guitar lead. Although thrash metal leads tend to be considered simplistic to that of technical progressive metal players, I think the leads Project Pain creates are full of trem picking and compliment the band’s aggressive overall sound.
    Project Pain is another thrash band in this world who does not need to prove anything to anyone. All these guys need to do is plug in their guitars, lay down a brutal rhythm, and have their vocalist fearlessly yell into the mic as the band pounds out killer thrash tune. When listening to, “Thrashed to Kill,” I hear a group of musicians who enjoy the music that they create and seem to be having fun while thrashing listener’s speakers. How do you keep the pit moving? Keep on playing bands like Project Pain! Global thrash fans unite! \m/

Project Pain Facebook Page:
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kaledon "Chapter IV: Twilight of the Gods"

    For anyone looking to hear Game of Thrones type lyrics and epic power metal music, I found another band besides Rhapsody of Fire that can make your metal dreams come true. Italy’s Kaledon offers listeners intense melodic pieces of power metal music with their album, “Chapter IV: Twilight of the Gods.”
    Originally recorded in 2006 by Giuseppe Orlando, the album has been remastered by Mr. Orlando and features a couple re-recorded tracks by Kaledon’s current line-up. Scarlet Records is releasing the new version and there is even some new album artwork for the updated release.
    Now, just because the album is remastered and there is some new art work doesn’t mean the songs have changed much. This was the first time I have ever heard any music from the band, so for me as a new listener, it was like listening to something brand new. First off, the band definitely goes for that epic speed/power metal vibe that you hear from bands like Rhapsody of Fire or Blind Guardian. The album starts out with a brief dialogue between a knight talking to his lord about going into battle which seems to play into the album’s whole medieval fantasy based theme.
    I found the opening track, “The Holy Water,” to be a creative and very epic sounding song. The melodic lead guitar parts are skillfully pieced out throughout the track and the band’s singer has a fairly strong voice. Compared to some power metal singer’s I felt Kaledon’s vocalist didn’t force the high notes as often. Still, there are those falsetto screams that then make way for some blistering guitar and keyboard leads.
    The album continues the power metal siege with the songs, “Hell on Earth” and “War Plans.” Before each song starts out, you hear the sounds of soldiers moving around and horses making noise. I found the incorporation of those brief sounds to strengthen the albums battle like concept. You feel as if you are listening to a battle being fought with the narration being epic heavy metal music. The keyboard player in the band is very virtuosic and seems to really know how to inject some technical symphonic moments into the songs.
    As much as this band can write intense power metal tracks, they do slow down and create really beautiful sounding recordings. “Goodbye My Friend,” is one track that stood out because of the song’s strong emotional tone. The whole musical landscape flows and serves as a pleasant break from the rapid fire tracks. “Into the Fog,” is another one of my favorite tracks on this album. The recording is quite impressive and has a bombastic cinematic tone.
    Overall, the album remains fairly consistent towards the end. You have plenty more fast galloping power metal riffs and grand melodic choruses. “Out of the Ground,” was a suitable closing song since the music embodied what this band had to offer throughout the album.
    I believe this was a strong sounding album, but I do feel their brand of power metal was nothing different from some of the power metal bands I heard before. To become a highly recognized power metal band there is an important emphasis on captivating listener’s imaginations both musically and lyrically. I think Kaledon is a talented group who can possibly become more noticed in the genre if they keep working hard and continue to create impressive musical tales.

Kaledon Facebook Page

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Rob "the metal guy" Rants About Metal #9

    For those who do not know Kanye West thinks he is a rockstar even though he is an enormous douche star. Corey Taylor from Slipknot already set him straight, so I guess there is not much more for me to say. Actually, I plan to nominate Kanye West for biggest douche in the universe. He will win for sure.
    Okay, okay, let me get onto topics in the hard rock and metal world. Well, I finally got around to watching the entire new music video put out by ex-WASP guitarist Chris Holmes. The song for the video, “Born Work Die,” is from his new solo album called, “Shitting Bricks.” I used to somewhat respect Chris for his work in WASP. Unfortunately, the dude’s music videos are beyond horrendous. I find myself laughing uncontrollably at how bizarre the concepts are at times, along with the fact that he looks like Captain Caveman. This new video shows Chris working in a motorcycle repair shop and looking extremely washed up. Sometimes I wonder if the man’s brain left his body once the eighties finished. In all fairness the guitar playing in the song isn’t dreadful. He still has a solid sounding tone and throws in some cool blues licks. After hearing the song and watching the video I think that Chris is qualified to play in the Mentors if they need another guitar player or singer. The lyrics that Chris comes up with are about as entertaining as the stuff El Duce used to write...
    Technical death metal icons Nile this past week released the track list for their new album that comes out in August. The album, “What Should Not Be Unearthed,” is out the 28th for anyone who wants to mark that date down on their calendars. I have always enjoyed reading Nile’s song titles. I know some fans weren’t pleased with how the last album sounded, but I thought the song titles were exceptional. Songs like “Enduring the Eternal Molestation of Flame,” and “Natural Liberation of Fear Through the Ritual of Deception of Death,” were loads of fun to say on air when I was doing my radio show. I really can’t wait to hear the new music as Nile is definitely one of the most creative and talented death metal bands around.
    Last night I went to a local metal show with four solid bands from the Sonoma County Area. There is not a massive scene up here in Northern California, but the fans are unbelievably passionate about the music. You have people headbanging like crazy the whole night and the mosh pit is one constant toxic waltz. This leads me to advocate for more metal fans supporting their local scenes. With well known hard rock and metal bands becoming more expensive, sometimes the small club shows are a better option. Also, you are supporting up and coming metal acts who have that raw and exciting passion to play music like the bands they idolize. Another point to make is that you never know if one of those bands from a local metal show might go on to become the next Metallica. Before Metallica was playing major arenas across the globe they were playing small shows in people’s backyards and at clubs. So, if you find out there is a local metal show going on the area you live, try to make your way out and support the scene. Heavy metal will never die because of the passion that comes from the fans who are simply fanatical about the music. Keep headbanging people...Keep Headbanging! \m/

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Album Recommendation: Morbid Angel "Heretic"

  Morbid Angel’s last album, Illud Divinum Insanus, was not really well received by the fans. There were a few who voiced positive opinions about the album, but for the most part fans just tore that album to shreds.
    I personally was split on how the album sounded with half the album being decent and the other half being not to my liking. The criticism of Illud Divinum Insanus for some reason reminded me of how I have heard some fans talk about the band’s 2003 release, Heretic. For those who do not know, Heretic was the last album to feature Steve Tucker on vocals and bass before David Vincent returned to the band. Well, with David out and Steve replacing him again, I feel like the time is right for me to evaluate Heretic and express my opinions about the album.
    I think Morbid Angel is a consistent band overall. Yes, their earlier years are iconic and old school death metal fans secretly scream inside like teenage girls whenever they hear songs from, “Altars of Madness.” However, the albums that Morbid Angel put out in the later part of the nineties were no throw away albums. When Steve Tucker came in for, Formulas Fatal to the Flesh, I definitely think the band needed a change and the introduction of a new singer/bass player worked.
    Although Heretic maybe be no Altars of Madness, the album is still a slamming death metal release worth listening to. The line-up of Steve Tucker on vocals/bass, Trey Azagthoth on guitar and Pete Sandoval behind the kit, was a creative force that did not waste their talents when recording this album. Also, the production for Heretic was not a complete failure either. I really liked the recording for Trey’s guitar, because the riffs vividly stood out on this album and had a very raw sound at times. Even the drums which sometimes in death metal get recorded way too loud and drown the other instruments out in the process, seemed to work fine for each song.
    Another point to bring up about the album is that most of the songs are down right brutal. The opening riff in, “Cleansed in Pestilence,” is unbelievably extreme and evil sounding. There are a few odd moments on this album such as, “Memories of the Past” and “March of the Rain Conqueror.” I do feel, “Memories of the Past,” is a creative instrumental, though I can see where some fans who just expect Morbid Angel to play loud aggressive death metal might not really dig it. With this album I find at times the band is trying to go for a cinematic theme. “Place of Many Deaths,” sounds as if the band is trying to write a score for the next demonic horror film. Interesting fact to point out is that the song, “Enshrined By Grace,” was featured on the soundtrack for the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You can consider that last fact a positive or negative dependent on how you viewed the movie. I thought the song was was entertaining to say the least. 
    Overall I think Heretic is a decent release and by far better than Illud Divinum Insanus. There is even a track on Heretic that features Pete Sandoval performing an insane drum solo. Who would not want to hear one of death metal’s greatest drummers laying down some awesome beats? In the end, Heretic is based on what you prefer musically from Morbid Angel. The album is by no means an exact continuation of their early old school death metal days, but the album is not some out of the box crappy release.
    Are you a Heretic lover, or do dislike the album? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Album Recommendation: Jar’d Loose "Goes to Purgatory"

    I am sent a decent amount of bands to review from different rock and metal labels, so I cannot check out every band on the planet. Sometimes it takes me a year or two to find out about an awesome band that put out an album four years ago! Well, about two months back I found out about Chicago's Jar’d Loose and can’t stop listening to their debut album, “Goes to Purgatory.”
    Surprisingly enough I found out about this band through reading their singer’s wrestling opinion column on Metalsucks. Out of the other articles on Metalsucks it was the one most worth reading. After agreeing with how he analyzed the current state of wrestling entertainment, I decided to check out his band. So, off I went to youtube and typed in the band’s name, Jar’d Loose. First song to show up was the video for, “Coming Like a Nightmare.” Once the main riff exploded through my speakers I was instantly drawn to the song. The band’s raw delivery was simple yet extremely powerful and gravitating. All I could think was...I need their album.
    Now, I did what any supportive hard rock and metal fan who hears a band on youtube that they enjoy should do... I bought a copy of their album. The purpose of this article is for me to persuade you to check out Jar’d Loose and the album, “Goes to Purgatory.” If I succeed there will be more people driving around rocking out to Jar’d Loose while people in the next lane give looks of confusion.
    The band’s unique crushing mix of hard rock and metal is established right away with the opening track, “Last Living Roach.” Singer Eddie Gobbo delivers the lyrics with this harsh and no-nonsense vocal style that is very old school hardcore punk sounding at times. As the band hammers out a distorted demon of a jam, you find yourself getting lost in the furious tsunami of noise. Song number two, “Rotten Tooth,” is a vicious piece of music with some really potent lyrics. Eva Bialecki’s bass plucks out a thunderous flurry of notes while drummer Phil Hardman utterly smashes his kit following along to the song’s main riff.
    Tracks three and four, “Appendage” and “Busted,” continue the brutal assault that the band established with the opening songs. Jar’d Loose does not need flashy solos or technical riffs to make their sound extremely heavy. Just listen to the riff guitarist Pete Adam Bialecki throws down on song number five, “Hell’s Mothers.” The riff has that powerful sonic chord destroying vibe you hear from bands like the Melvins or Saint Vitus.
    Another area where Jar’d Loose excels in and comes across as a creative force, is through their lyrics. The words are cleverly constructed to fit each songs composition. For example on the song, “Right Eye,” the lyrical phrasing is so vivid and sticks in your head. Before the chorus Eddie repeats this unapologetic sounding verse, “...No Shame, Needs No Forgiveness.”  Each word and each instrument offer such raw passion that I am hooked to every sound coming from the song.
    “Go Down With You” and the last song on the album, “Coming Like a Nightmare,” are packed with a variety of different sounding arrangements and rebellious musical ideas. “Coming Like a Nightmare,” tears through the speakers with no holds barred and simply demolishes.
    From top to bottom you will not find a dual moment on this album. Jar’d Loose is the type of hard rock and metal the world needs right now. The raw sounding expression is an honest reflection of what these musicians have to offer. Alright, I think I have said enough. Please, just go out and buy the album or I will be coming to your house like a nightmare and won’t leave until you purchase, “Goes to Purgatory.”

Jar'd Loose Facebook Page

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Trials "This Ruined World"

    With a balance of aggressive metal compositions and well incorporated progressive hard rock elements, Trials looks to offer listeners with an a-typical release. “This Ruined World,” is the Chicago based band’s third full-length album to date...where the hell was I for the last two albums?!
    I think what listeners will notice right away is that this band is not held to one style of rock/metal. There is definitely exploration into different instrumental arrangements and the songs seem take on their own special identities. The same goes for the vocals on this album, which Trials’ singer does a brilliant job presenting the lyrical themes in both a clean style and a harsh growl style. Compared to most bands who use the contrasting vocal style, I thought Trials used it more effectively because the emotion put into the lyrics vividly stood out.
    As I said early, this band has a very progressive approach and the type of metal that they play does not fall into one sub-genre. At times on this album you will find yourself getting lost in this massive sounding instrumental atmosphere with hints of unforgiving rage offered up by the vocals. Each musician is extremely talented and plays their own important role in making the songs bleed with artistic expression.
    Tracks that will catch listeners right away are “Truth Defiled” and “Don’t Believe the Word.” The opening song, “Truth Defiled,” is a fierce musical statement with some hard hitting lyrics. The words have substance and are voiced with a purpose. To accompany the lyrics are some cleverly written riffs and compositions that do not follow a boring or repetitious pattern.
    Other songs on this album like “Digging My Own Grave” and “Disgraced and Erased,” do not hesitate to express feelings of anger and despair. The way that this band goes about writing their music is unbelievable at times. There is an honest tone and presentation to this album. You simply do not get that from those corporate watered down metal bands who all seem to sound the same. The song, “Beat the System to Death,” is a perfect reflect of not only this band’s mentality, but also there inability to succumb to musical simplicity. 
    The final three songs on this album I have decided to call the one two three knock out punch. First of the three is, “They Hide Behind the Law.” A brutal sounding guitar riff kicks the song off and the band never slows down the intensity. Second is “Inheritance,” which begins with a fluid string picking acoustic intro that explodes into a heavy grooving technical track. The final piece to the knock out is, “This Ruined World.” The song serves as a grave warning and continues to maintain a challenging musical presence. I thought the track was a great way to close the curtain on such a strong sounding release.
    Before being sent this album, I had not heard of Trials before. Now after listening to the full album, I will following them from here on out. “This Ruined World,” is an album that I strongly believe shall grab the attentions of those in the world of hard rock and heavy metal. There is so much hard work and creatively that I can honestly say people will find something to be impressed with on this album. After hearing Trials I do not think the world is completely going down the toilet...musically.

Click Here to Visit Trials Facebook Page

Friday, July 3, 2015

Rob "the metal guy" Rants About Metal #8

    Right away I am just going to throw out that Sonoma State University is not on my good list right now. Thanks to the school’s ridiculous possibly for obtaining keys, I have had to cancel my radio show two weeks in a row. Also, they treat the radio station I work for like a diseased leper. After almost four years of hosting a hard rock and heavy metal radio show I feel like I get no respect. Rodney Dangerfield...I now know what you truly meant when you would say you get no respect...
    Okay, moving away from my radio show problems and onto topics in the world of rock and heavy metal. First off, Journey needs to get a new drummer. Actually, who cares about Journey! There are only a few original members in the band and their songs are overplayed on mainstream rock radio. However, their current drummer, Deen Castronovo is making them at least interesting to read about now. The guy is charged with assaulting some woman and then breaking a court order by excessively calling her and texting her. Now, there are reports surfacing that Deen was under the influence of meth during this time of horrible behavior. I am not surprised some rocker went crazy and is in the press for criminal behavior. These dudes tend to act up every three to four months. Their careers are based around nostalgia and some of them need to hang it up.  Just wait, next month it will be the drummer for an eighties hair metal band who got drunk and stole a golf cart...oh wait, that already happened.
    In positive metal news the band Malevolent Creation is putting out a new album. The album is expected to be out September 18 and is titled, “Dead Man’s Path.” I saw the album cover and was impressed. Of course, I have not heard the music so I can’t really make an opinion on how it will sound. Though if it is anything close to the stuff on second their album, “Retribution,” I will definitely be interested.
    I guess the last part of this rant is where I am going to express my opinions on how metal people are perceived by non-metal people. Recently, I was walking across my campus wearing a King Diamond t-shirt and happened to walk through a Christian Club seminar that was being hosted outside. As one girl was talking to her small group of professionally dressed teens, I noticed she gave me a displeasing look as if she thought that maybe I was a spy working for Satan. This is not the first time a person has given me a mean look while wearing a metal shirt. Is our society, which is supposed to be more understanding and tolerant towards different groups, still discriminating against the heavy metal culture? Just because someone wears a Morbid Angel or Exodus t-shirt does not mean they are a bad person, or someone you should be afraid of. They just happen to enjoy a certain style of music and wish to not hide their enjoyment. I find the whole situation unfortunate that people should judge another based on the music they listen to and by the shirt they wear.
    To wrap this rant up, we should all be proud to be a metal fans no matter where you come from or how you dress. Also, the few people in the rock and metal people who do partake in some outrageous behavior should not define the community. Overall, I believe metal fans are some of the most tolerant and respectful people on this planet.  Never be ashamed to be a metal fan and never let people who are against heavy metal bring you down!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vorzug "Call of the Vultures"

    Death, black, thrash or call it down right brutal music. Arizona based extreme metal band Vorzug attempts to persuade the crazy headbangers and frighten away the wholesome church going folks.
    Their debut full-length album, “Call of the Vultures,” is dripping with gory blackened death riffs, intense head crushing drum rhythms and the death growls of utter brutality. I reviewed a single they released a little while back and remember the track instantly catching my attention. Unlike some bands who try to become the next Morbid Angel or Suffocation and flat out fail, I can tell when listening to Vorzug that these dudes just want to play some vicious sounding music.
    The opening track, “At Winters End,” started out with this cool triumphant sounding guitar lead. Overall, the song was very diverse and featured a variety of compositions that varied in tempo and aggression. There were some mellow sounding doom like parts and then you had those face smashing death metal cuts.
    Now, track number two, “Duct Tape Rapist,” was an interesting track because I thought I was listening to Macabre or some other death grind band that creates shocking song titles. In true death grind fashion the song was only 27 seconds long. The music exploded with a furious onslaught of noise and soon faded for the next track, “Her Screams.” I thought that maybe the two songs were connected based on the titles of the songs. However, I could still not get over the title for track number two. These guys are more shocking and controversial than most of your stand up comics these days!
    “I Am in Hell,” is the track I already reviewed for this blog, so you people can read my thoughts on that track by searching the old archives (I’m too lazy to describe it again, so yeah...). Song number five, “Silent Emotions,” is in my opinion where the album gets really interesting and seems to develop a solid sound. Also, the recording for this track was spot on. I liked how the band incorporated the guitar solo into the song which added a dash of excitement.
    For songs six and seven, “Making You Bleed” and “The Howling,” I felt the band threw in more thrash riffs. To be honest I like the death thrash sound over the blackened thrash, but in the end I think Vorzug is smart for keeping their sound diverse. Song seven, “Slumber Party Massacre,” is by far my favorite song. Vorzug sounded down right brutal and will probably scare any teenage girls who happen to hear the song.
    To wrap the album up Vorzug offered the song, “Broken Dreams.” Their songwriting skills were probably the most creative on this song and I liked the arrangements. However, it still could not beat out, “Slumber Party Massacre.”
    Is this style of music new? No! Did I enjoy the album? Yeah, I think this band has some solid songs and the recording on each song sounded pretty good. I especially found the song titles interesting and would pay to see the faces on my uptight professors if they read certain song titles from this album. For those who like extreme blackened death with a bloody splash of thrash, check this album out! If you are not already sold on the song, “Slumber Party Massacre,” I don’t know what else to say...

Click Here For Vorzug Facebook Page