Monday, December 19, 2016

Top Ten Albums of 2016

It is that time of the year when all the online rock and metal websites and blogs start releasing some of their top ten albums of the year lists. I have noticed that they seem to start earlier and earlier each year. I think some websites started putting out their top ten lists before Halloween! Anyway, I believe the time is right to release what I thought were the top ten rock/punk/metal albums of the year. These are my choices and feel free to mention in the comments section some of your favorite albums from 2016. However, no whining...2016 has been the year of whining and I want people to start putting on their big boy pants, big girl pants or whatever else you freaking identify as pants... And if I triggered you...get over it! 

1. Kicker “Rendered Obsolete”

The Bay Area veteran punks once again put together an album of pissed off sounding hardcore punk that was much needed during this year. After the release of their debut album, “Not You,” these guys without question are one of my favorite punk bands. Kicker knows how to write some catchy punk songs that contain memorable phrases. “You Can’t Take Me Anywhere,” is song with pure punk rock attitude and the subject matter is very relatable. Their veteran presence definitely allows them to string together a great full-length release. In this crazy world where technology is making certain things obsolete, Kicker shall never be replaced...unless they do invent that android Pete the Roadie. 

2. Eldamar “The Force of the Ancient Land”

Atmospheric black metal is a style of music where I find myself constantly discovering new artists who display tremendous talent. The up and coming artists within the genre take their time to create musical masterpieces of cinematic and emotionally moving splendor. Eldamar was yet another band who has come out in recent years to compose an overall astonishing release. I really like how the music allows you to escape into this massive sounding world of melodic synth and distorted guitar arrangements. Plus, they provided an amazing cover of Summoning’s “Land of the Dead,” to a Summoning tribute album, which you should all check out.  

3. Cauldron “In Ruin” 

The Canadian based trio released this album back in January and I still think it is one of the best produced and written releases to come out this year. Their classic eighties metal sound is like a blast from the past and the songwriting is extremely solid. I felt that ever since “Chained to the Nite,” the following releases did not grab my attention. To my pleasant surprise, “In Ruin,” just comes across as an all around crushing metal release. Once again, the songwriting carries this album to the point I find the words get stuck in my head for hours. Also, there are some great guitar riffs that may not be super technical, but construct powerful verse and chorus sections. 

4. Hemotoxin “Biological Enslavement” 

These guys are in my opinion living proof that hard work pays off if you commit yourself to whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. I saw them open up for Havok a few years back and thought they had something going, however, the music on this new album exceeds anything I could have imagined. I really think they offer a great balance of technicality and songwriting skills. Also, the vocals on this release inject unbelievably amounts of raw emotion into the songs. I think they are a band who can continue to rise if they keep working hard. 

5. Gojira “Magma”

The song, “Stranded,” alone put Gojira on this list and the entire album screams well produced hard rock and metal music. Still, “Stranded,” could very well be my favorite song of the entire year. I love the unapologetic sounding guitar riff which matches the aggressive vocal delivery. The rest of the album is very enjoyable and I would say that there are not too many dual moments. Another area that shines on this release is the riffs, which I think deliver crushing blows to the ears when cranking this album up in the car. I mean, my five year old nephew would probably put this as his number one album of the year, because he constantly listens to it along with the band’s previous album, “L’Enfant Savage.” 

6. Trecelence “Justified Atrocities” 

These Santa Rosa, CA technical thrashers are not just great musicians, but great dudes overall. It has been a privilege to witness first hand their progress within a relatively short amount of time. I can honestly say that the musicianship on this album, especially factoring in their ages, is down right impressive. Some of the guitar arrangements leave you speechless at times. For their first full-length release, I think they did a solid job. Looking to the future I expect even more brilliant mind bending riffs from these dudes. 

7. Unreqvited “Disquiet”

Yet another powerful atmospheric black metal release to come out this year. The one-man project that is Unreqvited painted a diverse musical painting that always had my full attention. I really liked how this album was recorded and I think more bands should focus on coming up with finding a sound that allows them to truly convey their music in a compelling fashion. You can tell that the music was not cheaply thrown together, because each sound offers tremendous emotion and raw expression. 

8. Witchcraft “Nucleus” 

I felt like this album deserved more promotion and went under the radar. Yes, Witchcraft has strayed away from that old raw vintage sound that was heard on earlier releases, but the new music is nothing to brushoff. The songwriting is probably what I liked most about this release and in my opinion Magnus Pelander is one of the best lyricists in rock and metal music. The way he writes his lyrics perfectly compliments the instrumental arrangements on this album. 

9. Exmortus “Ride Forth” 

Exmortus is another hardworking band who does not settle for basic when writing metal music. I thought the album once again demonstrated the insane guitar playing abilities from their two highly talented guitarists. Plenty of songs about battles and destroying enemies with weapons of iron. Also, they do another awesome instrumental piece that blends the worlds of metal and classical music. Exmortus knows how to shred with style and I hope they keep it up when they start working on their next album. 

10. Abbath “Self-titled”

A lot of people were upset when the whole Immortal fiasco went down and Abbath deiced to go solo after he could not get the rights to the Immortal name. I myself was one of those people, but I really respected how he decide to start his own band and released this self-titled album which features King ov Hell on bass. It sort of reminds me of their work on that, “Between Two Worlds,” collaboration album. Although this does not sound like early Immortal and is not very kvlt to the true black metal believers, I enjoyed most of the songs on this release and thought the production was quite solid. Abbath is in my opinion the voice that made Immortal, so I am really interested in hearing Immortal put out a release without Abbath. Better hurrying up Demonaz, because Abbath is already talking about releasing a follow-up to this self-titled album. 

Awesome Releases That Also Deserve Mention: 

  • Thought Vomit “Punks Brutal Retaliation” 
  • Putrid “The Triumph of Impurity” 
  • Feign "Atlas” 
  • Necrot “The Labyrinth” 
  • Nachtzeit “Sagor I Natten” 

Top Compilations: 

  • Four Doors to Death
  • In Mordor Where Shadows Are-Homage to Summoning 

Rob "The Metal Guy" Awards 2016

  • Hardest working label of the year: Unspeakable Axe Records 
  • Best live performance of the year: Night Demon 
  • Breakthrough artist of the year: Amnesia
  • Best twin guitar attack of the year: Donnie Small and Chris Olney Burnett (Trecelence)
  • Most overrated band of the year: Metallica 
  • Most annoying artist of the year: Myrkur 
  • Musician with the largest ego: Paul Stanley 
  • Hair metal band that made me laugh the most: Ratt
  • Most opinionated and sarcastic album reviewer: you decide...

Friday, December 9, 2016

Nachtzeit "Sagor I Natten"

    Some individuals are able to demonstrate tremendous creativity and talent when crafting black metal music. Nachtzeit is one of those individuals who has been very active in the black metal community with a history of solid work.

    I mainly know him for the music he has created in his atmospheric black metal band, Lustre, where he plays all the instruments and writes all the music. He also has this other project simply called, Nachtzeit, and has an EP called, “Sagor I Natten,” that will be coming out later this month through Nordvis Produktion. The new EP will be a follow-up to the debut EP he released last year for the project called, “Där Föddes en Längtan”. Compared to Lustre, this new music is more traditional style black metal and strays away from the atmospheric black metal world. Plus, the songs on the EP are definitely shorter than the tracks he writes for Lustre. I would compare the EP's recording sound to early Burzum, Darkthrone and even the first Summoning album. The riffs convey a very distorted and grim frost bitten sound to compliment the vocals.

    Nachtzeit offers four tracks on this EP that are solid in form and express a similar sounding theme. “Ett Fjärran Minne,” begins the album with a burst of distortion and is quickly joined by the screams of black metal torment that cut through the haunting curtain of noise. I am very impressed by the overall sound and find the recording of each instrument to compliment the music Nachtzeit wrote for this EP. Track number two, “De Färdas Genom Natten,” continues the first song’s overall atmosphere and formula. The drumming provides the perfect backbone for the guitar to conjure an extreme sounding world of sinister distorted notes.

    Taking a quick break from the black metal assault, track number three, “Över Myr Och Mark,” is a more cinematic sounding piece that you might hear as a build-up to a major battle. I enjoyed the brief change in sound and thought it helped make the lead-up to the final song more epic. Finishing off the album, “Där Allting Har Sin Början,” leaves listeners with yet another grim and cold piece of music. I think this was my favorite track on the EP, but overall each song makes for one consistent sounding listening experience.

  If you want straight forward black metal riffs and drumming with the echoes of harsh black metal vocals providing the perfect touch... then you should check out this release. I think it is great that Nachtzeit can step out from the Lustre world and offer the black metal community something a bit different. There are plenty of bands who play traditional style black metal, however, Nachtzeit seems to have the recording sound down along with the songwriting skills. Just another strong release from a talented black metal musician.

Nachtzeit “Ett Fjärran Minne” : 

Nachtzeit Facebook Page: 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Interview with Unreqvited

Unreqvited is a one-man atmospheric black metal project from Canada that skillfully combines a variety of different sounding elements to construct an atmospheric world with cinematic like qualities. Last month Unreqvited's debut full-length album, "Disquiet," was released and has received high praise from fans and critics. After reviewing the album for this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about the band and ask the mastermind behind this brilliant music some questions. Here is the interview...

Hello there and thanks for taking the time to do this interview. “Disquiet,” is a release that I think displays brilliant songwriting and very creative musical abilities. How long has Unreqvited been around for and when did you start working on the album?

Unreqvited: Thank you! I began writing for the project towards the end of last winter. I wrote the title track off the record before I had even decided that I wanted to start up a black metal project. As soon as the song was complete I put it up online and Pest Productions sent me a message within two hours of it being up. This was my confirmation that I wanted to follow through with the project.

From what I have read on your Facebook page and in the album’s description, you play all the instruments on the album. Is that correct? What is it like being in a one-man band? Do find that you get to have more creative freedom?

Unreqvited: Yes, I composed all of the music and recorded, mixed, and mastered all of it myself in my bedroom. Of course one of the main perks of having a solo project is having full control over everything creatively, which isn't something I necessarily had in previous projects. Unreqvited is not my only active music endeavor, however it is the only project where I can conduct everything exactly as I want it to be done.

The production quality on this album was very impressive and that really stood out when I first listened to the release. Where did you record the album and maybe walk readers through how you recorded some of the songs? Were there any songs you felt took longer to record, or maybe need extra time to compose?

Unreqvited: I've heard quite a lot of mediocre production coming out of the scene recently, and although it is not traditional to do so, I set out to create something that was produced well enough that it could appeal to people outside of the strict genre confinements that it may be categorized as.

I would describe Unreqvited as atmospheric black metal with an incorporation of different musical elements that mainly focus on creating a strong atmosphere. However, I find labeling and describing music to be a difficult task, as musicians can have a variety of influences and reviewers can possibly ignore certain aspects of an artist’s album. I was wondering if you could talk about the different styles of music that have influenced you and may have contributed to Unreqvited’s sound?

Unreqvited: I was heavily influenced by many different genres in the creation of Disquiet. Apart from the newer wave of black metal/shoegaze hybrid bands, I am very interested in film scores, New Age music, and generally anything with a huge cinematic feel. I think you can see a lot of this influence in the very last track on the album. I set out to create something that could still fit within the genre of atmospheric black/post-black, but to put enough of my own influences into it to make it unique.

To me the entire album is one massive story divided up into chapters, but instead of using words you have created a tale with dynamic and captivating sounds. I would describe it as almost cinematic at times. Could you maybe talk about what inspired you to write the album? Also, can you maybe explain your decision to not use actual lyrics to narrate your songs?

Unreqvited: I've always been a huge fan of instrumental music, because it can tell a story that is very open to interpretation by the listener. All of the songs on the record are written with a very personal story in mind, and the meaning behind them will never be unveiled to anyone. I want to put the creative process back into the hands of the listener to create their own meaning.

Unreqvited "Death" : 

This is going to be one of those commonly asked questions, but is there a track on the album that you personally think stands out amongst the rest? Let’s say someone has never heard of Unreqvited before and this is the song you believe they should hear first?

Unreqvited: I think The Autumn Fire and the title track Disquiet are the two songs that really hold the quintessential Unreqvited sound. Any new material will revolve around keeping that core sound, and expanding on it.

Right now you are a one-man project, but would you be interested in performing live with other musicians? Do you think Unreqvited could one day have a full line-up, or are you perfectly content with working on all the music?

Unreqvited: Although I am perfectly content with remaining a studio project, I would love to take the project on the road if the right opportunity arose. There are no plans to do so as if right now, but I won't rule it out as a possibility.

Well, this is the final question and I am going to ask if maybe we can get a glimpse into the future. Are you already starting to work on new material for a follow-up to “Disquiet?”

Unreqvited: I have a few ideas brewing, but I've been very wrapped up in other projects to really put the time into new music right now.

Thanks again for the interview and hope to hear more exceptional recordings from Unreqvited in the future.

Unreqvited: You're very welcome, take care! 

Unreqvited Facebook Page:

Unreqvited Bandcamp:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Concert Review: Red House November 26, 2016 (Cartilage, Dismembered Carnage, Hemotoxin, and Lord of War )


    On a cold dark night in the city of Walnut Creek, CA, Red House Studios happened to be a haven for extreme metal music enthusiasts. The bill featured four brutal acts that displayed solid talent and allowed for fans to unleash their inner aggression and revel in the sound of extreme distorted chaos.

    The line-up consisted of four bands: Cartilage, Dismembered Carnage, Hemotoxin and Lord of War. I think four bands was the perfect amount to have booked and I have been to shows where there were seven bands which really cut down on each group's set time. Also, you had consistency amongst the bands who played this show, so it was not like you had to wait after two bands to finally get to a band that knew how to write songs and play their instruments.

  Before the Red House even opened its doors, you had a decent amount of people waiting around to get inside. Starting the show off was Cartilage from San Francisco who I think had a supportive following from what I observed as they began their set. The band’s sound was a mix of old school death metal and flesh ripping grindcore. They even wore blood splattered cloths to add to the music’s gory death grind themes. Cartilage was an very impressive act all around, especially with regards to their musicianship. The band’s drummer demonstrated tremendous talent behind the kit and the guitar sound cranked out plenty of corpse cutting riffs. At times I felt like the guitar riffs were capturing that early Carcass sound and the intense blast beat sections hit hard to the point where you felt the sheer force of the drums. Also, the singer had great personality and solid stage presence. Definitely an act to keep an eye on and a really enjoyable live band.


  Second up after Cartilage was Dismembered Carnage, a group of blasphemous brutal sounding musicians from Concord, CA. The band’s sound draws influence from old school death metal and the slower gruesome sounding riffs really stood out during their set. I thought they had a solid guitar and drum sound throughout their set and the vocalist showed great passion when growling into the microphone. They seemed to have a fanatical following of fans in front of the stage who were headbanging along and constantly moshing around. Songs like “Devoured in the Tomb” and “Split Open the Pope” received positive response from the audience. I felt the lyrical content at times fell into that cliché death metal category, which has been done so many times before. I mean, Deicide and Vital Remains have made careers out of talking about dismembering priests and frightening Bible Thumpers. In the end, Dismembered Carnage has something going with their sound, but I would like to see the band maybe push themselves more in certain areas.

  After Dismembered Carnage concluded their unholy old school death metal sounding performance, Hemotoxin started gearing up to begin their set of technical style of death/thrash. I saw Hemotoxin a month prior when they played at the Trecelence release show. Also, I reviewed, “Biological Enslavement,” when the album came out and I do believe that there is a chance it might make its way into my top ten albums of the year. Hemotoxin is band who has really put in the extra effort since the release of the new album. Their hard work is paying off and the recent performances seem to get better each time I see them. The vocal’s perfectly compliment the attitude of the music, while each member shows great enthusiasm when playing their instrument. Also, you remember certain songs like “Regression” and “Forgotten Faces,” because of the thought provoking lyrics and well constructed verse sections. The band demonstrates that technical talent alone does not make a band great, it is about crafting memorable songs that convey powerful energy and can grab people’s attentions. Even with some slight guitar monitor issues the band put together a tight sounding performance which the fans seemed to appreciate and enjoy.

  The final act, Lord of War, from San Diego, CA, was currently on tour and seemed to be busy within the last month after recently finishing up a European tour with Vader and Hate Eternal. I was interested in hearing how they would sound and the band had a very impressive stage set up with smoke machines and an eye catching light setup. Unfortunately, I guess some other people in the crowd were not as interested and a fair amount of them either left, or went outside. This has happened where people only go to see their friends and sometimes bands end up playing to less than half an audience. I do believe it is disrespectful, however, Lord of War's singer sort of let it get to him and kept bringing it up throughout their performance. The rest of the band played on with really good passion and although breakdown riffs are not exactly my favorite style of guitar riff, I respect the two guitar players for at least maintaining a tight sound. Overall, Lord of War was a decent act who unfortunately learned that it is long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.

Lord of War

  Wrapping it up here, I think the entire show was not disappointing for those who showed up to the Red House. There were definitely some talented extreme metal musicians working hard to present vicious and unforgiving sounding songs that would have scared the pants off of a Southern Baptist Minister. Again, I cannot stress enough the fact that these four bands were all you needed to have a great headbanging experience. If there were seven bands billed...damn, Lord of War might have been playing to two people.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Unreqvited "Disquiet"

  2016 seems to be the year of atmospheric black metal, because I find myself writing a review for yet another talented band that explores the genre’s infinite potential for musical creativity. Unreqvited is a one-man project from Canada that captured my attention right away when I first heard the song, “Disquiet.” Soon after hearing that song, I was highly anticipating the release of this debut full-length album.

  The band’s style of atmospheric black metal is one that paints a canvas of musical diversity with elements of post rock, ambient and of course that majestic atmospheric black metal sound that completely washes over your soul. From the beginning you find yourself locked into this massive sounding world of guitars, synthesizers and drums. Instead of clearly presenting lyrical content, the artist uses these cries of agony to give the release a unique quality that replaces words with true human expression. When evaluating the overall production quality and sound of the album, I find there to be few weak moments, which tells you the sort of hard work that went into recording this release.

  As I said before my first introduction to the band was when I heard the title track before the album’s release. Now having heard the entire album, I am able to understand how that song fits into the entire picture. “Disquiet,” may be separated into seven tracks,  but the music is one piece of an emotional odyssey through these captivating atmospheric landscapes with fading cries of aguish to create a brilliant contrast of sound. Unrequited opens the album with the song, “Birth,” and ends the release with the appropriately titled track, “Death.” That final song happens to be one of the most deep and moving pieces of music I have heard this year and I will go into further detail later on in this review. The rest of the songs on the album convey their own distinct sounding themes, yet maintain a level of consistency that makes the transitions from each track flow with great synergy.

  “The Autumn Fire,” is one song that I found myself constantly replaying once it finished. I just close my eyes and let the music take me away with its soothing and dynamic guitar arrangements. The melodic touches combined with the cold black metal screams is very comforting. Other songs that expressed a similar sounding presentation that I also enjoyed were, “An Ocean of Ire,” and “Maydena.” In the end, my favorite song on the album is, “Death.” The keyboard parts are well composed, while the background synth provides a deep and moving atmosphere. As the final distorted guitar section concludes the sounds of thunder can be heard echoing in the background. The music fades out with a pleasant piano section to close the book on this atmospheric tale.

  Unreqvited’s, “Disquiet,” is an album that had me speechless at times, but as you can tell by the length of this review I had a lot to say about the release. Arguably one of the best sounding releases to come out this year and the recording quality is once again really impressive. When dealing with this frustrating and crazy modern world, I think releases like this are a great investment and can be really therapeutic. I feel like saying highly recommended is not should really make the time to listen to this album.

Unreqvited "The Autumn Fire" :

Unrequited Facebook Page:

Unrequited Bandcamp: 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Thought Vomit Release Show (10/28/16)

Thought Vomit

    You could not have asked for a better night to have a release show for Thought Vomit’s new album, “Punks Brutal Retaliation/Sync the Skies.” With only a few days before Halloween, the Phoenix Theater was jam-packed with fans who were highly anticipating Thought Vomit's performance along with the other six supporting bands on the bill.

  Opening the show was the young punks from Ukiah known as, R4ID. The self-described, “Turd Punk,” dudes never fail to deliver that radiant hardcore punk attitude. I saw these guys a couple times over the summer and this time they would be joined by their new singer Clayton King. R4ID started their set off with just the original three members Daniel Young on drums, Phoenix Lewis on bass/vocals and Boden Vogus on guitar. Right away the band tore into a tidal wave of angry sounding classic punk jams to kick off the night. The people in the front row of the stage were really rocking out to the music’s overall unapologetic punk vibe. The drum sound and bass tone were well mixed, however, I wish the guitars could have been a bit louder. Still, that did not stop Boden from striking the chords with pure aggressive force and putting on a solid performance. When Clayton joined them onstage the band really came alive and I think the addition definitely adds to the band’s sound. Overall, the stage presence from the entire group was strong and I cannot wait to hear what they have down the road.


  Following R4ID was a local band who I would be seeing for the first time called, EveryDayFreak. This trio played a style of hard rock/metal that took on a variety of different elements, but maintained a solid and consistent sound. The mixing of their instruments sounded good and the bass tone was probably the most noticeable during their set. EveryDayFreak was a group who seemed like they had their songs down and the band sounded very tight. I am sure they are still working on ways to push themselves as songwriters and I felt like the compositions were very simple and not too technical. Definitely a group to keep an eye on and it will be nice to see their progression with more shows in the future.


  Third up on the bill was Petaluma locals, Pacifists. Unfortunately, Pacifists happen to play a style of hardcore/metal that I choose to not review too often. I shall be as constructive as possible, but their style of breakdown driven music is personally not my favorite. Whenever I see people doing that karate in the pit style of hardcore dancing, I just burst out laughing. The band relied heavily on simple breakdowns and can benefit from more dynamic instrumental compositions. Pacifists seemed to have their songs down and I noticed that the band had a loyal following giving them support. Like I said before, this is a style of music I struggle to comprehend along with the karate dancing. I’m surprised no one dressed up like the Karate Kid and went into the pit.

  Taking the stage fourth and hopefully deviating from the karate dancing was, Cyborg Octopus. This East Bay progressive metal outfit really explores the different musical thresholds available to them. Dressed up like characters from Scooby-Doo, the band began their set with some latin sounding dance music and then transitioned into a more modern progressive metal sound. They are very talented musicians who go outside the box on occasion to where you never know which direction their music will go. The saxophone player was really getting into the music and at times he was headbanging with great enthusiasm to the riffs. I noticed the fans were having a difficult time figuring out when to mosh, because one guy was doing his karate in the pit crap while the band was playing a more smooth jazz composition. Overall, their set was solid and entertaining with regards to some of the crowd members.

  After Cyborg Octopus wrapped up their unique sounding set, Predation, cranked up the volume and unleashed some riffs of brutality. The few times I had seen Predation before were unfortunately plagued due to poor sound quality. Tonight was a lot better, because the band sounded unbelievably solid during their set. Plus, vocalist Phil Bassini performs with great passion to where even though I am not a massive fan of their style of music, I find myself interested due to his delivery and stage presence. The riffs were brutal and thanks to that wicked guitar tone I thought the band definitely delivered a strong performance. It goes to show what can happen when the sound guy and the band are able to figure out the most optimal sound.

  What band we up to now? Oh yeah number six, Wolf King. This trio of blackened hardcore riff crushing maniacs put on one extreme set. They did not need a bass player as their guitarist, drummer and singer formula proved to deliver quite the impact on the crowd’s ears. Very relentless and vicious sounding compositions that contained simple structures, yet powerful moments of distorted expression. I felt like you had some recycled and generic compositions at times, but the band’s passion and energy seemed to carry them a lot during their set. People were headbanging along and the reaction after each song was positive.

  Finally, the band celebrating the release of their new album, Thought Vomit, started their set with an enormous roar from the audience. Everyone made a push towards the stage as the band began their first song. Guitarist Chris Meyer and bassist Jordie Hilley hammered madly away at the main riff, while drummer Clay Prieto handled the main rhythm with ease from the behind the kit. Singer Spencer Clark came out and as always poured endless amounts of energy into his onstage performance. Playing mostly new material the musicians in Thought Vomit put on one stellar and enthusiastic set. Probably one of my favorite songs during their set was, “Glad to Lose.” The crowd seemed to be digging the song as well and the pit kept growing throughout the piece. Later during their set the band was joined by Abby from X-Method who contributed a strong vocal performance. Abby was not the only person who joined the band up onstage. A fan with a chicken mask showed up and started rocking out with the band. In conclusion, Thought Vomit sounded brilliant and the crowd seemed to maintain an amazing level of energy during each of the band’s songs until the end.

Thought Vomit featuring Abby from X-Method

If you have read this far I congratulate you, because writing this review was not a simple task, especially with seven bands who offered many memorable moments. Although some bands I found to not suite my personal musical taste, I respect all the bands who played and congratulate all the musicians for putting together one gigantic night of hardcore and metal mayhem. Also, congratulations to Thought Vomit on the release of their new album and may their hard work and DIY ethic continue to carry them forward.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Trecelence "Justified Atrocities"

    Over the last last year I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the growth and accomplishments of an extremely talented group of very passionate thrash metal musicians. Trecelence is a band that to strives make solid headbanging technical thrash music and they have gained a loyal following within the Sonoma County Metal Community. The Santa Rosa, CA based band's new full-length album, “Justified Atrocities,” now looks to take the global metal world by storm with a fierce arsenal of technical thrash tracks.

  To start, I am already aware that some will question the authenticity of this review and will claim that I am being biased since I know the band. However, as I have mentioned before when writing reviews with bands who I happen to know, I find that I can still present a fair assessment of the music. If I do not particularly like something, I will express my opinion. Also, all humans are biased and this bullshit about being as unbiased as pure white snow is a freaking joke. If the mainstream media is biased as hell, then I can write reviews about my friends’ music.

  Moving on, “Justified Atrocities,” can be described as a technical thrash offering that pays homage to all those eighties bands who led the way by shredding and headbanging with endless amounts of mosh pit conjuring riffs. The album opens with the triumphant instrumental piece, “Canis Major,” and gives listeners a brief introduction to the technical guitar talents of Chris Olney Burnett and Donnie Small. The track then perfectly transitions into the next song, “Into the Gateway,” where bassist/vocalist Zane Covington unleashes an epic scream as the guitars and drums viciously begin their thrash journey into the chaotic sounding vortex. Drummer Ilan Cabrera maintains a solid presence on the track and along with Zane, creates a heavy sounding backbone where Chris and Donnie are able to come up with some impressive leads.

    The area that stands out the most for me on this album is the guitar playing. Song number three, “Shrapnel Surroundings,” is filled to the brim with heavy skull crushing riffs and of course those tremendous note shredding leads. You even get a King Diamond like scream from Zane during the song to add that extra emphasis. I want to point out how Zane’s vocals have definitely improved since the band’s first EP “Acidic Demise,” and his ability to hit the high notes really stands out. Following it up, “Systematic Intimidation,” keeps the thrash machine moving and driving at top speed. At times I felt like the lyrics were getting lost in the riffs and Zane vocals during the verse sections could have been slightly louder.

    Probably my favorite track on the album, “Corporatocracy,” contains a variety of dynamic riffs that have elements of more than just thrash. There is this one part towards the end where one of the guitars picks through these haunting minor chords and sounds a bit like something you might hear in a black metal song. “Agenda 21,” and “Burning the Pendulum,” are a couple of solid tracks that sort of maintain the same style and sound you heard from the previous tracks. The bass playing really stands out during, “Burning the Pendulum,” which helps add that devastating low end punch to the music.

  The final three tracks are, “Under the Elusive Sky,” “Battle Beneath the Skull,” and “Aridscape.” All three tracks do not disappoint and the band stays consistent until the end. My only minor complaint is I am still not completely sold on the production for the vocals. I felt like the guitars and drums would drown out what Zane was saying, but that was only during a few sections. Overall, the band sounds really tight throughout the release.

  To conclude, Trecelence crafted one ambitious sounding album that enters the gateway into the global world of metal by delivering some relentless and ferocious sounding tracks. Unlike some bands in the thrash genre who settle for basic recycled thrash worship riffs, one can hear where Trecelence is pushing themselves to create clever instrumental compositions to compliment their thought provoking lyrics. This is definitely a good starting point for the band and I know that their hard work ethic will allow them to construct even more solid technical thrash tunes in the future. So, get off your Twitters and stop worrying about who is going to be the next circus clown leader of the world circus and go pick up a copy of, “Justified Atrocities.”

Trecelence "Shrapnel Surroundings" :

Trecelence Facebook Page:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Skogen “Svitjod”

    After being out of print for a long time, Skogen’s, “Svitjod,” is being rereleased through Nordvis Produktion and will be available on a variety of formats. This album really takes listeners across the Scandinavian landscapes by unleashing a brilliant atmospheric black metal sound. 

    The Swedish band's second album is considered to be one of the finest atmospheric black metal albums from the region and the band continues that tradition of Scandinavian black metal which goes all the way back to Bathory. When listening to, “Svitjod,” you will find yourself becoming immersed in the mix of atmospheric black metal and Scandinavian influenced metal. Similar to Bathory’s, “Nordland 1 and 2,” Skogen introduces listeners to more than just a style of music, but it is an homage to one’s culture. 

    The solemn intro riff on the first song, “Dighra dödh,” creates this ominous atmospheric tone and the harsh black metal vocals provide such a powerful sound. Eventually, the band develops the music into more of an epic sounding section with these great melodic touches. However, there is always this contrast between the black metal and more Scandinavian folk metal elements. Probably what makes this album’s atmosphere so mesmerizing is the contrast of styles. Track number two, “Häxsabbat (Crimen Laesae Divinae Maiestatis),” creates more of a grim atmosphere as if one were walking through a blizzard across a frozen tundra under a full moon on a pitch black night. The music expresses such raw emotion and the notes played on the guitar send chills down your spine. It is really great music to clear your mind and lose yourself in the dark yet pleasant atmosphere. 

    Another notable track is, “Vinterriket,” which is the album’s longest piece that goes for about elven plus minutes. The music journeys through a variety of transformations and features acoustic incorporation to offer that Scandinavian sounding theme. Overall, it is an amazing piece of music that demonstrates tremendous songwriting talent. “Storm,” is another dynamic and captivating song on the album. The brutal black metal vocal delivery is perfectly recorded over the guitar and drum parts to inject a more aggressive sounding tone. A great point to bring up about the album is that the recording for this release was extremely well executed. The recording of each instrument truly stands out and plays an important role in the overall structure. Also, the keyboard sections definitely deserve recognition for building a landscape in the background to contrast with the extreme sounding compositions. 

    A few final tracks I want to mention are, “Blodörnshämnd,” “Dauðaferð,” and “Svitjod.” These songs contain some great riffs and triumphant sounding pieces of atmospheric black metal. When you look at the album cover you could imagine yourself hiking through the forests of Sweden listening to this album. Although the Scandinavian themed atmospheric black metal style has been created numerous times before, Skogen does make it interesting and is able to find ways to make you become engaged in the music. 

    If you have heard this album before, or if this is your first time even hearing about the band Skogen, you still need to go and check out the rerelease Nordvis is putting out. I do believe they are already selling copies on their page, so go and grab a copy if you enjoy this type of music. As a fan of atmospheric black metal, I truly think this release stands out amongst the crowd and deserves high praise for its musical creativity. 

Skogen “Häxsabbat (Crimen Laesae Divinae Maiestatis)" : 

Skogen Facebook:
Link to Label: 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Trecelence Release Show (10/8/16)


    There is without question that Saturday, October 8th at the Arlene Francis Center was a monumental celebration for the Sonoma County Metal and Hardcore Community. For this was not just another show, but the release show for Trecelence’s debut full-length album, “Justified Atrocities.” These die-hard local thrashers have put in a great amount of work leading up to the release of this album and playing in front of their local metal community made the release of this album even more special. 

    Playing alongside Trecelence were five other talented metal acts. You had Hellbender, Trial by Combat, Stained Humanity, Sepulchre and Hemotoxin. It was great to have Hemotoxin come from up from the East Bay to play this show. After reviewing their most recent album, “Biological Enslavement,” I was eager to hear the new material live. I found when arriving to the venue everyone was in great spirits as the metal community seemed extremely proud of Trecelence for their accomplishment. Plus, the guys in Trecelence were overly excited to play and give people a chance to hear some music from their new album. One could say it felt like Christmas, besides the fact that inside the venue was hotter than hell and could melt a snowman faster than a grindcore song. 

    Kicking off the massive metal celebration was Stained Humanity. I saw these guys for their first show and was looking forward to hearing how they have progressed. Compared to their first show, one could tell the young dudes were becoming more conformable onstage. The band is starting to form a solid sound that will help them continue to improve and allow them to open up more creative possibilities. The lead guitar playing stood out more too this time around and I think that is going to be an area where they can really explore their technical writing potential. Just need to keep practicing and finding ways to develop a tight and unique sound. 

    Second up was the Pittsburg, CA based group Hemotoxin, who would be playing Santa Rosa for their first time. I think the local audience responded quite well to the technical thrash four piece. Hemotoxin is an extremely atypical thrash group, because you have elements of old school death metal and the band even displays some progressive elements in their music. If you have followed these guys then you cannot deny that, “Biological Enslavement,” is a release that simply raises the bar for this type of music. The technicality in the riffs is top notch and the fluidity of the lead guitar playing is astonishing at times. Towards the middle of their set the pit was furiously moving and the band kept on delivering plenty of crushing songs to bang your head. 


    After Hemotoxin was local veteran metal warriors, Trial by Combat. The band would be playing their first show with a new drummer and hopefully he would not combust onstage like the drummer in Spinal Tap. The band of course unleashed their brutal assault of distorted destruction on the crowd and got the people going crazy within seconds. The vocals that came from singer Dashiel McKenzie offered up great amounts of brutality while the riffs from Jesse Palmer and Aaron Dudley annihilated people’s ears. Towards the end they threw in a cover of Amon Amarth’s, “The Pursuit of Vikings,” which went over well with the crowd. 

    Fourth up after Trial By Combat was the three piece old school death metal worshipers, Sepulchre. These guys are very talented and their sound takes from a variety of influences, which I think allows them to separate themselves from the usual old school death metal worship type acts. Also to point out, Chris Olney Burnett would be playing in Trecelence a little later in the evening, so for him to be playing a set with Sepulchre showed how much this young man is dedicated to the music. I would have also liked to see him play a set with his other band Amnesia, but already playing two sets was probably quite a test already. Overall, Sepulchre put on a tremendous performance that in my opinion is their best performance to date since I have known these guys. The passion that Chris along with drummer Forest Giulietti and bassist Luis Olguin had during their set was unbelievable. The riffs conveyed this malevolent sound from abysses beyond and the vibe from the music sounded simply unforgiving at times. For their last song they cranked out a very old school grindcore type song where Chris decided to break his guitar strings and let the crowd partake in the execution of the strings. 


    After Sepulchre delivered their killer set, Hellbender went on next to play their style of skull crushing metal. The guys in Hellbender are decent musicians who know how to get the crowd going. I just think a lot of people were feeling the heat inside the venue area and needed a chance to cool off and get some water. Even though the crowd was having a tough time with the temperature, I think the band played a decent set that was well received. They did a solid cover of Mötley Crüe’s, “Live Wire,” to finish off their set with Miguel Martinez from Aftertayst getting up onstage to sing with them.  

    Finally, the band of the night who would be playing songs from their new album hit the stage with an atomic explosion of raw energy. Trecelence tore right into the first song of technical thrash insanity that conjured up a cyclone of moshing metal maniacs. “Into the Gateway,” sounded spectacular and for me it brought back memories when they were guests on my old radio show and we played the demo version of the song. Bassist Zane Covington put on yet another solid performance by offering constant energetic stage presence. Chris Olney Burnett and fellow guitarist Donnie Small shredded their way through scales with tremendous skill and hammered out endless amount of wicked headbanging riffs. Behind the kit Ilan Cabrera pounded his way through each song and provided a strong backbone. Hearing the new material live was a great introduction for the audience and who were hopefully able to pick up a copy of the new album after the set. Overall, Trecelence kept on rocking hard and the crowd kept moving around until the very end. 

    Wrapping up this review, I just want to say that Trecelence should feel really proud about what they accomplished. Also, all the bands deserve major respect for their contributions to this memorable show. Now, I want to point out that the release of this album is a stepping stone for Trecelence. As the band sets their sights on the global metal world, I do believe their dedication, hard work and passion for the music will help achieve more of their goals. To conclude, may Trecelence keep melting metal minds for many years to come and congratulations on the release of, “Justified Atrocities.” Get yourself a copy if can!  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Kicker "Rendered Obsolete"

    The world is changing rapidly and seems to be getting crazier everyday. Instead of acknowledging the chaotic world around them, people are more interested with what celebrities have to say on Twitter, while also posting endless amounts of selfies. Luckily there is one thing that shall not change, and that is the rebellious nature of hardcore punk music that will always flip the bird at those who follow the system of mindless rodents. Kicker reminds us all that punk is eternal and no matter how old you get, one will never trade-in their punk attitude for some fancy pair of pants and membership to the local yacht club. 

    For their sophomore album appropriately titled, “Rendered Obsolete,” the Bay Area punk veterans in Kicker continue to crank out old school hardcore punk hit with each tune. Just like with their previous release, “Not You,” Kicker is speaking from the perspective of aging punk rockers who try and maintain their angry nonconforming spirit in this modern world. The new release is written to where I think the band connects with a variety of listeners who find themselves not being able to adapt to this evolving technology obsessed society. As someone who really enjoyed the band’s last album, “Not You,” and has seen them live a couple times, I find Kicker’s music to convey plenty of pissed off sounding attitude that allows listeners to forget everything around them and just unleash their inner punk. 

    The new album begins with a classic sounding kick ass punk song called, “You Can’t Take Me Anywhere.” I can relate to the song, especially when I am with my family and friends who must endure my sarcastic sense of humor. Kicker really crafted a solid piece with, “You Can’t Take Me Anywhere,” and it is a strong track to open the album. The next song, “Shit At Kicker,” deals with those who can’t play the table top soccer game and find themselves drinking in shame as their friends keep scoring the goals. Pete “The Roadie” demonstrates great personality when singing the lyrics and maintains his top notch punk vocal delivery. Track three, “Soggy Dad,” is a chord blitz of hardcore fury and the gritty vicious sounding punk guitar sound is achieved by one of the underground’s top players, Matt “Mauz” Parrillo. Also, Dave Ed provides plenty of impressive bass lines and drummer Toby Bitter lays down a furious drum sound. 

    All these guys are veterans and once you get to the middle of the album, you realize that there is not one dual moment. Take the title track for example, it begins with this passionate speech railing against the technology obsessed society while the riff slowly builds up in the background. The lyrics deal with someone who hates their soul sucking job and eventually gets terminated once their employers decide to use machines to handle all the work. A robotic sounding voice actually tells Pete during the song that he has been terminated since they now have new advanced robots to do the work. Luckily there is no software program that can replace Pete’s brilliant punk vocals...(Android Punks Coming to a Store Near You!)

    The song “Brown Bread,” takes a break from the high energy classic punk formula and has these unconventional chord progressions. Also, the bass lines create this unique sounding atmosphere which sounds hypnotic at times. Pete seems to be loosing his mind and humorously babbles about dying and then going to a big bar in the sky. The following song, “Full English,” returns to the fast paced pissed off punk sound that has grown to become unmistakable when listening to Kicker. “You Suck” and “Timeless Cliches,” are a couple enjoyable tracks that feature more angry sounding jams and memorable lyrical moments. The backing vocals stood out more on this album compared to the band’s previous release, which I think added something extra to certain songs like the verse and chorus parts on, “Timeless Cliches.” 

    The final song, “Plastic Button,” was sort of bitter sweet. I enjoyed the old school punk attitude and sound of it, but I felt like there should have been more tracks to follow. Compared to their first album, this release seemed shorter in length. However, even though there are less songs than the previous release, each song on “Rendered Obsolete,” is memorable and you won’t be disappointed if looking for a solid punk release. So turn up the volume, grab yourself some lager and chips, and enjoy this new release by Kicker. Seriously, get a copy now! They have a vinyl format colored the same as Dave Ed’s hair! 

Kicker "Rendered Obsolete": 

Kicker Facebook Page:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Concert Review: Nebulous, Eye for I, Scrape the Earth and More


    Sonoma County is full of extremely talented metal and hardcore bands, with new bands debuting at almost every other show it seems. Such was the case for Saturday night’s show at the Phoenix Theater with a list of solid up and coming talent looking to make their presence known. 

    Besides Scrape the Earth who I have seen before live, the rest of the bill featured acts who I would be seeing for my first time. Correction, I actually saw Ashes Ashes last year, but they went by another name. Another interesting point to bring up about this show is that besides ONI, the rest of the bands who played were from the local area. I do believe this made for a strong local gathering and the turnout definitely reflected that in the end. 

    Starting the show off was locals Ashes Ashes who should not be confused with the David Bowie cover band, “Ashes to Ashes.” I saw this group about a year ago at the Phoenix and they were going by a different name. Anyway, there set was decent for a young up and coming band. They seemed more comfortable onstage this time so maybe the name change helped. Their drummer really pounded the crap out of his kit and the overall drum sounded good during their set. The riffs are not horrible by any means, but I would like to see more dynamics in the riffs and maybe add another guitarist to fill out the sound. The band’s singer did a decent job and will grow into a stronger performer with more live shows. For an opener they did the job you could say and I am sure will improve as they get more live practice under their belt. 

    Next up was Nebulous, who would be playing live for the first time. Well, I do think they picked an optimal night to play live for the first time in front of an audience such as this one. Their sound is definitely more my cup of tea with a very raw old school nineties death metal vibe that at times attempts to break into the progressive death metal world. I could hear influences like Death, Nocturnus and Obituary along with some thrash at times. At first you could tell the band was trying to find their comfort zone onstage with the first song, but once they were locked in the young musicians delivered without fear. The band’s singer had a strong old school style death growl that really impressed me when unleashing the band’s brutal lyrics. I swear you cannot find too many good death metal singers these days who can truly capture that old school nature, so I think that is something going for them. Also, the guitar section of the band had quite a few very traditional sinister style riffs along with moments of top notch guitar shredding. Drumming was also quite solid, especially for this style of music and I feel that in time the drummer has the potential to really convey that technical presence behind the kit. Overall, for a young band playing their first show, you could not ask for anything more. Welcome to community guys and keep cranking out those riffs of cyclopean terror from realms of beyond. 

    After Nebulous finished, the next band started getting ready for their set. Infex is a group of older rock and metal dudes who have that true passion for metal. They actually sent me a CD when I was doing my radio show and I even think I put one of their stickers up on the Ksun door. Speaking of their set, the band delivered a crushing performance that featured some wicked riffs and even started a few pits. Singer and guitarist Jack Childs was really performing with great levels of ferocity and knew how to interact with the ravenous headbangers. My favorite song during their set was without question, “Killing For Jesus.” It has that mean sounding classic thrash vibe that reminds me of bands like Slayer, Exodus, Sacred Reich and EvilDead. Infex did not disappoint and I hope to see them more often live. 

    Fourth up was Nuclear Tempest who from what I gathered was reuniting after taking a break. Well, they seemed to be shaking off the cobwebs and their set was fairly decent. I was not digging the sound at times and the cliché breakdown riffs just sounded dual and uncreative. Plus, when I see people trying to do the karate in the pit type stuff I just cover my head in disappointment. I will say the band could jam out some strong riff sections at times and the guitarist and vocalist who did the clean vocals had an impressive clean vocal delivery. I commend them for getting back together and returning to the stage, but it was just not my type of music. 

    Out of all the bands, ONI, happened to be the only group not from around the Sonoma County. They were from the Cayman Islands and decided to make the long journey out. Also, I hear they are playing Knotfest this year and will be opening for Children of Bodom, Exmortus and Abbath on an upcoming tour. I was intrigued to hear how they would sound, especially if they would be opening up for one of my favorite metal musicians...the mighty Abbath...who I actually saw perform in April of this year. Well, ONI right away had me scratching my head when I saw the band bring out a xylophone. From what I read they played “progressive metal” and having a xylophone was without question something I have yet to come across in the metal world. To be honest, the riffs were not band, but nothing I haven’t heard before. I think the vocals would have been better if they did not keep changing from growl vocals to clean vocals. The clean vocals sounded whinny at times and just did not fit in my opinion. They are a decent band that can definitely appeal to a certain type of metal fan, however, I was not really digging it. 


    Exiting the stage faster than a millionaire moving to the Cayman Islands to avoid taxes, ONI dispersed and Scrape the Earth started their set of metal mayhem. I think this is the fourth time I have seen Scrape the Earth and I always find myself saying that the band keeps raising the bar. Drummer Nick Pater is the member who seriously plays his heart out behind the kit and is one of the areas top drummers. Also, bassist Matt Lasserre and guitarist Forrest Dang play with great passion and have good stage presence. The songs sounded very tight during their set and I can hear improvement as they keep playing. I still want to hear more leads thrown into the mix, but the riffs are without question unleashing brutal punch after brutal punch. 

    The final act of the night would be, Eye for I, who happened to be releasing their demo that night. To my surprise people were not just sticking around for this local act, but you had people showing up right before their set to support them. Damn! I have been to shows where the headliner unfortunately lost part of the crowd due to the bill being too long, or the people left after seeing their friends play. Good thing to know that there are people in the community who display such loyalty and are not like those opinionated black metal elitists. Speaking of music style, Eye for I was quite a pleasant surprise and really the wild card band that night. The entire band was full of highly talented musicians who knew how to play their instruments. Plus, this is what I call true progressive hard rock/metal and not that metalcore rubbish that masquerades itself around claiming to be progressive. The band’s singer/guitarist I must point out has an amazing vocal delivery and could really inject emotion into the music. It was nice to hear a band that had some thought out arrangements and creative songwriting skills. I was impressed and some of the people around me were also giving their nods of approval, so we can all agree Eye for I did a good job closing out the night. 

    I think this show was good for two reasons: 1. Some of the young local talent was able to showcase what they have to offer, 2. There was a decent amount of people who came out in support of their friends. I like seeing shows like this and believe giving the young bands more opportunities to play is needed to keep the scene growing. Also, diversity is important to have on a bill. For example, Nebulous and Eye for I are different in style, but both have promising futures and are young passionate acts looking to spread their music to more potential listeners. Seeing bands like them on a bill is something that I hope to see more of in the future. There you have it folks, another night of metal recapped at the Phoenix Theater...and to think, no black metal elitists will be complaining after I publish this review...You have to appreciate those little things in life I tell you...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thought Vomit "Punks Brutal Retaliation/Sync the Skies"

    In this crazy world of sensational journalism, mass produced musical acts and a society that has become mindless slaves to technology, you really come to appreciate a band like Thought Vomit for the music they write and their uncompromising rebellious nature. The Sonoma County based band’s new album, “Punks Brutal Retaliation/Sync the Skies,” is a great example of a local act pouring every announce of energy into their music and fearlessly charging forward into the global punk and metal arena. 

    I am quite familiar with Thought Vomit, so already we can throw out that there might be some bias when writing this review, but then again, all journalists are somewhat biased and the ones who claim not to be are the biggest liars on this planet. Now, it has been about over a year since the first time I saw Thought Vomit perform live, which was at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, CA. Since then I have watched them perform live numerous times around Sonoma County. Simply put, Thought Vomit does not disappoint once they hit the stage. I have always felt like their two previous recordings never really captured the passion and raw power that these guys have to offer. In my opinion, this new release is a testament to their DIY work ethic that is constantly propelling them forward.  

    To begin, Thought Vomit self-recorded this release as with their previous album, "Can't Understand Normal Thinking." Already, I can say there are differences between the two albums and the new tracks not only sound solid this go around, but the songwriting as a whole has been raised to a new level. Whether it be the brutality on, “Pelican Witch” and “War,” or the clever social commentary on, “Affluenza America,” or even the hardcore punk aggression on, “This is Your God,” the group writes with an undeniable drive and a bold unforgiving expression of musical attitude. The opening song, “Glass Jaw,” starts the album off with an epic instrumental jam that sets up the next track, “Affluenza America.” Singer Spencer Clark takes listeners right into the chaotic sounding world while unapologetically presenting the lyrics with his vicious hardcore growl. Guitarist Chris Meyer and bassist Jordie Hilley tear away like maniacs on riffs with earsplitting metallic qualities. Drummer Clay Prieto holds down the rhythm behind the kit by pounding the sheer crap out of his drums and adding to the music’s bold attitude. 

    After the first couple tracks, the band unleashes a blizzard of wicked tunes like, “Steel Toe Tap,” “Glad to Lose,” and “This is Your God.” Personally, “Glad to Lose,” is my favorite of the bunch and one of the top tracks on the album. Jordie’s bass playing really stands out during the song and that main riff is simple yet very catchy. Track number five, “This is Your God,” is a song that I have heard live for awhile now and the brief hardcore energy is monumental with regards to the music's unapologetic artistic expression.   

    The last two tracks that I want to mention happen to be songs that sort of took me by surprise, because you can hear Thought Vomit taking their music into new territories. “Flame in the Rain,” is the second to last song on the release and has an overall mellow tone. It is a departure from the more punk metal mayhem and the piece is very well written. Also, the song features Kat Young who provides a soothing sounding vocal delivery that compliments the song’s calm atmosphere. The final song on the album, “Sync the Skies,” is without doubt my favorite piece from the entire release. Thought Vomit digs deep into a very progressive and hypnotic riff style world that I think vividly stands out compared to their other recordings. Just in this one song the band displays tremendous dynamic songwriting skills. I honestly hope to hear more songs written in this same vein on future Thought Vomit releases. 

    After constantly playing live shows with relentless passion, the punk/metal quartet in Thought Vomit has really put together a top notch release with, “Punks Brutal Retaliation/Sync the Skies.” I have come to know these guys over the last year and have truly enjoyed being able to see such growth from a talented group of musicians. Still, the live experience of Thought Vomit is hard to beat, so if you have a chance to go see them live do not hesitate. Yes, you can get the album once it is released in October and have a grand old time banging your head and moshing around your room. However, seeing them live reminds you what this type of music is all about...Raising hell and not giving a damn about what the elitist authoritarian society thinks is proper music.  

Thought Vomit Facebook Page: 

Thought Vomit "Pelican Witch" : 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

X-Method "Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music"

    The title of this album, "Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music," sort of gives you an idea about what X-Method's music is all about. Hearing an X-Method song for the first time is like getting a stone cold stunner from Steve Austin with JR in the background screaming, “Oh My God!” X-Method does not mess around and their style of hard rock/heavy metal gets right down to business. Also, these guys can throw a curve ball once in blue moon and they know how to write very powerful mellow sounding songs. Plus, there are sixteen songs on this full-length release, so you have plenty of opportunities to bang your head, drink a few beers and raise some hell. 

    Now, this is not my first encounter with the Bay Area based band. I saw them perform last year at a show alongside some local Sonoma County acts. X-Method really took me by surprise during their set and the passion that comes from these dudes is unbelievable. The band’s lead singer Abby is a solid frontman that knows how to deliver some crushing lyrics while being a true bad ass onstage. I think the entire band sounds tight which makes for some great music overall. 

    To begin, some of the songs on this release I have heard before when I saw them live and then there are a fair amount I first heard when doing this review. You have a lot to choose from, which I will say sort of happens when you have an album with so much material. Unfortunately, there are certain tracks I tend to glance over, because the ones that standout just seem capture my attention more. As I eluded to earlier, you can’t just simply call X-Method a hard rock or heavy metal. These guys blend hard rock and metal elements into their music, however, they never venture into territories where you would be taken by complete surprise. “Denied What’s Ours,” begins with an epic acoustic riff that morphs into an avalanche of chaotic guitar riff fury. The drumming kicks into high gear and the band puts their foot on the gas pedal. It is one of the more thrash like songs on the album and Abby’s vocals really inject an extra bite of raw aggression into the music. 

    Following the intensity of the first track, the album’s second song, “Brutal As Fuck,” kind of gives you an idea of how that song sounds. It is Brutal as Fuck! (I bet you are all thinking, thank you captain obvious...) Anyway, the track right after, “When Darkness Falls,” is one of those curve balls. The guitars create a more melodic vibe and the vocals mellow out for a bit. This is just a really well written song that uses a simple verse riff to lead up to a very soothing chorus. Another mellow song that can get pretty heavy at times was, “Waiting For the Rain.” The vocal performance matched with the acoustic arrangement is brilliantly executed. I especially liked the guitar solo which perfectly compliments the song’s deep emotional tone. 

    Other songs that I liked which I thought fit well with album’s title were “Southern Comfort” and “Fuck Sobriety.” I thought the punk vibe that, “Fuck Sobriety,” offered up was really adrenaline pumping. I can just see them playing that song live with a gigantic pit forming full of headbangers and punks going bat shit crazy. Lastly, they have a song on here called, "No Tey Vayas," which is sung in Spanish I believe. X-Method is kind of big down in Peru and the Latin America region, so I thought that was very cool. 

    In the end, X-Method gives listeners so much to take away from their album, “Sex, Alcohol, Rebel Music.” Even if one track really does not grab you, there are so many songs on this album that are simply well written to where you will find something that fits your hard rock and metal mood. I commend X-Method for their hard work and know they will relentlessly tour and raise hell once the album is released...It comes out in a couple days... so VERY soon! 

Preview a song from X-Method below:

X-Method Facebook Page: