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:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Concert Review: Metaluma 2016


    After many years of heavy metal history where bands like Metallica back in the day would play to young ravenous crowds, the Phoenix Theater hosted a festival that happened to be appropriately titled. “Metaluma 2016,” featured four tremendous metal bands from San Francisco and the local area. You had hard rockers Sweet Addiction from Santa Rosa, Sonoma County die hard thrash warriors Trecelence, Space Vacation from hailing from SF, and headlining the show was classic metal worshippers Hell Fire from SF. Plus, that disco roller skating dude who wears the unitard showed up and made his presence known. Yes my readers, this is a festival to talk about for many years...or, until next years Metaluma Fest when the spandex saxophone dude who plays, “Careless Whisper,” shows up...

    Upon arriving at the historic venue, I was glad to see the metal maniacs hanging around the venue looking determined to get inside and bang their heads to the four metal acts who were billed for the evening. This was a very solid line-up and I think having a metal fest/show at the Phoenix Theater is always a good idea. I must say that seeing the wall of Marshall amplifiers already on the stage was a positive selling point for a metal show. Hell, I bet people could hear the music from about a block away! 

    Opening the show with lights flashing and guitars blasting out massive amounts of distortion was Sweet Addiction. These guys came ready to rock and roll in arena rock like style. I thought they had a very impressive stage production going on, but the band seemed to be mixed too loud in my opinion and the riffs at times were muffled. They seem to have very catchy hard rock sounding songs, which went over well with the audience. Their singer reminded me of a young Axl Rose with the scarf hanging over his mic stand and he was also a solid frontman overall. At least unlike Axl, this guy showed up on time and he never threw a tantrum onstage. The band added in a decent cover of Black Sabbath’s, “Paranoid,” towards the end of their set and the crowd was wildly singing along. I thought they did a solid job opening the show and deserved to open some beers after they finished their set. 

Sweet Addiction 

    Second up and representing the Sonoma County Metal Community with youthful passion and impressive instrumental skills was Trecelence. Last time I saw these guys was back in February, so I was interested in hearing some of the new songs that will be featured on their debut full-length album that comes out in the fall (totally not a plug...). They also had played the previous night, which I think shows their passion for the music and hard work ethic when it comes to playing live. Tonight the band put on an overall kick ass set with a few moments where I could not hear certain members due to slight monitor and sound issues. Also, drummer Ilan Cabrera had one of those attack of the drum kit moments, but rebounded with great precision and determination when playing through the rest of the songs. The guitar playing from both Chris Olney Burnett and Donnie Small was nothing short of insane and brilliant at times. I seriously don’t know how they can rip through scales while banging their heads and then suddenly transitioning to skull crushing riffs of thunderous chord striking madness. Bassist and vocalist Zane Covington as always sings with great energy and plays his bass like a savage nordic barbarian warrior. I am really digging the new material and can’t wait to hear this new album after hearing the songs live. 


    Well, once Trecelence finished the third band, Space Vacation, started getting ready for their offering of metal music for the audience. These guys had a classic metal sound that was very melodic at times. Their twin guitar attack did less technical shredding and focused more on coming up with catchy melodic guitar parts. The band’s lead guitarist could really shred when needed, but always maintained a solid guitar sound. Disco roller dude was really getting into the band’s music and decided to go onstage and film the band. If he were to do that at the concert venue I work at, we would be dragging him right out the venue. Space Vacation did not mind the unique character onstage and in all played some awesome tunes during their set. Ending in true rock and roll fashion the band’s lead guitarist took off his belt and hit his guitar without any remorse. Definitely an exciting and entertaining way to finish a set. 

Space Vacation 

    Finally, the evening's headliner, Hell Fire, took to the stage and received a loud response from the metal fans. Even after the three previous highly energetic bands, the crowd was till yelling and moving around. This would be my third time seeing Hell Fire and I was trying to figure out how they would top the time I saw them play with Night Demon and NWOBHM icons Satan. Hell Fire has that classic NWOBHM sound and reminds me a lot of Maiden at times with their fast tempo riffs and epic melodic lead guitar parts. It is definitely music to bang you head to and throw up the devil horns. Jake Nunn is a strong singer and knows how to get the crowd going crazy. The two guitar attack was in full metal force during their set with Tony Campos and Jon Mendle trading off some killer riffs and leads. I do believe the show stealer at times was bassist Herman Bandala. He could really thrown in some wicked fills and during certain songs added so much extra emphasis behind the riffs. Drummer Arturo Rios was also bringing a lot to the table by pounding on his kit with great passion. These guys were the perfect choice to end the night and have a lot going for them if they keep putting in the hard work. 

Hell Fire

    Wrapping up this review I feel Metaluma 2016 was a great event to hold at the Phoenix Theater and all the bands delivered until the very end of the night. Some might say, only four bands does not really seem like a festival...well, those particular whinny people can shove it, because I think the billing without question worked out in the end and made for one awesome show. Also, just like most music festivals there was an interesting character who shall be remembered by everyone in attendance. Metal music and roller disco dudes, that is what will make Petaluma great again...