Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lustre "Still Innocence"

    In a growing world where people will build housing developments without any consideration for the natural world, Lustre’s new album, “Still Innocence,” is an offering of sound to remind listener’s of the majestic powers of nature that we should appreciate more often.

    Lustre is a name in the world of atmospheric black metal that many fans of come to admire and consider to be one of the most innovative acts around. Whereas Summoning takes listeners away to the lands of Middle Earth, Lustre takes listeners on a journey through the natural world in vivid dreamlike fashion. The sole mastermind behind Lustre, Nachzeit, has established himself as one of atmospheric black metal’s most creative composers whose catalog is vast and full of impressive releases. “Still Innocence,” marks the Swedish based musicians 6th studio album and continues to explore the spiritual sounding synth landscapes of atmospheric brilliance.

    As with all Lustre recordings, you find yourself letting go of this modern world’s chaos and becoming one with the sounds of soothing atmospheric wonder. The drum arrangements matched with the main keyboard parts construct such an uplifting and harmonious sound. Opening the album, “Dreaded Still,” serves as the introduction to what will become a journey through the atmospheric sounding world given to us by Lustre. The next song, “Nestle Within,” brings about a sense of innocence amongst the cathartic musical environment.

    Where I live Fall is just beginning and the song, “Let Go Like Leaves of Fall,” happens to be a great soundtrack for the season. The overall tone is relaxing, cosmic and layered with solemn sounds to fill your ears. I highly recommend listening to the song while out for a hike, because you might feel a special connection with the natural world around you.

    Track number four, “Reverence Road,” is a longer piece that utilizes more guitar sound to create a wall of distortion that the keyboard follows along to with a trail of melodic notes. Lustre is known for writing long piece of music which contain many different layers and atmospheric structures. However, I would consider this track to not match up with some of my favorite Lustre songs such as “Amongst the Trees,” and “Echoes of Transcendence.” For this album though I do believe, “Reverence Road,” is a solid song when relating to the album’s overall theme.

    The final song, “Without End,” is yet another splendid piece of glorious sounding atmospheric music. You feel a sense of positive closure after an album that took you away from the insanity of a modern world so hellbent on forgetting that without nature our planet will become a massive heap of garbage.

    In the end Lustre once again brought to life the beauty of nature through atmospheric sounding compositions. Is this the greatest Lustre album to date? Open for debate of course, but I will say that this is one of the most well produced and enjoyable albums to come out this year. I believe from start to finish that if you enjoy atmospheric black metal, you will be intently listening to this therapeutic work of outstanding musical talent.

Preview Lustre "Nestle Within" below:

Make sure to order your copy of the album through Nordvis Produktion:

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Game Over "Claiming Supremacy"

    Game’s Over new album, “Claiming Supremacy,” is a thrash metal assault looking to make claim over the metal world by unleashing distorted riffs of headbanging ravenous fury. Also, I believe this could be the band’s best release to date, which is saying something because I do not think their previous releases are to be overlooked.

    I am quite familiar with these Italian thrash metal musicians as I remember reviewing their second album, “Burst into the Quite,” which was released through Scarlett Records. Ever since I reviewed that album I have reviewed every new Game Over release. On each new album I hear the band getting even better, especially pertaining to songwriting and musicianship. The band knows how to compose some catchy riffs along with vivid lyrical content that takes control of your metal mind.

    Out of the ten tracks you will not find one throw away song, because Game Over is not a band to write a generic piece of worship rubbish. As I said before, the band keeps building off previous releases and finds new ways to utilize their vicious and ravenous thrash sound. The opening instrumental piece, “Onward to the Blackness,” contains an eerie synth part like something from a John Carpenter film and then demonstrates the solid guitar talents that this band has to offer. The chord progression matched with the epic lead part towards the end made this one of the most well produced intro’s I have heard in a longtime.

   The second song, “Two Steps in the Shadows,” begins where the opening instrumental finished and explodes into a furious jam of riff insanity. There are some killer bass lines and the drumming adds such a devastating impact at times. Game Over’s vocalist lays down some raw shouts of unapologetic rage that compliment the vicious guitar parts. Track three, “Last Before the End,” hits your ears with some bombastic drumming and crushing riffs. The next song, “My Private Nightmare,” tears through more speed demon like thrash riffs and has a very old school thrash sound.

    The song, “Blessed are the Heretics,” is a song I have heard before when I reviewed the Ep by the same. That track was a great preview of what this album would sound like and I think the lead guitar playing on the song showed how Game Over is really coming along in terms of technicality. The songs “Eleven” and “Broken Trails,” are gritty cuts of thrash that make you just want to bang your head and run into the pit. Adding some variation to the album, “Shattered Souls,” is an instrumental piece of classical acoustic guitar. Game Over has done this before with the acoustic guitar composition thrown in on previous releases and I think it really shows how they are extremely talented musicians.

    Track number nine, “Lysander,” has a very raw sound and the chorus in the song is well presented by the vocalist with his unforgiving bold style of singing. Finishing the album in explosive thrash style is, “Show Me What you Got.” There are numerous catchy riff sections that you find stuck in your head once the song is over.

    After listening to Game over's new album, I am reminded why I keep reviewing each new release from these guys. The production was top notch, the riffs were killer and the music reminded you of old school thrash, yet was presented in a distinct and original manner. Game Over’s “Claiming Supremacy,” is an album to definitely check out and the band is sure to be releasing more material based on their past record. When it comes to new thrash metal music, the game is never over for Game Over...they just keep music coming!

Game Over Facebook Page:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

On Top "Top Dollar"

    Provocative album covers and some down and dirty eighties hard rock and metal music seems to be On Top’s formula. These Philadelphia rockers bring the loud guitar attack along with those songs that remind you of LA in the eighties and when Chris Holmes still had a liver that was sort of functional.

    This trio has crossed my path before with their previous EP appropriately titled, “Topless,” which featured the backside of a naked tattooed vixen. I do feel that their new EP, “Top Dollar,” is a slight improvement to where band is trying to break out of that generic hard rock and metal worship category and are climbing towards the peaks of being a strong act. Still, there are areas where I feel the band could improve.

    Now, the musicianship from this power trio should not to be overlooked. The guitar playing is exciting and the riffs on the new EP really grab your attention. Also, the production isn’t to shabby, especially the drum sound and bass tone. On Top’s sound is tight and the production for the album is definitely welcomed. On Top’s singer has a unique style that compliments the instrumental compositions by being less melodic and more ballsy with plenty of pissed off sounding attitude.

    The EP contains four songs of rock and roll fury with “Lovin’ the Devil,” “Walk the Walk,” “Everything,” and “This Way.” The band stays extremely consistent on each track and musically there is little variation. I guess you can take that as a positive if you are looking for a consistent and solid rock release, however, don’t expect some dynamic twenty minute epic if that is what you are searching for musically. I really enjoyed, “Lovin’ the Devil,” the most and the intro guitar lead was a great way to begin the song. The guitarist has a great tone and sort of steals the show by laying down plenty of killer riffs.

    Track number two, “Walk the Walk,” is a decent track and the lyrical presentation is strong. The singer sounds pissed off as if someone has taken his beer and his money then tricked him into signing a record deal where he has lost all the rights to his music. I thought track number three, “Everything,” contained a catchy main riff along with a feverish main rhythm. “This Way,” ended the album with yet another ripping hard rock attack and was really not much different is structure to the previous tracks.

    Overall, I am torn when deciding how to give a final assessment of this EP. I think if this was the first time hearing On Top I would not be as impressed, but because I have reviewed an EP of theirs before I definitely applaud the improvement. The guitar playing was taken to another level, which I think the band should build off of with their next release. Maybe incorporate some more variation into the songs and always work towards crafting songs with substance. In the end, these guys are doing a solid job and I look forward to their album cover pissing off those SJW feminist types. You never know, these guys might bring back the Sunset Strip days by releasing a killer album, although I don’t think Chris Holmes’s liver will ever return to normal.

On Top "Lovin' the Devil" :

Monday, August 28, 2017

Recommendation: Graveland "Thousand Swords"

    After wanting to own a physical copy of Graveland’s “Thousand Swords” for many years, I was finally able to acquire the album on vinyl from Hells Headbangers. “Thousand Swords,” is one of my favorite black metal albums and in my opinion features some of the most profound black metal recordings one can find. I've decided to write a recommendation in hopes of getting more people to check out this classic black metal release that I find to be extremely enjoyable.

    Released in 1995, the album was the band’s second full-length album following their debut, “Carpathian Wolves,” along with a handful of killer demos. When comparing “Thousand Swords” to their previous works one can hear where Graveland finally forms their unique musical identity. Rob Darken the main driving force behind Graveland composed what I consider to be the soundtrack for an assault on Christianity by a Pagan army of merciless warriors. Along with drummer, Capricornus, the songs contain a raw and unholy sound of distorted bombastic terror.

    The album’s intro builds up great anticipation for the first song, “Blood of Christians on My Sword,” and once the main riff begins you feel drawn into the harsh sounding assault of musical carnage. There are some clever tempo changes that demonstrate how the band does not just come up with straightforward tremolo picking black metal riffs. The next song, “Thousand Swords” continues the war like theme with more fearsome sounding riffs and drum parts. There are these horns that blare  over the music as if signaling for an attack upon a helpless village and adds to the albums strong theme.

    “The Dark Battlefield” and “The Time for Revenge,” maintain that raw black metal sound by unleashing more extreme sounding pieces of distorted grim chaos. I also find Darken’s vocals to be some of the most haunting black metal vocals and they work well with the instrumental compositions. On “Born for War,” you can hear the unapologetic attitude of the band come through the vicious main verse section. “Black Metal War,” is a short yet aggressive sounding track and declares war against those who are the enemies of this type of music. The final song, “To Die in Fight,” features some powerful lyrics that tell of falling in battle and awaiting the journey to that hall up high with the other fallen warriors.

    Overall, I find “Thousand Swords” to be such an underrated black metal release that deserves more attention. We have given too much exposure to the Norwegian black metal scene and all there albums, and I feel it is important to focus on the accomplishments of Graveland who have been very influential over the years amongst the underground black metal community.

    I also want to bring attention to how I am disgusted my Antifa and all those SJW morons who have labeled Graveland’s music as racist and a tool for promoting white supremacy. These groups don’t have a clue, because not once on “Thousand Swords” do you hear the band trying to promote Nazi ideology. The music is about paying homage to their European Pagan ancestors, so the whole they are Nazi sympathizers needs to stop. In conclusion, check out this album if you have not and remember to ignore those Antifa jerks who are the real fascist... and pieces of shit.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Paralysis Album "Life Sentence"

    Usually when I think of New Jersey and thrash metal two bands come to mind right away, those two being Overkill and Whiplash. After listening to Paralysis and their debut full-length release, “Life Sentence,” it looks like there is another band from the Garden State that knows how to deliver some cranium crushing thrash metal music.

    Paralysis is a young band with tons of potential and the music on this debut full-length demonstrates great crossover thrash talent. There are too many bands who rush their recordings and release in my opinion generic worship music which shows no imagination and consideration for quality. The production quality and the songwriting are two areas where I felt Paralysis did very well, especially considering this is their first full-length album. Although they are not reinventing the wheel, these guys are keeping that brutal crossover thrash style alive and kicking.

    “Life Sentence,” contains ten songs of headbanging aggression with raw thrash riffs that will conjure instantaneous mosh pits of relentless brutality. The opening track, “Ignorance,” brilliantly builds up anticipation with a killer bass riff and the slower tempo eventually explodes into a tornado of thrash chaos. I really liked the singers vocal style and he delivers the lyrics with an aggressive and unapologetic attitude. Plus, the vocals were extremely well recorded, so the lyrics vividly standout during the song. The second song, “Your Will,” contains some catchy riffs that fans of old school thrash will feverishly enjoy.

    Songs like the title track and track number four “Misery,” don’t stray far away from the traditional crossover thrash formula, but these guys do not write boring recycled riffs of monotonous garbage. Other tracks I want to mention would be, “Deepest Void,” “Nothing But Death,” and “Karma.” The lead guitar part at the end of, “Deepest Void,” sounded great when matched with the overall composition. “Nothing But Death,” contains an adrenaline pumping verse riff that makes way for a classic sounding eighties thrash chorus section. The final song on the album, “Karma,” hammers out some intense sounding riffs that are as fast as a blood craving shark. I really hope their live shows bring about the same level of energy which they offered up on this album, because I bet the venue would be decimated after their set.

    I find when evaluating young metal bands you need to understand that even though their style of music is nothing new, at least they are breathing new life into the genre and keeping the music alive. Paralysis showed that they know how to write some vicious sounding riffs, lay down some tight drum parts and can get the job done by recording some good quality crossover thrash. In the years to come we shall see where Paralysis will take their music, but I hope they always maintain their solid raw and unforgiving sound. Like with all those bands who came before, it is about crafting a sound that can stand the test of time. I do believe Paralysis is on a good path and I think the world of thrash will begin to take more notice with the release of this new album.

Paralysis "Life Sentence" :

Paralysis Facebook Page:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Toxik "Breaking Class"

    Highly respected for being a pioneering force in the world technical and progressive thrash, Toxik is seeking to conquer 2017 with some epic new material. The band will be releasing a new three song EP called, “Breaking Class,” August 4th and there is talk of a full-length album to be out around the end of the year.

    Although Toxik may not receive the same mainstream recognition as Metallica, the band has a strong cult following who will lose their metal minds once they hear Toxik is releasing new material. Toxik’s first two albums, “World Circus” (1987) and “Think This” (1989) are brilliant releases that pushed thrash into a more technical and progressive world back in that mid-eighties to late-eighties period. I have friends who play in bands that worship Toxik and work on crafting their music in a similar fashion by being progressive with thrash instead of just copying the same old generic song structures.

    The new EP, “Breaking Class,” features three songs that continue to fuel the minds of thrash fanatics with insane lead parts accompanied by thought provoking lyrics. Josh Christian, guitarist and founding member of Toxik, is an unbelievable player with such a tremendous technical style that crafts some wicked riffs. Singer Charles Sabin who joined the band for the “Think This” album, delivers a killer vocal performance and I think he is one of the best singers in the thrash/speed metal genre. Toxik has always been about high caliber musicianship, so one should expect that this new music is far from basic and simplistic.

    The opening song, “Stand Up,” starts out with an eerie sound clip of children singing “America the Beautiful” and then explodes into a furious thrash assault. Josh lays down some vicious riffs of blistering fury and his leads are extremely well executed. He demonstrates that playing fast does not mean shit if your solos can’t compliment the music. All around the band’s sound is impactful and each musician contributes an equal amount of monumental energy to the song.

    The second track, “Breaking Class,” definitely maintains that rapid fire tempo of technical thrash madness with crushing drum parts and blazing guitar riffs. Some of the riffs even reminded me of something you would have heard on, “World Circus.” Instead of just hammering out recycled riffs, Toxik strives to add a refreshing variety of clever sounding instrumental compositions. The final song, “Psyop,” is probably my favorite song off the EP. There are plenty of dynamic compositions that fans will be frantically banging their heads along to when listening at max volume. Musically you just can’t complain and the song keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

    Even though there are only three songs, fans of Toxik are going to want to pick this up when it is released. Also, I am definitely looking forward to a full-length release from Toxik. Unlike some bands who return after a long hiatus, Toxik is not hastily rushing to throw an album together. These guys take pride in their music and the new tracks show a desire to offer fans some brilliant technical and progressive thrash metal. Plus, I think right about now is a great time for Toxik to return since the world is truly becoming a World Circus! …Just look at the news! ...Don't do that actually, but instead listen to Toxik!

Toxik "Stand Up" :

Toxik Facebook:

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Phylactery "Necromancy Enthroned"

    Hellish death thrash devastation invades the metal world with Phylactery’s debut full-length release, “Necromancy Enthroned.” These Canadian extreme metal musicians take the relentless speed of thrash with the unforgiving brutality of old school death metal and create some terrorizing sounds of unholy proportions.

    Phylactery happens to be yet another band from Unspeakable Axe Records that does not disappoint and knows how to construct solid extreme metal music. Their debut album features eleven tracks of vicious riffs, thunderous drumming and demonic sounding vocals of unworldly terror. For their first album I think the band did a solid job crafting a unique raw and brutal sound that simply does not fall into the category of generic metal garbage.

    Each track on the album runs about the same length of time and the songs are usually about two to three minutes long. I think length of each song is just perfect for the band to deliver their merciless death thrash assault. If the songs were longer I believe the band would be recycling riffs to the point of complete and unbearable redundancy. The opening song off the album, “Risen Restless Dead,” wastes no time by thrashing away at a flesh tearing riff. Even though the song is short there are plenty of distinct riffs that are vicious yet extremely catchy. The band’s nonstop aggression continues on the second track, “Wisdom of Heretics,” with bombastic drumming and lightning fast guitar parts. I really liked the guitar solo, because the lead guitarist composed something that actually complimented the song instead of being a random hurricane of obnoxious shredding. Don’t get me wrong, I like shredding when it has a purpose and is not just an excuse to show how fast you can play through scales.

    Out of the elven tracks I find choosing a favorite to be a difficult task, but I will name some of the ones that I think standout a little more than the others. “Morbid Existence,” is a furious cut of metal music with insane sounding verse sections accompanied by haunting vocal parts. “Where I Dwell” contains some bone crushing guitar riffs and the bass sound adds an extra explosion to the distorted fiery chaos. I have talked about this before in previous reviews and still want to stress the importance of having a strong bass sound. There are some bands who turn the bass volume down to where I question if the bass player even showed up during the recording process. The final song I want to mention is, “Enslaved by the Dawn.” On this track the band delivers some nasty riffs of raw thrash attitude. I want to try and compare them to other bands, however, it is hard because their sound takes from so many different extreme metal elements.

    For their debut album I think Phylactery did a great job being themselves and leaving room for them to take their music into an even more unforgiving and brutal level. Some bands want to hit home runs for their first album, but sometimes just offering a consistent brutal sound is enough to peak the interest of listeners. Highly recommended for people who desire some vicious thrash and raw old school death metal blended together into one diabolical concoction. Also, I recommend people check them out because they are signed to Unspeakable Axe Records. I trust Unspeakable Axe Records more than I trust the people in charge of running the state I live in…

Phylactery "Unholy Empire" :

Phylactery Facebook Page:

Unspeakable Axe Records Facebook:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Necrot "Blood Offerings"

    Unforgiving, relentless and ear splitting riffs of crypt desecrating madness is what Necrot unleashes upon the metal world with their debut full-length album, “Blood Offerings.” These Bay Area death metal musicians have become a force to be reckoned with amongst the underground metal community. The time just seems right for them to make their conquest across the brutal landscape of extreme music by showing no mercy with the release of their debut album.

    After the release of their compilation of remastered demo songs, “Labyrinth,” I have noticed Necrot feverishly putting in the effort and keeping their extreme brand of old school sounding death metal firing on all cylinders. The work ethic is what I respect the most about these guys and the songs on this new album demonstrate what it takes to truly craft some brutal pieces of cranial crushing metal. “Blood Offerings,” is the perfect conjuring of raw old school death metal with a brilliant and unmistakable sound that comes from years of passionate dedication for extreme music.

    Like any great trio in rock or metal history, the skill level combined creates such impactful music. The vocals provided by singer and bassist Luca Indrio are bold and merciless. Sonny Reinhardt's vicious guitar playing abilities add such a boost of aggression. Also, his lead parts are precise and get to the point instead of being an extra thirty seconds  of aimless shredding. Drummer Chad Gailey plays an important role laying down some crushing drum parts. The recording of his drum sound on the new album is well executed and injects tremendous force into the already bombastic sounding riff sections.

    Out of the eight tracks on the album, you are going to find yourself struggling to choose a favorite. For the opening song, “The Blade,” the band unleashes a blistering assault of riff carnage. Chad ushers in the destruction by pounding out some thunderous rhythms from his kit. Sonny’s guitar solo provides a wicked touch to the already devastating sound by offering a flurry of sinister sounding notes that are perfectly incorporated into the song. Track number two, “Rather Be Dead,” wastes no time and dives into the chaos with a rapid fire sounding verse section. The riffs are very catchy and provide optimal moments to bang your head. On the next song, “Shadows and Light,” Necrot maintains their feverish old school sound with Luca presenting some haunting growls. The title track off of the album, “Blood Offerings,” is ferocious sounding and keeps your attention focused on the monstrous sounding instrumental compositions. Sonny’s string bends toward the end of the song send chills down your spine as the song comes to a close.

    The second half of the album is just as solid as the first half, so there is little time to catch your breath. Song number five, “Empty Hands,” sounds like something from the Tucker era of Morbid Angel. The tempo fluctuates yet conveys this sound of suffocating musical brutality. “Beneath,” and “Breathing Machine,” hit you hard in the gut with thick distorted guitar and bass riffs. The final song, “Layers of Darkness,” begins with a bone grinding riff of relentless chugging fury along with Chad’s intense style of drumming. There are no dual moments, so until the song ends you will be possessed by the unholy sounding power of Necrot.

    From the impressive recording quality to the consistent songwriting, "Blood Offerings" is an album for all those fans who enjoy old school death metal with an unforgiving spirit of unfound brutality. Also, the album is a great example of what happens when a band does not hastily throw material together and knows how to write a strong album from top to bottom. Necrot may not be reinventing the wheel of extreme music, however, their tight sound and solid songwriting skills are quite desirable in the world of extreme music at the moment. We need more bands like Necrot and less bands that sound like a tsunami of musical diarrhea...

Make sure to get your copy of the album from either Tankcrimes (CD) or Sentient Ruin (Cassette). Two great DIY labels from the Bay Area! 

Necrot "Empty Hands"

Friday, May 5, 2017

Demonsmoke "Morphine Moonshine"

    Traveling through the air on dark wings, the monumental distorted power from Demonsmoke’s music brings forth an onslaught of unforgiving doom and sludge devastation. Hailing from the wastelands of Antioch, CA the band offers listeners a juggernaut of sheer doom with their debut album, “Morphine Moonshine.”

    When I saw Demonsmoke play in a Petaluma diver bar about a couple years back, I remember thinking these guys had the potential to write some really crushing music. Their sound is very tight and the band gives every ounce of energy when playing their songs. The vicious passion from the singer’s delivery to the nasty sounding riffs of sinister reverb, unleashes a sound that stays in your head. Honestly, this debut album surpasses what I originally thought they were capable of recording. I remember them being a solid band, but the musicianship and songwriting on this debut album is utterly amazing. Also, getting Greg Wilkinson to record the album was a good choice since he really captured the raw and unapologetic attitude that Demonsmoke can deliver through their music.

    Out of the nine songs on this album you will not find one piece of generic music. I am talking endless skull crushing fuzz guitar riffs and bluesy sludge rhythms that make you want to bang your head into oblivion. The opening song, “Creeping Down Your Neck,” was actually featured on the band’s three song demo which I picked up at the show in Petaluma. Also, featured on that demo were “Morphine Moonshine,” and “Sever.” All three songs sounded great on the demo and have somehow been elevated to even greater heights on the new album. Demonsmoke writes solid verse sections that eventually reach these behemoth climaxes filled with earth shattering drum parts and riffs of glorious doom.

    “Morphine Moonshine,” is one of the song’s that stands out the most with its rebellious audio clip from the movie, “The Wild Angels,” in the beginning on the song, followed shortly by their singer’s cry of torment over the bombastic riff attack. I want to live inside that guitar amp because the tone is insanely addicting. Another song that I want to mention is, “Spewing Disgust,” which contains some demonic and vitriolic vocal parts with plenty of low end destruction coming from the drummer and bass player. Once again the riff tears through the speakers spewing distorted sounding hatred without remorse.

    Track number five on the album, “Set in Stoned,” is another solid piece of doom and has a killer bass intro that creates a haunting buzz of noise right before the band kicks into a heavy jam section. Songs like, “Through the Sun,” and “Backside of the Spoon,” have this hypnotic vibe going at times, yet they convey an extremely raw and bold attitude. The band also does an impress cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Junkie,” by taking the music and applying their own vicious sludge and doom interpretation. The last song on the album to mention is, “Sawed Off Sociopath.” I thought it was one of the band’s heaviest songs which is saying something, because all the songs on this album are unbelievably heavy. While the guitarist hammers away to the main riff you stand there anticipating each note of sludgy aggression.

    Compared to a lot of Sabbath like doom and sludge worship bands, Demonsmoke does not mess around and has their shit together. The production was flawless and the strong recording quality made these musicians sound great from start to finish. For a debut album the band should be extremely proud of what they accomplished. Each song is well written and does not sound like it was hastily thrown together. Demonsmoke is a great example of how the power of the riff can still conjure up some killer sounding tunes. If you enjoy sludge and doom metal and want a cascade of loud distorted aggressive sounding music to come crashing down into your ears, you need to get this album right away!

Demonsmoke Facebook Page:

Friday, April 14, 2017

Death of Kings "Kneel Before None"

    In a world that needs more brutal sounding metal bands and less whiny indie rock bands, Death of Kings new album, Kneel Before None, arrives with a vengeance of pure unforgiving thrash. The Atlanta, GA based band’s new release is a culmination of their hard work and determination to create merciless sounding thrash metal music.

    I reviewed the band’s 7” single, Hell Comes to Life, just a few months ago and was extremely impressed by the new song from that single along with their killer cover of Judas Priest’s, “Hell Patrol.” That single gave people a great preview of what was to come with the release of, Kneel Before None. I think Death of Kings right now is firing on all cylinders, because the music on the new album does not disappoint and there is a consistency to their songs that I don’t hear often from most current metal bands.

    Another area where Death of Kings shines on the new album is the overall production and recording quality. The production is solid throughout the album, so there are none of those moments where you begin to question if someone fell asleep while working in the studio. From the recording of the drums and guitars to the vocals, the band sounds like they are determined to unleash that raw extreme sound on each track. I also found that the guitar solos really complimented the compositions on this album. Sometimes you get those bands who throw in awkward solos to where they are just trying to show listeners how fast they can play instead of making the music sound tight.

    There are nine tracks on the new album, so I consider there to be nine opportunities to bang your head and mosh around your bedroom. The first song, “Shadow of the Reaper,” is a vicious assault of chaotic sounding riffs and furious drumming. Lead vocalist and guitarist, Matt Matson, provides some hellish screams to compliment the song’s blasphemous sound. Fellow guitarist Matt Kilpatrick uses his instrument to decimate your speakers with plenty of skull crushing riffs. Drummer Amos Rifkin and bassist Scott Price establish a solid rhythm section and are sort of the unsung heroes in my opinion. For some reason those guitars players get all the attention, but you definitely need a strong rhythm section to provide a solid backbone for those crushing riffs and blistering lead parts.

    Once the main riffs in the second song, “Sojourn,” kicks in with its malicious sounding tone, you wonder if you will be able to survive the massive metal onslaught. Track number three, “Regicidal,” is probably my favorite song on the album and contains elements of more than just thrash metal. There are some death growls used to contrast with Matt’s style of vocals. The music takes you on this extreme rollercoaster that you wish would never end. The next song, “Descent Into Madness,” feverishly grinds out relentless sounding riff after relentless sounding riff. Tracks five and six, “Hell Comes to Life” and “Knifehammer,” are previously released singles added to the album. I consider, “Hell Comes to Life,” to be another one of my favorites as that song sounds as though Hell has risen up from below to reign upon Earth for all eternity. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    The final three songs, “Plague (Upon the World),” “Too Fast For Blood” and “Revel in Blasphemy,” maintains that ferocious sounding attack you heard on the previous six tracks. “Too Fast For Blood,” is a nasty piece of old school sounding thrash with this slight Exodus vibe. I thought, “Revel in Blasphemy,” was a strong choice to finish the album since I really liked the ending riff section. You feel as though the entire world around you is crumbling away as the guitar players unapologetically strike their instruments.

    If you were to ask me: what is one of the best sounding metal albums to come out in 2017 with an emphasis on consistency from start to finish? I would not hesitate to consider, Kneel Before None, as my first choice. Although they are not pushing the boundaries of metal music by incorporating latin jazz music with endless random scale runs, I appreciate Death of Kings for taking their enthusiasm for heavy metal and creating some extremely solid metal music. When will some bands realize that it is better to sound consistent than to write a tornado of musical diarrhea?! At least we know that at the end of the day, we can be assured that the hard work and brutal sounding thrash metal music from Death of Kings will always be there to appease our ravenous metal souls.

Death of Kings Facebook Page:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Game Over "Blessed Are the Heretics"

    Game Over is a band that simply does not record an album and then disappears for a few years before returning to the studio. Last year the band released their third full-length album, Crimes Against Reality, and now they are back this year with a brand new EP called, Blessed Are the Heretics.

    These Italian thrashers have been on my radar since I reviewed their second album, Burst Into the Quiet. That release is well worth checking out and conveys such a raw old school thrash sound. Also, I have definitely heard an improvement in their sound since I reviewed that second album. When I reviewed Crimes Against Reality last year, I was impressed by the band’s hard work and dedication to take their sound into a more technical and dynamic direction.

    This new EP features a brand new song, a re-recorded version in Italian of the song “No More” from the band’s second album, a cover of Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and three live recordings. Game Over’s new song, “Blessed Are the Heretics,” reassures people that the band knows how to conjure up a fierce piece of thrash metal music with an unapologetic attitude. I thought the song’s production stood out the most for me. The track is not another generic thrash tune with basic boring palm muted riffs. There are some unique compositions to demonstrate a more progressive style of thrash which I notice Game Over is starting to focus more on.

    The second song on the EP is a re-recorded version of the song, “No More,” which is now titled, “Mai Più.” I liked the idea to record the song in Italian and felt the band did a great job presenting the lyrics in their mother tongue. For their cover of Dead or Alive’s, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record), I was quite interested in hearing how the band would tackle this 80’s pop song. To my surprise the band cleverly converted the 80's one-hit wonder into a nuclear assault of thrash fury. The band’s vocalist provides some solid vocals to compliment the song’s fast paced tempo. I can actually picture some metal maniacs thrashing around in front of the stage during this cover.

    Listeners who enjoy live recordings will want to check out the final three tracks on the EP. The final three songs, “Mountains of Madness,” “Fix Your Brain” and “C.H.U.C.K.” are killer live versions of songs from the band’s previous releases. I personally enjoyed, “C.H.U.C.K.” the most out of the three live recordings since that is one of my favorite Game Over songs. The band summons that sinister riff driven old school thrash sound and I really like the bass parts during the song. That bass sound is something I would expect to hear from bands like Anthrax, Nuclear Assault or Overkill.

    Once again, Game Over is keeping the relentless thrash attack moving forward by putting out yet another solid release with, Blessed Are the Heretics. For the last three years I have reviewed three Game Over releases and I look forward to more music from these dedicated enthusiastic thrashers. If you are a fanatical fan of thrash metal I recommend checking out this new EP and the previous Game Over releases. I find that the metal world needs to put less emphasis on Metallica possibly collaborating with Lady Gaga and pay more attention to bands like Game Over. The up and coming acts such as Game Over are helping to keep the thrash metal legacy alive and I hope they continue to carry on the flag for many more years.

Game Over "C.H.U.C.K." :

Game Over Facebook Page:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Classic Albums Review: Rush "Presto / Roll the Bones"

    2017 is sure shaping up to be a good year for rock and metal music. I have reviewed a fair amount of impressive releases with plenty more to come. Even with all these new albums coming out, I always find myself listening to Rush.

    As of recent I have been listening to Presto and Roll the Bones. In my opinion, these two albums are extremely important in the band’s history and begin the transition from their heavily electronic synthesizer sound to the more traditional power trio formula focusing primarily on drums, bass and guitar. Although the band still uses synthesizers on these two albums, you start to notice them moving away from the sound on Power Windows and Hold Your Fire. Also, I felt Neil’s lyrics started to take on a slightly different tone compared to their previous albums. The words from the songs can really relate to what people go through when dealing with a difficult and demanding society. Neil has always had that ability to write such meaningful lyrics, however, I notice the songs from Presto and Roll the Bones are extremely relatable.

    We start with, Presto, the band’s thirteenth studio album which was released in 1989. The band recorded the album at the legendary recording studio, Le Studio, in Morin-Heights, Quebec. Rush definitely moved away from the previous releases with regard to the heavy emphasis on synthesizers, but if you listen carefully there are still a decent amount of synth arrangements. Overall the music on this album is dynamic yet does not lose listeners with constant complexity. The foundations for most of the songs are very well thought out and the attention given to the verse and chorus sections instantly catches your attention. I believe the words leave an everlasting impact, while the musicianship reminds you how much talent Geddy, Alex and Neil have to offer.

    The album’s opening song, “Show Don’t Tell,” contains some of my favorite lyrics and also demonstrates the band’s instrumental genius. Some lines that stand out are, “How many times do you hear it, It goes on all day long, Everyone knows everything, And no one's ever wrong…Until later.” I find that statement is very telling about certain people and provides great advice for those who live in their own little isolated bubbles. The second track, “Chain Lightening,” is another work of musical brilliance with probably one of my favorite chorus sections. I always feel a positive vibe when listening to the song, especially when Alex breaks into the radiant sounding solo.

   Out of all the songs on the album, “The Pass,” is probably my favorite. The song talks about dealing with the serious topic of depression and feeling isolated. Neil writes the lyrics as a way to motivate people out of the darkness by not losing hope when feeling down. Geddy also provides some memorable bass lines to accompany his confident vocal delivery. The next song, “War Paint,” contains a very catchy chorus that easily gets stuck in your head. Also, Neil’s playing really drives the song by providing such a bold rhythmic supporting force to the verses.

    I will mention a few more tracks that I think standout the most on Presto, because if I go through each track off the album, this might turn into more of an essay than an article. The title track off the album features Alex’s brilliant dynamic guitar playing skills and I believe the phrasing of each note during his solo is flawless. “Anagram (For Mongo),” offers listeners a very soothing keyboard section to compliment Geddy’s vocals, while “Hand Over Fist” unleashes a very strong sounding main riff from Alex with Geddy and Neil providing solid support.

    Moving on now to Rush’s fourteenth release, Roll the Bones, we find ourselves with the band using the same recording studio and even using the same producer, Rupert Hine. Released in 1991, the album is known most for the title track which features a rap section during the song. Overall, I consider the album to be a continuation from Presto with a few slight differences. On this album the band wrote an impressive yet very modest instrumental song called, “Where’s My Thing (Part IV, “Gangster of Boats” Trilogy).” Unlike, “La Villa Strangiato,” the instrumental on Roll the Bones does not contain as many complex time signatures and the length of the song is shorter. Still, the musicianship is mesmerizing and the overall piece sounds exciting from beginning to end.

    Similar to Presto, I notice that the first three songs on Roll the Bones instantly establishes the album by coming up with extremely memorable tracks that demonstrate powerful lyrics and great musicianship. “Dreamline,” “Bravado” and “Roll the Bones,” were probably the best choices when figuring out which three songs should start off the album. I personally enjoy, “Bravado,” the most and I am always blown away by the song’s deep lyrical content. The lines, “We will pay the price, But we will not count the cost,” sort of makes you stop and think about the world around you. In my opinion, there are few bands that can come up with something as meaningful and thought provoking as Rush.

    Other tracks I wish to highlight off the album would be, “The Big Wheel,” “Heresy,” and “Ghost of a Chance.” The main riff in, “The Big Wheel,” packs such an aggressive punch and then transitions into a very vibrant and inspiring chorus. I would say I prefer the first half of the album to the second half, but it is really close. Rush simply knows how to produce great full-length albums with great engaging songs from start to finish. That is why they are the masters!

    To conclude this article, I recommend anyone who has not yet checked out these albums do so right away, because you are sure missing out on some amazing music. For all those Rush fanatics reading this article, please tell your thoughts on these two releases in the comments section and maybe even share some memories when the albums came out. The best part about being a Rush fan is that you can meet people who are just as passionate about the music as you. Plus, we can agree that no matter what the trend in music is at the time, we will always have those timeless recordings from one of rock’s greatest bands (In my opinion, they are the greatest band)!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Night Demon "Darkness Remains"

    After releasing what I considered to be the best metal album of 2015, Night Demon is looking to take 2017 by storm with the release of their second full-length album, Darkness Remains. The Ventura, CA trio’s hard work and enthusiasm for heavy metal is undeniable. Ever since the release of their four song EP, Night Demon has been relentlessly touring and appeasing those ravenous classic metal worshipping fanatics.

  I have always felt that Night Demon is not just another typical N.W.O.B.H.M. / classic metal worship act. The band plays with a tremendous level of exciting energy that keeps you engaged throughout each song. Curse of the Damned, Night Demon’s debut full-length album, is from top to bottom full of great songs and features all the elements you would want in a strong heavy metal release. Plain and simple…these guys know how to write damn good songs!

  Before I get into the tracks off the new album, I wanted to talk about the musicianship and production. Bassist / singer Jarvis Leatherby offers up some killer bass lines and does an exceptional job as the band’s frontman. Dusty Squires once again demonstrates his talents from behind the kit to where each track thrives on his ability to lay down crushing rhythms of pure metal force. The new album also marks the first Night Demon release to feature guitarist Armand John Anthony. I was in attendance for Armand’s first show with Night Demon last year after the departure of the band’s former guitarist Brent Woodward. I think Armand comes into this album bringing his own creative style and sound.

  A slight difference between this album and Curse of the Damned, is that I felt like the production on Curse of the Damned sounded a bit more raw. I especially noticed this with how the vocals were recorded. There are a fair amount of songs on Darkness Remains that focus heavily on building up these more melodic choruses. For fans expecting the more raw sound like on the EP and Curse of the Damned, they will hear a minor difference between the old material and the new songs. The new tracks definitely maintain that distinct Night Demon sound, so you can be assured that Night Demon isn't going off into some bizarre direction by adding saxophones and trumpets in their songs.

  The new releases's opening track, “Welcome to the Night,” grabs your attention right away by building up suspense and then exploding into an epic riff section. This is the album’s first single and the band even created a music video for the song. Overall I would say that it is solid song, but in my opinion it isn't one of the top songs off the album. The next track, “Hallowed Ground,” is a scorching piece of metal music with a more aggressive tone compared to the opening song. Track number three, “Maiden Hell,” is a catchy tune that references the titles of Iron Maiden songs. I thought the song was a clever way to pay homage to one of metal’s most iconic bands.

  Song number four, “Stranger in the Room,” reminded me of certain tracks off of, “Curse of the Damned,” with a slower tempo and very impactful lyrical delivery by Jarvis. For the next two tracks, “Life on the Run” and “Dawn Rider,” the band demonstrates their ability to capture that classic metal energy by coming up with some bad ass lyrics and wicked guitar riffs. I especially enjoyed the ferocious galloping riff on, “Dawn Rider,” which I guarantee will get you banging head along to the music.

  The last four songs on the album deliver a truly unforgiving punch of metal vengeance. “Black Widow,” is an intense sounding metal assault that contains a blistering solo by Armand. Also, the vocals sound great during the chorus to where you instantly start singing along. My favorite song off of the album, “On Your Own,” contains some powerful riffs and really inspiring lyrics that listeners might find very relatable. The second to last song, “Flight of the Manticore,” is a well constructed instrumental piece full of creative sounding dynamic compositions. Unlike some instrumental songs that I have heard, Night Demon does not bore people with endless amounts of random shredding. The final song, “Darkness Remains,” is rather unique compared to the other tracks. Jarvis' vocals are altered and the music takes on this gloomy atmospheric quality. The overall song sounds as though you are drifting through an eternal void of darkness as the album reaches its conclusion.

   In the end, Night Demon is still bringing the heavy metal heat with the release of Darkness Remains. Although I think Curse of the Damned was a stronger release overall, I must say that Darkness Remains is an impressive album in its own right. I look forward to hearing these new songs performed live since out of the five times I have seen the band live, they have always put on an amazing live show. So remember to mark your calendars for April 21st when the album is released worldwide, because you are definitely going to want to pick up a copy. No matter how much the world changes, I feel confident that Night Demon will always be there fighting for metal and giving us fans something to look forward to at the end of the day.

Check out the video for "Welcome to the Night" below :

Night Demon Facebook Page:

Night Demon Website:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sojourner "Empires of Ash"

    I have noticed in the last fews years there have been many stellar atmospheric black metal albums. Bands like Caladan Brood, Lustre, Dreams of Nature, Eldamar and many more, have done an amazing job crafting such epic and fascinating sounding releases. Sojourner is an up and coming atmospheric black metal band that released their debut full-length album, "Empires of Ash,” in May of last year. The band has teamed up with Fólkvangr Records and will release the cassette version of the album March 31st.

    For this article I have decided to review the album since the band is going to be releasing a cassette version. I remembered listening to a couple songs off the album last year on Lightfox177’s youtube channel. After being sent this promo for the release of the cassette version, I think it is time for me to evaluate and see what Sojourner was able to accomplish with this debut full-length release. Are they on that same atmospheric black metal level as some of the bands I listed in the first paragraph?

    To begin, the band’s sound invokes that cinematic feel one might find on a Summoning album, or the many other bands who worship Summoning. Their music is melodic yet has that grim black metal sound to achieve a contrast of atmospheric splendor. The opening song, “Bound by Blood,” does a great job getting listener’s attentions right away and the composition is well thought out. Instead of using the guitars to create more distant sound, the riffs are very prominent during the song. Overall, the opening track reassures listeners that Sojourner is capable of writing solid atmospheric black metal music. However, does the band do that for the rest of the album?

    The following tracks continue the sound and style from the first piece, but I find the music to not be as compelling and dynamic as I would have expected. There are plenty of great soothing moments that break away from the fury of the guitar and drum aggression. I just felt like the band played it safe a few times. The second track, “Heritage of the Natural Realm,” has very captivating sounding moments and would have liked to have heard that more throughout the album.

    Sojourner also goes for a very somber tone at times like with the song, “Homeward,” that I think is one of the best tracks on the album. The incorporation of melodic clean vocals with the black metal style does work at times, but is subject to moments where I thought they band could have just used the black metal style. Lastly, I want to point out how the music conveys a very epic tone. You find yourself imagining a fantastic world of nature and old majestic kingdoms beyond our mundane society full of lazy people enslaved to technology.

    In the end, Sojourner’s, “Empires of Ash,” is a really good sounding first album full of long epic atmospheric black metal tracks. Unfortunately, there are bands who compose atmospheric black metal that have recorded some utterly brilliant albums and in my opinion Sojourner is not yet on that same level. I do believe Sojourner are talented and have the potential to write some amazing music since there are definitely moments on this album I truly enjoyed. If you are a fan of atmospheric black metal I do recommend checking out Sojourner, because the music is without question better than any of that progressive metalcore bullcrap.

Sojourner "Bound by Blood" :

Sojourner Facebook Page:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rob "the metal guy" Rant: Equal Criticism for Crappy Bands

   Most of the time I ignore music I dislike, because I rather not waste my time listening to garbage. Of course I understand that some people enjoy the music I label as garbage, so I will try to not be too disrespectful. However, when I came across a Metal Injection article that featured a video by Otep, I could not help myself and decided to watch and listen to this train wreck of an artist.

    If you are a fan of Otep I will not label you as a moron, however, I do find Otep to be a generic Hard Rock / Nu Metal band trying to stay relevant by writing controversial songs. Also, the band’s singer, Otep Shamaya, is extremely political and does not hesitate to voice her opinion. Being political in your music is not a bad quality and I do respect that she is not afraid to voice her opinions, even if I disagree with some of what she has to say. Still, her new video, “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts,” is complete rubbish.

    The song’s main theme is about fighting against homophobia and even advocates for violence against homophobic people. Now, I have nothing against homosexual people and think homophobic people are douche bags/trolls on the loose. However, promoting violence against other people does not help your cause and makes you look like a major douche bag as well. Lyrics like, “He called me a dyke, I called him an ambulance,” does not help your cause. Actually, there won’t just be an ambulance coming to the scene of the fight, you will have the cops showing up as well charging Ms. Otep with aggravated assault. These lyrics are something I would expect from a rapper artist. Then again, the song sounds like a generic gangster rap song with horribly constructed riffs to achieve an utterly horrendous mix of rap meets metal. Other lyrics such as, “And we fucked till the morning, She found religion in every position, Screaming "oh god" and singing in hymnals,” are once again pointless and sound like something I would expect from a gangster rapper.

    Time to focus on the video now, which is equally as unbearable as the actual song. I think my major criticism with the video is that Otep comes across as wanting to be some sort of hardcore gangster. Just imagine a 50 Cent video with more lesbian and gay imagery, and that is your entire video. She also gets into a fight with a guy and comes out as the victor in the altercation. In my opinion the video made no sense and was a cinematic failure. I guess this is why I get labeled a metal elitist sometimes, because I listen to actual metal music that makes good videos.

    In the end, I think the reason I wrote this critique because I don’t get how an artist can go around demanding equal rights, but at the same time advocate violence. I don’t get why it is okay to write songs like this, but when a black metal band like Marduk writes songs about World War 2 it is okay to shutdown their concerts and falsely label them as white supremacists. Shouldn’t we advocate for Otep shows to be cancelled for promoting violence?

    You know what…I don’t care at the end of the day if Otep wants to sing songs like this, because she is using her freedom of speech. Although, if a band was to write songs about punching homosexuals in the face we must accept that too. Equal rights for all songwriters should be a new slogan. Wrapping up, Otep is definitely not my cup of tea and a band I have no problem calling out for writing what I think is trash music. Agree or disagree, you have that right because in America we have the freedom of speech…unless you are black metal band who writes songs about World War 2 and Paganism…then you are a Nazi and can have your shows shutdown. The logic of today’s world is scary…

Please feel free to leave a comment...trolls are welcomed...but no violence advocating humanoids please!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Rude "Remnants…"

    Bay Area death metal fanatics, Rude, conjure up yet another colossal and malicious sounding release with their sophomore full-length album, Remnants… . For all those fans who were possessed by the unforgiving old school sound off of Rude's debut album, Soul Recall, those fans will rejoice as the band delivers more crushing tunes of unspeakable destruction.

    These guys have really raised the bar with Remnants… and have also reassured people that the old school style of death metal is alive and kicking. Although there are numerous bands who play a similar style of death metal, I have always felt that Rude’s sound and presentation of the music separates them from the other old school death metal worship acts.

    Rude really put some thought into the new songs and one can hear where the band improves in certain areas. The recording quality for the new album is probably where I think the band excelled the most. I thought the drum sound of the first album was solid, however, the new album has a more bombastic and bold drum sound. Also, I think the riffs were recorded extremely well on Remnants…,which is saying something because I thought Soul Recall had a great guitar sound that captured the band’s vicious old school attitude.

    Out of the nine tracks on the album I find choosing a favorite rather difficult, because each one has strong qualities. The overall songwriting is extremely solid, so the album does not have any dual moments. For their opening song, “Torrent to the Past,” the band grabs your attention right away with a bold crushing intro riff that leads into an explosion of old school devastation. The second track, “House of Dust,” creates a very bone chilling atmosphere in the beginning and I liked the song’s dark tone. Rude’s singer/guitarist Yusef Wallace helps strengthen the music’s haunting sound by providing some gruesome old school death metal growls. I think he is definitely one of the best death metal singers around, especially with regards to the more old school style.

    Track number three, “Blood Sucker,” is a nasty piece of guitar riff carnage. I like how the bass sounds during the song and the playing by bassist Jason Gluck is very impressive. The following songs, “Interpretations of the Ultimate Finality,” and “Remnants” continue the fiendish sounding musical destruction. Drummer Chad Gailey lays down some crushing drum parts while Yusef and fellow guitarist David Rodriguez crank out plenty of blasphemous sounding riffs. On track number six, “Fracturing the Gates of Truth,” the band composes a dynamic piece of extreme music and cleverly transitions throughout the aggressive sounding musical landscape.

    The final three tracks, “Sanctuary,” “Reboot,” and “Children of Atom,” are not too different from the earlier songs with exception to track number eight, “Reboot.” On, “Reboot,” the band creates a very prog like instrumental piece with these mellow yet haunting chord progressions. The last song, “Children of Atom,” would have to be my favorite if I was forced to pick one. I found the song’s science fiction horror theme to be very appealing along with the band’s instrumental compositions. You feel as though time has stopped and you are drifting through an endless vortex into worlds beyond with the music playing in the background.

    I think it should be noted that some people have this belief that a band might go into a slump after putting out a solid debut album. Well, I can say that your fears about Rude going into a slump shall be put to rest when you listen to, Remnants… .  Rude shows that if you are going to write music in the old school death metal vein, you better not just release boring and simplistic crap. I think the most important aspect to emphasize and the one that will hopefully get more people to check out this album, is that these guys know how to write pure unforgiving old school style death metal music. If you can't write the songs, your music shall not remain…Definitely not the case for Rude.

Rude "House of Dust" :

Rude Facebook Page:

FDA Rekotz Website:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Classic Review: Night Demon "Debut EP"

"With the current news of Night Demon's second full-length album, "Darkness Remains," which is to be released in April, I decided to reflect upon the band's debut EP. I was sent the EP for review back in 2013 when the band had teamed up with Shadow Kingdom Records for its release. At that time my friend Yuvraj "The Master" Singh and I ran a website called "Rock and Metal Zone." Unfortunately, we no longer run that website and the review I published back in 2013 is no longer available. However, after doing some searching through old documents on my computer, I found the original Night Demon EP review from 2013. So, I have decided to re-publish the article as a reflection of the band's past history and to remind readers how their hard wok has led to even more opportunities. I never would have thought back in 2013 that this band would have two full-length albums and done countless tours by 2017. The last four years have been exciting watching Night Demon continue to rise and I can't wait for what the band has to offer next!" 

  "Back during the late seventies and early eighties the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was on the rise. The music that those bands created would leave an everlasting impact on future metal groups from all around the world.

    Night Demon is a trio from Ventura, CA with that great NWOBHM sound. The bands who influenced them can definitely be heard on this four song EP. When listening to Night Demon I hear influences ranging from Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Raven, early Iron Maiden, and at times Motörhead.

    Vocally, the singer in Night Demon offers his own distinct vocal style that is melodic yet still extremely powerful. I find his vocal presentation to be very consistent along with his bass playing. The guitar playing demonstrated on this EP is exceptionally well done and at times the lead guitar playing is extremely creative with a fierce sounding tone. The guitarist sounds like he is taking Iron Maiden and Diamond Head riffs and incorporating his own style to create really heavy fast paced classic NWOBHM like riffs that can melt your face off. The drummer in Night Demon comes up with some solid crushing rhythms and he is the one making the songs groove with tremendous force. All three musicians are extremely talented and together come up with some great material.

    Now, like most groups who have been influenced by the NWOBHM, Night Demon’s lyrics are fairly constrained to the usual dark themes about pure evil, death, the occult, and unholy rituals where someone gets it. Still these guys come up with four great original tracks where the lyrics work well with the overall music. The first song on this EP is the actual name of the band… “Night Demon.” To me this song is Night Demon’s manifesto describing to the metal world who they are and what they have to offer. Right away a catchy galloping riffs starts taking form and throws the listener into Night Demon’s intense Heavy Metal world.

     Song number two “The Chalice” is my favorite song on this album because the dark pounding guitar parts do a great job complimenting the sinister lyrics. The song sounds like impending doom which keeps me fully engaged until the music stops. Track number three “Ancient Evil” reminds me of early Iron Maiden where the palm muted galloping guitar riff dictates the song’s structure. The drums and bass hold down the rhythm section to give the guitarist a chance to throw in some killer licks. The last song “Ritual” sounds a bit like the first song, with an intense fast paced guitar riff at the beginning. I find the main riff in “Ritual” to be extremely catchy along with the chorus.

    After listening to these four songs I think Night Demon’s EP demonstrates true Heavy Metal talent and allows people a chance to preview a band with hopefully more great music to come. The songwriting and musicianship is very consistent on this EP. Of course Night Demon is one of many metal groups who are playing this classic sounding NWOBHM style, but with their consistency I believe that Night Demon will standout amongst the other groups.

    Again, this is an EP so we are still waiting for Night Demon to give us a full-length release to make a complete judgment. However, the EP is extremely solid and contains some of the best metal music I have heard this year. Definitely worth checking out and I highly recommend it for all those leather jacket NWOBHM fans wishing they could take a time machine back to the 1980s."

Here is an interview I did with Jarvis Leatherby from Night Demon for my radio show shortly after I reviewed the EP. Once again, it is important to stress that hard work and dedication will help you grow as an artist and I have always respected Jarvis for the effort he puts into his music and for how he treats his fellow metal maniacs:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Minas Anor "Helm’s Deep"

    The writings of J. R. R. Tolkien have been used as the inspiration for numerous recordings. Black metal bands and dungeon synth bands have literally taken the stories of Middle-Earth and created some epic albums. Minas Anor is a dungeon synth act from Ukraine that may not use words to narrate the world of Tolkien, but instead allows listeners to create their own mental imagery based off of the sounds from the band’s 2010 release, “Helm’s Deep.” 

    I have a very selective ear for dungeon synth music. There are bands who I think provide listeners with dynamic and fascinating landscapes of atmospheric brilliance. However, there are some dungeon synth bands that don’t put that much thought into their recordings and the music sounds like cheap video game music that offers no strong emotional appeal. So, where does Minas Anor’s, “Helms Deep,” fall in the world of dungeon synth? 

    Honestly, I am going say right away that this could be my favorite dungeon synth recording of all time. The compositions are cinematic and the music tells a compelling story without words. I find myself closing my eyes and following along to the sounds from the synths and the pounding of the drums. There are moments where you could imagine yourself standing upon the walls of Helm’s Deep as the rain begins to fall and the Uruk-hai army is approaching. 

    The opening piece, “Approaching,” perfectly sets up the album with a synth arrangement and the pounding of epic sounding war like drums. Compared to other dungeon synth projects I have heard, the recording of the instruments does not sound to cheaply done. Following the first piece is, “Storm,” where the sounds of rain create a soothing effect. Midway through the album, “Sunrise,” changes the music’s emotional tone for a short period of time until it reaches the last part, “Departure.” Throughout the entire release you find yourself locked-in as the synth dictates the direction of the album's overall sound. As I said before Minas Anor isn’t just another stereotypical dungeon synth ambient band, because there is just such attention to detail with each sound and how the music progresses until the final note fades away. 

    Minas Anor released, “Helm’s Deep,” in 2010 and I have not heard much about the band since its release. I really hope that this album is not the only recording we get from Minas Anor, but if it is I think the release definitely stands out within the world of dungeon synth and ambient music. For people who enjoy this type of music, I think you will be instantly hooked by Minas Anor’s music.

Listen to the full album below and if you can find a copy... buy it and support the artist!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Seventh Sun Records Show (February 24, 2017)


  In this life you are faced with choices and sometimes you have to pick and choose which metal show to attend. In San Francisco you had the option of seeing thrash legends Overkill and the technical death metal masters in Nile on the same bill. Your other option was attending the five band show hosted by Seventh Sun Records at the Phoenix Theater. Also, Bret Michaels was performing in Santa Rosa, but no decent human would subject themselves to that hair metal hack’s music.

  When it came to decision time, I decided to go to the Phoenix and support Seventh Sun Records along with the five bands who were playing the show. The bands who performed were: Eye for I, His Name is Robert Paulson, The Bill Decker Band, Cursed and The Ghost Next Door. I liked how this show brought together acts that I had not yet seen before with the exception being Eye for I who I saw last year at the Phoenix.

  Starting the show off was the progressive hard rock/metal band, Eye for I. As of lately, I have noticed these guys working more towards getting their music heard amongst the local scene. Unfortunately, the band’s bass player was unable play due to back problems, which the band announced to the audience during their set. I hear people say sometimes that bass players don’t do much and why have them at all. In this case, I have to say that Eye for I is a band that needs a bass player, especially if you are going to be covering Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast.” I give credit to the three members who performed and worked hard to make up for the absence of that low end presence. I think their original material is creative, but needs a full band to really show what they have to offer. Then again, things come up and I commend Eye for I for showing up and giving the people a solid performance.

Eye for I

  Second on the bill was, His Name is Robert Paulson, a band that writes heavy metal songs about Brad Pitt movies. Compared to Eye for I, His Name is Robert Paulson turned up the aggression and had a heavier and more thrash like sound. The band’s singer delivered some brutal vocals while the two guitar players were feverishly striking chords to follow along to the decimating drum parts. I am not really a Brad Pitt fan, but their idea is definitely unique. I just can’t wait for a band to come out that plays grindcore and writes songs about Aunt Esther from Sanford and Son and they call themselves, “Watch It Sucka!” Also, during their set I noticed these stepping stools the band would clime up on as if they were playing a massive arena show. They looked like they were having fun and the crowd was really getting into the music due to the band’s stage presence.

The His is Robert Paulson 

  Third up was the instrumental trio, The Bill Decker Band. I have to throw this out right away that these guys could play their asses off. Their skill level was very impressive and the songs sounded tight. Even though I usually get tired of hearing instrumental shredding after a long period of time, The Bill Decker Band knew how to create some dynamic arrangements. The guitar shredding by Bill Decker was amazing to watch, but the skillful bass playing and drumming definitely added to the overall sound as well. In the end, they demonstrated what it means to be a skilled musician. You won’t get that at a Beyonce or Lady Gaga performance...instead you have a higher chance of getting an STD.

The Bill Decker Band

  After Bill Decker and his two other amigos finished their set the fourth band, Cursed, started getting ready for their performance of skull crushing heavy metal mayhem. After hearing about them from people and seeing their name numerous times on bills for other Bay Area shows, I had the opportunity to finally see them live. They seemed like passionate metal fanatics who are determined to make their presence known in the metal world. Overall, their sound is very straightforward classic thrash with other brutal heavy metal elements that resonates with fans who want something that is fast and unapologetic. I don’t know if they were able to play as long as they wanted to because of time constraints, but they put together a decent performance. Plus, the band’s singer provided some comedic relief by saying stuff like that they had 36 more songs when in reality they had about two.

  The final band of the evening was, The Ghost Next Door. These guys came all the way from the great city of Oakland. Well, The Ghost Next Door was sort of dealt a rough hand and right from the get go their singer/guitarist let everyone know that he was upset. I understand his frustration with being the last band and noticing that half the venue has disappeared since the start of the show. Yes, bands should encourage their friends to stick around and support all the acts, but you can’t let that get to you. The Ghost Next Door seemed like they had a very atypical sound that I am not going to try and classify. The music varied from hard rock to heavy metal, which allowed for them to craft very progressive and diverse sounding pieces. The band’s singer/guitarist also said he was sick and I could tell during certain vocal parts, but he soldiered on through each song. Again, I feel bad about the crowd leaving early, but you can't let that get to you when you still have people there watching you.

The Ghost Next Door

  How do I wrap this concert review up? One recommendation is...people...stick around if you can for the entire show! That behavior is extremely obnoxious. Next recommendation is about time management...bands should know how long to perform and the stage manager should be keeping a close eye on that too. Aside from my couple recommendations, it was a solid show for the most part and there are definitely some talented bands in Northern Californian who I recommend people check out. I truly give credit to all the bands who preformed, especially the ones who were dealing with illness, or had a member for the time being on the disabled list. Looking forward, Seventh Sun Records is going to hopefully build off this experience and put together another kick ass metal show for all the die hard headbanging fanatics.