Saturday, December 30, 2017

Dekapited "Sin Misericordia"

    Merciless is quite possibly the best way to describe the sound conjured up by Chilean thrashers, Dekapited. These musicians show no mercy with their latest release, “Sin Misericordia,” (Without Mercy). The EP is a joyride through hellish sounding landscapes of pure thrash brutality.

    I think what stands out the most on this new EP is the aggressiveness and the unforgiving attitude that the band conveys with each track. Their style of thrash metal definitely has been done before, however, the band focuses on delivering their music with a tight and intense sound to vividly capture the listener’s attention. The EP opens with some suspenseful film score music, so right away the band attempts to get people anticipating what is to come next.

    After the intro fades out the song “Aniquilacion Total,” feverishly explodes into full force with a wicked main riff. I hear elements of not just thrash at times which I think gives the music a dynamic unholy sounding twist. The drum parts are well recorded and inject a raw sound to compliment the savage guitar riffs. The third song of the album, “Mundo Decadente,” unleashes more intense rhythms of thrashing hell to where you know mosh pits would be forming and people would be banging their heads ferociously in front of the stage. I also think the vocal style used by the band’s singer is very solid and matches the music’s overall tone.

    Track number four, “Sin Misericordia,” contains more strong palm muted riffs of apocalyptic fury. Once again, I really like the drum sound, especially the way that the toms and cymbals were recorded. The overall composition is haunting and each musician provides a noticeable contribution which goes to show that everyone in the band is pulling their weight. Track number five, “Condenado a Morir,” offers more furious compositions along with some frantic lead guitar playing that slightly reminds me of classic Slayer solos and Morbid Angel solos. Until the very end, Dekapited does not slow down and keeps hammering out sheer musical brutally without hesitation.

    I must say that Dekapited did a solid job with this new EP from start to finish. I think going forward I would like the band to continue to push themselves as songwriters, but always maintain that unforgiving and merciless approach. Too many thrash bands either recycle the same riffs, or get lost in trying to become too progressive. If Dekapited could find a balance between brutality and high caliber musicianship, I bet these guys will have some killer releases in the future. Definitely check this EP out as I do believe you can’t beat the impressive quality of unholy sounding thrash that would most likely scare the pants off your local priest.

Check out the full EP below! And if you like it buy a copy to support the artist:

Dekapited Facebook Page:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Top Ten Albums of 2017

Where has the time gone? I feel like I just finished doing my top ten albums of 2016 list and now I am starting on my top ten albums of 2017 list. Once again, it has been an extremely busy year for rock and metal music with numerous releases coming out this year. 2017 was also a year full of major stories with some positive and some negative, but no matter what happened the new albums that were released this year provided a great chance to escape the bullshit. Whether it was ANTIFA shutting down a black metal show with false claims, or Gene Simmons of Kiss opening up his big mouth and offering an ignorant comment, 2017's hard rock and metal music did not disappoint. So enough babbling, here it is people, my top ten albums of 2017...

10. Domgård “Ödelagt”

    Swedish black metal act Domgård is well regarded in the black metal community and their sound stays very true to the traditional black metal style. After some years of not releasing new material it was great to see a new album from them. Their sound conveys a raw aggressive black metal attitude, but contains some bone chilling melodic black metal moments. The album also contains these dynamic arrangements with really unique tempo changes and massive atmospheric sounding touches. Overall, the album is a strong and engaging release that should definitely be added to ones collection.

9. Eldamar “A Dark Forgotten Past”

    Eldamar is a one-man atmospheric black metal act that captured my attention when I first heard their debut album, “Force of the Ancient Land.” I am glad to hear Eldamar continue all the elements and epic song structures from the first album on this new release. The music picks up where the last album left off and establishes itself as a unique journey through captivating atmospheric landscapes and heavenly choir like vocal sections. If you enjoy long epic pieces of atmospheric black metal you need to check out Eldamar. They also released an awesome split with Dreams of Nature this year, so Eldamar is extremely active when it comes to writing new material.

8. Game Over “Claiming Supremacy”

    I have reviewed quite a few releases from these Italian thrash metal maniacs over the years. Their new album once again demonstrates a group of enthusiastic thrash fans who seem to keep pushing themselves as musicians and songwriters. The choruses are catchy along with the solid arsenal of mosh forming riffs. Where their earlier albums felt more straightforward at times, the new album pushes into more progressive thrash boundaries. Game Over is definitely a thrash band to be reckoned with and one that I look forward to seeing grow even more with future releases.

7. Necrot “Blood Offerings”

    This Bay Area death metal trio did a tremendous job with the release of their debut full-length album. I reviewed a compilation album they released last year called, “Labyrinth,” and I was highly anticipating new music from them. The band has become a force to be reckoned with amongst the underground community by relentlessly touring their brand of gruesome old school death metal. Brutal cuts of bone sawing riffs and crushing drumming conjure up some killer headbanging opportunities throughout this release.

6. Rude “Remnants…”

    Rude has established themselves as a solid old school death metal worship outfit and the release of their sophomore album, “Remnants…” only verified what I already knew about these guys. There are some death metal bands who throw songs together claiming to sound old school, but Rude’s music actually sounds like something released from the late eighties/early nineties. The riffs grind away at your ears with an unholy terrorizing sound of old school death metal while being accompanied by monumental drumming to create vicious cuts of extreme music. I don’t think you can ask for anything more when it comes to good quality death metal.

5. Death of Kings “Kneel Before None”

    Death of Kings is a fierce and awesome bunch of metal musicians from Atlanta, GA. Their hard work paid off with the release of, “Kneel Before None.” The quality of wicked sounding riffs and head crushing pieces of brutal sounding thrash is definitely welcomed in a day when most bands sound like watered down versions of Slayer. Death of Kings did a great job injecting energy into the music and the album itself is well produced and well recorded. I hope to hear them continue to build off the success of how this album sounded on their future releases, because their talent is truly amazing.

4. Lustre “Still Innocence”

    Compared to previous Lustre recordings the new album, “Still Innocence,” is not as grandiose and has received criticism for not being as ambitious. I honestly felt the album offered a relaxing and very therapeutic sound that flowed with amazing synergy. The recordings capture your imagination, yet do not overwhelm you with too many unnecessary sounds. The album is one of those releases that I turn to when I want to escape and relax my mind. Lustre is one of those artists you can always rely on for solid release, so to those people bitching about the album…go chill out and maybe give it another listen.

3. Demonsmoke “Morphine Moonshine”

    I saw these doom metal musicians from Antioch, CA a couple years back play at a bar in Petaluma and literally destroy by laying down some unbelievably heavy sludge/doom riffs. When they released their debut album, “Morphine Moonshine,” I was blown away at how they were able to capture that raw destructive doom sound which I was fortunate to have witnessed live. These guys offer a strong selection of swampy distorted sounding tracks of pure doom with this album. There is not one weak song on the album and the overall production is quite amazing when comparing it to a lot of modern day metal releases. I really hope to catch them live again, because they put on one hell of a show.

2. Morbid Angel “Kingdoms Disdained”

    Released December 1 of this year, I honestly did not know if this album would even make the list. After the bands last release, “Illud Divinum Insanus,” was in my opinion a major disappoint, the band had a something to prove with the new album. Not only did the new album exceed expectations, but I think it is one of the heaviest and most unforgiving sounding releases to come out this year. Steve Tucker’s return was something I really looked forward to and Trey is back to being the death metal guitar master that we all know and appreciate. It is great to hear the band throwing down some pulverizing death metal which signals a new dawn of brutality. Just like when Tucker came in after “Domination” back in 1995, the band has the opportunity to unleash some more malicious sounding tunes moving forward. This new album is an extremely good starting point and was very close to being in my number one slot. 

1. Night Demon “Darkness Remains” : 

    When Night Demon released their debut album, “Curse of the Damned,” back in 2015, I had it as the number one album or my 2015 list. Two years later after relentless touring across the world and showing true dedication for the music that they enjoy playing, the band has returned to the number one spot for 2017. Their sophomore album, “Darkness Remains,” continues the exciting and solid NWOBHM style you heard on “Curse of the Damned,” with more epic sounding riffs and catchy lyrical content. You cannot find a dual moment on the album, which I contribute to the band’s strong songwriting skills. Songs like “On Your Own” and “Dawn Rider” completely tear through your speakers with a heavy metal fury of blistering guitar work and thunderous old school metal rhythms. All hail the Night Demon! 

Honorable Mentions:

Petrification “Summon Horrendous Destruction”

Iron Griffin "Self-Titled EP” 

Mournful Cries “Three Song Demo”

2017 Rob “the metal guy” Awards 

Up and Coming Artist of the Year: Mournful Cries

Metal Label of the Year: A tie between “Sentient Ruin” and “Nordvis”

Come Back Artist of the Year: Morbid Angel

Best Live Act/Performance of the Year: Barren Altar 

Best Split album of the Year: Eldamar / Dreams of Nature 

Biggest Douche of the Year: tie between “Gene Simmons” and “Otep”  

Most Pathetic Group of People in the World: ANTIFA 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Morbid Angel "Kingdoms Disdained"

    After Morbid Angel’s 2011 album, “Illud Divinum Insanus,” received some rather negative feedback from fans and critics, there was a lot of talk in the metal press about how the iconic death metal band needed a strong follow-up. Their new album, “Kingdoms Disdained,” is quite simply a 100% grade A “death metal album.” Any bad feelings about the previous album disappear as your ears are decimated by the tremendous ferocity that can be heard on the new album.

    To begin, the departure of bassist/singer David Vincent and the return of Steve Tucker marked a positive shift, even though one cannot deny David’s contributions on albums like “Altars of Madness,” “Blessed Are the Sick,” “Covenant,” and “Domination.” Still, I felt like David Vincent needed to go and Tucker needed to come back. Just like when David left after “Domination” and Tucker came in for “Formulas Fatal to the Flesh,” the band was able to push forward into more brutal and unforgiving boundaries.

    I think the band really focused on coming up with a consistent and brutal release that pounds ferociously into your skull. Trey Azagthoth lays down some vicious guitar riffs along with these mind bending frantic leads to inject moments of savage musical chaos. New drummer Scott Fuller did a solid job hammering out some crushing drum tracks and provides a behemoth blast beat rhythmic backbone. Steve Tucker is without question a dedicated death metal warrior who unleashes one hellish vocal performance while also handling his bass parts with an unapologetic approach.

    Kicking the album off in a bombastic style, the first song, “Piles of Little Arms,” explodes out of the speakers for an unholy assault of extreme sounding carnage. I felt that this song established a solid foundation to capture my attention and build up anticipation for the following tracks. The second song on the album, “D.E.A.D.” takes listeners on another wicked ride through heavily distorted riffs of bold aggression along with destructive vocals provided by Steve.

    Out of the eleven songs on this album you find it difficult to really choose a favorite, but there are certain tracks that do stand out a bit more than others. For example, “Paradigms Warped,” is a mind twisting piece of death metal that reminds me of something you would have heard on, “Gateways to Annihilation.” Trey’s guitar playing is exceptional and I am always amazed by how he creates these unconventional sinister sounds with his guitar.

    Another killer track to highlight is, “Declaring New Law (Secret Hell),” which slows down the tempo for a less frantic sound and more mid-tempo approach. The very percussive sounding composition works quite well with the lyrical delivery and there are certain lines that get stuck in your head. The repetitive verse, “Torture any fool that does not submit…” establishes such a bellicose tone and strikes fear in the hearts of those who dare question what Steve Tucker is saying.

    Overall, there are multiple areas that I would like to express my feelings about how the band did on this album, however, I feel like it is time to wrap up this review and give my final thoughts. First off, Erik Rutan did a solid job recording this album, so going forward I think Morbid Angel should stick with him to avoid return to that weak industrial metal sound you heard on, “Illud Divinum Insanus.” Secondly, I do not believe this is by any means the greatest Morbid Angel album to date, but it sure is one of the most impressive releases to come out this year. Final point to make is that the line-up featured on this album was stellar together and history shows that when Steve Tucker is in the band we are guaranteed Morbid Angel will crank out quality death metal releases.

    In the end, fans win because you get a crushing new album from Morbid Angel and David Vincent wins because he can now focus on his cowboy music. Saddle up the horses Evil D, because with Tucker in the band I think you will be ridding around the open range for a while.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Element "Dusk"

    Fans of progressive metal and impressive cinematic music videos might want to check out what The Element is doing right now. The American based band’s new single, “Dusk,” is burst of intense sounding metal with a technical flare that provides the most optimal soundtrack for the new music video.

    “Dusk,” which is the first single off their upcoming album, “From Sand-Part II,” is just the beginning of what these metal musicians have in store for fans. Their upcoming album will be produced and mixed by the well respected heavy metal producer, Jens Borgen, who has done work for bands like Arch Enemy, Symphony X, Paradise Lost and Devin Townshend. The music video for “Dusk” was shot by, Tommy Merry, who seems to know how to capture the essence of a song through film.

    All around The Element demonstrates great promise with “Dusk” and the track is a strong first single. The main guitar riff delivers an impactful punch while the keyboard provides a haunting atmospheric touch at times. There are a variety of creative compositions and dynamic arrangements throughout the entire song. Also, the vocals were well recorded to really compliment the instrumental compositions. I personally enjoyed the guitar and keyboard solo section which is very reminiscent to that of Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Dream Theater and Rhapsody.

    In the end, if you are a fan of progressive metal and are looking for a band that does not cheaply throw something together, you need to check out The Element and their new single. I was quite impressed with the recording quality which I hope the band maintains on their upcoming album. Usually with prog metal I find bands get carried away with showing off how complex and technical they can write music. The Element stands out because they provide a solid balance of technicality and songwriting skills. Check out the video for the song below and you can buy the track via iTunes, Google Play, Beats, Amazon and CD Baby. Support the artist if you like their music!

The Element "Dusk" :

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mournful Cries "Debut Demo"

    Rising from the smokey filled confines of Iommi’s Vault, the music created by Mournful Cries will spread across the lands leaving behind haunting sounds of Sabbath like doom. The trio from Santa Rosa demonstrates their love of classic doom metal and Sabbath worship by crafting their own brand of pure no nonsense riffs of doom.

    I’ve know the members in Mournful Cries for a couple years now and I am quite familiar with their other groups. Drummer Alex Hernandez and guitarist/vocalist Luis Olguin played in one of my favorite sludge bands called Amnesia. Luis also plays bass in an awesome death metal band called Sepulchre which I recommend checking out. Bassist Matt Lasserre plays bass in a killer band called Scrape the Earth who I have seen live a few times.

    I enjoy hearing what new ideas the members in Mournful Cries have to bring to the table and this band demonstrates great promise on their debut demo. The two songs featured on the demo are, “Budlust” and “Evil Confessor.” The songs take on a variety of influences ranging from Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus, Trouble, Sleep, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and of course…Black Sabbath.

    Both tracks are solid offerings of doom with plenty of world consuming riffs from the black voids beyond. The intro to “Budlust” conveys a prog rock like flare and builds into a distorted jam of behemoth riffs and seismic drum parts. The song’s entire vibe pulls you in from start to finish as Luis hammers away at each chord while Matt and Alex maintain a strong rhythmic backbone. I personally like “Evil Confessor” just a tad more than “Budlust,” because the music contains a harder and more aggressive tone. Also, Matt lays down an impressive bass part during the intro that is very reminiscent of classic Sabbath songs.

    If you are a fan of doom metal you need to be on the lookout for more loud distorted Iommi like jams from Mournful Cries. I believe what makes this band standout compared to a lot of your other doom acts and even young up and coming metal bands, is that these guys are massive fans of the style of music they play. Through their enjoyment of doom metal they are able to write some extremely solid pieces of music. So crank it up and drop out of life with bong in hand and follow the smoke to Mournful Cries wicked sounding riff filled lands.

Check out the entire demo below: 

Mournful Cries FB Page:

Mournful Cries Bandcamp:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Iron Griffin "Self-Titled EP"

    When listening to the music off of Iron Griffin’s debut EP release, you feel as though you are soaring on the back of a magnificent mythical beast through a valley of epic sounding metal with glorious riffs leading the way. The band captures that retro rock and classic metal spirit quite well to where you wonder if the band did not go back in time to record the album.

    Finnish musician Oskari Räsänen from the band Mausoleum Gate started Iron Griffin as a side-project, but looks to be talking it further with the release of the debut EP. He plays all the instruments on the EP and brought in singer Toni Pentikäinen to handle all the vocal parts. Iron Griffin may be a side-project, however, I believe the quality of music could one day evolve into a full band that will hopefully go on tour and release full-length albums.

    I am extreme impressed by the recordings and songwriting from Iron Griffin. The entire EP is well produced and the arrangements do not disappoint. The band’s sound reminds me of music from certain epic fantasy themed metal bands like Omen, Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road. You also notice that the sound of the recordings takes on a retro like quality that compliments the songwriting and the album’s theme very well.

    The opening synth and keyboard piece does a great job building suspense for the first song, “Message from Beyond.” There are some catchy melodic riffs and lead parts accompanied by a solid foundation of drums and bass. I think the bass tone conveys such a vibrant classic sound that adds so much to the overall sound. Toni’’s vocals provide an epic touch as he sings over the metallic grooving melodies.

    Following “Message from Beyond, “ is the victorious sounding track, “Metal Conquest.” The song features a fearsome bass line along with a strong main riff. When talking about creating a verse section that builds up to an epic chorus, Iron Griffin simply does not disappoint. The next song, “Journey to the Castle of the King,” starts out with a more slow tempo guitar riff and eventually explodes into a faster paced majestic sounding classic metal style. “Lord Inquisitor,” is the final song off the EP and contains some killer NWOBHM type riffs. I also noticed on this song how Toni can hit notes in a similar fashion to that of King Diamond which matched with the instrumental compositions sounds extremely amazing.

    After listening to Iron Griffin I have nothing to complain about, because the music did not disappoint and flowed with a certain synergy that I have not heard too often when reviewing albums from new artists. Oskari deserves a lot of credit along coming up with the concept for this release and will hopefully continue to work on more material. I definitely would like to see more music from Iron Griffin and I’m sure fans of classic metal will be checking this out once it is released. Lastly, I must point out how amazing the album art looks for this EP. I feel like I’m flying on the back of an Iron Griffin!

Check out the Iron Griffin bandcamp to get a digit copy:

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)!