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: