Lyric Quote of the Month!
"Trust I seek and I find in you. Every day for us something new. Open mind for a different view. And nothing else matters..."
Form 'Nothing Else Matters' by METALLICA
"Remember that the evil you brew is waiting outside to be paid by you."
From 'Fallen Angels' by Dio
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Hellbilly Deluxe was embraced by Rob's fans as much as either of the previous White Zombie albums, if not more so. This album's legacy is easy to find in the hit singles it produced: "Dragula" "Living Dead Girl" and "Superbeast", but the whole album is a quality listening experience for any metal fan who loves scary themes and sounds.
In keeping true to the style and formula established by the late White Zombie albums Hellbilly Deluxe doesn't miss a beat. Eerie sampling from cult-classic horror flicks, ear-splitting nu-metal guitar riffage, and Rob's psychedelic yet twisted and often graphic and disturbing lyrics, along with the occasional sick humor; Rob and his band were truly at the top of their game on this album. Hell, the album's lengthy subtitle is enough of a selling point on its own: "13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International"
Hellbilly Deluxe remains the best example of Rob Zombie's music. It has proven to be the peak of his career, at least commercially, and perhaps creatively as well. If you've not added this album to your collection, then you're missing out. For its own era, this is one of the most significant recordings of its genre for the time it was released.
Recommended tracks from Hellbilly Deluxe:
-Living Dead Girl
-Meet The Creeper
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Psychopathic Daze are keeping busy still! Five shows in the Month of November. If they're coming to a club near you, check them out for some face-melting hardcore metal!!!
Monday, October 27, 2014
Genotype are a band that I first discovered at Dame-Nation 2013. Since then they have completed their second full-length, independent album Design Intent. From their live performance I recall they were a hardcore metal band with hardcore vocals, interspersed with melodic singing on most of their songs and captivating tempo changes that enhanced the mood of their performance. What surprised me about their recorded album was how prominent the elements of electronic music and progressive music themes are throughout the whole recording.
The next track, "Blight", has a soft vocal delivery with synthesizers at the start, but when the bridge comes, hardcore screams return, and heavy guitars again take over. This formula is utilized on many tracks on Design Intent as they are constantly changing things up, however it is far from one-dimensional.
"Nothing to Hold" departs from the intensity to reveal the softer side of Genotype. It works well in the middle of the album. As a listening experience, it is where you catch your breath, get your second wind, and allow yourself to slip deeper into the music. This song features acoustic guitars throughout, a milder tempo, some melodic synthesizers and keyboards which fill out the sound, and entirely melodic singing from Kirby. The lyrics give a sense of helplessness, and a struggle for control of one's circumstances.
This musical theme of a fusion of metal and electronica continues throughout the album. The recording and production of this album are very top-notch. The blending of these musical elements is practically flawless. In every instance they sound like perfect complements for each other. The band executes these tracks like seasoned pros. The guitar parts keep the elements of rhythm, melody, and chord progression very tight. The drums and bass guitar provide a concrete foundation for the upper layer elements of voice and electronic effects. The heavy elements provide intensity, aggression and power, while the melodic and softer elements give you an equal dose of beauty and harmony. Guitar solos and synthesizers add to Genotype's technical repertoire, and make Design Intent all the more enjoyable on so many levels.
The last track, 'Nether Reflex' is primarily effects and electronic music at the start. Then some guitars and drums come into the mix after a couple minutes. There's a voice that sounds like it is conducting tests on an artificial intelligence of some sort. As the dialog draws to a close, the music transitions to heavy riffs and hardcore vocals which later give way to melodic singing. The song builds to a crescendo, then stops abruptly, leaving your senses ringing at the auditory experience that Design Intent has been. My only criticism about this entire recording might simply be the track sequence- I feel 'Nether Reflex' actually would work better as the opening track, rather than the closer. But you can just put your CD or playlist on repeat and get the desired effect when it rolls back to the start. In the end, if that is all I can muster up for criticism, then you should know you're in for an awesome listening experience with Genotype!
-Nothing to Hold*
-Nether Reflex* (featuring Moshua)
Follow Genotype on Facebook to get all their updates and upcoming performances...
Monday, October 20, 2014
Nearly 3 years after the release of their self-titled debut EP, the Chicagoland female-fronted melodic-metal band Arcane Framework return with their long-awaited second release Colorblind.
The next track, "Wish I Knew" picks up the pace a little, and adds a little something new: Katy sings with a harder edge through a scratch box effect. It is just enough to push the boundaries of the Arcane Framework sound.
Then comes the title track. "Colorblind" employs some pretty cool sounding guitar effects. It reminds me a bit of Metallica's "The Unnamed Feeling" off of St. Anger. The song really rises to a higher level with the lyrics, which are filled with metaphoric phrases rich with many layers of meaning. Another guitar solo highlights lead guitarist Scott Tomaselli's skill on the fretboard.
The track, "The Bitter End", is a piano driven song that gives us glimpse of Arcane Framework's softer side. It is a soft and subdued song driven by the prominent bass line. It is also a great showcase of Katy's smooth and soulful voice. With the instruments stripped down to just the piano and bass guitar, the vocal track jumps more naturally to the forefront of the song.
With Colorblind Arcane Framework give us everything we heard on their debut EP and more. The heavy alt-metal vibe that emanated on most every track on that EP resonates strongly here again. Lead guitarist Scott Tomaselli provides several top notch guitar solos throughout the album. Their formula routinely migrates from heavy riffs to melodic and clean guitar segments. There are a couple examples of the band stretching their comfort zone and trying a few new things. All in all, a great, modern heavy metal recording, well worth the price to get it through iTunes!
-Some Kind of Grace
-Wish I Knew
-The Bitter End
-Keep On Running
Follow Arcane Framework on Facebook.
-Her Name Is Mercy (Lebanon, IN)
-The Phoenix Philosophy (Minneapolis, MN)
-Up In Flames
-Going Down Swinging
-Dellacoma (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
-Dead Will Rise
-Grand Evolution (Boston, MA/Providence, RI)
-Amicus (Chicago, IL)
-We Are the Truth
-False Hope Fades (Chicago, IL)
-Deadiron (Cleveland, OH)
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Only a few months left as the Independent Band of the Year, but Psychopathic Daze are still hitting the pavement frequently. For the rest of October they have two more shows:
Saturday October 25th they play as part of Big Mikes Anxal Halloween Bash in Newport, MI at 12pm
and Friday October 31st- A Halloween show in Chicago at the Nite Cap at 8pm.
Check out some awesome metal!!!
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Chunkasaurus are a space-rock/stoner metal band from British Columbia, Canada. This genre has sprouted numerous popular bands in the last 10 years or so, and Chunkasaurus are on par with several well-known acts of similar sonic formula. A sub-genre of rock and metal music whose modern roots go back to bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, and Monster Magnet; stoner rock has become more ubiquitous in the underground, and continues to branch into the mainstream.
Chunkasaurus hold true to the core elements of the genre: heavy low-end distortion, fuzzy guitar effects, scratchy vocal delivery and classic metal guitar soling. More specifically, they are also among the legion of bands on an endless quest to recapture the sound and vibe of the early albums by Black Sabbath. To what degree they achieve this lofty goal is of course up to the listener to decide.
Their 3 track EP "Vs. The Falcannon" is a short but concise offering that gives you a good idea of their direction, attitude, and style. The influence of that primal, sludgy metal sound pioneered by Sabbath more than 40 years ago is apparent on this collection. They deliver a raw sounding, heavy mid-to-high-tempo rock sound with many elements of classic heavy metal infused throughout.
With these three tracks Chunkasaurus give us high-tempo stoner-metal rockers. On the opening track, 'The Geezer', they are calling out modern music trends, saying 'Today's music ain't got no soul'... The song is one that justifies itself, as the riffs are delivered with a raw emotion and raw power. All three songs provide that low-end heavy groove that stoner-metal is know for. In some places they add a breakdown segment, where the tone and tempo shift slightly. In most cases this creates a somewhat psychedelic ambience, then a lead guitar comes in and eventually leads the song back to the verse and musical theme.
Here are the tracks from 'Vs.The Falcannon', available for 'name your price' download at their Bandcamp page:
-A Storm to Rage
-So What? ... We're Odd!
Follow Chunkasaurus on Facebook!
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Salvacion are a power metal band from Wilmington, NC. They stick very true to the classic metal influences of the this sub-genre of heavy metal, emulating the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Scorpions. There are a lot of bands now going with the 'traditional' metal direction these days. Salvacion still have a unique sound thanks to the vocals of Nicky Sponsel, who channels a voice like the Scorpions' Klaus Mein into a music style that is more aggressive and intense than anything the Scorpions ever did.
God Gold and Glory, delivers another ambitious element: it is a concept album. The theme focuses on Hernan Cortes and his conquest of the Aztec empire in Mexico. All the glory, and the contrasting atrocities of this brutal conquest are touched on in the lyrics of various songs on this album. The printed lyrics on the inside of the CD sleeve begin with a quote from Cortes himself. "I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart which can be cured only with gold."
Musically, God Gold and Glory proves to be a well-executed, focused, and talent-packed piece of music. The recording quality is top-notch, the playing is high in technicality, and the overall groove maintains a solid style throughout. A wide variety of instrumentation throughout keeps the listener captivated. Screaming guitar solos bring intensity, heavy distorted riffs keep rocking along with acoustic phrases and even keyboards in some places. The tempos can reach a fevered pitch, but there are slower tunes and passages included too. Sponsel's talent beyond the vocal aspect shouldn't be overlooked as he also plays guitar, bass, and organ on this recording! The other half of the creative team in Salvacion is drummer Carlos Denogean, who in addition to gang-style backing vocals also penned the lyrics along with developing the overall concept.
Recommended tracks from God Gold and Glory:
-Obsidian Knife (A true, heavy thrasher! Lyrics depict the tradition of Aztec sacrifices)
-Stroke of Luck (This one has more of a throw-back feel to it, like heavy 80's hair metal)
-Gambler's Throw (This one is like classic metal with a rock n' roll vibe. Headbanging recommended!)
-Satan Shame and Steel (Organ intro has an old-school Deep Pruple vibe, then it becomes a heavy tune. The lyrics develop the album's concept more thoroughly. The song's title is the inverse of God Gold and Glory- but it could equally serve as the title-track.)
-Way More Unstoppable (In spite of the grammatical redundancy of the title, this is one of my favorite songs on this CD. Also it is one of the heaviest songs, a great way to close the album!)
Follow Salvacion on their facebook page!
Monday, August 11, 2014
When Jeff Hanneman, legendary guitarist of Slayer, passed away on May 2nd, 2013 from liver failure I posted a poll asking you what your favorite Slayer album was. I hand picked several of their albums that I viewed as the most classic fan-favorite albums. In the end, a close poll revealed that 1988's South of Heaven was your choice to commemorate the life of Jeff Hanneman.
South of Heaven has long been one of my personal favorite Slayer albums as well. Of course, who doesn't enjoy the purely insane tempos of their previous album Reign in Blood? However South of Heaven provides a more unique sound and overall impression than perhaps any other Slayer album from their entire catalog.
It has been well documented that this was the album where Slayer first chose to slow things down in terms of tempo and intensity in song structure and composition. However, they never stopped making their lyrical content any less evil. The result is one of the most haunting pieces of thrash metal of all time. South of Heaven is still filled with themes of war, the occult and the holocaust, but when these themes are combined with comparatively softer tones, and quieter elements than full-blown, non-stop, intensity, the effect is that your mind has more time to focus on the topics and imagery presented in the lyrics, which are still delivered in Tom Araya's sinister lower register. Songs like the title track, Silent Scream, and Behind the Crooked Cross will leave an unforgettable impression on your psyche once you make out the message in the words.
Though he had always been a major composing force within Slayer, this album may be the one most attributed to Jeff Hanneman in terms of musical composition. It is a fitting tribute to Jeff that this album won this particular poll. In closing I will leave you with the complete track listing for South of Heaven. Every track is recommended:
Monday, July 28, 2014
On Thursday July 17th I made a trip up to Oshkosh , WI to enjoy what Rock USA Fest had to offer. The line-up for this summer was packed with a versatile line-up of bands ranging from mainstream radio-friendly melodic rock bands like 3 Doors Down and Seether to more extreme metal acts like Megadeth and Slayer.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend the first day of this fest, but I made it for the 2nd. I was in for a treat as this evening's headliners were Megadeth followed by Rob Zombie! This would be the 4th or 5th time I've seen Megadeth, but my first time to see Rob Zombie. I was curious to see what they each would play in their concert set-list. With such a diversity of bands, and the festival format leaving each band with the same amount of performance time (1 hour) I was expecting sets focused on the bands' big hits and fan favorites. I wasn't far off.
Megadeth's set was during sunset hours; they went on at dusk, and played until just after dark. Overall Megadeth didn't play anything much different from what I've seen them play before. Again, this was more likely due to the limited set-time and the desire to appeal to a crowd that may not know more than their hits anyway. They included their biggest classics: Hangar 18, Peace Sells, Trust, and Symphony of Destruction. The one thing that I found entertaining and was a new element I had not seen them do before, is every few songs they would play a clip from a movie between songs. The movie clip always referenced the music of Megadeth. I did not recognize all the movies from which they sampled, but I know one was from one of the Wayne's World films. The one song that was new for me was from their newest album Super Collider, as they performed 'Kingmaker'
Rob Zombie was a different experience for me. I would not call Rob Zombie my favorite band or performer, or even in my top 5, top 10, top 25, or even top 50. I enjoy live music for the raw quality of it; hard-working musicians playing their instruments purely for our entertainment as fans- not as much as when the performance is mixed with a playback of recorded effects and artificial musical elements. I also enjoy hearing a band perform their original works (more than I do cover-songs, although a good cover is often worth hearing, so long as an original band doesn't go overboard on the covers.) Now, in spite of Rob Zombie being guilty of most of these shortcomings from my personal perspective, I do have to say that he did win me over with his performance! Equal credit should be given to his lead guitarist, John 5. John 5 performed an 8-minute guitar solo prior to their encore that I would honestly say was the best concert guitar solo I've witnessed since the last time I saw Eddie Van Halen... in 1998!
In spite of the crowd's inability to express their fanaticism kinetically for the music (due largely to the seating format which included row upon row of plastic lawn chairs the went right up to the stage), Rob still gave a top-notch performance as a front man, and delivered all his best-known songs (Dragula, More Human Than Human, Living Dead Girl), and several good covers (Alice Cooper's 'School's Out', Grand Funk's 'We're an American Band', and to my enthusiastic surprise, Diamond Head's metal classic 'Am I Evil?'). He even outdid himself, by virtue of being the night's headliner, by over-playing his set time by about 30 minutes. He prefaced his closing number by saying: "So we're only allowed to play until midnight... ... so we have one more song. Don't worry though, it's a 20-minute song."
In closing I will say that although Rob Zombie may not be among my favorite bands, he is certainly a formidable live performer. I will watch for him on tour in the future, and I will see him again if opportunity presents itself. I would recommend seeing Rob Zombie live in concert to even his most fair-weather of fans.
Even though I arrived too late for the performances of Hellyeah and All That Remains, I will include their setlists below for reference. I found them online at setlist.fm - an excellent, fan-contributed and edited website for documenting live performances. I would recommend this site to any concert-goer.
Rock USA Setlists from Thursday, July 17th, 2014:
-Matter of Time
-Sangre Por Sangre (Blood for Blood)
-Drink Drank Drunk
-Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)
-Band of Brothers
-You Wouldn't Know
ALL THAT REMAINS
-The Air That I Breathe
-Now Let Them Tremble
-...For We Are Many
-Some of the People, All of the Time
-What if I was Nothing?
-Asking Too Much
-Down Through the Ages
-The Last Time
-This Darkened Heart
(Prince of Darkness -played as intro...)
-Wake Up Dead
-In My Darkest Hour
-Public Enemy #1
-Symphony of Destruction
-Holy Wars... the Punishment Due
-Living Dead Girl
-Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown
-More Human Than Human
-House of 1000 Corpses
-Never Gonna Stop
-Am I Evil?
-Thunder Kiss '65
-School's Out/Thunder Kiss '65 (continued)
-We're an American Band
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Programmable Animal are an industrial/metal band from Chicago. Recently they released their first full-length recording: Drepsea. This album is a well-executed project from start to finish. For an independently recorded album, it delivers its intended message with tremendous focus, execution and production.
Drepsea: the dark feeling of depression and despair that we all struggle against from time to time. A metaphorical 'sea of depression', or an antagonist of this album's concept and theme.
Drepsea begins to unfold. An ambiance is built primarily through keyboards and synthesized guitars. Distorted guitar parts are more of a rhythmic element; more deep in the mix along with drums and bass- it's the vocals and electronic components that create the melody and top layers of Programmable Animal's music. The bass line often drives the chord progression as the songs' themes develop.
Drepsea could also be considered a concept album. The aforementioned dark moods created by their sounds and lyrics tell tales of wallowing in the mire of society's numerous obstacles to the common pursuit of happiness. This collection of songs is intended to help those struggling with these or similar feelings to persevere through the dark times and see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, or to rise up out of the Drepsea and sail onward.
Programmable Animal definitely deliver a Nine Inch Nails style of industrial metal. Dark moods, essential to the album's concept, are brought to a haunting light by the vocal performance, often enhanced with a scratchy effect. But they do more than just show an influence from NIN, and create their own polished product with a unique message for us all.
Recommended Tracks from Drepsea:
-Within (this one displays the softer side of Programmable Animal)
-Fall Eye (More ambient, and subdued. With the vocal style I am reminded a bit of Pink Floyd on this one.)
-Dark (This is the heavier sampling from this album.)
-Sea of Drepsea (High intensity of the synthetic instrumentation on this track. A faster tempo helps to lift your spirit, and begin to rise out of the Drepsea)
Friday, July 11, 2014
Psychopathic Daze will be road warriors again for the month of July this summer. Check them out at any of their numerous dates below. Playing venues across 3 states, they are spreading their influence further throughout the midwest...
TONIGHT!! Friday, July 11th: They are playing in Marion, IN at Beatniks Cafe, show starts at 8pm.
TOMORROW!! Saturday, July 12th: in Elwood, IN, at Backstage Bar at 8pm.
Next Thursday, July 17th they play at Club Mambo, part of the Battle For Mayhem Fest, in Chicago, IL at 4pm.
Next Saturday the 19th, they play Chicago's Elbo Room at 6pm.
Then, for the last weekend of July they travel up to Wisconsin for a pair of shows:
Friday the 25th in Janesville, WI at The Back Bar at 8pm.
and Saturday the 26th in Oshkosh, WI at The Reptile Palace at 8pm.
Get out, check them out and bang your head to some hardcore metal!!!