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
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!!!
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Wicked Deception are an underground thrash metal band from Joliet, IL. Their goal when they started out as a band was to create an aggressive blend of death and thrash metal. After one listen to their first full-length album Incite the Riot, I must say mission accomplished!
Their throwback, raw and unrefined thrash tones remind me of the early works of Sepultura; from 1987's Schizophrenia to 1991's Arise. Incite the Riot writhes with that primordial intensity, aggression, and raw sounding tonality that is harder and harder to find in modern metal. Many of the earliest albums of thrash metal had this kind of sound to them. Wicked Deception take this potent foundation of riffs and add a death-metal inspired hardcore scream as their main vocal element, which is where I'm drawn to make the Sepultura comparison.
The opening track, 'Retribution', dives straight into their signature sound. The raw, fast-tempo riffs assault your ears, while a deep-grooved and brutal rhythm is established by the drums and bass guitar. Raspy, mid-range screams from Brian Huguelet deliver the message aggressively with a Max Cavalera-esque style.
'Slavedog' slows things down a little in terms of tempo, but they keep the song's riffs heavy and aggressive all the same. They throw in a few spoken-word lyrics, which remind me a bit of Faith No More's Mike Patton. The song carries a theme of struggling for independence, and rebelling against authority.
'Unconscious Terror', again following the slower-but-heavy song structure, has one of the most memorable riffs on this album. They take a few seconds to include a technical and classic-thrash sounding guitar solo before this song ends.
The final track, '(No Life in Your) Darkness', features melodic guest vocals by Jennifer Skorniak. She sings melodically for most of the song, adding a diverse new element to Wicked Deception's pallet. Fear not though metal-heads, for she also can scream hardcore with the best of them, and adds this element at the choruses.
In conclusion I may be tempted to call Incite the Riot a 'melodic-death-metal' album, but that seems a bit short of accurate to me. What this style of metal really reminds me of is a time from metal's evolution when death-metal had not yet fully differentiated itself from thrash or speed-metal. All the comparisons I've made to early Sepultura were for a reason: this is the era of this band's primary inspiration. For anyone who ever loved the purest, most evil roots of what thrash metal was like in the old days, check out Wicked Deception. They are out to prove that some beasts never die...
-(No Light in Your) Darkness
Follow Wicked Deception on:
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Set to Rise are a British metal band from Kent, England. Delivering their own brand of metal that is inspired from alternative metal, hardcore and punk; this band is out to make a statement and leave their own mark on the metal scene. They recently released a self-titled EP featuring three studio and two live tracks, providing a nice overview of their sound and style.
Musically their tones and song structures initially reminded me of Motorhead riffs mixed with a late-80's punk vocal style. After a few more listens an influence from alternative metal bands such as Rage Against the Machine and Papa Roach came to mind. There are some hints of thrash and groove metal in places, while lead guitar solos keep a classic element present in their formula as well.
Set To Rise may sound a little bit like many of their influences, but exactly like none of them. They take their influences and meld them into their own sound. They have a lot of potential, and I'm curious to watch how their music will develop over the next few years.
I'll leave you with an annotated summary of each track from their self-titled debut EP.
-Because of You. With the clean guitar intro this song almost has a post-grunge feel, until the heavy riffs kick everything up a notch or two. This song's main riff is addictively catchy, enticing one to bang their head. A killer guitar solo gives the song a finishing touch.
-Lost. This one is a more intense, more hardcore type of song. It thrashes along with a higher tempo and more aggression than any other track on this EP.
-Forgetting Me. Set To Rise list Rage Against The Machine as a major primary influence on their social media pages, and this track shows that influence the most on this EP. As the centerpiece, this track may be most indicative of their chosen direction in metal.
-Taken (live). This song has a solid groove, and gives you a hint of what the band is like live. There is a certain raw quality of the live recordings, but they also deliver a snippet of another side of Set To Rise. Recordings can capture a band's talent, but a live performance tells you more about who they are, and you can really hear between the lines and feel their ambition and drive.
-Sleep Now in the Fire (live- Rage Against The Machine cover). Set To Rise really take their biggest influence from Rage Against The Machine. It's not surprising they choose to cover one of Rage's songs on this EP, and the live performance captures their intensity all the more. They give this song proper justice, while honoring their primary inspiration at the same time.
This debut EP is a pretty diverse sampling from the three studio tracks, and the two live tracks are a huge plus! Follow Set To Rise on facebook and don't miss a chance to download these tracks, currently available as free downloads.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Catch Psychopathic Daze performing tonight and/or tomorrow!!! For the last weekend of May the Chicago-area hardcore metal outfit have two shows spanning half the state of Illinois.
First: tonight, May 30th they are at the Livewire Lounge in Chicago, IL. Tomorrow, Saturday the 31st they travel downstate to Kenney, IL (just northeast of the state capitol of Springfield) for a show at Old Settler's Park..
Need more reason to go? These are also the band's first two shows with their new lead singer, Tony Castile!!