Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Psychopathic Daze: December Shows

Post # 306

Psychopathic Daze are keeping a busy schedule right up to the end of the year. Here are their remaining shows for 2014. One last Chicagoland performance at Elgin's Gashaus, then they travel to Michigan for a pair of shows in New Baltimore and Taylor...

http://www.psychopathicdaze.com/


Sat, 13 Dec
Elgin, IL
 
Fri, 19 Dec
New Baltimore, MI
 
Sat, 20 Dec
Taylor, MI


Catch this band at one of these shows and be sure to follow them on Facebook! Starting in January, the new Independent Band of the Year will be Her Name is Mercy ...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sinister Fate-Hellbound (2013)

Post #305

Sinister Fate are a heavy metal band from Chicago that excel at delivering demented, graphic, hedonistic, and horror-themed lyrics with a traditional, classic heavy metal sound.

https://www.facebook.com/SinisterFateofficial
Their newest album is entitled Hellbound, and is appropriately titled given the band's opinions on sins of indulgence and their affinity for breaking cultural taboos. At times their lyrics depict sexual S&M types of behaviors, so there's even a double meaning behind the phrase Hellbound. The titles may be a little campy and cliché but this band is about delivering the fun side of metal music within the context of the horror subculture.

The album opens with a sampled snip of dialog and it sets the tone for the album as a whole:
"Who are you?!?
Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some, Angels to others".
Then the riff assault begins, and Sinister Fate have no shortage of awesome riffs to throw your way. They sometimes sound like groove metal, mid-tempo thrash, or the heavier side of sleazy hair metal. Their songs convey a dark edge of R-rated Horror-cult themes.

Songs like 'Natural Born Killer' and 'Zombie Bomb' give you headbangable riff fests, complete with classic-metal guitar solos, there are other songs like 'Frankenstein Valentine' and 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' that slow things down, and rely on a melodic and plodding bass line to deliver the song's dark ambiance. Incidentally, 'Natural Born Killer' has a riff that reminds me of Pantera's 'Primal Concrete Sledge'...

Musically Sinister Fate could be described as a heavier Motley Crue, or a more thrashy Rob Zombie. While each of those comparisons has some merit, neither is either of them entirely accurate. Suffice to say, the best way to get the understanding of Sinister Fate's sound is just to hear it for yourself. Hellbound is one of those rare gems of independently produced music where there is not a bad song out of the whole 12-track album (13 if you count the hidden track ;-).

So do yourself a favor, don't wait another second, and just click some of the links that follow, and treat yourself to some hedonistic metal music by Sinister Fate. Your ears will thank you, though your neck may protest!

Recommended Tracks from Hellbound:
-Hellbound
-(S&M) Anthem
-Frankenstein Valentine
-Zombie Bomb
-Drop Dead Gorgeous
-Fetish
-I Love to say Fuck! (hidden track)

Check out their website: http://sinisterfate.com/

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reagan Youth Interview (11-15-14)

Post # 304

I had the opportunity to interview the 80's hardcore punk band Reagan Youth prior to their show on November 15th at Reggies Rock Club in Chicago. I was curious to hear about how the band's current line-up came together, their decision to start performing again after a long abscence, their new material they are currently working on, as well as their thoughts on music, politics, and life in general. Here is how our conversation unfolded...

 
Transcript follows...

http://www.reagan-youth.com/
(Reagan Youth- clockwise from bottom left: Paul Cripple, Greg Whisper, Tibbie X, Trey Oswald)

HappyHeadbanger: This is Joel Beverley for www.happyheadbanger.com (at) Reggies Rock Club in Chicago with Reagan Youth. Reunited since the 80's and doing a shout tour this year and they're headlining tonight.

Paul Cripple: Yes, yes, we don't really tour that often, we just go like a week away, you know like 10 days at the most. Every two or thee months y'know we play and sing our songs of protest. People like to prortest to our songs by getting fucked up and have a good time, and show society that we can do it ourselves and have a good time and I don't know what the fuck I'm sayin'...

Trey Oswald: And that Peace and Anarchy is a real thing!

Tibbie X: Do what you are.

Paul: Do what I am...

HH: How about you guys just introduce yourselves quick 'cause I assume...

Paul: I'm Paul, the guitar player. I was always in the band...

Greg "Stig" Whisper: I'm Greg. I'm the drummer. I'm relatively new. Two years on...

Trey: I'm Trey. I'm the loud-mouth.

HH: Awesome...

Tibbie: Tibbie X, I'm the bassist.

HH: Ok, so I guess you guys disbanded back in the day...

Paul: Yeah...

HH: So what was the thing that got you to reunite, to get a line-up back together and start playing again?

Paul: You know what, the internet was a big part of it. People liked the band. I didn't think they liked it, but they liked it. And then I played a gig, and people started kinda talkin' shit, and I was like, "Fuck that shit man! I'll show 'em!" And then I got some of the old members and we played and it was fun to play music again. And then I started comin' up with some new songs. It's like I'd been empty for awhile.

HH: Alright, so...

Paul: And so that's what keeps me goin'. It keeps me goin', you know?

HH: And how about the rest of the line-up? How'd you guys come to be in the band?

Greg: For me, I ah, my drum teacher actually introduced me to them. He played for them for a little while. He wasn't a big fit. He used to play with Davey Jones. He's not playing with him anymore obviously, he's deceased, but he turned me onto them. I checked them out, and we got along famously, and ever since then it's been like a family. So...

Trey: What was the question?

HH: How did you come to be in the band?

Trey: Oh! Ah, I sought Paul out in 2006 when the band got back together, back in like... it was like summer 2006. I can't remember the month. And I heard the second record for the first time. I mean I was living in Austin, Texas. I sought him out. We hung out and became buddies. Listened to 70's muscle-car-rock, trade shows. Then I did a Reagan youth tribute band called New Aryans back in 2008-2009 just for the fuck of it on Halloween. Pardon the French. And, we just kind of like were together, and they needed a singer, and then I'm here, y'know? Sweet home Chicago, yeah!

HH: Alright!

Tibbie: Paul and I had a series of tremendously fucked up friends in common. So, they brought us together. And they're not around anymore, and we are.

HH: Alright, so um... when you were like getting into music when you were growing up when you were kids. Who was like some of your early influences that really turned you on to, like, 'Oh! I want to sing music. Or perform, or play music.' Stuff like that...

Trey: The Rolling Stones are the reason I started playing music. And like Guns N' Roses back in like the 80's, man. I'm still kinda young. I'm in my 30's. And you know the Ramones, the Misfits, and ah Reagan Youth. That kinda got me here.

Tibbie: I'd say Reagan Youth, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Adolescence, Agent Orange, Diamondogolas, Lydia Lunch... and ah anyone I could find in the underground 'cause I was stuck in the suburbs where it's really fuckin' boring, so...

Trey: And The Struggling Masses! Even though they didn't get us playing music, they got us here.

Greg: I'm a little different: Blink 182, old Green Day, No Cash, NOFX, Pennywise, Social Distortion, Bathroom Souls. Those are some of the big ones.

HH: Alright Cool.

Trey: Generations, man. It's all tomato/tomato, you know?

HH: Alright, so now...

Tibbie: Smelly Tomatoes.

Trey: Smelly Tomatoes! Smelly Tomatoes were an influence!

HH: Of course, when like the early days of Reagan Youth it was obviously a very political band. Obviously form the name, from the imagery you guys did. And it's like, it's maybe a better question for Paul if he's around, but anyway...

Paul: Yeah?

HH: Early days of Reagan Youth: very political. Very, you know, like reactionary towards the Reagan era...

Paul: Yeah!

HH: Everything like that...

Paul: And it's that same regime is still kinda pulling strings, so I could see why the music has lasted all these years. And that's the brilliance of original singer Dave Insurgent's vision and everything, that he made musically, artistically, and lyrically. So I can see why this band's music is still relevant. And I... as long as it's relevant, I'll have fun playing it.

Trey: The problems are still relevant today. You we have ah... the leaders that are in charge today were originally around when the Carter administration and the Nixon administration went out; the new Republican party came in. And those same people are in charge now! We'll just go ahead and say that.

Paul: Dick Cheney actually used to suck Reagan's cock every Thursday night! And they have that on the White House tapes!

Trey: Now it's Wednesday nights. They've switched it up...

Paul: Ahhh, I think Reagan's dead now. I think Nancy Reagan.... honestly she's a vampire. How could she live so long?

Trey: She just said "No!" "Just say no!"

Paul: How could Cheney have like 8 different hearts put in his chest? He must have real health care. He must have Obamacare!

Trey: Today's open enrollment for Obamacare, by the way.

Paul: I mean, We're just about, you know, exposing the evils of society through some catchy lyrics, and some cool-ass music...

Trey: And to talk about Obamacare!

Paul: Yeah.

HH: So you... any comments on current... I mean, you kinda already are, a little bit, commenting on the current political landscape, and whatnot. I mean it's...

Trey: We have socialist tendencies, which could be alright.

Tibbie: I think this is a very rebellious group of people that are going to be fighting for freedom in one way or another. So we might as well all be in this band together, travelling around the world.

Trey: What Tibbie said!

Paul: Eventually, I think eventually things are gonna catch up with America in the sense that it's... it's...  It can't sustain itself. The system is wrong. It's not sustainable. And I think it's gonna just, this country isn't gonna be the greatest country in the world when your sending jobs overseas. When you're trying to always look at the bottom line is the dollar as opposed to, as what's best for society as a whole.

HH: OK, Now. So you guys obviously have the hardcore punk roots and everything. But I heard the rumor that you're going to be performing some of your House of God material tonight?

Paul: Um, yeah we could do 'Ten Thousand Years From Now'. We do that, but that's kinda a fast song, but it just has such a great arrangement. And I just wanted to do it 'cause I hadn't heard it in so long, live. We did it in Germany. But we could play it anytime we want.

HH: OK, so um, just comment on that, on that project. The last, unreleased demos.

Paul: Yeah, me and Dave...

HH: It's available , by the way, I'm going to just drop this. It's available at bandcamp: houseofgod.bandcamp.com.

Paul: Yeah. For free. Music is free. Just take it.

HH: Yeah I downloaded it myself before I came to the interview and everything. I like it. It's got some good grooves. I'm more of a 'metal' guy myself so I kind of dig that a bit more.

Paul: Cool.

HH: But anyway, um, you want to talk any more about that um, project itself?

Paul: Well, um, no, um... I wish we, wish it had come to fruitition. Yeah but it didn't, and whatever the reasons why. It's a shame and basically it's drugs, and stay away from drugs.

HH: Alright, so... What was the decision to do that back then, to take that new direction? A little bit of change of pace?

Paul: Um, we were getting better musically. We were growing. Mentally we didn't want to be kids taking on the Republicans, we wanted to be grown-ups taking on a higher authority: God.

HH: Alright, Awesome. And then I also hear you're working on what's reported to be, going to be, the final Reagan Youth album. Talk a bit about that...

Paul: Yes, yeah. Um, I've go a bunch of songs. It's just going to be about, like we have a song 'Hapless Misfits'...

Trey: It's about a Crazy Diamond we all know...

Paul: It's just basically about the life and times that Dave lived. New York City in the 80's, Reaganomics, there's a song 'Idle hands' about how you don't want to work a job at 3, America's dream for society, to be a zombie in a factory, or stood up for the company. I don't know, lyrics like that, but it'll work. And at the end, Dave is dead but still fighting the power.

HH: Any references to like specific events from his tragic life?

Paul: No. No, no, because... Yeah there's this song 'Necrophilia', but I want to be like The Who, and have some humor in it, you know? I don't want to be that literal. You know, I want it to be a loose interpretation, but yet still capture the essence of the man, his message, and his 'fight the power' mentality.

HH: Let the fans read into it what they will...

Paul: Yeah! And if it's good and it's catchy and you can play those songs with the old songs, and they all fit together, and everyone's slam-dancing to it then I know it's good.

HH: Alright, awesome! Um, everybody want to chip in: of the songs in your set, what's your personal favorite when you play it live? The one you really dig the most.

Tibbie: 'Jesus was a Communist'. It's my favorite.

Greg: 'No Class'. The drum rolls are awesome in that song. I love it.

Trey: Right now, this tour, it's the hibernation tour. I like 'What Will the Neighbors Think?' That one, I'm killin' it right now. I love that song. It's so good!

Paul: I love when we cover, "The devils Grip, The Iron Fist". Our cover-song.

HH: Alright. As a band, you're up there, this is what you do. You're putting your heart out there for the fans. Get into the music. Is there like a take-home message? Something like you want them to walk away from the show thinking what?

Paul: Individuality. Think for yourself. Be an individual and embrace the differences in yourself and in others, because that's what makes the world beautiful. Don't shave ya head and walk around with a bunch of other people who shave their heads just to hate on a bunch of other people who haven't shaved their heads.

Trey: Breed skin-heads...

Paul: Or have different shades, you know.

Trey: ...Not the sharks.

HH: I'm gonna paraphrase King Missile here and say, 'Don't want to be comparable, even to yourself.'

Paul: Yeah, yeah...

Trey: Yeah yeah and remember: Love love, and hate hate and when in doubt, just BE.

Paul: And don't be redundant.

Greg: Don't take everything so literally either. Don't read into everything so much. Have fun!

Paul: Yeah, have fun. Have fun, and also look at a deeper meaning in life, you know.

Trey: And listen to Burning Streets!

Greg: Hell yeah!

HH: Alright, any other like, ah.. bands your into? You want to like kinda just say , "Oh! If you like us, check theses guys out?"

Paul: Hank and the Hammerheads, from New Your City. They're making a name for themselves. Trey?

Trey: Ahhh... Call Me Bronco, from Louisville, Kentucky. Bullrep, Louisville.

Tibbie: I'm a sexual catalyst in a band called Gash, from Philadelphia.

HH: Awesome.

Greg: I'm in a band called Lawless Few from New Jersey. Sounds like Gas Light Anthem. A lot of fun band.

HH: I was going to ask about your side-projects. Other bands you've played in. Is that going to be like your ah, you going back to that once Reagan Youth plays out?

Tibbie: Gash is going on tour. We have three tours booked. Our first one is in Boston, and then we're going down south, and after that's California.

Greg: Awesome shows booked with bands like OC45, The Scandals. We're actually about to go record in the studio right now and make our first LP. We're super-stoked about it. We're going to work on that like all winter, so...

HH: And what was your band's name again?

Greg: It's called The Lawless Few.

HH: Ok, and is that like, comparable to the Reagan Youth material? Is it different...

Greg: No. Absolutely not. It's completely different.

HH: How is it?

Greg: It's more like Gas Light Anthem, Bath of Souls...

Trey: It's rock music. It's rock music.

Greg: It's got a soul. It's real cool. Check it out.

HH: Alright. And ah, as for Gash? You were saying?

Tibbie: Gash is an S&M Punk band from south Philly. So we're kinda like Iron Maiden, um Angel Witch, but with a punk rock edge.

HH: Alright, sounds awesome.

Trey: I'm just trying to stay alive until the next tour.

HH: Yeah, that's the best way to get to the next tour.

Trey: Yeah, long live it: stay alive through it, you know what I mean?

Paul: Alright so, um hang in there. We're going to go eat. Hope you enjoy the show. and be good.

HH: It was a good time you guys, thanks for talkin' with us.

Trey: What was the show?

HH: Huh?

Trey: What was the name of the show?

HH: Name of the show?

Trey: For the...

HH: Oh! My blog?

Trey: Yeah.

HH: It's Happyheadbanger.com

Trey: This is Reagan Youth, and a big fat peace, love, and anarchy to happyheadbanger.com. Thanks!

HH: I'll be out there bangin' my head tonight. You guys give us some rock, we'll let it roll...

Tibbie: Thanks!

Grey: Good time, man.

HH: Take Care... thanks.

https://www.facebook.com/ReaganYouthNYC
(Reagan Youth, from left-to-right: Tibbie X, Greg Whisper, Trey Oswald, Paul Cripple)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Rob Zombie-Hellbilly Deluxe (1998)

Post #303  [Poll winner: Favorite Rob Zombie Album]

When Rob Zombie released his first album after his previous band White Zombie broke up, he delivered a true metal classic for the late '90's. 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:
-Dragula
-Living Dead Girl
-Superbeast
-Demonoid Phenomenon
-Meet The Creeper

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Psychopathic Daze on the Road in November 2014...

Post #302

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!!!

Fri, Nov 7th
Mt Prospect, IL
 
Sat, Nov 8th
West Lafayette, IN
 
Thu, Nov 20th
Chicago, IL
 
Sat, Nov 22nd
Yorkville, IL
Fri, Nov 28th
Joliet, IL

 Follow Psychopathic Daze on Facebook and keep an eye out for when they'll be playing in your neighborhood...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Genotype-Design Intent (2014)

Post # 301

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.

https://www.facebook.com/GenotypeBand
Design Intent begins with "Amalthea", an intense hardcore metal song I would expect from what I saw of Genotype live. Though the hardcore metal sound dominates the song, a subtle electronic element parallels the percussion and drumbeat in the background. Kathryn Kirby's vocals on this song are recorded in layers, and often there is a hardcore scream echoing in the background while her melodic singing is in the top layer of sound.

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!

Recommended Tracks:
-Amalthea
-Blight
-The Awakening
-Nothing to Hold*
-Trine
-Nether Reflex* (featuring Moshua)

Follow Genotype on Facebook to get all their updates and upcoming performances...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Arcane Framework-Colorblind (2014)

Post # 300

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.

https://www.facebook.com/arcaneframeworkrocks
Colorblind opens with the track, "Some Kind of Grace", a heavy number that quickly lets you know you're listening to a real metal band. Katy Pryzbytek then begins singing in her melodic voice, recalling the style of Halestorm's Lzzy Hale or Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia. The lyrical theme is that of soul-searching and identity resolution. The song's highlight is the melodic break near the end, which is then followed by a killer guitar solo.

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!

Recommended Tracks:
-Some Kind of Grace
-Wish I Knew
-Colorblind
-The Bitter End
-Keep On Running

Follow Arcane Framework on Facebook.

Independent Band of the Year Reader's Poll-2014

Post #299

-Her Name Is Mercy (Lebanon, IN)
https://soundcloud.com/her-name-is-mercyofficial
A hardcore/metalcore band from Indiana, these guys deliver intense hardcore metal is a similar vein to several of their influences, such as The Dillinger Escape plan and Between the Buried and Me. Check out:
-Oceans
-Hurricane

-The Phoenix Philosophy (Minneapolis, MN)
https://www.facebook.com/thephoenixphilosophy?fref=photo
This band's style is self-described as Pop/Rock/Electronic. Their execution of this vision takes a heavy rock guitar sound and pairs it with synth-electronic elements, all the while maintaining a catchy vocal melody in the top layer of the mix. I would be tempted to compare their sound to Skillet.
Check out:
-Up In Flames
-Going Down Swinging

-Dellacoma (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
https://www.facebook.com/dellacoma
This band is hot on the rise from 'down-under', already touring in the states while having formed less than a year ago... Simply put, their sound is straight up hard rock. Their influences stem strongly from any band Scott Weiland is associated with, and they emulate the vibes of both Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots with their live performances.
Check out:
-Change
-Dead Will Rise

-Grand Evolution (Boston, MA/Providence, RI)
http://www.grandevolution.com/

A female-fronted alternative rock band form the southern New England area. Their sound captures vocal melodies mixed with both clean and distorted guitar riffs. While their singer's voice reminds me of Liz Phair, their musical style rings true to the likes of their mid-to-late 90's influences, including Radiohead and Soul Asylum
Check out:
-Hello

-Amicus (Chicago, IL)
https://www.facebook.com/amicusofficial?fref=photo
This band follows more closely to the post-grunge genre of hard rock. They present a heavy-yet-melodic sound, tight grooves, and a voice that at times mirrors Staind's Aaron Lewis. You can catch them playing somewhere in the Chicago area supporting their new release 'Collapsing Chemistry'.
Check out:
-Collapsing Chemistry
-We Are the Truth

-False Hope Fades (Chicago, IL)
https://www.facebook.com/falsehopefades?fref=photo
A female-fronted heavy metal band that gives you heavy mid-tempo riffs and a bluesy melodic vocal. Perhaps best described as groove metal, this band keeps the sound heavy and the mood dark...
Check out:
-Coward
-Break

-Deadiron (Cleveland, OH)

https://www.facebook.com/deadiron

This band is one that gives you a bit of a throw-back sound and fit the 'traditional metal' subgenre, or maybe 'power metal' as well. Fast and technical guitar work is a perfect compliment to the vocals which are powerful without being screamed. 
Check out:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Psychopathic Daze: October shows...

Post #298

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:
https://www.facebook.com/psychopathicdaze/timeline

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 Vs. THE FALCANNON (EP - 2014)

Post #297

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.
http://www.chunkasaurus.com/

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:
-The Geezer
-A Storm to Rage
-So What? ... We're Odd!


Follow Chunkasaurus on Facebook!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Psychopathic Daze: 2 Shows this Weekend!

Post #296
https://www.facebook.com/psychopathicdaze?fref=ts
 
Independent Band of the Year PSYCHOPATHIC DAZE have a pair of shows coming up this weekend...
 
Don't miss you chance to hear these hardcore-thrashers live.
 
Friday, September 19th they play Chicago's Elbo Room, along with Bloodletter and Driven Under.
 
Saturday, September 20th they head out to Lafayette, IN for a show with 50 Six Feet at Jerilee's Pub!
 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Salvacion-God Gold and Glory (2014)

Post #295

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.

https://www.facebook.com/salvacionrocks
Their latest album, 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!
https://www.facebook.com/salvacionrocks

Monday, August 11, 2014

SLAYER- South of Heaven (1988)

Post #294 [Poll winner: favorite Slayer album in memory of Jeff Hanneman]

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.

http://www.slayer.net/us/music/south-heaven
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:
Slayer
South of Heaven
1-South of Heaven
2-Silent Scream
3-Live Undead
4-Behind the Crooked Cross
5-Mandatory Suicide
6-Ghosts of War
7-Read Between the Lies
8-Cleanse the Soul
9-Dissident Aggressor
10-Spill the Blood

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rock USA Oshkosh, 2014, Day 2: Megadeth, Rob Zombie

Post #293

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:

HELLYEAH
-Cowboy Way
-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
-Hellyeah!

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
-Six
-Down Through the Ages
-Hold On
-The Last Time
-This Darkened Heart
-Two Weeks

MEGADETH
(Prince of Darkness -played as intro...)
-Hangar 18
-Wake Up Dead
-In My Darkest Hour
-Sweating Bullets
-Public Enemy #1
-She-Wolf
-Trust
-Kingmaker
-Symphony of Destruction
-Peace Sells
--------
-Holy Wars... the Punishment Due

ROB ZOMBIE
-Dragula
-Superbeast
-Living Dead Girl
-Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown
(drum solo)
-More Human Than Human
-Sick Bubblegum
-House of 1000 Corpses
-Never Gonna Stop
-Am I Evil?
-Thunder Kiss '65
(guitar solo)
-School's Out/Thunder Kiss '65 (continued)
--------
-We're an American Band

http://www.rockusaoshkosh.com/

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Programmable Animal-Drepsea (2014)

Post #292

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.

https://www.facebook.com/ProgrammableAnimal
Programmable Animal quickly establish their solid formula of industrial, melodic metal as 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:
-Together
-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: July 2014 Tour Dates

Post #291

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...
https://www.facebook.com/psychopathicdaze

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-Incite the Riot (2012)

Post #290

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.

https://www.facebook.com/WickedDeception
Brothers Lance and Brian Huguelet share the vocals, each adding their own unique elements. Lance does the mid-range screamed vocals and deeper guttural growls while Brian provides the straight forward hardcore screams. They switch off several times within songs, often with one brother singing the verses, the other the choruses.

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...

Recommended Tracks:
-Retribution
-Slavedog
-Unconscious Terror
-Awakening Hatred
-(No Light in Your) Darkness

Follow Wicked Deception on:
Facebook
Myspace
Reverbnation

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Set To Rise (2014 EP)

Post #289
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.

https://www.facebook.com/settorise
The EP opens with some clean guitar melody that quickly transitions to a groove-laden heavy riff. When the vocals kick in, they are infused with an aggressive edge, but not screamed so rough as to be unintelligible; this band's music has a message, and they don't want it to be missed. Political criticism, and calling out of dishonesty are a few of the themes one can find in their lyrics. Their singer delivers the message with raw emotion and a sense of urgency.

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

Psychopathic Daze-May Daze!

Post #288

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!!
https://www.facebook.com/psychopathicdaze?fref=photo


https://www.facebook.com/psychopathicdaze/app_7085335997

Friday, May 23, 2014

Avenged Sevenfold-Hail to the King (2013)

Post #287
Avenged Sevenfold seem to always draw a lot of criticism for being 'sell-outs' in recent years in heavy metal circles. I think this partially stems from the fact that much of metal's underground fandom clings to a belief that metal is not supposed to be mainstream or popular. Metallica are sometimes viewed the same way by metal critics ever since their commercial success of their self-titled 'black' album. In many ways, Hail to the King is Avenged Sevenfold's 'black' album. It is their biggest shift to a slower-tempo, more accessible sound as they have displayed yet in their career. So their critics are making as much noise as ever over their legitimacy as a metal band. On the flip-side, Avenged Sevenfold's latest release still debuted at #1, and they continue to draw sell-out crowds on headlining tours and massive metal festivals and tours around the globe, so in all likelihood they will continue to do what they've been doing as far as their direction is concerned, and let all criticisms go in one ear and out the other.

After a first listen this album sounds like Avenged Sevenfold is sputtering at half throttle. There are teases of potential neck-breaking tempos like they've delivered on previous releases, but not a single song reaches that point. Long-time fans may wonder if their new drummer Arin Ilejay is not living up to the standards of the late Rev, or if the band is simply losing their aggressive drive. They also seem to draw inspiration from some long-standing greats of heavy metal on this album. In some cases they emulate these legends so much that critics are challenging their originality. These are some of the obvious criticisms of Hail to the King, but now that I've stated the obvious I can move on and look at the many aspects of this album that are truly worthy of praise.

First let me come out and say that Hail to the King is still a METAL album. I get annoyed by the tendency of music to be called 'hard rock' simply because it is not as fast or as aggressive or hardcore as some more extreme styles of metal. Avenged Sevenfold have always been metal, and always will be, no matter how much the press continues to try to label them as 'Hard Rock'. In truth, these labels are arbitrary, and always have been. There is always a degree of interchangability between subgenres, and there will always be room for debate. Let's not let it stop us from appreciating quality music when we hear it!

This album continues to grow on me the more I play it. Once I got over the lack of faster-tempo song on this album I was able to just listen and enjoy the songs for what they were. 'Shepherd of Fire' starts off the album with a slow and haunting mood. It is another similarity to the 'black' album to be noted- it reminds me of 'Enter Sandman' in terms of it's overall feel, mood, structure and style. The bass guitar is prominent throughout, and drums and rhythm guitar keep the song marching along with it's dark mood.

The title track is quite reminiscent of AC/DC's classic 'Thunderstruck', as it features a lead-guitar melody that plays non-stop throughout the entire song with minimal variation. This is where I keep expecting a tempo change, but in the end the song stays the same throughout. All in all, I was hoping for more intensity from A7X, but the song is not bad. This may be evidence of the band adopting a stricter discipline in holding to a more moderate, accessible sound.

There are a couple ballads on Hail to the King. 'Crimson Day' and 'Acid Rain' remind us that Avenged Sevenfold still have that softer side, and keep the album balanced. 'Acid Rain' is also a primarily piano-driven number. Avenged Sevenfold have always included a song or two that show their softer side in the songwriting department. This album is no different. 'Acid Rain' is my favorite of the two.

Before I leave you with my recommended tracks, I'll point out another observation I have about Hail to the King. It seems that perhaps there is a second, no-so-cryptic meaning behind the album's title: "Hail to the King", as it is like A7X are hailing their own personal kings of metal. I choose to view all of the instances of stylistic emulation as a form of paying tribute and honoring their heroes. Every band has influences, and sometimes they take a minute to make those influences known. Whether you choose to criticize them for it, or give them a thumbs-up is totally up to you.

Recommended tracks:
-Shepherd of Fire
-Hail to the King
-This Means War (This is a tricky one to recommend. Though I like it in spite of it's slower tempo, it should be pointed out that it is shockingly similar to Metallica's 'Sad But True'. The drum beat, guitar riff, even the several second pause at the beginning... They copied the song format and structure so closely that the song's inspiration is obvious. Perhaps too much so? You be the judge...)
-Coming Home
-Planets (My favorite song on the whole album, and my TOP pick! Very heavy, though still with the slower tempo they utilize a great deal on this album. M. Shadows' vocals are as intense as he gets on this album too!)
-Acid Rain

http://www.avengedsevenfold.com/

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kiss Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Post #286
On Thursday, April 10th, 2014 KISS were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame... ...after 15 long years of eligibility. As a long-time, die-hard, ever-faithful fan of the make-up clad rock and roll legends, I had my share of worries about how the ceremony would go, what with all the controversy and mud-slinging that had been circulating in the media between the band, past members and the Hall of Fame itself for several weeks prior to the induction ceremony.

There were several sticking points of contention that ruffled feathers on every side of this multi-faceted argument of exactly how Kiss were gaining induction. There was a lot of back and forth tit-for-tat arguments, but they all boiled down to two basic points:

-The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would only induct the 4 original members (and exclude the other 6 past and present members).

-Kiss would not agree to perform as the original four (only as their current, touring line-up; which includes 2 of the aforementioned excluded members).

Ace Frehley and Peter Criss each chipped in their opinions that were picked up by the media and added some fuel to the rumor fire that there was bad blood amongst the original line-up. Would it run deep enough to cause any of the original four to pull out of the ceremony completely?

At one point I recall hearing something The Hall said about some nit-picky point of a band being inducted for a certain era of their career, and that with some current members wearing make-up designs created by past members belittled their significance. I'll come out and say I think that is a lame excuse to justify excluding musicians whom I believe (as a fan) deserve the honor of induction to The Hall. I wonder if that argument would be moot if, when KISS decided to continue wearing make-up after original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss left the band after the Farewell Tour in 2000, they had asked their replacements, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, to create their own original make-up designs rather than wearing the make-up patterns of Frehley and Criss? They had new members design original make-up character themes before. Back in the early 1980's, when Eric Carr was 'The Fox' and Vinnie Vincent was the 'Egyptian Ankh'. In any case, these decisions are in the past and the situation is what it is.

From my perspective as a fan, all these arguments in the media had me worried the induction ceremony would be a train-wreck 15 years in the making. However when the time came for KISS to be inducted at the ceremony, Tom Morello (of Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave) gave a crowd-enticing introductory speech that really put the significance of KISS in perspective. Then, the original four 'Knuckle-heads' (to use Gene Simmon's own words!) of KISS: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley graciously took the stage, shared some open camaraderie, and goodwill amongst each other on the stage, accepted their awards, and each took a turn saying a few words for the audience, viewers, and fans. Each speech was respectful, and in the cases of Gene and Paul they extended that respect to those past members, living and deceased, whom were not acknowledged by The Hall itself, but live on enduringly in the minds and hearts of the fans who remember hearing their recordings, seeing their performances or reading their words through interviews or documentaries throughout KISS' long and enduring legacy.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBFPcK_Jx60

In a perfect world, what should have happened was a Hall of Fame induction 15 years ago (when Kiss was first eligible......) If you think about it, in 1999 the original line-up was still reunited, touring the world, and making music. Perhaps if those who vote on inductees had decided on KISS back then, many of these technicalities may have been avoided altogether. However, as things played out, it wasn't as bad as I had feared. At least KISS are finally IN the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Better late than never... (Can't stay innocent forever...) So even though we don't live in that alternate timeline, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is still a better place, now that it includes the band who wrote 'Rock and Roll All Nite'...
http://www.kissonline.com/

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Arcane Framework (Debut EP-2011)

Post #285
Arcane Framework are a female-fronted melodic metal band who have been playing shows in the Chicago-land area for a few years. In 2011 they released a debut, self-titled EP that displays their musical talent quite well.

http://www.reverbnation.com/arcaneframeworkrocks
Arcane Framework take a straight forward approach to playing modern heavy metal. They deliver a well balanced mix of power chord riffs, clean guitar parts, and melodic lead guitar. The drums and bass guitar prove to be a solid rhythm section, driving the songs at a methodic pace. The vocals are provided by singer/bassist Katy Przybytek, whose voice I find to be quite comparable to Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. Their lyrics are uplifting and inspiring. Arcane Framework are all about keeping your head up in the face of adversity.

The first track, 'Another Life', introduces their trademark sound off the bat: clean guitar intro that carries on during the verses, then heavy riffs kick in for the choruses. A guitar solo by Mickey Wilson features a lot of wah-pedal effect, reminding me a bit of Kirk Hammett's solos from the 'Black Album'. The lyrics are all about asserting one's individuality in the presence of pressure to conform.

'Steadfast' is a bit heavier. This song features a faster tempo and heavy guitar riffs throughout. Here is where rhythm guitarist Brian McDermott, drummer Mike Bero, and Katy Przybytek shine as a tight rhythm section. This song marches like an anthem!

'Undying Dream' is a song largely driven by the prominent bass line. Przybytek handles the dual duties of bass and vocals like a pro. A song about pursuing your dreams in the face of every challenge; without compromise or discouraged spirit.

'Collateral Destruction' has a heavy, thrash-inspired opening riff. During the verses, it does subside a little, allowing a melody carried by bass guitar and clean guitar parts.

'Insight Disguised' is perhaps the most inspiring song on this EP. Again they employ the clean verse/heavy chorus formula, but the lyrics of this one really stick in my mind the most. I love the final line of each chorus: "No one else can write your story for you how you'd write your own."

'Never Again', the closing number is perhaps the most powerful track on this EP. Perhaps the heaviest number too, it carries a no-holds-barred message of not taking any crap form anyone, ever. A call to be true to one's self, and resist corruption or compromise.

Since the release of this EP, Arcane Framework have had some changes in their line-up. Their present line-up is currently hard at work on a long-awaited follow up to this EP. Follow them on facebook and stay up on the news as they prepare for this release, as well as future live performances...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Interview with Psychopathic Daze- Independent Band of the Year...

Post #284

I recently took the time to ask a few questions of Psychopathic Daze, current Independent Band of the Year, to find out a little more about them, their imminent plans, some background, and near-future plans. Here is what they had to say....
https://www.facebook.com/psychopathicdaze

HappyHeadbanger: How did Psychopathic Daze get started?
Psychopathic Daze: Psychopathic Daze started back in early 2010. One of the original guitarists wanted to put a band together more or less to just have something to do, and to play heavy metal, and so he put up a few craigslist ads. Ken (vox) and the original drummer both responded, and everything was a good fit musically, so PD was born. The band quickly grew to be more than just "something to do." Since then, there have been a bunch of member changes, but the core belief of the band has not changed. All we want to do is write and play heavy metal. Like us, hate us, or whatever, we're doing what we love, writing music we want to hear. That won't ever change.
How did you come up with the band's name?

The band had a few band name ideas that were being thrown around in the very early days. The first song what was completed was the song "Psychopathic Daze." It seemed like a good fit for a band name, and it just kinda stuck.

Your style seems to be a solid mix of hardcore and groove metal. Are there any national bands that were a specific influence or inspiration for you?

I think it's impossible for any band to not be influenced by someone on some level. We all have our specific influences, from Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, Threat Signal, Chimaira, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Meshuggah...I could go on. We all have slightly different tastes in metal, and so we all bring a different influence and opinion to the table. That all said, we don't try to write anything to sound like this band or that band. We are who we are, and we write what we want to hear. If a certain riff happens to sound like another band, well, it's unintentional, and bound to happen at some point, no matter who you are. But I think bringing all the different influences together and kinda throwing it all into one big pot has helped us establish a unique sound. I guess you could say we sound like a lot of metal bands, and none of them, all at once!
From your album artwork, lyrics and subject matter it seems you're all into the horror culture. Is that true?

To a point. Metal as a genre is generally a darker sound. I think we all like a good horror movie, but none of us are really swept up by it. It's just one of a million influences.
What are some of your favorite horror films, books, or TV shows?

I mean, all the classics. Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Some of the newer ones weren't bad, like Insidious. I like the more creepy vibe in that one, vs the cheap scare that seems to be a theme lately.
Back in 2011 you released a full-length debut album, and last year you did an EP. Can you compare the recording experiences for the two?
Comparing those two experiences is kinda like comparing the Saturn V rocket to the Millennium Falcon. The first album, we were young, broke, and pretty ignorant as to the whole recording process. We didn't use a click, we didn't spend enough time setting parts, did no pre-production... just kinda went to the studio and threw it down. The first album has a very raw, unpolished sound to it because of that. With the EP, we knew we needed to step up our game. We spent the time doing actual pre-production, laying out parts, making sure no one was stepping on anyones toes. We hired Daniel Castleman (As I Lay Dying, Trivium, Winds of Plague) to engineer and produce the album. We were definitely better prepared for the EP, knowing what to do different from the full length. We learned what works and what doesn't, and applied that. Next time, we'll take what we learned from the EP and put that towards the next album. It's all about learning and getting better.

Which will you do next, a 2nd full-length album or another EP?

We haven't decided yet. We've barely toured to support the EP, so that's our main focus right now. We'll probably at the very least finish out 2014 playing as much as we can, and late this year or early next year sit down and plan a new record. But it's still too early to tell.
I see you have some tour dates coming up in April. Do you have any other plan in the works for the Summer and Fall of 2014?

Currently we're booking as much as we can. April is filled up, and May is filling up. June sees us playing a couple of festivals, and that's pretty much as far out as people are booking locals right now. We're constantly looking for shows, so I'd expect for us to be pretty busy throughout 2014.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions!

Thanks for having us!