Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dario Lorina-Death Grip Tribulations

Shrapnel Records

Fans of top-tier instrumental heavy rock, shred, and hard & heavy metal be sure to drop what you are doing and listen up. This one is for you. Primarily known for his solid work with Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society, highly-skilled hard rock/heavy metal guitarist Dario Lorina (ex-Cyrus Zain, ex-Lizzy Borden, ex-Eric Martin Band, ex-Jani Lane Band, ex-Karneval) with issue the twelve-track recording, "Death Grip Tribulations", on February 24th. Engineered and mixed by well-known producer Fred Archambault, Dario's forthcoming release is a clinical lesson in the fine art of guitar playing that is not only bound to be a sure fire hit for fans of the genre, but is (hands down!) one of the best instrumental albums that I have ever had the pleasure of covering! Staring off with a bang by way of the righteous "Rituals" (a great rock/metal number that sets the pace for the amazing album that is to follow!), "Death Grip Tribulations" is Dario Lorina's second instrumental album since 2013 and (hopefully) it will be the one to finally put this talented musician on the map!! In addition to special guest guitarist Phil Campbell (Motörhead/Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons) this simply-stellar recording features contributions from not only drummer Dan DC Conway (Dario's longtime friend and musical partner) and bassist Marten Andersson (Legacy, Lizzy Borden, ex-Lynch Mob, ex-Starwood), but Dario's Black Label Society band mates John JD DeServio (bass) and Jeff Fabb (drums). Highlights include (but are not limited to) the aforementioned "Rituals" as well as "Echos of A Stone Heart", "Two Fifty", "Heart of Night", "Same Dice", "Hollowing", "Perigee", and the title track. While the album could be considered a mixture of heavy rock, hard rock, traditional heavy metal, and shred there is a lot of versatility going on between numbers. On the heavier end of the spectrum we have "Two Fifty" (the heavy rock/hard rock gem with guest guitarist Phil Campbell) where we are treated to a tasty mash-up of modern day rock and roll and the old school magic of Black Sabbath and Motörhead! Then there are lighter moments such as "Same Dice". This classy numbers instantly wins you over with it's killer saxophone intro and before you know what has happened you are left standing in awe of Dario's vast skills. Here is an artist (and yes, Dario is a artist when it comes to his skills with the guitar!) that can easily switch between the smooth sounds of fusion and the riff heavy, furious leads that are associated with heavy metal. What's more, Dario Lorina plays with heart. With a lot of instrumental albums you get the feeling that the guitarist is simply trying to show of (no names mentioned but we know who you are!), but with this young musician you can actual feel the emotional love that he has for his instrument! The fittingly-titled "Echos of A Stone Heart" is proof of this. In-between wonderfully complex lines and guitar solos that are second to none, Dario finds a way to inject his passion for the six string instrument he holds. Along with the almost sorrowful (yet brilliantly beautiful) "Heart of Night", "Echos of A Stone Heart" is one of those rare instrumental cuts where you get the sensation that Dario is also thankful for his skills. This to is seldom experienced on a release such as this and it goes a very  ways towards making you appreciate the hard work and effort involved with the creation of  "Death Grip Tribulations". Ultimately I simply cannot say enough good things about this record and the man responsible for it. Though it is obviously geared towards instrumental rock and metal enthusiasts, Dario Lorina's second solo disc is an adventure that everyone should experience. It's brilliantly played and passionate to the core. Really, "Death Grip Tribulations" answers the age old question as to whether or not you can have instrumental rock albums that speak to you as clearly as lyrically rich records do. That being said, Shrapnel Records' latest goldmine of a release does leave me with one important question. And that is
why is Dario Lorina wasting away in Zakk Wylde's shadow?

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Killin’ Kind-Dying Earth

Underground Symphony.

Four-piece heavy/power metal band Killin' Kind comes from Novara, Piedmont (Italy) and they are lead by singer and guitarist Tito. Despite forming all the way back in 1996, "Dying Earth" is (for some strange reason) only the second album that this talented Italian band has ever put out. It was released on November 30th of 2016 and with a run-time of over fifty minutes(!) the album serves as the long-overdue follow-up to Killin' Kind's 2008 debut, "Metal Rage". The well-written and skillfully-performed "Dying Earth" is a solid affair that recalls German metal bands like Rage and Grave Digger. It has ten tracks* on it and, grade-wise, it easily falls somewhere in-between a B+ and a A-. For more information on this band and their newest album be sure to head over to the group's official Facebook page.

*The promo version includes a cover of Mike Oldfield's "Moonlight Shadow".

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Gates of Hell Records

Active since 2011 and fronted by a lead vocalist named Nightmare, Gravebreaker is a three-piece band from Gothenburg that (lyrically & musically) seems to live and die by the sword of eighties heavy metal*.  The full-length "Sacrifice" is the debut album for this Swedish band and it finds Nightmare backed by two solid musicians in their own right, guitarist/bassist Fury and drummer Devastation. There are also keyboards and synthesizers on this (old school metal worthy!) 10-track album, but it's not exactly advertised and there are no guest musicians listed in the credits. Those synths come in real handy when Gravebreaker is (essentially) paying homage to the early years of solo-Ozzy ("At the Gates of Hell"), but have no fear as this slick disc covers a lot of ground by the time it's all said and done! Along with some of the more obvious/well-known names like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, (eighties-era) Black Sabbath, Saxon, King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, Witchfinder General, Satan, Omen, and (pre-1987) Running Wild** this is a three-piece band whose influences run wild and free! On the highly-recommended "Sacrifice" there are also hints of Heavy Load, Gotham City, Cloven Hoof, Stormwitch, and Oz. In a strange way this up-and-coming act also reminds of the cult Swedish band Witch, but it's entirely possibility that it has more to do with this album's underground/slightly-sinister vibe than the actual music itself. As for the album's previously-mentioned lyrics? They are every-bit as slick as the band's musical style! With a somewhat rough (if not completely appropriate) production job that proves beneficial to this album's success, "Sacrifice" features subject matter and imagery that has been snatched right out of history! While we could go track by track on this album that could easily pass for a long lost classic(!), "Road War 2000" is a good number to point out. This Mad Max-influenced ripper has some cool sound effects and it instantly transports you back to the days of video stores and arcades. It's just one of this album's ever so sick moments. As in one out of ten of the awesome tracks you'll find on "Sacrifice"! Speaking of which, "Sacrifice" can be heard by heading over to Gravebreaker's bandcamp page. And really folks this is one of those gems that has to be heard to be appreciated. If you're a fan of classic heavy metal, N.W.O.B.H.M., and/or eighties metal then that is what you need to do. You need to stop what ever it is that you are doing and go over to this band's bandcamp. Hit play, turn it up loud and proud and then settle in for the ride as "Sacrifice" works it's magic....  

*As countless bands like Angel Sword, Satan's Fall, Rotör, Seven Sisters , Tower, Axe Crazy, and Demon Bitch have shown us there is nothing wrong with the decision.

**Given how much Nightmare sounds like Rolf Kasparek (Running Wild) it is hard not to think of this German band's first two albums! 

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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Press Gang-Medusa 5

Wiener Dog Records

Formed by lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Colin McCulloch, The Press Gang is a eleven year old band from Calgary, Alberta that has four full-length albums and one 7-track EP to it's name. The group's latest recording is the 10-track "Medusa 5" and it was released back in late October of 2016. With Chad Laing (lead guitar), Lindsay Arnold (bass), and Derek Lindzon (drums) rounding out the line-up for this energetic  four-piece band, "Medusa 5" proves to be one hell of a lively event where (dive bar-worthy) hard & heavy riff-rock gets nice and toasted with snotty seventies punk and garage metal! With influences that range from The Ramones and the Sex Pistols to Motörhead & (Paul Di'Anno-era) Iron Maiden (to name just a few), The Press Gang is certainly onto something with it's crazy cool sound and it is absolutely mind boggling that they are not more well-known!! Given how much fun the group's new album is maybe that will change...

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Windshades-Crucified Dreams

Atomic Stuff Productions

Active since mid-2015, Italy's Windshades just released it's first official recording, "Crucified Dreams", this past November. It is a (digital only) three-track EP that combines the opera-like voice of lead singer Chiara Manzoli with elements of hard rock, melodic metal, and guitar-driven traditional heavy metal. In addition to the craftily-assembled title track (which is arguably the best song of the lot!), "Crucified Dreams" features the numbers "Metafora" and "Resurrection". With guitarist and composer Matteo Usberti, guitarist Riccardo Soresina, bassist Andrea Bissolati, and drummer Carlo Bergamaschi rounding things out for this new band, "Crucified Dreams" is a solid B+ recording that points towards better things to come.

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Monday, January 09, 2017

Free Metal Monday: Hellthrasher Productions-2016 Digital Sampler

Hellthrasher Productions

Poland's Hellthrasher Productions has released a free digital sampler. It is available as a name-your-price download by clicking here and it features the following songs:

1. Gjendød - Evig Svart Røyk
2. Serpents Lair - Circumambulating the Stillborn
3. Paroxsihzem - Isolation
4. Ljosazabojstwa - Kamunija Ahniom
5. Desolate Shrine - Crushing Darkness
6. Desecresy - Ritual Ruins
7. Chaos Moon - Amissum
8. Endalok - Englaryk
9. Gespenst - Min Sjael Raadner
10. Decaying - One To Conquer

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Saturday, January 07, 2017

Saturday Singles: Rockstar Frame-"Dark Necessities" (Red Hot Chili Peppers cover)

Rockstar Frame is a hard & heavy rock band from Italy that is fronted by lead singer Faith Blurry. I had high praise for the band's debut album "Rock 'N' Roll Mafia" and I expect more of the same when this group releases it's sophomore album, "Bullet For Birthday", in March. This hot new single is a choice cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' song "Dark Necessities" and it is all set to appear Rockstar Frame's forthcoming release. So far it is only available to view on YouTube*.

*Warning! The above video features quick flashing videos!!

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Saturday Singles: The Aftershow-"Kilmister"

Afterlife Music Publishing

The Aftershow is a (killer) new heavy rock/hard rock project from Roxy & Maxine Petrucci. Their debut single, "Kilmister", just came out on December 28th and it finds Roxy (drums) and Maxine (guitar) joined by vocalist Mark Slaughter (Slaughter) and bassist Michael Pisculli. This highly-recommend track (which is available for download on iTunes and Amazon) pays tribute to Motörhead's Lemmy and it is everything that one could hope for given the key players! Hopefully this is more than a one and done deal. 

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Friday, January 06, 2017

Inconvenience Store-Kallisti (or Goodbye To The One You Knew Before I Found Him and Had To Let Him Go​.​)


Needham, Massachusetts' experimental band Inconvenience Store has been around in one form or another since late 2011. It doesn't happen very often, but interestingly enough this was a band that I had Interviewed before ever hearing any of it's music. That all changed in early June of 2013 when I covered the group's first studio offering, "Our Ambivalent Everything". That particular EP was dubbed "experimental rock/alternative rock by way of post-punk rock and progressive hardcore" by yours truly and while the experimental part of this young outfit hasn't changed all that much in the years that followed the rest of that description needs to be updated. Crafted by the line-up of Kcutnief Rehsa Hanoj (lead vox, noise electronics, guitar), Mica "On HP" Phones  (guitar, vox), Darren Strange (bass), and Funnels... (drums), "Kallisti (or Goodbye To The One You Knew Before I Found Him and Had To Let Him Go)" is a five-track EP that ends up falling somewhere between (raw) punk/hardcore, post-alternative rock, and flat-out noise rock! Recorded, mixed, mastered by Zach Weeks, Inconvenience Store's latest studio output is fairly abrasive and should get plenty of love from fans of The Jesus Lizard, Big Black, and the Butthole Surfers!! As a fan of all three of those acts (especially Gibby Haynes' outfit!) I make that declaration with a huge smile on my face and hope in my heart that is ultimately the direction that this one-time high school band will go in. When correctly assembled (see the aforementioned trio) punk-fueled noise rock can be a thing of beauty. While they are not quite ready to fill in for any of those three named outfits, Inconvenience Store is headed that way and something deep inside tells me they are not that far off. If your mind's eye is open to it then by all means give this EP a shot. 

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