Friday, March 24, 2017

Steelballs-Steelballs

Witches Brew
2016

"Steelballs" is a self-titled EP from the Argentinian heavy/speed metal band of the same name. It was originally released in August of 2016. Initially there were only three tracks on the recording, "Steelballs ", "Farewell", and "Inquisitor Of Faith" are original compositions and damn good ones at that! This particular version was released in late December of 2016 and it adds a choice cover of Helloween's "Starlight" to what was already a killer EP. Influences include not only the aforementioned Helloween (early years mostly), but Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, (early) Running Wild, Blind Guardian, Riot, Grave Digger, and Manowar. Available as a digital download, "Steelballs" is most definitely worthy of  the silver CD treatment from Witches Brew! Their CD version comes with a six panel booklet and that is the way that I will be going with this highly-recommend EP as soon as I get the extra funds! Why all the fuss? Well, I hate to use this tired old cliche, but you really need to hear this one for yourself (if you are to truly understand the pure heavy metal essence that this five-piece band packs). Steelballs' debut is a real treat for anyone that cannot get enough of old school metal or the European power/speed metal scene of the eighties! Hell, the original composition, "Inquisitor Of Faith", is worth the price of admission alone! That track is pure gold for anyone that loves (legit) speed metal, but when you add in that cover of "Starlight"...well, "Steelballs" because essential! Don't just take my word for it though. Head over to the group's bandcamp page and blast it! You won't be sorry....

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mystery Blue-Mystery Blue (2016 Version)

Eat Metal Records
2016

Mystery Blue is a long-running heavy metal band from France. They were formed in 1978 and this self-titled album was originally released in 1984. It was preceded in life by a 1983 demo and along with the band's second album, "Circle of Shame", it has been re-released by Eat Metal Records. Both CDs were sent to me by a friend/fellow lover of all things French hard & heavy. Chances are good that no one else will remember this, but I originally talked about this group in one of my French Metal Friday features from 2011. If you are interested in checking that out then be sure to click on this link. Otherwise here we go with CD number one.
Formed in 1982 by guitarist and sole surviving original member, "Frenzy" Philippon, Mystery Blue was initially active up until 1989. After a six year break in the action, Mystery Blue reformed in 1995. Since then the band has been active in one form or another. Their last album was released in late December of 2012, but by all accounts they are still playing live gigs. If you want more information about all of that then be sure to check out the group's Facebook page. There you will see new singer Nathalie Geyer (well, she's been new to the group since 1995, but you get the drift!) and the rest of the gang. It's worth a visit if you have the time. Getting back to the topic at hand, "Mystery Blue" was originally released on the cult French label Axe Killer. Much like their fellow countrymen Trust, Mystery Blue's first album was primary influenced by AC/DC. That doesn't mean the whole album is like that, but a sizeable chunk certainty is. It's a hard & heavy take on the Aussie lads that adds in some love for Trust and a few touches of British metal, but there is no mistaking the intention. Seeing as I totally dig the sound of AC/DC gone heavy metal (see: Accept, Krokus, and to a lesser extent Trust), 1984's "Mystery Blue" has always been a jam for me as is. For those people who might be looking for more original hard rock and heavy metal, "Mystery Blue" has that covered as well. Towards the end of Mystery Blue's first album things get switched up big time and you can hear these French rockers reaching for more. With lead singer Michel Torres taking a step or two towards straight-up heavy metal, side B of this 1984 LP helps pave for the way towards Mystery Blue's own sound and it's a solid one! Two years later the band would follow this one with "Circle of Shame" (Dream Records), but this overlooked gem started it all. As noted in my French Metal Friday feature on the group, "Mystery Blue" was (at the time) one of the few hard rock/heavy albums to make an impact outside of France. There is a good reason why it happened. The music on this 1984 album speaks volumes about that subject, but it is best that you hear it for yourself.  This 2016 version tacks on a unreleased demo of the song "Never Surrender". I would take that to mean that it isn't the version that appeared on the band's 1983 demo, but I could be wrong. Whatever the case, "Never Surrender" is a good addition to this updated version. Eat Metal Record's version also comes with a live version of  "Paralysed" (sic). It is a live recording from 1984. As the second song on Mystery Blue's self-titled debut, "Paralysed" sounds better in a live setting, but that might only mean that they couldn't capture the full essence of this band's urgent sound in the studio! If there are any labels that are sitting on live Mystery Blue shows from this same time period then PLEASE release them! I would love to see if this French band had this much raw talent in a live setting or if this was just a random song choice that was captured on tape at the just the right moment. I'm leaning towards the former, but there isn't a lot to go on! Anyway, "Mystery Blue" circa 2016 needs a grade. Normally I don't go that route. I'm not big on grades or numbers, but for some reason I'm down for it today. After hearing this album again for the first time in years it has reminded me about French heavy metal bands and their unsung impact on the scene as a whole. With that "Oh yeah" reflection swirling about in this old brain of mine, "Mystery Blue" gets an admirable B+ and it is well earned! Be sure to keep an eye out for my piece on "Circle Of Shame". And if you're reading this my friend (and you know who you are!), French metal is always welcomed and always appreciated. I cannot thank you enough for this round...

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Accept-Accept (Platinum Edition)

AFM Records
2017


Originally released in 1979 to little fanfare, Accept's self-titled debut is just one of the four albums by this classic German heavy metal band that will be getting a Platinum Edition upgrade courtesy of AFM Records. Along with the (much better) albums, "Breaker", "I'm A Rebel", and "Restless and Wild", "Accept" will be reissued as a Digipak edition with bonus material. This album features an audio interview with former lead vocalist and founder, Udo Dirkschneider. The other three reissues with come with previously unreleased live tracks that were recorded on the latest "Dirkschneider" tour. Ultimately I hope to cover all four of these reissues, but we will just have to wait and see how much free time I can muster. Even as we speak I have at least five CDS that I need to listen to and review, but with Accept being one of my all time favorite (true) heavy metal bands...well, I feel obligated to trek forward. With that brief introduction out of the way, "Accept" is an album that not even the band is crazy about. From what I've previously read on the topic (and from what Udo says in the bonus interview that comes with this reissue), "Accept" was a collection of older materiel that had no real direction or focus. It was all the songs that the band had worked on during it's formative years and they were just happy to be able to get into a studio and record a album. As can be heard on "Breaker", Accept's material got a whole lot better as they went along and settle on a more permanent sound. Or at least that was the case up until the release of "Balls To The Wall"*, but that is a different topic that is better saved for another time!  Anyway, "Accept" opens with the album's first single and arguable the best track of the lot, "Lady Lou". In another band's hands (oh, let's say a seventies British hard rock band) this 3 minute rocker could have been a long lost single from the early days of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene. It is catchy number that will get stuck in your head and it is pretty easy to see why it appears on future Accept compilation releases. From there we have more misses than hits. Please don't mistake me. By "hits" I really mean passable numbers. "Tired of Me" is a decent stab at heavy metal and so is "Helldriver". Then you have the shortest track of the bunch in "Street Fighter". Strange as it is, "Street Fighter" is like a punk rock take on Bon Scott's AC/DC. It is raw, ugly, and noisy. It's a weird way to end this under-produced album, but I kind of like it. God knows why. If you were to give extra points for just going there, "Seawinds" is this odd ballad that is sung by bassist Peter Baltes. It has a progressive rock vibe and it sticks out like a sore thumb, but all the same I guess you could make an argument for it's existence. For those of you who are keeping count that is five tracks out of ten. And to be brutally honest folks, "Lady Lou" is the only song that I would ever hit replay on. As much as it kills me to say this, "Accept" is only for purists who absolutely & positively must have everything that has the German band's name on it.  

 
 
 
 
*I'm getting on in my years so you will have to forgive the nostalgia some here, but "Balls To The Wall" is the very definition of (pure/unfitted) heavy metal! Yes, it is Accept going on a  AC/DC bender and all but forgetting about their (previous) stint as early pioneers of German speed metal. And sure enough everyone that is a causal fan of Accept says it is their best album. I get all of that. Maybe it is because it was my first taste of the group or maybe it's those rich lyrics by Gaby Hoffmann. It could even be the whole AC/DC vibe ("Who Made Who" being the first ever cassette tape that I bought). Whatever it is, "Balls To The Walls" redefined "true heavy metal" to me. From that first Accept tape I went went backwards and filled in the gaps by way of LPs. Even so I didn't hear "Accept" until years later. This 2017 reissue brings back a wave of emotions while simultaneously showcasing the band's eventual growth. It is a humble recording that shows you just how far Udo and company were able to go.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chevalier-A Call to Arms




Self-Release/Independent
2017

It's well known that I am a huge fan of female-fronted rock and heavy metal bands. If you are a loyal follower of Heavy Metal Time Machine then you can attest to this fact. For our new readers and/or fans of this up-and-coming band from Finland there is one word that I should probably add to the proclamation. The word in question is "good".  In a overcrowded scene where even female-fronted heavy metal bands are a dime a dozen, Chevalier sticks out from the rest because of it's high-level of talent and skill. Obviously it is not enough to simply have a beautiful woman standing in front of a microphone. You need someone who can actually sing. Extra points are awarded if you can find a lead vocalist with class, style, and substance. When it comes to this (epic metal-inspired!) heavy/speed metal band from Helsinki that would be Emma Grönqvist. Emma has a great voice that is full of power and when she hits some of those high notes then it is lights out and game over! She leads a talented group of musicians that just so happens to include bassist Sebastian Bergman from the band Steel Machine. In addition to Emma Grönqvist, Sebastian Berman, and drummer Joel, Finland's Chevalier features two members with ties to the blackened thrash metal band Demon's Gate. Those two gentlemen are Mikko Ylijoki (lead guitar) and Tommi (lead guitar and backing vocals).

Even though Chevalier is a fairly new name to cross paths with, having just formed last year and all of that jazz, "A Call to Arms" is a great deal more mature than one might expect from such a young outfit! Chevalier self-describes themselves as "Medieval speed metal from Finland" and their influences include Judas Priest, Brocas Helm, Omen, Mercyful Fate, ADX, Running Wild, and Legionnaire. That little bit of information comes in handy when we are talking about Chevalier's studio debut. With the exception of it's rough production job, "A Call to Arms" is a bold new look at epic heavy metal and traditional speed. This six-track EP is the end result of young and hungry band that grew up on a steady diet of traditional heavy metal, vintage speed metal, N.W.O.B.H.M., eighties power metal, and epic metal. Even though I usually fail badly at them, Chevalier's diet is something I can stand behind and fully support! At the end of the day there is some much to appreciate about this new band and a EP like "A Call to Arms". As righteous as this six-pack of true metal is, one can only imagine what would happen if you were to give Emma Grönqvist and crew a proper budget and top-notch producer...

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sinatras-Drowned

Logic(il)logic Records
2017

Formed in 2014 and named after Ol' Blue Eyes himself, Italy's Sinatras made their first appearance on these pages with the EP, "Six-Sexy-Songs". That was back in early August of 2015. Here it is all of these years later and we are just now getting a full-length disc from this extreme five-piece band.  Ladies and gentlemen let's talk about a long-overdue album! Especially when we are touching on the sensitive topic of every one's favorite Death 'n' Roll band. All thrashed up and as groove-heavy as they come(!), "Drowned" might have taken a longtime to get from the drawing board to the studio, but damn it man, it is something fierce! These (thrash) metal-minded Sinatra boys sure as hell know how to throw a party!! All of which reminds me of something we need to address. Like the Ramones before them, F.L.A. (lead vox) and company use pseudonyms in place of their last names. Guitar duties fall on the stone cold killer pair of Lele & Minkio Sinatra and the band's rhythm section (bassist Lispio Sinatra and drummer Jenny Sinatra) truly is second to none! With the same last name game firmly in place, guitarist Lele Sinatra promised a "multi-faced album featuring a solid thrash metal base enriched with death metal influences, metalcore and some melodic atmospheres". To that end I'd say he succeeded! Inspired by the likes of Carcass, Entombed, Pantera, and Hatebreed (to name just a few!), Italy's Sinatras slay everything and everyone that gets in it's way. That's all fine and dandy on its own, but when you tack on groove metal of the highest caliber? All I can say is "Wow!". Sure, there is a weird cover of "You Spin Me Round". What's one so-so track out the lot? Not too shabby is the answer you're looking for. With high marks for song-writing, performances, and all of the unreal variety, "Drowned" is nothing but a fun run through the jungles of metal paradise! You can and really should pick this one up on  bandcamp or Amazon. Afterwords be sure to check out the band's Facebook page.



PS: I've got my friend Stefano to thank for this beast. It's everything that one could ever hope for when it comes to loose and lethal Death 'n' Roll...only it's way cooler because of the slight nods of appreciation to hard rock, hard metal, hardcore, and hard-hitting THRASH! This album sure does make for a good time!! 

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Interview with Simon Straumann, drummer of FreaKings



FreaKings is a thrash metal band that I just covered earlier in the month. Now it is my extreme pleasure to offer up this interview that I recently did with the band's drummer, Simon Straumann. Enjoy!


Andy-Welcome! Please come in and introduce yourselves for our readers. I apologize, but your rhythm section is a band of brothers correct?

Simin-We’re FREAKINGS, an old school thrash metal band from Switzerland. Yes, that’s right, Toby (bass) and me, Simon (drums), are brothers.

Andy-The Metal Archives suggests that you are all were in Lion Of Juda. Rock? Metal? 

Simon-Yes but that was about 20 years ago. The three of us were part of that band and our sound was something between rock, metal and punk.

Andy- I'm guessing it was the same message, but was it more obvious or less?

Simon-It was rather obvious back then, more than nowadays. It’s no secret we are Christians and that’s why our songs often contain Christian topics. On our latest album ("TOXIC END") we address the current situation of our world, war, terrorism or ecological calamities.

Andy-I understand where the message is coming from. You cite a lot of Christian influences, but (sound-wise) it's just Grade A thrash to these ears! Other than what's in the Dixie cups that you drink from on stage, FreaKings might as well be the next big thrash band on the block!! So, why is that you've (independently/sans record label) released three stone cold slamming LPs by yourself?

Simon-We just love making music! Our texts are only a part and as mentioned above, there’s not a lot of Christian influence on our latest album. We stick to our own schedule and with a small budget it’s very challenging to find a label. So that’s why we released the albums by ourselves.

Andy-I've heard the same thing from a lot of metal bands. For a lot of groups it is just easier to release their music by themselves. But anyways,  "Toxic End" reminds me of the eighties as much as it does the retro-scene that is everywhere these days! Did you (vibe-wise) have a goal in mind or was it more along the lines of "No Life Til Leather"? (


Simon-We never had an exact goal in mind. With "TOXIC END" we just created exactly what we wanted: simple but solid old school thrash!

Andy-That it is! You've got a couple of great guests on your new disc. How did that come about?

Simon-We’ve been knowing Damir (Gonoreas) for a long time and originally met him at a gig where we both played. He’s a great guy and and superb guitar player. We’ve been to several Dust Bolt concerts so I knew who Lenny was when I saw him in the audience at one of our concerts. We started talking and a bit later we asked him if he’d play on our album.

Andy-Cool. From what I've gathered, "Toxic End" is nothing but golden reviews (and well-deserved ones at that!). That's got to be a good feeling after all the years and wear and tear on your body! After all, it's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll...or is that "bang your head"? LOL

Simon-Thanks a lot, that indeed is a great feeling! It’s pretty cool that people we have never met write so many good things about our songs. There’s still a long way ahead of us but you never know what might come. It’s not up to us how far FREAKINGS can go, it’s mainly our fans who decide this.

Andy-Yeah, fans are so important to a metal band's ultimately success. Not just financially, but as a driving force and key source of support. I always like to say that being a metalhead is like being in a huge family where there is so much love and support. We all need that. Moving on, I have no doubt that you've played with some idols and some real up and comers. What's the best one (band or artist) of both as you see it?

Simon-Difficult question… We’ve seen so many awesome bands, it’s actually impossible to name a certain band !

Andy-Yes, that was a tough one. Where does the next leg of your journey take you?

Simon-We hope for a lot of gigs with our new album, a little tour would be cool! We definitely will do anything we can to spread the name of our band and our latest album!

Andy-Hopefully our site can help with that. Digitally at least, "Toxic End" can be picked up at the usual places. How about CDs?

Simon-At the moment, the easiest way is buying it at our concerts or in our online shop. We’re also in talks with a few potential distribution partners.

Andy-I'll try to provide some links for our readers. Thank you for your time and insights. I like to leave things off by having the band's have the last say. Is there anything we didn't touch on that needs addressed? Do you have words of advice for new bands, metal or not? Want to thank your loyal fans? Whatever "it" is, here's the mic and the stage is all yours!

Simon-We thank you, we really appreciate every kind of support. All you metalheads out there: try our new album and if you like it, buy it. Thanks to everyone who backs us. THRASH WILL NEVER DIE!

Andy-Amen to that! Thrash it up friends!!

For more information on this insane thrash act be sure to head over to the group's official site . Also, be sure to leave a like on their Facebook page. You can download "Toxic End" on iTunes and for the band's physical merchandise click here.


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Monday, March 20, 2017

Iron Driver-Crack of the Whip

Self-Release/Independent
2017

Iron Driver is a five-piece heavy metal band that hails from Saint Petersburg, Russia. The four-song EP, "Crack Of The Whip" is the latest studio output from this three-year old band and it follows a 2015 split that the group did with Sunisgone. Having made their debut in mid-September of 2014 with a self-titled demo, Iron Driver offers up a raw take on vintage heavy metal that they themselves have dubbed "New Wave Of Russian Heavy Metal". With influences that split the difference between the (early) eighties metal scene and the rougher edges of the  N.W.O.B.H.M. movement, Iron Driver's sound comes straight from the underbelly of the underground metal scene and it is every-bit as down & dirty as the above art-work suggests! Depending on your personal point of view that can be a good thing or that can be a bad deal. Either way, don't say I didn't warn you.....

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Witchers Creed-Witchers Creed EP 17

Self-Release/Independent
2017

 Witchers Creed is a hard & heavy/doom metal band that is made up of guitarist/vocalist Filip Andersson, bassist/vocalist Emil Bjällerhag, and drummer Charlie Rangstedt. This two-track recording looks as if it is the first release from this occult Swedish trio and it clocks in at over 14 minutes! The group's influences include Black Sabbath, Leaf Hound, Pentagram, & Orchid and I have the always reliable Paul Rote to thank for introducing me to this killer the release! I completely agree with Paul's statement that this is "Mountain meets Sabbath meets your favorite underground seventies hard acid rock band". I might add in a little piece about the early days of stoner rock (and how it influenced the back end of these riff-rock warriors from the underworld!), but otherwise this one sure as hell sounds as if it has been ripped straight out of the seventies and time warped to the here and now! With this fuzzed-over release likely serving as the group's first time in the studio, Witchers Creed is bound to get all kinds of notice from fans, critics, and labels alike! Glory awaits these Swedish merchants of doom and, frankly-speaking my friends and fellow rockers, I cannot wait to see what else this band is capable of!!  

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Free Metal Monday: Nightmare-Demo

Self-Release/Independent
2016

California metal band Nightmare released this three-track demo on November 28, 2016. There is no information to go with it, but seeing as it is vintage heavy metal with a N.W.O.B.H.M. tint it is all good! With a slightly raw production job that recalls some of those late seventies/early eighties underground gems, I hear traces of Witchfinder General, Cloven Hoof, Angel Witch, and Blitzkrieg. I'm sure there are more influences lurking about, but honestly it's a name-your-price release that is so good that I just don't care! This one easily stands up tall next to some of the more recent retro offerings and the N.W.O.T.H.M.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Steel Machine-Burning Valves

Self-Release/Independent
2016

Formed in 2006 and currently lurking about in the Jyväskylä/Helsinki area, Steel Machine is a f**king sweet ass name for this heavy/speed metal band. The three-piece group, which is lead by guitarist/vocalist Timo Takala (Septure) and sports influences like Motörhead, Tank, and Carnivore, has seven releases to it's name. Six of them are demos and "Burning Valves" is the band's first EP. Available to download by heading here, Steel Machine's latest studio output reminds me of the Belgium band Killer. In no way, shape, of form is that a bad thing, "Burning Valves" is also the product of the three listed bands from above (Motörhead, Tank, and Carnivore) and the eighties metal scene & sound. If anything, Timo Takala and his cohorts in crime (bassist Sebastian Bergman and drummer Juha Forsström ) cram all of those sources of inspiration into one hell of a speed metal band that is as hard as it is heavy! With this release serving as my first introduction to Steel Machine, Finland has yet again won me over with it's epic metal scene!! 

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Rockstar Frame-Bullet For Birthday

Musicarchy Media
2017

Rockstar Frame is a female-fronted heavy rock/hard & heavy band from Italy. The skilled group was formed back in 2012 by drummer Max Klein and lead vocals come courtesy of the amazing Faith Blurry! Two months ago I wrote about their choice cover of "Dark Necessities"* (Red Hot Chili Peppers), but in all honesty I have been a HUGE fan of Faith Blurry and company for a very long time. First introduced by way of the cool single "She's Hot", Rockstar Frame's 2015 debut album, "Rock 'n' Roll Mafia" is absolutely killer! Two years has passed since that gem was uncovered and yet I can still feel it's electrifying effect on my rock and roll loving soul!! If you would have told me then that the band would be even better now...well, I wouldn't have called you crazy, but I would have been a bit skeptical. With that said, Rockstar Frame's new album will drop at the end of the month and it gets solid marks in my book! Recorded and produced at Temple Of Rock Studios by band founder Max Klein, "Bullet For Birthday" opens up with the great "I Want More" and from the very start Faith's voice is exceptionally strong and powerful! In that regard nothing has changed for these Italian rockers, "Bullet For Birthday" simply reaffirms Faith Blurry's status as the group's primary focal point. On the band's sophomore she pairs up nicely with Morris Steel's aggressive guitar playing and the thick bass lines of Andy Di Bella. Keyboardist Ace Wave rounds things out for this hot-blooded hard rock band and his work is every-bit as welcoming as the flashy guitar licks, thundering bass lines, and the rock-steady drumming of Max Klein! As far as follow-up albums go, Rockstar Frame's four male members pick right up where they left off in 2015. These talented musicians surround Faith Blurry with style and (real) substance. As they put the ROCK into Rockstar Frame, Faith Blurry takes hold of the mic and blows everyone away with her set of pipes! When this band gets up and starts really going for it then it is easy to understand how they got the tag "New Guns N Roses with killer female vocals"! That all fine and dandy, but what really impresses me is how Faith flawlessly handles the softer moments of "Here I Am"**. With guest Alessio Langella on acoustic guitar, "Here I Am" offers a sneak peak at Faith Blurry's vulnerable side and it makes you truly appreciate just how versatile this up-and-coming band really! Equally adapt at heavy rockers and semi-ballads, Rockstar Frame moves you with the likes "Goodbye Tonight" & "Healing Song" and then turns around and gives the song "Running Away" a power rock edge with some serious kick! "Secret", which is a cover of a song by Stevie Anders and And Pontremoli, is another cut that ups the ante and gives the listener something solid to chew on. It falls somewhere in-between Guns N' Roses and The Runaways with (pre-"Take My Breath Away") Berlin serving as the short bridge that divides the gap! While I wish this album had more moments like that, "Bullet For Birthday" gives you a little bit of everything. It's heavy rock and heavy metal. There's power rock and then you have solid numbers where pop rock is stretched to it's breaking point. In a scene where there is more fluff than fury, rock albums like this are a welcome sight to these old eyes. Frankly speaking, "Bullet For Birthday" is enjoyable and comes recommend. If I'm forced by the edge of a sharp sword to offer up some kind of point system for the band's latest release, "Bullet For Birthday" gets an A. That's as good a place as any to wrap this post up...


*It appears on this album and I actually like Rockstar Frame's version of the song more than the original! 
**"The "Clair de Lune" by Debussy serves as the inspiration to this song. It is played and reinterpreted by band member Ace Wave (keyboards)

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Social Stain-Social Stain

Self-Release/Independent
2017


Formed in late 2014 by bassist/vocalist (and main composer) Toni Broman (ex-Kill the Romance), Finland's Social Stain are a (f**king DYNAMITE!) rock and roll-infused heavy metal band that sports influences like Therapy?, Misfits, Alice In Chains, (post-Black album) Metallica, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver, and Skid Row. With the help of Teemu Kokkonen (vox and lyrics), Antti Kokkonen (guitars/vocals), and drummer Mika Tanttu, "Social Stain" not only serves as the group's full-length debut, but it is one of the best damn hard rock albums that I have had the pleasure of listening to in a very l-o-n-g time! Available on sites like iTunes and bandcamp, "Social Stain" takes a devalued part of rock and roll's history (the 90s) and magically transforms it into a modern day (guitar rock-inspired!) hard & heavy masterpiece! This buzz-worthy band knows how to write lyrically-rich numbers that effectively blur the fine line between menacing and melodic rock and we (the fans of all things (top notch) hard rock and straight-up heavy metal) are all the better for it! As slick as the group's first album is, Social Stain's sophomore release should easily blow the roof off of the joint!! In the meantime be sure to head over to the group's Facebook page and give it a "Like". It's the least we can do for Finland's next big thing!  


PS: I've got "Social Stain" shaking the foundations of my house as we speak. Somehow and someway it makes me envision the soundtrack to a (R-rated) late eighties/early nineties college comedy film. It's a soundtrack where a hard rock-leaning Megadeth, Motörhead's bastard son (the high school-aged one that plays in a heavy metal band), Faster Pussycats' first album, Kik Tracee, Leatherwolf, ("Load" and "Re-load" era) Metallica, and a Axl Rose-lead AC/DC all come together in one tiny room and lay down the perfect set of songs for this beer and sex heavy film.

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CRNKSHFT-CRNKSHFT

Self-Release/Independent
2017

Now in their second year together (and stronger than ever one would suspect), Vancouver, Canada's latest metal export, CRNKSHFT (all caps please), has seen more than it's fair share of line-up changes from point A to point B. As of now the lead vocal duties fall on Shane "Shanr" Jolie and, come next week, the five-piece group will release this self-titled EP.  For better or worse (and thankfully it leans more towards the former than the latter) the EP falls somewhere in-between (legit) street metal-infused hard and heavy rock with serious balls of steel and the (why won't it just die a horrible death already!) genre known as modern metal. Song titles include "Systematic", "Tears Me Apart", "Old Habits", and "Breaking The Silence" and the EP features stellar production courtesy of Daren Grahn (Metallica, Hedley, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi). With a run-time of just over 16 minutes, "CRNKSHFT" serves as the two year follow-up to "Hard Fucking Rock". Influenced by "hardcore* bands like Five Finger Death Punch and Korn. Grunge bands like Nirvana and Alice in Chains, and metal bands such as Pantera and Metallica", CRNKSHFT's forthcoming release sells me on the group's ultimate potential. I look forward to hearing what else this Canadian band can do.




*Five Finger Death Punch and Korn are not hardcore bands. They never have been hardcore and chances are good that they never ever be that way. 

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Möwer-Möwer

Self-Released/Independent
2017

It's been three years since I last talked about them, but Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Möwer provide the missing link between Motörhead and noisy punk rock. This two-track recording is the group's latest release and it is meant to kill a bit of time before a full-length album drops. Once that happens (a full-length banger!) then all bets are off as far as I am concerned! In the meantime this band should only be approached with extreme caution. Built by beer drinking speed freaks as a tribute to Lemmy and all things LOUD, "Möwer" is the same way. Approach it with caution because it is a mandatory download! 


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Evilgroove-Cosmosis

Self-Release/Independent
2017


Formed some twenty years ago as Sunburn, Evilgroove is a much better name for this sinful hard and heavy metal band from Italy. On the group's post-grunge debut, "Cosmosis", band members Luca "Fraz" Frazzoni (vox), Daniele "Doc" Medici (guitar), Matteo "Matte" Frazzoni (bass), and Christian "Sepo" Rovatti (drums) show that they are up to no good at all! As lead vocalist Luca Frazzoni finds himself possessed by the spirit of Layne Staley(!), Evilgroove's musicians lay it all on the line as they play up to their obvious influences. First and foremost that means Alice In Chains and (later day) Soundgarden. The "groove" part in the band's moniker would be Pantera. With Black Label Society, Tool, Down, and (post-"Blind") C.O.C. filling in the little gaps, Evilgroove's first album is very much a product of the group's listed influences. Is that a problem? To these ears the answer is no. Those lead vocals are slick & sick and unlike a lot of the other group's out there today, Evilgroove's grunge and groove comes from a place of reverence. It's not a pile of poor carbon copies of the originals! Available on CD and (surprisingly) as a name-your-price download, "Cosmosis" is a release that I found easy enough to like. With a bit more originality, I might just love the group's follow-up to this disc. Only time will tell...

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday Singles: Zig Zags-"Ripping Death B/W Riddle Of Steel"

Famous Class Records
2017

Mostly punk and somewhat metal, L.A.'s Zig Zags (Jed, Dane, and Caleb) released this ass kicking single back in the middle of February. It was actually "Riddle Of Steel" with it's garage thrash take on (vintage) raw metal that sold me on the notion, but the frantic "Ripping Death" is just as righteous. After picking the pair up on iTunes I promptly went and downloaded about a dozen plus more tracks by this distinctly loud & proud trio. Thanks to the influence of everything from British punk to South American thrash, Zig Zag's back catalog covers a lot of ground. For people like me (IE: those of us who keep CDs from Ramones and Motörhead sandwiched in-between G.B.H. and Slayer) that's a damn fine thing....

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Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Murder Of My Sweet-Echoes of the Aftermath

Frontiers Music s.r.l.
2017

Sweden's one and only The Murder Of My Sweet (vocalist Angelica Rylin, guitarist Christopher Vetter, bassist Patrik Janson, and drummer, keyboardist, producer, and founder Daniel Flores) are now on their forth full-length album. As I've already covered the group's last two albums (link), "Echoes of the Aftermath" is almost a must-hear release in these parts. I'm not sure that I would have it any other way. Self-dubbed "cinematic metal", The Murder of My Sweet is more or less a vehicle for Angelica Rylin's captivating voice and that hasn't changed on the group's latest piece. For those of you who might not be all that familiar with Daniel Flores and his band, symphonic metal is a solid enough staring place to describe this graceful act. Said genre is greatly inspired by movie scores and film noir storytelling (in a very good way!) and things like melodic metal, hard rock, progressive rock, and the more appealing aspects of A.O.R. are simply along for the ride. The multi-talented Daniel Flores did a nice job with the overall production and I have no complaints about the songwriting or the performances. While I would have liked to see this skilled band take a few more chances, personal preferences are just that-personal. This is a good (albeit it safe) recording that plays to the band's strengths. If you liked 2015's "Beth Out Of Hell" as much as I did then you should find this album pleasing.

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Forgotten Gems: Shokker-Shokker

Self-Release/Independent
2015

Out in 2015 but just now finding it's way to my ears, today's offering is technically a tad bit young to gain admittance into the halls of Forgotten Gems. Be that as it may, Chicago's Shokker* seems poised to break out in a BIG WAY! Or at least they will after their full-length debut drops!! It's due sometime later on in 2017 and if it is anything near the excitement of this self-titled EP....well, fans of true heavy metal are going to be insanely stoked! As for the who, what, and where of this four-piece band? It is Illinois to be precise.   Active in one form or another since 2011, powerhouse vocalist Rachl "Raxx" Quinn now leads the charge and she is f**king fantastic in that role! Casey Tremont (guitar, vocals), Jorey Guillermo (bass), and drummer Dan Dash perfectly back her up on this 3-track EP (the band's first "official" release. The three track are "Adrenaline", "Midnight Sun", and "Turn Around And Run". That middle one is my favorite. As strange as this no doubt reads, "Midnight Sun" reminds me of M.C.'s "Looks That Kill" under the following set of circumstances: (with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, UFO, and Dio all serving as the influences) Nikki Sixx realizes from the start that Mick Mars isn't going to take them anywhere. In his place comes this blazing hot young guitarist with MAD skills. After re-working the song into a eighties metal masterpiece, Vince Neil is cut and in comes one of the all-time best lead singers. Having blown apart the studio with her sensational voice, Rachl "Raxx" Quinn and that amazing guitarist (Casey Tremont) leaves Nikki and, song in hand, time-travels to the present. In need of a killer lead singer and a guitarist that can melt speakers with his blazing hot licks, Shokker's rhythm section welcomes the pair into it's inner circle. They re-work the song in question to show off their own sinsational style and out comes "Midnight Sun"!  In my imagination that is how Shokker came up with the song. The key word there being "song". That is only one of the three jams on this EP. For the four members of Shokker influences range from Van Halen, Kix, Thin Lizzy, and Ratt all the way up to the N.W.O.B.H.M scene of old (Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Diamond Head, Tokyo Blade, Jaguar, White Spirit, etc.). The better parts of eighties metal seems to glue it all together, but in no way, shape, or form is Shokker living in the past! This Chicago metal band most definitely has a modern edge about it. We're not talking about modern metal. We are talking about lively music here. It's as fresh as if it was just plucked from the garden this morning! One can only imagine how good this lot is up front and personal. This EP is the next best thing. Finger's crossed here obviously, but good god above(!) I hope the band's new album is the heavy metal debut album of the year! Only time will tell....      



*Be mindful of the spelling there folks because you are going to want to follow up on this posting.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

AncarA-Garden Of Chains

Concorde Music Company
2017

It's the middle of a l-o-n-g week as I type this and shit-tinged stress is piling up on the road ahead. If there was ever a time in my life when I needed a album like "Garden Of Chains" then this is it! Born in 1985 as Metal Circus and known as Resistance for a couple of years there in the nineties, Finland's hard & heavy rock band AncarA offer up their sincere take on the grandiose side of the eighties alternative rock scene and we are all the better for it! Whether this is a new thing or that's the way it all started for lead vocalist Sammy Salminen (ex-Raskasta Joulua, ex-Seagrave) and crew is something that I honestly cannot tell you. Whatever the case, album number four seems to be the best of both worlds with the hard rock/heavy rock up there in front and the nostalgia rock right there in back. Thanks to the excellent production job of Jimmy Westerlund and Erno Laitinen, "Garden Of Chains" is nothing short of epic in the slick and shining department. As far as favorite moments go? Honest to God here folks, I got lost in this garden of heavenly delights and I'm not about to be feel guilty for that admission! Especially not with the week I've been having!! Anyway, how, and what not, opening number "The End (Easier Than Love)" has a official video going for it. I've posted it below. Don't be surprised by the sound that comes out of the group's lead singer. From what I've gathered, yes, that is his actually voice and no, I cannot imagine that I am the only person that that thought about Ian Astbury*. Or am I?







*AncarA sounds nothing like The Cult. In regards to the great Ian Astbury, Sammy gets the style points. Ultimately though, AncarA's front-man wins the big prize for leaving me filled with the same kind of emotionally warmth that I have for Ian's work on "Sonic Temple".

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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Agresiva-Eternal Foe


Minotauro Records
2016

Based in Spain, influenced by the Bay Area scene of old, and sporting a lead vocalist* who went to the Joey Belladonna School For (Power) Metal Vocalists(!), speed/thrash metal band Agresiva gets a updated take on their 2012 debut courtesy of Minotauro Records. This new & improved version adds two demo cuts ("The End Of The Game" and "Sent To War") to the previously-released (limited edition) digpak**. With a booklet full of song lyrics and colorful photos, 2016's version of "Eternal Foe" was certainly called for, politically-charged/socially-conscious thrash metal a sure-fire hit no matter the year of it's (original) release! Outside of the (ever so brief) intro piece, "Nocturnia", "Pale Horse (Red D'eath)" and everything that follows gets high marks in my book. It is possible that some of this album rides extremely close to our good friends in Anthrax, but given how damn cool the whole lot is I find it really hard to complain about a thing like that. Especially when you stop to consider how much shit the New York band in question has given us over the years! And no, I'm not just talking about some of the group's more money grabbing moments!! When it comes to this five-piece band and their inspired debut, Agresiva's song lyrics have depth behind them. There's legitimate concern in a number like "Hell Town" and (nine times out of ten) that kind of raw emotion turns good thrash into something special. All of which leads me down the path towards my ultimate verdict. With a second spin turning my stereo speakers into a powerful rally of sorts and with the understanding that I am talking about this near-perfect re-release from Minotauro Records, "Eternal Foe" makes for a great addition to both my (recommended) thrash metal list of 2017 and personal collection!



*It's no knock against him, but Samuel Gª San José sounds like he's in the wrong band. Like Belladonna before him, Samuel is a good thrash metal vocalist who is hopelessly trapped in the body of a great heavy/power metal singer. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't...

*The limited edition digipak came with a bonus version of the track "Hell Town". It features guest vocals from Óscar Sancho (lead singer of the long-running hard rock/heavy metal band Lujuria). Even though the bonus version is a Spanish take, "Hell Town" never loses it's message...or it's edge.

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Monday, March 06, 2017

Clouds Taste Satanic-Dawn Of the Satanic Age

Kinda Like Music
2016

Born of hellfire and brimstone in 2013, New York's stoned and alluring Clouds Taste Satanic has been everybody's  favorite instrumental doom metal band since at least 2014. Having left off with the excellent  "Your Doom Has Come", members Steven Scavuzzo (guitar), David Weintraub (guitars), Sean Bay (bass), and Christy Davis (drums) make round three the best one yet! By their own words it's "tighter, heavier, and more aggressive than ever". All of which is true. The only problem is they didn't go far enough with the disc's (well-deserved) description. Thanks to everything in-between and including "Enthroned" and "Demon Among The Stars" (with Side B's "The Brocken" the best thing that I've heard in AGES!), "Dawn Of The Satanic Age" is (as the British say) Damn Bloody Brilliant! That's all good. Yeah?  If so then why am I frowning? Well, to be perfectly honest I do have one tiny little complaint. With only six tracks and a run-time of thirty six plus minutes, "Dawn Of The Satanic Age" is a tad bit short for my tastes. No, that is being too kind. Highlighted as well by "We Die We Live" and "Just Another Animal" (two of the best doom metal tracks that I've heard lately), round three is nothing but a tease as far as I am concerned! Seeing as we have to wait a year in-between new releases, Clouds Taste Satanic is downright cruel to it's fans and to it's lovers!! Should I seek "Retribution" or should I just acknowledge the fact that I have been lead (willingly) to death's warm embrace?

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Free Metal Monday: Grim Plague-Burial Demo EP

Self-Release/Independent
2017

Grim Plague hail from Marietta, Ohio and there are two cuts on this basement-quality demo. Download the first one and ignore "Coming Home". Noisy and raw garage thrash can be a real jam (especially when it's more punk than power!), but someone please explain to me the exact purpose of track number two?

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Free Metal Monday: Leather Lung-Lost In Temptation

Self-Release/Independent
2016

Boston-based Leather Lung released this beast LP back in November of last year. It's charged
doom metal with hardcore death vocals, post-industrial grooves, and ultra-aggressive guitar riffs of the face melting variety. You can name your own price on this one, but something tells me that they would accept everything from smokes to human sacrifice in exchange! 

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Sunday, March 05, 2017

FreaKings-Toxic End


Self-Release/Independent
2017

Swiss thrashers FreaKings, active since 2008 and comprised of Jonathan Brutschin (vox/guitar), Toby Straumann (bass), and Simon Straumann (drums), make their long-awaited return with "Toxic End". It comes almost two and a half years after the release of "Gladiator" and much like it's predecessor, "Toxic End" is mosh pit-inducing metal with a inspired message! With three albums under their belts now, FreaKings has saved the best for last and there is no reason whatsoever that this powerful trio should not have a proper record labeling supporting them!!  Maybe it's politics or a certain longstanding prejudice, but these three tear it all down something fierce with their smashing riffs and (seriously-sick!) licks so why does it matter which path they walk down? Maybe I'm a grumpy old metalhead or maybe it's just because I'm writing this on a Sunday, but FreaKings (like Toxic Holocaust or the Bay Area bunch that started it all) make me want to slam about and then (on reflection of their status) break things up in defiance...even if that wouldn't please my father.    

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Madness Of Sorrow-"N.W.O. The Beginning"

W13 Digital Distribution
2017

Hand-crafted from the reanimated remains of hard & heavy goth band Filthy Teens, Italy's Madness Of Sorrow is a (six year old) horror project that now features Prophet* (Diego Carnazzola) playing the role of lyricist and (lead) studio vocalist. Having already contributed to live performances in support of last year's "III: The Beast", the multifaceted Prophet fits right into the narrative with founding member Muriel Saracino (guitars, bass, and drums) handling everything else (up to and including locking the studio doors when the pair were finished later in the night). On the group's forth full-length album the lyrics reportedly depict "the corrupt sick system in which humanity is living, focusing specifically on corporations, sex and serial killers". As they are not always that clear cut and precise, Atomic Stuff Promotion's material for "N.W.O. The Beginning" will have to do. Otherwise, Murderdolls, Death SS, Marilyn Manson, Him, Cradle of Filth, and the Rob Zombie influences certainly come into play with regards to this (atmospheric) two-man army (as far as the acknowledged ones are concerned). But then again, Skinny Puppy, Bauhaus, Christian Death, Type O Negative, N.I.N., and maybe even a goth rock take on Ministry could all be applied to the selling points on the cover of Madness Of Sorrow's latest release and it's very likely that no one would blink an eye! So, what does it all mean? Well, minus the drum machines that you'd usually find on these kind of albums and with a wink or two aimed at death & black metal, "N.W.O. The Beginning" was my first taste of this spooky Italian export and (after some careful consideration) I liked how it made me feel. As soon as I get the chance and the pile of CDs** in front of me disappears, round two of  "N.W.O. The Beginning" will commence and it should leave me tipsy with enthusiasm! I await that private date with bells on....



*From what little I've heard of "III: The Beast" (more out of curiosity in regards to Prophet's first entrance as a studio front man than anything else), Muriel Saracino is better when he concentrates on the music and let's someone else have a go as lead singer.  

**CDs and mp3s. There's more to review than ever before!

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Friday, March 03, 2017

Hell Fire-Metal Masses

Self-Release/Indepedent
2016

Active since 2010 (and already working on their second album as we speak), Hell Fire is a traditional heavy metal/speed metal band from San Francisco, California that is fronted by Jake Nunn (also a singer/guitarist in Hysteria and (since 2011) the co-guitarist of cult power/thrash band Sentinel Beast!). "Metal Masses" is the band's first studio outing and it is a digital release gone mainstream*. For once that high amount of praise is a warranted outcome, Hell Fire's debut being a sinfully-slick combination of N.W.O.B.H.M. (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Angel Witch, Saxon, Jaguar, Raven, and Blitzkrieg), traditional heavy metal (Accept, Dio, Rainbow, and Scorpions), and ("Kill 'Em All"-"Ride the Lightening"-era) Metallica! Even so, Hell Fire do there own thing on this 11-track (Fist Bangin' Mania!) release and they do it remarkably well. Scratch that, Hell Fire does it better than most and it isn't even close!! As highly recommend as the group's debut comes, sophomore releases have given us a lot of joy in the past (see: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, etc.) so I can't wait to see what else this talented lot has up it's sleeves!




*It's getting a proper release on CD and (maybe?) LP.

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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Craving Angel-Redemption

Minotauro Records
2017

Formed in 1984 (with only the lead singer remaining from the original line-up), Minnesota's Craving Angel was last heard from in 2014. Having interviewed Buddy "Bud" Hughes (vocals, percussion) in mid-March of that year (link), Craving Angel seemed poised to make a triumphant comeback thanks to it's heartfelt mixture of (gritty) hard rock and (real) heavy metal. Or at least they did to me. Due to one situation or another that didn't happen. It's unfortunate, but it isn't uncommon. Shit happens (as they say)...even to the best of them. When it comes to this 17-track album, BEST is a word that we could easily throw around (minus one or two missteps that we'll address below). That's especially true when it comes to the first couple of tracks on this forthcoming release. Powerful and moving to these old ears and heart of mine, "Hell's Waiting" (and the first three tracks that come before it) left me spinning about in an emotional daze! It's all so odd I realize, but here's the only way that I can describe the vibe of these few first numbers and a couple more that stand out here and there. With the help of some of Erick Wright (bass, keyboards, percussion, and back-up vocals) and Jimmy "Jim" Cassidy (guitars, drums, percussion and bass guitar)*, Buddy is a longtime veteran of the sport** that is playing a young man's game and he knows it. On the eve of being cut for fresh blood, Buddy pulls off a season for the ages(!), thus proving that experience oftentimes overshadows youthful energy. The question on everyone's mind now is "Can Buddy do it again or was this just one last hurray to prove the naysayers wrong?". "Should he be resigned or will he be cut (only to be scooped up by someone else who will then strike it rich with his skills)?" ponders management as they miss the big picture. You see, Buddy's true fans don't care if he can do it again. Young or old, Buddy's awesome all the same. All he has done is add to his great legacy. When it comes to Bud and the rest of Craving Angel, "Redemption" is a good collection of songs that are made great because of two reasons. First they great because of everything that has lead up to. The music on display here merely adds to the group's rich history. Sure, influence-wise the usual gang is all here. "Redemption", like its predecessor and companion piece "Dark Horse", is made with the understanding that there is no real difference between (old school) hard rock and heavy metal. For those of us who actually lived through the scene the first time around, Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Mötley Crüe, (early) Ratt, Skid Row, G n' R, Faster Pussycat, Krokus, W.A.S.P., Fastway, Keel, Helix, L.A. Guns, solo Ozzy and (early) Accept are all good examples of that fine line between the two (metal and hard rock) that we simply ignored. That's the kind of music we are talking about when it comes to "Redemption" and it damn fine because of it! As for here and now? That's the second point. If you understand Motörhead then you will understand this next part. "Redemption", with it's aches and pains/warts and grey hairs, is great because it lives for the moment and makes no bones about the fact that it is older and wiser. And I think that is what ultimately moved me the most. In regards to "Redemption" you can feel the joy and heartache that comes with having lived a full life. Maybe our younger readers will understand this and maybe they won't, but sometimes the memories are both, joyous and heartbreaking. It's a double edged sword (and a sharp one at that), but I digress. Let's look at the track list below. As you will see, "Dirty Girls" starts off with little notes and a grade. These notes and/or grades will help you get a feel for each individual track, but be forewarned kiddos! These were just my personal notes as I listened to the album the first time around as a critic. On the second go around I listened to the album as a whole. That's the proper way to go about it when you are a fan. In case there are any questions, "fan first and critic second" is how I describe myself. As a whole, "Redemption" is one track after another and not a mashup of potential singles/hits and misses. Obviously I'm older than some of our readers, but we used to call these LPs. Not the format, but in regards to hearing the whole lot as a collection of songs with one singular narrative. Mind you, "Redemption" is not a concept album. It's simply a bunch of songs that work better together.

 PS: Not every track has a grade by it and (other than misspellings) rewriting history is not something that I am into.

1) "Dirty Girls"-Solid A opener that is (perfectly) Judas Priest meets Mötley Crüe.

2)"Crash and Burn"-Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest mix it up w/ solo Ozzy. There's some sick guitar parts. Other times it's like a dark G n' R/L.A. Guns.

3) "Chicaboom"-Gritty hard rock. Edgy as f**k. B+


4) "Hells Waiting" A+-Is there really redemption? Hard rock with a country and western swagger...even if you can't help the damnation that is to come.

5) "Roses Are Red"-Heartache and pain...wow

6) "Outta My Way"-I like the sentiment and the guitar playing, but it's not all that it ought to be given the fancy set of ingredients. C+


7) "Freak Show"-Almost sounds like something that Alice Cooper would have wrote. Better the second time around, but still a B-.

8) "Bad Voodoo"-Bluesy and sleazy. Buddy channels Steven Tyler like no other! Very cool.

9) "Everything I Do"-Hair metal/glam. Craving Angel is digging through the graves of many forgotten eighties bands (in the best way possible). Much better than it is has any right to be. A-

10) "Gonna Party"-Are the guys in Craving Angel auditioning as songwriters for new glam/hard rock bands? This could be a jam for a young band.

11) "Dirty Little Secret"-Oddly this reminds me of eighties metal as much as it does when Iggy Pop went mainstream.

12)"Dream Chaser"-Short and sweet hard rock/heavy metal. Nice.

13)"She's No Lady"-Dive bar metal meets garage metal. All I need is another glass of wine and this wound be golden!

14) "Gonna Getcha"-I like everything but the chorus. Punk-laden metal with sharp guitars licks. I give it a B.

15) "New Day"-Has bits and parts to kill for, but as a whole song? I don't know.

16) "Primadonna"-Solo Ozzy, Mötley Crüe, and Twisted Sister. A little bit of all three? It's weird, but I could easily see those last two (and maybe even Anthrax if not for it's punk vibe!) making this song into a huge hit! Then again, punk bands could do the same with it and maybe even do a better job than any of the groups listed! All the same, cool cut. B+ maybe? A- perhaps?

17) "Roses are Red (acoustic version)". I thought I liked the plugged in version, but this is more raw (emotionally) and it's more open & honest. A+ and it's not even close!

 And there you have it. Due out sometime this month, "Redemption" comes highly recommended. That's especially true for fans of "Dark Horse", but it also rings true for those people that are into the eighties and (early) nineties hard & heavy scene. 


*Pat Skeie (bass) and Dan Hanley (drums) play on "Roses Are Red" and "Everything I Do".


**Let's call it "football" since that resonates with both sides of the pond.

PSS: See track two, but there is a chunk of "Redemption" that seems almost dark (vibe wise). I can't put my finger on it, but it is there all the same. Interestingly enough I also jotted down this line in my notebook (and with a smile to boot!): "Faster Pussycat meets Motörhead, but with Alice Cooper". I can't remember why I wrote that line down on the top of my page, but somehow it all seems rather appropriate to share it.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Loud As Hell News


Music publicist (and friend) Jon Asher (Asher Media Relations) sent this piece of news my way and I just had to share it. While I am not up to the task of attending it myself (old age, funds, and a lack of passport being just a few of the top reasons), Loud As Hell has a absolutely killer line-up going on and it sure sounds as if it will be one for the ages! Read on for all the details:



Western Canada's decibel breaking heavy metal festival Loud As Hell returns for its sixth consecutive year presented by Semchuk Productions, Jurassic Ink Custom Tattoo, Prairie Fire Events, and Asher Media Relations. Hosted in the Alberta badlands in Drumheller, this year's three day festival from August 4th-6th features 40 bands from across Western Canada and beyond. Ready to resurrect the roaring echoes of the dinosaurs that once ruled the area millions of years ago, the 2017 headliners Detroit tyrants BATTLECROSS will be melting the faces off headbangers and sure to stir a massive pit along with stoner rockers Vancouver's BLACK WIZARD will fellow city comrades sludge riffers BISON and Canadian 80's thrash legends AGGRESSION. The festival also includes various vendors, tattoo artists, suspension demos, guitar and drum clinics. Full line-up and set times listed below.


Weekend passes are now available at pre-sale price for $79 CAD until March 1st and will increase to the regular price of $99 CAD. Weekend passes include tent camping (additional onsite charges for RV's, trailers, & motorhomes).
Tickets available at http://www.loudashell.com/tickets.

Loud As Hell - 2017 Line Up & Set Times
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/572801856244503/ 

Friday, August 4
Cocaine Mustache (Vancouver, BC) - 12:45am
Bison (Vancouver, BC) - 11:15pm
Exit Strategy (Calgary, AB) - 10pm
Mortillery (Edmonton, AB) - 9pm
Sentient (Calgary, AB) - 8pm
W.M.D. (Calgary, AB) - 7pm
Leave The Living (Red Deer, AB) - 6pm

Saturday, August 5
Shocker (Edmonton, AB) - 12:45am
Aggression (Vancouver, AB) - 11:15pm
Planet Eater (Regina, SK) - 10pm
Tyrants Demise (Winnipeg, MB) - 9pm
Expain (Vancouver, BC) - 8pm
VX36 (Northern California) - 7pm
Neck of The Woods (Vancouver, BC) - 6pm
Shark Infested Daughters (Calgary, AB) - 5:15pm
God Said Kill (Port Coquitlam, BC) - 4:30pm
Burning Effigy (Calgary, AB) - 3:45pm
Social Arsonist (Chile/Vancouver, BC)- 3pm
Hammerdrone (Calgary, AB) - 2:15pm
Cell (Winipeg, MB)- 1:30pm
Tides of Kharon (Edmonton, AB) - 12:45pm
The Cadavor Dog (High River, AB) - 12pm
Concrete Funeral (Calgary, AB) - 11:15am
Nuclear Oath (Medicine Hat, AB) - 10:30am

Sunday, Aug 6
Battlecross (Detroit, MI) - 11:15pm
Black Wizard (Vancouver, BC) - 10pm
Galactic Pegasus (Vancouver, BC) - 9pm
Scythia (Calgary, AB) - 8pm
Nylithia (Vancouver, BC) - 7pm
Dead Asylum (Vancouver, BC) - 6pm
Altars of Grief (Regina, SK) - 5:15pm
Skepsis (Edmonton, AB) - 4:30pm
Tales of The Tomb (Edmonton, AB) - 3:45pm
Tyrant of Chaos (Lethbridge, AB) - 3pm
Slaughterhauser (Mission City, BC) - 2:15pm
Sovreign Enemy (Winnipeg, MB)  - 1:30pm
Statue of Demur (Calgary, AB) - 12:45pm
Gales of Avalon (Calgary, AB) - 12pm
Immunize (Edmonton, AB) - 11:15am
Caste of Shadows (Lethbridge, AB) - 10:30am

Loud As Hell 2017 social media hashtag is #LAH666.

Also check out Metal-Rules.com's live review of LAH 2016 here.

For more info, please visit these links:
http://www.loudashell.com
@Loudashellfest #LAH666


Festival Bio:
Loud As Hell Metal Festival in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada will be celebrating year 6 in 2017. As always the festival takes place over August long weekend from August 4th-6th. They always work their hardest to deliver the best lineup in the West ready to melt your face off. Featuring over 30 of the top Canadian metal bands you won’t want to miss any of it. And don't forget about their freak shows, burlesque dancers, clinics, vendors and dinosaurs!

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