Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dam-Age "Thirteen Bullets in My Head"

Self-Release/Independent
2018

Dam-Age is a thrash metal band from Ukraine, Kharkov whose line-up is unknown. The recently-released "Thirteen Bullets in My Head" seems to be the group's debut, but that is only a guess on my part. Seeing as there is little information to go by when it comes to these underground thrashers, Dam-Age could be a brand new act or one that has been around for awhile. Who really knows? Certainly not Facebook or the Metal Archives. They were no help when it came to the who, what, when, and where of this (wreck-inducing) merchants of metal. And I didn't have any luck with the time honored tradition of doing a "google search". So yeah, Dam-Age are a bit of a mystery. At any rate, one dollar is all that it costs to purchase this 4-track EP. In my eyes that it a steal. Here's why. With "Thirteen Bullets in My Head" you get this underground take on (early) Megadeth and it's all from a band that is (slightly) rough & raw around the edges. It's almost as if you were to take a really solid garage metal band and then you mixed in elements of  gripping thrash and vintage Megadeth. Whoever they are, the members of Dam-Age know what they are doing as far as songwriting and overall musicianship goes. The production is perfectly suited to this type of metal and there are no real complaints as far as the mix is concerned. Topped off by some sick lead vocals and great guitar solos, Dam-Age's new EP is a fun listen that lives up to it's wicked album art! To quote a line from 1987's Robocop, "I'd buy that for a dollar!".

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Legendarium-Legendarium

Independent/Self-Release
2017

Based in Leeuwarden, Netherlands, Legendarium is Laurence Kerbov (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, writing and production) and Stefano Vaccari (drums). This six-track EP is the group's debut release. It was suggested to me by a friend who lives and breaths all things punk metal. I am going to be extremely honest when I say that I'm not exactly sure where to begin when it comes to this band's self-titled release. Yes, it does mix together elements of punk rock and traditional heavy metal. Along with the punk metal, "Legendarium" toys with horror punk, goth rock, garage metal, power metal, and (oddly-enough) "Master of Puppets"-era Metallica! While that in and off itself might not sound too strange, "Legendarium" leans heavily on the keyboards and it features some of the weirdest vocals out there! Laurence Kerbov's vocal style is never going to suite all tastes. Especially when you consider that he sounds an awful lot like the Richmond character from the the British TV series, IT Crowd! For those of you who are not familiar with the character here is a short clip of him talking about Cradle of Filth.


Now, take that voice and add it to a punk metal band and you have got Legendarium! This is either a good thing or a bad thing (depending upon your view of life and whether or not you like to march to the beat of your own mad drummer!). To these ears it is just "odd". With a better vocalist, Legendarium could be onto something unique and refreshing. As it stands now, Laurence Kerbov's voice is likely to turn a lot of people away. Either way I highly suggest that you give this EP a listen. The EP isn't that long and with it's odd construction and exotic ingredients, "Legendarium" will keep your interest!

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Monday, January 15, 2018

hell bent-EP

Self-Release/Independent
2018

Formed in 2015 and comprised of current & former members of Dropdead, Ulcer, Paindriver, Straight to Hell, Neon Bitches, and Hard Drug, hell bent is a thrash metal/(hardcore-tinged) crossover band from Providence, Rhode Island. The self-explanatory "EP" is the latest release from this (d-beat-infused) fierce as fuck outfit. It is a six-song EP that clocks in at just under thirteen minutes. Other than perhaps the EP's length*, hell bent's new recording is fault free from start to finish! With it's old school-street metal & (hardcore-tinged) crossover meets underground thrash metal, "EP" is a great introduction to this tough as nails group. In addition to being a digital release, "EP" is available to purchase on cassette tape. That's rather fitting and all seeing as this EP has the feel of a underground gem from the heyday of tape-trading! If gritty and raw street-legit thrash metal/crossover/hardcore is your bread and butter, hell bent is bound to be your jam!


*As good as these guys are, hell bent's debut should have been a full-length LP!

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Damn Youth-Breathing Insanity

Cospe Fogo Produções
2018

Damn Youth is a raw thrash/crossover band from Caucaia, Ceará, Brazil that has been in existence since 2013. Fronted by Elton Luiz, Damn Youth made it's debut in 2015 with the 3-track demo "Skate in Hell". In 2016 the band released a split with Lei do Cão and the 3-track EP, "No Mercy to Nazi Sympathy". Both the split and the EP came out on cassette tape. In addition they both featured cover songs. The split saw the group cover a track by Vio-Lence while "No Mercy to Nazi Sympathy" features a cover of "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" (Dead Kennedys). In a very real way both of those bands (Vio-Lence and The Dead Kennedys) show up to play on Damn Youth's latest recording. Released on January 9th, "Breathing Insanity" might not feature any cover tunes, but the influence of vintage thrash and old school punk/hardcore runs wild on this full-length album! Available as a (name your price) digital download by clicking here, "Breathing Insanity" is what you get when you take the crazier side of the thrash metal movement (Vio-Lence, Forbidden, Exodus, Toxic Holocaust, Slayer, etc.) and mix it with crossover (D.R.I., C.O.C., Suicidal Tendencies, Cro-Mags), punk/hardcore (the aforementioned Dead Kennedys, The Exploited, Discharge, etc.), street metal (Zoetrope), and rough & real garage metal. With 13 wickedly fun tracks in all, "Breathing Insanity" has a great underground vibe going for it (even if one cannot ignore the exceptional skills of these mad musicians!). At the end of the day it is an absolute steal as a name your own price download. That said, Damn Youth might be onto something by offering it for next to nothing. If it helps spread the word about this Brazilian band then it will all be worth it. For now, why not jump aboard this bandwagon while it's still within sight?

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Dinosaur Eyelids-Left Turn on Red

Independent/Self-Release
2017

New Jersey's Dinosaur Eyelids issued their 5th studio album back in late November of 2017. With it's tongue-in-cheek title of "Left Turn on Red", I had this CD arrive unexpectedly at my door. With 11 tracks in all, "Left Turn on Red" is the long-anticipated  follow-up to 2014's "Bypass To Nowhere". From what I have read, "Bypass To Nowhere" was well-received by both the fans and the critics. While I cannot vouch for their last album, "Left Turn on Red" is an absolute winner in my book and the exact kind of rock album that I would stop the presses for! Opening with four straight rock and roll gems in a row, "Left Turn on Red" is the gripping story of a five-piece garage band that works through it's personal struggles by plugging in & kicking out the jam. Influences seem to range from Ween, The Stooges, Dinosaur Jr., The Replacements, and Sonic Youth all the way up through Nirvana, Soundgarden, Black Sabbath, and Kyuss. On this excellent album you are just as likely to witness the influence of Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and The Who as you are Blind Melon and Saigon Kick! As an example of the wide array of influences let's check out two song. First we have "L.A. Lady". This semi-ballad is rock and roll all the way though, but it also has a bit of a late eighties/early nineteens hair metal vibe to it. Dinosaur Eyelids perfectly executes this cool number which could have easily been a hit for any number of L.A. glam metal bands. On the other end of the spectrum we have "Making Up Memories". On an album where (heavy) rock and roll rules the day, "Making Up Memories" sounds like a hard rock take on Jane's Addiction (without all the drama naturally). It is a great song, but then again, "Left Turn on Red" is nothing but one great track after another. As part of the alternative rock scene, Dinosaur Eyelids might have a hard time breaking through all of the preconceived barriers that come from closed minds. Whatever you do, do not fall for such a trap! At it's core this is a rock and roll album that demands to be played "Loud & Proud"! An album like "Left Turn on Red" is just as likely to appeal to the alternative/indie rock crowd as it is those of us in the hard & heavy scene. You can and most-certainly should check out this heavy rockin' release by by heading here. Be forewarned though. These NJ alt-rockers are a loud bunch! As such this album is all kinds of LOUD. You can try turning it down, but ultimately it needs to be played at maximum volume. That's what you do for any great rock recording and this gem is no different!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Viölence-MotörDemon

Self-Release/Independent
2018

"Loud, Fast, and Rude". Not only is that the way in which I want to live my life, but it is also the motto of Australian' blackened speed metal project Viölence. Lead by Dylan Potter (all instruments), with "MotörDemon" serving as the debut EP from this one man wrecking crew from the wastelands of hell(!), Viölence seems to have shown up from out of nowhere! It was like one day there was nothing and then the next things I know is that this 5-track recording was showing up everywhere I looked. There's a damn good reason for that happening. While it's only an EP, "MotörDemon" is more than enough proof that Dylan Potter knows how to rock the dead back to life! Without missing a beat, Viölence throws you wave after wave of sinister riffs that one minute sound like classic Venom and the next (early) Sodom! In addition to the godfathers of blackened speed metal, Viölence seems to pay homage to the underground side of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene and quite obviously then, Lemmy. Fact is, "MotörDemon" is too good not to share. So, strap in tight and put your helmet on. This EP is going to be on hell of a ride!

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Monday, January 08, 2018

Kings Will Fall-Thrash Force.One

Independent/Self-Release
2018

Kings Will Fall is a up-and-coming thrash n' death metal band from Italy that is fronted by Fabian Jung. Formed in 2013 by drummer Lukas Gross and bassist Daniel Vanzo, Kings Will Fall made it's debut in 2015 with the extended-EP, "Death Comes Easy". With eight original compositions plus a choice cover of Motörhead's "We Are Motörhead", the aptly-titled "Thrash Force. One" is the full-length debut for this uncompromising metal group that hails from Sarntal in South Tyrol. Guitarist Rene Thaler rounds things out for this (old school thrash metal-worshiping) four-piece band. In addition to eighties and (early) nineties thrash metal (see list below), "Thrash Force. One" showcases a gritty, street metal-legit, band that isn't afraid to lean on Motörhead & Tank for support. Toss in some punk-inspired vocals from Kings Will Fall's great lead singer (you are the man Fabian Jung!) and you have a sweet as hell album that knows how to rock out hard in the middle of one righteous pit! I just know that this (kicking!) thrash n' death album will be getting plenty of spins from me in the future!!




Kings Will Fall's influences:
Sodom, Slayer, Kreator, Testament, Overkill, Exodus, Destruction, Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica(in the 80's), Insanity Alert, Pantera, Flotsam & Jetsam, Nuclear Assault, Toxic Holocaust, and Sepultura (in the 80's and early 90's)

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Sunday, January 07, 2018

My Silent Wake-There Was Death

Minotauro Records
2018

Formed in 2005 from the remains of Ashen Mortality, My Silent Wake is one of the UK's best death/doom bands. Since the very beginning the group has been lead by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Ian Arkley (Seventh Angel, Century Sleeper). Although the background members have come and gone, Ian's vision has kept My Silent Wake not only alive, but consistently evolving and thus improving. Now in it's thirteenth year of existence, My Silent Wake Over has a huge back catalog to it's name. Not only are there multiple full-length recordings, but there are numerous EPs and singles, several compilations, a promo DVD, and two splits! Recorded, produced, mixed, and mastered by Greg Chandler (Esoteric) at Priory studios, "There Was Death" is the tenth full-length album by My Silent Wake. It is the follow-up to 2017's "Invitation to Imperfection". While I choose not to cover that particular album for a variety of reasons (one of which was because it is largely a instrumental release) I did review 2015's "Damnatio Memoriae". At the time I called it "My Silent Wake's strongest release to date".With a release date of February 16th, 2018, "There Was Death" is every bit as good as "Damnatio Memoriae" was. What's more, "There Was Death" is packed with some of My Silent Wake's heaviest material to date! At this point in the game My Silent Wake has developed a unmistakable sound. Anyone that has been following this incredible band for awhile has no doubt picked up on that fact. With "There Was Death" that distinct, somewhat (slowed down) doom rock meets (sorrowful) goth rock sound is still present. As cool as it is that side of the band serves as the album's foundation. With producer Greg Chandler providing keys and some extreme vocals (well, it's more like he is growling into the mic and/or screaming, but it is still epic!) and Ian (vocals/guitars) looking to push the boundaries as far as they will go(!), the one hour long "There Was Death" finds My Silent Wake armed to the teeth for what will be very primitive, hand to hand, combat. The conflict isn't physical though. Like numerous other albums, "There Was Death" deals with spiritual issues (lyrically) while the actually music smothers you under it's mighty weight. At their heaviest/most savage and with some of the best material to date at their disposal, the members of My Silent Wake have gifted the metal community some impeccable music. Longtime fans of My Silent Wake should love this well-crafted disc of  formidable death/doom. For anyone new to the group, My Silent Wake is simply doing what they do best: improving upon perfection. As always this is stellar death/doom from a musical mastermind that is known as Ian Arkley. It's a complex and sometimes challenging band that has taken England by storm along with much of the U.S. With albums like "There Was Death" the world should be won over, but only time will time as far as that wish of mine goes.






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Friday, January 05, 2018

Starsoup-Castles of Sand

Metalism Records
2017

Starsoup is a progressive heavy rock/metal studio project from Moscow, Russian. Formed in 2011 by vocalist/guitarist (and sole full-time member) Alexey Markov (Distant Sun, ex-Citadel, ex-Shadow Host), Starsoup made it's debut with the 2011 single, "Angel". The full-length "Bazaar of Wonders" followed in 2013 with two additional singles, "The Wait" (2015) and "Your World Is Dead" (2017), serving as the bridge between album number one and this full-length feature. Released in late November of 2017, "Castles of Sand" is the long-anticipated sophomore LP from this extremely- versatile act. Like it's predecessor, "Castles of Sand" finds Alexey Markov backed-up by not only guest musicians, but other vocalists. Obviously with so many different players at work, Starsoup is going to sound different from album to album. Not only that, but each song is going to have it's own flavor. To that end here is the album's track list. Please note that tracks number 10 and 12 only appear on the CD versions of "Castles of Sand". You can find information on how to order a CD copy of this incredible album by heading here. That link takes you to the group's bandcamp page.

"Castles of Sand" track list:


1.The Catcher in the Lie
2. Into the Woods
3. Brother's Plea
4. Your World Is Dead
5. Rumors of Better Love
6. Escapist
7. Winter in Shire
8. Castle
9. The World That Has Moved On
10. Light Up the Stars (CD bonus)
11. Moon on the Shore
12. Road to Sunset (CD bonus)



Starting off with the four-minute "The Catcher in the Lie", Starsoup's latest recording is a charmingly diverse release where you are likely to pick up on something new and exciting with each new spin! On "Castles of Sand" you'll find everything from traditional heavy metal to classical music. You have progressive AOR and folk-leanings, modern metal and thrash. There is melodic hard rock and there are power metal moments that will make your head spin. Pretty much anything that you can imagine shows up on Starsoup's new album. On paper that might sound messy and chaotic. In actuality this is a well-constructed album that is intelligent and enjoyable. It is geared towards progressive rock fans and anyone that likes their music to be thought-provoking. I'd also recommend it to anyone that likes to march to the beat of their own drummer. Kudos to Alex Markov and company for this excellent album. Hopefully this is just  the first of many great releases from this Russian project.








In addition to Alexey Markov (guitars,vocals, and effects), "Castles of Sand" features:

Mike Sorokin Drums (1, 4, 6)
Ivan Izotov Bass (1, 3, 4, 7), Keyboards (3, 4, 7), Orchestration (1)
Dmitriy Ignatyev Guitars (lead) (1, 4)
Kirill Babiev Vocals (1)
Sergey Serebrennikov Drums (2, 3, 7)
Oleg Mishin Flute (3, 4)
Vladimir Shevyakov Guitars (6), Guitars (lead) (8, 10)
Evgeniy Nesterov Bass (6)
Rustam Akhmatgaraev Keyboards (1, 6), Piano (9, 11, 12)
Artem Molodtsov Bass (8, 10), Guitars (8)
Anton Yalovchuk Drums (8)
Vladimir Shulepin Keyboards (8, 10)
Daria Naumenko Vocals (9)
Alex Dyachenko Drums (10)





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Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Corrosion of conformity-No cross no crown

coccdnov
Nuclear Blast
2018

 This is the bands first album with vocalist Pepper Keenan since 2005's In the Arms of God and the first to feature this band lineup in nearly 18 years. Right away it's like they are right back where they were during the decade plus that Keenan was singing for the band. There's plenty of distorted riffs flowing while rhythms pound along behind them. Frequently they aren't afraid to reach back and pull 70's inspired hooks to propel the songs forward. The production stays just dull and fuzzy enough to really help the sound retain the sound that they are obviously aiming for. I have to admit that I got into this band in their crossover days in the 80's and loved them then. I have certainly embraced everything they have done since changing their musical style which started with 1991's Blind. However this albums was better than most from their stoner/doom days. I think that helped it the most is that there is a great variety of pace and styles on these tracks than on a number of their other albums. Fans of the band will likely be into this one for sure.

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Dark Hound-Dawning

Self-Release/Independent
2018

Dark Hound is a heavy/power metal band from Nashville, TN. The group has been around since 2009 and (as of this writing) it is comprised of vocalist/bassist ET Brown, guitarist Evan Hensley, guitarist Preston Walls, and drummer Josh Brown. Along with Megadeth, Testament, and some (pre-Black album) Metallica, Dark Hound is every bit as influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M. sounds of Iron Maiden & Judas Priest as it is Pantera and Dream Theater. In 2014 I did a write up on the group's self-titled debut (link). I really liked "Dark Hound" so I had high hopes for this album. In now way, shape, or form did this release let me down! With a release date of January 19th, 2018, "Dawning" is the second full-length album from this progressive and melodic quartet that also has a 2015 EP to it's name ("Oceans"). It is a step forward in terms of growth and musical-evolution. The songs are more inspired and so do the individual performances of everything involved with this energetic release. With eleven tracks in all, "Dawning" is a fun listen and one hell of a enjoyable experience! Ultimately it is a must-have for fans of real metal!! If "Dawning" is any indication of what awaits us, 2018 is going to a great year for heavy metal fans and the scene as a whole.

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