Archive for August, 2009

SOS Metal Reviews: Necrophobic “Death to All,” Sworn Enemy, Delain, Unholy, and more…

Posted in Emery, Necrophobic, SOS Metal Update on August 26, 2009 by gearsofrock

Amazon NecrophobicNECROPHOBIC

DEATH TO ALL

With song titles like “For Those Who Stayed Satanic” and “Celebration of the Goat,” it’s pretty evident what to expect from Necrophobic’s no-frills eight-track audio sacrifice to Satan Death To All. Blistering black metal a la Dissection exalting Beelzebub is precisely what’s on tap from this veteran Swedish squad, complete with a garden variety permutation of dastardly vocal rasps, abrasive dynamic shifts, belligerent blast beats, and tremolo-picked demonic guitars propelling the entire offering (“La Santisima Muerte”). Supercharged with a sinister spirit brazen with an apocalyptic attitude holding tight at the core, chalk up another dark mark in the black book of blasphemy for Necrophobic, as this band continues to spread its message of disdain while providing a fitting soundtrack behind it all. www.regainrecords.comMike SOS

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SWORN ENEMY

TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION

After sticking it out for over a decade, NYC hardcore metal troupe Sworn Enemy return in top form with a ripping thrash-heavy monster of an album that pulls no punches entitled Total World Domination. Again choosing to work with Tim Lambesis, this quintet’s relentless assault on the ears is bolstered as always by Sal Lococo’s gargantuan vocals yet this time twin guitar work that digs deep from the Exodus and Destruction songbooks accompanies the pummeling to mercilessly take you down and out for the count (“On the Outside”). Imagine the intensity of Municipal Waste without the frivolity colliding with the clobbering tactics of Madball and Earth Crisis and you’ve got the template for this NYHC-bred unit’s latest barnburner, as choice cuts such as “Still Hating”, “Ready to Fight” and “Run for Shelter” provide the adrenaline necessary to demolish everything in the way throughout the course of the day and showcase that this band proudly holds onto its roots with an unwavering aggressive as ever mindset leading their charge. www.centurymedia.comMike SOS

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MILE MARKER ZERO

MILE MARKER ZERO

Connecticut progressive metal mavens Mile Marker Zero display a unique smattering of familiar influences on their eponymous 10-track affair. While footprints from acts like Queensryche, A Perfect Cirtcle, Dream Theater, and Fates Warning are scattered throughout the album, this quintet manage to forge their own sound from the same rich prog launch pad thanks to exhilarating musicianship and tantalizing composition twists within a shadowy atmosphere sandwiched somewhere between Opeth and Porcupine Tree (“Passive”). Showcasing the capacity to both wail away on a dime as well as show restraint (especially on the vocals) when needed (“Crimson Red”), this group of classically trained musicians make the most of their pedigree by portraying an impressive array of delicate melodies and ethereal dramatics without losing basic hard rock insight, taking songs like “Peril Aerial” to new and exciting places without falling prey to usual prog rock excessive pomp and superfluous trappings. www.milemarkerzero.comMike SOS


Amazon DelainDELAIN

APRIL RAIN

Female fronted symphonic metal fans have a new band to love and their name is Delain. This Dutch quintet’s sophomore effort entitled April Rain contains the standard heavy guitar and angelic vocal combination (“Go Away”) throughout its entire 12-track duration, giving similar bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation (whose ex-keyboardist Martun Westerholt formed Delain) a run for their money. Embracing the recognizable sounds from the aforementioned while bolstering their take with guest vocals by Nightwish bassist Marco Hietala (“Control the Storm”) and some compelling cello work (“On the Other Side”), Delain finds the fine balance between mainstream pop music melodies and progressive metal tendencies (“Start Swimming”) with solid production values, catchy songwriting and a slew of sugary choruses at their command to create this larger than life Goth metal experience. www.thelasersedge.comMike SOS

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THE ANTIKAROSHI

CRUSHED NEOCONS

Crushed Neocons is an eclectic nine-track presentation by German trio The Antikaroshi that straddles the line between post-hardcore and post-rock with oodles of jazzy edges. Jaded guitars drenched in delay (“Cruiserwait”), mighty bass rumblings and adroit percussive work converge to form hypnotic rhythms with a pervasive free-from jam sensibility flowing in and out of the rollicking jolts and rest stops on cuts like “Fistful” and “Contradiction”. An abstract non-singer stream of consciousness vocal delivery and a general flair for the off-kilter assist unorthodox arrangements like “Baskerville” and “Pes” to contort into weird and wondrous soundscapes that borrow as much from the DC hardcore scene standouts as they do forward thinking bands that go above and beyond constraints of the norm a la Refused and Sunny Day Real Estate. Championing an angular and hard to pin down yet easy to sink into style, this exercise in experimental rock may prove to be too far-reaching for some, but for those who enjoy a space shuttle mission to the Moon should heed this prime opportunity to get on The Antikaroshi’s rocket ride. www.southern.netMike SOS

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Amazon Elwood EmissionELWOOD EMISSION

ODE TO THE EGO

NYC’s Elwood Emission is Lucy Kalantari’s one-woman electronic project jam-packed with soul-bearing crooning to a harsh industrial rock soundtrack. The callous vocal and disorted ukuleles that start off “The Invitation”, develop an unsettling sensation furthered by the cross between Alanis Morrisette and Shiny Toy Guns influenced vocals and angst-ridden subject matter (“Despicable”) displayed. Ode To The Ego also throws in snippets of Tori Amos-like catharsis (“Divine”) into the mix, giving this six-track sojourn into Kalantari’s darker side a fair share of lush yet eerie attributes that ambitiously push tracks like the scintillatingly sultry “Run” from the shadowy recesses to the spotlight. www.afewlittlenotes.comMike SOS

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ALEXISONFIRE

OLD CROWS/YOUNG CARDINALS

Canadian punk hardcore band Alexisonfire has grown considerably from their humble screamo upbringing judging by their latest 11-track release Old Crows/Young Cardinals. Perpetually altering their sound with every release, this album’s switches may prove the most daunting, as the unit’s unique three-tiered vocal delivery has been radically tinkered with, nearly dropping all the squad’s trademark high-pitched wails for a more common yet genuine (and way less grating) earthier punk rasp. While songs like “No Rest” and “Heading for the Sun” get a discernibly gruffer makeover across the board, Alexisonfire builds intensity with the acumen of a unit who has been around the block a few times with the excellently placed keyboards on “The Northern” delving into considerably more brooding states of mind than previously visited. Alexisonfire seem to have comfortably outgrown their former selves in some aspects, even going so far as to proclaim the change in song on “Old Crows”, a maneuver that undoubtedly insures losing diehards in droves. But for those who choose to stick around, thisToronto troupe’s escalating sense of self and collected post-punk output reminiscent of bands like Thrice solidifies this disc by celebrating the exploring new avenues without pandering to the pressures of commercial success. www.vagrant.comMike SOS

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UNHOLY

NEW LIFE BEHIND CLOSED EYES

Syracuse, NY quintet Unholy are no strangers to the scene, as this group features members of Another Victim, Santa Sangre, and Path of Resistance, not to mention hail from one of the hotbeds of ‘90s metallic hardcore. And even though obvious and unmistakable traces of hometown influences All Out War and Earth Crisis are very detectable everywhere across this unit’s brutal chugfest , Unholy savagely spreads its wings to implement sinister spoonfuls of Swedish and American thrash metal elixir to their seething hardcore skeleton, a move that gives this squad a ferocious quality that while far from original, portrays all the necessary bone-crushing nuances to render a pleasingly pummeling experience non-withstanding(“The Followers”, “The Blinding Light”). Adorned with scathing guitars solos and a simple yet effective approach that rarely drags despite the telegraphed compositions, if you could imagine the merger of Terror, Bury Your Dead, Entombed and Machine Head, then you can envision the rock-solid onslaught brought on from this bruising bunch’s 10-track discharge, perfect for those that demand more from their mosh metal. www.prosetheticrecords.comMike SOS

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Amazon Emery in shallowEMERY

IN SHALLOW SEAS WE SAIL

Christian rock quintet Emery returns with a bang, rediscovering their former selves with a renewed sense of purposed on their fourth full-length In Shallow Seas We Sail. Fine-tuning their screamo tendencies with an increased sense of incense (“Cutthroat Collapse”) and a streamlined melodic edge (“Dear Death Part 2”), this outfit’s latest 13-track endeavor beefs up Emery’s output in nearly every category. From solid twin-vocal interplay (“Inside Our Skin”) and torrid rhythmic undercurrents (“In Shallow Seas We Sail”) to unabashed heaviness (“Butcher’s Mouth”) and a penchant for hooky yet refined choruses, this squad’s delectable dichotomy of fragility and ferocity fits snugly between Dredg and Thrice, placing Emery in the upper echelon of the new breed of alternative punk while finding its biggest influence from within. www.toothandnail.comMike SOS

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WRENCH

WRENCH

Brooklyn, NY quartet Wrench tear through speakers with the finesse of an old school Bay Ridge brawler, showcasing an abrasive amalgamation of the sheer sonic furies of Carnivore, Madball, and Pro-Pain on their six-track release. Subtle as a blunt object to the skull yet bouncy enough to keep the head bobbing, Wrench comes equipped with a vicious vocal bark reminiscent of Helmet at their most caustic, a gutwrenching 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea bottom end that rattles fillings and a procession of slamming Biohazard-esque grooves all working as one to hammer this crew’s brawny bullet points home. This recharged veteran unit’s creates a viscous wall of 90s crossover metal perfect for throwing a fist in the air or throwing down in the pit to. www.wrenchnyc.comMike SOS

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Review: GWAR – Lust in Space [2009]

Posted in GWAR with tags on August 21, 2009 by gearsofrock

Amazon Gwar LustBy Peter O’Brien

It’s been three years since the crack addicted, necrophiliac, space-mutant maniac quintet (GWAR) went “Beyond Hell.” They return now to share their most recent intergalactic exploits through song with their eleventh studio album, Lust In Space. The album marks not only the bands return to the Metal Blade label, but also the return of bassist Casey Orr to the role of Beefcake The Mighty. Like many other GWAR albums, Lust In Space is a concept album constructed to coincide with their elaborate stage show. Their concurrent themes and cavalcade of characters allow them to mix up classic tunes with the new material almost seamlessly. The album was released on August 18, 2009 and commemorates GWAR’s 25th Anniversary of attempting to destroy the world.

The album begins with an epic title track that echoes earlier songs such as “We Kill Everything,” and “Go To Hell.” It begins as a melodic lament and quickly transcends into a full on metal soliloquy of hate, murder, sex, and escape. It also establishes the journey that the band is about to embark on within the following songs. “Let Us Slay” has all the makings of a classic GWAR song. It’s driving thrash rhythm and encompassing chorus, coupled with its barbaric themes of crusades and holy misconceptions perfectly illustrate the parody of our world which is reflective in GWAR as a statement and ideology. The album continues with “Damnation Under God,” a tale of intergalactic decadence and “The UberKlaw,” a track no doubt written for the sole purpose of building something hideous to mutilate victims with on stage.

The first half of the album culminates with a speed metal thrash masterpiece entitled “Lords And Masters (Of All We Survey).” The song has everything you could want: driving rhythms, ripping solos, melodic leads, and vocal arrangements that make you not only want to punch someone to death, but also twist their head off so you can see the life drain out of their eyes. Lyrically the song is completely in tune with the legacy of brutality that GWAR has been claiming since its inception, closing with the line “Compared to my crimes, Hitler’s pale.”

Songs like “Metal Metal Land,” a play on Never Never Land, show the lighter side of the bands humor. An anthem to all the metal heads that never traded in the denim jackets for sport coats. The song is about a fabled land, a place where “80’s hair bands are still hated,” and “no false metal tolerated.” Other songs in this vein include “Where Is Zog?,” an absurd quest for Oderus’ former mentor and his pathetic fate, and “Make A Child Cry.” The latter calls back to themes explored in earlier GWAR songs like “Have You Seen Me,” and “B.D.F.”

“The Price Of Peace” is probably the most straightforward metal song on the album and could easily appear in the catalog of any other band in the genre. Lyrically the song deals with the paradox of humans being unable to achieve peace unless they annihilate each other. It is the only song sung by Beefcake The Mighty, although he does provide back ups throughout the album and even has a duet on “Metal Metal Land.” For all the absurdity and exaggeration that GWAR carries with them, it is songs like this that show them for what they really are: one of the most brutal, underrated, prolific, and serious METAL bands EVER.

After 25 years it would be asinine to say that GWAR aren’t the kings of the rock opera. They took the best of artists like Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osborne, and KISS and applied a contemporary sci-fi edge, making them timeless. Since their return to the exclusive realm of metal with 2001’s Violence Has Arrived, after exploring the fringe of musical boundaries in the mid to late 90’s, GWAR has methodically evolved into a technical thrash legacy that challenges the most serious artists of the metal genre.

4 StarsGWAR is Oderus Urungus – Lead Vocals  (Dave Brockie), Flattus Maximus – Lead Guitar (Cory Smoot), Balsac the Jaws of Death – Rhythm Guitar (Mike Derks), Beefcake the Mighty – Bass Guitar – Backing Vocals (Casey Orr), & Jizmak Da Gusha – Drums – Percussion (Brad Roberts)

Track Listing:

  1. Lust In Space
  2. Let Us Slay
  3. Damnation Under God
  4. The Uberklaw
  5. Lords And Masters
  6. Metal Metal Land
  7. The Price Of Peace
  8. Where Is Zog?
  9. Make A Child Cry
  10. Release The Flies
  11. Parting Shot

GWAR links: Lust in Space on Amazon.comOfficial SiteWikipedia

Be sure to check out Peter O’Brien’s thrash metal documentary “Riphouse 151: Could’ve Been’s & Wanna Be’s” which is currently on the festival circuit.

Top 10 Albums of the Day for Tuesday August 18, 2009

Posted in Top 10 on August 18, 2009 by gearsofrock

Amazon Black Sabbath Volume 41.  Black Sabbath – Volume 4 (1972) – With Halloween a little more than two months away, this record makes it’s way back into lineup. The single power chord riff that opens “Wheels of Confusion” is frightening in its structure and eerie simplicity. “Snowblind” bears an irresistible groove while “Supernaut” sports a percussive orgy in the midsection. The ballad “Changes” rounds out the eclectic sounding record that has long been my favorite Black Sabbath album. [Amazon.com]

2.  Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power (1992) – A true power metal album that does not contain a milisecond of waste in its 52 minutes of brutality. While the album hosts live favorites “Walk,” “This Love,” and “F*cking Hostile,” “Mouth for War,” “A New Level,” “Hollow,” and “Rise” are unforgettable sources of the greatest metal material of all-time.

3.  Metallica – Ride The Lightning (1984) – For years, I have long found it extremely difficult to pin down my favorite Metallica album. Today, it’s Lightening, tomorrow it could be Load. Anyway this record contains “Creeping Death,” possibly the best song ever to experience live due to the “DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE” break. “Fade To Black” is the greatest suicidal ballad ever and the title track has an intro driven by heavy, yet simple, guitar harmonies that demand worship.

Amazon Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers4. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971) – For me, it is so easy to say that The Beatles and The Who are second rate rock bands when compared to the career of The Stones. Still alive (for the most part) and still performing to sold-out stadiums around the globe, little has slowed these guys down. This album is very heavy with cuts such as “Brown Sugar,” “Sway,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and “Bitch.” Start to finish, a rock masterpiece. [Amazon.com]

5.  AC/DC – Back in Black (1980) – An unlikely tale of the lead singer dying, new lead singer joining, best hard rock album of all-time created.

6.  Judas Priest – British Steel (1980) – Isn’t it remarkable that the entire heavy metal look was created by a homosexual? Of course, he happens to be the toughest and most badass biker dude to walk the earth. If you haven’t seen Priest perform this album live in its entirety this summer, then you are a total fool.

7.  Megadeth – Rust in Peace (1990) – “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” is one of my all-time favorite thrash tracks, but this record demonstrated even greater depth with the Ktulu-esque “Hangar 18,” and “Rust in Peace…Polaris.” I can never remember the names of all the tracks because there is simply no need. You put the album on and stop listening when it is over…period. Read more here.

Amazon Motley Crue Dr Feelgood8.  Mötley Crüe – Dr. Feelgood (1989) – This is the most over-produced and sleazy hard rock album to come from the 80’s and I love every second of it. “Kickstart My Heart” + “Same Ol Situation” x “Don’t Go Away Mad” x “Rattlesnake Shake” + “She Goes Down” ÷ “Slice of your Pie” = complete filth. Well-done! [Amazon.com]

9.  Corrosion of Conformity – Wiseblood (1996) – Most underrated album and Southern Metal band of all-time. I may have played this CD straight through more than any other in my collection, especially back in high school. The best racks are “King of the Rotten,” “Wiseblood,” “Fuel,” and the Grammy-nominated single that no one ever heard “Drowning in a Daydream.” James Hetfield of Metallica contributed his voice to the track “Man or Ash.”

10.  Faith No More – The Real Thing (1989) – Until Jim Martin is back on guitar, FNM remains dead to me. It’s a toss up between this album and Angel Dust, always difficult to decide the better. Read more here. –Meds

SOS Metal Reviews: Tim Ripper Owens “Play My Game,” Blood Red Throne, We Insist!, Charetta, and more…

Posted in Blood Red Throne, SOS Metal Update, Tim Ripper Owens with tags on August 17, 2009 by gearsofrock

Amazon Tim Ripper OwensTIM RIPPER OWENS

PLAY MY GAME

After providing vocals for the most notable metal bands in the world for well over the past decade, Tim “Ripper” Owens finally steps out as a solo artist on his 12-track debut PLAY MY GAME. Bringing a mind-blowing cross-section of the metal friends he’s made along the way to the party (an impressive list that reads like a who’s who in the metal realm), Owens and associates dole out a lesson in traditional metal excellence with a modern edge (“No Good Goodbyes”). Channeling his former band Judas Priest and Dio as main sources of inspiration for his powerful vocals, the harbingering aura of “The Shadows Are Alive” and the wild caterwauls accompanying the extra-terrestrial pounder “The Cover Up” help Owens decisively cement his own identity while a surprisingly cohesive considering the vast array of hands in the mix multidimensional metal attack utilizes British metal swagger and American hard rock grit to get the job done (“Play My Game”). Despite the over the top six-string bravado of the likes of Craig Goldie, Doug Aldrich, and Carlos Cavazo leading the rhythm section towards a studio session feel, Owens’ powerful pipes and old world compositions ground this all-star affair long enough to strike a balance between sound like a musician’s clinic and a metal album with mass appeal. www.spv.deMike SOS

THE BOY WILL DROWN

FETISH

Ambitious UK upstarts The Boy Will Drown dazzle with a tenacious technical prowess on their debut 10-track offering FETISH. This group maintains a disjointed heaviness without relying on breakdowns, opting instead to steer their compositions with sharp dips in dynamics (“Akura Class”) and blistering speed-freak tempos (“Epilpleptic”). Elastic bass lines and coarse guitar riffs do battle while staccato percussion patterns flail away underneath a barrage of gruff and guttural death metal grunts, creating a stirring yet bit redundant metallic undertaking whose constant cacophonic clobbering becomes grating and repetitive, yet when interspersed with brief flashes of unorthodox musicality (“Dead Girls”) takes on as an admirable offshoot of Dillinger Escape Plan meets Psyopus by way of Poison the Well. www.earache.comMike SOS


DARK CASTLE

SPIRITED MIGRATION

So another two-piece guy-girl band comes to the forefront but before temptation to cry out in protest wins out (even if judging solely on aesthetics) don’t be fooled; Florida duo Dark Castle is the total antithesis to White Stripes in every way conceivable. From swapped-out band roles (whose female vocals are pretty spot-on foreboding, by the way) to the multi-faceted less is more rhythmic attack chock full of echo swirls, caustic distortion, and synth accoutrements, Dark Castle invites listeners to engage in vast levels of morass without a bass to be heard, sprouting an unanchored uneasiness prevalent throughout the eight-track, nearly 40-minute journey. Best taken in its entirety in repeated doses, SPIRITED MIGRATION is the end result of post-hardcore embellishments and doom metal devices gone awry by way of modern metallic psychedelica beaten into the brain. Almost as if Isis and Crowbar decided to jam out for fun, the combination of this act’s galactic scope and gigantic heft renders a sludge-ridden good time for those who enjoy a hearty helping of abrasiveness layered with ambient passages to help the lava go down smooth. www.atalossrecordings.comMike SOS


Amazon SphericSPHERIC UNIVERSE EXPERIENCE

UNREAL

French progressive metal quintet Spheric Universe Experiment put their love of Dream Theater to the test on the unit’s latest nine-track endeavor UNREAL. Despite the band following a tried and true prog metal template and their obvious influences falling a bit on the cautious side, this squad delivers an enjoyable nine track excursion that exhibits an array of top notch musicians whose massive musical acumen, technical aptitude (special shout out to drummer Christophe Briand’s durable chops) and jam-ready know-how (“O.B.E.”) gets the job done with a slew of memorable moments that carry melody yet don’t skimp on the metal to boot (“Lakeside Park”). Solid yet not very groundbreaking, it’s unlikely that Spheric Universe Experience has the tools necessary to break into the mainstream, but UNREAL demonstrates that they can decisively hold their own amongst their prog metal peers. www.lasersedgegroup.comMike SOS


FATHER OF SIN

GREATEST SINS

Pennsylvania sextet Father of Sin follows fashion and provides the creepiness as if they hailed from Transylvania, as this spooky squad references everything from the thrashing throb of Marilyn Manson to the malevolent pomp of Cradle of Filth on their latest endeavor GREATEST SINS. With one foot planted in a freshly excavated gothic industrial plot and the other in an avant-garde extreme metal niche, this troupe does an admirable job of pulling off a strand of heavy music without the services of a drummer, opting to use a drum machine to provide the thunder. Relying heavily on doomy metallic atmosphere cultivated from the Celtic Frost and Sabbath handbooks while making it palatable so the kids in the mall can join the black parade, subject yourself to the modern dread Father of Sins drums up. www.myspace.com/fatherofsin69Mike SOS


CONSPIRACY

CONCORDAT

PULVERISED

Former Melechesh bassist Al Carpathian Wolf’s one-man project Conspiracy rolls out its sophomore effort, an intriguing batch of death-thrash metal entitled CONCORDAT. Inducing melancholic malevolence while seamlessly meshing metal sub-genres, tracks like the Pagan-influenced “Faith” display the range of influence Conpiracy draws from while “Mentally Ill God” and “Last Veteran” dish out the barrage of dastardly riffs and venomous rasps that keep the head banging. Exhibiting a wide range of diversity yet raw as hell, Conspiracy also implements a slew of spicy guitar solos a la Kreator and Megadeth (“Limited to 666”) to prevent the overcast tremolo-picked blackened atmosphere from becoming redundant. This eight-track excursion renders a refined yet relentless listening experience containing metallic melody executed with a handsome dash of diabolic style. www.pulverised.netMike SOS


WE INSIST!

THE BABEL INSIDE WAS TERRIBLE

The French avant-garde rockers We Insist return with another ceiling-shattering collection on the 11-track THE BABEL INSIDE WAS TERRIBLE. Inhabiting the edge shared by like-minded boundary breakers like Tool, System of a Down and Queens of the Stone Age, this eclectic unit consistently pushes its music into strange and wondrous territories without sounding crammed in or forced. Thanks to a vast musical acumen and distinct overall sound highlighted by a raucous rock ‘n roll delivery spearheaded by a saxophone played through a guitar amp, this veteran squad embraces the luxury of total musical freedom without losing its backbone. Implementing a barrage of left of center rock hovering around the headier sphere of influence a la King Crimson and Mr. Bungle, We Insist will keep those who crave convention defiant music pleasantly occupied. www.mainstreamrecords.deMike SOS

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Amazon Blood Red ThroneBLOOD RED THRONE

SOULS OF DAMNATION

On their latest nine-track endeavor SOULS OF DAMNATION, Norwegian death metal mongers Blood Red Throne pay homage to the US death metal sound, channeling everyone from Morbid Angel to Cannibal Corpse. Solidly delivered with a proper portion of groove and technicality in place (“Demand”), there may not be a wide array of groundbreaking material present, but the band’s vitriolic onslaught is undeniable (“Prove Yourself Dead”). This veteran unit reaps the benefits of staying on a course without much variation, resulting in shaping its murderous musical machine to a well-oiled machine manufacturing enough face-breaking riffs, sinister growls and neck snapping double bass battering to satisfy the most rabid bloodthirsty cravings for death metal glory. www.earache.comMike SOS


SKUM CITY

SKUM CITY

NYC quartet Skum City keep the Big Apple’s punk rock fires burning bright with an authentic blast of contagious chaos straight from the LES gutter on the unit’s latest six-track 7”. Keeping the guitars crunchy, the tempos fast and dirty, and the singing sneering, tracks like “Don’t Worry About Nothin’” and “Hungry and Dirty” display a love of the hardcore punk spectrum a la DRI and Black Flag while the band’s self-titled anthem “Skum City” provides a visceral kick to the cranium as a divine group vocal chorus leads the charge. Raucous and in your face, Skum City’s colorful and confrontational punk rock stomp is certifiably scraped up from NYC’s grimy underbelly and delivered with the confident cadence of a band with the chops and aggression to pull it off. www.skumcity.comMike SOS


Amazon CharettaCHARETTA

DEFYING THE INEVITABLE

Charetta is a NYC-based female fronted hard rock outfit whose latest nine-track effort DEFYING THE INEVITABLE is adorned with a barrage of heavy-handed and well-composed melodies whose tendencies to work within the confines of atmospheric metal falls somewhere between In This Moment and Lacuna Coil (“On The Line”). Featuring a skull-rattling bottom end crunch that combines Staind and Chevelle (“Stop the Cycle”) alongside a powerful female voice that proudly wavers in between breathy and bad-ass (“Too Far In”), this quartet’s ready for the radio modern hard rock is balanced with nasty riffs (“Love Your Lies”) and angelic vocal anguish (“So Convincing”, “Never”), passionately meshing driving grooves with overwhelming outpourings of emotion to create a refined album ready for mass consumption. www.charetta.comMike SOS