SOS Metal Reviews: Baroness “Blue Record,” Skeletonwitch “Breathing The Fire,” Manegarm, and more…

BARONESS: BLUE RECORD

Baroness follows up their stunning previous effort THE RED ALBUM with another colorfully titled endeavor BLUE RECORD. Despite taking discernible steps away from their comfort zone this time around, most notably by choosing burgeoning producer John Congleton known more for indie rock savvy than sludge metal salvation, this unit’s unbridled spirit and daring musicianship is stretched way past parameters set from prior releases, expanding into areas as divergent as Windham Hill folk rock to majestic classic rock movements with a interlocking barrage of startling arrangement twists and stylistic musical swerves from psychedelic rock to mainstream metal. Uplifting and emotional aren’t usually two ways to describe a metal album, yet this mysterious quartet manages to implement a boisterously buoyant bounce into the molten mix without cracking their chalice of menacing metallic fury. Whether it be from the picturesque cascading rhythms blooming from rootsy acoustic interludes underpinned with a distinctly southern rock charm, the album’s fluctuating atmospheric shifts yielding an edgy rise and fall prog-rock continuity, or the mesmerizing mixture of glorious half- Maiden, half-Thin Lizzy twin-guitar gallops and sophisticated and multi-faceted mountain jams, Baroness demonstrate a flawless musical fluidity that provides countless memorable phrasings and contagious grooves that when summoned pack a provocative and thunderously heavy punch powered with an air of elegant urgency. Baroness has raised the bar by which artsy metal shall be judged once again, with an advanced interplay that makes this album the perfect companion to THE RED ALBUM and a winning blend of newfound nuances form-fitted to render the affair capable to stand on its own merits. www.relapse.comMike SOS

AETHERIUS OBSCURITAS: BLACK MEDICINE

Hungarian one-man band Aetherius Obscuritas unleashes a foreboding assault with an old school black metal foundation on his fifth offering in as many years BLACK MEDICINE. This 11-track affair’s rabid death rasped wickedness contains a tasteful share of shake-ups though, implementing strokes of Pagan metal, an elegantly haunting acoustic number (“In the Wake of a Remain Footprint”) and a slew of intriguing bass lines startling to hear in this environment into the melodic melancholy to freshen up murky atmospheres in tracks like “Freezing Embrace” before chillingly dipping headlong into Norwegian and Swedish extreme metal playbooks. Solid and surprising in spurts (the cover of Running Wild’s “Black Demon” is especially left of center), this album’s greatest success lies in the seamless and organic flow pulled off by one singular being’s dedicated focus towards producing a bountiful blasts of despair with a reverence for history and a desire to explore. www.paragonrecords.orgMike SOS

JAVELINA: BEASTS AMONG SHEEP

Philadelphia foursome Javelina continues to churn out a convincingly caustic and downtroddenly discordant punk metal hybrid as shown on the eight-track BEASTS AMONG SHEEP. This grimy eight-track affair steps it up considerably in many areas but beefs up especially in the metal department, tossing around twin guitar solos in between passages of Buzzoven-esque sonic crush and hazy Sabbath-like grooves with the tenacity of Maiden as interpreted via Mastodon. Sludgy and bruising with its three-pronged vocal attack accentuating the chaotic sense of panic conveyed via the viscous wall of sound, Javelina’s full-fledged fury runs rampant on their primal and visceral sophomore effort, rendering a whiplash-inducing and sadistically satisfying experience from the underbelly of the metal realm. www.translationloss.comMike SOS

SKELETONWITCH: BREATHING THE FIRE

Brazen Ohio metal machine Skeletonwitch waste no time in setting a tumultuous tone upon their return, ruthlessly hurling 12 tracks of their bastardized blend of blackened thrash from the catacombs on BREATHING THE FIRE. This crushing quintet keeps the gas pedal pinned to the floor from start to end, accelerating with a predominant thrash gallop with dashes of death metal decadence and black metal malevolence woven in to provide an unabashed demonic spirit (“Longing for Domination”). Add in a pair of sinewy NWOBHM-esque twin guitars diabolically dialed down to ensure every inch of evil is extracted (“Where the Light Has Failed”, “Blinding Black Rage”) topped with a sinister vocal rasp that effortlessly fluctuates between high-pitched shrieks to guttural bellows to commandeer the entire affair (“Crushed Beyond Dust”), and this mammoth release specializing in melding only the most potent elements from the extreme metal spectrum demonstrates all the nefarious nuances to be considered a slab of classic modern metal. www.prostheticrecords.comMike SOS

STRUCK BY LIGHTNING: SERPENTS

Featuring former Mouth of the Architect guitarist and vocalist Gregory Lahm at the helm, SERPENTS is the 11-track introduction to the masses by Struck By Lightning, a quartet whose sound denotes a drastic difference from Lahm’s prior sprawling efforts. More in tune with early Swedish death metal and spastic hardcore punk spots on the spectrum than previous forays into psychedelic metal, think Disfear meets Mastodon when pinpointing a SBL D-beat smash and burn slugfest (“Widowmaker”, “The Watchful Eye”) while a discernibly death ‘n roll vibe can be conveyed from cuts like the rollicking “Silent and Still”. Propelled by an intriguing intensity whose firm grip tightens by the track, Struck By Lightning skillfully straddles the line between crust punk and prog metal without losing an ounce of vitriol from its abrasive bite or driving aggressiveness. www.translationloss.comMike SOS

SWALLOW THE SUN: NEW MOON

The fourth installment of gloom and doom from Finnish act Swallow the Sun conveys a bleak and glacial atmosphere where funeral doom dirges and black metal oblivion converge (“Sleepless Swans”). Presenting pain at a methodical pace, everything from the deliberately sprawling guitar progressions to the well-measured tempos (“And Heavens Cried Blood”) to the clean singing into death growling changeovers (adorned with an extra boost courtesy of some solid female vocal tradeoffs) to the custom fit keyboard overlays on NEW MOON reveal a brooding and hulking eight-track beast encapsulated in its own depressive darkness, frozen in its own oppressiveness (“Servant of Sorrow”) yet thawed out enough in spots to rage with an overpowering chill comprised of bombastic blasts of sorrowful arctic winds that compellingly blankets the barren and sunless tundra where this outfit resides (“Weight of the Dead”). www.swallowthesun.netMike SOS

MÅNEGARM: NATTVÄSEN

Swedish Viking metal unit swing the axe once again on their latest endeavor NATTVÄSEN. This authentic to the Nordic tradition (sung entirely in Swedish to further the genuine feel) nine-track offering seamlessly immerses itself into the black/pagan/folk metal template, complete with old world instrumentation (violins aplenty), a menacing vocal rasp that hammers home the joy of victory and the agony of defeat, and rousing rounds of razor sharp guitars bordering on Teutonic thrash leading this squad of warrior’s charge into the past. Despite coming off as more than slightly similar to previous releases, this sextet’s heartfelt attention to preserving heritage and their gamut-running array of grandiose metallic compositions from somber (“Bergagasten”, “Delling”) to bloodthirsty (“Draugen”) assist this disc to achieve powerful and poignant retellings of Månegarm’s customs and homeland tales that have been passed down from generations.  www.regainrecords.com -Mike SOS

KING HELL: RHYTHM AND BRUISE

Intertwining the headbanging crunch of metal with the fluid funky flow you’d find on a Parliament album (“The Living Dead”), King Hell makes quite a raucous impression on their 13-track disc RHYTHM AND BRUISE. Flanked by two co-vocalists who keep the interplay hyperactive while the durable guitar, bass and drum triad gets down and dirty with their bad selves (“Shotgun”), this unorthodox troupe is a surefire pick to raise the spirits (as well as a few eyebrows) when they hit the stage. Despite employing whimsical lyrical content and a vocal style that at the very least can be described as over the top (think David Lee Roth meets Serj Tanakian by way of Tom Jones), King Hell’s very un-PC debauchery-filled rock ‘n roll regalia can easily be dismissed as kind of a joke upon a quick first listen, yet after a few spins it becomes apparent from their metal pedigree (“Retarded Forces of Doom”) that this quintet is pretty serious about rocking your ass off while putting a smile on your face. Not for the easily offended or those without a sense of humor or rock ‘n roll sensibilities, King Hell’s cartoonish demeanor and solid chop combination make for an animated listening experience that comes off well on disc but is probably best experienced live. www.kinghellmetal.comMike SOS

DARK FUNERAL: ANGELUS EXURO PRO ETERNUS

Swedish second wave death metal squad Dark Funeral straddle the line between new age nefariousness and instinctive destruction on their latest offering, the nihilistic nine-track affair entitled ANGELUS EXURO PRO ETERNUS. Perpetually spewing venom albeit musical or vocal, this disc radiates with black-holed brutality, truly seething with an implicit hatred as if some sort of a dark force’s overbearing power guides every bestial drum blast and sordid vocal line (“The Birth of The Vampiir”). Altering tempos from broodingly atmospheric (“My Funeral”) to inhumanly fast (“The End of Human Race”) while steadfastly maintaining their sinister musical slam and evil outlook regarding the world and its inhabitants, this unit’s fifth demonic studio offering yields a sordid array of intense incantations of iniquity whose rounds of relentless savagery satisfies the loyal fan craving for depravity without overshadowing the effect of the modern touch-up techniques employed by metal juggernaut Peter Tagteren. Realistically recreating the recorded rawness of the “cave” sound with a razor sharp essence that eschews the usual uneven end results, Dark Funeral serve up a Satan-pleasing platter of malicious metal that dutifully summons demons from the abyss to scare the hell out of the unassuming. www.regainrecords.comMike SOS

SIX FEET UNDER: GRAVEYARD CLASSICS 3

Third time’s the charm, right? In the case of groove-laden death metal merchants Six Feet Under, not quite. This long-standing Florida-based unit, who actually started out as a quasi-cover band before making their brand of death metal their main focus, are no strangers to paying punishing homage to their peers, even going so far as to cover an entire album (AC/DC’s BACK IN BLACK) as part of their sinister series. So why is it that their latest installment of amped-up versions of hard rock and metal classics (insightfully entitled GRAVEYARD CLASSICS 3) sounds so trite? Possibly thanks to the trademarked one-dimensional output of lead singer Chris Barnes, whose monotone growl works in some spots yet absolutely butchers tunes by Van Halen and BTO (yes, Bachman-Turner Overdrive) past the point of reproach. Careening past novelty to crash headlong into the wall of fiery death, this disc runs solely on kitsch factor fumes from end to end despite a commendable razor-sharp production especially noticeable on their durable cover of Metallica’s  “Frayed Ends of Sanity” and a spotty but acceptable selection of songs. Can’t wait until Volume 4…perhaps another full album tribute of the incendiary Black Sabbath album of the same name? www.metalblade.net -Mike SOS

PISTOL WHIP: TERMINAL

Even though Erie, PA is approximately 325 miles away from NYC and miles further from the UK, Erie’s native sons Pistol Whip built their sound and attitude around the most notable punk rockers from the late 1970’s punk rock heyday judging by the lavish CD/DVD collection chronicling their career TERMINAL. Laden with catchy hooks led by big guitars (“Tellin You”, “Losing My Grip”) while implementing an organ into their arsenal to give tracks like “All That Jazz” and “Terminal” a gritty garage rock vibe, Pistol Whip matched the sneer of the brattiest of Brits and the flash of the most brash from across the pond while displaying the fearlessness of the CBGB’s set in their music, in turn making this 12-track potent punk rock concoction plus DVD retrospective worth a spinning for everyone from the mall punk of today to the crusty safety pin punk from days gone by. www.smogveil.comMike SOS

DEATHALIZER: IT DWELLS WITHIN

NYC metal unit Deathalizer triumphantly slams down four tracks of titanic thrash metal on the squad’s latest offering IT DWELLS WITHIN. Busting out of the gate with the kind of galloping guitars that scream 1983, if nothing else, this quartet’s breathtaking attention to detail in replicating the classic thrash metal aura is an immediate attention getter. But of course there’s more, and by Deathalizer throwing the right blend of modern metal elements such as clever pinch harmonics, metalcore vocal melodies and breakdown-esque interludes in between chunks of their hellacious homage to the Bay Area and beyond sound, this unit’s powerful metal prowess only gains momentum. Featuring a refined amalgamation of components, from a Hetfieldian roar and Hammet-like chops to Lamb of God twin guitar twists to a Testament meets Exodus by way of Death Angel rhythm section fluidity all working together to crush you into dust, Deathalizer’s authentic exposition is well-worth the time for those who live and breath by the ways of the metal. www.deathalizer.comMike SOS

IMMORTAL: ALL SHALL FALL

Reunited and it feels so evil, the mighty black metal force known as Immortal have returned after a seven-year recording slumber with the seven-track ALL SHALL FALL. Staunchly sticking to the nefarious blueprint they helped spawn while employing the slick production hand of Peter Tangtren which assists the collection’s overall mammoth sound, this seminal Norwegian unit’s glacial guitarwork and harsh vocal delivery tandem remains their most potent weapon to express their malevolent musings (“Mount North”) while the pervasive aura of mysticism and swirls through every frost-bitten riff and blustery blast beat exerted (“All Shall Fall”). While not everything clicks and clunkier moments showcase that there still a bit of rust that needs to be knocked from their spiked garbs, Immortal’s studio comeback provides a discernible share of memorable hooks (“Arctic Storm”) exuding the grim sense of grandiosity that should appease longtime followers and pique the interest of those curious to comprehend why this black metal entity’s undeniable appeal goes far beyond their kitschy promo pictures. www.nuclearblastusa.comMike SOS

LEO BIOLLO: FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL TO THE GATES OF HEAVEN

Proving that the one-man band set-up isn’t just for black metal misanthropes anymore, Canadian metal musician Leo Biollo reveals his versatility by single-handedly playing every instrument and singing every cut off his seven-track offering FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL TO THE GATES OF HEAVEN. Drawing heavily from thrash metal’s initial period of proliferation with hearty helpings of both progressive and traditional heavy metal abound (imagine Death meets Savatage for a rough idea), this artist’s vast understanding of metal’s dramatics and dynamics results in well-rounded cuts like “Desire to Rage” carrying a genuine atmosphere that sounds as if unearthed from a forgotten session of early Megadeth or Testament.  Bolstered by rounds of furious guitars that incorporate many different styles without losing a classic metal touch, despite the lack of a dedicated rhythm section (especially a live drummer) dragging the affair down at times, the top-notch songwriting fluctuating between forward-thinking NWOBHM and old school thrash fretboard acrobatics and tantalizing musical technicality demonstrated (“The Gates of Heaven”) more than make up for the miniscule shortcomings from Biollo’s latest endeavor. www.leobiollomusic.comMike SOS

THE RESURRECTION SORROW: HOUR OF THE WOLF MIDNIGHT DREAMS

NYC quartet The Resurrection Sorrow is a troupe of grizzled underground heavy music scene veterans who have joined forces and unleashed a monstrous 10-track debut that yields a release with a definitive stoner rock heft with an abundance of doomy hard rock rhythms woven within the molasses-esque framework. Implementing the murky and syrupy tempos derived from both the flannel and denim and leather eras of metal music (“Unholy Divine”), the hypnotic nature of the guiding larger than life riffs found in tracks like “Buried Dreams” rightfully seize control of your central nervous system while “Soul of the Soulless” stomps with a unabashed fury not unlike a blend of COC and a more subdued High on Fire. TRS rarely trade in doses of sonic battering for melody, often times fusing the two to form an accessible yet menacing bond capable of crushing everything in its path.  Resonating with the swampy and sinewy hip-shaking swagger much like Danzig, Sixty Watt Shaman, Seemless and Down (“Bloodshot Eyes n’ Soul”), The Resurrection Sorrow’s tasty guitar licks and well-measure dollops of ominous atmosphere place this band in a prime position on the path towards balls-out down and dirty metallic salvation. www.resurrectionsorrow.comMike SOS

IMPIOUS: DEATH DOMINATION

Impious add little of note to their version of the patented Swedish death metal paradigm yet this veteran squad aptly demonstrates they possess the sharpened skill to unleash a barrage of necessary destructive tendencies to render a thrashing death metal bonanza on latest 10-track offering DEATH DOMINATION (”Abomination Glorified”). Graced with blast beats aplenty and a dastardly grizzled growl leading the listener’s descent into depravity, this quintet’s faithful following of the blueprints set by their countrymen comes with little derivation barring a touch of Middle Eastern flair on “And the Empire Shall Fall”, but is highlighted by a consistent sinewy snarl whose insidious impact is most intense during the early part of the album (“The Demand”). While Impious’ acceleration pedal seems as if permanently pinned to the floor to produce a blistering experience, the album’s combination of a ferociously frantic pace with a lack of sustainable riffs and an overall by the numbers approach leaves little for the memory to retain but does pack that textbook whirling wallop that ardent supporters of the style will undoubtedly clamor over. www.metalblade.comMike SOS

MEGASUS: MEGASUS

Rhode Island metal troupe Megasus unleash an eponymous seven-track excursion that dually draws from its member’s noise rock pedigree (especially percussively) and their newfound molten sludge and doom metal crunch. Cutting their collective teeth in bands such as Lightning Bolt in the underground while working at the company that produces Guitar Hero and Rock Band by day, the superlative spirit of Black Sabbath ominously encompassed this squad to develop such a histrionic Hessian hybrid sound whose sonic thickness packs a menacing wallop whose tumultuous trembling fits rattles cavity fillings and scares small animals (“Swords”). Ditching the 9 to 5 and temporarily tossing their other musical musings to the side to live after midnight, this quartet brutalize and bludgeon with a viscous Entombed-esque guitar buzz (“Red Lottery”), ‘70s fuzz and space rock interjections, vocals that fluctuate between Slayer-like rabid battle cries grunge metal’s most wallowing tortured wails and an array of High on Fire rhythmic rumblings guiding the swampy surges (“Paladin vs. Beserker”). Megasus virtually guarantees a traditionalist’s emphatic thumbs-down by providing hearty helpings of intriguing angularity to a generally stalwart style, conversely creating a veritable lava-ridden cornucopia for open-minded modern-day doom and sludge followers to readily get immersed in (“Iron Mountain”). www.20buckspin.comMike SOS

KARNIVOOL: SOUND AWAKE

Heralded hard rock unit Karnivool may be unfamiliar to many music fans outside of their native Australia even though they’ve been on the radar for over a decade, but this exhilarating quintet’s latest offering SOUND AWAKE should change all that if there’s any justice in the world. Despite epic being the most overused and ultimately depreciated hyperbole known to man, this 11-track endeavor truly deserves the majestic moniker in every sense possible. From the soaring vocal melodies and provocative lyrics of consummate lead singer Ian Kenny to a progressive minded yet primal guitar presence swerving in and out of the versatile rhythm section’s dexterous switches between tastefully bashing skulls and commandingly developing rounds of lush atmospheres, this squad’s multi-layered musical output warrants repeat listens to absorb all of its intricacies yet contains the proper measures of arena rock enormity to equally explode with an attention-getting allure via even a casual listen.  Karnivool can lazily be compared to Tool for many reasons, as a common ground between the two can be derived from a shared menacing bass and drum assault to Kenny’s histrionic delivery sounding similar to Maynard James Keenan, but Karnivool take enough clever left turns and unexpected detours throughout the exploratory excursion to rise above the obvious and firmly stand on their own. Perfect for those who enjoy the type of bands that hold melody and dramatics in high regard while maintaining a stark balance between complexity and accessibility, SOUND AWAKE is an album that you not only can hear, but you will feel. Prepare to be blown away. www.karnivool.com.auMike SOS

SEXSTONE: THE PAINFUL SIDE OF TRUE

Industrious Kentucky rock quartet Sexstone project their predictable pop-rock predilections on the 10-track THE PAINFUL SIDE OF TRUE. Falling somewhere between the superfluous fodder of Matchbox 20 and Daughtry, you can expect a barrage of rote bar band riffing and tender middle of the road modern balladry in between a slew of heard it all before lyrical cliché clutter via songs like “The First Time”, but there’s an air of simple down-home honesty embedded in cuts the acoustically heart-wrenching “Wait for Me (Soldier’s Song)” and the tug at the heartstrings Three Doors Down-esque “Falling Away” that showcases an overall likeability that absolutely screams for mainstream radio airplay. If you dig bands like Puddle of Mudd, Fuel, or mopey rock ‘n roll on a whole, Sexstone’s latest is the perfect accompaniment album for shedding a tear in your beer to. www.sexstoneband.comMike SOS

AOSOTH: ASHES OF ANGELS

Blasphemous French black metal merchants Aosoth strike an impressive balance between haunting atmospherics and blistering ferocity on their aggressive 10-track offering ASHES OF ANGELS, retaining the classic made in a cave rawness furthering the album’s demonic texture in the process. Throwing an abundance of off-kilter dissonance predominant in much of the metal coming from France these days into their misanthropic blend of buzzing guitars and strained and sinister vocals (“Embrace and Enlightenment”, “Cries Out of Heaven”), Aosoth have comprised a formidable strand of despair and gloom that significantly stands out amongst the of corpsepainted warriors willing to perform the biddings of the lord from below. www.agoniarecords.comMike SOS

PICASTRO: BECOME SECRET

Dubbed sleep rock and chamber rock by some and Gothic folk by others, the concurring notion is no matter how you might label their music, Canadian collective Picastro display a firm handle of the intricacies necessary to dole out melancholic music as their latest nine-track affair BECOME SECRET somberly suggests. With an intriguing instrumentation consisting of mainly cello and piano with minor electronic flourishes and a notable absence of percussion guiding the listener through this ethereal unit’s perpetual gray-skied world, the bare bones moodiness renders an air of desolation that showcases a solemn dourness that creeps into your conscience and sticks in your brain long after the ghostly piano chords and eerie squeaks and squeals diminish. www.myspace.com/picastroMike SOS

FEAR REPORT: THEORY OF THREES

NYC rock troupe Fear Report resurrects the murky and anguished tones of grunge into a hard-hitting three-song sampler entitled THEORY OF THREES. Chock full of hook-ridden guitars whose homogeneous mix of gunk and gleam captures the distinguished Seattle vibe while chunky rhythms aplenty keep the attack just menacing enough to allow melody to seep through, this inspired retread goes deeper than the typical STP and Soundgarden sound-alikes, channeling the hard-edged flannel-wearing spirits of lesser-known acts like Sugartooth, Seven Mary Three, Gruntruck, and Jimmie’s Chicken Shack to recreate that unmistakable smell of teen spirit all over again. www.fearreport.comMike SOS

INFERNO: BLACK DEVOTION

Czech Republic’s Inferno dispenses a fast and furious strand of malignant black metal on BLACK DEVOTION. Bolstered by rounds of explosive percussion and an abundance of nefariously nimble fretwork, this veteran troupe’s 11-track effort adapts the design from templates set by the genre’s Norwegian forefathers with little derivation, making tracks such as ” Way to Illumination Lies in Darkness” and “Holy Poison” as close to a ‘90s black metal homage as you’ll find on today’s metal landscape. Keyboard-less and stocked with malevolent expedience, this offering offers little in the way of anything groundbreaking, but does a fine job in dutifully summoning evil from the world below. www.agoniarecords.comMike SOS

GRENDEL: CHEMICALS + CIRCUITRY

Dutch aggrotech unit Grendel return with a collection of remixes with a few new throbbing tunes strewn in on their latest endeavor, the 10-track CHEMICALS + CIRCUITRY. Exposing a more pronounced dance music feel this time around (especially via the remixes), this outfit beefs the bass up to obscene levels while keeping their trademark EBM darkness profoundly in the mix, opting to let the typical harshness subside in favor of showcasing a bevy of favorable choruses and memorable hooks that will have you throwing the PVC suit you buried deep in the recesses of the closet and strapping on the combat boots tailor-made for damage on the dancefloor on in record time. www.metropolis-records.comMike SOS

VARIOUS ARTISTS: GRIND MADNESS AT THE BBC

Earache Records cracks the vaults open to unearth an 118-track, three-disc affair taken from the archives of the live in-studio performances from some of the most destructive metal forces ever captured at their most organically raw by legendary UK syndicated host John Peel’s revolutionary radio program. Properly entitled GRIND MADNESS AT THE BCC, this meaty compilation yields a wealth of material that exemplifies the extremity of underground metal from the very roots of the genre (remember that most of this material was recorded between 1987 and 1990). From the surgical strike apparent in early Carcass to the mechanized chill brought on by Godflesh to the unabashed ferocity wielded by classic Napalm Death lineups to the death metal tumult of Bolt Thrower to the punkish anarchy implemented into blistering bits of speed championed by Extreme Noise Terror and the lesser-known UK-bred Heresy, this colossal collection fuses the furious fragments and punishing portions of an bygone era together to form a sturdy cross-section of incendiary heaviness that still packs the primal power to severely injure anyone at any given time. Rendering a veritable template from which bands still turn to today for inspiration and influence, GRIND MADNESS AT THE BBC is an essential release crafted with the unique aural needs of fans of the envelope-pushing early days of metal primarily in mind. www.earache.comMike SOS

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Mike SOS is a frequent contributor and great friend to the Gears of Rock. Be sure to check out Mike SOS’ bands Seizure Crypt and SOS. They will rock your balls off!

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