Archive for May, 2010

Review: Soulfly – Omen [2010]

Posted in Soulfly on May 29, 2010 by gearsofrock

The Brazilian god of doom brings the shit on Soulfly’s latest righteous masterpiece, Omen.  Max Cavalera’s guerrilla army of guitar hero Marc Rizzo, bassist Bobby Burns, drummer Joe Nunez, and producer Logan Mader (ex-Machine Head/ex-Soulfly guitarist) attacks mercilessly with 11 brutal cuts of earth pounding grooves and virtuosic riffs.

Omen’s energy is relentless from the opening assault of “Bloodbath & Beyond” to the closing spiritual instrumental onslaught of “Soulfly VII” Everything in between is fierce and aggressive, and includes dashes of tribalism that never ceases to devastate (“Rise of the Fallen featuring Greg Puciato”).

Rizzo’s leads on “Great Depression,” “Lethal Injection (featuring Tommy Victor),” “Mega-Doom,” and “Off With Their Heads” are flat-out sick, advanced, demented, and spine chilling.  Rizzo also employs a flamenco feel in the end of “Vulture Culture,” and melodic solos on “Jeffrey Dahmer” and “Counter Sabotage,” a thrashy gem.

The verdict here is obvious: Cavalera has dropped another huge atomic hit on Omen.

Soulfly is Max Cavalera (Vox/Guitar), Mark Rizzo (Guitar), Bobby Burns (Bass), & Joe Nunez (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Bloodbath & Beyond”
  2. “Rise of the Fallen”
  3. “Great Depression”
  4. “Lethal Injection”
  5. “Kingdom”
  6. “Jeffrey Dahmer”
  7. “Off with their Heads”
  8. “Vulture Culture”
  9. “Mega-Doom”
  10. “Counter Sabotage”
  11. “Soulfly VII”


SOS Metal Reviews: Armored Saint “La Raza,” Raven “Walk Through Fire,” Exodus, and more…

Posted in SOS Metal Update on May 27, 2010 by gearsofrock


After a near-decade long layoff, arguably the biggest hard-luck metal band ever Armored Saint return with LA RAZA, an infectious multi-layered metallic creation brimming over with a deep wealth of hooks while retaining the ahead of their time eclectic heaviness that made the band stand out amongst swarms of bands from the ‘80s. This Los Angeles quartet first rose to prominence in 1984 and have endured many hardships  (most notably the passing of original guitarist Jeff Duncan to Leukemia in the resulting in some major sabbaticals throughout their tenure, yet this 10-track release shows no sign of rust or stagnation. Instead, this veteran troupe sound rejuvenated, incorporating a more decisive hard rock flavor (“Chilled”) while keeping the listener intrigued with a barrage of melodic and crunchy tunes with a genuine reverence for the band’s middle of the road old school sound.  Blasting out an impressive array of tasty solo work and powerful riffs (“Left Hook from Right Field”) while vocalist John Bush’s recognizably gritty delivery anchors the entire affair, Armored Saint displays an affinity of their former selves with a contemporary kick, resulting in another solid offering by a band known best as a squad who inconsistently deliver strong albums. -Mike SOS


Minneapolis mathematic metal mavens The Crinn hurl out a hodgepodge of technically advanced heaviness likely to induce repeated bouts of brain dizzying on their latest nine-track affair DREAMING SATURN. Building their fertile foundation from likeminded acts such as Dillinger Escape Plan and Psyopus, this fluid quartet cram an excessive abundance of extreme complexity into a relentless aural assault that merges jazzy sensibilities and twisty forward-thinking elements with the feral strike from the most uncompromising metal to render a listening experience reminiscent of the works of seminal units such as Death and Cynic. Bolstered with a manic sense of musicianship spawning volatile spurts of velocity and drop on a dime tempo shifts, The Crinn’s aggressively progressive experimental approach results in a frenetic cerebral attack custom made for metal fans who can withstand the impact of this squad’s jarring juxtapositions. -Mike SOS


Bridging a Grand Canyon sized gap between folk and outlaw country, Mason Reed surely has his work cut out for him on his latest five-track EP YOU CAN’T COME BACK FROM HEAVEN. This self-professed dirty hippy (indignantly claiming to be the bastard child of Charles Manson), tackles the daunting task before him with a gritty gravel-throated delivery and a quirky style that finds a middle ground between ZZ Top, Waylon Jennings, Steve Earle, and Hank Williams Jr. Embracing modern alt-country moodiness without leaving two-step shuffling behind while waves of rich instrumentation boost the overall power from expositions of heartbreak and woe, Mason Reed’s unorthodox and haggard style even finds itself traveling towards Van Morrison-like rhythm and blues rock ‘n roll, furthering this bluegrass and folk hybrid’s ability to do more than merely elicit a few tears in your beers. -Mike SOS


Chicago’s metal warriors Lair of the Minotaur return with a triumphant full-fledged metal assault in the form of EVIL POWER, yet another donnybrook perpetrated by this colossal Midwestern trio of metallic maulers. This sincerely sinister offering contains the primal rage that fueled the works of death metal progenitors Celtic Frost and Hellhammer with sonic blasts of raw and ruthless sludge metal and bouts of D-beat harshness to create viscous streams of whiplash-inducing melodies chock full of crunching riffs, bastardized screams and rounds of bass and drum rhythms custom built to dole out pure punishment (“Blood From the Witch’s Vein”). In your face and to the point is what this band is all about (“Let’s Kill These Motherfuckers”), maintaining the dastardly demeanor necessary to deal with the diabolical side of the metal spectrum throughout.  Rollicking through 11 tracks of heinously hard hitting heaviness which containing an increased array of memorable hooks (“Riders of Skulhammer, We Ride the Night), this brutal unit’s fourth full-length is a focused release gushing with the rabid intent to destroy everything in its path while striking the battle-ready middle ground between Cannibal Corpse, Carnivore, Entombed, and Discharge. -Mike SOS


A cornerstone act of the NWOBHM movement, Raven has returned in 2010 with an intense fire fueling their 12th studio offering, emitting nothing but the purest intentions on the throwback to their heyday release WALK THROUGH FIRE. Relying on their trademarked tried and true “athletic rock” nuances of intertwining undisciplined vocals, nimble fretwork, and of course, loads of speed-driven but neatly compiled compositions together, this storied trio pull off a formidable task of coming through with a winning batch of amped-up metal that is both cohesive and kicks much ass without sounding tired or dated. Thanks to a heartfelt application of songwriting that fires on all cylinders keeping the band on track from repeating their disastrous directional mistakes from the late 80’s on, this 16-track affair tacks on a few live cuts and a Montrose cover for kicks, but it’s the meat of the recording where Raven’s expedience with experience shines brightest. If you long for the days of yore, Raven’s latest disc contains all the charm and grit of their most moderate successes and should pique the interest of old fans and curious newbies alike. -Mike SOS


A complacent yet chilling dose of ambient metal comes courtesy of a four-track, near 50-minute exploration into unearthly realms of bleak noise by not one but two one-man bands, Nekrasov and Aderlating. First up is the Australian-bred Nekrasov, whose 24-minute single-track contribution featuring a methodically malefic pace and a slew of suppressed terror in the form of spooky faraway screams that sound as if coming from a freshly buried coffin with a live body inside. From there, Aderlating, the project of Gnaw Their Tongues mainman Mories, takes the reigns with three tracks of subhuman scree eschewing all sense of melody to create vacuous waves of foreboding drone that is sure to leave scars on your subconscious. This split disc’s sprawling nature and industrial distortion properties definitely make it not for everyone, but if horror movie background music is up your alley, this release is right for you. -Mike SOS


No stranger to the NYC scene, former Mortal Remains leader Mike Pacheco unleashes his second solo offering in the form of a versatile self-produced 46-minute adventure entitled PEACES. Chock full of catchy rock cuts that run the gauntlet from teeth gnashing heavy tunes to wistful pop melodies, Pacheco’s divergent interests benefit from a keen attention to detail that realize when to accentuate songs with lavish instrumentation or maintain a simple yet effective traditional hard rock paradigm (“Sweet Nikita”). With a firm grasp on progressive-minded outfits such as Rush or Tool with a decisively ripping guitar presence reminiscent of classic metal peppered throughout (“Peaces”), this endeavor encompasses numerous vibes and auras from arena rock enormity to coffee house intimacy (“A Promise”) to cosmic rock exploration without losing an ounce of sincerity or undermining any sense of identity. -Mike SOS


Brooklyn’s very own psychedelic delight Naam are a hard rocking yet trippy trio with an abundance of garishly galactic effects judiciously dispersed throughout their eponymous 10-track expedition. From their methodical 16-minute opener “Kingdom”, it becomes crystal clear that the key to fully enjoying this troupe requires either a lot of patience or a handful of hallucinogens. Adorned in blues-soaked swirls of mystical hard rock with its fair share of acid-induced reflective moments strewn about, Naam’s dipped in distortion and drenched in reverb presentation is bolstered with moody instrumentation and an organic vibe that emits welcoming waves of hypnotically-charged warmth while shards of tribal doom and sedated and meditative drone encompass your headspace (“Fever if Fire”). Secured with a sense of spirituality that launches Naam’s rocket ride towards the outer limits, this squad’s righteous musical projections showcase lush qualities typical of praise songs from Eastern philosophies with barrages of sprawling and sinewy rock that adroitly dodges across the extreme spectrum without landing in one place for too long, creating a head-spinning and soul-reaching array of transcendental heaviness. -Mike SOS


Exodus unleashes a vicious collection of thrash metal driven by anger on the 12-track EXHIBIT B: THE HUMAN CONDITION. This underrated veteran Bay Area quintet raise the bar and deliver an intense slab of aggressiveness under the guise of metal guru Andy Sneap with the colossal twin guitar presence of Lee Altius and Gary Holt tenaciously throwing down catchy and crushing streams of razor-sharp riffs and over the top solos (“The Sun is My Destroyer”, “Class Dismissed”). Vocalist Rob Dukes really comes into his own here, reverberating with a harsh and menacing tone that sits squarely between former singer’s Steve Souza and Paul Baloff while the rhythm section pound out a flurry of the blistering and brutal tempos that Exodus helped to spawn nearly 30 years ago (“Burn, Hollywood, Burn”). Chock full of neck-snapping fretwork, jackhammer rhythms, and dizzying thrash metal expedience, the latest affair from Exodus portrays what the epitome of thrash metal excellence sounds like and is a must-listen disc for any self-respecting headbanger. -Mike SOS


The two-track sampler disc from Long Island’s Psycho Enhancer showcases this fearsome foursome’s wares as merchants of the moshpit. Fueled by a carefree get drunk and fuck shit up attitude and a nasty mix of deathcore, punk, and hardcore blasting out the speakers, this crew must be a spectacle to witness firsthand, as their breakdown-friendly structures, steamroller song structures and Cookie Monster vocalizations are angled to drum up chaos at any cost. -Mike SOS


NYC quartet Descender makes sure the flames of early post-hardcore are burning strong on their eponymous six-track introduction to the world. Creating music that is well versed in the tradition of NYC underground heaviness, this unit does a solid job in projecting a relentless sense of immediacy with enough lung-ripping refrains that stick in your head for days while implementing the kind of Sick of it All-esque moments of infectious melody that call for immediate pile-ons (“Crooked Teeth”). Fusing the indomitable spirit of DIY hardcore with a jagged blend of modern hardcore punk brutality and indie rock dexterity, Descender has developed a specific strand of blunt heaviness that doles out qualities you can still feel ok about throwing elbows to with rounds of stellar musicianship that transcend the throwback tag. -Mike SOS


Italian metal quintet Overmaster tackles the theme of war through the ages headlong on the group’s 11-track debut MADNESS OF WAR. This offering boasts a modernized twist on traditional metal histrionics, implementing a thrash-laden bite and a touch of a mean streak that juxtaposes the mighty gallop of Hammerfall with the brash temperament of Nevermore (“Marble King”). Technically proficient without sounding sterile, tracks like “Nameless Hero” manages to maintain its dark edge despite standardized acoustic guitar and keyboard power metal ballad flourishes while “Jungle of Madness” grabs for the jugular from the get-go with a standout blast of menacing double bass drumming and “Revolution World” lays down a touch of today’s vibe from the Swedish metal sect. Steeped in the power metal paradigm with oodles of catchy choruses that employ a decisively balls-out delivery, Overmaster produces an aggressive slab of music exploding with melody with hints of malice, progressing the power metal sound past the Helloween and Blind Guardian points on the spectrum into harder and darker areas. -Mike SOS


Year Long Disaster’s sophomore effort BLACK MAGIC; ALL MYSTERIES REVEALED continues this prominent Los Angeles powerhouse trio’s quest to revert rock ‘n roll back to the period when heavy, loud, and a bit mysterious was the order of the day with 11 tracks teeming with the indomitable grit and unencumbered spirit of classic hard rock acts like Led Zeppelin, Cream and AC/DC with touches of current acts like The Hellacopters and White Stripes sneaking in through the back door (“Major Arcana”). This album, produced by Nick Raskulinescz (QOTSA, Foo Fighters), is a no frills well-built groove-laden experience bolstered with dollops of vintage analog-esque warmth, allowing the guitars to snarl and bite with a convincing bluesy retro vibe (“Venus at the Crossroads”) while the bass and drums produce a bounty of rollicking rhythms that soulfully shake and shimmer throughout the duration of the record (“Love Like Blood”). Picking and choosing their spots to explode with rounds of hard rock histrionics (“Sparrow Hill”) or pensively withdraw with swirls of acoustic guitars (“Seven of Swords”), Year Long Disaster aim for the top of the hard rock mountain with the authentic sound and the subtle smoothness that should help achieve this group’s lofty goal. -Mike SOS


The latest endeavor from Swedish grindcore unit Sayyadina collects all of the band’s odds and sods from the years (plus four new cuts) and gives them an extreme metal makeover thanks to Pig Destroyer mainman Scott Hull’s studio savvy. Compiling 30 tracks of b-sides, seven-inches, and live performance recordings, the sprucing up of the tracks on THE GREAT NORTHERN REVISITED casts a whole new shade on this squad’s ruthless assault to your existence, molding blackened crust punk, well-paced power violence, brutal d-beat movements, and raging grindcore tendencies into tightly wound combustible devices capable of massive destruction. This terrorizing trio, featuring members of General Surgery, Nasum, and Victims in its ranks, are a threatening lot with a pedigree that speaks for itself whose significant contribution to the extreme metal spectrum has deservedly called for the warranted remodel of their back catalog to go down, in turn making a release guaranteed to leave a devastating impression whether you’re a rabid fan or a first-time listener. -Mike SOS


In their relatively short lifespan, Landmine Marathon have carved out a niche for themselves for both fully embracing the traditional grindcore and old school death metal sentiments of the likes of Carcass and Bolt Thrower as well as unassuming-looking frontwoman Grace Perry’s utterly seething vocal delivery. On the squad’s latest nine-track offering SOVEREIGN DESCENT, the Arizona quintet manifest increased intervals of both strengths while fortifying their crunch on your cranium with rounds of crushing riffs and non-stop percussive punishment (“Foul Revolt”). Championing a bestial hammer to the face approach that steamrolls through your listening receptacles without a sign of reprieve (“Chained by the Same Fate”), there is little fancy, flashy or overtly technical to be had from this act, just a series of nasty rage-driven tunes wound tight and ready to explode once the pin is pulled when play is pressed. Like a charging rhino, Landmine Marathon is a dangerous entity that has unapologetically created music that will run you over without an afterthought. -Mike SOS


When a band made up of Cheetah Chrome and Sylvain Sylvan forms, it’s bound to make waves in rock circles worldwide, and this seasoned six-string tandem’s collaboration entitled Batusis does just that on the eponymous four-track debut. Solidified with the rhythm section of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, this conglomeration of lifer rock ‘n rollers stay true to their instincts and stick to their strengths, intertwining punk rock fury, surf rock serenity, and classic rock swagger while playing like their lives depended on it to pump out a rip roaring rock music dripping with the brazen attitude of days gone by. Featuring two instrumental cuts and two balls-out tunes with vocals to match, Batusis unleash a batch of snarling songs with huge guitars, rendering the most smoking hot in your face rock ‘n roll history lesson of 2010. -Mike SOS


Pittsburgh, PA traditional metal squad Icarus Witch provide an ample alternative to today’s modern metal with a turn back the clock blend of TOO FAST FOR LOVE-era Motley Crue, the hard rock edge of the NWOBHM movement and a case of dramatics a la bands like Dio and Savatage on the nine-track effort DRAW DOWN THE MOON. Maintaining a well-manicured balance of half-doom/ half hard rock heavy riffs that meander between middle of the road and magnificent and a set sneering vocal warbles that fit yet stigmatize the entire affair as a bit dated with a durable rhythm section keeping the tempos steady and strong, this quartet’s borrowed musical output is strictly compiled from influences prior to 1987 with enough King Diamond, RAGE FOR ORDER-era Queensryche, and Candlemass bits installed to maintain the soaring levels of classic metal copiously flowing through this 35-minute affair, going as far as to include an efficient cover of the well-tread Judas Priest classic “The Ripper” to further exhibit just where this troupe’s allegiances lie. -Mike SOS


UK prog metal unit Haken do an exemplary job at juxtaposing a decisively heavier histrionic Dream Theater modern slant and a Marillion meets power metal revelry on their lengthy seven-track debut AQUARIUS. This collection of tunes by this newly formed squad are a bit challenging despite a first-class production value and a driving rhythm section anchoring the entire affair, and are totally smothered by prominent keyboard and synth work that drag the entire affair down numerous make or break points between magnificent and meh. Yet this sextet reveal the knack for creating a type of white-knuckle composition comprised from a balance of obvious influences and divergent musical styles with an abundance of rousing choruses and oddball musician charm to come off as an awkwardly fresher alternative than the usual sect of prog-metal merchants. -Mike SOS


Seminal UK psychedelic rock outfit Hawkwind’s cult appeal is widespread and bountiful, especially within today’s tripped-out post-metal circles demonstrated by this three-band, appropriately titled 11-track split disc homage HAWKWIND TRIAD. The most stunning aspect regarding this release is far and away the this album’s seamless flow which all but disregards the fact that this is the input from three separate bands yet sounds as fluid and cohesive as if one band comprised the whole endeavor, as US Christmas, Harvestman, and Minsk nail the tracks they tackle with a respectful regard towards the original version’s cosmic visions acting as each band’s foundation to renovate the overall sonic resonance of classics like “Master of the Universe” (done by US Christmas) and “Assault and Battery/ The Golden Void” (as interpreted by Minsk). Truly capturing the essence of their subject while giving the pioneer unit’s rich music a meticulously conducted modernization that virtually remains authentic to the original compositions, this release ensures the spirit of Hawkwind’s unique musical freak outs are still a major influence and will continue to flourish. -Mike SOS


Danish progressive power metal crew Wuthering Heights return with their fifth installment of melodic metallic fare, an epic nine-track offering that takes to the sea for inspiration this time around entitled SALT. Comprised of exercises in symphonic speed metal with a propensity for galloping harmonies and interludes derived from both forest-dwelling folk metal and eclectic progressive metal, this sextet exude virtuoso chops with painstaking attention paid to the rousing and detail oriented power metal characteristics which allow melodies to soar with a distinct hard-hitting gracefulness (“The Desperate Poet”). Imagine the uplifting atmosphere of Blind Guardian with the technical prowess of Dragonforce (“The Last Tribe”, “Tears”) with a fiery lead vocalist leading the affair through the vast waters of the metal world for a reference point of what to expect from this passionate and boisterous bunch and their latest theatrically-driven metal affair. -Mike SOS


NYC grinding death metal trio Flourishing exhibit their set of unorthodox and raw wares on the unit’s five-track endeavor A MOMENTARY SENSE OF THE IMMEDIATE WORLD. This band’s unhinged abrasiveness and buzzing dissonance merges bleak black metal malice with apocalyptic post-hardcore, sounding like a cross between a harsher version of Helmet and a more spastic Bloodlet (“Watching Sparrows”) while implementing a lithe array of industrial metal’s clangs and bangs into the fray for an increased increment of malevolence. Capable of causing a big mess yet able to survive amongst the wreckage thanks to shards of melody that rise from the rubble long enough to be noticed before the tumultuous and dense attack starts up again, Flourishing presents a discordant delight for those who yearn for a dose of extreme noise terror every now and again. -Mike SOS


Taking equal cues on how to make folks move from both hardcore and metal, New Jersey quartet Slam One Down throw down a familiar yet heavy-handed blend of hard nosed music on their eight-track offering THE BASEMENT DEMOS. Striking the fertile middle ground between the brutality of Pantera and Hatebreed, this outfit is hopped up with a hellacious fury that surges through each pummeling riff (“Music, Money & Girls”) and gravel-throated growling vocal (“What I’ve Done”), giving the kids in the pit a soundtrack they feel proud enough of to beat the hell out of each other to. Despite the Hellyeah-esque missteps found when the band opts to change tempos (“Hell Doesn’t Want Me”), Slam One Down provides a barrage of musical firepower that contains the metallic muscle to summon a full-scale riot on the dancefloor. -Mike SOS


Order of Ennead doles out another installment of technically inclined blackened metal on their latest nine-track expedition AN EXAMINATION OF BEING. Ripping out streams of blistering guitars, tortured screams, and relentless double bass pummeling that reaps the benefits of this quartet’s broad extreme metal scope and advanced sense of composition, Order of Ennead’s blend of modern technical death metal and belligerent black metal yields numerous flashes of excellence, especially when John Li shreds a solo mid-tune, yet may not sound as diabolical as you’d imagine. In fact, this unit offers a unique take on extreme metal’s darker elements, opting to thrust levels of musical aggression and overall velocity to overload while keeping a menacing element constant but never overpowering the inner workings of their complex music. Melding skull-crushing heaviness and a morose gracefulness with a sleek sound that many metal fans may frown upon as too sterile, the latest album from Order of Ennead showcases this band’s experimental nature while dishing out a proficient slab of well-structured extreme metal. -Mike SOS


Featuring members of Dissection and Necrophobic in their ranks, it’s not too difficult to figure out what Swedish black metal unit Trident is going to deliver. Whipping up a guitar-heavy and furious yet all too familiar blend of anti-Christian aggression, this troupe’s 10-track debut WORLD DESTRUCTION yields a solid yet unspectacular mix of the elegant malevolence you expect from groups who cross-pollinate across the metal spectrum. Imbued with a genre standard rasp-ridden darkness, this quintet’s musical output contains a smattering of razor-sharp thrash that brightens the brutal blasts of blackened metal blasphemy significantly on the title cut and the standout “Stockholm Bloodbath”.  Unlike their peers, Trident uses a rash of slower tempos yet still maintains the necessary ominous atmosphere (“Nemesis”, “Slaves to Anguish”) that when coupled with the discernible melodic edge tacked on, gives this album a boost without tampering with the overall harshness factor. -Mike SOS


Paying homage to pioneers while displaying their own destructive wares, Finland’s Rotten Sound blast through a high quality yet short and sweet six-song EP comprised of three new songs and three covers of Napalm Death tunes on the aptly titled NAPALM. Designed to split skulls open, Rotten Sound’s menacing mixture of depraved tones, distorted rhythms and blistering speed make for a vicious listening experience chock full of the crusty chaos grind fans crave (“Dead Remains”), while the faithful recreations of classic Napalm Death tracks “The Kill”, “Missing Link” and “Suffer the Children” come off as proper tributes to one of the undisputed pioneers of the movement. With a noticeable increase in speed and power, this veteran act churns out a deadly dose of skillfully executed grindcore goodness leaving listeners exasperated and begging for more. -Mike SOS


Italian progressive sludge metal trio Ufomammut propel their bruising and burly psychedelic sound dipped in doom deeper into the vast cosmos on this forward-thinking unit’s latest body of work, a multiform 45-minute long single track dedicated to the first woman on earth entitled EVE. This ambitious Pink Floyd meets Isis by way of Electric Wizard offering renders a mass of mammoth musical movements laden with molten metallic monotony that doles out waves of heavy hypnotics while the accompanying buried in the back vocal presence emits a desperate scream from faraway effect, strengthening this act’s galactically-minded creepy crawling vibe.  While an untrained ear or those unaccustomed to the type of zoning out this squad is capable of mustering can easily write this album off as tedious, the syrupy swirls of technically manipulated multi-layered guitars, the smidgens of unorthodox synths, and the filling-rattling rhythmic explosions chisel through your cranium until bone is broken and the oppressive sounds infiltrate your brain, resulting in a trip-laden series of intense sludge metal oscillations and moody atmospheric shifts perfect to throw on when ready to run away from the outside world. -Mike SOS


Giving loyal fans languishing through year after year of Trans Siberian Orchestra’s heavy metal cash in on Christmas concerts something to rejoice about, the latest offering from prolific metal musician Jon Oliva fully revives the complete package of luxurious instrumentation, driving tempos, sinister symphonics, brooding atmosphere and dramatic heaviness from his best known band Savatage at their peak on FESTIVAL, a decisively dark and stimulatingly stirring 10-track release chock full of teeth-gnashing hard-edged rockers and soulfully heartfelt ballads. This release is an intense endeavor steeped in a traditional heavy metal mindset with Oliva’s trademark emotionally raw vocal delivery and soaring melodic composition skills working on overdrive to create the closest thing resembling a full-on Savatage reunion sans the actual members reforming. -Mike SOS


Midwestern metal maulers Orwell provide a sturdy yet predictable form of modern metal on the 10-track ENDEAVORS. Doling out a standardized heard it all before blend of death metal and metalcore that an endless stream of bands seems to employ, this quintet makes no bones of heavily borrowing from the playbooks of expected influences, as snippets of everything from Hatebreed to Black Dahlia Murder can be found here. Orwell manages to juxtapose the nuances of Killswitch Engage, Darkest Hour, and As I Lay Dying with sparks of ingenuity though, drawing tastefully from both their Swedish metal CD collection and the second stages of every summertime American metal festival to create a unremarkably unoriginal yet spirited album showcasing a talented band whose tremendous metal acumen would benefit greatly from finding a distinct identity. -Mike SOS


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! Many of the above releases can be found in our store.

Review: Danzig – Deth Red Sabaoth [2010]

Posted in Danzig on May 26, 2010 by gearsofrock

The Evil Elvis has returned from the depths of hell with one purpose: to kick you in the teeth with a riff heavy beast on Deth Red Sabaoth.  Joining the legendary Glenn Danzig is Tommy Victor on guitar, Steve Zing on bass, and Johnny Kelly on drums.

Danzig’s vocal performance is as strong as it was during the hit infused days of the early 90’s, however the album’s mixing buries bits of his voice. It would have been of better service to crank them up a tad.

Victor goes heavy on the harmonics during the first half of the disc providing a strong contrast between the giant guitar sound and high pitches. The early riffs of the record represent the acme of the release, but at times, due to the mix, sounds too distorted coming from the speakers (remember Metallica’s Death Magnetic?).

Kelly has been a workhorse these last two years. There was the Type-O gigs, Seventh Void, and now nailing the skins for Danzig. Needless to say, Kelly brings the dark and dense thunder that makes Danzig’s feel work.

The best material on the record is the eerie “On a Wicked Night,” the sinister “Hammer of the Gods,” “The Revengeful.” “Ju Ju Bone” is another delight as well as the powerful “Rebel Spirit” and “Pyre of the Souls pt 2.”

It is great to hear from Danzig once again, especially with a strong effort. It isn’t as great as the self-titled or Lucifuge, but Sabaoth does make you proud to be a Danzig follower again. By the way, how sexy is that skeletal temptress on the cover?

Danzig is Glenn Danzig (Vocals), Tommy Victor (Guitars), Steve Zing (Bass), & Johnny Kelly (Drums)

Track Listing:

  1. “Hammer of the Gods”
  2. “The Revengeful”
  3. “Rebel Spirit”
  4. “Black Candy”
  5. “On a Wicked Night”
  6. “Deth Red Moon”
  7. “Ju Ju Bone”
  8. “Night Star Hel”
  9. “Pyre of the Souls pt. 1”
  10. “Pyre of the Souls pt. 2”
  11. “Left Hand Rise Above”


Track Review: Soulfly “Rise of the Fallen” Omen [2010]

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 by gearsofrock

How sick is the new Soulfly song “Rise of the Fallen” from the upcoming album Omen?  It’s just balls out brutal!  Brazilian metal deity Max Cavalera has dropped another huge atomic hit on the scene.

The programming is insane, the groove is comprised of an unbridled intensity, and the tribal percussion is in full Roots-like form, devastating.  Nothing beats the release of ferocity following the trippy sitar break during the mid section; a classic Soulfly trademark.

Greg Puciato (Dillingen Escape Plan) rules the lead mic during the verses, representing one of the few elite voices that even has the right to belt it out alongside Cavalera.

Cannot wait for the release of Omen on May 25th.  With tracks like this, it is gearing up to be the most important day of the spring.

Soulfly is Max Cavalera (Vox/Guitar), Mark Rizzo (Guitar), Bobby Burns (Bass), & Joe Nunez (Drums).

Review: Bullet For My Valentine – Fever [2010]

Posted in Bullet For My Valentine on May 8, 2010 by gearsofrock

Well-orchestrated guitar riffs and diligently executed breakdowns don Bullet For My Valentine’s ferocious third album from Jive Records titled Fever.

The album starts off with a rush of pure power and adrenaline due to tracks such as the earth pounding “Your Betrayal,” the title track, and “The Last Fight.” The second half of the disc is not quite as brutal nor as exciting, with exception to the face pummeling “Begging For Mercy,” which is the strongest song on Fever.

A major shortcoming of this release  is the lyrical content. There are few things worse in music than a talented metal band that strays towards its old emo tendencies (“You make me feel dead when I’m talking to you”). The hooks and melodies are catchy indeed, but surely they would emanate more command by simply incorporating more demons, ultimate fighting, and destruction.

In conclusion, Bullet For My Valentine continues to soar as one of metalcore’s most talented and thrashiest outfits. The guitars, choral melodies, and drums rule on blistering cuts like “Your betrayal,” “Fever,” “The Last Fight,” and “Begging For Mercy.” At 11 tracks, Fever is the perfect length, however, uninteresting themes within the realm of emo-heartbreak hinder the disc from reaching its true potential.

Bullet For My Valentine is Matthew Tuck (Vocals/Guitars), Michael Paget (Guitars), Jason James (Bass), & Michael Thomas (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Your Betrayal”
  2. “Fever”
  3. “The Last Fight”
  4. “A Place Where You Belong”
  5. “Pleasure And Pain”
  6. “Alone”
  7. “Breaking Out, Breaking Down”
  8. “Bittersweet Memories”
  9. “Dignity”
  10. “Begging For Mercy”
  11. “Pretty On The Outside”