Other music reviews
Akarusa Yami :: Heavy Climb (2015) CD [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. The Old Man by the Fjord (03:52), 2. At Last Sunlight (Endlich, Sonnenlicht) (03:44), 3. Heavy Climb (03:52), 4. Long Nights in the City (02:44), 5. A Monument Built to Carnal Desire (03:58), 6. And the Night Will Take Us All (06:33), 7. I Work in Formaldehyde (04:48), 8. Loving Parents (01:37), 9. Les Meres Terribles (05:20), 10. The Natasha Trade (06:15)
Akarusa Yami from Nottingham, England, are an odd bunch. They mix djent with post-metal and pop music and a bit of jazz. I do not really buy their self-given style, which they say is progressive/technical metal. Maybe partly, but that's about 10% maximum from their output.
Synthesizer melodies clash with math-bouncing in AY's music. Think of something like Mudvayne and Meshuggah jamming with... I really do not follow pop music and cannot add any suitable pop artist name here! The music has a lot of twists and weird stuff going on, but also some soothing and catchy choruses and generally easier parts here and there. However, the jazzy bits slightly make me think of Pestilence's 'Spheres' album, which was ahead of its time in 1993. There's some fast guitar fretboard runs to be heard here. Then there's electronic music compared to more odd David Bowie stuff, for example.
But here lies one fundamental problem: The drummer does lag quite a lot. Playing some weirder beats (and fast at the same time, too), it sounds rather shoddy at times, when he's lagging or cut in too early. The djent guitar tone is muddy and not sharp at all, but the more metal one is better. The vocals are angry hardcore punk, or even grindcore, barking, with some okay clean parts. The bass guitar is there... The sound is very flat and powerless, without any punch, that I struggle to find the bass guitar at times! 'And the Night...' contains some cool bass soloing around the mid-point, being one of more interesting momets on the album. Suitable example of this is how loud and bassy the synthesized 'Loving Parents' track sound when compared to next song. Truly demo-ish production.
This is an interesting experimentation, but its flaws ground it. But culturing it further and expelling the faulty parts might work miracles. And hey: Weirdness over songwriting? Yeah, sounds like it's happening a lot here... Whether it's a good thing, I do not think so. One more thing: This has great parts too, mind that! It's just so bloody incoherent. However, I feel it gets better towards the end (happens on every listening session). Mission partly accomplished. - Reviewed by Lane 01-26-2016
Akarusa Yami at Facebook: www.facebook.com/akarusayami
Alice Cooper :: Brutal Planet (2000) CD[Spitfire Records]
Tracklisting: 1. Brutal Planet (04:39), 2. Wicked Young Man (03:50), 3. Sanctuary (04:00), 4. Blow Me a Kiss (03:18), 5. Eat some more (04:35), 6. Pick up the Bones (05:15), 7. Pessi-Mystic (04:56), 8. Gimme (04:46), 9. It's the Little Things (04:11), 10. Take It Like a Woman (04:12), 11. Cold Machines (04:18)
I would have never ever listened to this, if it was done by John Tortellini or a band called Psycho Strap-on Cult Boys: So bad is its start! But it was Alice Cooper. A living legend with some absolute gems under his straightjacket strap, both albums and sole songs, so I soldiered on...
Mr. Cooper was in for another new style for his album: industrial shock rock in vein of Rob "White" Zombie and Marilyn Manson. The style that was old immediately after it was new, so one-dimensional is it. So, welcome heavy, for his music, guitar riffing that was really bloody heavy for any typical MTV geek, sneaked into AC's album for the first time. Man, HEAVINESS NEVER MAKES A SONG!!! Didn't make on a Rob Zombie album either... Very much evident on the opener, the title track, it really is a perfect example of dumbed down song with heavy guitar on tom drums driven beat, with gothic chick bit on it.
The older manifestations of Alice Cooper start to emerge on 'Sanctuary', which isn't exactly a new 'School's out' or 'Under My Wheels', but at least a rocking action piece. That does not suck. Bob Ezrin is credited for 'Blow Me a Kiss', but I cannot really hear it, which is a shame; the song partly gets back to more modern style again... 'Eat some more' contains stoner-style riffing with electronics added, and is still carrying these modern bits, but the album really begins to feel comfortable after the sordid start, and already with 'Sanctuary', the choruses already got better.
This is amplified by more horror-vibey song 'Pick up the Bones'. It's more about 'Cleansed by Fire' style funk than 'Prince of Darkness's dread, but the bearing is towards better things, with some cool acoustic guitar work opening more ground for the album. There is no AC album without "a ballad". 'Take It Like a Woman' is about female abuse, and there isn't a honey glam ballad, but old school piano-infused piece. But oh bugger: The last song 'Cold Machines' has a very Marilyn Manson-esque beat on it. But hey, whatever sells... Damn, this style really is a trope for dumbness; it is very empty-feeling, even though AC manages to add some soul to it.
Alice Cooper sounds like himself: Perfect showman for his music. He's not known to stay in a note for a very long time, but he can act. This is just that, nothing more, nothing less. The lyrical themes are real-life atrocities ranging from school shooters to domestic abuse and to gluttony, and such. His next album, 2001,s 'Dragontown', tells stories from the sickest town on the "Brutal Planet".
'Brutal Planet' isn't among the best Alice Cooper albums for sure, but in the end, it turns out as a nice little album (like every one from him, anyway). This Manson/Zombie style isn't a success, not even with this guy doing it. So, that style was doomed right from the beginning... Gladly there is good ol' Alice here too. Well above average, definitely! - Reviewed by Lane 07-10-2019
The official Alice Cooper website: www.alicecooper.com
Ash And Coal :: Legacy (2017) CD [ViciSolum Productions]
Tracklisting: 1. Never Learn (03:49), 2. Tell Them not to Be Afraid (06:00), 3. War Is Coming (05:11), 4. Everyone's a Misanthrope (03:46), 5. Evil One (03:42), 6. Rip It! (03:45), 7. The Eating Fire (05:09), 8. Black Waters (04:56), 9. The Value of Sparrows (04:28), 10. We Fall (04:38)
Ash And Coal is a project of Swedish musician Viktor Klint formed in 2008. The name promises something dark, and that's what you get. The debut release' Agnostica' EP, came out in 2013, and this debut full-length album is out now.
The music on 'Legacy' is highly influenced by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. It's dark blues rock, that has a vibe like the band was playing it in a boozer in the middle of nowhere, located somewhere in the uninhabited countryside of Sweden. It has soul, but it's not as smoky and dirty as Nick Cave is. Other sizeable influence, especially heard during faster songs, are The Sisters Of Mercy and Fields Of The Nephilim (try my favourite song 'Everyone's a Misanthrope'). The Cave-ish songs also may contain more rough and faster parts, mind you. One Swedish band this at times remind me of is Lake Of Tears, and their slower, calmer songs. The closer has some newer Katatonia vibe in it. The songs are simplistic in their composition. Sometimes there are just 2 different parts. However, it is the mood of them, that is more important. The songs are mainly slow-ish, with a few rockers put in.
The vocals are clean with a slight rasp in them. He usually doesn't go very low, but there is some Nick Cave imitation going on ('War Is Coming'). At times there is more than just one vocal track, maybe used to fix his "about that note" trait; yeah, he's not a fantastic singer, but his voice is still good and moody here. It's like a more punk version of Lake Of Tears, I suppose. His pronunciation is okay, with a sharp "s". During choruses, there are more varied use of vocal tracks, like clearly doing a multi-noted "gang vocals". The lyrical themes here can be pinned under one word: Money. That's the most important thing for a lot of folks, and others have been slaved by them. Be it industry, religion, or war (oops, they are all industry, aren't they, really?!?). More like "coal and ash, and slow death."
The guitars can be bluesy, post-black metal tremolo, open-stringed stuff, and twangy, and various effects are utilized. Often they are simply backing the vocals. The rather basic bass guitar is audible in the mix. Same goes with the drums; there is nothing flashy in playing, because it's about the vibe, like with the other instrumentation. There are straight beats, as well as more hectic tribal ones heard. The production is clean, even a tad clinical, for this kind of music. There is kick in it, when needed, thanks to the rhythm section, but dirtiness could have been multiplied.
The album is a cool take on dark, bluesy gothic rock with metal touched. It is easy to get into, even for a guy like me who doesn't dig Nick Cave, or doesn't care to listen to him. Well, I wish there was less of the Cave influences generally, because I think the songs in his style are more stagnated, unvarying. Anyway, the songs are still catchy, and the album is a worthy piece of darkness. - Reviewed by Lane 05-03-2017
The official Ash And Coal website: www.ashandcoal.se
Beggars Ball :: Fight This Town (2006) CD [True Grit]
Tracklisting: 1. Low Life Blues (04:07), 2. Starbanger (04:20), 3. Live out Loud (03:44), 4. Fight This Town (02:57), 5. Life in a Lie (03:30), 6. Deadman's Lullabye (04:51), 7. American Vocal (03:22), 8. Anti_Hero (04:29), 9. Demon Seed (03:52), 10. Famous & Filthy (03:56)
Los fucking Angeles, the mecca of money and plastic human beings. Beggars Ball are here to fight that crap. But then again, none of the guys are a native-born LA dude. I think you've guessed it already, that BB aren't wanking around with glam rock?!
BB's streetrock on a piece of plastic has the energy of a thunderbolt and is as dirty as female crotch not washed for a week. This sounds more "southern" than "western", just check out bluesy 'American Vocal'. Well, heavy 'n' groovy guitar playing is something like Dimebag Darrell loved to do sometimes; let the rock flow. 'Starbanger's chorus is actually fucking close to Pantera's Walk' with its "walk!" shouts, heh, I think I don't need to mention the song is heavy as fuck? Straight from the first riff, 'Low Life Blues' makes you thristy as fuck for beer. 'Anti_Hero' is like driving on yer motorbike through hot dusty desert road, and the title song itself like having a freefall from high sky. Vocalist sounds like he has drunk something else than milk for last month, but he does his job well. BB doesn't invent the wheel, but they have energy and vibe and what I like; they're heavy! Plus they got a bunch of good tunes.
One thing on this album sucks and it is the drums sound. They don't punch enough. However, it's predictable, as this was recorded on 8-tracker at the band's rehearsal place. The last three songs have more punchy sound actually, especially 'Famous & Filthy' sound very warm.
One to crank up when you are drinking beer like you never drank before or cruising with your car. Something to empty your mind from everyday crap in life to. Crank it up and drink it up! - Reviewed by Lane 06-28-2006
The official Beggars Ball website: www.beggarsball.com
Benton, René :: Xpressions too!!! (Shört Storeez) (2016) CD [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Push / Pull (02:40), 2. Eastmeetswest (02:47), 3. Nation of Struggle (02:55), 4. Clone Theory (02:34), 5. Part of Me (02:32), 6. This Is Life (02:43), 7. Drone 3.3 (02:37), 8. Thingz Happen (02:35), 9. Lyfe Support (02:39), 10. Green Light Go!!! (02:35), 11. V.U.S. (Veryuncomfortableshooz) (02:41), 12. Open Air (02:48)
I have to admit that I've never heard René Benton before this, his debut full-length solo album. Here, metal chops meet technical guitar playing and more varying, progressive elements. Seems that Mr. Benton's heaviest venture has been with Christian rapcore band Junkyard Prophets (knew the name, never heard their music before).
'Xpressions too!!! (Shört Storeez)' is a different to other guitarists' album, that I have listened to; twelve songs, that last under 3 minutes each. Heavy, palm muted riffing and shredding, and double kick drums are the metal essence of this album. Mr. Benton is untiringly busy almost all the time, all over the fretboard. The rhythm section contains, for example, ex-Death (Kelly Conlon, bass guitar) and ex-Green Jelly musicians (Paul Vowell, drums). The lead guitar work varies from shredding to more bluesy stuff, that reminds me of Gary Moore. I also hear Joe Satriani influence here and there. The songs are surprisingly varied, and mood can be anything between joyous and murky, but always strong in delivery. In metal music map, this lands on US heavy metal and thrash metal territories. It's never that simple, though. I really cannot name any bands that this directly reminds me of, and this is an asset for the album. However, I can mention Living Colour more easily as Junkyard Prophets here...
The rhythm section is pretty heavy-handed, but the bass guitar can travel to funk realms also. One can expect more twists and turns as usually in these under 3-minute songs. And no, there are no vocals here, and that is the typical bit about this one.
As this includes session musicians, sometimes the playing can get a bit patchy. However, that doesn't happen frequently, but a few times. Worst thing about the album is its production. Or lack of it. This was a home-recording, so the balancing of elements is duff and it often gets a bit clogged. The bass guitar is too loud, to tell the truth. On some songs, the drums are weak in the mix.
Thankfully the music is not as topsy-turvy as the album's cover art. René Benton has created some rather catchy tunes and if you want some shredding instrumental stuff, why not check this one out?! - Reviewed by Lane 06-28-2006
The official René Benton website: www.rene-benton.com
Black Sleep :: The Whales of the Grey Sea (2016) MCD [Sliptrick Records]
Tracklisting: 1. Tiny Pieces (04:56), 2. Soulcatcher (05:39), 3. 2013 (04:01), 4. Choices (04:53), 5. Moonsick (05:47), 6. Animal Puppets (06:48)
I like to be surprised. With goodies, of course. Finland's alternative rock band Black Sleep managed to do it for me. So, this debut album was my first touch with the band. There's only 32 minutes of music, but it's a case of quality over quantity. Transparent yet dirty, alien-ish guitar sounds begin this journey, where many things happen. 'Tiny Pieces' is an amalgamation of pulsating djent and melodic electronic music, with death metal part in the middle. Yes, it might sound like an infeasible mess, but it is not. I also hear influences from David Bowie and Killing Joke, and this happens on some others songs, too. 'Soulcatcher' brings in a couple of other players: Faith No More and Atoma. '2013' reminds of Nine Inch Nails with some crunchy metal to boot. 'Animal Puppets' has similar vibes that Fear Factory's more epic songs. Now there's something to chew, huh?! This is just some main ingredients listed, I bet other people will also name some different bands and artists.
The band sound huge yet airy; they clearly are denizens of post-industrial society where Earth is badly suffering, but its dwellers are seeking means to remedy what still is possible. The music can be very pressing and oppressive, but still at times very liberating and even gauzy. The synthesizer work vary from almost imperceptible to loud. The drums are loud, but played, not just hit. The bass is tense, offering various rock styles, including thumb-played funk. It's easy to listen to, but diverse and interesting whatsoever. It sounds professional, but stil human. The vocals are also diverse. Anything from many clean vocal styles to low growling. Therefore they remind of Mike Patton, but aren't similar. In all, this release flows naturally, with much more highs than lows. Actually there is no low points on it.
Black Sleep can be industrial, electronic, metal and probably much more. Still, they strongly hold all the string to pull how they like to. 'The Whales...' is a grabbing EP for the fans of bands named here. I suggest you give them a try, because this really is something worthwhile! Roll on the long player... - Reviewed by Lane 04-11-2016
Black Sleep at Facebook: www.facebook.com/blacksleepband
Broken Hand Charity :: Democrusade (2012) MCD [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. When You Fear (04:04), 2. Offended (04:33), 3. For Religion (04:28), 4. SpreadFlesh (03:05), 5. Power off (03:37)
Danish Broken Hand Charity released their second effort, five-track EP 'Democrusade', in 2012. They play heavier alternative rock, which does sound familiar yet characteristic. The style of the band goes more towards the other side of the Atlantic Ocean than Northern European stuff. The band mixes some metal riffs and drumming (double kick drums for example) into their songs, but cannot be called as metal music.
I feel that Broken Hand Charity have the melodiousness of D-A-D, the punch of Volbeat and catchiness of, for example, Creed. They do not follow hit-song patterns, but still manage to be catchy as heck. 'When You Fear' is a dark-ish song (especially the fine mid-part) with streetwise attitude. The vocals remind me of Dubwar, at least first, but they turn more melodic during the song. Some hammering riffing and busy drumming isn't very far from Mudvayne (who are my secret pleasure... Oops, not a secret anymore!). 'Offended' is another streetwise song, but a bit merrier. Its melodic riffing could happen on In Flames album, I think. The varying and effective guitar work is one of the highlights of both songs.
'For Religion' made me think about Metallica's 1996 album 'Load', and something like 'Ronnie' and 'Bleeding Me' from it. Fine harmony guitar riffing is the song's treasure, and also reminds me of Alabama Thunderpussy. 'SpreadFlesh' is the fastest song, containing some thrash metal influences in it. Hammering riffs meet open-stringed playing, and the vocal lines are simply infectious. Thick, metalic riffing of 'Power off' and the choruses more easy-going vibe mix well together.
The band are adaptable with various styles of rock and metal music. Still, 'Democrusade' sounds solid. Damn, these songs are catchy! The energy is probing and should not leave a fan of heavier rock cold. Definitely worthy of burrowing into. This is simply fun! - Reviewed by Lane 02-02-2013
Broken Hand Charity Facebook page: www.facebook.com/brokenhandcharity
Broken Hand Charity :: Götterdämmerung (2016) digipak CD [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Wöden (03:40), 2. Grasp (03:50), 3. Ostracized (03:04), 4. The Norns (04:06), 5. Let the Dead (03:43), 6. The Paras (03:27), 7. Elixir (04:28), 8. Whistling Ricochets (03:50), 9. Volte-Face (03:11), 10. Far End of Gone (02:52), 11. Nature in Rust (03:03), 12. Flak (03:55), 13. Manacle (03:32)
It is Friday the 13th, and I'm still alive. I decided to write a review for an album I was sent months and months ago. Hopefully this will lift off that possible curse put on me by the band due not doing this earlier...
Listening to 2012 release, 'Democrusade', from this Danish band after many years, I still can live with my review for that release. On that EP they ixed many rock styles together, and managed to carve a niche for themselves. Years rolled by, and in 2016 the band released their first long-player, 'Götterdämmerung'.
13 songs is a big difference to 'Democrusade's five tracks. Can the band be as inventive again? Not "out there" like Mr. Bungle, for example, but you know, just a tad different... Well, the album starts with rather heavy, stoner-esque rocking, and at least 'Grasp' reminds me of Alabama Thnderpussy quite a bit. With Therapy? style 'Ostracized', the band begin their journey into varied styles of rock music, that is often hardened by metalic heaviness (hammering riffage and double kick drumming).
Bluesy stuff brings the name Clutch into my mind ('Nature in Rust'). And yes, the stoner stuff can be heard here and there throughout the album. The music do not carry a lot of happy vibes, as it is kind of gloomy and streetwise. The band were able to create some memorable parts and especially choruses for sure. However, the main stumbling block here indeed turned out to be the large amount of songs, because while the variety is happening at times, it's not extensive enough, and there are some parts there that while listened to make one to stray unto other things. Not even for 46 minutes. Well, maybe with time, different songs could swap in top 3, but the album feels much longer than three quarters of an hour.
The vocals remind me of D-A-D, even though they have more whiskey-treated tone. But definitely something similar there, especially that manner to end lyric line with soft yet-high-tense, vibrating way. And thinking about those legendary Danish rockers, who have gone even as far as doing some pop music, BHC do not stray into chart-position chasing junk. And BHC do not want to step on Volbeat's territory, really, albeit comparisons are easy to be drawn every now and then. The guitar tone is distorted, but warm. The bass is about everywhere. The drums are laid-back yet punchy. And hey, that goes well with the music too. The band sounds tight.
While this might not be an instant favourite, it could show its claws after long run spinning. BHC do not directly remind me of any band that I've heard. It's a tad different a record, and one for stoner rock idolaters and idolatresses to inspect. - Reviewed by Lane 04-13-2018
Broken Hand Charity Facebook page: www.facebook.com/brokenhandcharity
Dead Kennedys :: Bedtime for Democracy (1986) album [Alternative Tentacles]
Tracklisting: 1. Take This Job and Shove It (01:25), 2. Hop with the Jet Set (02:07), 3. Dear Abby (01:09), 4. Rambozo the Clown (02:25), 5. Fleshdunce (01:29), 6. The Great Wall (01:32), 7. Shrink (01:44), 8. Triumph of the Swill (02:17), 9. Macho Insecurity (01:30), 10. I Spy (02:30), 11. Cesspools in Eden (05:56), 12. One-Way Ticket to Pluto (01:38), 13. Do the Slag (01:36), 14. A Commercial (01:33), 15. Gone with My Wind (01:43), 16. Anarchy for Sale (01:18), 17. Chickenshit Conformist (05:58), 18. Where Do Ya Draw the Line (02:39), 19. Potshot Heard 'Round the World (02:10), 20. D.M.S.O. (02:09), 21. Lie Detector (03:43)
This is one of my favorite releases by this band, but then again, all of their albums with Jello Biafra are my favorite ones. Just thought I'd write about what's mostly been on my playlist recently. The songs here are pretty fast paced for a punk rock band. East Bay Ray on the guitar just goes ballistic and Jello is all over the place. As with most punk albums, the production quality was OK, but not the best. The album itself is still really good. It's original sounding, the lyrics are original too, as with what Jello writes about political topics (as the title for the album touts) being that he ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979. He didn't win, he placed third in the race. But yeah, this is one of the few punk rock bands that I still like. And another thing is that I can never get sick of DK.
There are many different time signature changes in the music with the vocals and guitar tanking out and going slowly. But not every song is like this. As a whole, it's a darn good release, all 21 songs on here. Their energy is effervescent. This isn't the longest album the band has released, but close to it. A lot of metal bands have a punk rock influence. I stopped listening to DK after Jello left the band. I just like his energy. He fills the songs with his electric vocals. There's something about him that I really like. The sound of the vocals fit the music really well. The guitars are like I said, sort of all over the place. But they still hit home with me.
The band is full of energy based components. There were some odd parts to this album, but that's what makes DK, DK. The band has been around for a LONG TIME and if Jello was still with them, I'd buy more of their releases. There was a conspiracy about the band members stealing the rights and Jello was left out of luck with them. He still has the albums on his record label Alternative Tentacles.
Punk is dead, but of course, according to Jello "it's dead so it can be born again." - Reviewed by Death8699 05-21-2017
The official Dead Kennedysl website: www.deadkennedys.com
Dead Kennedys :: Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (1987) compilation album [Alternative Tentacles]
Tracklisting: 1. Police Truck (02:27), 2. Too Drunk to Fuck (02:42), 3. California über Alles (single version) (03:28), 4. The Man with the Dogs (03:04), 5. Insight (01:42), 6. Life Sentence (02:41), 7. A Child and His Lawnmower (00:57), 8. Holiday in Cambodia (single version) (03:46), 9. I Fought the Law (02:21), 10. Saturday Night Holocaust (04:21), 11. Pull My Strings (live) (05:47), 12. Short Songs (live) (00:29), 13. Straight A's (live) (02:15), 14. Kinky Sex Makes the World Go 'Round (04:17), 15. The Prey (03:50), 16. Night of the Living Rednecks (live) (05:14), 17. Buzzbomb from Pasadena (02:22)
This one isn't as raw or loud, it's more collected. Still funny though, especially with Jello Biafra on vocals. The music is catchy especially tunes like 'Holiday in Cambodia' and 'Too Drunk to Fuck'. But the whole album is good, even Jello's story about his Portland experience. This is a hardcore punk rock band that's got a huge history. The 5 albums that I own on CD are all good. This one has a better production sound, it's not really as extreme as previous releases. This is the last one that I have with Jello on vocals. And it's the last one I'll ever own.
The music is loud, but not as much say 'Plastic Surgery Disasters' (1982) or 'Bedtime for Democracy' (1986). It's still really good though. Just not my favorite. Maybe it's because I've heard it too many times.
But yeah, it's still a classic in their discography. It's more collected. An awesome punk rock album that every fan should own. I know that punk is dead nowadays, but I'll say it again that it's influential.
Jello's vocals are still funny, just not as crazy really. He's not all over the place. He doesn't have as much energy on this one, but it's still good. I prefer their older material. But some prefer this. It's subjective.
Get this CD and support music!! You can check it out on YouTube first if you want. But owning the CD supports the music community. Don't let it die out, purchase it on Amazon or your record store!! - Reviewed by Death8699 05-21-2017
The official Dead Kennedysl website: www.deadkennedys.com
Dead Kennedys :: Plastic Surgery Disasters (1982) album [Alternative Tentacles]
Tracklisting: 1. Government Flu (03:01), 2. Terminal Preppie (01:30), 3. Trust Your Mechanic (02:55), 4. Well Paid Scientist (02:21), 5. Buzzbomb (02:21), 6. Forest Fire (02:22), 7. Halloween (03:35), 8. Winnebago Warrior (02:09), 9. Riot (05:57), 10. Bleed for Me (03:24), 11. I Am the Owl (04:51), 12. Dead End (03:56), 13. Moon Over Marin (04:29)
Another classic in punk rock history, this one I seem to favor as one of my favorites in the Dead Kennedys' entire discography. I like it because it's pretty raw sounding in production quality, Jello Biafra's funny vocals, and guitar which was superb by East Bay Ray. A lot of heavy metal musicians may have said to be influenced by punk rock. The Dead Kennedys happen to be my favorite punk band. You never really know what to expect in their song happenings. And their use of politics makes them quite historical. They cover various different topics besides politics though. I just like the music the most. The albums are now all on Jello's Alternative Tentacles record label. Rightfully so, especially since he's no longer with the band after the betrayal.
If I could single out a song that stood out the most, I'd have to say "all of them." That's because they're filled with energy. They're a funny punk rock band to idolize really. I've never gotten sick of them.
I own 5 of their CD's. I figured I'd support Jello since he really made the band larger than life. His high IQ and stage antics make me a lifelong fan. And the music is atypical yes, but it still kicks butt.
There really aren't any lead moments on here, just a few. What matters is the vocals matching the music. That they do and that's why like this one almost as much as 'Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables' (1980). Now that one had some classic songs. But really, as a follow-up from that one, they really came back around quite well.
I feel like I should favor what's been fancying the most lately. I just want this experience with the album to match mine. That's not enough to make a person want to listen to a band though. The music is just so darn awesome though. It's just so out there and original. I loved it from start to finish. I hope you do too!! - Reviewed by Death8699 05-21-2017
The official Dead Kennedysl website: www.deadkennedys.com
Dropkick Murphys :: Blackout (2002) Digipak-CD + Bonus DVD [Hellcat Records]
Tracklisting: 1. Walk Away, 2. Worker's Song (Handful of Earth), 3. The Outcast, 4. Black Velvet Band, 5. Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight, 6. World Full of Hate, 7. Buried Alive, 8. The Dirty Glass, 9. Fields of Athenry, 10. Bastards on Parade, 11. As One, 12. This Is Your Life, 13. Time to Go, 14. Kiss Me I'm Shitfaced
I saw Dropkick Murphys' older video on a telly and it grabbed me. Punk, real punk, with Irish folk being the other part of the band's music. Yay, really cool, indeed. I've always liked this bagpipes and drunken sing-along songs. Okay, the band come from Quincy, Massachusetts, USA. The band's roots lying deeply in the soil of Ireland, it can be surely heard.
So, punk it is. First 20 seconds of 1st single cut 'Walk Away' sound soft, but then some harsher and harsher vocals start coming in. Okay, we're getting there... Guitars get more biting and soon it explodes into a male choir chorus. What a build-up for a song! I wanna go to a pub now!!! Fuck, I can't, there's soon Iron Maiden live from Roskilde on a radio and can't miss it. Next monday I go see them here in Finland. But, my point is that this is a fucking party record, even though lyrical subjects might be partly anything else than something to party about. Workers' anthem, a father leaving his family, people sent to Australia, knotty relationships, miners trapped under dirt waiting to die etc.
Musically, this varies from straight punk (e.g. 'The Outcast') to folk songs (surprisingly when looking its title, 'World Full of Hate'). And everything between the two. I certainly like songs with Irish touch more. Harder songs are great bursts of energy, calmer are beautifully emotional. 'Black Velvet Band' (a tradiotional song), 'Worker's Song' and 'Fields of Athenry' are covers. There is no boring moment during this 47 minutes. Sound is great and transmits the energy of the performance well. Vocals are varying, because of two lead singers and 3 backing vocalists plus female vocals on 'The Dirty Glass'. Some are clean, some are more "whiskey", if you catch my thought. And a lot of shout-along -choruses!
DVD includes the band's new promotional video 'Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight', an usual "playing in the from of camera" stuff. Also two live pieces are included. Nice, but nothing special, at least for me. Why 'Walk Away' promo video isn't here puzzles me. However, didn't cost any extra.
Get some people around and do not forget whiskey, beer, whatever and have a party to this one! Excellent punk record and my only second (Relapse sent me Genocide Superstars' latest album, but that's very different to this one), but not the last one. At least I need to check out Dropkick Murphys' older stuff now. - Reviewed by Lane 06-29-2003
The official Dropkick Murphys website: www.dropkickmurphys.com
Duck Explosion :: Zebra Pilot (2013) CD EP [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. No Way out (02:50), 2. In the Inside (02:31), 3. Lie to Me (03:08), 4. Top of the World (03:21)
We here at Archaic Metallurgy get sent all kinds of music, that does not belong into any metal music genre. Most of thes non-metal stuff might have some more or less small metal influences, though, but listening to Duck Explosion made me sigh in disbelief: They don't have any kind of connection with metal music. However, reading the band's biography, their vocalist has heavy metal influences. They just don't appear here, if that doesn't mean those few lame emo rock screams on one song.
Rather mid-paced 'No Way out' has a fine main riff. It would bite so much more, if the sound was a bit rougher, but now it is all so softly played. The song is rather Brit rock-ish, even though the band come from France. Bluesy rougher guitar solo is okay, but just too familiar. 'In the Inside' is more contemporary-sounding, faster song. It does contain those emo-screams, but otherwise the song another catchy-as-heck piece of softer rock, if not annything as soft as Elton John, Toto or such famous artists. Another catchy one, 'List to Me', could appear on some Epitaph Records release. 'Top of the World' closes the EP with nice guitars combined with cool vocals lines. Guys list 70s rock and alternative rock as their influences, and it can be heard on this EP.
"...Amps to 11..." Well, if that's true, then they must have been very small, them amps! This kicks ass on catchiness-department, plus the songs aren't annoying, minus the forced emo vocals inclusion. Guys can play and sing (nicely raspy voice, if not quite Rod Stewart ;) ), so they should buy bigger amps, drink more beer and get kicked ass a few times to build some streetwise attitude, and Duck Explosion might be noticed much better. And fellas hey, change your name too... - Reviewed by Lane 10-23-2014
The official Duck Explosion website: www.duckexplosion.com
Electric Mary :: III (2011) CD (also limited edition with a bonus DVD) [Listenable Records]
Tracklisting: 1. O.I.C. (05:04), 2. Stained (04:16), 3. So Cruel (03:41), 4. Long Time Coming (03:49), 5. All Eyes on Me (02:12), 6. Lies (03:44), 7. Nobody's Perfect (03:37), 8. Bone on Bone (04:19), 9. Waiting (03:12), 10. American Jam (04:55)
Australia's Electric Mary are destined for "other reviews" section of Archaic Metallurgy, because they just rock. I mean they play rock, heh. They do have a vocalist whose voice is perfect and sounds so classic, he's got some real bite in it. Plus, their music is a mixture of many familiar elements picked from wide spectrum of rock music.
Where as speedier 'O.I.C.' has some glammy bits in its classic rock, Led Zeppelin must certainly be one of the guys' main influences. Then they have a huge blues rock vibe to them, as well as a big stoner rock side. They also go for a bit of grunge, like on 'Lies'. While the band's performance is credible, something is still missing, and I definitely want more individual touch to music I listen to. Maybe it's that that songwriting-wise this is above average, but never truly shiny. The album is okay for background listening, but I cannot get too much out of it. Perhaps because it's just same old, same old.
These are the traits of Electric Mary; they know how to rock, but they surely don't invent the wheel. You know exactly what you get with 'III' and get it if you want to. Oh, the limited edition digipak of this comes with a bonus DVD with 40 minute live set. By the way, Electric Mary have supported Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, White Snake, Judas Priest and Glenn Hughes, so I gues there's something to this band, then. Goes down with beer, some of it better, some of it not so well. - Reviewed by Lane 10-15-2011
The official Electric Mary website: www.electricmary.com
Epitaph :: Fire from the Soul (2016) digipak-CD / 12" vinyl (red vinyl, limited to 500, with bonus CD) [MIG Music]
Tracklisting: 1. Nightmare (05:36), 2. The Way It Used to Be (05:20), 3. Fighting in the Street (05:00), 4. No One Can Save Me (04:57), 5. Any Day (04:24), 6. Man without a Face (04:52), 7. Fire from the Soul (08:52), 8. Spark to Start a Fire (03:55), 9. Love Child (bonus track) (04:34), 10. Sooner or Later (04:25), 11. Rondo Alla Turca (00:36), 12. One of These Days (04:55)
Being a virgin for Epitaph, I'm writing this on a clean slate. Epitaph began in Dortmund in 1969. No wonder this sounds god, songwriting-wise. But it is surprising, that the band still sound how the title of the album reads! This is performed with energy and passion, and no combat fatigue can be heard.
While the band are German, they sound rather English. Uriah Heep and Deep Purple are two main influences I hear in Epitaph's music. Jethro Tull, minus the flute, is another one, due to some more folky songs (which contain violin and piano instead). 'No One Can Save Me' and 'Man without a Face' have Mark Knopfler style worker vibe in it. Music can be laid-back (quite a bit of acoustic guitar is used) or rocking, but never lazy or boring. As you're reading a metal music webzine, this album contains some real heavy rock stuff, too. Feelings soaring are mostly cheerful and positive, but for example the title track is pretty melancholic, but again, not lazy. The bonus track 'Love Child' has more American vibe to it, as does the next song's chorus (something like Mr. Big, perhaps), and the closer with it's horn section. In my opinion the album gets worse after the title track, but the duration of it is almost an hour, so maybe it is a tad too long for its own good.
Main vocals are quite soft, high-pitched; the voice isn't definitely maimed by whiskey. The vocals are down-to-earth, not any kind of posing or over-trying. It's a very positive thing, that you cannot tell, that this is a German band from their pronunciation. Sorry, no Arnie-style facepalm moments here! Voluminous backing vocals, both male and female, add more powerful vocalization.
Riffs and beats that make listener's feet tap, catchy melodies and sing-along choruses, and cool guitar (or violin) solos get into spine. This is a nice modern hard rock album with 1980s vibe. The production values are of course this day, and goddamn this sounds good.
Perfect for car in summer, as well as for beer-tasting nights at home. A really grooving album from Epitaph. "Timeless rock music", as the label puts it, and I cannot argue with that claim. And it is pretty damn hot at times! - Reviewed by Lane 07-14-2016
The official Epitaph website: www.epitaph-band.de
Genocide Superstars :: III (2003) CD [Relapse Records]
Tracklisting: 1. The Hateball Is Rolling..., 2. Destroyer of Worlds, 3. Mord II, 4. Final Descent, 5. Hatestomp, 6. Stairsweeper, 7. Air / A Prelude to Hell, 8. Superstar Destroyer, 9. Dangerdanger, 10. Superstar Confession, 11. In Misery Embraced, 12. Like Roadkill, 13. Warchild, 14. Outlaw Song
It reads on their official biography: "...punk in veins of Discharge, Motörhead, Misfits, Dwarves and G.B.H.". Sure, I agree, with my shitty smelling knowledge for punk rock. Might not be nothing new under the sun, but still very energetic and what's the most impotant: Dirty. Vocals are truly boozehound-ish. Three-throat (all except drummer) assault with nice duets and "oooo-oooo-oo" choirs.
Slight metal leanings are heard in many of these fourteen fuckers, best in twin guitar melody on 'Hatestomp' and 'In Misery Embraced' darker melodies and vokills. 'Air / A Prelude to Hell' is a Motörhead-like marching heavy rock anthem. Grindcore murderers' Nasum's Mieszko abuses the second guitar here, as he does his throat.
Genocide Superstars' rusty punk rock is best flushed down with massive amounts of something alcoholic. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I won't puke while listening this. And this my friends, is a good sign about the quality of Genocide Superstars. Only thing is that this is very familiar drunk punk mayhem. Everybody looking for a heavier punk album, try this beast. - Reviewed by Lane 04-22-2003
Genocide Superstars on BandCamp.com: genocidesuperstars.bandcamp.com
Grorr :: The Unknown Citizens (2014) digipak CD [Vicisolum Productions]
Tracklisting: 1. Pandemonium (06:23), 2. Facing Myself (04:14), 3. Oblivion (06:26), 4. Don't Try to Fight... (06:06), 5. You Know You're Trapped... (04:48), 6. But still Hope... (05:30), 7. Unique (05:20), 8. A New Circle (03:46), 9. Alone at Last (05:02)
Djent. Not a lot of space to move inside that genre, huh?! That's how I think it is. Jerking riffs and beats. Often just one riff is repeated for a long time. A total opposite of power metal cheeriness. Anyway, Grorr hail from France and this is their third full-length album. It's a concept album with three characters: Soldier, working man and dreamer.
The album is chopped into three parts, each consisting of three songs. "The Fighter" part is the most metal one. Kind of industrial djent with soundtrack style melodies created with horns section. The songs are repeating, and when 2 out of 3 hit 6½-minute mark, it can get really tedious. On "The Worker" part, the band drops the metal influences. In comes French and Mid-Eastern melodies and additional vocals. And synthpop. The djent jerking continues... "The Dreamer" part includes more folk elements in vein of both European and Mid-Eastern. The last song includes some riffing, that actually can be remembered, unlike about 99,9% of djent stuff. I just can't get into djent, period. On-beat or off-beat, no matter.
At first, vocals remind of Disturbed or Slipknot / Stone Sour in a way: Very modern US rock styles. In the middle, I find the album turns into "System Of A Down goes djent", thanks to vocals and Mid-Eastern influences. There's some gravel thorat vocals and even growls, too.
The album surely sounds heavy with its huge low-end. But still, I cannot get into this fucking djent!!! I simply find it both boring and annoying, plus it's almost totally forgettable (unlike the album's nice artwork). I fucking tried! - Reviewed by Lane 04-19-2016
Grorr at Facebook: www.facebook.com/grorrpage
Hiraeth :: The World Ends with You... (2015) EP [Independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Words to Echo (04:25), 2. Barely Breathing (04:01), 3. Beside Me (03:40), 4. Walkers (02:43)
With Hiraeth's debut EP 'The World Ends with You...' we get a breeze from modern London. The band's hardcore is close to metalcore due to many a metal music influences heard in their music: The rhythm guitar tone is pretty heavy at times, there's some double kick drumming and the accompanied vocals are growled.
While Hiraeth kick ass with some parts, there's also melodic ones. Some reverbing lead guitar playing reminds me of Scots Big Country (I think I'll call it British melancholic/epic melodiousness, then), especialy on 'Words to Echo'. At times the band pushed on like a truck, but they also can throw in weirder rhythm patterns, plus more groovy stuff. The songs aren't really straight, but tend to go here and there, and especially 'Barely Breathing' (heaviest piece on offer) seems to be a bit too branching. The main vocals are very one-sided screaming. There's a clearer version of them, too, plus aforementioned growled styles (about a couple of different tones). Clean vocals sound like they've fucked up with Vocoder, but cannot tell for sure. These are featured on 'Beside Me', which is the most "hit" influenced track on offer. With "hit" I do not mean it's a catchy one, but it has too many modern trendy bits in it (the vocals, rhythm patterns, whatnot). Speedy 'Walkers' try to kick my mind blank of those trendy things, but doesn't quite manage in that task. Not a bad closer, though. The performances are tight all around.
The production job is nice, as it is clean and distinct. However, it's a tad too leaned towards the trebly side. So, Hiraeth's gambit is both pleasing to the ears of a metal music fan and Anglophile, but it also features some annoying trendy things, that have nothing to do with soul, if you ask me. Above average, surely, partly bloody nice actually (mostly two first songs). - Reviewed by Lane 12-21-2015
Hiraeth on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HIRAETHUK
If I Die Today :: Cursed (2016) Digipak CD [Sliptrick Records]
Tracklisting: 1. Jesus (02:37), 2. Adams (03:18), 3. Lucifer (02:52), 4. Patrick (02:48), 5. Elisabeth (01:48), 6. Faustus (02:09), The Ancient Mariner (03:12), 8. Vincent (02:39), 9. Cursed (04:37)
These Italians playing post-hardcore have been around since 2007, and 'Cursed' is their third full-length album. Here we get a nice-looking grayscale digipak with nine songs equalling to 26 minutes of groovy yet striking and, at times, atmospheric music.
The album is a concept one about cursed characters, who have been taken from world literature. These include Jesus Christ, Lucifer, Elisabeth Bathory and Patrick Bateman. And one Ancient Mariner, who every metal fan must know about... Now there's some ground to work on. The lyrics are rather short, as the song durations suggest, and not very deep or descriptive. The vocals are nasty: Hardcore shriek-throat, more lower throat vocals and some growled ones, too. They are effective, but very typical.
The band's sound is a mixture of metal and hardcore. The songs are mainly bouncy with non-straight rhythms, reminding of High On Fire at times. Then again, there are some straight, rocking stuff, that somewhat smells like Alabama Thunderpussy (but not in a bad way, that is!). The hardcore is not my strong point, but I'd throw a name here, and it's Gallows. To me, If I Die Today is something like a mixture of these three bands. This is about mutating beats and riffs. Disharmonic guitar work is another trait, as is open-stringed playing, that lifts the atmosphere level. There's not much of melody here to cling to, 'Patrick' and 'Elisabeth' contain most notable stuff. However, the album feels like an entirety, and it flows well, straight from the beginning to the more doomy yet beautiful title track.
I do not think this album is needed to be cursed. The quality-wise, it is between average and good. There are some engaging bits in it, and as mentioned, it flows well. The production is suitably dirty and heavy, if not perfect. Is this extreme? Well, not really in nowadays standards. Give it a try if more metalic hardcore is your thing. - Reviewed by Lane 04-07-2016
The official If I Die Today website: www.ifidietoday.it
K+K-tactics :: Sub Specie Aeternitatis (2011) Demo - Limited 10" vinyl, limited cassette
Tracklisting: 1. Imperative Movement (04:26), 2. Random Mega Force (03:24), 3. Tacts of Life (01:38), 4. After the Storm I Stare at the Sun (05:18)
I can count with the fingers on my other hand, how many instrumental bands I find interesting. Let alone bands with just a bass and drums. K+K-tactics are one interesting entity, hailing from north of Finland. Bassist Kanniainen and drummer Kuorikoski are Depth Beyond One's' rhythm section. If you've been lucky one and heard that band's music, then you know that this is more than your average rhythm section playing A-B-C of rock or whatever stuff.
While not knowing much about different bass playing tactics, I can hear the bass (with frets) here is fingered and tapped. I'm brave enough to say, that most of the bass playing isn't very basic. The drums here aren't anything too basic, either, going from polyrhythmic work to double kick drum beats. The interplay of two is of course totally critical, and it works. It's wrong to say there is no other instruments, because there are some vocals (there goes the "instrumental" tag, then?!), theremin, accordion, tin whistle, shakuhachi, iPhone, door, cheeks, lighter, and of course, hands, used. In all, the demo sounds very organic. Anywys, K+K-tactic's musical style is instrumental prog.
'Imperative Movement' is pretty funky 'n' groovy, and sometimes reminds me of Tool. It's a pretty catchy song for drums 'n' bass stuff, with insane theremin/iPhone solo. Well, at least its main parts are, before all twists and turns towards the ending. 'Random Mega Force' begins with lame growled speech (these happen between each song). 'Random Mega Force' throws catchiness to a garbage bin, but advances with, ahem, force. It contains some double kick drumming and blasting for all us metal-eating/shitting folks. 'Tacts of Life' continues more aggressive trend, and its "melodic" part is like a soundtrack to some private-eye movie. I'm not going to comment on the song's funky part, which sounds as compatible as carbon monoxide to human lungs. 'After the Storm I Stare at the Sun' smells of Kyuss (especially during '...And the Circus Leaves Town' era ). What a fine band that was! Well, this more camel walk paced piece feels like a fresh sea wind on bubic hair on warm, sunny day. And that equals to superb, if you didn't know!
You can read the delicate song histories and opinion on the band's website, written by K+K. The whole demo is also available there for listening, as is a full live concert from 2011 with other videos. You can order 'Sub Specie Aeternitatis' on a cassette, but the numbered 10" vinyl edition is already sold out. - Reviewed by Lane 10-08-2011
The official K+K-tactics website: www.dboband.com/kk
K+K-tactics / Dum & Brass :: Split Tape (2016) Limited to 90 green tapes [Progeiitti Records]
Side A (K+K-Tactics): 1. Omnishambles (03:29), 2. Semi-Nucleonic Android Beheading (03:39), 3. Radium Health (02:55), 4. Project of Life (04:29)
Side B (Dum & Brass): 5. Ball Tickle Jam (04:46), 6. The Dance of Dowdy & Defamatory (05:53), 7. Nu-Clear Nu-Jazz Jam (03:52)
This release includes seven songs from two bands, which both are bass and drums duos from Northern Finland.
K+K-Tactics are on side A. The band feature Depth Beyond One's bass player Jari-Pekka Kanniainen and drummer Jani Kuorikoski. Here, the guys can express another kind of progressive music. K+K-Tactic's four songs are continuation to 2014 single/video song 'Earth of Life' (Check out the hilarious video now!!!). Anyway, it would be best to say, that the duo's music is fun to listen to. No idea to go into a pedantic dissection of songs, but they contain prog, jazz, metal, funk, movie soundtrack music and whatnot. I have to admit, that I occasionally hear similarities (or thereabouts) with wicked US pioneers Primus (check out 'Radium Health'). Interesting thing about K+K-Tactic's style is how the bass or the drums start changing pace of playing while the other instrument continues with old tempo. Quite a bit of double kick drumming is heard, and even some blast beats. The bass tone is fat, while the drums wrap up the organic-sounding production. There is sme small additional instrumentation heard, such as tin whistle and samples.
B-side rascals Dum & Brass do not sound similar to K+K-Tactics, so thanks for more varying release. More jamming vibe (they tell, that they improvise around 90% of their music), and therefore less warped songs is what they offer, and do not expect some suprising tempo changes... While they might play one part repeatedly, it's not getting staganted, as they change it a bit at times. Plus they are groovy in doing their stuff. And they've got some wild idea of putting together a screeching door and a bass guitar; Definitely something different, that! So, they are varying in their output, when thinking per song. Different bass guitar effects are heard, and their drums are also very organic-sounding affair.
If you are interested in rhythm instruments and want to hear bass and drum music, this split tape is an interesting thing to check out. I know because I own both instruments. - Reviewed by Lane 10-10-2016
The official K+K-tactics website: www.dboband.com/kk
Dum & Brass on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DUM-BRASS-670895829702700
Kill The Unicorn :: Prism (2017) digipak-CD [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Motoko Kusinagi (02:53), 2. Dreams in Fifty Six X (00:23), 3. Ode to Spot (04:16), 4. Wormhole to Gliese (04:10), 5. F.U.C.K.U.P. (04:02), 6. Me and My Velociraptor (04:34), 7. Conquistador (04:41), 8. Catacombs (02:38), 9. Ausgefuchst (03:45), 10. Rendezvous with Cleopatra VII (04:32), 11. Pitchblack VR (04:39)
Metalcore, post-metal, djent. All of them I've found very, very similar (not with each other, though) and mostly dull. Kill The Unicorn (a tad lame name, eh?!) mix djent with mathcore. Ah, I forgot math-music from that list above. My main problem with aforementioned music styles is thoroughly fundamental: They do not really leave any real memory in my brain.
Kill The Unicorn do not aim for memorable melodies or catchy clean vocal choruses. There's loads of djent riffing (palm-muted, low-end repetition of one chord in varying rhythmic patterns), mutating drumming and shouted and growled vocals. Some guitar leads are those that my mind collects. Then there's this instrumental, that owes a lot to System Of A Down; the most easily absorbed piece on offer. Other non-djent bits are lounge jazz element heard here and there. It's not quite Tomahawk, or Mr. Mike Patton's other warped projects, though. For metal heads there's Meshuggah (of course there is!!!) and some Soilwork (when they did it more metalcore way), plus 'Rendezvous with Cleopatra VII', which tilts towards deathcore.
The album sounds neat and powerful enough, and the performances are good all around. Well, you got a million and one tempo change and such, so you have to be tight. The vocalist gets a mention too, for his vigour. Mission accomplished. The lyrical themes vary from "Ghost in the Shell" to conquistadors, and from human glitches to cats... Again, it feels like the warped mind of Mr. Mike Patton was tried to be channeled.
'Prism' turned out to be another djent album, that I cannot grasp. Well, if I wanted to live in a moment and just listen to rhythmic music to empty my mind, it might work. But hey, I can tell that I hardly can grasp Meshuggah either. At least Kill The Unicorn do not go the easiest way, so djent fans migth want to inspect them. - Reviewed by Lane 02-26-2018
The official Kill The Unicorn website: www.killtheunicorn.com
King Remedy :: Rock'n'Roll Is not Dead (2006) CD-single [Vallankumoustuotanto]
Tracklisting: 1. Rock'n'Roll Is not Dead (02:47), 2. Let It Go (02:46), 3. Feel Like You're too Old? (02:35)
Helsinki-native King Remedy are a pure rock band. There's no tricks, just driving music. The problem is, that King Remedy are too joyful for my liking. And even they promise to kick asses, they don't kick mine. While the main riff of the title track is pretty irritating, the others don't offer too much in the way of memorable riffs. Or even a bit individual, but I don't think they are trying to be that way anyways. The production of this single is too lame. It simply doesn't kick ass. King Remedy are definitely too tame for me, period. - Reviewed by Lane 12-05-2006
The official King Remedy website: www.kingremedy.com
Love Frame :: Forgiveness (2014) CD [Sliptrick Records]
Tracklisting: 1. Halo (04:17), 2. Mine (03:10), 3. Real Love Exhibition (03:57), 4. Lie to Lie (03:56), 5. Heart Box (03:59), 6. Maybe (03:55), 7. Blue (04:33), 8. Escape (03:58), 9. Save Me (03:23), 10. Start Looking for (03:36), 11. Rakkaus on ikuista (03:19)
What we got here is a hard rock band with some metal music leanings. They come from Milano, but you cannot hear it in vocals... which are damned good! Giulia Lupica has a bit raspy voice, and she really can sing in rather wide range. Her rasp reminds me of Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P., and I hear this legendary US band also in some songs, e.g. 'Maybe' is like a rolling W.A.S.P. heavy rocking metal trainride.
Other influences I hear are Finnish gothic metal like HIM and older Sentenced. Maybe even some goth rock stylings of The 69 Eyes, another Finnish band. Love Frame pretty much count on rolling beats and heart-itching melodies. While being a hard rock band, they often play it with metal stressing, even though not very heftily. Without any surprise, there's some ballad-ish songs to be heard (for some, try 'Real Love Exhibition', 'Save Me' and acoustic 'Rakkaus on ikuista' [not sung in Finnish despite the title] if you seek something like that). I also can sense some Evanescence and Alter Bridge style US rock here and there. By the way, the production is good; punchy and polished clean.
'Forgiveness' include but up-beat and slower songs, but it's more or less about love. It gets syrupy every now and then, so it's not for those grog-filled nights, or all may end up crying and groaning about their love affairs gone on the rocks.
Anyway, Love Frame do their stuff well and if you're looking for goth rock with flavours from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, you cannot go wrong with this one. Just beware the hurting love!- Reviewed by Lane 30-12-2016
Love Frame on Facebook: www.facebook.com/loveframepage
Morning Chaos :: Addicted (2014) CD EP [Independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Addicted (01:32), 2. A Thousand Deaths (05:15), 3. Torn away (04:25), 4. Vagabond (04:47), 5. Super Silver (03:48), 6. Out of Touch (03:58), 7. Narcissus (04:47)
It looks like it came from desert, in United States of America, and it surely sounds like that, too! However, Morning Chaos hail from Liège, Belgium. The band's style is "punchy and melody-driven metal-rock, with stoner and alternative accents" as they put it themselves.
What 'Addicted', Morning Chaos' second output after the debuting demo, sounds like is something like Alice In Chains meeting Down and Alter Bridge in a shack in hot, desolate desert with two ravens sitting on a dead tree, waiting for something to scavenge.
Beginning with an acoustic title track with two vocalists and steel-string acoustic guitar playing, it certainly has a very desert-ish atmosphere. It is a calm start before 'A Thousand Deaths' which has sturdy guitars and rhythm section. It showcases the band's rather metallic, heavy sound. Here, the vocals heavily remind of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell (ex-Alice In Chains vocalist and guitarist/vocalist from the same band). The guitar solo part adds to metallic bearing, bringing to mind another band; Corrosion Of Conformity. There's also some fast kick drumming towards to ending of the song. 'Torn away' feels like a tribute to Alice In Chains album 'Facelift' (1990). It contains some country style guitar playing, sounding totally US. Acoustics make comeback on 'Vagabond' for some 45 second before the song enters Chickenfoot style rock territories.
'Super Silver' is another heavy song, like a heavier The Black Crowes tune with some tasty riffage and some Soundgarden vibes to boot. 'Out of Touch' smells like stoner rock with easy-going yet tough groove. 'Narcissus' is of different ilk: Its bouncy rhythm and kind of rapped vocals make it stand out from the rest of the songs. It's not a bad one, even though I don't much like rapping. Reminds me of Body Count's music (Ice-T's crossover band).
The band's strength is their songwriting skills. The songs often take some turns and are very much catchy. Mind you, many of the choruses sound very Alice In Chains-esque. The bass lines are strong, lively, as is stompy drumming, making the band sound like they're on fire. It's performed with rocking attitude. 'Addicted' is a cool EP, if you like Alice In Chains and other bands mentioned in the review. - Reviewed by Lane 09-07-2014
The official Morning Chaos website: www.morningchaos.be
Mötley Crüe :: New Tattoo (2000) CD [Mötley Music]
Tracklisting: 1. Hell on High Heels (04:15), 2. Treat Me like the Dog That I Am(03:40), 3. New Tattoo (04:18), 4. Dragstrip Superstar (04:22), 5. 1st Band on the Moon (04:25), 6. She Needs Rock and Roll (03:59), 7. Punched in the Teeth by Love(03:32), 8. Hollywood Ending (03:43), 9. Fake (03:44), 10. Porno Star (03:45), 11. White Punks on Dope (03:39)
After the fantastic 1994 album (that John Corabi one, which many people didn't want to understand) and more alternatively experimental 'Generation Swine' in 1997, ribald L.A. rockers Mötley Crüe took another long-ish period to create their next one. The original drummer Tommy Lee was absent, and there was a pretty fucking lame excuse to that: A fight with his wife Pamela Anderson got him behing bars. During sitting in jail, he left the band and formed Methods Of Mayhem.
But this is about 'New Tattoo', and it is totally anti-experimental. And it was, of course, intentional. It was seen as a successor to 1989 hit album 'Dr. Feelgood'. Mike Clink was recruited to produce this. He was known working and succeeding with acts like Guns N' Roses, Heart, Whitesnake and Aerosmith. And interestingly, Megadeth and Metallica, from metalheads' point of view. 'New Tattoo' was destined for grandeur, but what happened? Well, it hit the No. 41 on the "Billboard 200", and then started to drop in positions.
However, that's saying nothing about the quality of the album. To put it simply, 'New Tattoo' bloody rocks! I'm not writing this lightly, because I am not easily entertained by (glam) rock. Crüe, on the other hand, I knew already when I was about 10 years old, since fantastic 'Shout at the Devil' in 1983... No wonder I became this dirty motherfucker, ha!
This is a bonafide party rock album, right here. Surely the spirits of such legends as Hanoi Rocks, Aerosmith and Kiss, are present in Crüe's colorful good-time boogie. Mick Mars' guitar playing can be bluesy, hard rocking or metal (for the latter, check out 'Punched in the Teeth by Love'); it definitely has loads of punch and even rip in it. Vince Neil's voice was still in a good enough shape when they nailed down this album; his nasal, tinny sound still hits high register. Nikki Sixx's bass is, without any surprises, rumbling-as-fuck! The drums were commanded by Randy Castillo (ex-Lita Ford, ex-Ozzy Osbourne). He handled them with potency, surely, but didn't carry such strong characteristics as Tommy Lee. That's the biggest deficiency about the album, and that can not as a matter of fact be called as "deficiency" anyway. One can simply hear it's not Tommy banging here! But otherwise, the band is easily recognized, and they rock out their way.
The album begins with heavier and faster pieces, then the title track goes into slower "ballad" mood (acoustics, country melodies, "she" being a subject [see below...]), a bit like 'Home Sweet Home' for 00s. Yeah, it doesn't carry that legendary status, but is still a cool song. The album is mostly filled by hard rocking songs, 'Hollywood Ending' being second "ballad" piece. The harder ones are conveniently varying, moving around huge rock area, from aforementioned hard rock, metal and blue territories to melodic punk. The Tubes cover 'White Punks on Dope, is a fine closer done by forgetting the theatrics of the originals. In all, this is not a tored album at all, if not a-legend-to-be.
Some trivia for metalheads: The album's cover artwork was inspired by Bruce Dickinson album 'Tattooed Millionaire' (1990). Why? Well, that album's title track is said to be inspired by the little thing between Dickinson's wife and Nikki Sixx... With this, Crüe had their payback. Yep, they are such motherfuckers...
New tattoo, but old school way. This is Crüe going years and years back, closer to their roots and albums that matter. Fucking rockin'! - Reviewed by Lane 01-05-2019
The official Mötley Crüe website: www.motley.com
Never A Hero :: Bleeding between the Lies CD [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Read between the Lines (01:03), 2. Burning Skies (03:23), 3. Roses Are Dead, Violets Are too (04:43), 4. The Call (04:12), 5. Screams of Silence (03:28), 6. Days of Patience (04:10), Vogue (03:18), >i< (01:30), 9. Untouchable (05:02), 10. Dreamcatcher (03:37), 11. Hollow and the Crow (03:51), 12. Sunbeam (02:39), 13. Stalked (04:37), 14. Bleed between the Lies (01:31)
An album sent to a metal website for reviewing, and appearing in the "other reviews" section is a clear hint: Even though it flirts with metal music, it isn't metal music. What this debut full length is about is modern alternative rock. The guitarist here is a metal music fan, but that's not enough to make a band a metal band.
First, a listener is introduced with electro stuff. Then it's time for Linkin' Park style rock meets hip hop. However, 'Burning Skies' is at times pretty close to Swedish SID-metal maniacs Machinae Supremacy, thanks to its driving tempos and energetic melodiousness mixed with loads of electronics. Later, bits and pieces in vein of Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine are heard, too. Okay, they got energy and varied tempos, which are very danceable at times. Never A Hero are also scratching surfaces of gothic music styles, but never getting too deep into them. A piano is always a suitable instrument for creating these gothic influences, and it is in a rather heavy use too. So it's not a surprise, that we get a few slower, ballad-ish songs.
Never A Hero can pen some truly catchy melodies and songs. While the elements they utilize are borrowed, they have enough of characteristics behind those wacky Japanese masks they like to wear. These five fellows are good players and the vocalist is very good singer, if quite pop-ish with his techniques. The production is thoroughly well balanced between the elements.
In right scene(s), Never A Hero have all the possibilities to be big. I really do not doubt it a single bit, that they would not be big. I, as a metalhead, can listen to the album without grinning with disgust, even though there are a some moments that are outside my comfort area. I think that says something about Never A Hero, eh?!?! - Reviewed by Lane 06-10-2014
The official Never A Hero website: www.neverahero.net
NitroVille :: Can't Stop What's Comin' (2011) CD [Tijuana Brothers Records]
Tracklisting: 1. Cheating the Hangman (04:03), 2. Let It Roll (04:50), 3. Mississippi Wide Boy (03:36) 4. Dust Devil (06:03) 5. Cuts to the Bone (04:11) 6. Twist in the Chain (04:08) 7. Tell It Like It Is (02:46) 8. Killing Kind (03:18) 9. Bad Blood (04:11) 10. Got What It Takes (04:27) 11. Coming on Strong (05:48)
NitroVille hail from London, England, but sound like they'd come from the other side of the world. The band's hard rock is very Southern-inspired, very bluesy. On this debut album, NitroVille offer eleven cuts of to-the-roots rock 'n' roll, without much of gimmicks. They do have some good riffage and memorable melodies, but still it all feels quite faceless. NitroVille didn't re-invent a wheel. Mainly the songs are rockin' and bluesin', and there are no ballads heard.
Vocalist Tola Lamont, on the other hand, is a nice acquaintance, as she does possess a right kind of a voice for this type of rock music, but she also can sing. The sound is nothing like modern. The gear the band used is listed on the booklet, and does include names such as Gibson Les Paul 57 & 68, Fender Telecaster, Ludwig 1968 drums etc. etc.
Those into Southern rock (e.g. Lynyrd Skynyrd) and why not even AC/DC (especially 'Let It Roll') are invited to check NitroVille out. I've never liked either of aforementioned legends, so... - Reviewed by Lane 15-05-2012
The official NitroVille website: www.nitroville.com
One Eye Shut :: Last in Line (2005) CD-single [Vallankumoustuotanto]
Tracklisting: 1. Last in Line (03:11), 2. Crash'n Burn (04:22)
One Eye Shut, who come from Helsinki, formed in 2003. The band's second strike is 'Last in Line' single. OES play heavy rock music, both sound- and feelingswise. Something like mixing North American rock (bits from glam to alternative) with Finnish melancholy. Although "melancholy" is too strong a word here, perhaps.
Both songs appearing here are OES originals. The title track is a rolling rocker, that sticked to my head right at the first listen. Something like a heavier and rougher newer Hanoi Rocks style song. 'Crash'n Burn' is slower bass-heavy roller, not as catchy as the title track. Not anything too original musicwise, but this trio seems to have indentity. Instruments are all well presented, thanks to the tight and sweaty performance. Vocals are pretty simple. Not much singing skill, but when it is kind of whiskey-rinsed it's good. Sound's also on rough side, but it should be that way. If OES have more music with this quality, it's time to start working on full-length album.
There's not much to write about this release, as it's this short a release. However, OES lifted up my spirit after wet Midsummer festivities. When listening to this single, it makes next weekend arrive faster! I'm sure about it. - Reviewed by Lane 06-27-2005
The official One Eye Shut website: www.oneeyeshut.org
One Eye Shut :: Days in the Sun (2006) CD-single [Vallankumoustuotanto]
Tracklisting: 1. Days in the Sun (04:46), 2. Yearning (04:07), 3. World behind (03:50)
Helsinki's One Eye Shut plank down their second single. The band seem to have a straight flush of hard 'n' heavy rock building up in their hands. However, they don't seem to put out these releases very often (well, a year between these two singles), which might work against them.
The title song is a fucking fantastic piece of melancholic rock, coloured with some acoustic guitar, but ain't a soft song. It sounds a bit like the debut from The Black League, being one catchy song. A sure hit, if they can push this to right people. Jari's emotional vocals stand out like hell on this one.
'Yearning' and 'World Behind' sound like North American stuff, unhealthy mixing alternative rock and stoner rock. Definitely easy yet good beer listening session rock, or something to cruise your car to, but can't compete with the title song.
The sound is okay, but it could be heavier, definitely. The single's well recorded, no doubt about that, but I miss more punchy sound. - Reviewed by Lane 06-26-2006
The official One Eye Shut website: www.oneeyeshut.org
One Eye Shut :: Turds in a Punch Bowl (2005) CD-single [Vallankumoustuotanto]
Tracklisting: 1. Everything Must Die (04:41), 2. Please Let Go (04:42), 3. Days in the Sun (04:50), 4. Yearning (04:08), 5. World behind (03:51), 6. Last in Line (03:09), 7. Crash 'n Burn (04:17), 8. Tonight (04:48) 9. Reflection / Last in Line (live) / Everything Must Die (live) (20:21)
Helsinki-based hard rocking trio One Eye Shut have released three CDs: 'Promo 2004' (demo), plus singles 'Last in Line' and 'Days in the Sun' (2005 and 2005 respectively). 'Turds in a Punch Bowl' compiles all three into same platter with two new songs (I should mention that 'Yearning' is the newer recording). Archaic Metallurgy has reviewed the two singles, so read them reviews, please.
It's weird, that on the band's website, 'Turds...' is assigned as the debut album, and on the Vallankumoustuotanto's site as a compilation. Well, whatever... I just wonder, why the shit the old songs weren't re-recorded, even though there's nothing badly wrong even with the oldest turds. Okay, 'Tonight' (a catchy, Finnish-sounding heavy stoner rocker with very familiar vocal melodies, but where from?!) and 'Reflection' (a heavy stoner stunner) sound demo level, even though good quality, recordings when compared to the newbiews. So, I'd like to call this as a collection of older material.
'Everything Must Die' starts this bacchanalia with heavy flapping bass and slowish stoner groove. OES trademarks are present from the second one: catchiness and rawness, in all instruments and also in the vocals. 'Please Let Go' pisses in your glass of beer with faster tempo and almost heavy metallesque riff or two. 'Last in Line' and 'Everything...' are featured as live bonus after 'Reflection'.
If your world is rocked by such names as The Black League, Black Label Society, Backyard Babies and Peer Günt, even Alice In Chains ('Days in the Sun' owes something to 'em, I'm positive about it!!!) and such grungesters, you should check out OES immediately! I like this One Eye Shut, they're one of the few rock bands I can listen to. Especialy now when it's mandatory to tip some beers during hot summertime. OES doesn't sound at all so unique, as the mixture of all the other bands mentioned in this review could truly sound, but no matter if this the compilation or the debut album, it rocks. So, grab a lot of beverage of your choice, stick 'Turds...' in a player and blast loud! - Reviewed by Lane 07-12-2005
The official One Eye Shut website: www.oneeyeshut.org
Phal:Angst :: Black Country (2014) digipak CD [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Hardwire (14:57), 2. Black Country (07:46), 3. The Old Has to Die and the New Must not Be Born (07:55) 4. Black Milk Of Morning (11:52) 5. Theta (12:40)
This here is the most boring album to me, that I've ever listened to. Slow tempo (mostly), uneventful alternative/post-rock is what 'Black Country' is about. I cannot sense any feelings in it, really, and that is only one of the big fault in it.
The album begins with melancholic female singing, and soon checp keyboards appear to accompany the vocals: In discordance! I do not know if it was meant to be unmusical, but it just happens so here. Soon, the band gets to rock. Well, not really, not at all! Effected guitars playing licks and strumming, drum machine plodding away, and totally ballsless and inept vocals kick in. Some noticeable guitar melodies backed with a synthesizer is all what this is worth for; to tell the truth, this is far from being catchy.
Atmospheres are nonexistent, even though there are some samples utilized. They claim to be a industrial act partly, but I do not hear much of that here. The production is contrary to heavy, and definitely not good for this kind of stuff. Long songs that go... Well, maybe they go somewhere, but I cannot stand their plainness. Instruments are in dissonance with each other at times. Bad main vocals are accomanied with some female ones, done with a vocoder...
Yep, we are a metal website. I have said countless times, that "metal music only, please" for reviewing. Maybe I just do not understand Phal:Angst's art. A very bland album, this! - Reviewed by Lane 09-05-2017
The official Phal:Angst website: www.med-user.net/~phalangst
Plan E :: Best Kept Secret (2003) CD [My Kingdom Music]
Tracklisting: 1. Fool (04:27), 2. Pure as Snow (05:22), 3. Shadow in the Dark (04:07), 4. Today Is the Day (04:58), 5. Near Life Experience (05:30), 6. The Blue House (04:13), 7. Sick and Tired (03:50), 8. Lonely Hell (04:22), 9. Best Kept Secret (04:09), 10. Rockstar / We (bonus track) (05:16), Shadow in the Dark (bonus video track)
Third full length album from Plan E has been revealed upon mankind. This Oulu-based non-guitar band started back in 1995 as an instrumental project. Mainman Jani Lehtisaari (also in Impaled Nazarene in 1996-2000) is the only original member left today. He played basses, keyboards and sung, while drums were handled half by Sir Luttinen (The Black League, ex-Impaled Nazarene) and Heikki Haataja (March Maggot).
Plan E perform individual music. I quess it is rock with poppy as well as "schlager" elements. Quite simple all the way, but weirdly alien altogether. Also weirdly oldish yet something new (!). Every song is catchy. Plan E is so different from what I listen to (metal, that is). I thought it would be hard to get into, but it got me, insidiously. Simple (sometimes extremely) keyboard melodies above simple beats are warm, inviting, and there's different nuances. The keyboard sounds are oldish, bringing 1970s into my mind; some of the stuff is simply annoying, but most of it goes well. I thought I really can't stand them, but I do; it is hard to describe my sensations, but the music just grabs. Adventurous spirit is needed, though. The music is light, solitary heavier things are created by distorted bass. Mr. Lehtisaari's vocals are fragile, very calm. He hits the notes, but sometimes also searches for the right ones, but only when he sings higher.
This music makes me feel calm. Not a bad dose after five death metal albums, this one! While sounding like coming from 1970s, lightly artsy psychedelic trip, aura of something alien boosted my interest and this is definitely a grower. I soon found getting into those songs I first didn't like a bit ('Pure as Snow' still has tough, annoying keyboard melodies, he he)... Since everything is more or less keyboard-driven, I guess electronic music fans will find this very interesting. As well as those who seek music with individual touch. Adventurous ones should try this, definitely, too. That's what some of the lyrics (make your own conclusions about 'em) are about; "forget hard times for a minute and fly." - Reviewed by Lane 11-17-2003
The official Plan E website: www.plan-e-tarium.com
Rammstein :: Liebe ist für alle da (2009) CD [Universal Music Group]
Tracklisting: 1. Rammlied (05:19), 2. Ich tu dir weh (05:02), 3. Waidmanns Heil (03:33), 4. Haifisch (03:45), 5. B******** (04:15), Frühling in Paris (04:45), 7. Wiener Blut (03:53), 8. Pussy (04:00), 9. Liebe ist für alle da (03:26), 10. Mehr (04:09), 11. Roter Sand (03:59), Special Edition bonusdisc: 12. Führe mich (04:34), 13. Donaukinder (05:18), 14. Halt (04:20), 15. Roter Sand (Orchester Version) (04:06), 16. Liese (03:56)
Except for the sonic pornfest that's 'Pussy', all of 'Liebe ist für alle da' from this industrial music institution locks the listener's balls in a vice. Because if Euro pop and techno (again, 'Pussy') isn't your thing then feel free to get an erection from the rest of the banging fare Rammstein serve on a sonic platter filled with goofy utterances (try the title track), chunky riffs, and melody galore. No doubt their new album is arch-camp extravagance and a ridiculously contrived affair (as always), but you're gonna love it to bits anyway.
Seriously now, for this is a very serious album besides that anthem celebrating everyone's favorite part of the female anatomy (uh, 'Pussy'?), 'Liebe ist für alle da' is Rammstein par excellence, more 'Sehnsucht' (1997) than the epic, melodious 'Reise, Reise' (2004) but a far darker beast in its own right. Opener 'Rammlied' gets the juices flowing with its over-the-top bombast; the near religious treatment Rammstein give the song amid chants of "Ramm-stein!" inspires goosebumps. The next salvo 'Ich tu dir weh' is another orgasm of overwhelming metalness and the honeymoon continues for the malevolent 'Waldmann’s Heil' and the stripped down 'Haifisch' where techno elements add a little variety to Rammstein's crunchy metal repertoire.
'B********' is an ugly dirge whose heaviness plods along to a bare bones melody; its awful nature is contrasted by the tender 'Frühling in Paris' where Till Lindman softens his voice to add that special dramatic touch. 'Wiener Blut' and the title track is proof most undeniable Rammstein are at their best writing catchy, memorable metal anthems better than your favorite Primal Fear or Dream Evil. Then there's 'Mehr' providing the last salvo of balls-to-the-wall metal before 'Roter Sand' sashays in with the harmless whistling at its start. You can almost pictue a man enjoying a walk in the park, until of course, his menacing utterances starts to seduce your speakers. Once it's finished, Rammstein have made another vulgar display of power; they really kick more ass with age. - Reviewed by Miguel Miranda 12-01-2010
The official Rammstein website: www.rammstein.de
Rootwater :: Visionism (2010) CD (digipak) [Mystic Production]
Tracklisting: 1. Intro (02:47), 2. Venture (03:45), 3. Living in the Cage (04:25), 4. Closer (03:17), 5. Frozenthal (03:43), Freedom (00:38), 7. Timeless (04:20), 8. Realize (04:42), 9. Follow the Spirit (04:44), 10. Alive (05:44), 11. The Ministry (03:27), 12. Steiner (04:36), 13. Under the Mask (03:47), 14. Visionism (06:02), 15. Haydamaka (bonus) (04:29)
Damn, old metalhead like me trying to write sensible things about something modern. 'Visionism' is Polish band Rootwater's third full length album to date. The band formed in 2002 and it is safe to say they sound modern, but saying they are a metal band would be wrong, as there are different elements in their sound. That's why the review is in "other" section.
'Intro' is like game music, and Rootwater had a song on the 'Witcher' soundtrack (2007). It's okay, but still totally different when compared to the band's sound, even though big synths can be heard at times. 'Venture' shows a band inspired by North American "nu" movement bands, such as Slipknot (low tuned riffage plus double kick drum beats) and Disturbed (a-a-a singing, but here however effected, which is a bit lame, and vocals generally). Finnish genre-hopping weirdos Kyyria and Waltari also come to my mind, because there's some rap vocals with funk music, and then the band enters a chorus with memorable singing melodies and lead guitar work. Now, this chorus stuff is what I like, otherwise it does not hit the target here. And here's the ageless problem: For whom this music is made for? Not a metalhead like me. It is well made, but there is no enough substance nor feeling in it in my opinion. You can expect for some goth/pop stuff, and folk melodies from their area, just like System Of A Down utilize their local folk music (or at least the area's where they originate from). This allter works very well with modern sounds the band make.
It's all well performed with good, punchy production to give it an extra kick. Vocalist Taff deserves a special mention for his good voice and diverse styles he sings in.
At times Rootwater's music is very much written in pop music formula (verse-chorus-verse-chorus-whatever_part-verse-chorus). It is kind of catchy, but still it just goes in one ear and falls down the other, without leaving too much marks in my brain. I wish it was more like the title track, with a clear start and a goal. Are Rootwater a bird or a fish? Todays' world is a clone-world, but I must admit, that Rootwater have something own in their music, so if you enjoy modern "banging", why not try this? - Reviewed by Lane 05-03-2010
The official Rootwater website: www.rootwater.pl
Serpentyne :: Myths and Muses (2014) CD (digipak) [independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Boudicca (05:11), 2. Alexandria (08:36), 3. Valkyries (05:48), 4. Gaudete (06:45), 5. Hymn to Cynthia (04:05), Je Vivroie Liement (05:12), 7. Douce Dame Jolie (05:24), 8. Freya's Firedance (04:24), 9. A Rosebud in June (06:25), 10. Pastyme with Good Company (04:40), 11. Les Garçons de Montagne (04:33)
Archaic Metallurgy has been thrown a lot with music that is something else than metal. Serpentyne's style is one of the most distant from that aggressive stuff performed with rock instruments (guitar, bass, drums). Labeled as folk rock or neofolk, I find the latter more correct. 'Myths and Muses', the sophomore full-length album from this 7-piece ensemble, takes a listener to medieval Britain and other places.
'Boudicca' begins with modern synthesizer effects and bass beats, before presenting a Mid-Eastern inspired melody and An Dro folk dance rhythm. Fragile yet powerful female vocals work well to bind a listener with enchantment. It is definitely a grabbing tune. Then it's time to travel to ancient 'Alexandria', which includes chanting and traditional Turkish folk music tied together. 'Valkyries' doesn't sound Nordic, but is similar to the opener, with more of feverish modern dance music influences incorporated. 'Gaudete' is a beautiful, more voice-based, traditional Chrismas carrol, sung in Latin. 'Hymn to Cynthia' is the band's own composition, where singing and chanting (by both females and males) alternate, and more rocking beat is heard. French style medieval sung poetry is up next, accompanied by suitable musical background. The band uses all kinds instruments originating from the Middle Ages (or much further back in time), e.g. bagpipes, bouzouki, hurdy-gurdy, cittern...
More Breton dance happens with calmer, a tad melancholic 'Douce Dame Jolie', but 'Freya's Firedance' lift beats up again. 'A Rosebud in June' is a traditional English song.It starts rather moody, but gets into more energetic instrumental section.' Pastyme with Good Company' is a happy dance frolic, which has been arranged to rather modern-sounding environment, even though the instrumentation includes aforementioned things. 'Les Garçons de Montagne' is based on a traditional French tune and same words apply to as to the previous song.
Serpentyne mix medieval and modern dance music together with female main vocals. The thing is that they still sound very familiar, thanks to their tradiotional music influences. If you are interested to hear more modern-beating versions of old tunes, give Serpentyne a spin or a few. - Reviewed by Lane 10-01-2015
The official Serpentyne website: www.serpentyne.com
Skies Turn Black :: No Place Like Home (2018) CD [Independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Before the Storm (01:11), 2. A World about to Flood (04:49), 3. Let You down (04:28), 4. The Sickness and the Cure (03:54), 5. This too Shall Pass (05:34), 6. Running with the Wind (05:10), 7. No Place Like Home (05:36), 8. Pearly Gates (03:39), 9. Fairy Tale (03:59), 10. One Mind (05:10), 11. Long Live the King (Show Me) (05:02), 12. Never again (03:52), 13. Revolution (08:37)
Four guys from Manchester/Leeds/Huddersfield, going under the name Skies Turn Black, released their debut album 'No Place Like Home' in October 2018. They fuse hard rock and metal together with poppy songwriting and... well, pop music in it!
They have an absolute modern edge to them. While putting out Judas Priest/DragonForce style neo-classical and power metal riffs and lead guitar work, they also disguise pure pop music with rock instrumentation on 'Running with the Wind' and 'Never again'; ballad-esque stadion-pop pieces. At heaviest, they went to Metallica's self-titled album chops on 'A World about to Flood'. There's also a huge influences from Trivium (e.g. 'Pearly Gates') and Avenged Sevenfold (oh so dramatic title track, for example), both bands also incorporating flashy guitar wizardry. In that trait, STB hang on there very well indeed. The closer, over 8-minute long 'Revolution', shows the band's more varying songwriting a fine way; absolutely the best song on offer. Add to that rather shrill vocals, that are mostly in vein of Bullet For My Valentine. Generally, STB are about Avenged Sevenfold/Bullet For My Valentine/Trivium mix, so it's not such a mish-mash of things, after all.
STB want to sound stadion-size. In the songwriting lies the biggest problem: It does nothing but remind about them big names. I doubt this alone will get the band into bigger arenas. Or then that's exactly why they will... I mean STB have some truly memorable songs and choruses, sure, but it is still plastic and very much engineered to be just what it is. And the album plays for over an hour, being simply way too much.
Production-wise this is clean. It doesn't quite punch as much as it could, probably because it's engineered for certain audience. In the mix, the vocals are painfully loud, drowning a lot of instrumentation at times. Guys can play their tools of the trade, no doubt about it. Especially nimble-fingered guitarists, who steal the show (if the vocals do not get in their way, that is).
One won't find any deepness here. This is only about entertainment for certain kind of audience. This might manage on it. - Reviewed by Lane 01-25-2019
Skies Turn Black on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SkiesTurnBlack
Sons of Alpha Centauri :: Continuum (2018) CD [H42 Records]
Tracklisting: 1. Into the Abyss (01:42), 2. Jupiter (05:11), 3. Solar Storm (04:50), 4. Io (04:33), 5. Surfacing the Air (01:48), 6. Interstellar (06:39), 7. Orbiting Jupiter (02:45), 8. Return Voyage (10:52)
English aliens return with their sophomore full-lengther, over a decade since their debut album. With 'Continuum', they took off a trip to Jupiter and its surroundings, on a submarine (!!!), and return to Earth. They've been active all years between, putting out split releases especially with Karma To Burn.
Generally, SOAC's style is rather characteristic. Their craft consists of stoner rock/metal, electronic music and... Without any better definitions, proggressive rock. And they're an all-instrumental band. The vibes fluctuate between Earthy and celestial, and the vibes between calm and more vibrant.
Their heavier and driving bits somewhat remind me of those of Xysma's 1993 oddity 'Deluxe', 'Solar storm' being a perfect example of this. But then again, 'Jupiter' includes true British heavy/doom episodes. However, the album is rather varying. Calmer song 'Io' (hey, that moon has over 400 active volcanoes..! Now that's "calm"...) is also more melodic one. 'Surfacing for Air' is a beautiful melancholic short piece before eerie 'Interstellar', in which I head some Paradise Lost style melodiousness. Sullen classical piano piece 'Orbiting Jupiter' precedes the longest song, closer 'Return Voyage'. The songs, at least longer ones, usually take a few turns every now and then, so this is not about drone. But at times it is about build ups.
Every instrument have been allocated with an equal space in the mix. Sometimes, but rarely, there are more than one guitar track at the time. So, it does souns like a quartet playing. There are several tones used on guitar throughout the album. Keyboards offer mostly mats, and are generally rather minimalistic. They definitely totally hit 1970s vibe at times, like on the closing track, and never are about modern "bleep-bleep" territory at any point. The bass guitar sounds warm and the drums organic. The mix is very illustrious, leaving everything bare for a listener to enjoy.
I expected more of "out there" vibes from 'Continuum', but it ends up being more like an Earthy journey, for my big surprise. I did not try this while reading something, but it might have a bit too much happening for that, as well as for total relaxing purposes. Anyway, if you're looking for timeless instrumental rock, that do not beat that much, this album is one to try. I must admit, that I find it quite unique. - Reviewed by Lane 10-27-2018
The official Sons of Alpha Centauri: www.sonsofalphacentauri.co.uk
Sushi Rain :: s/t (2011) CD [Madamadorè Publishing]
Tracklisting: 1. Shake Your Body to the Disco Hell (03:51), 2. Something Illegal Inside My Life (03:51), 3. Don't Waste more Tears (05:08), 4. American Show (05:57), 5. Happy for another Night (07:23), 6. Big Mistake (04:08), 7. Midnight Queen (03:50), 8. I Wanna Fall in Love (04:57), 9. Fly (05:12), 10. Chianti Wine Shred (01:27)
Wanna have some funky time? Then Sushi Rain, who hail from Montespertoli, Italy, might be your entertainment for the evening. Sushi Rain doesn't really have anything to do with Red Hot Chili Peppers, but the bands they've listed as their influences are such as Extreme, Living Colour, Toto, Bumblefoot, King's X, Faith No More and Mr. Big, and I can approve this listing.
The band was already formed back in 2002, and it can be especially heard in tightness and skillful performances they show here. Extreme influences are clear straight from the first song, which harks back to 1990 and the 'Extreme II: Pornograffitti' album. The guitars remind of Nuno Bettencourt's playing and also some Eddie Van Halen stylings can be heard. It's easygoing yet at times very, very technical and super fast. There's some metal music bits in first two songs, including shredding guitar work and double kick drumming. Slower 'Don't Waste more Time' drags in some kind Guns N' Roses vibes, as the vocals turn into Axl Rose-ish stuff, even though more "human" if you will. The band fluently switches from tougher to more laid-back vibes (Mr. Big and the likes), albeit here the band sticks to that party action for most of the time; 3 slower songs. It gets evident, that the band can pen some memorable tunes for sure, but...
The vocals are too loud in the mix, and are the least technical performance here. They started to get on my nerves quite fast. Both their loudness and presentation caused that. Surely, they are rather wide in their spectrum, but still the weakest link together with some not so working compositions. While being Italian, the pronunciation doesn't give that up. One thing I've never enjoyed about is the horns section, which can be heard on some tracks. Not my thing, period.
If you enjoyed Extreme back in the early 1990s, then Sushi Rain can be a nice thing to get acquaintanced with. This sounds very American, even though I can smell that pizza too. - Reviewed by Lane 11-24-2014
Sushi Rain at Facebook.com: www.facebook.com/SushiRainOfficial
Thalamus :: Hiding from Daylight (2017) CD [ViciSolum Productions]
Tracklisting: 1. Time (05:24), 2. The Painter (04:31), 3. Don't Leave Me Behind (04:53), 4. Someday (08:27), 5. Hiding from Daylight (04:19), 6. Absolution (04:19), 7. Down in a Hole (04:48), 8. Vertigo (04:52)
Thalamus. This name minds me about my childhood and cool Commodore 64 and Amiga games. The band Thalamus from Sweden, have now released their fourth album, but this is my first ever contact with them.
Thalamus play sullen hard rock. It is heavy and it is bluesy, and it sounds like coming straight from the 1970s. Well, obviously not production-wise, though. Often it is very riff-driven, and believe me, there's some cool shit abound there! Hammond and other organs are important source of melody and author of wicked atmospheres. Often this sounds more like British stuff (Uriah Heep, for example), but the band's Nordic origin is audible, too. The vocals remind me of Gary Moore and Glenn Hughes, but are a tad wider in their spectrum; it's still raspy and snotty kind of lamenting, but also with power. The rhythm section consists of lively bass playing and heavy, Paice-ish drumming (but on heavier parts the snare drum is quite lost in the mix, sadly; it's not very clear a production job, to be honest). The songs can get rather epic at times, and this definitely isn't any kind of hit-list material, but soulful. It is very evident in playing, singing, and in guitar solos. There's also a prog side to the music, but still there is no long and labyrinthine compositions to be heard here. However, at times it tends to get rather unvarying, which is the biggest minus for the album.
'Hiding from Daylight' is an enjoyable, even in its gloominess, take on 1970s (British) hard rock. The music isn't instantly catchy. Then again, there is quite a bit to be found in it. Just give this a try! - Reviewed by Lane 08-30-2017
Official Thalamus website: www.thalamusband.se
The Night Suns :: Human (2017) CD EP [Independent]
Tracklisting: 1. Smoke (03:26), 2. My Blood Is Cold (04:23), 3. Human (04:19)
Okay, I got sent some grunge rock, then! I do not much listen to this genre, but I got some legendary albums from bands such as Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and... and...
Anyway, The Night Suns are touted to be influenced by Nirvana, Queens Of The Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails. Their promotion company surely does not let these guys easily for sure! And I thought that this band wouldn't let me easily. I personally have no feelings towards QotSA, but Nirvana of course was pretty hot back in the early 1990s. But I really do not hear much QotSA here, and if it's a big influence here, I certainly cannot really sense it. Which is good. Nirvana's spirit certainly smells here.
The vocals remind me of Kurt Cobain, but are clearer. The backing vocals stuff really reminds of Nirvana, too. The vibe of the music is not phlegmatic or hang-overish; but it is a bit grim, just like Therapy?, for example. The riffs are catchy and melody and lead guitar work too. Sometimes gritty and disharmonic, sometimes beautiful (especially layered guitars). At times guitars remind me of The Cure with their airy presence. The bass is an important element in the sound as are the drums. It is rock, after all. These three songs can go from calm to kicking. And none of them is similar to each other. TNS definitely do not go it AC/DC way, then! There are synthesizers too, bringing in that modern, electronic element.
I am positively surprised by The Night Suns. While they are doing grunge-influenced rock, they certainly aren't living in the past. A nice blend of Us and British rock. Oh yes, I didn't bring it up earlier on, that TNS come from London, England. Go check them out live or on recording. As they put it, they are "the soundtrack to your dark hours." - Reviewed by Lane 10-24-2017
Official The Night Sun website: www.thenightsuns.com