Reviews in chronological order of publishing top to bottom
Dead or American - Thaumaturgy
The term "genre-defying" was used in the press letter accompanying TLR!'s copy of Thaumaturgy,
and this reviewer can't think of a better statement. Each song blends hardcore vocals with alternative and hard rock
style instrumentals, making Dead or American's sound both unique and stirring; something all bands should aim for regardless
of the flavor they play.
Thaumaturgy's ten tracks earn Dead or American their title as Scotland's "kings of post-hardcore".
Underlying each song is a dystopian vibe, which could be the goth rock style arrangements some
of the songs sport. This reviewer can't quite put his finger on it, but it is liked nonetheless.
Dead or American gets 3.5 out of 5 for Thaumaturgy featuring "Rodomontade", "Creep Eastward",
"A Border Crossing", "Potboiler", "Shibboleth", "Hot Shapes for Autumn", "Ne Plus Ultra"; "Vox Humana, Vox Celeste"; "St.
Thomas' Well", and "Lupine Tuition".
My choice tracks being: "Creep Eastward", "Shibboleth", "Ne Plus Ultra", and "Lupine Tuition".
Dead or American is Chris Cusack on guitar and vocals, Colin Morrison on guitar and vocals, Ritchie
Carlin on drums and vocals, and Peter Flett on bass.
- Michael Meade
Loss Leader - Loss Leader
Loss Leader is the literal one-man-band of Joe Quimby, Loss Leader was released December
1st 2008 on Predestination Records, and is available as a digital download only.
With Loss Leader Quimby has defined a dark, melodic sound reminiscent of a cross between
The Cure and Depeche Mode, with some screamo style vocals thrown in for good measure.
The eight tracks come across a little emo at points, but not enough to damage the dark morbidity
it feels like Loss Leader is aiming for. Yes, the previous statement at first glance could be taken as an oxymoron, but try
comparing some emo music with some truly dark tunes like Quimby has crafted here.
Loss Leader's debut features "hope was never here", "you make me sick", "poor things", "you really
are just a waitress", "show us no secret", "i deliver handshakes like bombs", "speak to your lawyer", and "dark clouds over
Loss Leader's self-titled debut gets a well earned 3.5 out of 5.
Titus Gein & Hey Enemy - titus gein VERSUS hey enemy
What do you get when you mix electro and bass heavy post
blues rock? Glasgow's own Titus Gein and Hey Enemy's split EP titus gein VERSUS hey enemy! Two tracks from Titus
Gein head-to-head with three from Hey Enemy.
It would've been nice for the split to be equal, but regardless Titus Gein's two tracks
"mechanoid" and "which is it, beastman?" are both pretty tasty bits of electro goodness. "which is it, beastman?"
is the choice track for this reviewer.
Hey Enemy has a decent three track half, consisting of "ambulance chaser", "happy
sanchez", and "a square go".
"ambulance chaser" gets my pick of Hey Enemy's tracks.
I'd like to give both outfits equal scores and call their face-off a tie, but Titus
Gein takes it by a nose.
Titus Gein and Hey Enemy get a 3 out of 5 for their split EP.
- Michael Meade
Suns of Freedom - Turn Yourself On
Suns of Freedom are back with a vengence with Turn Yourself On! These eight tracks stand
head, shoulders, and a stage above the demo Suns of Freedom sent us almost a year ago.
This Brooklyn metal band's sound has matured in a major way, their lyrics have a substance this
reviewer found lacking on DEMOLISTEN; not to mention their tighter instrumentals.
Altogether Suns of Freedom pulled off a great metal album in Turn Yourself On and I
commend them on it, metal has really been starting to sound alike of late and this stands out from the crowd.
Turn Yourself On is eight tracks of headbanging greatness!
"Turn Yourself On", "Cut Loose", "Demand More", "Being Human", "A3R", "Hate the World", "Swirls
of Confusion", and "The Hustle" deserve the 4 out of 5 this album is getting.
Choice cuts are "Turn Yourself On" and "Being Human".
Suns of Freedom are Vocals: the Refugee, Guitar: Chris9, Drums: Big Dirty Willis, Bass: Julius
Jams, Sonic Titan: Jay Rea.
- Michael Meade
Shadows Lie - Echoes
Kira Leigh's vocals make every song a hauntingly melodic trip. Emotion fills every line in beautiful
unison with the impressive instrumentals, ranging from acoustic guitars to hard rocking electric guitars and tight drums.
Peppered with a hint of electronica, making Echoes emotionally dark very nicely without
crossing into emo territory.
At first glance Shadows Lie gives a gothic appearance, but upon listening the group quickly defies
classifaction with each song representing many different rock elements.
Each of the fourteen tracks on Echoes runs the gauntlet of rock genres including, hard,
alternative, goth, acoustic, indie, even laying down a ballad! A non-cheesy ballad in fact, which is incredible.
Alternative is definately felt the most, but that is a plus, as this reviewer wishes more alt
rock was this good.
Echoes is an ambitious fourteen tracks; "Dead End", "Ghost", "Echo", "Blank", "Keep
Falling Down", "Overwhelmed", "Shadows", "Invited", "Broken", "Secret", "Zoe", "Everything", "Portrait", "Flame", and an acoustic
cut of "Keep Falling Down" for track fifteen.
Most up and coming bands don't go for more than eight tracks on their debut albums, of course
recording costs are a completely understandable factor in that, but here at TLR! we like ambition.
Stand out tracks for me are "Dead End", "Ghost", "Echo", "Shadows", "Zoe", "Flame", and
"Keep Falling Down" acoustic.
Echoes gets an almost perfect 4.5 out of 5!
Shadows Lie is Kira Leigh - vocals and lyrics, Cary Tamura - guitars, bass, and programming.
Guitars on "She Can't See Them" performed by Geoff Grayson and Cary Tamura. Additional drum programming on "Dead
End" by Marco Britti.
Shadows Lie live band is Frank Grullon and Malaka De Silva on guitars, and Marco Britti
- Michael Meade
Stephanie White & The New Jersey Philth Harmonic -
Knee Deep InSanity
Harmonic? Definately, Philth? Perhaps, but I like it by any name. Stephanie's vocals are soulful
and sensual with a strength and vulnerability to them that brings a sense of realness to the music.
Instrumentals range from a jazz soul fusion to acoustic rock, a piano ballad, and a little blues.
This eclectiveness keeps you listening and your foot tapping in time through all ten tracks of
Knee Deep InSanity.
The country/bluegrass vibe you get off the guitar work on "Rogue" feels a little out
of place. It's still a solid song, it's just the mood and lyrical content make you want a more bluesy guitar.
Knee Deep InSanity is "Girls Have Expenses", "Tough Enough", "Teardrops", "You're Not
Alone", "Sustain", "Bogged Down", "You Won't Believe", "Here We Go Again", "Rogue", and "Did I Change You?"
This reviewer's choice songs are "Girls Have Expenses", "You're Not Alone", "Here We Go Again",
and "Did I Change You?"
Stephanie White & The New Jersey Philth Harmonic get a 3.5 out of 5 for Knee Deep InSanity.
The New Jersey Philth Harmonic is Stephanie White on vocals, Robbie LaFalce on drums, acoustic
guitar, percussion, and vocals; Matt "Shooby" Schoenebaum on alto and tenor sax and flute, Eric Lindberg on electric guitar
and mandolin, Aleks Ozolinson keyboards, French Horn, and programming; and Chris Staranka on acoustic and electric bass.
- Michael Meade
Madleaf - Sinners
Sinners is eleven tracks of greatness! Greek rockers Madleaf have taken everything that
made grunge greats like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam legends and distilled it into a sound that is incredible.
Awesome vocals, spot on guitars, heavy bass, and perfect drums seal the deal on this album's
awesomeness and lets you know these guys have earned their stripes before they even formed Madleaf.
Jim Lord (vocals) hails from Lord 13, a cult grunge-stoner rock band, George (drums) came from
alternative Make-Believe, which was featured on MTV; Nick (guitars) was in the alt band Human Asteroid, and Dorian (bass)
came from the metal outfits Clairvoyant and Night Guest.
Sinners features "Sinners", "Wave Girl", "The Age of Reason", "Velvet", "Feed Me", "Under
My Head", the instrumental "Bliss", "Dirty Bag", "Hand You The Crown", "Space Lift", and "Into The Sun".
This reviewer's choice tracks are "Sinners", "Wave Girl", "Feed Me", and "Hand You The Crown".
This review has turned out a little short, relatively speaking, but how many times can you say
how good a band is before the review becomes redundant? That being said, Madleaf gets a 4 out of 5 for Sinners.
Once again, Madleaf is Jim Lord on vocals, Nick on guitars, Dorian on bass, and George on drums.
You can check Madleaf out at any of these sites:
- Michael Meade
Slow Burning Car - Blowback
Slow Burning Records
Slow Burning Car is a one band army of musicians, making each song a new experience as band members
take a revolving door approach with a different set of musicians on each song. I like that.
This also provides some great genre crossover, indie ballads ("Suddenly", "A Little Sign"), alternative
style introspections of the songwriter's progress through life and love ("I Saw The Mountain", "Low"), and a song that would
play out perfectly as what I'll dub a "grunge western" ("Rumbling Chief"); amongst others.
Slow Burning Car is definately a band I recommend looking up, and Blowback is an
album to add to your collection.
Blowback's twelve tracks are: "King Con", "Farkytootle", "Low", "I Saw The Mountain",
"Formula I", "Suddenly", "A Little Sign", "Respect", "Rumbling Chief", "First Born", "Grave" (dedicated to Mark Bavis, Ace
Bailey, and the many others that lost their liveson September 11th 2001), and "Slow Burning Car".
This reviewer's choice tracks are "Farkytootle", "Low", "A Lttle Sign", and "Respect".
Slow Burning Car gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Blowback.
Slow Burning Car is Troy Spiropoulos - vocals, bass, electric and acoustic guitar, keys, piano,
samples, percussion, and lead guitar; Steve Omest - lead guitar; Derek Reynolds - lead guitar; Bryan Gage - lead guitar; Tracii
Guns - lead guitar; Jason Hemmens - harmonica; Heather Lodoe - viola; Julie Carpenter - violin; Eddie Estudio - saxophone;
Greg St. John - backing vocals; Sheila McSherry - backing vocals; Kristin Ray - backing vocals; Mike Zimmerman - drums; Burt
Malcut - engineering, production, ocals, guitar, bass, percussion.
- Michael Meade
Dirty Passion - Self-Destructive/Angel
The members of Dirty Passion have taken their cue from classic 1980s rockers in all but wearing spandex
(I'm glad the '80s are long gone), which for this Sweden-based quartet is a good thing.
"Self-Destuctive" and "Angel" both have a highly palpable Bon Jovi circa 1985 feel to them. For
some, this reviewer is sure, it would be an overwhelming feeling, but what's important is that's what works for Dirty Passion
and they do it damn well.
My choice track is what would be the A-Side if vinyl was still around, "Self-Destructive".
Dirty Passion's single release Self-Destructive/Angel gets a 3 out of 5.
Dirty Passion is Emil Ekbladh on vocals, Christopher Olsson on guitar, Björn
Wilander on bass, and Christoffer Braman on drums.
- Michael Meade
Combo-6 - sUNNY-eYE'D-uP
Garage-punk and electro aren't two styles you usually throw together, but Combo-6 pulls it off
nicely. Add vocals that are reminiscent of Tim Armstrong without the mumble and it's all the better!
Combo-6's bass and drums need to be turned up a little, but other than that I'm not finding anything
to complain about on sUNNY-eYE'D-uP.
sUNNY-eYE'D-uP's six tracks are "Panic Attack", "Interpretation Blind", "Catch zz",
"Bring On The Wonder", "Oh My Dear", and "Can't Stand You".
Choice tracks are "Panic Attack" and "Can't Stand You" for their classic punk style,
tone, and pacing.
Combo-6 gets a 3 out of 5 for sUNNY-eYE'D-uP.
- Michael Meade
Odd Zero - Admire The Liar
Odd Zero Records
Odd Zero is back with a new EP, Admire The Liar, and right from the beginning they up the ante.
Harder, faster, and more pissed off!
You really can't help banging your head along with all six tracks! Vocals, guitars, bass, and drums sound
even tighter than on their self-titled debut (which was great!). Keep an eye and both ears on Odd Zero, you won't regret it.
Admire The Liar contains the title-track, "Dirty Electricity", "Stalker Vibe",
"Nervous Around Me", "Set it Down", and "Notorious".
This reviewer's top picks are "Admire The Liar", "Dirty Electricity", and "Set it Down".
Odd Zero gets another perfect score of 5 out of 5 for Admire The Liar!
- Michael Meade
Free Spirit - Pale Sister of Light
Expressive vocals, flawless instrumentals, and progressive pacing make Pale Sister of Light
a great listen! Lyrical content is downright mythological at times, and that makes this reviewer happy being a mythology
and fantasy fiction buff.
Free Spirit has put together a great album of epic quest songs that are at the same time very
personal journeys we all take in life. Each backed by awesome classic rock inspired guitar riffs and jamming drums!
These elements combined truly make a masterful piece of musical alchemy.
Pale Sister of Light is "Shadow of A Man", "Moonlight Ride", "Pale Sister of Light",
"Heroes Don't Cry", "Radiant Light", "Cry of An Eagle", "Easy Days", "Strangers", "Until The Night", "Far Away From Heaven",
and "Preacher Man".
Choice tracks are "Shadow of A Man", the title track, "Heroes Don't Cry", "Radiant Light", and
Free Spirit gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Pale Sister of Light.
Free Spirit is Sami Alho (vocals), Pasi Koivumäki (drums), (guitar),
Sami Hämäläinen (bass), Marko Haapamäki (guitar), and Timo Alho (keys).
- Michael Meade
Snew - Snew You
Snew could be summed up as Def Leppard meets Guns n Roses (before they started sucking)... but why stop
there? Good vocals, tasty guitars, good basslines, and tight drums mixed with real party lyrics make one good bang your head,
party all night rock album!
TLR! hasn't received any really slamming party rock for a few months, and this reviewer is glad Snew stepped
up and delivered!
Now it's time to finish this review so I can jam to Snew You one more time before before my next
Snew You's excellent ten tracks are "Stand Up High", "Got Love", "Snew You", "She's A Real Gunslinger",
"Kick Me Over", "Head Trauma", "Electric Is The Law", "Get It To Go", "Vibrator", and "Heavy Water".
Top tracks are the title track "Snew You", "She's A Real Gunslinger", "Kick Me Over", "Electric Is The Law",
and "Heavy Water".
Snew's Snew You gets an enthusiastic 4 outta 5!
Snew is Curtis Don Vito (vox), Andy Lux (guitars), Cat Tate (bass), and Mark Ohrenberger (drums).
- Michael Meade
Lilith's Army - Drain Me
Indie-Go Records/Dark Sound Records
Lilith's army launches a full force kick to your head with every note of Drain Me. The
UK based trio keep their sonic assault strong with hard and heavy guitar riffs, pile-driving drums, and incredible rage fueled
Lilith's Army delivers one hell of a great album, worthy of their moniker, in Drain Me. Frontwoman
Sylvie Truman's growling vocals and heavy guitar pull you into the massive "fuck you" that the eight tracks, plus an acoustic
cut of the title track, of Drain Me spell out.
Back all that up with a great rhythm section and you get one ballsy album, with a lot of punk
attitude wrapped in garage metal, that TLR! highly recommends you check out!
Drain Me is "Sweet Nitemare", "Sick of it All", "Drain Me", "Indecision", "Favorite
Sin", "Fugue", "Get Out", "The Devil Within Me", and "Drain Me" acoustic.
Recommended tracks are "Sick of it All", "Indecision", "The Devil Within Me", and the acoustic
cut of "Drain Me".
Lilith"s Army gets a 4.5 out 5 for Drain Me.
- Michael Meade
Deluded By Lesbians - The Ignorance of being Important
Deluded By Lesbians have achieved a great vintage punk sound in their instrumentals that harken back to
the early days of the Ramones and the Clash, without copying them.
Deluded By Lesbians are definately themselves in every way!
Vocal style shifts back and forth between "modern" alternative and an almost new wave/post-punk hybrid vibe,
depending on the track, wich this reviewer digs.
The Ignorance of being Important is the Milano, Italy based trio's second EP. The first was 2008's
The Importantance of being Ignorant.
The six track EP features "Don't Laugh For Me Argentina", "Love Is Blind", "We Don't Care", "C'mon Get In",
"Rip Off My Eyes", and the band's cover of early '90s club hit "All That She Wants"; originally by Ace of Base.
Lyrics run the gauntlet from intelligent commentary on life, and problems arising from it, to bullshit that
sounds like the band was hammered when they wrote them; which in the end serves up a pretty good EP.
Choice tracks are "Don't Laugh For Me Argentina", "Love Is Blind", "We Don't Care", and "All That She Wants.
Deluded By Lesbians get a 3.5 out of 5 for The Ignorance of being Important, multo bene gentlemen!
Deluded By Lesbians are Federica Knox (guitars, bass, vocals), Laura O'Clock (bass, guitars, vocals), and
Lara Brixen (drums, vocals).
YesMisterBloodVessel - Racing The Relapse
It's hard on a reviewer when the band or solo artist has already summed up their work perfectly
as "Nine Inch Nails meets U2 meets Filter meets The Beatles meets Nirvana". Despite the truth of that statement, and being
able to hear each influence in their sound, YesMisterBloodVessel remains unmistakably YesMisterBloodVessel all the way.
Lyrically Racing The Relapse hits hard, without pulling a punch on any of the
gut wrenching emotions it conjures, but has a wit that most "fuck you, you *insert gender appropriate expletive here*" break-up
and post-break-up songs lack.
The instrumental tracks ("Aries & Leo", "Reflection On The Rocks", "Racing The Relapse")
are well done and a contemplative air about them, except the title track, which is very dark and primal in it's instrumentation.
YesMisterBloodVessel mastermind Christian Peppas also gets applauded for being ballsy enough to have composed his title track
as an instrumental piece.
Racing The Relapse is "Victim", "Aries & Leo", "Skeleton Czar", "You Will Never
Know", "Reflection On The Rocks", "Relativity", "Racing The Relapse", and "Happiness For A Day".
Choice tracks: "Victim", "Skeleton Czar", "You Will Never Know", and "Reflection On The Rocks".
YesMisterBloodVessel gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Racing The Relapse.
YesMisterBloodVessel is Christian Peppas (composer, vocals, guitar, piano, synth), and guest
musicians Spivac (guitars, synth, backing vocals, programming), John Ferrara (bass), Justin Ahiyon (drums), Adam Christgau
(drums), Stupp (bass), and Chris Gersbeck (drums).
Saddleback Shark - The Killing System
Saddleback Shark originally released The Killing System in 1997, just as rock and metal were being
forced almost underground once more by "virginal" pop princesses and limp boy bands, and 12 years later... it still kicks
Remastered and released on Shredguy Records, The Killing System is what metal should be. Guitars
that set fire to amps, pounding basslines, drums that hit like sledgehammers, pissed off gravely vocals... yeah, hard to find
a negative anywhere in this album.
Lyrical content covers getting shafted by people and the system, government lies, and more; every line just
as socially relevent today as it was in '97.
The Killing System features "Thirteen Days", "Blistered", "The Killing System", "Freedom Noose",
"Infested", "Whipping Tree", "Skyrockethead", "Maximum Jet", "Am I Dead Sam", and "Staplegun".
Choice cuts are the title track, "Freedom Noose", "Whipping Tree", "Skyrockethead", and "Maximum Jet".
Saddleback Shark's The Killing System gets a thrashing 4.5 out of 5!
Saddleback Shark is Rob Johnson (guitar), Gil Graham (bass), Drew Collins (vocals), and John Homan (drums).
Rob Johnson - Shredworx: The Rob Johnson Collection
There really isn't a better title for this album, Johnson is a true shred master on guitar. You
want to talk guitar heroes? This guy is the real deal!
Compositions are almost symphonic in their straightforward yet complex structures. And others
are simply balls to the wall headbangers, which just fine by this reviewer.
Pacing is razor sharp start to finish, in fact, I dare you to listen to Shredworx and
not bang your head through all 15 tracks!
Great headbanging songs, amp melting guitar shreds, blazing speed, and full enjoyability for
any metalhead! This is instrumental metal at it's finest.
Tracks off Shredworx are "Forcefield", "Guitarchitecture", "Metaphysical", "Jinxed",
"Supercharged", "Gravity Pulling Me", "Seven String Rhetoric", "Divided By Three", "Relay Torque", "Soul Chuckles", "Subliminal
Dream", "Instant Vibe Potion", "Dance of The Monster Gods", "End of Days", and "Blistered" (from Johnson's Saddleback Shark
Choice cuts: "Forcefield", "Seven String Rhetoric", "Dance of The Monster Gods", and "End of
Rob Johnson gets 4 out of 5 for Shredworx: The Rob Johnson Collection.
Moth Circus isn't exactly "Pamela Anderson mastubating at a freakshow" as the band's press letter promised,
but they do hold your attention through this six track demo as if they were Pam Anderson...
Now what Moth Circus is, is straight up, balls to the wall rock!
Unapologetically Moth Circus hits you hard from beginning to end, and wanting
more you'll be all too eager to push Play again. Hard vocals, solid guitars, hammer hit drummming, and tight basslines
(though for this reviewer's tastes the bass could've used a heavier presence) combine to make Moth Circus a circus to run
Composition and pacing are hard, fast, and in your face but that's how rock was meant to be.
The six tracks on this demo are "Carousel", "Death Living", "Stay Wrong", "Dark Sunshine", "Useless
Until Abused", and "My Puppeteer".
Choice cuts are definately "Death Living" and "My Puppeteer".
Moth Circus gets a 3.5 out of 5 for the demo, and a 5 for the two pages of "all work and no play
makes EBE a dull alien" that came with it.
Moth Circus is Norway-based four piece outfit featuring Tommy (bass, vocals), Alien Ken
(guitar, vocals), Johnny (vocals, guitar), and Glenn (drums).
Eryn Non Dae. - The Never Ending Whirl of Confusion
Metal Blade Records Europe
Eryn Non Dae. (formerly END.) comes on like a wrecking ball to the face, swiftly followed by
a jackhammer in the back of your skull! Great instrumental precision, that rivals Avenged Sevenfold, and throat-shredding
hardcore vocals pull you down into the dark depths of each song's musical violence.
Each verse is a powerhouse of vocal rage and every bar of music a shredding skullcracker.
Normally this reviewer isn't much of a fan of hardcore vocalization, but this EP was enjoyed!
TLR! definately recommends Eryn Non Dae. to all metalheads.
The Never Ending Whirl of Confusion is a four track EP that features "Absolutely Nothing"
(featuring Xav of JenX), "Beyond The Senses", "Desensitized", and "Enigma of The Unknown".
Now as the EP is completely sold out, the band was nice enough to send a CD-R with the EP plus
two tracks ("When Time Elapses" and "The Decline and The Fall") off their new full album Hydra Lernaia. The original
EP is great, but choice tracks are going to "When Time Elapses" and "The Decline and The Fall", those songs really won me
over and have me looking forward to Hydra Lernaia.
The Never Ending Whirl of Confusion gets a 3 out of 5.
Eryn Non Dae. is a 5 piece band based out of Tolouse, France; and features Mathieu on vocal duty,
Franck on guitar and backing vocals, Yann on guitar, Julien on drums, and Mika on bass.
Slow Burning Car - Vol. 2 - The Scattering
Slow Burning Records
Slow Burning Car is back with Vol. 2 - The Scattering and their press poster for the album is 100%
correct, they have indeed refined their sound. And as a unit, Slow Burning Car is better for it. Instrumentation and composition
are tighter, and as a whole this album flows much better than the band's previous release (Blowback).
Slow Burning Car explores various genres of rock, covering almost all of the rock spectrum in a mere 12
tracks. To sum it all up in a phrase, I'm impressed. Lyrically there is a wide span of subject matter, including mythological
themes, science fact and fiction, evolution of oneself, "damn the man" style political commentary... again all my personal
favorites in the lyric contents.
Vol. 2 - The Scattering contains "Adama", "Ghola", "Zeus", "Blowback", "In The Trees", "Marry Me",
"Man In Crisis", "Call My Bluff", "Harum Scarum", "First Class", "Siren", and "Fabians Stroll".
Choice cuts are "Adama", "Ghola", "Blowback", "First Class", and "Siren".
Slow Burning Car gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Vol. 2 - The Scattering.
Slow Burning Car is Troy Spiropoulos (vocals, guitar, bass, keys, percussion, lead guitar), "Jim" Duc V.
Le (lead guitar), Victor Bishop (piano, keys, backing vocals, lead vocals), Sheila McSherry (backing and lead vocals), Krista
Ray (backing vocals), Mike Zimmerman (drums, backing vocals), and Burt Malcuit (engineering, production recon, lead guitar).
- Michael Meade
Pack of Wolves - Intimacy Is A Serious Danger
Pack of Wolves delivers an onslaught of raw, bloody, and biting emotion in every line of every
song. The often abstract pain of grief, anger, disappointment, and conflicted love all find palpable form and expression in
the lyrics and vocal delivery of Intimacy Is A Serious Danger.
Instrumental pacing cllas to mind early punk acts like The Sex Pistols and the original line-up
of The Ramones.
The sound of the EP comes off a little lo-fi, but I like that, and with all the difficulties
the band had to contend with over 2008, as a whole and on an individual level, they deserve a ton of accolades for recording
and mixing an Ep this good in just five days!
The EP features "How Long Have I Been Fainted?", Human Remains (Wife, Mother, Woman)", "We Put
The Fun In Funeral", "You're Beautiful (When I Can't See You)", and "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out".
Choice cuts are "How Long Have I Been Fainted?", "You're Beautiful (When I Can't See You)", and
"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out".
Pack of Wolves gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Intimacy Is A Serious Danger.
Pack of Wolves is an Austrian four-piece band, Thomas Talger
(vocals), Thomas Benke (drums), Erich Kuttnig (bass), and Stefan Benke (guitar).
- Michael Meade
The Absinthe Drinkers - Curiosities of the Future Gilded Age
A Neo-Victorian quartet that sets poetry, modern and classic, to their own compositions... Wait! Don't walk
away, it's good, I promise!
Seriously, The Absinthe Drinkers have combined great pieces with their signature sound, making for one
interesting auditory trip.
Curiosities of the Future Gilded Age fits perfectly in either your indie or steampunk collection.
Composition has an indie/surf feel with a true absinthe flavor (the good stuff, not the Americanized swill
you find in better liquor stores) to each note. This reviewer highly recommends The Absinthe Drinkers if you're looking to
expand your listening habits with somethng new and interesting.
Please imbibe responsibly.
Track listing: "Sailor", "Archaeans", "Yellow River's Earl", "Spider Anguish", "Circe Revisited", "The Giantess
and the Revenant", "No Room for Frank", "Omnibus", "The Harlot's House", "Lady Yang", "First Approach of the Sweet Spring",
and "Drunken Murderer".
Choice cuts are "Sailor", "Spider Anguish", "Circe Revisited", and "Drunken Murderer".
Curiosities of the Future Gilded Age gets a 3.5 out of 5.
The Absinthe Drinkers are Chris McDonough (vocals), Robert McNaull (vocals, drums, congas, electronic
and acoustic percussion), John Monge (guitar, keyboards), and Thomas Maxim Guerin (bass, keyboards).
Iroquois Confederacy - The Left-Handed Peace Pipe
Iroquois Confederacy pulls off an eclectic mix of styles in their material, throwing blues and
rock in with alternative and a little grunge, sometimes all in one song. From beginning to end this approach stays fresh,
even while the themes of several songs are classic blues situations and elements ("evil" women, booze, disatisfaction), the
lyrics are written well in a "modern" context while retaining intelligence and wit.
Instruments are played with a deftness that lacking, even a little, would send the band down
in a blaze that's nowhere near glory! Vocals sound like a raspy old school bluesman singing grunge rock, which if you think
about it is pretty damn cool.
The Left-Handed Peace Pipe is "Father Media", "Friends With Benefits", "Bridges", "Cellophane
Blues", "Remember", "Holy Roller Toker", "Just for Spite", "Architect of Buzz", "Wolves", "Old Joe", "King of Change", and
Choice cuts are "Cellophane Blues", "Holy Roller Toker", "Just for Spite", and "Old Joe".
Iroquois Confederacy gets a 3.5 out of 5 for The Left-Handed Peace Pipe.
Iroquoise Confederacy is a Pennsylvania-based four-piece band with Jeff Heilman (guitar, vocals),
Eric Spotts (bass, vocals), Chris Underkoffler (drums), and Andy Adams (lead guitar).
- Michael Meade
Fischel's Beast - Commencement
Barry Fischel, original guitarist of 80's thrash outfir Sentinel Beast, put Fischel's Beast together to
release the material that meant to be Sentinel Beast's second album. Well the 20+ year wait was worth it!
Sinister guitar shredding, belted (but coherent) vocals, great thrash drumming that sports actual patterns
and intricasy; beyond the machinegun repitition of most thrash and speed metal.
Now that Commencement has been released, Fischel's Beast will be working on songs that are all
their own, showing they really are a different beast. This reviewer is looking forward to headbanging while next writing on
Fischel's Beast. Thrash goodness of this calibre doesn't come along everyday, and certainly not with as much attention to
lyrical and musical composition and arrangement.
Commencement is "Commencement/Forbidden Territories", "The Phoenix", "One Man's Cry", "Fate of
Kings", and "Where Am I?"
Choice cuts are "Commencement/Forbidden Territories" and "One Man's Cry".
Commencement by Fishel's Beast gets a 4 out of 5.
Fischel's Beast is Barry Fischel (lead and rhythm guitar),Eric Mauriello (7 string bass), Ed Klinger (drums),
and Anthony Cross (vocals). Commencement also features special guest Chris Caffery (Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
performing the guitar solo on "Forbidden Territories" and the first solo on "Fate of Kings".
- Michael Meade
Rock Child - Ten
The ten songs on Rock Child's Ten play through telling vocalist Tat-Jane Bego's story
of arrival in New York City from Europe and adapting to life in the Big Apple's entertainment scene.
Instrumentation is strong, led by Barry Fischel on guitar, too strong in the mix actually on
"Blue Sky". A few times during the track I had to crank the volume just to hear Tat-Jane's vocals, but that's just a technicality,
her vocals are worth the crank up to hear them. That's really the only complaint here, instruments (as stated) are great,
and Tat-Jane's vocals sound like a cross between a sober Courtney Love and Björk.
Track list: "BLUE SKY", "HELP WANTED", "STEP ON MAD", "WHEN SUN'S COMING DOWN", "BUSINESS BABY",
"SAVE the PLANET", KICK me IN the FACE", "AN APPLE BANK", "PIRATE LAND" and "AN ANTICIPATION".
Choice cuts are "WHEN SUN'S COMING DOWN" and "PIRATE LAND".
Rock Child's Ten gets a 3 out of 5.
Rock Child is Tat-Jane Bego (vocals), Barry Fischel (guitar), Lev Weinstein (drums), and Brian
- Michael Meade
Enigma Code - Between The Lines
Mix Motorhead's driving power with the grooves of The New York Dolls and throw in some Bay Area Punk attitude
and you get Enigma Code. While these influences are apparent, the band is by no means anything but their own. Instruments
are tight all the way and make you want to get up and party, while the raspy vocals give a "horns up and headbanging" contrast
that make you pay attention to the lyrics; yet still add to the party ready feeling.
A definate recommendation for everybody's "bands I should check out" list!
Between The Lines features:
"Know it All"
"Lies and Glory"
"None so Blind"
Choice cuts are "Midnight", "Breakdown Baby", and "None so Blind".
Enigma Code gets a well earned 4.5 out of 5 for Between The Lines.
- Michael Meade
Artic Music Group
Controversial and thought provoking best describe Predator's music, Damien Lee Thorr's lyrics
speak about issues ranging from immigration, domestic violence, and child abuse to religious wars and prostitution to planet
wide annihilation and children that get lost in the "system" among others.
Each addressed in words that make you think outside of your own experiences no matter where you
place yourself on the liberal or conservative side of the divide.
This alone should garner Predator much applause before mention is even made of their musicianship.
Instrumental precision is flawless and vocals are screamed with the impassioned anger of the masses that suffer these injustices
in forced silence the world over.
"Cursed (Letters From Hell)"
"Between Vengeance & Forgiveness"
the instrumental "Fugue-itive"
"A Moment Sir..."
"In The Name of God?"
Choice cuts are "Between Vengeace & Forgiveness", "Closet Anti-Christ", and "In The Name
Predator's self-titled debut album gets a 5 out of 5!
Predator is Nestor Aguirre on vocals, Damien Lee Thorr on lead guitar, Chris Reiser on lead guitar
(did I forget to mention the awesome dual lead guitar style Predator sports? It's incredible), Rotten Rudy Orozco on
bass (Rudy, between TLR! receiving the CD for review and this review's publication, was unfortunately denied US Citizenship
and was deported back to his native Nicaragua. Scott Opheila has since taken over bass), and Dan Galante on drums.
Vastator - Hell Only Knows
If you ever hear anyone comment that they're in need of some "loud and abusive tunes", send them Vastator's
way! Vastator's sound is a brutal amalgamation of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden on steroids. For sheer headbangability alone
Hell Only Knows is a winner, even during the lower tempo tracks you'll find the urge to bang your head.
Plus taking one this reviewer's favorite pieces from the opera Pagliacci and turning it into metal, which
oddly enough I find fits said opera, as "Hellish Clown" and you can bet my attention is drawn and held. Instruments and vocals
are kept tighter than a metronome from the first to last note of each song, factor in Vastator's precision and they make Mudvayne's
self dubbed "math metal" look like multiples of two while they're rocking powers of twelve.
Tracks on Hell Only Knows are:
"Hell Only Knows"
"Soul Of Heroes"
"Evilution (The Next Step)"
"Mansion En Llamas"
Choice cuts are "Hellish Clown", "Unbreakable", and "Bloodline".
Vastator gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Hell Only Knows.
Hatestorm - Filth Purity
Beastial growls and demonic voices guaranteed to the faint of heart nightmares for weeks, coupled
with dark guitars and sinister drums pounding like legions of hellish troops show just how much Hatestorm belongs in the black
Without hearing Filth Purity anything I say as a reviewer will hardly convey just how
evily brilliant Hatestorm is... but I'll try anyway.
Hatestorm raises the bar for what this reviewer, personally, has been hearing from the black
metal community of late. Concise riffs, drums that have a presence with a complexity beyond mere machine gun bursts, and an
Choice cuts are "Filth Purity" and "To Crave".
Hatestorm gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Filth Purity.
Hatestorm is Underground on vocals, Storm on bass and vocals, Gruesome on drums and lyrics, and
Dinahl on guitars.
Hellhound - Metal Fire From Hell
Crazy metal maniacs is a good term for Hellhound, right out of the gate they make the listener want to get
up and blitz through the streets, screaming along with each song on Metal Fire From Hell! There's more than a little
80s metal feel on some of the tracks, but it is completely forgivable, if not outright encouraged.
That being said, the Japan-based foursome keeps their vocals and instruments much tighter than many classic
metal bands did; well before the advent of Metallica anyway.
In Hellhound's mission to preach the metal gospel, they certainly deliver! And better than that, you can
hear that these guys really enjoy what they're doing all the way through. And speaking for myself, when you can hear the band's
own enjoyment in the recording that makes it all the better.
"Metal Fire From Hell"
"Heavy Metal Highway"
"Heavy Metal Education"
"Change The World"
"Too Wild To Tame"
"Warriors of The Rising Sun"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Change The World", and "Warriors of The Rising Sun".
Hellhound gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Metal Fire From Hell.
Legions of War - Towards Death
Relentless is the perfect adjective to describe the sound of Legions of War, and their debut
album Towards Death is the ten tracks of sonic brutality to prove it! Style lands somewhere between thrash and black
metal. Instruments stay in thrash territory, while vocals drift back and forth from time to time between the two, they stay
rooted in the metal side.
Legions of War maintains a smooth run with the genre hybrid all the way, instruments have a real
harmony, the guitars in particular, that is quite seemless teamed with the steady hardcore vocals. Few faults are to
be found in this Legion.
"Deep In The Dark"
"Master Of The War"
"Mission To Kill"
"Ensemble Of Fear"
"Lamentation Through The Silence"
"Proclamation Of War"
"Reflections From The Past - A Soldiers Departure Pt.1"
"Dead Man Walking - A Soldiers Departure - Pt.2"
"Reapers In Command"
Choice cuts are "Reflections From The Past - A Soldiers Departure- Pt.1", "Dead Man Walking -
A Soldiers Departure Pt.2", and "Reapers In Command".
Legions of War gets a 4 out of 5 for Towards Death.
Legions of War is Zyklon on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Widowreaper on lead guitar, Hellwind
on bass guitar and vocals, and C. Stalinorgel on drums.
Adrian English - A.D.D
A.D.D is precisely what you do NOT need to listen to this 16 track, hour long masterpiece of guitar
shredding! English really is the mad scientist of shred, pulling off sounds with his guitar that are incredible and incredibly
intricate for a single guitar, 7 string or otherwise.
This reviewer would love to see English perform live, of course for the music, but also to in real time
the blinding speed the man's fingersmust move to accomplish his awesome fretwork.
If you're not a fan of progressive speed metal, then Adrian English probably isn't for you, but anyone
that gives him a listen has to admit that English is a true guitar virtuoso. Skill that putsmany "big name" guitarists to
shame, and the willingness to explore and innovate make Adrian English a name to be on the lookout for in the music world.
"3 Minds Of Pain (Intro)"
"Waking The Shread!"
"Taco Bell Cannon (Solo)"
"Bridges To Insanity"
"Mechanized (feat. Chris Storey of All Shall Perish guesting on outro Harmonies)"
"Me Robot Postal"
"Beat U Down"
"At My Graves (Acoustic slideshow)"
Choice cuts are "Skinless", "I Evolve", "Glitch", "Mechanized", and "Acidic Fairytale".
Adrian English gets 4.5 out of 5 for A.D.D.
All guitars, bass programming, and drum programming by Adrian English.
Ollipeist has made a truly awesome EP, combining elements of metal with, at times, ambient
instrumentals and progressive pacing. Lyrically and melodically the songs take the listener through a journey of rage, loss,
melancholy, and derangement; at the end of which you're left wanting to go further down the rabbit hole that the
band has opened up.
Agressive tones meet perfectly balanced pacing, showcasing true talent in the songwriting. Also
presented is Ollipeist's ability to be themselves and let their originality shine, they're happy writing and performing their
own way. There's no trying to be the next Slipknot here.
"Of War And Storms"
"Blinding Nether", "Agrona"
"Ballad of Violence"
"A New Beginning"
Choice cuts are "Of War And Storms", "Ballad of Violence", and "A New Beginning".
Ollipeist gets a solid 4 out of 5 for their self titled EP.
Mellow Down Easy - Cosmisutra
Dualtone Music Group
Mellow Down Easy's blend of country-tinged Nashville sound with indie/alt rock is not usually this reviewer's
personal taste, but I think I'm coming around. Vocals and instruments pull you in and get your feet tapping in time to the
music, whether it's an up tempo song or one of the band's slower, more introspective songs. The faster songs on Cosmisutra
are definately fun before you can call them anything else ("She Must Be Radioactive"), while the slower songs take you
inward and lead to self examination, landing on the sweeter side of bittersweet ("Long Road Now").
Blues influences can definately be heard in Mellow Down Easy's songs, which is what started winning this
reviewer over to begin with, and from there it weas just a matter of enjoying the trip.
"I Am The Universe"
"She Must Be Radioactive"
"Long Road Now"
"Soul Full Of Holes"
"Crazy and Wicked"
"The Great Big Melancholy"
"A Million Pages Of Ugly Stories"
Choice cuts are "I Am The Universe", "She Must Be Radioactive", "Long Road Now", "A Million Pages Of Ugly
Mellow Down Easy gets a 4 out of 5 for Cosmisutra.
Mellow Down Easy is Andrew Adkins (guitar and vocals), Daryl Dasher (bass and vocals), and Rodney Russel
(drums and percussion). Check Mellow Down Easy out at www.MellowDownEasy.com.
- Michael Meade
Rocky Mountain Music Group
Roadhouse rock mixed with heavy metal guitar licks will have every person listening
wanting to run away with this circus. And believe me, as hackneyed as that statement might sound, it is true.
Circus 51 offers a solid rock sound built around classic rock inspired vocals, great heavy metal
guitar play that calls to mind some of the best the NWOBHM and American '80s metal had to offer, driving basslines, and to
call the drums "spot on" would be a gross understatement.
Bottom line is check Circus 51 out if you still like music you can rock out to, and if not then
go buy some more Nickelback.
"Fly To The Sky"
"Under The Bigtop"
"Destination To Nowhere"
"One To Shed A Tear"
"Walk Out The Door"
"What Good Is It Doing You"
Choice cuts are "Destination To Nowhere" and "One To Shed A Tear".
Circus 51 gets a 3.5 out of 5 for their selt-titled album.
Circus 51 is Justin "Krash" Bowman (drums), Jerry Whitman (bass), and Chawn Cook (guitar and
- Michael Meade
Mystic Haze - Haze Days
Mystic Haze has a perfect "bar band" sound to their instruments, alt rock appeal in the vocals, and lyrics
that combine said styles with the introspective depth of the singer/songwriter deluge from a few years ago. That said, not
every song is going to have you in a mire of deep thought, some are just straight party rock; and there's definately nothing
wrong with that! There has been a real lack of fun in music for a while, of course Mystic Haze has a few pissed off songs
too. Balance is the key and these guys already have the door wide open.
Haze Days does sport two covers, one from Alice Cooper ("Eighteen") and one from The Beatles ("Don't
Let Me Down") respectively, but they're well chosen and well played.
"Find The Time"
"Best Way To Lose"
"To Live Another Day"
"There Will (Never Be Peace)"
"Dead Man's Road"
"Sadness To Rain"
"Don't Let Me Down"
"No Time To Get Old"
Choice cuts are "Best Way To Lose", "To Live Another Day", "There Will (Never Be Peace)", and "Dead Man's
Mystic Haze gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Haze Days.
Mystic Haze is Bryan Feudale (lead guitar, lead vocals), David Feudale (bass, lead vocals, backing vocals),
Jason Struble (lead and rhythm guitars), and Michael Feudale (drums and percussion).
- Michael Meade
Walter Prez and The Awesome - Good Energy
Take some blues, a little classic rock, a bit of folk, and mix thoroughly with grunge and there
you Walter Prez and The Awesome! Prez's vocals retain a nice blues/rock flavor alternating to a more folk rock style and back
again for the duration of Good Energy, Maryann d'Amico, when on lead vocals ("I'm Not Gonna Be Your Witch"), keeps
up very well in the same style.
Though d'Amico does have an almost punk rock edge to her voice that calls to mind an amalgamation
of Patti Smith and Joan Jett.
Instruments shine combining some grunge and folk guitar elements with driving blues/rock
bass and percussion. And the many guest musicians further add more good energy to Good Energy, including Sarah Yzkanin's
(Dealer in Wares) great backing vocals on the title track.
"Got To Come Out"
"Soldier of the Awesome"
"Come Into My Garden"
"Girl of My Dreams"
"I'm Not Gonna Be Your Witch"
"I'm All For Real"
"Let Him Go"
"Motherless Children See a Hard Time"
"Dawning of the New Age"
"More Than Enough"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Gasoline Blues", "More Than Enough", and "Chick Hawk".
Walter Prez and The Awesome get an awesomely deserved 3.5 out of 5.
Walter Prez and The Awesome are Walter Prez (lead vocals, lead guitar, mandolin, banjo), Frank
Baransky (bass), Ed Malaker (acoustic guitar), David Raymer (drums), and Maryann d'Amico (lead and backing vocals, tambourine).
Guest musician on Good Energy are Sarah Yzkanin (lead and backing vocals on "Good Energy),
Jay Luke (backing vocals, acoustic guitar), Paul Martin (acoustic guitar, percussion), Tim Beckage (lead guitar on "Good Energy"),
and Kelly Birtch (lead guitar and bass on "Singing", "I'm All For Real", "Let Him Go", "Motherless Children See a Hard Time",
and "Gasoline Blues".)
- Michael Meade
Like The Stars - Don't Tell Secrets, I Won't Tell Lies
Like The Stars has an alt/pop sound that lands between Yellowcard and Mayday Parade. Energy is kept upbeat
for the most part, even the 5-piece New Jersey based outfit crosses over into emo territory. But with said energy levels those
trips over the border hardly bring things down at all.
In a genre of music that is largely plagued by a lack of individuality in performing style, limiting removal
from the the boy bands of the 1990s to only a few steps, Like The Stars have indeed crafted their own identity. One which
this reviewer hopes they hold on to.
Competent and confident vocalization and instrumentation set Like The Stars apart from the herd, marking
a change in powerpop bands for the better.
"Ready Set Go!"
"Like A Bad Habit"
"I Hope You Know..."
"Hurry Up & Wait For Me"
"Hold Your Breath"
"Pack Your Bags"
Choice cuts are "I Hope You Know...", "Hurry Up & Wait For Me", and "Pack Your Bags".
Like The Stars gets a 3 out of 5 for their Don't Tell Secrets, I Won't Tell Lies EP.
Like The Stars is AJ Hoenings (vocals), Nick Kaelblein (guitar), Nick VanderMaas (bass), Joey Trala (drums),
and Connor Appleton (guitar).
- Michael Meade
Grimlord - Dolce Vita Sath-anas
Trident Harmony Promotion & Design
Tight, hard, and fast. These descriptives could apply to any myriad of dirty jokes, but suits
Grimlord just as well. Guitars that shred with the fury of hell, the drums hammer relentlessly, the synth pours on the dark
atmosphere like the bastard spawn of Hitchcock and Bergman, all backed and driven by the heavy bass!
Vocals turn from twisted to maniacal in a breath with the palpable anger of Disturbed and early
The Poland based three piece has brought to the table some of the best dark metal this reviewer has heard in
"Dolce Vita Sath-anas"
"When The Heads Are Going Down"
"Oh! My King"
"Shade Of Wrath Angels"
"Dissolution Of Eternity"
"Ancient Land Of Ys"
"Avericious Scavenger/Panth of Lash"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Dissolution of Eternity," and "Lamentation Sword."
Grimlord gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Dolce Vita Sath-anas.
Grimlord is Barth La Picard (guitars, vocals, synth), Orson (bass), and Lukass (Drumhammer).
- Michael Meade
The Dead End Cruisers - A Thousand Miles Of Whiskey and Sin
The Dead End Cruisers blend aspects of southern rock, rockabilly, and punk for a truely hellacious album!
Punk pacing, whiskey soaked vocals, heavy guitars with a southern rock drive and rockabilly twang, while the drums and bass
keep a rhythm that gets you bobbing your head before you know it.
The only complaint about A Thousand Miles Of Whiskey and Sin is it's only seven songs long. But
its one hell of a ride through those seven! To sum it up, The Dead End Cruisers are what the Misfits would be if they played
"How Did I Get This Way"
"My Baby's Cryin'"
"The Phantom Of Main Street"
Choice cuts are "Psycho Baby," "Satan's Caddy," and "The Phantom Of Main Street."
The Dead End Cruisers get a 4 out of 5 for A Thousand Miles Of Whiskey and Sin.
The Dead End Cruisers are Greasy Phil (lead vocals, guitar), Psycho Benny (lead guitar, vocals),
Sweet Jonny (drums, vocals), and Jay Daddy (bass, vocals).
- Michael Meade
Destroy Nate Allen - Perfect Recipe For A Smile
Nate Allen - Don't Let This Smile Fool You
A double review on a double album from self described "interactive, sing-along, folk punkers
Destroy Nate Allen. There isn't really a better description for Nate and wife Tessa's sound except fun!
As Destroy Nate Allen, Nate and Tessa explore their relationship, living together, and life in
general with the funny/annoying/absurd/emotional moments that come with all of the above. Included in these experiences are
Tessa singing hallelujah for Nate falling asleep so "his lips are sealed," finding compromises and learning to love (or at
least tolerate) their differences, and sticking to recipes when cooking pancakes... or anything for that matter.
Nate's solo album is much more sentimental and introspective. With the exception of "Suffer,"
most of Don't Let This Smile Fool You is a journey through familial memories and joy in love for Tessa. All of the
songs on the solo were written and recorded with Nate's great-grandfather's banjo. Which he didn't know how to play, so Nate
tuned and played it like a guitar, to a decent success might this reviewer add.
Perfect Recipe For A Smile track list:
"Turns Out You're Perfect For Me"
"His Lips Are Sealed Hallelujah"
"Despite It All"
"I Am Alive"
Choice cuts are "Turns Out You're Perfect For Me," "Recipe," "Loving You," and "His Lips Are
The husband and wife duo of Destroy Nate Allen get a 3.5 out 5 for Perfect Recipe For A Smile.
Don't Let This Smile Fool You track list:
"Don't Let This Smile Fool You"
"35, 35, 35"
"Glow In The Dark"
"How To Make A Girl Cry"
"Ain't Gonna Rain No More"
Choice cuts are "Guitar Strings," "How To Make A Girl Cry," "Ain't Gonna Rain No More," and "Suffer."
Nate Allen gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Don't Let This Smile Fool You.
So Nate and Tessa get a combined rating of 7! A TLR first!
Nate supplies vocals and he plays guitar and banjo, Tessa also supplies vocals and plays
- Michael Meade
Oak Lane - Inspired
Oak Lane's Inspired is twelve tracks of upbeat rock with a pop punk edge. Now for many, the terms
"upbeat" and "pop" are red flags, but that isn't the case here. There's certainly no vintage Britney Spears bubblegum* in
Vocals have a crisp and energetic powerpop feel, but Zaring brings down to a softer sensitivity when
the mood of the song calls for it; an ability many vocalists don't attempt to cultivate.
Guitars and bass are sharp and tightly paced, while the drums drive the beat and hit it home awesomely.
Lyrically, Inspired stays as altruistic as it's name implies, focus is heavy on overcoming limitations,
being true to oneself, the virtues of love and friendship, and controling your own life instead of being controlled.
"Never Going Back"
"Voice of a Friend"
"Nothing Clever (Acoustic)"
Choice cuts are "Believe," "Never Going Back," "InsideOut," "Voice of a Friend," and "Perserveance."
Oak Lane gets a 4 out of 5 for Inspired.
Oak Lane is Joshua S. Zaring (vocals, guitars, production), Nate Bowersox (bass), and Kevin Hoffman (drums).
- Michael Meade
* "Vintage Britney Spears," there's a phrase I never thought I would ever use in my writing
career, let alone my lifetime... and now I've said it twice.
Radioviolet - Just Like Yesterday
Given a cursory listen, one might write Radioviolet off as belonging the soundtrack of a teen
drama... that would be a mistake on the listener's part! Don't let the melodic rock style fool you, Just Like Yesterday
is a truly deep album with soulful lyrics that actually provoke thought.
Unlike many songs out there aiming for what Radioviolet has achieved, and in that effort come
off very fake and shallow.
Instruments are tight, and pacing is a perfect fit with the lyrical content of each song. Vocals
keep an "adult alternative" feel for the most part, while instruments run between melodic rock (that evokes the softer, less
pop oriented, non-psychedelic songs of The Beatles) to alternative and blues heavy rock and back to melodic again.
Songs revolve around looking at oneself and the world from your own perspective and not letting
the opinions of others form the foundations of your observations, and answering the question we all face, "who am I?"
The songs that focus on love (new, lost, returning, and humanitarian) are modernly poetic,
that is not the oxymoron some Lit majors would have you believe, in a refreshing way.
"End this Game"
"Just like Yesterday"
"Girl Behind the Glass"
"Four Letter Word"
"Black and Blue"
"End of the Beginning"
Choice cuts are "With Love", "End the Game", "Girl Behind the Glass", and "Open Book".
Radioviolet gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Just Like Yesterday.
Radioviolet on Just Like Yesterday is Michael Terpak (vocals, guitar), James Keith (bass),
and Dusty Miller (drums, percussion).
Featuring Eamon Loftus (slide guitar on "Girl Behind the Glass"), Mike Ault (guitar solo on "Like
War"), Bill Ruddy (guitar solo on "Open Book"), MT Terpak (keyboards), Lynette Terpak (chorus vocals on "With Love"), Laney
Sullivan (chorus vocals on "With Love"), Helen Van Wagoner (chorus vocals on "With Love"), and Beth Lewis (chorus vocals on
Radioviolet live is Michael Terpak (vocals, guitar), Marshall Cantu (lead guitar), Blake Ross
(keyboards), Emmett Roth (drums), and Kyle Schmitt (bass, backing vocals).
- Michael Meade
Toby Knapp - Polarizing Lines
To describe Polarizing Lines, originally released in 2006, a quote from Wayne
Campbell would work best; it's "something extraordinary. Something big. Something mega. Something copious. Something capacious.
Each song is a dark piece of shredding awesomeness that gets you whipping out your best air guitar to jam
along, if short a real guitar, regardless of where you're listening to Toby wail.
And if you happen to be a sci-fi geek as well as a metalhead, such as this reviewer, prepare to be thrown
back to your favorite battles with new badass themes!
Knapp's style is tight, keeping every lick and every riff crisp. Pacing is frenetic, in the good way, but
not to the point that all sense of cohesion is lost, and songs begin to sound like random riffing instead of actual compositions.
"Into The Quantum"
"Beneath The Waxen Moon"
Choice cuts are "Petrified", the title track, "Crystal Pilots", "Wizard Archer", and "Into The Quantum".
Toby Knapp gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Polarizing Lines.
- Michael Meade
Ataraxia hits the ground running to deliver a full force guitar slam to the skull! Slamming drums, pounding
guitars, and a driving bass with hellacious vocals bring some of the heaviest metal this reviewer has heard in 2009.
Thrash elements are right in front before giving way to metal and alt, and sneak back up on the listener to
throttle the senses and make Ataraxia's energy as visceral as you can get with a recording.
Some of the song structure and pacing has an Aiden feel, "Screams of Freedom" in particular from it's instrumental
bridge on. Not that this is a problem, far from it, merely noteworthy.
"Break Me" leads you into the old rope-a-dope, starting out in misery and ending with a surge of anger palpable
as 2X4 to the face!
"Screams of Freedom"
"Crawl Through Knives"
Choice cuts are "Preachers" and "Screams of Freedom".
Ataraxia gets a 3.5 out of 5!
Ataraxia's roster on their self titled EP is Ryan Pecca (guitar), Matt Cesari (guitar), Brandon Zemel (vocals),
Steve Goldberg (drums), and Chris Weinstein (bass). Ataraxia, as of this review's posting, is seeking a lead guitarist
and a rhythm guitarist.
- Michael Meade
Echoes Of Fear - Forgotten Past
Harden Lacuna Coil by several degrees and crank up the badass quotient to a thousand, and in that female-fronted
metal paradise you will find Echoes Of Fear. Each instrument screams out in adrenaline soaked fury!
Brian King's death grunts sound demonic, and add perfect punctuation to Melissa Evett's leading vocals.
And to top that, Evett's vocals are all her's; no attempt to sound like Cristina Scabbia, Amy Lee, Simone Simons, Sharon den
Adel, or Morgan Lander. Just one hundred percent Melissa, and that is a breath of fresh air.
As stated above, instruments are a perfect blend of adrenal gland fueled energy and power mixed with unbridled
rage. Every note on guitars and bass, every blast of machinegun fire on the drums is visceral and felt from head to toe.
Lyrically the songs are journeys of anger, pain, despair, hatred, vengeance, and transcendence; personal
and universal in the same breath.
"Inside the Hate"
"Death Warmed Over"
"The Black Hand"
Choice cuts are "Another Scar", "Isolation", "Death Warmed Over", and "The Black Hand".
Echoes Of Fear gets a 5 out of 5 for Forgotten Past!
Echoes Of Fear is Melissa Evett (vocals), Brian King (vocals, guitar), Alvin Gatewood (guitar), Orion Mente
(drums), and Dave Hammerstone (bass).
- Michael Meade
Shredding Across The World Volume 3
Multiple band/artist compilations are never easy to review, when they're good, and Shredding
Across The World Volume 3 is no exception. The gang at Shredguy Records assembled some of the best shredheads out there
to put together a Kong-sized seventeen track monster!
Each virtuoso (including Rob Johnson, Steve Bello, and Adrian English) is undoubtedly a master.
The skill displayed on guitar in each song is well worth the price of admission, even if you're not a shred metal fan!
With seventeen different artists it would take far too long and become incredibly redundant to
go over the technical aspects (song pacing, fret speed and accuracy, composition) of each musician's playing, afterall
how many ways can one say a performance is awesome?
"Kikakata" - Andrew Danso
"Relay Torque" - Rob Johnson
"Ignorant Bliss" - Kendall Bechtel
"Finger Fuzz 2009" - Tracy G Group
"Electric Brew" - Richard Tull
"The Pants Party" - Gary Schutt
"Don't Stop" - Dannyjoe Carter
"M-18" - Chris Lasegue
"Sidedoor Charlie" - Sean Baker Orchestra
"Golden Sun" - Jonas Tamas
"Wingsuit" - Claudio Cruz
"About To Explode" - Steve Bello
"G-Theory" - Adrian English
"Song For Chelo" - Lino
"Thoughts Of Time" - Matthew Mills
"Ascension" - Chris Sheridan
Bonus Track: "Anthem (instrumental demo version)" - Chris Storey
Choice cuts and scoring can't be applied to a collection of artists like this, it would be an
insult to all involved. However, in this reviewer's opinion, Shredding Across The World Volume 3 is the best metal
compilation of 2009!
For more on Shredguys Records and these artists check out their links:
- Michael Meade