Tastes Like Rock! Archives

2010 Reviews

2008 Articles
2009 Articles
2010 Articles
2011 Articles
2009 Interviews
2010 Interviews
2011 Interviews
2012 Interviews
2008 Reviews
2009 Reviews
2010 Reviews
2011 Reviews
2012 Reviews
TLR! Radio 2010 Playlists
TLR! Radio 2011 Playlists
Geekonomicon 2011
Geekonomicon 2012

Reviews in chronological order of publishing top to bottom

VÖRGUS - Hellfueled Satanic Action
Inferno Records
Posted 1/5/10 12:17AM EST

Swedish metal outfit VÖRGUS delivers an onslaught of raw metal force into your skull! The sonic beatdown begins right from the first note and hardly lets up for the duration.
Instrumentation calls Slayer to mind on a few occasions, but overall VÖRGUS has perfected their "Satanic Metal" description and really made it their own. Vocals are consistently strong on each song, Nenne Vörgus packs a lot of power into every line. Cementing that power is is his constant change from sinisterly raspy vocals to death grunts and death screams without missing a beat.
Pacing tend to be the expected norm for this style of metal, produced from combining tight, thrash-based drums with equally tight shred guitar, and heavy goth inspired basslines.
Track list:
"Hellfueled Satanic Action"
"In Metal We Trust"
"Down In Flames"
"Hell Hell Satanas"
"Kill To Live To Kill"
"My Beloved"
Choice cuts are the title track, "In Metal We Trust", and "Slave".
VÖRGUS gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Hellfueled Satanic Action.
VÖRGUS is Nenne Vörgus (bass, lead vocals), Straight G (guitar, additional vocals), and Mikke Killalot (drums, additional vocals). Check VÖRGUS out at www.myspace.com/vorgus.

- Michael Meade

The Billy Krystals - Cult of Death
Posted 1/11/2010 7:20PM EST
The Billy Krystals combine punk pacing with rock guitars and drums, played with metal aggression and hardcore punk style vocals. Lyrics are angry and aggressive, also tapping into hardcore punk with instruments speeding up to thrash metal tempos for emphasis where fitting.
There is no doubt that The Billy Krystals want you full attention, every note and every line, even if they have to crank enough decibels into your head to not only pop your eardrums, but shatter the three tiny bones that relay sound vibrations to the nerves of the auditory centers of the brain!
The Billy Krystals keep their 3-piece outfit tight, through their style combinations and shifts, without missing a beat. Vocals stay frosty and on mark, something many hardcore and screamo vocalists have a hard time with. Breath pauses can throw a vocalist off time on a slower tempo song if they're on their game, think about thrash level speed mixed with lung emptying hardcore and screamo vocalizing. Be impressed while you're thinking about it.
Track list:
"Burn Victim"
"Dead Breed"
"In The Creek"
Choice cuts are "In The Creek" and "Cyanide".
The Billy Krystals get a 3.5 out of 5 for their Cult of Death EP.
The Billy Krystals are Mike Sliger (bass,vocals), Adam Dragomanovich (guitars), and Rob Bennett (drums).
Check The Billy Krystals out at www.myspace.com/thebillykrystals and www.twitter.com/tbkmusic.
- Michael Meade

Ben Kuzay - Perpetual Reign
Posted 1/18/2010 7:00PM
Shred style bass as the lead and focal point of an album is both a refreshing spin in a genre of metal that has it's main focus on guitar, and a pleasure for any bass fan! Kuzay uses shred and progressive style speed on lead bass, keeping the the structure of each song tightly focused on the bass at all times.
Drums are strong, as they should be in shred or speed metal, but they never overpower and bury Kuzay's bass; as basslines often are by the power blasts of drumfire common in this type of metal.
Guitars are used to punctuate and enhance the bass in a very well done role reversal, and as with the drums do not steal the spotlight from the bass, while still shredding as hard as if they were functioning in the lead.
Pacing is as fast and furious as any other speed metal out there! Structure is intricately woven yet in your face enough to be appreciated by hardcore headbangers.
Track list:
"On Top Of The World"
"Perpetual Reign"
"Fantasy Girl"
"Where Dead Villains Lurk"
"Homage To Hated Heroes" featuring David Harbour
"Murdering Angels (Just For Fun)"
Choice cuts are "Ascension", "Homage To Hated Heroes", and "Murdering Angels (Just For Fun)".
Perpetual Reign gets a solid 4 out of 5!
For more on Ben Kuzay check out www.benkuzay.com and www.myspace.com/benkuzay, and keep an eye on TLR for our upcoming interview with Ben.
- Michael Meade

Virtual Humans - Transcend
Posted 1:52AM EST 2/10/10
Transcendence truly is the theme of Virtual Humans' Transcend, each song focusing on escaping our increasingly virtual existence of social networking and e-lives. Lyrics challenge each listener to reevaluate their perceptions of the growing hopelessness of our current "consensus reality", while trying to help unblock the rabbit hole of our imaginations.
The Brazilian band's sound sticks primarily to an indie/pop acoustic rock blend, carried out with more than able musicianship by the whole outfit.
Pacing and vocals keep the indie singer/songwriter flavor for the duration. Vocals are kept tightly spot on throughout Transcend.
Track list:
"Transcend (Part Three)"
"Impossible Mission"
"Transcend (Part Two)"
"Transcend (Part One)"
Choice cuts are "Tracjectory", "Impossible Mission", and "Transcend (Part One)".
Virtual Humans get a 3.5 out 5 for Transcend.
Virtual Humans are Blade (vocals, guitar), Guns (bass), Jennifer (guitar, keyboards, vocals), and Paul (drums, percussion). For more Virtual Humans check out www.virtualhumansband.com and www.myspace.com/virtualhumans.
- Michael Meade

Toby Knapp - The Campaign
Progressive/Black Metal/Rock
Shredguy Records
Posted 2/18/10 8:31PM EST
The Campaign is an instant Knapp classic! This album truly is Toby in top form, it feels consistent while the songs jump between shred style metal, progressive, black metal, and mixing in some thrash for good measure; all maintaining Knapp's signature balls to the wall fret work.
Guest vocalists Attila Csihar, Dean Sternberg, Tom Cline, and Jeff Gruslin (look them each up if you don't know their names as soon as you finish reading this review!) all blaze in equal glory Knapp's instrumentation and composition.
Album wide pacing is kinetic and keep sthe listener engaged, but refrains from letting said kinesis turn into a chaotic thunder that loses the emotion/mood of the music.
Pagan, occult, and mythological themes and references come through loud and clear on "Reanimation", all this reviewer has to say to Knapp and Csihar is good work gentlemen.

Track list:
"The Campaign"
"Towards Power Unimagined"
"We Are Legions"
"Plutonium Race"
"Lack Of Inspiration"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Telekinesis", "Wicked", and "Reanimation".
The Campaign gets a 5 out of 5!
All guitars, bass, and drums performed by Toby Knapp. Additional drums by Andy Jones. Vocals performed by Tom Cline, Attila Csihar, Jeff Gruslin, and Dean Steinberg.
For more from Toby Knapp check out www.myspace.com/knapptoby and www.myspace.com/shredguyrecords.
-Michael Meade

Walter Prez - Witchman
Rabbit Fever
Posted 2/21/10 1:54PM EST
As is obvious from the album title, Witchman has a heavy presence of Wicca scattered through the songs. That said, this is an acoustic rock and bluesy folk album first and foremost, but still definitely worthy of being called Witch Rock!
A few songs carry within their lyrics the bitter truth of being scorned for walking a path still largely misunderstood, and poorly represennted by most media, even now in the 21st century.
Prez hits a few more social hot buttons (race relations, Big Brother mentality in the government, abuse of social aid, obesity in America), some sure to cost him a few fans, but this reviewer applauds his honesty and self expression.
Lyrically and musically sound, Prez released Witchman in 2005, and five years later it's still relevant and tight; if a little extreme in the case of "Take Back the Planet".
Track list:
"Just Be"
"I'm Your Witchman"
"Matriarchy Now"
"Basically Evil"
"Don't Pray for Me"
"King of Eternity"
"Mary's Hand"
"Different Round Here"
"Fat Americans"
"Through the Darkest Night"
"Take Back the Planet"
"It is Your World Too"
Choice cuts are "Just Be", "I'm Your Witchman", "Through the Darkest Night", and "Evolve".
Walter Prez gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Witchman.
For more from Walter Prez check out www.myspace.com/walterprez.
-Michael Meade

eENIK - Oddomatic
Posted 3/2/10 9:30PM EST
eENIK is attempting to bring the avant garde back to rock music, but unlike the many that have failed in that aim eENIK is going about it the right way. Their experimentation with blending and cross-pollinating genres and styles is great! Rarely are rock/metal centered bands able to pull off fusions as seamlessly tight as found on Oddomatic; jazz, soul, Latin, rock, metal, powerpop, and even some punk influences and melodic styles can be picked out from the incredible mix.
eENIK is all their own in terms of identity, but at times they are reminiscent of The Mars Volta, Live, and Tool, amongst other greats, in their sounds and vocalization. But definitely in an influencial way as opposed to a copycat fashion, and that is always a plus when seeking and finding originality like eENIK's.
Pacing runs the gauntlet from groove driven to hardhitting to, as the band says of their "melodica", schizophrenic.
Track list:
"Animals At Play"
"Just For Men"
"My Kudge Axin"
"Passive Attack"
"Lazerblasts and Lace"
"Raging Waters"
"FM For Spearmint Children"
"Perfek Contak"
"Fat Bees"
"It's Panama, Y'all"
Choice cuts are "Animals At Play", "Just For Men", Passive Attack", and "Lazerblasts and Lace".
eENIK gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Oddomatic.
eENIK is Craig Laubach (vocals, synth, sampler), Blas (bass, vocals, synth), Luke Thomas (guitar, vocals), and Jon Rizk (drums). For more from eENIK check out www.eenik.com and www.myspace.com/eenik.
- Michael Meade

Walter Prez - Midsummer Lady
Rabbit Fever
Posted: 8:53PM EST
Midsummer Lady is Walter Prez's second full album, originally released in 2006. Walter the complete one-man band here, pulls all writing duties as well as vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, and percussion! As usual Prez does it all with his signature style and never misses a beat.
Midsummer Lady while not as strong as a whole as Witchman and Good Energy (Prez's latest release with his band The Awesome), it is still a solid album worth every second of listening.
Lighter in disposition overall then Witchman, Midsummer Lady does sport a few bluesier songs like "Poor Leroy" (though humorous, there is a clear blues inspiration in this song) and "Cemetary Street". There are also the historically rooted "Tom Quick The Indian Killer" and "Bridgiet Bishop Will Have Her Revenge on Salem Mass", and humor in "Cockpit" and "Dirtbag".
Again Prez's sound is a combination of rock and folk with elements of blues evident throughout most of his compositions.
Track list:
"Jimmy Page"
"Burning Highways" (instrumental)
"Witching Hour"
"Poor Leroy"
"Cemetery Street"
"Midsummer Lady"
"Tom Quick The Indian Killer"
"Bridget Bishop Will Have Her Revenge on Salem Mass"
"Military Playset"
Choice cuts are "Jimmy Page", the title track, "Dirtbag", and "Bridget Bishop Will Have Her Revenge on Salem Mass".
Walter Prez gets a 3 out of 5 for Midsummer Lady.
For more from Walter Prez check out www.myspace.com/walterprez. 
- Michael Meade

Blackwater James
Blues/Rock/Southern Rock
Posted 9:34PM EST
A reviewer from another publication was quoted as saying "... they don't add anything new" to their genre of rock. While technically true it can also be said, and damn well meant, that Blackwater James is giving a much needed shot in the arm to American hard rock!
Blackwater James takes the best elements of AC/DC, The Black Crowes, Free, Buckcherry, early Guns N Roses (before they became a bloated Axl and a shitty backing band), amongst other greats and them roaring into the 21st century. Heart-felt power ballad or party rock anthem, Blackwater James is a solid band of musicians, as stated they take what defined some of the best hard rock has to offer and made it their's.
In that, they have forged their own path and identity using the guidelines laid down by the best, with the potential to be ranked up there right beside them.
If you want to remember what real rock with a southern flavor is in a time of emo and rap/metal fusion deluge, then this reviewer highly recommends you check out Blackwater James.
Track list:
"All Fired Up"
"Midnight Train"
"Roses & Rain"
"Stand Up"
"Stone Cold"
"Sick Generation"
"Wake Me"
"Rock Steady"
"8 Letters Gone"
Choice cuts are "All Fired Up", "Midnight Train", "Stone Cold", and "Wake Me".
Blackwater James gets a rock solid 4 out of 5 for their self titled album!
Blackwater James is Chris James (vocals, guitar), Deanna Passarella (guitar), Josh Burns (bass), and Todd Schlosser (drums). Check Blackwater James out at www.myspace.com/blackwaterjames.
- Michael Meade

Walter Prez & Kelly Birtch - She Has Risen
Rabbit Fever
Posted 3/17/10 4:30PM EST
Prez's joint album with Kelly Birtch leans a bit more heavily on the electric side of instrumentation, but lyrics retain the folk-rock storyteller style that Walter usually employs. The mix fits well, Birtch's style on lead guitar complements the lyrical content of the songs, as well as Prez's rhythm work on guitar and bass.
Cindy Jackson's vocals are a nice addition too, her soft, but strong, vocalizations contrast yet enhance Walter's deep, gravely vocals very well! Pacing of She Has Risen goes back and forth between slower coffee house rock speed and harder rock n' roll style. This keeps the album from having a singular mood to it, but this reviewer likes when an album moves around the emotional spectrum staying away from redundant odes to lost and dying love, happiness, new love, anger etc.
Track list:
"Rock n' Roll Has Risen Again"
"Teenage Sex Machine"
"Goodbye My Summer Love"
"You Wear Those Eyes"
"The Dangerous Type"
"Holy Land"
"The Wrong Kind Of Love"
"Control Freak"
"You'll Come Back As One Of Them"
"Vanish In The Snow"
Choice cuts "Rock n' Roll Has Risen Again", "The Dangerous Type", and "Vanish In The Snow".
She Has Risen gets a 3.5 out of 5!
She Has Risen features Walter Prez on vocals, rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion. Kelly Birtch on lead guitar (electric and acoustic), and percussion. And Cindy Jackson on vocals.
-Michael Meade

Lena's Baedream - Memo - love chronicles
Posted 1:50PM EST 4/18/10
Lena's Baedream is a Parma, Italy based five piece rock outfit. Their sound is very influenced by 90s alternative rock, but to the point of losing originality; Lena's Baedream is definitely their own entity, lyrically and in composition.
Instruments are tight and show how secure a unit this band is, lyrics are original even where subject matter is known territory (love and the problems as well as joys of it). Vocals are delivered on equal footing with the instruments; strong and engaging.
Memo - love chronicles sports one cover song, "Missing" (originally by Everything But The Girl), Lena's Baedream has rearranged it as an awesome rock ballad and is quite possibly the best cover of "Missing" to date.
Track list:
"Chewin' Razorblades"
"Equal to 0"
"Message to Jolene"
"Dawn (I learn)"
"Attitude To Cry"
"You Got Pills, I Got Speed"
"Wormhole +"
Choice cuts are "Chewin' Razorblades", "Missing", "You Got Pills, I Got Speed", and "Overture".
Lena's Baedream gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Memo - love chronicles.
Lena's Baedream is Nicola Briganti (lead guitar, backing vocals), Cristian Ferrari (vocals), Gabriele Anversa (drums, percussion), Carlo Alberto Morini (rhythm guitar), and Jacopo Montali (bass).
For more Lena's Baedream check out their myspace.
- Michael Meade

Snew - We Do What We Want
Snew Music
Posted 4/24/10 6:20PM EST
Snew is back and channeling AC/DC and The Stooges with all their might! We Do What We Want is what The Stooges would've sounded like with Bon Scott on vocals, the party rock flows like a raging river seemlessly from one song to another in a ten song bash. Vocals are solid and electric, backed by excellently hard instruments that would drive a bar to destruction in a glorious blaze!
Pacing doesn't give you a rest... but you won't care as you'll have to force yourself to sit still from dancing and thrashing to Snew's signature sound, a sound that is best when speakers are turned all the way up. Lyrics are a perfect blend of living your life for yourself, partying, drinking, fighting, and hooking up just the way hard party rock should be.
Track list:
"We Do What We Want"
"Feedback And Distortion"
"Private Stash"
"Risking My Life"
"Get Loud"
"Knock It Out Of The Park"
"Power Pack"
"Pick Up The Ball"
"Who The Hell Are You"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Private Stash", "Knock It Out Of The Park", and "Power Pack".
Snew gets a solid 4 out of 5 for We Do What We Want.
Snew is Curtis Don Vito (vocals, harmonica), Andy Lux (guitars), Cat Tate (bass), Mark Ohrenberger (drums), and featuring Bobby Owsinski (keyboards). For more Snew check out their website and myspace.
- Michael Meade

Le Baron Vampire - Baruch
Sums Records
Posted 4/29/10 4:30PM EST
Dark, foreboding, and sinister metal is Le Baron Vampire supplies on Baruch. Their sound falls between black metal, for tone and feel, and hardcore for vocalization; while in this gray area between two very hard genres, Le Baron Vampire retains a very melody laden sound. Granted the melodies could have been composed by Vlad The Impaler but it is melodic nonetheless.This adds a very appealing melancholy to each song, a lmost like Edgar Allen Poe's works read with dark metal.
That said you'll never doubt the hard edge of Baruch. Le Baron Vampire has crafted one of the best post-hardcore albums this reviewer has heard in a long time.
Pacing is hard, fast, and melodic; with even the melodic parts keeping your head banging. Vocals, as stated, are hardcore and vicious, even during the more melody driven compositions a predatory air is present. Instruments match vocals in power and drive, flowing in seemless and unified musicianship.
Track list:
"Coyote Versus Machete"
"Saloon Bizarre"
"Astro Zombies"
"The Statues"
"Bullet Dozer"
"Herz, Knie, Staub"
Choice cuts are "Coyote Versus Machete", "Astro Zombies", and the title track.
Baruch gets a 4.5 out of 5.
The Lausanne, Switzerland based 5 piece Le Baron Vampire is Dave Schlagmeister (drums, vocals), Jakkob Wierdmann (guitars), Matoslav Axwielder (guitars), Valentino DiCabillo (bass), and Renzo Especial (vocals). For more Le Baron Vampire check them out on myspace.
- Michael Meade

Skull Fist - Heavier Than Metal
Posted 5/13/10 1:35PM EST
Skull Fist brings the glory days of heavy metal back to life with Heavier Than Metal, combining the best elements of Motley Crue, early Guns and Roses, and Judas Priest in hard and fast metal awesomeness! Pace is driven, vocals are belted, and instruments flawlessly tight and tasty.
If you love the best American metal had to offer in the 70s and 80s, as well as the best of the NWOBHM; get ready to travel to the Great White North because Skull Fist is what you need to be listening to.
Track list:
"Sign of The Warrior"
"Heavier Than Metal"
"Ride The Beast"
"No False Metal"
Choice cuts are "Sign of The Warrior" and the title track.
Heavier Than Metal gets a 3.5 out of 5.
Skull Fist is Alison Thunderland (drums), Jackie Slaughter (guitar), and Sir Shred (guitar). For more Skull Fist check out their Myspace.
- Michael Meade

Michael Abdow - Native Alien
Shredguy Records
Posted 5/16/10 2:30PM EST
Abdow's compositions are epic and emotional, taking the listener's mind to the greatest heights of imagination, while still able to tug the heart with certain chord progressions. Make no mistake though; this is still an album of string punishing, kick ass shred metal! Abdow's speed and precision are incredible, start to finish of every song is never off time by even a millisecond.
Performance is consistent for the whole of Native Alien, Abdow really creates songs (layered and complex) with his shredding skills. Many shred guitarists are forgetting how to tell stories or evoke emotions with their music, losing that aspect of music in technical skill and speed, but Abow retains it all and uses it all to great results.
Track list:
"House of Shimti"
"Savage Garden"
"Tell Me Why"
"Bleeding Dry"
"Monologue 11:11"
"Truth and Consequences"
"Tat Tvam Asi" (live)
"Redemption '04"
Choice cuts are "Savage Garden", "Eurasia", and "Truth and Consequences".
Michael Abdow gets a 4 out of 5 for Native Alien.
Michael Abdow was on all guitars and programming for Native Alien. Guest musicians were Jon Morency (bass, innovation), Matt Lamagna (drums on tracks 1, 4, 5, and 6), Colin Conway (drums on tracks 2, 3, and 7), Tom Kopyto (guitar solo on track 1, 3:57-4:14), Drake Descant (keyboard solo on track 2, 2:04-2:24), Kenneth Paul Benda (vocals on track 3), Tony Whalen (vocals on track 5), Ed Dupont (drums on track 8), Rick Thompson (keyboards on track 8).
For more visit Michael Abdow's website and myspace. And Shredguy Records.
- Michael Meade

Blue Delusion - Ab Intra
Posted 7/2/10 2:40PM
Sullen and defeated but slightly hopeful in the same breath, Blue Delusion's Ab Intra does not cover up or glance over the hard or low parts of life, it takes them head on and embraces them. But it is never fully conquered or driven to complete hopelessness, at least not enough to stop getting out of bed.
Lyrics conjure images of life in a small Midwestern town, particularly on "Run Away", and feeling trapped within it; relatable for anyone that has grown up in a small town anywhere.
Music is a mix of indie acoustic and some experimental synth work, but the album never loses it's indie and quality to the electro sounds.
Track list:
"La Pluie"
"Sunlight Will Burn"
"State Of Affairs"
"No Means To The Ends"
"Run Away"
"True Love Is Hard To Find"
"Shadows In The Graveyard"
"Fade Away"
"Osceola Ave."
"Le Fin Du Chemin"
Choice cuts are "Run Away", "True Love Is Hard To Find", and "Towers".
Blue Delusion gets a 3 out of 5 for Ab Intra.
Blue Delusion is Trevor Braukman (all lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation). For more Blue Delusion see www.myspace.com/bluedelusionmusic.
- Michael Meade

SkinKage - The Devastation at Hand
Posted 8/23/10 2:30PM EST
Hardcore, thrash, abusive, pissed off metal is what SkinKage brings to the table... and then smashes you over the head with it. Give fury a voice and you have what SkinKage sounds like. Lyrics showcase disgust with where the world is as a whole at this point in history, from taking life for granted to destroying ourselves and unnecessary war these shout about it.
If ever you wished that Disturbed had harder, angrier vocals than SkinKage is the band you've been waiting for.
Across the board instruments are tight, shredding dual guitars, heavy basslines, extra angry machine gun drumming, and raging vocals remind us that real metal isn't dead.
"Consequence of Our Failures"
"This Plague"
"Born Dead"
"Hate Complex"
"My Silent Confession"
"Subtlety of Silence"
"The Devastion at Hand"
Choice cuts are "Consequnce of Our Failures", "Born Dead", and the title track.
SkinKage gets a 4 out of 5 for The Devastation at Hand.
SkinKage is Frank Brown (vocals), Travis Donaldson (guitar), Joshua Alley (guitar), Chris McBride (bass), and Nolan Lawing (drums). For more SkinKage check out www.myspace.com/skinkage.
- Michael Meade

A Beautiful View - The Atmosphere
Posted 8/30/10 2:35PM EST
The Atmosphere features songs of love past, lost, and reclaimed. Songs of living for the sake of being alive; living in love. A Beautiful View captures these vignettes of emotion solidly composed and played alt-pop and indie rock sounds.
Each song tries and succeeds in pulling you back back to memories sweet and bittersweet, a success many try for but achieve.
Instrumentation and vocals are well tuned and fit together perfectly. Genre molds aren't broken or remade by A Beautiful View, but they do optimize them. And sometimes that's the better road to take; as it is here.
Track list:
"The Atmosphere"
"Her Heart's in California"
"We Light the Stage"
"Bleed On"
"Across the Divide"
"Summer's Last Night"
"Marching On"
"Her Name Was Bravery"
"On Our Own"
"Season of Solitude"
"Summer is Calling"
Choice cuts are "Across the Divide", "Marching On", "Her Name Was Bravery", and "On Our Own".
A Beautiful View get a 4 out of 5 for The Atmosphere.
A Beautiful View is Charlie DeGroot (lead vocals, bass, keys), Eli Conner (vocals, guitar), and Todd Henry (drums). For more A Beautiful View check out www.ABVnation.com.

- Michael Meade

Shouse - Alone On The Sun
Posted: 8/30/10 3:00PM EST
A mostly instrumental genre bender; shred guitar, metal, rock, and some blues all on one album! Michael Shouse pulls triple duty on guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals throughout Alone On The Sun. Shouse is joined by bassists Trip Wamsley, Sean Taylor, Scott Hubbell, Alun Vaughan, Kyle Honea, Byron Santo, Josh Kerr, and Travis Nichols. Drummers Charlie Zeleny, Joey Sanchez, and Diego "Grom" Meraviglia; and vocalist Gene Booth.
Shouse does an incredible job at taking shred guitar into new place... shred style blues anyone? And one better on Shouse, while showing shred guitar versatility with genre cross-overs most wouldn't expect, he does it well. Too many musicians attempt cross pollination but come off sounding half-assed. The only thing you'll find with Alone On The Sun is balls to the wall musicianship from Shouse and friends.
Track list:
"Bionic" (Shouse, Zeleny, Wamsley)
"Man of Constant Sorrow" (Shouse, Sanchez, Taylor, Booth)
"The Arabian" (Shouse, Meraviglia, Hubbell)
"Choices" (Shouse, Zeleny, Vaughan)
"Alone On The Sun" (Shouse, Meraviglia, Honea)
"Shock and Awe" (Shouse, Zeleny, Honea)
"You Can Fly" (Shouse, Sanchez, Santo)
"Dead in Memphis" (Shouse, Meraviglia, Kerr)
"Don't Remember Me" (Shouse, Sanchez, Taylor, Booth)
"For Alex" (Shouse, Zeleny, Nichols)
Choice cuts are "Bionic", "Dead in Memphis", and "Don't Remember Me".
Alone On The Sun gets a solid 4 out of 5.
For more from Michael Shouse check out www.mikeshousemusic.com.
- Michael Meade

Verse The End - Heavy Hearts & Counterparts
Posted 9/12/10 3:35PM EST
Verse The End's three song EP Heavy Hearts & Counterparts immediately makes you wish it were longer, drawing you in with snappy beats, tight hooks, solid vocals, and lyrics we can all feel. Verse The End's songs capture perfectly the listless feelings of being a twenty-something in the 21st century, the longing for a love that isn't transitory, and the desire for what was transitory to return and become permanent.
Heavy Hearts & Counterparts is expressive and well performed, straight-forward but complex in it's emotional content. And not to be redundant but it does leave the listener wishing for more.
Track list:
"Garden State Romance"
"Misery Missouri"
"Scratch The Surface"
Choice cut is "Garden State Romance".
Verse The End gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Heavy Hearts & Counterparts.
Verse The End is Michael Berean (vocals, guitar), Jared Laskin (piano, synth), CJ Waldron (guitar), Bryan Panzer (drums), and Jonathan Duverger (bass). For more Verse The End check them out at www.myspace.com/versetheend.
- Michael Meade

Abinaya - Corps
Brennus Music/Replica Records (Fra), 2 Side Moon (UK)
Posted 9/18/10 4:00PM EST
Abinaya sports a tight group musicianship that should be the envy of all bands. The French rock outfit runs the gauntlet of genres from indie rock to hard rock to metal, the band clicks into each style as though they play no other. Vocals are hard or calm when it suits the song, instrumentation is unified and strong without fail on each track.
The mood of each song is brilliantly conveyed through notes and vocals on all eleven songs, even through language barriers as unfortunately this reviewer does not speak much French. 
Track list:
"Enfant d'Orient"
"L'Homme Libre"
"Regarder Le Ciel"
"Algo Mais (Quelque chose de plus)"
"Les Labels"
"Les Chars De Police"
"Partir Puis Revenir"
"La Mort Des Amants"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Les Labels", and "Les Chars De Police".
Abinaya gets a 4 out of 5 for Corps.
Roll call: Igor Achard (vocals, guitar), Andreas Santo (bass), Nicolas Vieilhomme (drums), and Nicolas Heraud (percussion). For more Abinaya check out www.myspace.com/abinayarockpage.
- Michael Meade

Snatch Magnet - Screw, Nut, & Bolt
Snatch Media
Posted 9/20/10 11:17PM EST
Snatch Magnet (yes, their name means exactly what you're thinking, you naughty naughty thing!) provides groove laden rock, whether the song is a party number or a more emotional song, the groove is never lost. Even the metal songs keep it intact. Instrumentation gets you tapping your foot right away, while vocals draw you in further for a one-two punch that gets you addicted to Snatch... Magnet that is (of course Snatch Magnet, what did you think I was talking about? Minds out of the gutter people).
Vocals call to mind Bruce Dickinson's voice, but not to the point of thinking you're listening to an Iron Maiden cover band that decided to do originals.
Track list:
"The Widow"
"Call of The Maiden"
"The One"
"You Will Be Mine"
Choice cuts are "Multi-Girl", "Call of The Maiden", and "Hybrid".
Snatch Magnet gets a 4 out of 5 for Screw, Nut, & Bolt.
Roll call: Headmaster Weekley (vocals), Igal (guitar), The Dodfather (bass), Lord of The Strings (guitar), Les (drums). For more Snatch Magnet check out www.snatchmagnet.com.
- Michael Meade

KT Tunstall - Tiger Suit
Virgin Music
Posted 10/5/10 1:51AM EST
KT Tunstall is back with her third studio album (and TLR!'s first major label review) Tiger Suit. The album features more of Tunstall's expected alt-folk rock, but also mixes it up with some more electronica influenced compositions. Pop sound is definitely less than some of Drastic Fantastic, while the folk rock side of her sound is up, adding in an experimental folk element with the electronic songs; a move this reviewer certainly likes.
The singer-songwriter's vocals are still the offbeat but mainstream friendly pleasure that gained her fame in the UK and here in the states. Instrumentation is as skillful as ever and the right kind of tight. Tiger Suit will please Tunstall's longtime fans and if given a chance will pull in new fans, this reviewer included.
Tiger Suit has been out in the UK for a few weeks now, and is dropping in the US and Canada as this review is being written (October 5 2010).
Track list:
"Uummannaq Song"
"Glamour Puss"
"Push That Knot Away"
"Fade Like A Shadow"
"Golden Flames"
"Come On, Get In"
"(Still A) Weirdo"
"Madame Trudeaux"
"The Entertainer"
Choice cuts are "Uummannaq Song", "Push That Knot Away", "Golden Flames", and "(Still A) Weirdo".
KT Tunstall gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Tiger Suit.
For more from KT check out www.kttunstall.com.
- Michael Meade

Daisy Cutter - M.O.A.B
Posted 10/9/10 3:23PM
Daisy Cutter's sound quickly reminds the listener of A Perfect Circle on some songs, Cheville or even Breaking Benjamin on another, in spite of this Daisy Cutter remains Daisy Cutter, a plus in this reviewer's mind. Too many bands come to sound like carbon copies of their influences and favorites. Molds aren't particularly broken in the genre here, but lyrics are honest in their subject matter, especially when it comes to reclaiming oneself from bad or ended relationships. Instrumentation and vocals are both very solid and complimentary of each other.
Another area of rock and alternative that has had problems of late, vocals and instruments coming from different places, but Daisy Cutter keeps it simpatico in a way that should be noted and emulated.
Pacing is is perfect for the overall atmosphere of all five songs on M.O.A.B. Vocals + instruments + pacing + great = a win for Daisy Cutter!
Track list:
"Sore Knees"
"Queen Bitch"
Choice cuts are "Sore Knees" and "Clarity".
The Norwegian quartet get a 4 out of 5 for M.O.A.B.
Roll call: Rainer Vasshaug (vocals), Jan Olav Isachsen (guitar), Stein Edvardsen (bass), and Geir Nordheim (drums). For more from Daisy Cutter check out www.myspace.com/daisycutterband.

- Michael Meade

Motionless in White - Creatures
Fearless Records
Posted 10/12/10 5:00PM EST
Wilkes-Barres PA natives Motionless in White drop their long awaited album Creatures as this review is being written. Motionless in White's sound and lyrical approach is reminescent of Marilyn Manson, if Manson took a less techno angle to the music. Lyrically Creatures is probably the most honest album I've ever heard, when it comes to pain and betrayal in love and friendship allusion and simile don't cut it in expressing what one goes through.
Some might write Motionless in White off as unnessarily nasty for songs like "Immaculate Misconception", but this reviewer says that anyone that has gone through being cheated on or needlessly destroyed by someone you trust will say it's just about right.
Dark, gothic, mythic, and centered around horror and the unpleasant parts of life, love, and living with and without both backed by the hardcore metal sound that is the backbone of their native Willkes-Barres rock scene; Motionless in White proves they belong on a label with the guts to call itself Fearless.
Whether you're into metalcore and industrial or not, Motionless in White's Creatures is definitely an album to check out for seemless instrumentals and hardcore vocals that lack nothing in hardness but don't require aspirin after listening.
Track list:
"Immaculate Misconception"
"We Only Come Out At Night"
"London In Terror"
".com Pt. II"
"Count Choculitis"
"City Lights"
"Puppets (The First Snow)"
"Undead Ahead"
"Scissorhands (The Last Snow)"
Choice cuts are "Immaculate Conception", "We Only Come Out At Night", "Abigail", and "Scissorhands (The Last Snow)".
Motionless in White gets a 4.5 out 5 for Creatures.
Roll call: Chris Motionless (vocals), Angelo Parente (drums), Josh Balz (keyboards), TJ Bell (guitar, backup vocals), Ryan Sitkowski (guitar), and Ricky Olson (bass, backup vocals). For more Motionless in White check out www.myspace.com/motionlessinwhite.
- Michael Meade

The Sins - Undone
Sinister Records
Posted 10/20/10 12:23AM EST
Dark, melodic, post-punk rock that plays like a journey through a dark western. Instrumentals are tight, with close to four years since the band's last album that is an accomplishment, vocals that fit the music's tone and lyrical content perfectly. Lyrics that tell a full story in each song... there's not much to find fault with on Undone.
Pacing also fits the tone and concept of Undone, keeps well with the dark western motif. Before scratching your heads at the thought of a post-punk western with dark overtones and a touch of steampunk, just trust this reviewer on one thing; it works and it works pretty damn well. At least when executed by The Sins.
Track list:
"El Guitarro"
"Arms of Devoria"
"Stone Goes Cold"
"Chi Chi"
"Temple of The Midnight Sun"
"No Tomorrow"
"Don't You Cry"
Choice cuts are "El Guitarro", "Abigail", "Stone Goes Cold", "Sintown", and the title track.
The Sins get a 4 out of 5 for Undone.
Roll call: J. Van Huisman (vocals, rhythm guitar), Lee Tillman (lead guitar), Jyri Glynn (electric violin), Fish Jones (bass), Jamie Knox (drums). For more from The Sins visit www.thesinsband.com.
- Michael Meade

Eva's Milk - Zorn
Fuego Records
Posted 10/20/10 4:37 PM EST
Italian grunge at it's finest, reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails in some of their compositions, the Novara based trio of Eva's Milk delivers a dark sound that is quickly addictive... whether you speak Italian or not; this reviewer does not speak enough to catch every line but as stated that did not affect the enjoyment.
Instrumentation is fine tuned and coupled with Andrea Zanolli's vocals presents a fine rock unit to be reckoned with in any language. This reviewer will now be brushing up on his Italian to further enjoy Zorn.
Track list:
"Soldati Dell' Aurea Gioventu"
"Al Tempo Di Caronte"
"E'Meglia Essere Illucidi"
"94 Buchi Neri"
"Nella Bile"
"Come Falene"
Plus a hidden track we haven't been able to find the name to.
Choice cuts are "Soldati Dell' Aurea Gioventi", "E' Meglia Essere Illucidi", "Volcano", and the title track.
Eva's Milk gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Zorn.
Roll call: Andrea Zanolli (vocals, guitar), Paolo Contribunale (bass), and Lorenzo Stangalini (drums, percussion). For more from Eva's Milk check out www.evasmilk.com.
- Michael Meade

Radioviolet - In My Shadow
Posted 10/26/10 1:30PM EST
Radioviolet is back with their three song EP In My Shadow, also back is their signature soul filled pop/rock (with emphasis on the rock). Lyrically the EP focuses on love, loss, and change; while hope for something better is the underlying feeling each song conveys.
Instrumentation and vocals are tight and unified for Radioviolet's new line up, it really sounds as though the now five piece band has been playing together for years. If In My Shadow is the indication of what Radioviolet has in the works on their next full album, then we here at TLR! can't wait to listen!
Track list:
"In My Shadow"
Choice cut is "Sorry". In My Shadow gets a 3.5 out of 5.
Roll call: Michael Terpak (vocals), Marshall Cantu (lead guitar), Blake Ross (keyboard), Emmett Roth (drums), and Kyle Schmitt (bass). For more Radioviolet check out www.radioviolet.com.
- Michael Meade

Odd Zero - Another Odd Zero To Dread
Odd Zero Records
Posted 11/4/10 5:30PM EST
Odd Zero is back once more! Punk timing applied to metal riffs and hard vocals, Odd Zero is as tight a unit as ever on Another Odd Zero To Dread! Lyrically the album covers everything from bad relationships, seduction, being used by a lover, the surrealistic situations we find ourselves in sometimes, and eels... yes eels.
As on past albums, Odd Zero keeps the pace up tempo regardless of subject matter and it's hard not to get up and jam for all you're worth to the music while listening. A few songs have a funky groove to them that the band hasn't experimented with on previous outings, but that this reviewer likes.
Guitars, bass, drums, and vocals compliment each other's sound and style perfectly once more; if Odd Zero can play anyway but at the top of their game they don't show it.
Track list:
"Robbed Barren"
"Lipstick Loathing"
"Baby Carriages"
"Surreal Volatile"
"Big Lunch"
"Raucous Deity Divine"
"Death Pardons Life"
Choice cuts are "Robbed Barren", "Eels", "Big Lunch", and "Raucous Deity Divine".
Odd Zero gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Another Odd Zero To Dread.
Roll Call: Mike Friedman (vocals), Tay Malloy (bass), Milton Hernandez (drums), and Mike Fuji (guitars). For more Odd Zero check out www.myspace.com/oddzerony and www.soundclick.com/oddzero.
- Michael Meade

Poppy & The Usual Suspects - Celestial Love Jones
Posted 11/17/10 5:35PM EST
Groove laden and hook rich rock with a heavy blues backbone is what Poppy & The Usual Suspects bring to the table with Celestial Love Jones. All the best blues inspirations are covered here including love, money, sex, and lies; lyrics driven by hard rocking instruments flavored deeply with the blues.
This album is 44 minutes that will reel in listeners again and again if they have any taste in music.
Pacing is a perfect blend for a hard party rock and bluesy groove style of music, which Poppy & The Usual Suspects pull off in spades. Lyrically the subject matter is very blues based as stated above, but delivered with hard rock force, while instruments are played with the right blend of both genres to truly be worthy of being called blues rock. They already won E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren's approval and now they've won Tastes Like Rock! Music Magazine's!
Track list:
"Can't Find That Thing"
"Celestial Love Jones"
"Baby's Comin' Home"
"Mr. Boss Man"
"Be My Girl"
"Lie After Lie"
"Comfortable Shoes"
"Money Shot"
"Dealer's Choice"
Choice cuts are "Can't Find That Thing", "Mr. Boss Man", "Obsession", and "Money Shot".
Poppy & The Usual Suspects get a 4 out of 5 for Celestial Love Jones.
Roll call: Poppy (lead vocals, harmonica), Tevis Maloney (guitar), Dave "Porkchop" Powell (bass), Bruce "Mighty Mouse" Zieder (drums). For more from Poppy & The Usual Suspects check out www.poppyandtheusualsuspects.com.
- Michael Meade

Alex Ehrsam - P.U.L.S.E.
Shredguy Records
Posted 11/28/10 2:08PM EST
Ehrsam offers a shred rock infused jazz full of hard metallic guitar riffs, while keeping some of the tastiest groove driven jazz rhythm this reviewer has heard all year. Alex's musicianship on rhythm guitar is of the highest caliber, Wilhelm (drums) and Le (bass) follow suit with great perfomances on each song. Thomas Gutehrle, taking rhythm guitar on "Morning Cigarette", is also no slouch when it comes to quality performance.

As with most jazz, good jazz at least, whether it be jazz fusion or straight up; every song is a journey through a story or a trip of emotion and every song on P.U.L.S.E. delivers that and more. From the first note each song you're taken back to something, and soon find that the song you're listening to has become the soundtrack to that memory. Of course other songs just make you want to jam, this writer suggests giving in to that urge.
Track list:
"Proximity Triggered"
"Hollow Input"
"Short Notice"
"Round Trip"
"Time Sensitive"
"Heat Signature"
"Smooth Operator"
"Side Step"
"Morning Cigarette"
Choice cuts are "Proximity Triggered", "Lush", and "Smooth Operator".
Alex Ehrsam gets a 3.5 out of 5 for P.U.L.S.E.
P.U.L.S.E. features Alex Ehrsam on rhythm guitar, Olivier Wilhelm on drums, Anh-Quan Le on bass, and Thomas Gutehrle on rhythm guitar on "Morning Cigarette".
For more from Alex check out www.alexehrsam.fr and www.myspace.com/shredguyrecords.
- Michael Meade

Back From Ashes - II VI I
Posted 12/9/10 1:03AM EST
Epicly progressive metal that loses none of it's metallic edge to progressive overtures. Back From Ashes is viseral and ass kicking in all the best ways; from hard instrumentals to pissed off, gravely, hardcore vocals. Death grunts are thankfully far from overdone here, finally a metal band that gets there is more to vocals in the metal world than just grunts.
Instrumentation sounds as though has been playing together for decades, every note in bone crushing synch.
Pacing is perfect every song, regardless of mood and lyrical subject matter, which ranges from all out rage to emotional pain and life's victories and defeats.
Track list:
"When You Fall"
"Walk Away"
"The Suffering Within"
"Pull The Trigger"
"The Verge of Consequence"
"20 20 Blind"
"Welcome To Me"
Choice cuts are "When You Fall", "The Suffering Within", "20 20 Blind", and "Seed".
Back From Ashes gets a 5 out of 5 for II VI I.
Roll call: Jason Hobel (vocals), Mikey Butikofer (guitar, backup vocals), Anthony DeJesus (guitar, backup vocals), David Anthony DiGilio (bass, backup vocals), and Pete Hawley (drums).
For more Back From Ashes check out www.backfromashes.com.
- Michael Meade

The Fabrockators - Party You Give
Posted 12/13/10 3:51PM EST

This duo provides rock infused with blues, alt-country, and a bit of funk at times for an eclectically original sound. Musicianship is tight, despite all instruments are utilized by just two performers; point of fact, this reviewer appreciates musicians that can switch between instruments without missing a beat during the recording process.

Lyrically The Fabrockators are diverse in their subject matter; exploration of the world and oneself, cars, emotions, love, emotional baggage, new freedom from an ended relationship. Underlying each song, regardless of lyrical contents, is a tone of wanting to live for the good times in life and live it up during them.

"Don't Bring Me Down"
"Hot Rod"
"Party You Give"
"Lightning, Rain and Thunder"
"Any Kinda Thrill"
"Moving North"
"Winter's Coming"
"Got My Freedom"
"The Sin"

Choice cuts are "Traveling", the title track, and "The Sin".

The Fabrockators get a solid 3 out of 5 for Party You Give.

Roll call: Craig Pavone (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard) and John Wilding (drums, percussion, backing vocals). For more from The Fabrockators check out www.fabrockators.com.  

- Michael Meade

The Dig - Electric Toys
Posted 12/22/10 5:19PM EST
The Dig serves up indie/pop with a rock edge, with an underlying electric current on some somgs. Not club electronica per se, but the subtle, almost mellow, electronic sound this reviewer has noticed in a few other indie band's sound of late. Also an abundance of distortion and lo-fi fuzz that is very agreeable for fans of garage rock bands. Pacing of Electric Toys is relaxed and exemplifies indie sensibility, as do the instrumentation and vocals.
The Dig is a great choice for a lazy rainy day, an aimless drive through town, even an afternoon in the park! Not to make The Dig sound like elevator music, relaxing as their melodies can be they can still get the blood pumping... even the songs that bring sadness to the emotional center stage would be an excellent soundtrack to a smooth round of love making.
Track list:
"Carry Me Home"
"Two Sisters in Love"
"You're Already Gone"
"She's Going to Kill That Boy"
"Sick Sad Morning"
"He's a Woman"
"Look Inside"
"For All Your Sins"
"I Just Wanna Talk to You"
"Feel Like Somebody Else"
Choice cuts are "Carry Me Home", "She's Going to Kill That Boy", "Look Inside", and "I Just Wanna Talk to You".
The Dig gets a 3.5 out 5 for Electric Toys.
The Dig is David Baldwin (guitar, vocals), Emile Mosseri (bass, vocals), Erick Eiser (keyboards, guitar), and Jamie Alegre (drums). For more from The Dig check out www.thedigmusic.com, www.myspace.com/thedigisup, and www.facebook.com/thedig.

- Michael Meade