Thursday, February 28, 2013

Voodoo Circle-More Than One Way Home

AFM Records

It was just two songs into "More Than One Way Home", Voodoo Circle's 3rd studio-album, when I had one of those déjà vu moments. Man, these guys sound like early Whitesnake. It wasn't some grand revelation or anything. After all when Alex Beyrodt (Silent Force, Sinner, Primal Fear) formed Voodoo Circle back in 2009 there were three bands he was looking to emulate-Rainbow, Deep Purple and Whitesnake. "Tears In The Rain", the 2nd track on the band's new album, could be a long-lost Whitesnake number and does a wonderful job of showcasing the strengths of vocalist David Readman (Pink Cream 69). Meanwhile the next number, "Heart Of Babylon", sounds suspiciously like Rainbow.  I had begun to wonder if this new album would just be a re-hash of the band's influences or if "More Then One Way Home" could stand on it's own two feet. Thankfully the next number, "Cry For Love", sounded fresh and original. It's a good number in which Voodoo Circle strikes on their own. When the band, which is rounded out by Mat Sinner (bass), Jimmy Kresic (keyboards) and Markus Kullmann (drums), does this (focuses less on their heroes and instead chooses to rock the shit out of everything) the result speaks for itself. "Bane Of My Existence", which starts off sounding like early Mötley Crüe, is really solid hard rock as is "The Killer In You" and "Victim Of Love". From the sounds of it though these guys are still struggling to figure out who they are and what they want to sound like. Vocalist David Readman is in fine shape here and the guitar playing of Alex Beyrodt has never sounded better. So, it's a bit of a downer how hit or miss this disk is. "Alissa" is AOR with prog keyboards and is only so-so. "The Ghost In Your Heart" is so drenched in Deep Purple admiration it's hard not to think of that band while you're listening to it. And the title cut is slow and boring coming off as second-rate Whitesnake. That means Voodoo Circle either seem to hit the mark ("The Saint And The Sinner") or swing wide left ("More Then One Way Home"). It sounds kind of strange, but at 12 tracks this LP is almost too long. The band would have been better off if they would have trimmed off some of the filler and instead concentrated on putting out more good numbers like "Graveyard City". This opening number really lifts you me up it's great guitar-driven hard rock before you slowly drift back down to earth. It's kind of a shame that it didn't dawn on founder Alex Beyrodt that sometimes less is more when it comes to filling your album out.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Infernal Sea-Call of the Augur


Debut-releases can be hit or miss to begin with, but when you're talking about black metal/death metal bands? Well, that's a whole different game you're talking about. It always seems to me as if they're really good or really awful. And, more often then not, when it comes to black metal self-releases, well, let's just say I've heard some stuff that no one, not even you're worse enemy, should be forced to endure. Let's all bless the creatures of the night that this 4-piece UK not only know what they're doing, but they do it well. The band was formed in 2009 with it's members (vocals-Dean Lettice, guitar- Jonathan Egmore, bass- Geoff Taha and drums- James Burke) having come from UK acts like The Argent Dawn, Raise the Dead and Middenhelm. from various. Not only did these four come from other successful OK acts (hence the skill-level here), the group has shared the stage with the likes of Napalm Death, Anaal Nathrakh, 1349, Vreid, Martyr Defiled, Romeo Must Die, Gorath and Annotations of an Autopsy.  Not too shabby at all. Interestingly enough, this very evening (February 27th, 2013), the band is set to release their new EP, "The Crypt Sessions", digitally. A very limited run of cassettes will be available for that one (30!) and, by the time this goes to print, I wouldn't be all that surprised to find them sold-out! I've review that EP in a day or two (time allowing), but for now let's turn our attention back to the band's debut-album. Rumor has it that this release is already on its second print run which, again, comes as no real surprise considering how solid The Infernal Sea is. What I like best about these 7 tracks is that while it's blackened death metal there's elements of melodic death and even some doom to be found here. I'm not suggesting this is "slow me down black metal as I'm falling madly in love with Black Sabbath" style doom/death. Nope. It's more this feeling of overall doom you get as you struggle to come to gripes with the fact that misery can sound so mature and melodic, and yet decidedly and old-school, from a band less then a decade old! Whether these guys make it or break it depends on exposure as black/death metal, like metalcore in years past, is flooded with imitators and wannabes. My curiosity is peaked now for their new EP so it looks like I'll have to clear my schedule some for this UK 4-piece!

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Iron Reagan-Worse Than Dead

A389 Recordings

What happens when you get Municipal Waste's Tony Foresta and Philip "Landphil" Hall to hook up with a couple of ex-members of Darkest Hour (Paul Burnette and Ryan Parrish)? If you answered more crossover metal then you're right! Pat yourself on the back. With Iron Reagan you get a band that could have hailed from the 80's (the name, album art and lyrical content all pay homage to mid-eighties crossover thrash) whipping out 19 tracks of punk/hard/thrash in the harshest way possible. All of the numbers fall under the two minute mark and have more of a gritty, streetwise feel to them then anything out of Municipal Waste these days. That's not to say Municipal Waste fans wouldn't appreciate this. At it's best it feels like legit old-school crossover while at it's worst (which is still good stuff mind you) it simply comes across as a more punk hardcore version of Tony and Philip's full-time band. Overall these 19 tracks offer fun crossover for those of us who lived it and loved it the first time around!
Phil Hall plus Paul Burnette and Ryan Parrish
Phil Hall plus Paul Burnette and Ryan Parrish
Phil Hall plus Paul Burnette and Ryan Parrish

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Interview with Mathieu Rondeau of Warsenal

Recently I had the chance to talk with vocalist/guitarist Mathieu Rondeau of the Canadian band Warsenal. For those of you who don't know the band you're missing out! Warsenal plays a killer brand of thrash metal and their 3-track demo (see link below) was one of the best thrash EPs I've heard in a very long time! I want to thank Mathieu for taking time away from his schedule to answer a few questions.

Andy-Could you introduce the band for us please?

Mathieu Rondeau-Warsenal is 3 pieces Thrash/Speed Metal band from Montreal, Canada. We’re together since 2011, in October if I well remember.
Mathieu Rondeau – Guitar and Vocals
Francis Labine – Bass Guitar
Antoine Turcotte – Drums

Andy-How did you guys form and where did the name Warsenal come from?

MR-I started playing guitar at 14 and my best friend Francis started playing bass about a year later. We were playing thrash covers together with a drummer, but a year later he quit the band saying we were too crazy, destroying and burning stuff in his house where we were practising. Then, in 2011, we met our actual drummer Antoine in a party. The next week we planned jamming together playing a cover: Slayer – Antichrist, but we never played it and started composing songs right away. That’s how Warsenal was born. And our name comes from “The Arsenal of Megadeth”. We are big Megadeth’s fan and we wanted to put arsenal in our name, ‘cause we felt it fitted well with the music we are playing, but finding a name that is not already taken is a real pain in the ass, so I came up with the idea: War Arsenal, but I found it hard to say and not sounding so good. So as I was writing War Arsenal down on a paper, the idea came clear: Take off the “Ar”. All the band members agreed that it sounded good and here we are: Warsenal. 

Andy-Your sound is deeply rooted in thrash metal. Who influenced you guys both as a band and personally?

MR-We have many influences that go from: Thrash to NWOBHM, Punk, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Classical Music, Blues, Jazz, etc. But for me my top 3 bands influences would be :Megadeth
Black Sabbath and Annihilator. And my major personal influences would be:
For guitar: Dave Mustaine, Randy Rhoads, Jeff Waters, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page
For voice and lyrics: Dave Mustaine, Paul Di’anno , Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer, Denis “Snake” Belanger, Jim Morrison, Johnny Cash

Andy-What has the response been like for the demo so far?

MR-The response for our Demo has been really positive and we are more than happy about this, it give us hope that we’re on the right track and that we gotta keep going that way. 

Andy-Where the furthest place you've seen reviews appear for your demo?

MR-The furthest place I’ve seen a review appear would be in Morocco. 

Andy-Who are some of the bands you've shared the stage with?

MR-Some big names that we have shared the stage with: Skeletonwitch, Barn Burner, Cauldron, Exciter, Violator, Sabbat (JPN). 

Andy-What's the furthest from home you've played?

MR-The furthest from home we have played is at the True Thrash Fest in Osaka Japan Ferbruary 10th 2013. 

Andy-Any shows that stick out for you?

MR-And that show in Osaka was the sickest show we have ever played. Those Japanese people were crazy headbanging, stage diving and circle pitting during all our set. Kind of 80’s style gig. And I remember while playing Unstoppable, 4 people got on stage and one of them put his arm on my shoulder and started headbanging with me and then the 3 others did the same, so that was a kind of small “headbanging chain” and when I started singing they all jumped back in the crowd. That was a magic moment. 

Andy-Given the chance what band (past or present) would you kill to play with?


Andy-Fill in the blank time. Warsenal cannot hit the road without...

MR-Warsenal cannot hit the road without … beer! 

Andy-Personal choice-Metallica or Megadeth?


Andy-Iron Maiden or Judas Priest?

MR-Iron Maiden

Andy-Black Sabbath with Ozzy or Black Sabbath with Dio?

MR-With Ozzy

Andy-If you could sign with any label who would it be? 

MR-For our first record we would like to sign with: Nuclear Blast, Earache Records or maybe Metal Blade.

Andy-Is there any new material you guys are working on? 

MR-We are now composing some songs for a future album. We have 7 songs done so far. We’ll probably compose 2 more and we’ll be ready to record an album. 

Andy-What's the chances fans see a new demo or album from Warsenal in 2013? 

MR-If everything goes right, we plan on releasing an album in 2014. But we might put another song or 2 online ‘til then. 

Andy- Where can people find out more about Warsenal?

MR-We just putted a small bio on our Reverbnation site. Here’s the link:  And for future news or upcoming gigs it will be on our facebook page:

Andy-Any parting shots?

MR-We are Warsenal 
We are the future
We are your future

Review of Warsenal's demo:

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Unclean-The Eagle


Somehow I managed to post this review when I wasn't even nearly finished with it. I could blame that on a lot of different things, but it's frankly just one of those "oops" moments. Here's the other thing. You see I am working on what must be my third draft of this review. Why? Well, usually I'll just review an album and write down whatever comes to mind, touch it up and ship it on out. With "The Eagle" I second guessed myself and felt like I needed to hear it again to see if my feelings had changed. Now, I'll say that even though I like to think that I'm somewhat/kind of knowledgeable when it comes to Ohio's rock and heavy metal scene it never fails that I miss out on some supposedly well-known/well-traveled band like The Unclean. Bands like this simply escape my radar. "No Excuse Necessary", the self-released debut album from The Unclean, was released back in the fall of 2008 so you'd think that in four year's time I'd have heard of this rock group right? Part of the problem is that there are just too many bands in Ohio to keep track of and the other problem (which really isn't a problem as it's what I fought for) is that, being a single father and all, I don't get the chance to go to as many live shows as I'd like to anymore. I'm just not up to date anymore when it comes to my own state's "name" bands. And The Unclean, as it turns out, have come to be known as one of Ohio's better live acts! Of course I found all of this out AFTER I listened to the band's sophomore release (as it's better to listen to promos without any preconceived notions). We'll come back to the "live" aspect of this band in a little bit. For now, before I even touch of  what works and doesn't work on "The Eagle" (and why it has taken me over an hour and a half to do this review), I should introduce the member's of this part-time band. The Unclean features guitarist/vocalist Bremmy (ex-Sofa King Killer, Honkeytonk Damnation), bassist Burns (ex-Rue, Nailblack, Fistula, Sofa King Killer) and drummer Frank The Tank (ex- Search Block). If you don't recognize any of the names, or for that matter the bands, don't worry about it as everything's cool. We'll just say that there is some real talent to be found in the ranks of  The Unclean and leave it at that. The promo rightly points out some of the band's obvious influences (ZZ Top, Humble Pie, Thin Lizzy and Motörhead) and let's us know that comparisons have been made between The Unclean and those classic acts. Being mentioned in the same breath as any of those four acts should be considered a honor. I'm throw in my two cents as far as the influences go. Overall "The Eagle" is the sound of a band drawing from not only those four acts (especially ZZ Top), but T-Rex, Mountain, Ted Nugent, The Steve Miller Band, Slade and even Steppenwolf. So, it's kind of funny to hear music like this coming from a band that features a member of Fistula! More and more though it seems as if these kind of  part-time "rock" bands are all the rage so it's really not all that unusual I guess. Let's get to the actual album though. As I mentioned I listen to this one a few times just to see if my opinion changed any. Things start off on the right foot with the number opens "On We Go". The track is heavy on the Motörhead love while also paying obvious homage to ZZ Top. As the second cut kicked in I envisioned an album like Audrey Horne's "Youngblood". That was truly my hope as I love good rock albums. "Live For The Day", beside reminding me way too much of "Photograph" by Nickleback, kept the ZZ Top admiration going. So did the third track, "Million Dollar Jezebel", and, to a degree, the forth cut, "Away Too Long". These guys attempt to create a mixture of beer-soaked hard rock, toked-up classic rock and sleazy blues-rock which, on paper at least, sounds really cool right? By track number five though I find I'm getting kind of bored. That was how I felt the first time I listened to "The Eagle" and, unfortunately, it was more of the same on my second run-through of the album.  Here's part of the problem. If you're going to play the blues you have to live the blues. I'm not saying that these guys haven't had a rough go of it as I don't know any of them personally.I'm also not saying that I'm some kind of expect when it comes to the blues just because I have some blues in my collection or because I've been to places like Nashville and heard "THE BLUES". Rather I have a pretty good suspicion that this blues-based hard rock band comes across better in a live setting. This is the kind of music that you might find in a really good dive bar. You know the kind of bar (and band) I'm talking about. It's the kind where, after a few cheap beers have you feeling nice and buzzed, the music really starts to click. I'm going to even suggest that you could even be sober and The Unclean would work better live where there could be a welcoming audience to feed a track like "Been Gone". On tape it felt flat. Live though, with the energy of the crowd charging up the venue, it probably sounds almost perfect. I'd wager this band sounds better live and that, studio-wise, they just haven't tapped into that energy yet. While it might sound as if, other then the album's opening number, I didn't like anything about "The Eagle". "On We Go" wasn't the only cut I liked. "Nothing Left To Say" had a bit of Lemmy to it and "The End", other then the last few seconds of it, is an absolutely beautiful instrumental track. So I did enjoy some of what The Unclean laid out for me. Next time around though I'd suggest either recording everything live in the studio with no dubs or, better yet, recording a live album where the band is sure to be charged up! 

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Dark Salvation-Der letzte Weg


Dark Salvation hail from the Principality of Liechtenstein. Lead by vocalist Gianluca Teofani the group, who were formed in 2008, are set to release their new album in less then a week. It's not completely unusally or unheard of, but Dark Salvation's first release (if the Metal Archives is to be believed ) was a DVD. Releasing a DVD first? Yes, some bands have taken this path. These guys, who feature what I assume are two brother's in their ranks (guitarist Kevin Schädler and drummer Samuel Schädler) have also released one other album. "Bärgthron", released in April of 2010, was also a self-release/independent release although it seems as if the band swapped out lead singers at one point. Simon Sprenger (guitar) and Marcel Gebert (bass) fill out the ranks on this sophomore release. While I can't make heads or tails out of any of the lyrics (sorry, English is the only language I speak and with the way things are going for me lately I'm struggling to even keep a handle on that!) the music itself is melodic death metal with that little "extra something" added to keep things interesting. On a number like "Schatten" that means you get a melodic death metal song with what almost amounts to rock and roll riffage. Vocalist Gianluca Teofani is a fairly by-the-numbers death metal singer, but the musicians involved really carry Dark Salvation. The technical nature of a number such as the 6-minute "Sekunden meiner Macht" blends nicely with a more "metal" track such as "Feuertod" (which isn't the only number to feature great Megadeth-like solos). The language barrier could be an issue for Dark Salvation, but the music is more then capable of putting these guys over here in the States. Recommended for fans of  early Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility and At The Gates. 

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Nightbitch-Chaimaker EP

Ear One Productions

As I went to listen to this 3-track EP my first thought was "Why didn't anyone tell me that Glenn Danzig had a side-project? "Chainmaker" opens up this short EP and right off the bat Chris Taylor (Kingdom of Sorrow) does his best to make this heavy metal outfit sound like a Samhain/Danzig cover band. "Disrober" rides a similar path although there's one little difference here. With it's over the top "Satan is my gym partner" lyrics it sounds more like the group went to the Cronos school of songwriting. Talk about cheese! "Into the Fire" closes things off. This Deep Purple cover is actually the one cut I enjoyed the most as it sounded like Danzig and Deep Purple getting into a head on collision and then their zombiefied corpses rising up and rocking out! As this is a side-project/love-letter to all things "doom and gloom", or as the promo put's it "sleazy 70's occult / exploitation films and plagiarized Danzig riffs", Nightbitch is more of a tongue in cheek/tribute then something to be taken dead serious. In that regard there's a certain degree of charm to these 3 tracks even if I did struggle to keep a straight face during the first two cuts.

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Century Media Records, Elevin Sevin Music

This is the sixth studio album from Buckcherry, but only the first album I've ever reviewed from them. It's also the only album A) I've heard start to finish from this bunch and B) Bought (and that was only after streaming it over Rhapsody). So, I have a lot of firsts when it comes to Buckcherry. I decided that with this review I'd drop the need to sound all professional (Yeah, that's me LOL!) and just talk about this album from the view/stand-point of who I really am-a music fan. More then anything (Except for being a father of two teens who I adore!) I'm one of those across the board, everything from The Beatles to Napalm Death, music fans. My personal collection is large and wildly varied (INXS next to Slayer? Sure thing! Johnny Cash next to Venom? Oh yeah!) and I do this blog not because I claim to be some kind of musical genius, but because I love music! Period. What does that say (Or have to do) about "Confessions"? Am I trying to make a point or just blabbering on and on and on? Well, "Confessions" is an album for those of us who just like feel good, singing the blues, rock and roll/hard rock. I already reviewed the single "Gluttony" (Link below) and, not surprisingly, that number opens things up here. From there the party just keeps going. The band's sound is drawn from the likes of AC/DC, G N' R, Aerosmith, and L.A. Guns, but by this point it sure does sound as if Buckcherry just sounds like, well, Buckcherry. "Gluttony" is still my favorite cut, but I dig numbers like "Nothing Left But Tears",  "Lust", "The Truth", "Water" and "Seven Days to Die". With the beautiful "Dreamin' of You" closing these 13 tracks this is just one of those cool records that's easy on your ears. It also takes you back to the days when this kind of hard rock was king. Buckcherry would have easily fit in during the golden years of hair metal and glam metal, but they still come across as modern enough for today's rock radio. I like everything about this album honestly as it's a record I can just sit back and enjoy.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013



Chosen hail from Dublin, Ireland and were formed in 2001. Since that time there's been four EPs and one demo released. There has also been line-up changes and a brief period in which the band took a breather. On "Resolution", the band's debut full-length release, there's a lot going on sound-wise for this to be just two guys. Even so the band really has been stripped down to just Paul Shields (vocals/guitars) and David McCann (drums/percussion). "Resolution", which was produced by Alwyn Walker, opens with "Engines of Disbelief". The band is offering the song as a free download and, trust me ladies and gentlemen when I say this, the rest of the album's 8 cuts are just as good as this heavy, percussion-laden, death metal thrasher.This duo takes the groove of Meshuggah and mixes if with the progressive death metal of bands like Cynic and Atheist. Speaking of Atheist, who were such an inventive band themselves, Chosen captures the listener's attention early on and easily holds it with there own take on progressive/jazz-infused death/thrash. Having the above influences, which also range on "Resolution" from Death to Nevermore, is one thing. The true mark of a veteran act is taking those influences and building your own band from the bottom up into something uniquely your own. On some level the sound of Chosen is familiar and yet, through their creative use of rhythmic drumming, progressive chord arrangements (and even acoustic passages), the music on "Resolution" is refreshingly original. The record, which I enthusiastically recommend, is quite heavy and brutal, but it's also surprising warm and inviting. There are so many different elements to these 9 tracks that I found myself returning to for repeated listens before I even sat down to do this write-up. Had Chosen released "Resolution" back in the late eighties/early nineties I have no doubt they would be held in the same high regard as bands like Atheist and Cynic. This album challenges the listener to hand themselves fully over to the music and to simply let the ride take you where it chooses. As it's being offered in several different versions fans have a few options.There is a double CD that features a 9-track bonus disc of unreleased songs, rough mixes, drum and bass tracks. These tracks were taken from the album sessions and the double CD will feature along a detailed booklet inside. Then there is also the Collectors Edition of the album that includes a beautiful 60-page, full color soft cover booklet, extensive liner notes, lyrical themes and illustrations for each song as well as rare photos, studio diaries and much more! All of that comes packaged in a exquisite tapestry of expanded album artwork courtesy of Fiaz Farrelly! Needless to say that version is a true collector's item for those who want to go all. No matter which version of this album you pick up it's the music that matters and this Irish duo has created a near perfect progressive death album!

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Desire- "Vilify" Single

Warner Bros. Records

Device is a new project featuring Disturbed's front-man David Drainman and former Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo. Word has it that back in late 2011/early 2012 (after David's band went on hiatus) the former Filter guitarist approached David about doing some work for the latest "Underworld" soundtrack. One thing lead to another and the next thing you know every one's talking about this "new heavy metal" band called Device. Of course I also distinctly recall hearing that Device was also a "super group". Uh oh. Whenever the word's "heavy metal" and "super group" appear together there's usually lots of hype with little in the way of actual payoff. Before I get into this single though let's put one rumor to rest. Bothers and sisters let me tell you something. Being called a  "heavy metal band" doesn't necessarily make you a heavy metal band. This is not "heavy metal". Could Disturbed even be described as a heavy metal band? I never considered them to be one. I'm not saying that they aren't heavy. They are. I'm just not sure I'd call them "heavy metal". Maybe nu metal meets alt. metal? I don't know, but they're not a heavy metal act in the strictest sense of the word. And we know that that Filter wasn't either (or still isn't if they are even still around). Instead the pair, who started working on this album in June of 2012, have released what you'd expect this pairing would release. In other words its David Draiman playing in an industrial act. N.I.N, Ministry and Skinny Puppy are the likely influences. This sounds insanely like industrial metal from the late eighties/early nineties. I can't say for sure the whole album will be industrial metal. The new album is supposed to have quite a few quests so who knows? "Vilify" itself is a cool number. I've always like David's vocals. Am I saying I'm a closet Disturbed fan? I wouldn't go that far. There's some songs of theirs I like. It's funny, but when I hear Disturbed I think of this Italian cat  named Tino (where are you my friend?) who was heavily into Disturbed. Of course he was also into Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Slayer and Pantera so he had good tastes. Anyway, he always tried to get me into Disturbed. I actually find that I like David's vocals in this form better. Call me crazy. I'm used to it. But yeah, David sounds wicked here and while this album, which is expected in April, might not be all it's hyped up to be this tune is fun. I'll probably get the album one way or the other so expect a review of it much later one. "Vilify" is certainly a song to get if you're into the likes of N.I.N., KMFDM, Ministry and maybe even Skinny Puppy.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Deep End-Cop This

Relentless Rock Records

AC/DC's "Who Made Who" was the first album I ever bought. I had to sneak it into my house out of fear that if my parents found out I had it they would confiscate it. I could thank my older brother, and his decision to play "Highway To Hell" as loud as humanly possible (of course it was just to piss my parents off) for such condemnation of rock and roll. Of course A) He's now an accountant out in California so obviously it didn't screw him up too much and B) My own kids love AC/DC. I've listened to AC/DC for over 25 years now. As Australian rock and I go way back it does kind of make sense that I don't ever seen to tire of AC/DC-like bands. Heck, even when I went through my faze where I listened to nothing but Christian rock and heavy metal (that didn't last long), I picked up on X-Sinner's "Get It". So yeah, I love down and dirty, AC/DC -style rock. When I fist heard the single "Bigger. Better. Badder." I figured The Deep End would be my kind of band. After all they hailed from Australia and that single came rocking out of my speakers in full-on Bon Scoot mode! Even reading through band's influences like AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, Rose Tattoo and Airbourne (a band they've played with) would lead to believe all ten of these tracks would sound pretty similar. Writing this band of as mere clones would be grossly unfair though. With this 10-track album they have gotten meaner and angrier (this one itsn't for the kiddies folks!) while bringing out more of an edge to their dirty rock.Only that single, which is also the opening number, finds lead singer Dale Schober doing his best Bon Scott impersonation. The rest of this album is simply Australian pub rock/ hard rock (and damn good pub/hard rock at that!). Well, "simply" is not the best word for this band. There's nothing "simple" about them. Instead these guys play great hard rock full of hooks and with sweat leads. Any of these "S" words would have worked better: "stone cold", "sweet", "stomping", "sizzling" or "stars". So, what makes these guys tick? What fuels them? I mean besides cold beer and "Sex, Drugs and Rock N' Roll"!
The band's story might sound familiar, but The Deep End really just started out as some friends drinking beer and talking about the bands they liked. One thing lead to another and soon enough a band was formed. They started out playing in a garage. A couple of EPs were knocked out and before too long they were out playing with some of Australia's biggest bands like The Screaming Jets, Hoodoo Gurus and Mental As Anything. That should serve as a lesson to younger bands out there to never give up. Sometimes stardom is just around the corner. Being Australian does mean that bands like AC/DC, Rose Tattoo and The Angels rubbed off on them. So did Airbourne. The big difference is that unlike Airbourne these young rockers play like they have more conviction. I listen to Airbourne and hear AC/DC clones through and through. I listen to The Deep End and I hear a band that has some serious swagger ( the Black Crowes rocker "No Time To Rest") and the balls to back it up ("Shit Talker"). Despite how this album opens it closes with the sweet, and frankly heavy, number "Run With It". This is classic rock riffs served over face-punching, barroom heavy metal and the result brings one big smile to this old rocker's face! In addition to lead singer Dale Schober (who got the job after pulling off a near perfect impression of Brian Johnson) the band features lead guitarist Drew Suhr, rhythm guitarist Jazz Morrice, bassist Matt Berg and drummer Nick Trajanovski (on the album drums were recorded by Jarrod Medwin). 

Just take one look at those guys. You can't tell me they don't look like a bunch of guys you'd like to party with. Imagine how much better it is to have these guys play real gritty, dirty, rock and roll that's custom made for drinking beer to. That's what The Deep End is all about. Beer drinking and women chasing pub rock/hard rock that's not pretty, but it's oh so sweet to the ears. I'm so glad these guys are more then just another band trying to reinvent "Highway To Hell" or "Back In Black". This debut album is blast and comes highly recommended for fans of (yes) AC/DC, Airbourne, Dirty Looks, Rose Tattoo and other bands that didn't just dress for the part, but walked the talk

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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Rockford Heroes-Edge of the Silverthorn (Updated Review)


Back on February 4th I posted this album (and did a brief review of it) as part of my "Free Metal Monday" series. Since then the guys in The Rockford Heroes were kind enough to e-mail me so I could "fill in the blanks" some. At the time of the original review I was stumbling around in the dark with this band as very little information was to be found. You can read the first review below if you so desire, but this one will be a little more in-depth. This is actually the band's 3rd release. Here's the details straight from the band:  

"We have always said that we shouldn't do any full length releases (rather shorter releases, but often) and had planned to do another EP. But this time it didn't happen. When the songs for what should have been an EP was finished, we noticed how good they fitted together with the songs from the previous release "The White EP". And even though we got some really nice reviews, there haven't been that many listeners. So, we worked further with the old songs, re-recorded some parts, and re-mixed it to fit with the new songs. And this became Edge of the silverthorn, which we are very satisfied with"

So, there you have it as far as the background goes on this, the bands first (of hopefully many to come), full-length album. The band itself was formed by vocalist Dan Hultstrand and guitarist Jonas Arvidsson (formerly of VII Gates) and really does cover a lot of ground on this album. The shift in styles could be attributed to these songs being from two different sources, but I suspect it has more to do with the fact that these guys just like to keep things fresh and interesting. In a very broad sense you could call this band a hard rock/heavy metal outfit. The things is that's a rather generic description. As I listened to these 8 songs again (I put them on as I was typing this up) two things popped into my head. The first is that these songs are really strong. The second thing is how short this release is. At not even 40 minutes it just speeds by. That's a shame. From the moment album opener "No Reason To Believe" kicks in you're treated to a splendid album of melodic hard rock ("No Reason To Believe"), Queen-like pomp ("The Day Of Return" and "Gold Encircles The Altar") and even some NWOBHM meets Rainbow ("Capricious Arrows"). There's ballad's like the AOR/melodic hard rock number "Forever" and even some Euro-style power rock in the quite good number "And Then There Was Temptation". Quite possibly my favorite cut (other then the well-written "No Reason To Believe") was "The Fool's Gold". Falling somewhere between Savatage and the more melodic side of the NWOBHM movement (Persian Risk, Praying Mantis, Tobruk, Shy, etc.). For a band that draws influences from a lot of different bands (listen and you'll here Skid Row, Rainbow, Rush, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Kansas, Queen, Whitesnake and more!) they really have a very distinct sound. I look forward to hearing more from The Rockford Heroes. You can hear the whole album, read my initial review and even download it for free through the various links below.

The complete album as a play list on YouTube:

My initial review:

Download the album here:

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Current Playlist

It's Friday again and I say thank the maker! I don't know about the rest of you, but it was a LONG week. Still, good things did come of it. This week I went and filled out paperwork so I can return to college and continue my education. Of course the earliest I can get in is the summer semester, but at least I'm taking that first step. It's been 20 years since I last stepped foot into a classroom so my emotions are mixed at the prospect. Even so it marks a new chapter in my life and makes me believe that 2013 just might be a good year after all! With that I present my lists. As always feel free to share your own.

Listening to:
Buckcherry-Confessions (Review due shortly)
AC/DC-Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
The Deep End-Cop This (Review in the works)
The Virginmarys-King Of Conflict
Bark Market-Vegas Throat
Lightnin' To The Nations Box Set
Device-Vilify Single (Review coming...)
Helloween-Straight Out of Hell Deluxe Edition (I do plan to review this eventually!)
The Cranberries-Everybody Else Is Doing It...

License To Kill
The Transporter 3
Burial Ground

Old issues of Fangoria and Horrorhound I have laying around my bedroom

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coma-Don't Set Your Dogs On Me

earMusic/Eagle Rock Entertainment

This was one of those albums that I specifically asked for. That alone makes this review all the more "interesting". Let me explain (if I can). I'll go out on a limb here and admit that I didn't recognize the name at first. So I was simply going by some positive reviews and word of mouth recommendations when I put in a request for this promo. When this one showed up in my inbox I read through the notes. "Poland’s biggest rock band..." ended up rattling some brain cells. I did a quick search through my previous reviews and then it finally struck me! I had reviewed their one album, "Excess", back in 2010. I had forgotten all about that album. Of course a lot of stuff was going on for me back in 2010 so it's no wonder this band slipped my mind. Quite honestly I had easily dismissed the band back then as a Linkin Park wannabe. That just goes to show that bands, just like life situations, can change for the better. As I listened to the track "Keep The Peace" kick this album off I'm still secretly questioning if this is the same band I wrote off. That doesn't mean that the Linkin Park vibe I got when listening to this group the first time around has gone completely away. Hell, I'd wager that the bulk of people out there, whether they read this particular review or not, would get the same vibe too. It's still there so that's one influence for this Polish rock band. But there's more to this band then just wanting to sound like Linkin Park. If anything these guys sound more American then most American rock bands! "Always Summer" recalls Creed while "Dance With A Queen" pulls no punches with it's Deftones-style alternative metal. Coma works their way through music that would appeal to fans of Staind, Hinder, Nickleback and Puddle Of Mudd. That's about what you get from "Moscow". Meanwhile "With You" is a catchy number that seems to have found the hidden connection between The Killers and U2. Just when you think you've got the band sort of figured out though they shake things up and dip into post-grunge. Cuts like "Late" and "Song 4 Boys" recall the early rainy days of Seattle. Maybe that's to be expected out of a rock band when you're living in a place that's all cold and wet? That would explain a few things about Coma. That grunge sound doesn't stray too far from their mind. At first "Furious Fate" acts like it's going to a silly ballad before these muscular riffs cut in and crush everything. It's got a bit of a Pearl Jam flavor to it which makes you think that the guys in Coma are all about heavy rock no matter if it comes off sounding like grunge or not. Call it that (grunge) or call it nu metal, alternative rock or just regular radio rock. That part doesn't really matter. Either way you've got to appreciate the crunchy rock these guys bring to the party on so many of this album's tracks ("Rainy Song" anyone?). So yes, these guys know how to rock. But, Coma isn't afraid to flex their creativity on this new album. Take the title cut with it's crunchy & punchy (hey, that's a new description!) heavy funk rock attack and you'll see a group that is willing to take some risks.
"Don't Set Your Dogs On Me" ends up being an album that offers more to the casual listener then just another band trying to capitalize on the success of the "Hybrid Theory" guys! I was wrong for thinking I could just pigeonhole them as such because of what I heard on "Excess". This album might not be album of the year material, or for that matter make them a household name here in the U.S., but it shows that Coma is committed to their craft as a band. It shows a marked improvement as Coma has grown and improved. That's the sign of a good band and Coma are at a stage in their career where they can choose where they go from here. Tweak the edges some here and there and Coma could very easily make some waves here in the States. 

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Fumigation-Integrated Pest Management

CDN Records

Fumigation came to my attention as they feature two members of Signs of Chaos.  Those two fine gentlemen, Matt MacIvor and Tom Hansen (while he plays bass in Signs of Chaos here he handles guitars alongside Matt), are joined by vocalist LP Dugal (Accursed Creation), bassist Chris Humeniuk (Remnants of a Deity) and drummer Mat Desjardins. Together these five guys play death metal with an obsession for "rats, insects and chemicals". Say what you will about this Canadian act, but both their name and overall concept are unique! Granted it's not just the name that should help this group stand out (although it would be enough!) as their take on death metal, while as toxic as the waste they use in the extermination of various "pests", is well-written and executed with extreme prejudice! Check out some of these song titles and tell me that this isn't fun! "Pediculosis (Mommy, I Have Lice)", "Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite" and my favorite, "The Lick Of Carnivorous Caterpillars" all offer up a tongue-in-cheek approach that's a fun alternative to the usually gore& guts, mutilation & murder lyrics that have become the norm in this field of extreme metal. Granted it's not likely you'll be able to make out much of anything (lyric-wise) as this is brain-stomping death metal with a vocalist straight out of the "possessed cookie monster" school of thought. Sound wise? Well, I was thinking about Cannibal Corpse and early Death getting down and dirty after bonding over a case (or 2) of Labatt Blue (I love that Canadian beer!). In other words this is early death metal in a "Let's get back to the basics guys and remember a simpler time when death metal was raw, brutal and oh so delightful!"  for the modern metal maniac. It's also a sign that real death metal, in it's purist/vilest form, still exists if you know where to look for it. In this case it's up there with our friends from the north!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Nailgun-New World Chaos


This was released back in October of 2012 which makes it just "new" enough to squeak by for review here at Heavy Metal Time Machine. I usually try to cover albums reviewed in the last couple of months or ones that are due out in a month or less. Since I've twisted that rule on more then one occasion I figured why not with this one? Chances are anyway that you're probably not all that familiar with the name. I know I wasn't. I kept thinking of the band Nailbomb when I was writing this. It's not because this sounds anything like that industrial metal act, but because of the name being so close. Then again all the various bands that have been called just Nail (or Nails) springs to mind so the name kind of throws me. Moving past that though this band was formed in 2008 and features six members. No, it's not what you think (or might expect) as there are two vocalists to be found within Nailgun. Those two would be Manuel Bühler (lead vocals) and Manuel Blesch (backing vocals). Or at least how the Metal Archives has them listed. Speaking of which, as far as lead vocals go, I will say that there is a very distinct James Hetfield vibe you get when the vocals kick in. That's not good or bad, but rather just an observation. The vocals fit the music that fluctuates between dark melodic moments and meaty metal breakdowns. Let's get back to the band though. Hailing from Walldürn, Baden-Württemberg (Germany) the band's first release was "Paindustry" (April of 2011) with "New World Chaos" being the band's sophomore outing. The material that came along with this promised music that was "Straight and aggressive, complex and catchy, incl. even balladic (sic) moments and groovy passages!" and also "Dark Heavy Metal, strongly recommended to followers of Nevermore, Communic or Evergrey!". I'll admit I've thrown that term "Dark Heavy Metal" around myself so in case you're wondering Nailgun are more or less just heavy metal/thrash metal with pretty good song structures/choruses. They're also a band with a bit of a bleak outlook. Think along the lines (tone wise/over-all feeling you get when listening to them) of bands like Danzig, Type O Negative or even N.I.N and you should be able to see where I'm coming from. The dread and despair that those bands create with their music is layered on top of some (again) quality heavy/thrash. One band that comes to mind, as already mentioned, is Metallica ("Black" album through "Re-Load"), which is certainly understandable considering how far-reaching Metallica's music was during that period. It's the Hetfield vocals yes, but it's also Nailgun's (occasional) "Black Era" guitar leads which seem to pop up in more and more new bands lately. As I look back over my notes again I see that I also wrote down some other acts that Nailgun draw influences from. Iron Maiden, Danzig, Primal Fear and Nevermore all came to mind so there is a lot of interesting influences to be found within album number two for this German band. So, looking back at the promo material and that Nevermore comment seems somewhat fitting. I could get everyone really confused and mention that other bands came to to mind as well. Vicious Rumors (melodies and choruses), the Scorpions (if only again because of the bands solid guitar work) and even bands as diverse as Metal Church and Alice In Chains all crossed my mind! The bottom line seems to be this that Nailgun, being a young band, obviously pulled from a wide variety of different bands and different genres to help shape their sound. Again, there is nothing wrong with that as long as the end result is a band trying to forge their own identity and it really seems as if this 6-piece band is etching out theirs. With Nailgun it is all about being dark & moody, and somewhat mysterious/eerie, while also laying down heavy metal that borders on both power metal and thrash metal.

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Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Diamond Head drummer Karl Wilcox. Our regular readers will no doubt recall that I am a huge (and I mean HUGE!) fan of N.W.O.B.H.M. with Diamond Head being a particular favorite of mine. So, please know that when I say this was a privilege for me it REALLY was. I've been listening to this band for well over 20 years now and I've just recently started showing my own teenage son how great their music is. With the news of a US tour in the works I sat down with Karl to talk about the band and his own life.

Andy-First things first I just want to thank you Karl for taking time to answer a few questions for me today. I'd imagine that things are pretty busy these days for Diamond Head right?

Karl-No worries Andrew. Yes it's getting a little manic.

I have to sort out flights, hotels, van hire, Merch. Backline etc.  More importantly the work visa and tax ID's have to be sorted before I can book anything.

Andy-How are things coming along as far as Diamond Head's tour of the US?

Karl-Great. There's been a great response to us announcing the tour. The US was great for us in 2002 and our first ever tour in 2011.

Andy-When was the last time Diamond Head played in America?

Karl-2011. Sean and Brian Jammed with Metallica at their 30th anniversary bash

Andy-If I'm not mistaken (and please feel free to correct me if I am) you joined Diamond Head back in 1992. Can you tell me how that came about?

Karl-1990-91 but close enough I had worked with Brian on his 'Radio Moscow' project 85-87,  then with Sean on the 'Notorious'  project with Robin George 88- 89.

When they decided to get DH back together I was offered the gig. I am the first musician/member to join the band who was a fan an actual fan of the band

Andy-You were involved with the NWOBHM scene before you joined Diamond Head. Two bands that are often mentioned are Requiem and Chase. I know Requiem released a single. Was that your first studio experience?

Karl-We had done some demos prior to that single in a local studio in Walsall.  It was a great experience. In the mountains of Wales with a former member of 'Hawkwind' We had a massive band revolt on the night of going. 

Andy-How did you learn to play the drums Karl?

                                                               Karl Wilcox live and lethal!
Karl-My dad had a big band / dance band in the UK and used to watch him play. He never wanted me to be a drummer so I ended up playing the trumpet for 10 years before finally taking up the drums. The drummer in the county big band was leaving and the drum chair fell vacant.
He was a great player.. I took over and it was a disaster. So I took all the music home and practiced like a Mother came up with my own solos until I owned that drum chair.

Then I got into the Devils Music :-) 

Andy-I've always thought that you had your own unique style of playing. Who were some of your influences as you were just getting started?

Karl- My main influence when starting out where Buddy Rich and My old Man. He was more of a groove player..
As I got into the Devils music then I became aware of John Bonham, Ian Paice. Keith Moon, Terry Bozzio , Neil Peart.Phil Rudd
There really are too many very good players from that era before the drum machines took over.
I could go back to the 60's and list influence. But the main influence from them all was " I want to do that for a living"

Andy-This is a similar question Karl. Has any young drummer told you that they were inspired to pick up their first pair of sticks because of you? In Diamond Head you've been able to make your mark and you've become an important aspect to the band's sound. I'd be shocked if there wasn't more then a few young drummers out there that listed you as a influence!

Karl-Thanks Andrew. Brian's step son Dan who has his own band lists me as one of his top 3 influences. The other two are John Bonham and Lars.
If I can influence any drummer to leave the show and go right home and practice immediately as the guys who inspired me then I've opened the door for that Kat to develop. Whether they like what I have done or not.

I been blessed to work as a musician/entertainer

Andy-As I briefly touched on with the last question your contribution to Diamond Head's sound is well regarded. You've spent a large part of your career with the band in fact. How does it feel to be able to look back and say that you were involved with one of the true icons of the NWOBHM scene?

Karl-I was the first member who was an actual fan of the band and used to watch them play and say I should be up there with them.
And here I am. I give the utmost respect for the parts played by Duncan and I just embellish it what I can. Groove is very important to me and the band. 

Sometimes you have to pinch yourself. But I have know Brian for 30 years now and it's been a great journey. 
We did a show in Montreal with Kiss at a festival. 'Detroit Rock City' was the first album I purchased and I'm standing back stage with my niece and nephew looking on gobsmaked  talking with Paul & Gene. 

Keep believing 

Andy-This shouldn't surprise you guys, but I have firsthand knowledge that teenage metal bands (with even preteen members!) are playing covers of some Diamond Head classics. That says a lot about the lasting impact that Diamond Head has had on heavy metal. When the band is playing live It must be something to be able to look out in crowd and see several generations of fans right?

Karl-There's old folks and young folks in the audience and there singing the songs at me and I'm singing them back at them. It's great. DH has a great catalog of songs both with Sean and with Nick. Obviously the classics are the main course for the show.

Although we have done support shows and had the headlining road crew ask "why are you playing Metallica songs?" The look on their face was priceless..

Andy-Besides headlining a tour of the US this April, which is a big deal for Diamond Head fans like me, are there any other big plans for the band in 2013?

Karl-We we quiet last year due to myself needing an emergency blood transfusion during our summer European tour. We had to cancel two shows the I was back on the Tubs thumping away. We had planned on hitting the US late last year..

This year hopefully sees the band doing two US tours, an East Coast run in April and a West Cost run in October.
Also we play a Belgium festival and will putting a European tour around that.

We hope to make a DVD of this tour so you all got to come to the show and record with us. If you don't like what you did at the show come to another show and re-record with us, we'll love to see you again.

Andy-Thanks again Karl for checking in. As we wrap up this quick interview is there anything you want to say to Diamond Head fans? I'll give you the last word.

Get your street teams together and get folks who have never heard or seen us to the shows. DH fans have been a long standing crew and have supported us through everything. 

See you all soon 


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