Monthly Archives: October 2008

Review: Bruce Springsteen "A Night With The Jersey Devil" [2008]

Fans of Bruce Springsteen should check out the unreleased track, “A Night With The Jersey Devil,” at brucespringsteen.net. You can download it for free and stream the video until Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008.

“A Night With The Jersey Devil” is fully equipped with a dirty southern blues tone and spooky musical repetition worthy of an evil cult gathering. Springsteen sounds like he is screaming into a microphone 666 feet away creating a creepshow feel, making this a perfect Halloween tune. However, fans will probably use this purely for their Halloween playlists due to the old time muffled production, which was probably The Boss’s intent. 7/10

Download for free until Nov.2

Hear are the lyrics from the press release:

Hear me now!

I was born 13th child, ‘neath the 13th moon

Spit out all hungry and born anew

Daddy drag me to the river tie me in rocks

Throw me in where it’s deep and wide

I go down, I don’t die

Hole in the river bottom, I crawl through

Come back kill six brothers and sisters, kill papa too

Sway down Mama, sway down low

They gonna know me wherever I go

Into my bed with her kerosene my mama creep

Set my flesh to burning, whilst I sleep

I burn, burn, burn, till my soul burn black

Black rains fall, I come back, I come back

Get down Mama, get down low

They gonna know me wherever I go

16 witches, cast 16 spells

Make me a guitar outta skin and human skull

Sing you a song like the wind in the sandy loam

Bring you baby out your happy home

Ram’s head, forked tail, clove hoof, love’s my trail

I sup on your body, sip on your blood like wine

Out world theirs, this world mine

So kiss me baby till it hurts

God lost in heaven, we lost on earth

Sway down Mama, sway down low

They gonna know me wherever I go

Wherever I go, wherever I go

Well I got a brand new lover

I love her yes I do,

She’s my one and only and her name is Baby Blue…

Buy Bruce Springsteen albums

Upcoming Rock Releases: Sammy Hagar, Guns N Roses, Weiland, Killers…

With the exception of Chinese Democracy, it turns out that November is a pretty slow month in terms of new rock albums. Below is a list of the upcoming records that may be of interest to the rock fanatic.

Nov.4

George Lynch – Let The Truth Be Known Ex-Dokken guitarist put together this record with the Brides of Destruction singer, London LeGrand. Pre-release verdict: It is nice that Lynch is still making rock records, but we shouldn’t expect much here. [BUY]

Hinder – Take It To The Limit Mainstream rock radio plays these guys all the time and I have never been that impressed; sounds like generic modern rock to me. Pre-release verdict: Just not into it. [BUY]

Nov. 18

Sammy Hagar – Cosmic Universal Fashion Sammy is a rock legend and can still put on a great show, even though it is normally to half empty arenas in the summertime. Pre-release verdict: Pumped. [BUY]

Nickelback – Dark Horse These guys are in the same league as Hinder; over produced modern rock muck. Pre-release verdict: Again, not into it. [BUY]

Nov. 23:

Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy Let’s see if this album was worth the wait. My gut says “NO” but I would love to be proved wrong on this one. Pre-release verdict: Curious, anxious, and excited. [BUY]

Nov. 25, 2008

Scott Weiland – Happy in Galoshes After leaving Velvet Revolver and a summer reunification tour with Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland decides it’s time for his first solo release since 12 Bar Blues. The two summer shows I witnessed were not very good at all, and worried me that he may be messing with the smack again. I hope he has it, or can pull it together. Pre-release verdict: Don’t think it will be any good, but still curious of what this will be. [Buy]

The Killers – Day & Age Las Vegas post punk revival rockers have this studio album to distribute before year’s end. The first single, “Human,” is a decent tune but nothing like the glorious “Mr. Brightside.” Pre-release verdict: Looking forward to it. [BUY]

5 Songs For Your Halloween Playlist

What ingredients make up a great Halloween song? Does one focus on creepy sounds and keys, ghoulish vocals, evil guitars, or disturbing lyrics? Here is a list of the five best rock songs for Halloween that incorporate at least several of the qualities listed above…

Top 5 Halloween Tunes

1. “Children of the Grave” by Black Sabbath [Master of Reality 1971]—This track contains the ghoulish vocals, heavy and evil guitars, haunting but thunderous drums, and troubling lyrics, making it the #1 Halloween song. Sure, we could easily have placed the song “Black Sabbath” here, but the thoughts of “children” + “graves” equates to ultra disturbing evil. White Zombie’s cover is pretty sick too.

2. “Black #1 (Little Miss Scare-All)” by Type-o-Negative [Bloody Kisses 1993]—Very rarely can a band get away with making a dark 11-minute masterpiece about Halloween and hair dye. Fully equipped with the ultra creepy keyboards and Gothic vocals, this tune is forever a favorite treat.

3. “Welcome to my Nightmare” by Alice Cooper [Welcome to my Nightmare 1975]—Obviously, any Alice song will hold up just fine on this list. Actually, you can insert this entire record on your playlist.

4. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by The Eurythmics as performed by Marilyn Manson [Smells Like Children 1996]—In the 90s, Manson made the scariest music videos, often leaving the viewer with plenty of nightmarish material for bedtime. He even managed to turn this somewhat happy track into a horror show.

4. “Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie [Hellbilly Deluxe 1998]—Not only is this tune ghoulish, it makes you want to dance. Rob Zombie still carries the torch as rock’s supreme horror performer.

5. “Die, Die My Darling” by The Misfits [Die, Die My Darling 1984]—There was a toss up between this tune and “Last Caress.” Glenn Danzig and The Misfits still rule.

What songs make your top 5?

Review: Deadbird – Twilight Ritual [2008]

Creepy and doomy, the sophomore six-track sojourn from Arkansas sludge metal quartet Deadbird is a viscous Southern-fried delight whose massive rhythmic rumblings give the band the sheer heft to properly obliterate all in their wake. From the menacing slow-churned intro on “Into the Clearing,” this oppressive unit takes you through a grueling 47:23 journey steeped in sonic excess and draped with eerie vocal harmonies and dazzling acoustic interludes (“The Riverbed”), descending down through the deepest recesses to unearth the sleeping Southern rock giant (“Feral Flame”) to unleash thick waves of metallic lava for tortured souls to bask in. If you dig Mastodon and love Crowbar, prepare to meet your new favorite band. www.atalossrecordings.comMike SOS

Buy Twilight Ritual

Review: Head On Collision – Ritual Sacrifice [2008]

Personifying a true thrash metal throwback, Missouri outfit Head On Collision channel the early periods of heavyweights such as Kreator, Nuclear Assault, Exodus, and first few Slayer records for influence on the 11-track Ritual Sacrifice. These dudes are pretty well-versed in doling out hyper-speed riffs and blistering solos (“The Flames of Aggression”) and while there’s nary a sign of originality apparent (is that riff from the title cut lifted from Slayer or what?), the band’s stone-faced delivery, spot-on precision (especially on the drums) and brash bravado propel tracks like the chuggingly good “Electrocutioner” and “Retaliate” away from the pack and into territories reserved for newer retro acts such as Municipal Waste. If you’re a thrash enthusiast, picking this disc up is essential. www.beercity.com -Mike SOS

Preview and buy Ritual Sacrifice

Review: Grave – Dominion VIII [2008]

Veteran Swedish band Grave returns with another installment of sinewy death metal that blends high-speed velocity and doom-laden crunch on the nine-track Dominion VIII. This devastating affair demonstrates the band’s ability to go from slow crawl to rapid-fire pace in the blink of an eye (“Annihilated Christ”) in addition to displaying Grave’s unwavering attachment to the darker side of the spectrum on cuts like “Stained By Hate.” 20 years in and still as extreme as their early days, this truculent crew returns in fine fighting form, ready to go into metal combat with the vitriolic virtue and fortified firepower that has rendered them one of the Swedish elite death metal’s forces. www.regainrecords.comMike SOS

Preview and buy Dominion VIII

Review: All Shall Perish – Awaken The Dreamers [2008]

Spreading beyond the confines of the deathcore genre, California’s All Shall Perish return with Awaken The Dreamers. This 12-track release demonstrates the merging of the quintet’s savage brutality with a bevy of surprises which renders this offering as a well-textured entity that can still provide its share of crushing moshpit moments. While ardent supporters of the group will be relieved that the breakdown-heavy death metal style on scorchers like “Stabbing to Purge Dissimulation” and “Never…Again” is still a major part of the outfit’s arsenal, tracks like the melodic instrumental “Until the End”, the traditional metal-esque shred and scream tactics on “Black Gold Reign” and the melancholic Opeth-like “Memories of a Glass Sanctuary” display All Shall Perish’s penchant for bold experimentation and disdain for complacency without compromising a shred of their dignity. Retaining their bludgeoning foundation while showcasing a slew of progressive tendencies, All Shall Perish have morphed into a monstrous metal hybrid geared for forward thinking fans of modern heavy music. www.nuclearblastusa.comMike SOS

Preview and buy Awaken The Dreamers

Review: Tragic Orange – Tragic Orange [2008]

Tragic Orange Banner

Long Island alternative metal troupe Tragic Orange remember the time when melodic hard rock bands didn’t deprive the music of its balls by watering down their output with sappy ballads. Firing on all cylinders while implementing the old school attitude into their modern metal paradigm, this unit isn’t just another MTV-fed mall rock band despite prominently showcasing those influences. Coming off as a mixture of Our Lady Peace, Taproot and Chevelle, this unit’s eponymous debut showcases a band whose sweeping choruses and hard as nails hard rock histrionics sound ready for extreme sports soundtracks and WWE pay per views on cuts like “Pure and Simple”. Yet the durability of the band’s powerhouse rhythm section, who smoothly steer the disc through trouble spots while accentuating the album overall with a sparkling array of deep bass grooves and lush yet driving percussion, sets Tragic Orange in a good position to jump onto the radar somewhere between Staind and A Perfect Circle.www.tragicorange.comMike SOS

Pre-order Tragic Orange

Review: Exodus – Let There Be Blood [2008]

By Peter O’Brien

In the beginning, there was violence and there was metal. Two entities that, while separate in nature, became fused forever when bay area thrash originators, Exodus, wrote and recorded their debut album, Bonded By Blood. Now, twenty-four years after it was first released, Exodus returns with a re-recording of their debut album to bestow their metal command to a whole new generation. Let There Be Blood, which is the title of this upgraded rendition, is a note for note, word for word replica of the original. The album was a bi-coastal effort with the music tracks recorded at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, CA and JKZ Production Studio in San Rafael, CA, and the vocal tracks recorded by Jon Ciorciari at J. Rod Production Studios in New City, NY. The album was produced by Exodus guitarist Gary Holt and is set to be released on Oct. 28 by Zaentz Records.

The new album is not intended to replace the original, but rather pay tribute to all the elements that made it great; most notably the performance of original Exodus vocalist, Paul Baloff who passed away in 2002. It was Baloff’s unique vocal rhythm that made his performance on Bonded by Blood stand out. His vocal style on that record was at times frantic and irregular, but worked within the songs. The emphasis he put on certain words, and speed at which he approached others really added another layer to these songs that can’t be achieved with a traditional, straightforward vocal approach. Sadly, it is also the vocals on that album that make it sound dated. Not so much the performance, as the presentation. There is a very apparent echo on all the vocals that flatten not only Baloff’s performance, but also hinders the music underlining it. That is another reason the band chose to re-record the album — to give these songs the benefit of today’s technology with overall better production quality.

Let There Be Blood crushes from the moment you press play. The first track, “Bonded By Blood,” jumps right in with both feet and kicks you in each side of your head. Current vocalist, Rob Dukes, sings with all the venom, malice, and intensity that should accompany this music. As he does when performing live, Dukes makes these songs his own. His vocal nuances can be heard throughout the album, as there is no attempt on his part to imitate (or replace) the work Baloff did on the original album. Since his debut with the band on 2005’s Shovel Headed Kill Machine, Dukes has refined and honed his vocal talent. The growth he achieved on 2007’s The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A has only furthered his ability, which is most apparent on Let There Be Blood.

The album continues with the same order of the songs as on the original. They are all along the lines of Bonded by Blood in terms of presentations. Every track sounds like an assault on the listener. The mix is tight, clean, and brutally “crunchy.” Songs like “And Then There Were None” sound more punishing than ever and still resonate as a commentary on today’s culture and politics. Other songs that were great to begin with, such as “A lesson in violence,” and “Metal Command” are not only relentless, but re-establish the tone of the album, as well as the genre.

The second half of the album is what really benefits from the re-recording. Songs that were really dated musically and lyrically, like “Piranha,” are given a new life on this recording. Even the little things like the transition into the bridge and solo’s on “No Love” is much smoother. “Deliver Us To Evil,” has all the crunch of a song you’d expect to hear on the way to Hell. The original set of songs ends with a full on thrash rendition of “Strike of the Beast,” which somehow manages to capture the intensity of such a pursuit.

The real treat on this album is the tenth and final song, “Hells Breath.” Although this is the first time it is being recorded the song was actually written in the early days of the band. It features a riff from original guitarist, Kirk Hammet, which he took with him to Metallica and later became part of their song, “Trapped Under Ice.” This is also the only song on the album to be mixed by recording engineer, Jon Ciorciari. The rest of the album was mixed by Andy Sneap, who worked on their previous album, The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A.

Overall Let There Be Blood is a grand improvement over Bonded By Blood from a production standpoint. The quality of the recording is better, the mix is better (you can actually hear the bass), even the artwork is better; and relatively speaking, the vocals are better. Facts are facts and if there’s one thing that can be said about Exodus it is that they always had the right vocalist for the right time. It is a tragedy that Baloff couldn’t be a part of this project and showcase his professional growth between then and now. But there is also no way he wouldn’t be proud of his band mates for preserving his legacy.

These songs are timeless and this album proves it. They stand up today just as well as they did in 1985. Would it have been better to do a tour and play the album in its entirety like Primus did with Seas of Cheese, and Frizzle Fry — and make the songs available for download? Maybe. But that wouldn’t necessarily urge someone to pick up the original and revisit it. Nor would it be a longstanding tribute. If anything Exodus should have packaged the two together seeing as how these albums are in fact “Bonded by Blood.”

Exodus is Rob Dukes [vocals], Gary Holt [guitars], Lee Altus [guitars], Jack Gibson [bass], and Tom Hunting [Drums].

Browse the Exodus catalog at the Gears of Rock store

Be sure to check out Peter O’Brien’s thrash metal documentary “Riphouse 151: Could’ve Been’s & Wanna Be’s” which is currently on the festival circuit.