Monthly Archives: December 2008

Review: The Fight Between Frames – Birth Of The Bull And The Labryrinth [2008]

amazon-fight-betweenLouisiana metalcore squad The Fight Between Frames comes out with fist flailing on their six-song EP BIRTH OF THE BULL AND THE LABYRINTH. Despite their geographic location and what their publicity propaganda suggests, the southern rock heard from cuts like “Red Rubber Jungle” and “Gambling Away Your Livelihood” shares a lot in common with Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Add in heavy-handed breakdowns and spastic time changes just like the 150 other metalcore bands currently working the circuit, and you’ve got yet another sound-alike metalcore album. While this band does its part to combine Every Time I Die, Converge, and Bury Your Dead into a cohesive union, they still have a long way to go before they can stand out in such an oversaturated scene. www.tragicherorecords.comMike SOS

2008 Heavy Metal YouTube Phenom Of The Year: StSanders

Year In Review: You may recall hysterical mock videos on YouTube of our favorite metal bands and guitarists known as “shreds” in 07-08. The mastermind behind these videos is a Finnish dude named Santeri Ojala, known online as St. Sanders. According to wired.com, three unnamed artists cried lawsuit in Feb. raining on the comedic brilliance of Ojala. Here are my three favorite “shred” videos that still float around the web inspired by or done by St. Sanders:

1. Jake E. Lee Shreds

You gotta love Ozzy’s clapping!

2. Kiss Shreds a.k.s P.I.S.S “I Will Never Go To School”

The lyrics and editing are genius!

3. Metallica Shreds

Reminiscent of everybody that picks up the guitar for the first time.

Here is St. Sanders “shredding” with Slash on Jimmy Kimmel on Jan. 9:

These videos are simply parodies meant to entertain and done only in good fun. Slash is cool enough to understand that. Unfortunately some metal heads will always lack that “cool factor.” You can watch all of St. Sanders videos at his website www.stsanders.com.

Top 10 Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Albums of 2008

Here are the lists of “Top 10 Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Albums of 2008” by Meds, Pete, and our awesome readers:

amazon-metallica-death-magnetic2Meds [Administrator]

  1. Metallica – Death Magnetic
  2. AC/DC – Black Ice
  3. Maiden Heaven – Kerang! Tribute to Iron Maiden
  4. Tesla – Forever More
  5. Extreme – Saudades de Rock
  6. Motorhead – Motorizer
  7. Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild
  8. Judas Priest – Nostradamus
  9. Motley Crue – The Saints of Los Angeles

amazon-toadies-no-deliverancePeter O’Brien [Frequent Contributor]

  1. Toadies – No Deliverance
  2. Metallica – Death Magnetic
  3. Cccome? – Raccoon
  4. Buckethead – Albino Slug
  5. Devotchka – A Mad & Faithful Telling
  6. The Clash – Live at Shea Stadium
  7. Exodus – Let There Be Blood
  8. Iron Maiden – Somewhere Back In Time (Recommended classic: Powerslave)
  9. Megadeth – Anthology: Set The World Afire (Recommended classic: Rust In Peace)
  10. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy (Just because it isn’t a collection)

acdc-black-ice1Gear of Rock Readers [According To Page Views]

  1. AC/DC – Black Ice
  2. Metallica – Death Magnetic
  3. Motley Crue – The Saints of Los Angeles
  4. Exodus – Let There Be Blood
  5. We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year
  6. Toadies – No Deliverance
  7. Extreme – Saudades de Rock
  8. Tesla – Forever More
  9. Staind – The Illusion of Progress
  10. Maiden Heaven – Kerang! Tribute To Iron Maiden

Thank you to all our readers for making the Gears of Rock a great place to read hard rock and heavy metal reviews. 2009 will be even bigger and better with more album reviews, concert reviews, and give aways. Have a very Happy New Year!!!

Update: Mike SOS’s [Frequent Contributor]

  1. Metallica – Death Magnetic
  2. Death Angel – Killing Season
  3. Torche – Meanderthal
  4. Raw Radar War – = =
  5. Nachtmystium – Assassins: Black Meddle Part I
  6. The Haunted – Versus
  7. Venomous Concept – Poisonous Apple
  8. King’s X – XV
  9. Byzantine – Oblivion Beckons
  10. Gojira – The Way Of All Flesh

Review: El Cuervo de Poe – Vox Corvus [2008]

amazon-el-cuervoMexican gothic folk troupe El Cuervo de Poe mesh a few distinct styles together to form the music heard on this septet’s 11-track release VOX CORVUS. With two violinists in tow creating a multitude of sounds ranging from sullen to eerie and sung completely in Spanish in a baroque style by a alto female singer, the uniqueness of this group is unquestionable, as they intertwine orchestral compositions with a Lacuna Coil-esque twist on cuts like “Paredes Blancos” and “Claroscuro” while opting to take the piano ballad route with some traditional Mexican music strewn in on “Tormenta.” If you are searching for some different elements in your Goth rock, El Cuervo de Poe is a band you should definitely get to know. www.renaissancerecordsus.comMike SOS

Free And Legal Download: "Christmas Carnage Vol. 1" [2008]

xmas-carnageHere is another evil Christmas record to check out. It is called Christmas Carnage Vol. 1 and features Keep of Kalessin, Enslaved, and Satyricon. I know, Christmas is done (wah wah wah). However, you can download this entire album for free until Jan.1 and save it for next year’s holiday season. Highly recommended!

Many thanks to Soul Drift Music for pointing this out

Review: Light Yourself On Fire – Intimacy [2008]

amazon-light-yourselfHailing from the death metal stomping ground of Tampa, FL, scene veterans Light Yourself on Fire’s furious sound takes ample cues (especially guitar-wise) from bands like Obituary and Deicide, yet is well-versed in the adventures of bands like Converge as well, resulting in the six-track, 17-minute sojourn titled INTIMACY. Ensconced in movie dialogue samples and chugging harder than a NFL offensive line at the last quarter-mile of their daily laps, this quartet doesn’t shy away from showcasing its broad range of interests or displaying their intellect while crushing your puny existence with their punishing array of battleground rhythms or mid-tempo maulings heard on cuts like “New Baby Girl” or laying down thick slabs of Candiria-esque doomy death rock on “Haunts.” Not for fans of attention spans, this disc jumps and bounces around like a hyperactive child after a Halloween night candy fix,revealing a monstrous hybrid that strikes hard and fast and leaves discernible marks for the left of center metal clan. www.seventhrule.comMike SOS

Recap: "That Metal Show" Episode 7 [12-27-08]

metalshow_logo3That Metal Show starring hard rock DJ Eddie Trunk, comedian Jim Florentine, and Inside The NFL’s Don Jamieson aired its seventh and final all-new season 1 episode on VH1 Classic last night at 11 p.m.

The hosts opened the show with a discussion of recent trends in music distribution by bands like Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC, referring to their decisions to exclusively sell their latest albums in Best Buy and Walmart, respectively.

“I can [also] do Christmas shopping for my girlfriend,” joked Florentine about purchasing Black Ice from Walmart. Jamiseon pointed out that this trend is not good for “ma and pa” stores.

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush were this week’s special guests. “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, are you kidding me?” said Trunk right off the bat, referring to the Hall’s inappropriate decision to not induct Rush. Lee did not seem to mind but felt sorry for the fans that care.

amazon-rushOn the bright side, Rush was incorporated into the hit video game Rock Band 2. Lee thinks that the game is “terrific” because it turns on kids to rock and roll. Lifeson agreed  that the game is “wonderful” because more kids will become excited and learn to play a real instrument.

Recently Rush released Snakes & Arrows live DVD. Jamieson noted the band’s sense of humor on the DVD because the band performs with a running dryer and a chicken rotisserie cooking on stage.

Rush does not have an opening act these days and takes an intermission between sets. “We’re getting old,” said Lee.

Lee and Lifeson noted that the reason Rush has lasted for over 30 years is that they get along really well, they are friends, and they laugh together. “I’m still into drugs,” joked Lifeson, meaning prescription medication.

Trunk went 2 for 3 on this week’s “Stump The Trunk” segment. He answered questions concerning Kiss and Brides of Destruction correctly but could not remember Megadeth’s mascot, Vic Rattlehead. Trunk’s final average for the first season is .480 (12/25).

amazon-classic-rockThe “Pick of the Week” was Classic Rock magazine from Great Britain which happened to have Rush on the cover. Florentine described the magazine to be “like old school Kerrang!”

This week’s “What ever happened to?” email concerned the whereabouts of White Lion guitarist Vito Bratta. According to Trunk, he “chooses to stay home.”

“The Throwdown” debate was a battle between the ’80s video vixens, Tawny Kitaen and Bobbie Brown. Lifeson, Lee, Florentine, Jamieson, and the studio audience chose Kitaen. Jamieson mentioned that Kitaen married David Coverdale who is “cooler than Jani Lane.” Florentine joked that she “dated OJ and is still alive.” Trunk chose Brown, however, citing that Kitaen is a “whack job.”

Overall, the final all-new season 1 episode was another delight for hard rock and heavy metal fans. Lee and Lifeson of Rush proved to be entertaining guests that brought a heightened sense of humor to the episode. Florentine was also funnier, particularly during “Stump The Trunk” when Eddie was trying to get half-credit for the Megadeth question.

Since Trunk finished the season under .500, I wonder if they will bring “Stump The Trunk” back for season 2.  Whatever their decision may be, I am sure season 2 will only get better as the hosts have made improvements in each episode as they have all settled into their roles on the show.

According to Eddie Trunk’s official website, www.eddietrunk.com, season 2 begins filming in February. If you are interested in getting tickets to a taping then make sure you are registered with his website.

In the meantime, you can watch the full episodes of That Metal Show on vh1classic.com.

Review: Idiot – Demo [2008]

amazon-idiotIdiot is a Metro NY area trio whose eight-track endeavor (Demo) showcases a band with a heavy sound made for the modern age. Changing over from fragile to frantic on the drop of a dime, this squad can flex its metallic muscle a la Deftones and Chevelle with the best of them (“Frankie Sharp,” “6”) yet can equally take to the heavens to bring down a dose of ethereal atmosphere a la Muse (4) while even delving into the electronic side of the spectrum to close out the affair (8). Unleashing a slew of slamming dynamic shifts with blistering guitars and booming bass fluctuating throughout while providing a well-balanced hybrid of pristine rock ‘n roll finishings and knuckle-dragging aggression, Idiot  has crafted a supple supply of forward thinking metal that fans of today’s brand of brain-powered heavy will unquestionably adore. www.myspace.com/idiotbandpageMike SOS

Review: "Guitar Hero World Tour" [Nintendo Wii 2008]

amazon-guitar-hero-wt1If you love rock music and/or hosting parties then you must own Guitar Hero World Tour, the game where you and your friends play out all of those inner rock star fantasies. The band package, which runs close to $200, comes fully equipped with drums, guitar, microphone, and game.

The highlight of the package is the brand new “Guitar Hero” drum set that features a snare, tom tom, floor tom, elevated high hat, and elevated crash cymbal for a total of 5 drum pads. The elevated cymbals are a major selling point for rock nerds because it feels like a natural kit.

If you are using an LCD HD television then make sure you calibrate the drums to account for any audio and/or visual lags. The first time I played the game I had to hit the drums completely behind the beat, making the game highly awkward. All I had to do was go to “calibrate” in the “options” menu. The process takes about 20 seconds and the settings will save automatically.

While many have reported bugs with the drums, mine have worked just fine. People that experience technical difficulties should check out the Guitar Hero Community website. It contains tips and tricks for fixing the peripherals, such as the drum pads.

The updated guitar contains a slide feature that allows the player to tap notes and to slide between notes. The guitar is also more stylish and comfortable than the one from Guitar Hero 3 Legends of Rock.

For those that prefer to front the band, the Guitar Hero microphone and vocal highway game play makes anyone suitable for singing the rock anthems.

If you ever dreamed about playing alongside rock greats such as Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, Zakk Wylde, Jimi Hendrix, and Travis Barker then your prayers have been answered by this game. I just backed up Ozzy on “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley,” with my drumming and I can tell you my adrenaline is still pumping.

On a side note: There have been rock stars and musicians, such as Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, that dislike the “Guitar Hero” age which has been going strong for 3 years now. Many feel that it prevents kids from learning the actual instruments.

While that may be true, the fact of the matter is that thousands of kids are now exposed to classic rock and roll songs that they never would have heard before if it wasn’t for this series. And because of that, I salute you game makers, and have since the beginning! Thank you. 9/10

Buy Guitar Hero World Tour

Addendum: Here is my attempt at playing the drums on expert for Metallica’s “Trapped Under Ice.” You can see this video on the brand new “Gears of Rock Presents” YouTube channel.

Review: Object – Black Swan [2008]

amazon-objectThe dynamic NYC duo known as Object holds their ground and maintains their grunge-laden hard rock stance on the tandem’s latest 12-track excursion BLACK SWAN. Built from a sturdy foundation of tasty riffs and thunderous drums and cymbals colliding into each other with the controlled recklessness of the early goings of a demolition derby, cuts like “Clones” demonstrates the stoner slacker movement championed by acts like Fu Manchu and “Always” comes off as a Queens of the Stone Age b-side while “The Feeling” displays a durable array of fuzzed-out fretwork that summons a totally tripped-out vibe. Channeling icons of  ’90s rock without disabling their own identity (“Ghostly,” “Off the Record”) yet still able to offer more than a retro sound thanks to the fiery and timeless hard rock chops showcased, Object combines the wares of The Toadies, Nirvana, Burning Brides, and Dinosaur Jr. for a rousing listening experience that those who come to rock shall not be disappointed by. www.objectband.comMike SOS