Emanating from the likes of Kill Your Idols, Madball, and Deathcycle, Black Anvil undergoes a complete makeover into the realm of blackened death ‘n roll on TIME INSULTS THE MIND. This NYC trio’s nine-track debut captures early thrash and doom’s glacial overtones pretty well, although the D-beat does come into play here, providing the occasional inherent interruptions that ultimately sets this band apart from the rest of the pack. Excelling thanks in part to the benefit of having an authenticated diabolical raspy vocal delivery (“On This Day Death,” “777”) while serving up a barrage of Celtic Frost and Darkthrone meets Entombed dark and dirty riffs guaranteed to get the blood pumping (“Deathsomnia,” “L.T.H.L.T.K,” “Ten Talons Deep”), Black Anvil’s modern reaps a visceral onslaught in its own right while respectfully paying homage to metal’s most evil pioneers. Purists will undoubtedly scoff at the disc’s high production values (the bass in particular perpetually bombards with ferocity throughout) and hardcore roots,and trash its intentions, yet this unit has exhibited an attentiveness to projections from Gotham City’s graveyard shift long enough to warrant the opportunity to tell their dark-hearted versions with a threatening and tried and true template in tow . www.monumentumrecords.com -Mike SOS
Two bassists, minimal vocals, and swirls of dense psychedelic avant garde metal arrive via Chicago’s Rabid Rabbit on the crew’s latest jaunt, an elitist-friendly vinyl-only eponymous seven-track affair. Sounding like a cross between Sonic Youth, Melvins, and Giant Squid, this foursome fearlessly hammers out a cavalcade of over your head noise rock mired in sludge metal low-end rhythms (“First Blood”) and free-form jazz structure while the atmospheric fretwork allows aerial acrobatics in tracks like “Ephederine” to shine. Thirsty ears looking for a challenge will warm up to the earthy tones and unorthodox style, but for those not seeking adventure, this may render a bit too sharp of a turn to get into. www.interloperrecords.net -Mike SOS
Finnish sextet Omnium Gatherum, fresh off their last release Stuck Here On Snake’s Way, return with another 11-track endeavor entitled THE REDSHIFT. This melodic death metal unit’s latest batch of tunes demonstrates this act’s versatile composition skills, as this album branches out from the usual melodeath malaise long enough to dabble in Goth metal, progressive, and doom for a more revealing glimpse at a band who,despite making headway, still seem to be searching for their niche. While tracks like “Shadowkey” sound a bit rote and par for the In Flames meets Dark Tranquility course, tracks like the mid-tempo mauling brought on by “Shapes and Shades” give off Machine Head-esque power, instrumental “Song for December” provides a welcomes somber break in the action and “No Breaking Point” and “Greeneyes” cleverly intertwine the wares of Moonspell and Katatonia for an intriguing dip into the gloom and doom realm. Omnium Gatherum’s well-versed metal approach keeps listeners engrossed throughout yet a bit more fine-tuning may sharpen this squad’s output for the next time around. www.candlelightrecordsusa.com -Mike SOS
Personally, one of the hardest tasks for me to do is to pick my favorite Ramones album. I can cheat and say my favorite is All The Stuff and More Vol 2 because technically it is. I just won’t do that, so to clear myself of future regret, I’m going to review ONE of my favorites. Road to Ruin, I feel offers some of the New York icons best work. RTR was released in September of 1978 and still to this day holds the test of time. From start to finish, RTR offers different types of songs rather the old “1-2-3-4” that The Ramones got famous, or infamous for. The bittersweet “Questioningly” tells the story of a tortured man yearning for a lost love, to someone he knew along time ago. “I Wanna Be Sedated” is still a staple in classic rock stations across the country that listeners can’t help but sing along to. The Sonny Bono “Needles & Pins” also shows up on RTR and the Ramones actually make it better. This is their first album with Marky Ramone taking the throne, replacing drummer Tommy Ramone. Tommy actually stayed on to co-produce the album. RTR was re-released and remastered featuring bonus live tracks and demos in 2001. If you do not have this album, you should get it immediately or start praying for your rock and roll soul. It’s not a great way to introduce yourself to The Ramones but a great way to explore the boundaries that they subliminally broke -NZA
- “I Just Want to Have Something to Do”
- “I Wanted Everything”
- “Don’t Come Close”
- “I Don’t Want You”
- “Needles & Pins”
- “I’m Against It”
- “I Wanna Be Sedated”
- “Go Mental”
- “She’s the One”
- “Bad Brain”
- “It’s a Long Way Back”
- “I Want You Around (Ed Stasium version)”
- “Rock n’ Roll High School (Ed Stasium version)”
- “Blitzkreig Bop/Tennage Lobotomy/California Sun/Pinhead/She’s The One (Live)”
- “Come Back She Cried AKA I Walk Out(Demo”
- “Yea,Yea (Demo)”
PS: Just a side note — Dee Dee wrote “Questioningly” about Joey, Linda, and Johnny. If you don’t know the story see End of the Century
Tony Iommi’s guitars on The Devil You Know, are still iconic, still to be imitated by thousands of budding and veteran ax men throughout the world. The vocals of Ronnie James Dio are sincerely menacing assuring that Heaven and Hell’s sound stays true to the former Black Sabbath namesake.
Whether the band is producing an evil ballad (“Bible Black”), a sludgy gem (“Atom and Evil,” “Rock And Roll Angel”), or a sped up headbanger (“Eating The Cannibals,” “Neverwhere”) the glory remains in the souls of these heavy metal legends. The Devil You Know certainly holds its own against, and is on par with, the group’s classic records Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules -Meds
Heaven & Hell is Ronnie James Dio (Vocals), Tony Iommi (Guitars), Geezer Butler (Bass), & Vinny Appice (Drums).
Swedish Viking metal veterans Thyrfing have undergone some lineup changes (most notably vocally) since their last offering in 2005, yet this quintet seems to have gained strength from the shakeup and have decisively become darker in the process. HELS VITE is the troupe’s icy seven-track statement, a releases which comes complete with a proper balance of menacing guitars, gargantuan drums, tortured growls, and keyboard flourishes driving cuts like “Griftefrid” straight down into the depths of Hell, while “Isolation” works under a deliberate pace while emitting dramatic blackened vibes accentuated with acoustic guitar interludes and battleground horns that you’d expect from any corpsepainted crew a cut above the median. If you’re a fan of bombastic black metal with an evil streak a mile wide, HELS VITE provides all the nuances necessary to get your demonic kicks. www.regainrecords.com -Mike SOS
Freewheeling French troupe We Insist! throw convention to the wind on their latest release OH! THINGS ARE SO CORRUPTIBLE, weaving a durable alternative metal safety net channeling Faith No More, Primus, Clutch and System of A Down while embedded impressions of quirky rock and a predominant level of jazz (propelled by a call and response between the patented twin saxophone presence) assert importance. This 12-track offering sweeps through speakers with determined density, at times displaying the frantic power of a renegade juggernaut on the lam (“Time is Lazy,” “The Sailor”) while demonstrating a love for the dark and cinematic (“Early Recollections,” “Half Awake”) . Capturing an unorthodox amalgamation of rhythmic swerves, psychedelic grooves and whiskey-soaked jangle , this oddball sextet’s bottomless bag of intriguing musical textures amped with an intoxicating intensity bestow tracks like “Imperial Catechism” a hearty stomp and “The Great Disorder” an icy chill. This disc’s herky-jerky nature and off the grid train of thought is not for everyone, but for those who crave more creativity in their rock music, this one delivers. www.southern.com -Mike SOS
UK instrumental metal menaces Capricorns inject an undercurrent of visceral volatility into their latest sludgy sojourn RIVER, BEAR YOUR BONES. Setting off a dastardly stoner rock feel that trades genre-typical flashes of excess for barrages of skull pounding passages that could easily be mistaken for pit stomping hardcore if not for the spacy interludes in between, this eight-track affair contorts without compromise, showcasing its metallic malleability with every doom-laden riff (“5”) and dramatic shapeshifted rhythm hammered out (“1,” “3”). Boasting former members of Iron Monkey and Orange Goblin in its ranks explains and bolsters the sheer heaviness this squad exudes while intertwining the wares of usual suspects such as Pelican, Isis, Neurosis, Baroness, and Mastodon, an arduous task that Capricorns takes on with a triumphant arsenal of prolific yet pounding avant-garde atmospheric metal chops. www.riseaboverecords.com -Mike SOS
Dutch metal project Xystus surpasses typical rock opera expectations on the troupe’s latest grandiose expose entitled EQUILIBRIO. This brazen theatrical affair boasts a cast and crew over 130 members strong, including a massive choir reserved for religious celebrations and a show-stealing full scale orchestra to properly carry mainman’s Bas Dolmans’ epic vision to life. Highlighted by the immense vocal talents of Simone Simons (Epica) and George Oosthock (Orphan) as major characters, this sweepingly majestic presentation’s ace in the hole can be found via the symphonic might and bold pomp the orchestra doles out, cutting through the competent power metal backdrop at just the right times to stir up drama, create tension, and enrich the entire production with its captivating sparkle and shine. This is one not to miss if you enjoy progressive metal at its most bombastic as well as a piece of work which screams to be experienced with all accoutrements intact. www.lasersedgegroup.com -Mike SOS
Female fronted Italian modern rock band, Lacuna Coil offers the 12 track conceptual affair Shallow Life. Even though Cristina Scabbia continues to reign as the best female metal lead (and best looking), the album as a whole, falls into the realm of mediocrity due to lame programming, predictable lyrics, and out-dated guitars—the riffs employed on the single “Spellbound” are awfully generic, better suited for a 1996 feature video on Much Music, and Piano driven ballads “Not Enough” “Shallow Life,” and “Wide Awake” fall short of inspiring emotion and personal reflection for the listener. “I Like It” sounds like a Gothic Abba tune, while the Arabian-inspired opener “I Survive” is a highlight of the disc.
Lacuna Coil is Cristina Scabbia (Vocals), Andrea Ferro (Vocals), Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore (Guitars), Marco “Maus” Biazzi (Guitars), Marco Coti Zelati (Bass), & Cristiano Mozzati (Drums).