Monthly Archives: May 2009

Review: Beneath The Massacre – Dystopia [2008]

Amazon Beneath TheCrippling Canadian quartet Beneath the Massacre is a dizzying deathcore troupe whose latest 10-track enterprise DYSTOPIA jackhammers sweeping guitar runs, feral blast beat drums, and vicious vocals into your cranium for over 30 minutes. And when it’s over, what does the listener retain besides one hell of a headache? Not a whole lot, actually, although this band’s jaw-dropping velocity and unbridled brutality found on cuts such as the relentless “Bitter” and “Procreating the Infection” is something to marvel at while the surprisingly slow and more painful delivery audible on the properly named “Lithium Overdose” salvages this squad from being caught in the middle between being totally breakdown-reliant and spastic riff friendly into a somewhat more palatable direction. Otherwise, this blistering offering does its damnedest, sacrificing musicality for sheer sonic bludgeoning for fans of dastardly technicality to get wrapped inside of. www.prostheticrecords.comMike SOS

2.5 StarsBeneath The Massacre is Elliot Desgagnés (Vocals), Christopher Bradley (Guitar), Dennis Bradley (Bass), & Justin Rousselle (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Condemned”
  2. “Reign of Terror”
  3. “Our Common Grave”
  4. “Harvest of Hate”
  5. “The Wasteland”
  6. “Bitter”
  7. “No Future”
  8. “Lithium Overdose”
  9. “Nevermore”
  10. “Procreating the Infection”

Review: Hellveto – Neoheresy [2009]

Amazon HellvetoFeaturing six tracks connecting a pulled-back brand of black metal with massive Pagan and symphonic overtones, Polish one-man band Hellveto lays down a multi-layered metallic strike with NEOHERESY. Able to switch from tremolo-picked rage to serenity-laden subdued with relative ease (and more importantly with the audience following along), this disc possesses both a savage grace and a warmongering spirit, showcasing an orchestral belligerence somewhere between Emperor and Faith No More on “Milczace Sumienie” while “Taran” slithers with a sense of foreboding atmospherics. Strengthened by an omnipresent use of keyboards setting mood swings and overall aura, Hellveto has crafted a bellicose affair whose broad scope and non-traditional leanings will keep you guessing. -Mike SOS

3.5 Stars

Track Listing:

  1. “Tarzan”
  2. “Herezja”
  3. “Gdy Umiera Swit”
  4. “Milczace Sumienie”
  5. “Choragiew Ktora Splonie”
  6. “Sredniowieczna Egzekucja”

Review: Enslaved – Vertebrae [2008]

Amazon EnslavedNorwegian metal merchants Enslaved have put out their most progressive album to date with their latest (and tenth!) offering, the eight-track VERTEBRAE. Far removed from their primitive origins, this squad’s psychedelic rock meets black metal approach takes Pink Floyd into the catacombs for a swirling sojourn into lands discovered by the likes of Opeth (“Ground”). Using a mesmerizing black metal foundation (“New Dawn”) to launch haunting riffs and atmospheric sections, Enslaved have realized the unimaginable possibility of making a black metal album boundless. Lurking with rich subtleties and a devastating sonic crush, Vertebrae showcases a stunning collection of music that requires multiple listens to fully appreciate the grandiose vision and creative splendor of Enslaved, yet stands strong as another top-notch release in the band’s impressive catalog. -Mike SOS

4.5 StarsEnslaved is Ivar Bjørnson (Guitar/Keyboards), Grutle Kjellson (Bass/Vocals), Arve Isdal (Guitar), Cato Bekkevold (Drums), & Herbrand Larsen (Keyboards/Vocals).

Track Listing:

  1. “Clouds”
  2. “To The Coast”
  3. “Ground”
  4. “Vertebrae”
  5. “New Dawn”
  6. “Reflection”
  7. “Center”
  8. “The Watcher”

Review: Suidakra – Crogacht [2009]

Amazon Suidakra CogGerman Pagan metal veterans Suidakra are back with a rousing nine-track presentation titled CROGACHT. Authentic Celtic instrumentation (bagpipes and tin whistles) and epic death metal collide to bring the revered Irish myth of Cuchulainn to life with a flurry of orchestral metal providing the dramatic soundtrack. Fortified via a well-balanced mix of crushing Viking metal (“Baile’s Strand”) and intense traditional compositions (“Feats of War”), Suidakra finds themselves at full-strength during the glorious fury of “Scathach,” a piece where both of the band’s unique styles juxtapose to create a colossal listening experience. Crogacht is an album laden with sweeping melodies and displays a captivating vigor that whisks you away into Suidakra’s epic brand of metallic folklore. -Mike SOS

4 StarsSuidakra is Arkadius Antonik (Vocals/Guitars/Keyboard/Banjo), Marcus Riewaldt (Bass), & Lars Wehner.

Track Listing:

  1. “Slan”
  2. “Conlaoch”
  3. “Isle Of Skye”
  4. “Scathach”
  5. “Feats Of War”
  6. “Shattering Swords”
  7. “Ar Nosc Fola”
  8. “Gilded Oars”
  9. “Baile’s Strand”

Check out Suidakra’s compilation 13 Years of Celtic Wartunes released in 2008.

Review: Eminem – Relapse [2009]

Amazon EminemSo I made the decision to pick up a copy of Eminem’s latest album, Relapse—not sure what possessed me to do it, perhaps impulse? Hunger for humorous lyrical play?

Anyways, the last Eminem CD I bought with my own money was his debut The Marshall Mathers EP in 2000. The mainstream modern rock stations (K-Rock in particular) consistently kept “The Real Slim Shady” in their playlists for much of that year. After nine years of not listening to any Eminem or rap for that matter, I figured now would be an appropriate time to give him another shot.

Relapse contains a total of 20 tracks (5 of them are shorts/skits). It turns out that Eminem is still a very talented lyricist that has a deep understanding of melody, much more so than most rappers out there, or at least the ones on MTV.

“We Made You” features the production of Dr. Dre and the vocals of Dina Rae while Eminem goes after celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Sarah Palin, and Kim Kardashian. “Bagpipes in Baghdad” is a highlight of the album as the bagpipe sample is one of the more musical elements heard on Relapse.

What I found disappointing about most of the songs on Relapse is the relentless use of the “F” word, especially when it does not enhance the flow of the song (“My Mom” for example). As a loyal Twisted Sister follower (SMF), I am always anti-censorship, but Eminem abuses the rights that Dee Snider stood up for in the 1980’s. Other than that, Relapse is a fair mainstream rap offering -Meds

2 Stars

Track Listing:

  1. “Dr. West (Skit)”
  2. “3 AM”
  3. “My Mom”
  4. “Insane”
  5. “Bagpipes From Baghdad”
  6. “Hello”
  7. “Tonya (Skit)”
  8. “Same Song And Dance”
  9. “We Made You”
  10. “Medicine Ball”
  11. “Paul (Skit)”
  12. “Stay Wide Awake”
  13. “Old Time’s Sake”
  14. “Must Be The Ganja”
  15. “Mr. Mathers (Skit)”
  16. “Deja Vu”
  17. “Beautiful”
  18. “Crack A Bottle”
  19. “Steve Berman (Skit)”
  20. “Underground”

Review: Charm City Devils – Let's Rock-N-Roll [2009]

Amazon Charm City DevilsNewcomers to the neo-classic hard rock stage, Charm City Devils, offer this 11-track debut on Nikki Sixx’s Eleven Seven Music label. The Baltimore outfit summons the energy of early AC/DC (“Let’s Rock N Roll (Endless Road)”), Billy Squire’ s “The Stroke” with a squirt of Zeppelin (“True Love”), and Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” with a blast of Aerosmith (“Best of the Worst”), all in a beastly manner. Much of the songs on Let’s Rock-N-Roll feature the undying and decadent 80’s themes of fame, money, rock n roll, chicks, and heartbreak. Vocalist John Allen lays down anthemic lines throughout the album (“Can I get a hell yeah, hell yeah”), while possessing the range and style of a young Chris Robinson. Overall, Let’s Rock-N-Roll is an addictive rock assault in the likes of The Last Vegas’s Whatever Gets You Off, The Answer’s Demon Eyes, and Buckcherry’s Black Butterfly with a wholesome serving of infectious riffs and obnoxious hooks that you will play over and over again. Look for the Charm City Devils on this summer’s Crüe Fest 2 tour -Meds

3.5 StarsCharm City Devils are John Allen (Vocals), Vic Karrera (Guitar), Anthong Arambula (Bass), Nick Kay (Guitar), & Jason Heiser (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Let’s Rock N Roll”
  2. “House Fire”
  3. “10,000”
  4. “Best Of The Worst”
  5. “True Love”
  6. “Money”
  7. “One Day”
  8. “Almost Home”
  9. “Night Is Dark”
  10. “Pour Me”
  11. “Burn Baby Burn”

Review: Anvil: The Story Of Anvil [Film-2009]

Amazon Anvil The StoryAfter viewing countless promotions for Anvil: The Story of Anvil on VH1’s That Metal Show and reading many rave reviews, I finally had the opportunity to watch the documentary for myself.

The film follows the two original members of Anvil, an 80’s thrash metal band that is still trying to find fame and fortune as rock stars. After observing bands such as Whitesnake, The Scorpions, and Bon Jovi “make it” in the business, frontman Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner are left behind wondering why they never had comparable success.

In the movie, Anvil travels to Europe to play a mismanaged tour full of empty bars and venues, missed trains, and tests of patience.

In one scene, the band is two hours late for a gig in Prague after getting lost traveling in an old dilapidated van. The band went on to perform, but the manager of the bar refused to pay Anvil, which led to a minor physical altercation between Lips and the manager.

Eventually, the band returns to their normal lives in Canada where Lips works as a deliveryman for a catering service that stocks school cafeterias. Lips and Rob later find themselves in Dover, England with famed producer Chris Tsangarides to record a new album. Luckily, Lips’ sister lends the money to the band to cover the recording expenses.

After nearly falling apart in England, Lips travels to Los Angelas to drop off copies of the new CD This is Thirteen to uninterested record labels. The documentary ends with a trumphant show in Japan, the band’s first in over 20 years, to a large audience, but still without a major record label supporting them.

3 StarsOverall, the movie is beautifully captivating as the viewer will feel a genuine emotional connection to Rob and Lips (unless he or she is dead inside). However, the film fails to live up to the hype—a masterpiece, this is not.

It is a good film but falls just shy of the league in which you would find the likes of Heavy Metal In Baghdad, Some Kind of Monster, and The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. Perhaps, the band is still writing a better ending as they tour in support of the film. You can check it out for yourself when VH1 Classic airs it later in the year -Meds

If you like this documentary then I also recommend Riphouse 151: Couldv’e Beens And Wanna Be’s

Review: Harpoon – Double Gnarly/Triple Suicide [2009]

Amazon HarpoonHarpoon is a Chicago-based duo (now beefed up to a trio) whose grindcore meets metal batterings are backed by programmed drums, an element that sets a definitive tone for DOUBLE GNARLY/TRIPLE SUICIDE. Coming off as sterile and clinical when artificial beats become inhumanly overbearing (“Throngs”) despite maintaining a crushing concoction of blasting guitars and glass-gargled vocals throughout (“The Cacographer,” “Lefty,” “Frogs, Boils, Locusts…”). Even though shards of Slayer, Napalm Death, and Pig Destroyer rear their heads in sporadic spurts on this 12-track affair, overall these morsels of metallic goodness are detracted by synthetically sounding skin bashing that plagues the entire production. Re-record drums with a powerhouse behind the kit (Dave Witte? Danny Herrera?) and the results would be radically different, but for now this disc is a few steps away from being something to marvel. -Mike SOS

2 Stars

Review: Voetsek – Infernal Command [2008]

Amazon VoetsekBlistering speed and sheer volatility fused together best describes the aural assault San Francisco quintet Voetsek are responsible for on their 17-track, 21-minute punk meets power violence excursion. Fronted by a female vocalist who sounds like she’s undergoing an exorcism, this squad’s blend of throttling thrash metal guitars (“Frozen Heart,” “Bully With a Badge”) and on the edge of falling off the road grindcore tendencies (“Screwdriver Smile”) enable INFERNAL COMMAND to bridge a gap between scenes so old schoolers and neophytes alike can appreciate this barrage of charming speedcore maulings dripping with attitude and unpredictability. -Mike SOS

3 Stars