D.O.G. (Disciples of God) – “Unleashed”

 Posted by on February 22, 2018 at 22:16  No Responses »
Feb 222018

D.O.G.’s “Unleashed” is a caffeine kick. Slumped over my keyboard, I picked “No One Rides for Free” and instantly perked up. The production on the first track is crisp and punchy, and the message is clear: “Repent while you still got the time – Christ can save your life.” D.O.G make no bones about salvation; it cost sacrifice and you too will be called to take tough decisions. Remember the rich young man (Mark 10:17-31)?

I admire Terry Russell’s ability to both sing and play the drums – I can’t even begin to think how one is able to drum a different rhythm with each appendage, as well as sing all at the same time.

If I drove a convertible, I’d put the top down and crank “Seeking Your Face”. The guitars are meaty, and the bass booming. There’s plenty guitar solo action here too. When you listen to the album, I think you’ll agree that it sounds fat. To my ears, it’s like the drums are tight yet spread wide across the stereo spectrum (listen to “Pay the Piper” and you’ll know what I mean). Listen out for the catchy sing along chorus in this song: “Time to pay the piper / Time to pay the price / Time to slay the viper / Time to pay the piper”, which I bet is going to stick in your mind. Continue reading »

Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh – “Identity Crisis”

 Posted by on February 8, 2018 at 13:43  No Responses »
Feb 082018

Jacksonville, Florida brings us the beautycore band Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh, also known as GFM. 3 sisters started this band and also introduced a new genre. Beautycore is a mix of hardrock and metalcore played by exclusively women. The sisters are also quite young, with the oldest being 18 and the youngest 13. They want to bring a message of hope and strength in a dark and hurting age.

This band is quite interesting. They show that even with their young age they know how to make music. Their first song Beneath the Skin is a great introduction to this band. It’s powerful and just sounds great. The heavy guitar riff and the clean strums make a great combination. The sound they have reminds me a lot of Icon For Hire in their early years. GFM’s song Graveyard of Identities starts off with the first time on this album grunting becomes part of their sound. It fits right in and just sound great with the rest of their sound. They do a great job combining hard rock with metalcore. It sounds so natural and make the metalcore sound more acceptable for people who don’t really like it. I’m a big fan of bands like Memphis May Fire ands The Devil Wears Prada, but I also like bands like Skillet and I must say that GFM picks enough of both styles to make a great combination. The song Chatter in the Room is different from the rest of the songs. It is softer and actually a pleasant pause from their heavy sound. Continue reading »

Withered Bones – “In Search of Self Evidence”

 Posted by on February 8, 2018 at 00:08  No Responses »
Feb 082018

Melodic Hardcore band Withered Bones has no shortage of emotion on their 2017 release “In Search of Self-Evidence.” This follow-up to the Phoenix, Arizona band’s 2015 album, “For the Ones I Love” is filled to the brim with raw screams, heavy guitars and pounding drums, while still maintaining a melodic and musical feel.

The intro track, “Suffer”, caught me by surprise. I suddenly thought I was listening to a post-rock album. The track is a perfect introduction, as the emotion is evident from the first note. You can really feel something as the intro builds, and it does a great job of catching your attention, and making sure you’re paying attention as it segways into “A Vice’s Grip”.

The most obvious trait of this track was instantly the quality of the vocal performance. Russel Ullrich left nothing at the door. The emotion is immediately apparent, and I felt myself drawn in, wanting to know what this guy cared so much about. The vocal performance is also supported by equally polished vocal production. From recording to mix and master, the vocal was made to cut through clearly, and it sounds great. The performances keep up the emotion throughout the album, and “Unmatched” is no exception. This song did a good job of flowing naturally from thoughtful and melodic, to heavy and head-banging and back again. A lot of the songs felt somewhat familiar in terms of chord progressions and melodies, but especially in “Unmatched” it’s hard to pinpoint whether that is because it’s been done before, or if it just feels right. Continue reading »

Outrage A.D. – “New Blood”

 Posted by on February 7, 2018 at 15:58  No Responses »
Feb 072018

Those in the know peg death metal’s beginnings to somewhere in the 1980’s, with Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore” held up as the archetypal early death metal record. An offshoot of thrash metal, early death metal shifted its focus from politics to horror – and inspired by the likes of extreme metal bands like Venom, seemed to revere Old Nick; lyrically, and in the album art.* *Disclaimer: I know precious little about early death metal, so a big shout out goes to Banger TV (Canada).

Outrage A.D., founded in 1992 by Mart Marion (vox/guitar), Nick Richer (drums) and Art Robillard (bass), had its roots in thrash metal. They released two EP’s on cassette, 1992’s “Hail God”, followed by “Waiting for the Son” a year later. For their debut full-length release (on Nosral Recordings) Mart, Nick and new bassist, Nicolas Miquelon revisited a few early favourites and also wrote new material for “New Blood”, out on 23 February 2018. Phew! Try saying all that in one breath! But I digress.

With “New Blood”, my lesson was “Don’t judge an album by the first song”. Were I to have only listened to the opening track, “God”, I may not have picked it up – and I’ll have missed out. This band’s songcraft truly evolves with every track. That said, there are things I like about the album opener: the guitar that winds up like a great rock ‘n roll propeller; and the riffing that follows on. Mart handles both the normal pitch and the growl competently, but admittedly I’ve gotten used to the contemporary death metal grunt that registers even lower on the vocal scale. Continue reading »

Max Blam Jam – “Blowup Man”

 Posted by on January 15, 2018 at 19:09  No Responses »
Jan 152018

It’s a gamble when muso’s break with genres they’re known for, and Max Blam Jam is a case in point. Glenn Rogers and Brian Khairullah both served in thrash metal mainstays, Deliverance. Don’t know this band? Best get your hands on their self-titled debut, “Deliverance”, released in 1989. Skip to “If You Will” and crank the volume – it’s a circle pit classic. Max Blam Jam’s “Blowup Man” is something wholly different. Brian swapped the bass for the microphone, while Glenn remained on guitar duty. They enlisted Cesar “Killer” Ceregatti (ex-Steel Vengeance) on bass and Dan Ceregatti on drums, and set out to produce a bluesy, funky rock and roll album. First released in 1991, “Blowup Man” has been reskinned for re-release on 26 January 2018.

In 1991, there was Pearl Jam’s “Ten” as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, and my ears place “Blowup Man” somewhere in between these two records. Maybe I should throw “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” (by the Spin Doctors) in there too. And that’s some ways away from heavy metal, huh?

Was the experiment successful? Let’s place a couple of tracks under the microscope. Continue reading »