John Jackson

Jun 242018
 

The Beckoning bid farewell as a band and leave us with an ep that is at times as majestic and beautiful as it is heavy and brutal.

Since the release of this ep around the beginning of 2018, The Beckoning have announced the end of the band with everyone involved leaving on good terms.  The Canadian band has been around since 2010 and this “ep” is a combination of the previously released demos Desolate (2014) and War (2012) and even though only four songs, clocks in at close to half an hour in length,  pushing the boundaries of the definition of ep.  Given a listen to the material, one can’t help but be surprised that this much sound comes from a band of three people, husband and wife Roy and Meghann Turple covering drums, vocals, and keyboards and Eldon Loewen handling bass and guitars.  The band enlisted guitarist Derek Corzine (Blood Thirsty, Whisper from Heaven, ex-Bloodline Severed) to mix the ep and his experience in the various genres covered by his bands shows through in an album that manages to make a myriad of instruments and vocal styles show cleanly in the mix.

Immediately when “Lamentation” starts with its piano piece, one can’t help but wonder when the inevitable explosion of metal guitars and drums will come, especially given the album cover.  Suprisignly though, the first bit is just keyboards and guitar taking the over the piano line, more like what one would hear in power metal song, but then the music goes quiet as a spoken piece begins backed by a chiming clock and Meghann’s beautiful operatic voice.  Continue reading »

Monotheist – “Scourge”

 Posted by on June 19, 2018 at 20:12  No Responses »
Jun 192018
 

Monotheist return with some new members and bring an onslaught of technical, progressive death metal filled with incredible guitar work, pounding rhythms and drums, and elements of jazz and classical music that has long been a part of their sound.

Florida has produced a number of death metal bands over the years, from Obituary to Six Feet Under to Morbid Angel among others, so Monotheist coming from Orlando isn’t too far out of the ordinary.  Formed in 2004, Michael “Prophet” Moore gathered a set of musicians to drive his progressive death metal vision and formed a band that released Unforsaken in 2007 (remastered/re-released in 2012), a record that looked to combine many of their influences from Extol to Death, to Suffocation and Opeth.  The follow up album didn’t come out until 2013 and was an ep, Garden of Perdition, that featured shorter songs and vocals from JJ “Shiv” Polachek (ex-7 Horns 7 Eyes) with Cooper bates joining on drums.  Now 5 yrs later the band is releasing their second full length, Scourge.  Joining the band for this album are Jose Figueroa on bass and Tyler McDaniel (ex-Gigan) on guitar and vocals.  The album was mixed and mastered by Aaron Smith at Envisage Audio and features guest appearances by Christian Alvestam (Scar Symmetry, Miseration) and Bobby Koelble (ex-Death). Continue reading »

Jun 172018
 

Ohio metalcore band Convictions is back with more “aggressive worship” in their latest album Hope for the Broken, showing a powerful, emotional sound with some great vocals to go with both the heavy and the clean parts of the songs.

Fremont Ohio-based Convictions trace their origin back to 2012 and not long after released their first album, I Am Nothing.  As happens, lineups often change in bands and not long after the first release, the original singer and bassist left and were replaced by Michael Felker on vocal and John Fleischmann on bass (and clean vocals). Two ep’s followed, Unworthy and Hallowed Spirit/Violent Divide in 2015 which was high on the iTunes metal charts for a bit.  Just looking around at various internet postings, the band has toured with the likes of Eyes Set to Kill and Upon a Burning Body, so are starting to make a name for themselves.  As a self-proclaimed Christian band, Convictions looks to set themselves apart by writing lyrics based on their own “convictions” and how they deal with the everyday struggles of living in this world.

As many albums do, the first track, “Exodus, The End of Us” is a rather short intro that starts out rather quiet, but quickly explodes when Michael Felker’s vocals come in and the rest of the track establishes that this is indeed metalcore. Continue reading »

Dystopian Futures – Low Arts (ep)

 Posted by on June 14, 2018 at 21:27  No Responses »
Jun 142018
 

Jangly, moody punk/hardcore-influenced garage band tunes just like you remember returns on the ep from Dystopian Futures.

Those in the know will remember Dave Emmerson from his stint with Donovan de Necker in The Old Timers.  The Old Timers have since moved on to other things especially challenged by Dave and Don being separated by a continent or so, and Dystopian Futures is one of the latest projects to feature the vocal stylings of Dave. Joining Dave is Scott Key (ex-Voice of the Mysterons) who also apparently hosted the recording of the project in his house in Scotland.

“Low Arts” is one of those songs with a great underlying melody fueled by jangly guitars and some keyboard backing that bounces along with Dave Emmerson (ex-Old Timers) barking out the vocals over the top describing the general moral decay around us and how God as a protector will save us. Continue reading »

In Vain – “Currents”

 Posted by on June 2, 2018 at 23:35  No Responses »
Jun 022018
 

Five years ago, In Vain released Ænigma, a complicated 60 minutes of progressive death/black metal and now In Vain returns with Currents, bringing an equally complex blend of metal styles that goes even beyond their previous release in a collection of songs showcasing songcraft and strong, heavy performances.

Given the progressive death/doom label and their home in Norway, expectations are high for In Vain, a band that has been around for at least 11 years.  In 2007, their debut album, The Latter Rain, was released and received critical acclaim as well as a sense of wonder over the epic feel of the album which featured nearly 20 additional musicians.  As is often the case with new bands, critics were not so fond of the bands sophomore release, Mantra,  in 2010.  For Ænigma and now Currents, the band brought in Jens Borgen (Opeth, Soilwork, Borknagar) to handle production and mixing duties and as expected the album had an impressive powerful sound. Guest musicians always seem to show up on In Vain albums and notable for Currents is that Matthew Kiichi Heafy of Trivium makes a guest appearance on “Soul Adventurer”.  As a driving theme for the album, the band talks about the shifts and changes happening in our time, from migrations and movements of people, traditions, and cultures to dramatic changes in lifestyles and traditions that challenges old patterns and create tensions and opportunities. Continue reading »