John Jackson

Reliance – “Running”

 Posted by on June 27, 2020 at 19:18  No Responses »
Jun 272020
 

Reliance make the most of their Thumper Punk Records debut, releasing a full length album filled with melodic punk anthems sure to get crowds moving and singing along.

Reliance from Prescott, Arizona looks to have fallen out of Sheep’s Gate Ministries and their skateshop started by Matthew Clark in 2000.  The band has released two albums, Crashing Down and Running following their signing to Thumper Punk Records.  Running was recorded and produced by Dave Klien at his studios in LA and mixed by the legendary Descendants drummer Bill Stevenson at the Blasting Room Co.

Honestly, the promo pictures are a great example of not judging a book by its cover as I was expecting something much closer to hardcore or metal versus the skate punk on this album.  In the big picture, I hear a lot of Pennywise, Bad Religion, and similar bands in the sound of Reliance and it’s very well done.  From a vocal perspective, Albert Padilla sounds a lot like Greg Graffin (Bad Religion) and Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) and musically the rest of the band fall right in line. 

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A Broken Line – “Rat Beach Live”

 Posted by on June 17, 2020 at 01:51  No Responses »
Jun 172020
 

Long Beach punk natives A Broken Line have released a live version of their sophomore album, Rat Beach, a collection of raw, infectious tracks that fit right in with what their predecessors were producing.

It’s not every day you get to review a studio and live version of the same album but here were are, thank you Covid-19 pandemic for making this possible.  The live version of Rat Beach was recorded at Di Piazza’s in Long Beach, California on January 3rd, 2020.  The album itself gets off to a bit of an odd start with the Intro being a bit of rap over a largely guitar jam reminding me oddly enough of Cypress Hill backed by Greg Ginn… As you may have guessed from the description so far, A Broken Line is not your typical straight ahead SoCal punk or hardcore band, as they bring elements in from ska and bit of a heavy garage/alternative sound as well.   Placebo opens up with a guitar riff that sounds much like one from Naked Raygun’s Jettison album and the song roars off from there at a frantic pace. From this driving opening track to the slower, heavier, almost like Sublime track “Garage Door” to the feedback-drenched and bass-highlighting “Ticking Away” with its drum/atmospheric interlude to even more feedback and driving rhythms in “Disconnect” to the Five Iron Frenzy like parts in “Pier”, the first five tracks cover a lot of ground and consistently present a loud, brash punk rock attitude.

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Secret Rule – “Against”

 Posted by on June 17, 2020 at 01:28  No Responses »
Jun 172020
 

On their fifth album, Secret Rule bring symphonic power metal from Italy in the vein of Delain and Nightwish.

Starting out in 2014, Italy’s Secret Rule has released six albums with Against being fifth and the recent Quarantine: The other side of us cover album coming out in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.Since Transposed Emotions in 2015, the band has toured and shared the stage with the likes of  Xandria, Delain, Kobra & the Lotus, and Cellar Darling.  The band has also managed to bring in some high-level guest talent on albums including: Aylin (Sirenia), Stefan Helleblad (Within Temptation), Henrik Klingenberg (Sonata Arctica), Timo Somers (Delain), Sander Zoer (Delain, Leah), Henning Basse (Mayan, Firewind), which certainly adds to their credibility and potential as a band.

Against opens up with short keyboard-heavy intro and launches directly in to a groove-heavy power metal track immediately highlighting the vocals from Angel Di Vencenzo.  When a European band mentions influences like Nightwish and Delain, one does go into the listening experience with a certain set of preconceived notions and given those bands, strong female vocals are a given and Angela delivers.  As one would expect from power metal, production is clean and vocals are particularly distinct.

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August Burns Red – “Guardians”

 Posted by on May 5, 2020 at 03:49  No Responses »
May 052020
 

August Burns Red have been filling the metalcore scene with great music for 17 years are back with Guardians, an album filled with fast, heavy grooves, breakdowns, and thoughtful lyrics as everyone has come to expect from the Pennsylvania quintet.

Hard to believe, but August Burns Red traces their roots to Amish country in Pennslyvania, but from humble beginnings has come the heavy music machine that is ABR complete with two Grammy nominations for those looking for critical acclaim.  As if the two Grammy nominations for “Best Metal Performance” weren’t enough, the band has often garnered top reviews from the likes of Alternative Press and Kerrang. From an album perspective, the band’s debut was Thrillseeker on Solid State Records in 2005 and featured Josh McManness on vocals who left before the recording of Messengers in 2007 when Jake Luhrs took over and the band’s sound solidified. Six more albums followed including the Sleddin’ Hill of Christmas/holiday songs in 2012 and Phantom Anthem in 2017 was the last regular studio release for the band prior to Guardians. Unfortunately after only a couple of dates Covid-19 hit and the bands’ tour with Killswitch Engage and Light the Torch ended, but there is an August date still on the calendar and the band looks to be playing the legendary Furnace Fest in September.

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Apr 212020
 

Judgement Day, the American Straightedge Hardcore from SoCal is back with an ep showing a much more muscular sound than on their demo and shifting toward slower brand of metalcore from the metal-influence hardcore on their demo.

Around six years ago, I reviewed the demo from JudgementXDay and thought a lot of what I heard had a lot of promise, but then I never really heard anything after that, so seeing this come across my desk, made me go back to the demo.  Since the demo, the band had released a full length in 2016, The Altar, and the sound there serves as a good intermediate between the demo and this ep.  The sound this time around is much heavier, even slower and sort of sludgy at times, which contrasts quite a bit from the faster demo and The Altar from several years ago.  This time around the ep was recorded and mixed by Taylor Young (Nails, Twitching Tongues) at The Pit Studios, Van Nuys, California and mastered by Audiosiege, Portland, Oregon.

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