John Jackson

Euphoreon – “Ends of the Earth”

 Posted by on April 20, 2018 at 16:14  No Responses »
Apr 202018

After a seven year hiatus, the death metal project Euphoreon is back with Ends of the Earth, an album filled with melodic, near symphonic death metal in many ways as epic as their cover art.

Bands with little fanfare or press or even any sizable amount of information are usually either really good or absolutely horrible and unknown for a reason.  Euphoreon, is a two-person melodic death metal project that comes by way of New Zealand and Germany and is one of those pleasant surprises.  From what I gather, the project/band has been around since 2009 and did release their self-titled debut in 2011, which though reviews were somewhat limited, did garner some critical acclaim, which is easy to understand after listening to Ends of the Earth.  The band is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the physical copies of the album, which would be worth picking up on the basis of Gyula Havancsak’s glorious artwork alone.

Perhaps fittingly, the music on the album works well with the artwork: beauty, intensity, power, with an underlying sense of melody characterize the songs, much like the artwork.  The opening choir and guitar riff of “Euphoria” initially made me think this was going to be a power metal album, but then the tone shifted a bit darker and the growled death metal vocals came in.  The layers of sound in the song are expertly displayed allowing the brighter keyboards to offset the dark vocals rhythm section with the guitars seemingly bridging the two spheres.  The guitars do tend to dominate the mix, perhaps a bit too much, and end up hiding the drums and bass a bit more than  I would prefer.   Interestingly, the duo chose Tommi Halme to add in the guitar solos and they made a great choice there as the solos are blistering but well incorporated into the songs and without knowing it was a guest, you’d think it was one of the regular band members. Continue reading »

Apr 122018

As proof that nothing can keep a good ghoul down, Grave Robber have mastered Escaping the Grave  (pun always intended) and are back with a new found intensity in their fifth full-length album of soon-to-be horror punk favorites.

By now, I would hope everyone reading this has at least heard of Grave Robber as it’s not every day you get to see a band in full skeleton regalia playing horror-tinged punk rock at a furious pace.  Then again, their last full length was 2011’s You’re All Gonna Die, so there could be a number of you who haven’t seen/heard of them.  Dating all the way back to 2005, Grave Robber has released four full-length albums, at least one ep in Straight to Hell in 2014, and been on a host of compilations.  Be Afraid was the album that kicked it all off and from the very first play, many, including myself, were hooked at the combination of Misfits speed and fury, Wretched’s smooth, deep vocals, and a tongue-in-cheek, B-Horror movie approach to lyrics, that make it entirely appropriate to sing along with “I want to kill you over and over again” as the song is actually talking about pride.  Fun songs about sin, sacrifice, and redemption seems like an odd mix but they’ve made it work.  Since their last release the band has undergone numerous tragedies, family emergencies, consistent lack of a drummer, and multiple member changes, more than enough for most bands to call it quits, but following a successful crowdfunding campaign, the band pressed on and with some assistance from Jim Chaffin (Crucified) on drums, we are blessed with Escaping the Grave.  Now keep in mind the band hasn’t been on hiatus between albums and done everything from play on volcanoes in Mexico to eating gooey butter cake in St. Louis after a show and played everywhere they could between Mexico and their home in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Continue reading »

Peter 118 – Anthology and Live in L.A.

 Posted by on April 9, 2018 at 19:26  1 Response »
Apr 092018

Peter 118 returns again with an anthology of all previously released tracks on one album and a bonus album of live tracks performed at Harry’s House of Rebellion in LA.

Peter 118 started out as a solo project by Peter Szczepanski (Field), formerly of Senseless and Ambassadors of Shalom and featured Peter’s wife Janine on bass and friend Sam on drums. In 2014, the catchy “Radio” was released, followed by “Make it or Break it” in 2015. In 2016 the band’s Need You More ep caught the ear of legendary KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer and band’s video started seeding mainstream airplay.  Alisha Palmer was added on rhythm guitar and the band has played  the Rainbow Rock Festival in Stockholm.

For the Anthology, all you need to know is that the album is filled with catchy pop punk songs with the kind of hooks that get stuck in your head and keep replaying in your head throughout the day but in a way that doesn’t make you immediately search for something else to drown it out.  Continue reading »

Apr 042018

The Bearded Dragon Productions is re-releasing the grindcore project Redemption of the Flesh by Flactorophia originally from 2006 as their debut release.

In the big picture, Flactorophia has been a relatively unknown, unheard Christian grindcore band largely because there was only one release in 2006 and in 2008, the leader of the project Jose Barragan tragically passed away in a fire that also claimed 5 members of the band Zelestial.  The album is being re-released on the 10th anniversary of that tragedy.

Make no mistake, this is raw, demo-quality grindcore with the eight songs clocking in around 8 minutes total and some of the tracks have samples thrown in to the intros.  Surprisingly, the first track “Regurgitation….” starts out with a bit of melody and groove to it before the guttural vocals and blast beats come in.  As one might imagine, vocals are unintelligible, but then again this is fast grindcore.  Continue reading »

My Place Was Taken – “Imparables”

 Posted by on March 25, 2018 at 01:01  No Responses »
Mar 252018

From Matamoros, Mexico, My Place Was Taken started in 2014 when vocalist Jesus Salaz and guitarist Abraham Barbieri met to discuss the drugs and violence destroying their hometown and decided the time was right for a heavy band that could bring a message of hope, love, and faith.  The band recorded their self-titled ep in 2015 that gained them some attention in the Mexican metal scene and signed with Rottweiler Records at the end of 2016 for their second ep Imparables, which also saw the addition of Helix Nebula on bass and Daniel Castaneda on drums.  During a tour of Mexico, My Place Was Taken shared the stage with Grave Robber, which brought them to the attention of Rottweiler Records owner Shawn Browning and led to the partnership that released Imparables.

From the opening guitar salvo and the pounding, grinding rhythms fueled by ultra-fast double bass MPWT sets the tone for the ep.  This is pure brutality.  Deep growled unintelligible vocals alternate with higher pitched near shrieking in a great tradeoff style as  the song slows to punishing grind and then jumps to near light speed for a short guitar solo and then repeating.  Lyrics are in Spanish but really with brutal deathcore, would you really notice? Continue reading »