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 »

Stryper – “God Damn Evil”

 Posted by on June 16, 2018 at 15:21  No Responses »
Jun 162018
 

Reader, you’re going to laugh out loud. This is the first time I’m listening to anything Stryper. You might be wondering what island I’ve been living on and all I can say sometimes it takes long for a ship to arrive on the horizon.

“God Damn Evil” has proved to be a contentious album title, but Michael Sweet says that it comes as an earnest request to God when the band reflects on what is happening in the world. “Take It To The Cross” roars, and I get the feeling that it was fun to record. The enthusiasm is palpable, and Michael’s high register is from another world! As I continue to listen to “God Damn Evil” I get a “new wave of British heavy metal” (NWOBHM) vibe, as personified by Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon. There’s the lyrics that are sung, as opposed to growled, the melodic guitar solos and the choir of voices on the choruses. Sure, that’s not all that makes it sound traditional. 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 »

Bassists Alliance Project – “Crush”

 Posted by on May 31, 2018 at 23:14  No Responses »
May 312018
 

Flipping through the contributing members’ photographs, I thought I’d start by counting the number of strings on each bass guitar. Four, five, six and seven strings were all represented, including Scott Reeder’s Katana 8. That’s quite some range, which had me curious about the sonic experiments that would be undertaken on “Crush”, the debut album by Bassists Alliance.

I am familiar with Alberto Rigoni’s production work on the Vivaldi Metal Project, a baroque and metal celebration of the masterful composer’s “The Four Seasons”, but less so with Jeff Hughell, co-producer on “Crush”. May I suggest that you watch Jeff’s Six Feet Under “Exploratory Homicide” guitar and bass playthrough on Youtube? First class. From the album cover I deduce that different playing styles will be melded together to produce a record that focuses on bass guitar as melody driver. It’s an instrumental album, and if you are able to commit to it, you’re sure of a rewarding listening experience. Continue reading »