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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Cloth – “Axis Mundi” (EP)

 Posted by on June 3, 2020 at 22:02  No Responses »
Jun 032020
 

Well not every day do I get an opportunity to review a black metal band, so it excites me when something like this gets presented to me and allows me to adjust my peripheral for a moment, and all I have is the cold hard facts to work with as presented to me.

So let’s get technical and historical for a moment. Christian black metal is often touted as unblack metal and its origins are largely a disputed one, but it’s safe to say both Australian’s Horde and Norway’s Antestor are the fathers of the genre. Obviously Unblack metal focuses on Christian themes and philosophies. A lot of this genre’s music has adopted unconventional song structures.

So here we got a band by the name of Cloth with their album, Axis Mundi off the label Nordic Mission Productions up under review. Cloth is a musical collective consisting of members of, Stronghold, DALIT and Aspiration. So these Black Metal rockers take you through a journey of the hopelessness of humankind we all feel. It confronts what has led us to where we are, and to what end we all are coming closer to – with a strong philosophical and allegorical backbone behind it all.

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DENS – “Taming Tongues”

 Posted by on May 31, 2020 at 19:12  No Responses »
May 312020
 

Hailing from Richmond Virginia, Dens have come out with their sophomore album, “Taming Tongues”.  The band found their mission in using music as a platform to creatively and honestly explore themes of faith, hope, redemption, and grace. In 2018 the band released their guitar-driven post-rock Facedown debut EP No Small Tempest and won the hearts of Facedown fans with their outstanding, catchy choruses.

Their new album comes to grips with the current state of shattered communication and subjective truths. “Taming Tongues” explores how words can be life-giving or destructive, and emotions can be the salt of life or the fuel that gets thrown on a fire. Something that should catch your attention is the song listing, when put together it becomes a well worded sentence, “Even Foolish Men Are Wise When They Learn To Keep Quiet”.

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Skillet – “Victorious”

 Posted by on May 17, 2020 at 09:24  No Responses »
May 172020
 

There is no doubt that Skillet has a great formula that seems to work for them in terms of reaching the masses and thus their significance in the rock world plays an important role from a Christian perspective. I am not the biggest fan of their music but I certainly respect what they have been able to achieve within the industry. I hated their debut album and in fact I only really started giving them the benefit of the doubt at around Comatose which was released in 2009, which by then I could tolerate them and today their latest releases are something I can get by on. Their success in the Christian charts has been continuous for the past two decades and their ability to stride successfully between the secular and Christian music world is noteworthy. Victorious is their tenth album and though sounding at times similar to their previous release Unleashed I think overall it is a little more polished. Also think a little more emotional attention was given to it. However in some ways for me it comes off as a continuation of the last release, like a part 2, or disc 2 of a larger album release. Like they had all these songs and divided it over two releases. Again that said there is allot of emotional investment that seeps through by the band on this one that though similar to Unleashed does give it some distance as the songs have a more personal engagement.

The stylistic approach of Skillet is a working formula, and I guess don’t mess with what works for you, and their melodic catchy songs have caught the hearts of thousands. The songs are generally pick me up’s with anthem driven lyrics and kids and adults alike can sing along with relative ease, which works well with their mission based statement they represent.

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