Tag Archives: liquid metal

Adrenaline Mob-Dearly Departed

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If you look at my past reviews you can see I am not the biggest fan of Adrenaline Mob. In fact I think the band may have taken on their namesake and put a hit out me. So it must seem odd that once again I am tackling their newest. Call it self flagellation or more likely that it’s February and there is not a lot out. Dearly Departed is a mini-LP mostly made up of covers or acoustic numbers. They did this right after their debut album and I like this idea. Alice In Chains did it and I think it’s a nice way of staying in the public eye without milking the cow.

Let’s address the covers first. Dearly Departed kicks off with Pat Travers’ “Snorting Whiskey”. This is a blazing cover and it had me rethinking my attitude towards the band by the time it hit the chorus. It is a balls out rockin’ version of this 70’s classic and you can hear the band enjoying themselves. Especially guitarist Mike Orlando who sounds like a mixture of an Allman brother and an 80’s shredder on here. Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” also gets the treatment and it is a good one. The feeling is like this is a fun practice room song that they just decided to record. I applaud the guys for choosing some not too obvious songs. However, just because it is a surprising choice does not mean it is a good one. Case in point is their version of “Devil Went Down To Georgia”. It sounds exactly as you would imagine and it’s not nearly as clever as it needed to be. The last cover on here is a “Black Sabbath Medley”. It is about as original sounding as that title. One highlight is drummer AJ Pero channeling his inner Animal and going bat shit insane on it. There needs to be a moratorium on bands covering Sabbath, Metallica, and Slayer. Just don’t do it. You will always be compared to the original and in doing so will always be lacking.

Along with the covers, the other draw is the three acoustic interpretations on here. Each one of them being very good. Russell Allen really gets a chance to show off his voice on them. “Crystal Clear” and “Angel Sky” have full band accompaniment on them but the acoustic vibe is still there and the stripped down quality is delicious. As good as those versions are, “All On The Line” is legendary. With just Russell and Mike alone with a guitar the emotion really comes through. Really beautiful and powerful.

Dearly Departed is rounded out with a radio edit of the title track. Taking off that extra minute really streamlined the song and makes modern rock keeper. “Gets You Through The Night” is an unreleased track from Men Of Honor. It is a little peppier and reminds me of Saliva or Nickelback and I’m not saying that in a good way. It proves the adage that if the song was any good it would have been on the album.

I guess Dearly Departed has opened my eyes to Adrenaline Mob. I really like how the band is able to mix modern hard rock with classic rock sensibilities. Hopefully it will continue on their next release. My one small complaint is I think Dearly Departed should be a bit cheaper. It’s only $1 less than a regular album so I dropped it down one because of that.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-buy it as a used CD

$1.00-streaming it on Spotify

$0-Not worth the drive space

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In This Moment-Black Widow

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Black Widow is the newest album from In This Moment and is a a big moment for the band. Pardon the pun. While the band has developed a nice following, there is the perception it has mainly to do with Maria Brink being at the forefront of every promo picture. Although she is quite attractive, Maria is undoubtedly a good singer and lyricist. While she may not be afraid to play up her feminine wiles, she is definitely Metal. The struggle is, if they are artists or just a reason to sell posters and t-shirts.

Black Widow starts with the prefect song for this band, “Sex Metal Barbie”. No matter what one may think of the song, “Sex Metal Barbie” is one of the greatest titles ever. It’s one of those phrases that when you hear it you kick yourself for not coming up with it first. Title aside, it is a really good song that seems to mix In This Moment’s favoring of Korn and Manson. Plus like many of their songs, Maria Brink adds some personal lyrics to it. It addresses her experiences of being an attractive and strong woman in the male dominated Metal scene.

The real strength to Black Widow is Maria’s ability to convey her feelings. I sort of feel that this album is something that as an older male, is not necessarily meant for me. One reason why In This Moment has attracted such a ardent fan base is they address the plight of the female metal fans. There is a huge amount of women out there that have not had someone speak to them. “Dirty Pretty” and “Natural Born Sinner” are two more songs dealing with sexuality that coming from any male singer might not have the same resonance. Then there’s “Into The Darkness” not necessarily a song but a spoken word piece of an emotionally abusive relationship that is very powerful.

You can see that In This Moment can be very powerful but sometimes they get a little too big for their britches. They really want to connect emotionally but sometimes Maria’s attempt at singing emotionally comes across as silly. Her soft whisper that is half a whimper gets annoying quick. Most apparently on “Out Of Hell” , a song that is an insight into two people living on the street. She is trying to convey that there is a way out and she will stand with them but her delivery is so manipulative that it’s the audio equivalent of the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial. I’m not saying that I think she is being fake. She just goes over the top and the producer or someone should have stepped in.

When listening to Black Widow I had flashbacks to the No Doubt video where the guys in the band were standing to the side while Gwen was getting photographed. There are no killer riffs or solos, just songs. While that is good in theory, at times it does seem like the songs were Maria Brink and a backup band. There is a lot to like about Black Widow and you have to give In This Moment a lot of credit. This was a big opportunity for the and at least they swung for the fences.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-buy it as a used CD

$1.00-streaming it on Spotify

$0-Not worth the drive space

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Overkill-White Devil Armory

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The first time I saw Overkill I really didn’t want to see them. They were the opener on Slayer’s South Of Heaven tour that also featured Motorhead. The only exposure to Overkill I had was their “Hello From The Gutter” video. It was alright but didn’t grab me. Me and my buddy Kevin went to the show late to miss them and catch Lemmy before Slayer destroyed the place. In true metal club fashion the show was running late and we ended up seeing Overkill. They were unreal. A perpetual thrash machine was on full display. They annihilated during the allotted time. I was a fan of theirs until the lineup carousel started and they faded into the woodwork. However, with the release on Ironbound in 2010 they have been on a roll. Now we get White Devil Armory and the momentum hasn’t stopped.
All the staples are here. Bobby Blitz sounding as good as ever. DD Verni’s signature bass sound. And some quintessential thrash riffs from David Linsk. White Devil Armory punches you in the gut from the start. “Armorist”, “Down To Te Bone” and “Pig” are a lethal triple threat. The band was wise to put “Bitter Pill” next since it starts off slow and gives you a chance to breathe. However “Where There’s Smoke” is next and they’re off to the races again and they don’t stop until the album finishes. My version of White Devil Armory has 2 bonus tracks. “Fight Song” has a tinge of soccer singalong to it. Lastly there is a cover of the Nazareth track “Miss Misery” with fellow New Jersey thrash legend and current Accept singer Marc Tornillo
It’s amazing to think that after 30 years Overkill is still killing it. Playing high level thrash nonetheless. Ponce Del Leon went looking for the fountain of youth in Florida, when apparently it’s been in New Jersey and Overkill found it. In today’s scene I don’t think there is another metal band that has released 3 quality albums in a row like Overkill has. White Devil Armory doesn’t show that Overkill still has it, it shows that they never lost it.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale
$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop
$0-Not worth the drive space

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Marty Friedman-Inferno

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You have to give Marty Friedman credit. He could have taken the easy route post-Megadeth and formed his own metal band or just done more shred records and everyone would have been happy. Except he wouldn’t have. He loves the Japanese culture so he moved there and did some TV and some J-Pop and was extremely happy. On his terms.
However, the metal siren’s call was to much to resist and he is back with Inferno. It is a collection of instrumentals along with some very cool guest stars. It starts with a couple of said instrumentals that show off Marty’s handy work. (See what I did there?) Neat part about them is that they are both noticeably different in approach and sound but still equally entertaining. Now Inferno goes into the guest phase. First up is “Wicked Panacea” with Rodrigo y Gabriela, the outstanding neuvo flameno guitar duo. The song incorporates them perfectly as Marty’s playing allows them to easily slide in and out throughout the track. Truly remarkable. Canadian hard rock hero Danko Jones provides some lead vocals on “I Can’t Relax”. Again Marty crafts a song tailored for Danko and shows a different side of himself while exposing Danko to those who may not be familiar with his awesomeness. My favorite track is “Meat Hook” and it features Jorgen Munkeby of The Shining on saxophone.
Yes, saxophone.
If you are not familiar with The Shining, they are a Norwegian avant garde metal band and Jorgen is the lead singer that occasionally breaks out the saxophone. He is brilliant and so is this track. Similar to what he did on “Wicked Panacea”, Marty lets Jorgen play what he wants over the track as they intertwine and eventually harmonize. I love this song so much and it is a true testament to what someone can do if they are willing to push the boundaries. I mean really push them. A lot.
Alex Laiho from Children of Bodom sings on “Lyncathrope” and it’s pretty good. As is “Sociopaths” with David Davidson of Revocation. I was hoping for a little more crazy shredding on this one considering who was involved. Inferno ends up with two very interesting tracks. “Undertow’ is a very light track that leads into “Horrors”. It seem like it’s a battle between classical influence, represented by the piano played, and shredding, his guitar. They go back and forth over the course of 6 minutes and it’s pretty impressive.
After grunge hit it became very uncool to know how to play with your guitar. Shredding was a dirty word and all of us that grew up looking forward to the newest Shrapnel release were doomed. Like with everything, time wins out. Shredding has returned and with it Marty Friedman. Inferno is a terrific reminder of what he could do plus it’s a better reminder of what he can do. And hopefully how others can push themselves.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…
$14.99-Regularly Priced CD
$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon
$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale
$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop
$0-Not worth the drive space

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GWAR-Battle Maximus

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For a band like GWAR, releasing their new album Battle Maximus is an interesting quirk. They are well known as a visual live band, is new material truly necessary? If you saw them perform on AXS TV early this year, their over the top outrageous-ness is still evident. You also heard singer Oderus muttering gibberish instead of singing the actual lyrics but no one seemed to mind. The stage antics had already seeped over to the music side previously. GWAR had gone from being a metal band that played funny songs to a comedy band that played metal eventually becoming more of a punk act.

 

A couple years back they acknowledged the wrong path taken and went back to making some great sounding metal. Question is, does Battle Maximus continues that path or do they veer off track once more. There is some very heavy, catchy stuff here. “Triumph of The Pig Children” and “They Swallowed The Sun” are two nice heavy tracks that will get the heads bobbing. I think the highlight of the album is “ I, Bonesnapper” which features, not ironically, Bonesnapper on vocals. He has a much different style and sound than Oderus and it is pretty welcoming. Refreshingly, the title track is an unexpected and very well done instrumental. One of the more curious tracks is “Falling” which would be a hit on Octane from one of those Hot Topic metal bands.

 

On the whole Battle Maximus is kind of flat. Not coincidentally this is the first album since guitarist Cory Smoot aka Flattus Maximus passed away. Beside that, there is also a new Beefcake the Mighty aka the bassist. Besides the uninspiring music, the lyrics are not nearly as clever nor as funny as previous releases.

 

Battle Maximus is not an album one will play over and over again. It seems like it will be background noise while the band and its’ minions lambasts Kim Kardashian, decapitates the President, feeds audience members to the grinder.

 

In the end that’s why we all came in the first place.

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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Trouble-The Distortion Field

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Trouble has always been one of those bands that not a lot of people know of, but those that do LOVE them. My introduction to them was their classic 1990 self-titled release. Their Sabbath inspired sludge instantly hooked me. What ended up setting them apart from other bands was singer Eric Wagner. He has a distinctive high pitched style that elevated their sludgy sound from their contemporaries.

 

However, like every other band Trouble has had a revolving door of band members. The core sound courtesy of guitarists Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell are still here. Wagner’s on again off again relationship with the band is in the off position. Replacing him is Kyle Thomas, formerly of thrash band Exhorder, who had replaced Wagner before but never recorded with the band.

 

Although it may be unfair, the success of The Distortion Field rests on the vocals chords of Thomas. The band did not go for a Wagner clone as Thomas has a much gruffer sound. The music is still the same awesomeness though. For those that have not heard the band before, Franklin and Wartell have a very distinctive style. While still sludgy, many times the songs have a bounce to them. The second track “Paranoia Conspiracy” is the perfect example of this. Thomas’ voice seems to work when he can get in that groove. Same thing can be said for “Sink or Swim”, these are two of the best tracks on The Distortion Field. They really crank up the Sabbath influence on “One Life” and “Hand Of Doom”. Two crunchers that make you forget all about Wagner.

 

There are a couple of times that Thomas’s voice turns a song into just a typical metal song. “Glass of Lies” could have been recorded by a hundred bands. Then there is “One Life”, a curious yet out of place ballad. Plus, Thomas sounds like Mike Howe from Metal Church here.

 

The first time I listened to The Distortion Field, I really did not like it. Maybe it was my loyalty to Eric Wagner or maybe this is one of those albums you have to give a couple spins to. I think the more you listen to the music you will adjust to Thomas’ voice. Either way, Trouble did a good job in retaining their core sound while adding a new flair with Kyle Thomas.

 

 

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

 

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

 

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon purchase

 

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on a MP3 sale

 

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

 

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

 

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The Dillinger Escape Plan-One Of Us Is The Killer

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Many just got their first taste of Dillinger Escape Plan at the recently televised Revolver Golden Gods Awards. If you had never seen or heard them before, that had to be quite a shock. Lots of screaming, banging on instruments, and blood.

Awesome.

Those DEP virgins might have been scared away from buying the newly released, One Of Us Is The Killer. But they shouldn’t. While there is till the frantic madness that they witnessed on TV, you get a better sense of the band. There is still the craziness, just not as much. The album leads off with “Prancer” & “When I Lost My Bet” the first two songs they played that night. They are the very definition of mathcore. If there is one. Best way to describe it is Dream Theater in a blender. I love the fact that they led off the album with those tracks. They are not accessible and DEP has this attitude of not caring what people think, they’re just going to do what they like. It shows.

After that Killer is a lot easier to get into for a first timer. The title track is a great radio track that owes a lot to Faith No More. There is some more FNM influence on “Nothing’s Funny”. However right after that is some more of the craziness which some might think sounds like the musical score of a NASCAR crash.

The first time I saw Dillinger Escape Plan they opened for Mastodon. The whole time I just stood there because I could not figure out what I was witnessing. If you just relax and let it happen I think most metal fans will enjoy it. One Of Us Is The Killer makes is easier to wade into those waters.

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

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A look at Sirius/XM for the Metalheads

 

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Satellite radio has been around for awhile and I finally jumped on board a year ago. My job requires me to drive a lot so I am in my car a lot. I used Pandora and my iTunes a lot but there is just something about a radio station. I heard Sirius/XM when I was with an ex. Driving around in her car I got a good opportunity to hear what was offered. Sadly, that was the only positive experience I got from that horrible horrible woman. I loved how this product satisfied my musical tastes, all of them. However I just want to focus on the ones that service the heavier stuff. With the Clear Channel effect all over our terrestrial radio dial, satellite is something that metalheads should really look into. The channels I want to concentrate on are Channels 38 to 40, Ozzy’s Boneyard, Hair Nation, and Liquid Metal.

ozzyBoneyard, I refuse to use the Ozzy label because of the horrible woman that is Sharon Osbourne, is a really good classic hard rock/metal station. They do a real nice job of mixing stuff up so you are not hearing “Iron Man” every 30 minutes. Band selection is nice, besides the obvious, Sabbath, Priest, Maiden, you get Tank, and Diamond Head and a plethora of others. You will find yourself saying “I haven’t heard that in a while” a lot. No shows except for an hour hosted by Jim Norton and Ultimate Sinner where a listener gets to pick 5 songs. A nice little feature. They occasionally play some new music from veteran bands already on the play list. Music wise, it is a great listen that you will have no problem leaving on for hours straight.

The big drawback to me is the Ozzy affiliation. Granted I probably hate Sharon way more than anyone else. And that hatred has tarnished Ozzy’s music to me. I cannot even listen to his era of Black Sabbath anymore because of her but I can overlook that most of the time. What bugs me is that every promo for the station is Ozzy related. From him mumbling about some story from 1984 or hearing Sharon or one of their idiotic kids tell a story about him, it’s stomach churning. The ball washing gets worse when they have famous metal musicians talk about how great Ozzy is. It is really sickening and it is the main reason I change the channel.

hairNext on the dial, is Channel 39 Hair Nation. As the name suggests it has all the bands from 80’s and 90’s with big hair that were the lifeblood of Headbangers Ball. This was the station that really hooked me one getting Sirius/XM. I remember driving with the awful ex and on came Sleez Beez. C’mon where else are you going to hear Sleez Beez? When I first got the radio I remember hearing a D:A:D song and thinking this was the greatest purchase that I ever made. What I didn’t realize is that they would play that same song over and over again. I know I am in my car a lot but it is like bad FM radio overkill. Then I noticed that they did this a lot. Heard “Gimme Your Love” from McAuley Schenker Group and got that D:A:D happy feeling. Then I heard it again and again. The station has a pattern of pulling out a band and playing their hit. Then they play that song over and over and then put that band back on the shelf. Why they won’t play another song I have no idea. They will however play the fuck out of Bon Jovi. Someone there loves them some Bon Jovi because you will l hear a BJ song every 30 minutes and that is not a good thing. I seriously think that Bon Jovi has a deal with this channel similar to what Ozzy has with Boneyard. This station never plays new music even though many of the bands the play have released new material. They did however play the new Richie Sambora single, furthering my Bon Jovi conspiracy theory. Plus they do not have a listener show like the other two stations do. This went from being one of my favorites to being one that I hit and run on. Hair Nation is also the home to Eddie Trunk who has a show on Monday night. However he plays more stuff you hear on Boneyard but that vile cunt Sharon had him kicked off that channel because he dared to criticize Ozzy.

sirius_xm_liquid_metalLast but not least is Channel 40, Liquid Metal. They play all of the new metal bands plus lots of the originators. When I say Metal I mean METAL. Cannibal Corpse, Slipknot, High On Fire, real heavy stuff. They do a nice job of crossing the many genres of Metal. Thrash, death, stoner, black you name it. Liquid Metal also does a great job on featuring new bands and letting listeners know when an important album is coming out. Occasionally they play some bands that are better off on Octane, a channel for new Hard Rock, but that is being picky. They also have Listener Domination, their show lets a listener a chance to pick three songs and say why. One of my favorite things about the station is Bloody Roots a show hosted by renowned Metal author Ian Christie. He will have a different theme for each show and does a fantastic job of giving tidbits and back story plus lots of the stuff he plays you will not hear any other time.

I think the reason that Boneyard and Liquid Metal are run so well is that Jose Mangin seemingly is in charge of both. His voice is on promos for both channels and they both have a listener show. He is the afternoon host and some may remember him when MTV did a Headbangers Ball special. He is a nice enough guy that obviously loves Metal. However he kind of bugs me. Maybe because he is always UP or maybe it is that he still has a faux hawk and still wears Affliction shirts. Logic would dictate that he would be in charge of Hair Nation as well and if so he is doing a shitty job.

Earlier I mentioned Octane on Channel 37. They play modern hard rock a long the lines of In This Moment, Chevelle, and Sevendust. It’s not a bad station I listen occasionally but a lot of what they play I don’t care for.

Yes I do realize there is a huge “Kids these days” factor present.

While I have become disappointed in Hair Nation and the Ozzy ass kissing makes me want to puke on my passenger seat, but I cannot recommend getting Sirius/XM enough. It really satisfies my musical desires plus there is a bunch of other great stuff available. I love being able to go from Mastodon to Glen Miller to listening to an Astros game. I got the Onyx model and I am able to take that from my car to another car or inside. Terrific if you drive more than one vehicle plus you can listen to it on your smartphone or online from your computer.

Seriously go get it.

Now.

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The Acacia Strain-Death Is The Only Mortal

 

I have heard a lot about The Acacia Strain for awhile and when the new album Death Is The Only Mortal came out Liquid Metal was all about it. I figured I should go and check it out and after listening to it I have come to one conclusion.

Man, I must be getting old.

That’s what this made me feel. Now I listen to a lot of metal, many sub genres, and from different era’s. However, after finishing this album I had the reacquiring thought of “Kids these days.”

I guess the best way to describe The Acacia Strain to anyone that has not heard them is that they are the perfect amalgam of what they heard growing up. Guttural vocals from the metalcore/death metal scene. Absence of guitar solos ala Korn. And what comes across as very pussy lyrics from all the alt-rock grunge bands they probably listened to when they were kids. Now I may be wrong on everything I just said, but The Acacia Strain sounds like a Frankenstein of unoriginality disguised as brilliant creativity. There is nothing that is surprising except for the many times they “sample” the trademark Gojira slides. “Brain Death sounds likes a Killswitch Engage song, just with cookie monster singing.

One really annoying aspect of this album is that they use this one guitar sound that sounds like an echoed downstroke. At first it is neat but after hearing it constantly it became annoying and distracting. “Victims of the Cave” uses it well and along with a very welcomed tempo change it is a bright spot. Unfortunately the next 3 songs mimic the same tempo and feel and that bright spot goes dark.

I know someone is going to read this and see how much I did not like this album but fawned over the new Europe and is going to say I’m old and out of touch. While I may be older than them, I still love a lot of the new bands out now. Witchcraft, Gypsyhawk, Gojira, and many others get regular rotation on my playlists. What sets those bands is they have something special about them.

With The Acacia Strain just because something is unique does not mean that it is good.

 

Final rating, I’d be happy paying…

$14.99-Regularly Priced CD

$9.99-Download from iTunes or Amazon

$5.00-wait for Amazon to have it on sale

$1.00-finding at a flea market, car wash, or pawn shop

$0-Not worth the drive space

 

 

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