Within The Ruins: Phenomena
Written by Steve Wass    Tuesday, 01 July 2014 09:36    PDF Print E-mail

Massachusetts’ metal band Within the Ruins' new album "Phenomena" is a bit of a strange beast. There are undeniable deathcore, progressive, and electronic elements - we get breakdowns, harsh vocals (some, like “Eternal Shore,” are even reminiscent of Lamb of God), sweeping solos, and what I swear sound like chiptunes. The first thing I thought was that if you are into video games and VG remixes, you may really dig this album, particularly the instrumentals. Yes, that's right, not one, but two instrumentals that were oddly placed one after the other. They would provide excellent background music for fighting your way through a dungeon (again, not a bad thing). The eerie synthesizers (check out album closer "Calling Card"), combined with the rather technical guitar and driving bass really make this album unexpectedly smooth. The album really flows, and I think the synth, in particular, really brings everything together. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised how the music was not just cookie cutter, simple and predictable deathcore. There is something else going on here than just breakdowns and attitude ... and I like it.
The Sonic Creeps: A Future Dead
Written by Mike Rocha    Tuesday, 01 July 2014 09:19    PDF Print E-mail

There are many soaring musical genres in Baltimore, but one that really stands out and sometimes seems to be overlooked is horror punk rock. One band that stands out in the genre is The Sonic Creeps.  With very solid music and horror-laden lyrics, The Sonic Creeps’ release of “A Future Dead” shows that this is a subgenre with lots of life in it. With a mix of punk, thrash, and just straight up rock and roll, “A Future Dead” delivers! From the opening marches of “March of the Mutants” to “20 Million Miles to Earth,” the music is a nonstop assault of blazing guitars, killer drums and soaring lyrics. The vocals are very top notch and very reminiscent of Michale Graves. The drums are brutal and fast and keep the pacing and timing with the songs. But, with the famous Dr. Chud of the late ‘90s-era Misfits, would you expect anything less? The production is well done, and you can tell a lot of time was spent to make sure that the quality of the music was made to be a top studio recording!

U.D.O.: Live From Moscow
Written by Steve Wass    Tuesday, 01 July 2014 07:36    PDF Print E-mail

U.D.O.'s new "Live From Moscow" album is a 102-minute long solid slab of metal from ex-Accept frontman Udo Dirkschneider and his band. There is only one Accept classic ("Metal Heart"), which makes for a lovely showcase of his underrated solo material instead of being pigeon-holed into playing the same Accept tracks over and over (U.D.O.'s last live offering, "Live in Sofia," boasted six Accept tracks). There really aren't any weak points sonically on this night: Udo's distinctively gravelly goblin voice is still going strong, and his backing band plays their brand of straight ahead metal pretty flawlessly. There's not too much crowd noise and singing along, which is a bit odd for a live album. All in all, there's nothing groundbreaking here, just meat and potatoes metal, but certainly nothing to scoff at. If you haven't been able to catch U.D.O. live, then listening to this should be a fitting testament to their sound.

Doyle: Abominator
Written by Jay Oakley    Tuesday, 10 June 2014 18:52    PDF Print E-mail

The mystique around Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein continues to grow. The legendary Misfits' axe-man has had a few different projects since his departure from the band. His band Gorgeous Frankenstein was heavy, heavy metal and a far departure from the horror punk/metal sound of the previous two eras of the Misfits. Unfortunately, some promotional flaws proved that most fans didn't even know Doyle had a new band, so he wasn't exposed and didn't get the attention he rightfully deserved for having a really stellar band. After multiple personnel changes, but with a solid line-up finally in place, a band decision was made to change the band's name to Doyle's namesake to allow the fans to know exactly what they were getting.

With Doyle on guitar, "Left Hand" Graham on bass, Dr. CHUD on drums and Alex Story on vocals, this band brings an amazing new level to horror metal nostalgia and blows your head off. The animalistic howls of Alex are the sounds that create nightmares and his delivery is absolutely amazing. The vocalist’s ability to write and deliver killer lyrics that make a person say, "Did he just say that?" are incredible and are laid down perfectly. Graham and CHUD are such a stellar rhythm section and they have styles that mesh seamlessly with Doyle's guitar and Alex's vocals. Doyle's playing comes screaming through this record. His riffs are so recognizable that there's no way to listen to this record and not say, "That's Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein on guitar."

With the second record in the can and the third mostly written, we can be ready for much more Doyle in our future. Be scared and be excited.

Gloryful: Ocean Blade
Written by Milla Lindqvist    Wednesday, 04 June 2014 10:01    PDF Print E-mail

It should come as no surprise that Germany has produced another top-notch power metal band – Gloryful, whose second album “Ocean Blade” is coming out on June 10. The new album is a fun listen built on the gritty directness of heavy metal riffing, sometimes upping things to a frantic speed metal pace, and embellishing it all with epic vocals and fantastic subject matter. Singer Johnny LaBomba’s vocals vary from hard and aggressive, to high notes that have a mournful, hymnal air, and even a Halford-esque shriek at one point. The subject matter adds even more epic flair: “Ocean Blade” is a concept album about an adventure on the high seas in search of the Inuit sea goddess Sedna, who is portrayed on the album as a monster that the adventurers must fight. The momentum and rousing chorus of the first song, “Hiring the Dead,” draw the listener into this fantastic journey -- only to have their ears blasted off by the thunder of blazing guitars opening the second song, “E Mare, E Libertad.”  The band continues to show off their guitar prowess with the racing riffs of “The Master’s Hands” and the thundering “All Men To The Arms,” and to carry the listener along with irresistible fist-pumping choruses. In between these songs is a change of pace in the grandiose heavy metal epic (complete with galloping bassline) “Cradle of Heroes,” and the acoustic and folky “Black Legacy,” a lovely song worthy of Blackmore’s Night. A surprising hit is the oddly named but very catchy “McGuerkin on the Bridge” – I can’t help headbanging to its speedy riffs and playful melodic leads. The journey ends with “Siren’s Song,” the most unabashedly power metal song on the album with fast, melodic guitar leads, less grit in the vocals, and choir of female voices near the end, and then an outro track of crashing waves and languid strings. If you’ve a taste for power metal and fantastic adventure, then this album is sure to satisfy you on both counts.

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