Saturday, October 13, 2012

Skullhog - "The Evil Dead"







Skullhog are a 3 piece death/sludge metal band, much in the vein of Autopsy, Mausoleum and the like. They are spawned from the ashes of oldschool death/grind band Bile (not to be confused with the cheesy industrial band of the same name). Here Skullhog serve up a brand new 7 song offering, covered in thick sludge and dripping with gore titled "The Evil Dead". "Risen To Bludgeon" kicks off this newest addition to the Redrum Records catalog and after a quick creepy intro the listener is slammed with brutal riffing and razor throated vocals. This is pure oldschool, short, sweet and to the point death metal with a nice helping of slow, creepy doom metal in the mix. The slow brooding riffs of "Savage Butchery" shake everything in the room while they emanate from the speakers. The band pushes and pulls the tempo in this song, going from a slow crawl to almost punk like verses and choruses that will have you leaving your seat and headbanging along. The morbid title track is served up next and I feel it sums up the entire offering best. Picture if you will, the death n' roll sound of Death Breath mixed with early Cathedral. Factor in the gut wrenching vocals, almost akin to "Scream Bloody Gore" era Chuck Schuldiner and mix in some really creepy samples and you got the recipe to the gory soundtrack that Skullhog dish out here. "Curse Of Dunwich" and "Deadstare" adhere to the gory gameplan and offer up more grimy death metal goodness, relentlessly punishing the listener with Skullhog's low tuned, buzzsaw brutality. "Cannibal Frenzy" is 49 seconds of frantic, evil fury that leads into this disks closing track, the almost 7 minute "Tusks Of Gore". Here Skullhog really gets to show off how slow and ominous they can be with their riffing. This track plods along with a super heavy stomp, the notes bleed from their instruments and slowly ooze from the speakers. Right around the 4 minute mark, the pace kicks up and we are bludgeoned with neck snapping rythms until Skullhog pull us back into the murky depths with more dirge like death-doom. With "The Evil Dead", Skullhog simultaneously satisfy the death metal fan, the doom fan who loves it low and slow and the gory horror fanatic that resides within us all. This is a very solid release and I look forward to what Skullhog has in store for us next. I'd love to see this band tour the united states, put Skullhog on a bill with Mausoleum, Mortician and Deceased and you'd have one hell of a show!!! You can find this release at www.redrumrecords.net along with lots of other great cd's, vinyl, t-shirts, patches and more. X-mas is right around the corner so help out an amazing underground distro/label and give the metalhead in your life the gift of some awesome music for the holidays.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Down - "Diary Of A Mad Band"

 When I hear the word "Supergroup" the absolute first thing that comes to my mind is NOLA's own Sabbath-worshipping, sludge masters : Down. Comprised of Pantera vocalist and bassist, Phillip H. Anselmo and Rex Brown, Corrosion of Conformity frontman Pepper Keenan, Crowbar frontman Kirk Windstein, and Eyehategod's Jimmy Bower on the drums, Down have finally unleashed their long-awaited live package titled "Diary Of A Mad Band". The 2 CD and 1 DVD release is a collection of live performances recorded during their 2006 European tour. I'm not really a huge fan of live recordings in general, but I do buy the live albums from my favorites, and I couldnt be happier with "Diary Of A Mad Band". If there is one thing I love about live performances, it's the spontaneity and the feel of the band in it's most raw of elements. Most "Bigger" bands will bring their live album into the recording studio and overdub alot. They will re-record guitar parts to fix screw-ups, they will re-record vocals to eliminate sour notes and fumbled lyrics, and most of all polish the thing so much that it sounds just like the studio recording with crowd noise thrown in(ex. Kiss "Alive", Ozzy Osbourne "Live and Loud", Slayer "Live Undead" ect.). "Diary Of A Mad Band" couldnt be any further from that, this live package keeps the raw live feel 100%. Sour notes, fumbled guitar solo's and lyrical screw up's are all present and accounted for. At times a guitar will be slightly out of tune, Phil may come in too early or late with a vocal line, and I wont even get into how the vocal harmonies in "Jail" make me cringe a bit, but that's the whole beauty of this live package. With "Diary..." Down are giving you a straight-up no frills, unpolished representation of the band in a live setting, if your gonna sit and be a stickler and pick out every fickle little piece of the performances that are wrong or out of tune, then just leave this on the shelf and go pick up a copy of the new Linkin Park album. If you wanna enjoy some real, exciting, raw sludge metal done right by the masters, and if you can appreciate knowing that, YES even the masters screw up once in a blue, then you definitely want to add "Diary Of A Mad Band" to your collection. If I could compare this to any other recording, it would be Black Sabbath's classic "Live At Last" album for sure. All of your favorites from the first 2 releases are presented here in live format, "Lifer", "Stone The Crow", "Ghosts Along The Mississippi", "The Seed", "Bury Me In Smoke", "Losing All" and "Lysergic Funeral Procession" are amongst the 16 songs on both audio disks and 17 songs on the DVD(The addition of "There's Something On My Side" is the only song separating the DVD from the CD's). The DVD is the true focal point here as Down have been promising to release it to the fans since 2006, and the quality is amazing, great footage and editing, and the music is raw just the same as the audio disks. Those of you looking for a DVD full of hilarity and assinine moments akin to the Pantera home videos may be a bit dissappointed as the "Diary..." DVD keeps it's focus on the music and live performance, dont get me wrong the dudes in Down are hilarious guys and there are a couple funny moments to be had, but this DVD is entirely about the music, and this reviewer couldnt be happier about that. Diary Of A Mad Band is a perfect representation of what Down is exactly all about, unbelievably heavy, punishing and thunderous at times, and yet not afraid to show their mellow side and throw a southern-fried ballad at you that could only be best described as a molotov cocktail made up of equal parts Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin. If your a Down fan, you should have this already, if your new to the band and have somehow never heard them before, I believe "Diary Of A Mad Band" would be a great starting point for you as it is in a sense a "Live Greatest Hits" of sorts. An amazing release by one of Metal's best bands of all time...this release hasnt left my CD and DVD players in weeks, and I promise it'll be just as addictive for you, so get off your arse and go get a copy of "Diary Of A Mad Band".

Friday, August 31, 2012

Interview with Generation Kill bassist Rob Moschetti

Jaymz : How did Generation Kill form?
Rob Moschetti : Our current drummer Jim DiMaria, it was basically his idea to team us up, me and Rob Dukes, 2 guys from Rockland county, well known in the underground.
We knew of each other but we were never close friends. Jim thought it would be a good idea to team us up. Dukes contacted me, expecting maybe Jim would be the drummer at the time. Jim owned a businesss so he didnt want to commit to something at the time. So I would write the music, Dukes would write the lyrics. Dukes was watching band of brothers and had that war theme in his head. So we just started there. Originally i was playing guitar on the stuff, but i wasnt sure what my role would be yet. When it started taking more of a metal turn, I realized we needed shredders, cause I'm not really a shredder. So in come Jay and Lou, 2 guys i knew from high school. just 20 years later. For Lou, he just coudnt get his personal life together, and it started getting in the way. For Sam our drummer on the album, it was more creative differences. He was expecting more of a Reign in blood record than a ride the lightning. I always wanted to do stuff that I couldnt do with M.O.D. or Pro-Pain. Rob always wanted to do stuff he couldn't do with Exodus. When Dukes is screaming, i'm believing every word he's saying. You never know when its going to be your last show. I've bit the bullet many times on the road. I want every show to be important to these kids that come to see us. I want them to be blown away.


Jaymz : You already touched on my next question. Why did Sam Inzerra (Mortician/Funerus) part with the band?
Rob : Sam is a great guy and a killer drummer. He was expecting something super extreme like Reign In Blood and we gave him Ride the Lightning. Me and Rob just didn't wanna be submitting our material for anyone's approval. I'm done with that. I had to do that with MOD and Pro-Pain.
This is the first record, in 6 or 7 records that i've done, that I'm not diverting from what i'm doing and if you don't like it i'm not going to change it for you. A lot of times the songs that don't get the recognition they deserve, they become my misfit songs and go off to Ashes Of Fire. Sam's replacement is Jim DiMaria. Jim had already filled in for Sam at some shows while Sam was busy with Mortician and Funerus, we didn't have to audition him or teach him the songs. Jim just jumped in and was just a better fit for what we're going for. Lou just stopped showing up to practice. To me, when you stop coming, you quit. He blew off the 3 practices before of a show we had with God Forbid. In walks Jay Velez, who knew the material, wanted to be with this band from the beginning. He had filled in other times. Two rehearsals and he's with us on stage opening for God Forbid.


Jaymz : What are your biggest Musical influences?
Rob : My 2 favorites are the first 4 Metallica albums and the first 5 Sabbath Records. I'm from that power chord background - Metallica and Sabbath were the 2 bands that really innovated that style. For some reason my material, the faster stuff comes out sounding like Punk or hardcore. Which i'm not really a fan of. But my style just comes off as hardcore or punk. Hardcore guys are all about the attitude. That's what I love. I'm not the hugest hardcore fan, but its unintentional. I try to incorporate the Geezer Butler bass style, and the Hetfield chunk style when I'm writing guitar parts. Jason is pure old school metal, Slayer, Exodus, early Metallica. Dukes likes Rush, Pink Floyd, and a lot of really obscure punk bands like the Exploited and Discharge. He's ADD, OCD, everywhere with the music, He's wants to try everything and be all over the place. Musically he's open to anything. And it's really fun to work with a guy like that. Velez is more into Kreator, old school Metal. He has played in a hardcore band, but he just wants to play and create. Jim, a true metalhead, huge Slayer fan. We're playing with Dave Lombardo and his side project next week. Jim used to be a drum tech for Exodus. None of us really listen to any current metal. There's stuff going on right now. As long as it's passionate and original, I'm not anti anything really. As long as it's genuine i respect it.


Jaymz : How Long Did it take to write & record "Red, White & Blood"?
Rob : We recorded in spurts because of Rob's schedule. Within one year we had half a record recorded. We didn't work on it 24/7 365. When Dukes wasn't around I would write. Probably within a 2 year period the songs were written and recorded. Then when Rob had another break, we worked on it a little more. It was recorded in 3 different locations.  Some in my house, some in a studio in New City, some in Pomona. We tried to make it all sound uniform.  But each song completely has it's own mix and own idenity. You don't want it to sound redundant. Each song has a different vibe. But it wasn't too diverse where it was all over the place. The order of the songs created a concept. We didn't go into it trying to create a "war" concept. I read the lyrics as I was going along and realized that it tells the story of a soldier going to war, wondering why he's there, getting into drugs, coming home, going into the looney bin, and the only way to escape was to blow his brains out. It was very creepy and bizarre and we just said "Roll With It". An unintentional concept album. The song "Self Medicating" is very personal about your demons inside of you are yelling back and forth at each other. My Dad died in '84 and there's lines from "Dark Days" that I've been wanting to put into a song since then. "Self Medicating" and "Dark Days" had nothing to do with war,  They were just about the human condition. Walking dead had nothing to do with the war theme, But put into the context of the ghosts of people this soldier killed coming back to haunt him, it made sense.


Jaymz : Have you ever thought of contacting the people from Walking Dead to see if they would use the song in the show?
Rob : Actually the guys wife or daughter hit us up on Facebook, the creator. Rob got the idea from the book. We were a little nervous about it - them giving us shit about using the name. But they are cool about it, and the series is done now. We're actually in a mafia movie called "Goat" that comes out in 2013. "Slow Burn" opens this mafia movie with Armand Asante. Ice T and Ja Rule from the rap world are also in it. From what I see from the trailer it's about a mafia guy who gets out of jail and immediately gets pulled back into that life. It's really powerful, Its a revenge movie. Slow Burn was written about a pyromaniac. But it actually fits into the movie,  in the theme of burning in hell.


Jaymz : What bass gear did you use on the album?
Right now I'm endorsed by Halo Guitars from california. They were cool enough to give me a few basses. But that was after we were recording the album. But prior to Halo I was using ESP. I used an old SWR head and cabinet. I rely a lot more on the clean signal direct when recording. Which allows you to split the signal. A lot of guys take their clean signal and alter it, and you lose that clean sound. A lot of new metal bands, theres really no bass guitar cutting through because they're so focused on compression. My trick is I want the Bass to stand out. I don't want it to sound like "And Justice For All". One good thing about the Black album is that the bass is huge. The bass is such a pure signal that I feel why corrupt it?People think my bass cuts through a lot. Maybe it's because I produce it. But The bass is the balls of the album. People think bass is an unimportant instrument. But tell that to Steve Harris, Geezer Butler and Cliff Burton. Those are the people I look up to.


Jaymz : How do you feel about the current metal scene?
Rob : I'm just not really exposed to a lot of the newer metal bands out there.
They hear our stuff and theyre probably not impressed. I think our live show defines us more than the record. One song on a record can't define us. You have to put on the entire record and listen to the full thing. Like when you listen to Master Of Puppets, after "Battery" is over, you know what song is next. Even with Sabbath.
The song after each one completes the song before it. I used to lay in my room with the headphones on and you just know what song comes next. The order of the songs on the album is so important. It's gotta flow. It's hard with these new bands. Some people don't understand. They think our record "dies" halfway through because some of the songs get melodic and have acoustic guitars. That's intentional. There can't be a heaven without a hell. You cant have heavy without soft. We don't want just one flavor throughout. One song alone might not make sense, but in the context of the two songs on either side of it, it makes sense. I don't think a lot of bands are doing that nowadays. They just want that processed crunch guitar sound. There's no personality in the drum playing. Bill Ward and Lars are incredible and under-rated drummers.


Jaymz : What are your Favorite Venues to play?
Rob : I'm gonna give the "Lemmy" answer on that one. As long as theyre going hooray and hoorah, it doesn't matter where you're playing. I've had equally as much fun at a festival opening for Motorhead for thousands of people, as I've had in a 200 capacity club with kids just going crazy. One of my favorite clubs was the Alrosa Villa, and then Dime gets killed there. The owner, the fans were all cool. Pro-Pain used to play there several times a year. Everyone knew us there. That place is completely ruined forever now. That was one of my favorite places. The load in doors were right on the stage. The back doors could be right open during the show because there's train tracks back there. That was my favorite place, but I haven't been back there since. I wouldnt want to step foot in the place again.


Jaymz : Where can people get CD's and merch?
Rob : Merch you can get when we play live. The label is in France, Seasons of Mist, They take care of merch. CDs are available at Bestbuy.com You can order the hard copy cd there. Nuclear blast licenses the record. You can get it on iTunes. Also Amazon will have it. Right from the 2 labels - Nuclear Blast and Seasons of Mist Or from BestBuy.com

Jaymz : What shows do you have coming up?
Rob : Tomorrow in Brooklyn with Slam One Down. Sunday with Straight Line Stitch up in Poughkeepsie. Our street team is out of Florida, They hook us up with a lot of shows. The week after that 2 shows in NJ at Dingbatz and Champs in Nj with Dave Lombardo's side project Philm. Also we're playing with Diecast up in Albany. DRI in December. After Christmas we're really gonna get knuckle down with this new record. We have about 20 tunes written, musically (for the new record)
We're shopping for producers now. Peter Tagtgren from Hypocrisy is one we're thinking about. But we'd have to fly to Sweden and our budget doesn't really allow for that right now. We're talking with Zeuss, he worked with Hatebreed and Crowbar so I'm sold on him. We'll see, I mean it's all about timing and money, and finding someone who's passionate about it.We have to take our own path, it's a little bit different than most bands. We gotta be careful about how we present ourselves.


Jaymz : Last question, what are your Top 5 Albums of all time?
Rob : Well, if you say Metal,it's hard to even give a straight answer.
Metallica - Ride the lightning
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
Megadeth - Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?
Slayer - Reign in Blood
Vulgar Display is a perfect blance of groovy and heavy. Just like Master of Puppets, heavy and eerie at the same time.
Peace Sells is like a staple in Metal. And Reign In Blood is just classic.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cross Up Yours - "Holy Shit"

After a 90 second intro filled with eerie keys and bible quotes read in a demonic tone, Cross Up Yours kick into the namesake track from their debut EP "Holy Shit". It's slow, doomy opening riffs flows with tons of lead guitar solo's, then bursts into a flurry of tremolo riffery colliding with relentless double bass drumming provided by Kevin Talley(Dying Fetus, Chimaira, Daath, Six Feet Under). This tune bridges the gap from slamming classic death metal, to symphonic black metal evoking images of Vital Remains and early Cradle Of Filth. Cross Up Yours frontman Greg Bukinus(also the guitarist of NYDM Bronx veterans Demized) shows us here his songwriting prowess and pure musicianship as he performs vocals, guitar, bass and keys on all 3 of these brutal tracks. "Unforbidden Sin" pummels the listener with 4 minutes of machine-gun drumming, non stop riff-fest and unholy vocals that sound as if they are being vomited forth from the fiery underworld. Every few bars a different riff pops up in a different tempo and always keeps the listener on their toes not knowing what musical insanity to expect next. "Son Of A..." closes out this monstrous effort with stomping, headbanging evil death metal, that recalls glimpses of classic Morbid Angel and Behemoth. A thick slab of guitar wizardry, and spellbinding, mystical key patterns that satisfy your hunger for brutality, techinality and atmospheric melody as well. Cross Up Yours pummels and pounds sonically and they are relentless about it from start to finish. At 13 minutes total this short, but amazing effort from Cross Up Yours has pretty much everything the extreme metal fan could want. If this is just the beginning for Cross Up Yours than trust me, the future bodes well and holds big things for this band. This is basically a one man project, but dont let that deter you in any way, these songs were obviously worked on very hard, polished and honed and Mr. Talley throws down some of the best and fasest drumming I've heard him produce yet! And let's face it, Greg has a vision here, and sometimes the best way to get something done right, is to do it yourself rather than have other throw a wrench into what you want your output to be. I hope to see Cross Up Yours put together a live outfit and witness them slay the stages of the live scene. You can keep up with the band at www.facebook.com/crossupyours and you can also visit the website at http://www.crossupyours.com/ where you can purchase physical CD copies of "Holy Shit" as well as t-shirts. If your into brutal death and black metal at all, this EP deserves to be a part of your music library. You can hear cuts from this disk Thursday nights from 7pm to 10pm EST at www.brutalexistenceradio.com.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Generation Kill - "Red, White And Blood"

Generation Kill are a 5 piece, raging Thrash metal band from NY. Their lineup boasts Exodus frontman Rob Dukes, and former Pro-Pain and M.O.D. bassist Rob Moschetti, so while the band itself may be relative new to the metal community, it's core members are certainly seasoned veterans who have long paid their dues, and this is readily apparent on the bands Season Of Mist released debut album "Red, White and Blood". This 11 song opus is rife with the old school "denim and leather" vibe that will have purists of this classic genre foaming at the mouth, ready to guzzle some cold suds and jump into the pit. After a melancholic acoustic intro, the album opener "Hate" suddenly kicks the listener in the teeth with breakneck riffing, running the gamut from super angry punk metal to speed fueled mayhem. The album's title track showcases more of the bands traditional hardcore roots, undoubtedly brought to the forefront by Moschetti. Crunchy choruses and hook-filled bridge riffs, make this track one of my personal faves on the album, fans of the Full Metal Jacket movie will especially appreciate the lyrics on the break in this one. "Feast For The Wolves" is yet another especially noteworthy track that begs for repeated listens. It's wrist-shattering verse riffs just ooze with classic thrash metal sound in the vein of early Exodus and Megadeth, and it's melodic open chorus calls to mind "Souls Of Black" era Testament. The dual guitar attack on this entire recording is solid and completely air tight. Both players harness the classic thrash metal tone, with the crunchy attack made famous by the forefathers of this genre, and the blazing leads sear through the speakers and just melt the listeners face off. Rob's thick wall of bass is very audible in the mix and packs a powerful punch without being muddy. And let's be honest here Rob actually makes use of his instrument and isnt just a "follow along" player like some of the big dogs in the thrash game, as evidenced in the brooding "Self Medicating" and the surprising melodic ballad track here "Dark Days". You read that right, there's a ballad here and Rob Dukes actually sings, and sings quite well. Mix Pantera's cover of "Planet Caravan" with the Down classic "Jail" and you have something close to this awesome track Generation Kill serve up. I think mr. Anselmo himself would be proud and I could actually hear Rob and Phil trading vocals on this one. Since this recording the band have recruited Jim Demaria to pound the skins, but on this recording Mortician/Funerus drummer Sam Inzerra takes the throne and his attack is relentless. His tight groove couldnt be any more "in the pocket" on tracks like "Depraved Indifference" and "Slow Burn", and when he lets the speed loose, his playing is second to none on tracks like "Walking Dead" and "Hate". Top this stellar musicianship off with Rob Dukes angry, venom spewing vocal assault and Moschetti's irate backing vocals and you have a perfect recipe for a dangerous album. Above all else, what stands out here is the pure raw songwriting talent. Fast raging riffing often flows seemlessly into catchy, punk fueled pieces and then transition into groovy barrages of hardcore slam. There's an undeniable chemistry on Generation Kill's "Red, White and Blood", that I feel alot of the new wave of thrash bands are lacking. This isnt a novelty act with patch covered demin vests, flipped-brim baseball caps and nike high-tops. This is a band that writes great music and as long as they keep this monsterous machine well-oiled, they will have alot of staying power and keep hitting it out of the park like they do on this debut. If this band didnt keep the listener on it's toes enough through this excellent recording, we are lastly treated to their twist on the Nine Inch Nails classic "Wish". The industrial vibe and slight effects are kept alive in the songs verses, and the chorus bust wide open with throbbing metal fever. It's not often a band can do better than the original, but with this tune not only do Generation Kill do the original justice, they make the original sound weak by comparison! If your a fan of Rob's work with Exodus, if your bored with all these new kids playing the same recycled Meshuggah riffs, if you crave something new and fresh, yet simultaneously true to the old school sound...if you love heavy metal, you need to make "Red, White and Blood" from Generation Kill a part of your CD collection. You can find this disk at FYE, Bestbuy, Amazon and you can download it from itunes as well. You can keep up with them at http://www.facebook.com/GENERATIONKILL1 they have a ton of upcoming shows including August 26th at Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ with Kill Devil Hill(featuring Rex Brown of Pantera/Down and Vinny Appice of Black Sabbath). You can hear cuts from this CD Thursday nights from 7pm to 10pm EST at http://www.brutalexistenceradio.com/

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Akem Manah - "Night Of The Black Moon"

Akem Manah are a 3-piece Death/Doom band from Eugene,OR. Here we are presented with their 8 song offering "Night Of The Black Moon" released via Freak Metal Records. Akem Manah mix super slow, funeral dirge type riffing with haunting keyboard passages and super low death metal growls to create an almost ritualistic vibe for every track on "Night Of The Black Moon". "Black Moon" opens this disk with tons of droning sludginess. Epic riffs slowly grind away and seemlessly flow into each other, while evil death growls create an inexplicably creepy aura. From looming verse to stomping chorus, this song sets the pace and mood for the entire album and let's the listener know that we are in for a slow, methodical ride to hell. "The Dead Man's Heart" crawls along at an almost Candlemass type pace with it's hypnotic and catchy verse. The lyrics here draw inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe's classic "Tell Tale Heart", and honestly after hearing this song I'll never be able to read that story again without hearing these riffs in my head. A perfect fit to a perfect horror story for sure. Served up next is Akem Manah's version of the Electric Wizard classic "Return To...Funeralopolis" from the Dopethrone album. This version is a bit slower and alot darker. Dead Nedry's growls from hell make this song even heavier than the original if that's at all possible. Doom purists will especially enjoy this tribute to one of the genre's defining bands. "Witches Ride" rages along with an almost Crowbar/Eyehategod feel to it. This 3:52 tune is not only the shortest song on the release but also boasts alot of noticable "NOLA" influence and is the perfect precursor to the 10:27 doom-fueled audio journey that is "The Dark Hours". Once again Nedry's deadly vocals provide the centerpiece for this epic full of Tony Iommi worshipping verse and chorus riffs. The haunting keyboard sends constant, chilling passages throughout and the militant stomp of the drums never lets up. Akem Manah are far from a happy, upbeat stoner band. This is cold, raw, haunting doom metal at it's most rotten and ugliest, and quite honestly is a breath of fresh air for the genre in general. "This Tortured Soul" slowly limps along for over 9 minutes and is chock full of slick guitar wizardry reminiscent of classic Black Sabbath and Paradise Lost. The lyrical theme here dealing with eternal torment in hell by the hands of Satan himself. Bringing the album to a close "End Of Days" is a gloomy, organ and guitar driven interlude that melts into the album's last and most epic track "Into The Darkness". For this reviewer, this track in particular defines the album's overall theme and the sound and style of the band itself as well. The muddy riffs here ooze with a blackened hellishness that is really incomparable to any other band. It's hard to keep a listener compelled for 20 straight minutes, but there's nothing boring here. Akem Manah serve up what could be a theme song to any classic occult horror flick from the Hammer era. Invoking dark, shadowy imagery, you can almost hear a cemetery gate creek open on a cold winter night, and feel the shovel-fulls of dirt drop down on you while this track slowly, but steadily moves along like a giant rusty wheel in motion. Fans of doom, death and horror related metal will find themselves enamoured with Akem Manah and their "Night Of The Black Moon" release. Picture Acid Witch but with slower, longer tunes and more of a classic doom metal influence and you'd have somewhat of an idea of what Akem Manah serve up...actually I'd love to see Acid Witch and Akem Manah tour together!(a guy can dream right?!). But dont take my word for it, go find Akem Manah on facebook and hit that "Like" button and listen for yourselves. You can find "Night Of The Black Moon" on CD Baby as well as Amazon along with a couple of the bands past releases, so go grab some CD's and make this awesome band part of your Metal collection!!! You can also hear cuts from this disk Monday nights from 7pm to 10pm on http://www.brutalexistenceradio.com/. Akem Manah recently finished studio work on a brand new EP slated for an October release and which will feature drum work from former White Zombie drummer Ivan DePrume so keep your eyes peeled!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Undivided - "No One's Safe"

I've been salivating to get at this one for a while now. "No One's Safe" is the much anticipated follow up to Undivided's 2009 release "Until Death". This stellar 14 track release overflows with furious, thrashing crossover hardcore. I'm a huge fan of title tracks, I believe they set the tone for the entire album, and as a musician myself I believe if your going to title your album after one of your songs, it better be a rager. Well there's no disappointment here at all. "No One's Safe" kicks this disk off, and runs the gauntlet from speedy thrash to rugged hardcore riffing, and the ripping guitar solo is the icing on the proverbial cake. This tune literally lays the foundation for the other 13 tracks to follow and let's the listener know we are in for one hell of a ride. Songs like "The Line's Been Crossed", "Words Of Wisdom","Keep It To Yourself" and "The Rebirth Of The Righteous"(both of which boast more face-melting guitar leads provided by Nick Koykas) arent just catchy, but literally infectious. Undivided have a penchant for stringing together unforgettable riffs and turning them into really solid songs, that if your a fan of all things thrash and harcore you just cant get enough of. The rythmn guitars seethe with classic thrash metal tone, and recall the choppy, stacatto and almost "Helicopter"-like sound, most notably heard on the classic Metallica debut "Kill 'Em All" and Exodus' cornerstone "Bonded By Blood". Frontman Dante's angry vocal snarl and bassist Max's frantic screams compliment each other perfectly. Picture if you will, Carnivore-era Pete Steele, and Subzero frontman Lou Dibella sharing the microphone in a call/answer style similar to classic Biohazard, (but with alot more thrash influence and a little less hip-hop going on), and you'll have a good idea of the chemistry between these two. While I love this whole disk, I do have my favorite tracks that stand out to me. "Some Cunt In A S.U.V." with it's thuggish, stomping verse and frenzied, hyper-punk chorus, is short and to the point and tells the ultimate road rage tale lyrically. "If You Only Knew" is one of the albums longer tunes, and plods along at a heavy mid-pace. The lyrics here play out somewhat of a "Death Metal"-esque stalker story. Man wants woman, woman hates man, man breaks into womans bedroom, kidnaps her, has his way, leaves her in a ditch, then wakes up to realize it was a dream. Almost something you'd expect to read from a Cannibal Corpse lyric booklet, but that just shows how Undivided keep it fresh and think outside the box to keep the listener from growing bored. "4 For 25", picks the pace back up a bit, a little less thrash and alot more traditional NYHC is on display here musically. Rugged, pavement pounding verses and chorus ooze from the speakers, while lyrically the song tells a story of the ills of heroin abuse. Undivided also manage to show off their traditional punk roots in this disk as evidenced in the songs "Why You Runnin?" with it hyper verses and choruses and also in the 1:04, catchy power chord fest that is "Never Forget". "Alone For A Reason" ends this album on more of a classic NYHC note. Elements of Madball and early Biohazard and Pro-Pain combine to round this song out and leave the listener ready to hit the repeat button on the stereo and take this ride all over again. If I could try and sum up the Undivided sound in one sentence, I think I'd call them NY's answer to D.R.I. Think the classic "Thrash Zone" album with the rough and rugged NY attitude and style and you'd have a pretty good idea of what these crossover masters from Rockland,NY serve up. You can find Undivided on facebook at www.facebook.com/undividedny contact the band, hit the "Like" button and inquire how to grab copies of this awesome CD! The band will be heading out on a European trek with Hemlock, and veteran road-dogs Pro Pain, so keep your eyes open and go see Undivided live, I can personally attest that their live show lives up to their recorded performance! You can hear cuts from this disk every Thursday night from 7pm to 10pm EST at www.brutalexistenceradio.com.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bonded Through Hate - "Doomsday : The Rise Of Valhalla"

  • Bonded Through Hate are a completely brutal death metal fueled 4 piece from Southington,CT. Their 5 song EP "Doomsday : The Rise Of Valhalla" was produced at Ear One Studios, whose past production endeavors include the likes of 100 Demons and 25 Ta Life amongst others. Fans of old school CT death metallers Tyrant Trooper, will be pleased to see guitarist Ron Kuzcuk and drummer Justin Lanteri back doing what they do best, and with the addition of vocalist Allyn Lopes and bassist Aaron Spring, this deadly combo brings forth slamming death metal with a classic hardcore groove, as evident in all 5 tracks on "Doomsday...". After a 20 second growling/screaming vocal intro reminiscent of the beginning of Slayer's classic "Hell Awaits", the brutality kicks in immediately with opening track "Killing Is My Name". This band is all about the riff. From it's furious, almost black metal paced verse, to it's groud shaking, crunchy chorus, the listener is then relentlessly pounded with a thumping breakdown that recalls early Machine Head(before the whole Nu-metal thing) and Crowbar at their absolute heaviest. "Doomsday : The Rise Of Valhalla", the EP namesake track is served up next with a slew of old school riffs that invoke the spirits of Barnes-era Cannibal Corpse and melt with the thick meaty riffs of Dismember in the chorus and bridge pieces. Plus, how can you NOT love a death metal song based around viking lore?! Guitarist Ron really taps into the classic "Buzzsaw" guitar tone, made famous by classic swedish bands like Entombed, Hypocrisy and the aforementioned Dismember. The bass really stands out in this recording and helps truly give these songs that extra sledgehammer-like pound, and puts the ultimate exclamation on the remarkable drumming showcased here. And lets not forget the frontman, who's range goes from a deep Glenn Benton-like growl, to a burning black metal blaze. When the vocal highs and lows are mixed here on this disk, and the band are blasting away in the back, you'd be hard pressed to find a tighter, more deadly band. "Alone In Flames" chugs along at a frenzied pace with break-neck speed, and only relents to make way to a pounding break at the midway mark for the band to show off their true hardcore roots. Think Suffocation meets Internal Bleeding for this track, tons of brutality with a huge helping of slam. "To Live Or Die" starts off ferociously, then gives way to a break sizzling with unadulterated Nola sludge. Bonded Through Hate make it sound effortless to transition from death metal insanity, to rugged hardcore riffery. "BTK" brings the slab of heaviness to an end, and if your a serial killer afficionado like myself, you are in for a treat here. A sample from the BTK movie where Kane Hodder(who more famously has made his name slaughtering tons of drunken, horn-dog teens as Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th series) plays the part of psycho maniac Dennis Rader aka the BTK(Bind, Torture, Kill) killer. The creepy sample ends and the listener is mauled with pure death metal riff-mania in the traditional style. For 4 minutes and 10 seconds the band pushes and pulls their musical momentum with a barrage of music that runs the gamut from thrash to death to hardcore. To think that this 5 song EP is just the beginning of what we can expect from Bonded Through Hate is quite the notion, all this reviewer can do is wait with anxiousness for the follow up. Keep up with the band at www.facebook.com/bondedthroughhate you can purchase copies of this CD and t-shirts as well directly from the band, and you can also buy this CD direct from http://www.amazon.com/. Give this band a "Like", spread their links around and add "Doomsday : The Rise Of Valhalla" to your collection immediately, I can guarantee you'll spin this disk to death!!! You can hear cuts from this disk every Thursday from 7pm to 10pm EST at http://www.brutalexistenceradio.com/.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Grim Legion - "Unholy Resurrection"

Grim Legion are a 3-piece old school death metal band from New Jersey. When I say old school, I mean it in the truest sense as this band was an originator in the tri-state area, blazing venues in the late 80's and early 90's. Grim Legion took a long hiatus until last year when they reformed, cleaned off the rust and recorded the 5-song EP "Unholy Resurrection" which I am reviewing for you now. "Through Godless Eyes" kicks this disk off with thick, doom-laden riffery then jumps into high gear with a tremolo driven verse and a deep, sludgy vocal growl that only a veteran to this style could effortlessly pull off. A huge, catchy open chorus and some ripping leads thrown into the mix here make this song one hell of a rager. "Necromajesty" is served up next, and this song drips with "Scream Bloody Gore"-era Death influence. Short and to the point, this 2:21 track will have you going back for more with it's frantic pace and speedy riffing. "Alien Predators" really shows off how tight the rythmn section of this band is. The thick wall of bass and drums here are massive and the Autopsy influence in this band especially rears it's rotten head here, with it's chunky, death/doom verses and choruses. "Dark Ritual" shows a little more of the bands melodic side, but dont get it wrong, just because there are some guitar harmonies and melodies doesnt mean this track lacks ferocity at all. This track brings to mind early Dismember in parts and shows the listener that Grim Legion arent just a one trick pony. "Eternal Torment" brings this EP to a close. Here Grim Legion give off more of a Thrash/Punk vibe, until we are hit by the doom fueled bridge and have our faces melted with screaming guitar leads. At just over 15 minutes in length, this 5 song disk wont leave your stereo once you throw it in, Grim Legion definitely leave you anxiously awaiting for another release, and if there's one this this band doesnt do, it's bore the listener with old hat and repitition. In a day and age where kids think death metal bands are supposed to look like emo kids and play nauseating break-downs every other measure, Grim Legion are back in the nick of time to show the youngins how it's really supposed to be done, the traditional way...the RIGHT way! Grim Legion prove with "Unholy Resurrection" that they are back with a vengeance, and this revived 3-piece are hellbent on injecting the local scene with some old school flavor and style. Fans of early Death, Autopsy, Dismember and Mausoleum will be loyal followers to the Grim Legion. You can find the band at www.facebook.com/grimlegion and email them at grimlegion666@hotmail.com the guys are working on a brand new full length album which should be available very soon, so keep your decaying ear to the ground for that! Until then you can hear cuts from this EP every Thursday evening from 7pm to 10pm EST at http://www.brutalexistenceradio.com/

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rooms Of Ruin - "...All Is Ended"

Rooms Of Ruin are a 4 piece, southern fried sludge metal monster from Middletown,NY. The entire 3 piece of the previously reviewed industrial metal band Cabal 34 make up the base foundation of this band. Bassist/vocalist Ken Faggio, Drummer Annie Terror and guitarist Dave Mayer are joined by lead guitarist Steve Levin to form Rooms Of Ruin and churn out 11 doom-laden dirges with their full length debut "...All Is Ended". A touch of the Cabal 34 sound is found here, mainly in the vocals of course, and Cabal 34 are known to dip some of their riffs in Mississippi swamp water, but Rooms Of Ruin is a different beast all together and is absolutely soaked in Nola sludge under a thick layer of smoky stoner riffery. "Whore Of The Winds" kicks this full length off, thick as a cinder block and rife with Down-meets-Cathedral riffs that stomp through the speakers relentlessly. "Mindspear" trudges along like a rusty wheel with it's gloomy passages and face melting guitar solo's. There's an almost "Dirt" era Alice In Chains vibe here, just with lower tuning and a more sinister vocal approach. "Path Of The Beam" kicks the pace back up a bit but keeps that down and dirty N'awlins feeling going. The riffs in this song are pure Sabbath worship and sound as if they could have been harvested from the same field that Down grew their riffs for their debut album. "A Touch Of The Strange" with it's ominous guitar licks would make Tony Iommi proud, THIS is what I think of when I say the words "Doom Metal", unforgettable riffs transition into each other very smoothly here, this song definitely has the classic vibe, nothing sounds over-thought or forced in this song or on the entire album in general. "Gods Drink Blood" is my personal fave on this disk, although I truly love the whole disk front to back, but if I were to personally showcase one song to get people into this band and album it'd be this kick ass tune. It's got the extra slow, tarry riffs you crave with every classic doom band, but there's also the more uptempo stoner pieces(more akin to the likes of Kyuss and Dio-era Black Sabbath) to help push and pull the overall mood of this dark anthem. "Language Of The Unformed", boasts an almost thrash like verse and chorus. I hear a bit more of the Cabal 34 sound here, but c'mon thats to be expected, especially in a tune such as this with is quicker, fist pumping pace. The bridges bring the pace back down with and almost death/doom feel via Mausoleum or Autopsy. "Rooms Of Ruin" brings this album to a close. An almost 7 minute epic that creeps along at a chunky, morbid pace. Tasty, straight up brutal verse and chorus passages dig their way into your brain and dont leave once you've been exposed to them. All in all what we have here is a dark, raw offering of brutally heavy, sludgy doom metal, not many doom-mongers in the local or national scene are offering up the low and slow metal onslaught like Rooms Of Ruin. Given the right push and support I dont see why Rooms Of Ruin couldnt be touring with bands like High On Fire or Sourvein and playing festivals like Stoner Hands Of Doom. Find this band on facebook at : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rooms-Of-Ruin/213219968748214 to keep up with their show schedule and inquire how to buy a copy of their awesome debut "...All Is Ended". You can hear cuts from this disk every monday night on The Shroud at www.brutalexistenceradio.com

Cabal 34 - "Cryptocracy"

Cabal 34 are a 3 piece industrial metal band from Middletown,NY. Here they serve up their raw and gritty album from 2011 "Cryptocracy". This 13 song offering is full of chunky riffs, sludgy bass and pulsating, hypnotic rythmns that call to mind classic Ministry. Album opener "Dead As Dreams" boasts a punky/thrash vibe with an infectious chorus and riffs that would give goose bumps to Prong's Tommy Victor. "Parabellum" has a very anthemic feel with it's fist pumping verse and chorus and it's chaotic, neck snapping bridge. The great thing about this band is they dont flood their songs with needless loops and fills, while there are a decent share of movie quotes and clips and such, it actually adds to the musical atmosphere and doesnt feel forced in order to cover up any lack of musicianship. Cabal 34 are industrial metal without the "mechanical" feeling, the band keep it very raw and organic and original. Lyrically this album is themed around politicians and the corrupt government and all the lies we are spoon fed in the media every day much as was the case in their debut 2007's "Age Of Poison Thought". "Slow Acting Poison" lyrically deals with the environment around us and chemical issues we've been dealing with in our food and in the air around us. "Rex-84" with it's droning verse riff and punk fuelled chorus, brings to light how we are being raised as fear mongers and the media uses terror as a weapon against us to keep us sheltered by "big brother". "Children Of God" focuses on the religion fueled war and killings in the middle east. Vocal clips of middle eastern vocals swirl into the mix here and fit perfectly with this songs thumping tribal rythmns and pulsating guitar licks. "Cryptocracy" the album's title track is my personal fave here. I personally love when an album's title track really kicks my ass, it makes me like all the other tunes even more as I feel the title track makes the ultimate statement about the album as a whole. The spacy, mesmerizing verse with it's eerie guitar fills give way to a brutal chorus and a pounding outro containing more thought provoking clips themed around government conspiracy. The absolutely raging "Anno Lucis" closes this album out with it's throbbing stoner metal riffery that calls to mind "Deliverance" era Corrosion Of Conformity. Completely infectious and undeniably catchy, this song plods along for just over 9 minutes, but I can guarantee you'll not only want to hear this track again, but you'll need another listen to the full disk as well. Cabal 34 put forth an A+ effort here not just because of the incredibly catchy and well crafted songwriting contained in the 13 tracks that make up "Cryptocracy", but because of their originality factor. There is no other band bashing out the headbanging goodness in the Hudson Valley of NY in the style that Cabal 34 is doing it. This band definitely has their influences, but they take the ball and run with their own flavor in a very refreshing way. Do yourself a favor and check out this great band on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cabal-34-band/172136586138434 and you can email them at CabalThirtyFour@yahoo.com and keep up with their upcoming shows and buy yourself a copy of "Cryptocracy" and their debut "Age Of Poison Thought". You can hear cuts from this album Thursday nights on Up From The Underground at www.brutalexistenceradio.com the internet's #1 station for heavy metal!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Castrofate - "Systematic Suicide"

Castrofate is an old school stlyed thrash band from NY who recently released their 4th album "Systematic Suicide". Past albums "ihuman" and "Cataclysmic Insanity" are pure gems, but Castrofate are way heavier, louder and tighter on this newest release. This band and album is thrash for the old school Metallica fan, if your looking for militant style riffing and songwriting comparable to the classic "Master Of Puppets" and "...And Justice For All" albums then Castrofate's "Systematic Suicide" is definitely an album begging to become part of your music library. Album openers "Revelation (Truth Be Told)" and the title track are pure ragers chock full of awesome riffery that pulsate with pure adrenaline and invoke images of classic circle pits. "Trapped Inside" is a slower dirge reminiscent of a mix between Black Sabbath with it's doom laden aura and also calls to mind classic Testament tunes like "The Ballad" and "The Legacy" with it's melodic chord progressions. "Tempted By Flesh" kicks back in with that killer thrash vibe, tons of upbeat riffs and a catchy chorus to snap your neck to! Vocalist/frontman Dan has an uncanny knack to come up with unforgettable riffs and face melting lead guitar runs, while vocally re-kindling the fire stoked by James Hetfield in his prime glory. "Hypocrite" and "Thunderclap" seethe with intensity and the riffs flow smoothly into each other. Castrofate prove on this album that they can write well crafted, catchy songs almost effortlessly and most importanly they hone a certain vibe on this disk, these songs sound like they are very fun to play from a musicians stand point, I can almost picture the band smiling while laying these tracks down because they know they have some bad-ass gems here! The intense thrash fueled insanity of "Deus Ex Machina" is unparralelled, I cant even begin to imagine how many guitar picks the guys must have melted through while playing this tune. At 3:40 an unbelievable viking styled piece kicks in that will have you raising your fists in the air and ready to go berserk on the next hipster you see with barbaric fury! "Behind Our Eyes" is the albums ballad of sorts, starting off with melancholic acoustic guitar, then kicking into slow but heavy verses and choruses and a very emotional lead guitar section. That "Master/Justice" Metallica era influence comes back in the tune "Cleansing The Earth" with it's super tight and angry verses and a chorus riff that sounds like it would tie a knot in your fretting fingers and beak the wrist on your picking hand. "Mortal Coil" has an early 80's NWOBHM vibe, think Judas Priest meets a thrash fueled Iron Maiden, this is a track for the leather clad, beer swilling Metal purist if I do say so myself. The bridge is very anthemic, I picture fists and devil horns pumping in the air while the riffs burn through the speakers and the guitar solo here would raise the eyebrows of K.K. Downing and Adrian Smith for sure! The 7:31 "Fear Of The End" plods along with a mid paced shuffle and overflows with guitar harmonies and an unforgettable chorus, this song almost reminds me of Metallica's "Wherever I may Roam" because of the way it's constructed and because of the epic old school metal vibe it provides the listener with. There's alot of heart and soul in tis entire album, but within this track especially and this just may be my favorite Castrofate song overall personally. The band close out this stellar disk with "The Enemy Within", a faster, louder track with lots of punch and lots of thrash fueled riffing. The circle pit riff at 3:08 is infectious, I guarantee you'll revisit this track frequently! The bottom line is Castrofate knocked it out of the park with "Systematic Suicide". Not only do I respect this band because of their awesome music, but I also envy their work ethic. Castrofate promote themselves harder than most bands I know, they work extremely hard to reach new fans, they have a HUGE internet presence, they promote their shows relentlessly and they make their CD's and merch very affordable, they obviously care way more about getting themselves heard and making a name for themselves than making a quick buck, if there's one thing you cant call these guys, it's lazy. Do yourself a favor, if your a thrash fan, you love old school Metallica and Testament, and your sick of the same old same that new bands are shoving down your throats, grab a copy of "Systematic Suicide" by Castrofate. You can find the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CASTROFATE and you can also view professionally shot video's for "Revelation (Truth Be Told)" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTQ3CgjyPsY and a pro video for the title track "Systematic Suicide" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKgWC1IH4ww as well. You can hear cuts from Castrofate every Thursday night on Up From The Underground from 7pm to 10pm EST at www.brutalexistenceradio.com.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Interview with Dave "Gravy" Felton of Mushroomhead/Kriadiaz

Kriadiaz, pronounced (Cree-uh-dee-yaz) is a new band put together by former Mushroomhead guitarist Dave "Gravy" Felton. This is a brutal metal outfit who's influence drips with southern sludge metal in the vein of Pantera, Crowbar and Down. The 13 song offering is rife with catchy riffs that would make Dimebag proud. Earth shaking bass lines, pounding drums and vocals that call to mind Phillip Anselmo in his prime. Stand out tracks include : "Blood Line" with it's bluesy acoustic intro that kicks straight into a blistering verse, chorus, bridge that reminds the listener of something from the Vulgar Display Of Power album. "Feed The Rats", "Long Time Gone" and "Soul Chaser" plod along with chunky riffs and face melting guitar solo's. If "Ten Lives Lived" doesnt invoke images of insane mosh pits with it's stomping riffs then you need to check your pulse. "Torch The Earth" rages along at a mid-pace with fist clenching rythms and a bluesy solo piece that calls to mind a heavy metal Lynyrd Skynyrd. "Stoner Funeral" is a doom-fueled instrumental that will chill the spine and get the heads of every metal purist nodding in tempo. If your sick of breakdown riddled music, and all the Meshuggah wannabe's crowding the scene right now, then Kriadiaz will be a breath of much needed fresh air you will surely enjoy. I had the pleasure of chatting with former Mushroomhead/current Kriadiaz guitarist Dave "Gravy" Felton to get the scoop on this awesome new band and some insight on his former band as well. Enjoy this interview!!!



Jaymz : The production on the Kriadiz album is awesome. Where did you record?
Dave : We recorded it locally with our boy in Cleveland in his basement. He mic'd everything up and we just went for it.

Jaymz : How long did the recording process take for this Kriadiaz album?
Dave : It's taken a while because we've been recording on and off while I was touring with Mushroomhead. It's been spaced out about a year and a half. With my Mushroomhead schedule and all the other guys in Kriadiaz work schedules, it was hard to get a consistent ammount of time. Plus being able to get time with the producer as he has stuff going on too. But not being on a label there was no pressure to force an album out which was cool so we could take our time and get it done right. Everything's come out really well and I just picked up the final master copy today and have been driving around for a couple hours listening to it. It will be on itunes evenutally. Also you can order it from my personal Facebook page, or from the Kriadiaz page. There's also some live audio and video up on there too. Everybody in the band is super cool, I've known these guys for years. We have a blast on the road, doing shows. Any big success or not, it doesn't matter. At this stage in the game I just want to have a good time and jam.


Jaymz : I have to ask the burning question. Why did you split from Mushroomhead?
Dave : Well honestly I haven't even gotten a straight answer. I was kicked out in an email. And I haven't even spoken to my brother(Mushroomhead drummer Skinny) yet.
So I haven't spoken to him, and this was like the third week in January that I was told I had to leave. Jeff, and I were in a band called Hatrix, and then we started Mushroomhead off that. We were kind of based off of Mr. Bungle, which was an early Mike Patton band. They wore jumpsuits and halloween masks. There was Mr. Bungle, then Mushroomhead then Slipknot, and then that whole controversy with Slipknot which started before I was a member of Mushroomhead. As far as that whole Slipknot thing, I don't give a shit about that, and I have no beef with those dudes at all.
The Mushroomhead thing, most of the material, I ended up writing. But that wasn't the intent when I first joined the band. I ended up doing the majority of the writing. I mean the music, I suck at lyrics.
I joined right when the band signed with Universal. We were touring for the XX album. So when we started working on the XIII album
I would have 4 or 5 tune ideas and we came off the road and the band was scheduled to go into the studio 2 weeks later. At that time certain dudes weren't contributing. For years that's how it's been. We were on a major label, on a world stage. I didn't want to go out there and sound half assed. I didn't claim ownership of the band but I considered myself a legitimate member for what I contributed. For me it wasn't
a job. It was something I cared about and it was part mine. I don't care who started it and who was in the band longer than me. I didn't consider it a job, so I didn't see that I could be "Fired" from it.
Also I don't drink or smoke or any of that shit so that might be part of the problem. They can do whatever they want on their own time, but when it holds up progress I have a problem with it.


Jaymz : How did Kriadiaz form and how did you guys meet/get together?
Dave : I've know these guys for a long time. I started it as an outlet to get out what I couldnt get out before. In Mushroomhead I was sort of on a leash. I wasn't playing to my full potential.
Also have you heard of the band 216? It was a band featuring myself with J-Mann and Skinny of Mushroomhead. In Mushroomhead the guys got wrapped up in side projects. But why would you take (what 216 was) and throw it on the back burner? I wanted to keep going, and I wanted to keep making music. So for people to get stuck up because they have a certain level of success is stupid to me. I got tired of waiting to make another 216 record. To me it felt like someone had something personal against me. So I had to start this new project. I've never wanted anything but to take things as far as they can go and succeed. Part of the reason I got booted from Mushroomhead was that my opinions were just too much for some people to handle.


Jaymz : Listening to this Kriadiaz album, I clearly hear influences from Pantera, Crowbar and Down. Lots of groovy southern sludge metal going on. Was that your main influence on this album?
Dave : Well I'm definitely into those bands for sure. But I also come from that era that those guys come from. The late 70s, early 80s was a great era in music. Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin. If it sounds like Pantera, Crowbar, ect. that's great! Those are some of my favorite bands. I don't hve to try to write like that. It just naturally comes out that way Ive had people tell me that Mushroomhead is a cross between Faith no more and Pantera, so that influence has always been there. Ive always been influenced by guitar players that have that "fire" in their playing. Technicality is great, but there's something about the style that certain people have that just does it for me. Even if youre not into blues, Stevie Ray Vaughn is one of my favorite artists. His put his heart and soul into every performance. Dimebag was like that too. Those elements made me what I am.


Jaymz : Your guitar sound on this Kriadiaz album is really thick and brutal. What gear did you use on the recording?
Dave : I've had an Ibanez deal for a long time now, but I havent talked to them since ive been out of Mushroomhead. I have a bunch of Ibanez RG 7 strings. Those are basically the guitars I've been using The stock models, but slightly customized with pickups that I like. The amps are Randall Titans. I had a deal with Randall a few yrs back and I'm still using them and touring with them for the past 7, 8 years. I haven't had any problems with those things. I was using marshall 800s but I got tired of changing the tubes every year. I have these Randalls and i didn't like them that much at first, but I monkeyed around with them, and I've
been using them ever since. I also use a Yngwie Malmsteen overdrive pedal with a noise supressor attached to it. The only other thing I throw into the mix is a wah pedal for some solos. My setup is really as simple as you can get. Organic is the perfect word to describe it.


Jaymz : Are there any immediate touring plans for Kriadiaz?
Dave : The Summer is basically booked up. There's no label deal or distribution thing yet. I'm just in the local phase with everything working back from the ground up. I just want to try to get a distribution deal at the moment. I have a couple agents I've talked to about touring, and they're ready to book something whenever I want. The problem is that the other guys have "real" jobs, so it's not like theyre going to quit their jobs so we can tour. I'd like to see if we could get a small deal, maybe get on a festival. Just something worthwhile for everyone to do. You need that big push to get the exposure. I believe that if you have something genuine and honest, people are gonna latch on to it. Ive heard tons of good feedback locally and such, but that only goes so far. I'm grateful for that, but getting to that next level and getting fans to rally behind you isn't the easiest thing. We've been playing out for the past couple of years, but kind of under the radar. I'm not using the Mushroomhead thing to try and get fans that way. The last thing I want to do is confuse fans with yet another Mushroomhead related project. But fans are loyal and they want to support. I cant get over the fact that 216 sold 10,000 albums in Cleveland alone and was playing huge, packed shows to 500-600 people a night. I don't know why people would want to put that on the back burner. It's like having a winning lottery ticket in front of you and not cashing it in, being like "I'll wait till tomorrow".


Jaymz : How do you feel about the current state of the Metal scene in general?
Dave : That's a good question because I don't really know. It's weird. It seems like these metal trends come and go fast. A few bands do really good, then another band comes out that sounds like them. Metal is a strange animal. It's like super popular for the most part, but its hard to get people to rally around certain bands, until they get to a certain level. It's constantly transitioning. I know as far as the Cleveland scene, for me, I'm starting from scratch. I have friends helping me book shows, but I'm basically nobody at the moment. There's a shit ton of underground bands that nobody knows about in the Cleveland scene. It would be cool if people would branch out a little bit, and not only like and listen to what they're comfortable with.


Jaymz : Are there any new bands out that your digging and listening to?
Dave : I like that band Volbeat. They're pretty heavy and remind me alot of Life Of Agony which I also loved, especially River Runs Red. I listen to Volbeat on XM radio and it's refreshing to hear those guys. They're heavy and it's really cool. That band Kyng stands out too. I hear them on XM as well. Those guys are pretty cool. I heard some amazing death metal band that I cant remember their name at the moment on XM the other day. The drummers in those bands always blow me away. Death metal drummers play with such finesse and grace. You see these rock drummers like Tommy Lee, they're just bashing it out, but death metal drummers like Gene Hoglan look so relaxed playing a million miles an hour, it's crazy.


Jaymz : Do you have any advice for young, upstarting musicians looking to start a band and get involved in the Metal scene?
Dave : Yea, don't do it! LOL! Go to school! Get a real job! Because 25 yrs down the road you'll be like "I followed my dream, and I'm still the broke dude I was 25 yrs ago!" No, seriously, keep playing and keep moving forward. I love what I do, I'm not on a national level anymore, but I still dig it. If you're in it to be in a competition or to try to sell an image you're in it for the wrong reason. If you're having fun doing it, then do it.


Jaymz : Who are some of the bands you've had the most fun touring with?
Dave : There's been several awesome bands I've had fun on the road with. Weve toured with Lamd Of God, Shadows Fall, Avenged Sevenfold. We've had fun with all of those guys. The Lamb Of God guys, we bonded with them a lot. They're just fun, cool dudes. No gimmick at all. They just get up there and do their thing. I would love to be in their shoes, just getting to be myself, bring the metal, and throw down. I'm all about the honesty. When it came to Mushroomhead, I loved it for what it was, but sometimes it was just beating a dead horse in a way. I just wanted to take it a little farther. But I loved it for what it was. I felt gifted to be in that postion, to just tour and make records for a living. It's sort of like hitting the lottery in a way. We toured with Dope several times. Theres a lot of ridiculous things going on with those cats. Lots of debauchery. (haha) I don't know if you've seen those Mushroomhead Vol. 1 and 2 dvd's. A lot of it was my footage. I did a lot of editing on those dvd's. There's a ton of really funny and cool stuff that didn't make it. I have all the tapes. Every now and then I hook it up and show it to some people. The Dope guys were just crazy. Lotta fun with those dudes.


Jaymz : If there was one band in music history, currently going or defunct, who would you want to jam with most?
Dave : There's several. I'd like to jam with the remaining Pantera dudes. I would love that, to jam with Vinnie Paul and co. would be amazing. Also double trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan's band. Dude there's a million, Yngwie Malmsteen, he'd make me look like a chump, he'd put me to shame, but I'd love to jam with him. I don't have an ego, It's just music. It's supposed to be fun. I'd like to jam with the Queen guys, i know this is all far fetched but I'd love to jam with them. I dig the White Stripes, some of the stuff Jack White does. He's a badass. He's got that bluesy style. He's got a similar style to me. That would be really fun. I always get envious when I'm watching the Palladia channel, all concerts nonstop. One of the coolest things I've seen, was The Foo Fighters are in an arena and they're covering Zeppelin with John Paul Jones. Dave Grohl is a basher. I like him playing drums more than playing guitar and singing. He's a rocker. It's all good. I'd jam with that dude! I'd love to just collaborate with anybody. I'd like to have enough credibility to be able to do it.

Dave : As far as the Mushroomhead thing goes, My sound never seemed to come across the right way, and I didn't really write 100 percent. I wasn't myself in the
writing all the time.I had about 80-90 percent to do with writing everything on those records. If it doesn't sound like me, I'm just
throwing in a differnt style on there. I have played keyboards and bass on almost every Mushroomhead record. We would sit down, I would just make up keyboard things on the spot. I know some music theory, so I can figure things out on piano. Half the stuff on Savior Sorrow album was scratch tracks. If you listen to Save Us you can hear the guitar part is the same notes as the keyboard part on Embrace The Ending, and the lyrics on Embrace are left over lyrics from Save Us. On the last record i was asked to play a bunch of keyboards, and i was like no, I'm not doing someone else's job for free.
Not to bash anything, but that was one of my points. We have this killer studio, Why are these albums lacking the tightness you can hear on Pantera and Crowbar albums? The master of the new Kriadiaz is just cleaner and more in check. Doing it at a home studio we pushed it to the limit with the sound. We recorded with just a tower, monitor, and a keyboard. AS long as you can pop it in, and it kicks you in the balls, that's all I care about. 216 was heavy too, but we spent a ton of money recording in a big studio, but it just doesn't have the same characteristics. Quality isn't always what's important. The characteristics of the music has to come across. "Cowboys From Hell" and the Crowbar albums prove that. When the songs are good and the production is done right, you can't go wrong.


Jaymz : Whats in the immediate future for Kriadiaz
Dave : We're trying to branch out as much as we can. We're playing in NJ in August.
We're playing Philadelphia the day before that. Champs is the name of the place in NJ.
We're playing with Stygeon. They toured with Mushroomhead, That's how I have a contact with them.

Dave : As far as the Mushroomhead controversy with me leaving is concerned...Are you guys
really gonna kick me out because I hurt your feelings with the truth? We're in our 40's. If you don't have thick skin by now and you don't know your place by now, go see a psychiatrist.
And for everyone wondering about all the personell changes in the lineup. Maybe the problem isn't with the guys who have been kicked out, maybe the problem is with the guys that are still there.


You can hear cuts from the Kriadiaz album every Thursday night from 7pm to 10pm EST at www.brutalexistenceradio.com and you can find Kriadiaz and keep up with them at http://www.facebook.com/kriadiaz





Monday, May 14, 2012

Open Denile - "Visions Of The Next Dimension"

It is my pleasure to review for you "Visions Of The Next Dimension", the brand new full-length release by my BXDM brothers Open Denile. Opening the disk with a 2 minute eerie keyboard melody aptly titled "Descent Into Denile", the mood is set and the listener is given an immediate boot to the throat with the opening riffs of "Vivid Degradation". This 7 and a half minute monster is filled with crushing riffs, an abundance of shredding on the keys and guitar and a great contrast of guttural growls and melodic singing. This track is the ultimate example of what Open Denile truly is as a band, super brutal, very complex and progressive, lots of tempo shifting going from almost black metal speed to big open catchy pieces and tons of melody to spare. Think if Dream Theater were to go in a more extreme direction and collaborate with Children Of Bodom during the "Hatebreeder/Hate Crew Death Roll" years and you'd get something close to what Open Denile serve up musically. "Pathogen Eradication" sears through the speakers next, full speed ahead with intricate riffing and classic black metal tremolo picking, all the while with the keys creating a dark, haunting aura in the background. The lyrics in this tune, tell a tale of armageddon and the imminent path of self destruction mankind is on par for. The crazy break that begins at 3:50 includes face-melting guitar wizardry, and even gets kind of mellow and jazzy with epic guitar vs. keyboard pieces. This is thinking mans death metal, no mindless breakdowns, endless blast beating, no blood soaked tales of murder and gore, and no satanic blasphemy for added shock value. This band is all about 1 thing, musicianship, and thats what these 4 guys serve up through this entire offering. "Perish" is next and probably my favorite track on this amazing disk. How can you NOT love a 9 minute and 27 second epic dirge about a zombie holocaust?! 9 plus minutes may seem like alot of time, and Open Denile to fill that space with a ton of music, but this track flows seemlessly. There's no "Hey look what we can do" showboating, this is well crafted, extremely heavy, and they addition of keys over this track make it beautiful. Yeah I just said a song about zombies is beautiful, and unless Open Denile write "Perish part 2" I dont think I'll ever be able to say that again. The instrumental "An Absolute Memory" kicks in next. Just when you though Open Denile may have pulled every trick from their sleeves, where the heck did THIS track come from?! Acoustic guitars, mellow jazz inspired pieces that sway back and forth effortlessly, and more keyboard vs. guitar insanity. This track is almost a welcome "Intermission" if you will, to the brutal beating that proceeded it and a great setup for the 2 ragers to follow and close this disk out. "Blessed" is next and after a nice acoustic intro, goes straight for the jugular with heaviness. This track is a little more straightforward than the others, great classic metal vibe in the verse riffing and the chorus is extra catchy with an almost In Flames sort of feeling. This track is where Open Denile shows us they dont have to be chaotic and constantly blow our minds with progression to write a great song with a real solid punch to it, although the lead key and guitar solo's will have you running to the store looking for a new face, as yours will be melted off. "Immortalized" brings this disk to a close, with lots of frantic riffing, at a feverish black metal fueled pace. Again the lyrics here really stand out, from the point of view of a man feeling crushed, and betrayed and revolting against religion. Once "Visions Of The Next Dimension" comes to a stop, you'll be hard pressed not to press that replay button and go through this extremely brutal musical journey again. As I said before, this is thinking man's death metal, and Open Denial spew forth nothing but an abundance of talent and insane levels of creativity. There is no other band in the tri-state area and New York especially, doing what Open Denile does at the level they do it. "Visions Of The Next Dimension" pleases the metal enthusiast on many levels, and if you truly love metal this disk deserves a spot in your music library. Open Denile will officially be unleashing this masterpiece on the world on Saturday, June 9th at their record release show at Arena 80-12 51st Ave. Elmhurst,NY 11377. Performing along with Open Denile will be Left In Ruins, Engraved, Fall Of The Albatross, Irony Of Chaos, I Am The Trireme, Hypoxia and Cryptodira. This is an amazing event you dont want to miss, and this is an album you cant afford not to own! Come on out, buy a copy of "Visions Of The Next Dimension" and support some of the hardest working bands in the underground! You can hear cuts from this disk and all your underground favorites every Thursday from 7pm to 10pm EST at www.brutalexistenceradio.com.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mausoleum - "Back From The Funeral"

Next up are Philadeplhia death/doom metallers Mausoleum and their newest release "Back From The Funeral". If there's 2 things I love in my dirty, crusty death metal music it's a heaping helping of slow crunchy doom riffs and lyrical content dealing with zombies. With "Back From The Funeral" Mausoleum find the perfect balance of uptempo, classic death metal formula combined with filthy down tuned riffs that crawl up your spine and leaving your speakers oozing with undead sludge. Prevalent influences shown throughout this disk are Deceased, Autopsy, Black Sabbath and "Scream Bloody Gore"-era Death for sure. The guitars are dripping with that 90's death metal buzzsaw sound made famous by the likes of Sweden's own Entombed and Dismember. Drummer/vocalist Rick Boast has a great vocal style reminiscent of early Chuck Schuldiner, Chris Reifert and John Tardy at times with his vomitous screams. "Dead Walkers" is a standout track here, with it's dragging tempo and schizophrenic lead break. "Radioactive Resurrection" has a classic Obituary groove accented with some classic dooming riffery. "Comsumed By The Deceased" could surely be the soundtrack to a zombie horde limping towards civilation and creating mayhem, feasting on everyone in it's path. The albums title track and "Graveyard Shift" close out this gory bloodfeast with dark riffs, and seething musical passages that create an uneasy vibe. "Back From The Funeral" takes the listener on a journey through the perils of an undead apocalypse, and these 9 tracks are in fact somewhat of an audio horror movie, if you will. This is old school death metal done right, no breakdowns, no gang vocals and no "Core" to be found here at all, just alot of "Gore"! This album is available through the band themselves and through razorback recordings. You can find Mausoleum on Facebook and at http://thezombiecult.us/ where you can buy CD's & t-shirts. Mausoleum will be at The Loft in Poughkeepsie,NY on July 27th for Tainted Entertainment's Mortal Extinction Fest. Come see Mausoleum, Funerus, Left In Ruins and more as we celebrate Rock Fantasy's 26th anniversary!

Horn Of The Rhino - "Grengus"

This is the bands 4th release overall, but their 2nd under the moniker Horn Of The Rhino. When this devastatingly heavy band, reigning from Bilbao,Spain, first stampeded onto the doom metal scene they dropped 2 crushing releases under the name of Rhino. After legal battles over the name ensued, they changed the name of this beastly 3 piece to Horn Of The Rhino, which personally I feel gives a little more insight to just how brutal and piercing their sound is. 2012 bring us the unholy 8 song mammoth knows as "Grengus". A little faster, a little louder and alot angrier than their first 3 releases, Horn Of The Rhino wastes no time in unleashing pure fury with the albums opening tracks "Under The Hoof" and "A Pile Of Severed Heads". These songs call to mind a distinct influence of High On Fire, mixed with the sludgy down-tuned riffing of Crowbar when theyre playing more up-tempo pieces. A little thrashy, maybe even a touch of punk executed Motorhead style, meets dark Sabbath fueled riffs collected from the bottom of the murkiest swamps in New Orleans. It's not all speed and fury here though, HOTR slows things down considerably with the album's title track and "Drowned In Gold". It's here in these slow dirges that vocalist/guitarist Javier Galvez drops his raspy death growls and shows us what his vocal chords are truly about, crooning over epic, tarry riffing in the style of Chris Cornell and Layne Staley! Talk about a huge breath of fresh of air in the doom scene, I cant make it past the halfway point of this album without shaking my head and wondering why this band isnt signed to the likes of Metal Blade or Century Media and touring the world. "Waste For Ghouls" kick us straight in the face for over 3 minutes of pure blasting fury and kicks out enough dirty riffs that would make Matt Pike himself smile and nod in approval. "Awaken Horror Of Tuul" keeps the tempo up and keeps the angry attitude red-lined for 4 straight minutes with it's barrage of guitar riffs, demonic growls and a low end so low it'll make everything and everyone around you within earshot cower in fear. The 11 minute epic "Brought Back", kicks in with a deep piano piece and Javier's soulful Cornell-esque mournful moan, then proceeds to almost hypnotize the listener with riffs so slow and heavy they'll make your back hurt, remember when you pick this disk up to put it in your stereo, lift at the knees! "To Ride The Leviathan" closes out this massive disk on an uptempo note with more High On Fire/Motorhead worship and sonic destruction. Trust me when I say I truly love this band, their previous 3 releases are absolute gems, but I believe "Grengus" to be Horn Of The Rhino's seminal masterwork so far in their early career. If you like Crowbar, High On Fire, Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains and "Badmotorfinger" era Soundgarden, then Horn Of The Rhino is your new favorite band that you havent heard yet. Go find them on Facebook, hit that "Like" button, buy a copy of "Grengus" and tell them you want to see them in the USA!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Iron Witch - "Single Malt"

Iron Witch have no bones about showing off their influences, 1 minute into "A .45 To Pay The Rent" the first track off of their newest EP "Single Malt" and you'll know you have England's answer to eyehategod. All 5 tracks here are rife with backwoods sludginess. Upbeat shuffles give way to crawling, grimy passages and there is alot of push and pull contrast that keeps these tracks very fresh. Tunes like "Booze Blues", "Jailhouse" and the EP's title track "Single Malt" will have you craving more and hitting that replay button due to the tracks being more to the point and a little less drawn out than you'd expect from a band who writes in this style especially. The vocalists resemblance to Mike Williams in style and voice is quite uncanny, as is the bands sound in general when compared to eyehategod, but make no mistake, Iron Witch are not EHG copycats at all, while there are striking similarities, this band also does it's own thing and does it quite well. Iron Witch loves to play with tempo changes and flawlessly swings from one midtempo face melting riff, to a foot stomping blues swagger and drags us down into the swampy abyss and back again. The over 7 minute "The Cruelty Of Mankind" closes this EP out with more of the same brutal, swampy sludge previously served up. The riffs ooze out of the speakers and corrode everything in it's angry path. Overall I'd say Iron Witch's "Single Malt" is today's blue collared, working man's soundtrack to the blues. Crack open a bottle of cheap whiskey, put this disk in the player, crank it to the max and see if you dont agree with me! You can find Iron Witch on Facebook, give them a "Like" and buy yourself a copy of this awesome disk, they've got awesome shirt designs too so support the band and grab one or two!

Wizard's Beard - "Four Tired Undertakers"

Citing influences such as Iron Monkey, eyehategod, and Crowbar, Wizard's Beard relentlessly churn out 6 dirty and sludgy tunes on their newest offering titled "Four Tired Undertakers". Kicking off this mammoth disk is "Subirse El Muerto" and from the get-go you know what your in for. Thick, crusty riffs, that brutally trudge along and are accompanied by seething, hate filled vocals that toe the line between black and death metal. If epic dirges are what you crave then Wizard's Beard are serving it up your way. "Adandon The Wolf" is up next and clocking in at 6:16 is the albums shortest track. This one is just ever so slightly more upbeat, and full of eerie, dissonant guitar chords and really cool timing changes. Wizard's Beard have a way of creating a strange aura with their music, at times this band gets so slow that you seem to drift away, the pounding, heavy riffs invoke images of trying to walk through quicksand with led boots on, a hopeless and sinking feeling that you dont want to stop feeling, if that makes any sense? The tracks "Daemon" and "Harbinger" of perfect examples of what I'm talking about, 2 tracks of unbridled sludge worship clocking in at over 20 minutes between the two epic offerings. I must also point out the great production quality here as well, the thick wall of bass and guitars will have walls rattling at even the lowest volumes on your home stereo, and let's not forget this band only has 1 guitarist and they are bringing a heaviness to the table that completely crushes most other bands with 2 axemen in their ranks! "Seeth Inside" just might be my favorite of the 6 tracks here. Mixing equal parts Sourvein, with eyehategod and the fluid key changing of classic Acid Bath, this track does nothing but slay for almost 7 straight minutes leaving you helpless against it's barrage of dragging riffery. This is doom for the guy who likes it not only a little slower than usual, but with a bigger dose of anger and a front man who's vocal chords sound like they are made of molten lava. This isnt the disk you want to hear when your happy because it's friday, you just got paid and you got a hot date tonight. This is the first disk you will reach for when you've had enough and want to tune the outside world out. Find Wizard's Beard on Facebook, hit that "Like" button and grab yourself a copy of "Four Tired Undertakers", buy a shirt too and while you at it grab their 1st EP "Pure Filth" as well, and tell them to come play in the USA, I can only imagine how devastating this band is in a live situation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Metallica - "Beyond Magnetic"





I'm reviewing this EP, because quite frankly, I really dig it and I fucking want to. I know Metallica dont NEED me to tell people that I like their disk, it's gonna sell millions no matter what. But this band are heroes of mine, yes even now, I'll let you take a minute to soak that in. I firmly stand behind Metallica and have since I was a kid and first discovered them via MTV with the "One" video. Sure, they've dropped a couple bombs. the "LULU" album just may be the worst thing I've ever heard. Reload has some good tunes but for me felt very thrown together or phoned-in if you will. St. Anger, when you listen to the riffs, I mean really listen, you can see the album had potential and really isnt the heaping pile of shit everyone slags it as. That album was the result of pulling everyone out of their respective roles and forcing them to do things they cant do, Kirk and Lars belong playing leads and drums, not writing lyrics. That leads me to Death Magnetic. Not only was that album a sort of return to form, but as I see it, was the ultime middle finger and a "Shut the fuck up" to all the "Old School" fans who called them sell outs and wanted thrashier songs back in the mix, because after all "Metallica died with Cliff Burton". I swear to the metal gods if I hear someone say that shit one more time, I'm gonna break their stupid jaw with a hammer. Cue 2012 and we are presented with "Beyond Magnetic" 4 tunes that didnt make it, or were for lack of a better term, "left over" from the Death Magnetic recording sessions. But make no mistake, this EP isnt to Death Magnetic what Reload was to Load. These are 4 kick ass tunes that were just too long and didnt fit the ebb and flow of the tracks that make Death Magnetic the album that it is. The 7 minute "Hate Train" kicks off this EP, and right away you know the Metallica guys aren't pulling a fast one here. Straight up metal riffery with the tight militant vibe executed on the classic "...And Justice" album, with the Death Magnetic sound and aura. The chorus drops down and get very melodic and somber in the vein of The Unforgiven. This song alone proves why James Hetfield NEEDS to be the lyricist of this band, his choice of words and vocal phrasing here and on the other 3 tracks of this EP are completely on the money. Drink your haterade all you want, call them polished, call them over-rated, what you CANT call Metallica is sloppy and soft. Great production here from Rick Rubin really catches the band's tight grooving, stacatto riffs and greasy, fierce uptempo passages. The percussive riffing in "Just a Bullet Away" with it's descending bits and constant changes really helps Lars' drumming shine here more than he's shown he's capable of in quite a while. "Hell And Back" is a bit slower and darker, the listener gets a big time "Black Album" vibe here with it's epic verse and chorus reminiscent in feeling to Wherever I May Roam, with a bit more modern feel and a punchier guitar attack. This tune is my personal fave of the 4, I find it sticks to the ribs a bit more than the other 3 and I tend to replay this one while spinning this disk. Metallica are far from re-inventing the wheel here, but what they are doing is stringing together some really, really cool rifs and writing catchy songs. Most importantly, to me it sounds like Metallica are having fun playing these songs, while the shortest track on Beyond Magnetic is 6:57, you never get bored, it sounds fresh and it sounds like the guys are having a ball playing these songs. "Rebel Of Babylon" closes this EP out and here the guys really let the speed fly on the verse riff and punky chorus. Having grown up with drugs plaguing my family members, I can relate to songs about the ills of heroin usage, so the lyrics on this one especially hit home for me. All in all this disk is pretty fuckin awesome, especially if you loved Death Magnetic as much as I and were disappointed by that LULU abortion and need something to tide you over until the next Metallica full length. At over 29 minutes, your definitely getting more than your $5 worth for the Beyond Magnetic EP. Some will read this and call me a Metallica fanboy, and just dismiss this EP without even giving a single second of playing time, but the true Metallica fans who have stood by the band through thick and thin, should know that their favorite band is indeed alive and well. Get this, or dont, I dont fuckin care, just dont call them soft, or complete garbage, or dead without at least listening to this first, having and open mind and not expecting "Master Of Puppets 2.0", more like "Death Magnetic 1.5".