Monday, December 16, 2013

Driven Mad - "Committed"

 "Committed" is Driven Mad's 5 song 2013 release. The band consists of vocalist Sam Walters, guitarist Dmitri Kalmar (both having previously spent time together in the NYC Funk/Metal band King Hell!) drummer Angel Cotte (also of the bands Alekhine's Gun, Dehumanized, Chesty Malone & The Slice 'Em Ups and just about every other awesome band NYC has to offer) and bassist Jon Feirman. "Gripping The Third Rail" kicks off this 5 song set with technical riffing and blazing metal attitude. Mammoth rythms, frantic vocals and frequent tempo changes push and pull this song for over 4 solid minutes of pure controlled chaos. Driven Mad showcase traditional thrash metal leanings, mixed with dirty Sabbath-fueled riffing and sludgy stoner metal. "Dead Slow" is another perfect example of this with it's ham-fisted riffs and face melting guitar runs. Picture Down and Megadeth in a Sons Of Anarchy styled bar fight and you'd have something eerily close to the musical pandemonium that Driven Mad serve up by the keg full. Sam's vocals range from the verge of power metal highs to guttural death metal lows, perfectly accentuating the musical madness created by Dmitri, Angel and Jon. "I Am The Mountain" is the most laid back cut here, with it's slow, greasy riffs oozing from the speakers and melting with Sams laid back approach that recalls Clutch's bearded frontman Neil Fallon. "Vertigo" is chock full of twisted, winding riffs that bring to mind Mastodon's "Blood Mountain" era. A non-stop barrage of metal compounded by Angel's precise drumming and Sam's maniacal vocal delivery make this my personal favorite of the 5 tracks on this disk. "Crosses of Bone" comes across almost Viking-metalish with it's huge riffs, gang vocals and epic vibe. Driven Mad raid and pillage with their swords and metal flags held high for sure. In a scene where cookie cutter bands are accepted, meat-headed fist-flailing breakdowns are the norm and hipsters try to call themselves "Black Metal", Driven Mad stand head and shoulders above the rest of the pack, setting a standard for originality, technicality and just plain old fashioned catchy and well written heavy metal music. If you are in search of something with substance, something different, something smooth and consistent but heavier than Thor's mighty hammer, than you need to give this band a listen and share the madness with your "Buds" over a few cold ones and make Driven Mad your new favorite band. You can find the band online at where you can purchase cd's and merch and keep up with where and when they are destroying a venue near you. You can give them at "Like" at and you can email the band at as well.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Forte - "Unholy War"

Beginning with an ominous intro called "Vae Solis" this album goes right in for the kill with the title track "Unholy War". This tune is a pure rager in every sense and sets the mood for the audio assault that is to come through the rest of the album. Machine gunning double bass drums, buzzsaw riffing, face melting guitar solo pyrotechnics, thick, smooth bass lines and epic vocals that toe the line between an angry/raspy Ronnie James Dio and classic Dee Snider are abundant through this release. While this band is obviously well schooled in their respective instruments and do show some flash and flare, these songs are 100% hooky and catchy and 0% pretentious wankery which is refreshing when certain power metal bands nowadays are guilty of shredding for the sake of shredding while their songs lack any real substance. These are well crafted tunes that keep you coming back for repeated spins. Straight up rippers like "Dead To Me", "Take The Mark", "Stronger Than Death" and "Rain Of Fire" are all 3 minute and 30 second speed-fests that absolutely blaze from the speakers and incite much headbanging, air guitaring and fist pumping. This is pure, driving, intense old school heavy metal with a classic sound and vibe, but also with a modern flare for speed and technicality. "Absolute Power" is a melodic ball of intense thrash metal fury which showcases some nods to the seminal Megadeth album "Rust In Peace" with it's intricate riffing and timing changes and a furious lead section that would knock Marty Friedman back on his heels. I'm a real sucker for a ballad, so "Undying" really tugs at my heart strings. But dont get me wrong this is no Poison love song. This arrangement screams more "Fade To Black" meets "Beyond The Realms Of Death" than "Every Rose..." or "Home Sweet Home". Beautiful clean guitars and sorrow filled vocals give way to heavy choruses, piercing lead guitars and epic vocal lines.(I still cant believe the frontman here is Enfuneration's David Thompson, talk about 2 completely different ends of the metal spectrum. Mind = blown. Incredible show of musicianship and diversity on his part!) "Light To The Blind" rounds the disk out and brings us to the end of this audio assault. This one starts just a bit more mid-tempo, but while the speed in this track isnt up to the tempo of the disks previous tracks, this album ender is chock full of melody courtesy of both the vocals and guitars. 5 and a half minutes of riffs, and changes galore. When all is said and done from beginning to end, every track on Forte's "Unholy War" is just as glorious, dark and amazing as it's cover art. If classic thrash and power metal are what fuels your metal fire, if you are a fan of Iced Earth, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and the like, than you owe it to yourself to add "Unholy War" by Forte to your music library. You can purchase copies of the disk by visiting the band's label at and following the link to Forte. You can also download the album via itunes. You can keep up with Forte by visiting

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hard Rock Zombie - "Monsterpiece Theater"

This brand new 10 song slab of scariness is just what the Dr.(Frankenstein) ordered for the fall/halloween season. Just 30 seconds into album opener "Scream Queen" and youre already hooked on the bands ghoulish blend of gritty guitar work, bottom heavy bass, tight drumming and smooth Danzig/Elvis like vocals which see frontman Gory George really coming into his own and finding his vocal identity with this creepy outfit. The 2013 re-'Vamp"-ing of "My Freezer" will have listeners air-guitaring and pumping their fists along to the "GO! GO!" gang vocals. "Top 40 Werewolf" is a standout track amongst this set of tunes. This is fun, energized 50's rock n' roll, just punkified and dragged through the cemetery. I dare you to not clap along and sing "Whoaaaa-aoooooaaaaa!" during the incredibly catchy break. "Wendigo" goes straight for the jugular, and is a straight up crusty barrage of classic, angry, up tempo punk rock that does not relent for 60 straight seconds. "Gravedance" is one of my faves here and is definitely the darkest and heaviest track served up on "Monsterpiece Theater". Slow, brooding bass lines and riffs build an evil aura reminiscent of early Black Sabbath and the 1st Danzig album. The fiery chorus with it's chunky guitar and Gory George screaming "Tonight we're gonna dance on your grave" create the perfect aura for any horror fan looking for their autumn soundtrack. People familiar with HRZ and who have been to their all too infamous halloween gigs at Popeyes Pub will get a nice chuckle from the :30 "Bob For Brains" invoking images of Chris Rush dressed up in full werewolf regalia getting us all to "Bob for brains and win a monster!". "Evil Dead 2" blazes through your speakers next and will have you banging your head faster than you can say "Klaatu Barada Nikto", another classic styled angst driven punk anthem about everyones favorite chainsaw wielding hero Ash! "My Name Is Ted" is another super fun catchy tune, with great rock N roll hooks that work their way into your brain and will have you cranking the volume and hitting the repeat button on your stereo. The extremely gloomy and somber "Inhuman Monster Ballad" may take most by surprise. It's melancholy chords, sorrow filled vocals and beautiful string arrangement are a complete 180 when compared to every other track on this album. But while this song isnt the quintessential definition of punk rock, this track fits and it feels right. Anyone who would down this gorgeous piece of music because it doesnt stick to the punk formula is just jealous that they couldnt come up with such an amazing opus. If there's one thing I love, it's when bands think outside the box, try something a little different and surprise the listener and thats exactly what Hard Rock Zombie does with "Inhuman Monster Ballad". A horror punk band evoking emotions and making me reflect?! You never saw it coming, and thats why it's awesome. Hard Rock Zombie close out this disk with "Dont Worry, It's Just A Rash", 2 minutes of rocking riffs, catchy hooks and more "Whoa's" than you could possibly sink your teeth into! All in all, Hard Rock Zombie have served up what is undeniably their best effort so far with "Monsterpiece Theater". There is something in the album for everyone, punks, metalheads, rock n' rollers, horror fanatics and even those of us who are (blood)suckers for a great ballad. Let's face it, your Misfits vinyl's are getting warped, you've listened to your Michale Graves albums a million times, you need something new in your collection and "Monsterpiece Theater" is exactly what your ears are craving in this fall season. You can find the band online at and you can buy physical CD's or digital copies of "Monsterpiece Theater" as well as the HRZ back catalog and other merchandise at

Saturday, September 14, 2013

"Psychache" is the 6 track follow up to Curse The Son's highly acclaimed "Klonopain". Disk opener "Goodbye Henry Anslinger" sets the tempo for what is sure to be a slow smoke-filled ride. Each sticky riff slowly oozes from the mammoth hands of it's creator and drags the listener through a muddy trench of sonic fuzz. The mood is way darker and the tunes are even a bit slower here on "Psychache" than on the bands previous effort, citing less of a traditional "stoner metal" or uptempo vibe and showcasing more of an early Cathedral meets Melvins style and pace. Frontman Ron Vanacore's vocals are high and paranoid, giving each of these tracks the backbone of their eerie aura. Fans of the bands last release will hear Ron coming more into his own with his vocal styling and sounding way less Ozzy influenced than he had on "Klonopain", heck if I didnt look at the lineup on the inside of the disk cover, I might have even though Curse The Son had brought in a new singer! Catchy riffs, gloomy verses and memorable choruses are abundant on this recording, as evident in tracks like "Spider Stole The Weed". "Somatizator" and the disks title track "Psychache" which is an instrumental jam that begins with some primal drumming and a quirky bassline that reminds this reviewer of Down's "Lies, I dont know what they say but..." before kicking into full gear and busting out riffs that set your speakers on fire for almost 5 solid minutes. Being a fan of well-crafted doom epics that are a bit longer in the tooth, "The Negative Ion" is my personal favorite track here and closes out the disk running well over 7 minutes in total. The quietly played and soft spoken intro wets the appetite with an almost Pink Floyd-ian flavor, and even after the heaviness kicks in the band does well to keep this spacy groove prevalent throught the track. The hypnotizing guitar and thundering bass seem to rip open a huge black void, while Ron screams at us from another dimension and the timing of the drums keeps the stars perfectly aligned for the universe of doom metal that Curse The Son has collectively created here. Curse The Son hit a huge homerun with "Psychache", a meaty fistful of fuzzy, low and slow tracks that are an incredible follow up to their first album and see the band going in a different and even heavier direction. At a time where most current doom bands are more worried more about how much they sound like they stepped out of a time machine from the 1970's, than coming up with original ideas and crafting deep, swampy music, Curse The Son stands out and seperates themselves from all the usual  dime-a-dozen sound-alikes. Physical copies of "Psychache" are extremely limited so head over to click the "Like" button and ask the band if there are any left, or you can go to and buy the digital tracks to put in your mp3 player and blow out your computer speakers to! You can also visit the band at as well. Hit these guys up, add these smokin' grooves to your music library and support the lowest and slowest band in Connecticut.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Neverwake - "Vitality"

This 12 song album kicks off with "A Beginning Of The Night", it's smooth acoustic intro busts into heavy melodic thrash metal and sets the tone for the rest of the disk. Technical and catchy with clean vocals and an unforgettable chorus. There's alot of evident Metallica influence here along with some classic swedish style playing ala In Flames and Soilwork. This band even boasts modern influences via Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine, just with a way better singer and no whining, no references to relationships gone awry, no "poor me" nonsense. The songs reference darkness, monsters, killers, cemeteries, death, the basic things you would want to hear in a solid heavy metal album. Songs like "Pulse", "Widowmaker", "Unjustified", "Twisted And Wicked" and "My Darkest Divide" showcase the bands knack to mix eerie chords, memorable lyrics and unbridled musicianship to make epic songs that are worthy or radio play, but still undeniably heavy enough to keep the metal purists head banging. "Fatal Remedy" is a fist pumping anthem with a singalong chorus that deserves to be heard from the biggest stage. The guitar work is stellar, the drums are tight and the melody is infectious. Almost every song here has "Hit single" written all over it. This is the perfect example of a band that can write a huge song without losing it's pure metal integrity. How this band is not signed to a label such as Roadrunner or even Metal Blade is beyond me. "Eye Of The Killer" has a modern Iron Maiden feel, with a heavy thrashing twist reminiscent of Testament. Catchy, mosh friendly and guitar pyrotechnics that will make you snap your neck if you headbang along. "Erased" is a dark ballad fueled by acoustic guitars and piano melodies, that stands up to the best of the best ballads you have ever heard, creepy, evil and moody. If there is one thing this band proves, it's that you dont need to growl and play a thousand miles an hour to be unrelentingly heavy. You can sing clean, use a ton of melody and write big, open choruses as long as you keep the integrity in your songs and have stellar musicians playing their respective instruments. Being a guitarist myself, I cant help but glorify the riffs and solo's the band serve up in every song on this release. Neverwake showcase alot of technicality and originality, ripping apart their six strings with a barrage of twisted, melancholic riffing and searing leads. This is a very tight band, intent on taking the metal world by storm with amazing songwriting. "Vitality" is an infectious release, full of unforgettable songs, that will stick with you long after the disk ends. If only more of the big boys in the industry made music like this, a disk where you dont want to skip a track, you NEED to hear the whole thing from beginning to end, thats become a rarity in music nowadays, but Neverwake have their finger on the "Pulse". Please go find this band and go see them live if they are in your area. I can only imagine how stellar these songs are in a live setting. You Can hear cuts from this disk every Thursday night from 7pm to 10pm EST

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Self Inflicted - "Sweet Taste Of Emptiness"

This 3 piece sludge metal band has never made any bones about showing thier obvious influences in Crowbar, Corrosion Of Conformity, Down ect. but also add their own element of groove and heaviness, showing us they are far from a novelty or rip-off act. "Sweet Taste Of Emptiness" showcases the slow, heavy riffing we have come to love from Self Inflicted, but also adds some unexpected twists and turns, keeping the listener on their toes. While album opener "Rebirth" could be considered a Self Inflicted staple, not deviating much from their doomy formula, the following track "SYFM" comes out of left field. This track is an uptempo rager full of classic NY flavor and very reminiscent of early Biohazard. It's stomping verses give way to big open breaks and mosh-friendly riffs and the lyrics are a big middle finger to back-stabbing, gutless shit-talkers. Listen closely to the lyrics and you'll quickly find out what "SYFM" stands for. I feel the mark of a truly great band is when you hear a song and find yourself humming the riffs to yourself later on out of nowhere. Self Inflicted have a couple handfuls of songs that do this for me in their catalog, and the title track here is a fine example of that. The riffing and song structure in "Sweet Taste Of Emptiness" is infectious, this is a track you want to listen to on repeat several times over on full blast, and as I've said in the past I feel that when an albums title track is the strongest song on the album, it makes me love the rest of the songs even more. "TFE" is full of tasty chunks of stoner metal, very bluesy, catchy and one of Self Inflicted's more uptempo tracks. The verse and chorus here could easily go head to head with any C.O.C. track from the "Deliverance" album or even from Down's classic "Nola" debut. "Crossed The Line" is slow, beautiful, brutality at it's best. This is a head-hanging, funeral dirge laden with Iommi-esque riffing and eerie vocal harmonies that sound like they are emanating from an underworld cavern. "To Prey Upon The Weary" evokes some more Biohazard influence with it's, pavement stomping verses, then brings the hammer down with it's Crowbar-esque choruses and super sludgy breakdown, almost a musical clashing of New York City and Louisiana, if you will. "Silent Echoes" is a solid track that sheds some light on the bands thunderous bass and drum section. Ian and Keith are the thick, rythmic foundation of this band and here they tactfully rattle the walls while Phil lays down slick guitar lines that help smooth out the heavy punch of the bass. "Twilight Of Enlightenment" while still heavy and unmistakibly a Self Inflicted track, has a very airy feeling and a very pure rock and roll vibe. I picture the guys rocking this one out and having fun, smiling at each other while doing so, almost with a "This rocks and you know it" attitude. "Unconscious Understanding" is a dark song with really cool guitar chords and killer background effect that makes the listener feel as if they are swirling down into a black hole of helplessness while Keith's lyrics paint an ugly picture of anger and depression. "Cant Change What Hasnt Happened" is a rollercoaster ride of a song, starting out with Sabbath style riffing that keeps your head nodding and toe tapping. Then out of nowhere we are bludgeoned with a death metal attack of feverish riffing and duelling lead guitar. I detect a bit of Entombed influence here, a mice mix of doom and death n' roll. Album closer,"The Will Of Man" is very much a "Classic" Self Inflicted song, oozing with sludgy riffs that steamroll over you like a large rusty wheel. This 11 minute epic showcases, big open chords, harmonized riffs and slowly lulls out and fades away with clean guitar and some background samples. As this album ends, the first thing you want to do is press the play button again. Without a doubt "Sweet Taste Of Emptiness" is Self Inflicted's finest work yet, and in my opinion any label would be proud to release this on a worldwide scale and make this 3 piece from Oklahoma part of their family. By the time this article hits print, the band should have physical copies of the amazing disk available. You can find Self Inflicted on Facebook and reverbnation or email them at and contact them there to get your copy of this sludge fueled masterpiece directly from the band.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gut Bucket - "Shattering Your Faith"

 Gut Bucket are a 3 piece, metal-fueled punk band from Providence, Rhode Island. Their 16 track, 2012 release "Shattering Your Faith" is a face melting slab of violence and is quite a unique and wild ride indeed. Gut Bucket feature 2, yes you read that right, 2 bassist/vocalist and a drummer/vocalist, opting for a deeper, heavier sound, leaving out 6 string guitars altogether and giving the band a very original style. The snarling dual bass riffing, combined with their unrelenting drum attack, bring forth somewhat of a Misfits on death metal vibe, especially on tracks such as album opener "Castrated and Crucified", "In My Cellar", "Faceless Stomp", "Beatngu" and "Born of Shit". This 24 minute disk is filled with crusty, grimy, catchy riffs that stomp a mudhole through your speakers. Songs like "Diebrator", "Jersey Saw" and "Biter 2 (Still Biting)" are frantic blasts of manic punk rawness that all clock in at :21, :34, and :8 respectively, these tracks call to mind S.O.D. but without the sarcastic/silly theme, as you can guess by the song titles and by glaring at the disk's gory artwork, these guys are heavily into horror and showcase that influence in their lyrics and subject matter. As much as Gut Bucket showcase a huge punk/thrash metal influence musically, I also find alot of doom metal in their sound as well. The band does slow it down from time to time and shakes the ground with sludgy riffs especially in tunes like "The Creature Walks Among Us", "Solomon Grundy" and "Blue Hell". I admit, at first I didnt know what to make of this band, but after a couple spins through I became addicted to this disk and I'm glad to know the monster that is Gut Bucket. This is a brutally heavy band, that writes fresh, catchy music and truly is doing something 100% different, separating themselves from almost every other band in the underground scene. If you dig death metal, true punk rock and horror culture, Gut Bucket needs to be the next band you check out. You can find them on Facebook and reverbnation where you can listen to some songs and contact them to purchase your copy of "Shattering Your Faith". You can hear cuts from this disk on Thursday nights from 7pm to 10pm EST