Friday, November 25, 2011

The Klepto's Back!!

Ok, I know I've said it before, but I'm back baby!

I'm working with some others to create a new project: Pop It & Rock It (it's still in it's infancy so go easy), which will get me back into the swing of writing and reviewing. The new website will have a wider scope of the entire rock genre - from pop to metal - with yours truly in charge of all things heavy. With that in mind, I'll be double posting, with every heavy review on PI&RI also appearing on The Guide, and several older articles from here appearing on the new project.

The articles/reviews won't be daily here, like they were, instead a few times a week - something more manageable - but eventually I hope to have Pop It & Rock It posting daily, once everyone involved is more used to reviewing/writing. I encourage you to check out the new site, if only for the added support, but if you end up finding something you like, something you've never heard of before, then I think my job is done. My plan with the wide scope and multiple genres is to expose people to as many new things as possible - I myself don't like pop/pop-rock very much, but I still find myself enjoying the occasional song that comes on the radio at work. So please, shoot a quick look that a-way if you have a free moment.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Albums Listened To In June

Ok, this is a long time coming, I've been enjoying my vacation just a little too much it seems. The end of the month encluded a week or two of vacation time, so many of these albums were while in the air or traveling by car; a trend that will continue within the following month. I'm still working on this month's (July) articles and the new project with some friends, we'll see if it ever becomes anything worthwhile.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Band: KONG!

Wow, this band is a punch in the face. I've been listening to a lot of classic and alternative rock lately and switching to something this heavy and crushing was a bit of a surprise. KONG! is a group hailing from North Carolina which seems to want to bring the balls back to underground metal.

As far as I can tell, Mind Eraser is KONG!'s debut EP - I say as far as I can tell because there are at least another half-a-dozen bands out there with that name - and it's an amazing start. While the other reviews I saw qualify the band within the hardcore bracket of music, I'm leaning to more of a New Wave of American Heavy Metal feel. There is some shouting, but it's more guttural then true screams that would go with hardcore. The music itself is more metal then punk, which would move it to metalcore I believe (I think I'm getting this right, I am not a fan of anything -core titled usually), but I still don't see it. The songs are too varied, too filled with ups and downs. Mind Eraser, while filled with energetic music, is not overwhelming with the sound or frantic as much hardcore acts I have heard. They are much more groove-oriented then punk.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Yes, I am still here, and I have every intention of coming back.

First, now that I've had a break, I'm going to try and get at least sort of caught up with all of the albums I've been sent by The Ripple Effect (great site, check them out if you haven't already) and the random band submissions. I know I'll never get 100% caught up because more are coming in every day, but I'm going to at least make an attempt at the mounting pile I have in front of me. I leave for vacation in a few days, but I should be able to get at least a handful done before then.

I've started getting the writing itch, which is good, it's what I want. A return of the want to write would be grande for me at this point.

Secondly, while I don't think I'll ever bring The Guide back to it's former glory, I am working with a group of musically-minded individuals on a new project of sorts. This one will be more varied in musical scope, with all forms of rock accepted. I'll keep doing my metal thing, and I have one or two more partners in this project that also enjoy them some heavy, so there will be something there for you all to enjoy. It will just be mixed in with more accessible music for the masses. Fear not, I will keep up both sites to the best of my ability, with each getting unique articles from yours truly (but also a lot of crossover). We are looking at an end of July start-up for that one, so when I get it all up and running I'll make sure to inform all of you to that.

Thank you to all of you for your patience and understanding, I have gotten a few comments and emails and that feels great; makes me feel like I'm making a difference in some way. Gotta throw a shout-out to That Devil Music and Captain Beyond Zen for their help as well, some more great sites to read while you're waiting for me to get off my lazy ass.


Monday, June 20, 2011


As I'm sure some of you noticed, I did not post anything today. I wrestled with it all morning, I certainly had the time, but not the drive. With that, I have to put The Klepto's Guide To Awesome Music on temporary hiatus, at least compared with how it is currently handled.

I do not do this lightly, but as of late The Guide has become homework, which is not what I want at all. I used to look forward to listening to brand new and obscure albums, writing about what I heard, and generally spreading the good word. I used to be able to bang out half a dozen articles in a full day, key word - used to. Currently, I am writing articles hours before they post, that and a full work load is running me ragged. I have to change something and The Guide is the easiest.

I'm not going away totally, I'll still post time to time; bringing this website back to what it was for the first year or two, I post when I feel strongly about and album or act, not because I feel I have too. I think that my articles have been watered down and pretty shitty overall recently. I have been self-imposing deadlines that require quantity over quality, going back to writing whenever I feel like it will hopefully bring back some of the quality that I think The Guide has been lacking.

Also, I am talking with a couple of friends (once again) about writing here part time. This group actually seems into it, so if we can figure something out, something substantial and meaningful, then I will bring back the daily posts. But for now, for at least the week (and another because I am going on vacation for 8 days), I am effectively putting this blog on hold, focusing on other things, listening to music I actually want to listen to, not bands that I feel I have to listen to.

If you want to keep submitting albums, I am a whore for new music, so I will keep taking them. Also if you would like to be brought in on the new and improved Guide, whenever I get around to restarting it, please drop me a line, more the merrier.

For now, I bid you all adieu (that's French for goodbye).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

EP Shakedown: Bandito - I & II

For this week's 'EP Shakedown' I'm going to double up with a pair of EPs released by Bandito, aptly titled Bandito I and Bandito II (or just I and II but I like having the name there). You can download their most recent EP from their website, or get their entire discography (these two EPs and a single) from their BandCamp page. So snag some free music, give it a listen and read on.

Bandito treads between a couple different sounds within the stoner genre. Their first EP opens with "For No One" which is close to the harshness of Hermano or the raw sound of Kyuss' early works (wow a stoner band that sounds like Kyuss). The following song, "Trent Boyett," is something much more groove oriented. I do have to laugh because "Trent Boyett" seems like an obvious homage to a South Park episode, I'm not 100% but it seems to be about a child always in trouble, which sums up the episode pretty well. The other two songs of the album are in a more sludgy realm, being more down-tuned and rough-vocaled (but not too growly). "Killing Black" and "Cubic Cycle" are both decent, but I definitely like their more groove/funk songs more.

Video: The Tossers - "Good Mornin' Da"

I was jamming out to The Valley of The Shadow of Death today and thought that "Good Mornin' Da" would make a great addition to my weekly video section. I really love The Tossers' style of Celtic punk; incorporating some slower melodies and blues. Not so much on this song, but on several others. I'd suggest checking them out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Yes - The Yes Album

The Yes Album is a disc that I grew up with; my mother had this one and Yes' greatest hits sense I was a wee babe. Needless to say I could describe this album in vivid detail without actually listening to it again, but why deprive myself of the experience? It has been a while.

Looking at the tracklist before actually beginning listening I immediately recognize family favorites, "Yours Is No Disgrace," "Starship Trooper," and "I've Seen All Good People." Each of these I can sing along with and could probably manage the majority of the song without any music accompaniment. With those three alone (of six), I know I will enjoy this album as a whole. However, as I listen through it, I'm reminded of how great this album truly is.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New Album: Black Stone Cherry - Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

I'm a tad apprehensive listening to Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea, Black Stone Cherry's latest album; their debut was amazing, completely top-notch southern stoner metal. It was full of creative songs, powerful is story and vocals, with some amazing instruments to match. The followup, Folklore And Superstition, was a dull, alternative rock with a touch of southern twang release. All the originality of their was gone, and we were left with an empty shell of, what I assume to be, an attempt at being accepted by the majority of the populous. So I am both excited and dismissal of Black Stone Cherry's newest release, hoping that it is a reminder of their origin, not their evolution.

This new incarnation of Black Stone Cherry's sound seems a bit of a pairing of the previous two mentions. It is a little more rough and tumble, and there by a little more metal, but in the same token, it is still filled with obvious song hooks and melodies. The music is entertaining, but nothing is really outstanding or challenging to the listener. There are enjoyable songs, but nothing that made me go "wow, that was cool," or anything that makes me want to show off a song to my friends. It's satisfying but not filling.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Play It Again: Arbouretum - The Gathering

I touched on Arbouretum a bit at the beginning of May, and having just listened to The Gathering again, I think they deserve another mention. I'd been listening to their cover of The Highwaymen ("The Highwayman") a lot recently, and I really enjoy it. The really laid back and spacey style is really well conveyed. It made me want to listen to their album as a whole over again, so that's what I did.

There is just something about David Heumann's voice (he's the singer, by the way) that really makes this record what it is. His cool, melodic-yet-monotone style just washes over you like a gentle silk sheet. I think he truly makes The Gathering an enjoyable record. Sure, they could have gotten another singer who may have been just as good, the music just as listenable, but with Heumann they have something special. I don't think this album sung any other way would be nearly as listenable.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Album: Across Tundras - Sage

Another day, I'm still tired, but not nearly as much as yesterday and so I feel I can take on a bigger project then a four-song EP.

Across Tundras is a band that I'm relatively new to; I've heard Old World Wanderer, their 2010 release, but other then that, not much. I do know they are a stoner/doom band, and I seem to recall enjoying what I heard, so I'm listening to Sage with almost virgin ears. We should all be so lucky.

Sage has one thing going for it, the songs seem to last forever. This is both a blessing and a curse; for the good songs it is amazing, some songs have a good section within, but it is drowned out by the endlessness of the song. I'd say there were no average or so-so songs, but this seemingly-infinite style tends to get a bit boring. Again, the songs that are good - good all the way through - are amazing, the chugging rhythm of "Buried Arrows," for example, is amazing, and when the tempo picks up and the southern-style of music kicks in, it turns even more so.

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Album: Forged In Flame - Forged In Flame (EP)

I am so tired and a little hung over. I have just come back home from a weekend at a wedding down in South Florida (four hours from my home). A long weekend of partying, drinking, making fun of friends and trashing hotel rooms. Needless to say I'm pretty beat and although I had enough articles to last me through the weekend, it is once again Monday and my foresight has fallen a bit short... again. So before I pass out (it's Sunday night as I'm writing this), I'm going to listen to Forged In Flame's debut EP.

I have had only a taste of what Forged In Flame has to offer, from the Soda Shop Comp, almost a month ago, so I was ready for some more stoner groove metal to wash over my soul. For that purpose alone, this was a great EP to choose.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Video: Tyr "Hold The Heathen Hammer High"

In response to Tyr's latest release, The Lay of Thrym, I have been working my way through their past five albums. I'm really looking forward to their newest album, but this run-through just reminds me of how much I enjoy this band. All of their albums are of a certain amazing quality - aside from Land that is, but most of the album isn't in English so it's not fair for me to really judge - which was culminated by 2009's By The Light Of The Northern Star, my favorite yet. If this year's can get anywhere close to that masterpiece, I'll be amazed and overjoyed.

With that in mind, here is the video for one of my favorite songs off of By The Light Of The Northern Star, "Hold The Heathen Hammer High." Along with "By The Sword In My Hand" this song is filled with amazing imagery and, of course, musicianship.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

EP Shakedown: Manhammer - Above The New Frontier

Manhammer is a hard band to get a hold of. It was damn near impossible for me to find any real information on this group, with only YouTube and porn sites popping up with most of my searches. I ended up having to turn to the SludgeSwamp, as they had at least a link to the band's MySpace. I also found another band called ManHammer, and a 'Future Site For Manhammer,' so maybe I did find them after all. I think the first focus of this band should be to raise themselves up from the dirge that a search of Manhammer pulls up. Your web identity is everything, and if people can't find you you're losing some potential fans.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Acid Rain - Shallow Paradise

Acid Rain took a while to find on the web, as both Metal Archives and ProgArchives list at least three other bands of the same name, all within the progressive vein. I guess naming oneself after a Liquid Tension Experiment song (which is a bad ass song if you haven't heard it) tends to mean that progressive music is your forte. Hell I got the message, the only reason I picked up this album was because of the obvious throwback-name and the interesting album artwork. Yes, I am one of those people that judges a book by it's cover, it's worked pretty well for me so far.

I didn't know truly what to expect from Shallow Paradise, and there is scant within the internet, so I turned to a review off of ProgArchives about their other album, The Descending Line. In a nutshell, the review calls Acid Rain musically a Dream Theater homage - used as a positive description - but that the vocals lack behind the rest. This set the stage for my listening adventure, and while reading someone else's opinion may taint my own, I just look at is as a launching-off point for my own review. After all, how many people can truly claim that they've never read a review before listening to an album? We use other's to meld our own views, it's the way of life.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Retrospective: Tyr

With Tyr releasing their sixth album, The Lay of Thrym (review upcoming), I thought it prudent to go through their entire discography. While I was doing so, why not write about it all? Thus a Retrospective was born.

Tyr was my first true introduction to the world of folk metal, way back in 2005. My then-recent discovery of brought about a ton of new bands and genres, with this mystical world of folk vying for my attention along with stoner, power and progressive metals. For the longest time, the only album I had by the group was their debut, being unable to find Eric The Red and later Ragnarok. I didn't truly start listening to more then that first album until around 2007 or 2008, when their material became more accessible, so I guess you could say I'm a bit of a late joiner of the band's fandom. I don't think it really matters because now I am a staunch believer of their sound, I loved their 2009 release, I look forward to this 2011 one, and they play a bitching live show, even at a shitty venue.

How Far To Asgaard - 2002
Their first album and my first taste of the group, How Far To Asgaard is an amazing debut from this act. It's one of their more solid release, but I feel this is because all of the songs sound very similar to each other, at least musically. "Hail To The Hammer" and the title track are the far-and-above winners of the album, but pretty much every song carried merit in some degree. Even their non-English song, "Ormurin Langi," is catchy. I found myself humming along and attempting to sing a few lines, this might be because I've heard it so much, or it could be because it is a song that transcends language barriers. Either way I like it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bands I Love: Clutch

I've made no secret on The Guide that Clutch is one of my favorite (if not number one) bands out there right now, and I've already dedicated two articled to their discography (Part 1 & Part 2), so this one is going to be a little different. For this edition of 'Bands I Love' I'm going into the evolution of enjoyment that I (and I'd assume other fans) get when I re-listen to their albums; of the changing of taste and favorite songs.

For this example I'm going to spend all of my time dissecting probably one of their best albums, Blast Tyrant, released dead center with their funk-stoner phase, way back in 2004. Initially the songs that jumped out at me were: "Mercury," "Mob Goes Wild," "Cypress Grove," and "Worm Drink," each for their simple and catchy lyrics and really head-bobbing melodies. These tracks were easy to get into and at the time that I was first giving the record a spin, I was still new to the band, with only Robot Hive/Exodus under my belt. These songs were a great and simple entry into Blast Tyrant. While I enjoyed the album as a whole, these were the songs that I spent most of my time with, and these are the group that most often landed in mix CDs for friends or for my car.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Album: Flogging Molly - Speed of Darkness

As I mentioned on this past week's Video, I don't know how I missed the release of Speed of Darkness. Hell, I didn't even know it was recorded and being released! I love Flogging Molly, and so the usual level of excitement that creeps up as I hear updates of a new album, over the months prior, finally culminating with me getting my hands on the actual music itself... never happened. I've had to jam all of that raw emotion, lust, and excitement into one short week; I am exhausted. But the excitement is carrying me on, onto this 2011 release from one of my favorite bands - and also one of the few modern bands that I've listened too for almost a decade, I realized this week.

The album opens with the title track which hits you like a bang, a true Flogging Molly experience. Ten seconds (after the intro) and I knew exactly what I was getting into - and I love it! This sounds like a vintage track from the group, something that could have been released within any previous album of their fourteen-year-plus recording career and not seem out of place. This is a great beginning, because you never know if a new release by a band you love will live up to the expectations that you have. Will the new album be the same style, and with that, too much of the same, or not enough of a change? With this opener, I am less worried.

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Band: Crescent Shield

Crescent Shield is a traditional heavy/power metal band whose latest album, The Stars of Never Seen, caught up some pretty decent reviews. The album is a little older, coming out in 2009, but it's new to me and I've been in the mood for something a little different then the usual stoner/doom/prog mix I've been on lately. So I'm taking a chance on a wholly new band, based off other bloggers' reviews; ain't the internet grand?

My fist impression of The Stars of Never Seen is something of a mix between the epic doom style of Candlemass - especially within the vocals - and the more varied traditional metal of Holy Martyr. Actually the Holy Martyr comparison is the most straight-forward that I can think of; both of their styles could be called epic metal (or folk metal without the folk, as I said on my article about Holy Martyr). They both use traditional themes and sounds of heavy metal (although a little more on the war and sorcery side, like power metal) but add a very flexible vocalist(s) that gives the songs a bit of that 'epic' feel. Once again, it's a hard sound to describe, but it works amazingly for Crescent Shield.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Video: Flogging Molly "Don't Shut 'Em Down"

Just found out that Flogging Molly have released a new album last week - I don't know how I missed it for so long. I haven't had a chance to listen to Speed of Darkness yet, but this is the first single and accompanying video; "Don't Shut 'Em Down." Float, their last release, was pretty bad-ass, so I'm looking forward to this album quite a bit.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

EP Shakedown: Big Jesus - Big Jesus

Ok, I'm not feeling too hot, so short and sweet are what's in store.

Big Jesus is a stoner/alternative/post-grunge act from Las Vegas, of all places. Their debut EP (follow the link for the free download) is a combination of rock n' roll stoner and the post-grunge style that made Alice In Chains famous. The opener, "Ribs," is a nice bout of the former, while keeping in a down-tuned and darker feel. And actually the second track, "Hairteeth," could easily have been found on an Alice In Chains album, or as a tribute at the very least. It sounds straight from the 90s and that is nothing if not a good thing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: The Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction/Ghost

A couple of months ago I featured The Devin Townsend Project's latest (at the time) releases, Ki and Addicted, with an article, now I continue (and finish) the cycle, with the upcoming pair of releases from the madman that is Devin Townsend, with Deconstruction and Ghost. The first two releases were a clever mix of ambient and heavy/extreme metal, with Ki being more on the ambient side of things while Addicted brought elements of industrial music. That first pair was plenty for any other band, but Townsend seems fixated on going above and beyond (Deconstruction and Ghost haven't even been released yet and he's already announced the name of his next record). I'm covering them as a pair because they are being released in that fashion; while they aren't directly linked, the project seems to follow a sweeping style-arc which flows together rather well. If he (Townsend) had released all four at one I'd probably put the entire project into a 'Weekly Dose of Prog.'

While Ki and Addicted seemed more stylistically split, Deconstruction is a more even mix of the metal and ambient music that The Devin Townsend Project is known for. It's also far more eclectic, with the album opening with "Praise The Lowered," a very ambient song, then "Stand," a ten-minute progressive song, light on the ambient but heavy in pretty much everything else, followed immediately by "Juular" which sounds something more like Strapping Young Lad (Townsend's previous band/project) would release, coming across borderline thrash/NWOAHM with bits of lighter vocals (but still heavy instruments, especially the percussion) thrown here or there for effect. Although it sounds weird, it actually works really great, bringing Deconstruction a much more memorable feel then the previous pair of releases. My one complaint of the album, however, are the longer tracks. It seems that the songs that cross the ten-minute marker just can't pull it together well enough to warrant that amount of time. "Planet of The Apes," "The Mighty Masturbator," and  "Deconstruction" are the main examples of this ("Stand" keeps it together pretty well, plus it's just under ten), with certain parts that work very well - namely the beginnings - but they just lose focus, or change styles too much, or have to much out there stuff (spoken word and whatnot - "Deconstruction" anyone?) to be as enjoyable as the rest of the album. Other then that, the album is almost priceless.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Album: Argus - Boldly Stride The Doomed

I have been looking to this album sense I first heard of it in February, as I really enjoyed Argus' debut album from two years ago. I discovered the band on a whim and was very surprised with what I heard, so much so that I've listened to their self-titled several times sense then. Boldly Stride The Doomed, their sophomore follow-up, has some high expectations to get over, but I'm sure with gentlemen of this caliber at the helm, it will all be just fine.

In my replay of their debut I told you my definition of Argus' sound being power doom metal, well Boldly Stride The Doomed does nothing but strengthen that description. The album opens with "A Curse On The World" which is something like rock 'n doom, with a swinging melody and powerful vocals. It sounds sort of like an 80s hair metal band belting out their rendition of doom; catchy but still amazingly heavy. It sounds very similar to the first song off their debut, "Devils, Devils," but that is nothing but a complement, as that was my favorite song from the disc.

Everything I Didn't Review In May

Really, there isn't much to write about this month. While I did get decent album numbers, most of what I listened to was older discographies, or debut albums from acts that are now releasing their sophomore discs. Everything else, that is actually new to me, has received a review, so there isn't a case to add the albums here.

With my new computer, it's been a semi-battle to get back in the swing of things, and so finally I'm getting out ahead of the overwhelming number of albums, songs, and artists that I have. Each month will be a little more new, and a little less old, until I'm back to my usual flow of about 2/3 new and 1/3 old. This is my long-term goal and I hope you stick around for the journey with me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

EP Shakedown: Major Kong - Orogenesis

Ok, my computer is back up and running smoothly, turns out it wasn't a big deal really. So this is the 'EP Shakedown' that I had all set up for Saturday that was never posted. Luckily I had the articles for Sunday and Tuesday already set to go, so you all had something to tide you over. I'll get back on schedule tomorrow with the daily postings.

Major Kong comes highly recommended by several sources as some great sludge metal. This is down and dirty instrumental doom metal, I can't really call it sludge, because to me sludge is all in the vocals, but I feel I'm just splitting hairs there. The songs (four of them) are long and drawn-out, seeming to go on forever.

Orogenesis (available for free download), the debut EP from the guys of Fifty Foot Woman, is for anyone who loves some dark doom. If you're looking for complex rhythms or styles, you need to be listening to something else. The songs are droning and fairly predictable, but at the same time, they will melt your face (which would be a sweet album name).

Albums Listened To In May (85)

Still working with that new computer (and the loss of all my info), the following crash, and starting a new job, it's a surprise I got anything done this month, let alone listen to 85 albums. I spent most of the month re-listening to discographies of bands that I love; 3, Argus, Black Spiders, Clutch, The Decemberists, The Grand Astoria, Led Zeppelin, Lo-Pan, Meat Loaf, Rainbow, Red Fang, and Whores of Tijuana. Several of these deserved - and received - a write up. As such there won't be much of an article for tomorrow's 'Everything I Didn't Review,' but that also means I am running at full tilt here. I hope you all enjoy what I do.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Retrospective: 3 (Part 2)

Part two of 3's discography, this time with a little bit more emotion and strength behind most of it. Make sure you caught part one!
Wake Pig - 2004
2004 brought about a new album and a resurgence of the heavier and angrier sound that 3 does so well. Wake Pig was the first album from the group that I heard - I don't even remember where I got the disc, but I think the album artwork had something to do with initial discovery - so I may be pre-disposed to this musical outlook over anything else they have to offer. Regardless, it's what I think they pull off the best, their mix of angsty vocals, weaving bass and drums and some of the most amazing finger-picked guitar I've ever heard (just listen to "Bramfatura" for that little example). Even though I've been listening to this album for five or six years now, I still get excited when "Alien Angel" pops up on my iPod, with me belting out the words at the top of my lungs at each opportunity. "Alien Angel" and the title track weight-in as the winners of the album's heavier songs, with "Trust" and "Dogs of War" being much lighter of touch, but equally enjoyable. Wake Pig being my first taste of 3 will always taint the others a bit I fear, well except those that follow a similar concept at least (see below for more on that).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Video: Alestorm - Shipwrecked

Brand-spankin' new song from Alestorm! I've only ever heard "Shipwrecked" on Soundcloud so it's kind of nice to get something a little different up here. I'm only a few listens in, but this song didn't hit me as hard as some of their other, earlier works. I'm sure by the time the actual album comes out I'll be singing another tune.

Damn I love this band!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Computer Woes

So yesterday we had a decent storm, during which the  power flickered (and i mean flickered) and my brand new computer died. Wont turn on. Dead.
So for the time being there will limited updates, at least til I get it fixed (some time this week).
Right now Im writing this on my Nook, watching SLC Punk. Very difficult, trust me.

I shall return.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Giant Squid - The Ichthyologist

With a vocal style reminiscent of Serj Tankian (of System of A Down if I have to make the distinction for anyone), Giant Squid plays a style of new progressive metal. melding the prog with jazz and atmospheric elements, bringing it just a hair's width short of post-metal. There are sounds of strings (cello I believe), keyboards, and other unique sounds - sometimes just a droning melodic melody - that really bring it into a totally different vibe.

I'm not going to lie, the only thing that initially attracted me to this band is the album artwork to The Ichthyologist. Look at it (to the right), that is some awesome shit, and I've said so before. There is another version of the album artwork floating out there (see below), which makes me wonder which is the original, but honestly I don't care, this one is perfect for me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Play It Again: Argus - Argus

I really like Argus' debut album, really digging the style of the record. It's power doom with stoner touches, and that is something that I don't know if I've ever heard before. Their songs meld the lines between uplifting and depressing, with both power metal and doom metal having a heavy hand in their creation. I've heard this album a bunch now, but every time I give it another spin, I find something else to enjoy, something else to raise it's praise in my book. This time is nothing new.

The album begins with a power/stoner style of song, "Devils, Devils," whose chorus really gets my head bobbing and stuck in my head. From there we play the more stoner, more power metal game, with one genre winning out over the other, and judgement of the song can commence. As these songs trade places style, they also swap around in overall quality, at least to me. But also, as the album progresses, the doom features become more apparent, by the half-way mark it becomes noticeable, and by the end it's overpowering of all others. The final pair of songs, "The Effigy Is Real" and "The Outsider," are pretty much straight doom, with only a touch of the power metal melodies. I love doom, and so these are probably my favorite tracks of the entire album (with "Devils, Devils" being up there as well).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Retrospective: 3 (Part 1)

Nearly two and a half years ago I went into my introduction of the band 3. In an attempt not to basically write the same article twice, just slightly updated, I'm going to try and keep this article to the point; the basics of each album and their stylistic changes over each and their career. Also, my writing chops have evolved quite a bit, as have my musical tastes and the ability to pull from a song, so hopefully this will be full of new material for you long-time fans (not that I believe there are many).

Paint By Number - 1999
In my past article I claimed this group to be a funk/progressive crossover and listening to Paint By Number it would be apparent to make that leap. This is their first and their most 'alternative' sounding one too date. The songs meander between a heavier almost-metal sound and a light story-telling motif. Subjects cross into love, loss, astronauts, with a surprising number of thinly-veiled suicide references, leading the album to come slightly into the 90s emo movement (not the shitty emo-punk bands of the 2000s, I mean real emo music from the 80s and early 90s). Through all of these styles there is a solid underpinning of bass guitar; most songs containing a heavy hand with the instrument. And it's not just simple riffs or an echo of the drums or lead guitar, this is some stand-alone playing, something that you would notice missing if it were removed, something most bands can't claim. My favorite song off the album, and of 3's career in general, is still "You Call Me Baby," another love song with vague references to suicide and other weird shit but still oddly beautiful. Other songs I like (I don't know if they're recent additions as I've listened to all of these albums probably a  dozen times at this point) are "You've Been Shot," "Leaving After All," "Wrongside," "Paint By Number," "Astroknot," "Better State of Mind," and "Policeman," quite a lot of the album all told (nine of fourteen). If you have the album then you'll see that the majority of the first half of the album is on here, and as I said before this is the more funk-oriented half and it is the grouping I like the best. I like prog, but some good funk rock/metal really puts it over the top.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Album: Red Fang - Murder The Mountains

In preparation for this article I re-listened to Red Fang's debut, finding a surprising newfound love for the disc. Hoping to follow that I look towards their 2011 release (as well as a kick-ass video), Murder The Mountains.

Right off the bat, Murder The Mountains is much more groove-oriented then it's predecessor. The numerous songs that utilize the heavy bass and drums combo are my favorite by far. I've noticed that there is a huge difference of my appreciation for these songs if the bass is featured or not. The opening handful; "Malverde," "Wires," and "Hank Is Dead," are above average tracks because of this. The following triad of tracks; "Dirt Wizard," "Throw Up," and "Painted Parade," all lose this feel, and thereby are weaker songs in my opinion.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Album: The Atomic Bitchwax - The Local Fuzz

If you've been keeping up with The Guide, you would have already read my discovery that I don't like The Atomic Bitchwax nearly as much as previously thought. Although I still find that shocking, I think it's time to move on, and the best way to do that is to review the act's latest release, The Local Fuzz. You will see some mention of this album being and EP/LP, and that is because of some general confusion of what it is to be either. One song, forty minutes in length, no words... I'd call it an EP, but others disagree. Whatever the case, it makes for an interesting listen (I hope).

The song/LP/EP kicks off with a flash; some groovy, moving bass lines, accompanying drums and a crazy-sophisticated guitar lick over it all. It's all a little repetitive, but whenever it seems to be getting a little dull TAB switches the melody in some fashion, which helps keep it alive. The changes are minute enough to not sound out of place, but they have enough of a difference/change to be noticed, for your brain to still focus on the song at hand.

At around the fourteen minute mark the song takes a significant stylistic change, sounding like a new song is beginning. For the short while it all slows down, with less emphasis on the frantic guitar and drum work of the past section. This only is maintained for a minute or so before the band all comes together, but the music following isn't wholly like the beginning of the track; there are sections of quick guitar work, but it's inter-spliced with slower jam sessions. It really feels like a different song, which is awesome for a song like this.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Video: Red Fang - "Wires"

Jumping on the bandwagon here (this video has been posted everywhere) but I think it's a video worth seeing - if you haven't already - and it ties together with my article earlier in the week, and one upcoming. Here is Red Fang's latest video release, "Wires," from their second album, Murder The Mountains.

The song is good but the music video takes a little bit to get going. Stick it out to the end, because the last half of the video is hilarious and is something I would gladly do if someone gave me some cash to make a music video.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

EP Shakedown: Mother of God - Forging A New Path

Still spinning with the new bands that I discovered (or rediscovered) from The Soda Shop Comp. Vol 1, which is the point of a compilation of that type right? I figured after re-listening to Lo-Pan and Whores of Tijuana, and then reviewing Gozu's debut, the next logical step was Mother of God, for some good ol' stoner/doom. As I drink at 6pm on a Wednesday (yea, I finally have my articles cued up again), I'm just going to sit back, relax and let the sounds of this great act wash over me. Their wall of sound style of stoner is great for this, as I'm learning.

First thing, Forging A New Path has a lot of fuzz. Let the intro to the third track, "Blind Monkey," show you that. It is what leads to the wall of sound comment I made before. If you can't find a millisecond of silence, or a slight dip in energy coming at you, that is a wall of sound as far as I'm concerned, and this EP is full of it. While the disc itself isn't really slow or doomy enough to be accurately classified as stoner/doom metal, it is too slow to be straight up stoner. It falls into that rarely utilized classification of tempo and style, which oddly helps out the release as a whole. It gives the group enough of a stylistic leniency to play on both sides of the fence. Some songs are a little more on the doom side, while others are more straight-stoner.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Gojira - The Way of All Flesh

In my ever-constant search for new and exciting music, as well as being open minded and pushing my own boundaries, I took a chance and decided to listen to Gojira. The band is from France and has been making waves for a number of years. Their latest album, The Way of All Flesh, was seemingly loved by all, every time someone reviews it - even now - it's overwhelmingly positive. They combine progressive elements with death screams, thrash and new wave of american heavy metal (which to me is a mix of thrash and death screams, but I won't get into that right now), which is what got my interest. We'll see if I join in with the masses with love for this group and album.

In the past the only thing I ever heard about Gojira was either just snippets from their songs or reviews on other metal sites. Most of the reviews equated them into the death metal bracket of music, which i absolutely abhor, so I had really no interest to actually listen to the band. This changed very recently because within a week's span two websites had pulled up a song and/or video from the act, to which I gave a quick listen, and discovered that I actually enjoyed the music I was hearing. From that point on it was the simple matter of discovering that I already had their critically-acclaimed 2008 album, and then to actually take the time to hear it - not the easiest task let me assure you.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Retrospective: The Atomic Bitchwax

After my new computer snafu, I have been taking a lot of time to re-listen to discographies of artists I know and love. It's helped me reconnect with some bands I don't hear nearly enough, I've sussed out some new songs that I hadn't given much time to before, and it's introduced me to some albums I've missed or skipped. On the rare occasion it has opened my eyes to an act that I don't like nearly as much as previously thought. The Atomic Bitchwax is within this last category.

Don't get me wrong, I like the band, I enjoy their groove-heavy, funky, frequent instrumental style of stoner, but on another round of actually listening to the entire disc of their albums - not just the songs I pick through - I realize how little of the songs I actually enjoy off of each. For this article, I'm only focusing on the major LPs; The Atomic BitchwaxThe Atomic Bitchwax IIThe Atomic Bitchwax 3, and TAB4. I haven't heard The Local Fuzz yet (their latest) and I've never really gone through the EPs very much, so I'll save those for another day and another article.

The Atomic Bitchwax - 1999
Their debut and one of my favorites (as far as numbers go) of the group. I like the instrumentals and the mix of funk and psychedelia of the album. The only songs I know offhand, that is I've already listened to them a dozen times, are "Hope You Die" and "Stork Theme" (which is an instrumental). That being said, out of the eleven tracks on this album, six of them I enjoy above and beyond - something I could imagine listening to over and over. This isn't really bad, I know a lot more acts that have a worse album ratios at all times, but this is one of the high points for my relationship with The Atomic Bitchwax, which is kind of sad.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Play It Again: Red Fang - Red Fang

Every Friday (under the tag Frydee) The Obelisk posts a music video and sums up the past week and what is upcoming.for the man (H.P. Taskmaster) and the site in general. This past week's 'Frydee Red Fang' hosts the new music video for "Wires" a song taken from Red Fang's brand new album. The video is pretty clever, you should check it out, and had me laughing at last at one point, but the more important aftermath of the video (at least for me and you) is the return of my interest for the group. I have received their latest release, Murder The Mountains, and look forward to reviewing it, but I decided to listen to the band's debut, self-titled, album first, to reacquaint myself with the act. And so I give Red Fang another try.

Although I've known about Red Fang for some time now, I only recently ever took the time to actually listen to their debut. Someone said something on a forum, or posted a review or something and it got me thinking about the group. Most comments and reviews have been pretty much overwhelmingly positive, and who can battle that praise for long? So I decided to give it up, take a seat and give Red Fang a spin. What I heard, on this first take, was an album of groovy stoner rock, with a couple of bright stand-outs but the rest of the album being very average. Their music had some skill, but not enough flair to really pop in my head.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sabaton on Tour - EXCLUSIVE Interview

The crowd at Firestone Live was evenly divided between bright-eyed twenty-somethings and middle-aged, veteran metal heads. This was just what I expected from a show where the headlining band has been around since the '70s, and the biggest opening band could attribute much of its rising fame to YouTube fan videos.

Orlando, Florida was the first stop for the Sabaton/ACCEPT U.S. tour. For the German band ACCEPT, this was just business as usual. But for Sabaton, April 9th, 2011 was a landmark, as it was their first stop in their first-ever U.S. tour.

"Everyone here is so polite," Joakim Brodén, lead vocalist, remarks. "In places we have toured like in Eastern Europe, they're fucking crazy. They will kick down doors to get to you. It's a security issue, you know."

Monday, May 16, 2011

RIP Ronnie James Dio - 1 Year Today

Today's post was supposed to be an exclusive interview with Sabaton, by the overly talented Gryphyn, and I was also working on a review for the new Red Fang album but it all is getting pushed back a day (sorry Gryphyn) so I can bring memory back to one of the mad men of metal: Ronnie James Dio, who died of stomach cancer one year ago today.

It's weird because although I am only in my twenties, thinking of Dio's passing still brings me sadness. I mean, a couple of months previous Peter Steele of Type O Negative died, and he had a much more 'actual' impact on my life, having bought ToN albums and seen them live. But although I lament his death, it is still not anywhere close to what I feel about Dio. In my delusions of grandeur I always hoped I would bump into Dio at the store or at work or something, and that with my stupidly-large knowledge of heavy metal, I could smooth talk my way onto his next tour or something. I know it's foolish but it's my dream ok? I find myself having this same daydream at work now sometimes, before I remember that he has died and that it's a 100% impossibility (as opposed to the 99.9% as it was before). Makes me feel even shittier at my shitty job.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Video: Black Spiders - "St. Peter"

As I've stated before, with my new computer, I've had to work through my huge library pretty much from scratch. The good of this is that it gives me a chance to re-listen to all my records - both old and new. I'm re-listening to the Black Spiders discography right now and it hit me how good of a band this is. Their debut, Sons of The North, was damn near perfect.

Of this great album, the song "St. Peter" is by far my favorite. It has the most punch, great rhythm, and some serious replay-ability. The music video really doesn't make much sense, but who cares? The music does all the talking (both literally and figuratively).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

EP Shakedown: Ocean Towers - Chapter 1

In a very 70s metal way, Ocean Towers puts out tunes. Their debut EP, Chapter 1 (which is available free from their BandCamp page), isn't quite enough of a throwback to be confined to the retro-rock tag, but I could easily see some of these songs appearing on a mid-to-late 70s release. Along with that there are plenty of more modern sounds and elements within the five-track record - it's an adventure with these guys.

The first two tracks, "New Slides" and "Honey Slides," are the obvious retroly-influenced tracks, at times sounding like Black Sabbath (mid-Ozzy era, think Vol. 4 or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath) or heavy Deep Purple, mixing all of this well within the stoner vein of Kyuss. The balance of style and form is what really stands out in my mind with these two, there isn't any wavering of the music or the vocals, nothing that would bely these relative newcomers short histories. This is all rock n' roll and metal, a mix so well stirred you can't see where one begins and another ends.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Awestruck - Telemision

So Blogger has been down all day, so I haven't had a chance to post this article till now. I apologize for the lateness of this release, I know how some of you like reading these weekly posts.

I've actually met the guys from Awestruck, my good friend Andrew Clayton went to high school with the drummer so we all have a bit of history. I interviewed them for my short-lived radio show, I've been to their home and to their recording studio (same place really) to help out with a track. They've been making waves here in Orlando over the past few years, headlining a lot of local shows and special events around town, and I've only ever seen them live once, much the pity on my part.

The band gave me their debut album, Telemision (sorry for the iTunes link, it was the only one I could find), after our radio interview - Jesus that 2008... doesn't seem like it should have been that long - and so I've had a lot of time with it and it has a lot of listens to it's name. The album itself meanders between neo prog, post-hardcore and the alternative rock sound that been popular lately. Their sound reminds me of 3, early Incubus or even (slightly) Coheed & Cambria (but in a good way!).

New Band: Gozu

After reviewing The Soda Comp. Vol 1 yesterday, I was reminded of Reg at Heavy Planet's best of 2010 list, of which Gozu was on. Not only that, but these guys popped up on a number of year-end lists, and that made me want to hear more. I forgot all about that, until the review of the comp, so I figure what better time then now to get it out there? I am kind of sick (bachelor party at an all-you-can-eat steak joint, you all understand) and am having a little problem stringing these words together (spelling is a big deal right now), so this one may be a little clipped. I'll try to get everything I want out.

My taste of Locust Season from the comp is pretty accurate; the album is chock-full of groove-oriented stoner metal. Although that is the base description it does not make this album dull by any means. They do use some special effect for emphasis; the vocals often have the effect that they are spoken through a voice box (most notably in "Regal Beagle"), layered vocals makes an appearance in "Rise Up", as does an acoustic guitar intro, and the beginning of "Meat Charger" sounds straight-up like AC/DC. Each song pretty much has something slightly different about it to have it stand apart from the rest, the trick is just finding that little extra.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Album: The Soda Shop Comp. Volume 1

A couple of months ago our friends over at The Soda Shop released a compilation of some up-and-coming acts (some more up currently then others). After debating about it for a while, I decided to give The Soda Shop Comp. Volume 1 a spin, to try and find some new artists, figuring with these guys at the helm I can't go wrong. Did I mention it was free?

Stone Axe "Old Soul (Beat Club Version)" - "Old Soul" (the original version) was not my favorite release from the band, and this remix of sorts does not add much to the ending product. I really like the band but I think they could have chosen a better song for this mix, but it is Stone Axe, so you know it'll be enjoyable on some level.

Strange Haze "Strange Dope" - My first taste of Strange Haze, and although I wasn't wowed with this song, it does want me to check out the album I have of theirs. Their musical style is most definitely blues stoner (complete with harmonica), but the lyrics and their influence of the music reminds me a lot of Warren Zevon. I'm not sure if it's just this song or their style as a whole, more research is needed to make an accurate description.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Album: Ironweed - Your World Of Tomorrow

With a name like Ironweed, I'm always surprised with how much energy this act puts out. As I said last week, the band's style melds stoner and alternative metal - something they do quite well - but from my experience with bands that have 'weed,' 'pot,' 'dope,' 'bud,' etc within their name, they are usually more stoner and less metal (except for the sludge acts). This is what history has shown me, and this is why I am never expecting the intensity that Ironweed throws out there with every riff. This was true with their debut, Indian Ladder, and it is true now, with Your World of Tomorrow.

I've been hearing some grumbling across the interwebs about this album, about it not being a fulfilling sophomore release and other such squawking. I can't see how this could possibly be a concern or worry, because if Your World of Tomorrow is anything, it's consistent with Indian Ladder. The punchy guitars are still a focal point, this time with added solos over it all, the vocals are still stoner/thrash style (shouted but understandable), the drums still pound away. I don't see a huge difference here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Retrospective: Led Zeppelin (Part 1)

It's been a while sense I've done one of these, and while I have a couple half finished (these are my most time consuming article, and who would say otherwise with five or more albums to listen to before completion...) I thought, with my new computer and my new library, I'll begin with the gods of heavy metal: Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin - 1969
It's apparent to see, with this self-titled debut, that Led Zeppelin were on to something. Remember, at this point the heaviest thing out there was Blue Cheer and Iron Butterfly, and while both of those are decent forerunners to what would become metal, when this album hit the scene it was a game changer. The songs are heavy, but still deep in the blues and rock, making them accessible to the average audience, not something just for fan-boys, hip to this new wave of music. The songs have stories ("Black Mountain Side"), they contemplate on modern issues of love and money ("Dazed and Confused"), all the while combining great guitar and percussion. The parts of this album that I like the most are the breakdowns that lead into a quick and heavy follow-up. "You Shook Me" and "Dazed and Confused" both are examples, with some sort of slowdown, often into the spacy/minimalist style, followed immediately by a fast rock n' roll section before returning to the original tempo and style. No one else was doing this at the time, at least not on this scare, and for that they will always be remembered. As far as the tracks are concerned, pretty much each one is a classic; the only exceptions being the final pair: "I Can't Quit You Baby," and "How Many More Times." I know this is all personal preference, but the first just doesn't seem to get to where it's going, and the second just drags on and on. The songs themselves are enjoyable, but just fall short when compared to the rest of the disc. That's it, that is the only gripe I have, the rest of the release is pretty much gold. A legendary beginning for a legendary career.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Video: Whole Wheat Bread - "Old Man Samson"

I don't know why I never thought to look up Whole Wheat Bread on YouTube before, but there you have it, it never crossed my mind. WWB is a band that mixes their love for punk rock and hip-hop into something pretty great. I've seen them live twice, and they are a show to see if you get the chance to, well worth the twenty bucks you'll probably spend.

"Old Man Samson" is from the group's debut LP, Minority Rules, which was from 2005. You can tell the age of this video looking at it, as the members don't look much like this anymore - plus they have a new bassist - but it doesn't matter, it's a jamming, rocking song. I love their albums!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

EP Shakedown: The Helldozers - My Anger

The Helldozers are a southern stoner/sludge act, who have been nice enough to release their debut EP, My Anger, for free off of their website (both in MP3 and FLAC for those huge music nerds out there). Their style is slightly reminiscent of early Down, with a heavy groove sound with some rough (but understandable) vocals. For someone who isn't wholly on the guttural style of singing, as I've stated many times before, it took me a little bit to get on board with it all, but by the end of the first track off of the EP I was happily engaged.

The release begins with "My Anger" which may or may not be live, there are live sounds but you never know nowadays whether or not they aren't added in. The song takes a while to take off, or perhaps it was the time needed for me to get used to their style (see above), but either way it ends strong and is easily enjoyable. The following song, "I'am What I'am," has a really catchy chorus and some good music to go along with it, but sounds like something is missing from the equation. "Seven Seas," the following song, is a really groove-metal, circa 1990-era thrash. It's quick and heavy, but not so frantic as the 80s thrash was, more mature and tuned down for effect. A really good end of the first half of the record.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Wishbone Ash - Time Was

Here's one for you older folks out there, a band that people of my generation have probably never heard of, and I'm willing to bet even a fair chunk of the older crowd never had a chance to listen to this great band. This band was one of the earliest pioneers of dual guitar players, utilizing both as lead and creating an interesting harmony within the melody. Along with this, they incorporated multiple vocalists (three at their beginning) which gave them the flexibility of range, style and layered performances. Using these elements the act combined progressive themes with those of blues rock to create a unique sound. The band I'm referring to of course is Wishbone Ash.

Mixing the emerging themes of blues rock and progressive rock, along with the forming heavy metal scene, Wishbone Ash's songs are all over the place stylistically. I know Time Was is the best of the band, so it may be a little unfair to compare the styles of songs next to each other, seeing as they were pulled from over a twenty year career (at the time of the album's release, 1993), but I'm not complaining about the styles, just remarking that they are there. There is the constant melding of hard/blues rock and progressive rock, sounding at times like a mix between Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers Band, but it goes deeper then that. At times I hear tunes of the psychedelic-induced Yes, at other points I hear a vocal harmonized/operatic style closer to Uriah Heep then anything else. Early in the collection, there is a 'call and answer' section (I believe it's the song "Errors Of My Way" but I'm not wholly sure) between the lead guitar and the vocals, wherein the guitar plays a line/lick which the vocals attempt to mirror. I've heard this before in other acts, but in this example it's actually quite a long section, taking up a good chunk of the song. It's something the members spent some time on, not just a four-bar phrase tossed in for fancy.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Play It Again: Ironweed - Indian Ladder

I was going to review the new Ironweed album (part of the Small Stone gift pack), but I decided to listen to their debut first, to both remind me of the group and to hear some sick tunes. I discovered Indian Ladder through Chief Iron Lung, a fellow blogger (although with an ulterior motive), who said these guys kick some major ass. He was not wrong, and has steered me to some great acts before and sense, and I aim to do the same now.

I really enjoy Indian Ladder because of it's fresh take on the stoner genre. Ironweed mixes the fuzz of the usual stoner with a alternative metal edge to it. I mean by that, that instead of the sort of laid back feeling of most stoner acts, this album holds onto a quick and frantic style that reminds me of something more mainstream; I don't mean this as an insult, but it's sort of like the singles from Avenged Sevenfold or Five Finger Death Punch mixed in with the more usual stoner side of things.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Band: Tia Carrera

When I got the Small Stone care package (the recording company's full 2011 line-up albums) I was a bit confused to see Tia Carrera included with the group. A quick google search led me to believe (for a short while) that she was the chick from Wayne's World - the actress' name is Tia Carrere so it's close. It turns out that she has a band that she fronts, when she's not making the one movie a decade. I was initially confused because I couldn't imagine her playing anything that would constitute a stay on the stoner label of Small Stone. A little more digging got me to the right act, and I have to say I'm happy that it turned out this way, as Tia Carrera (the band) kicks some stoney ass!

Cosmic Priestess is one doomy-instrumental-stoner-extravaganza. It sounds half carefully planned and half made up on the spot; part jam, part craft, all rock. The album opens and closes with the simplest and shortest songs - not a shortcoming as both are over seven minutes in length - very astutely bookending the LP with a similar style. The first song, "Slave Cylinder," is a build-up track, never quite reaching it's full potential, but accurately setting the stage for the later works. The last track of the album, "A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing," is a very groovy and semi-funky song, first focusing solely on the the groove, but eventually shifting the focus to a more drum and guitar back-and-forth. It's a great outro, and puts a memorable ending spin on Tia Carrera's latest release.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Awesome Websites: Map of Metal

Slow week for me, and so I'm just going to leave you with this little tid-bit until I get something real done.

It's kind of a neat representation of the world of metal that we live in. It starts at the 'Heavy Metal' tag, and spans outward from there. What I like is that on top of the map (which is huge by the way) it has musical examples for most of the genres, including those that aren't fully metal. It entangles any sub-genre of rock, from punk and thereby hardcore, to psychedelic and grunge.

I don't agree with all of the genres and how they are tied together always, with djent in the death metal breacket, but it's pretty accurate overall. I did learn some new genres that I had never heard of; visual kei, and neue deutsche harte (literally new German hardness), and some better understanding of a few genres that I'm not totally fond of.

Well enjoy looking through that, and I hope that it shows you something that you didn't know about the world of metal, and introduces you to some hew bands. I'll try to get something more substantial up tomorrow.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Guilty Pleasures: Disturbed - The Sickness

Here we go, another throwback album, one that if you were a child of the 90s you probably listened to ad nasaum, and another one to raise the ire of those opponents of 'false metal.' Whatever, I don't care, I jammed out to this album and group for a number of years, and I still enjoy hearing their releases occasionally today.

While not my favorite Disturbed album, The Sickness is by far the heaviest and most known release from the group. It was the act's debut album, and became immensely popular; collecting much radio-air time, selling most of the available tickets on their tours, and scurrying around the halls of my high school (I was a freshman at the time). It is also the album most within the nu-metal bracket, which is why it receives the current level of animosity that it does. I don't see why really, while it does have nu-metal tendencies, this is most definitely heavy metal, if only with some semi-industrial pieces mixed in.

Everything I Didn't Review In April

With the shorter numbers this month, there wasn't a ton of new music hitting my ears in April. What little there was, mostly already has/had a review posted about it, so don't expect a ton going on here.

Ambeon - Fate of A Dreamer
Another mast on the Arjen Anthony Lucassen ship of awesomeness, Ambeon's Fate of A Dreamer is a light and semi-atmospheric adventure into progressive metal. Not his best work, Ayreon and Guilt Machine are both way better, but it's nice seeing the man try new things. He has a couple of other acts/releases that I want to listen to, but I have a lot on my plate

Arbouretum - The Gathering
I just wanted some chill music to ease into my day, which is why I chose the psych/stoner act Arbouretum and I got what I wanted. The Gathering is a great, relaxing piece for anyone who just wants to let their eyes go slack and zone out. The album was a great mix of tranced-out tunes and story-telling that reminds me of Warren Zevon. My personal favorite is "The Highwayman" because it combines both of these ideals; the music is simple and relaxing while the story is deep and entertaining. I wanted to do a full review of The Gathering, but I have a hard time reviewing psych albums, at least to the length of a full review. A great album.
[Edit] After hanging out with Andrew Clayton this week, he played me the version of "The Highwayman" by The Highwaymen (outlaw country supergroup featuring Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson). Half way through the song, I remarked that I had heard this song before, and recently, and after a little bit of a search, I re-came upon the Arbouretum version. I played it for Andrew and he liked it enough to take a copy of the group's album. Kind of a neat story I think.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Video: 3 Inches of Blood - The Goatriders Horde

My favorite song off of 3 Inches of Blood's last good album, Fire Up The Blades. I just like the thought of the ultimate evil, the armies of hell, riding goat... I don't know but that makes me laugh a little bit. I know this is an older video, and that the band has released some for their latest release, Here Waits Thy Doom, but as I led too above, I think their newest album is crap. No original members and only one singer - the growly one - really doesn't do it for me. But, this is why I choose this song, this album, because I view it as the last album by 3 Inches of Blood, anything else is a poor tribute.

Albums Listened To In April (57)

After the amazing listen counts of last month, I'm a little disheartened by this month's lackluster numbers; 56 total listens. This was affected by the fact that I stopped riding my bike to work (rainy season starting put the kabosch on that), work has been extra shitty of late (a depressed Klepto is not in the state of mind for reviews or listens), and that I got a new computer towards the end of the month which has taken up some time to get everything on track.
A lot of this months listens have been golden oldies, mostly because of the lack of motivation with writing and new music (going back to the shitty job thing) and that with the new computer, I have no rankings or organizations for my iPod. Thus, I need to re-listen to all of my favorites, classic rock/metal, and great releases before I focus too much on what is new for 2011. It's going to hamper this site somewhat, but I'm looking big-picture here. Do the grunt work now and eventually I can get The Guide running more smoothly in the near future.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

EP Shakedown: Trash Titan - Trash Titan

Trash Titan seems like a very accurate name for this group. The music they make is some rough and trashy stoner rock with a huge sound. The songs off of their self-titled EP move between being blues/retro rock and grooving southern rock, with the occasional thrash feeling within the breakdowns.

"Medicine" does a good job of setting the scene; with the southern-tinged rock coming in thick. The second track, "Sunny Day," is where the album begins to take off, where the mix of stoner genres is more apparent. Elements of southern, rock n' roll and thrash all make their play here. This leads to the more subdued but far superior, "Whiskey Love," the high point of the release. This one is straight-forward southern jam-stoner, with a moving rhythm and a entertaining story.