Monday, January 31, 2011

Video: The High Kings - "The Rocky Road To Dublin"

I love my heritage (British/Irish), and I love the music from the homeland. All of the traditional instruments and the songs that have been sung for one hundred years or more, really gets to me. I found this video and it made my hair stand on end. "The Rocky Road To Dublin" was written (at least they lyrics, the tune may have been around much longer) in the late 19th century, and quickly became a popular song for the masses. The lyrics have changed a bit over the time, and often times artists will change or add to the lyrics, putting their own spin on it. Wikipedia has twenty-eight artists listed as doing their own version of the song, but there has to be hundreds more. The list only incorporates recent versions (the earliest being from the 60s), and as the song is over one hundred years old, you know there has to be more. Anyway, enjoy this bit of Irish and British history, as told by the Irish Ballad group, The High Kings.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Band: Honcho

Another album that made a ton of people's 'Best of 2010' lists, Honcho's Battle of Wits really didn't seem like anything Scandinavian, based on the cover art and band name anyway. It seems like another South American foray into metal, which is no means a bad thing, those Latins do put out some killer tunes - mostly thrash and power metal - it's just that they aren't really well known for their bouts the stoner category. Ok before I get flack for that, I know there are some great Spanish stoner bands, but come on...Scandinavians are known the world over for they psychedelia and stoner abilities. But I digress; as it turns out Honcho is very Scandinavian, coming from Norway... I guess that would make them Norwegians but I don't know how the name classification thin works from that area.
Anyway back to the actual music; Honcho play an old school version of stoner rock, back when it was mostly known as desert rock. More akin to Kyuss and early Fu Manchu then the more modern era, powered on by Clutch or the more recent Monster Magnet, their music is more rooted in blues rock then anything truly metal. While this in itself isn't a bad thing, by any means, this style may hinder their acceptance into some of stoners biggest fans. I know that I prefer the more modern style of the genre, while the older generation enjoys the music they knew growing up, so the split may be generational in some regards. It's not a major concern to be had, as we all enjoy a bit of crossover, but it's a persistent thought I have whenever I listen to these 'older' bands.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Band: Black Land

Also seen on Heavy Planet

Threw on Black Land's newest album, Extreme Heavy Psych, just to have some filler after watching the Green Bay Packers mop the floor with the Bears to head to the Superbowl (I know this is a bit outdated, but I like to keep a few days of articles pre-written), looking for something to keep me riding the high. What I ended up hearing began as some solid stoner/doom metal, but slowly petered off into nothingness. I had a full wave of emotions with this one, from excited to disappointed, and I think it was really a let-down.

Right off the bat, with the first song "Psych No. 1," I heard a definite influence from Ogre, the grooves were heavy, methodical and slow, and the first half of the track was instrumental. Then the vocals kicked in - standard doom vocals, nothing sludge here - and the song took off. A great track to lead off the album; from title to composition. The following song, "Black Wizard," was of the same vein, this time focusing more on the vocals as a contributing member, but still keeping the music alive.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Hypnos 69 - Legacy

I originally thought that Hypnos 69 were a stoner act, and why not? The act has been getting a lot of attention on the various stoner and doom websites I read, so it would be easy claim to make. Later, I was scrolling through the Prog Archives best of 2010 list and saw Legacy within the top 5! Ok, so maybe they're a progressive stoner doom or something, something to warrant being included within Doommantia or The Obelisk. Nope. What I found out is that they are straight progressive rock band, akin to something more out of the early 70s then the modern era of the genre. Well, I was (and am) not disappointed by that in the least, I love me some prog, as I've mentioned on many an occasion, so I had no problem settling down and grabbing an ear-full of what Hypnos 69 had to offer.

The first thing of note on Legacy is the scope; these are some epic songs that Hypnos 69 recorded. The two longest songs, "Requiem (For A Dying Creed)" and "The Great Work," bookend the production, coming in at 17:51 and 18:27 respectively. These are also the group's best songs, capturing their attention to detail and their impressive musicianship. The opening track starts off calm and with a level of beauty, incorporating the keyboard as the central point. The music ebbs and flows nicely, as epic progressive music must to retain any semblance of attention from the listener.
The final song is by far their most progressive work, and consequently, their best piece. "The Great Work" lives up to it's name in a big way, using several instruments, horns and woodwinds, in noticeable positions throughout. I'm not sure if any of these are used earlier in the album, and if they are it isn't to a fully noticeable degree until this song. I know there is flute used throughout the album, but this song brings in saxophone, and I'm guessing at a xylophone as well (can't quite place it). Amongst the instruments there are some beautiful melodies performed, equaled with some great vocals. The song moves from a keyboard and flute focus, into a full-band electric configuration, then ends with a jamming jazz melody. There obviously is more, but this review is off of one listen, and I couldn't possible pull everything I want to out of an almost twenty minute song. This is the song I would go back to hear later, when I'm hunting and choosing singles, this is the one I'd like to pop up on my iPod from time to time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Retrospective: Stone Axe

Also seen on Heavy Planet:

I first found Stone Axe a while ago (I'm assuming 2009, seeing as that was when their debut album was out) randomly on one of the websites I peruse looking for what's new and amazing. At the time, I couldn't find any info on the band, no album reviews, nothing at all really (which makes me think it was closer to 2008 and the album was unreleased), and so their debut LP got shelved into my ever growing collection of music.
Fast forward to 2010, and I discover their second release, this time with a bit of fanfare and a little about the band out there. But still it wasn't enough for me to get excited and listen to the dual releases, and so it, once again, was shelved. Later that year, I decided to take this website thing seriously and I began listening to new music as fast as I could, and I also began reading more and more websites and fellow bloggers, and I began to notice the name Stone Axe popping up over and over. So, earlier this week, I decided to actually listen to the artist that I have been sitting on for at least two years, give them their time in the sun and the attention everyone seems to think they deserve. Well let me tell you, everyone was right. Stone Axe plays a very strong showing of post-grunge mixed in with retro-rock, but with each album taking it's own view of this description.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Awesome Websites: MS Paint Album Covers

For those of you who were a part of the old Stoner Rock Forums (RIP), this will be old news, but for people like me, this will be something cool you have to see. MS Paint Album Covers is a collection of pictures on Flicker of album covers of classic (word used loosely) album covers of genres all over. The info states it was started on the old Stoner Rock and Forever Doomed forums, and it sort of gained a life of it's own. There are thousands to scroll through, and more are being added every day so you'll never finish the list completely. Check it out and be amazed at some of the creativity and the preciseness that people put into these. I would never have that much patience.

Video: Slowed Down Rush

Originally I only hard the track, not the video, and I thought that someone had just taken "Working Man" by Rush and slowed it down considerably. But, after a bit more inspection of the site I found it on (I'm not going to link to it because they said that Rush sucks, and I just can't take that level of disrespect) I discovered a link for the video you see below you. Apparently a group of people (it doesn't say) decided to turn this classic Rush song into a down-tempo, doom song, and it's pretty damn good!
I had this idea some time ago, to create a doom tribute band that does nothing but re-record classic tunes in a slower and heavier format. Sort of like what Type O Negative did to "Paranoid," on their re-issue of The Origin of The Feces, "Black Sabbath," from the Nativity In Black tribute album to Black Sabbath, and again on "Black Sabbath (From the Satanic Perspective)," from their greatest hits album, The Least Worst of. I'm sure there are plenty of other acts that have taken this idea and ran with it, but the examples by ToN are the ones that are first to mind.
Anyway, this is a good idea, and a great song to start out with. I hope this group decides to make this a running theme, I'd like to see "Cary on Wayward Son" by Kansas slowed up and drudged about some day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Band: The Might Could

Also seen on Heavy Planet:

Whenever a great band breaks up, the members splinter off and create a plethora of really good follow-ups. Some of these off-shoots aren't as good as the original, others are par with it, and some exemplify the musicianship of the members of the original sound. The day that Alabama Thunderpussy broke up (about a month after I discovered them) was a sad day for stoner metal fans the world over. Sense then we've all been waiting, and wanting to hear what new project would be summoned from that corpse. A group with that much skill and potential could never go quietly into the night, there had to be more. That being said; from the ashes of Alabama Thunderpussy I present: The Might Could!

The Might Could's debut, self-titled, LP continues the general themes of Alabama Thunderpussy's music, it's gritty southern stoner, with a bit of gabled vocals - which took a bit for me to get used to - more akin to Fulton Hill then Open Fire. The songs are all groove-laden, heavily doom-influenced, and are guaranteed to melt your face. Of course amongst all this there is still a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, especially in the song titles "The Night They Shoot Ol' Dixie Down," an obvious play off of The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," and the following "I Don't Even Like Pantera Anymore," I'd like to say there is a story about Pantera in there somewhere, but it's one of their more screamy songs, and they only lyrics I can make out are the title line in the chorus.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Band: Under The Sun

Also seen on Heavy Planet:

A doom supergroup, with members from Pentagram, Cathedral, and Place of Skulls, Under The Sun has been mostly skipped over by the reviewing community (at least the sites I check out). This seems a shame, that men of such renown fly under the radar as long as they have. I plan to do my part to rectify this - what little influence I have over the internet - so read, listen, and enjoy listening to a modern-day supergroup that would make any doom fan blush: Under The Sun.

Man of Sorrow opens with an amazing track; "Stride" begins as a slow, trudging doom song - completely instrumental - then after a few minutes it begins to fade out, which makes you think a new song is about to begin. Just then the song volume and tempo ramps up into some of the best groove-oriented stoner/doom that I have heard in a while. And after they play their fill, say their piece (oh yea there are vocals in this part), they return to the original melody and theme, of soul-crushing doom. This is how you are greeted to Under The Sun, and it sums up the album perfectly. This is a group well-versed in the arts of both doom and stoner, and they are not afraid to show you ass-hats how to rock.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Album: The Decemberists - The King is Dead

For those of you who know me, the Decemberist are one of my favorite bands, and they do not disappoint with their newest album 'The King is Dead' (2011). 

For those of you who listened to 'The Hazards of Love' Album (2009), it is a departure from the epic song cycle, but even so, this new album really has a lot of heart and  moves pass their older albums.  The evolution of the group has really brought out some of the best stuff I have heard in a while.

Its choice of opening song, "Don't Carry It All" gives a real atmosphere and energy to the album, which also introduces the harmonica and fiddle as featured instruments for the band and gives a very Petty/Springsteen/Young sound to the group, which, if you ask me, is pretty awesome.  It is acoustic heavy, which is always great to me, and the added help of Gillian Welch on harmonies gives the much lighter album and full and rich sound.  Don't be afraid though, songs like, "Why We Fight" and "Dear Avery" still have the sound and feel that early Decemberists fans will recognize.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Current Trend: New Music

I know it's been a while sense I've written a Current Trend, but honestly now that I'm reviewing so much music (keep those submissions coming:, it's hard to go on full-swing trends of what I want to listen to. I've got some prog on my future, and I've recently acquired quite a bit of doom, so those two beasts may be rearing their heads here soon, but I doubt it'll be enough for a full-blown trend. Listening to nothing but new music (to my ears) is what I've been doing, and seeing as it's the best I can do, it is my most recent Current Trend.

In January every single album I have heard has been 100% brand new to me. The genres are all over; stoner (mostly), doom, NWOBHM, alternative rock, progressive metal, folk, psychedelic, sludge, instrumental, post-metal, glam/hair metal, and even a bit of comedy music mixed in. There will most likely several more genres added before February, as the month is only a bit past half over, and the entire list will be up for your viewing pleasure at the end of this one.
I would like to say there is some underlying theme to it all, but it's just as eclectic as my tastes. Most of the albums are making it into a review of some kind (currently of the thirty-nine albums in the list (so far) over twenty are included), and already a few are probably going to be contenders for my end of the year 'Best of' lists.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekly Dose of Prog: Ciccada - A Child In The Mirror

New weekly segment (not something I usually do, I'm trying new things) dedicated to the genre of progressive rock and metal. This blog has been mostly about doom and stoner, but I love prog music so I'm going to try and make some time for this genre as well:

I was searching through Prog Archives and I discovered their '2010 Top Albums' page (now altered to '2010-11 Top Albums'). Being a fan of progressive music and not really having too much modern prog in my collection, I decided to listen to a few of the best prog albums of 2010, so voted by the folks at Prog Archives. The first album is in Italian, so I skipped right over it, moving on to Haken and Ciccada in the number two and three locations, respectively (Also bands of note: Hypnos 69 is in the number four spot, Amplifier in fourteen, Samsara Blues Experiment at sixty-two, Agalloch at eighty-seven, and Cloudkicker at the ninety-eighth location). So I quickly scooped up these two albums, figuring that I deserve some damn good progressive rock and metal in my life. And so, I'm writing reviews about both of them; this one being about A Child In The Mirror by Ciccada.
Ciccada plays a symphonic-prog that is actually quite refreshing. In an era where there are so many cookie-cutter acts and bands that do nothing but hedge to their idols, it's nice to see someone out there trying new things. They incorporate many instruments into their sound, xylophone, clarinet, flute, and I'm sure some more that I was unable to pull from the music. The vocals are female, which gives the whole record a haunting beauty that pairs well with the alternative instruments quite well. They merge the classic style of progressive rock (King Crimson, Gentle Giant, etc) with a Jethro Tull-esq baroque melody, and each song that is in English (there are a couple that are in Greek) are wonderful.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

5 Quick Album Reviews

SardoniS - SardoniS
Damn good instrumental metal. SardoniS was sent to me by Reg at Heavy Planet to listen and review. I had actually already owned the album, but I appreciated the thought. That was back in September or October, and I just now listened to their debut album. I was in no rush because of it's instrumental nature and I've never been a huge fan of the genre. Like sludge metal, I think that I am not the ideal person to review instrumental music, just because I am tainted against it from the get-go. But I had just woken up and I wanted something simple to enter the day with so I turned on SardoniS. What followed was anything but simple, SardoniS is one of the most complex and richly sounding instrumental bands I've ever heard. The album transcends genres, all of which sounded at least half-way decent. This is something very difficult to do without the aid of vocals of any kind, and they somehow kept it all fresh throughout the album, something else that is difficult (for me) with instrumental bands. While not all the tracks were winners - it had it's share of ups and downs - it was an easy album to get through, and I didn't find myself wandering away in thought as I do with most bands. I was continuously surprised and entranced with the differences of sound, track to track. This is something to listen to, if you're a fan of instrumental stoner metal or not.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Retrospective: JPT Scare Band

I was sent a copy of JPT Scare Band's newest album, Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden, directly from Ripple Music, and I realized that I've never actually heard anything from this group. I knew I had a few of their albums, so I decided to listen to what I had before I got to the brand new. A bit of forewarning, I do not have their full discography (but I would like to) so I'm only including those albums I was able to find. So if you have Acid Acetate Excursion, Rape Of Titan's Sirens, or Rumdum Daddy shoot me a message and share the wealth!
First a little of the legend: The JPT Scare Band formed in the early 70s but didn't actually release any albums until the mid-90s, being content just to jam and write. So for almost thirty years they were as underground as you could possibly be - unheard of and very little way to spread your fan base beyond the places you gig. After they decided to start recording and distributing, the group began to make headway; Classic Rock Magazine dubbed them "The Lost Pioneers of Heavy Metal," Rhapsody cited their album Past Is Prologue within their list of the 10 Essential Proto-Metal Albums, and they were scooped up by Ripple Music, to release Acid Blues Is The White Man's Burden. Not to shabby for only being on the scene for a little over a decade. Obviously they do what they do well, which is what I am about to discover.

Sleeping Sickness - 2000
Well I started at the beginning (of my collection) with Sleeping Sickness, which introduced me to the groups vintage, retro-rock/proto-metal style of playing. Imagine crossing Led Zeppelin with The Allman Brothers and mix in a pinch of Wishbone Ash (yes I'm 24 and I know this band), that amalgamation of sound and noise is what this album of JPT Scare Band is to me. The album is a modern version of retro-rock, coming straight from the early 70s. Sleeping Sickness contains some of the groups longest songs, adding a bit of progressive rock to the mix, but also contains some solid rockers too. The vocals are reminiscent of Zep, the song complexity is that of The Allmans, and the song instrumental sections come a la Ash. A must have for anyone who thinks that rock died in the 80s.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Awesome Websites: Stoner Rock Ohio

Another awesome website for you lot. Stoner Rock Ohio is a website that was brought to my attention by both Heavy Planet and Captain Beyond Zen, and they specialize in bringing blogs from the metal/stoner/doom community directly to their fans. They don't do much in the act of writing material, instead they collect material from other established blogs and file them into an easy-to-read format. With a quick flick of the eye you can peruse the latest seven posts for ten music sites - and a little Suicide Girls for you chick hookup - including Heavy Planet, Captain Beyond Zen, The Soda Shop, The Obelisk, Blabbermouth, Planet Fuzz, The Sludge Swamp, Doommantia, and of course, yours truly, The Klepto's Guide.
On top of this mighty collection of music researchers and writers (I'm sure they will be adding more) they have mini-reviews (called Miniviews) with, what I'm guessing to be, local artists (Ohio based). Also included is a ton of resources for Ohio-based bands, and bands in general, from CraigsList postings about musicians wanted and the like to general reviews from blogs about guitars, basses and tabulateure. It's a one-stop-shop for musicians from the Ohio area, and also a great place for those world-wide.
I look forward to seeing this project grow with renown and connections. And I think every state should have a website like this, and hell major metropolitan areas should as well, to spread the knowledge of like minded groups, to combine people who were ment to jam together, to get the fucking word out. Stoner Rock Ohio, trailblazers, trend setters, the future.

Monday, January 17, 2011

5 Quick Negative Album Reviews

Even though I listen to so much music, the quality overall is pretty damn stellar. Only a handful of albums and artists ever raise my ire. Because of this, I'm grouping what little I didn't like together. It makes it easier for me, and I hope, for you.

Mahatma - Gilgamesh
Pretty much every time I listen to an instrumental band - of any genre - I always draw reference to the Cloudkicker article I wrote a while back and the good and bad with instrumental bands. I really need to write a stand-alone article about this subject, but until then just know that Mahatma embodies what is bad with the instrumental genre. The majority of their songs on Gilgamesh are droning, repetitive doom songs, with the same rhythm repeated seemingly endlessly for eight or nine minutes. The opening track “Blood On Uruk” is a perfect example; when I was listening to this song, I mistakenly thought I had chosen the first track from the Under The Sun album, Man of Sorrow (which will get a review here soon). While I thought it was “Stride” (the first track off Man of Sorrow) I was ok with it, because it sounded like the intro for a movie, when the hero is walking up a road with the credits spliced in. I figured it to be an intro piece, and the fact that it was that repetitive and dull didn't matter, because soon the good music would chime in. Eventually I figured out it was Mahatma I was listening to, and my expectation that the album would get better was cast aside. The disc did not get any more interesting when it moved to the second track, and most of the album fell into this, dull and repetitive, category. The only two songs that stood out in any way were “Enkidu's End” and “Find The Sacred Herb.” The former was a good rock song, it was energetic and had several different melodies and styles, while the latter was more akin to the rest of the album, but it had some sweet grinding guitars, just simple chugging throughout, but it made the whole picture work. The rest of the disk, just throw it away, or use it for background noise for TV or movies, when you just need some filler while the characters talk or drive or something.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Awesome Songs: Rush - "2112"

This one is going to be a long one, partially because "2112" itself clocks in at over twenty minutes, but also because there is so much to discuss...and I love this song. It is filled with everything I love about progressive rock songs; there is an underlying story (this one of science-fiction origin), there are large segments of amazing instrumentals, and many of the elements that are seen at the beginning of the song are brought up again within later segments. This song is one of my favorites of all time, and I can't even count how many times I have heard it over they years. Enough that I've had time to go over every nuance of it's composition and story - to the point that I can explain parts to my father, who has been listening to the song for a decade longer then I. Fucking amazing.

While I grew up with Rush, the most of the epic "2112" was the little blurb they play on the radio, and on their Chronicles greatest-hits album, "2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx," which at almost seven minutes in length (very long for a radio track) still pales in comparison to the original version. My father, realizing that I was missing out on one of the best songs in rock history, tried to explain to me the awesomeness of the full track, but without my own way to judge, it did little for me. He fixed this dilemma at around my sixteenth birthday (I can't remember the actual year), purchasing for me the entire album 2112. Here I am, almost ten years later, still rocking out to a song that was released ten years before I was born, it is just that good.

Rush - "2112" (Listen while you read)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Video: The Beards - If Your Dad Doesn't Have a Beard, You've Got Two Mums

It's been a while sense I've done a Video, I've just been working hard on real articles, and given no thought to videos. But I happened upon this one at The Obelisk Forums and it made me laugh. I've already told of my love for The Beards, so here is their music video for "If Your Dad Doesn't Have a Beard, You've Got Two Mums." Simply done, and funny.

I find it hard to believe that a man with a mighty beard as that, could pull off those high-notes, but I guess the beard gives him power like Samson... or something.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Awesome Websites: Tooting Bizarre

Found this one through my blog connections, is a British record label's website, but this is no ordinary record label. You see this one gives all of the music they have away... for free! They have fourteen acts and thirty one albums/EPs for you to enjoy. The groups span a bunch of genres, from doom and post-metal, to folk and hip-hop. There is a little for everyone, so why not give it a look?

Now, I did scoop some artists up, but I haven't had a chance to listen to them at all yet, but the artists available include:

50ft Panda - Stoner/sludge/prog (3 Albums)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Band: Slugstain

Also seen on Heavy Planet

I'm trying to finish up all the pending articles of 2010 I have stashed away somewhere, and so expect several posts dedicated to last year. The first one being the band Slugstain.

Sent over from Heavy Planet, I think I was hesitant listening to Slugstain initially because their only release so far is their Demo. As a rule, I don't like demos; often times they are of bad recording quality and/or the songs change drastically from demo to debut LP, and in some extreme cases the band's style itself shifts, so you may not even recognize the band come their next release.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Awesome Songs: The Cars - "My Best Friend's Girl"

Here is a new segment that I've been thinking a lot about; some of my favorite songs, with an explanation of why I love it. Often times the song in question will be a very narrative piece, and in that case most of my article will be describing the story within the music. It's purely subjective and I will be diving in all sorts of genres, these are my favorite tracks after all.

To keep my first post fairly simple, I'm going to go with one of the best known singles by the pop-punk band The Cars, "My Best Friend's Girl," released way back in 1978. I'm sure some would question this choice, and the song itself isn't really that great. It tells the tale of a man's ex who started dating his best friend. The main line of the chorus sums it all up: "She's my best friend's girl, but she used to be mine." Simple 70s pop.

Tour Dates: The Grand Astoria

Usually not something I do, but I think I owe The Grand Astoria for giving me their newest album (check out the review and FREE download), so here are their upcoming tour dates:

01.07-Pskov (RU)-Tir
01.08-St.Petersburg (RU)-Mod
01.14-Moscow (RU)-Tabula Rasa
01.15-Ryazan (RU)-DK
01.16-Vladimir (RU)-Central Bar
01.21-Tallinn (EST)-Rockstars
01.22-Viljandi (EST)-Tehas
01.25-Daugavpils (LV)-Rockabilly
01.27-Prague (CZ)-Final Art Music Club
02.03-Leeuwarden (NL)-Mukkes
02.04-Amsterdam (NL)-The Cave
02.05-Zwolle (NL)-Eureka
02.06-Gerolstein (GER)-Nachtcafe
02.11-Alytus (LT)-House Box
02.12-Jelgava (LV)-Balereja
02.13-Preili (LV)-Pakac

So if you happen to live in Russia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Germany and the other countries which I don't know by their abbreviation (LV, NL, LT) go hear some sweet metal!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2010 In Review

A quick recap of what went on in 2009: I had 682 total full album plays throughout the year, of which 35 artists had five or more total plays (this of course not counting random songs). I am sure I will crush these numbers this year.
In 2010 I was much more focused on this website, and music in general. I know I didn't fully grasp my duties here until the last quarter of the year, but I am going to attempt to keep my current rate of posting (probably go back to every other day) as long as I can keep it up. I also want to bring in a few more writers to my little projects - both people I know in the real world, and some people from the net. So stay tuned for that!

This year, after going over the impressive amount of artists, albums, and genres that I have listened to, here is what I have accomplished:
886 album plays (this of course is entire albums, not the random tracks I listen throughout the year), and 386 total artists (including compilations and various artist works), bringing each artist an average of 2.3 plays each. It doesn't sound like much this way but look at the seemingly-never-ending list of albums and you'd be impressed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Band: Horn of The Rhino

Also seen on Heavy Planet:

For a band that's labeled as a thrash doom metal on The Metal Archives, I really can't say I heard much thrash at all. Horn of the Rhino is a pretty solid doom band, and although I was surprised to see them forming, getting signed and releasing a full-length album all in 2010, I then realized that it is the band Rhino, just under a new name (for legal reasons it says). Oh well, Rhino is new to me too, so it's all kosher.
I'm not going to lie, what drew me to this album was the artwork. Something about a pregnant skull-faced woman speaks to me. Maybe I'm deranged or secretly a serial killer, but bitchin' artwork is bitchin' artwork. Just like the Infectious Grooves and The Beards enticed me with a name, Weight Of Coronation drew me in from the picture on the cover. It's also how I shop for books, and it hasn't let me down yet (take that you naysayers!).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rant: Special Edition Tracks

Ok so I'm starting a new section, and if you couldn't tell from the title, it's just going to be me ranting about the world of music. I've had some previous articles that fall under this category and so I've redacted them to follow suit. So sit down, shut up and let me go about my business.

1987 Original
One trend that has been quickly picking up steam over the last two decades is that of the Remastered album; where a 'classic' or otherwise notable album from a band is worked on to make the tracks sound better and to smooth out any rough patches. This is a really good trend, as it helps a younger audience be introduced to these older bands, long-time fans get to hear every bass line that was previous drowned out by the guitars, and it's a good way for a music geek (like myself) to find bands that they would never otherwise be shown. All good things.
What has also occurred - which to me is more of an annoyance then a true negative - is that on most of these re-releases they incorporate extra, 'special edition,' tracks at the end (it's much more annoying when they insert them in the middle, ruining the classic song order). Now if these tracks are a collection of B-Sides or cover songs or something that did not quite make the album, they are perfectly acceptable. It's when an originally thirty minute album (as many albums were in the 70s) is stretched to over sixty minutes, by nothing more then radio edits or remixes or demo versions of songs. This is unnecessary, and and annoying to someone who wants to listen to these albums.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Band: The 1-10's

Also seen on Heavy Planet:

Another day, another new band to the scene. I know almost nothing about The 1-10's and there isn't a lot of info about them on the web, which I blame Google's inability to properly search 'The 1-10's.' The only reliable thing I can find, besides other reviews of their debut album, Fighting for a Golden Age, and the like, is their BandCamp page (where you can buy the LP or get 3 singles for free), so this is what I am going off of. The claim to be compared to "Alice in Chains, Wolfmother, and Queens of the Stone Age," and being "labeled as an 'angrier Mumford and Sons,'" whatever that means. Honestly their description does nothing to describe the act's sound, and honestly, I'm not sure if I could do any better.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Band: Fen

So, Fen is something....unique. It took me about half of Trails Out of Gloom just to get used to their particular style. It's progressive rock alright, but it just seems...different. It's not heavy by any means, and it has the usual progressive elements, but it also includes a lot of acoustic guitar (with an electric backing) and several sections with layered vocals - which is not a bad thing, but it's something you don't hear much nowadays. As I said, different. Trails Out of Gloom has popped up on a lot of people's 'Best of 2010' lists so I wanted to see what the fuss was about, but I can't really follow their logic.
At first take of Fen's 4th album, Trails Out of Gloom, the vocals and the music don't seem together 100%. They seem to both try to pull the songs in a different direction; the background musicians seemingly wanting to go heavier and heavier, but the singer keeps it light and fragile. It's almost like an alternative rock band decided to add progressive elements into their sound without really changing their original style too much. It is a little hard as a self-diagnosed metalhead to fully acclimate myself into their style, even with me being a fan of varied genres and styles, but once I was able too I enjoyed it a bit more.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Album: Stryper - The Covering

As I said in my 2011 wish-list, I have never even heard much from Stryper, let alone claim to be a fan. I'm just not into the glam rock of the 80s and so, besides a single or two, this band never was brought into the foreground of my musical experience. I was just going to pass over their newest album, The Covering (their 7th I believe), and not give it a second thought, but then I saw that it was a cover album. For anyone who has been visiting me here for very long (or AngryChairs), you know I love cover songs and albums. I think that if a band can turn a good song great - or the few times a crappy song good - then that is something to be held in high regard. There's an art-form to a good cover, and so few get it right that when it happens, it's something special. Anyway, because of my love of cover albums, and only because of this, I decided to pick out The Covering from my massive collection and give it a spin. I was not disappointed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sweden Says Metal Addiction Is A Disability

So this one is a bit old (from back in 2007) but I just found it and I thought it was interesting. Actually I laughed out loud, so enjoy the idea and the story.

Apparently, Sweden has decided that a dependency on that of heavy metal is now an accepted disability. It seems that a Mr. Roger Tullgren (no that's not him in the picture) has won his case to make his love of the adored genre something that he should receive a government stipend to continue. He claims that because of his frequent concert attendance (over 300 shows in 2006), it has been impossible to maintain a job - part-time or full.
Tullgren was seen by three shrinks and eventually received a letter stating, "Roger feels compelled to show his heavy metal style. This puts him in a difficult situation on the labor market. Therefore he needs extra financial help," we should all be so lucky. In addition to extra 'financial help' he is allowed to miss any amount of work he chooses to attend these shows, as long as he makes it up at a later date. Also he gets to play his 'loud music' at work and dress as he feels (corpse paint anyone?) to reflect his love for music. The article goes on to say Tullgren has had this 'disability' for over 36 years, and has spent the last 10 years of his life trying to get compensation for it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Album: Black Spiders - Sons of The North

 Also seen on Heavy Planet:

After the impressive showing of the three previous releases (all EPs) by Black Spiders I knew that their debut LP was going to be something special - boy was I right. Where the EPs, St. Peter, Cinco Hombres (Diez Cojones), and No Goats In The Omen, all set the stage for the band's style and skill, Sons of The North framed it all and put it up to hang in a museum.
Two of the songs, "St. Peter" and "Just Like A Woman,"  were previously released, but these are some of the strongest songs of the album, so I can see why they would choose to put them on Sons of The North. While this was my first time hearing the record I found myself humming the tune to "St. Peter" to myself as I lay in bed. Even now, a solid 24 hours later, I can still vaguely make out some of the lyrics - in my world of music immersion, that is some staying power! I have all year, but I am in a rush to hear some of these tracks again.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Melvins To Play Every Friday In January

According to, the legendary sludge act (the) Melvins will be playing a weekly show, every Friday of January. Each week they will be playing a different set of albums, in their entirety.

The playlist as I know it:

January 7:  Colossus of Destiny, Lysol and Eggnog
January 14: Most of their 1983 line-up will be present (King Buzzo, Dale Crover and Mike Dillard–Crover will most likely be playing bass).  Houdini
January 21: Melvins “Lite” line-up featuring only Buzzo and Crover; Bullhead
January 28: Full line-up; Stoner Witch

So if you happen to be living in Los Angeles, or are near enough to travel there (or want to cough out some dough), stop by Club Spaceland and hear the legends perform!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On To 2011!!

I'm bored at work so here is a quick little list of some albums I'm looking forward to in 2011, organized by band name. Of course this is just a preliminary report, and nothing to be taken too seriously. It's just my wish list.

I know there are a ton more bands releasing new music, especially in the underground. This is just a quick list I found without too much research or effort spent. I guess you could call this my wish list for mainstream (or at least semi-mainstream) metal acts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Album: The Grand Astoria - Omnipresence (With Free Download)

Also seen on Heavy Planet:

The folks of the stoner/doom rocking band The Grand Astoria have been kind enough to send me a copy of their band new album, Omnipresence, launching today. And while The Soda Shop beat me to it, you came to hear what The Klepto has to say, and I will not let you down, so here it goes.
Now that I've heard their first two albums, I'm a little better versed in this group, and my first impressions of the album is that this is a bit of a different record. It's got more varied sounds and influences, many of which are much blatantly mixed into the music. The first track, "Doomsday Party," is a rock 'n roller, closer to something The Atomic Bitchwax would release, while the next song. "Hungry & Foolish," is a grooving straight-forward stoner song. The third song, "Mania Grandiosa," sounds straight off of a Black Sabbath album; think "Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots" off of Paranoid and you would have a perfect idea of the sound of the song (mostly in the beginning and with the vocals throughout, but you get the idea). Then the next song, the instrumental "Omni-absence," is a return to the previously known style of the band. The rest of Omnipresence jumps around all of these styles until track 7, "The Song of Hope," which is downright funk, fucking weird. The album is all over, but it works, it really works. It's the right measure of eclecticness and bitchin' music that makes is sound amazing.

Albums Listened To In December (60)

Jesus, what a month, and Satan, what a year! I can't believe that 2010 is finally over, still with so much great music left unheard. As the calender dates switch, I'm going to try and finish off some more of the 2010 albums, before the flood of new releases takes over my life. That gives me a month at the most to get the most out of it all, the challenge continues!
Also I had a crazy idea to go through all of the 'Best of 2010' lists from some of my fellow bloggers - the albums I haven't heard - too see what I am missing. I'll be skipping over the obvious death and black and -core albums, but the ones that sound interesting I'm going to try and listen. I figure I read these folks' blogs every day, they have to know something I may not. So those are my dual challenges for January.

I am going to attempt to continue my daily posting routine, at least until I get burnt out or something. I am happy to announce that I will be bring in a new writer to help me with these duties, Gryphyn, and also to give her own special view of the world of music. Hopefully with her, The Pyro, (and perhaps one more person), I can turn this blog into a true force to be reckoned with!

Because of the extensiveness that I have documented this past month, I won't be going through my usual 'good, ok, bad' sections. I feel I have made my opinions well enough known for the time being. I just want it known that even though this is a kind of short month an overwhelming percentage of them were brand spanking new albums - both to my ears, and to the year - something to be proud of.
And as a last comment, I wanted The Klepto's Guide To Awesome Music to reach 2000 visitors for the month, something it did and then some! So this is my thanks to you, my dear readers, keep coming back and let me know (via email or comment) if there is something you would like to be reviewed, or if you have any ideas for articles. You are my public and I write for you (and the misplaced value of self-worth).

Have a good day and a good year!