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.