Friday, April 26, 2013
Corporate Dynamite's opening track is "Fear No Shield". Part I of the song is named "The Getaway". It has an acoustic guitar intro that is very medieval sounding. Heavy electric guitars soon kick in, lending a bluesy hard rock feel. As Haldor Von Hammer's low, rough vocals hit, he sings intensely and powerfully. The song's main riff is catchy, and the bass line is deep and striking. "The Getaway" ends in the acoustic manner in which it began, but the song continues as Part II: "The Standoff" for another two minutes. It incorporates similar themes as in Part I, but with a heavier sound.
Following "Fear No Shield" is the intriguing "Odin Be Praised". This song wastes no time being hard and heavy right from the start. Von Hammer's intense singing style is very obvious on this track, as it becomes so vehement. The way he sings the line "Good GAWD / Mah LAWD / I gotta get my friction on!" in the chorus amuses me to know end and makes this song so memorable. The vocals aren't the only stand-out part of "Odin Be Praised." It features a good guitar solo accompanied by some seriously heavy drumming. I also enjoyed the Viking imagery in the song, as it fits really well with the rock 'n' roll image and attitude.
Corporate Dynamite's title track has a brief spoken intro, which sounds like a police scanner type radio playing a conversation between two men about a building that's on fire. One of them slowly and very deliberately says "burn baby burn" right before the music hits. The music itself starts with a heavy bass riff from Jason Boten, then Ricc Terranova and Jason Monroe join in on guitar. Von Hammer's vocals are his most forceful yet, as he sings about rebelling against the corporate world and "sticking it to the man". The chanted "Stand up! My fist raised!" lyric is just as stirring as it is catchy.
The album's final track, "Destiny's Child", begins with the barely noticeable sound of someone racking the slide on a gun. It's so quick you just might miss it if you're not paying enough attention. Drummer Ryan Marcum starts playing a slow march and the guitars are gradually added into the mix. The guitar is a lot mellower on "Destiny's Child" than the others, and the tones often sound much brighter. This overall bright sound contrasts with the rather harsh vocals that appear on this track. Occasionally, the vocals do lighten up, especially at the end of the refrain.
"When the Bear is Hungry (He Will Eat)" is Corporate Dynamite's fun and light-hearted bonus track. It is predominately the title repeated over and over with shouted backing vocals, but it's actually a cool song. The guitar solo is brief, but it is very good--much better than what I expected from such a goofy song.
Although the shortest song from Corporate Dynamite clocks in at 3:41 ("Odin Be Praised") and the longest at 7:06 ("Fear No Shield"), many of the songs feel like they drag on a bit.
This probably has something to do with the Superchief's style, which is kind like the metal version of a jam band. Clutch is the only band I can think to draw a comparison with.
Superchief's Corporate Dynamite has such an unrefined sound. Listening to it almost feels like listening to a demo, but a well put together one. The album's name Corporate Dynamite and the ongoing theme of rebellion lead me to believe that this is just the sound Superchief was going for. They definitely succeeded in getting their point across. Superchief's particular sub-genre of metal is hard to pinpoint, but any rockers who are into the bands like Clutch--and others that play the bluesy and seemingly endless jam session type songs--will certainly enjoy this band and their album Corporate Dynamite.
6 1/2 out of 10 stars
Superchief on Facebook
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
But--who is this band Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, and why are so many people willing to pay that kind of money for a record?
Well, no one knows exactly who Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats truly are. Only going by the names "Uncle Acid", "Kat", and "Red", fans don't have many details about the band members themselves. On top of that, they have kept a very mysterious persona. There aren't even any live performance photos of this band. This should change, however, in March. The band has shows scheduled in London for the 22nd and 23rd.
I can, though, give you some insight into why this band and their album are becoming so popular. Imagine this--Black Sabbath riffs combined with Alice Cooper horror imagery. It's pretty incredible, if you ask me. When a friend first sent me a link to an Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats YouTube video, I honestly thought they were some unknown cult band from the '60s I'd just never heard of before. Obviously that wasn't the case, but it did seem plausible. Blood Lust sounds very much like it was produced to sound vintage.
Opening Blood Lust is the track "I'll Cut You Down". It begins with the eerie sound of flipping TV channels. The guitar soon kicks in, and the riff sounds like something from an old Stooges song. It then becomes more Sabbath-esque as the song goes on. The vocals are muffled and quiet compared to the instruments, and it adds to the mystique surrounding Uncle Acid and their music. There is a horror theme in the lyrics right off the bat, particularly with the line, "I lust for women's blood". The part of the chorus with the "I want you, and I need you" lyric is also quite catchy.
"Death's Door" follows, and it has a distinctly heavier bass line than "I'll Cut You Down". It is also much slower and has a laid back stoner rock feel. The vocals remain slow and mysterious. I particularly enjoy this track from Blood Lust because of the impressive guitar solo in the middle.
I really dig the song titles from Blood Lust. "I'm Here to Kill You" just sounds awesomely evil. The opening riffs of this track almost sound like some old school Maiden or NWOBHM, but it quickly turns more prog rock when the keyboard is added in. The vocals are still muffled, bordering on indecipherable at times. "I'm Here to Kill You" offers a change of pace, as it is the least Sabbath-y sounding tracks so far. And despite all the prog rock stylings and the intense keyboard instrumental, it is one of the shortest songs on the album.
My favorite track from Blood Lust is "Ritual Knife". It begins with a heavy and looming bass line. The memorable underlying guitar riff is dark, menacing, and just plain creepy. I wouldn't want to be driving alone in the dark and have this song come on! I initially stumbled upon this song via one of the band's YouTube videos
"Down to the Fire" is a bonus track for the this re-re-release of Blood Lust. It is an acoustic number that gives off a really cool Zeppelin vibe. It is much different from the rest of the album, but it's a worthy addition.
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats' album Blood Lust is a fantastic album--even one of the year's best. My only real complaint is that some of the riffs are repetitive and overused. For instance, the track "I'll Cut you Down" sounds an awful lot like the track called "13 Candles". That kind of threw me off the first time or two I listened to the record, because I thought the first track was somehow repeating itself or being revisited for whatever reason. Other than that, I can't say anything bad about Blood Lust.
Frequent readers of this site probably know that I'm always excited to hear bands that incorporate a classic or "vintage" sound into their material. I am especially pleased about a band like Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, because their music goes so far back to such an early period of metal. I can't wait to hear what they do next, and I won't have too much longer either-- a brand new album is slated for release in March of 2013.
8 1/2 out of 10 stars
Metal Blade Records/Rise Above Records/Riot! Entertainment
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats on Facebook
Youngblood opens with "Redemption Blues" which kind of sounds like Judas Priest's "Electric Eye" at first. It then winds down but soon speeds back up into a completely different direction. "Redemption Blues" becomes a fast guitar-driven heavy rock song with powerful and dramatic vocals from lead singer Toschie. The chorus containing the lyrics "It's safe to say that I'm going nowhere" is catchy and instantly sucks you in. The guitar solo in the middle is absolutely blistering, and this classic sounding song has me impressed with Youngblood right from the get-go.
Right away, the band's classic hard rock and heavy metal influences become strikingly obvious. Don't let that fool you though--each song is unique, and none of them sound the least bit dated.
"Straight into Your Grave" comes next. The hard and heavy intro riffs are reminiscent of Motley Crue's earlier stuff. This track's guitar solo is fast, intricate, and intense. The guitar work of Ice Dale and Thomas Tofthagen is superb and the two mesh together flawlessly. Kjetil Greve's drumming on "Straight into Your Grave" is pronounced and rapid, also adding to the Crue vibe I get from the song.
One track that just strikes me as fun is "There Goes a Lady". It is sexy in a sleazy rock 'n' roll sort of way. It's not as fast or explosive as any of the previous tracks--it's more of a hard-edged bluesy rock song than heavy metal. The lyrics' subject matter about a seductive "maneater" type woman almost makes this song like a modern day "Strutter."
"Cards with the Devil" is very exciting, in that makes you feel like you're in a horror movie. The lyrics are full of imagery and tell a story. I especially dig the lines "Midnight, they reanimate / The living dead knock on my door" and "The grave digger got his eye on me / He carved my name with his bony hand". They're so descriptive and make it feel so real.
"Cards with the Devil" also features a brief organ solo before the guitar solo, but it certainly doesn't sound like your typical Scandanavian keyboard-heavy metal.
A track that is a bit more prog rock-ish is "The Open Sea". Its vivid opening lyric--"Hold your head under water as you reach across the sky"--is layered over a subtle organ and sounds as if it is being sung underwater. A strong bass riff and guitars join as the song picks up. The heavy guitars along with the increasingly prominent organ really give this song a '70s Deep Purple or Rainbow feel.
Audrey Horne's Youngblood is one of the most impressive albums--if not THE most impressive album--I've heard in a long time. The first time I played the album, it was one of those rare moments where I knew right from the first riff of the first track just how great it was going to be. I honestly can't say enough without coming across as some idiot saying, "ZOMG!!! This album RAWKSSS! Old-school metallllll FTW!!!" This album does get me wound up like that! In all seriousness though, rock fans who haven't yet heard of Audrey Horne and Youngblood are definitely missing out on something incredible.
8 1/2 out of 10 stars
Audrey Horne Official Website
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Evil United opens with the track "Blasphemer". The song begins with a mysterious sound effect, but the guitars and drums kick in right away. Evil United certainly brings the metal, but the vocals were not at all what I expected. The singing was mostly high-pitched, throaty screams. I was expecting something much lower, almost a growl. "Blasphemer" is very rhythmic and fast paced, which gives the song a thrash metal feel. The guitar work is fantastic, and although the solo is short, it really packs in the intensity.
"Speak" is slower than the opening track, but it is by no means a slow song. It begins with begins with lower, deeper guitar tones. When the vocals hit, they contain the high-pitched screams, but it quickly turn into more of a melodic singing style. Vocalist Jason McMaster's singing voice becomes much lower and is at times quite melodramatic. It almost sounds like two different people are singing on this track because of the great variation. "Speak" features another good solo--one with a bright power metal sound that really contrasts with the lower tones present in the rest of the song.
"Wargod" also features the varied vocal style from "Speak." The drumming is fast and heavy, and the guitars are, again, fantastic. It is definitely a thrash-inspired track.
"Fifty Year Storm" is preceded by the melodic instrumental "Dark Serenade". It is incredibly fast and heavy, and it really takes you by surprise because the brief "Dark Serenade" seems so calm. I quite enjoyed the vocals on this track. They're not too high in most of the parts of the song, and they seem to fit the musical style better. You can really hear the distinct lead and rhythm guitars working together here, especially during the intro.
Evil United's final track, "Hexorcism", begins with an almost demonic voice speaking the line, "I'm speaking to the entity inside of this child!". The screaming vocals hit, repeating the same phrase. The name is cool, like several of the other evil and "metal" sounding titles--"Dawn of Armageddon," "Walking to Sodom", among others. What I enjoy most about "Hexorcism" is that it boasts one of the longer guitar solos on the album. It is has a melodic power metal sound, which is a lot brighter than the rest of this deep, dark song. The contrast is fascinating.
Evil United has put together a very fresh, modern sounding debut album. One can really hear the influence of other metal styles such as thrash and power metal over the course of the record. I didn't really care for some of the vocals on this album. Jason McMaster's high-pitched moments kind of came across as a bad Bobby Blitz impression, but really throaty. The variation in his singing style was often distracting, and I couldn't quite tell what he was going for. There were times when the vocals just didn't seem to complement the musical style. However, it was nice to hear something new and super heavy that didn't use a low guttural growl the ENTIRE time. Despite all of this, the top notch guitar work from TC "Bird" Connally and John "JV4" Valenzuela made Evil United completely worth my time spent listening to it. Now, I am rather anxious to check out their other band Pitbull Daycare to hear how their amazing talents match up with another vocalist.
6 1/2 out of 10 stars
MVD Entertainment Group
Evil United on Facebook