The Knickers’ CD Release Preview


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Working afternoon shift sucks. I usually don’t mind it but every now and then a really great show comes up and on a Friday and I can’t go. Such is the case on June 7th at the Outpost in Kent where several bands I’ve enjoyed and covered for this blog will be gathering for what I’m sure will be one of the best shows of the summer.

I’ve never actually heard Oceans of Atrophy, but they’ve been on my radar for quite some time now. I figure the fact that they’ve been around for so long either shows that they’re a) a good band or b) very, very determined. Either way I’m guessing they’re a site to see. Plus they have a pretty cool name and that’s very hard to find in this day and age.

I’m not sure who Chemtrail X are either, but they also have a pretty cool sounding name.

I’m listening to Habit as I write this post to refresh my memory of them. I saw them at Gorilla Music’s Spring Fest and really liked their post-grunge sound. They’re heavy in a mellower sort of way that doesn’t bash you over the head but relies more on melodies and songwriting. It still does the trick.

I nearly fell in love with VENT at the Scio Showcase a few weeks ago. They play some damn good hardcore punk and had me singing along on my first listen. In a time when everyone tries to out-complex each other its nice to hear some basic punk rock with a heavy metal attitude.

I can’t really say anything about Dream the Hero that hasn’t already been said about Fall Out Boy. My dislike of their music is well documented and publicized and chances are if you’ve been reading my blog for more than a month you know about it. I will wish them the best of luck, playing with bands this good they’re gonna need it.

And of course I didn’t forget about The Knickers. I can’t wait to here the new release. I’m sure it’s filled with the panty-dropping thrash metal they play so well. Oddly enough they take a musical style that reached the height of its popularity the decade before they were born and put a modern spin on it. I guess that’s the only way for thrash to sound modern in this day and age. I hope they have luck fighting the girls off; after all they are a bit young. I just can’t wait until they grow up so I can crack more adult jokes about them.

Best of luck to all the bands. I’m sure it will be an awesome show and I’m sorry I’ll have to miss it.

Syko-Maffia WWII


522025_521435267911370_384456230_nSyko-Maffia Weekend Warrior II

Mercury Lake, Exostra, Here Lies Another, Clouds Over Midgar, Neverender, Kharmuh, Mettal Maffia, Sykosis

May 25th 2013

Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the changes that have taken place in my life since I last visited Peabody’s. My blog has gone from a having a few dozen hits per month to a few hundred. I spent two months in rehab. My brother passed away. Our government has done absolutely nothing of importance. The buildings around Peabody’s and Rascal House have been tore down and I’ve nearly forgotten what a hangover feels like.

But in spite of all that has changed some things are still the same. Peabody’s is a great place for heavy live music.

 

Mercury Lake surprised me. They play the typical metal core popular at the moment and they do it well, but what really astonished IMG_20130525_202235_533me was that their female singer is actually attractive. Of course there are several good-looking women in metal music (Kittie, Otep, the chick from Coal Chamber), but I’ve never seen one in a local band. While her voice was just as great as any other metal screamer I’ve heard recently I couldn’t get over the fact that she may have looked more at home singing “I Knew You Were Trouble” into a hairbrush. I’m not complaining; it’s nice to have attractive females involved in the scene and it’s great to see a band fronted by a chick who I would bang even if she wasn’t in a band.

 

I can’t say I was blown away by Exostra’s performance. they still brought their electronic-fueled craziness and even added a bass player, but the guitar low notes being strangled by the amp made it hard for me to get into. I guess it probably seems shallow that a poor guitar sound can turn me off that much, but if you read the IMG_20130525_204901_018preceding paragraph you’ll see that I am indeed very, very shallow. I regret that I missed their battle with a bionic space pig but did find Mark’s vocals very nice. The best thing about them is I’m sure they’ll switch things up a bit and completely blow me away the next time I see them.

 

I’m not sure whose idea it was to have bands playing simultaneously on the two stages, but that’s why I missed some of Exostra’s set. When I made it over to Here Lies Another they were suffering from technical difficulties of their own. But they quickly recovered to rock their own brand of breakdown heavy metal-core.

 

I enjoy heavy stuff as much as the next guy but by the time Neverender took the stage I was a little full. I understand that shows need similar sounding bands to appeal to fans but after three groups that sounded very similar I couldn’t take anymore. I’ll have to check out their Facebook to try and make it up to them in the future.

 

Of course, something about bands wearing identical vests also turns me off. But I’m also really turned off by bands where members areIMG_20130525_215143_574 wearing sport jackets and/or sandals. Especially when they have silly names that sound Tolkien inspired. This should say a lot about how good Clouds Over Midgar were to hold my attention. I guess they would be classified as psychedelic-stoner rock. I’m not sure that’s correct but with the thundering bass guitar, shouted vocals and single note guitar riffs I think that’s a close enough approximation. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see them in the future and hear more.

 

Mettal Maffia has improved since I last saw them. They’ve gone from sounding like a rap group with a live backing band to a single unit. The addition of a lead guitarist has done a great job of unifying them. While they still have a bit too much rap for my personal taste, they’re definitely bringing more metal to the sound than they were before. And say what IMG_20130525_222701_770you will, they have a great high-energy live show that makes it quite a struggle to remain standing still. My biggest complaint is that their new female singer looks like she might be about 15 years old and was wearing really tight pants and doing a great job of shaking her ass. It made me feel real dirty until it was confirmed that she is old enough to have her ass stared at. Maybe I should just start taking my girlfriend to shows so I can focus on the music a bit more.

 

Sykosis have also tightened up their sound and played an awesome set. I’ve seen other local groups headline Peabody’s, but Sykosis is the first one that came off with the energy, sound and live performance of a nationally touring act, which I’m sure they will be before too long thanks to their new record deal. While the masks tend to make you think of a Slipknot/Mushroomhead rip off, they have a much more New Wave Of American Heavy Metal sound reminiscent of Lamb of God and Chimaira. But with slightly more epic solos. And while I can’t help but feel that masks have outlived their usefulness I have to give props to the rhythm guitarist with the bow tie and suspenders. Way to shake up the cliche.IMG_20130525_234247_516

 

Apologies to Kharmuh. I don’t know why they didn’t stagger the bands and instead had them play at the same time. If it hadn’t been for that I would have caught your set.

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy:

Syko-Maffia Weekend Warrior Tour @ The Carriage House April 2012

 

 

Rock on the Range 2013


admat_4.9Rock on the Range

Crew Stadium – Columbus, OH

May 19th 2013

I was a little disappointed when I checked the Lollapalooza website this year and found it sold out. I’ve always wanted to make the trip to Hyde Park and with Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and The Cure playing it seemed like this would be a good year. Then I checked the Rock on the Range website and realized that I could see a better lineup while traveling a fraction of the distance.

I’ve always found Rock on the Range to be hit or miss with its lineups. I’ve only been there once before in 2009; primarily because Alice in Chains were headlining. While they usually do a good job of picking some decent up and coming hard rock and heavy metal acts, a lot of the bands on the bill are of the radio-friendly, cookie-cutter variety. With Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Bush playing on Sunday this year it was futile for me to resist the urge to go. Once I found a ride I bought the tickets and packed my bags.

I can’t say that I was extremely impressed with the rest of the weekend’s lineup. Over f Friday and Saturday there were only a handful of bands I would have cared to see: In Flames, Stone Sour, Clutch. It would have been awesome to have seen Cheap Trick (made even better by the fact that I wouldn’t have had to sit through Aerosmith to get my moneys worth). Though Smashing Pumpkins were one of my favorite bands growing up I haven’t listened to a new album of theirs in at least a decade, there’s only one original member and judging from the chatter on the ground Sunday I didn’t miss much aside from a don’t-do-drugs PSA anyway.

We didn’t get there as early as we wanted. My traveling companions were hoping to see Sick Puppies but we arrived just a little bit late. We did have plenty of time to grab some pizza and check out the PBR stage. Big Wreck was playing. They had a semi-big hit way back in

Columbus skyline from Crew Stadium

Columbus skyline from Crew Stadium

’97 and haven’t done much since. They’ve broken up and gotten back together. I just saw their album at a thrift store. I’m not a fan, but they had a good presence and helped me to start off my day.

Then we headed to the Monster Stage and caught Sevendust’s performance. I’ve never been a huge Sevendust fan but they put on a good live show. Plus they were innovators of the whole Nu-Metal genre. They’ve been doing that since before it was Nu-Metal.

Afterwords I wanted to check out the Jager Stage where I was thoroughly disappointed by a band called O’Brother. While they had some good blues-based instrumentation, the nasal emo singing is always a big turnoff for me. Plus I find it hard to enjoy bands where I have to argue about the gender of the singer with anyone. “She has boobs, I tell you!” “She has hair on her chest!” “Well look at that shirt! Can you blame me for making a mistake?”

That was the last we visited the Jager Stage.

Next up was Steel Panther. It’s hard not to fall in love with guys in spandex and hairspray making fun off 80’s metal. Even though they’re a joke band, I feel they write some of the best songs I’ve heard in a few years. “Community Property” had some of the greatest melodies played at the concert. And their between song banter was hilarious.

useghostWe made our way back to the PBR Stage to check out the Swedish occult band Ghost. It was my intention to catch a few songs from the Satanic group before heading back to the Jager Stage for the Christian band Thousand Foot Krutch. My logic being that by splitting my time between the two groups I would be sent to purgatory after death (I think it works that way). Unfortunately, Ghost is quite a good band. While most death metal acts growl or scream indecipherable lyrics, Papa Emeritus II sings in a clean voice where you can hear his odes to the dark lord. This makes them all the more terrifying. Couple that with the Guy Fawkes meets Darth Vader masks that the band wears and you get the feeling you’re in the middle of a satanic mass.

Afterword I said a few Hail Marys then bought the CD and stood in line to have these psychos sign and stamp it. I did miss Skillet and In This Moment while waiting to get the autographs, but they turned out to be quite polite and just as scary up close as they were on stage. Plus now I can resell the CD for the same price I paid for it on eBay!

We kind of dragged our ways back to the main stage for Volbeat. I remembered them as being a countrified version of Danzig but that wasn’t what I got (perhaps they’ve gotten away from that sound). While they are a bit of a more radio friendly hard rock band they still sound fresh due to their singers boxing announcer voice and the fact that they mix up so many different styles of music. During their short set they played hard rock, punk, Slayer inspired metal and even a reggae type tune. Part of me wants to hate them for being a usevolbeatradio-friendly group but deep inside I think I’m really digging their stuff.

I couldn’t help but think that bands like Ghost and Volbeat are probably Sweden’s version of Justin Bieber and they were kicked out of their native Scandinavian countries the way Canada deported Bryan Adams. Don’t take that to mean that their not heavy; their DAMN heavy, just not near the level of heaviness that bands like Amon Amarth and Arch Enemy have achieved.

After Volbeat we ventured back to the PBR stage one last time to find out that David Draiman in a band by any other name still sounds like Disturbed. I feel I should give Device more of a listen; I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about the album. It’s just that I was never a huge Disturbed fan and they don’t seem much different. I guess having a voice that distinctive is both a blessing and a curse. Part of my distaste for them could also have been that we couldn’t get that great of a view among the few thousand people crowded in front of the stage. They did a good cover of “Close My Eyes Forever” with Maria Brink from In This Moment, but I can’t say I cared much for their version of “Wish.”

I was hoping to grab a pizza real quick and make it back to the seats in time to see Bush but due to a monstrous line and a tidal wave of people moving to the main stage it took forever. Well, it probably only took twenty minutes but during that time I was shoved, jostled, groped, sweated on and generally made to feel uncomfortable more than at any other time during the day.

And I missed “Machine Head” dammit.

Bush played a great set. I wasn’t expecting Gavin Rossdale to be such a madman but that dude was jumping all over the stage, humping his amp and even running out into the crowd during their performance. While they played “The Sound of Winter,” a new song and an awesome cover of “Come Together” the rest of their set was tunes from Sixteen Stone. While that’s a great album and they did some great stuff with the material (like the a Capella verses on “Glycerine” and “Comedown”) I wish I would have heard a few tunes from other albums.

Bird's eye view of the madness

Bird’s eye view of the madness

I didn’t feel like fighting the crowd to see Lamb of God and didn’t want to lose my great spot for Alice in Chains so I took advantage of one of the special things about Rock on the Range. I went to the nosebleed section and looked out. From there I could see the entire crowd and hear “Walk With Me In Hell.” I always thought it would be cool to have a “mosherologist” at shows to do live commentary on the pit. Just like they have at sporting events. Unfortunately, Rock on the Range is one of the few shows where you can get a good enough view to do that.

Alice in Chains played a much better set than I saw from them in 2009. Back then William DuVall was still the new guy and they were more like a cover band playing the greatest hits. Now they’ve had time to solidify the new lineup and sound more like Alice Version 2.0. They played a few selections from Black Gives Way To Blue, a few off their upcoming album and a few they wouldn’t have touched before. DuVall pulled out an acoustic guitar for songs like “Down In A Hole” and “Nutshell.” Plus it was nice that they didn’t have to play “Angry Chair.” I think that shows they’re focusing more on how they can continue and best utilize they guy they brought in to fill the gap Layne Staley left behind instead of simply trying to replace usealicehim.

I was pumped to see Soundgarden. Those guys changed my life way back when I was a young lad. I listened solely to country music until I was at a friends house and MTV was on. The video for “Black Hole Sun” came on and it was all down hill from there. Personally I loved their set. They opened with “Flower,” which I thought was kind of a bold move and I was a little jealous of the young-ins in the pit during “Jesus Christ Pose.” In my older age I’m more content to pay less for the stadium seating than to have to wrestle with a crowd for a good view all day, but at that moment I would have liked to have been on the floor.

The worst part of their set was how people were leaving. I had been disappointed to not be able to make it to Lollapalooza 2013 and was sure this wasn’t Lollapalooza 1993 when I saw the mass exodus after “Black Hole Sun.” Sure it’s not Soundgarden’s fault, I guess it just made me feel a little sad. I suppose Alice in Chains have had the most impact on rock radio and the heavy riffing of Soundgarden may not appeal to the younger generation. My biggest complaint with them is that it took me so long to see them live. I’ve been listening to them for close to twenty years. Hopefully it won’t be another twenty before I get to see them again.

It wasn’t until we stopped for gas that I realized how bad I smelt of other people’s sweat and not until the next morning that I really felt the sunburn, but it was all worth and a great day. I’m already keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll have a good lineup and I’ll head down to do it again next year.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy Garbage @ House of Blues,  How to Destroy Angels “Welcome Oblivion”, Blow Up The Outside World, or Notes on “Bleach”

Also check out this awesome review of the Ghost album I bought at the show: Black Metallurgy

Scio Showcase 2013


39277_10151517725492692_1507868876_nScio Showcase 2013

Almost All In Good Fun, VENT, D.E.D. Beat, Shrouded In Neglect, Garblejunk, Curse the Wicked

May 11th

American Legion – Scio, OH

Saturday marked my first venture to the small town of Scio, where a neutron bomb landed in the form of a pottery factory closing. I’ve grown quite accustomed to seeing run down buildings in the past few years, but Scio seems to be doing a little worse than other areas. I even noticed a sign advertising a home renovations company in the front lawn of a home in dire need of renovations. I’m only glad that when we finally arrived at the American Legion Post just outside of town on a gravel road the entire town was there and the music wasn’t as run down as the community.

From what I can tell, about twenty years ago the girls from L7 raped The Statler Brothers and the resulting children have formed IMG_20130511_195236_528Almost All in Hand Grenades. The hometown boys brought their odd style of Hillbilly Grunge to the town that spawned them. It was a beautiful example of young people giving back to their community. Though they look like a few redneck children who grabbed their parents’ guitars and started jamming, they sound like that too. And it is working out great for them. They’re one of the bests bands we have in the area and definitely the most unique.

I’ve never know Cleveland to be a hotbed of hardcore punk, but that was before I heard VENT. These guys forgo the industrial and thrash of their hometown and play some down and dirty punk with a heavy metal attitude. They even managed to start the violent conga line called a circle pit.Their singer looked a bit like G.G. Allin aside from the fact that he was clothed and occasionally they’d throw in some pseudo-rap lyrics that lent them a Suicidal Tendencies feel. But through it all they managed to keep that Rustbelt feel. I hope to see them again soon.

IMG_20130511_213854_511D.E.D. Beat were third to take the stage for some dressed in black death metal. It took a few minutes for the sound to be dialed in correctly, but after the first song I started to hear more than just the double bass. Still, they performed a solid set of horror movie inspired madness in their hockey and S&M gear. This is death metal the way it was intended to be played: fast, loud and unintelligible.

I had to rush in when I heard Shrouded In Neglect and was surprised to find they have a female singer. The first few songs of their set were of a straight thrash variety, but they showcased a mellower side after the first few. They have a song in regular rotation on Columbus rock radio and do a great cover of “Killing In The Name.” Of course the best part of their set was when the bass player relinquished his instrument to (I assume) his son

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I’m not really sure what to say about the acoustic hydra Garblejunk. They’re like a mariachi band on steroids. It’s like a nightmare at Bob Dylan’s house. I can just hear him: “Weeeweee woo woo zee hmm.” “No Mr. Dylan, That can be done with acoustic guitars.” I kept waiting for the nine man acoustic jam to bust out a cover of Tesla’s “Signs” but it never happened. I feel very conflicted, confused, abused and molested by them. Which I means I may be in love with them, but don’t hold me to that.

Check them out for yourself here:

Curse the Wicked took the stage to end the evening with some old-school thrash metal. Well, it was old school aside from the modern vocals. This combination is interesting a provides a fresh take on old genres. I’d like to hear more of them before passing a final judgement, but at the moment I’m a little disappointed by the utter lack of balls-tied-up-with-a-rubber-band-80’s-hair-metal screams.

I’m hoping that there will be more of these shindigs out in Scio in the future. It was a great time and introduced me to a few great bands that I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard if I hadn’t attended. Thanks a lot Scio! Don’t completely crumble before I get a chance to visit you again.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like Goggles Optional IV.

The Said So “Leggo Your Ego”


The Said Soimages

“Leggo Your Ego”

(2012)

After my less than stellar review of The Said So at the Gunt Puncher’s CD Release show I was contacted by a member of the band and offered a chance to review their latest CD. I jumped at the chance as this is the sort of thing I was hoping for when I started this blog: telling people about awesome bands in the area and getting free stuff for it. I certainly hope that my previous comments about The Said So weren’t taken to hard. My indifference toward them was in no way a reflection of their sound or talent level, but more so something I’ve yet to quantify in my own personal tastes. I feel the same way about Killswitch Engage and NOFX.

Of course, after listening to “Leggo My Ego” a few times it’s hard for me to maintain my apathy. Im not sure why I should enjoy this album when I didnt care for 2010’s “Too Punk For Practice.” Perhaps they made lineup changes or gelled better with the guys they had. Perhaps they took the title literally and were just awful. Perhaps I was in a bad mood that day.

Either way, there’s some damn good stuff on here. “Penny Dreadful” is a great opener with simple, dirty leads and dark, singalong lyrics. “Set It On Fire” features some not so politically correct lyrics that make me question the intelligence of giving a bad review. That tune and “Rock and Roll Queen” Feature some great screams not often heard in punk. I can’t help but smile that there’s a tune called “Violet Drizzle.” It sounds nothing like Prince but I can’t help think that it’s a play “Purple Rain.”

And of course songs like “Maleficent” and “Keeping it Canton” make numerous references to the bands hometown. It wasn’t until the sixth track (“Song 13”) that I realized these guys and other bands on the scene are forming a new type of punk. Call me crazy but there’s a sound in The Said So, The Most Beautiful Losers and The Gunt Punchers that could only come from Northeast Ohio. The band is a the forefront of a burgeoning new local scene and they play some really fun music. I’m not really sure why they care what I think.

I do find it very flattering that a band this good cares what I think. It lets me know that this blog is heading in the direction I want it to. I just hope I don’t get a big head over it.

 

Check out and download this album at Bandcamp.

Anything That Can Go Wrong – Part 3


F3 – Cycle 125 – In Motion

Prompt: Put your story in motion, tell it from the vantage point of the journey, not the destination.
Genre: Open
Word Limit: 1500

Here’s another adventure of Ockym’s Razyr. Hopefully you can enjoy this without reading the previous episodes but if you’d like to check them out here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

The Road Trip (733 Words)

Check out this great band on Youtube.

Click on the image to check out this great band on Youtube.

 

I don’t know how I get myself into these messes. I’m stuck in the back of a 2001 Chevy Cavalier with two other people and two guitars. One of these people weighs at least 350 pounds.

I’ve never been claustrophobic, but at this moment I can feel my blood pressure rising and my breathing increasing. I’m not sure if the ‘walls are closing in’ or if the orca next to me is just scooting a little closer.

I didn’t expect to find myself in situations like this when I signed up as the biographer for Ockym’s Razyr. However, the gig does not pay well and I’m low on gas money. So instead of driving myself the 119 miles to Columbus for today’s gig, I opted to hitch a ride with guitarist Hal Levatine. Bassist Matt Vance, Hal’s girlfreind Denise and her friend Sidney are also catching a ride.

Denise and Hal are trying to play matchmaker with me and Sidney. I’m not interested.

Few people realize that the most difficult aspect of being in a band is not writing songs. It is not learning an instrument. It’s not getting along with conceited self-absorbed assholes. It’s getting people to come out to your shows. Most people would much rather sit at home and play Call of Duty than support their friends’ band by buying a ticket and coming to a show. That just takes way too much effort. If you offer these friends a ride they sometime change their minds.

It still takes a lot of arm twisting to get them to buy a ticket.

The other three members of Ockym’s Razyr are ridindg in singer Adam Gillis’ van along with most of the bands equipment and a few more friends. They are all members of the entourage.

I’m trying hard not to vomit. It is raining out so all the windows are up and the deftrost is pushing out hot air. Removing my jacket in these close quarters is not an option. The smell of whiskey from Matt’s Coke bottle isn’t helping my nasea.

Neither is the fact that Sidney keeps looking at me like I’m a Twinkie. I read a news article that says they’ll be back on shelves in a few months. Just wait, sweetie. Just wait.

This car ride would be bearable were it not for the company. It would be bearable if we had a radio or a CD player. Instead Sidney reads road signs as we pass them.

“Adopt a highway litter control.”

“Speed Limit 65.”

“Welcome to Coshocton County.”

“Gas is $3.49 there.”

Most of the conversation is between Denise and Sidney. They babble about typical girl stuff. Which is to say: gossip. They chat about the new Bieber song, old friends that are still using drugs, Kloe and Lamar, who’s dating who, who’s cheating on who and which old friends are still dealing drugs.

While listening to their babble I’m struck with a profound thought. American’s (or perhaps just Ohioans or perhaps all people) like to feel superior to others. This is why the girls are gossiping abut aquaintances and celebrities with such disdain. Why their names must be dragged through the mud. Why they scoff and laugh when I admit my love for Katy Perry.

It’s why people love Jersey Shore, Hoarders and Sumo Wrestling. We all want to feel that we’re smarter, saner or thinner than someone else.

Every overweight person I’ve ever met has said to me at one point or another, “at least I’m not as fat as (insert name of someone who is innappropriately obese).”

“Now entering Muskingum county.”

It’s like nails on a chalkboard. No, it’s like a giant cheese grater rubbing against my back. I’m in pain. I’m in agony.

“It’s $3.46 here.”

“$3.59.”

images“Oooh, the Logaberger basket.”

“$3.63.”

“Holy Shit, Booboo!” Vance shouts in his best Yogi bear voice.

When we finally reach Columbus we have to circle the block to find the venue. We don’t have the best directions. I know it’s nobody’s fault but I still want to scream.

I want Sidney to shut up. I want Matt to cap his whiskey. I want Hal to pull over and let me the fuck out.

When we finally park and exit the vehicle I nearly weep with joy that I’ve survived the two-and-a-half hour journey and I’m no longer cramped in that clown car.

Then I remember… there’s still the ride back.