Entries under 'reviews', page 2

Insurrection - Prototype (Out on October 15, 2013)

Insurrection have been ripping it up since 2003, straight out of Quebec (surprise!). Prototye is the fifth release from the band, including also a demo and a promo. This is some intense, old school death metal, I hear a lot of great influences coming through in the songwriting and I'm really digging it! One of my favorite things these guys do is mixing French and English in the lyrics, what a great idea!!! It may seem strange to read, but when you listen it just works so well.

Insurrection has also shared a stage with some pretty crazy bands, like Acacia Strain, Dying Fetus, Lamb Of God, Napalm Death and Skinless to name just a few. Vocalist Stef Jomphe is screaming with the best of them, this is a band that pulls their weight. Prototype is full of strong, hard hitting tunes all the way through - no fillers here.

If you're at all a fan of solid death metal, do your ears a favour and have a listen to Prototype. This whole record is heavy as hell and sure not to disappoint. I'm looking forward to seeing this band play live for sure, whenever I get the chance. What a great album!

Unbeing - Self Titled (Out on September 27, 2013)

Unbeing open their self titled release strong right off the bat! Very atmospheric progressive death metal, this album comes across very methodical and thought out from beginning to end. Another great metal band from Montreal! I am personally not at all opposed to instrumental bands, but I know there are some thrashers out there who prefer having someone to scream along with. It is pretty refreshing to hear some piano leads that actually work with the songs rather than trying to fight for the limelight. Every instrument on this record shines through in a spectacular way. These dudes have even thrown a sitar into the mix, and it just works so well.

This album is actually being re-released to vinyl, having been remixed and remastered from the orginial version released back in 2011. I am only hearing them for the first time, but I am eager to get my hands on their 2008 and 2009 demos. I can't say enough about the amount of talent and playablity in this band, from all five members. I am especially impressed with the percussion on this record, driving the songs home with precision and force.

This album will have you banging your head for 40 minutes straight. Big thanks to Asher Media for sending this my way! If you didn't get a chance to hear this one first time around be sure to get your grubby little paws on a copy ASAP.

Official website


Fatality - Psychonaut (June 2013)

I could have sworn that I wrote this already.. being me is a tough job! Anyhow, This was sent to me via Asher Media, and I'm really digging the old school thrash feel to this album. Psychonaut came out June 28 2013, and it's full of top notch shredding and lots of fast-paced thrashy goodness. Fatality hails from Toronto, and are following up on 2011's "Trash Fuck Eat Sleep" demo. It was also brought to my attention that Psychonaut is Number 1 on this week's !earshot Canadian College Loud chart, above both Black Sabbath's 13 and Hight On Fire's Spitting Fire. Not bad for an independent thrash band from Toronto!

I must also commend the production on this album, specifically the bass. It's kind of cool, though this album was in fact recorded in a studio, there is still this DIY-feel to it that I really dig. I love the way they mixed the bass on this album, the tonal qualities almost remind me of old Propagandhi a little bit, and that's pretty cool. Maybe it's just the speakers I listened to this album through, but it's awesome!

I think the opening track "Enter Purgatory" was a solid, strong start to this album, setting a good pace for the following seven tracks. I thought "Satan's Shepherd" was a strong track too, very old school! Psychonaut is overall a pretty good mix of old school and new school thrash coming together, in a way that just makes me want to get wasted and go skate.

If you're a fan of the thrash, definitely get a copy of Psychonaut, and catch them live if they're playing near you this month!

Official Site (redirects to Facebook)

YouTube Channel

Review: Black Sabbath - 13

I just got a copy of Black Sabbath's new record, 13. I got the special edition with the second disc, but not to be confused with the "best buy special edition" which contains an extra track on the second disc, which mine does not have. I'm sure I'll be able to get my hands on that extra track though.

Anyways, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by this album. No bones about it, this is straight up, no bullshit Sabbath. To me this is certainly not the record people will talk about in a few years from now about how Sabbath attempted to come back at half power. In other words, no, age has not impeded the ability to rock the fucking house. While I must admit that it's a bit of a shame that original drummer Bill Ward did not appear on this record with the other 3 original members, I think that Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave) is about the best next chouice there could've possibly been. Brad is a solid, hard hitting drummer, and I couldn't even imagine how it must've felt to be invited to play on this record.

This is to me a return to the true, original Black Sabbath sound. While the band hasn't put out any material since 1995, and Ozzy hasn't been involved with the band since 1978, this record is monumental in numerous ways. I am hopeful the revitalised Black Sabbath will continue to be a band and work on new material and tours, but with Tony Iommi's heath issues only time will tell. The boys are coming to Vancouver soon, but alas, sold out already. 13 is a pretty good album all around, a great listen for any Ozzy/Sabbath fan, and hopefully, only just the beginning of many more new things to come. Way to go guys! Perhaps next time around the "contractual issues" that prevented Bill Ward from taking part will resolve next time around. Also, I must point out, while Brad Wilk performed the drums on the album, the band will be touring with Tommy Clufetos smashing the skins.

Best be getting yourself a copy of 13 asap.

Review: Hayden - Us Alone (2013)

I kind of found this album by accident, but it was a good accident! I love when that happens, not even knowing about a brand new record and then just stumbling across it right as it has just come out. I've always really enjoyed Hayden's music, even though it's really different from what I typically listen to.. or at least to an unsuspecting outsider. Funny thing, a lot of people don't realize that most punk rock songs, knowingly or not, are structured in a very similar way as folk songs, just a lot faster and most times a bit more drunk.

There is a very catchy popiness to this album, even in it's slowest of moments. There are a couple of more upbeat type songs too, but I'm still having a hard time picking out a favorite. I really enjoy the songs "Almost Everything," "Rainy Saturday" and "Instructions." I also especially like the duet with his sister in law, Lou Canon, in "Blurry Nights." There is a 'secret song' as well, something I think I'll always love. Secret songs are so 90s, and it's awesome, it's like that little piece of my youth that keeps coming back, hiding after the last listed track on many o' album.

Knowing that this album was recorded in Hayden's home studio also ads a little something extra to the overall product for me as well. I just love home studio recordings. You can't reproduce the comfort of being at your own home in any studio, anywhere. There is a sort of warmth that shines through the mix, I almost have a hard time explaining it, it's like the actual atmosphere of the room was captured alongside the audio tracks, you know?

And as funny as this may sound, I really like the mix of the snare drum on this record too. The drummer in me just can't help but listen extra hard to the drum tracking any time I hear something new. It is very mid-range heavy, soft but not weak in any stretch of the imagination. Actually this whole album is fairly mid-range heavy, but it works to compliment the songs very well. It should be no surpise that Hayden knows what the fuck he's doing here kids.

I would have to say that my overall favorite thing about Us Alone are the lyrics to "Almost Everything," how he describes the beginnings of his career as a musician. There are a few clever references to things all over this album, but the references to 'Everything I Long For' in this song just hit a soft spot for me I guess, because after all, I was a kid who heard back then, at a time in my life when music was everything. How's that for a reference?

This record is thoughtful and well rounded, and I aleady see it as a fixture among the CDs I keep in my car.

Blurry Nights
Rainy Saturday
Trailer for Instructions

Review: Chosen - Resolution (2013)

Chosen are from Ireland! Another gem sent to me by Asher media. The guitar work on this album is really fucking good. Lots of neat break downs, a bit melodic at times for my personal tastes, but overall a pretty good album. I had never heard of this band before the album was sent to me. Way to keep it heavy, Ireland!

Stream or download the entire album for free from Asher Media

Official Site

Review: Mortor - Shoot 'Em Up (2012)

Another fine album supplied by Asher Media! I'd never heard of this band before now, but this album seems pretty good on the first spin. I like the nice clean production, everything sounds crystal clear. I don't really consider myself to be an audiophile, but you just have to have good production. I don't give a shit what your shtick is, if you don't sound good... well, you just don't sound good. This album sounds very good.

The vocal delivery reminds me a little bit of Yyrkoon, which is also a good thing. I wish Yyrkoon would put out another album, but that's a story for another day. As much as I prefer speed in my metal, these guys still rock it hard with those chug-a-lug guitars and rumbling basslines. This would be a great one for a road trip for sure.

Shoot 'Em Up comes out on September 18th, and you should ad it to your collection, you headbanger!!

Mortor Official Website

Review: Propagandhi - Failed States (2012)

Failed States

I know, I know. You're already tired of reading my shit about this band. Well they're just that fucking good, damnit!! I just had to get this out. If you happen to already have "liked" these guys on Facebook then you may already know of this, but for those who don't, if you "like" the Propagandhi Facebook page, you can listen to Failed States streaming for free!

I've listened to this album all the way through about 8 or 10 times now. I love it when a band is able to outdo themselves over and over again, every time they put out a record. May I ad as well, it's nice to see the follow-up to Supporting Caste not take 4 or 5 years! There certainly was a noticeable difference with the addition of The Beav as a second guitarist on Supporting Caste, but now on Failed States you can hear the way these guys have been able to reinvent their songwriting abilities with a much more full, atmospheric sound than Propagandhi as a 3 piece.

I don't think I will ever not love punk rock, but over the last 10 or 15 years I have spent more and more time listening to metal, and it's interesting to me to hear more and more metal influences coming out through Propagandhi's music; ever since "Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes" it has become more and more evident. On songs like Rattan Cane from Failed States, you have straight up blast beats and jackhammer chug-a-lug guitar riffs — preceded by a slow, daunting, almost stoner-metal style intro. I fucking love this shit! Such a great, well thought out infusion of punk and metal.

My favorite songs from Failed States so far are Devil's Creek, Rattan Cane, Things I Like, and Lotus Gait. Don' get me wrong, the whole record slays, but thus far these are the songs that really stand out to me. I especially like the spoken dialect in Things I Like, I'm not sure which language Chris is speaking yet, but it sounds very Algonquin to me — but even that doesn't really narrow it down much. I've spent a lot of time toying with the idea of doing a song in my own band entirely in Mi'qmac language, and to hear a somewhat of a similar incorporation of indigenous language by one of my favorite bands ever is almost enough to make my brain melt.

Failed States is to be released on September 4th, but as I said, you can hear the entire album right this very second on their Facebook page, so long as you "like" the band. Whether you go now or wait til the 4th, you absolutely MUST hear this. You just have to. Tell yourself, "Shane told me I have to hear this record. He seems really excited about it and he says it's really good... maybe I should check it out!" As per usual, Propagandhi will not let you down when looking for something hard hitting yet intelligent to band your head to.

I have this inside joke with some friends, it started out while working in a pizza shop that doesn't even exist anymore. The owner used to whip up crazy shit on a whim all the time, and then feed it to whoever was working. I used to tell him his food was offensive, but in a good way. It would be so good that the next things I were to eat over the course of the day would just remind me of how good that other stuff was, making what I'd currently be eating instantly not as good, rendering the original food as offensive. And to ad perspective, "offensive" was often followed by "it should be against the law for food to taste this good!" That applies to Failed States. I try to listen to other stuff, and I just want to keep going back to this album because it's so fucking good. Offensive like none other that currently comes to mind! Go listen already!!

Review: Cattle Decapitation - Monolith Of Inhumanity (2012)

Holy fuck. That's the first though that entered my mind when I gave this album it's first run through on my stereo. How in the fuck can these guys even be this good? It's just retarded. Dave McGraw is easily one of the best drummers on the face of the earth. The music itself is noticeably more melodic than any of their previous releases, but make no mistake about it, absolutely no balls were compromised in this particular addition of melody to metal (or ‘deathgrind' more specifically) — if you're looking for melodic pussy metal, this album is certainly not for you. I love the way Travis screams the vocals out on this album, the "melodic" screaming in "Your Disposal" in particular is especially disturbing. Fucking love this shit! I'm really hoping I'll get a chance to see this band live one day. Cattle Decapitation is a force to be reckoned with, and this album is likely to shred your ass in the same manner as a table saw. I recommend headphones and a couple fatties for this masterpiece; it deserves nothing less than your full, undivided attention. Enjoy!

Official Site

Review: Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage (2012)

I don't know what it is about France, but two of my favorite bands are from there, Gojira and now-defunct Yyrkoon. For me, these are both bands that almost make this type of music seem brand new all over again when listening to them. Unfortunately, Yyrkoon went on an "indefinite hiatus" in 2007. Quite shitty indeed, but on that note, thank fuck for Gojira!!! L'Enfant Sauvage ("The Wild Child") is the fifth full length from the band, and the first in four years. The Way Of All Flesh, the previous release from 2008, still maintains heavy rotation throughout my playlists. Fucking love this band!! It just stops me dead in my tracks to hear music like this; the longer you listen the more aware you become as a listener to how much thought and talent goes into the songwriting. Your speakers are almost reaching out and punching you in the face &mdash this is extremely intelligent music, and it relentlessly executed.

Maybe I'm just extremely opinionated, but I can't even fathom how somebody could have something bad to say about a record like this. Whether you're a fan of aggressive music or not, there is simply no denying that this band is overflowing with talent, and the songs themselves are true representations of what working hard at something can do. I hope this band is around for a long fucking time.

Just so you can't tell me I didn't say so myself, go out and get yourself a copy of this record!! Apparently there will be a North American tour in support of this record with Dethklock and Lamb Of God. Maybe consider getting yourself some tickets.