Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lamb Of God


Damn if these guys don't get better with every album! If you thought that their last release "Sacrament" was brutal, you better hang on to your seat with this one. "Wrath" starts off with a slow instrumental before kicking into songs so monstrous they could bring buildings crashing down. Guitarist's Mark Morton and Willie Adler are one of metal's finest duo's and they write some of the most bad-ass guitar riffs that will ever decimate your eardrums. Mark's style is more straight forward and his lead work ventures from bluesy swagger to full-on shred-your-face off, while Willie's riffs tend to be more abstract, with obscure note placements and odd time signatures. Together they blend seamlessly to form a massive wall of sound that swings, grooves, and wrecks anything in it's path. Vocalist Randy Blythe has got to be the most angry, pissed off singer I have ever heard. There are a million singers out there who "sound" evil and mean, but Randy…. fuck, he makes you a believer. Chris Adler (Willie's brother) and bassist John Campbell lay down a wicked bottom end. The bass is very fat and meaty this time around, and the drum work is nothing short of phenomenal. "Wrath" has a more organic and less polished sound than "Sacrament" but the production is still top notch. I can't really give you a favorite track at the moment, as I am still trying to absorb it all, but "In Your Words", "Fake Messiah" "Choke Sermon" and "Reclamation" stand out so far. This is a hell of a great start for 2009 with regards to metal releases. It's gonna be hard one to top that's for sure. Highly fucking recommended!

- Craig Harvey

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Tossers

One Fine Spring Evening
Victory Records

I have never been a big punk fan, but I sort of fell in love with this Irish group not that long ago after hearing their live album "Gloatin' and Showboatin'. The Tossers are not your average punk outfit mind you, it's all acoustic instruments for one, and to be honest it's not all punk either. That's just part of their charm. However, because they have played with a lot of punk groups they get lumped into that category I suppose. Regardless, what I truly enjoy about The Tossers is their witty blend of traditional Irish/Celtic melodies, combined with heartfelt lyrics and the energy of punk to give it all a unique spin. Oh, and there's lot's of songs about drinking, drinking and did I say drinking? Well, not all of it anyway. You have many stories of love, heartache, Irish pride and family drama. Vocalist Tony sounds like he's had a few pints as his warbly, but honest and passionate vocals charm you from the moment he starts to sing. The rest of the band are a credit to Irish folk music, as they weave wonderful tunes that go from emotional, soft ballads to furious, fast paced party songs. "One Fine Spring Evening" is the first album other than the aforementioned live disc I have heard, but it reaffirmed that my interest in these guys was not a fluke. I say green is the color of the day and a fine one it is!

- Craig Harvey

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bella Morte

Beautiful Death

Bella Morte has become one of the solid standing fixtures in the Gothic Rock genre as one of the new touring and writing monsters of our subculture. Creating solid hard hitting sounds that are unapologetic, at times brash and at others deeply inspirational. Their unique mix of Electronic, Goth, Deathrock, Punk and Metal makes for a bittersweet and heavy blend of tracks that entrances people from many different genres. Always attempting to adapt their style and never be stagnant, the act recently released Beautiful Death. An intriguing and deep new album that hearkens back to their more romantic and deeply traditional Gothic Rock roots.

Beautiful Death opens with the acts latest single for Metropolis records, the song "Find Forever Gone". Andy shows a softer and deeper side to his lyrical repertoire in this very slow and beautiful gothic dance track. "Can't Let this die" opens with a slow electronic rift then pulls you in for the killing rift, the more heavy sound you expect of this gritty act. "Black Seas Collide" Features heavy ripping guitar work combined with eerily dripping keyboards. Again we see the softer side of Andy's vocals in this very classic Goth rift. "Buried Within" is a harder hitting fast paced track with lightning paced synth. "The End of the Day" is a more tragic sounding solemn and moving track. "Fades like a song" is a deep emotional ballad of love lost and burying the past history. "In the Dirt" starts with a crawling Deathrock lyrical rift that explodes into a punching frenzy.

"One thousand days" is an emotionally driving track drawing images of Suicide, Alienation, and Depression. All too familiar themes but this tracks burning image of endurance against all odds is inspiring. "Burn the Sky" is another driving Gothic Rock track with heavy guitar tracks combined with hard hitting lyrics that blend an epic Gothic Rock anthem. "Eternal" is a more exploratory and experimental track with industrial synth and gritty guitar rifts. It carries a more hopeful tone than the prior tracks. "Nine Hours" opens with haunting Piano tones, a heavenly close to this very beautifully put together album.

Recent fans of Bella Morte who have been exposed to the break out album "Bleed the Grey Sky Black" might find the transition to a more romanticized traditional Goth album a hard switch. Bella Morte though shows their ability to mix their traditional gritty guitar licks with deeply written intellectual lyrics and a softer side to Andy's traditional lyrical style to create an album that crawls with the most crepuscular Goth act. The sound of "Beautiful Death" is reminiscent of early Goth acts like Play Dead or Nosferatu. However, Bella Morte retains its razor edge that has kept fans coming back for each new lick the band releases. With the act losing Gopal and Jordan earlier on, many fans felt that Bella Morte might lose some of its punch. Rest assured that the album "Beautiful Death" does not disappoint with all its romantic and creepy crawling beauty.

- Dr. Raven