Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sixx A.M.

The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
Eleven Seven Music

I was a Motley Crue fan from way back (especially their first two albums) but they went a little too commercial for me and I never really followed them much after "Shout At The Devil". That said, I never showed much interest in the solo efforts of some of the members either. That changed when I heard Sixx A.M 's song "Life Is Beautiful". This was an example of a great rock song that stayed in my head for days on end. However, was the rest of the album just as good, or was it just a fluke? After just one listen to "The Heroin Diaries", I can tell you for sure it was not a fluke. This is solid, extremely well written album full of fantastic songs that you will want to hear over and over again.

"The Heroin Diaries" chronicles bassist Nikki Sixx's downward spiral into the black abyss of heroin addiction and his desperate struggle to crawl back from the gutter that had become his life. The story takes place in the years 1986 through 1987 during Motley Crue's reign of debauchery and decadence. While it's not the most uplifting of subject matters, you feel as if your with him on this journey to regain his sanity and his soul. The songs themselves range from heavy, hard rock numbers to mournful ballads, all having brilliant lyrics with spoken word intermissions by Sixx himself. Regardless if you’re a Crue fan or not, this is a great album that I can't say enough good things about.

- Craig Harvey

Dimension Zero

He Who Shall Not Bleed

On their fourth album (first one for me) Dimension Zero hits hard with a blitzkrieg attack of blackened/death/thrash metal (or something along those lines) that's as violent as a rabid pit bull from beginning to end. Acidic, screeching vocals coagulate with furious guitar/bass riffs and maniacal drumming. Dimension Zero is a side project from members of In Flames, Soilwork and a former drummer/vocalist from Marduk. While it's got some great metal fireworks, it tends to fall flat on originality, as most of the songs sound too much alike, not to mention this style has been done to death and sounds tired. That said, the brutality on the other hand, is top notch. It doesn't let up for a second. You kinda feel like someone beat you to death after it's all over (which for a metal album is a good thing.) However, I think that metal bands need to quit listening to each other so much and go outside their genre for influences to have a more diverse sound. They got half the formula right anyway, so it's not a total loss.

- Craig Harvey



Lethargy are a band of many sonic layers that together produce a hard rock/metal sound that is heavy, melodic, and massively infectious. This young foursome from the UK sound like a band twice their age, but don't let their youth fool you; these guys are the real deal. Pulling from early classic rock, stoner/doom, and more modern prog/thrash metal, they twist all these influences into a massive wall of sound that will catch you from the first song till the last. "Purification" has some of the thickest, tightest guitar riffs and catchy wah-drenched solo's, that sound effortless and flawless. And oh, does this band groove like nobody's business. Phil Humphery delivers a soulful, powerful vocal performance (not to mention his phenomenal guitar work) that is well complimented by co-guitarist Andy Hunt, who along with bassist Marc Jones supply backup vocals. Drummer Gaz Hunt does what drummers do best and that's pound the living hell out of his kit, providing this band with a fucking solid, brick wall foundation. Don't try to classify these guys as they've thrown in everything but the kitchen sink into their musical brew. Just enjoy the hell out of it. I promise you will.

- Craig Harvey

Friday, February 13, 2009


Today We Are All Demons

I really hate to say anything negative about this album because Andy LePlegua is such a nice guy and he creates some great music. Unfortunately, Combichrist has become stagnant and repetitive as of late. I can't really see much change from the last album, the one before that and this latest effort. It's the same formula, same sounds, same beats, etc…. It's not bad, but I heard this three albums ago, and it hasn't evolved much at all. The first Combichrist EP, "Kiss The Blade" was really cool, because it was more powernoise, which then changed and morphed into a crossover of that style with danceable industrial on "Everybody Hates You." It was aggressive, heavy, and it really kicked ass. So what happened? Beat's me. I guess like many artists, you find a sound that works and take it as far as it will go. This is a novel idea, but if you don't change somewhat with each release, it becomes boring and un-interesting and that's the case here. I really hope Andy decides to give us something unique and different next time around, or you'll hear me vent the same disappointment as now on the next review.

- Craig Harvey

Thursday, February 12, 2009



It's fucking great when a band emerges fully-formed with such a strong sonic identity. Athen's Entertainment craft a postpunk spin on gothic music the way god and nature intended - sticky, cavernous and dramatic. Equally evocative of early LA deathrock and punk - Christian Death, TSOL, Adolescents - and British postpunk weirdness - the Cure, pil, Cabaret Voltaire, Bauhaus - "Gender" is defiantly outsider art. A gritty, dirty, stripped-down sound.

I was pleased at the audacity of going for an epic "Double Dare" type vibe on opener "Romance In A Rain," all stutterstep tribal tattoos and guitar strangulation with the added diversion of keyboards that sound like one of those noise-activated “Boooo” ghosts you can buy at Halloween at your local drugstore. "A Seduction Walks" is fuelled by manic bass/drum lockstep propulsion that woulda had Ian Curtis' right leg jerking insanely while the rest of his body was locked in thousand-yard stare comatose daze - and those echoey, overwrought vocals are outta sight. And then when the vocalist purrs, "the look of love," the song upshifts into a whole new form of heat, with a guitar solo that sounds like shards of stained glass. Best track on the album. And just wait until "Patroness" kicks in with a minute to go – total overheated death disco or virus funk. It’s like ten-ton columns of sleek black marble, distorto glam-dub riot. If the whole album could be that one minute, mmmmm, we'd be in a new heaven.

After that it's just one tribal punk nightmare after another, with style and poise to spare and a mastery of crepuscular atmospherics that even Bauhaus might covet. That drummer really fucking cooks and every other player knows that silence can be just as terrifying if not more than everyone pulling out all their tricks at the same time. Simple basslines boom and echo like good Cure or New Order. The vocals are a breathy, androgynous yelp closest to Rozz Williams in the flush of youth circa the first Christian Death album. Can you even consider music like this a throwback when a band follows in the footsteps of bands that the popular consciousness is not even close to catching up with yet? The smoldering tension and release power-plays of "Confusion of Senses" masks epic Bunnymen-esque pop heroism. The coda of closer "Flesh" is just two much, jagged guitar harmonics shimmer on top of a truly thuggish bass and drum interplay with the vocalist yelping and screaming far away in the background and then twenty seconds of bass and drums pounding away and then nothing. Silence.

- Matthew Moyer

Legendary Pink Dots

Plutonium Blonde

There're all of these seriously fucking annoying truisms about the nature of rock n' roll that have been allowed to propagate and spread for way too fucking long now. Rock n' roll is a "young" "man's" game. A band has only two, three maximum, good albums in them. All the best stuff will be written in the early part of a band's career, after that, it's the law of diminishing returns in full effect. Bands need several years to craft and complete an album. Where, dear sirs, dear mythmakers, do the Legendary Pink Dots fit into your nostalgic haze? Thirty years, several albums out every year, each one building on the last, restlessly treading new ground each time. According to the immutable laws of rock n' roll, I shouldn't even be listening to “Plutonium Blonde” right now, and certainly not enjoying it as much as I am.

“Plutonium Blonde” finds the Dots stepping back from the elegiac and stately despair and politics-as-eulogy that pervaded “All The Kings Men” and “Wailing Wall,” and instead crafting ten sonically diverse mad-scientist lullabies. Some of it is drop-dead gorgeous, some unbelievably creepy, the rest, utterly flushed with the limitless possibilities of outsider sound. The principal players are in fine form. Edward Ka-Spel's childlike lilt is evergreen and drunk with wonder, his lyrics cloying and inscrutable. Nils Van Hornblower flits furtively in and amongst the mechanical spines of the song, every bit the sonic deus ex machina, before bursting forth like a hard-charging jazzman. Ryan Moore's guitar is still wondrously soulful and human, even when splintering into millions of tiny angular shards, chiming and bell-like, or drifting and otherworldly, like the last embers of a dying fire. Silverman keeps the electronics and percussion groovy enough to form the spine of their fractured pop, but weird and skittering and unexpected enough to continually jolt the listener.

Listen, buddy, they were survivors all along. Strength through creation. Ever wondered what Syd Barrett or the Soft Machine would be like if they'd managed to keep it going, to keep it together, for the sake of art over all else? Well, wonder no further.

- Matthew Moyer

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


At The Edge Of The World
Driven Music

For some reason, my gut instinct told me I was not going to like this album (or at the very least, I would think it just average and nothing overly special.) So much for my gut instinct. I was way off base. I had been familiar with Godhead by name only. Never really listened to them, just heard they were a metal/industrial act that had been around for several years. So I figured they had that "sound." You know, the one every other band of the same genre had; screaming vocals, heavy riffs, and some backing key's and noises to give them the "industrial" tag. Well they do have heavy riffs for sure, but the vocals are amazing. Frontman (and guitarist) Jason C. Miller has an outstanding set of pipes, which occasionally reminded me of Geoff Tate of Queensryche in certain parts. Between him and guitarist Mike Miller, (not related) they weave a powerful, yet very melodic set of 13 tracks, that are solid and well written. Bassist/Keyboardist Ulrich Hepperlin along with drummer Ty Smith provide a massive wall of rythym to keep things in place. Interestingly enough, Ty Smith is Godhead's sixth drummer, which make it seem as though they have been through more drummers than Spinal Tap! There are also five bonus remix tracks (including one from Curse Mackey) which makes a total of 18 songs altogether. More bang for your buck I always say. I was glad to be proven wrong this time, and found myself more than ready to go back and check into Godhead's previous work's. "At The Edge Of The World" is an album you should do yourself a favor and pick up. You won't be disappointed.

- Craig Harvey


War Zone Soundtrack

I thought most of the songs on here would be new stuff, but with the exception of Rob Zombie's "War Zone" (which by the way, is the best song he has done in a long time) it was all older material. It's not a total loss however, there are some good tracks lurking on this disc. Slayer - "Final Six", Slipknot-"Psychosocial", Seether - "Fallen", Kerli - "Bulletproof", Justice - "Genesis" and Hatebreed - "Refuse/Resist". Can't say whether the film is any good or not, as I haven't seen it (I was kind of pissed Thomas Jane did not reprise his role, but what can you do?) However the soundtrack is definitely fitting for this type of film.

- Craig Harvey