Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Demon Hunter

45 Days DVD
Solid State

I have to admit, I picked this up from the office because I liked the bands logo. I had seen adds for their music and it was metal, so I figured I would give it a whirl. Then I found out they are a christian band. Well, that took off some serious points before I even listened to the music. Yes, folks I don't like christianity, so sue me. However, since I had the dvd's already I went ahead with it. The concert was just "ok". Yes, they had all the right elements (that was basically by-the- book, cookie cutter new wave of American metal sound) to be "heavy" but there was nothing that original about them. Even if they hadn't been a christian band, I would have felt the same. Again, it was just average. The tour documentary of 45 days in the life of Demon Hunter, centers around the band, touring, the fans talking about how the band's music brought them closer to god, Jesus, etc, etc..... If your a fan of these guys, this is your lucky day, but for anyone else, I say pass. There are far better and more original metal bands out there to listen to.

- Craig Harvey

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Artoffact Records

This album is by some of the founding members of Haujobb. Well, they wear their former influences on their sleeve that's for sure. They even do an updated version of the song "Homes and Gardens". That said, there is still some dark, futuristic, industrial/ebm to be found here. Track one, "Replikant" was my favorite. Merging some heavy guitar into this instrumental, along side the synths gave it a very eerie, majestic, almost soundtrack quality. The re-make of "Homes and Gardens" wasn't bad, but I prefer the original. Still, this is better than much of the music this genre has put out as of late.

- Craig Harvey


April Rain
Sensory Records

The cover to this album was a little misleading to my eyes. This beautiful girl, hair blown back, with her band sihouetted in the background gave the appearance of some type of dance/pop album. Wrong again. Remember folks, you can't judge the music by the cover. Delain is a symphonic metal band with female vocals. The band was founded by ex - Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt back in 2002. "April Rain" is their second album. Granted their are several bands of this ilk; Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Leave's Eyes, Midnattsol etc... Delain definitely shows they have the talent to keep up with their peers. Vocalist Charlotte Wessels has a stunning, beautiful voice and her range is impeccable. The guitars are downtuned for maximum heaviness, and the entire album is slick and well produced. There are also some male vocals by guitarist Ronald Landa who moves from clean to "growling vocals". Thankfully the growling vocals are only on one track. Not that I don't like that style, but their are two many bands of this type who go back and forth between the beautiful female and growling male vocals already. I was definitely impressed and I think you will be as well, especially if you like this type of metal.

- Craig Harvey

Friday, June 19, 2009


A Picture of a Picture
Killer Pimp

So this is what Aidan Baker is up to when he's not creating Foucault-does-doom via the Cure's “Pornography” in Nadja with partner Leah Buckareff. With THISQUIETARMY (aka Eric Quach of Destroyalldreamers) at his side this time around, Baker creates airy, pillowy-soft, self-regenerating ambient bliss. Creating music that makes “Music For Airports” seem downright noodly, Baker and THISQUIETARMY manipulate sparse patches of watery guitar fuzz, cloudbursts of synth, and naturally occurring electronic sinewaves and pulses to create music that seems like microtonal flowers continually bursting to life, before slowly closing again. Closer listens reveal a much more lyrical bent to this music. The sound manipulators are very much in synch, each trying to out-sad the others with the most melancholy innervision, songs build, but so subtly and quietly you might not even notice it. Gigantic compositions and emotions rendered in quiet miniature. For fans of Brian Eno, Lycia, Harmonia.

- Matthew Moyer

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fever Ray

Fever Ray

Although one would be hard pressed to imagine membership in the Knife creatively restricting, some spontaneous urge obviously got its filigreed fingers around the neck of Karin Dreijer Andersson one-half of the Magick Brother/Magick Sister electro duo. And while the Knife dazzle and horrify with creeping, pounding, industrial rhythms (parts of the Knife's last album reminded me of early Skinny Puppy), tandem, off-kilter vocals, and a visual image straight out of “Eyes Wide Shut,” Fever Ray is a different type of spellbinding. Created, as she says, in a state of mostly complete solitude in a small studio over eight months during banker's hours, it's seemingly more organic and naturalist. Moss and jade leaves grow between the synthesizer keys. The music is just this close to being new age in terms of ambience and a sense of inner calm, though the sounds are tweaked and warped enough to keep it wayyyy off the radar of Enya fans. and Andersson's vocals take the center stage, still either slowed down to an androgyne crawl or a sharp, distorted incantatory tone that insinuates into your inner ear.

Instead of the implied threats and subliminal violence of Andersson’s day job, as Fever Ray she sings straight from the stream of subconsciousness, talking about dream visions, hopes, everyday banalities like "talking on the telephone to a friend about dish soap” without even one word seeming trite. Indeed it's weirdly profound and comforting. The pacing is languid. Lazy hand drums, handclaps and ticktock-machine clocks are cut through with bell-like synth tones and gleaming sound knives. The songs are carefully constructed in that way that seems so offhand and spontaneous. The overall effect of the “Fever Ray” album is dazzling, weird, choked-up beauty. Highlights include “Dry and Dusty’s” slo-mo vocal torch with sunburst synths, “Seven's” Italo disco-goes-native kitchen sink drama and evil-Kate-Bush vocals, “Triangle Walks’” evocation of classic Depeche Mode-chanson collages, “Now's the Only Time I Know’s” labyrinthine woodblock echoes, “Keep the Streets Empty for Me’s" orchestrated electronic hum and echo, like a pillow for her most straightforwardly beautiful vocals yet. "Morning keeps the streets empty," she sighs.

Enterprising musicians are going to be ripping off the tricks on this album in no time flat.

- Matthew Moyer

Monday, June 15, 2009

Heather Wikstrom

Self Titled

This Jacksonville resident (who originally moved here from Las Vegas a few years back) gave me a copy of her debut cd to review and I can tell you after just one listen; why this lovely young woman does not have a recording contract is a mystery to me. This girl can sing. Not only sing, but write good songs as well. Her voice has quite a wide range and she covers a lot of musical ground on her album. While I would have to classify it as a "pop" album, I can hear her summoning a little of Melissa Etheridge, Madonna, Amy Lee and a host of others in her vocal style. Most of her songs are about relationships (some based on personal experience and some fictional) and the music was all done by the producer, which mixes guitar, bass, drums, piano and some electronics. Truthfully, I can see Heather right at home doing pop material, fronting a blues/rock band, soft jazzy numbers or even singing for a house/techo dj's album. She has got the ability to do it all. I hope this talented lady gets noticed in the near future and if you see an add for her playing out, do yourself a favor and go see her perform.

- Craig Harvey

To purchase her music go to:
or Heather_Wikstrom@hotmail.com


The Infection
Nuclear Blast

Chimaira are one of those bands, who for some reason (even after putting out 5 previous albums) I just haven't paid much attention to. However, when their sixth album "The Infection" showed up at the office, I decided it was time to give them a listen and see how they ranked in the metal world. The new album is well produced with solid, down-tuned riffs, a powerful rhythm section, and the yelling/growling style of vocals (which has become rather overdone in my opinion). That said, fans of the metalcore/NWOAHM (New Wave of American Heavy Metal) style of music will undoubtedly enjoy this release. I however, found it to be just average with not much new to offer my auditory senses. The songs are too similar from track to track and the vocals have the same problem. The best song on the entire album is the last, entitled "The Heart Of It All". Clocking in at just under 15 minutes, this instrumental piece shows a side to the band that would be nice to hear more of in their music. Lot's of texture, movement between clean and distorted tones, and without the vocals I was able to really hear the musicianship come through. This is not a bad cd to be sure, but unfortunately to my ears, it's not making me want to go out and purchase their older material either.

- Craig Harvey