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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Concert Review: Dark Tranquillity At Launchpad

This show was a perfect storm of musical variety, consistent heaviness, and high-energy excitement. Launchpad is one of my favorite venues, and it outdid itself for this concert. Each band was unique, yet the chemistry was cohesive, and the result was like the so-called “goldilocks effect” that created life on our planet: A seemingly random formula of a certain matter, in certain places, et cetera, that culminates into a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Starkill managed to impress, even though I only caught the very last of their set. Their music had hints of metalcore, with melancholy clean vocals juxtaposed against growls and melodic guitar hooks. I was inspired to check out their bandcamp, and to my delight, they have a fine collection of power chords and haunting female vocals, plus some wicked guitar solos.  Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Enforcer are an epic power metal hailing from Sweden. Everything about this band screams “80's METAL!!!” Enforcer hark back to the days when the line between hard rock and glam metal was blurred. From catchy guitar riffs and harmonized choruses, to shredding guitar solos and high pitched vocals, this band exemplifies everything that made early heavy metal so badass.

Swallow The Sun, from Finland, are defined by progressive, almost trance-like soundscapes. Their atmospheric music is experimental, ambient, and mesmerizing. The lead singer boasts skills in both clean and gutteral vocals. It was easy to get lost in the mix of the music, and go to another world entirely. Its seldom that we consider music that could be simultaneously brutal and beautiful, but Swallow The Sun offer the best of both worlds.

Dark Tranquillity are one of the most prolific Swedish melodic death metal bands, hailing from the city of Gothenburg, from which the genre earned its nickname. Playing classics like White Noise Black Silence, the band also performed tracks from their new album, Atoma, which is yet another masterpiece among their impressive discography.

Within a matter of seconds, soaring melodies plummeted to the gutteral depths of hell, displaying a complete mastery of both heaviness and melodic virtuosity. Not only are they expert musicians and eloquent lyricists, they are also genuinely passionate. Their excitement and energy are infectious. These are badass shredders who happen to be very humble and down to earth. Like their fellow Swedes Enforcer, they are cool enough to socialize with fans, sign autographs, and generally kick ass at life.

Oh, and rumor has it a vest of one of the band members went missing that night. If anyone knows where it is, or can help return it, please do so. That vest was going to be auctioned for charity at the end of the tour. If you have any information regarding it, please contact the band!

All things considered, it was almost a perfect night. This concert is a shining example of exceptional live music, played with heart and soul. A genuine connection between bands and fans, plus professional musicianship and talent, made for an amazing show. Five stars out of five! 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Terra Caput Mundi: Praeparatio Aeternum Bellum

*ATTENTION* This is the last new post that will appear on this URL. I will keep this blog address active for the sole purpose of leaving links  intact. However, all of the articles here are available on the newly activated website, and any articles from this point on will only be posted on the new website. 


Raw speed and aggression are the outstanding qualities of Terra Caput Mundi, a speed metal band from St. Louis.  With three previously released albums under their belt, Praeparatio Eternum Bellum is the latest addition to their consistently badass arsenal.  The drumming is simple but catchy, and the vocals range from raspy growls to all-out screams. The guitars play simple, angry riffs, reminiscent of early punk rock and thrash metal. Shredding guitar solos often steal the spotlight, but the rhythm sections can be repetitive. Although some songs are slower than others, the tempo remains energetic and brisk. The melodies are unpredictable yet chock full of hooks.

Praeparatio Eternum Bellum is a very solid and cohesive album, and the tracks flow into each other smoothly. That said, some songs outshine the rest of the album. The opening track, (We Are) The Tank Crew, is one hell of a party jam. Who needs sedatives when you have tasty bass lines? Iron Guard is another charismatic anthem, with addictive riffs and rhythmic percussion.

I rarely enjoy an album from start to finish, but there's not a single bad song on this record. In fact, I think it's cut off tragically short at only six tracks. This excellent album is available for pre-order on bandcamp, and you can also check out the band's own website. What's not to like? Four stars out of five.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Carnun Rising: Vercingetorix

Carnun Rising is a melodic death metal band hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Although they are a solid band as a whole, the guitar work outshines everything else.  The vocals are decent but nothing original, just some generic gutterals. However, the vocals offer an interesting contrast when they syncopate with the guitar riffs, with the upbeat of one being the downbeat of the other.The drums get lost in the background, other than a few cool rolls every now and then.

Temple Of Flesh is the best track from this EP. Those energetic guitar licks will get stuck in your head. I've been raping the replay button for 3 days in a row, and I'm still addicted. The title track, Vercingetorix, offers some amazing solos, whereas Flames Of Gergovia falls flat and doesn't stand out one way or the other. The final song, Caesar's Bane, shows some folk influence with a Celtic melody.

The lyrics are not published, but the words I could understand were anti-religion, and often referred to chaos and death. The album art shows the Druidic deity Cernunnos (from whom the band derived their name) sitting cross legged in a circle, making a symbol that resembles an inverted pentagram.

Among other albums, Vercingetorix is available for download on Bandcamp. The production quality is surprisingly good and the guitar techniques are exceptional, but otherwise, Carnun Rising sound similar to many other melodic death metal bands.   Four stars out of five.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cattle Decapitation: Concert Review

I've been anticipating this  concert ever since it was announced. Now that I have experienced Cattle Decapitation in their full glory, I am blown away. Although my neck will be hurting for the next week, and some of my comrades left the venue bruised and bloody, it was totally worth the pain. Here's why:

A Malicious Plague were the opening band. One song would emphasize shredding guitar solos, the next would highlight the noodling bass lines, and yet another song would be centered around percussion.  Each band member excelled in his particular instrument, and together they delivered an excellent performance, though no two songs sounded alike. 

Impaled Offering fucking killed it. The vocals were delivered in a low-pitched, deep growl. The guitars were dissonant and caustic as hell, with furious drumming in the background. Whether you are into brutal death metal like Cryptopsy or goregrind like Exhumed, Impaled Offering definitely delivers a raw, violent sound to rival the best in the metal industry.

Yar could  potentially be my favorite act out of the whole bill. They played some songs I didn't recognize from their self-titled debut, so this was presumably new material from an upcoming album. There is heart and depth behind their aggressive, thrashy sound. Of all the bands who performed, Yar had the most emotive quality. Although the guitar riffs were the focal point, the kickass vocals, percussion, and bass lines all complemented each other. 

Fields Of Elysium are focused on musical technique. Although their music is extreme, this is not mosh material. The style is very technical and somewhat reminiscent of Jazz. Sometimes these strange musical arrangements sound brilliant, but on the other hand,  the abrupt tempo changes in both percussion and string instruments can be quite jarring. Nonetheless, there are enough breakdowns and guitar sweeps to satisfy most purists (i.e. metal nerds).
Carrion Kind, characterized by a melodic thrash style,  played many songs that fans would recognize from Conglomerate Of Misery, their debut album released in 2014. They saved their best for last, performing my favorite track, Memoirs Of A  Lost Civilization, as the final song in their set. Catchy drum beats and guitar hooks were overlapped by gutteral vocals. Excellent performance, as always. 

Cattle Decapitation are infamous for making incredibly violent, angry music. Although only two members of the current line up are vegetarian, the lyrics remain pessimistic and misanthropic condemnations of mankind’s tendency to perpetually fuck itself over. The mosh pits were insane, and I was ecstatic when they ended the night with Kingdom Of Tyrants, one of their best and most notorious tracks. 

Thanks to Metal World Radio, Kronos Creative, and The Locker Room, who made this show possible. Also a special shout out to Attack Research, whose generous sponsorship contributed immensely to the event's success. 

All things considered, this was an amazing concert. Four stars out of five.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Even More Upcoming Shows

Blu Phoenix, a relatively new venue, hosts Superior, By The Thousands, Perplexity, and Questionable Fate on January 16th at 6 pm. 

Elm Street and Night Demon will share the stage with  Holocaustic and the recently reunited Suspended. 

Yet another Blu Phoenix concert, featuring Silent Planet with local bands Bear The Nightmare, Portrait Of A Mastermind, and Cytheria. 

Two iconic Metal legends, Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse, with be performing at Sunshine Theater with support from Aeon and Tribulation. 

The Elected Officials, one of my favorite punk bands, will be tearing your ears a new one at Taos Mesa Brewing. The show will also feature other NM bands, Econarchy, Yar, and Jerk Off. 

Holy fuck, that's a beautiful line up. Freaky fast grindcore pioneers Napalm Death, and progressive metal innovaters Voivod will be co-headlining this concert at Sunshine Theater. I'm equally exited to see Exhumed, whose autographs I have in a Decibel magazine. Phobia, Black Crown Initiate, and Iron Reagan will also be performing. 

The Jamspot will be hosting this kickass All-ages show on January 19th. Final Drive headlines, with local bands Holocaustic, Destroy To Recreate, Visions Of Death, and Lacerated Faith. 

Nekrofilth will be the nastiest, most fucked up show you see all year. Weaponizer from Colorado are touring with them, and NM bands Suspended and Yar will open the show. 

Last but not least, here are some shows that are happening on the East Coast.  New England Metal and Hardcore Festival has a killer line up this year. The show takes place from April 17-19, at the Palladium inWorcester, MA. 

From May 21-24,  Maryland Deathfest will take place in Baltimore, MD. Legendary bands like Amorphis, Obituary, and Napalm Death will be performing alongside more obscure bands such as Early Graves, Water Torture, and Suffering Mind. It would also be pretty sick to see the surf-grind band Ghoul, the proggy Origin, or the stoner sludge heaviness of Yob. This concert promises a vast variety of diverse but consistently dark and brutal music. 

...And of course, I hope to see you all tomorrow at the Locker Room for this bitchin' show. 
Brutal grind band Cattle Decapitation will be headlining, with support from local bands Carrion Kind, Fields Of Elysium, Yar, Impaled Offering, and A Malicious Plague. This show is now ALL AGES, and tickets are selling out quick. Get yours while you can from any of the local bands, who are easily contacted on their respective Facebook pages. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Eve With As In We

 This is the kind of band that will have you moshing one minute and the next minute have you statue-still with your eyes closed. The music isn't exactly heavy, but it's not exactly happy either. The bittersweet compositions are a Pandora's box, with optimistic melodies belying percussive chaos. Although they are instrumental, As In We has an very bitter, aggressive, but introspective sound.

  After what felt like eons of being without a favorite band, a triumphant return was well-timed for  New Years Eve/Day. The venue was packed with fans, headbanging, moshing, dancing, or just plain mesmerized by the music. This was a perfect way to end one year and begin the next.

It is quite possible that this is the last As In We show we'll see for a while (or ever.) Just in case, make sure to check out their music on Bandcamp, Reverbnation, Last.Fm, or their own website.

I have to say, this performance was excellent. Five stars out of five.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Upcoming Shows

Ha! What a great flyer. At long last, As In We are back to play at 2nd Street Brewery on New Years Eve. (Note that this is the original  brewery which is actually located on 2nd Street.) Doors open at 10 pm, music starts around 11. Oh, and Also, it's FREE! Only things to keep in mind are to tip your bartender, buy some merch, and don't drive drunk.

On Jan 7 2015, Hanta will be playing their album release show with Iceolus, Yar, and...DJ Muffins? One of these things is not like the others. The show will take place at Sister, a bar on Central. Cover is only $5.

If the 80's have taught me anything, it's that Battles Of The Bands kick major ass. This one is sponsored by Rock U Night, 94 Rock, an even Jim Beam. 

Here is an updated flyer with the final line up. If you haven't already acquired tickets for this concert, they are available on Hold My Ticket or from any of the local bands (Carrion Kind, Fields Of Elysium, Yar, Impaled Offering, and A Malicious Plague.) The price of tix goes up if you buy them at the door, so I suggest you get them in advance.  The madness takes place at 6:30 pm,  January Tenth at The Locker Room. Let's get rowdy.