Odyssey

About Odyssey

I have had a life-long love of music, but from the first time I heard Kiss and Black Sabbath with my landlord's son in Nicholasville, KY in the mid 70's, I have been hooked on Hard Rock and Metal. While my tastes in music have done nothing but expand since then, Metal remains closest to my heart. In addition, I have played bass, still play guitar and have literally 1000's of CDs/MP3s, so my knowledge is long steeped and honest. I don't buy the whole splintered, sub-genres thing and choose to like bands and music based solely on individual merits. Obviously, this is always colored by my mood, what I need at any given point and time and what is generally pleasing to my ear. I also don't like to rip any music or band, instead having an open mind and ear for it all because I have a passion for it all. It is completely subjective and in a constant state of flux. Consider me a music "nerd" not a music "snob". As an extension of this love, I hope to share this passion with everyone here and learn from your passion as well! - Odyssey -

Show Review of John 5 and The Creatures In Jacksonville, FL

What can be said about John 5 that has not been said a thousand times by ten thousand different people since his meteoric rise in the music business started way back when he moved to Los Angeles from Michigan at the ripe old age of 17? Hell, his resume reads like a veritable who’s who in a wide variety of genres, playing and writing with the likes of Rudy Sarzo, David Lee Roth, Paul Stanley, Marilyn Manson, Rob Halford, Rob Zombie all the way to John Wetton (Asia), SaltNPepa, Ricky Martin, k.d. lang, Meat Loaf, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many, many others. One hot commodity, to say the least! Now, guitarist friends and I might say that it is his guitar playing that makes him stand apart from the rest of the crowd. Big surprise with influences like Malmsteen, Satch, Vai, Hendrix, Page, Albert Lee, Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Paul Gilbert, Bumblefoot, Jim Root, Buckethead and Eric Johnson. Others may think that it is the company that he keeps and the bands that he has played and written for that makes him great. Still others may hold the opinion that he is just plain fun to watch live. Well, I am here to tell you that all three apply to this wizard of six-string sorcery, especially having just recently been initiated into John 5 and The Creatures live show at 1904 Music Hall here in Jacksonville, FL.

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Anvil Set To Fire Up “Pounding the Pavement”

Anvil is:

SteveLipsKudlow: guitars, vocals

Robb Reiner: drums

Chris Robertson: bass

Damn. What can be said about the legendary Anvil that has not been said a thousand times before by media outlets, long-time fans and even critics? Hell, even larger-than-life heavy hitters like Motorhead and Metallica have consistently over the years praised and respected Anvil for holding true to what makes them great and not kowtowing to outside influences to put them at the will of any record company, promoter or music outlet. These guys play for two reasons: 1). They love what they do and 2). For their fans. Anything past these two things is just icing. Since 1978, this band has been producing quality, Traditional Heavy Metal with their distinctive thumbprint, their way 100%. Call them the biggest underground band in the world or a highly underrated and underappreciated A-Lister because it doesn’t really matter in the end. They are still going to slam into you like a runaway ice cream truck and either hurt you or (if you have my sense of humor) truly appreciate everything that they have done and continue to do. No amount of turmoil, band disruption, criticism or boundary can slow down, much less stop Anvil from putting out high-speed quality Metal and then relentlessly tour to get said killer music in your face, up close and personal (what you can expect at one of their shows can be found here). Much and continued sincere respect for Anvil!

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Review: Flaw Lands In Jacksonville, FL and Tears Up 1904 Music Hall

This was one of those shows that I could not wait to get to; kind of like Christmas a few weeks late. Not only was I waiting to see a now legendary band, but also to see some friends I have not seen in quite a while, see a couple of bands I have not seen before and able to see a couple of favorite local bands that I have become friends with over time. Great being part of the local Metal scene here in Jacksonville! Some of the best people playing some of the best music available anywhere! Gotta love it! Thanks to GoBig Entertainment for making this show happen!

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The 4 Year Wait Is Over As White Wizzard Releases “Infernal Overdrive”

White Wizzard is:

WyattScreamin’ DemonAnderson – vocals
Jon Leon – bass/guitars
James J LaRue – lead guitars and keyboards/orchestration
Dylan Marks – drums

As an answer to the angsty, low tuned, screamo music that has taken over since the early 2000’s, Los Angeles, CA’s White Wizzard was formed by bass/guitar player and songwriter Jon Leon in mid-2007. Stressing the importance of superior songwriting, melody and appropriate harmonies, Jon set out to add all of the fun and good times back to Hard Rock and Metal that had been all but abandoned since the late 80’s and early 90’s when Metal was in its infancy and heyday. Since their inception, White Wizzard has released a couple of EPs, a number of singles and four, full-length CDs entitled Over the Top (2010), Flying Tigers (2011, and one of my favorites!), The Devil’s Cut (2013) and, released Friday, January 12th, 2018 on the M-Theory Audio label (a first for the band), Infernal Overdrive.

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Review of Leaves’ Eyes Spectacular “Sign of the Dragonhead”

Leaves’ Eyes is:

Elina Siirala – Vocals

Alexander Krull – Vocals

Thorsten Bauer – Guitar/Bass

Pete Streit – Guitar

Joris Nijenhuis – Drums

Sign of the Dragonhead

Any fan of Symphonic, female-fronted Metal is intimately familiar with, now legendary, LeavesEyes. Over the course of the last fourteen years, the band has released a total of six albums including Lovelorn (2004), Vinland Saga (2005), Njord (2009), Meredead (2011), Symphonies of the Night (2013) and King of Kings in late 2015. Based on a myriad of Nordic themes such as the mystical, underwater world of the mermaid, adventures of the ancient mariner, Celtic folk songs, tales of heroic women over the course of mankind’s existence and, most recently a concept album revolving around the first king of Norway, LeavesEyes has carved their epic status in stone and set a firm foundation for the entire Symphonic sub-genre of Metal. By April 2016, Finnish vocalist Elina Siirala replaced long-standing front-woman Liv Kristine amid much drama and controversy. Fans from all over the world held their collective breaths as the first act of the band played out to its close. Once Elina proved herself at Hammersonic in Jakarta, Indonesia, Metal Female Voices, Wave Gotik, Treffen, Masters of Symphonic Metal, Full Metal Cruise and many other, fans breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Elina had what it takes to carry the standard. This should come as no surprise since Liv had a hand in choosing her replacement. Last year, LeavesEyes ventured on their most bold world tour yet, hitting Europe, Asia, North America and South America; even being joined by one of my favorite bands, Sabaton, among many others and selling out shows throughout. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of seeing LeavesEyes live but are said to have “shows [that are] are spectacular events featuring breathtaking stage sets like a Viking ship or the unforgettable ‘Swords in the Stone’ monument.

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Guitar God Joe Satriani Shows Us “What Happens Next”

What Happens Next musicians:

Joe Satriani – Guitar

Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple and Black Country Communion) – Bass

Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers ) – Drums

Mike Fraser (AC/DC, The Razor’s Edge and long time Satriani collaborator since Crystal Planet) – Producer/Engineer/Mixer

Joe Satriani certainly needs no introduction and remains one of my favorite guitarists of all time. What will be sixteen albums over the course of thirty one years, teacher of many other great guitarists (Kirk Hammet, Andy Timmons, Steve Vai, Alex Skolnick, Charlie Hunter, Larry LaLonde, Kevin Cadogan, Rick Hunolt, David Bryson, Geoff Tyson, Phil Kettner, to name a few), member of supergroup Chickenfoot, undeniably one of the most influential guitarists of all time, multiple Grammy Award nominations, headliner of G3 since 1995 featuring a veritable who’s who of the greatest the guitar world has to offer and a man that just exudes passion and fun on every stage he has ever landed on are just a few meager mentions of this man’s incredible talents. I have had the pleasure of seeing Joe quite a few times over the course of his long career and he so obviously loves what he is doing now more than he ever has. He just keeps getting better and enjoying it more and more as the years wear on. Where a jaded view of the music business has tainted the passion of so many other bands I have seen lately, Satriani hits the stage with continued wide-eyed wonder. Honestly, I think Satch enjoys playing more than his fans like watching him slay his beloved Ibanez.

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State of the Art: Nebraska – Fallen Reign

*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State* 

This month’s State is Nebraska!

On this week’s State of the Art spotlight of Metal from Nebraska, I would like to introduce a Progressive/Power Metal band that call Omaha home. Members include guitarist/vocalist Jody Kermoade, bass player Leigh Jamieson, drummer Andrew Pace and Rocky Pulley covering keyboards during live shows and will be featured on their forthcoming album. The band is Fallen Reign.

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Allegaeon’s Release of Their Second Rush Cover, “Animate”

Little did we know that Allegaeon, whose album Proponent for Sentience hit our lists for best of 2016 (check out our extensive review here), recorded not one, but two spectacular Rush covers! Those of us that heard “Subdivisions” immediately fell in love with their rendition of it and made it their most streamed song off of the aforementioned album. Celebrating today’s date, January 6, 2018, the date version of the band’s song “1.618”, Allegaeon have just cut loose with “Animate” worldwide on all of the digital music services. It can be sampled and bought at your favorite source here.

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Review of “Dark Matter” By Auditory Armory

Auditory Armory is:

April Rose – Vocals and Guitar
Oscar Garcia – Drums
Dennis Burns – Guitar
Justice Maynard – Bass

Dark Matter

Auditory Armory is a female fronted Alternative Metal band that manages to take the best of Hard Rock, Metal, Progressive Rock and even some Jazz and cleanly distills them into a sound that can only be identified as theirs. This is the advantage of taking on music with wide, curious and wandering eyes instead of within the confines of what is and what should be for any certain genre/sub-genre of music and the die-hard fans that constantly in-fight these categorizations to death. This has always been a pet peeve. Categories should be used simply as a way of describing a sound to someone that has not heard of the band, not as some confining boundary of what music should sound like. Imagine, if you will, a musical landscape where Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Gershwin, Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, The Beatles, Elvis, Hendrix, Yes, Rush, Michael Hedges, Pink Floyd, Eddie Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judus Priest, The Big 4, Chuck Schuldiner, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse and Venom chose not to think outside of the box. Got it worked out? Not a pretty picture, huh? This is precisely the reason I actively search out and share bands that throw the whole “writing within a box” thing to the wind. Auditory Armory is, obviously, one such band that fits the mold of not fitting in one.

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Odyssey’s Top Ten Albums of 2017!

Best of 2017

Like every year, we have been inundated with tons of killer, new Metal in 2017. Thankfully, we here at Metal Nexus have the freedom to share what we personally liked over the course of the year. No sales numbers. No record label affiliation or pressure. No sub-genre infighting. No BS. Just an honest list of what struck us individually. Like past years, my list is as broad as my musical tastes and covers everything from instrumentals, to Tech Death, to Power Metal, to Thrash and even a top-notch Progressive Rock band. Hopefully, some of my favorites will become yours and will propagate the audience for each and every band listed below. I sincerely hope that 2018 brings bands and albums this good. Enjoy and continue expanding our Metal family!

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