Album Review: FRIENDSHIP – Ain’t No Shame (Kozmik Artifactz)

 

Friendship

Ain’t No Shame

Kozmik Artifactz

Release Date: May 25, 2018

Ain’t No Shame, the eagerly anticipated second full-length from Norwegian trio Friendship, should be classified as a mood-enhancing substance. The first time I heard it, it pulled me out of the kind of piss-poor headspace that can only come from five hours cooped up in a car with two cranky children and an more than exasperated spouse. I was actually a little nervous to hit play that first time, for fear that my mental and physical exhaustion might negatively color my feeling toward the material. But by the end of the Monkees-and-Cream-playing-Cheap Trick opener “Are You Ready,” I was grinning ear to ear. Somewhere in the middle of the jazzy delight “Harmony Turns to Sound,” my dopey grin turned to slack-jawed awe. And within three seconds of the stomping funk-rock romp “Fire,” I actually laughed out loud from the combination of amazement and joy. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face and a sense of contentment in my heart, and I have Fredrik Skalstad (drums & lead vocals), Martin Morland (bass), and Sander Eriksen Nordahl (guitar) (along with their litany of guest musicians) to thank for that. It brought me up when I was down, and there’s not too many higher accolades than that.

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Album Review: DEAD CROSS – Dead Cross (Ipecac Recordings)

Dead Cross are an American hardcore/progressive metal group, formed in Southern California. The band consists of guitarist Mike Crain (Retox), bassist Justin Pearson (the Locust, Head Wound City and Retox), drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer and Fantômas) and vocalist Mike Patton (currently of Faith No More and Fantômas).  They released their debut album in August 2017 and then, seemingly out of nowhere, released released a further self-titled EP containing two new songs and two remixes from their previous album.

Their sound is sophistocated, yet brutal.  They are not what would be expected of a hardcore-based outfit and that is Mike Patton’s calling card.  While others dare not progress, Patton constantly wants to evolve and grow.  His voice is as varied on Dead Cross songs as any of his other projects, whether it be snarling, screaming or singing, it is still his very own.  The signature drumming of Lombardo also is very prominent and complements the ferocious guitar work of Crain and the understated bass of Pearson.

The E.P. is four songs of pure adrenaline, being pumped into the black heart of society.  There are two new songs, “Skin Of A Redneck” and “My Perfect Prisoner“.  Both of these are bangers, with a blunt trauma sound that stabs at you without mercy.  There is anger here, directed at the whole world.  It is like a two punch being delivered in the first moments of a boxing match.  The blood is still dripping from your face, whilst the champion is dropping you onto the canvas.

The second part of the E.P. is where the band get experimental.  They take two songs from their album and let the remixing re-imagine the sound.

Shillelagh – Panicker Remix” is an EDM hardcore fusion, with multiple keyboards, beeps and electronica.   It completely changes the tone from the original hardcore ripper that appeared on the debut.  It works superbly well, as it takes the cadaver and fills it with new sonics.  This is probably my favorite track on this E.P.

The final song is “Church of the Motherf*ckers – Planet B Remix” and this is a more restrained remix, but keeps the electronica elements to fill out the sound.  Patton explores every element of his voice on this, whilst Lombardo is strangely muted until the blast beat fills, augmented by drum machines.  A brave song, for sure.

The E.P. is a finely crafted exercise in keeping fans connected to the band whilst they start to tour.  It is a worthwhile addition to their catalogue and shows progression.

Album Review: CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL – Science Fiction (Kozmik Artifactz)

 

Church of the Cosmic Skull

Science Fiction

Kozmik Artifactz/Septaphonic

 

The surest way to stand out in a bleak and dour world? Be a beacon of light. With their matching white outfits, recurring rainbow motifs, and a fully-formed and realized rock band-as-hippie love sect mythos, Nottingham-based occult rock septet Church of the Cosmic Skull have done a more-than-admirable job setting themselves apart from the seemingly endless parade of monsters and demons and scowling young men in varying shades of black that populate today’s heavy rock scene. Their aesthetic is so refined and so well-structured, in fact, that at first glance some folks may be inclined to immediately dismiss the group out of hand as a mere novelty act or an elaborate joke. Those folks would being doing themselves a grave disservice, however, because here’s the thing: Church of the Cosmic Skull is one of the best bands in the world of retro-rock, and with their absolutely breathtaking six-part harmonies, they may be the most singular unit out there. Nobody else sounds like this. Their debut album, 2016’s Is Satan Real?, is one of the best records I’ve heard since I started writing for Metal Nexus last summer. Their newest, Science Fiction, is even better.

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Review: BLEEDING THROUGH – ‘Love Will Kill All’ [Official Videos]

Formed in 1999, Bleeding Through have run the gamut of countries, labels, genre stylings and immense, genre-defining releases, influencing several generations of artists since their inception. This crushing Californian metal act seamlessly combine hardcore, symphonic and death metal in a maelstrom of magnificent aggression, weaving melody and mayhem together into a chaotic quilt. Dedicated to their craft in a way that has cast countless acts to shame, Bleeding Through are a band that many fans of extreme music may cite as one of their first truly “heavy” bands—and all these years later, they hold up just as strong, if not more so. While the band has been on a self imposed hiatus since 2104, reuniting in 2016 for a benefit show for The Ghost Inside following the bands horrific accident. As such the heavy metal landscape has changed a lot over the handful of years since the band called it a day. Metalcore has fallen out of favor with the mainstream, and theres been a sort of changing of the guard with “newer” bands like Bring Me The Horizon and A Day to Remember dominating the scene and heading in a more poppier direction.

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Review: BURN THE PRIEST – ‘Legion: XX’ [Official Video]

 

Over the past few months Burn The Priest has been giving us a little taste of their roots with singles from their upcoming record ‘Legion: XX’. Burn The Priest, usually known by their second name, Lamb Of God, released a full-length record paying homage to the artists that influence them. Since the mid 90’s, Burn The Priest/Lamb Of God have reached a global audience with their guttural yet thrashy brand of metal. Comprised of Randy Blythe on vocals, Mark Morton and Willie Adler on guitars, John Campbell on bass, and Chris Adler on drums they began their conquest of the world in Richmond, VA. This album is paying tribute to their first label, Legion Records (Philadelphia) and its founder the late Michael “Mikey” Brosnan. Blythe announced the release of the album on his Gimme Radio show, like a late-night punk rock college radio show. It is refreshing to see these guys who are now considered mainstream doing this release with a DIY attitude. Continue reading

Review: MADBALL – ‘For The Cause’ [Video Stream]

New York Hardcore legends, Madball are back and bringing another 13 rounds of face-pummeling power with their upcoming album, ‘For the Cause,’ – scheduled for release June 15th, 2018 on Nuclear Blast Records. The new record features appearances from such notable names as Sick Jacken (Psycho Realm) on the track “Rev Up;” Steve Whale (The Business) and producer/vocalist Tim Armstrong (Rancid) on “The Fog;” and the legendary rapper and Body Count frontman, Ice-T on the track, “Evil Ways.” From violent aggression to anthemic, fist-pumping groove, this record delivers on all fronts – Or as bassist, Hoya Roc states, “It feels like the movie Pulp Fiction. We’ve got every style of hardcore in there.” Continue reading

Review : CANDLEMASS – ‘House Of Doom’

Coming May 25 via Napalm Records is the new EP: ‘House of Doom‘ from legendary doom metal band ‘CANDLEMASS!’ Clocking in at under 30 minutes, ‘House of Doom‘ is a quick but thoroughly enjoyable listen! We start things off with the title track which for my money has everything that an old school Doom Metal fan could ask for: Insanely catchy riffs, powerful vocals, and Sabbath style rhythm! This is easily the best Doom Metal anthem since “Doom over the World” by the now defunct ‘Reverend Bizarre.’

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Review : LIK – ‘Carnage’ [Album Stream]

Swedish Metal is the unsung hero of the Metal genre. Rarely do you see so many game changing extreme Metal bands arise from one area as you do with Sweden. You have pioneers of various forms of Death Metal like Entombed, At The Gates and Dark Tranquility who all contributed massively to the genre by contributing buzz saw guitar tones and melody mixed with insanely heavy riffs. Fast forward to today and you still have a healthy amount of bands emerging from the area! One of the most notable would be LIK who have just released a new album that is a worthy successor to bands like DismemberEntombed and Bloodbath!

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Review: BAD WOLVES – ‘Disobey’ [Official Videos]

Bad Wolves quietly crept on the scene in Spring of 2017, teasing portions of a melodic new age of djent riffs, hard rock song structure, with brash, yet catchy vocals. Behind this fresh take on metal would be former members of such bands as God Forbid, Devildriver, Divine Heresy, Bury Your Dead and In This Moment. Eleven Seven Music picked them up and will release “Disobey” on May 11. What this band has been able to achieve even before the release of their debut album is truly astonishing. A No. 1 single on the Mainstream Rock charts, iTunes No. 1 single of every genre and they have already embarked on an arena tour. Bad Wolves is undoubtedly the hottest thing in heavy music right now. Continue reading

Review: PARKWAY DRIVE – ‘Reverence’ [Full Album Stream]

After the huge succes of the 2015 album ‘IRE’ Parkway Drive is back to destroy whatever is left with the dark and harsh vocals of Winston supported by the insane riffage of Jeff, Luke and Jia and the Earth crushing drums of Ben. So you better get ready to witness the end of the world!

Before we get into the new and stellar album ‘Reverence’ we need to dive into the deep and try to grasp the absolute beauty of their past records. Now if you have been a Parkway Drive or even a metalcore fan for a while you already know that they have held the throne from the beginning of time with the 2007 release of ‘Killing With A Smile’. This and several other past albums such as ‘Horizons’, ‘Deep Blue’ and ‘Atlas’ have all been of huge help to the metalcore world. For both musicians and for people who enjoy the music as much as I do. They have for sure set a near perfect example of how the core of metal should be delivered in its best ways. But before you come knocking on my door Parkway Drive has been released music before, they released 2 EPs which you have probably never heard of. They have done a split ep with I Killed The Prom Queen back in 2003 and the not so famous but spectacular 2004 EP ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’.

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