Formed less than 10 years ago, the (as their biog describes them) “four-piece Progressive Groove metal wrecking machine known as Jinjer” have produced some cracking albums, including ‘Cloud Factory’ and ‘King of Everything’. Hailing from Donetsk, this Ukrainian band found their top gear with the addition of the versatile and charismatic vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk in 2010.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is North Dakota.*
Around the year 2000, Nate Hockett, Lance Meoricke, Andy Fuchs, and Josh Renner formed a band they called Memory Work in Bismarck/Mandan, North Dakota. They eventually parted ways with Andy Fuchs, bringing Nick Just in on bass. The band subsequently changed their name to Finest Line Divides. Nick would later move to guitar and Matt Chalcraft would come in for bass duties. They unfortunately broke up in 2002.
10 years later, Nick Just, Lance Meoricke, and Josh Renner decided they wanted to play music again. It started with reworking old songs, which lead to new material being written. Nick would take over vocals and stay on guitar. A friend of the band recommended Keenan Miller for the vacant bass position. In 2013, Lance decided to bow out, which left the band’s future in question. Chris Vetter stepped in. This led to two releases in 2014 and 2019’s masterwork, ‘The Ghost That’s Chosen Me’. They are alternative, rock, metal and thoughtful. I absolutely adore the experimental approach and the completely reflective nature of their music. It is like waking to a vista of vibrant strands of sound and a world that embraces rock, metal, rap, pop and alternative.
I love Finland’s SONATA ARCTICA. There, I’ve said it. Do not expect an unbiased review of their tenth studio album, ‘Talviyö’. However, do expect a mind-blown exercise in foaming at the mouth excitement.
It is always an event when SA release a new record. Their 2016 release (‘The Ninth Hour’) was my favorite album of that year and ‘Talviyö’ is reaching out to me with those neverending harmonies that take the band above the average power metal combo.
Blacktop Mojo are a Texas band with lashings of attitude. The band had some of their roots in country music, but decided to go with a more rock edge. They have a great sense of melody and power, mixing it to outstanding effect on their third album, ‘Under The Sun’.
According to their promo materials, Columbus Ohio’s Pale Grey Lore “create focused, hook-driven heavy rock and roll that loses no edge for its focus on songwriting. Melodic vocals and subtle harmonies echo alongside the molten groove of the guitar, bass and drums, taking a time-tested formula and proving it indeed to be timeless.”
Pale Grey Lore began as a collaboration between brothers Michael (guitar, vocals) and Adam Miller (drums), with Donovan Johnson (bass) joining up in the summer of 2014. Xander Roseberry (guitar, backing vocals) was added to the lineup in the winter of 2016.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Delaware.*
This is a change of pace from my usual metal fare, but Delaware’s Bastion’s Wake are an enigmatic power/symphonic band that piqued my interest with the fantasy artwork of their first album, ‘Sea Creatures and Sky Pirates’. Continue reading →
Cedarville, Ohio is the birthplace of Wolves At The Gate. The five piece post-hardcore band have been known to balance the beauty of melody with the barbaric bite of riffs so heavy they make gravity seems weak. ‘Eclipse’ is their fourth full length outing and is a thoughtful slice of melodic Metalcore. I must confess, I had never heard any of their catalogue before ‘Eclipse’, but was pleasantly surprised by quality of musicianship, the strength of the songs and the production.
Vocalist/guitarist Stephen Cobucci says of the album: “We named the record ‘Eclipse’ because of how well it encapsulated the relationship the light and the dark can have. An eclipse tells you that it’s dark,but it takes truth and faith to know that the sun is still shining. All of this revolves around my walk of faith in believing the truths of the gospel message, seeking to help others find hope and peace in the love of God, as well as how to come to grips with various social/political/personal issues.“
Alongside Cobucci is Ben Summers(bass), Abishai Collingsworth(drums), Nick Detty(vocals), and the band’s newest member Joey Alarcon(who co-produced with Cobucci).
The album ‘Eclipse’ follows the development path of other metalcore bands, with more clean singing and a studious dedication to melody. This is none better demonstrated than by final song “Blessings & Curses.” This pushes toward pop music, but with more power.
The music washes over you in waves of adrenaline and (weirdly) stillness. It pushes you into a widescreen version of reality, where everything is epic but slowed down. The sound makes you reflect and there is a sombre mood to the art. Peaceful waters are moved to areas of sonic perfection, only to be brought back to life by banging songs such as my favorite, “Counterfeit” – there is nothing counterfeit about this band! They know how to bring emotion to the boil and let it simmer on a flame of pure metal.
Epic songs? There are more than a few on this banger. The title track demonstrates this perfectly. Cobucci sings like some angel and the tune is filled out with keyboards and harmonies.
Kicking songs? “Evil Are The Kings” is a great stomper, with a more old-school metalcore vibe and nice use of growling vocals.
The whole record brims with intent to be tuneful, thoughtful and emotional whilst retaining some brutal riffing. Check it out.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Mississippi.*
Clawhammer is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Mississippi formed by Paul Hill and Paul Craig. The outfit is rounded out by Stephen McNeer on rhythm guitar, Pete Lindsey on drums and Brad Litton on bass. Normally, there would be more detail about the group, but I can’t find any! However, I can speak to the music and it really is classic metal, forged from the steel of the South and the artistic ethic of the doom/goth scene. Continue reading →
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Oklahoma.*
Outside the Shadows was formed originally as a Praise and Worship band, but that band split up and in 2013.
They sweated blood and released the first album ‘Forgiveness’ in October of 2013. They then released their second album ‘Ignite’ in October 2015. They have played with some amazing bands such as Screaming for Silence, Sons of Texas, Sleep Signals, and so many more!
The band name means to shine a light from the outside into the darkness and share Jesus with every individual possible. Outside The Shadows is made up of Preston Bell (vocals/guitar), Randy Stroud(drums)and Sam Krempl (bass/vocals).
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state. This month’s state is Kansas.*
The clouds clear after a devastating hurricane has hit. Life has changed beyond recognition. You are left with with vivid recollections. Assuming that this scenario is played out, the band Stories Through Storms from Kansas City has a vivid name and certainly are lodged in my brain as being a band telling stories in the storm of Metalcore. They bring the thunder, the power and the freshness that follows. On the melodic end of Metalcore, they are very welcome.