Review: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – ‘Atonement’ [Song Stream]

 

If you’ve not heard of Killswitch Engage by now, number one: you are severely missing out on some of the best music out there, and number two: you definitely live under a rock. Killswitch has been releasing perfect album after album since 1999; they hail from Massachusetts. They are credited as one of the most successful bands from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement. They have continued to headline international tours and have massive festival appearances. “Atonement” will be their eight LP and the follow-up to the masterpiece, “Incarnate” from 2016. The aforementioned album will be their very first release via Metal Blade Records on August 16. Killswitch Engage is metalcore perfection. If it is not already obvious, KSE is one of my all time favorite bands and I may or may not have shed a tear whilst at their shows. 

As it should, “Atonement” begins with a roar- it really does! “Unleashed” is the opening track and the first single the band shared. The first thing that many Killswitch fans will recognize is how flawless singer, Jesse Leach’s vocals sound. Many know that he underwent vocal surgery last spring, and to say he’s made a recovery is an understatement. Perhaps some of his strongest recorded performances yet are found on the new album. “Unleashed” doesn’t particularly stray too far from the tried and true Killswitch Engage formula, but that’s okay because they do it so goddamn well. The song has a verse that sticks and a chorus that ends with a sick breakdown. What more could you need?

The second track is something that many KSE followers have dreamed about for years and it has finally happened. Jesse Leach and the band’s former frontman, Howard Jones (who should need no introduction at all, but it anyone was wondering, he currently fronts Light the Torch) on one song together. This, I believe, will solve all the worlds’ problems. “The Signal Fire” comes in hot, with a deathcore introduction and it’s thrashy in your face feel. The chorus is a total earworm with such conviction. Jesse and Howard together is every girls dream… or maybe it’s just mine? Regardless, these two sound perfect and this is a standout track. 

“The Crownless King,” is such a fist pumping pit starter. This one will go over extremely well live. A great mid tempo track with soaring vocals, “As Sure as the Sun Will Rise.” Of course it’s impossible to review “Atonement” without addressing the song with the first video from the record, “I Am Broken Too.” Leach has been very forthcoming with his personal struggles with mental health in past lyrics and this one is no acception. It’s stripped down and a little more simple and incredibly powerful. Killswitch Engage both on record and live, is a great balance. Songs like this one, and older tracks like “Arms of Sorrow” and “Rose of Sharyn” deal with heavy topics and then there are just some straight up bangers. The ever amusing guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz brings the comedic relief to their sets, dawning headbands that read, “TRASH” and spurting out lewd and insane remarks. Killswitch knows when it’s time to be serious and when it’s time to be Adam.  

Like every album before and like every album will be, “Atonement” is fantastic. Currently in first place for metalcore album of the year, curated by myself. It’s out August 16 on Metal Blade and currently up for preorder. A European tour is in order for the fall, but if you are in the states you can catch them (along with many others) at the first inaugural Exit 111 Festival in October, taking place in Tennessee. This record will not disappoint and if you haven’t seen Killswitch Engage live, you’re dead to me. 

 

Review: MOTIONLESS IN WHITE – ‘Disguise’ [Full Album Stream]

Motionless In White has always been one of the most populair bands in their genre, from their shock value to the intense and creepy writing to their heavy breakdowns that will make you stop breathing they have never once stopped being a force not to be reckoned with and that definitely includes ‘Disguise’!

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REVIEW: JASON BECKER – ‘Triumphant Hearts’

What comes to mind when you think of the term Guitar Hero?  Is it the video game? Is it your favorite guitar player?  For me, it was the obvious guitar icons like Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Randy Rhoads, etc.  It wasn’t until recently I learned the true definition of a Guitar Hero.  Two words: Jason Becker. Continue reading

JOHN GARCIA Returns With ‘John Garcia And The Band Of Gold’

Desert rock legend John Garcia is back with and he brought some sand-covered riffs for your ears. Garcia is a founding member and former vocalist of the now disbanded Kyuss. Since their split Garcia has not stopped working on project after project, often bringing on old bandmates like Scott Reeder and Brant Bjork. After forming Slo Burn, Unida, and Vista Chino Garcia released two solo albums. Some of these included original material or different takes on old Kyuss tunes. Since his last recording, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, John Garcia and the band have found a new energy that is palpable from the first note.

 

John Garcia And The Band Of Gold begins with the introductory track, “Space Vato”. As tiring as introduction tracks have become, this ramped up an energy that prepared you for the coming tide of the album. Garcia’s identifiable and unique voice is as strong as ever. With the small bite-sized tracks the album does not exhaust or lose momentum; One track moves on to the next without one staying for too long. Tracks like “Chicken Delight” and “Popcorn (Hit Me When You Can)” are groovy tracks rooted in old acid rock with modern aggression and style to them. “Lilliana” is riff powered desert rock, something that can only be born from sand. My favorite track on the record “Apache Junction” is pure Sabbath-worship that channels the energy of a song like “Hand of Doom”. After spending a day in the desert, you sit and stare at the stars with “Softer Side”. This ends the album on a soft and euphoric note.

John Garcia And the Band Of Gold is out via Napalm Records  January 4 with a European tour happening shortly after its release (dates below). To keep up with John Garcia and his band, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Live:
JOHN GARCIA And The Band Of Gold
Special Show w/ Nick Oliveri, Luna Sol, Death in Pretty Wrapping
29.11.18 US – Las Vegas / Vinyl

w/ Dead Quiet
23.01.19 FR – Paris / Le Trabendo
24.01.19 FR – Bordeaux / Le Krakatoa
25.01.19 ES – Madrid / Caracol
26.01.19 ES – Barcelona / Razzamatazz 2
28.01.19 FR – Lyon / Le Kao
29.01.19 CH – Zurich / Bogen F.
30.01.19 IT – Milan / Santeria Club
31.01.19 DE – Munich / Backstage Halle  
02.02.19 AT – Graz / Explosiv
03.02.19 HU – Budapest / A38
04.02.19 CZ – Prague / Rock Cafe
05.02.19 DE – Nürnberg / Hirsch
07.02.19 DE – Jena / F-Haus
08.02.19 DE – Berlin / SO36
09.02.19 DK – Copenhagen / Loppen
10.02.19 NO – Oslo / John Dee
12.02.19 FI – Helsinki / Tavastia
14.02.19 SE – Stockholm / Debaser Strand
15.02.19 SE – Gothenburg / Sticky Fingers
16.02.19 DE – Hamburg / Gruenspan
17.02.19 DE – Cologne / Helios 37
19.02.19 BE – Leuven / Het Depot
20.02.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Saal
21.02.19 DE – Essen / Turock
22.02.19 NL – Tilburg / 013
23.02.19 UK – London / O2 Academy Islington

Review: ALL THAT REMAINS – ‘Victim Of The New Disease’ [Official Videos]

Most known for their 2006 record ‘The Fall Of Ideals’ are metalcore legends All That Remains. Even though they have changed their style from time to time most of their fans decided to keep on supporting them. And that isn’t without good reason. Regardless of style they have always managed to be kick ass at it and I got a feeling that the up and coming album ‘Victim Of The New Disease’ will go down in metalcore history as one of the best releases from at least the year 2018 if not more!

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Bow Down To HIGH ON FIRE’S “Electric Messiah”

High On Fire are back with their 8th full-length release, Electric Messiah. This follows up their 2015 release Luminiferous via Entertainment One Music. With Sleep’s triumphant return on the stoner holy day of 4/20 and this new album, it has been quite a year for vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike. As far as this record Pike explains, “This is by far the best record I’ve ever made with the High on Fire stamp. It just keeps getting better and better. We just try to outdo ourselves. I’m not saying the old work is progressively worse, it’s just that we get better every time instead of burning out, which is a common finality for a lot of bands. This album is fucking excellent, I just love everything on it, I’m not bummed about anything. It’s great when you think that about your record.” This is their third release done with producer Kurt Ballou (Converge, Torche, Kvelertak), creating a strong bond with the three-piece. Now with more than a decade as unit with Jeff Matz on bass and Des Kensel on drums, this is some of High On Fire’s best work. Continue reading

Review: VELVET VIPER – ‘Respice Finem’

According to German metal band, VELVET VIPER, you don’t leave before wintertime. Fresh off from their spring released by GMR Music Group, ‘Respice Finem’ is the new album from the German metal band, VELVET VIPER. Formed in 1990 by blues vocalist, Jutta Weinhold, VELVET VIPER released two albums, “Velvet Viper” (1991) and “The 4th Quest For Fantasy” (1992), before the band split up in 1993. It’s been 26 years since VELVET VIPER’s last album and come to 2017, when Jutta Weinhold reformed the band with a brand new line-up. With Fabian Ranft plucking the bass, Micha Fromm shredding the guitar, and rounding up the band is Holger Marx keeping the backbeat on drums, VELVET VIPER is as relevant as ever and they’re ready to concur the metal scene once again.

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Review: THE VINTAGE CARAVAN – ‘Gateways’

 

Classic rock trio The Vintage Caravan caused an earthquake in the heavy music scene with their self-released debut album “The Vintage Caravan” (2011), and their sophomore record “Voyage” (2012; re-released in early 2014). In 2013 the band was officially signed with Nuclear Blast. Also their reputation as a powerful live band soon got around and gave them numerous possibilities to open up for acts such as Blues Pills and Grand Magus.

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LUCIFER Becomes A Phoenix With Their Sophomore Release “Lucifer II”

 

After the amicable departure of Gaz Jennings (Cathedral, Death Penalty, Septic Tank) in 2016, the future of Lucifer was up in the air. Determined to keep the Lucifer rising, vocalist Johanna Sadonis found a new songwriting partner in Nicke Andersson (Exhumed, Imperial State Electric, The Hellacopters). Through Nicke’s musical background in death metal and pop driven rock and roll, these two fans of 70s heavy rock could find common ground. While this sophomore release Lucifer II is still the Lucifer you know and love, there is a fresh energy in these new songs.

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Review: KATAKLYSM – ‘Meditations’ [Official Video]

The ever-prolific KATAKLYSM have returned with a new full album, ‘Meditations‘, with Nuclear Blast Records. Through a few lineup changes the band is now Maurizio Lacono on vocals, JF Dagenais on guitar, Stephane Barbe on bass, and Oli Beaudoin on drums. This 10-track album was recorded at their own studio in the forest of their home country of Canada.

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